“The present moment has always been available to spiritual seekers, but as long as you are seeking you are not available to the present moment. “Seeking” implies that you are looking to the future for some answer, or for some achievement, spiritual or otherwise. Everybody is in the seeking mode, seeking to add something to who they are, whether it be money, relationships, possessions, knowledge, status – or spiritual attainment. “Seeking” means you need more time, more future,”
Artist and photographer Siobhan Wall has created a series of ‘quiet’ city photo books using her images to lead the reader to tranquil places she has discovered throughout Amsterdam, London and shortly, Paris (4 April 2013). These locations could be anywhere from a parks, lakes and woods to libraries, restaurants and health spas. This is what quietness means to Siobhan.
Flowers in Beatrix Park, Amsterdam.
For me, quietness is not just about finding somewhere beautiful to look at, although this really helps. It is also about listening to my body and being a bit more aware of how I’m feeling at that moment.
“The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.” (Michelangelo)
Ecofriendly is the current buzz word. Green, ecofriendly, sustainable, biological are all ‘good’ words and living an authentic lifestyle is shifting from marginal to mainstream. Certainly, keeping your footprint softer on planet Earth is harder to fake than showing you have money. But where does an ecofriendly lifestyle begin and end?
Respect for life
First of all let’s look at yoga and how this is connected to ecofriendly living. As violinist Yehudi Menuhin wrote in his introduction to B. K. S. Iyengar’s book, Light on yoga, yoga is “by its very nature inextricably associated with universal laws: respect for life, truth, and patience are all indispensable factors in the drawing of a quiet breath, in calmness of mind and firmness of will.”
Whatever anyone does has something to do with their own trip. If they do it well, anyone else who joins them will benefit from it too. Especially if they are trying to do the same thing, which is why they were attracted in the first place.
The more people who come together then, the more powerful the effect.
What do you do when you feel that there isn’t any space left for you to be yourself, to think, to get the rest you need?
Often women feel like this, especially women bringing up their children alone. The demands of modern life coupled with bringing up children more or less singlehandedly can make you feel as if you are losing yourself.
When the day involves bringing children to and from childcare, working at the office, shopping, cooking, cleaning and putting children to bed, you hardly have time to relax. It can be faster to use a fix; like alcohol, TV, junk food, or simply you drop into bed, worried you’ll feel too tired in the morning.
Okay, I may have painted an exaggerated picture, but for some women it can be like this pretty much all of the time. What helps?
English version of Westerpost interview, 18 May 2011
When I first came to the Netherlands from France 11 years ago, it was to improve my career prospects. I couldn’t have imagined at the time that I’d find the beginning of my passion for yoga in Amsterdam.
My life was busy and work and personal life seemed to drain my energy as well as sap my creativity. Searching for a way to relax, I discovered an excellent yoga school in the centre of Amsterdam (Sai Mithra) and became hooked. Yoga helped me focus inwards and listen to my body as a whole.
However, after practising yoga for a year, with two young children to care for and a relationship on the rocks, I found I was ‘too busy’ to go to classes. I had ‘no free time.’ I stopped doing yoga. A year later, things hadn’t improved, so I decided to start with yoga again—just one and a half hours a week, and found space for myself again.
I wasn’t a natural for doing yoga, I was stiff, and I felt that my progression on the road to suppleness was painfully slow. But after two years I noticed a difference, not only to my body but to my way of being. I was calmer and more able to deal with the daily rollercoaster that was my life.