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Children Archives - Peacock Tree Yoga

The animating force of rasa!

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Cast your mind back to the start of May and that weekend of glorious weather we had after months and months of cool temperatures and soggy boots. I daresay that at some point – perhaps as you walked into town along the river, or wrapped your tongue around a 99 for the first time since last August – you felt yourself being overcome with pure sensation, pure joy. If you did, you were experiencing the force of ‘rasa’.

What is rasa?

One of the best descriptions of rasa that I’ve come across is attributed to an Ayurveda teacher called Robert Svoboda, in an article on the subject, written by Shiva Rea. Svoboda says, “Existence without juice is dry and tasteless. Rasa is life’s fluid reality, life’s juice, in every sense of the word.” In other words, rasa is the stuff that makes us feel alive! It is the very essence of being – and it comes in many forms.

In historical terms, rasa is, in fact, a concept which comes from Indian theatre and it refers to an actor’s successful transmission of a character’s emotions to an audience. It’s not just a matter of conveying emotions, but of instilling those very same feelings in the spectator. The actor seeks to transmit rasa and literally bring the play to life!

Rasa in daily life

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Tulsi in the flow of rasa!

Daniel and I took Tulsi to the Madhyamaka Kadampa Meditation Centre in Pocklington during that recent warm spell of weather. The sun danced on the trees’ new leaves, sparkled on the dewy grass and warmed our flesh. We were utterly enraptured by our surroundings, the moment and each other – the rasa was flowing! And as Daniel launched Tulsi into the petals of the cherry blossom, leaving her suspended mid-air between catches, she too drank up this intoxicating ‘juice’ of life.

Rasa is something everyone can experience and enjoy – and they do, even if they don’t realise! How many of your non-yoga friends have you heard talk with such fervour about certain ‘moments’ they’ve had? How many photos of sunsets captioned only with a heart emoticon have you seen posted on Facebook? In all these cases, rasa is at play. You need only be open to the beauty of life.

Yoga and rasa

As yoga practitioners, we open ourselves up to rasa. By cultivating our internal and external awareness and by finding perfection in each moment, we invite rasa into our lives. This does not mean we can rest on our yoga laurels, however…

It’s all-too-easy to simply ‘go through the motions’, to sleepwalk through a series of postures. When this happens, we must bring our awareness back to the present moment. Only there can we feel a posture inside and out, feel what it awakens inside of us, gauge the fluctuations in our energy levels, consciously contract and relax our muscles… Only there, in that moment, can we feel the inspiring, uplifting force of rasa flowing through our veins and hearts. Try it and see.

Rasa for all

It’s rare for a yoga teacher to tell you to be greedy, but with rasa you can be! There’s enough juice to go round. Enough for the Indian theatre-goers. Enough for the people posting pictures of sunsets, who don’t know what they experienced, only that it made their heart swell. And enough for those on the path of yoga. For as the philosopher, Ramachandra Gandhi, points out:

“When you taste the rasa of life, you drink from a well that is never dry.”

We are Six – and it’s brilliant!

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Take your mind back for a moment and try to recapture how it was to be six years old. Do you remember  doing  cartwheels and handstands against the wall with your best friend? Can you recall the way in which a normal day could be transformed into one of magic, secret tunnels and other worlds?

As Peacock Tree Yoga turns six, we are reminded to reconnect with our child selves. Young minds are so clean, so unpolluted – free of the ideas society has about the way we should look or behave. When we are six, the veil has not yet been drawn over our pure awareness of being, of living in the moment. As six year olds, we’re more curious about, and impressed with, the world around us – things many of us strive for as adults.

Peacock Tree Yoga friends

Peacock Tree friends enjoying a post-workshop natter and munch!

Playful Peacocks

At Peacock Tree Yoga, we’re proud to encourage these ‘childlike’ qualities, with our fun and inspiring classes. Enjoying the feeling of being back in our body again. We aim to ensure that every student feels connected and appreciated, and is able to escape the grown up world of demands and expectations.

Visit our Facebook page to see more photos of us in action!

The best part is, our students play along – and this is what makes our school so special, a fact noted by a visiting  teacher at last weekend’s powerful Yin Yang workshop, Jude Claybourne. Our yoga community mightily impressed Jude, who told me afterwards that she’s never encountered one like ours, where people who have become true friends share stories about their practice and development in a loving, gentle, kind and happy atmosphere. We all hang out after workshops drinking herbal tea and fabulous cakes and raw food treats.

This is the stuff of a six-year old yoga school’s dreams, and we can’t thank our students enough for the part they play in making it such a success. Here’s to the next twenty six years of growing and playing together!

Happy 6th birthday, everyone!

Peacock Tree Yoga in York - Scorpion pose