Archive for Reviews

Living fully: Where to go and what to do in London (September)

Summer is ending and action is returning to London. There are a number of very exciting (and also free) events taking place this September and October and with this post I want to give a quick overview of what’s happening and where. Follow www.spirituallondon.co.uk for more events as we go further into Autumn season.

For those who need a good stretch and re-fresh of the whole system:

Deep tissue holistic bodywork by Maori Healers, 30th of August – 5th of September

Personally, I wouldn’t miss an occasion to have my body re-booted by Maoris. It is not for everyone and it is extremely intense, but it does change you. And your life. Feel adventurous? Give it a try.
Contact: moonleela@gmail.com Session: £80.

For the intellectually inclined:

Mind, the Buddha and the Brain
School of African and Oriental Studies (SOAS)
Tuesday 14 September, 7pm

“Exciting developments are taking place at the intersection between Western sciences and Buddhism. The quest for understanding the human mind and its functions is at the centre of the meeting of psychology, cognitive neuroscience and Buddhist thought. Based on different perspectives and paradigms these three disciplines contribute answers to some of the most intriguing questions: What is the relation between brain and mind? What happens when we meditate and why does it matter? Can the brain be happy? This talk will introduce scientific and Buddhist views on the topic. Guided by the question how this knowledge can benefit our lives, it will cover the commonalities and differences of these different views.”
Details: Teacher: Dr. Peter Malinowski. Free of charge. Pre-booking is not necessary

Buddhism and Philosophy
School of African and Oriental Studies (SOAS)
Wednesday 15 September, 7pm

“Sometimes Buddhism is described as a religion, sometimes as a philosophy, and sometimes a science of mind. While it is difficult to limit it to any of these individually, it is true that Buddhism contains elements of all three. In particular, Buddhism contains very precise philosophical views about the nature of reality, the universe and beings’ place in it. These views increase in their sophistication depending on the capacities of individual practitioners and, while employing conceptual thought, always aim at the ultimate freedom from all limiting concepts. In this lecture, Karol will discuss the commonalities and differences between classical western and Buddhist philosophical views.”
Details: Teacher: Karol Sleczek. Free of charge. Pre-booking is not necessary


For the culturally inclined and thirsty of different aspects on Tantra:

Revival of Tantric Buddhist Practice in Today’s Tibet
School of African and Oriental Studies (SOAS)
Thursday 16 September, 7pm

“Following the changes in Beijing’s policies of 1978, Tibetan areas of the People’s Republic of China are experiencing a great ethnic and religious revival. This talk will look into instances of the revitalization of Tantric practice in Eastern Tibet. These demonstrations of the survival of Buddhist culture are statements of its unbroken link with the past vis-à-vis the destruction of the Cultural Revolution, the Chinese colonization and the dramatic modernization process that this foreign presence entailed. Special attention will be drawn to the agency of the leaders of the revival, who not only restore indigenous access to local sources of authority, but most of all, embody the highest Tantric ideals, which empower them to render their tradition as valid for identity construction today.”
Details: Teacher: Maria Przyjemska. Free of charge. Pre-booking is not necessary


For those that want to combine modernity and buddhism:

Lama Ole Nydahl in London
Tuesday 21 September, 8pm
Senate House, University of London

Limitless Freedom and Joy – an introduction to Diamond Way Buddhism

“In this introductory lecture, contemporary Buddhist master Lama Ole Nydahl will outline the basis, way and goal of Diamond Way Buddhism. In particular he will explain how the ancient wisdom of Buddhism, while retaining its essence, has adapted to meet the needs of people in modern Western societies. Lama Ole embodies the limitless freedom, joy and compassion that come from recognising the nature of mind, and in this talk he will teach practical methods leading to this experience. The lecture and Q&A session will be followed by a guided meditation and the chance to take Buddhist Refuge and receive a blessing.”

Details: Price: £15 (£12 concs) per lecture. Pre-booking is not necessary


For those unsatisfied with the Western denial of death and afterlife:

Wednesday 22 September, 8pm
Senate House, University of London

Death and Rebirth
“What happens after death is one of the biggest question we have as humans. While some religions speculate and rely on faith, Buddhism is uniquely explicit. In particular, Tibetan Buddhism contains very precise descriptions of the process of dying, death and the intermediate state between death and rebirth known in Tibetan as the “Bardo”. These teachings are based on the experiences described by the Buddha and generations of realised practitioners who were able to integrate them and directly confirm their validity. The Buddha’s teachings on death and rebirth are practical keys to understanding the true nature of death and a way to live, die and be reborn better. They support anyone who wants to come to terms with impermanence and dissolve all fears.
Lama Ole Nydahl is a master of the profound meditation practice of Phowa, or “transference of consciousness at the moment of death”, a method to consciously use the process of death to liberate one’s consciousness into a state of highest bliss, which he has taught to thousands of people worldwide. He is an authority on the Tibetan teachings on death, the intermediate state and rebirth. Born in Denmark in 1941, as a child he had dreams and memories of his former life as a soldier in Eastern Tibet, where he protected the civilian population during clashes with Chinese troops. In this lecture, Lama Ole will outline how modern scientific research and the Tibetan Buddhist teachings on death closely converge. He will explain the mind’s experiences during the process of death and the intermediary state, and how we can work with our immediate situation to be able to better relate to impermanence, die fearlessly and create positive circumstances for future lives.”

Details: Price: £15 (£12 concs) per lecture. Pre-booking is not necessary


For those hungry of fresh Indian mystery:

Swami Atmachaithanya visiting London 23rd of September

Swami from Kerala, South India, is virtually unknown in UK so here is a little bit of information: “Swami Atmachaithanya was born on 10th April 1964 in the small village of Uppaychal, a poor rural community in southwest India. Throughout his early childhood Swami showed remarkable kindness towards others and a great reverence for the Divine. He kept the image of Lord Shiva constantly in his mind and attained Self-realisation at the age of seven. As he got older many people came to seek his advice and to benefit from his miraculous healing powers. Then, as now, Swami asks for no payment for the help that he gives.”

For those in need of deep transformation:

Short Vipassana retreat in London
Saturday/Sunday 25th/26h of September

Ever wanted to try Vipassana out but didn’t feel ready to take a leap into a full 10 day adventure? This is your chance to get a mild Vipassana taster. “Vipassana, sometimes translated as Insight or Higher Vision, is one of the key meditative styles in Buddhism.  It is designed through developing sustained attentiveness to help meditators become wiser and thus to become more capable of helping themselves and others.  In its more highly developed forms it is designed to give meditators the understanding that brings freedom and full enlightenment.
Details: Facilitator: Ven Antonio Satta. Location: Jamyang Buddhist Centre, Kennington. Suggested donation: £60.

Satsang Intensive with Mooji, 25th/26th of September

It is the last chance to spend time with Mooji in London this year. After spending many years travelling and holding satsangs everywhere around the world Mooji is ‘taking easy’ this year, so if you live in London, use this opportunity to suck-in the wisdom of non-duality. Groups of people travel great distances from around the world to spend couple of days in this man’s presence.

And for everyone:

Festival of Life, 25th of September

It is the most vibrant, action filled community – or, heck, the whole London – festival celebrating health, life, vitality, awareness, sustainability and.. love! Highly recommended for delicious food, community atmosphere, very interesting workshops and an excellent dance party.

Leave a comment »

Visiting Still Point: a simple place of presence in the city

WWW.SPIRITUALLONDON.CO.UK

It is nice and sunny, the air is filled with the aroma of blossoming trees and the fresh breeze is bringing the sense of boundless joy somewhere from the distant Atlantic currents. I jump on my bike and from my calm residential street in South London make my way to the very centre of the city.

Today I am on a mission to meet the founder of Still Point meditation and alternative therapies centre to figure out all the whys, hows and whats about having the place of stillness in the middle of the city. The founder, Ralf, meets me with welcoming warmth and instant conversations about life and travels which immediately blows away my idea of a structured interview.

Ralf tells me that the vision of the centre is to hold a grounded space of presence. It is not a place where you would find complex techniques to connect to fearies, angels and flowering recourses. But you will find a space to get back to your centre and be in simplicity of your being. “London and the place itself picked me” – Ralf tells me, “and the work that is now being done in the centre is a result of long years of learning and teaching in different places and parts of the world”.

“How difficult is it to open up a therapy centre in the middle of the city?” – I wonder. At one point everything came together and with a lot of hard work and fiery perseverance an old office space was converted into a centre where both local city ‘pros’ and Londoners travelling from further away come over to stop the ‘busy-ness’ and drop into the inherent wisdom their bodies.

The defining point of the centre is definitely its meditation sessions and Thai Yoga Massage. There are also visiting therapists holding yoga classes and offering therapies such as NLP, EFT, life coaching, massage, reiki and hypnotherapy.

I am curious to hear more about Thai Yoga Massage  – the form of body work that Ralf has been practicing and teaching for over 12 years. Thai Yoga Massage is a form of bodywork that is done on a futon on the floor with the client dressed in light clothes. It works on freeing the flow of vital energy in our body. It improves posture, breathing, flexibility, digestion and circulation. “The results experienced by clients are remarkable and deeply rewarding” – says Ralf with humbleness and gratitude. The muscles get stretched, inner organs toned, and emotional nervous tension drops away. Often a deep sense of quiet can be experienced during and after treatment.

Ralf organises regular Thai Yoga Massage training courses, so if you are interested in learning more, Still Point is a good place to start.

Furthering conversations from the Still Point I ask my favourite question on how to integrate the stillness in such a busy place like (the city of) London.  Trying best to stay present and uncover what’s on the way are the down-to-earth tips I get. After travelling the world, immersing himself in a disciplined traditional yoga practice and meeting various teachers Ralf just confirms the simple truth that “we are all human”. Accepting this and allowing life to happen is the best gift of integration we can give to ourselves regardless whether we are in the bustling city or anywhere else in the world. I can very much relate to the underlying theme of our common human condition. Afterall, we are all sharing same breath, presence and life!

Finally, with a spirit of a true Londoner I ask Ralf to reveal his three favourite places in London. Let’s face it, we are always in search of those hidden, personal spaces and London offers infinite opportunities!

“The foot bridge in St James’s park with the views of the pond and London eye; Hampstead Heath, and (!!) Thursdays Five Rhythms class in St Peter’s church in Vauxhall.  Ralf reassures me that it is the best Five Rhythms class in London with mind blowing atmosphere of a gothic church. Sure enough I promise to go and have a look at it myself. Watch this space for a report!

Inspired by a lively conversation, new things learned and discovered I leave the centre of stillness and get back to the peak of rush hour in Liverpool Street. I wonder to myself just how important these little spaces are in balancing the ever increasing pace of urban living!

For more details visit www.stillpointlondon.com

WWW.SPIRITUALLONDON.CO.UK

Comments (2) »

Raw chocolate indulgence: best online resources for your Raw chocolate experience

WWW.SPIRITUALLONDON.CO.UK

As you probably know, cocoa bean has been valued and used by the native Indian civilizations of South America. Europeans brought the bean in the form of a bitter and stimulating drink to Europe where it was mixed with sugar to counter the bitterness and eventually was transformed into our-day chocolate by the ingenious Swiss chocolatiers.

But stop…. Did we get it all wrong in the first place? Modern chocolate today is primarily sugar, milk, soya emulsifiers, palm oil, roasted (!) cocoa powder and very small amounts (if any) of cocoa butter.

The reviving culture of raw chocolate is bringing back the superpower and health attached to the ‘raw’: unprocessed, not roasted cocoa and cocoa butter rich in nutrients, enzymes, antioxidants, and natural stimulants which increase your serotonin levels hence fighting depression and improving a general sense of well being.

Counter indications? I dare to say none, although remember, everything is good in moderation. I have met many happy raw chocolate lovers that replaced unhealthy breakfast and snacking with raw chocolate.

Sounds good!


I had a good look around the Internet and local health food shops to pick the places where you can easily get your raw chocolate:

The Raw Chocolate Shop is a bit of a raw chocolate hub as it offers the variety from different artisan raw chocolate makers. You will find all favourite chocolates in one place and it is very easy to order.

Rawr Chocolate offers good value chocolate bars both plain and with nuts or superfoods. Also, they sell exquisitely packed gifts and seasonal goods like raw chocolate Easter eggs, Valentines hearts, etc. It is my personal choice today and as I write this blog I am clicking on my cart, ordering 3 bars of delicious chocolate. Over £5 and the shipping is free – it is gotta be done!

Inspiral Lounge is a hub of raw food culture in London with a wealth of expertise in raw chocolates. For that premium taste and superfood-packed artisan chocolate look no further (they have an online shop as well!). They also sell raw (chocolate) cakes, which as they truly say, should be banned – they are so good!

Finally, if you, like me, are willing to go that extra mile and make your own raw chocolate to suit your taste buds perfectly and save a bit of money you may want to check a fun raw Londoner’s blog www.rawrob.com where you will find a collection of good recipes to start with. The magic of raw chocolate making is its simplicity. Once you know the basics, only sky is a limit and there is plenty of room for creative experimentation. Most recipes don’t take longer than 15 minutes to complete.

There is a plenitude of companies and health food stores selling raw chocolate-making kits these days. But I warn you: they are often quite pricy and come in small quantities!

I personally suggest a reasonably priced online shop at www.funkyraw.com which sources sustainable raw cocoa powder, nibs, butter and a wide range of superfoods in larger quanitities. They are based in London, have been my first choice and the service has been excellent!


Leave a comment »

New Beginnings: Spring Equinox in London

Saturday night and it is pouring down. I am aware I RSVP’ed as attending to Essense Spring Equinox Celebration 2010 but I am slowly trying to convince myself that maybe I shouldn’t push it this time. But then there is a phone call and two rainbow souls tell me to be in Brixton in 25 minutes. “You cycle, right?” – they ask me. “But it is pouring down, people!” – I exclaim to the phone. I have got a gut feeling that the night is set to be good and I’ve got no other option. Only my trustworthy bike will carry me to Brixton in 25 minutes. So I agree. Oh, don’t mind the fancy dress and tribal make-up – I am pretty much in my pyjamas but with no time to waste I quickly throw a waterproof jacket on me and off I go to Brixton.

Rain is refreshing, purifying, simplifying, regenerating. Rain in my face, in my eyes, dripping down my hair. Call it crazy, but it all feels good and appropriate for the spring reawakening. “Let the elements do their job and rejoice” – I think to myself. Eh… Spring!

Here is the essential Essense in a nutshell:

1. It is one of the warmest “community feel” get togethers in London. You do realise that the world and London are not that big and alien! Filled with love and the feeling of connectedness you do feel at home!

2. It is actually a one-night festival where you can cosy-up in a chillout area with a cuppa chai and a piece of raw chocolate, participate in a drum jam, get wild and crazy dancing all night with the finest dance fusions… get a superfood smoothie… and a massage or any sort of other healing in a healing area. All under one roof in one night. Indeed.

3. While you are doing all of the above you are surrounded by a bunch (ok, maybe couple of hundreds) of people who genuinely smile and talk to you. Also hug you. For real.

4. It is very likely that you know half of these people through friends of friends and the other half you have seen around in other gatherings and events (maybe even on a train:)), so you feel like you know your bunch and you feel connected. If you don’t know the people it is not the problem – everyone is so open and loving, willing to share, network and collaborate that by the end of the evening you may jam in the chillout area with a guitarist you met half an hour ago or share a smoothie with a fellow yoga teacher.

5. There is such a diversity of people! You can feel the openness of minds and flexibility of beliefs for the good! In all our diversity and individuality we can still connect in presence and it is beautifully celebrated throughout the night.

6. And then there is a Love Beam. The opening ceremony, called the Love Beam, is not to be missed. 12:00 at night, hundreds of people in the room, knowing each other or not, believing in the same things or not, stand there hand by hand as one, vibrating in the sound of their voices, visioning, connecting, feeling, loving, smiling. Here and now. Trust me, after that you are full of energy to dance and full of love to connect. P R E S E N C E prevails.

Let’s get to the point: organisers are doing an amazing job! And on behalf of Spiritual London I say a very big “thank you” for a beautiful Spring celebration.

To find out more about Essense join their Facebook group
The celebrations are organised on a word of mouth basis so if you don’t want to miss the next Equinox celebration and you are not using Facebook, email the organisers on us@essense.me or essense@googlegroups.com

WWW.SPIRITUALLONDON.CO.UK

Comments (1) »

Last night experience – Jamyang Buddhist centre

WWW.SPIRITUALLONDON.CO.UK

It is cold and rainy and I feel an urgent need to empty my brain and calm my mind. I throw myself on my bike and off we head to a Buddhist centre in Kennington.
Yes, a Buddhist centre again for no apparent reason! I have a feeling that Buddhist culture in London is blooming and is really good for providing very simple methods of living a more meaningful and grounded life without rolling you into a ball of beliefs and dogma. It definitely fits western minds – at least that’s the impression I get after entering a spacious shrine room fool of people! I am surprised – I really didn’t expect more than 6 people to attend a course on a heart sutra!

But let’s start with the centre itself. It is spacious, beautiful and atmospheric. A renovated old courthouse, it is an old Police Court, which is the oldest surviving, intact, Victorian Police Court in London. You can definitely sense the atmosphere and the shrine room is shining in its glory. Everything from wall hangings, a massive Buddha statue, flowers, floors, ceiling and ritual tools is perfected to the tiniest detail. The essence of Buddhist simplicity – I think to myself.

The centre has a library with over 2000 books on Buddhism, meditation and general spirituality and – as you can imagine – it is probably one of the most serene places to study such materials. It is also a place where you can find those rare materials in Tibetan language and detailed information on Tibetan Buddhism that is hard to find elsewhere. I strongly suggest you pay a visit and immerse yourself in written wisdom (an extra urge for students studying religions and Tibetan language or culture!).

Apparently Dalai Lama visited and concecrated the centre in 1999 and indeed – the love for Tenzin Gyatso is felt strongly. Who can blame them?

The roots of all goodness lie in the soil of appreciation for goodness. ~ Dalai Lama

What else… There is a bookshop, a café! and a library. The centre organises regular Tara rituals, meditations, and numerous workshops on everything from Tibetan art and symbolism (this is a must at least for me!) to traditional Buddhist sutra readings and non-residential intensive (sometimes 2 week long!) retreats which seem to be a good option in case you feel battered by daily life in London… or nursing a wounded heart!

But lets get back to the reason for my visit. This time I was invited to attend a sutra reading course which lasts for 9 weeks, every Tuesday evening. I made an effort to attend the first introductory evening – a sneaky preview so to say.
We are late and are greeted by a rather peculiar resident of the centre – a black cat. Right away I start creating stories about the black cat being a Buddhist and imagination starts carrying me until we enter a packed room of people reciting sutras in English (thank God!) and are tucked to the very end of the room with a sutras booklet in our hands.

Page 6… we quickly join others in reading some verses and soon enough we join the wave of low voices. After a short meditation warm and radiating Geshe Tashi Tsering starts talking about the heart sutra, context, meaning, wisdom, compassion, Buddhism, Tibetan tradition…. you name it. Then he starts reciting this short sutra in Tibetan and I lose myself in an acoustic rhythm of this special language!

Here is an excerpt from the famous sutra

Form is empty; emptiness is form. Emptiness is not other than form; form also is not other than emptiness. Likewise, feeling, discrimination, compositional factors and consciousness are empty.”

“Shariputra, like this all phenomena are merely empty, having no characteristics. They are not produced and do not cease. They have no defilement and no separation from defilement. They have no decrease and no increase.”

“Therefore, Shariputra, in emptiness there is no form, no feeling, no discrimination, no compositional factors, no consciousness. There is no eye, no ear, no nose, no tongue, no body, no mind; no form, no sound, no smell, no taste, no tactile object, no phenomenon. There is no eye element and so forth up to no mind element and also up to no element of mental consciousness. There is no ignorance and no exhaustion of ignorance, and so forth up to no ageing and death and no exhaustion of ageing and death. Likewise, there is no suffering, origin, cessation or path; no exalted wisdom, no attainment and also no non-attainment.”

“Therefore Shariputra, because there is no attainment, bodhisattvas rely on and abide in the perfection of wisdom; their minds have no obstructions and no fear. Passing utterly beyond perversity, they attain the final state beyond sorrow. Also, all the Buddhas who perfectly reside in the three times, relying upon the perfection of wisdom, become manifest and complete Buddhas in the state of unsurpassed, perfect and complete enlightenment.”

“Therefore, the mantra of the perfection of wisdom, the mantra of great knowledge, the unsurpassed mantra, the equal-to-the-unequalled mantra, the mantra that thoroughly pacifies all suffering, since it is not false, should be known as the truth. The mantra of the perfection of wisdom is proclaimed:

tayata gate gate paragate parasamgate bodhi soha
(Gone, gone, gone beyond, gone completely beyond, awakened, so be it!)

Amen! We listen to the words of wisdom as Geshe Tashi Tsering reminds us that the actions of wisdom and compassion starts with the closest people around us. Indeed! I bow inside myself to the wise teachings of Buddhism, my mind is calmer and I embrace all the people in the room with a loving smile.

So be it!

WWW.SPIRITUALLONDON.CO.UK

Leave a comment »

London eclectics: breathwork at a Buddhist centre, movie at a DIY hippy venue

First sunny Sunday in a long while. It is not even February yet, but the sun is shining and the air is filled with modest spring warmth. Today my plans are to visit a North London Buddhist Centre to join my friend’s breathwork group and on the way back watch a Glastonburian film preview at Passing Clouds in Hackney.

The plan is set, a south Londoner in my heart I scribble my bus routes in my notebook and with an A to Z, a blanket, a camera and a bottle of water I set off for a mission.

It is really exciting to see spiritual centres popping up in different locations of London creating an atmosphere of local and accessible alternative lifestyle choices. I have a vision that one soon day everyone in London will have a neighbouring holistic hub and instead of a local fried chicken shop – an access to fresh and healthy local produce made with love. I am visioning this knowing that a Tibetan Buddhist Centre is moving quite literally at the other end of my street (watch this space for a story about it)! We are here to make our reality the way we want it.

You are never given a dream without also being given the power to make it true. You may have to work for it, however (Richard Bach).


But lets get back to North London Buddhist Centre on Holloway Road. As a rule, Buddhist centres in London are hubs for veeeery affordable holistic therapies, yoga, tai chi and meditation classes, chanting evenings, retreats, all sorts of workshops and lectures. For me their activities always guarantee a deeper view on spirituality whether in meditation or yoga class. Whatever your beliefs might be, it is well worth finding your local Buddhist centre and see what they offer – you never know what you might discover!

Truth is, my visit there has nothing to do with their activities or Buddhism itself (at least this time). I am going there for a breathwork session with my friends and am using this opportunity to have a little sneaky peak inside the centre.



As I imagined, the centre is filled with serenity and has a lovely shop selling everything from ritual tools, vast collection of Buddhist and meditation books, statues, Tibetan bowls, malas, oils and candles… you name it. I am literally mesmerized but I remind myself that I am here with a slightly different intention.

The breathwork technique is also known as Conscious Connected Breathing, where there is no pause between the in breath and the out breath. This action naturally moves the breather into so called ‘non-ordinary state’ where the brain drops into Alpha and Theta. These states move us from a logical level into a more lateral place of just being present. It is at this point we are most receptive to shifting improvements in health, mental clarity and emotional well-being. (Taken from Terri George website ).

I cannot write much about breathwork itself as it is a deeply personal experience. All I can say that it is one of the most grounding, immediate, simple and natural therapies of self-healing which works despite your beliefs or prejudices. I feel it is very good for westerners who tend to repress their ‘aliveness’, authenticity, self-expression and pain. In a safe space created by skilful and experienced facilitators you easily return to the states of your core being allowing yourself to be a child again, reborn, regress, explore, vision and express anything that has been left behind. I find it to be a deeply healing process which helps to accelerate personal growth.

The breathwork is done and after the facilitator makes sure that we are all grounded and ‘alright’ to spill out to the streets of London we say our goodbyes and leave. Now I am in a rush for a movie preview at Passing Clouds. The movie, although intended for those ‘hard-core hippies’:) receives quite a bit of interest and I really enjoy the cosy retro DIY atmosphere of the venue.
Passing Clouds 1

Good news is that Passing Clouds organise all sorts of events, concerts and jam sessions for an alternative crowd so it is well worth checking them out!

Leave a comment »

Love circle – soul food on a cold winter evening in Camden

Tuesday evening yoga class with an uplifting title and a seductive headline:
~~Waves of Love rising silently from the Deep devaOcean//Relentlessly forming with an Effortless Grace into//Rolling Circles of Truth~~
Surely I am up for it!

I don’t know what to expect, actually I do not expect anything. I don’t want to look great or advanced or needy or disappointed. I don’t want to have a great time or time to remember. I am just going to this evening with an excitement of a child. And presence.
Reading Eckhart Tolle on the tube: “Being one with life is being one with Now. You then realize that you don’t live your life, but life lives you. Life is the dancer and you are the dance.” Present. I feel present. And my goal is to be fully alive as I am.

7pm, Upper Room community hall in Camden uplifted from mundane to sacred by the radiance and creativity of the organisers, Amir and Katie. Candles, subtle fairy lights, a gong, Tibetan bowls, all sort of percussive instruments and a piano – it feels warm, cosy and safe.


We comfortably sit in a circle, the atmosphere is great and I feel at home. I know that’s the right environment and I don’t need to be anyone or act in any way. Time for being. The class starts with a well guided relaxation, deep breath, Tibetan bowls and my body is vibrating with core sounds surrendering to the gravity of the body and the limitless nature of the soul.

We flowingly proceed to name and intention sounding. Wow – what an honour. To sing the name of each person with your soul voice and have your name sang by a bunch of angels. It was empowering: I loved and I was being loved, honesty, intentionally and selflessly.
Love, joy, presence, satisfaction, consolidation, freedom, faith, nothingness and more… these were intensions of the beautiful beings that shared the love with me. All and every single one of you – I really wish it becomes your reality now!

Warm ups – a phrase never encouraging enough. I have been doing intense yoga warm-ups for 4 years and never has it been so fun. Surrender and let your inner child take over. Why not? We played congas that weren’t there, we danced free style, we danced our bodies into circles and we sang and laughed as it felt right letting go of everything that needed letting go. Simplicity of being – joy of a child.

Kundalini yoga kriyas were physically and mentally challenging but liberating, extremely energising and well worth a try. “There are two characters in your mind: a master and a victim – you choose which one you want to be” – Amir reminded us out loud just when I needed it. It is surprising what an enormous shift in experience can our inherent right to choose our own perspective manifest. We make our own reality and it is all about our attitudes.

Chanting, relaxation and a sound bath. Another wow. Food for the soul, every cell vibrating with the mysterious power of a gong, Tibetan bowls, percussions, piano and an angelic voice. I peacefully flow and let my body relax from all the rush and buzz of the day.

And a final wow: what other class is so creatively packed with soul-nourishing food?

This moment is all I have got and maybe in 20 years from now I am not going to remember that I went to this class and how good it was (again, perspective!) Perhaps it will be just a distant dream, but I will remember that I spent time being deeply present. That’s one thing that doesn’t need effort to be remembered and doesn’t fade into an illusion of a distant dream. Mission completed!

Love Circle – every Tuesday, 7.00pm at Upper Room, Camden. More details here

Leave a comment »