1. When, and how, did you discover Yoga?
I was introduced to yoga by my eldest sister Caroline when I was 10. She was 21 and at the time I was in total awe of her. She was vegan, practicing hatha yoga in our house and an amazing woman. The practices touched something deep within me and I was hooked. Even then I was an avid reader and explorer and from that seed I started to read about yoga and yogic philosophy and develop a small practice. In my late teens I started to go to classes, deepen my practice and learn how to integrate yoga into my life.
Bhakti yoga really touches my heart. I have devoted my life to embodying love and sharing that as service to the Divine. I see love as the Divine aspect in all forms, all people, all life. I am currently training as an Interfaith Minister and can see how love is at the core of all the faith and mystical traditions. I want to help other people to access that love in a way that is accessible and appropriate for this time. I see this expressing itself fully through my personal yoga practice and my teaching.
3. Can you describe how yoga affects your daily life?
Yoga expresses itself throughout my daily life. My core practice is devoted to embodying love. I'm not always successful but I do my best. This expresses itself in a number of ways. Nurturing Hatha yoga practices for my body, Service and devotional practices for my heart and meditational practices for my mind. I have also loved exploring the Kriya yoga practices as a way of freeing and exploring how to harness and use the potent energy within me. The yoga of relationships is also my sadhana. How can I embody the qualities taught to me through my yoga practices in all my relationships? My challenge is to practice the universal philosophy of yoga in whatever context i am in as a business woman leading strategic meeting, whilst conducting a ceremony as an Interfaith Minister or when teaching yoga.
4. Has there been a moment in your years of Yoga that stands out (or a peak experience & how did you integrate this experience?)
In January 2011, I had an experience that changed my life and how I view it forever. It felt like the culmination of all the practices that I have ever done over the years and more. It came at a time where I was on sabbatical. I was rested, relaxed, happy and I could dedicate everyday to yogic practices and inspired living. I could label it a spiritual, psychic, awakening, enlightening and/or kundalini experience. In the end it doesn’t matter what you call it. All that matters is that I had an unforgettable, unshakeable, unchanging, awe inspiring realisation that we are all connected that we are all one. Not just an intellectual understanding but a visceral, whole being experience of this universal truth at my core.
5. Is there a text/ book that you find inspiring?
I'm a little bit of a rebel and I am reading and enjoying Uma Dinsmore-Tuli's Yoni Shakti at the moment. Her book is well researched and written. It explores yoga and tantra through history, practices and woman's perspectives. I like the radical stance that she takes on outing the sexual politics that can exist in yogic institutions. I feel that this can sometimes get in the way of experiencing life fully as a yoga practitioner, especially as a woman. Swami Nichschalananda has always emphasised the importance of questioning and experience rather than blind belief. I feel that this book helps practitioners to look for direct experience through practice and release some thought forms, structures and traditions that may not be relevant or useful for them.
6. Can you tell us about a favourite retreat or retreat centre?
|Hridaya Purna practicing Kubera Mudra|
I love Mandala Yoga Ashram dearly. It has been a crucible for learning, growth and inspiration for me. I am eternally grateful for all that has been provided for me at the Ashram. I also have to say that my retreat centre in Barbados is pretty cool too. I have been gifted with a space the brings love, beauty and transformation. Yoga is universal and I feel blessed to be able to share the practices that I have learned in the Caribbean.
7. Could you share one of your favourite quotes and say why it inspires you?
"One love, one heart. Let's get together and feel alright." Bob Marley
It's simple and it fosters love and togetherness. It has the potential to bring more, peace, love and joy into the world.
8. If you could practice/study with any yogi (dead or alive), who would you choose and why?
Ramana Maharishi - It would have been a blessing to sit in silence in his presence. I have experienced the grace that he speaks about. It would have be wonderful to personally experience how he emanated that grace during his life.
Monica Douglas-Clark is a Mandala Yoga Ashram trained Yoga Teacher and Tutor. Her yogic name is Hridaya Purna (fullness of the heart). She is an inspired Leader, Teacher and Coach on a mission to support people to live their inspired life. She is a sacred business woman, co-founder of Zion House retreat centre Barbados, dedicated holistic practitioner, Nurturing yoga teacher and teacher trainer, Moon Mother, workshop facilitator, Energy worker, Energy 4 Life Wellness Coach and Interfaith Minister in the making.
Visit the podcast The Nurturer Podcast with Monica Douglas-Clark for free resources
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