Does Yoga Stay?

Here’s a thought – would you say it is true that somehow when we all reach our 20s, we look around for something that sticks with us for life? In this fast-paced, 20th Century world that we live in, it seems everyone, especially the educated, has slowly come to realisation that the individual seeks to be balanced in life in all aspects, including taking up sport. I was never one to think that I would pick up Yoga. At 16, my Dad took me to my first Yoga class, and for that 45 minutes of continuous Ardha Mukha Swanasanas (Downward dog), and Santolasanas (Plank), my shirt was drenched in sweat. I was ridiculously impatient through any of the poses I learnt that day and simply could not understand how one would slow down the breath doing these poses. These poses, seemingly easy, had me panting at the end of it. I lacked patience. I was annoyed.

I thought to myself – “There’s no way yoga is the sport for me, for the rest of my life. It’s slow, it’s boring.”

Then came a reintroduction to yoga when I turned 22. Between the years of being 21 and 22,  I was a extreme go-getter. Nothing slowed me down. Not even the pains I felt in my body. I was an aspiring chef/baker, motivated, driven, and every single day was me telling myself “you have to be productive.” I never let my body or my mind rest. I never knew what that meant. At 21, I found out that my lower back had severe dessications at the L4 and L5 level. And for the few months after finding out, life started to seem a little bleak. Not only would I focus my energy on scanning for every pain in my back, I just made excuses to NOT move, and stopped believing in myself a little. I developed a fear for pain of any level, letting it manifest in my head to something bigger that tells me, I simply cannot do it.

Cliché in many of the yoga stories, you seek for something to comfort you when you are met with upsetting news. I came to realize more about how I was as a person, and how I treated my own body. The self-realization was that for all these years, I did not care about my body. I cared about success, I cared about “making it big”, every other single thing except the wealth of my health. It was heartbreaking to realize all of it. I wanted to make a change and turned to yoga for comfort, to make me healthier in the physical sense.

Evidently, that was not it. I was doing yoga in hopes of getting rid of my back pain, achieving only all the physical benefits possible. And although I started going to yoga classes since then, I did not realize what would happen when I took my understanding to the next level. It was one-dimensional. Yoga = flexibility and strength = better health = less back pain. Again, I fell into a hole of self-scrutiny. I was doing yoga for the sake of doing it, for the hopes of physically feeling better, achieving more skillful postures one day. And I blamed my body when things did not happen. Yoga came in and out of my life. Up to the point where I decided I want to learn more about Yoga in detail. I needed to understand more about this practice in deeper detail, and why I was allowing these thoughts in my life.

Fast-forward to today in this YTT course. Something clicked inside me as with each day of philosophy with either Master Sree or Master Paalu. “Be kind to your body, but don’t be lazy.” – Master Paalu said. At that very moment, I felt like bursting out into tears. It just hit me so hard that I struggle with what my body can or cannot do, focusing on its limitations and it in turn manifests negatively in my head. I finally became fully aware of how i viewed myself.

Every single day since then, thoughts in my head became quiet. Insecurities disappeared slowly. I no longer had these thoughts with what my body can or cannot do. I just did what I could, in my capacity. I understood more about the human mind, its natural instinct for greed. Suddenly, I am less harsh with myself in every way. Even with my own goals in the culinary aspect. Suddenly, yoga was not just a physical practice anymore.

Back to my beginning statement, Yoga has now become the one sport that can keep me healthy in my body, healthy in my mind. I love every breath I take during practice and I can no longer imagine my life without it. This journey of life is going to be filled with ups and downs, and I am fully aware that Yoga would not be an escape – it is a way of living my life. Though I cannot say for sure if everything will work out, I will constantly remember the concept of Sadhana from Master Sree, because without it, there is no regularity. Sadhana is continuous practice, improving concentration, being disciplined. Yoga will not always feed me happiness, or decrease my days of anxiety, self-doubt. On some days, my mind will creep up on me and nothing can be helpful. On other days, yoga will empower me greatly, it will strengthen me mentally and physically. My biggest takeaway today is realizing that my practice is not my reliance, and there is mindful awareness that nothing can be an escape. Just do and be calm. Whatever you practice, to whichever extent, keep it regular. And so Yoga, that is how I know you will stay.

 

JT.

 

 

 

 

 

 

How did I come into Yoga

Hi

I am Madeline and I came into contact with yoga many years ago, but there was no connect.

In October/November 2018, I started using Classpass and went to a lot of HIIT and cardio classes. It was nice to get back into fitness again. Yoga has always been the least priority because I seen it only at the surface level. I saw it as a waste of 60 minutes because I wanted a class that made me sweat and Yoga simply was not one of them.

However, I was advised by my friend to try Yin Yoga… and that was how I fell into Yoga and connected with it. As I held to the simple poses and felt how tough a simple posture held over time could affect my body, my mind was changed.

Soon after, I was exploring more Yoga studios through Classpass and started to really enjoy the various styles of Yoga. I personally enjoy flow classes a lot as it helps me to destress after a long work day.

Stupendous Sangha!

When we embark upon something new where unknown people are involved, whether that be a new job, a new hobby or moving to a new country perhaps, for some it can seem daunting and for others it is all about excitement of what is to come. Some people can walk into a room and talk to anybody seemingly without any fear. I have a friend who when she goes anywhere she collects friends. Her personality is such that no matter what situation she is put into she finds lots of interesting people to interact with and sometimes these people become lifelong friends. These are people she may never have met unless she had taken that first step into the unknown. For others they may need to seek safety when they enter a filled room as they do not feel the confidence to mingle and network with lots of people. They may pick one person that they connect with and spend most of their time just getting to know that one person – that person too however could become a lifelong friend. So neither person is right or wrong in their behaviour – both of these scenarios have benefits. However, when you put yourself into a situation where you are with the same people every day for four weeks going through the same aches and pains, the same emotional ups and downs, and the same anxieties and triumphs, you are forced to learn not only about yourself but about each other. There is a common bond that links you. You are all there for the same reason. You may have different end games but the current aim is the same. You are all in the same boat together and in order to get across the river you must learn to row the boat together in a way that will get you to the other side safely. Sometimes someone may be stronger at rowing, and another may be better at navigating and there may be the need to have someone entertain you to keep your spirits up on the journey. What there is between you is a shared purpose so naturally you start working together and supporting each other to achieve the end result. Two of the definitions of Sangha are ‘community‘ and ‘a group of like-minded people, usually walking the same spiritual path’. I feel blessed to have been a member of my YTT Sangha. The love and support that I have felt from you all has been incredible. It always amazes me how you can put a group of people into a room and they can all seem so different to start with but as we get to know each other we see that we are essentially all the same. We are all human, we all have our strengths and our flaws, and we all have our worries and our hopes. What I have learnt about my Sangha particularly is that we are all caring and supportive individuals and I feel so grateful to have shared this time with you all. We have had an experience together that I will remember for ever. Thank you to my Sangha – you are stupendous!

Where is the East?

So I ask myself.. is part of our yoga journey learning what physically we can and cannot do or are we supposed to believe that if we continue with our yoga practice that we will one day be able to accomplish those asanas that we think we are incapable of? There are certainly limitations to my body in its current form. After years of sitting at a desk my shoulders and upper back muscles are incredibly tight and my lower back and core are weaker than I would like. This probably started when I was young closing myself off from others by rounding my shoulders. I also think it can have something to do with growing up in cold climate where to keep warm we are constantly hugging our arms close together. In the last 3 weeks there has been a physical change in my body. Slowly my collarbone is more pronounced, my shoulders are moving backward and I am standing taller than before. I’m a long way off but I hope with regular practice and heart opening poses I will turn around this constant pain that I suffer each day. What I am learning is that though there are potentially limitations to what I will be able to achieve physically in the long run because of my physical form, this does not mean I will not be a great yoga practitioner. By understanding the limitations of my body, it helps me to understand others. I understand that it may not be so easy for everyone to sit cross legged on a mat with their back straight. This actually was something that it took me years to achieve and I still have to work hard at it now. How taking 5 long breaths in downward dog is actually not for a beginner if it is practiced properly… and guess what… touching the floor in a forward bend is not actually a measure of being good at yoga! So often when I have been to a yoga class in the past I have looked at the ‘bendy’ people and wished that was me. Hoping that one day I will be able to do a headstand or a handstand effortlessly. Teachers told me it was just fear that was stopping me but actually my physical form had something to do with it too! If we just think that those that can do all the asanas are good at yoga, where does that leave the rest of us? Where does that leave the beginner? Or the person that doesn’t have the time to practice regularly because they have a busy work schedule or a family to tend to. Does it leave them looking enviously at Instagram at the so called beautiful people in bikinis posing on cliff top in a luxury destination? All that this can bring is self doubt and lack of confidence and wishing away the wonderful lives that we have been given. This in itself is against yoga philosophy. We are told we must practice ahimsa (non-violence) and satya (truthfulness) and this means to ourselves as well as others. We do not know how long we will have in this life and to practice yoga is to practice gratitude for all that we have been given in good times and in bad. It is about the journey we are on in this life and how we choose to live it. We were asked the question in our YTT – where does the sun rise? The east we answered. No, we were told, the sun does not rise in the east, where the sun rises IS the east. When I told my husband this he said to me… that is because the east is not a place, the east is a direction. I know yoga is showing me my direction and it seems I am heading on my way without a map but I am starting to trust that my internal compass will lead me where I am supposed to go.

From Mat Yoga to Rope Yoga, From Floor to Mid-Air, From Fear to No Fear

Kundalini Rajju Yoga

 

Today, I would like to do a small sharing on my yogic journey from the mat to rope….from the floor to  mid-air…..from fear to no fear ….it brings my yogic journey to a whole new level of breakthroughs and fun.

 

It was initially tough when we first started to learn rope yoga in January this year. We had to grab the rope in between the big toe and the second toe and pull ourselves up the rope with the strength from our legs and arms.

 

It was intense pain initially for all of us, as our feet were not conditioned to withstand such rough tension from the rope. We had to face pain in its raw state and dis-identify with pain. It took will persistence to show up at each session of training and to repeatedly attempt to climb the rope in spite of the pain.

 

Our toes get seasoned over a couple of weeks of regular rope yoga training sessions. Then we were able to advance into more asanas on the rope.  Doing asanas on the rope brings out different dimensions to our yoga practice.

 

Besides having to constantly dis-associate with pain, we now have to face our hidden fears.  In many areas of our life, we are often able to avoid our deep fear by choosing not to do things that frighten us. For example, if one is afraid of snakes, one just need to stay away from snakes.  However, when we are on the rope, we had to face our fears squarely.

 

We have experiences tremendous breakthroughs on the rope and the effects of the breakthroughs filter through all other aspects of our life….many of us also experience rapid progress in our mat yoga practice as a direct result of our exposure to rope yoga.

 

I would like to invite you to come and join us to experience the breakthroughs on rope yoga for yourself. You may contact me via watsapp at +65 9889 5654 or +65 9245 5656 to find out when and where we have our rope yoga sessions….

 

Looking forward to more fun and breakthroughs on my exciting journey of yoga….

 

Dorisq Tan

www.FB.com/YogicBodies

YogicBodies@gmail.com

+65 9889 5654

Dorisq Tan
Building Yogic Bodies, Vedic Minds

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Yogic Journey – Part 3 (Progression)

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.

The Ultimate Authentic Yoga

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….

 

 

Dorisq Tan

www.FB.com/YogicBodies

YogicBodies@gmail.com

+65 9889 5654

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Yogic Journey – Part 2 (Transformation)

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.

My Yogic Journey – Part 1 ( The Search)

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.

Learning to Swim!

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!