A smaller post-pandemic National Animal Rights March but just as passionate about a more compassionate world

With only around 1,000 people taking to the streets at this year’s National Animal Rights March in London – compared with 12,000 at the last similar (pre-pandemic) event in 2019 – the drummers were more important than usual. Events like this are all about creating a vivid spectacle to attract the attention of the publicContinue reading “A smaller post-pandemic National Animal Rights March but just as passionate about a more compassionate world”

You don’t need to cross a facilitator’s palm with gold to breathe better but breathwork practices can definitely help

Breathwork – or doing breathing exercises as a formal practice – is big right now. It means the internet is crawling with “breathwork facilitators” selling lessons in how to breathe better. There definitely appears to be a need for this as it’s widely claimed that many of us don’t breathe properly – often leading toContinue reading “You don’t need to cross a facilitator’s palm with gold to breathe better but breathwork practices can definitely help”

The more you look into the ancient history and philosophies of yoga, the more you see there is no one true yoga

BOOK REVIEW The Truth of Yoga: A Comprehensive Guide to Yoga’s History, Texts, Philosophy, and Practices by Daniel Simpson In the non-digital world yogis tend to get on with doing yoga. But in the great virtual ashram of the internet – the shop front of a multi-billion-pound industry – yoga teachers queue up to tellContinue reading “The more you look into the ancient history and philosophies of yoga, the more you see there is no one true yoga”

Netflix’s exposé of Bikram inspired me to look beyond the predator and find a great yoga practice

The Netflix documentary Bikram: Yogi, Guru, Predator served to confirm all my biases about Bikram Choudhury, the peacocking, underpanted father of Bikram Yoga, or “hot yoga” as it’s known when not done under his trademark. You don’t have to see too many clips of him in full flow to note that he’s almost a parodyContinue reading “Netflix’s exposé of Bikram inspired me to look beyond the predator and find a great yoga practice”

Steve Hagen’s ‘mysterious figure’: cheap parlour trick or a glimpse of enlightenment?

Many people say the American Zen priest Steve Hagen’s primer Buddhism Plain and Simple is excellent, and I drifted through its early pages thinking the same. He has a clear, direct style that avoids a lot of the clunky dharma translations that often serve only to confuse. However, just as he is settling in toContinue reading “Steve Hagen’s ‘mysterious figure’: cheap parlour trick or a glimpse of enlightenment?”

James Phillips and the Lurchers, purveyors of party music that exposed the madness of apartheid South Africa

James Phillips was one of the finest rock musicians ever to kick out the jams, but there’s a fair chance that, unless you’re a South African of a certain age, you probably haven’t heard of him. Perhaps some day he will be more widely known as a result of Michael Cross’s magnificent documentary The Fun’sContinue reading “James Phillips and the Lurchers, purveyors of party music that exposed the madness of apartheid South Africa”

A deeply relaxing guided meditation in which you use your breath and body to travel towards open awareness

When I first started meditating, I was strongly against the idea of guided meditations. I believed quite rigidly that someone else’s voice added too much noise to the practice. In more recent years, however, I’ve come round to the idea, and even occasionally offer guided meditations in my yoga classes. Here’s one in which IContinue reading “A deeply relaxing guided meditation in which you use your breath and body to travel towards open awareness”

A review of the Sam Harris meditation app Waking Up, a nonsense-free route to non-dual awareness

REVIEW: Waking Up – A Meditation Course Sam Harris suggests at one point in his Waking Up app that what he is trying to teach is “non-dual awareness without the bullshit”. Which is precisely what he does. Non-dual awareness? Essentially, you sit down to meditate; you observe your breath, sensations in your body, the fluctuationsContinue reading “A review of the Sam Harris meditation app Waking Up, a nonsense-free route to non-dual awareness”

12,000 march in London to highlight cruelty – and environmental destruction – of industrial farming

I’m not a great one for being in a crowd; not much of a “joiner”, full stop. And yet yesterday I happily found myself joining the 12,000-odd vegans walking through London for this year’s Animal Rights March. I went along out of interest, as a way of getting out of my comfort zone, and endedContinue reading “12,000 march in London to highlight cruelty – and environmental destruction – of industrial farming”

An independent review of Alexandria Crow’s DeConstruct to ReConstruct, a scientific path to the roots of yoga

REVIEW: Alexandria Crow’s DeConstruct to ReConstruct One of the premises behind this course is that many of the postures used in popular yoga classes – including many considered basic – require our joints to work beyond their functional range, or that for which the body has evolved to be healthy. Doing this repeatedly has theContinue reading “An independent review of Alexandria Crow’s DeConstruct to ReConstruct, a scientific path to the roots of yoga”