Tag Archives: Chorlton

Happy Spontaneous Me!

This week we hosted our Yoga In Action workshop, Happy Spontaneous Me! in collaboration with Chorlrton Arts Festival.

This is real YOGA. Otherwise know as the Yoga of Action.

It’s like an active meditation. Where we merge being and doing into one. We use simple techniques such as repetitive and flowing mark making as a way of connection moment to moment with what we are doing. We use this as ‘flow’ producing activity that everyone can do.

Its fun. But it’s also a serious practice. In many ways this is advanced yoga!

Don’t worry though… This is yoga practice off the mat and into the realm of everybody lives. It teaches you to take notice, observe and be in harmony with what ever you are doing. Sometimes called the science of autotelic experience, or ‘flow’ is when we fully direct and our consciousness into and with whatever we are doing purely for its own sake.

The experience is spontaneous happiness and joy. In yoga science Happy Spontaneous Me points to a deeper form of yoga practice called Karma Yoga or the yoga of action. This is essential and fundamental practice is where we change of mode of thought from trying to exert force over what we do towards a desired result to aligning out action to our inner harmony and intuition.

Most people confine themselves to never ending treadmill of expectation, desires, and rewards. It causes frustration, anger, jealousy and unhappiness. But its possible to step off the treadmill, still be in the world but free once we learn know where real happiness and creative contentment is.

But I am not creative…I cant draw. Oh yes you can.

Everyone can, that’s the whole point. The fact is that when you are in your yoga flow self-created expectations, desires or limiting feelings about oneself are stilled. They simply do not matter. You will feel in total control, present and fulfilled. In the workshop emphasis is letting go, observing and learning to finish meaning and joy in the ongoing experience of the workshop tasks.

During the workshop we learn to:

  • Understand how to make any activity into a flow or yoga experience.
  • Unlock your creative flow and liberate your inner joy
  • Develop a sense of meaning, effortless control and involvement in what you are doing.
  • Discover a deeper a sense of self and purpose.
  • Feel what it means to be totally present and not lost in an imagined future or past.  

The term autotelic derives from the Greek with, ‘auto’ meaning, self, and ‘telos’ meaning goal or task. In yoga we would call this ‘Being and doing’ or more accurately karma yoga, yoga of action where work is done not with some future reward or expectation in mind but just for the sheer joy of doing it.

When we pay attention to the activity for its own sake, not thinking about consequences or we fall in to the present.

We are in our own yoga state or ‘union’ – the goal of yoga. We are the conduit for the Flow producing activity.

 

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Yoga Nidra and feeling good!

Last night we talked a little about how important Yoga Nidra is, particularly at the beginning of the class.

 When we lead our Yoga Nidra (which means yoga sleep which in reality really means becoming awake) the objective of is to help our students find their internal point of stillness by carefully combining body, breath and mind into a single place and moment. This brings on a very deep and profound relaxed state, which will impact on every level of the mind/body field. As the body is the only part of us that ‘appears’ present, in the here and now, it is the focus for many deep relaxation techniques.

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Last night’s Level 1 YogaLife Project Class

When we practice our postures we become conscious of just how stiff and tense we are. Many of us unknowingly hold parts of our bodies in tension all of the time. Even when we are asleep the body maintains the tension. Holding tension is something that we don’t notice until something goes wrong and we begin feel tired, tense and anxious. Learning to relax means becoming aware of where these areas are and how we can change them.

The intention of our YLP Nidra at the beginning of the class is to help our students build a portal or threshold into the now. Moment-by-moment we lead their attention from the outside world and the day’s events to the here and now of the yoga studio, on the mat. It’s a combination of deep relaxation and stillness allied with underlying experience of potential and intention.

Scientific research[1] on Yoga Nidra reports an increased endogenous dopamine[2] release in the ventral striatum [3] a finding accompanied by a reported “decrease desire for action.” Its also known that expressions of loving-kindness, a sense of connectedness, and feelings of trust and cooperation have all shown to produce increased activity in the ventral striatum.

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This is where the striatum is located.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is why yoga nidra is a vital practice. If we skip it or don’t give it the importance it deserves then we are really not practicing yoga. We are simply just lying down.

Which is okay but its not yoga!

 

The notes:

[1] Kjaer, T. W., Bertelsen, C., Piccini, P., Brooks, D., Alving, J., and Lou, H. C. (2002). Increased dopamine tone during meditation-induced change of consciousness. Brain Res. Cogn. Brain Res. 13, 255–259.

[2] In the brain, dopamine functions as a neurotransmitter—a chemical released by neurons (nerve cells) to send signals to other nerve cells. The brain includes several distinct dopamine pathways, one of which plays a major role in reward-motivated behavior. Most types of reward increase the level of dopamine in the brain, and most addictive drugs increase dopamine neuronal activity. Other brain dopamine pathways are involved in motor control and in controlling the release of various hormones. These pathways and cell groups form a dopamine system which is neuromodulatory. Wikipedia

[3] The ventral striatum is closely associated with decision-making, risk, and reward, in addition to suppressing certain actions in the limbic system. It primarily mediates reward cognition, reinforcement, and motivational salience.[10] Dopamine is its most vital neurotransmitter; thoughts of gain (monetary, emotional, or otherwise) will increase dopamine in the ventral striatum, whereas thoughts of loss decrease dopamine. Wikipedia

 

 

 

 

Chorlton Central Complete…

MTUD have completed works to Chorlton Central. The project involved refurbishing and remodelling the church and meeting hall including making a new entrance to the south end of the building. Works to the hall include removing the original Victorain ceiling to expose the original roof trusses.

The building new reclaims this important part of Chorlton creating a new land mark in the area while also giving this key local asset a whole new lease of life.

 

Chorlton Central moves forward…

The next stage of our Chorlton Central project kicked off this week with a start-up meeting for full client and design team. Brownies were served which was much appreciated. Earlier in the day we ventured up a scaffold tower to check the quality and state of the main hall roof, which has been hidden behind a dirty, suspended ceiling for over 30 years…

We are biased but it’s going to be great project and a real asset for Chorlton…

A model of the future?

For some while now I have been interested in New Urbanism. Not so much the neo classical position taken by but the process of master planning undertaken by studios such as Urban Design Associates and Duanny Platter Zyberk. I like the plot driven approach, run in parallel with say something like a pattern book. With this approach we don’t have to rely too much on any place making attributes of the domestic architecture but more the landscape, streets, and open spaces.  Of course views, enclosure and vocabulary still play a vital role but doesn’t necessarily needs to be controlled and defined. A subtle effect can be achieved.

The plot driven process is ideally suited for lower density projects particularly semi-detached, detached and short terraces. It also ties in neatly with the way our UK house builders procure and sell their product.

Essentially this way of thinking continues what is the UK’s most important and place making innovative: the garden suburb. My own particular favourite is Chortlonville. Not stones throw from where I am writing this. Here is the original 1911 master plan, which merits a closer examination. First of all its clear where the centre of this community is: The Mead, a wonderful circular green space enclosed by villas. There is a primary street, which navigates around the whole place linking two other smaller green spaces. There are six main development parcels each divided into house plots. Two of the parcels have small south facing lanes, which serve little enclaves of houses also facing a tiny green.

The point is that the plan is its apparent legible and positive structure. Just a glance across the plan reveals it structure, hierarchy and purpose. There is a sense of purpose and intent, which we rarely see these days.

 

 

 

I spent a happy afternoon drawing some of the houses. Again they convey a sense of home, a sense of habitation related the locality. There are probably only about 5 or 6 house types but they way they are all composed together brings variety and delight.  We can learn a lot from these places. Have a look on Google Earth. It’s a joy.