A Reader Lives a Thousand Lives Before They Die 

A few weeks ago my eldest child returned home from school rather indignant. After throwing down their backpack with a loud sigh they recounted that, in their form-room that day, they had been asked to spend 20 minutes doing something mindful.

They’d immediately lit up, reaching inside their bag for the novel they were enveloped within the magic of. The teacher had not taken kindly to this and told them that to read was not to be mindful, and that they should do some colouring-in instead. I laughed as they told me how this had led to the entirely un-mindful, aggressive, colouring-in of a photocopied rose, all the time thinking about little more than how cross they were.

Escapism or Embodiment?

I mention this as it was what first got me thinking about books and reading relative to what it is I teach which, in the simplest terms, are practises for landing in the present moment.

I could, to some degree, see the teacher’s point… to read can be an escapism and is a form of arousal in a huge number of ways and forms. Reading can be a mechanism for escaping presence through embracing fantasy, other worlds and imaginary characters. But is it always an escape mechanism?

No. Is the answer to that. My answer, my opinion. I believe that, in the world as it is manifesting for most of us right now, to choose to slow down enough to read a book is a marker for, and route to build, an ability to be present. It is not about abandoning ourselves. Not usually. And even if it is, it can be both: a gentle escape, harmless to ourselves and the other, that can open us up to a mindful practise.

Of course I specifically talk, here, about reading an actual book.

We read continually, unconsciously… WhatsApp messages, flashing headings, notifications, the pithy captions underneath social media posts and the comments that they bring… that kind of thing. Endlessly. Quickly. Without stopping to to notice that we are reading at all. But we can read in a different way. And this is something I feel passionate about encouraging.

I set myself a target to read 100 books this year and I have no idea if I will make it. I’m not quite on track to, yet. But three months in, I am taking on a much more important quest for myself: to make my reading more mindful. And I would love for you to join me.

I am starting a Book Club. Late April. You can find out more about that here:


Wrapped Up In Books: The Story of My Life

Since early childhood, books have surrounded, stacked themselves up in, been central to, my life. Led by my nose in a book, I have been pulled forward on new paths. They have allowed me to feel the things I would otherwise not allow. They have expanded my mind when I felt stuck in old patterns of thought. They have given me hope. They have kept me company on sleepless nights. They are a reliable source of comfort.

With my current ‘to be read’ (or in the middle of reading in snippets) pile

Book Are Kinda My Thing… 

My memory has always told me that I never had to learn to read.

This, of course, cannot be the truth, but it is my truth.

I have an extremely vivid memory of being 6, in Blue class with Mrs Donnelly, and being called up with two friends to read to her. Puddle Lane books, anyone remember them? I adored.

Me and my two plait-adorning-pals skipped eagerly across the parquet floor to our teacher, who asked us to take it in turns to read sections of a rather enchanting tale called The Magic Dust.

As my friends sounded out words and screwed up their little freckled faces in concentration, I very clearly remember just not getting it. Why couldn’t they read it out properly? Fluently?

To me, and I did not think of their struggles with judgement, only utter confusion, it was as if I was watching people with fully functioning hands and arms being completely unable to clap.

Not only did I already find reading to be an innate skill but I truly loved to read, I loved it in a way that made my insides fizz. I was born knowing it was what I was meant to do with my time. Was it not the same for everyone? I found that odd as a kid. Perhaps a part of me still does.

By the time I was 8 or 9, as soon as school ended, I would run, gleefully, to Penn Library, with my friends Karis and Dipti, who loved books just as much as me.

We were huge fans of The Babysitters Club, and of Point Horror books. To find a book we had not yet read would be so cool and exciting and every time the librarian scanned a barcode with a beep it was like being offered an extremely precious gift.

Seducing The English Teachers

At secondary school I was resolutely determined to seduce (not sexually) every single English teacher with my love of their subject and my way with words. It worked!

By the time I was studying for my GCSEs, the teachers were so kind to me, bringing me in books they thought I might like to borrow. I liked this on more than one level. Books, beyond feeding my mind, began also to give me a taste of feeling truly valued and seen. I am aware of this as an attachment I have to books. It’s still there. I use them as an aphrodisiac in my, often clumsy, attempts to connect with other humans. This perseveres as a coping strategy, though, only because the love of books is so real.

When I was 15 or so one teacher, Mr Layton, brought Douglas Coupland into my life. Mr Layton shoved a copy of Generation X into my chest one day as he passed me on the stairs from the Geography department down to the school office.
‘I think you’ll like that…’ he said. I did. I loved. Douglas Coupland remains my favourite writer to this day.

The moment of my passing on the stairs with my teacher that day is like chance-found gold in my mind, each and very time that the memory is evoked. It was a moment of karma played out. He had to give me that book. That day. That he thought of me as he downed his morning coffee to soothe his aching head (he appeared to be resolute in his determination to turn up hungover and tired) meant the world to me on a day, in a time, I felt gloomy and uninspired. I read the book that night. Returning it to him only a day or two later with a letter of thanks and my mind alight with new ideas. I would, from that point on, practically camp out at the bookshop waiting for Douglas Coupland’s next novel.

At University I studied English and creative writing, and then, on graduating, got myself a job in publishing. The rest is herstory. I never once lost my passion for books. I married a writer. Of course. And we both, most days, buy and read books. My partner’s job means they get book post every day, too. As you may expect, my home is full of written words. Every room.

A wall in my living room, complete with old library ladder. One day I will have an actual library in my house.

You Don’t Even HAVE To Read Them!

Books have been my source of solace, of companionship, of laughter through all of my life so far. They are the way I most love to learn.

If I visit someone’s house, it is their books that I am most pulled to. A house without books lacks oxygen, to me.

And hey… if you never get around to reading them (my to be read pile is truly a mountain range…) all is not lost, as Nick Hornsby says:

“All the books we own, both read and unread, are the fullest expression of self we have at our disposal…With each passing year, and with each whimsical purchase, our libraries become more and more able to articulate who we are, whether we read the books or not.” – Nick Hornby

5 Books I Have Enjoyed This Year So Far…

If you want to practise mindful reading with others, including me, the registration to be told more about the Book Club is here. 

In the meantime, I am often asked for book recommendations so here you will find five of my favourites of 2022 so far.

Binge: 60 stories to make your brain feel different

Douglas Coupland always speaks to my soul, and these short stories really do make your brain flip and flop. Some are sweet, some are sad, all are mind expanding in some way.

Creation: A fully illustrated, panoramic world history of art from ancient civilisation to the present day

I’ll admit I have not read every word of this book but my eyes love it a whole lot. I find the writing gentle and it is a good book to grab if you want to build strength in your wrists (it’s SO heavy)…

Mothers: An Essay on Love and Cruelty

This book takes on a challenging topic in an extremely accessible, but nonetheless provocative, way. It took me a little while to land into reading, but once she mentioned Courtney Love relative to the image of the mother… I was all in.

Medieval Bodies: Life, Death and Art in the Middle Ages

Bloody fascinating. Check out the preview about the medieval cadaver. You will know right away if it’s a book for you. For me? It is a hard yes.

Cultish The Languish of Fanaticism

It’s a ‘young’ book in that, aged almost 40, I felt about 20 years too old to take as much as one could from this book in its tone and style, and the cultural references are largely American. But I loved reading it nonetheless. And I enjoyed that it opened up my thinking on the male ‘voice of God’ and how affecting that is to me, as a woman, and the influence it has had on my life. It also made me pause to consider how I talk as a teacher. How I use language to promote my class. How I use language to tell people how to move their bodies and breathe.

Be An Original (And Don’t Be A Dick…)

I’m feeling rebellious, inspired and incredibly energised by life right now.

I feel electric.

I love how creative I am. 

I am creative.

I can affirm that with absolute certainty, needing no reinforcement, praise or encouragement.

When you are creative (and you are, too, we all are). And when you have something original to show to the world (you do, we all do). It’s a pretty cool thing if you can find the courage inherent in ‘putting it out there’ in an effort to reach others. In service to others, to inspire others, or… hell, to earn yourself a living doing something you were born to do.

But it can have its downsides too. 

When you truly are in touch with your creativity, when you are stepping up to be YOU… what I notice is that other people don’t necessarily like it too much.

Some people…

*whispers* …Some people will want what you have…

And they want it so very much, so desperately,

that they will try and take it for themselves.

Sometimes they will take only a breadcrumb at a time. Barely noticeable, at first.

Others will swoop toward you and gather up great big greedy armfuls of you without a backward glance.

I know, I know, it’s shocking, right? But it is true.

It’s something that happens in my world more and more. And I am not alone. 

Sometimes it’s just plain old creepy…

Having invested hugely in myself in a variety of ways in recent years I am not too keen on hacking off huge parts of myself to hand to others on a silver platter to feast on in gay abandon… but what can you do… when you’re feeling inspired, energised, and electric, some people just really want a piece of you for themselves.

Some of this happens unconsciously, and it can be quite easy as the creator of something to let that slide on by.

Other times it’s more blatant. Huge chunks of text copied and pasted from your website to theirs. Uncredited. Classes copied, from the intention to the music to that thing you said about Tiger penises. Haircuts, clothing choices, the way you have chosen to present your ideas. Some feel it all is fair game. Artwork, born of your own very personal relationship to yourself and the world. Creations that huge money, time, creativity and love was poured into… just copied. Blatantly. Often badly. And passed off as someone else’s original idea.

It can feel exhausting.

I’ll be honest, sometimes it feels quite threatening.

Once or twice, for me, it’s been just plain old creepy.

But what can you do? I can’t build an electric fence around myself and hammer a sign on my head that says ‘Danger. High Voltage’. Or can I?

Well, until I decide on that, I will say it again.

I AM CREATIVE.

Hey, if you want to congratulate me on my art or my words or my dress sense that’s lovely. Thank you very much. And if you disagree and think I’m dull, uninspiring and flat then… excellent.

Your opinion will unroot my feet from solid ground no more than the feather from a baby sparrow floating from the heavens to land on my shoulder. How sweet. *Brushes feather off, picks it up, and sticks it on a canvas depicting neon sparrows exploring a supernova explosion*.

If you think that sounds arrogant. Well, it is, a bit! We all need a healthy amount of narcissism to feel pride, hold self-esteem and realise our own self worth. That I can hold my head up so high and say ‘I am creative’ is hugely important to where I am in my relationship to myself. I would not have been able to shout it loud and proud a year ago.

Through my adult life, what I do with my creativity has more regularly private than public. Be it playing, painting, building, photographing, decorating, writing or decapitating dolls.  None of you (unless you’re related to me, my neighbour or knew me well 20 years ago) have heard me play the flute. But I do it every day. Creating is not about the other. It is about exploring and expressing my feelings experiences and ideas, filtered through my own completely unique brain… 

To put some of what I create out into the world since becoming a yoga teacher has been rewarding. I am proud that what I have created is both authentic as a reflection of my inner and outer relationship to the universe and in being unlike what is most commonly seen in how yoga is presented… particularly online. 

I don’t strive for originality, I strive to be me. Originality is what comes from that…

Originality… It’s a terrific thing.

To be original, to hope to be… it can be a bitch. It can feel impossible, unreachable, when we’re out of whack with our own potency. Not sure who we are. What we want. What we think.

Who we are.
What we want.
What we think.

They sound like pretty basic elements in experiencing a human life.

But what we want,
what we think
who we are…

for many, they are lost. Lost in the noise. In the contractions in body and mind that they are not even aware exist, so familiar are they to their experience of what life can be. Comparing, despairing and searching for something, anything, to temporarily ease an uncomfortable sense that something is wrong.

All that is left is to spin around in a metaphorical blindfold with a shaky, pointing finger… a kind of  existential spin the bottle… and to land on someone who seems to own some semblance of what you perceive that you should want, think, and be and think ‘I’ll take that one. For me’.

Life is noisy.

We’re all continually taking in stimuli from our environments… how things look, what we hear, what lights us up, how people react, what turns us off… we take inspiration from nature and television and music videos and art and from other people we see who are cool and interesting, charismatic, funny, magical or strong …

Whether conscious or unconscious we take on aspects of what others say, think, do, create…

Last week, my own teacher, Carolyn, taught an incredible Kundalini Global class where we did a yoga series called ‘Be An Original’ and Carolyn explored the idea of what it means to be you. Your true, authentic, human self.

It struck a chord for me.

I realised how much that I do it too, unconsciously taking without doing the work to make it energetically elegant. And I’ve taken myself on in this. I would encourage you to do the same.

Take Carolyn, I’ve done pretty much all of her trainings.  And I would do them all again. She’s brilliant. Hilarious, exceptionally clever, unique in her thinking and extremely charismatic. She explains things in such a creative, distinctive and authoritative way…

It has been on a regular basis that I use words, idioms and ideas that I would NEVER have considered using before meeting Carolyn, because I have taken them from her… and it’s just not on.

I wouldn’t dream, ever, of stealing Carolyn’s written words, artwork or class plans. But both consciously and unconsciously I have been guilty of stepping beyond ‘inspired by’ into ‘taken from’ in how I teach.

It’s a shitty thing to do.

You could say it is hard to avoid copying. But it is not.

It is not hard to avoid copying. Just don’t do it.

Whilst it’s not hard to avoid copying other people, it’s really easy to not bother doing the work inherent in being yourself. Because it really is work.

It is so easy not to reflect on what someone has said, written, created … and consider how that can be translated into your own universe, for your people, through you, your lens, your lived experience.

But when you do that part, that’s when the magic happens.

Whilst we can be inspired by those we look up to or who hold positions we see as hierarchically above us in realms in which we walk, to be able to consolidate and percolate and really learn from them, to be able to make manifest what they have taught to us, to transform the ideas they shared, ideas that lit us up, into something that truly serves us and others, we have to run them through our own internal computer system and turn them into something new…

And that can take time, patience and real skill. Be patient with yourself. And don’t rush it. Focus on becoming you and the percolation will happen along the way.

Of course we are all influenced by things outside of ourselves, be they the moon or Harry Styles’ penchant for amazing trousers (something that inspires me, endlessly). But don’t be a dick.

If you buy some pastel flares, Harry Styles won’t care. Probably. Unless you’re Zayn Malik. But if you steal someone’s artwork, when the original was born of 15k of therapy, some very late nights and sixteen hours of introspection, it’s just not cool. Stop it. Be you.

It’s not always easy to stay ‘true to you’… but nothing truly magical and potent is easy.

You’re never going to find yourself the spaces between the ctl+c  and ctl+v commands on your keyboard. Try the whole qwerty spectrum instead.


Swaying to stillness and the exquisite bliss of longing for…

Lovely humans,

I’ve been caught up in longing.

Longing – a “yearning, eager desire or craving,” It comes from the old English langung  a “…weariness, sadness, dejection…” but no definition gets it quite right, for me.

To sit in longing is an interesting space.

Longing for someone is entirely different to ‘missing’  them, in my awareness.

We ‘miss’ with our mind. Longing, it seems, is an experience that encompasses the entirety of our being.

I’ve been on a journey with being able to notice and name emotions. To name longing took time, “perhaps this is sadness?”  “feeling weak?”  “A curious and quite lovely type of pain?!” But knowing, in my reflection, it was something far more than my words managed to touch.

I like longing. Is that a strange statement to make? I believe that longing comes from an encounter with something magical enough that this (to me, peculiarly beautiful) emotion is evoked.

The universe we exist in places endless expectation on us to find and satisfy our hungers and desires as instantaneously as we possibly can. That the outcome is never, in the least bit, satisfying is what keeps us in a loop of consumption… be that of sugar, carbs, porn, fast-fashion or whatever lands on the doorstep in one of those too-familiar brown cardboard Amazon parcels.

Perhaps, I reflected, that is why to sit still, with longing, feels so unusual. So welcome. 

I find that sitting with longing, which can be considered a pretty melancholy emotion, is extremely lovely.

But why? Really? Can it be as simple as it being so at odds with a fast-paced, ever-scrolling, society that seeks reassurance from ‘buy now’ buttons and navigating Porn Hub with a well-trained thumb?

My love of longing feels like more than that. It feels like connecting to an entire new universe.

Swaying to stillness…

To long for something is to feel its lack. And to exist with longing is not easy.

In the world of yoga it seems that many who come to the mat have an awareness of a certain, dark, untouchable space… you could call it a void… that exists in us. Perhaps the awareness comes from some experience of sensing that space and becoming curious about what it is, and where it could lead us. Down the rabbit hole…

I mention this as, for me, there is a connection between that space and the feeling of longing.

We have a certain posture that we work with in Kundalini Global yoga classes… to my knowledge the posture has no name… born of ‘neck rolls’… it involves a gentle swaying from side to side. I believe it is the brain-child of Carolyn Cowan. If it is not, then that is certainly where my experience with the posture began. And where I fell head over heals in love with it. I share it here because it is what truly awoke this longing in me… and what I turn to when I want to sit with it once more.

You could try it if you haven’t… we sit cross legged, spine straight, hands on the knees.

The breath is gentle. Quiet. We inhale in the centre and exhale as we begin to sway. Move to the left first. Ear moving down toward the shoulder, swaying gently to the left, coming back up to gently inhale, then exhaling and gently swaying, ear toward shoulder, to the right.

Gradually, with each breath, each exhale, moving a tiny bit lower.  As we slowly descend the arms can come to the side, on the floor either side of us, to offer support. Rocking slowly, slowly, lower and lower. We take just as much time to descend as to slowly come back. I’d start with 3 minutes… so 90 seconds to descend as you sway, and 90 to come back slowly to tall and straight.

And then, not lying back as we commonly do after a posture, just sit in stillness. Really soft in the body. And notice…

What Carolyn brought my awareness to is a pulse. A pulse in the spinal fluid. It is called the lumbar cerebrospinal fluid pulse. And the rhythmic, swaying, motion of the posture allows us quickly, gently, to being able to tune into it. I find my body still sways a little with the pulse. So gently it is like being rocked in the weightless arms of an angel.

Cerebrospinal fluid is a clear, colourless body fluid found within the tissue that surrounds the brain and spinal cord of all vertebrates. When we are entirely present and still and when we are landed in our bodies, we may be able to become aware of this pulse. When we do, when we can, it is, or has been for me, an experience of myself that is otherworldly in its gentleness, in its perfection. I do not use the word perfect often but it really is. Perfect bliss.

Yet. Yet. In this perfect bliss I seem always to find a paradoxical longing. An ache.

How is this possible? To be entirely accepting of the moment, blissful, and yet the experience is one where longing is the word… Before gentle. Before calm. Before present. The only word I may place before longing is this one… Divine.

Carolyn teaches that the lumbar cerebrospinal fluid pulse is the Divine within the body.

How beautiful is that?

To me it feels exactly right.

Utter Perfection

The stillness that comes from the posture I describe above leaves me sitting with an emotion that feels so much more than ‘happy’. It is an aching, longing, blissful pull that feels like … a calling?!? Words. Words. Sometimes they fail.

Whatever the words are, I’ve felt this bliss before. Along with its accompanying, paradoxical, ache. One instance in-particular springs to mind, owing to how entirely unremarkable the moment was that it came. At least from the outside…

It was after my usual clockwise run around my local park on an Autumnal evening last year. It came as I walked home through an extremely ‘rough’ area of my city as the sun set. My trainers had rubbed my feet and my hair was wet with sweat. Cars passed. People shouted between windows in the flats lining the street and kids wove around me on scooters, giggling. The sky was beautiful. Purple, pink and orange. A huge flock of geese flew noisily overhead. Of course, after my run, I was flooded with endorphins. But nothing was unfamiliar. Nothing was noteworthy. Yet, all of a sudden, I had this sense come over me. I stopped still and looked up.

Utter perfection. Utter perfection in every cell of my body and… again, that deep deep longing.

It is so lovely when we can have such moments and consciously think ‘I will not forget this moment.’  And we don’t.

…something you cannot explain or know

When reflecting on this sense of present longing I, of course, needed to research, to dig into it and see what others may have taken such a feeling and experience to be or to mean.

In my reading I came across a word I like. It’s a German word: “Sehnsucht.’’

The dictionary tells us that ‘‘sehnsucht’’ is an “intense, mostly bittersweet longing for something remote or unattainable that would make life more complete”. Like a really intense yet infantile crush, then? Where you imagine complete perfection and bliss would come to all aspects of life with the first, passionate kiss? No. Not that. The translations of this word are tricky in English, but roughly it is, yes, a longing, but no, not like a crush, it is a deep yearning for something that you cannot ever explain or know.

I love to find a word that feels in alignment with the incommunicable. Not perfect. But close.

A yearning for something we cannot explain or know. Perhaps that is a definition not only of sehnsucht but of an aspect of devotion. Of a longing for the divine without. The external divine of our awareness. Whatever, whoever, that is. I think it is that. And I think it is a beautiful thing.

If I told 99% of the people in my real life that I was sitting in stillness with a yearning for God they would think I had lost the plot. . . but that is what I have come to.

I’ve been reading a lot about St. Augustine. I cannot go into his life here but do look him up. Quite a character. I have come to believe he was probably neurodivergent in some way. We share the same birthday. I did think once, ‘I hope we share little else…’ But of course we do. And not only this longing, this “Sehnsucht.” Although this is an aspect of human existence I am certain that we both have touched.

Holy longing?

In  Augustine’s sixth homily in his Homilies on 1, John states that a distinctive quality of Christian living is to learn to live into our longing:

“The whole life of the good Christian is a holy longing. What you long for, as yet you do not see; but longing makes in you room that shall be filled, when that which you are to see shall come.”

It’s such a curious thing. I love seeing an empty room inside me. A space. In Augustine’s thinking it is as if we are to be trained by longing. Not an arbitrary longing for our fuck buddy or a pair of cheap trainers. But by a holy longing.

A holy longing that creates a space, a ‘room that shall be filled’. I do not know if I want it to be filled. But I like sitting in that room and waiting in stillness. I like that a lot.

Most of us never sit in it.

So often, through a vast array of means and methods – returning to the list above of fast-food, fast-sex, fast-fashion – we work to soothe ourselves with anything other than… other than what? Other than the Divine.

I do not think these things are ‘bad.’ If we can be present to any moment, any experience, even a show we consume on Netflix or a cheap glazed doughnut… they can all be Divine.

Perhaps some aspect of longing comes when we forget the giver. Whatever or whoever we imagine that to be.

I believe that I have no satisfying way of ending this post for you. Perhaps I want to leave you in longing for an answer that may never come.

That is where I find myself. Happily.

I still sit, and sit still, in longing. And yes, I move between the experience of presence in it and seeking understanding of what it is.

I have come to realise that to sit in this longing is excellent for giving birth to artistic expression.

But I also reflect that, to go back to the ‘void’ inside that many in yoga, in ‘spiritual’ circles, seem to have become aware of in some way,  whatever the thing is that we believe to be a missing part of ourselves… perhaps is not a space that needs to be filled but one that is perfection as it is. If we can sit with it, in it. 

The longing for…

I don’t feel it needs to be named. 

What happens when you stop giving your power away? A Barbie doll massacre, a neon crucifix and gold leaf flakes over all of my life forevermore…

Lovely humans

I am feeling especially creative. As if I could transform my universe with nothing but an orange felt tip pen and my fertile imagination. As if my fingers leak glitter, birdsong and gold leaf flakes in every moment I am forced to be present to a task that does not lend itself, naturally, to creative expression.

Perhaps I can assign the joy this brings outside of myself to the full moon, to a teacher, or to the fascinating book I am reading by an extremely clever man. I find that I do not want to do those things, though. And that feels like progress.

I’m working on not giving my power away. On noticing when I do. The more I do this, I find, the more creative I feel. The more I have to give. The more clarity I find in what it is that I should channel my energy into. 

Becoming Dangerous…

The less power we give away the more dangerous we become. It is a practise of summoning our own salvation. And we become dangerous to the ‘shoulds’, to the expectations, to the systems that we exist within that do not want us to know how powerful we are when we can bear to be present enough to notice all that we give away.

Giving our power away… we all do it. Mostly unconsciously. When we allow something ‘they’ said, how ‘they’ looked at us, feeling left out, something horrid (I find, often about animals or children) that we read in the news… there are a million things I could list… but when we allow these things to tarnish any moment… to take us out of presence, to create contractions in our bodies and make our thinking short and fast… this is giving away our power. Our potency.

I have been robust in my insistence that my power should not be my own. Eyes darting around constantly, frantically, for anyone who will take it off my hands when I become aware that I have such a commodity in any aspect of my self.

At least now I am aware.

Something that has enriched my life enormously over the past 18 months, since I began teaching Kundalini Global, is to observe how my creativity inspires the other. The energetic exchange this facilitates is phenomenal. I find, again and again, that being aware of any creative endeavour I played a part in inspiring, in turn, inspires me a thousand-fold. Which, perhaps, inspires something else in another again…

I was touched to receive something in the post this week that was inspired by a practise from one of my classes. Touched is an interesting word isn’t it? It is for me, as I have always said I don’t like being touched. Perhaps I do. The etymology of the word ‘touch’ is telling in this… from the old French tochier which meant “to touch, hit, knock; mention, deal with” and from Vulgar Latin *toccare “to knock, strike” as a bell (source also of Spanish tocar, Italian toccare). I particularly like the concept of being ‘touched’ to be like a bell being struck. That feels correct, to me.

Anyway, I digress (something I am good at…) this post, this artwork that landed on my doormat at a moment when it could not have been more welcome, it inspired me.

It inspired me musically. In terms of picking up my flute. Which I have fallen back in love with after years of neglect. And in terms of finding myself in need of the comfort and inspiration of the music I love.

These little earthquakes…

I’ve written before about my love for the utterly fabulous Tori Amos. Next year her debut album, Little Earthquakes, my favourite album of all time, turns 30. This week, as I played the record on repeat, I smiled as I realised that it never, ever, stops unfurling for me. The emotion it releases, the ways in which she inspires, the pain it brings… it moves with me. It’s like every song speaks to me in the moment, whether than moment exists within the bright yellow bedroom walls of my teenage years, adorned with stencilled stars and moons, carpet burnt by incense sticks as I sit on the floor applying black kohl liner badly, or as it blasts out from an Alexa in my airy kitchen as I cook a meal for my children, patio doors open to the summer heat…

I love this album with every fibre of my being. And I decided this week that I need to create something from this love.

This led to a whole host of incredibly fun and inspiring moments, and the world’s most peculiar ever Amazon order.

And this is how, last night, I found myself massacring a ‘Made to Move’ Barbie with a breadknife by candlelight whilst covered in gold leaf flakes.

My children think this is fabulous.

I know… I know…


Why do we, crucify ourselves, every day?

I started, what is to become a bigger project, by creating something inspired by the first track on Little Earthquakes. A song called Crucify.

You can listen to it. I will embed a YouTube video here, although I fully recommend you check out the remastered version via Spotify or similar on good speakers to feel it fully. 

Crucify is a song about abandoning ourselves. Yes… about giving our power away.

It’s a song that makes me sad and empowered in equal measure. I must have listened to it 100 times this week. As I wrote not too long ago in an Instagram post, sad feelings evoked by music are pleasurable to us when sadness is perceived as non-threatening, when listening comes with psychological benefits such as emotional regulation and when the sad songs bring recollection of/reflection on past events that bring feelings of empathy.

I believe this to be true when I look at my relationship to Crucify. It evokes empathy for me. For my self. It evokes other emotions too. Rage, fear… but in a safe way. A way that facilitates release.

And if that release comes with the death of a Barbie doll? Well, I don’t judge myself. I’ve given up on that too.

You really can feel Tori’s rage in the piano in this. And her lyrics, as always, are incredible. Incredible.

Tori’s father was a preacher and has recounted how, when her father held prayer meetings she masturbated upstairs. Crucifiy is, I suppose, about freedom from the religious dogma imposed by her family and in society. Freedom that she looked for by abandoning herself on the ‘dirty streets’ and beneath ‘dirty sheets’ but ultimately found only within herself.

If you’re easily offended you may not want to see what I created. I don’t make such things for anyone else. I just, on occasion, find I have to make manifest how I feel in the form of something that makes me horrified, and hysterical (in the positive way) in equal measure.

Here it is, if you would like to see… it’s probably not finished. I am not too good with endings because they make me cry and crying… let’s just say me and crying have work to do.



I hope you all have a glorious day… week… month… life… until we meet again.

Sara-Jayne

 

Full Class Recording: Reprogramming The Human Psyche

Here you will find the link to a video of a full, 60 minute, class recording of my favourite yoga series: Reprogramming The Human Psyche.

As you will see, the video recordings of full classes are all password protected. This is, in no way, to limit access but because for insurance purposes I have to keep a record of who has access to full classes. 

To access the full class recordings sign up to my email newsletter to be given the password for all videos. By doing so you will also be able to get the links for free live classes that I run. If you hate email newsletters, email me and let me know you want the password just so I can keep a note of your name and contact details. Otherwise, you can signup here and will receive an email with the password right away:

I hope you enjoy the class recording and let me know if you have any questions. 

I always love to hear from you – you can send me an email (info@sarajaynekundalini.com)

Full Class Recording: Conscious or Unconscious You Do Affect Your Life Number 3

Here you will find the link to a video of a full, 60 minute, class recording of a really fun series called Conscious or Unconscious You Do Affect Your Life Number 3:

As you will see, the video recordings of full classes are all password protected. This is, in no way, to limit access but because for insurance purposes I have to keep a record of who has access to full classes. 

To access the full class recordings sign up to my email newsletter to be given the password for all videos. By doing so you will also be able to get the links for free live classes that I run. If you hate email newsletters, email me and let me know you want the password just so I can keep a note of your name and contact details. Otherwise, you can signup here and will receive an email with the password right away:

I hope you enjoy the class recording and let me know if you have any questions. 

I always love to hear from you – you can send me an email (info@sarajaynekundalini.com)

Lycra-Clad Dance Parties, New Moon Intentions, Hacking The Primitive Brain and The Unsettling Art of Anatomy… What I Have Been Up To This Week

Happy Sunday lovely humans!

I am in an exquisite mood today. No particular reason, as such, I just feel as if a LOT of things have shifted energetically over the last few weeks. Do you agree? Irregardless of the why, I am sooooo enjoying my mind being more still than it has been for weeks. I intend to enjoy it, in these moments, fully. Next Sunday we have a new moon, and whilst I am absolutely no expert on astrology I do love to gather up armfuls of gratitude, affirmation and intention during this week of the cycle. Time to make plans! Fun ones, too. Lockdown should not stop us. In fact, I believe it is the perfect time to train, to read, to learn, to grow. To dress head to toe in lycra and pretend you’re a tiger human as you dance to Katy Perry (that last one may just be me).

As the below images will show you I am yet to grow so much that I don’t spend much of my time being ridiculous and making myself laugh. Part of what was intended as my Halloween costume FINALLY arrived this weekend. You would be AMAZED at how comfortable this outfit it. I’m not really one for excessive nudity (even if I lived alone I don’t think I’d spend much time with no clothes on) but these morph suits… I could LIVE in them. Maybe I will. A whole rainbow of lycra so I can match my mood to my second skin. What do you think?

YES that is me in there (the tiger not the fearful cat!)

My Yoga Week Gone By (And To Come!)

My classes remain at the same times this week. Online only, for the moment. I have:
Wednesday Morning at 10am.
Thursday Evening at 7pm.
Friday Morning at 10am.

Friday morning I do hope some of you will join me as, not only is it the EXTREMELY LUCKY Friday the 13th. But it also happens to be my birthday! So expect a very special treat of a class. I may even do it in fancy dress.

You can book classes here:

I am still offering a coupon code for a free online class if you sign up to my email newsletter. If you aren’t on the email newsletter yet, you can simply enter your details here:

As a student I have had the most gorgeous week of classes.

As usual my yoga week was very Carolyn Cowan focused. Carolyn’s Great Anxiety Hack has been the main focus of my Monday evenings for the last few weeks. This week’s workshop had a focus on the very clever and very important and, in many cases, extremely naughty part of our primitive brain called the amygdala. Learning to “hack the amygdala” has been the absolute core element of my learning this year. I can never learn or hear enough about it. And to experience the breaths, the stretches, the intention, that allows us to have such agency in our own stress system – a system that has been weaponised against us – it is just UTTER BLISS. I have never felt as gentle and relaxed as I do at the end of Carolyn’s classes and workshops. If you haven’t experienced it you really must.

Luckily, not only can you book on to the remaining parts of the Great Anxiety Hack here:

But Carolyn is also rather generously offering two FREE Kundalini Global classes next weekend. This is like the ultimate Birthday gift for me. You can sign up for them here:

Anatomica: The Exquisite and Unsettling Art of Human Anatomy

I am aware that I may be unusual in my adoration of human anatomy in art. But adore it I do. So when I came across this book online a week or so ago I had to get my  phalanges on it as soon as I possibly could. This book is DIVINE. However, to warn you it is also somewhat macabre in places. Many places, in fact. So if you’re a squeamish sort, it may well not be the book for you.

The author, Joanna Ebenstein, is a Brooklyn-based artist, curator, writer and graphic designer. She is the founder of the Morbid Anatomy blog. She is basically amazing. Morbid Anatomy. That’s basically heaven, to me.

As humans we love to try and understand ourselves. It’s something of a curse sometimes, I think, As well as a blessing. One such was we seek to understand is through studying the body. Its systems. Its parts. Because humans are very creative and magical this means that through history, we have left behind a whole load of AMAZING art exploring anatomy, art that demonstrate not only ‘facts’ about the human body, but also the ways in which our ideas about the body have changed over time. We’ve had some peculiar ideas over time. Probably still do. It’s soooooo fascinating to delve in to the pages of this book. Do check it out if it sounds like something you’d enjoy.

Have a lovely lovely week. Do leave a comment to let me know you’ve been here and I so hope to see some of you in online classes this week.

With all the love,

Sara-Jayne xxxx