Karma

“Karma” means action. It refers to the intentional deeds we do with our body speech and mind through action, talking and thinking. Karma is the law that every deed done, given the conditions, will bear certain fruits.

How does Karma work? All deeds leave imprints or seeds on our consciousness, which ripen into our experiences when the appropriate conditions come together. For example, if we help someone with a kind heart, this action leaves a positive imprint on our mind stream. When conditions are suitable, this imprint will ripen in our receiving of help when we need it.

If an action brings pain and misery in the long term for oneself and others, it is unwholesome or negative Karma. And if it brings happiness, it is wholesome or positive Karma. Actions are not inherently good or bad. They are only so according to their motivations and the consequences they bring. Whatever happiness and fortune we experience in our lives comes from our own positive actions, while our problems result from our own negative actions.

Examples of actions which create negative Karma are killing, stealing, lying, sexual misconduct, idle talk and craving. Hmm….so the next time my colleagues gossip about others, I should walk away and ignore them. Charity, self-restraint, service and reverence are examples of actions which create positive Karma.

Who controls Karma? There is no one that decides the “rewards and punishments” for what we do. We create the causes of our actions, and we experience their results. We are responsible for our own experience.

Have you ever experienced karma in workplace? Heard of this popular saying – “what goes around comes around”? I am trying very hard every day to practise good karma in the office. A co-worker that I work with has not been very helpful to me since I took over his work about a year ago. He withheld a lot of work-related information from me and was not willing to answer my queries directly or share his knowledge or experience with me. There were times when I wanted to hurl nasty remarks at him just to vent my frustration but I held back. I do not know what stops me from this “negative action”. But I believe in myself, in my own ability to overcome the difficulties. I regard this as a bad experience in life. Everyone has bad experiences; this is a natural part of life. Bad experiences must be addressed with solutions. Look at a crisis, cry if we must, find a solution, and learn from it. We all feel grief, but we cannot solve anything by crying about it. It is natural to cry, but we must move on. The old saying, “Don’t cry over spilled milk,” applies to life. Look at each situation and learn from it. Otherwise, one can fall down and the world will “walk all over you.” My hard work through sheer determination has paid off – I received a promotion this year when I was only on the job for one year! I am glad I did not react to his negative actions.

 

Dalai Lama has suggested the following twenty ways to get Good Karma:

  1. Take into account that great love and great achievements involve great risk.
  2. When you lose, don’t lose the lesson.
  3. Follow the three R’s:
    –  Respect for self,
    –  Respect for others and
    –  Responsibility for all your actions.
  4. Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck.
  5. Learn the rules so you know how to break them properly.
  6. Don’t let a little dispute injure a great relationship.
  7. When you realize you’ve made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it.
  8. Spend some time alone every day.
  9. Open your arms to change, but don’t let go of your values.
  10. Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.
  11.  Live a good, honorable life. Then when you get older and
    think back, you’ll be able to enjoy it a second time.
  12. A loving atmosphere in your home is the foundation for your life.
  13. In disagreements with loved ones, deal only with the current situation. Don’t bring up the past.
  14. Share your knowledge. It is a way to achieve immortality.
  15. Be gentle with the earth.
  16. Once a year, go someplace you’ve never been before.
  17. Remember that the best relationship is one in which your love for each other exceeds your need for each other.
  18. Judge your success by what you had to give up in order to get it.
  19. If you want others to be happy, practise compassion.
  20. If you want to be happy, practise compassion.

Start practising good Karma now. 🙂

Yoga off the Mat

How yoga has changed me is an interesting question. It is a question that I really have to think about….

I ask myself another intriguing question – what is yoga “off the mat”? We practise patience, determination, concentration, calmness, etc “on the mat” in a yoga class. How then do we apply them when we are “off the mat”? Ponder….

Yoga has taught me to be less fearful of my own limitations. Fear hinders our pursuit of goals in life but it can be overcome. Fear is all in the mind (mind over body). In my opinion, the main obstacle in mastering inverted poses e.g. headstand is the fear of uncertainty and fear of falling. I had fallen many times (safely of course) from practising inversions. I still remember the bruises on my shoulders while falling from Pincha Mayurasana (Forearm Balance). But every fall makes be better and stronger. I hope to find my balance in handstand soon…. :-D.

Press on….

Off the mat, I hope to conquer my phobia in public speaking.

Yoga has helped me to learn how to take time for myself, and to relax and breathe. Breathe through the difficult times as well as when you are just kicking back. It has given me a way of “going” inside myself to find my “higher” self. I can visualize things much better than before I started my yoga classes, and by doing this I can let go of the events that add stress to my life. Having less stress is something we all strive for and yoga has definitely helped me to learn how to de-stress.

I traveled to Bali (Ubud) alone two years ago for a short yoga retreat. That was the first time I traveled alone. I always think I am a “strong” person, having to deal with many teething and difficult issues at home alone most of the times. So I thought traveling alone should be a breeze for me. I cried a lot during the trip. 😛

I arrived at Bali an hour after midnight. A male driver picked me up at the airport. The journey to the guesthouse was the longest one I ever had. The roads were badly lit and I was alone with this guy who didn’t look like a decent man to me. I didn’t know where he was driving me to. I heaved a sign of relief when we finally arrived at the guesthouse around 2am. But my nightmare didn’t end there. Nobody was at the guesthouse to receive me! I thought “not another round of s**t?!”…fortunately the driver managed to contact the guesthouse owner. The driver didn’t leave me in the lurch. It was wrong of me to judge him (I have learnt not to judge and underestimate people from my years of yoga practice). I thought I could have a good rest finally (I was having a sore throat). I was disappointed when the owner brought me to my room. It didn’t have the basic items we normally find in hotel room e.g. drinking water. I didn’t feel safe in the room and couldn’t sleep the entire night. I felt lost and lonely the next day and wanted to go home. I sought assistance from the owner of the yoga studio (Megan) but was told there was no early flight back to Singapore. I started to cry uncontrollably when Megan sat down and talked to me. She gave me a warm hug and I felt safe despite not knowing her. Megan got a Singapore-based kundalini yoga teacher (Rebecca) to help me and I was transferred to the guesthouse where she was staying almost immediately at no extra cost. I attended yoga classes with strangers the next few days and walked around Ubud alone. Yoga gave me the determination and strength I needed to get through the difficult time in Ubud. It was a self-realization trip for me. Unforgettable….

Off the mat, I hope to be a stronger person, not physically, but mentally.

I am not sure I can put into words exactly how yoga has changed me, because it is a feeling. Peace, tranquility, tolerance of others, able to forgive and forget (who doesn’t make mistakes?), these are just some of the feelings I have and they have grown stronger since I began Yoga.

Yoga is a way of training for our mind and body to help us on this journey called “life”. I feel that is the real answer for me – Yoga is helping me on my journey, off and on the mat. 🙂

Beware

Hi All
Last Thursday, i came in contact with a person who has been doing Yoga for 10 years.  She was under the guidance of a “so called” yoga teacher cum engineer.  He conducts classes for about 60 to 100 people at any one time, free of charge.
She has been suffering from back ache for the last 5 years.  Each time she practices yoga and the day after, she feels pain.  I noticed that her lips have also started turning dark (not from smoking or drinking).  If you have been practicing for such a length of time, you should not feel any pain at all.
Closely examining her postures, i realised that her alignments of postures have not been corrected and the teacher have not noticed this.  Sadly, without corrections and proper alignments, her back ache has been aggravated.  Now, her nerves are also giving her problems and leading to excruciating pain.
Please take note of instances of such and correct your students’ postures as soon as you come in contact with them.

Dreams

Nightly as we go into deep sleep, such that we are unable to dream, the ego can no more be found.  All the stories and fiction are gone.  Deep, dreamless sleep is some sort of a short-term death.  Death is a long term sleep.


In dreams, there is still a possibility that we may be able to recall what we dreamt.  People  go on managing their deep rooted ego even in their dreams.  As such, psychoanalysts try to delve deep into your dreams as there is a possibility of you maintaining your identity and more loopholes can be found.

Bhastrika Pranayama To Stay in the Pink of Health

Bhastrika Pranayama

Bhastrika means bellows breath.
In this type of Pranayama the lungs expand and collapse like bellows of the blacksmith.
This pranayama consists of quick inhalation and exhalation and produces a lot of heat within the body. It can be performed with slow, medium or fast pace as per your capacity.  However, people who suffer from high blood pressure, hypertension, pregnant women, cancer, diabetes, lung problems are not advised to proceed with the practice.  Women go through their monthly menstrual periods are also not advise to practice.
The technique to perform this pranayama is as follows:

  • Sit in any meditative position with spine and head erect
  • Inhale quickly so as to expand your chest i.e. lungs are filled with air
  • Without retaining the breath quickly exhale the breath
  • Again inhale the breath and exhale as before

Perform such quick rounds of inhalation and exhalation slowly and steadily without putting too much pressure or force.  Practice 10 rounds of 10 quick inhalations and exhalations which total to 100.
Practicing this pranayama leads to glowing health and skin, clears sore throat, increases lung capacity, clears doubts and mental pain, helps in depression and so on.
Happy practicing.
Note: This pranayama should be practiced with proper guidance from a well qualified yoga teacher.  The author is not responsible for any injuries whatsoever that may arise from following the steps given above without proper guidance from the author.

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….

Sutra Neti (Nasal Cleansing)

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DA0hQj9zOsM&rel=0&fmt=18] Sutra Neti demonstration by Master Paalu Ramasamy from Tirisula Yoga during a 200 Hr Yoga Teacher Training Course in Singapore. Sutra means thread and Neti means nasal cleansing. Neti is one of the six purification techniques known as Shat Kriya as documented in the literature, Hatha Yoga Pradipika. Neti helps to clean the nasal passage ways, removing excess mucus and stimulate the nerves to make the brain more alert.
Do not practice this on your own without guidance from a Yoga teacher.