A guna recipe for success?

A pinch of rajas, a dash of tamas and a handful of sattvic and you will have yourself the perfect balance. If only it were so simple…
According to yoga and ayurveda the Three Gunas are defined as the fundamental qualities of the manifest energy present in living and non-living things. These gunas or qualities influence our physical constitution and mental state.
In simplistic terms, the gunas can be summarized as follows:
Sattva – creative; clear; harmonious
Rajas – activity; movement
Tamas – inertia; dullness; lethargy
We all contain each of the gunas in varying degrees and they are in constant interplay with each other. Being neither good nor bad, their strength will fluctuate and adapt according to our environment and / or needs in that given moment. While yogis strive to dial up their sattva characteristics, they also recognise the need for both rajas and tamas. For example, rajas will give you that drive to push forward to perfect your head stand while tamas will help you stop before pushing too far and risking injury.
That said, you may notice that you yourself have a tendency towards one or the other. I know that I have clearly had a dominant of rajas most of my adult life working in a high-paced stressful environment, thoughts crowding my mind looking for the next challenge and preparing the next adventure.
The challenge is to recognise which guna dominates at a given moment and how it motivates your actions so that you can learn from your experiences and dial up the quality you choose to be most appropriate for the situation and also for your overall state of being. While there is no magic recipe to creating a harmonious balance, acknowledging the three gunas existence, observing your own feelings and reactions while adapting your diet can help strike the balance that works for you. You may want to stay with your dominant guna or you may want to make some adjustments in your lifestyle to change. Whatever decision you make, I encourage you to take a step back, observe and choose.
“I have been a seeker and I still am, but I stopped asking the books and the stars. I started listening to the teaching of my Soul.” Rumi

Type of food nourishing
easy to digest
stimulating  and
often times over stimulating
stale, under or over ripe
Eating habits moderate amounts
too quickly too much
Influence on mind harmonising agitating dulling
Examples cereals, fresh fruit,
pure water, veggies, milk, yogurt
spicy, sour,
acid foods like coffee,
hot peppers, onions
heavy meats, canned,
reheated foods,
fermented foods


Top ten yoga poses to keep diabetes under control.

Exercise is the key to keep diabetes under control:
With the rising number of people being diagnosed with diabetes, it is no wonder scientists are looking for newer methods to treat the disease. One of the cornerstones of controlling one’s blood sugar is regular and holistic exercise. And Yoga is one such ancient, holistic way to do so.
One suffers from diabetes when the blood cells do not respond to insulin produced in the body. When you follow a regular exercise regimen, your body starts responding to insulin, helping to reduce your blood glucose. Exercise also helps improve blood circulation in your body, particularly in the arms and legs, where diabetic patients most commonly encounter problems. It is an excellent way to fight stress, both at the body and mind level, which in turn helps keep one’s glucose levels down.
Yoga can help by practicing regularly and help reduce the level of sugar in the blood along with lowering blood pressure, keeping weight in check, reducing the severity of the symptoms.
Top 10 yoga poses
1. Pranayama
2. Setubandhasana
3. Balasana
4. Vajrasana
5. Sarvangasana
6. Halasana
7. Dhanurasana
8. Chakrasana
9. Paschimotasana
10. Ardha Matsyendrasana
A few minutes of regular meditation practice acts as an excelent stress-buster for the mind and boby. Stress is a mayor cause of diabetes.
AF ♥️ Anatomy .

The Eight Limbs of Yoga

Yoga Sutra, which is thought to have been written around 200 BCE. The book is a short one, containing only 195 terse verses, or Sutras. But in it,  Pantanjali has created a logical road map for using the techniques of yoga to achive the state of yoga, which is when the practitioner is no longer at the mercy of the endless spinning of the mind and instead experience a deep awareness of and identification with, a consciousness much greater than the individual ego.
Patanjali offers a clear path: eight steps or limbs to liberation.
1.- YAMAS: Restraints
Ahimsa: Nonharming
Satya: Truthfulness
Asteya: Nonstealing
Brahmacharya: Sexual moderation
Aparigraha: Nongrasping
Saucha: Purity
Santosha: Contentment
Tapas: Discipline
Svadhyaya: Self study
Ishvara pranidhana: Devotion.
3.- ASANAS: Posture
4.- PRANAYAMA: Breathwork.
5.- PRATYAHAR: Sense Withdrawal
6.- DHARANA: Concentration
7.- Dhyana: Meditation
8.- Samadhi: Union
If we successfully weave all of the eight limbs into our practice and lives, Pantajali teaches, we will be happier and will suffer less_but we will need all of them.
The practice of yoga is simple one of the best tools for helping us to live in the state of happiness and less suffering more frequently.

Me, yoga and acid reflux.

Like many people I suffer often from acid reflux.  This can be due to several reason and in my case I think stress and diet are my causes.  My diet is reasonably good say 85%-90% of the time but like many I really enjoy cheese & wine, pasta on occasions, dark chocolate when I need to fix that sweet craving, pizza and Indian when I am feeling too lazy to cook a meal.  All the above I know do contribute to my acid reflux, however since I have enrolled in the 200hr YTT course after doing some research on Asanas’s there are some that can help with digestion then in turn relieve me of acid-reflux, so I looked a little deeper into it via the world’s encyclopedia aka. Mr Google.
It states that there are no specific yoga poses for acid reflux, however some postures do enhance the digestive process and the functioning of various organs that influence and affect acid reflux, making the treatment of acid reflux with yoga effect.
Of course with anything you look up there is too much information to look through and information is always conflicting and contradicting.  I tried out a few asana’s to see what works for me and the following is what I have come up with.  As we are all different what works for me may not necessarily work for others.  One point I did read and agree with is, when you are suffering from acid reflux avoid intense yoga or other forms of intense exercise as it only enhances it.
Of course it is advisable not to perform yoga after a meal, best to wait 3 hours after eating or if practicing in the morning it is advisable to wait at least 30mins before eating.  There is one exception to this rule, that is Vajrasana (thunderbolt pose).  The advise given is after a meal sit in this position for 10-15mins, or however long you can up to 30mins.  I have started to  bring this into my daily routine when and wherever possible, of course only at home, I  would look a little weird if I was to do this after a meal in a restaurant.  Whilst in the pose if you need to take a break do so, stand up move ankles, knees and legs then go back into the position. Obviously if you have knee injuries it’s not advisable and also if pregnant they say to try it with knees apart to avoid stress abdomen. The benefits and how it helps/works- Vajrasana modifies the blood flow in the lower pelvic region. The blood flow to the legs is reduced and the blood flow to the digestive organs is increased. This increases the efficiency of the digestive system and helps those with weak digestion to digest a full meal easily.  It helps to prevent acidity and ulcers by improving the digestion. In this position you can meditate to relax even further or practice pranayama which also can help.
My little routine to help me with acid-reflux which I have put together and practice in the evening several hours after a meal and will start practicing in the mornings…..soon…. goes like this:
* I start seated in thunderbolt
* I add a gentle twist to each side, nothing too deep.

* I push back into child pose
* Follow up with a few cat & cows
* Lie on my back into pavanamuktasana, wind relieving pose.  I break it up, left leg flat on floor and bring right leg into chest. Then right leg flat bring left leg into chest then lastly both legs to chest and hold.
* From this position a gentle twist, dropping knees/legs to one side, I don’t twist my torso to much. And then repeat on the other.
As simple as that.  I hope that someone may benefit from this.
200hr-YTT Ashtanga & Hatha

What after this course?

In the first year after this I won’t be able to teach in a professional circuit but I’m going to continue first with self practice. I think yoga is so ‘easy’ to practice because you can do it anywhere, alone or together with friends, at all ages. Personal practice will help me to build up strength, flexibility and more insight in the asanas but also a deep connection with myself. I need to have at least those 30 minutes a day that are mine, no one else interrupting.
Yoga has surprised me. Never practising yoga before, I couldn’t image how broad the concept of yoga would be. I only expected to get physical exercises and sweat a lot, but I didn’t expect the whole philosophy and scientific keys behind it. Although I don’t agree with or understand all the philosophical concepts where we’ve only touched the surface, it’s fascinating and makes me very curious about more. This is only the start of my journey and I look forward to what the future brings. But now, I’m just enjoying every single moment.
Anja, 200h weekday – personal reflection 2

My 200hour Yoga Teacher Journey

What attracted me to yoga a couple of years ago were the graceful fluid movements of vinyasa. What ignited my passion for yoga are teachers whose confident instructions lead me through the practice, silencing persistent internal chatter. I craved for one blissful hour – torturous at times, those who have done Hot and Core classes would understand – to surrender on the yoga mat.
When yoga became a permanent fixture in my life, I became curious about practising it intelligently and sharing it with other people. I thought about it for a year, before deciding to embark on the teacher-training journey, discovering Hatha Ashtanga in the process.
Since childhood, ceasing to move either physically or emotionally meant ceasing to exist. On top of that I have a natural tendency to dislike patterns and repetitiveness. The mind is a strange creature full of contradictions.
Over the past 6 weeks I have come to enjoy the rigidness of daily Ashtanga practice, its philosophy, the strength and flexibility it cultivates. The yoga poses – the asanas – are just one of eight limbs of Ashtanga yoga. To Patanjali, the creator of Ashtanga, modern science puts his work “Yoga Sutras” at 400CE, Yoga is the Mastery of the Activities of the Mind Field (Yoga Citta Vritti Nirodhah, Sanskrit). Attempting to understand this phrase is both liberating and centring. It seems to me yoga exists in duality – it pushes and it pulls, it strengths and stretches, it confuses and brings clarity.
For almost 10 years I have lived with a lower back injury, a disk issue in the lumbar spine. It affects me daily, how I sleep, how I walk, it limits what activities I can do. Often when practising yoga pre teacher training with Tirisula I would feel broken with pain in my lower back. Under the watchful eye of Tirisula yoga guides I discovered for the first time what it meant to move mindfully. Learning the Alignment has been a game changer. At first it was daunting when I realised that I had been doing none of the poses correctly. Everything – standing poses (Mountain, Tadasana), forward bending (Uttanasana), downward dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana) – it all needed work. All these asanas and many more done incorrectly were making my injury worse. The danger for healthy individuals is that asanas done without proper alignment could create injury overtime. Yoga is a powerful tool and should be practised with prudence.
Ashtanga yoga, amongst other things, stands for NON-VIOLENCE (AHIMSA, Sanskrit). Starting with non-violence to yourself, in your practice and your life. If I had a penny for how many times I have gritted my teeth or pushed or jerked or swore under my breath when an asana would be out of my reach, hello Camel… I now practise, with baby steps, to be kind to myself. Patanjali says poses should feel comfortable, Sthira Sukham Asanam, Sanskrit. If not – retreat, modify, progress with caution, safety always comes first.
Another pillar of Ashtanga is cultivating CONTENTMENT (SANTOSHA, Sanskrit) on and off the mat. This very important piece of the puzzle had also been missing from my pre Tirisula yoga practice. I am now actively working on it in every pose, listening to my body and channelling the mind. Whether I succeed or fail both are ok with me, it is all part of the process.
With Thanks,

Tittibhasana Pose (Firefly Pose)

This is a relatively challenging but dynamic pose and requires the opening of the entire back body. Preparatory poses like Utthan Pristhasana (lizard), Uttitha Chaturanga Dandasana (plank), Malasana (garland), Baddha Konasana (bound angle) pose are good hips and shoulders strengthening poses and it should be advised that necessary warm ups need to be done before attempting this pose. In addition, it requires a deep core connection and stable, strong arms to hold this arm balancing asana.
Focus: Develops core and wrist strength, lengthening of the hamstrings and back muscles. Improves stability and develops patience and focus. Involvement of (core) transversus abdominis, rectus abdominis, (sides) obliquus externus, obliquus internus,(hips) ilipsoas, (upper body) pectorialis major, teres major, infra-spinatus, deltoideus anterior and exterior,triceps brachii, biceps brachii, latissimo dorsi, brachialis, trapezius, rhomboids and (neck) sternocleidomastoideus muscles.
1) Stand in Tadasana (mountain pose), hip width apart.
2) Fold forward from the hips, letting your palms touching the ground as close as possible (Uttanasana).
3) Widen your stance once you have found your balance point, bend your knees forward to a 90 degree angle. At the same time, sweep your arms underneath your hamstrings so your legs are resting on your triceps. Place your palms onto the mat behind your feet. (The further you can get the backs of the knees towards or over the shoulders, the more ease you will have with the pose).
4) Gather the back of your knees into the shoulders so you would not slip off.
5) Engaging your root Chakra (Muladhara), slowly lower the hips, meanwhile lift your feet off the ground, shifting your weight towards the back. Try to stay stable in this position and cross your ankles. (Bhujapidasana)
6) When you are ready, stretch your inner thigh muscles and straighten your legs upwards, slowly working towards having your hip as close to the ground and legs as far away. Tittibasana is achieved!

Benefits of Tittibhasana:
1) Strengthens wrists and arms
2) Tightens and tones core
3) Stretches the inner groins, hamstrings, and back torso
4) Helps to calm the mind and focus while achieving stability
5) Bringing relief from anxiety, stress, and tension.
1) Avoid this pose if you have a lower back injury, elbow and wrist injury, or shoulder injury.
2) As this pose actively involves the shoulder, wrist, elbow and lower back, injury to these parts could be made worse with the performance.
3) To support the wrists during this pose you could keep your hands on a block or on a yoga mat that is rolled up.
-Instead of hooking the ankles (for those who have ankle issues), you may choose to bend your knees and let your soles touch each other instead.
-You may begin from a plank position and jump forward, slightly over and just beside your palms.
-Don’t get discouraged. Very few people can do firefly pose the first time they try. Just have fun with it.=)
Shan (200hrYTTC/HathaAshtanga/Weekday/Nov14)


Chakras, what are they?
It may seem easier to understand if we first break down the word in it’s most basic form in explanation. “Cha” means moving in a circular motion, and “Kra” means movement. In simple terms, the Chakras presented in all our bodies act like little wheels, allowing energy (Prana) to flow through at different directions, orbits and speed. All of them have a fixed centre and if you imagine your spine as the centre of our human bodies, Chakras revolve around the spine with different frequencies/vibrations, up and down the spine. Our energy in the body are being stored, compressed and waiting to be release hence the need to practice Pranayama. Ideally, we aim to move from an unstable state to a stable structure.

The hollow tube within the spine, Sushumna Nadi, provides the pathway for subtle but vital energy to flow through. This, are the spaces between nerves/Meridiens, where Prana travels, enabling the wheels to spin within the centre of rotation (spine). By using specific Pranayama techniques, the external force as energy is being made to push these Chakras to rotate, in clockwise or anti-clockwise mode. Another point to note is that the energy is constantly transforming it’s movement upwards or downwards, resulting in us feeling stronger at different Chakras throughout the day.

Some characteristics of Chakras are as follows, they are:
1) triangular shaped, but differ in sizes
2) have centers
3) rotates in a circular clockwise or anti-clockwise motion
4) revolving everytime

7 Chakras:
Let’s start with the base root Chakra-
This is located at the 2nd bone of the Coccyx that controls our sense of smell and the Bija Mantra is “Lam” . Muladhara carries the element of Earth. When this Chakra is activated, you will tend to smell like the Jasmine flower. To successfully activate this Chakra, body survival needs to be fulfilled. Basic necessities like water, food,shelter, lust and sense of belonging needs to be fulfilled.

2) Swadhisthana

This Chakra is located at the 4th bone of the sacrum, corresponding to the prostate plexus, which controls our sense of taste and the Bija Mantra is “Vam“. It carries the Water element that is directly linked to the lower body abdomen of the physical body (eg: genital organs, bladder, ovaries). By definition, Swa means “self” and Swadhisthana simple means a “place for the self”. Those who have lots of blockages at this area tend to have higher tendencies for Jealousy as they will develop self gratification to hide their inferior self and they do not have a sense of belonging.
3) Manipura
Manipura Chakra can be found at the navel, at the 4th lumber region, corresponding to your solar plexus. Mani means “gems/jewels” in Sanskrit language, while pura refers to “city”. It’s Bija Mantra is “Ram“, has the element Fire, and controls our sense of sight.
When this chakra is blocked, egoism occurs. Only when it is opened will you be able to move to the higher chakra-Anahata.
4) Anahata (Heart)
This chakra is located at the heart region (9th bone of the thoracic) and it has the element of Air. Anahata chakra is of purity and has “Yam“as its Bija. It controls our sense of touch. Also, it reflects when there is overpowering of love, universal love. However, it should not be confused with Mother’s love as that comes with nature, not the opening of the Anahata.
5) Vishuddha (Throat)
Located at the 4th bone of the cervical, Vishuddha controls our sense of hearing with the Bija Mantra “Ham” (hummmm). It correspond to the laryngeal plexus in the physical body and It represents our communication, expressions, with the element of Space. People who have blockage at this chakra have difficulties in their speech and tend to say unpure things. When the Vishuddha chakra is opened, whatever was said will happen.
6) Ajna (Arch-Nya)
Also known as the third eye chakra, Ajna is located at the pituitary gland, between the eyebrows.  It has “Om” as the seed letter and has transcent from the 5 elements. In this case, intuition occurs and the yogi is left with only one attachment, without having too many distractions. Mediation done on Ajna destroys karma of the past lives, and gives liberation and intuitional knowledge to the present life.
7) Sahasrara
This is the highest Chakra out of the 7 and is situated at the crown of the head (pineal gland of the physical body). Yogi who have opened this chakra is very enlightened and will experience extreme bliss in a superconscious state. Knowledge that was attained will turn to intelligence and becomes a fully developed Jnani (one who has pursued spiritual growth through wisdom or insight). 
Posh (200hrYTTC/HathaAshtanga/Nov14/weekday) 

We are now coming to our final week of our yoga 200hr ashtanga/ hatha TTC, the assessment week. It has been a very interesting journey I’ve brought myself into, a journey I probably wouldn’t even thought about a year ago. As of now, I am really excited to continue this journey with Tirisula for the 300hr TTC that covers Yoga Therapy, Kundalini Yoga, Pre-natal Yoga and Yoga Sutra + Ashtanga secondary series. I have to say that there are so many new asanas I couldn’t do before entering Tirisula and now I am already exploring variations from the techniques we were taught, all of which I felt much stronger than who I was before. We were made prepared day after day and had been introduced to new asanas where it deemed fit. Here we are, asana – the comfortable position all of which should consider ahimsa, a non-violent practice through bhakti yoga towads jnana.
The teachers in Tirisula are very knowledgeable and I really look upon them as inspirations. My classmates came from all walks of life and different countries, and this adds more culture and richness to the knowledge we’ve been presented. I am going to say this and will say it, it’s worth every penny! The trainings are quite intense as they are designed that way in order to shake you up and wake you up. The days I spent doing purely just 2hrs straight Ashtanga Yoga primary series for 2 weeks were phenomenal. At the conclusion of week one, after we spent 3 hours daily practicing pranayama, asana and learning new sequences, I thought to myself, ”How am I going to do this for the next 5 weeks?” It all seemed so daunting and my mind flooded with so many doubts.  I kept pushing because, deep in my heart, I knew it was where I needed to be in order to evolve personally and professionally. Somehow, whether by willpower or fierce determination, I made it through the rest of the training relatively unscathed and those feelings of doubt slowly slipped away.
I feel so refreshed now, especially for the fact that I challenged myself on a course like this after having delivered my second baby about 3 months ago. This is probably one of my proudest phases in life. Looking forward for great times ahead!
lambert (200hr ashtanga/hatha TTC/ weekday/ Nov14)

Floating in Yoga

I once attended a Chinese wedding banquet where I was seated with a couple whom I have never met before. We chatted and I told them I practise Yoga. The next thing they ask is “can you float?” I was puzzled, did they mean the ashtanga style of floating or the elusive art of levitation. And this question pops up not just once but a few times.

So do accomplished yogis have powers of levitation? I certainly do not know of any. But I think yoga does bring lightness to life that is akin to floating in our existence.

Yoga is the union of the mind, body and soul. One thing that is reinforced in yoga is the balance of dualities in life. These dualities or extremes exists physically, emotionally, mentally, temporally, in attitudes or they could just exists as a concept. For instance, hot and cold, right and left, up and down, sun and moon, ha and tha, relaxed and tensed, right and wrong, past and future etc. And when balance is achieved, we feel the lightness, the weightlessness.

This is best experienced when we are practising asanas – the contraction and stretching of muscles for every physical movement, the balance of the body itself in each pose, the balance in sequencing of the poses and counterposes. All these enhances our awareness of extremities in our body and our effort in maintain or working towards that balance. When that balanced is reached, we will be in the easy, steady, comfortable position as expounded in the yoga sutra – sthira sukham asanam.

I may not reached that stage of balance yet, but I have come a long way. Yoga is a journey and the process is more important than the outcome. Just like in asana practise, finally getting into a difficult pose generates a spike in our endocrine system, giving us that brief sensation called euphoria. It is however the journey that brings the smiles and frowns to our faces in years to come.

The realities of life weighs us down, well, maybe just some of us. And maybe at the end of this journey, we will be able to float in the lightness of our existence. Though I would banish any desire of that, for desire itself is the greatest weight on Earth.

Neo Chee Peng
Blog Personal 2