What We Give, We Receive

Up until recently, I had never given much thought to Newton’s third law: For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. This statement was repeated to us multiple times during the course of our training, and thinking about it in detail made me realise that indeed every action we take has an effect that ripples outwards, sometimes in ways that we may never know.

On the yoga mat, Newton’s third law can be applied in terms of channelling the strength and energy to move the body in the opposite direction of gravity. For example, when we stand or sit without consciousness, our body is relaxed, and it slumps and collapses into itself. However, the action of consciously pressing our hands or feet firmly onto the mat will produce an immediate “equal or opposite reaction” of helping us root more firmly into the ground, thereby enabling us to stretch and rise up a little taller. The more energy or strength we expend in pushing against the ground, the easier it will be to lift the body in the opposite direction.

This concept can be applied in life off the mat as well: if we make a more conscious effort to be kind and compassionate, without anticipating anything in return, we will in turn receive an increase in capacity to perform more acts of kindness and compassion, which will help transform our lives to become extra extraordinary. The energy from which we give is not finite; the more you give, the more you have. Likewise, the more gratitude we express or feel for the good things we have in life, the Universe will respond by delivering to us more of the things for which we are grateful.

As week 4 of our yoga teacher training draws to a close, I am grateful for the knowledge and wisdom I have gained from Master Sree, for the friendship and camaraderie of my fellow trainees, and for the freedom and time to embark on this journey.


Crystals & Yoga

A quick search on Google will reveal many ways in which one can use crystals to enhance their yoga practice. There is also plenty of information available online about how crystals are associated with the different chakras, and how crystals can help promote physical, emotional and spiritual healing. While there isn’t (or at least I think there isn’t) any scientific evidence to support the notion that crystals can harness energy, I have always felt drawn to crystals, and started collecting them a long time ago, way before I started practicing yoga. They initially served as decorative pieces, but I subsequently started using them in my meditation practice.

Having formed in the earth’s surface thousands or millions of years ago, crystals are commonly thought of as a means to help us connect with the energy of the universe. Here are some of my favorite pieces. On the extreme bottom left is a piece of Palo Santo wood, which is also used to cleanse my crystals of any unwanted negative energy after meditation.

My crystal collection

I normally do not research the properties of any particular crystal before purchasing it; I will buy it if I feel a connection. Without realising it, I somehow collected more pieces of amethyst crystals than other types – the properties of amethysts are to aid healing and bring about intense spiritual growth and self-discovery, so perhaps my inner sub-conscious thought it was the type of energy I could utilise?

It’s easy to meditate with a crystal. Just sit or lay on the mat with a stone in your palms, focus on the breath, and visualize/feel the energy spreading from your palms to the rest of your body. When you are ready, gently blink a few times and open your eyes, then cleanse the crystal properly (there are many ways of doing this!).

It’s interesting because each crystal vibes with each person differently, so when picking up a stone, trust your intuition in telling you what your soul needs.


Find Success Within Yourself

Do what you love and never work a day in your life”, they said. But will passion pay?

I’d like to think that pursuing a “career” in yoga would be a rewarding one, but there are a myriad of reasons one could think of to prove otherwise. In this modern, material world, money talks. There is no denying that. In chasing success, people often attribute being successful to having attained the 5 coveted “C”s – cash, car, credit card, condominium and country club membership. In a traditional sense, it doesn’t seem quite feasible to achieve all that as a yoga teacher. Instead, it would be much safer to take the well-beaten path to success through getting a good degree, landing a well-paying job, and slowly climb the corporate ladder through years of dedication and hard work.

It’s an ironclad argument that I can’t refute, but I think life should be about taking the road less travelled, right? Life is only as limited as one would allow it to be, and I believe that anything is possible with DESIRE and IMAGINATION. It would be meaningless to work for an organisation one couldn’t care less about (and vice versa), handling issues that have absolutely no material impact on one’s personal life, in exchange for money. Thanks, but no thank you.

Borrowing Arnold Schwarzenegger’s 5 rules for success, here’s what I hope to set out to do:

  1. Find your vision. Achieve world fame through teaching and curating content to inspire and influence others to learn the art of yoga.
  2. Never think small. Build my own community and become the highest paid yoga teacher in Singapore and the region. In the process, give the best of my abilities in my capacity as a teacher to spread healing, harmony and happiness.
  3. Ignore the naysayers. There will always be detractors along the way, ignore them, and stay focused.
  4. Work your ass off. Keep practicing hard, break new limits, never stop learning.
  5. Give back. Offer yoga as a form of rehabilitation, help others who are suffering to reshape their lives.

Time (and perhaps the cosmos?) will decide if the path is mine to take. Nobody said it would be easy, but what is seemingly impossible can become reality with a little faith.

Always have faith.


Transformation From The Inside Out

Prior to joining the YTT200 at Tirisula Yoga, I’d never given much thought to what yoga actually means to me. I attended my first class in 2013, in my first year in University abroad, as a means to fit some exercise into my otherwise sedentary Student Life. After I returned to Singapore, I continued with my yoga practice, but never committed to attending more than 2 classes per week. There were even periods where I missed practice for weeks at a stretch when I had to travel overseas for leisure or work.

Barely into my first week of training did I realise that I had merely been skimming the surface when I considered yoga to be a form of physical exercise. Delving a little deeper into the theoretical side of yoga has helped me see that yoga is truly about mental (and spiritual) practice as well: connecting with one’s inner-self through the cessation of thoughts, to feel the body and energy from within, so as to enter into a realm of intense present-moment awareness. By knowingly tuning out, albeit momentarily, of the non-stop 24/7 commentary in my mind, and through focusing on the breath and the present moment, things suddenly appeared much brighter and clearer. It is difficult to explain in words, but perhaps the inner transformation can be described as feeling like something opened up on the inside, allowing me radiate love and light from within.

The part I found most meaningful in the first week of our training was learning about Yama – one of the 8 limbs of yoga – and its 5 characteristics that are listed in Pantanjali’s sutras:

  • Ahimsa (non-violence). To exude kindness, thoughtfulness and friendliness in thought, word, and deed.
  • Satya (truthfulness). To carefully consider what is said and how it could have an impact on others.
  • Asteya (non-stealing). To eliminate the desire or action of taking things that rightfully belong to others, non-hoarding, accepting things as is and not regretting or missing what is “absent” at this moment.
  • Brahmacharya (celibacy). To move into the infinity. Non-lust, continence and self-control.
  • Aparigraha (non-possessiveness). To be content with what one already has.

The above, simplified for brevity, are virtues that I hope to consciously apply and stay guided by in living life, and in relating to and taking care of others whose paths cross mine.