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.
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.
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!
So this week I have completed my first week of yoga teacher training at Tirisula and there have been many thoughts and feelings in the last days, and indeed last months since I first considered and subsequently chose to do this course.
To start – why Tirisula? Well it is close to where I live, the cost was good, I knew someone who had already done the course some years earlier and there was an internet article that noted ‘this is the place to get serious about yoga’. Though these practical facts pointed in what seemed to be the right direction, I also know myself well enough to know that if I hadn’t had a good feeling about Tirisula – been sure in fact – that I would not have gone down this path. I made sure I did classes with Master Sree and James and the energy felt very comfortable to me. I can’t say my core felt quite as comfortable the mornings after those classes though!
I did a lot of research on which school in Singapore to study at. There were many that did not do the 4 week intensive training which I required because of my current lifestyle which requires me to travel regularly back to the UK. I looked at reviews of all studios and found good reviews and, as with any online search, a few reviews that were not so good, but as I looked at all these studios I kept coming back to Tirisula. The fact that it was one stop on MRT was of course wonderful for me but I knew it was not a justifiable reason for choosing Tirisula. When my friend said that she had studied here but also studied at another more commercial school that in some ways suited better, this perhaps could have been something that dissuaded me from joining. The timing fitted in with my schedule… but was this really a good reason? In fact there was another studio that also fitted in with my schedule. I was searching and searching for reasons for and against each school and Tirisula kept coming up.
I then started looking into the practicalities of teaching in the UK after having studied in Singapore and was brought to the attention of Yoga Alliance US. Internet articles pushed that in order to teach I should be considering a Yoga Alliance US registered school. Tirisula was aligned to World Yoga Alliance and not Yoga Alliance US and I was not sure why this was – I knew it had been previously when my friend studied here. Looking at linked studios to WYA, there did not seem so many studios, particularly in the UK, that were associated with them….. but I could not escape the feeling that there seemed something more authentic about WYA and Tirisula. My online investigation brought me to Yoga Alliance Professionals – this is the UK body for yoga. I started reading some things about Yoga Alliance US that led me to believe that Yoga Alliance Professionals had higher standards than the US based organisation but it too talked about the necessity of studying with a preferred school. Their website gave the option to contact them with the details of the school where you wish to study and that they would assess the course and let you know that if you studied there whether you would be able to register with them. This was essential for me as I was hoping to use yoga practice in my future career in the UK. Yoga Alliance Professionals came back very quickly to say that Tirisula’s YTT was approved by them. So decision made… Tirisula it was.
It was not as if I did not look at every single angle as to whether I should study here. What happened in the end was that the first place that I had found, that was near me, that without my knowledge happened to be the place that one of only two friends I have in Singapore studied, that suited my lifestyle and my future career, was Tirisula.
The lifestyle I have of regularly returning to the UK is because I have an elderly dog who cannot travel to Singapore. She is a rescue dog that has been with me for over 12 years. She has over these years changed my life in more ways than anyone could imagine. It is said that you do not find a dog, a dog finds you. She definitely found me. Now I ask myself the same question about Tirisula. Did I find Tirisula or did Tirisula find me? What I know for sure is that yoga has certainly truly found me and like my dog has changed my life and I look forward to seeing where it take me next!
Just in two more weeks, I will be graduating from my YTT course! Well, I guess that is my first step into exploring few options that I might consider. My passion for yoga is unexpected. Sometimes, a random thought comes across my mind when I’m in the studio bonding with the teachers & friends and feeling the energy that drives me happy; I feel deeply drawn to pursuing a career in yoga.
Of course, the journey is not easy and smooth. However, would I be considering yoga as my main career in my life? Hmm well, my mind still wanders. Yes I love practicing yoga; yes I would like to teach and serve others. Why not, right?
I THINK yoga as a career is a commitment. Doing yoga everyday as a full-time job surely plays a big impact in my lifestyle. I think yoga career lifestyle is widely categorised not only as a teacher, but also can be something else such as a studio owner, or probably building a yoga community. If I take this path, I would have a different life and different focal point of goals as a yogini. Now, still in wander if this is the path or purpose that I shall decide. But I believe at this very second, everything can just change and I will just go with the flow where it leads me to!
I believe to become a Yogini is a very beneficial thing to do in my life; not only for me, but also for other people who want to study or acknowledge the importance of yoga. I hope I can help or guide others, and for sure myself to practice more to be better.
I am convinced that anyone with the willingness to stick through the tough moments can build the yoga career of their dreams!
– A. Natalia
When I was in kindergarten, we were encouraged to choose some hobby to study before entering the long student life. Two of my good friends chose dance which I thought was really a fancy hobby. However, I was told I was not flexible enough so my Mom helped me pick painting. By the end of Art school semester, I saw my friends dancing on the stage and my painting was put up somewhere in the school building for exhibition. As a child, I really wished that I could be on the stage one day yet I felt I was marked as “not a dancer material”.
Growing up to be a teenager, I was introduced to Yoga for the first time and my first impression is that this sport is for everyone and not based on individual’s physical strength. That’s where I gained my confidence in practicing a physical exercise which helps to build a nice figure, a healthy mind and body.
Since then, I have been a yoga fan and attended classes once a while. To be honest, I have not made Yoga a routine due to my work commitment. Even though, I practiced the mindset of Yoga at work and in life. The biggest lesson Yoga has taught me: Don’t compare yourself to others, and just get better each day.”
As someone who is very into yoga, I realised one thing that most people do but they don’t realise it; that is the application of proper alignment and being truth (Satya) in practicing our yoga rather than having this sense of competition. Having the correct alignment, it allows us to feel our body in non-violence (Ahimsa) as per Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra.
Comparison creates obstruction to our individual progress. It somehow creates mind happiness of self-fulfilment but the body doesn’t. From there, soon you will realise that the foundation is not stable and solid just like a poorly built house. Comparison is natural and unsurprising. As in our daily lives, either work or leisure we tend to have this sense of competition among another. It makes sense that we carry it during our practice. But isn’t it better be truthful to ourselves and use yoga to drop the ego?
Being truth to ourselves; yoga and life are already within ourselves. By keeping our practice correctly and consistently, the fear of not performing good can appear lesser. Practice with a quiet mind, keep our breath powerful and consistent, and be mindful of our movements. Use our heart to listen to our inner self and focus on our personal practice with purpose. It’s us that witness and experience our own individual yoga journey. There will always be a new pose to learn, a new sequence to try, or a new class to experience. This is the beauty of yoga.
– A. Natalia
When I first started my yoga practice, I have no expectations. I only want to enjoy it. Enjoy doing it and be healthy. And I found that in yoga, every pose that I started to practice more of an understanding towards was a humbling thing. It’s like wow, I can’t believe that I can do this. That was kind of my point of view. And of course celebrating all the small things that I have learned!
With inversion or some arm balancing poses, it almost feels like the fact that I have been practicing for more than 2 years, I can’t hold a stable handstand or pincha until now. It’s almost like you feel that your body owe you something because you have been working on it for so long. The poses are just to understand yourself better. It just means that maybe I’m not ready yet, or maybe it’s a mental (fear) or a strength thing. These poses are just meant for you to get to know yourself better and a way to learn something. You are not entitled to holding your handstand or doing other challenging poses. Yoga is a chance to see yourself where you can be at peace, and to have this great sense of compassion. It’s something that I’m grateful for. One of my most attended classes’ instructor always mentions this in his class, “Be on your own limits, but when I say push harder, you are the one that knows your capabilities. And don’t forget to keep breathing”. It gets to my mind that with dedication of practice, a person that is not flexible or strong will improve better.
Overall, this yoga practice has helped me to see that it’s not only a way to stay fit, but also mind-body awareness. Being mindful in my poses – what I eat, breathe and think to stay healthy.
– A. Natalia