Friday, 16 December 2011

The Meaning of Namaste

One of the most popular questions Ive been asked over the past 3 months in my yoga for golfers classes has been "what does Namaste mean?". I find this truly amazing. It is fascinating for me not least as a yoga teacher but as a student of psychology and human behaviour to see how people react to this gesture that they know very little about. The connection to it is profound and you can see this instantly. People are drawn to the honesty and safety of the sentiment albeit unconscious. It is something you feel; you sense the truth, the light, the peace and the love because when you strip back the ego these are the only things that matter and that make us one. Namaste is truly something to be cherished. So here is the quick-ish A-Z....

The gesture Namaste represents the belief that there is a Divine spark within each of us that is located in the heart chakra. The gesture is an acknowledgment of the soul in one by the soul in another. "Nama" means bow, "as" means I, and "te" means you. Therefore, Namaste literally means "bow me you" or "I bow to you."

There are many interpretations Namaste:

The Divine in me recognizes and honors, the Divine in you.
The spirit within me bows to the spirit within you.
I greet that place where you and I are one.
I honor the place in you which is of love, of truth, of light and of peace.
No matter which interpretation you choose, you should think of it as a divine blessing that honors sacredness and equality in everyone.

To perform Namaste, we place the hands together at the heart, close the eyes, and bow the head. It can also be done by placing the hands together in front of the third eye, bowing the head, and then bringing the hands down to the heart. This is an especially deep form of respect.

For a teacher and student, Namaste allows two individuals to come together energetically to a place of connection and timelessness, free from the bonds of ego-connection. If it is done with deep feeling in the heart and with the mind surrendered, a deep union of spirits can blossom.

Usually, Namaste is done at the end of class because the mind is less active and the energy in the room is more peaceful. The teacher initiates Namaste as a symbol of gratitude and respect toward her students and her own teachers and in return invites the students to connect with their lineage, thereby allowing the truth to flow—the truth that we are all one when we live from the heart.

Anne Marie

Sunday, 11 September 2011

My September 11th memoir

Today is the 10 year anniversary of September 11th - it's hard to believe it’s been a decade. My experience, my feelings, my memories and all the vivid images are still as clear today as they were 10 years ago. Consequence perhaps of been caught up in the middle of the worst terrorist attack on American soil ever, yes definitely! Either way whether you were in New York or not, everyone has their own story. We all know where we were and what we were doing on that fateful morning.

I had been visiting friends in Tioga, Pennsylvania and had my train ticket booked back to Penn Station on the morning of September 11th. I was up early that morning as I had to take a bus to Buffalo, NY to catch my train. It was a glorious morning with beautiful blue skies. I was sad to be leaving my friends but I was looking forward to getting back to the Hamptons to my family.

My friend Stephanie, who was taking me to the bus depot called to the house to collect me around 9.15am in a terrible panic. She was crying telling us to turn the t.v. on. To our absolute disbelief we saw that a commercial aeroplane had hit the Trade Centre and there was talk of the Pentagon being hit too. As we watched events unfold in real time on American television it was becoming very apparent that the U.S. was under attack from terrorists! During this time I had to make a decision regarding my travel plans back down to Manhattan. Everything was so uncertain; nobody knew for sure what was going on. I decided that I would stay where I was for now and maybe make my way back to the city the following day.

Within an hour however, everything changed! The South and North towers of the World Trade Centre collapsed with thousands of people feared trapped, injured and dead. The Pentagon had been hit and another hijacked plane had crashed in Pennsylvania. As I watched all this devastation unfold on the various news channels, the magnitude of the day was beginning to sink in. My thoughts went straight to my aunt Anne and uncle Bob in the Hamptons who were aware that I was making my way to Manhattan that morning. Further afield I realised that these events were going out live all around the world and I began to think of how worried my family in Ireland would be as well as they would have been aware of my itinerary too. I decided to start making a few phone calls to reassure people that I was safe. I was unable to do so though as phone lines were down all over the city. I couldn’t get through to the Hamptons or to my friend Heather in the Bronx and I was also unable to get an international line to call home. There was no internet access either so I couldn’t even email. There was nothing I could do except wait it out and see what happened. Eventually I received a call from my aunt Anne in New Jersey a day or 2 later who had been in contact with my aunt Anne in the Hamptons and from there we established a triangle of communication that helped relay information. I was told all routes in and out of Manhattan were closed and would be for days so I was advised to stay put in Pennsylvania until everything calmed down.

I was stranded in Pennsylvania for a few days but made my way back down to the City once all the bridges etc were re-opened. What I arrived into though was not the city I had left almost 2 weeks earlier! I remember walking out of Penn Station and being greeted by absolute chaos. There were cops everywhere, ambulances, and fire engines flying up and down the streets, sirens blaring. The crowds you expect inside and outside Penn Station was the same as usual however you couldn’t but sense the feeling of solidarity among New York’s citizens. You didn’t feel isolated or independent; you felt part of something, something that was bringing people together. The compassion, patience, generosity and goodwill that I experienced that day on the streets of New York was truly something to behold. I was ushered kindly by a police officer out of the noise and chaos and in to a cab to get down to Lexington Avenue to catch the last Hampton Jitney of the day.  

The image that remains most vividly in my mind is looking out at the Manhattan skyline from the back window of the Hampton Jitney as we travelled over the Queensboro Bridge and seeing the gaping nothing of where the World Trade Centre had stood just a week earlier, with the fires and smoke still smouldering. Tears streamed down my face. I knew everything had changed for New York, America and the World.

STATISTICS: Times of impact: 8:46 a.m. and 9:02 a.m. Time the burning towers stood: 56 minutes and 102 minutes. Time they took to fall: 12 seconds. 2819 dead from 115 different nations. 343 Fireman/paramedics, 23 NYPD, 37 Port Authority officers. R.I.P.
Om Shanti
Anne Marie

Friday, 12 August 2011

Appreciation and Gratitude

“By focusing on what is good in your life, more goodness will flow to you.”

This simple mantra can be used in a lot of different contexts and applies to everything going on in one’s life at any given time, whether it’s relationships, work, golf etc. We need to realise the power of positive thinking. This article found me recently and I wanted to share it.

Learn to love yourself enough so that when someone enters your life that treats you negatively, you can stand up for yourself and have the strength to let them go. You can learn that it is okay to say no to anyone who is not willing to treat you with the love and respect you not only want, but also deserve. Have the courage to walk away from anything that does not serve you well. Search for your highest good.

You may be thinking right now, how do I go about this when I do not have the things that would make me content? What is in your world externally is nothing more than a mirror of what is going on internally. So to change the external vision of what your world appears to be, go within and change it there, then the outward vision will change to mirror the inward feelings.

Understand that every new path has a beginning and a first step. To pursue anything new, all you have to do is to take one-step at a time. And that is the step before you. If we learn to feel and believe that we have all that we desire and want in life and accept what has been granted to us, more will come.

It is all about appreciation and gratitude. If you could learn to appreciate and have gratitude by focusing on what is good in your life, more goodness will flow to you. If we complain that we do not have those things, then that is where our focus is and that is what we will continue to attract to us. If we think and imagine having the life we desire, and act and feel as we have it within, it is sure to appear before us.

When negative events occur in your life, if you look for the silver lining in the dark rain cloud, you will learn that good is always flowing toward you, if you have but the eyes to see it. And when you embrace the good that comes from that stormy rain cloud, you are transforming the energy of what you previously deemed as something negative into some positive. When you sing this new song, more “good” things can flow to you. 

Love and Light,

Anne Marie

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

People come into your life for a Reason, a Season, or a Lifetime...

People come into your life for a Reason, A Season or A Lifetime. When you know which one it is, you will know what to do for that person.

When someone is in your life for a Reason, it is usually to meet a need you have expressed. They have come to assist you through a difficulty, to provide you with guidance and support, to aid you physically, emotionally or spiritually. They may seem like a godsend and they are. They are there for the reason you need them to be.

Then, without any wrongdoing on your part or at an inconvenient time, this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end. Sometimes they die. Sometimes they walk away. Sometimes they act up and force you to take a stand.

What we must realize is that when our need has been met, our desire fulfilled, their work is done. The prayer you sent up has been answered and now it is time to move on.

Some people come into your life for a Season, because your turn has come to share, grow or learn. They bring you an experience of peace or make you laugh. They may teach you something you have never done. They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy. Believe it, it is real. But only for a season.

Lifetime relationships teach you lifetime lessons, things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation. Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas of your life. It is said that love is blind but friendship is clairvoyant.

Thank you for being a part of my life, whether you were a reason, a season or a lifetime.
Hari Om
Anne Marie

Monday, 30 May 2011

“When the student is ready, the teacher will appear”

It has only been recently that this ancient Buddhist quote has resonated with me. One of the things that I am so grateful for along my current path in life, in establishing Yoga for Golf IRELAND is that I have the ability to bring yoga to a demographic that yoga hasn’t been really accessible to for various reasons.
I was extremely humbled by a notion that was articulated to me recently by a tutor of mine who said, “There are people out there waiting for you to start teaching......”. WOW, when I really reflect on this idea I feel so inspired and empowered and it provokes in me a purpose that I always knew was there but didn’t know what it was!
I have received so much from yoga over the years. It answers all my questions and has afforded me a deep sense of awareness that has affected every part of my life in such a positive way. To be able to share and pass on this very special gift is at times overwhelming for me but a path I believe in and am truly committed to.  
The strong pull of my ENFJ personality which has been the unconscious force driving most of my career decisions over the past few years has at last paid dividends and brought me to a place of personal satisfaction and contentment. For the first time in my life I can honestly say that the conflict between my physical, emotional and intellectual life is being reconciled.
So here I am, ready to guide the golfers of Ireland through their own unique journeys through yoga. Some may merely show up to get exercise and gain flexibility that is directly transferrable to the golf course, which is absolutely fine. But for those who chose to turn up and are ready to listen, they will be presented with an experience that is invaluable for both their personal and sporting lives.
Come to a yoga for golfers class. Be a ready student and the answers you seek will come to you!
Anne Marie