Archive for Uncategorized

Spirit-centered conscious UK festivals to keep in your diary (summer 2010)

WWW.SPIRITUALLONDON.CO.UK

It’s festival time.
Here is a list of most important conscious-vibe festivals happening this summer – we don’t want to miss out!

May

Small World Festival 27th-30th of May, Kent. Small World Festival is just round the corner. Famous for their solar powered stage that makes its rounds through main green/conscious festival over summer, it is a perfect family-oriented budget festival. Plenty of dance, music, enterntainment and healing in a more intimate small gathering.

June

The Great British Kundalini Yoga Festival 1st-6th of June, Osho Leela Centre, Dorset. For Kundalini Yoga lovers and for all those who think that other festivals are too light-hearted:). Every year this intimate festival brings together an exciting programme of Kundalini Yoga and other activities related to the teachings of Yogi Bhajan. Although in all spirit-centered festivals days start yearly, here the day starts veeery early with Aquarian Sadhana, two and a half hours of pray, practise of Kundalini Yoga and chanting. There are three workshop slots throughout the day with an ample selection of activities for you to choose from. In the afternoon there is an all camp meditation. This is all fitted round three very tasty vegetarian meals prepared by the wonderful people at the Leela Centre. To cap off the day you can browse the bazaar and take part in the evening event, all with a warming cup of Yogi Tea. Previous workshops included Kundalini Yoga, Shakti Dance, Naad Yoga, Intuitive Massage, Karam Kriya, Bead making and mantra, Breathwalk and many others.

Sunrise Celebration 3rd – 6th of June, Bruton, Somerset. The jewel in the crown of this summer’s green/conscious festivals Sunrise Celebration is big, colorful and creative. Lessons in wild food foraging, organic food, ethical marketplace, pillow fights, circus, crafts, dress-up parties, conscious cabaret, permaculture, green innovations, huge kids and teens area… and lots of dancing.


Midsummer Yoga Festival
18th-20th of June, Osho Leela Centre, Dorset. Child friendly, yoga centered cosy festival celebrating the diversity in yoga through workshops, practice, healing and connections.

Tree of Life Festival 18th-20th of June, Bedfordshire. A workshop centered festival with a lot of great body/mind/spirit speakers, uplifting conscious music, biodanza and 5 rhythms dance. Workshops include raw food, tantra, shamanism, wellness, relationships, personal power and finding your true self.

July

Buddhafield 14th-18th of July, Taunton, Somerset. I cannot praise the festival enough. Conscious dance parties, endless performances, perfect sauna vibe, never ending drum jams, lovely people, meditation spaces all intermingled with Buddhist rituals, ceremonies, movies, games, and interesting workshops… you name it! All powered with wind and solar energy.

Glastonbury Zodiac Pilgrimage 20th-25th of July, Glastonbury. A very special gathering more than a festival to walk through the 12 signs of the Glastonbury Zodiac star temple. If you are up for 4 days of intense retrospection, connection to land and starts in a likeminded group of people, this is an event to consider. Camping, stars, hiking, nature, campfire, songs and… pure simplicity!

The Secret Garden Party 22nd-25th of July, East Anglia. First of all, check their website – it is very interactive and fun! A good reflection of the idea behind this gathering – creative & very arty, independent, unpredictable and dynamic. Explore your creative potential, share ideas and immerse yourself in a UK version of Burning Man’s critical mass! Theme of this year is REALITY.

August

One World Festival 9th-15th of August, Worcestershire. Interested in macrobiotics? This festival is definitely the most attractive macrobiotics-centered summer event. Even if you do not care about macrobiotics much, I  promise you will enjoy the most delicious food you could imagine, very intimate friendly vibe shared by all, awesome tai chi, yoga and meditation with top teachers, and will have lots of fun chatting, laughing, drumming, dancing and chilling by the bonfire. The focus of the festival is good quality and very diverse workshops and treatments, macrobiotic course (of course!) and conscious, wild fun (there are as many as 16 workshops happening at any given time!!). The price for a week is very attractive as well considering that you get 3 delicious, healthy, rejuvenating home-made macrobiotic meals a day!

Space of Love Gathering 14th-17th of August, Surrey/Sussex border. Authentic, beautiful, small, cosy gathering sharing many people’s yearning to create a ‘Space of Love’ and carry the vision of Anastasia and the Ringing Cedars series forward in the UK. Focused on pure and natural connection to nature which each of use carries in our hearts it educates and inspires to live simply, naturally and lovingly. Raw, living foods, exciting music (Avalon Roots and Khantara: if you don’t get a chance to see them in the bigger festivals that’s your chance!) and a wonderful line-up of workshops:
– Birthing into the Light body
– Extending the human lifespan and Foundational Nutrition
– Sound healing
– Ecstatic Trance Dance
– Dreamcatcher Radiant Sound
And many many more! The price is very exciting as well! Wild Summer Bargain!

Green Pheonix 19th-22nd August, Gateshead. The Green Pheonix in association with the Big Green Gathering is for people who care about health, the environment, sustainability, our children’s future and life in general. It is a celebration of our natural world and our place within it. As such it is a place for enjoyment, learning and fun. Unhealthy activities are not encouraged. The only things taken in excess should be love, peace, joy, and friendship. The festival is very important in the development of sustainable grassroots movement. Controversially, the Big Green Gathering organizers had troubles with authorities last year which resulted in the festival being canceled. Many say that it was canceled due to it’s authority-challenging message. Don’t miss a chance to participate in this grassroot power celebration!

Sunrise Off-Grid Transition Gathering 20th-23rd August, Somerset. A practical and down two earth sustainable community celebration from the organizers of the Sunrise Celebration. It is all about practical ways of applying new ways of living to every day life. Green and sustainable skills, discussions, questions, collaborations…along with plenty of dance, music and sunshine. Perfect combination to learn and share the know how for success in a post-consumer society!

September


Wildheart 10th-12th of September (also around 1st of May), East Sussex. It is a beautiful & inspiring gathering held twice a year in one of the most forested part of England. The workshops range from yoga to martial arts, meditation to divine singing, bushcraft to storytelling, enchanting music and during the weekend there is the opportunity to learn wilderness survival skills, such as fire making, shelter building, wild food walks and tracking. Most importantly, there is so much love and connection between people – enough to fill the whole world!

Festival of Life, 25th of September, London. It is a highlight in a one-day London festival calendar celebrating raw food, sustainability and conscious living. A fun, informative and empowering event packed with top speakers, great food stalls, friendly vibes and lots of music. Not to be missed!

WWW.SPIRITUALLONDON.CO.UK

Leave a comment »

6 ways to find your perfect yoga class in London

WWW.SPIRITUALLONDON.CO.UK

Often I get asked to recommend a yoga class/school in London and often do I find myself matching different yoga schools to different temperaments and needs of my friends. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that there are well over a 1000 active yoga schools and classes in London. How do you find the one that suits you? How do you even start choosing from this maze of different disciplines and approaches?

Let’s start with a simple list of questions, which hopefully will clarify your needs and simplify your wants:)

1. Spiritual balance, fitness or both?

Let’s be frank. For many people yoga is a way to keep fit,  improve posture and get a general feel-good effect. It’s fine! Most local gyms and centres have well prepared teachers that will take care of that.

However, if you are looking for a classic yoga class and fitness is not your goal, gyms are probably not your way forward. Try to find a yoga centre that puts emphasis on theory, inner awareness and breath. Well tried and good options are Sivananda centre in Putney or one of the many British Wheel of Yoga certified teachers. Also, have a look at less known teachers and classes which offer different yoga fusions combined with psychotherapy, counselling, breath work, laughter, massage, therapy, nutrition – you name it! Well known central locations for these are Buddha on a Bicycle and Neal’s Yard Therapy Rooms in Covent Garden.

2. Level of fitness

Do you want to seriously tone your muscles and get into advanced poses at ease? Are you prepared to lose your last sweat and seriously push your limits? Does the feeling of competition makes you achieve more and feel rewarded? Look at more physical yoga classes practicing Ashtanga, Vinyasa flow, Jivamukti, Power yoga, Kundalini yoga or Bikram. By no means more physical challenge means less spiritual practice.  If you feel that you have got loads of energy and need to disperse it with intense yoga practice go for it!

3. How much effort are you prepared to put in commuting?

Personally, spending the rush hour breathing into someone’s neck in a tube on my way to a yoga class is not my thing (I have done it for 4 years!).  I like to keep things local.  So whatever the class is, I have got to be able to reach it by my bike. Easy!

However, it significantly reduces your options so if you are opting for the best, you may need to sacrifice some hours a week to commuting.

For a cheap and good local class check your local Buddhist centre if you have one. Also, you will most likely have a local yoga centre nearby, so start looking outside your doorstep!

4. Are you social or a loner?

Truth is, some yoga schools will engulf you in a community, in some you will focus on your practice keeping socialising with fellow students and teachers to a minimum. Probably most of yoga classes will fall somewhere in between. But if you are up for a strong community feel and lots of after-class activities you are probably looking for a bigger school which treats yoga as a path of personal development rather than a way to get fit.

When joining any community or organisation use your common sense and find out about the background of the organisation. There may always be some bad things said about great communities, but it is important to see both sides of the coin. Be aware how open-minded are the students to different beliefs and also how the organisation interacts with international yoga/spiritual community.

5. Budget and trends

London is blooming with beautiful, shiny and serene yoga centres and is well influenced by the latest trends coming both from the West and the East. If you are after a trendy centre or a style, you should be prepared to pay more for it. The price of a drop-in class in a community centre or a church hall starts from £4-£5 onwards reaching £14-£18 per class in bigger holistic centres and top schools.

Attention – always look for great promotional deals: it is a great way to discover new styles and classes!

  • Bikram yoga has a deal of £10 for 10 days
  • Qi Yoga in Clapham offers a deal: when 10 classes are purchased upfront at £10.00 each you receive 10 classes free.
  • Yoganesh yoga centre in Shoreditch has donation based classes!
  • Many yoga classes offer first class for free and many many more deals!!

Truth is, there are a lot of yoga classes in London so there is a plenitude of promotional deals to attract new customers. Especially keep an eye on new centres – they will always offer good deals!

6. Teacher

How do you know the teacher is good? Do you check his teacher training diploma? Trust your intuition. Diploma gives security and a standard, but it does not provide inner wisdom and insight which is so important for a good teacher. Don’t chase qualifications but be aware of your teacher’s background. Most importantly, use your intuition to ‘see’ if the person is living what he/she is preaching.

Enjoy your class!

WWW.SPIRITUALLONDON.CO.UK

Leave a comment »

Prize Draw Closing

Dear Readers,

Two months into the Spiritual London experience we are absolutely overwhelmed by your response and feedback. Thank you for believing in us and taking your time to spread the word or add a listing. Please continue to do so in the future – for a journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step and whithout your support Spiritual London is just a piece of coding.

The first price draw is now over as we received over a hundred listings in no time. To remind you of the prices:
–3 interviews/reviews and a photo reportage which will be published in the Spiritual London blog.
–3 banner advertising options on our site worth £50 each.
–5 featured listings for 3 months!

And the lucky Spiritual Londoners are:

We are going to interview/visit/review:

Still Point London, Liverpool Street
Gallery Cafe, Bethnal Green
Sinchronicity Studios, Clapham

And these guys are going to have their very own banner ads:

Shamanic Practicioner
Becky Walsh Intuitionist
Kagyu Samye Dzong Tibetan Buddhist Centre

Finally five of the Spiritual Londoners will receive free featured ads.

We will contact the lucky winners very soon and by popular request will organise a round two of this fun price draw, so watch this space.

Leave a comment »

Spiritual London to Spiritual India for Spiritual Explorations

Dear readers,

Both myself and Dani are off to India to gather inspiration and live in serenity for the next two weeks, so excuse us for not updating you on Spiritual London happenings through this blog and other social media tools.

While we are away Spiritual London will be going through its first face lift – we are aiming to make the site navigation more user friendly and intuitive. Thank you for all those suggestions and feedback that you gave us! The downside of the changes is that the site will be offline for couple of days. Hopefully it will not interfere with your Spiritual London experience!

In the meantime enjoy the movie of the week – Ashes and Snow by Gregory Colbert:

Leave a comment »

There is more to life: Gandhi and Virgin

There is more to life than its speed. Neighbouring advertising. Borough tube, London.

WWW.SPIRITUALLONDON.CO.UK

Leave a comment »

Prizes to be won

2010 saw the start-up of http://www.spirituallondon.co.uk. We are very keen to see this site flourishing therefore we are launching a prize draw for the first 100 services/business or events listed.

All you need to do is to list your service in our free directory. You can do so by visiting http://www.spirituallondon.co.uk, press -add a listing- and add all relevant details of your company, service or event. We will do the rest.

The first 100 companies will be automatically put in a competition to win the following:
– 3 interviews/reviews and a photo reportage which will be published in the Spiritual London blog and new social media sites.
– 3 banner advertising options on our site worth £50 each.
– 5 featured listings for 3 months, which means that your ad will stand out on top of the page.

Let dive into a community spirit and make Spiritual London happen!

Leave a comment »

Veg Box or Farmers’ market – urban dilemma

It’s been a while since I decided to boycott supermarkets and rely on organic, locally grown or distributed produce. Especially when it comes to veggies. Who doesn’t love the taste of those sweet ripe juicy tomatoes, mushrooms that remind you of earthly wilderness, greens that are lushious and crispy and roots that haven’t been scrubbed off their skins’ natural nutrients and that make your hands dirty when you touch them. Closer to nature.

After intense search for alternatives, I was suggested to look at organic veg box schemes by my colleague at work and, guess what? I fell in love with the whole idea right away. No more time-consuming shopping, heavenly real taste, a new creative challenge (I have never eaten or better so, prepared some of their stuff), eating in accordance with seasons and supporting local economy. No more supermarkets! I could swear veg box scheme made me eat a healthier and more nutritious diet because I just wouldn’t have bought so many veggies if I had to go through the supermarket process of pick and choose. For the first time, in this overly picky society, having no choice of the food on your table was a good thing.

But there it was… One cold winter evening, after almost a year of a faithful and comforting relationship with my veg box, I was walking with a very dear friend of mine on the South Bank when he cruelly told me that veg boxes are a rip off. Yes! Just like that. I couldn’t believe it and spilled all my arguments to support this brilliant idea for time-short urban dwellers. But I could not help it but investigate further.

Yes, we all know that veg box schemes are on the top of their (well deserved:)) trendiness these days and when you go online the websites resemble more of a upper-class shopping centre than a local farmer’s wholehearted attempt to sell his lovingly grown veggies. And yes, you can buy a veg box gift card with a personalised message, books, T-shirts, cups, wine, exotic fruit and overpriced pasta. ‘Do all good things get sold to Coca Cola and Tesco once they get big?’ – I was wondering in my head holding a carton of Coca Cola owned Innocent smoothie and drawing comparisons to veg boxes. Quite naturally, couple of days later, one chilly Saturday morning, there I was on my bike, ready for a 3 mile ride to my nearest farmers’ market in Oval.

I love riding my bike, the sun was shining and I had a spirit of an explorer, so the whole trip didn’t feel like a duty. I deliberately took £30 cash reducing any risk of overspending on those sinfully delicious olives, sun-dried tomatoes and cheeses they often sell in markets. ‘I have to focus on the basic veggies and make sure the food lasts for a week’ – I contemplated. Not many of us have a luxury of shopping multiple times a week!

Here I was in a muddy church yard in Oval. Couple of stalls – not too many, but with a lot of variety. ‘Go around first and check what’s available’ I warned myself in my head but in few moments I was already holding a gorgeous deep orange pumpkin, few apples and pears, fresh spinach, salad and eggs and waiting at the improvised ‘counter’. After paying my first £10 for the purchases I unconvincingly bounced to other stands. ‘Expensive’ I though comparing in my head how much I could have had in my veg box for this price. But on the other side of the market – actually it was the main side of the market, arrrgh – I saw another veggie stand with much better prices, more variety and, guess what???, many more people. I bought brocolli springs, spring onions, potatoes, fresh carrots, sweet pepper and payed another £5. ‘Good deal’ – I said to myself. The stand was heavy with ‘buy 3 bags for £3’ kinda thing that makes the whole difference.

Couple more stands and I was armed with a fresh organic baguette, half a kilo of those killer olives – I know, I know, but I was still within the budget! And summery red and tasty cherry tomatoes on a vine. A lot of them.

Damage done: more or less £30.

Products missed: I was upset I couldn’t find basil (for that home made pesto I was dreaming to make), mushrooms and unpasteurised milk, yoghurt and butter – my favourite dairy products.

Content with my purchases and full of bags I was contemplating on my journey back home on my bike. Yes, I have fallen off my bike before with shopping bags on my bullbars. After a thorough re-organisation on a bench in Kennington park I could actually move, even if with a lot of effort, and while slowly pushing myself forward I was thinking about the Planet Earth documentary I watched the other night. There was a Himalayan Puma and her prey. After the cat caught her prey it had a hard time bringing a heavy animal on top of a hill where her cub was waiting impatiently. ‘She needs to eat at least half of that animal before even attempting to struggle any further’ – I commented out-loud. But now it was all clear to me as well. Like that Himalayan cat I was struggling to bring the food back home completely untouched. To share with the loved ones.

So is veg box a rip off? I really wouldn’t say so. If you stick with your box (obviously depends on the company you are with – I am with Riverford) and don’t start buying individual items outside the box too widely, you get a really good deal. Can farmers’ markets replace my veg box love? I haven’t decided yet. But after cooking a delicious stir fry from the veggies I just bought I was sure I will come back there very soon. The taste makes a difference. And I feel I make more difference supporting real farmers, with real faces. Hey-ho for face to face contact!

Leave a comment »