Mystical Burnings Blog

I like to defy categorisation, but for the purpose of this blog, let’s say I’m a yogini, dakini-in-training, part-time writer and photographer who lives in London. I’m passionate about travel and my yogic path has taken me to sacred places in India in pursuit of yogic philosophy and Buddhist wisdom. Many people think that Yoga is just gymnastics and have lost sight of its true purpose – to control the mind, diminish suffering, and attain enlightenment (or perhaps reclaim sanity). So, these ‘Mystical Burnings’ posts are a selection of writing and photography of a spiritual nature. Just as being in a sacred place, or in the presence on a spiritual master, can purify one, these essays symbolise a kind of mystical burning, or devotion, an inner self-discipline (tapas) that burns away impurities and kindles the sparks of divinity. They mark the journey inwards and are a metaphor for the inner limbs of Patanjali’s Ashtanga yoga.

12 Jun Yoga Retreats Gone Wrong: Part 2

M A D N E S S   IF THE INSECTS, FOOD OR DEATH AREN'T RESPONSIBLE FOR DAMPENING  THE ENTHUSIASM on the retreat, what else lies lurking the shadows? Mental illness. People can arrive on a yoga retreat depressed, taking medication; have high levels of anxiety or...

20 Aug Antonin Artaud

Madness and genuis in the life of the great French theatre mystic are inspiration for contemporary artists   ANTONIN ARTAUD IS A MAD THEATRICAL GENIUS WHO LIVED IN PARIS OVER SIXTY YEARS AGO. He was a poet, playwright, actor, director, whose radical theories on staging and language...

20 Jun All in the Family

A memoir about identity, tracing the roots of my adoption and meeting my birth family   I was adopted. I am an "adoptee". For most of my life I didn't really care. The word had no meaning. I never thought that discovering my origins might help me...

13 Jan S I K K I M : 1

"Kanchenjunga" by Nicholas Roerich, from the Himalayan series (1924)   SIKKIM IS KNOWN AS THE 'HIDDEN LAND' AND IT'S PROTECTED BY BOTH MOUNTAINOUS TERRAIN as well as its legendary mystical powers. This remote state in northeast India borders on Tibet, Bhutan and Nepal, and Buddhist legends describe...

13 Jan S I K K I M : 2

Darjeeling I'M SIPPING A CUP OF DARJEELING TEA AND ENJOYING THE RATHER CHILLY AIR AFTER MELTING in 40-degree temperatures down south. The sounds of Varanasi temple bells and chanting priests, the fragrance of puja flowers, the decorated doorways and glittering golden temple spires, are slowly fading...

14 Jun Concentration Camp

From agony to ecstacy on a 10-day silent Vipassana retreat   I ARRIVE IN THE 'GOLDEN LAND' OF MYANMAR (BURMA) AND DROP OFF MY BAGS AT DHAMMA JOTI Meditation Centre in Rangoon (Yangon). With a few hours to spare, I head to the famous Shwedagon Pagoda. Like the Statue...

13 Jan S I K K I M : 3

            PELLING IS ONLY A HALF-DAY'S DRIVE FROM DARJEELING AND OTHER THAN GETTING STUCK IN A  traffic jam for over an hour, the journey keeps getting more sublime. The lower mountain slopes are abundant with lush green bamboo and ferns, wild cherry, oaks, chestnut, pines, and...

13 Jan S I K K I M : 4

KHECHEOPALRI LAKE IS ONE OF THE MOST REVERED BUDDHIST PILGRIMAGE SITES AND IS BELIEVED TO BE AN EMANATION of goddess Tara, and it’s shape looks like her footprint. The miraculous part of the lake is that surface of the lake remains clean in spite of it...