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You are Powerful

30 September 2018

Do you believe this statement? Its true.

I believe current circumstances and beliefs we find ourselves in are because we do not get told this statement often enough and are instead numbed out with chasing our tails all the time with our thoughts, bombarded with news and getting around from one thing to the next then worrying about the future but feeling powerless to be able to do anything about it. Lets take a deep breath and take a moment just to feel..

In the past I have myself believed that Im too insignificant to make a difference and have looked to and worked for institutions like charities, local authorities and senior yoga teachers and shamans I thought powerful to help them make a difference. Whether we made a difference to people lives in the long run I do not know but I did learn that no one can help you but you. I know that sounds extremely negative but it is the flip side to the statement in the title you are powerful and capable of doing what you dream. It is my life affirmation to be of service whenever I can and I do believe we all need a bit of help sometimes and there is a power in accepting that but ultimately you are in charge and if we all took responsibility for our own lives and happiness then everyone would be happy. As Gandi said ‘be the change you want to see in the world’. Take for example if you are scared of approaching a particular class or pose take a breath and try what can happen? Or fixating on a pose in yoga and you think its not happening for you and you begin to judge yourself for it if you fall or don’t achieve a perfect expression, if you dwell on this you are disempowering yourself and missing the point you are on the mat and trying that’s all that matters, if you go to a shaman constantly to be healed, you are disempowering yourself and giving your power away, if you are constantly going to the doctor to give you cover up meds you are giving your power away. You are powerful and you can change your life, one act at a time will change the vibration and energy and this is what yoga and shamanism is what I believe for (again though I have been fixated on poses and also had beautiful healings in shamanic circles but ultimately I was showing up and doing the work). As Ive said before at best a good yoga teacher or shaman is holding a space for you to be in your process and discover your own power.

A lot of the spiritual teachers these days say that the thing that has disconnected us westerners from our natural connection and power is the thinking mind. We have let the thoughts take over. You are powerful beyond measure and to get that connection to your strength you just have to come back to you! Dropout of the thinking mind and take a deep breath and just feel your body, go to yoga, meditate, walk in nature, hug whenever you can. Taking that one step to getting on your mat or taking 5 minutes just to sit with yourself can be life changing and in time maybe you will change the world around you.

There are some aspects of life that we have no power over of course but if we just start to take our power back over our own lives and how we react to the world around us and treat ourselves then that surely is a step in the right direction.

To quote from Inner Worlds Outer Worlds:

‘U are the U in universe
The true crisis in the world in consciousness is the inability to experience our true selves…….’

You are powerful!

Standing in your own Power

29 September 2018

Initially, I set out to write this blog I was going to share my experience recently about not putting People on Pedestals and stepping into your own power!

I started experiencing what I think they call ‘writer’s block’, I just couldn’t flow. The reason is another realisation, we can read about others’ experiences and probably get a good grasp of the subject and maybe see warning signs in our own journey, but do you know what….nothing can beat experiencing lessons yourself. I have lately had what is perceived by my mind as not so good experiences with teachers. I think of myself as an eternal student of life and always seek people to look up to in the yoga world and in general life and it has only led to disappointment. However, through these experiences I have learned how to step into my own power and yes some experiences are not perceived as good but what we learn and take away from that can only enrich our future experiences.

I’ve been aware since before becoming a yoga teacher that I need to keep my ego in check because so often students put teachers on a pedestal like I did. I thought I could keep my ego in check if I remained humble and kept my self open to learn and keep SEEKING to look up to someone to learn from. I’m sure a psychologist could break this down as a confidence issue or a need for parenting or validation and it’s probably all accurate in some way for me and the teacher on the pedestal. Point being, we are all human and have flaws in some way and how boring would it be if we wasn’t, how else would we learn and I guess this is the point. Follow who you are going to follow and believe what you are going to believe, with your intention you will get there, maybe not how you think you will but YOU WILL in your own beautiful way.

So here comes the season to make resolutions and new beginnings etc. I’m starting now, I will continue to be a student of life but I will view everyone equally instead of looking up to people. We are all great teachers and can learn something about ourselves from each other. I will keep my ego in check by becoming friends with it rather than trying to get rid of it with body mind integration and my chosen method of expansive movement, yoga and meditation.

Most people don’t come to yoga looking for anything like body-mind integration (certainly I didn’t, I loved the challenge and fitness required) but sooner or later, we often experience it anyway. I remember the first time this happened to me in Camel pose in a Bikram class, I was following instructions; hands on hips, lift chest, hips forward, look up and then BOOM emotions from 5 years ago (first ever human heartbreak) came right up like I was reliving the moment again! I had no clue that asana could unlock such strong feelings but it can and often does and remember it’s not the teacher, its you! At best the teacher is creating the space for you to feel.
As John Burras puts it in his book Return to Nature; “while head consciousness (e.g. ego & rationality) has no direct connection with the unconscious, body consciousness does.” That’s why when people talk about yoga as a body-mind-spirit practice, it’s not just some abstract, airy-fairy idea. Rather, it’s a way of conceptualizing how we are wired. Deeply buried emotions unavailable to the conscious mind are imprinted in our bodies. An effective expansive movement like yoga practice can loosen these imprints and allow deeply buried memories, thoughts, and feelings to come into our conscious experience.
It’s easy to look to others but the answers all lay within.
In psychological terms, this could be called a shift toward the integration of the unconscious and conscious minds. In more traditional yogic terms, it could be called a movement toward burning off karma. It’s natural to attribute these feelings to the teacher and/or their class/teaching. Such dynamics can put yoga teachers into a fraught interpersonal space. You may be a great asana teacher and know how to give students the tools to link body, mind, and breath in a way that opens them up to deep and potentially transformative experiences. That doesn’t mean that you necessarily have any real insight into what they’re experiencing or know how best to work with whatever emotional forces may have come up in their practice.

I have witnessed senior teachers indulging in this pedestal adulation in various ways. I’ve definitely seen yoga teachers showered with the rock star-like adulation. Particularly with more high profile teachers, it’s not uncommon to see students and teachers hanging on their every word like they’re the embodiment of some divine oracle. I’ve seen students treat them with a level of deference that might be appropriate for the Dalai Lama, I didn’t go that far by the way, that never felt right to me but like I said at the beginning, I’ve put some of my teachers on pedestals as well and I’m glad I did because of that experience, I can now see these teachers eye to eye rather than looking up.

We are all great teachers with a unique gift to share and believe the best way to help the world is by becoming the best version of you in whatever expression you choose. Here’s to more experiences in 2017 and the best advice (if I may) I have from 2016 is be open, do what you feel, don’t shy away from things that scare you. Treat yourself and everything on your journey with loving kindness.

Thank you to teachers past, present and future for being part of my journey.

In gratitude

Living in Heart Space

28 September 2018

A ‘hippy’ term for something I think is relevant now more than ever.

Releasing from your head space and leaping into your heart space is one of the most freeing, liberating and rewarding steps you can take on the spiritual journey that we are all on.

I feel it’s so important now to really connect with ourselves and each other.

‘If we all took responsibility for our own happiness the world would be a much greater place’ Stacey Moroney (Love you sister)!

Lets first establish what its like to be ruled by the mind. When you observe your thoughts, is there a constant chatter that is limiting, loathing, critical, denying, worrisome and insecure? Is it projecting fear or judgement? Is it deceptively soothing or empathetic in a way that is blaming someone else for how you are feeling.


It’s ok. It is a natural result of our childhood conditioning and learned responses to challenges and adversities; our habitual patterns of how we respond, interpret, react and perceive the world in relationship to our viewpoint of who we are.

Living in your head space means your self image is determined by what others think of you; therefore it is constantly changing to adapt to other peoples opinions of you.

Your sense of Self is made up of all the things others have told you with regards to who they think you are and who you are not. If it feels constraining or limiting as you try to mould yourself into an image that others will like, then it’s not the truth of who you are. The truth is not limiting or constraining, that is why it sets you free.

What does living in your heart space mean?

It is an inner knowing. A knowing that cannot be explained, but felt. You feel light, free, expansive and alive. You don’t question why you are doing what you are doing, but you feel pulled to do it. Living from your heart space means listening to your feelings and understanding what they are telling you. It feels just right and aligned to whom you are. It feels authentic. This is where yoga is such a fantastic practice to get us out of the mind and into the feeling.

All Yogi’s will understand that feeling you get after class that we cannot quite describe but it just makes you go “mmmmmm’, that satisfaction that comes with stretching the body and going internal for an hour focusing on breath. In todays society there is always more and more to let go of to get to our natural state, which I believe is bliss.

When we take the time to acknowledge and feel our feelings, we can learn to make better decisions that are for our highest good. Heart energy is always loving, supportive and empowering. When we live from our heart space we are self-compassionate. True healing is in total acceptance of who we are. As acceptance becomes the foundation for our growth and self-improvement, we no longer judge or condemn our Being. Instead, we begin to honour and celebrate it.

So ask yourself: How can I celebrate myself? How can I honor myself? In celebrating and honouring myself I live from my heart space. Practicing yoga, walking in the park, complimenting others, hugging and being compassionate are all ways to honour yourself.

I’m not naïve. I don’t think we can live in a busy city like London and live from the heart all the time. My heart is not going to tell me how to get through the front door or press the stop button on the bus or remember my passport when I’m travelling. But it will help me to understand the frustrated student in class or empathize with a stressed out commuter that barges past me, pulling out my headphones playing my lovely dolphin sounds and not lose my peace. I believe there is a time and a place for both.

For too long I let my mind inform my heart now I allow my heart to inform my mind.

Yoga was not the only discipline that got me here but it played a big part in it. I believe Yoga helps us to be still, clearing out the body and mind so we can feel.

Be the change you want to see in the world – Ghandi

I know, I know, the title appears to be fairly unoriginal. But it really isn’t. Although yoga is over 6,000 years old, every individual who embarks on a yoga adventure has an original experience. This is mine. These days there are so many styles of yoga around, some pretty extreme and some pretty out there. Whatever works. Personally, I like a challenging class taught compassionately, with a focus on breath and listening to your own body and inner voice. Noticing subtleties in energy and curiosity of the internal process, for me, started quite young, primary school in fact. I was 7 years old and fascinated with the world, how did the birds fly and how did that feel? How do trees grow from seeds, that little seed into this big strong tree? It sounds clichéd I know but cliché’s become cliché’s for a reason. And yes, lets get it out of the way I am making more vegan choices, I just feel like it (more about that later).

I’m a natural observer and loved observing from a young age, how animals behaved. It wasn’t altogether different from watching how my peers interacted with each other at school and how everyone formed their groups.

As a slightly darker Turkish Cypriot boy who was a little different looking with a double foreign name, Hassan Hassan, I wasn’t a natural fit for any of the groups or even sub-groups. I was still learning to navigate my body and understand the world. I became the subject of ridicule by my peers because of my funny name and being foreign. These experiences shaped me and allowed me to find the positive later in life and taught me equanimity, even though I hadn’t intellectualized the topic yet.

Cut to secondary school, new groups, new start with a tub of gel to straighten out my curls and all the clothes everyone else was wearing like reebok classics to the school gate then loafers with the slammin vinyl record bag, I did everything to look like everyone else. I didn’t want to stand out, quite literally. I walked with my shoulders hunched for years and wore platform shoes and dug out the inside so I could attribute my height to the shoes. I was too afraid to stand tall. I managed to stay under the radar for a year but then I was asked to take some pictures by a model scout for a magazine and then bam! Back on the radar and the teasing and ridicule started again. This time it wasn’t my name or being foreign, my peers shouted “pretty boy”, “ gay” boy and worse. I couldn’t walk into a corridor or have my double name called out in assembly without some sort of derogatory comment or laugh. Getting up for school was a huge challenge and every morning I would have an internal dialogue with myself to get up and face whatever I had to face that day. So yeah that was hurtful and upsetting to be excluded but really it was a hard lesson and a blessing. From a young age I found my inner voice, my centre, a place to retreat to. I quickly developed a sense of self, albeit a sense of self that was dictated by a group of my peers that didn’t quite know how to interact with someone a little different, bless them! I can’t say at the time I was sending out love but now I send nothing but.

Fast forward a few years and I find my self in a yoga class. I don’t have to worry about being singled out or picked on because no one can talk, YES! Finally, some freedom to move around without judgement and without fear that someone is going to say something horrible to me. Actually the teacher said I was pretty good (I didn’t mind a bit of nice judgement and I probably needed to hear that for my confidence)! It didn’t matter how much of the poses I did, it was just great that I showed up and let the breath move me, all while listening to my inner voice and becoming more aware of my breath.

I’d found yoga while at the gym trying to buff up to cover my insecurities. I was pretty buff to be honest, training 5 times a week and protein shaking it everyday. Yoga was a good stretch and a place of retreat, then I decided to not take so much protein and the bulk just dropped off! Two freaking years necking protein shakes and chicken and oats, chicken and eggs, chicken with more chicken, then it all falls off in a couple weeks! I couldn’t even downdog without getting tired yet the older ladies in the room were doing it with ease. I invested a lot of time working on strength but I didn’t have the core to headstand. Or keep my arms over my head for more than 30 seconds without getting tired. I’m not saying the gym is bad for you I still train in the gym but my balance was off for me and my body. I respect anyone who has a discipline and sticks to it, mine just happened to not be so great for me at the time.

I started to practice more yoga and 6 months in I felt some profound changes in myself both physically and mentally. With Yoga, I knew it was going to be a long adventure and one I am grateful I can share with anyone in my private sessions, public classes and retreats. Yoga is one of my main passions in life and every day I count my blessings that I get to call myself a Yoga teacher!

‘Yoga is the journey of the self, through the self, to the self” ~ The Bhagavad Gita

Yoga has help me to build confidence to be me, without fear of judgement. It has helped me to build the strength to sometimes step out of certain situations or relationships that are not in alignment with who I am, and where I see myself in the world. Situations that weren’t helping me to grow or evolve and that’s ok, it’s not bad it’s not good it’s just what it is.

Yoga has helped me to accept that.

Sometimes I’ll practice a pose and if I fall, it’s ok I’ll try again, maybe now, maybe tomorrow. Or maybe it will never happen but at least I tried and I’m going to have fun doing it. Yoga has helped me to help my self and help others to help themselves and I am privileged to teach it.

London can be a hard city to live in we are fortunate to have so much opportunity and so much diversity. But sometimes the pace of the city takes over and before you know it you are tired and you have made a cup of tea and either forgotten to drink it or forgotten you made one. It is more important now in the modern world, with so much to do and so much external stimulation, just to slow down and spend a bit of time on yourself, be it through stopping to smell the flowers, a walk in the park, meditation sessions or yoga (get in touch with me for the last 2 if you like).

Just take a bit of time to slow down and appreciate before you jump back on the rollercoaster.

And above all, whatever you’re doing, remember to stand tall, as I do now!