Tag Archives: spirituality

Lungta: the wind horse of flow and ease

I’ve been privileged to spend the last weeks of October in an old Buddhist monastery in the Himalayas. Spending a lot of time looking at prayer flags, I was delighted to discover the meaning behind the horse that features on them.

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The horse is called Lungta, or Wind Horse, and similar to Ganesh it symbolises the ability within you to turn stagnation into flow.

Windhorse is success. It is an aliveness, an alignment, a vibrancy. You have windhorse when things are flowing; when there is ease; when you feel “in the zone”.

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The opposite of windhorse is what the Buddhists call drip: when energy is clogged up. You know drip is in your life when there are a lot of obstacles, when things are not going your way.

So how do we cultivate wind horse and minimise drip? The teachings point to integrity, looking after yourself and your surroundings – looking within yourself for fulfilment and connection.

Spending time in the Himalayas around Diwali end of October, I loved seeing the villagers busy cleaning and painting their houses to welcome Lakshmi, the goddess of prosperity and abundance. 

In the picture are Lakshmi’s footsteps traced by the women of the family I was staying with. 

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Inspired by all this activity I put up the goddess feet mandala on our own door (see picture), and started cleaning and cooking myself.

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It’s a cleansing experience to declutter and create clarity. Especially with the intention of welcoming abundance and flow.

This was also inspired by Chameli Ardagh of Awakening Women’s Institute whose Parvati sadhana I was following at the time. Chameli writes:

“To clear out drip and welcome windhorse, choose to clear one drip-producing thing per day in your surroundings.

Declutter a drawer.

Fix something that is broken.

Do something you have postponed.

Apologize.

Throw out your secret stash of addiction-food.

Pay a bill, clean something or beautify your entrance.

Notice how these outer actions liberate energy.”

Decluttering our home is also a metaphor for sweeping up our emotional dust and blocks so flow has free passage through us. As we traverse life our experiences form and shape us, and some our so potent we carry them with us for a long time.

Sometimes we neglect parts of our being or they may even be frozen if we’ve experienced trauma. Cleaning up the dusty corners and slowly thawing the frozen ones helps us feel more complete, whole and flexible. We become freer in our responses to the world and experience more flow.

Chameli writes:

“What makes energy take form as drip versus windhorse is the attachment to the idea that who we are is a fixed, limited “me” who is fundamentally separate from our surroundings and other people.”

In the Maitree Community – the Sangha of Joy November calls we’re exploring how to allow the flow of the windhorse circulate freely, and how decluttering your physical space is as important as keeping your emotional space dust free.

Get in touch if you’d like to join next month’s call!

The learning spiral – about fractals and freedom

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Have you noticed how time never passes ‘normally’? It’s always faster or slower than you think. Which makes me wonder how we intuitively know what is time’s normal pace. Otherwise how can we experience it passing by at a quicker or more lazy pace than it ‘should’?

Although our brains love to turn time, and most of our experience of life, into a linear pattern of moving from A to B, there may be different, more interesting shapes out there in the universe.

Like the spiral for example. It’s everywhere in nature…from our DNA to roses, snails, hurricanes and even galaxies like the Milky Way. In maths, the Fibonacci sequence (0,1,1,2,3,5,8 etc) describes these gracefully unfurling shapes.

If you add two Fibonacci sequences you approximate the Golden Ratio which defines the architecture of historic monuments such as the Giza pyramids and the Greek Parthenon.

Dogmatic creationism aside, there is poetry in the idea that “the spiral is the fingerprint of God which resides in all of creation.”

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From Fractals to Freedom

Even in our subtle emotional bodies we experience spirals of deeper and deeper learning.

Again they’re often misinterpreted by our brain as a two-dimensional line. We feel disillusioned when an issue we thought we had ‘dealt with’, comes back with a vengeance.

‘What? It’s still not over?! I’ve not made any progress and am back where I started?!’ – our saboteur brain starts chattering. We become convinced that we’ve taken quite a few steps back on our journey.

I see this often happening when coaching clients go through grief, process a break up or even let go of patterns that are no longer serving.

Instead of perceiving progress as linear, let’s add a third dimension and experience it as a spiral. Then we’re not going back to where we came from, but are tracing a circle, adding depth with each step taken, like the rose, snail and planets do.

In the reiki healing tradition, the sacred symbol of the spiral adds power and protection, indicating to “place the power of the universe here’.

Every time we reach the same side of the circle at a deeper level, we have the opportunity to understand the issue more deeply so that healing and integration can occur at a more profound level.

We continue to go deeper down into our learning spirals until we reach the deepest core of the issue, the end point of the spiral.

Then we may become aware of an even bigger spiral repeating the shape of the first smaller spiral. Like in a fractal image of expanding symmetry, one spiral is the building block for an even larger spiral.

In yoga philosophy, the serpent lies coiled like a spiral at the base of our spine until the kundalini energy, or the intelligence of complete maturation, is awakened.

Perhaps our fractal learning experience continues until our karma expires. Until we reach enlightenment and we’re free of patterns, be they lines or spirals.

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What spiral are you on?

I’d love to hear from you about your current learning spiral!

On the Maitree Community – the Sangha of Joy’s September calls, we are sharing and learning about spirals of self love, following the heart, being soft and firm, letting go.

I’m on the ‘surrender’ spiral. Every time I’ve surrendered more deeply, I’m presented with an even harder thing to surrender. It’s almost as if the universe is trying to tell me:

“Do you think you’ve mastered surrender by letting go of your high performing corporate career, and receiving a beautifully balanced and free life doing what I love most?

Then try this: surrendering your relationship.

Now do you think you’ve mastered the trick by breaking up and being gifted a fully unexpected reunion with your partner when he asks you to marry him?

Then try this: give up your home and sense of belonging in Auroville.”

That’s where I am at in my surrender spiral.

Deep down with no end in sight and a smile on my face thanks to the gift of 20 all Indian sisters in the dance and movement therapy course I just started in Bangalore. But I’m sure despite these gifts I’ll find something else to cling to!

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Spirals and movement

The dance and movement therapy course has much inspired me in many ways, integrating movement into my coaching practice and finding innovative ways of exploring authentic intuitive movement with clients.

In the sangha calls, we have been exploring the fun yet sacred element of moving spirals. Once we identified our learning spirals, we found movement to express them – from whirling dervish to rolling child and surfing on the waves of life.

The spiral movements we discovered were both liberating and transformative. They helped us shake off old patterns, for exampling shifting into an anti-clock wise upward spiral when in a clock wise downward spiral. And shifted us into new ways of being, for example from strongly spiralling our arms to protect ourselves, to a gentle swaying of the hips as a soft and peaceful pillar of strength.

Some say that spiral movements are among the oldest on the planet, as eye-less creatures grazed the ocean floor following their mouths with their digestive tubes.

There is a mysterious power in recreating ancient, primitive movement patterns – at once healing and joyful. While it’s fun to move in spirals, the movement awakens a deep vibration within us that seems to allow us to shift quickly from one state to another.

If you’re interested in exploring the mystery further, join me end January in Auroville for the ‘Swing Your Hips’ 3-day women’s intuitive dance retreat.

I’m also starting to offer authentic movement spaces in Auroville and Pondicherry, organically for women only for now, yet I’m planning mixed dance spaces later in the season.

For more info, keep an eye out on the website or get in touch via julie@maitreecoaching.com. Looking forward to hearing from you!

WORKSHOPS & TRAINING, WINTER 2015-2016

Heart space workshop
Mysore: 3rd December, 2-4.30pm @ Khushi’s
Auroville: 9th December & 13th January & 16th March, 9.15am-12.30pm @ Verite

Are you at a cross roads in your life? Do you want to figure out the path you’re meant to walk on, and walk it?

In this dynamic and interactive workshop you will get more insight into how to align your life to your dreams.

You will connect to the answers within and learn how to work with your inner critic.

“The positive feeling of the workshop and the skills I learnt have already helped me so much in a very urgent and difficult conversation. Fulfillment in a way that was not easy, but it felt so right! Thank you!”

Nora Klein, Student, Environmental Engineering, Germany


Fresh Perspectives
Auroville: 23rd December & 3rd February & 26th March, 9.15am-12.30pm @ Verite

Are you at a cross roads in your life? Are you going through a transition? Do you want to get unstuck?

In this half day workshop, we’ll explore how you can create clarity, make conscious choices and move forward. Join me to get fresh perspectives on your life.

Flow through Life
Auroville: 6th January & 17th February & 30th March, 9.15am-12.30pm @ Verite

Are you holding on to your emotions? Do you keep experiencing the same patterns and want to create more flow?

Learn how to process your emotions so you can access your intuition more fully.

Join me for this workshop to explore how to turn emotions into energy in motion. You’ll feel relieved and full of energy to move forward.

Coaching fundamentals
Auroville: 9th January & 27th February, 9.15am-4.30pm @ Verite

This interactive and dynamic training day will provide you with basic coaching skills. Coaching is the art of listening profoundly and asking powerful questions with the aim of facilitating sustainable and real change.

Coaching conversation skills are a great tool for anyone interested in optimising their relationships, and in particular:

  • Managers to build an inclusive, non-hierarchical leadership style
  • Therapists to enhance long term impact on clients
  • Designers and other freelancers to build trust in client relationships
  • Teachers to create mutual respect and openness with students

You will learn how to listen in a focused and intuitive way, how to ask questions that quickly build resonance and trust, and how to facilitate transformation.


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Each workshop addresses different aspects of the coaching practice:

  • Developing better relationships through enhanced listening and intuition skills
  • Connecting with your life values, fulfilment energy and your inner leader
  • Making conscious and lasting choices by exploring different perspectives
  • Being present to emotions, allowing them to be in motion

I also host coaching training days for corporate and private groups in Europe and India. See Retreats page for weekend and week long retreats in Auroville (January to March) and Greece (June).

Get in touch at julie@maitreecoaching.com if you’d like to join or discuss hosting these workshops and trainings elsewhere in Europe or India for corporate and private groups.

How to make 2015 count

Wow, the start of a new year. A blank canvas soon to be filled with memories and experiences. This snow white, quiet time is traditionally used to commit to New Year’s resolutions.

Resolutions, however, are a little old school. They don’t tend to have much effect because they’re lopsidedly left brain commands, like ‘start yoga now!’

In January, I’m coaching my clients to set intentions instead of resolutions. Intentions lead to transformation when they integrate both the left (doing) and the right (being) brain.

So we work on a realistic and practical plan of how you’ll start yoga, while at the same time internalising the importance of optimising your health so you can live your life fully.

Here are 3 tips to turn your New Year’s resolutions into powerful intentions.

1. Saying yes means saying no

One of the biggest mistakes people make in setting their intentions, is to only say yes, without saying no. If you want to practice yoga 1 hour a day, then you’ll have to stop doing what you’re currently doing for that 1 hour. Otherwise the intention is likely to fizzle out in January.

So for every ‘saying yes’ intention, make sure there’s a ‘saying no’ counterpart. For example: ‘I won’t stay out later than 10pm so I can wake up in time to do my yoga practice before going to work.’

2. Visualising

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Let’s visualise your perfect 2015. Imagine you have everything going for you, that 2015 is fulfilling year straight from your heart. What does this ideal year feel like, what are the colours, the sensations? Let it all come so alive you can almost taste it.

Visualisation matters because your brain is more motivated to change when the left brain plan ‘do yoga 1 hour a day’ is complemented by the right brain feeling light, fit and flexible. Click here to read more about the neuroscience behind this.

Visualising your ideal year also matters because you anchor your intentions into what is most important to you. Ultimately it’s not about doing yoga, but about fully expressing your gift to the world. Ask yourself, what do you need from 2015 to live your life purpose?

3. Completing

Finally, make up the books for 2014. What are you proud of? What are you grateful for? What have you learnt? What is no longer serving you?

Completion matters because it will allow your energy to be focused on what’s next for you, and because you can use your lessons learnt to make 2015 even more awesome.

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Now your New Year’s intentions are firmly rooted in your conscious and subconscious. It’s time to sit back and observe. While resolutions are hard work, intentions tend to happen with little effort.

If you’re interested in doing a 1:1 Intentions Workshop over skype or in person in South India, get in touch with me. We’ll anchor your intentions in your values and ensure each intention has both a powerful left brain plan, and right brain experience. You’ll be fully committed to making 2015 count!