Tag Archives: yoga

Head, Heart and Hips

There’s more to yoga than doing postures, chanting ‘om’ and breathing deeply. Its a whole way of life. I love my formal yoga practice but I’ve always been more intrigued by yoga off the mat.

‘Yoga’ means union. I think the most important yoga is between your mind, heart and body. When all your bits are unified with each other you’re on track. I know that whenever I try to do something that’s a struggle for any part of me it fails. Life just works better when you are in ‘yoga’ with yourself.

Romantic relationships is the biggest and best opportunity to bring your mind, heart and body into harmonious union with each other. In fact, its the most important relationship skill because when you are in synch with yourself you can truly share yourself with your partner. You make decisions that are right for you, you communicate better, you don’t become needy. You even become more attractive – because being in synch with yourself gives you poise and confidence.

I’ll be teaching about all this in ‘Head, Heart and Hips: The Yoga of Relationships’
at the British Yoga Festival, Friday 5th December in London. Find out more here


Posted by on 11/11/2014 in Events


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The Intimacy Scale

We share our selves with lovers on many levels. Its easier to share some aspects of our selves than others. Its as if we have a personal gradation scale of intimacy. We’re pretty open about the things at the lower end of that scale; but the things at the top of that scale are guarded until we know the person really well. Some lovers never get to see/ feel/ hear/ know the things that are at the top of our intimacy scale.

For some people, having a lover gaze at them naked is unbearably intimate. For others, crying in front of a lover is the last thing they’d share.

For me, showering with someone is pretty high on my intimacy scale. But the thing that I keep most secret is my meditation practice. When I can have a lover next to me while I meditate, thats when I’ve shared the most precious part of my self.

What’s your most secret thing?

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Posted by on 08/04/2012 in Love, Romance


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The Ethics of Kissing with an Open Mouth

In esoteric yogic-tantric literature, bodily fluids are considered to be potent expressions of self. Blood, sweat, saliva, semen are more than bodily emissions; they carry a person’s essence in them. When you sweat, you release droplets of yourself.

The same body of literature considers the breath to be the link between body and mind. Breath hovers between the physical and subtle and is a potent psycho-physical force. Either physical or mental exertion can alter your breathing pattern. You’re probably holding your breath right now – its a natural reflex to hold our breath when we concentrate on reading or listening to words. The exertion of mind alters the breath.

When you kiss with an open mouth, you mix breath and saliva with the person you’re kissing. You leave a part of yourself in their mouth and take their essence into your own. I always think of exchanging breath in a kiss as a magical moment. Not in the romantic sense but in the alchemical sense. For me, wishes fructify in the exchange of breath.

From an esoteric point of view, kissing is a big deal. Who do you want to share your essence with? Who’s do you want to imbibe? For those on a yogic-tantric path I suggest choosing kissing partners with care. Then the fun can really begin.

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Posted by on 12/03/2012 in Sex


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Less contentment, more bliss please.

At some point towards the end of last year I decided to dedicate 2012 to being the best lover I’ve ever been.  Because the idea thrills me. Because for me love is a practice and pleasure. Its my core passion. In the last few weeks, I’ve been paying keen attention to my physical and emotional sensations to get a clearer sense of  what I really want in this endeavour.

In November I was interviewed for Imago People TV by The Barefoot Doctor. He asked me what new things I’d been exploring. I said that in 2011 I had learnt to appreciate contentment in relationship. I’ve never naturally been drawn to the placidness of contentment. But in exploring it, I had come to appreciate its gifts.

I’d contrast contentment with the sweetness-‘n-sharpness that relationship can offer. I’ve always been naturally drawn to the poignant sensations – both sweet and sharp – of tasting another human being.

Contentment is soft and safe, but in large doses I find it a little dull.

This year, I want to experience more sweetness and less sharpness in love. I know that some would say that the two are inseparable, but I don’t think that’s the case. I think that sharpness starts to dissolve in the light of self refinement.

My yoga practice is my template for love practice. The aim in yoga is to move beyond being pulled about by the duality of pleasant/painful, good/bad, positive/ negative experience, into an awareness characterised by non-dual bliss. Bliss – ananda in Sanskrit – is not the same as happiness. Happiness has an opposite – unhappiness.

Confusing bliss (ananda) with happiness (sukha) has led to one of the biggest fallacies in the contemporary world of self development. When Joseph Campbell said, ‘Follow your bliss,’ he was referring to ananda. He had come across the word when studying the Upanishads – esoteric Sanskrit texts on the nature of being and existence. When most people repeat, “Follow you bliss,” they mean something along the lines of, “Follow what you think will make you happy.”

Following bliss is not the same thing. Its an endeavour in changing your state of consciousness. Its a yoking (yoga) of attention to self in a subtle and often searing manner.

For the purposes of this discussion, ananda is perhaps best described as a state of fullness, radiance and self-sufficiency. Yogic meditation practice aims to induce that state of awareness. But the next step is where it gets interesting. The next step is about bringing the qualities of ananda into the sensory (and sensual) experience of daily life. Its about bringing those qualities into the arena of duality. This is rarely understood or taught in the context of yoga or meditation, which are seen as ways of withdrawing from the stresses of the sensory world in order to grab some peace before returning to daily life.

Duality of pain and pleasure, happiness and sadness reside with poignant clarity in the space of romantic relationship. I’ve found that something interesting happens when I introduce the qualities of fullness, radiance and self sufficiency into that space. The sharpness of painful sensations soften, and the sweetness of pleasure heightens. I don’t understand it, but I like it. And I look forward to experiencing more of it. And perhaps beginning to understand it.

This year I want less searing and more subtlety, less sharpness and more sweetness. Lets see if I get it.

A clip of my interview with The Barefoot Doctor is here. We discuss romance Discussing romance for Imago People TV


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