My Yogic Journey started all because of Haritakki Powder.
I was so frustrated with “not feeling anything” from most of the metaphysical courses that I have attended in the past 14 years.
Then a friend suggested that perhaps I should unblock my third eye. So, I started looking for ways to activate my third eye. I came across a video of a lady talking about the “King of Herbs – Haritakki Powder”.
According to her, she says her Guru says that Haritakki Powder increases the supply of oxygen to the brain by 300%. I was curious. I searched for the name of her Guru, “Nithyananada” and came across this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ezLivJ6rdv0 . I was deeply caught by the information presented in the video. I never knew Yoga from such perspectives….the Twelve Components of Yoga…..that was when i got interested and started to learn yoga last year….
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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.
Here I m… the Spanish again!
And, I question myself?? Why yoga in those days? …There is nothing that can accurately describe what yoga produces on you, rather than practice it, experience it and love it. For many of the practitioners it is like medicine, like the elixir of modern society.
This discipline is for all those who really want a response to concerns, to those who need more strength in all aspects of their lives, to those who want to be encouraged to do new things, to those who never practice, to the curious, to those who read about ancestral philosophies, those who want to renew … this method is for everyone, and everyone can practice and experience a special personal experience.
But, to assimilate and experiment the changes it is necessary a good predisposition. You need to go out and enter different moods. The practice will help you to have a power, help you to stop and start again, fly, jump, relax… . Something very good will happen with yoga. The world needs yoga! And nobody is going to tell you in this days that you have to really follow a guru for doing yoga. The transformation is personal and individual. Yoga is one, is the union, it does not divide anything.
Then: DOES YOGA FIT IN YOUR MODERN DAYS?
Before starting my YTT I would attend Yoga classes when I could, sometimes twice a week other times once a month. It had been this way for at least 10 years.
I have always enjoyed the feeling of my body and mind after practice but never understood what it all meant and I never really progressed. Since starting the course I feel the veil surrounding the mysteries of yoga has been pulled across and I’m peaking in at another world. I have such a lot to learn about Yoga before our course concludes but I’m grateful for the opportunity to do so and for the patience and wisdom of my peers…
First you will have to forgive my little level of English language, I m Spanish. I just land in Singapore 3 weeks ago from Barcelona and I start my course of yoga to be a teacher of yoga for beginners … you will also have to forgive my basic language when I will try to explain what I was looking for in my yoga practice.
Is been few years ago when I start practising yoga when I found that yoga is much more than postures. I found yoga was for me an absolutely personal growth path which uses the body as a vehicle.
Beyond yoga styles or preferences according to each body, I found that first of all yoga is the respect for the body and its limits. I work with my body as my best companion, from breathing, postural awareness and mobility, without forcing (not without effort), so this practice give me benefits at all levels. But not all people are prepared to go that way, and most of them can push their bodies for many years until they get to frustration, or worse, some kind of injury. I think that if yoga leads you to want to do more “advanced” postures, to want to get to touch your feet, or anything else that is to force your body, it is not real yoga. Yoga is much more than postures. For me Yoga have to be a kind of balance between doing and not doing, knowing how to stop and when to go a little further. But we need time for practice and space for listening and connecting with our bodies.
Then: WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FOR IN YOUR YOGA PRACTICE??
So ‘why are we here’ is something that we have been exploring in our YTT and we have all been looking inward to identify our personal qualities. This has been an experience that has been both emotional and enlightening for me. I have for many years spent time looking inward to try and understand why I experience the feelings that I have and also why my life has taken me on the path that I have walked to date. My samsaras and samskaras – the impressions from my past and from my current life – have influenced me, but the question is whether I choose to repeat past negative behaviour going forward or whether I choose to live my life free of the previous stresses and strains I have experienced. To live in the present is in some way impossible as everything is moving and changing constantly so that as soon as we are in the present this moment in time is already the past. It seems to me that the question is how we deal with the ever-changing cycle of life. ‘Living in the present’ to me means living in what I would call the ‘flow of life’. Riding the waves rather than being concerned we will drown. If we are weak swimmers, we are always worried that a big wave will come and knock us over or cover us in water so that we cannot breathe, but the stronger we get at swimming the more confident we are that we can swim through or stay above the waves. If we grow further in confidence and master the art of balancing well, we may even learn to surf and use the waves for enjoyment. Yoga teaches us that we can be contented and balanced through the ups and downs of everyday life. By focusing on ourselves and our wellbeing and by practicing self-care we can be available to give to others around us. We have a duty to nature and also to those family members and friends who are sadly no longer with us to live our lives to the full in the most positive way we can. This brings me to a quote that has so far resonated with me very deeply during my YTT: “It’s not how long we live, but how alive we are before we die – Master Sree, 11-9-19”. On that note I think I’ll get on with learning to surf!
Thank you Tirisula Yoga for existing and providing a safe space for us to grow ourselves physically and mentally (still need more work on spiritually). Being a second home for the past months, getting so used to locating the red door that opens to the smell of incense upon walking up the stairs, soft and comfortable carpets and cushions, the whirring sound from the metal fan and the one and only precious toilet for our BRBs (bathroom breaks).
Thank you Master Paalu and Sree for sharing your knowledge, experience and honesty. I, too, hope to inspire others like how you have inspired me us. Yes, the journey and learning has only just begun, exciting and interesting future lies ahead! Who knows what’s there to come.
Thank you my fellow course mates for the support and making this journey enjoyable. Let’s keep in contact! We’ll all do great for our assessment tomorrow 🙂 Fighting!!
Thank you myself for making the choice to embark on this journey, balancing with work and family. Pleasantly surprised that my body held up and not falling ill since July 2019. Also, pat on the back that I did not take as much Grab as I thought I would, taking 60-70 minutes journey from the west to the east and back each weekend. I guess the body knows when you are doing what you enjoy.
Having been active most of my life and as a dancer, I’ve been blessed with teachers who go beyond the dance as a movement and performing art to teach me invaluable values and principles in life. I have in some capacity trained others in dance and functional capacity and have imagined teaching yoga to be similar – be good at postures, both in terms of physically attaining the postures and the theoretical aspects of the postures (which muscles are engaged, how to safely practice the postures, variations, breath, benefits) and the ability to teach should come naturally.
Yet as I learn more about yoga and more specifically teaching yoga, I’ve come to realise that it was so much more than that. There is an incredible amount of information that a yoga teacher is capable of sharing and it goes way beyond the physical and emotional aspects in instructing most sports.
This was best captured in “Teaching Yoga: Exploring the Teacher-Student Relationship” by Donna Farhi who countered “in what other profession must one take into account the physical, psychological, physiological, emotional, and spiritual condition of an individual, and speak to all these dimensions in the course of teaching?”
This realisation has opened me up to the wondrous and world of possibilities in teaching yoga, but simultaneously, the responsibilities a yoga teacher bear not just in the studio but outside of the studio.
As Master Sree constantly reminds us through his classes “(he is) learning together with us”, that is how I now envision what it means to teach.
The best and only way to teach would be to practice what I teach.
In yoga sutra, one of the very first yamas we learnt was ahimsa.
a·him·sa: nonviolence towards oneself and all living creatures; an attitude of universal benevolence; the spontaneous expression of the highest form of love; the complete absence of violence from mind, body and spirit (Adapted from Yoga with Adriene)
Ahimsa extends beyond the concept of what we do unto others to what we do to ourselves. It redefines the fine line between pushing our limits and knowing when to stop pushing ourselves. As a fitness junkie (as much as this term makes me cringe, I do identify with it), I have, countless a time, pushed myself to work out hungover, sleep-deprived, sick, or injured. Having spent 12 years in dance training, a year and a half in functional training, and 3 years practicing yoga, I’m no stranger to injuries. My dance background has provided me with good knowledge on correct postures and how to prevent injuries but injuries remain inevitable. The belief that training when you’re tired makes you a better (read:stronger) athlete and that age-old adage “what doesn’t kill you make you stronger” have been ingrained in me. As much as I hate to admit it, they are, more often than not, himsa – committing violence to my own body.
Of course, there’s a need to distinguish between training when fatigued and training to fatigue. There is scientific evidence to support that training when fatigued can make one a better athlete through maintenance of strength and postural control.
No one could have said it better than B.K.S. Iyengar – “the pose begins when you want to leave it.”
But when does one cross the line? No one would know this better than ourselves and the onus is on us to treat our bodies with love. It has been, is, and will always be a continuous journey of learning about our body, our potential, and our limits.