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Moon, Light and Shadow

ART, POETRY, LOVE – THE MAGIC OF JOURNEYS

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Yoga

Under The Banyan Tree

Last night I feel asleep with the TV on. It’s not something I like to do because I believe I am unable fall into a deep restful sleep if there is a flickering screen with continuous voices. But I was watching the animated series, Avatar, which I enjoy very much, and didn’t realise I’d fallen asleep, In the middle of the night I woke up, and the episode that was on, was the one in which Aang and his friends meet a waterbending master from the Foggy Swamp Tribe called Huu, who tells them:

“I reached enlightenment right here under the banyan grove tree. I hear it callin’ me, just like you did. See this whole swamp is actually just one tree spread out over miles… branches, spread and sink and take root and then spread some more – one big living organism, just like the entire world.

You think you’re any different from me? Or your friends‌? Or this tree‌? If you listen hard enough you can hear every living thing breathing together, you can feel everything growing. We’re all livin’ together, even if most folks don’t act like it. We all have the same roots, and we are all branches of the same tree.”

That is actually how I feel about everything and everyone around me. At the end of my last yoga class, our teacher gave us a little deck of cards to choose one from, which would be a personal message from the universe. I smiled when I read my message. It was one word: Freedom.

Sometimes it’s so sad: There are so many little signs, methods, practices, and ways of thinking that can help people, but most don’t know of them. It’s a way of life that has been unlearned over the history of mankind, generation after generation. Maybe that’s why so many people are lost. But I do have hope for our future. Many people are seeking truth, and yearning for ‘something’ they know they need even though they don’t know how to find it, or what ‘it’ is. They’re looking, which is enough for now.

I’ve always asked questions, always wondered and worried about the things I didn’t know and was always afraid because I could not understand the strange emptiness I felt sometimes. But, like I said, I’ve always been looking and I’m happy with the progress I’ve made over the years. Makes the future seem mysterious and exciting and vast!

I honestly wish the same for everyone, after all, we ARE all connected, in ways we are yet to understand, and what affects one, affects all. 🙂

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Luna on Upful

Upful Journal is an independent online journal with the vision of uniting Trinidad and Tobago as a community based on a mindful, positive, compassionate attitude and way of living. I am proud to say that I am a part of the Upful Team, contributing in my own way. Here are my articles (and one recipe) which were published over the last few months.
“Our mission is to act as a resource that presents ideas and information that trigger conscious thought and growth among readers, thus exciting a ripple effect of personal, environmental and social change.
We believe that change must begin within each individual and that it can be as simple as shifting an attitude and an action to be better aligned with a mindful way of life.
From this belief we are determined to be a relatable resource, much like a friend, to our readers. We want to share all of the wisdom and insights of mindfulness and higher conscious thought in a way that is accessible and non-intimidating to our average reader.
By planting small seeds of awareness within their consciousness we hope to inspire them to think, and to be intrigued to learn more and live a happier more fulfilling life.”
Read more about Upful Journal here: http://www.upfuljournal.com/about/
 
If you would like to write for Upful read here: http://www.upfuljournal.com/write/

Full Moon Yoga on The North Deck

The last Full Moon was on the 27th of March and I accepted an invitation to be a part of a Full Moon Yoga Session up at The North Deck, a cantilevered observation platform which extends out from a ridge high over our rain forest. This amazing tree canopy eventually makes its way down to the sea and the famous North Coast of Trinidad.

It was my first time up at The North Deck, and despite that fact that the yoga session took place at night and the Caribbean Sea was not visible below, it was magical being up there. I’ve always felt affected by the Moon…it’s simple logic to me really: I’m made up of 70% water, so why wouldn’t the Moon have some sort of effect on me as it has on every body of water on the planet? (Unfortunately, a few days before the Full Moon I’m unusually temperamental, but that’s a story for another day.)

“The Moon is believed to represent our intuition, mind, emotions, creativity, sensitivity, and the great feminine power. The Full Moon brings closure, death (to a situation or feeling), change, rebirth, and manifestation. It is a time where we can reflect on those things that no longer serve and give ourselves honor and nourishment in releasing them. The Moon corresponds to the element water and invites us to remember our connection to the oceans held within earth, as well as the oceans of water contained within our own bodies. Water invites movement, flow, a breaking through of built up physical, energetic, and emotional resistance. Water is the element that soothes and calms through steady, cool dissolve.” 
It is believed the Full Moon day can bring spiritual clarity and inspiration from the Divine. The gates to true knowledge are opened within our hearts and we have the greatest opportunity to achieve peace and absolute freedom. I was especially hoping for this to be true that night as I really needed some clarity after a doozy of a weekend. 
I had done some research about the power of this Full Moon and was ready to release what no longer served me and was weighing me down, to take responsibility for what had happened in my life and what was happening (good and bad), and to review and rejuvenate my relationship with myself and with others. The full moon is a time of illumination and I was ready to draw upon the clarity that comes from introspection even if uncomfortable truths were revealed. I was going to let them be a catalyst for change.
The Yoga was Vinyasa Flow, a version I had never tried before and I hadn’t actually practiced my Yoga in almost seven months. I was a bit concerned that I would not hold my own but it was amazing: my body just took over and fell right into it. After an hour or so, we were all lying on our mats resting and letting the energies do their work so I started reviewing what I had planned. As I stared at the Moon through the canopy of branches and leaves above me, I let go of hurt, anger, doubt, fear, insecurity, and feelings of unworthiness. Then I invited love, faith, hope, and clarity into my life. The wind started to blow as I watched the branches above me dance and then all of a sudden I felt the wind on my face and leaves falling on and around me. I reflexively clutched the large leaf that landed on my tummy, as my tears flowed. It was an amazing experience. One I hope to carry with me to the next Full Moon.

More about my life with Yoga can be found here.

Sources:

Letting Go Of Negativity

Original post written on 22nd November 2010

I spent the greater part of this weekend watching one of my favourite animated tv series: Avatar: The Last Airbender.
The series follows the adventures of the main protagonist Aang and his friends, who must save the world by defeating the evil Fire Lord and ending the destructive 100 year old war with the Fire Nation.
The story takes place in a world that is home to humans, fantastic animals, and spirits. Human civilization is divided into four nations: the Water Tribes, the Earth Kingdom, the Air Nomads, and the Fire Nation. Each nation has its own natural element, on which it bases its society. Furthermore, people known as Benders have the ability to manipulate the element of their nation using the physical motions of martial arts. The show’s creators based each Bending style on a style of real-world martial art, leading to visual differences in the techniques used by Waterbenders (tai chi chuan), Earthbenders (hung ga kung fu), for the most part, Firebenders (Northern Shaolin kung fu) and Airbenders (baguazhang). Each country is also associated with a season: autumn for the Air Nomads, winter for the Water Tribe, spring for the Earth Kingdom and summer for the Fire Nation.
At any given time, there is only one person alive in the world of Avatar who is capable of bending all four elements: the show’s Avatar, the spirit of the planet manifested in human form. When an Avatar dies, he or she is reincarnated into the next nation in the Avatar Cycle, in the order of the seasons. Legend holds the Avatar must master each bending art in seasonal order as well, starting with their native element.
The tv series was split into three ‘parts’ known as Books, each with many chapters. I am thoroughly enjoying the series, and the little fact that I started following Aang’s story a few months ago even though the series first aired back in 2006, makes me smile, as somehow this coincided with my exploration into Yoga. 
A few weeks ago, my Yoga class began a routine, at the end of which we would’ve performed kriyas (series of postures) and meditations specifically focusing on the seven chakras in the body. Now that we are onto the week of the seventh chakra, I can’t seem to stop thinking about the final chapter in Book Two.

Aang meets Guru Pathik, who attempts to teach him how to reach the Avatar state (enlightenment). After realizing that Aang knows nothing about Chakras he takes him to a creek and tells him: 
Guru Pathik: 
The water flows through this creek much like the energy flows through your body. (stirs the pool with a stick) As you see there are several pools where the water swirls around before flowing on. These pools are like our chakras.

Aang: 
So chakras are pools of spiraling energy in our bodies?

Guru Pathik:
(pleased) Exactly! If nothing else were around, this creek would flow pure and clear. However, life is messy, and things tend to fall in the creek, and then what happens?

Aang: 
The creek can’t flow?

Guru Pathik: 
(nods) Yes. But if we open the paths between the pools…(clears some moss clogging the water with his stick. The water pours quickly into the next pool, and soon all of them are running clean and clear.)

Aang: (eagerly) The energy flows! 
Life is like that isn’t it? When we allow negativity (stress, hurt, hate, bad habits) to build up in our lives without dealing with them and letting them go, we create blocks to our emotional, mental, spiritual and physical development and well being. I know I’ve accumulated many blocks over the years and I’m working on clearing away the moss and weeds and emotional buildup, so my true self can shine through.
I know I haven’t been as dedicated as I could have been during the last two months, toward improving myself and my life, but I also learned that I should not be too hard on myself. My intention is still there and I’ve seen and felt the benefits already. Habits are very tough to break, but I know I can do it. 

I took this photo during my four day ‘retreat’ in Blanchisseuse, and I came across it while I was sorting through my photo files. Reminded me of Aang and the pools. Maybe it’s a little sign that I need to go back, armed with all I’ve learned in the last ten weeks.

Storyline for The Last Airbender: Wikipedia

Luna Means Light

Photographed at 4:48am, 4th Dec 2012

Originally posted on March 9th 2011 Sometimes it’s good to glance back at where you came from so can remind yourself where you are going. 🙂

I’d just arrived at home after a really agonizing day at work. That day I was finding it particularly difficult to concentrate and thus do anything well. A social issue also bogged me down and by the time I left the office and was on my way home, I felt so heavy, drained, uninspired and simply wanted to crawl into my bed and curl myself into a little ball.
I sat despondent on my couch with the TV on when I got a text message from a good friend who wanted to know if I would like to meet up for a drink after yoga. When I told him I wasn’t going to yoga class that day and explained why, his reply was perfect:
“Hmm, well sounds like you had a tough day. Don’t worry about work, it’ll sort itself out tomorrow. In terms of that ‘social issue’, you already know what’s best for you. But I know you, and frankly you sound like you just might be feeling a little sorry for yourself.”
THAT made me sit up. The one thing I can’t stand is people feeling sorry for themselves. It’s perfectly understandable to vent frustrations and cry when things are bad. But wallowing in self pity has always been something that’s difficult for me to understand. And there I was, WALLOWING. I jumped into the shower and was in my car, heading to class in fifteen minutes.
I called my friend to say we could meet after class and thanked him for waking me up a bit. He said that he didn’t wake me up, that I know what I’m about and who I am, and it’s ok to forget sometimes.
“I know,” I told him, “I’m Luna. I’m a Light. Luna means Light.”
“Exactly!”
I arrived at the Studio, minutes before class and our Yoga Teacher was handing out pieces of paper, instructing us to write a ‘love’ letter to ourselves, declaring what we liked about ourselves. She said, ‘just go with it, really big-up yourselves’. I took that to mean, write the best YOU, you know you are. I stretched out on my tummy and began. We had one minute, after which we’d put the letter under our mats and began.
It was a great class that day. Just goes to show, when you push yourself to do something good for you, the rewards are limitless. This term we have been working on cleansing our bodies/minds/spirits of toxins, tension, and other agents that negatively impact upon our health and wellbeing, and inviting positive thought and behaviour patterns. “As we think, so we are.”
The following quote is what I wrote to myself. Now, I post it here for you. As you think, so you are also:
To my friend, – your deepest truest self, soon to be shown on the outside as well as within:
You are a light – bright, warm, welcoming, honest and brilliant.
You surround yourself and those around you with hope, magic, love and laughter.
You give comfort when it is needed and teach others to see the beauty in themselves and all around us.
You are respectful of life – your life, life around you in others, in all plants and animals, and our beautiful earth and cosmos.
You are truly part of the divine whole, easily recognizing and calling out the divine in others, and from the brightest light of all, which connects everything.
You are born from this light and will always be a part of that place that exists within all of us, in the wish part of our brain.
Whatever you believe, you can create and make it so.
Shine On!!

T&T World Peace Festival

This Saturday I attended the Trinidad & Tobago World Peace Festival. Hosted by Bliss Yoga, Trinidad, the festival is a not-for-profit event aimed at promoting peaceful, healthy and sustainable living in Trinidad and Tobago. This was the Festival’s second year and I enjoyed myself this year as much as I did last year.

There I am, in the long white dress in front of the Del Mano’s pesto booth!
At last year’s Festival walking through the exhibition halls of NAPA, visiting exhibitors who spoke about the benefits of yoga, holistic nutrition, sustainable living and sampling the incredible organic food, I had made the decision to pursue my dream of opening Luna Surya Studios. I envisioned a beautiful space for healing and creativity through yoga, art and music, where we would learn and teach each other to discover the beauty, spirit, and art, which lie within each of us. 
I found a way to make it happen by agreeing to room with three friends because  the odds of finding a house large enough to accommodate a studio space would be greater. We found a good option and things looked promising, but as fate would have it, there were other factors which suggested that maybe it wasn’t Luna Surya’s time. So during the past few weeks I’ve been trying to decide if to close the Studio for a while, possibly a year. Our lease is up at the end of August so by mid July I have to know which direction I should take. I’ll have to know what sort of place to look out for, one with roommates and a space for the studio, or a small apartment just for me. After a couple of weeks of obsessing about it I have stopped worrying and decided that the answers would present themselves to me. 
I will say one thing though: going to the Peace Festival on Saturday was a big clue. I felt very much at home and like myself. It brings me peace to be reassured that I have a place and purpose in this world. In the meantime I’ll just keep searching the market for my beautiful open plan space with lots of natural light, high windows which open to nature, and a nurturing positive environment for my students.

AT THE PEACE FESTIVAL
Links to some of my favourite exhibitors:
Del Mano – The Basil and Melongene Pestos are a must try!
Crate Foods – Pepper Sauce to die for!
Gina’s Chocolate Truffles – Little pieces of heaven
Beyond Business Limited – Creative Stationery made from recycled paper
More Sushi – One word: YOM!

My Carnival Weekend

Carnival Queen 2012
Mother of Humanity – The Weeping Mother

This weekend was what is known as Carnival weekend in Trinidad, a national celebration that is almost two centuries old. Carnival Monday and Tuesday are unofficial public holidays in our twin island republic and on those days mas bands take to our city streets with hundreds of costumed revellers in vibrant colours. Music trucks blast everyone’s favourites calypsos and soca artistes keep the crowds hyped. Masqeraders dance, wine and jump up and everyone is in a party mode. I ‘played mas’ twice many years ago and had a grand time but eventually costumes became too expensive and it seemed more practical to save the three to five thousand TT dollars for something more tangible.

King of Carnival 2012
MacFarlane’s Ralliez-Vous A Mon Panache Blanc 
For previous Carnival weekends I escaped to north coast beach resorts or hosted board game weekends for friends and family who liked the idea of avoiding the bacchanal as much as I did. But this year it was my intention to be home bound for my five day weekend. I stocked up on groceries, DVDs, and books earlier in the week, planning to relax by the pool, catch up on my reading, and write. Two of my roommates are writing novels and writing / editing was a substantial part of their weekend plans as well.  With my Luna Surya Studios blog back up and running I had some formatting and blog post planning to do.
All in all it was a good weekend: Scrumptious meals, entertaining movies, quick dips in the pool (which somehow managed to stay cool despite the bright sunshine), and lots of writing, which made me very happy. Yesterday morning when I woke up I knew I had already accomplished much of what I’d planned to do, and with Wednesday afternoon carded for therapy and yoga I had a lazy morning. I took another dip in the pool after therapy and then went to the YWCA for our first class at our new venue. The space is actually very welcoming and ‘felt right’. It’s open and airy and we performed our kriya and meditation with the night air blowing its way around us. Our yoga teacher said that Wednesday was the new moon and the twenty four hour period after a new moon is the best time for setting new intentions.
After our kriya for opportunity and our meditation for recognizing prosperity, I remarked to a fellow student that our class was the best way to end the weekend. I felt recharged and grateful and the promise of the unknown to come was giving me goose bumps. I actually felt like there was magic – an energy, all around us. That feeling stayed with me for most of the night and was still there when I woke up this morning. What a weekend! I think I’ve been working so hard and was under more stress than I’d realized so this five-day weekend was just what I needed to recharge and refocus. The delicious thing is that next weekend starts tomorrow! J

Moon, Light and Shadow

Full Moon February 7th 2012

Last night was the second full moon for 2012. The cycle of our Moon is completed with a full moon, which represents death, change or tying up of loose ends. It symbolizes the end chapter, shedding light on the things that are interfering with our spiritual advancements which we no longer need to hold onto. It is the perfect time for releasing the things in our lives that no longer serve us such as addictions to food, drugs, or sex, for relinquishing suffering involved in hurtful relationships, and for discharging physical and emotional pains.

Two days before or after a full moon is also a great opportunity to draw on the healing energy of the Moon to enhance our emotional strengths, capacity for forgiveness and creative instincts. Meditating and practicing Yoga on the day of or on the days before and after a full moon is especially powerful. The best part, is that the Moon’s energy is available to us all.

My Yoga class was held on a rooftop in Port of Spain under the stars and the beautiful full moon. We performed a kriya (series of postures) specifically designed for body cleansing and disease prevention, which I’m still feeling the satisfying effects of tonight. During our ten minute deep relaxation under the dark velvet night sky, I couldn’t help opening my eyes to catch glimpses of Orion and the Moon. It was such an awe inspiring night.

View of part of the city from the rooftop
Our National Academy of Performing Arts is in the foreground
I still have to figure out which star this is.
It was directly opposite the rising moon in the night sky.

I encourage each of you to find a few minutes to spend with the Moon over the next couple of days. Draw on its healing energy that is especially for us. I leave you with a favourite song of mine in honour of our healing moon. Happy moongazing!

Moonshadow by Cat Stevens. Click here to play

Luna

Reaching Up, Branching Out

My Studio is now on Blogger, Facebook and Twitter. My beautiful space for Healing and Creativity through Yoga, Art and Music, emerged from a desire to learn, and to teach the ways in which we can discover the beauty, spirit, and art, which lie within each of us.

Teachers of music, art, yoga and kindred disciplines—tai chi, reiki, massage, dance, painting, colour therapy, and more—are invited to inquire about our space and discover the many ways in which we can serve you. Let’s share the knowledge, the joy of growth, and develop a greater understanding of ourselves, each other and our connection to our world.

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