Crystals - the best Christmas present ever!

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Crystals - the best Christmas present ever!

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Crystals

Crystals are powerful healing tools; they can help with physical, emotional, spiritual and mental health; and they can help you and your family sleep better, amplify your healing power, and assist you in feeling calm, balanced and peaceful.

Crystals are a gift from Mother Earth to amplify the power of love and light and have been used for healing since before Egyptian times.

Although they may seem like inert objects crystals are very much alive, they are both filled with energy and are conduits of energy – that is one of the reasons crystals are used in watches, radios and modern medical devices.

We live in a world of constant vibration, intelligent vibration actually, because everything that exists is really energy information, or energy in-formation – vibration. These vibrations form matter, substance or intangible things. 

The key frequency of vibration of an object, a person, a plant or an animal etc. is known as its resonant frequency.  Like you and I, crystals also have their own resonant frequency. This is the reason that we are drawn to a particular crystal more than another – a bit like we are drawn to one person more than another!

Choosing crystals

I find that crystals tend to choose us as much as we choose them. They stand out to us when we see them, or we put our hand into a bowl of crystals and one feels good in our hand.

I believe that you intuitively know the crystal that is meant for you at any particular time. It comes into your life!

Sometimes crystals are with you for a whole lifetime.  But other times you also get a sense when it’s time to let a crystal go and pass it on to someone else. Sometimes they just disappear out of your life. It’s a bit like that saying, “people come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime”, it’s the same with crystals!

Choosing crystals for friends is fairly much the same – you just have a sense that your friend needs the one to which you are drawn when thinking about him/her. I like to buy my friends crystals and just go with what I’m drawn to, even if it’s not something I’d usually consciously choose for that person. It always has an appropriate meaning for that person.

Cleansing/energising crystals

Crystals often attract all kinds of energy vibrations both negative and positive.  Remember that your crystal may have travelled many thousands of miles and been handled by many people before you received it.  Therefore, your crystal may have acquired some negative energies and it is important to cleanse it before you use it.

There are serval ways you can cleanse crystals including the following:

  • Putting them in the garden under the light of the full moon (this is my favourite way);
  • Putting them in sea salt or a natural water source (sea, stream, river);
  • Burying them in the earth;
  • Placing them in sunlight;
  • Holding them in your hand and setting your intention that they be cleansed by Reiki.

More about crystal properties and working with them next...xx

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Changing the mind!

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It has to be said that that was a very tricky moon cycle, between swimming in the pool under the light of the-almost-peaking full moon on Friday 3 November 2017 in Goa, and the full moon that I celebrated in the dark and cold here in Guernsey on Saturday 2 December 2017. 

The wheels fell off for a time. We invited Shiva into our lives in Goa so I shouldn't have been surprised. India alone will bring you to your knees, but Shiva, well he's something else.  I knew there was a reason I needed to invest in a little statue of Ganesha, remover of obstacles, before I left Goa. He's been a central part of my Altar this last month!

Things need to fall apart so that we can grow, at least spiritually, but it's a tough process to go through.  I questioned every aspect of my life wondering what needed to change, what I no longer needed and what had to stay.  Of course I knew deep down that it wasn't about changing the external, but I was trying to maintain some control...the ego likes control. It makes us feel safe.

But I wasn't feeling so safe and with my right ear deaf for a good month, I've had to be honest about what I'm not listening to. Ah yes.

The healing came as it does.  The anger, the fury, the tears, the everything that we need to go through to reach our bottom where we finally surrender and let go.

That's where the magic lies. In the letting go. Because only then does grace enter in and all is revealed, as if emerging from the fog.  I felt foggy that's for sure, being partially deaf does that to you, and blocked sinuses that make it difficult to think clearly, and the extreme tiredness post long haul travel with children who take time to adjust to the time difference and a partner who's sick from the flight. 

It's not easy feeling so raw and vulnerable and wondering where it all went so wrong. Of course it never did go wrong, it's just about perception and realising that it's time to transition from one way of being to another.  The dream has shifted - it's no longer just my dream, my life, now part of  family, and with that priorities change.

Essentially the mind changes.  That's where the pain comes in. Changing my mind. Becoming more aligned. There's a poetic rhyme to it. And it is poetry really, the rawness of it.

I read probably one of the most poetic books I've read in a long time, "When breath becomes air" by Paul Kalanithi, which is nothing short of genius. An amazing book and an inspired mind and heart, that man. This lead me to read Henry Marsh's "Do no Harm".  There was a theme here, brain surgery, death and meaning in life.

It's been a heavy month! But I've learned more about the brain, about the mind, about faith and spirit and the ego and about the manner in which life unfolds, how it changes. 

I've recognised that it was my mind that needed to change, not the external of my life, but the internal tapestry that gives rise to a change on the outside. There was no effort required either, it was just about going through the process. Being present. Sitting with the pain (of change) and listening to the body as it communicated it's needs.    

The mind resides everywhere, not just in the brain. It fascinates me. My mind. Everyone's minds. Changing minds.  It's all there.

We make changes on the inside, often having to do a complete turn-around in how we believed things to be, so that we see things completely differently - the pre-school I didn't think I liked, becomes the place that actually I really love, the place I didn't ant to visit on holiday becomes the very place I now long to go, then person I didn't initially like on meeting is now my close friend.  

Everything I resist persists and becomes an integral part of my life.  So there's something to look out for. Resistance. It's often the very thing we need.

So once the mind changes, the inner world changes, then the outer world changes too. Not hugely necessarily, it all looks the same but it feels very different, more aligned, heartfelt and joyful.  It feels right somehow. 

It was a joy therefore to teach the waning moon and for everything to settle.  Shiva worked his magic, destroyed so that life could be re-created. I'm just grateful for the practice, for the mat beneath me, that space, for the breath and the Yoga Nidra and for the light of the candle reminding me to keep heading towards the light, the heart the truth.

Changing minds is never easy but it's essential too.

With love and gratitude. 

x

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Reiki - it's positive impact on my life

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These days most people have heard of “Reiki” but not many know what it is actually is.  They often assume it is a form of religion or a form of massage and they often wonder if it dangerous.  No, is the answer to all these assumptions.  It is neither a belief system nor a physically manipulative technique and it is completely safe.  Essentially it is a way of being true to yourself so that you do things consciously, with awareness, sincerity and intention.

I must admit when that when I went for my first Reiki session, I had no idea what was really involved.  I recall lying on the treatment couch wondering what on earth was going to happen to me. Relaxing music played in the background and candles enhanced the natural light of the room.  The practitioner talked about angels and fairies and when my stomach started to gurgle she told me that was a sign they were in the room.  I couldn’t quite relax, any moment I was expecting to see apparitions and have a strange out-of-body-type experience.

In my ‘out-of-balance, want-to-be-balanced’ kind of way back then I suspect I was looking for a miracle cure that day.  But of course it didn’t happen.  After the session, I still felt like the same old me, a little out of sorts, a little unhappy.  The only difference being the fact that I knew a little bit more about angels.  The practitioner had told me that every time she drives into town she asks her angels to find her a parking space, and every time she goes to park the car there is a space waiting for her.  This stuck in my mind and I started doing this myself and I must admit it certainly works – you have to believe however!

Regardless of whether I felt the effects of the Reiki during that first session, the seed had been sown.  I was clearly drawn to Reiki for a reason and it was only a matter of time before it presented itself to me again – and the second time around, I had not gone searching.  You see, quite unbeknown to me at the time, I started to attend a meditation class which was led by a Reiki Master teacher.  Most of the meditation attendees were Reiki attuned and there was often much chatter about Reiki and the Reiki courses led by the teacher.  I would listen to them talking about metaphysical energy, auras, crystals and Chakras and wonder what on earth it was all about – it was a different world to the one I lived in at that time.

But times change and only a matter of weeks later I came across an advertisement pinned to the notice board at work advertising Reiki treatment sessions with – coincidentally (and this is something that becomes more prevalent in the Reiki world (coincidences that is) - the same lady who was leading the meditation classes.  I was fascinated as I read the advertisement; it mentioned how Reiki can encourage and support positive personal changes, helping to balance the emotions and free us from restrictive mental attitudes and behaviour patterns.  It explained how Reiki can help to improve the quality of our relationships, help us to de-stress, reduce our need for alcohol and tobacco, improve our diet and help us to respond more calmly to situations and events in our lives.  

This resonated with me immediately and while I still knew very little about the ‘how’, I was at a point in my life where I was willing to give anything a go.  This is often the nature of Reiki – you may not be aware of it at the time, but it tends to come into your life when you need it the most; you just simply have to be open to receiving it.  Of course, this is the other thing with Reiki, it cannot be forced upon you, you are either willing to go there or you aren’t and no amount of pressure from family or friends will change that – all they can do is plant the seed by making you aware that it exists in the first place.

From my own experience I know that Reiki offers a great many benefits.  Essentially it is a holistic relaxation therapy that focuses on the root cause of conditions rather than merely on the symptoms.  Thus not only can Reiki be used to induce a sense of deep physical relaxation but it can also be used to promote the healing of a wide range of ailments.  These include everything from stress related complaints such as insomnia to joint aches and pains (such as arthritis), headaches, stomach aches, depression, backache, menstrual problems, anxiety, asthma, colds and flu etc.

The Japanese word Reiki (pronounced Ray-key) means ‘Universal Energy’ and is based on the free flow of this energy in a person.  Eastern medicine has always recognised and worked with this energy, which flows through all living things and is vital to well-being.  It refers to an ancient hands-on healing art developed by Dr Mikao Usui in Japan in the early 1900’s for personal development and the passing of healing energy onto others.  Dr Usui believed that by clearing the body energetically it was possible to feel more connected to life, more relaxed, physically healthier and less unbalanced emotionally.

The second Reiki treatment provided a very different experience to the one I had experienced only a few months earlier.  Practising Reiki tends to enhance the intuition of the Reiki practitioner and this Reiki practitioner was certainly intuitive – not only that but I felt more of a connection.  She was able to feel what was going on for me, beyond the ego and the conscious thought patterns, and articulate these feelings to me in such a way that I could not have said them better myself.  It was a liberating and enlightening experience as I finally started to acknowledge a few of those things I had pushed down and tried to push away.

After the session I felt quite emotional and the practitioner assured me that this is not unusual.  The practitioner explained to me that it is a little like peeling an onion – the more you receive Reiki, the more you remove the layers, and the closer you come to your core, your true self – I guess it is a little like discarding the baggage, step by step, a fantastic form of personal development.  Of course it is different for everyone - some people may only want one session to merely relax while others will want more sessions to continue peeling away the layers.

Reiki treatments tend to last anywhere between 40 minutes and an hour and are carried out with you lying in a comfortable and peaceful environment. There is no need to remove any clothing and you are often given the opportunity to cover yourself with a blanket to encourage relaxation and make you feel a little more comfortable.  The practitioner may gently lay their hands on different parts of the body corresponding with the Chakras or energy centres, working from the head to the toes.  You may be asked to turn over so the practitioner can work on the other side of your body too.

Reiki has its own intelligence and the practitioner will be drawn intuitively to those parts of the body where the Reiki needs to go.  The body automatically draws in only as much Reiki as is needed using it in whatever way is most appropriate at that time. The Reiki energy may be felt as a flow of energy, mild tingling, warmth, heat, coolness, other sensations, or nothing at all.  It is common to drift off to sleep and you are often encouraged to do so as it promotes a deeply relaxing experience, calming the mind as much as the body.

As for the ability to practise Reiki, well it  does not take years of training, nor is it dependent upon intellectual capacity; it is simply passed from a teacher to the student.  As soon as this happens, one has the ability to channel Reiki for the whole of one’s life and can be learned by anyone.  The attunement is a powerful spiritual experience and can increase psychic sensitivity.  However, like most situations in life, people respond differently and the Reiki attunement is no exception. 

There are three levels of study and they are all independent of each other. The first level teaches you how to use Reiki for your own personal self-development, self healing and also the healing of others.  The second provides you with additional tools to work with Reiki and enables you to become a registered professional practitioner.  The third level, where you become a Reiki Master, teaches you how to further your own interest in Reiki, where you simply ‘be Reiki’.  You can then go one step further and train to become a teacher yourself.

The attunement process starts a cleansing process that can affect you on all levels as many of the toxins that have been stored in the body are released along with feelings and thought patterns that are no longer required.  Each level of attunement tends to increase the strength of the energy, encouraging personal development, self -healing, greater clarity of mind, increased intuition and potential increase in levels of consciousness.

Over two years I undertook each level of training and I have been a Reiki Master teacher for some time offering Reiki treatments and attunement sessions.  Each level brought with it new insights and it has been an empowering experience, which has not only increased my awareness of the world around me but changed the way I perceive so many aspects of life. I have a far greater understanding and appreciation of healing, health and wellbeing, metaphysics, the Chakra system and the flow of energy within the body. 

Furthermore, Reiki has profoundly helped me on a personal level so that it has literally been life changing, incredibly empowering and transformative and helped me (and continues to help me) to find the strength, clarity, self-belief and faith to make significant life changes more in tune with my true self.  In addition, it has helped to support me through many life challenges, not only emotionally, but physically, mentally and spiritually too.

Reiki helped support me on my trek to Everest Base Camp, and the trials and tribulations that brought with it.  It’s been there on my all my travels around the world, helping to calm me when travelling on my own and ground me after flying. It’s been there every night, helping me to go to sleep, and during relaxation at the end of Yoga to assist me in resting. I believe that Reiki had a role to play in bringing my beautiful life partner to me as I used it to empower this dream.

I used it to empower my dream of having children too and Reiki was ever present during my IVF journey. I channelled Reiki onto my eggs growing in preparation for use in the IVF process. I channelled Reiki on the embryos growing inside me and throughout pregnancy so that I now have two Reiki babies. I was able to use Reiki before and after the caesarean birth of both my boys and in the special care unit on my second son when he was born premature and needed oxygen to be able to breathe properly.

Reiki was invaluable in helping me to heal from the caesarean sections, and in coming to terms with the manner in which my first son arrived into this world. I have no doubt that Reiki had a role to play in the lessons that I learned through my quest to have children and the journey that this took me on, spiritually as much as anything else. Reiki is there for me to use on my boys, the big one and the two smaller ones and on other family and friends.

Over time, my life has become much more aligned with my truth and with the gifts I’ve been given, so that my soul has greater expression. I am certainly far happier, healthier, positive and balanced than I was before I discovered Reiki.   I have become far more in touch with my intuition and truth plus much more sensitive to energy – both my own and other people’s - plus of course nature and the natural flow of things.

Needless to say there is absolutely nothing special about me.  People often assume I must tire from channelling Reiki to others, but this is merely a misconception of what Reiki is all about – I am not a healer in the “laying on of hands” type way, I am simply a channel for the Reiki energy.  In fact, treating others is as relaxing and meditative for me as it is for the client and independent research has actually shown that during a treatment the brain wave patterns of practitioner and client become synchronised in the alpha state, characteristic of deep sleep and meditation.

Life still continues to present its many challenges, but I believe Reiki helps us to have a greater connection with our sense of self.  Feeling more strongly connected to yourself means that you are less likely to feel so overwhelmed by these stresses and you are more likely to see them for what they truly are.  Furthermore, Reiki can help you to realise what it is you need in your life (which is not always the same as what you think you want) and as a consequence, it encourages you to take control by letting go of all those things you no longer need. 

Simply put Reiki – as both a personal development and energy healing technique -can be a life changing experience that helps to enhance your experience of life and make you feel more connected to all of life, recognising (without doubt) that we are all one.

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Retreating in Goa at the beautiful Satsanga!

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Wow, we've just returned from an amazing adventure to India, beginning with a fabulous yoga retreat at the beautiful Satsanga retreat Centre in Goa.  

I know I'm biased as I was leading the retreat, but it was a fabulous retreat with an amazing bunch of lovely ladies with beautiful souls who called themselves "the Marigolds", and with good reason too as they shone as brightly as this sunny flower.

Satsanga is yoga heaven for me, a paradise then, where you're safely held within a space of love, care and kindness.  It's really like nothing else.  The staff are amazingly friendly and helpful, always smiling and keen to do all they can to make you feel at ease and able to enjoy your retreat.  

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The owners Emma and Olaf are beautiful souls too and my eldest, Elijah, loved playing with their eldest, Lomax, and one of the local boys, Rihad, It was a joy to see, happy in each other's company. In years to come my youngest, Eben, will no doubt forge a friendship with their youngest, Leo too.

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It's the family aspect that makes this retreat centre so welcoming. It's real life lived in a spiritual context, with tractors and diggers, but also the most beautiful yoga space.  You can even drink wine by the glass with your meal, which is refreshing from the olden days where wine and yoga were never encouraged to mix. It's all about balance after all.

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The yoga studio is incredible and I am pining for it now!  It's got it's own uplifting energy, containing the vibration of all that practice, which has taken place in there over the last ten years. There's a huge statue to Shiva too, and this has no doubt had an impact on our experiences in the yoga studio and beyond. Bringing Shiva into our lives is to be welcomed, but he likes to destroy...so that we can recreate...

We practiced four hours of yoga every day except for one day where we enjoyed a break in the afternoon and the ladies made the most of the opportunity to go and watch the sunsetting from the beach. The classes whizzed by, and we covered an awful lot of ground, and with it being such a beautifully intimate group, everyone was able to advance their practice somehow.

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For some this meant learning how to practice a headstand or a handstand, for others it was more about the other aspects of yoga, so perhaps chanting Bija mantra for the first time, or Kirtan, or embracing the diversity of breathing exercises and gaining an understanding of how they change the way we feel, or perhaps the opportunity for a yoga nidra every day, and using props in a way that we don't do in Guernsey due to lack of yoga studio space.

Each morning began at 7.30am with a two hour asana practice, each day having a different theme, maybe one day we looked at fear and how that showed up in our practise and maybe another looked at love, or clarity, or whatever it may be.  We practiced as many different postures as possible, sometimes using the wall for alignment awareness, and sometimes flowing, and being encouraged to adapt as necessary to allow for any body issues arising during the week.  This class always finished with a relaxation and me channelling Reiki to everyone in turn.

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After class we enjoyed a scrummy breakfast. There were bowls and bowls of freshly cut fruit, homemade gluten free granola, homemade peanut butter, a plethora of breads, and a hot Indian dish. We were spoilt for choice and Ewan and I always washed this down with homemade chai made with homemade coconut milk.  Bliss! 

Free time followed, perhaps a swim in the beautifully deep, long and refreshing pool, a lie on a sun lounger in the peaceful space protected from the rest of the world, with beautiful pink flowers and occasionally a sighting of a monkey swinging in the trees, and the dragon flies which are abundant here, or maybe a treatment with the Ayurvedic ladies. 

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Lunch was at 1.30pm and was a help-yourself affair, perhaps a vegetarian or vegan curry, with rice and a salad, or there was humous one day with falafels.  All the food is made from scratch using the finest ingredients sourced locally as much as possible.  The head chef, Hannah, is incredibly knowledgeable about the healing power of food, she also a trained nutritional consultant and most of the ladies saw her for this service on a one-to-one basis  and said she was incredibly intuitive and helpful

The afternoon was again at your leisure, before the class at 4.30pm.  Often Ewan, the boys and I would disappear after breakfast and head to the beach in a taxi.  However if Eben decided to nap, we'd go late morning instead, skipping lunch. It was very easy to get out and about. Satsanga provide a list of mobile numbers for their pool of local taxi drivers from the village, and there's even a free phone to use. 

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We happened upon Isaac on our first outing and he became our taxi driver for the whole week.  It'd take him ten minutes to arrive from calling him, and he was always available for us. Sometimes we'd venture to one of the closer beaches such as Anjuna (15 minutes away by car), although I preferred it when we ventured further up the coast to Mandrem (35-40 minutes by car), as the beaches were cleaner.

We're spoilt for beaches in Guernsey and I certainly wouldn't go to this area of Goa just for their beaches.  The popular ones like Anjuna were dirty, and we quickly learned the best areas to go along this stretch to avoid glass on the sand and rubbish in the shallows. This was probably more of a concern to us than for most, simply because we had the children and Elijah likes to run around.

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The beaches farther away like Mandrem were clean, and they had better shore break which made for lots of fun with Elijah in the water.  Furthermore they're quieter without the loud disco music so we'd get a couple of sun beds in the shade and Ewan would sit with Eben while Elijah and I played in the sea.  It's sun bed service here and lemon soda quickly became the perfect refreshing Goa drink for us!

We were generally the only ones going to the beach as the ladies preferred to stay by the pool, swimming, reading books, chatting, and enjoying treatments with the Ayurvedic-qualified girls.  I went for a few Shirodhana sessions where warm oil is poured over the forehead and third eye and found this deeply relaxing. The ladies also arranged sessions with the Ayurvedic doctor and with Hannah.  They popped out for shopping purposes but they were all happy to chill out as much as possible.

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The afternoon yoga class was a relaxed affair, including pranayama, meditation and a yoga nidra. Sometimes there was some gentle movement, other times restorative yoga, sometimes Bhakti yoga with some singing, and other times the chanting of Bija mantra, and then the use of mudra. It was certainly the more introspective part of the day and also an opportunity to truly tap into the energy of the practice beyond the asana and see how that made us feel.

Dinner followed at 7pm, and we were again spoilt. All of the local ladies who assist in the kitchen are very skilled in producing quality home-cooked Indian vegan and vegetarian food and they catered superbly for all our dietary requirements.  There were yummy Indian curries and one time we had Burmese and another Thai, and on the final night it was Friday pizza night using the proper pizza oven that Emma and Olaf have recently installed, and a Spanish friend who used to run his own pizza place back home in Barcelona was on hand with the cooking.

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Many times I thought we'd died and gone to heaven.  If it wasn't the meals it was the snacks, the raw cacao balls were amazing, and then the homemade juices and smoothies which you could order throughout the day, the yoga studio and the pool, and the rooms which were spacious, at least for us, and the fans that helped to keep us cool.

One night I arranged for Emma's teacher, Om, to come and lead a kirtan session.  It was a hilarious hour as we tried to tune into his wife's pitch and chanted the Hare Krishna mantra at some pace.  None of us dared to look at another for fear of giving rise to the giggling we felt was near! Om and his wife brought their daughter with them and they were so lovely in there sharing, it was a fab night!

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Another night Emma arranged for one of her friends, an Italian lady called Chiara to come and share a very ancient, deep and dynamic style of singing called Dhrupad with us. Dhrupad is the mother of all hindustani music evoking the ancient veda and more ancient nada yoga chanting. It was amazing, you could really feel the essence of this ancient mystical music and Chiara was so passionate and inspiring in her sharing. 

It was a Taurus full moon the last day of the retreat so the night beforehand we Marigolds swam in the pool with the moon shining brightly ahead and howled up at it for holding us so safely over the week. This was a lovely way to spend our last evening together! 

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The retreat finished after breakfast on the Saturday and we all felt heavy hearted saying goodbye.  Some were headed directly home and others, like us, onwards to other parts of India.

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Ewan, the boys, Vicki and I flew up to Delhi and took the train the next day to Agra to see the Taj Mahal, before taking a train back to Delhi and visiting the Red Fort. It was a crazy few days after the peace and calm of Satsanga and  I wouldn't do this again!

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I'm already looking at dates to return to Satsanga and would go back next week if I could.  It truly is one of those magical gems that you find from time to time during your life and I'm grateful it's been in mine!

Thank you to all of you at Satsanga and to you beautiful Marigold ladies, and of course to Vicki for being child-helper extraordinaire on our adventures to Delhi and beyond. 

x

 

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Namaste from incredible India!

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We made it here in one piece, children and all, and are now on retreat at the beautifully peaceful Satsanga Retreat Centre in Goa. Here we're nourishing our souls and revitalising and rejuvenating our bodies and minds at the same time.

It’s a joy to practice yoga in the Shiva shala, swim in the refreshing pool, eat the most delicious vegetarian food (the raw cacao balls and masala chai with fresh coconut milk are especially divine), and be treated with such kindness and attentiveness by our Indian friends. 

We’ve been enjoying trips to the beaches and the markets and getting out of the comfort zone and experiencing a different pace of life. This is a fabulous place to retreat – my idea of yoga heaven!

Love and light.

x

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