WHAT IS YOGA

WHAT IS YOGA? Master Trainer Sree popped this question to me!!!

I tried to give him the answer how I understand from my Guru, Bhagawan Sri Nithyananda Paramashiva:  Yoga is about Union between God and man.  Hard to grasp this concept, isn’t it? Well, let us go back to the Yoga Sutra.

So, what is YOGA?  YOGA CITTA VRITTI NIRODHAH (Sanskrit) – YOGA is the cessation of the modification of the mind field (from gross to subtle.). My own understand – the ultimate of yoga is beyond mind and body, only pure consciousness – a natural state of being.   So, Yoga is not about the Asana (Postures) or stretching exercise that most of the people think, including myself, before really explore deeper into yoga.

If Yoga is not about Asana/Postures, so why are we going through all these asana, I wonder?  I refer to the Nithyananda Yoga book and my Guru describes Asanas as ‘steady and comfortable body postures to tune oneself with the Cosmos’.  The body (gross) needs preparation to enter into more subtle dimension of Yoga.  So Asana do play an important part of Yoga because our being resides in the physical body and we have to keep this body fit and healthy in order for the being to move to the subtle plains.

That is why it is one of the eight limbs of yoga.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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!

What is Yoga ??

Before I took up YTT, I did my yoga in the commercial gyms (LM Bodybalance, Hot Yoga, Yoga Flow etc). To me, yoga is just a series of stretches and fanciful movements. Friends love taking nice yoga poses outside Marina Bay Sands and post them on Instagram. SHOWOFF !

After the 10th lesson, there is so much to learn besides poses.  Yoga is so different from  the ones in my gym. There is so much  to learn. From the mediation and philosophy part (e.g. dharma, food, chakra, pranayama  etc) and I can’t believe how Asree and locals study it in ancient India.

On thing that I will want to teach my students will be pranayama breathing and mediation. This is so important in the modern world. People are so stressed out at work.

OK … back to Sanskrit

Yogacharya

A yogacharya (pronounced “yo-ga-char-ya”) is the respectful way to address a yoga teacher. Sure, you can call them a “yogi” as well and that is completely acceptable too!

As a part of the 200 hours YTT course, we’re all learning to become yogacharyas and for us all, there is a short poem that I dedicate:

eyes closed and palms up 
steady minds and mouths shut
that's how we connect 
our own fuse to the common plug

we are it and it is us
there's no give and take
in trying to understand this
there are some mistakes we will make

give up attachment
to almost everything
but be conscious of the experience
while doing anything

learn to live and live to learn
for karma yoga will show
every action has a consequence
either you'll regret it or it will make you grow

soak in all those experiences
and then let it go
clutch on to sand too hard
and the faster it will flow

reaching Pratyahara 
is definitely no mean feat
your sadhana will take some time
so please do take a seat

close your eyes and look inside
stay grounded, stay cool
say hi to your third eye
and goodbye to the inner fool.
- LeelaM

Happy yoga, fellow yogacharyas!! 

How to implement the yogic system in our daily lives? I

With the hustle and bustle of our daily lives, we tend to find it hard to calm our minds and settle comfortably within ourselves. Social norms and rules have also shaped us to be extra critical not only of others but of ourselves too. Which is why the need for a place of silence is even greater now than ever before and what better way to create such spaces than within ourselves?

Meditation (Dhyana) is a way we can do just that for ourselves. It helps us learn to block out distractions and disturbances whilst calming the mind and soul. It is the time we can take to reflect on ourselves and things that happen around us. When we direct our focus inward, we feel invigorated yet relaxed at the same time. The power of the mind is strengthened and we learn to love and appreciate ourselves and the universe that little bit more.

We tend to give ourselves excuses like not having free time during the day or not being able to sit and meditate for a long time. However, meditation does not necessarily have to be done for hours on end to be effective. Even a short 5 minutes a day before stepping out of your house would suffice to center and prepare yourself to tackle the rest of the day. It is simply choosing to make the conscious effort to dedicate an extra 15 minutes to yourself daily (though preferably in the morning).

Choose to work on you because self love, time and space are the best things you can gift yourself. Remember you are always worth the time and effort!

How to include yoga in our daily routine – Part 1

For years, I have always felt good and at peace after each yoga practice and I think that is what yoga is about. It was only until this course that I realized there is much more than asanas! Hence, I would definitely like to add more yoga into my daily routine. But I am always tied for time, so I will implement it in the most easiest and sustainable way that suits my current lifestyle.
Here’s how. First of all, I will start with my thoughts. This requires no physical effort but more on awareness and mindfulness. Practice Yama at all times! This will be a guiding principle to make my daily decisions. Be it at work, at home, teaching kids or with friends.
Next will be food choices. I will be honest, it is impossible for me to avoid Rajasic and Tamasic food totally. However, I can definitely minimize them and choose more sattvic food not just for myself but also for my family.
Thirdly, I will be more mindful in my postures. For example, whenever I need to pick things up from the floor, instead of squatting down, I can bend from the hip, keeping back straight, to get a good stretch for the entire back and hamstring.
I will also take note of my standing posture. I have hyperextended knee and this probably explains my weak knee joint. Before this, I don’t even know knee can be hyperextended!
These are the few simple adjustments that I can add in my daily routine and I am confident I can practice this for a lifetime.

Yogic Principles in Daily Life – Part 2

Years ago a yoga teacher once told me that “Yoga without the breath is just a circus act”. This really resonated with me at the time and solidified early on in my practice, how integral the breath is when practicing yoga.

During my TTC I learnt that not only is yoga without the breath a circus act, but yoga without following the yogic principles is a circus act too. It’s not just all about the asanas, to be a true yogi you must abide by certain code of conduct. There are 8 limbs of Ashtanga yoga, the first of the Yamas (qualities in which a yogi should have) is Ahimsa, or non-violence.

Non-violence towards others in the most obvious way means not to physically harm or injure others, but as well as that maintaining an attitude that does not harm others also. If you can do Tittibhasana and Sirsasana perfectly but then go out into the world belittling others, you become part of the circus act.

Ahimsa means no cruelty towards animals. This aspect of the Yamas is why a large portion of yogis are vegetarians and vegans. In regards to animals, Sree taught us that ahimsa also means not keeping fish in small tanks or birds in cages. In those cases we are trapping the animal just for our viewing pleasure, and thus it is of a violent nature.

I am already a vegetarian so can fully understand this aspect of ahimsa. The biggest aspect of ahimsa that I will integrate into my daily life, is the violence towards myself. Just as I wouldn’t go out into the world and speak negatively to other people, I mustn’t do the same to myself. I definitely notice in my yoga practice if I cannot do a pose I will speak negatively towards myself, but am aiming to culture a more positive attitude and integrate ahimsa towards myself into my daily life.

And I have to admit that having a few injuries along the way has really helped me to practice ahimsa towards myself!

Yogic Principles in Daily Life Part 1

By doing the 200hr TTC, it has taught me that I need to properly warm up the body and the mind each morning. It is important to do the following activities after rising, on an empty stomach.

In the morning the yogi can start with 3x rounds of 20x pumps of Kapalahbathi, this is to clear the sinus cavities and nasal passageway. It also purifies the nadis and energises the mind whilst removing sleepiness.

This is followed by Anuloma Villoma which helps to balance the nadis. Anuloma Villoma is done in Sukhasana, easy pose, with the left hand in Jana Mudra and the right hand in Vishnu Mudra. In the morning we start with the first inhalation on the right nostril, then after retaining the breath, hold the right nostril and open the left nostril exhaling slowly. Then inhale left nostril, hold, open right nostril and exhale slowly. Continue for 20x rounds on each nostril.

Following this we perform Uddiyana Bandha for 5 rounds. This is done to strengthen and tone the abdomen, internal organs and pelvic floor muscles. It stimulates the manipura chakra and soothes anxiety. Uddiyana Bandha has to be done on an empty stomach and avoided when menstruating.

This is then followed by a few asanas to gently warm up the physical body. Pachimottanasana, Bhujangasana and Ardha Matsyendrasana should each be held for 1 minute.

The final part of the morning routine is to meditate on what we are grateful for in our lives. Cultivating gratitude is a practice which elevates our individual consciousness.

This is a part of yogic practice which is now already integrated into my daily routine and will continue to be after the TTC has finished.

What is Yoga to me?

My first yoga experience was around the end of 2006 and my main intention was to lose weight. At that time Yoga exercise was a phenomenon in Korea as it got known as the celebrities’ favorite exercise.

 

The first 3 months were very tough. Nevertheless the reason I kept practicing yoga was the Savasana which was given for about 1 min after challenging poses. The moment all the stresses is gone away!

As far as I remember, I would practice yoga about 3 times a week for 3 months because I felt like my body and also mind are much lighter after yoga practice.

 

But after a while I quitted it.

Soon I signed up for another yoga studio and quitted again after some time. This happened over and over for around 3 years.

I think I must have practiced yoga at least 8 months in total.

 

And I started practicing yoga regularly in earnest in January 2018, since I moved to Singapore.

While I stayed in Norway (before I moved to Singapore) I experienced depression and anxiety over an year. I even became a person who is dispirited and has a low confidence. But since I practiced yoga and meditate regularly in the yoga classes I finally got to feel like I found an inner peace inside me and it makes me becoming more positive person. I started getting deeply into yoga and believing the power of yoga.

 

And finally in November 2018 I signed up for yoga TTC at Tirisula yoga to learn more about the philosophy of yoga and expand my yoga experience.

3 hours of physical yoga practice at school and 2 hours of extra practice at home made me indeed stronger physically and mentally. Of course it expanded a lot of my yoga knowledge like how yoga people should act and how they see the world.

 

What would be the reason that I who don’t even like Sports or any kind of exercise, like yoga and have kept practicing yoga?

 

First, the breathing of yoga gets me calm.

The deeper we practice yoga, the deeper our breathing is.

This breathing is deep and soft unlike other kinds of sports. There is a power to recover and purify our body. The practice with good breathing makes our head clean and our body lighter and refreshed.

 

Second, it increases our physical ability as these days sitting in front of the desk staring at computer or smart phone is a way of life.

Stiff shoulders, backache, numbness of legs are gone while practicing yoga because it increases flexibility and strength at the same time. Since yoga is a whole body exercise it improves not only immune system in our body but also corrects our postures in a daily life by waking up and developing all the muscle throughout our body.

 

Third,  Achievement.

If I keep trying, someday I could manage to do certain poses that looked impossible at the first time.

This achievement becomes a big motivation to keep practicing yoga. Those who practice yoga must have the same experience to yell out a cheer saying “I did it” on the mat when they made a challenging pose that struggled to make days or months.

To me Urdhva dhanurasana (upward bow pose) it was.

It seemed that I could never make this pose when I saw it first time. My shoulders were stiff and backbend was very challenging.

Of course still I can’t make the pose perfectly but I can make an arch.

 

Forth, yoga shows the honesty of our body. It reminds me of Korean saying that Your efforts will never betray you!

You can improve your yoga skills as much as you practice. I mean there must be a difference of improvement speed depending on people and there must be poses that you are physically not able to do because of your body shape limit but for average people they could do most of the poses if they invest some time to their practice. Seeing my body changing as much as I practice, I get courage that there’s nothing I can’t do for other things if I do in this attitude.

 

For these reasons I will practice yoga for the rest of my life.

It would be even nicer if I have an opportunity to teach someone this good exercise and way of life.

I will constantly practice and learn and try to spread out this good yoga!