move. smile. release. Uma Spender (previously Jessie Neave) - name in transition - new website coming soon!

Uma Spender (previously Jessie Neave) - name in transition - new website coming soon!

the art of receiving

Om Bhoginyei Namaha: Salutations to She who has the experience of perpetual bliss...

A big part of my Spiritual practice is about bringing balance to to the masculine & feminine - and in a world that has intrinsically taught me the power of the masculine, this means strengthening alignment with the sacred feminine. I’m not talking about physically being a woman or a man, but rather; being a part of a global energetic shift from the consciousness that has dominated for some centuries, to the socially inclusive, environmentally integrative consciousness that calls to the depths of our hearts (I said ‘our’ because you hear it too right?!). In proper balance the masculine energy guides planning, analysis, supervision - all wonderful things - but when it runs hot we find greed, control and dominance (I promise I'm not going to mention US Politics!). The balanced feminine brings about creativity, abundance & reception, and when it's running cold we see complacency, stagnancy, resentment & victim identification.

For the purpose of this writing, we could simplify these two energies as heart & head, or, goal driven ‘taking’, and gratitude centred ‘receiving’. 

Neither is 'superior', and in ideal balance the two opposing energies complement & support each other. Universally, however, we have a way to come before we find ideal balance, so, like me, more & more seekers, men and women, are welcoming the Goddess back and immersing in the sacred feminine. This means re-orienting to the heart & moving with the great feminine flow that is giving & receiving. As a practice I generally focus on the giving, and let the Universe take care of the rest. I find that the more generous I am, the more abundance is provided - not necessarily what your head may have 'wanted', but what your heart has magnetically drawn in. It’s basic law of attraction stuff, and in my experience it works….it works, so long as  your head or some other kind of internal resistance isn't blocking it. The real practice, for me, is making sure to really notice and understand the resistances as they arise, accepting and working with what is, right now. The real practice is giving space.

So, to honour my bigger intentions, I stopped Teaching for several months and took some time to practice gratitude & receiving. This was no small thing! Taking that time and making that space was scary; I had to sacrifice a lot, and, I had to surrender to leaning on my partner and family - asking for help in ways I never have before. 

But, what kind of a Teacher would I be if I didn't honour my own journey when all the signs were there? I needed to turn things upside down, and, in the end I didn’t put up much of a fight.

I’ve been yearning for deep immersion in study, with a real Teacher, for some time. A desire to feel both more connected to the ancient tradition that has become so much of my life, and, have more tools for integrating it all to these modern times. I’ve been a little jaded by the False Gurus of the East, and, the Western Yoga scene in general has left me, well, searching. This modern yoga has hurt me physically too,

a few years ago I started asking; “where are the elders?” and; “who can I trust that has walked this path with integrity for many years and still shines the light?”.

It took time to seek out the right Teachers, but they were out there, waiting for me, of course. The timing was right, and in November I did an immersion with Tara Judelle in Embodied Flow - a beautiful combination of Tantric Philosophy (via Master teacher Sally Kempton), Body Mind Centring and deeply meditative flow Yoga. And, before that I took myself over to Western Australia for Dr Arne Rubinstein’s Leadership Training, which helped give what I do as a some more widely accessible, inclusive language, and, some room to personally expand & grow (as well as make me OK with calling myself a Leader - big one!). I’ve also been quietly on the Cervix Journey - without going into it here I recommend this to EVERY woman, sincerely.

I am now ending this year and starting a whole new phase, bursting with even more Yoga love. I just totally adored being in the seat of the student, unfolding every moment with the bliss of receiving, receiving, receiving...and it just kept coming! 

The beautiful thing about shifting gear from head to heart is that the gifts that come can be totally unexpected - opening to what is provided means moving with the magnetism of the heart space instead of projecting with the dominant thinking mind. Surrendering the 'goals & the striving' definitely puts you in a vulnerable space, but it’s a space of growth and miracles…a space of true inspiration & intuition. Practicing radical gratitude for everything (I mean EVERYTHING) we have today opens up doorways we didn’t even know were there - some aspects of myself have shown up as more ready to share & expand than I ever would have guessed, yet it couldn’t feel more right. 

I was so ready for that potent dose, that feeling of genuine connection again to lineage & tradition - of having elders to look up to. I’m just so grateful for every moment of it…and now, back in the seat of the Teacher, ready to share the yoga love again, this is what I’m up to:

  • I’ve been making a Podcast - it’s all about exploring the history & mythology of Yoga via mantra. The first 6 episodes just bubbled out of me, hopefully that will continue! I'll be putting them out into the world early next year - how exciting!
  • I am thrilled to announce a new Retreat 24-30th June next year that I will be co-hosting with the gorgeous Mei Lai Swan, in Candidasa Beach East Bali. Heart of Yoga will be a deep exploration of Mantra, Mythology and Meditation, as well as soulful movement daily, of course. It’s open to men & women, and we are kicking off with a promotion for couples, or friends happy to share a big bed - book by the end of January and you will both save an extra $50 on top of the early bird discount. And, All you need to pay now is the $300 deposit to save your place. Awesome, right? This is all part of a bigger seva (selfless service) project we are working on called Yoga for HumanKIND; Yoga Teacher Trainings that are committed to sharing the love of Yoga with communities less fortunate by training Teachers in the developing world. It’s all in it’s creation phase now but there will be more to announce very soon. 


  • My August Retreat Prana Body is starting to fill up. This will be a luscious week long immersion in the ancient science of the Chakra system using a wide variety of Yoga, and will be held at the luxury Nirarta Resort in Sideman. This Retreat is open to anyone who is seeking to dive deep into the energetic or subtle body, all levels of experience are welcome. *Please note I have changed the date of this Retreat to one week later than originally advertised. It is now 12-19th August. 


  • I’ve been expanding my mentoring of late - it was amazing to me that when I stopped actively teaching classes I started getting lots of emails from people who were seeking some kind of sounding board, or guidance, to move through something big. In the past, my mentoring has mainly been for Yoga Teachers, but it seems I’m being called to broaden the parameters a little. What I’m hearing is that there are things that people don’t want to talk about with counsellors, psychologists or friends - things that might require heart over head, things that might be energetic, sensitive or spiritual in nature -  and it just feels so natural for me to give more time to this. If you feel like you might benefit from a session with me I’m offering a limited amount of ‘free trial’ 15 minute Skype calls, just email me to book yours. I got this beautiful note from a client recently: “..thank you with all of my heart for guiding me so wisely, so lovingly & so intuitively through my pain & confusion. I have felt so aghast about modern portrayals of Spirituality & intimidated by ancient portrayals that I felt so alone until I contacted you. I’m so happy I reached out- you have such a magnificent way of translating masterful spirituality into simple and accessible language - it is a true gift.”


  • I have made a limited run of some really super yoga mats. I have spent the last 6 months trialling them to make sure they are really the best, and now that I know they are, I can offer them to you! These mats are the highest quality eco friendly I have found that actually last…so often the eco friendly ones wear really badly, and I wonder how eco friendly it really is if you need to keep replacing it? Anyway, mine are made from super durable hemp and have natural resin on top so you can wash them, and, have light weight natural rubber cushion for comfort…you can order on my website. They are $65 (I saw the same ones at the Yoga Barn in Ubud for $70 US). I've also got some great recycled cork blocks too.


  • Gertrude st news: I'm going to be involved in teaching their first ever Teacher Training in 2017 - Hannah Campos has put together a wonderful, thorough training that is designed to go throughout the year so that you can fit it in with work etc. Also, I'll be doing lots of new workshops -look out in the next newsletter for details. The next Hormone Balancing Restorative Yoga for Women session is on February 3rd at Gertrude st Fitzroy. “Deeply relaxing & informative - wish I new all this 10 years ago” - Deb (Thanks Deb!). 


  •  Workshops @ GRY Mornington in February    

Saturday 4th, 11am-2pm, exploring the Heart Chakra  
Sunday 5th, 11am-2pm, exploring the Throat Chakra                                                                                        
Friday 24th 7.15-9.15pm, Moving Meditation

Wishing you a spacious & abundant holiday season -
looking forward to seeing you on the mat in 2017

Om Shrim Shiyei Namaha: Om & salutatations to the creative abundance that is the very form of the Universe


ps - here's a meditation to expand the sacred feminine - enjoy! Shakti Meditation