My bus journey

My bus journey
I find bus journeys on the whole relaxing as the control of the speed of travelling and the time are in the hands of the driver. As opposed to driving yourself, one can enjoy the passing scenery, read a book or indeed meditate or contemplate the day’s events. Sometimes it can be educational to witness human behaviours and even gauge the current fashion scene.
On one such journey on the No 12 bus, except for the droning of the bus engine, I was ‘miles away’ reflecting on the lecture just before I got on; Patanjali’s 8 limbs.
Suddenly a high pitched desperate voice behind me pierced through the silence in the bus. Despite my repeated attempts to ‘shut’ it out, it got more frantic and louder. Unfortunately, the bits that penetrated me went like this…….
“Why TV on???” LOUD
“Have you finished your homework?” LOUD
“Why are you not doing your homework?” LOUDER
“Listen, if you don’t pass your exam I will kill you!!” LOUDEST
“You must study hard so later on you will get a good job” DESPERATE
“When I reach home and your homework not finished, I won’t
give you pocket money” DESPERATE
Obviously it was a mother ‘talking’ to a child. After I alighted with a sign of relief, it dawned on me that this experience although unpleasant provided good examples of Patanjali’s Yamas and Niyamas NOT IN ACTION.
This lady’s outburst resulted in the following:

  1. ‘Robbed’ her fellow passengers’ enjoyment of the bus journey. (Asteya)
  2. Wasted/stole her child’s time by keeping him/her on the phone for so long. (Asteya)
  3. Threatened her child with violence (Ahimsa)
  4. Used bribery with pocket money (Aparigraha)
  5. Parenting on the bus is hardly appropriate behaviour (Tapas)
  6. Told her child that a good job is the result of studying hard (??) (Satya)
  7. Apparent concern for her child has resulted in this outburst, no restraint(Brahmacharya)

Now, in my heart, I thank this lady for her timely illustration of what I had just learnt. An unpleasant experience has been turned around (“Dissolved”)
Val Adams

Bhujangasana: Almost Perfect

More commonly known as “cobra”, bhujangasana could come as close to a perfect pose as can be.
Lying on your stomach, keeping your feet together, you connect yourself with your body and bring your awareness to the flowing movement of the pose. Bringing your hands to each side, just below your shoulders, elbows upward, inhale and slide forward, elongating your arms, rolling your shoulders outward and lifting your chest upward, using your back muscles to get farther and further into the stretch, resting on your pelvis with your buttocks engaged. As you move into the pose, your awareness is focused on the smooth flow on the many parts of the body used to achieve the benefits.
Once into the pose, you have the ability to engage the energy of four chakras. Your anahata (heart) chakra is wide open, communicating a receptiveness to the world and its beauty. Bhujangasana also opens the basal swadhisthana (groin) chakra, bringing relief and bloodflow to the area while also opening up the manipura (navel) chakra, stimulating appetite and helping to allieve constipation. As you stretch your neck back and upward, your vishuddhi (throat) chakra is activated, enabling you to tap into the energy to discriminate between right and wrong, bringing a clear head to its practitioner.
Lower back pain is alleviated in this pose, as well as sciatica and constipation. Women feel the benefits in their uterus being stretched while the circulation is opened up. The spinal stretch helps to keep the spinal cord more flexible, and massages the liver and kidneys. What a great way to flush out toxins.
In addition to the physical and mental benefits, bhujangasana forces the practitioner to regulate their own breathing. Following the inhale is the exhale; the practitioner literally breathes life inward and exhales life while following the ballet of physical release.
Bhujangasana could quite possibly be the perfect asana.
Stay bendy, everyone!

When Garbha Pindasana Cannot Be Said or Done Without a Slur (or Hiccup)

It was a reunion of sorts. A Saturday girls’ night out in Club Street with my girlfriends after I’d spent a week away working in Hong Kong. After my self-proclaimed, “booze celibacy” (AKA the 200 hour training course), we were also celebrating the first night I could go out on a proper pisser since late June.
I was flattered that they had taken such a curious interest in my progression in the course. Week after week I’d entertain them with reports of what I’d learned that week, what poses I could accomplish, and a tally of how long I’d gone without booze. 
After a great dinner (which consisted of meat; I’d also taken a reprieve from flesh eating during the course), we headed to the neighborhood rooftop bar and continued our binge. Although earlier in the night they’d insisted I demonstrate the poses I’d learned, I’d sloughed it off.  Little did I know that they would not only remember this request, but would require proof that I was indeed in training for the past month and not just blowing off their invitations to meet them for drinks.
Not very yogic, I know.
With a confidence only gained at my fourth Glenlivet, I ceded their request.
“GarrrrbHaa Pindasssssshaannnaah”.
“What?”
“GarrrrbbHaa Pindasssssshaannnaah. You know, it’s like an embryo in the womb. It’s meant to CALMMM the MINNNND and bring EMOOOOSHUNNAL stability” (I was shouting at this point because I became unaware that my own volume might not have been louder than that produced by the speakers above our heads).
“In GarrrrbbHaa Pindasssssshaannnaaah, you also massage your abs and benefits digestion…”  I even went so far to begin explaining as I began demonstrating, removing my 3 inch red heels.
Step one: Sit in Lotus.
Step two: Slide your arms, one by one,  between the gaps found in your thigh and calf.
Step three: Fold up your elbows and bring your hands up, resting your chin in your palms.
At this point, I was getting applause from the table, though I knew I was not properly in the asana. After all, Garbha Pindasana is performed in the second half of the primary Ashtanga series, and I hadn’t warmed up properly for this.
“Bhutt WHHHHait, I’m not finnnnnishhedd.”
I began to attempt the nine rolls back and forth, however my arms, legs and everything flew akimbo as I was desperately flailing for balance. I’m thankful there were no cameras to capture this mess.
I’ve learned my lesson. Having respect for the practice is necessary for achieving the benefits. I clearly did not respect Garbha Pindasana, and I was not met with the rewards that this pose intends to provide.
Stay bendy, everyone.

Memoirs of Yoga Teacher Training

Congratulations to those who have made it through the 200 Hr Yoga Teacher Training, Weekend batch from Jan to March 2010. Through your hardwork, sweat, tears (blood? I hope not) I hope this lovely bunch of girls have learnt something valuable for life. Yoga philosophy cannot be learnt just be reading, application to one’s life is more important than remembering the verses. Hope you will not stop learning Yoga as this is only the start.
Here are some photos for memories….