Reflections for Anahata chakra

Anahata means sound produced without touching parts together. An unplayed musical instrument is capable of producing any melody. Anahata is a reference to the pure potential that is the force behind any creative act. Love is seen as the most creative thing of all, because it limits negativity and destruction.

We do creative things out of desire. It’s not always out of love. What’s the difference, and what’s the relationship between love and desire? The difference is that doing something out of love is doing it for the benefit of all. Recognising interdependence is an Anahata experience. For instance, with 7 billion or so people alive now, it’s no longer possible to treat the natural world as a set of resources. It’s becoming essential to participate in the life-support processes of the Earth, instead of just assuming they function regardless of what we do.

But desire is the access point. Through practice, we create the space to be with desires, rather than act them out. We get to understand our motives and the issues (real or imagined) that we’re trying to address. Acting out the desire is just one response: pausing for a moment means we might find a different response, such as a root-cause fix. In other words, we get beneath the wants to the real needs, we get from the mind’s desire to the heart’s desire.

Ultimately, love is usually the heart’s desire, and the actions borne out of love usually lead to the greater good.

People say that love is vulnerable. I tend to feel that love is courageous. It’s even possible that love doesn’t give a damn about anything except love! So, we can’t talk about love without talking about fear. Fear is the opposite of love in a lot of ways, because love includes and embraces, whereas fear excludes and repels.

Again, practice is the key because through practice, we create space to be with fear, and to go into it, rather than just run from it. Fear ends up being the guide, because it shows us where in our lives we’re not experiencing love. Like any seemingly intractable problem, it’s possible to do something about it once the areas of concern are identified.

That’s easy for me to say, of course. People in dangerous situations will be concerned about the outcomes of their actions, especially if they’re looking for a root-cause fix. I’m not denying that. But nobody can see the future, and as much as we are afraid of what might happen, we might also be excited about our new life once the root-cause fix is in place. Perhaps if a person can love themselves, then they can find the strength to go through the changes – again, love is usually the constructive answer, although not necessarily the easy answer.

One last thought. The Anahata response is the love-centred response, but it’s not a partial or biased response. It recognises that there are different forces at work, and charts the most constructive route through the changing tides of all these. It’s not an attempt to uproot or replace anything – although the person who hangs out in Anahata might find themselves more partial to a peaceful life, happy to remember the wild times, and letting go of grudges from the years gone by or even the day before.

Ed, Hot Yoga and Yogafurie

why hot yogaI wanted to write a little about what how Hot Yoga – and of course Yogafurie – has impacted my life. Things have changed so much for me in less than ten years, and if I’m honest, I’m really looking forward to the next ten. If they’re anything like as exciting then I really won’t have time to get old…

Let me start by – really quickly – talking about how I got into Yoga and, more specifically, Hot Yoga. At school, I wanted to become a PE teacher. However, I was blessed with a family at a young age. When it came to Uni, I really thought it would be better to study IT and engineering. I thought I’d have more money that way – anyone that has a family knows that money is quite a pressure.

I enjoyed IT generally. It was technically interesting, and I met some great people. But my heart was never in it. I was interested in movement really, and this came out as a love of martial arts which I studied and taught. But then I took a very nasty knee injury in a Judo class. I could no longer practice: all I could do after that was swim and practise Yoga.

I’d already been going to Yoga classes, principally to improve flexibility for martial practice. Now I was almost forced to take Yoga more seriously, and it certainly helped with rehab. A cascade of changes had begun in my life, but I hadn’t noticed it at that point. I heard about and tried Hot Yoga, and noticed significant improvements in my knee issues. All in all, I was now getting deeply into practice and I decided to train as a teacher. I would later realise that this was the first of the real outward signs of change – there were more to come.

The next sign of change came at work. I’d taken a less technical, but more senior role. It required travel, and I often stayed in St Albans. I would visit the Hot Yoga studio there in the evening, and I remember chatting to the owner, saying how much I would love to have a studio. She very much surprised me by saying, “Well, don’t get a studio. Just get some heaters and see how it goes. That’s what I did”. That got me thinking, but I wasn’t ready to take any action until my employer announced redundancies. I’d worked very hard to make a success of my new role, and I felt aggrieved to find out that I was one of the people who might have to go.

The studio owners’ words kept ringing around in my head. After a few weeks, I knew I wanted to ask for redundancy… and that’s what I did. I had to think very hard about this, and especially about what I’d do if my employer refused. In the end, I was sure: I was going to leave regardless. I told my manager, and a week or so later, he was able to confirm that I would indeed be selected for redundancy.

Looking back, I feel that Yoga and Hot Yoga had allowed me to find some strength. There’d been rounds of redundancies before – pretty much every year in fact. But I’d never turned the tables on it like this before. I bought my first generation of heaters, and the first Yogafurie Hot Yoga class occurred at David Lloyd in Westbury on 7/1/12.

The first year was terribly difficult. I’d had a structured, technical job in a very competitive, male environment all my life. All of a sudden there was no structure, and I was asked to work by using my feelings and creativity. There were hardly any men in my profession, and colleagues weren’t trying to compete with me or outdo me anymore. The portable heaters got me going quickly, but it was hard work carrying them in and out of buildings, setting everything up and packing it down every time. And nobody knew about Yogafurie – there were rarely more than 8 people in a class, usually less. The new strength I had found through practice was helpful, but these changes needed flexibility from me. I had to change my approach completely, and set realistic expectations.

By the end of 2012, I was forced to consider what on earth I would do next. I was running low on money, and the classes were not really taking off. The level of effort was wearing me down, and I really didn’t know where to go with everything. I had always sworn never to use Groupon – but I had a moment of insight and reconsidered. I offered the classes on Groupon.

Groupon was a lot more significant just a few years ago, and to my surprise, the offer sold really well. The room had a capacity of around 25, and frequently all 25 spaces were taken. This was a turning point – and not just for the classes. It was at the end of 2012 that I met Freia, and we have been together since.

Later in 2013, I took a permanent hire in a local play centre where I could install fixed heaters. Yogafurie began to take shape. Between 2013 and 2015, support for classes grew to the point where I could justify the expense of a permanent studio. Freia and I built the studio together, and we also had a lovely little son just a few days before the studio opened.

why hot yogaThere have been even more significant challenges since opening, and one day I’m sure I’ll blog about them. Let’s just say I’ve had some great help, from Sinead and Freia, from our talented Hot Yoga teachers, and from our students who are nothing short of inspirational people. But just what’s been written already is enough to draw out the impact that Hot Yoga has had on my life. When I needed it, I found strength. When I needed it, I found flexibility. And when I needed it, I found insight and inspiration to think in a new way, and try something I previously resisted. Without really thinking about it (and I’m not claiming credit for this… it just happened) I can now re-frame events in my life, and my relationship to these events. I’m still reflexive and impulsive, but I know I’m doing it and I can change my thinking to match events as they are. It’s not perfect – it’s always a work in progress – but I thank practice for lots of positive changes in my approach. When I change, things change, and life can get a little more frictionless.

The only thing that remains is to keep practicing. Movement and breath – these are literally the medicine, the antidote to sticky, long-term life issues in my experience. They might not work for everyone of course, but given the magnitude of what’s happened for me, I’d always say they’re worth a shot.

Thought and Feeling – Buddhist Philosophy and Hot Yoga

Buddhist philosophy is intensely practical – in a very physical way. This blog tries to explain how you can use your Yogafurie Hot Yoga practice to deepen your understanding of Buddhist ideas.

hot yoga
Invitation for free thinking

The Kalama Sutta relates a discussion between the Buddha and the peoples of a district in the north east of India. In it, the Buddha encourages people to think for themselves in a reasonable way. What follows is not a translation, because most translations use a sort of Biblical language. I’ve presented a contemporary reading.

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Can’t Take It With You

A Discussion of Avidya

avidya

There is fear of death because there is a part of us that dies. It’s very important for living things to die – because then their compounds are available for re-use by other living beings. Gardeners create compost heaps to exploit this – as things rot, they release their raw material which is then available for new life. People say that death is inevitable: in fact, life is inevitable. No matter how many things die and rot away, more springs up. Our minds exist to manage our lives, so our minds are uncomfortable with the idea that life must end. When the body dies, so does the mind.

Yoga texts suggest there is a part of us that doesn’t die. They go on to say that we mis-identify, and assume that our mind is our life: that because it dies, then all is over. And, of course, all is over for that individual. But the part that lives on is in all people, and is the same in all people. Its presence is required for the physical process we call life to occur. When it leaves, that process ends.

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Leadership and Manipura Chakra

In the lead up to Ed’s Manipura Chakra workshop, Ed discusses this energetic centre

manipura chakra

Evolution began with independent organisms – creatures that saw to their own needs, often reproducing asexually. And life can only go so far like that. Eventually, creatures have to work in groups – then it’s possible to build a better life for all.

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Have I an Angel?

little angel

My dog was unwell, and I had to deny her food. It made her sad, but I saw a bigger picture and now she’s well. My angel may see a bigger picture and restrict me for my own good, but surely my angel is also just a part of the same “bigger picture” – maybe even with its own guarding angels?

If I and my angel are both part of the picture, then we’re both the same: just the picture. The picture has expressed itself in two ways. I and my angel are one, the same thing.

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Yogafurie’s Ed Wood writes for Huffington Post

Chakra ‘Schedule’ For 2017 – Let’s Bring Balance Back Into Our Lives

Ed Wood, the founder and lead instructor at Yogafurie and the Yogafurie Academy, writes for Huffington Post. This blog is to explain a Chakra ‘Schedule’ for 2017 and how we can help bring balance back into our lives.

For more information, follow this link to read further – Chakra ‘Schedule’ For 2017 – Let’s Bring Balance Back Into Our Lives

Chakra Schedule

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