Animal Yoga™ 90-min session at the beautiful and first ever Sun & Moon Festival in Plumpton!
One client exclaimed at the end how much she enjoyed the practice and shared how she experienced imagery of animals and jungles. Definitely a very imaginative practice – I agree!
Two new additions (in all their second-hand glory) to the Animal Yoga™ library!
Really liking this nutshell summary regarding the title of the first book “The four worlds of the book’s title refer to the four dimensions that animals occupy in Indian thought: in nature, in the human world, in the divine world and in the world of fantasy“. As yoga was born in India, naturally this thinking has poured into yogic practices and yogic philosophy…
Unraveling and exploring the animal element within yoga….:-)
More sharings to follow in due course.
1) Approximately 40 animal-named stunning hasta mudras (hand gestures) have been counted – thanks to the beautiful Mudras of India book by Cain and Revital Carroll. We’ll delve into some more of these in the Animal Yoga Workshops.
2) Breaking news: Animal Yoga™ has been selected to hold a taster class at London’s Om Yoga Show this October! Super exciting! We’ll hold a 30 min taster session on Sunday 25th Oct at 1.30pm and will be there to participate in the show on the Saturday too. Do come see us!
3) Donations to the two selected charities that Animal Yoga™ fundraises for will now be on an annual basis (as opposed to monthly as previously posted) – this is in alignment with other paperwork admin functionalities of society and also saves processing time for both the charities and the social enterprise of Animal Yoga™. Research is continuing with the help of expert advice as to what the optimal way forward in terms of legal structure/status for Animal Yoga™ is – we want to be held accountable but without the cost of incorporation, at least whilst we’re very small.
Another post before too long 🙂 xxx
Did you know that each chakra is associated with an animal (a chakra is an energy centre within the body, 7 in total from the base of the spine all the way up to the crown of the head)? It’s true, and each chakra can be focused upon in our practice (if desired) using different animal asanas. See an initial list below though there’s a lot more detail to delve into here if you wish to explore further 🙂
Sahasrara (crown) chakra
Related animal: Egg/enlightened human (not actually mentioned in original texts but come to be associated with)
Inviting: Realisation, limitlessness, potential, enlightenment
Example posture: Corpse (Savasana)
Ajna (third eye/brow) chakra
Related animal: Hawk
Inviting: Guidance, visualisation, imagination, truth, trust, intellect
Example posture: Dolphin (Catur Svanasana)
Vishuddha (throat) chakra
Related animal: White elephant
Inviting: Expression, communication, mastery, interaction, purification, harmonisation
Example posture: Lion (Simhasana)
Anahata (heart) chakra
Related animal: Antelope
Inviting: Compassion, acceptance, grace, fulfillment, inspiration
Manipura (solar plexus) chakra
Related animal: Ram
Inviting: Decision-making, determination, expansive power
Example posture: Peacock (Mayurasana)
Swadhistana (pelvic/sacral) chakra
Related animal: Crocodile
Inviting: Development, confidence, depth & resurfacing, endurance, creativity
Example posture: Cobra (Bhujangasana)
Muldara (root, base of spine) chakra
Related animal: Elephant with 7 trunks
Inviting: Provisions, security, stability, protection, blockage removal
Example posture: Downward-facing dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
Do you see how these animalistic attributes combined with the qualities of each chakra can help foster a feeling of connection with other animals and our own animal self? 🙂
Information sourced from: Ernest Wood’s book on Yoga and ultimately from Arthur Avalon’s The Serpent Power.
Animal Yoga™ was both presented and experienced at the almighty fabulous Rustic Retreats over the last fortnight! It was very well received with retreatants asking for the sequence, how to be kept informed, when the first workshop is and just generally sharing in the excitement about Animal Yoga’s seemingly long overdue formation.
Rustic Retreats is an off-grid, eco-friendly animal-loving yoga getaway nestled in the valleys of the Sierra Espuna mountains in southern Spain. There is plenty of wildlife surrounding us as we practice our yoga and go about our daily life there – living with the animals and alongside them is key. The setting also makes for plenty wildlife-watching opportunities, especially as far as diverse insects are concerned! There were numerous ways in which our commitment to ahimsa (non-harming to all beings) was both challenged and put into practice, including trying to go around ant trails along our paths, rescuing bugs caught in the pool water, practicing oneness with nature as we got used to sharing our home and tent with potentially a few little harmless creatures and being all the more mindful in our yoga practice to divert our bodies around any unexpected visitor onto our yoga mat! The odd accident of course did happen despite the bestest of intentions. This quote fits in wholesomely with this:
“Ahimsa is a comprehensive principle. We are helpless mortals caught in the conflagration of himsa. The saying that life lives on life has a deep meaning in it. Man cannot for a moment live without consciously or unconsciously committing outward himsa. The very fact of his living – eating, drinking and moving about – necessarily involves some himsa, destruction of life, be it ever so minute. A votary of ahimsa therefore remains true to his faith if the spring of all his actions is compassion, if he shuns to the best of his ability the destruction of the tiniest creature, tries to save it, and thus incessantly strives to be free from the deadly coil of himsa. He will be constantly growing in self-restraint and compassion, but he can never become entirely free from outward himsa.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi
From the last image in this selection, you’ll see how there is a beautiful ginger cat all bandaged up. This was after a huge rescue effort from Elliot who owns Rustic Retreats. Mr M – this resident, semi-wild cat – had been bitten or injured somehow quite badly on his neck and it was going to get infected and who knows what if just left. Elliot was of course not going to let this happen but we all feared we may have to let nature take its course as Mr M was not playing ball and didn’t understand we were trying to help him and would continuously escape capture for veterinary help. He even evaded tranquilisers in his food. There was no giving up though and teamwork proved the way to solve this conundrum – luring Mr M into a small closed-in building, ensuring he did not get out and sticking with the mission despite Mr M of course being very scared and threatened and jumping all around the walls! Eventually he was cornered (somehow!?) into the cat carrier and the rest of us emerged from our yoga practice to the triumphant jolly jolly news indeed! 🙂
Rustic Retreats is a perfect spot for Animal Yoga™ thanks to the animal-loving nature of Elliot, the owner, and thanks to the wild location 🙂 I look forward to sharing Animal Yoga™ here with more retreatants in time to come 🙂
Right…. now back to developing Animal Yoga™ further 🙂 More posts and news incoming 🙂 xxx
Wooohoooo! Feels good.
40% of our funds this month (with one attendee at two classes) came to £7.20 – I rounded this up to £10 leaving a donation of £5 for each for Animal Aid & International Animal Rescue. This may seem small but having arisen from just one attendee at two classes, you can easily see how this figure will easily and quickly grow. Every little also helps and the regularity of every month will be beneficial to the charities too. Several people have booked onto our first workshop in September and this shall all contribute too of course! 🙂 Thank you for your compassionate work Animal Aid & International Animal Rescue! 🙂
“Although I’ve been to many of Jenny’s classed before, I didn’t really know what to expect from Animal Yoga. Pretty quickly after arriving at the beautiful venue that is itself nestled amongst animals and stunning views, I knew I was in for a treat. The class started with a breath technique that I’d never experienced before but almost immediately helped me quieten the monkey chatter in my brain and I quickly let go of my busy day and ‘arrived’ into my practice quicker than usual. The class itself was a great mix of postures – some familiar, some new and some challenging! As with all her classes, Jenny created a beautiful calm space to practice in that retained a sense of fun and adventure. The readings and stories interspersed throughout the class added an extra dimension and helped focus the mind. The postures will be a set sequence each time allowing for famliarity, which will enhance personal exploration of the postures and I’m eagerly awaiting the next class!” – the very first attendee of Animal Yoga™.
It’s like a mini pilgrimage making our way to this wholesome, tucked-away yurt set on an organic farm. It makes the practice feel all the more special and it’s almost like we have a mini safari included as we see bunny rabbits, alpacas (or llamas – not yet sure which!), cats, dogs horses and more on arrival and departure. 🙂 🙂
With the numerous superb animal charities and not-for-profit organisations out there, it was indeed a difficult decision when deciding which two Animal Yoga™ would fundraise for/donate 40% of its funds to. Two not-for-profits were selected because it seemed too difficult and limited to pick just one.
International Animal Rescue was selected due to its global reach and its efforts on helping save animals and relieve their suffering in the here and now. To complement this, Animal Aid was selected alongside International Animal Rescue as the organisation focuses on political activism so as to secure positive and lasting change for the future in addition to general awareness raising amongst the public. Due to this political activism, it’s worth noting that Animal Aid is not allowed to be given a charity status, though it is run completely like a charity.
So, together, both these causes provide a very yogic-inspired BALANCE of how we can best help. One method (ie. focusing on relieving the suffering of extant animals or focusing on preventing such suffering in the future) is not more important than the other – both are required – and it is fantastic that Animal Yoga™ can support both of these charitable entities.