An in-depth exploration of the relationship between self, other and the more-than-human world through studying key Sutras yoga further training yoga nidra
Yoga for Ecological Connection
Yoga unites more than just the mind, body and spirit. Spirit is attitude in Dan Dennett’s famous use of the phrase: let’s reclaim spirit, as in, That’s the Spirit! But Yoga also connects us to others, making us realising that our happiness and success is not attained alone but only ever in conjunction with the success and happiness of others. And these others are not just human. They include the more-than-human world. The Yoga that I teach (and learn) is, then, the Yoga of compassionate attunement that allows us to realise our practice of connecting to self, other, and the more-than-human world. In this ecological emergency, emerging internally and externally into awareness, this is the Yoga we need to enlighten ourselves and respond to what is happening right now. further training yoga nidra
Yoga is a great way to improve your self esteem, to stretch and strengthen. But it’s also an amazing tool for improving how you relate to others. These others are not just humans but the more-than-human world. Go on a journey to the most profound interconnectedness you will ever know and watch yourself transform into a spiritual warrior for the good of all. further training yoga nidra
Yoga Nidra and Sankalpa
Yoga is much more than just stretching, though the stretching definitely improves your body. It is also an exploration of your mind, and nowhere more than in the state of Yoga Nidra. I’ve practiced Yoga Nidra and lucid dreaming for many years now and the impact is profound and transformative, deeply healing, and also a lesson in humility. Watch as you unfold in love and connectedness and do what you, as love, needs to be done! further training
ECOnnect Patanjali’s Sutras!
At the moment, I am teaching an in-depth exploration of the relationship between self, other and the more-than-human world through the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali and Yajnavalkya.
This is the development of a practice of embodied philosophy, which includes asanas, pranayama, meditation and yoga nidra, as well as explorations into lucid dreaming, practice-realisation and attunement to compassion. It is about communication, community and connection, and will help us all respond to our interconnectedness more effectively.
The ecological emergency includes climate change, biodiversity loss, pollution, and systems fragmentation but which also includes our individual and collective challenge to integrate a response to this emergency. Eco in the word ecology comes from the Greek word ‘oikos’ which means ‘home’ and is therefore more intimate than ‘environment’ which means ‘neighbourhood’. But the root ‘eco’ also gives us the word economy. We have the way we talk about our home, and we also have the issue of body, and planet, budgeting.
We have to rethink how we experience ourselves in relation to the systems outside us and to the systems inside us. Being in an emergency requires an urgent and critically important response from us. Traditionally, throughout the development of the dominant cultural ethos,we thought we could use will power, or strength (through technical innovation) or force (through militarisation), to overcome the limits of systems. My thesis suggests this approach has failed. Instead, we need to use the practices of yoga to explore our relationship with others, including the more-than-human world, through the yamas, but also to explore our relationship with ourselves through the niyamas. Throughout this course we explore the relationships as intimately interconnected.
This, then, is the practice-realisation that is talked about in Dōgen’s Shōbōgenzō. And it is also at the heart of a generous and up-to-date interpretation of Patanjali’s, and Yajnavalkya’s, Sutras, as well as ecophilosophy. We can live an examined life, a life where we experience the spaciousness and compassionate nature of all existence. We can both honour, and ‘forget the self’, and let love work through us. Through us love does what needs to be done. We will work on communication, connection, and developing communities that are resilient, diverse (we don’t all have to think alike…) and tolerant. We will learn to ‘think like a planet’, or a river, and we will reintegrate ourselves, and our species, with all.
This is a revolutionary course. It is based largely on my book, Love is Green: compassion as responsibility in the ecological emergency (Vernon Press, 2019) and on my own understanding and practice of Yoga, Zen and Philosophy as Practice (about which I’m currently editing a collection of philosophical contributions called Urgent Matters for Palgrave Macmillan (forthcoming 2021).
Students are learning:
To use the practices of asana, pranayama, yoga nidra, meditation, discussion, reflection and lucid dreaming to develop an in-depth understanding of the relationship between self, other and the more-than-human world.
To understand and embody the philosophical concepts of attitude, realisation as agency, and compassionate attunement in order to deepen their practice and insight into responding to ecological awareness and the ecological emergency.
To use the practices of yoga and meditation to gain a better insight into and develop better relationships in order to develop resilience, tolerance, and an understanding of the importance to these of diversity.
To use the practices of yoga and philosophy to develop the practice of overcoming conflicts, internal and external.
To use the practices of yoga and philosophy to develop skills in communication and building community through compassionate communication and compassionate achievement so that their own professional development advances and they become more skillful in their work.
Week one: Introduction: kinetic and potential energy and non-dualism as a practice. Integrating yoga with non-dual embodied philosophy through the practice of asanas, pranayama, meditation and yoga nidra. What will be expected of you. two assignments (week 6, week 11), one presentation – half an hour, recorded (week 12). What you can expect from me. Availability, WhatsApp group, follow up, community participation. Sankalpa. Yoga history and philosophy. The relationship between the internal and the external worlds.
Week two: the first Yama. Ahimsa. Georg Feuerstein: if we get no further than this, we will still have done some good. How we harm is also how we suffer. We suffer by creating suffering.
Week three: the second Yama. Satya. How we lie. What we deny. What we know and don’t know. Telling the truth does not mean being unkind. The truth and freedom. Science and truth. Data and truth. Knowing what we don’t know. Humility and truth. Freedom of speech.
Week four: the third Yama. Asteya. Stealing from the future by taking more than we need. Stealing from the past by not learning the lessons of history (as outlined in Collapse by Jared Diamond). Stealing from others by stealing ideas and not acknowledging them. Thus Asteya builds on honesty and kindness.
Week five: the fourth Yama. Brahmacharya. Restraint. The tendency to blame others is a reflection of unresolved conflict in the self. Compassionate achievement: creating win-win situations. Compassionate communication: seeing others’ communications as reflections of needs, meeting the need with skillful speech. Yoga is skill in action, thought, words.
Week six: the fifth Yama. Aparigraha. Non-grasping, non-covetousness. See also 1.33. Delphi: know thyself, do nothing to excess, be not assured. Alan Watts’ The Wisdom of Insecurity. The monk story.
Week seven: the first Niyama. Saucha. Clean body, clear mind. Yoga Chitta Vritti Nirodha. Declutter. Create more space. Delegate. Do less.
Week eight: the second Niyama. Santosha. Contentment. Radical self-acceptance. Changing the narrative. The compassionate self.
Week nine: the third Niyama. Tapas. Effort. Abhyasa and Varaghya. Effort and Surrender, or impartiality, or dispassion and passion. The practice is the way.
Week ten: the fourth Niyama. Svadhyaya. Know thyself, forget the self. Confucius: the steps to the way of self knowledge and peace.
Week eleven: the fifth Niyama. Ishvara Pranidhana. For whom the bell tolls. Listen. Datta Dayadhvam, Damyata. Lucid dreaming.
Week twelve: Summary, presentations, certification.
Time and Dates:
Starting 6th April 2021-22nd June 2021 (12 weeks) Tuesday evenings 6.30-8pm
One and a half hours per week, 18 hours contact with students, plus student assignments and presentation (expect to work on these for at least an hour a week, as well as establishing a daily practice of asana, pranayama and meditation for at least 20m per day, or at least two hours per week: 36 hours student study time per course. Total course time: 54 hours total course time.
Yoga Alliance Professionals certified teacher, course creator, provider and trainer.
PhD in Philosophy. Thesis: From Respect for Nature to Agency as Realisation in the Ecological Emergency (UCC, 2014)
Author: Love is Green: compassion as responsibility in the ecological emergency, Vernon Press, 2019
Urgent Matters, Palgrave Macmillan, forthcoming 2021.
Academic papers, contributions to journals in yoga and philosophy, blog, etc
Social justice and ecological advocacy work since early 1990s
Please see http://www.knowyogaireland.com for more.
Postgraduate Yoga training, certified and endorsed by Yoga Alliance Professionals. If you are not a teacher, it will still ensure that you understand and can communicate the interrelatedness of self, other, and more-than-human world. You will receive a signed certificate of successful completion, contributing to CPD.
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ECOnnected Yoga is an in-depth exploration of the relationship between self, other and the more-than-human world. Examining Yoga and Zen texts, linking them with scientific and philosophical theories (evolution, systems theory, free will, ethics and neuroscience, among others), and embodying the resulting practices, can help us reorientate our perspective on where and how we stand in relationship to the universe. This, in turn, can help us to develop a more effective attitude, to allow the self transformation of yoga to go beyond the skin, so we become channels through which love can do what needs to be done. Sounds esoteric? It’s a no-nonsense approach. It will change everything.
Changing the course of human history..
Anna asked what I wanted to achieve on Linkedin. My reply came to me as I was dreaming. I find, increasingly, that setting yourself a question or a problem or issue to consider during sleep is a fantastic way to put your subconscious to work.
Firstly, then, I want to sell my course in ECOnnected Yoga, and my course on Udemy on ECOnnect! No nonsense non-dualism. These are practical courses which basically sell an idea. The idea is a huge challenge because it requires and creates total transformation of how we perceive and therefore how we engage with all our relationships. I know enough now to know that what we’re supposed to sell what people want to buy and I’m not sure how I can convince people that they don’t want stuff, or happiness, even, but as Iris Murdoch pointed out, instead what people really want is to be loved, and to love.
I want to convince people that the dependence we have on consumption, our addictions to patterns that are exploitative and competitive, is killing us and the systems that created and sustain us. But I’m teaching what I need to learn.
We are designed, insofar as we can be said to have been designed, by Nature, the blind urge to survive, to be somewhat competitive. We dance with but we also fight, eat and kill and are fought, eaten and killed by the systems in and around us, as this pandemic makes all too clear.
I want to show you the mesh, the Matrix, if you like, which contains and constrains us, the illusions of free will, which I, too, am subject to, but which I know how to sidestep. I want to teach myself and others this practice, this trick of the light that brings a different view, and a different set of options. We are not free, but we have agency. We have the capacity to realise, be aware.
The ecological emergency is the emergence into our awareness of realisation, a bringing into being of a different way of relating that attunes us, eliciting compassion, letting love do what needs to be done.
Of course this has echoes in philosophy, Buddhism, yoga and even scientific ideas. I investigated these connections in my PhD. Now I’m facing the challenge of putting them in terms that people will buy, or at least be able to understand and think about. You don’t have to be right all or even most of the time. You just need to be guided by what the loving thing to do is more often than not. To be good enough.