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Light On Yogi: Siddhi Saraswati – Australia

Siddhi Saraswati is a yogi to the core, but it might surprise you to know that she doesn’t practice classical yoga postures. Siddhi is proof that yoga is more about poise than a pose. Read about how her relationship with life, learning, nature, and multiple sclerosis makes her a true yogi.

Words by Siddhi

In 1985 I heard about an Australian medical doctor who had spent a decade studying with a guru in India and had returned to Australia to teach yoga as the foundation of wellbeing. That doctor was Swami Shankardev Saraswati.

My meeting with him soon after changed my life in a most positive, nurturing way.

It sparked in me a deeper connection to yoga, and I became certain that it was to become my vocation. I traveled to India to further my studies and completed my teacher training back in Australia. I taught yoga in Sydney and enjoyed a wonderful yoga community for well over a decade.

In 1998 I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. It moved quickly through my brain and spinal cord, damaging parts of the myelin sheath, the neural pathway that sends messages from the brain to the body. My brain, spine controlling balance, proprioception, cognition, voice, and movement were all affected.

I tried hard to retain the life I’d grown to love, but when I could no longer drive or teach I was forced to leave my students, my community, and to find a new way of living.

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Salute the Solstice

Today is the Sun’s celebratory day, the Summer and Winter Solstice!

The summer solstice occurs when the Sun’s movement across the Southern hemisphere sky reaches its highest point. It’s the day that has the longest daylight hours of any in the year.

The winter solstice in the northern hemisphere sky is the day that has the shortest daylight hours of the year.

The word “solstice” derives from the Latin sol for sun and “sistere” meaning “to come to a stop or make stand.”

Wherever you are in the world, pause, give a thought to this life-giving planet, and its dual nature of giving and taking life.

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The Magic Of Guru Purnima and The Total Lunar Eclipse

July 27th brings the longest total lunar eclipse of the 21st century. It coincides with Guru Purnima; the celebration of the guru.

Seers and mystics favour eclipses for spiritual practice. It’s a time when your efforts will be amplified—seen, heard, and enjoyed by your spiritual mothers and fathers, and thereby rewarded.

Pay homage to your guru if you have one, and to your inner guru, the light and consciousness that reveals your true path.

Pray, meditate, perform mantras, or rituals, or simply practice self-awareness and reflection.

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Why Your Shadow Makes You Say And Do Things That Are Not ‘You’

We all do it.

Things are humming along nicely, then — from out of the blue — something triggers us.

We lose our filter. Honest feelings rise and pop.

We say or do something that surprises or shocks us, and everyone within earshot.

Someone gets hurt, and we feel lousy.

When this happens to you, you probably spend the rest of the day scrambling to fix the mess. “I’m sorry.” “I wasn’t thinking.” “I’m under a lot of pressure.” “I just wasn’t myself.”

You beat yourself up, vow to get a handle on yourself and never to let loose again. You don’t want to be like that, ever.

The fallout of your sudden outburst can be a hiccup or a hurricane.

A sarcastic comment, a disgruntled rant, and a punch in the face will each elicit a different response. As will a teary outburst, a jealous accusation, and a racial slur.

Those caught in your line of fire may easily forgive you, never speak to you again, or see you in court.

If you weren’t yourself, who were you at that moment?

Where did the other you come from?

That other you is another part of you. It’s the unwanted you — the part you keep hidden, most of the time.

You keep this part of yourself hidden because you find it unattractive, unacceptable, or abhorrent. It’s not how you want your family, friends, and co-workers to see you.

The unwanted you corrupts your self-image and is a blight on your ego.

The psychological term for the unwanted you is the shadow.

Your shadow is the refuge for all the traits, behaviors, feelings and impulses that your ego rejects.

How Your Shadow Is Created

“Everything that is, casts a shadow.”
― Neil Gaiman, American Gods

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Light On Yogi: Bhakati Jane MacRae – Canada

Words by Bhakati

A head-on motor vehicle accident over twenty years ago left me catastrophically injured.

Every bone in my face was broken, and my left leg was in 16 pieces. In the aftermath, I had a bleed in the brain and still have left-sided weakness, without the use of my left hand.

However, I survived the multiple trauma, and I continue, slowly and steadily, to heal and love life!

There have been wonderful healers along the way; my beautiful chestnut horse, K.C., and Big Shakti have been the major factors in my onward journey.

Having been a student of Sri Chinmoy since 1978, I knew the importance of meditation, and especially relaxation, so I began with Big Shakti’s guided relaxation meditations.

I moved away from group meditations after Sri Chinmoy’s death, and I was longing for new supportive teachers and community.

Big Shakti’s online courses and seminars not only helped me to meditate more regularly, but they also gave me a renewed sense of connection to a global community. I felt a strong heart connection with Swami Shankardev and Jayne Stevenson.

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