Bean bag boogie!

Today Padma and I started our volunteer teaching at the Sri Narayani Vidyalaya School. This school is run by the Sripuram Ashram in Thirumalaikodi. It is a wonderful school with 85% of its students the first in their family to … Continue reading

Love melts fear…

This lovely song “Love Melts Fear” by my friend Edo Kahn showcases the beautiful Sripuram Ashram in India that I visit each year. Amma’s love has the power to melt all our fears.

“Sripuram has been created to communicate the universal Divine truths to mankind”…Sri Sakthi Amma

My Guru just arrived by post…

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Yesterday afternoon I went to pick up my mail and was very excited to see my Guru had arrived by post. Well not exactly…but nearly as good. My newest issue of the magazine, Sri Sakthi Gnanadeepam, was waiting in my box.

Each year when I stay at the Sripuram Ashram in India I renew my magazine subscription. Then each month I receive this delightful magazine packed with photos, quotes, news and discourses by Amma. It fills me with happiness each time one arrives. It is as if I have returned to the ashram without even leaving home.

These spiritual magazines are a great way to catch up on what is happening at the ashram while you are not there. They are a fantastic tool to refocus you on your spiritual path. Most importantly they remind me of my goal to be of service to others.

Another spiritual magazine I subscribe to is Yoga. This wonderful magazine is all about Satyananda and comes from the Bihar School of Yoga in Munger, India. It gives some lovely insights into living a more genuine yogic life.

Small doses of terror can be fun…

I’ve been on some scary rides in my time and impressed my boys by riding Space Mountain at Euro Disneyland in Paris. However nothing quite compares to an auto-rickshaw ride in India!

Let me set the scene for you. The whole family squashed onto a shiny, vinyl seat on a covered three wheeler motorbike. One son squeezed into the front with the driver. All number of Gods and Deities on the auto’s dashboard and om stickers all over the windscreen.The driver racing up tiny lanes at breakneck speed past cows munching on rubbish and us clinging on for dear life. I know it would sound like a nightmare to most and I can understand that you may feel that way. However our family love it!

The reason we love it is because of one word…SURRENDER. Instead of thinking of all the things that could possibly go wrong we think the opposite. We surrender to the sheer freedom and craziness of the moment. One night in Trichy we were heading straight for a packed bus when the driver veered off to the left at the very last moment. Our boys shouted out “That was mad Mum!” in sheer delight!

I’m not advocating taking reckless risks every day of the week. However part of being a genuine traveller is immersing yourself in the moment and doing some challenging things every now and then.

On our last trip my mother Padma and I discovered the auto-rickshaw bus. Now we can travel from the Sripuram Ashram all the way into Vellore (20 minute trip) for only 8 rupees!

The best things about the auto-rickshaw bus are:

  • Loud blaring Hindi music combined with fast speed ~ very exhilarating!
  • Great chats with local people.
  • A cheap fare.
  • Interesting views of everyday life.
  • Living in the moment.

Please excuse the slightly out-of-focus photos above…we were probably going through a pot-hole at the time!

Small doses of terror can be fun? Is she crazy? Yes…well maybe just a little…

An Ashram Secret ~ they have shops!

Satyananda Ashram shop at Mangrove Mountain, NSW, Australia… As you know I adore India, shopping and spirituality. Is it possible to combine all three? Well…I’m going to let you in on a little secret…YES…ashrams have shops too! Amazingly enough nearly every ashram … Continue reading

Let art impart a great start…

The children were all so proud of their hats...

The children were all so proud of their hats…

Art is a great way to break down barriers ~ in my case language and cultural barriers instantly evaporated once art was brought into the classroom.

On the first day of my volunteer teaching at the Sri Narayani Vidyalaya School I was teaching in the three kindergarten classes. It is the first year of school for these littlies so English is still new for them with Tamil being the main language spoken at home.

Fortunately I had my wonderful friend, Reema, to ably assist me in teaching the class as the class sizes ranged between 35-45 students.

We started the lesson with a “The old lady who swallowed the fly” puppet which I had brought with me. Puppets are a valuable tool to quickly gain children’s attention. They really enjoyed feeding all the animals to “Granny” as they called her. Of course when it got to the bit where she swallowed the cow they were aghast and amazed she would eat a cow. Hindus of course believe cows are sacred and would never eat one! We then did some clapping songs which were sung with great gusto. We read a very simple story “Old Hat, New Hat”. The children found an old hat they had in the classroom which they gave to me to wear during the reading of the story.

Decorating their hats...with their class teacher, Mrs Vijaya, in the background

Decorating their hats…with their class teacher, Mrs Vijaya, in the background

We then went back to the tables and Reema and I helped the children to fold a paper hat. They decorated their own hat with oil pastels and watercolour paints. The children had a ball doing this. When you look at the photos you may think what serious children they were but it was quite the opposite. The children often have a serious rather than smiley face on when you take their photograph due to the fact that a lot had never had their photos taken before. I have found this to be very common during my travels in India. Even when you encourage people to smile they still retain the serious stance.

Each hat illustrated the child's individual style...

Each hat illustrated the child’s individual style…

More lovely hats...

More lovely hats…

It was such a fantastic morning with lots of happy and satisfied children. The children proudly wore their hats home that afternoon to show their parents…very sweet.

Do you like my hat? I most certainly do...

Do you like my hat? I most certainly do…

The end of education is character…

As an early childhood educator I have been often asked over the years what is my “philosophy of teaching”. Funnily enough my teaching philosophy can be summed up in one sentence ~ the end of education is character. “The end of … Continue reading