Shifting Outlooks: Yoga & Ecology with Rupert Sheldrake, Peter Owen Jones & Martin Shaw
The Hoxton, Shoreditch | Saturday 5 November 2016
On Saturday 5 November Advaya Initiative brought together some of the UK's most exciting writers, activists, healers and teachers for a full day of workshops including talks, music, food, yoga, sound healing and meditation. Through the day we explored the ecological challenges we face and how we can shift our outlook to engage with lifestyles that place our individual, social and environmental well being at the centre of contemporary life.
The day kicked off with a welcome ceremony with chanting and a dedication followed by Yoga, Meditation & Pranayama or Sound Healing workshops. Yoga, Meditation & Pranayama were run by Miranda Taylor and Colin Dunsmuir, two of London's leading yoga teachers. In a nourishing yoga and meditation class we looked at how to cultivate sacred space on an internal and external level, and how to develop a strengthening, healing and nurturing personal practice.
Sound Healing was held by Archie Brun. We nested down with our blankets, cushions and bolsters, and with the lights dimmed we were taken on an all out vibrational journey through sound with immensely healing effects.
After the workshops, Piccallili Caff prepared an amazing vegan feast which we ate together on long tables. Dishes included delicious Asian salads, wholemeal breads and grains.
The afternoon kicked off with a dynamic and mind shifting talk from biologist, psychologist and author Rupert Sheldrake on MORPHIC RESONANCE, RITUAL AND THE MEMORY OF NATURE. Rupert has written more than 80 scientific papers and 10 books, and in 2013 was ranked among the top 100 Global Thought Leaders by Switzerland's leading think tank, the Duttweiler Institute in Zurich (see bio for more information).
Our second speaker was Martin Shaw, a mythologist and storyteller. Martin wove together folktales, humour and deep ideas in a rumination on the times we're living in in his talk UNLOCKING THE POWER OF MYTHOLOGY.
After a short break, our final talk was from Peter Owen Jones, a maverick 21st century priest, cutting edge spiritual leader, ecological thinker and champion of ethics. He spoke about SPIRITUAL ECOLOGY
Shifting Outlooks followed the success of our recent London events.
11:00 - Welcome ceremony, dedication and group chanting
11:30 - Choice of Workshops: Yoga, Meditation & Pranayama or Sound Healing
13:00 - Vegan Lunch by Piccalilli Caff
14:30 - Talk 1: Rupert Sheldrake: Morphic Resonance, Rituals and The Memory of Nature
15:15 - Break
15:30 - Talk 2: Martin Shaw: Unlocking the Power of Myth
16:00 - Talk 3: Peter Owen Jones: Spiritual Ecology
16:30 - Event Ends / Drinks and Networking
Rupert Sheldrake is a biologist and author of more than 80 scientific papers and 14 books (seven of them in collaboration with other authors). He was among the top 100 Global Thought Leaders for 2013, as ranked by the Duttweiler Institute, Zurich, Switzerland's leading think tank. Sheldrake is known both for pioneering research in plant biology (on the plant hormone auxin and apoptosis), and for his unconventional scientific hypotheses. He is especially known for his theories and research on ‘morphic resonance’ and morphogenetic fields, unexplained abilities of animals and humans, and for discussions of science, philosophy, parapsychology, religion and spirituality. His work has focused on broadening the research agendas of today’s natural sciences, and enabling constructive dialogues between these different fields.
Miranda Taylor & Colin Dunsmuir
Colin Dunsmuir is a practitioner of yoga for well over 20 years and experienced Teacher Trainer. Earlier in his life he practiced the Iyengar method and further to this he practiced and completed the first and second series of Astanga Vinyasa directly under the guidance of the late K. Pattabhi Jois and his grandson Sharath in Mysore, India. In his continued search for coherency in the teachings, he was directed to go as close to the source as possible and focus on the teachings presented by the “father of modern yoga” – Professor T. Krishnamacharya – this led him to be invited to study directly with the family. The following years consisted of extensive training, guidance and practice in all aspects of yoga presented by Professor T. Krishnamacharya and his son T.K.V. Desikachar. He was honoured to be given the role of a Yoga Teacher Trainer and Yoga Therapist directly by T.K.V. Desikachar. He teaches yoga full time in London, specialising in teaching 1-2-1, yoga therapy and evolving yoga teachers.
Miranda Taylor never wanted to be a yoga teacher, she just had a bad back and was a bit stressed being a Mum and a full-time editor and writer. But when her son had to be home schooled for a year she gave up her job as editor of a travel magazine and began to go to a yoga class to help her back. It worked and she was amazed by her teacher’s approach and skill. In order to learn more about yoga she began to train with Colin Dunsmuir on his legendary four year teacher training course in the Krishnamacharya tradition, and within a few months she found herself teaching family and friends - and really enjoying it! She particularly enjoys teaching one-to-one and Vedic chanting. Now Miranda combines her old job writing and publishing (Desa Publications) with also teaching yoga in west London.
Martin Shaw is a mythologist and storyteller. Dr. Shaw lived under canvas for four years exploring tiny pockets of the English countryside - claiming to have walked out of this century altogether. When his time was over, he found himself, a pagan romantic, approaching a society with amnesia or active hostility to such a notion. This, he claims, is where the myths come in: myths so mysterious, so lively, so generously suffused with animism, they may just make a crossroads between the village and the forest again. He will ask the questions; what is the difference between shelter and comfort? What is the consequence of living in a time heavily defended against an experience of our own beauty? How do we learn to bend our head to something greater than ourselves? In this provocative talk, Shaw will invite us to drink deeply from the ethics of a fairy tale.
Martin Shaw is the author of the award winning A Branch From The Lightning Tree, Snowy Tower and Scatterlings: Getting Claimed in the Age of Amnesia. He founded the Oral Tradition course at Stanford University and is director of the Westcountry School of Myth. Recent collaborations have included "Lost Gods" with Mark Rylance and Paul Kingsnorth, and he is currently finishing a book of translations of the poet Lorca (with Stephan Harding) entitled "Courting The Dawn".
Peter Owen Jones
Peter Owen Jones is a maverick 21st century priest, cutting edge spiritual leader, ecological thinker and champion of ethics. Over the last eight years Peter has presented a number of award winning TV documentaries for the BBC, including Extreme Pilgrim, Around the World in 80 Faiths, and How to Live a Simple Life, where he has explored the world’s vast pantheon of religious and spiritual ideas and distilled essential wisdom for contemporary modern life and business. Extreme Pilgrim was nominated “the best religious programme ever made” (Daily Telegraph). Peter has innovative advice for organisations, schools, universities and businesses on how to move with the times and become more responsible, ethical and purposeful, and has also written five highly acclaimed books: Bed of Nails: an advertising executive’s journey through Theological College; Small Boat Big Sea; Psalms; Letters from an Extreme Pilgrim; Pathlands; and The New Humanity.
Born and raised in the UK, Peter left school and went to work as a jackaroo in Australia, before becoming a copywriter and ultimately creative director in London’s advertising industry. Disenchanted with the material rat race and eager to follow a life imbued with service and meaning, in his late 20s he joined the clergy, becoming ordained in 1992. He served as a rector of three parishes just outside Cambridge and is now a house for duty priest on the Sussex Downs.
Archie Brun is trained in the disciplines of Yoga, Massage, Reiki, and Sound Therapy, giving him a holistic insight as to the interactions between the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual bodies. His own journey began after attending weekly meditation classes at the Kagyu Ling Meditation Centre in Manchester, when he realised the incredible value of silencing the mind and bringing awareness to the body. He then embarked on a process of self-healing and he now gives individual consultations in which he intuitively draws from the different modalities in which he has been trained, allowing him to tailor-make each healing session to suit the client’s needs specifically in order for the deepest healing to take place.
Piccalilli Caff is a wonderful oasis on Surrey Docks Farm. They are open every day and serve delicious, locally sourced fresh produce.