Welcome to Carolyn Cowan Online; Designer, photographer, teacher, mother, counsellor and bodypainter.
My Yoga classes
I am currently looking to set up new classes in South London – so if you have the perfect location contact me.
Mind Body Spirit Festival, London May 2013
I am teaching at the Mind Body Spirit Festival which runs from the 24th – 27th May 2013 at Earls Court. Click here to go to the festival homepage where you can book online. My classes are in the Mantra Lounge at 11 am on Friday the 24th on Mastering the Kundalini and, at 2pm on Mantra and calling in Angels. Then on Monday 27th at 12pm on removing Karmic blocks. Come and join me there.
The Mothers Journey. January – June 2013
There is a new Mother’s Journey Teacher Training starting in January 2013. 5 weekends over 5 months, building up to an exam, after which you qualify as a Pregnancy Yoga Teacher.
Open to mothers, mothers-to-be, yoga teachers and Health Carers, the course is based in London and upon completion, certified by KYTA. Insurance is then available through DSC Insurance.
I run. I also do and teach yoga. The two have melded in an interesting way after a very stressful year and I now have reached a point where my personal practice has become very fulfilling. I have been looking for peace since 1989. A long time. I have tripped and stopped at many paths along the way. Some good, all interesting, some unable to hold me for long and the path of Kundalini yoga taking a major chunk of the experience.
Nut earlier this year my practice, which had become very intense over the years, was no longer holding me. I lay on the floor one early morning and realised that I had to go further than this. I got up, and ran. I did not run away, I ran forward, shedding history with every step. It was a faltering start. I had not run for 12 years, I had had two kids, my back was bad and I had to work with a chiro all the way through the first few months to get it worked through, but now I can run for an hour. I am impressed with myself.
The one thing that got me through all the torture of learning to street run at 5am was the Mool Mantra. I love mantra. More than the postures, the mantra and chanting has always transfixed me and I have learned to use it as a tool to still my mind and bring peace to ahead that I should never be left alone with. From the very moment I step out of the gate in the morning I start turning the Mool mantra and hold my attention to it until I put the key in the lock to get back into the house. I do not use an MP3 player, I just turn the sound of the words in my head and refuse to think at all.
I had a fascinating lesson the other day. I ran later than usual, at 8am. It was awful. I hated it. I was cold, tired, unenthused and kept thinking of turning back and giving up. It was not until I was two thirds of the way around the park that I realised I had left without the mantra turning. My mind had been let loose and was trashing my time completely. I started to mentally chant and hey presto! I loved my run and returned home at the end of it feeling peaceful and calm.
So I offer the Mool Mantra as a tool for this profoundly challenging time. Write it out and then learn it by heart. There are lots of versions of it around. I sell several. Guru Singh at Gurusing.com does a great one as does Sada Sat kaur. It is said to contain all of creation with in it. Obviously the Gurmukhi version is the one to repeat. The translation of the words is in English, below.
Ek Ong Kar
Sat Nam Kartaa Purk
Hai Bhee Sach
Naanak Hosee Bhee Sach
There is One Creator
Truth is the Name
Doer of Everything
In the beginning: Truth
Throughout the ages: Truth
Even now: Truth
Nanak says Truth shall exist forever.
What is Kundalini Yoga?
A basic definition is:
The Kundalini is energy resting at the base of the spine.
Your full potential, coiled 3.5 times.
Kundalini Yoga is a technology that allows you to access your full potential. It is a dynamic form of yoga that enables you to move through long held physical blocks and emotional traumas, releasing this coil of energy gently and slowly helping you to blossom into yourself.
A Kundalini Yoga set always includes meditation. This is because the purpose of yoga is to get you ready to be still and able to separate from the mind. To meditate. The asanas or positions during the set enable you to be at your most elevated.
Who is Yogi Bhajan?
He brought this technology to the west in 1969. Since then it has spread around the world.
He was a marvelous and dynamic teacher, who changed the lives of many people and trained thousands of teachers.
At the end of each Devoton Dvd, there is a list of sites and further reading for you to find out more about him, and to help you locate a teacher.
Yogi Bhajan said:
“Amid the swirling, confusing, unfocused energies of the modern world, there is a light, a calm and a healing in the center of All things.”
Who am I?
My name is Carolyn Cowan. I also have a spiritual name, Karta Kaur.
I have been clean and sober from drugs, alcohol and nicotine since 1991.
It is my experiences with Kundalini Yoga that have helped me move so much history and many emotional blocks out of the way. From here, I decided to teach all that I had found so useful.
I have been teaching Kundalini Yoga for women, pregnancy and addiction recovery since 1998. I have two children and I live in South London.
I have four new Kundalini Yoga DVDs available:
Kundalini Yoga for the ddictive personality.
Volumes 1 & 2
Kundalini Yoga – Elevation a Guide to Meditation
Volumes 1 & 2
What is the addictive mind?
It is the part of you that feels you are not enough, that there must be something outside of you that will fill the hole, the gap, the missing piece.
So there is a constant search for that elusive thing. It may be that your issue is smoking or alcohol. Perhaps gambling took your attention or drugs. Sex is a common distraction. Food is a big one. The elusive part of the addictive mind is that it endlessly seeks to fulfill itself.
All of these addictions and more are all connected. It is the longing for a spiritual connection and the strength of that longing dictates how deeply you will go into the destructive behaviour pattern. Kundalini yoga is a tool. A way of accessing your connection to the Infinite, to your soul.
Once that connection is made, it needs to be fed and nurtured, by a regular practice of yoga and meditation. Soon that connection becomes stronger and more importantthan any outside pull and the mind can find peace. Self-esteem grows and from there, the lotus blossoms. This is the meaning of the imagery of the lotus. We have all seen it in Hindu references, on websites, on candles, whatever. It is the symbol of the Divinity within us rising in its purest state, up through the mud of our history. Basically, just looking the other way. Turning our attention 180 degrees the other way. Inwards instead of outward.
Kundalini yoga strengthens our nervous system and helps us to better cope with every day life. If you are emerging from any one of the possible addictions open to all of us and would like to find a way of understanding and working with the mind, then this technology is for you.
Be aware that it is a potent form of yoga. If you donÄôt feel different after a KY set, it is not KY, and please do not attempt any yoga or meditation if you have used any drugs in the last 24 hours, alcohol in the last 18 hours. The mixture is not good.
The best practice is to take a meditation and experience it for 40 days.
Everyday. It can be useful to keep notes on your experiences. There will be easy days, totally elevating days, and some when it is such a struggle you are amazed. And that can be with the easiest meditation.
You will find chapters on aspects of the addictive mind in the extras section of this dvd. They will help you to make sense of the choices of yoga kriyas and then the meditations.
Kundalini Yoga for the Addictive Personality.
Volumes 1 & 2
You can order these dvds in the DEVOTION store
What is Meditation
Prayer is asking. Meditation is listening. Not to yourself, but to the stillness and vastness of the universe. You don’t need to have any religious or special belief to gain the benefits of meditation. You just need to learn to let go of the mind.
We are ruled by our mind. It is not the best choice of ruler. The mind is a tyrant. A terrible master. It does not ever want you to discover that there is another way, that you can choose and that meditation is the best way there. What is there? That you are the Master and the mind works for you. That you decide when you want to think, to obsess, to deliberate. When you take your first step on the spiritual path you do a huge thing; you put your ego, your mind, in battle with your soul. And your ego, your mind, is determined to win. So it will; criticise your choice, the teacher, the practice, the position, the clothes, the music, the room?â. Anything to stop you discovering the other way. Once you can sit, focus on the elements of the meditation you have chosen, and keep that focus, even if you struggle like crazy, you are meditating. The act of refusing the mind, the act of remembering to focus on the mantra is a large part of the practice. It is like exercising a muscle. The first steps are so hard, then the building starts. After a while meditation becomes easier. It does not mean that your arms will not ache, or you can sit for hours without wriggling, but that you will attach less importance to the discomforts and enjoy the sensations and changes that come with regular practice. After a while it is something that you want to do, that you look forward to doing.
Take time to meditate, make a special place to sit. Create an altar in your room, light a candle and incense. All these moments bring us closer to our connection with the Universe. If you have made a beautiful space for your practice you will be far more likely to sit there. Having said this I have meditated in planes, taxis, fields and wastelands. There is no perfect place, it is inside you that you find the perfection. You don’t have to sit on the floor. You can use a chair, and sit with your spine straight, not touching the back of the seat.
There are so many different ways to meditate. So many practices. The start can be just sitting comfortably in a chair and letting the mind pass by. Don’t let it hook you into the stream. After three minutes it is easier, but sit still.
Tratakam is interesting and can be very powerful. Sit comfortably, in front of a candle. Not too close, about 7 feet away, and gaze at the candle. See the corona around the flame, see the darkness at the base of the flame. This is where light and darkness co-exist. Just see what is. Don?ït imagine anything more.
In KY we use three things to help us; the breath, the mantra and the mudra or hand position. We can use each of these tools to work on all manner of things; healing, the liver, glandular secretion, the neutral mind.
The different breath techniques are very helpful when working with the addictive mind.
Breath of fire builds heat in the belly, helping to build your projection.
It is very useful for stopping cravings, and cleans the blood.
Describe and demonstrate.
Long deep breathing is interesting to learn to work with. The majority of us to not breathe properly. Yes, we all breath, but to really become present in the moment, to leave the past behind and move into the now we need to learn to slow the breath down.
If you take a ldb, see how many seconds it takes to fill your lungs. 3? 4?
The ideal, yogically, would be 20 seconds. During some of the practices, ldb is suggested. Become aware of the breath, slow it down. Hold for a moment at the top and the bottom of each one. As you extent the breaths, you move into the now. The ghosts, regrets and fears diminish. Your perspective changes, and again, the hormonal flow is balanced.
Jap is the repetition of the holy name.
Sat Nam, Wha Hey Guru. Ra Ma Da Sa, Ang Sang Wa hey guru.
All these mantras can be used for jap. I do jap all the time, walking, travelling, when I wake at night. It is a way of stilling the mind, calming the thoughts, and leads to simran, the constant remembrance of the Divine, which is the purpose of all these practices, yoga, meditation, chanting. Jap can be done with the breath, inhaling sat, exhale nam, or it can be walking, repeating the words in time with the steps. Another way is with a mala. Turning the mala in the hand, repeating the mantra as you move past each bead. It can be silent or spoken, Another way is to vibrate the mantra in your head whilst seeing the words written in your minds eye.
As you can experience, there are many ways to meditate and here are just a few. I you want to go further with you practice, there are many kundalini yoga teachers. On the links page you will find ways of contacting them and me.
Meditation for Beginners
How to teach meditation?
This has been an interesting journey for me.
I had longed to be able to meditate for years, and tried many ways, sometimes from books, sometimes just doing what I thought it should be, which was in fact sitting and thinking.
It was when I started KY that I found out what it could be, and from here was able to fulfill an ambition I had had all my adult life; to still the Mind.
To be present, here and now, in the moment, with no memories from the past and no fear of the future colouring my reality. I must confess that I am not a master, neither am I perfect, but I have come a long way from where I started and now know how to achieve a state of stillness.
Do I do it all the time?
No, half the art is in remembering that it is a tool and an option.
The mind is a terrible tyrant. The route to a peaceful life is discovering that we can become the master of our mind, that we can put it down, that we donÄôt need it all the time. We can learn, through meditation, to put the mind down. Stop the endless chatter. This discovery can be mind blowing, literally. It was for me.
The realisation and experience of stopping the chatter and voices was a total epiphany for me. So I now hope to teach you experiences that can open up the same possibilities within you.
In KY the meditations can take many forms. We use various techniques to separate from the thoughts. The breath, mantra and mudras or hand positions. Sometimes one of these, sometimes all.
The focus on maintaining any of them and struggling with this focus, is how we separate from the chatter. I have chosen from thousands of possible yoga kriyas and meditations and decided on the ones here because I like them, they helped me and they work. As do all the others, but these are my choice.
I suggest that you warm up, work with a set, there are two to chose from, then a meditation. The best practice is to take a meditation and experience it for 40 days. Everyday. It can be useful to keep notes on your experiences. There will be easy days, totally elevating days, and some when it is such a struggle you are amazed. And that can be with the easiest meditation.
Kundalini Yoga – Elevation a Guide to Meditation
Volumes 1 & 2
You can order these dvds in the DEVOTION store
Boost your immunity with the warrior
The Warrior Pose
This is a very strong yoga pose that helps to strengthen the nervous system and works to increase the flow of blood to the pelvic and thigh region. This is important as the femur is the main source of white blood cell production. The thigh is also one of the largest muscles and increasing blood flow to this area helps to remove toxins and moves the flow of oxygen through the body. The pose also opens and stimulates the lymph glands in the thigh region which is an important immune system function.
Position yourself on a non-slip surface, ideally a non-slip yoga mat. Stand straight facing forward and step the right foot one metre to the right and place it at a 90 degree angle to the body. The left foot should remain facing forward. Bend the right knee to almost a 45 degree angle keeping the upper torso facing forward. Extend the right arm completely, making a fist with the thumb pointing up (as though you are holding an archery bow). Bring the left arm across the body to the right arm and pull back across the body and hold. Start by holding this pose for one minute and reverse the moves.
As you hold the pose concentrate on your objective (suggestion: to cleanse toxins from the body and boost immunity)Posted in
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