Rituals is always looking for ways to slow down and be present in the moment. Yoga, with its combination of movement and meditation, is therefore a very attractive and interesting concept to us. That’s why we’ve enlisted professional writer, healer and yoga expert Deborah Quibell to provide exclusive video lessons and write about how this 5,000 year old practice can enrich your life. To introduce her to our readers, we recently sat down with Deborah to discuss the passion she has for her multi-faceted work.
Rituals Magazine is very excited to have you on board as our resident yoga expert. Can you tell us about what attracted you to the world of healing and meditation? Did your decision to study this field come from a personal place?
I am honestly not sure what attracted me to the world of healing and meditation except a deep, inner longing. I grew up with a religious upbringing, but always found myself drawn to the rituals — those practices which honor and connect us to the unseen world. So, I suppose my search was deeply personal.
I guess what keeps me on this path is not only a love and fascination with ritual and spiritual teachings, but what they have brought into my life.
Healing and meditation have given me the tools to understand myself from a different perspective, helped me to handle immense darkness and difficulty in my life, and transformed my way of being in relationship to myself and others.
I suppose I just want to keep talking to others about all of this — sharing my insights and learning from theirs. Because I believe everyone has something to teach us and we are all here, together, for a reason. I don’t believe all of this is just some giant cosmic accident.
“Healing and meditation have given me the tools to understand myself from a different perspective, helped me to handle immense darkness and difficulty in my life, and transformed my way of being in relationship to myself and others.”
Rituals is very enthusiastic about yoga. Why do you suppose yoga is such a popular activity in the modern, Western world?
My husband and I owned our own yoga studio for a few years in the US before moving to Amsterdam. When I spoke to students, what came up again and again was a loss of connection — to themselves and to whatever it is that exists beyond themselves.
The place where we earlier found a sense of sacred connection was in organized religion. But, unfortunately, religion has fallen short for many of us. In many institutions or churches, dogma has replaced an authentic, individual’s search for meaning.
So I believe people are coming to yoga because of this. It may start as fitness goals or stress relief, but then they find the experience of something deeper.
I cannot tell you how many people have said to me, “I feel amazing after a yoga practice but I cannot really explain why.” Whenever I hear that, I know they are on to something. Because building a true connection to oneself often moves us beyond pure, rational explanation.
Indeed. One of the ways we’d like to help our readers is by nurturing that connection through living more soulfully. We feel that meditation really facilitates this—how would you describe the relationship of meditation to yoga?
For me, yoga and meditation cannot be separated. This physical practice is only a very small part of the yogic path. It is a practice of purification that helps to clear obstacles and blockages on the physical and energetic level. It also creates clarity and vitality, building a body or vessel that is able to withstand other spiritual practices.
In the complete understanding of yoga, the physical postures are simply a preparation for meditation or attaining inner stillness. From there, we can begin to experience aspects of our true, spiritual nature.
“In the complete understanding of yoga, the physical postures are simply a preparation for meditation and inner stillness. From there, we can begin to experience aspects of our true, spiritual nature.”
Aside from spiritual pursuits, you also hold a PhD in Depth Psychology. How does that science translate to your career as a yoga expert and healer?
Depth psychology is a term associated with Sigmund Freud and C. G. Jung to indicate those psychologies that take seriously the presence of the unconscious aspects of psyche and seek to develop ways to make the unconscious more conscious.
Translated to my career, many depth psychological concepts appear in my writing. I write articles for various online platforms based on consciousness and the application of depth psychological principles to everyday life.
In the practice of yoga and meditation, for example, we often experience unexpected emotions or thoughts, which can be uplifting at times but also greatly disturbing at others. Having an understanding of the psyche allows me to hold space and provide mentorship and guidance for students on how to work with these complexities. Often, our inner challenges provide the key to psychological transformation and growth.
Speaking of writing, you’re currently working on some diverse projects for publication—one is non-fiction and the other is a poetry collection. Could you talk a little bit about these?
I am currently co-authoring a book called Deep Creativity : Reflections on the Intersection of Life, Art, and Soul. This book is a passion project for me and I am blessed to write alongside two brilliant minds who are beloved professors at the University where I completed my PhD. The idea of this book began as a rebellion, of sorts, against the rushed demands that were creeping into my own creative life. I wanted to explore a form of creativity that is connected to reflection, pause and depth. And how to enter into this creativity more consciously.
My debut collection of poetry is called Soulbird : Poems for Flying. This book happened organically over many years as I often write poetry as part of my creative and spiritual practice. It is a way for me to speak and connect to the mysteries around me, and offer spiritual insight to others, as well as to myself.
The sheer volume and diversity of your work is impressive. Do you have any daily rituals that help you balance your life and all these projects?
My most important daily ritual is connecting to my heart at the beginning of each day. It sounds horribly cheesy, I know, but I have noticed such a difference when I do this consciously.
I do this in a number of ways depending on the time available to me. First, I take a moment of silence before rushing out of bed to simply connect to my heart. I affirm, to myself, that I will pay attention to the guidance that comes from deep within. And to live a life governed by love. Then I may do a short visualization, sending energies of love and sweetness to my heart, and waiting for the response. I often see the heart opening like a beautiful flower or seed. I often follow this up with Twin Hearts meditation, which is something I’ve been doing since I first learned about it in 2004. It is very close to me and focuses on loving-kindness towards oneself and others.
I have come to realize that the heart is not a mushy or overly emotional part of ourselves. It holds great clarity, strength, vision and power for our lives. Living from a place of love, kindness and harmlessness is the ultimate goal for me. And I cannot cultivate this kind of life without connecting deeply to my heart.