EVENT: YOGA DARSHANA

A series of yoga philosophy workshops with Charlie Anderson

 

Starting - Friday 3rd March  7-9 PM

 

Charlie Anderson will be guiding you through a 6 part philosophy journey over the next year. Expand your knowledge of Yoga and learn from one of Mila's many talented teachers.
 
 
 
March 3 -The Yoga Sutras |  April 21 - The Taittiriya Upanishad | June 2 - The Katha Upanishad 
  
 

"The success of Yoga does not lie in the ability to perform postures but in how it positively changes the way we live our life and our relationships.”  - T.K.V. Desikachar

"The brain is the heaviest limb in the body. Inspire the brain to stretch the body." BKS Iyengar

 

These sessions will explore ideas and practices from the long history of yoga. You will engage with texts through discussion, meditation, pranayama and chanting - identifying the key concepts and exploring their relevance to our lives. They are an opportunity to come together and share our intrigue for these ancient and illuminating concepts and texts.

Yoga is more than just a physical practice. There are many texts written which explain the philosophies and techniques behind the yoga that you do in everyday classes. These texts are known as Yoga Darshana - not strictly speaking a philosophy but more the yogic 'point of view'.  Darshana translates to mean "that through which you can see" and through inspirational stories, practical, spiritual and ethical advice this wisdom offers us a way to frame our human experiences and shine a light on our inner journey.

 

Are you curious about the benefits of a yoga practice? Do you want to know more about taking your yoga 'off the mat'? What exactly is non-violence and how is it going to help bring about inner peace?

 

 
 
 

For more info and bookings please go here or download the MINDBODY App

MOSTLY MOVEMENT

dance23 JULY 2-4 PM

This workshop is an introduction to a new series of classes to help connect the body and mind, the heart and the soul. Through sequencing movement, Jenny Walker will show you how to reconnect with your body, give space for your mind and work through restrictions in your day to day movement patterning.
This workshop is ideal for all those wanting to broaden their practice and support their journey in daily living as well as yoga, pilates, and dance.
Jenny Walker runs Cornerstone Therapies and has over 17 years experience working with clients through advanced clinical and restorative massage, and movement therapy.

For more info and bookings please go here

EVENT: MINDFULNESS FOR BEGINNERS

 

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Sunday 24 July  2-4 pm  £15

An introduction to the basics of meditation practice with Steve Shorney.

Whether you want to learn how to deal with stress, manage anxiety or depression, be more comfortable with yourself and others, boost your well-being, or simply smile more, this is a good place to start.

No incense burning or chanting in strange tongues- just common-sense practical advice and guidance.

Book your place here

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

The blessing before a meal in Ghana is a simple one:

Earth, when I am about to die, I lean on you
Earth, when I am alive I depend on you

Before and after meals, in good times and bad, when planting crops or at harvest time the world celebrates; giving ritual thanks to a spirit, god or mother earth for the gift of food. Part gratitude, part reverence, blessings like these are also a reminder that what and how we eat not only affects our physical state, but also our emotional and spiritual well-being.

Nutritionist Rebecca Katz believes that a pause for thought before a meal “gives you the opportunity to breathe and fully take in the sight and smell of your food.” That pause, she says, puts our body in a parasympathetic state and makes it easier to digest our food. You might call it mindful eating.

The idea that food affects mind, body and spirit is not new. Even before Hippocrates so wisely said “let medicine be your food and food be your medicine”the foundation of health in the Oriental view was that we should eat according to who we are.

It’s an idea that resonates strongly in western holistic practices today, and especially with those who work with energy. The reason is simple: energy or chi is as much a part of us as what we eat, and the cultivation of that life force is essential to our health.

Although most food energy is beneficial, even healing, the trick is to know what is best for us as individuals and how to make the most of it.

The Oriental science of Food Energetics works on the principle that both our bodies and the food we eat have energetic properties that can (or should) be matched and balanced for optimum health.

In a world governed by this principle a label on a pack of celery for example, would tell you that it’s a cool food with a bitter/sweet taste that counteracts heat, helps drain water from the body, and benefits the liver and stomach.

That is very useful information; more so, you may argue, than knowing how many carbs or calories or grams of fat per serving it contains.

Either way, there’s more you can do to maximize the benefits of food energy. Here are a few suggestions for making the most of a meal.

*  Know what you need
If you haven’t learnt from experience what is best for your body it’s worth consulting a nutritionist.

* Grow your own
The old hippie mantra is best applied to fruit and veg, because the very best way to make the most of your foods’ energy content is to cut down the distance from earth to plate. A tomato picked and eaten at the vine is sweet, juicy, succulent; more so if your time and energy has gone into the growing. If you can’t grown your own, at the very least try to buy fresh and local.

 * Keep it simple
Minimise the fuss, simplify the preparation. The more you mess with your food in-between harvesting and eating the more you reduce its energy content. Steam rather than boil, reduce cooking times where you can, and pay attention. By this I mean work mindfully: food prep is to eating what the journey is to the destination, so make the most of it.

Take a breath. Pause. Acknowledge the source. Taste every mouthful, and enjoy the meal.

Bon appétit

YOGA FOR LIFE

If you're wondering how or where to start with yoga, pause here and consider this: every breath you take, every stretch, (and on another level, every thought) has the potential to enhance your well-being.

The key to unlocking that potential is paying attention. To your body, your breathing, and your mind.

In meditation (and yoga), paying attention is commonly known as mindfulness, or mindful awareness.

Mindfulness plays a big part in expanding the experience of yoga. On your mat, you'll find yourself working deeper into postures with a more relaxed attitude. You will feel more alert, more aware of your body, more in touch with your self.

And the real magic of yoga is that it's not confined to the time you spend on your mat. You can apply the same mindful attention to any part of your daily life, and improve any part of your self you choose to.

Why more people don't is a mystery. I've asked the question of my students many times, and the answer usually has to do with not having enough time.

 

THE TIME FACTOR

There are teachers who claim that no progress is possible without at least an hour’s practice a day. That is nonsense. Besides, for many people, often those who need it most, it’s a practical impossibility. Several of my students work 12 hours and more a day on top of a 2-hour commute to the city. The little time they have left is for family, and anything else has to wait.

But that doesn’t mean they can’t fit a little yoga into their day, however busy. True, it won’t take the form of a structured class, but why should it? Even in the restricted confines of a train seat you can practice yogic breathing and a few basic stretches to relieve neck and shoulder tension.

At a desk there’s even more room to stretch, and if you’re lucky enough to have an office you could even roll out a mat. A few minutes here and there is all that’s required.

So, whether you’re a suit, a wage slave, or even a mum juggling domestic commitments, the little bits of time you devote to yoga will add up to big benefits. If you can make the time to join a regular class as well, the benefits will simply multiply. 

DO AS MUCH AS YOU NEED TO

What you do with that time depends on your needs.  

As ever with yoga, proceed with patience. In time you will learn (from classes, retreats, and other resources like books and videos) which aspects of yoga work best for you and where to concentrate your efforts.

It is possible to use yoga to meet specific needs, even short-term. In marathon training, for example, I used to do more stretches and lunges than usual, and used a mantra to counter the boredom that crept up on me on the road. Yoga is the perfect tonic after hours of pounding the tarmac, and the overall effect goes way beyond easing tired muscles.

One of my students uses yoga to balance the physical effects of competitive fencing and another practices meditation to counter the stress of life undercover. Some students focus on building upper body strength, others on relaxation. But they all practice yoga for the same reason: all-round physical and mental well-being.

A WAY OF LIFE

If you really want to make the most of your practice, try doing whatever you do like a yogi.

I use yoga to correct my posture when I’m at my desk writing, preparing a meal in the kitchen, or even driving my car. It took me a while to realise that sitting in hero pose to work in my vegetable garden was just as good as doing it on my mat. The first thing I do when I roll out of bed in the morning is the downward-facing dog—because it’s a fabulous wake-up stretch (and my own dog loves to join in)

And it’s not just a postural thing. When you’re in yoga mode, you are well balanced mentally as well as physically. You are in the zone. Athletes break records in this state. It is also an extraordinary source of energy and creativity. And with just a smidgin of effort, you can benefit from it too. 

I could write several pages on creative ways of integrating yoga into your daily life, but my guess is you’ll get more out of doing it your own way. After all, it is meant to be a journey of self-discovery.

You may find that it sometimes helps to take your thinking off the mat.

Many yogis start stretching in bed. And why not do it in the bath? Same goes for the shower, if you’re careful about it. In fact anywhere that your body is warm is ideal, because in the simplest terms a warm body is a flexible body. Unless it’s too hot, warmth usually equals higher energy too.

There’s also no need to confine yourself to life at home, because yoga is portable.

How often have you found yourself in a place where you cannot run or swim or swing a club or racquet; places with no gym in sight, no health club? Even here you can do yoga. You can do it at your desk, in hotel rooms, even airports. (Many international terminals have multi-faith meditation rooms just right for breathing and stretching).

And if you’re ever lucky enough find yourself on a tropical beach on a warm day, do not hesitate to try the twisting triangle. Or any other posture, for that matter. In time there will come a day when you realise that unconciously you are, have been, doing yoga. Perhaps you’ll be doing pranayama (breathing exercises) to calm the nerves before a board presentation, or you may find yourself balancing on one leg in a supermarket checkout queue. And like many revelations, it will feel good, even make you smile.

The concept of integrating yoga into one’s life is nothing new, and through the ages influential Yogis have developed their own ideas and formulas. Guru Swami Sivananda, for example, proposed that in addition to postures and breathing, one should practice relaxation and meditation, and be vegetarian.

That sounds like a pretty good recipe for a balanced, healthy lifestyle.

But even if you enjoy a fine wine with your lamb roast or a beer on a hot day you can still add yoga to your list of things worth doing. Yoga does not demand that you do this or don’t do that in order to benefit from a little practice. A little practice may or may not lead to more practice. You win either way.

ABOUT MILA

THE MILA STORY

Mila customers are a curious lot- they want to know what’s in the food (only good things), who makes it (we do), how long we’ve been in business (since October 2011), and the South African connection (Steve and chefs Jodi and Susan are South African).

What’s in a name?

We’re often asked about the name, and the answer is a long one (that doesn’t fit neatly into brackets). Mila is a Zulu word meaning “to grow”, and it felt like a good fit with our ideas for doing something new with the derelict nightclub and wine bar with weeds in the paving and vagrants in the cellar.  
It was only after we settled for Mila as a name that we learned that the only other language in which it means anything is Sanskrit- the language of Yoga- where it’s the root for the word “meet”. Some things are just meant to be.

Grand designs

Steve designed the original logo with a felt-tip pen on copier paper; and the apple was added later. It was picked from the tree of life designed for the original website by Jess Leal, a talented textile designer and former yoga student. Mila yogis and others will know her tree as the beautiful mural in the studio.

Meeting & Growing: the Mila Community

At cafe Mila we’ve seen friendships (and relationships) flourish and watched children grow from bumps into messy toddlers, superheroes and princesses. Doodles on napkins become project plans and trips around the world; books and business proposals are written over espressos and pots of tea.

In the cafe we celebrate ART in all its forms. The regular exhibitions that fill the cafe walls with colour started as an impromptu display of work by staff and a few friends. The last Summer event featured 16 talented local artists. In the first half of 2014 we’ve also hosted solo events and an exhibition of final year photography (with champagne & canapé reception) for Prior’s Field School.

We plan to grow the Mila Art Event to include more performing arts, and are always open to suggestions for expanding the community in any way.

Local cellist Alan Brett appears regularly at Art events, acoustic trio Gekko -featuring the exquisite voice of Heather Golding- are regular guests, and the Godalming Jazz Choir practices and performs here.

Mila is also a (temporary) home to the Godalming Theatre Foundation, and their Pulp Diction evenings of spoken word, standup, and improv performances play to a full house. 

Lynchpin Productions recently moved their Friday evening Scriptease play readings to the studio, bringing a curious mix including Charles Dickens, local playwrights and Mae west to Mila. 

In the studio we celebrate life and physical and spiritual well-being 7 days a week, mostly with Yoga, but also in Tai Chi, Chi Kung, Mindfulness and Pilates.

Weekend Workshops in a wide range of practices are a regular feature of the studio offering. For details of these and other events please see the calendar.

 

Blowing our own trumpet

The biggest rewards for our efforts are comments from happy customers, but we do take pride in the few awards that have come our way:

Best Neighbourhood Coffee Shop in the view of influential blogger and cafe guru Brian Williamson www.brian-coffee-spot.com

Civic Design Award  2012 - Town Centre Enhancement - awarded bi-annually by the Godalming Trust.

Tripadvisor Certificate of Excellence winner 2014