Sunday, October 18, 2015

Ask YogaToday with Mona Godfrey: My Meditation Practice Share

Ask YogaToday with Mona Godfrey: My Meditation Practice

We have all read the headlines and watched the TED Talks, not to mention experienced the benefits ourselves (yoga and meditation go hand-and-hand after all), so we decided to catch up with Mona Godfreyto discuss the personal and practical side of meditation. Mona sheds some light on this "gray matter" and offers her heartfelt advice to those considering the journey. If you are looking for yet another incentive to begin meditating, Mona credits her move from Indonesia to London to her practice. Pretty profound, right? Read on to learn more about Mona's mindful adventure. 
What have you learned from your personal meditation practice?
“It cannot be understood intellectually, but only through progressive spiritual awakening, for true spiritual understanding always dawns in a way which is paradoxical and irrational to the faculty of the intellect.”
This is one of my favorite quotes from the Kundalini Tantra text – a valuable resource that has helped me a great deal in my own meditation practice. Most of us live in our heads (most of the time) and I was no different. In my late teens, I was as disconnected from my heart as the next guy. It has taken almost a decade of yoga to broaden this limited outlook and to connect to my truth. To drop the intellect and place my trust in the intelligence of my being is an ongoing process.
I am probably just scratching the surface, but meditation reminds me to value my intuition (even when considering something seemingly black and white) – to not reject magic. I tell myself that it is okay if I don’t understand certain feelings or energies; it’s not always for the mind to grasp.
What is your advice for people who would like to start a practice?
There is no right way. My best piece of advice is to just start (already!) because it is worth it and starting any new habit is always difficult. But start. And stay with it. And when you've stopped, start again. The mind will come up with a million reasons not to start. And then, once you have started, it will come up with a million more (seemingly logical and valid) reasons as to why you can’t actually fit in in that day or even this year. You have time when you decide to make space for the practice.
Whether it’s deciding to do the dishes mindfully every day, being fully present when hugging a loved one, or practicing yoga with intention – just start.
Every day we get to begin anew so commit to that ‘start,’ each morning. Something will shift; something is bound to happen with that type of dedication.
Eager to follow Mona's meditation lead? We recommend Amanda Botur's NEW class or this traditional seated meditation with Sarah Kline.

10 Minutes with Mona Godfrey // The Power Yoga Company Share

10 minutes with Mona Godfrey

AUGUST 10, 2015
Humbling the yoga world with her beautiful goldilocks, mindful yoga classes and loving nature, we introduce to you one of our teachers, Mona Godfrey. Born in Latvia and raised between Stockholm and California, this now London based teacher brings a unique energy to her Power Yoga classes that is powerful yet feminine. Often spotted running from her home to The Power Yoga in Fulham, Mona Godfrey arrives to class full of vivacity and wisdom that she shares generously to anyone who attends her class. With a strong focus on mind, body and soul connection, Mona’s classes will leave even the least experienced yogi in a complete meditative and blissful state. Here we share in 10 short questions a small insight into the interesting life of Mona Godfrey.
1.) Describe your life in 2 words?
Indescribable adventure
2.) What inspired you to become a yoga teacher?
When I did my first teacher training in California, I didn’t think I wanted to teach. Afterwards, I enrolled in a Post-Graduate Mentorship Program. It was during this program that it began to feel I couldn’t possibly NOT teach. My wonderful mentor, Shanti Walling, gave me the tools and the inspiration I needed to move into teaching with a healthy balance of confidence and humility for the ancient practice. 
3.) What are your current 3 favourite yoga poses?
Sukhasana (Easy pose or seated pose) , Shavasana (corpse pose) , and Adho Mukha Vrksasana (handstand pose) – all three challenge me immensely, all in very very different ways.
4.) Whats your favourite jam to play during a power yoga practise?
Music is my first love, but for my own personal practice, I prefer silence. When teaching, I try to stick with music that doesn’t take away from the breath. Right now I love playing Jirí Mazánek’s “Meditace s údem”. 
5.) If you could choose one food to live on for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Could or have to? If I have to — Is this going affect my health? Without over thinking it I am gonna say sushi as a starter, ice cream as a main. Oh, and I can’t forget cashew butter, maybe as dessert? ha ha If you’re giving me the choice, I’d rather not make the commitment and stick to variety. 
6.) Can you tell us a secret that people may not know about you?
I’m a bit of a computer geek. 
7.) Can you tell us a joke? 
Not at the top of my head, but I can tell you to go follow @thefatjewish on IG, and when you’re laughing and snorting on the tube, remember who showed you the light. 
8.) You have an upcoming workshop on the importance of mediation, can you tell us a little bit about this?
I remember the first teacher that invited me to her weekly meditation circle on the beach. I’d never meditated before, but she gave me the first tool. She planted a seed, opened a door. It took a few years to cultivate a truly regular practice, but that day was powerful. I think people like the idea of meditating and want to, but don’t know where to start, how to, or how to find time for it. I will share my experience and share the tools that have been passed down to me. For more experienced meditators, it will be a nice space in which to deepen and immerse in the communal energy. 
9.) For someone who’s new to meditating, what’s the best way to start?
There is no right way or best way, just start, and stay hungry. But start. And when you’ve stopped, start again. Doing the dishes, hugging a loved one, or a few minutes after asana or in the morning. If unsure, ask a teacher for a technique. If doing seated meditations, a timer can help. But there’s really no right or best way, you just have to start. The mind will come up with a million reasons not to start. But just start. 
10.) Through your experience, what are your top 3 tips for aspiring yogis on their yoga journey?
Aspiring implies that there’s some sort of goal or final destination or place of perfection. 1) If you’re practicing yoga, and you are doing your work, and showing up, you’re doing it right. It doesn’t matter if you started yesterday or you feel broken. Just keep doing it. 2) Commit to making it a lifetime practice and dedicate yourself to it daily. 3) There’s no aspiring, you’ve arrived. 
Mona’s Flow and Meditation workshop is on Saturday 24th October, 1:30-3:30pm at The Power Yoga Company. To sign up, or find out more click here 
Looking for even more meditation goodness? Escape to the countryside with Pete Cherry for a weekend filled with yoga and meditation. To find out more click here. 
For more information on the workshops or classes please phone 0207 736 4429, or click here to view the updated class schedule.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

A piece about the beautiful and equally difficult time of my first year traveling + about those that inspired, challenged, and made me love a little better and harder. That year redefined love for me. Deepest gratitude to Kaspars, my family, and of course, my bestest, Dupsis Fruktis, Lionda Liepina
P.S I wrote this song when I went home to the U.S last year and realised for the first time how undone I was. I am still coming back together. I wrote it on an old pinao and recorded it as a voice memo on my iphone. Big thank you toTim Pontin, who picked it up in no time from the shitty recording I found hidden in my e-mails. I couldn't even give him the chords. He just listened and boom, two seconds later, he was playing it. The lyrics are on my

Cambodia //

Everything I knew faded so fast, like snow beneath my feet.
And everywhere I went, they already knew you provoked me to wake the hell up.
Paint my spirit back to hues of cold.
Don't fall in love with me, don't fall in the love with the wind in the trees.
Birds are refugees, just like you and me.

Indonesia //

Sunshine, moonshine, I'm fine. I'm hard to kill.
Don't call. I don't care. To be fair, you live in me.
We made the agreement to meet the juncture of our earthbound lives.
But don't fall in love with me. Kiss my wings and set me free.
Birds are refugees, just like you and me.

Australia //

Our hands are fists. I feel so tired.
I know it's not home but it feels alright.
And what good is blood when all I need is water.
And what good am I if I am not flying high, by your side.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Fiction vs Friction Series

I remember the moment when, in a Holdenism sort of manner, I decided there are two kinds of people in this world: those who are here to experience it, and those who, unbeknownst to themselves, will work as an enigmatic vessels for reconstruction. 

The ‘experiencers’, they will live. Oh how they will live. They will laugh, and cry, and have babies. They will succumb to the monotonous cyclical obligatory patterns of society. And life will spin them like a pair of sneakers in a LG SteamWasher. They will spin until they can’t hold on anymore. They will spin until they crash. Chemical biological phenomena will occur.

The earth will take a deep breath.

It is a beautiful process, too much for words, too much for song, too much for film, too much for books. Then, slowly, the washer will start to turn again, and they will want pets, and host family BBQ’s, and argue about the color of their bedroom wallpaper. And they will make love. And they will make hate. And everything will feel far grander than reality. How I bloody envied these people. Although I wasn’t entirely sure I wanted what they had, nothing is as appealing of a thing or idea or person that is deemed taboo, or completely unavailable. And as I shuffled my feet to an old folk song, and bore the weight of my glued-on smile, I knew in that moment that it was the truth: all that life was not for me. I was not an ‘experiencer.’

The music slowed, and I made my way to a chair and sat down. A few grandmothers aside, I was one of the few sitting. I contemplated Universal shifts, and wondered if it was all too much to shoulder. My heart felt heavy, but in case someone took notice, I kept my smile. I watched the men turn the women by their hips. I watched the women throw back their heads and laugh. And it made me happy and sad all at once. A few slow songs later, I still sat there, uncomfortably grinning. Don't give yourself away. I don’t care that I am the only young girl sitting. This will be easier when you are older, I told myself. People won’t stare. I don’t care.

And that’s when he grabbed my hand, pulled me up, in, and close. His breath smelled of a man who’d surrendered his mind to the open bar. His hands were sweaty, sweaty on my ass. He was older, and I wondered how long he’d been watching me. Maybe it’s not a pity dance if they’re old enough to be your father. I let him nuzzle his face on the curve of my neck, closed my eyes, and as he spun me around, I tried to forget, tried to forget that enigmatic vessel, the task that I was utterly clueless about. I tried to forget the man I once I loved. I tried to forget I had to let it all go. Let it all go.

The vessels. They have to let go, or get dragged. Get dragged to every pivotal life event where they feel out of place, and obediently hang around in some corner at their sibling’s wedding. Constant, subtle, numbing, dulling reminders - this is not for you. Inevitably, these vessels will drown themselves in work. Where else do you hide? They’ll blame their work, their boss, their passion. And the experiencers, they will resent. You were absent. You didn't care. But it’s not true. The often-unconscious signs of simply passing through this world are not without consequence and pain. Some will do their part, and drink themselves do death. Some will overdose. Some will just die, alone. When their work is done. Unbeknownst to themselves. Done.

I remember that moment, I knew, but still, still I closed my eyes and pretended that drunken clown wasn’t wired to walk away. I closed my eyes and reformed the temperature of his body, the scent of his skin, and our fundamental difference. Experiencer. Vessel. For a millisecond, I imagined myself unaware, laughing, drunk, spinning around on the dance floor, stupidly happy - like everyone else.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Mirror Mirror On The Wall ...

After living on an island, one of the most considerable adjustment that I've had to make with returning back to 'civilization' is getting re-accustomed to mirrors. Not just actual mirrors (that are everywhere!) but also things that that injure as mirrors often do - reflective windows, people's looks, and mostly all the abrasive and insistent marketing. Everywhere I turn I am being shown how I ought to look. With most everyone I meet, I strongly feel the appraisal of my physical sheath and the things that adorn it vs. my energy and heart. It is uncanny and so felt. The uncentering ways of these manipulative vibrations and images can weigh heavy. It's been a beautiful month of observation and taking note + pausing, re-grounding, and strengthening. I am grateful for this new-found awareness and the opportunity to strengthen my ability to stay centered and work in this world from the inside out. 
"You are also a formless existence, but you know yourself not directly, but from others’ eyes. You know through the mirror. Sometime, while looking in the mirror, close your eyes and then think, meditate: if there was no mirror, how could you have known your face. If there was no mirror, there would have been no face. You do not have a face; mirrors give you a face. Think of a world where there are no mirrors. You are alone – no mirror at all, not even others’ eyes working as mirrors. You are alone on a lonely island; nothing can mirror you. Then will you have a face. Or will you have any body? You cannot have one. You do not have one at all. We know ourselves only through others, and others can only know the outer form. That is why we become identified with it." - Osho

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Sexual Abuse in the Satyananda Yoga Lineage

What is coming to light about child and sexual abuse in the Satyananda Yoga Lineage. This is article presents facts, amongst the author's own views. Shocking, hard to read, but wanted to share as it's important to be aware of as yoga continues to evolve in the west.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Death, love, and meditaiton.

A few days ago I was going to Mataram with Marjan. We were driving on his motorbike, and I thought to myself, I am so happy. I was so happy that I feared I would die that day. I have never felt this before. I now know that I was feeling an extended instance of raw bliss. There was a part of me that was (and most likely still is) in fact, dying. My infantile mind didn’t know how to process this and took it as it does most things: rather literally. Fear came, but the vibration of happiness was far more intoxicating. 

I held onto Marjam, the breeze in my hair, the monkeys in the trees, so in love with everything, and I thought, "it must be time to go". I was just too happy, entirely too content, and immediately intimidated by this deep happiness. It felt like an abyss. It felt like it was going to swallow me. At the time, I made no mention of my feelings and tried to brush them away. 
Now I understand. Well, no, I do not understand. But now I have seen a little bit more, and I understand that I didn’t understand (and most likely, don’t understand)much at all. 

"Death always occurs in the present. Death, love, meditation - they all occur in the present. So if you are afraid of death, you cannot love. If you afraid of love, you cannot meditate. If you afraid of meditation, your life will be useless. Useless not in the sense of any purpose, but useless in the sense that you will never be able to feel any bliss in it. It will be futile. It may seem strange to connect these three: love, meditation, death. It is not! They are similar experiences. So if you enter in one, you can enter in the remaining two." - Osho.