Since the start of Syria’s civil war, more than 11,000 children have been killed. Two million Syrian children are now refugees, forced from their homes by fighting, surviving in overstretched camps, cramped temporary accommodation or on the move.
On Sunday I was part of the team organising a charity workshop at Whitespace Yoga Studio in support of the work of Save The Children in Syria. So far the event has raised over £950. This will help Save The Children who has teams on the ground inside Syria right now delivering food, clean water and life-saving medicine to children who desperately need it. If you would like to read more about Save The Children’s work in Syria, there is information about the Syria Crisis Appeal on the Save The Children website.
If you would still like to donate, you can via JustGiving: https://www.justgiving.com/whitespace-studio
A huge thank you to the other teachers, all the wonderful people who donated and took part in the workshop, and to the people behind the scenes who made it possible. If you’d like, you can see more photos of the event on Whitespace’s Facebook page:
Stillpoint Yoga London has created a short film from footage of the Ashtanga Yoga led practice held on 3 January 2015, which captures the essence of the community there. Community and relationship is at the heart of Stillpoint Yoga London. Co-founder Ozge Karabiyik, who sadly died on 2 January 2012, raised thousands of pounds for charity and each year the Stillpoint Yoga London community has come together in this light to remember her and celebrate her life.
The Sanskrit word स्मृति (smṛti) means remembrance or memory.
The Ashtanga Yoga practice is a practice of memory.
It is held in our hearts.
Since 1982, World Peace Day takes place annually on the 21 September and is a time dedicated to the absence of war and violence. It is supported by many nations, political organisations and military groups globally.
Yesterday, as part of this day, hundreds of people gathered in Trafalgar Square at the heart of London to meditate. The rain was coming down and, as I stood, slowly the square became quiet. Still. At first the noise of the traffic seemed loud, but then it also faded. It’s not that the noises stopped or were suppressed — meditation isn’t about suppressing anything — but as you take a step back from your own thoughts your attention shifts. The rain running down my face. The smell of incense from near by. My body breathing. Thoughts of family, of friends. Being in a silent crowd at Trafalgar Square before. Place. Time. Relationship. Change. Loss. Love. The rain stopped. A hint of blue-red sky as the sun was setting. And noise returned as people noticed a rainbow appear behind us.
Each year Whitespace Studio in Milton Keynes celebrates its birthday, and in November 2014 this was a charity YogaThon with 108 sun salutations followed by a party, charity auction, treatments, and lots of food! The event was in aid of Yoga Gives Back and celebrated the fourth anniversary of the studio opening.
A few people asked me afterwards about the significance of ‘108’. There is really no one specific answer. The number 108 is considered sacred by several Eastern religions, such as Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. On a japa mala, or set of mantra counting beads, there are generally 108 beads or some fraction of 108 to help keep count of the repetition of a mantra. There are 108 Upanishads, 108 letters in the Sanskrit alphabet (counting masculine and femine forms), and 108 Vishnu temples mentioned in the works of the Tamil Azhvars. Maybe one day someone will list 108 reasons 108 is significant!
The full gallery of the event is on Facebook…
October each year brings with it colder weather, costumes, and bags full of treats… And the annual Yoga Show in London. It’s always an opportunity to experience a wide spectrum of things ‘yoga’ and, more importantly, meet up with friends.
On 4 January 2014, Stillpoint Yoga London joined with John Scott, Lucy Crawford and 101 practitioners, friends and family to remember Ozge Karabiyik, co-founder of Stillpoint Yoga London, who died in January 2012. The day raised over £3,000 for The Chartwell Cancer Trust.
You can read more about the day in the SYL website posting ‘Beginning By Remembering – The SYL Charity Class 2014‘.
The day was doubly special for me as someone from the self-practice group at Whitespace Studio was also able to make it to the practice. Four generations of paramparā.