The Unintended Consequences of International Day of Yoga – Based on an article by Dr Patrick McCartney


This is Based on an article by Dr Patrick McCartney on, for the 4th issue of Amrita Magazine.

Is it part of a larger struggle to make history kinder by rewriting the past to glorify an imagined Hindutva future?

On the eve of the 4th International Day of Yoga (IDY) 2018, there were 7,694,099 pledges made to make yoga an integral part of one’s daily life. While we can assume that this list of pledgers constitutes an international audience, requests made directly to the ministry of AYUSH for basic statistics remains unanswered. This makes it difficult to know, for sure, just how much international pledging there is. Regardless, people all around the world celebrated on June 21st and the days either side. However, there is an ambivalence to this pledge and to what the event entails, which we ought to look at it in more detail. Continue reading “The Unintended Consequences of International Day of Yoga – Based on an article by Dr Patrick McCartney”

Amṛta, the nectar of immortality: what is it? – Matthew Clark

This article was written by Matthew Clark for the 4th issue of Amrita Magazine.

The transmission of the soma/amṛta cult to India 

Around 1615 BCE, the volcanic mountain in the midst of the Santorini islands, which lie around 110 kilometres north of the island of Crete in the Mediterranean, erupted. This was the largest explosion on earth since the last ice age, about 10,000 years ago. Magma fell 200 kilometres from the epicenter, the tsunami went twice around the world, aborigines heard the explosion in Alice Springs in Australia, seven inches of volcanic ash covered the ground in South Africa, and the skies went dark in China for seven years, causing crop-failure and famine. Continue reading “Amṛta, the nectar of immortality: what is it? – Matthew Clark”

Not Enough Protein? No Whey! – Brian Cooper, PhD

This article was written by Brian Cooper for the 4th issue of Amrita Magazine.

‘‘And he knew that food was Brahman. From food all beings are born. By food they live and into food they return” – Upanishad 3.2

On my first trip to India in the early 70s, I spent 6 months in an ashram in Rishikesh. In those days ashrams were a great place to stay very cheaply. This particular ashram cost 2 Rupees per night and included one meal a day. It was also a very serious ashram with no frills, and at the time I was one of only 2 non-Indians staying there. Meditation was at 4am and lasted one hour. In this time one change of position was allowed-any further movement meant instant dismissal from the ashram.  It is a very effective way to learn to sit still, and within a week I was able to comfortably fall asleep for the entire duration, like almost everyone else in the meditation hall. Most of my time was spent reading in the vast and magnificently equipped library. Needless to say, the single meal each day took on an almost religious significance. The meal was eaten a little before midday in sync with the sun reaching its highest point. This is considered to be when the digestive fire is at its height and therefore the best (and only) time to eat. This certainly was borne out by the speed at which the guests ate, and before I had finished my first mouthful they had each eaten two bowls of dahl, a bowl of vegetables, and 4 chapattis. I had a huge appetite and needed to make sure that I ate enough to last me till next lunchtime. I also wanted to make lunch last as long as possible. Continue reading “Not Enough Protein? No Whey! – Brian Cooper, PhD”

Reaching Out – Sam Rao

This article was written by Sam Rao for the 4th issue of Amrita Magazine.

Although yoga practice has been growing in the UK since the early 1950s, I personally believe that we have yet to see a major shift in yoga practice in the general population.  

1) My own surveys in my community show that less then 2% of my local population do yoga on a regular basis.

2) When I add other disciplines ( Pilates, Tai Chi etc..) this percentage goes up to 4%. That represents only 3 million people.

I estimate that only 40 – 50 % of our population actually do physical exercise to keep their bodies moving and their minds calmer. For some sedentary life style is a norm. Continue reading “Reaching Out – Sam Rao”

The Goddess is in the Questions – Morven Hamilton

This article was written by Morven Hamilton for the 4th issue of Amrita Magazine.

If it’s therapeutic, is it therapy?

Jane was a mother of three young children, and she had been diagnosed with bowel cancer when I met her at Penny Brohn Cancer Care in Bristol. I began teaching there in 2011, having completed yoga for cancer training as part of a broader yoga therapy course. Like most of the participants on the yoga course at Penny Brohn, Jane wasn’t doing yoga for her cancer, she was doing it for herself. She was seeking a way to relax and feel good in her body again and she felt that a mainstream class would be too vigorous. Throughout numerous surgeries and ongoing treatment, she came back to yoga as often as she could. She began practising at home, and soon started meditating in the mornings before her children awoke. Over the two years I knew Jane, her tumour grew so large that she was unable to do twists or poses lying on her front and she was often fatigued from her illness and the endless treatment. Nonetheless, she never stopped her yoga practice. Yoga did not cure Jane’s cancer, but it helped her to live the best life possible in her final years. Although Jane was not a yoga therapy client, I have no doubt that her yoga was therapeutic for her.  Continue reading “The Goddess is in the Questions – Morven Hamilton”

The Nose – Dr J.A.M Murray

This article was written by Dr. J.A.M Murray for the 4th issue of Amrita Magazine.

You’re only here for a short visit. Don’t hurry, don’t worry. 

And be sure to smell the flowers along the way


Why we should breathe through our noses

The nose lining is an extension of the lung lining, but the link between the nose and the lungs is surprisingly poorly understood by the medical profession. In this article I will explain why the yoga injunction to breathe through the nose rather than the mouth is important, and then discuss ways of maintaining a healthy nose.  Continue reading “The Nose – Dr J.A.M Murray”

Healing Ways – Dawn Boulanoff

This article was written by Dawn Boulanoff for the 4th issue of Amrita Magazine.

Working on a one to one basis or in groups for cancer patients can be very challenging and sometimes demanding. I have worked in my local hospital with cancer patients on a voluntary basis for over 6 years. I have also worked one to one with breast cancer, bowel cancer, throat cancer and bone cancer patients. I have also given demonstrations to breast cancer patients.  Continue reading “Healing Ways – Dawn Boulanoff”

White-coated Yoga? – Dr. Rose Mary Busto

This article was written by Dr. Rose Mary Busto for the 4th issue of Amrita Magazine.

What do you imagine when you think of Yoga therapy? Is it men in white coats? Or maybe you see yourself on a couch pouring out your worries to a sympathetic ear.

In fact, the International Association of Yoga Therapists defines it as “the application of Yogic principles to a particular person with the objective of achieving a particular spiritual, psychological, or physiological goal.”  And everyone who experiences it has a different expectation and result from it. 

The word “therapy” comes from the Greek therapeia: “curing” or “healing.” But it only came into common usage in 1846, a period when great advances in sanitation, medication and hospitalisation were taking place in Victorian England. It is, therefore, a relatively recent phenomenon in modern times Continue reading “White-coated Yoga? – Dr. Rose Mary Busto”

Hello World – Francoise Freedman

This article was written by Francoise Freedman for the 4th issue of Amrita Magazine.

It is now over 60 years since the London doctor Grantley Dick Read wrote his pioneering book Childbirth Without Fear, which inspired the Natural Childbirth movement all over the world. The book paved the way for the Lamaze method and Leboyer’s reminder that birth is also about the baby’s experience. Since then obstetrics was changed radically by the invention of epidural anaesthesia: this revolutionized the availability of pain relief in childbirth, enabled a more controlled ‘management of labour’ and facilitated caesarean sections. No one could have predicted the spread of IVF and reproductive technologies that are helping more and more couples to have babies of their own. In parallel with these changes, yoga has become the exercise of choice in pregnancy. Most pregnant women who attend yoga courses are new to yoga. Even for experienced yogini, pregnancy and yoga are linked in the most miraculous and at the same time terrifying transformations of their bodies and minds as women become mothers, most specially for their first births. At this crucial but vulnerable time, the eight spokes of the wheel of yoga need to come together for self-empowerment, self-centring (with the support of friends) and the creation of long-term foundations for women’s health and wellbeing post childbirth.  Continue reading “Hello World – Francoise Freedman”

“You are not a doctor, or a counsellor” – Yasmin Zaman

This article was written by Yasmin Zaman for the 4th issue of Amrita Magazine.

These were the opening words from Bill Feeney, former Director of the Yoga for Health Foundation (YFHF), as I began my remedial yoga training, today more commonly referred to as yoga therapy. His words have steered me through the increasing complexity and sometimes blurred parameters of teaching regular Hatha yoga and mindfulness courses for the public, and in the clinical settings where the majority of my work is undertaken with vulnerable populations – local authority GP Referral and Psychiatric Hospital in and out-patient programmes and also in schools. Continue reading ““You are not a doctor, or a counsellor” – Yasmin Zaman”