In Defence (but not completely) of Ashtanga Yoga

I practise Ashtanga yoga and have done for around eight years. The majority of my yoga peers are not ashtangis, and my love for the practice is often met with negativity – whether supressed or overt – and sometimes with a knowing twinkle in the eye that seems to say: ashtanga is something you will…

Body Lessons 6: From the Ground Up

When I stand, my left ankle joint collapses inwards slightly, tugging at the delicate structure of my knee joint, a referred tension that travels up to my sacrum and causes the occasional dull ache in my hip. I’m not sure that this happened before. It feels new. I don’t think about it much, until I…

Lockdown Rave Culture: A Capitalist Production

These days, at the weekend I wake up to an Instagram feed full of lockdown rave culture. Secret forest raves, boat raves, people weaving their slalom six-am way through fields in the countryside surrounding London, private party lock-ups in unused clubs, above-board socially-distant outdoor club nights that descend into socially-un-distant after parties. Visually, atmospherically, this…

Learning to Be: 6 Tips for Starting a Meditation Practice

Recently I wrote a lengthy piece that touched on the topic of meditation. You can read it here. I wanted to accompany it with some more practical, brief tools and advice, on how to begin a meditation practice. Here are my top tips for getting started:   Be Long-Term Meditation has a less “instant” effect…

At the Speed of Dreams: Contemplation in the Between

“Tibetans discern six ‘betweens’: the intervals between birth and death (‘life between’) sleep and waking (‘dream between’) waking and trance (‘trance between’) and three betweens during the death-rebirth process (‘death-point’, ‘reality’, and ‘existence betweens’).” Robert A. Thurman introducing his translation of The Tibetan Book of the Dead, otherwise known as The Great Book of Liberation…

Body Lessons 5: In Two Minds

My friend Daisy said something to me recently that got me thinking. We were checking in with each other during lockdown as we do most days; we both have baby girls the same age and in this strange time it is a relief to share the sort of shorthand that is only possible when somebody’s…

Body Lessons 4: Know Your Power

I have a five-month-old baby girl, and winter is setting in. The dark November evenings are long. The sun is always low. I am indoors a lot. I am that strange kind of alone-but-with-a-tiny-baby a lot. Few things are quite so intensely ‘up and down’ as motherhood has the capacity to be. There is no…

Body Lessons Part 2: Ella’s Birth

I have thought a lot about whether I should share Ella’s birth story. It involved almost everything that I had not wanted to happen, and a few things I had long considered ‘my worst nightmare’. Despite this, I don’t consider it a negative birth story, nor was it traumatic in any way. I do not…

Body Lessons Part 1: Yoga in Pregnancy

This piece is purely focussed on yoga; I am writing a separate piece about pregnancy that is more general. I hope that my gratitude for the fragile luck of our fertility and conception is evident. I have never taken it for granted.   “Throughout pregnancy, your body is your unborn baby’s universe. You are the…

Low-Frequency Love: 4AM Freedom

Every hour of the clock has its own personality, its own character and flavour. From the crisp, fresh, lemon-yellow optimism of 7am, through the heavy, lethargic grey wasteland of 3 in the afternoon, to the tailing-off-winding-down navy blue of 9pm. Their colours change depending on the season, on whether you are awake or asleep: 10pm…

All of Yoga Exists Within the Breath

“When you experience the vibration of your breath…when you feel constant change in all that is going on around you right now, then you have deep insight into the meaning of life.” Richard Freeman – The Mirror of Yoga   When I first started practising yoga, I noticed that the simplest way to find calm…