Nature

Women’s Full Moon Retreat Day

on October 26, 2017 No comments

Join me on Sunday 3rd December for the last Full Moon of 2017 to consciously welcome in the end of the year and reflect on the months gone by…..

Once upon a time it was commonplace for people to have parties, hold rituals, make love and dance under the light of the full moon. The moon offers a different kind of light to the sun, a light that can illuminate deep feelings, longings and directions that are not always visible in the bright light of day. This Women’s Retreat day will give space to stir the cauldron of your inner being, to uncover, nourish and behold whatever needs to be felt, celebrated and released as we journey towards the end of the year. Through yoga, dance, poetry and creative reflection we can liberate our inner most expression and evoke and nourish the inner landscapes of our being.

We will begin the day with meditation and yoga followed by lunch and a sumptuous and restful yoga nidra. In the afternoon, we will work with dance, poetry and reflective work in partners and in circle. You do not have to have any knowledge or experience of working with poetry before. Like movement practices, poetry is a form which can cut through to the heart of things, thereby taking us beyond our habitual patterns and awaken us to fresh experience and perspectives.

“At night, I open the window
and ask the moon to come
and press its face into mine.
Breathe into me.

Close the language-door,
and open the love-window.

The moon won’t use the door,
only the window.

– Rumi translated by Coleman Barks

A wonderful way to spend the last full moon of the year, clearing a pathway towards 2018.

Date: Sunday 3rd December

At: Instinctive Health, Kelham Island, Sheffield

Time: 10.30 – 5.30pm

Cost: £28 early bird if booked by November 5th £35 thereafter.

To book click here and scroll down to the bottom of the page

Note: Anyone interested in signing up for the new Year 1 Butterfly group starting in January, this retreat will have a flavour of the butterfly work and would be a good opportunity for you to experience the space I hold and feel into if it is the course for you. You can find out about Butterfly course dates and content on the Butterfly page. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to get intouch. 

 

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Carly MountainWomen’s Full Moon Retreat Day

An Introduction To The Butterfly Work

on October 12, 2017 No comments

A new Year 1 Group is constellating for January 2018 and will be held monthly from January – July. I am holding an Introductory Day on October 21st at Yoga Kula Leeds. Below is a piece I wrote about my personal journey into the Butterfly work and how it has emerged into the course it is today.

I came to the Butterfly work shortly after having my second child. I was exhausted and out of practice, but craving some time to connect to myself and a way to nourish and enjoy my body. I started to practice just 10 minutes a day and quite quickly I found that that time for myself had become integrated into my daily life.

It took three years before the full practice moved through me. At this time, I emerged from a yoga school from which I had learnt a tremendous amount, but whose structures were masculine and hierarchical. I had been teaching yoga for 10 years and the desire to share this work with my students and other women in my life became louder and louder. But I felt instinctively that this feminine work needed a feminine way of holding. The terms masculine and feminine are fraught with often unhelpful connotations and I want to underline that this is not about gender. There are men who have the capacity to hold a feminine space and women who lead with a predominantly masculine energy, which is great. What I am referring to is difficult to name in definitive language, but essentially, what I was seeking to offer was a space that reached beyond the hierarchy of guru and student. A space that could include emotional expression, a space to be nourished and accepted in shadow and in light, and a place where sacred feminine energy could be free to emerge and be felt through each woman.

In Butterfly we sit in circle, the circle connotes a sense of equality. Within that circle, I may take the role of teacher, but I continually hold within my view that the relationship is always reciprocal. There is some teaching through the form of yoga sequences, mudra and poetry. But, both me as the teacher, and the form as the teacher meets what is naturally arising from within you. As my Teacher Kim Rosen illustrates so beautifully, “I cannot teach you anything that you don’t already know. But if I am lucky, I will say it in such a way that you know, that you know it”. Therefore, I would say that the Butterfly work is place where we can remember what we have forgotten, lost or denied. Form can be a beautiful, sacred expression of what is underneath our layers, just as words create a form through which we can reach towards mutual understanding. As a guide, I can facilitate, watch, intuit and create a container within which you can explore, but the rest is up to you.

Likewise, we cannot “do” this work. So many women come to the practice thinking they can muscle through it. But this is a truly yin practice, so what is required is a deep listening and surrender to what lies beneath the waves. We live in such an active world, which can be seen in our obsession with asana. This collection of practices are a powerful antidote to all the doing. I often compare it to orgasm, you cannot muscle your way to an orgasm. All we can do is indulge ourselves to the place where the pulsations of pleasure carry us over into orgasm. We allow ourselves to be taken beyond our will. The practice of yoga is similar. The place where form meets what is spontaneously arising is the union, and when we are taken by that meeting we enter yoga. And like orgasm, it can be a delightful, immersive sometimes even transcendent experience.

Many yoga schools prioritise calm over other emotional experiences as a sort of preordained tick box that we have achieved union. I am not saying that finding stillness and peace is not a desirable aspect of practice, it is very beneficial. But, I have no desire to be permanently calm, anymore than I desire to be permanently in rage. I was craving a space that would embrace and honour the wisdom of my emotional body as much as any other facet of my being. So much of my learning has come through relationships, engaging in them, the breakdown of them and the joyful and often messy interaction that true intimacy can bring. Behind our masks, there are many weather systems and it feels as though rather than always reaching for the light aspects of ourselves through practice, it is time to own and embrace the shadows as equally valuable as well. After all, emotional being is a flow in itself, and when we allow emotional expression to happen at some point we can guarantee that that energy will transform and find it’s onward flow. It evolves, just like a yoga sequence. The more we allow, the more we begin to realise that even the strongest feelings flow into other states. And they can be a vehicle to awakening and absolute presence.

All this creates a delicious cauldron, made even juicier by the unique gifts that each woman brings. One of the benefits of this work is the space it creates for you to spend time with other women. This is often one of the most nourishing and enjoyable aspects of the Butterfly course. In fact, all the ingredients I have named above are about intimate relationship; relationship to practice, relationship to support, relationship to ourselves, relationship to other women and underlying all that, relationship to the mystery that guides and weaves it all.

The Introduction Day at Yoga Kula in Leeds will take place on Saturday 21st October. I cannot teach the Butterfly mudra in one day it takes time and investment. But what this introduction day will offer is a flavour of the work that accompanies the mudra practice, a feel for the space I hold and a chance for us to meet. So, if any of this resonates with you, come along! I am really looking forward to it and would love to see you there. You can book the Intro Day here.

 

 

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Carly MountainAn Introduction To The Butterfly Work

Durga

on April 13, 2017 No comments

The thrash of the tiger
Is held so quietly within
the stillness of her striped form.
Soft muscularity,
Terrifying black, gold beauty.

Would my hand dare caress
Her silken curves,
Her pulsating chest,
The vicious magnificence of her passion,
Deadly and divine
With no transgression
Sensuous jugular enclosure
a powerful embrace,
Enters the darkness in rapture
Overpowered by grace.

Meditative feline
Stalk the deepest depths of being
Heart roars, erect claws,
Mortal flesh trembling.
Golden mirror of my soul
I know you could consume me whole
Untamed beast flying wild
She honours her nature
Like an innocent child.

What is the mirror that you hold
Hidden in your black and gold
Devoted to your enticing grace
Your ferociousness holds no distaste
You hold the power of the passion
Unashamed and unrationed.

If I am you and you are me
We are the perfect symphony.

~ Carly Mountain

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Carly MountainDurga

Pregnancy Yoga

on April 1, 2017 No comments

Join me at the beautiful Nether Edge Studio for a nurturing pregnancy yoga. Classes centre around deepening listening to your body and baby and the natural wisdom of the dance that only you two know how to do together. Simple yoga movement, voice and a deeply restorative Yoga Nidra practice.

This class is unique in that it is limited to 4 women per class. Current block Wednesday 27th March – 17th May inclusive (no class 13th or 20th April). Pre book only £54 for 6 weeks. If you are 37 weeks plus I am happy for you to pay as you go.

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Carly MountainPregnancy Yoga

I want to give myself utterly….

on February 18, 2016 No comments

Lake and Maple

I want to give myself utterly
as this maple
that burned and burned
for three days without stinting
and then in two more
dropped off every leaf;
as this lake that,

no matter what comes

to its green-blue depths,

both takes and returns it.

In the still heart,

that refuses nothing,

the world is twice-born–

two earths wheeling,

two heavens,

two egrets reaching

down into subtraction;

even the fish 
for an instant doubled,

before it is gone.

I want the fish.

I want the losing it all

when it rains and I want

the returning transparence.

I want the place

by the edge-flowers where

the shallow sand is deceptive,

where whatever

steps in must plunge,

and I want that plunging.

I want the ones

who come in secret to drink

only in early darkness,

and I want the ones

who are swallowed.

I want the way

the water sees without eyes,

hears without ears,

shivers without will or fear

at the gentlest touch.

I want the way it

accepts the cold moonlight

and lets it pass,

the way it lets

all of it pass

without judgment or comment.

There is a lake,

Lalla Dad sang, no larger

than one seed of mustard,

that all things return to.

O heart, if you
will not, cannot,
give me the lake

then give me the song.

Jane Hirshfield

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Carly MountainI want to give myself utterly….

Coming out as…grey

on March 14, 2014 No comments

For 20 years no less, I have polluted my system with hair dye.

I’m done. I am taking my masks off. I do not want to pollute my system or our water with those chemicals anymore. I am done with the violence of the beauty industry, to the earth, to animals and to myself.

Change is life. And to age is a privilege.

If we are to walk a life of meaning we must do just that, walk it. And there are many ways to do that. We are after all transmitters and I find myself asking everyday “What do I want my transmission to say?”. So many people have said “you are so brave”. But isn’t it odd, that it is brave to be natural, to be seen as I am? I have finally realised that to let the earth shine through me is the most beautiful I could ever be. It’s not conventional, it requires a letting go of looking to those ideals for a sense of worth.

Ultimately we hold the keys to our own cages. Age brings wisdom. Women as they ripen into the autumn and winter of life are often mocked for being menopausal, or are “traded in for a younger model”, get the sack whilst their male counterparts work on in their distinguished gentlemanly aging. And we perpetuate it with surgery, hair dye, dieting, grasping outwardly for some resemblance of summer that we think will make us desirable, empower us and make us feel we have a place. I am not saying that enjoying looking after our appearance is wrong, it can be a beautiful way of taking care of ourselves. But, it is worth checking in with who we are doing it for and what our choices are based on.

You can’t grasp power from outside, you tap into it from the inside. We are abundant, we are earth, we are love.

So enter the reign of the wolf, the wild, the free.

Grow old with grace. And be the change you wish to see.

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Carly MountainComing out as…grey

The beauty of a shell

on March 1, 2014 No comments

The natural beauty of a shell. My daughter was looking at this this morning and she said thoughtfully, “Sometimes I look at shells and think they are so beautiful that they can just have appeared, they must be ‘man-made'”.

To which I instinctively replied, “But the most beautiful things in life cannot be made by humans…they all come from nature. Natural things are the most beautiful of all”.

What we show speaks as loudly as what we say. Society values human made objects so highly and often to the detriment of nature. The so-called beauty industry sells the idea, primarily to girls and women that we must do so much to ourselves in order to become beautiful. So many Mums in the playground with eye lash extensions that on a timeline at my little ones preschool a child had included “put her eyelashes on” as part of her morning routine. Our children absorb everything and it subconsciously shapes them.

I dye my hair, I shave my legs…..there are some things that I cannot yet relinquish. But more and more, I see that we are being sold an empty shell of what a woman can be. And I wonder what could be more beautiful than letting nature shine through us? That women could once again be valued, protected and cherished as an expression of mother earth. That perhaps would be the most beautiful union, respect and liberation.

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Carly MountainThe beauty of a shell

Beachtime practice.

on February 14, 2014 No comments

I rarely practice handstands…but was messing about on the beach with the kids. And surprised myself, I went up fully expecting to fall out within seconds but there I stayed….

When you work from the root of practice peeling back the layers to the base of asana, using seemingly simplistic sequences and movements and repeating them daily, what I have found is that without realising your practice deepens signifcantly. But because it happens slowly, you barely notice. The dots join on the deepest level…. So when you return to what are generally viewed as advanced yoga postures you find (as I did yesterday and do so repeatedly) that you have unconsciously been building more strength and connection than you realised. Not by grasping for it but by listening, feeling and allowing.

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Carly MountainBeachtime practice.

An invitation to tune in…

on January 2, 2014 No comments

In follow up to my last post, this month in class we have been exploring our natural cycles, digging deeper into practice, offering more of ourselves and playing with the “grrrrs” and “ahhhhs”.

You cannot “do” yoga. The doing of asana is the result of a very westernised approach to yoga which often values the perceived body beautiful over the truth of our nature and connection.

“We have created forms of yoga in the image of our own disconnection. Practising this way simply mirrors our own disgregard for our inner guide” – Uma Dinsmore-Tuli

I enjoy working physically, because when we truly listen to the gross reality of our body we can eventually get under the noise of our egotisitical perceptions. The body cannot lie. In this way the inherent wisdom of our body teaches us, slows us down when we need it, wakes us up when we are asleep. Through listening to this inherent intelligence we can connect, we remember that we are part of a vast network of other creatures on a planet that we rely upon to feed us and nourish us. A planet that we do not love, respect and value nearly as much as we should.

As Philip Shepherd so beautifully puts it,

“If you are divided from your body, you are also divided from the body of the world…which may appear to be other than you or separate from you. Rather than a living continuum to which you belong.”

In order for yoga to be yoga it must address this. We work with 5 bodies, not one, we are never alone, all of our actions have an effect on others and the planet we inhabit. Until we feel and live this there can be no yoga.

So if you haven’t done so already, I invite you to start to tune in. Women have a very apparent menstrual cycle, so in some ways it may be easier for you. But even menopausal women, women without periods and men all have cycles. There are natural cycles all around us in the seasons, the moon, the weather……so we can all tune in, it is not exclusive to those people with a womb! And once we start to respect and bring our natural rhythms to our consciousness we immediately feel more connected to both ourselves and the wider world.

My classes run on 6 week cycles so during that time women who come to class are very likely to have a period. If a class lands on the first 3 days of your period I would ask you to please not come to class but instead do an appropriate practice at home. I realise you will have paid for that session, so once a month I will be offering a restorative practice session for women. I will try to make this on a moon day where possible. This will be a chance for us to come together and explore what practices we can do on your period, or the “winter” part of your cycle. There is a lot of downwards energy at this time making it ideal for more meditative, restorative practice.

There will not be a charge for these classes but there are now an astonishing 4 food banks in Sheffield so I would ask you to please bring some food for the food banks which I will collect on the day. I will be intouch as to when the first one of these will be and those of you who are interested in learning more please do not hesitate to contact me.

Carly xxx

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Carly MountainAn invitation to tune in…

Celebrating and Honouring natural cycles….Happy Spring Equinox.

on November 14, 2013 No comments

With Full Moon at the beginning of this week and Spring Equinox today this weeks classes have been all about honouring natural cycles.

Modern life is not geared around natural cycles instead we are encouraged to prioritise other things. Take a flu remedy, work through it, be more productive. But in this disconnection we lose something.

In nature there are clear cycles, the waxing and waning of the moon, the seasons, the life/death/life cycles are with us all the time on micro and macro scales. Yoga is union. Through practice we can tune into ourselves and others becoming increasingly wakeful to life. Which brings pain and beauty. Light and dark.

Have courage, embrace change and move with the cycles. Trusting and reaching into the vastness of your existence with love.

I chose these photos because they were taken on one of the last golden days of last year. And I am now welcoming in the golden days of this year.

Wishing you a wonder filled Spring Equinox.

With love Carly xx

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Carly MountainCelebrating and Honouring natural cycles….Happy Spring Equinox.