WHAT IS YOGA? Master Trainer Sree popped this question to me!!!
I tried to give him the answer how I understand from my Guru, Bhagawan Sri Nithyananda Paramashiva: Yoga is about Union between God and man. Hard to grasp this concept, isn’t it? Well, let us go back to the Yoga Sutra.
So, what is YOGA? YOGA CITTA VRITTI NIRODHAH (Sanskrit) – YOGA is the cessation of the modification of the mind field (from gross to subtle.). My own understand – the ultimate of yoga is beyond mind and body, only pure consciousness – a natural state of being. So, Yoga is not about the Asana (Postures) or stretching exercise that most of the people think, including myself, before really explore deeper into yoga.
If Yoga is not about Asana/Postures, so why are we going through all these asana, I wonder? I refer to the Nithyananda Yoga book and my Guru describes Asanas as ‘steady and comfortable body postures to tune oneself with the Cosmos’. The body (gross) needs preparation to enter into more subtle dimension of Yoga. So Asana do play an important part of Yoga because our being resides in the physical body and we have to keep this body fit and healthy in order for the being to move to the subtle plains.
That is why it is one of the eight limbs of yoga.
Few of us are waiting for India Adheenam (temple) is conducting the Teachers’ Training which was postponed since Feb-19. During this time, our yoga practice become more intense where we not only practice floor yoga, we also practice Rajju (Rope) Yoga.
I also step up to assist our center yoga acharya in facilitating and take the lead in demonstrating asana, joint with the acharya to run detox program, design flyers and marketing materials for events. I don’t realize myself that I am so involved in yoga and I feel at ease working on all these.
The yoga acharya also advised me to take up the Yoga Teacher Training course instead of keep on waiting because he also doesn’t know when India Adheenam is conducting this course in the near future. I am quite reluctant to take up the course from any studio that does not teach traditional yoga. However, he told me to just get the certification first and when the time comes, I am ready to go to India. He also foresees that he has assignments that coming in which he is not able to handle. He says that he would rather to pass some assignment to few of us, who are committed to regularly practicing yoga, instead of other parties.
So, I asked for my Guru, Bhagawan Sri Nithyananda Paramashivam, for his blessing so that I could find a yoga studio that conduct Teacher Training course that closely align to what He is teaching. I also have a budget that I would pay. My first description in google search is “traditional yoga”, because it aligns to what my Guru. I search both studios in Singapore and India. Some yoga schools, especially India, are giving scholarship or charge only food and lodging. I was so tempted to go. But after contemplating, I felt that it is not feasible because I need to manage my real estate business too. I drop the idea of going to India and focus my search in Singapore.
Few Yoga Studio names pop up and after I have gone through their course content, I reckon that “Tirisula” Yoga Studio course content show more of a traditional yoga as compare to other studio and the timing and investment are all suit me.
I asked Dorisq and Leona if they are keen to join the course together and here I am, writing the blog in the website of Tirisula Yoga Studio.
Few days before the class starting, I told my wife that I would be learning Yoga for 21-day and I would be taking only Sattvic Diet. She was starring at me and made the statement that she has been attending yoga for 4 years and never heard about this. So, I told her that the Yoga that I was going to learn is a traditional one, with Sanskrit chanting and there are daily cleansing process. She found it unbelievable.
14-days into the learning of the Yoga, I did my thyroid and cholesterol check-up which was scheduled semi annually. The result was extremely encouraging. I thyroid condition is very good and my cholesterol level has come down tremendously that the doctor was so surprised. He asked me what did I do? I told him I was learning Yoga and having vegetarian diet. He told mestop my cholesterol medicine and continue my yoga and diet. In these 14 days, I also reduced 10kg and I would say that my physique was in the best condition as compare to the past 40 years.
During these 21-day, I went through proper asana and observed my mental, emotion and physical condition. The meditation session that I went through did help. A lot of fear surfaced that we need to deal with, one of the fear was performing water Enema. It took me 3 months after the course to mentally prepared to start. And it was a good start!
I observe that I was physically fitter and mentally stronger. So, I continue daily routine of practicing Yoga (asana) at Brahma Muhurta (approx. 1.5 hour before sunrise) at 5:30am via zoom where all the graduates supposed to log in and practice together. But I wake up at 4am to start my cleansing process, which my wife found it ridiculous because she could not believe that 4-hour sleep was enough. I also continued my sattvic diet which my wife found it very troublesome because even though my family consume mostly vegetables, my diet is 10 time stricter. So, I told her that I would prepare my own food.
Even though she doesn’t like it so much, she sees my transformation. She told me she has never seen me so passion about something and it looks like I have changed to another person that she doesn’t even know – good or bad, I don’t know.
However, she asks me why I do not consider teaching yoga since I am so passion about it. It can bring extra income while doing what I passion about. I told her that I am waiting for our India center to start the Teacher Training course because I only want to learn and teach the traditional yoga that our center offer.
One early morning in the beginning of 2016, I was reading newspaper on the floor and at the same time doing some stretching exercise while waiting to send my wife to work. My wife made a statement: “Hey, I think you can do Yoga because you are quite flexible.” I told her I have been doing this for years because I used to learn Chinese Kung Fu and stretching exercise is a must. However, Yoga has been in mind for some time but all Yoga classes in the community centers have no male participants. So, I dropped the idea of joining Yoga at community centers and did not pursue further.
In the mid of 2016 when I was attending a preview seminar at Suntec City and a Holistic Lifestyle Exhibition caught my eyes. I went to check it out and many organizations offered either Yoga and Meditation program for Free. One booth stood out when a Chinese lady in Indian clothing approached me ask explained to me what they have in their center-YOGAM, and Yoga is one of them and it is free for everyone. So, I told her that I would drop by sometime to join their yoga. However, to my disappointment, the Yoga session was no longer available when I went to the center few weeks later because the person conducted the Yoga class has left for India.
One year later, the lady that I met at the exhibition gave me a courtesy call me and invited me to join them for meditation. I went for one session of meditation and experience the calmness of meditation for the 1st time. So, I continued to attend meditation session and other programs at Yogam, and follow my Guru, except learning Yoga (as I narrowly understand at that time – stretching and Yoga Poses.)
It was in early 2018 that Yogam center announced that a devotee who went to attend Teacher Training in India Ashram will be back to conduct Yoga. I was excited and when the Yoga acharya return and announced the date to start a 21-day session where we will learn Authentic Yoga based on Scriptures, I confirmed with him I would be joining. However, on that day of the commencement of the Yoga, I fell ill with high fever and it last for a week and I did not manage to join.
After my recovery, I asked the Yoga acharya when would be the next class. He told me that he would start the 21-day class again if there are 2 persons attending, the pricing would be 3 times the earlier batch and only Sattvic diet during the 21-day. It was a struggle; 1st the price was different which I felt it is unfair to me and 2nd, I need to find someone that can fit the time schedule and 3rd a Sattvic diet (that was the 1st time I heard about this diet). To my surprise, the lady that approached me two years ago during the exhibition would like to attend the class with me as the afternoon timing suit her schedule. It seemed like everything was pre-destine. So, the journey started after going through the long process of searching, waiting and sickness, searching for yoga buddy, I managed to sign up the 21-day yoga class in April 2018. Maybe this is the “lila” from the divine to test my patience and will persistence on the yogic path.