Busy fools?

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We’ve got a full on week ahead – two new outlets for our books and we take our first delivery of MyogaMarzipants (this year’s coolest look – on and off the yoga mat. Pictures soon). Admin mounts and so the iBook version of the MyogaManual will have to take a bit of a back seat (despite the fact I’m up to chapter 11 of 13) as we’re both pretty much occupied by the day jobs too.  It’s hectic. And it would be so easy to fall into the trap of becoming busy fools, running frantically around getting frazzled and enjoying very few of the little treasures each day offers if only we could slow down enough to see them.

My promise to myself?  To perform two activities a day with mindfulness. My favourites are (1) my morning shower and (2) eating cake – and of course my yoga practice.  Here’s hoping this will help with the busyness and make us more productive.  We can hope.

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Crumbs

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So, no cake yesterday – a shocking state of affairs that will be remedied at our earliest convenience (which might be some time actually).  In the meantime, we’re reflecting on our first 6 months in business. It’s early days of course, and in yoga terms, we’re still mastering Dandasana. But we’re amassing crumbs of wisdom that, one day, might make a substantial cake of their own.  This is some of what we’ve learned so far:

  1. People will only engage with you if they like you and what you stand for
  2. Selling is harder than mastering Hummingbird
  3. Saturdays and Sundays are pretty much like Mondays
  4. Yoga may be magic – but it’s not an instant fix and that’s what a lot of people are looking for
  5. Wisdom isn’t highly rated. Handbags are
  6. Cake is a must at meetings. It can make or break your day
  7. A little bit of fairy dust goes a long way.

In summary, I think we can say that, after the first few months, we pretty much know what we’re up against.  And we’re grateful for these little wisdoms we’re picking up on the way. The challenge is ours. Everything is sent to you for a reason.

What yoga is for

Yoga juli 2012 007-1(Warning: this is a bit of a rant!)  Since starting this blogging business, I’ve been reading lots of stuff on the web about yoga and why people do, or do not, go to yoga classes.  And  I’m in despair about the amount of it that still relates, in one way or another, to the need to be stick thin before you can be seen walking around with a yoga mat under a skeletal arm.  And also to having to be able to wrap one leg around your neck while balancing on the other. Wake up people. Yoga is not aerobics, And three decades (or more) have passed since the obsession with flat stomachs, thin thighs and high kicks. Seminal feminist texts that changed the lives of many in the 70’s and 80’s have clearly been buried under mounds of glossy magazines that still peddle the ‘thin is beautiful’ story.  And it seems we are still buying into unachievable aims (without even knowing why we would want them).

Hear this people.  Yoga is not about this stuff. In fact, yoga is the antithesis of all of it.  Practising yoga regularly, at home as well as in class, removes that persistent need to be better, perfect, or anything other than you are.  It teaches you that you are, simply, good enough already.  And you can’t be either good or bad at yoga because your yoga practice is just that – yours – however you choose to do it.  You don’t need to hang upside down to get this fresh perspective on life (‘though it helps).

Imagine, for just one minute, what the world would be like if we all practised yoga!  Now that really would be something.

Our first partnership

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We’re very excited today.  As you can see from the visual guide to our austere existence, we had another board meeting yesterday.  (There really is nothing like a cup of tea and some cake to oil the wheels of commerce) and we visited the lovely Sutra Teahouse in Newcastle www.teasutra.co.uk. (Thank you, Amora, for recommending.) But that’s not why we’re excited.

We’d just been to a great lunch meeting with yoga teachers from all over the city -to get to know each other, find out about the different kinds of yoga we offer (or can offer), and work together in a spirit of community.  Thank you. Jo Hutton, for organising this.  And after the buzz we got from stepping outside ourselves and into the greater world of sharing, we continued the theme by celebrating our first business partnership – with Maree Gecks at Marzipants (www.marzipants.co.uk).

Marzipants sell luxurious, ethically-made, Thai pants, perfect for yoga, from their fair-trade workshop in India, and the first myogamarzipants will be on our shelves (and our website) really soon. We’ll be offering these as a gift to our partner teachers who sell or give myogamanuals to their yoga followers to support their practice. So if you think you’d like to promote the manual for us (no matter where in the English-speaking world), as well as Marzipants, come and share in our excitement and sport some of the coolest yoga wear this Summer!

You and Yours

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I’ve been reading a lot of marketing ‘stuff’ lately and find that the more times we can put ‘you’ and ‘yours’ into our marketing  messages, the more people will read  them.  Well, this isn’t great news for a business called myoga, even if our strapline is ‘Your yoga, Your way‘.   So how’s this?

“Once you buy your MyogManual, it will be yours.  We wrote it for you so that you can make your practice your own and change it whenever you need to.  You can take it with you wherever you go and make sure that your practice really delivers for you – every time you roll out your mat.” (15 instances)

Or maybe, in the yoga world, we’re really not as interested in ourselves as we are in the wider world to which we belong, and myoga is a great name!

Comments will be welcomed with delight.  If anyone would like to contribute to my ramblings I will be (a) wiser  (b) better connected (c) truly, deeply grateful AND (d) sure that I’m not just blogging to myself.

Namaste

Balance

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In his book entitled ‘Work’, Thich Nhat Hanh talks of business models and of the need to balance the pursuit of profit with the search for happiness.

We had a board meeting today over soup and rye bread (not very mindfully eaten I’m sorry to say).  Business is quiet at the moment so happiness is precariously balanced between states of rational acceptance and terror.  Post seasonal holidays and the depths of an economic recession conspire to keep consumer spending, and sales, to a minimum.

Profit without happiness,  Thich Nhat Hanh says, is pointless.  (Well, it may be in the longer term but I can see a point in it just at the moment, to be honest, and so can the bank.)  Conversely, happiness alone, that hedonistic state sought by so many, isn’t going to bring home the bacon.

Balance therefore (that precarious state between two opposite forces) is where we need to be at.  So it’s a happy fact that we’re not out to make vast fortunes (and opportune that our bank manager isn’t following this blog!).  But, being yogis, it’s more than a matter of luck that we’re happy.

So we’re out to disprove that profit and happiness are, indeed, opposing forces and we’re going to let go of fear and allow our happiness create a business venture that meets our, and others’ needs.  This is either naiiviety or wisdom but you’re going to have to keep following to find out which.

Choose compassion over criticism

childIs yoga the most misunderstood practice in the world?  Possibly so.  The Daily Telegraph today, while commenting on yoga as a way of ‘toning the limbs and soothing the stresses of everyday life’, reports on the Vatican’s view that it is evil.  And earlier this month, the same newspaper published an article entitled ‘green’ yoga teachers could kill’ – by putting students in ‘life-threatening’ positions.  At best, then, yoga is a sort of keep fit for the burned-out-at-work brigade; at worst, a Satanic ritual.  And either way it’s dangerous.

What exactly is it we’re afraid of in this most compassionate practice that brings a shared experience of peace, wisdom and contentment? How can we, from within our fast, mindless, competitive and materialistic worlds belittle ancient wisdoms that aim only to improve the quality of our collective lives?

I’d recommend to anyone who is tempted to follow the poor thinking behind this media coverage to do two things:   (1)  Read ‘How Yoga Works’ by Gesne Michael Roach and Christie McNally and (2) Roll out your mat and get on with it.

Choose compassion. Because you deserve it.