Monday, June 30, 2014

The body is the gateway to your true mind

Tree of life - the energy uncoiling
Do you ever wonder why you feel a certain way one day and another on a different day in your practice?
And is it natural to feel confident in a particular yoga posture one day and not on another!!?

The answer to those questions is Absolutely it is natural to feel differently each time you get on your mat! And this is natural because the body is more than just how much we understand of it on any one given day.
It is an ever changing (cellular and) natural operating environment! This practise of Hatha yoga looks at changing our limited awareness of how we feel occasionally to a holistic awareness of the body including the organs that help it function (i.e. one whole unit of mental awareness)!

Can you comprehend it, right now?  Your attention span expanding from just being aware of the external you (the outer shell) to also the inner & complete you - every living cell and tissue that makes up your natural operating environment.

With regular practise this is what we are working toward at large. A holistic sense of yourself that unravels to only you as neural pathways are formed from brain to muscles to cells and tissues -  everytime you connect with your body and mind on the mat.

Keep warm, enjoy the sun and see you all on that mat, y'all!

Monday, June 23, 2014

This week's practise focus: Sukham = Comfort

Eka pada Urdhva Dhanurasana
Hello Yogi/nis, its a brand new practise week and our practice focus is: Sukham = Comfort; a quality we must not discount in our experiences at any time.

In this pose I am in a wheel pose with one leg raised. In developing my one legged wheel pose I had to develop a close relationship with my upper body to stay open and comfortably breathing till I got myself off the floor in a wheel. This level of comfort in breathing, then allowed me to stay up and keep building strength in my arms and legs to lift up the leg in this pose - step by step. 

Working with this week's theme of defining comfort, you will be guided to explore with your personal breath capacity, moving through a specific movement sequence, developing strength but also a deeper sense of comfort wholly. The comfort that you will cultivate will be an anchor in your practise for the rest of your life, as this level of connection to your body, breath and mind will not only increase the flow of energy but also improve the health of your internal organs that are provided it.

The truth of the matter is that Yoga's medicine cannot be extracted till we learn to relax and feel comfortable in our strength. If it interests you to learn yoga this way, I invite you to come along to one of my classes (timetable on this link): Seva Yoga Group Class timetable

There is an amazing 2 part workshop we are holding on "Energy & Mood Management" next month on 19th of July 2014. Flyer will be posted on the facebook page and circulated online. Stay connected.

Namaste & see you on the mat  

Friday, June 20, 2014

Manage & Cure Cold & Flu - 5 natural ways for a Yogi/ni!

Happy 3rd weekend of winter! And happy to report my throat, nose and ears are burning up and I am forced to be in bed. I am on way to get some Z's but just thought to share some of the things I am currently using to manage and cure my cold / flu. 

1) Neti Pot - Using the Neti pot (nasal rinse) in the morning and night to keep my sinuses clear is a regular practise but it has proven even more effective on days like these. Adding sea salt to luke warm water helps the septum feel relieved from the rinse out.

2) Lemon + ginger + honey + turmeric+ cayenne pepper tea = Oooh lala! Make you some hot lemon, ginger, honey and cayenne pepper teas! It really helps with the internal body healing - the properties of all the ingredients strip down the bacteria, sooth the areas affected and flush the guff out. 

3) Some chinese herbal medicine for the flu called "Ganmao Qingre Granules" - This comes as a powder from a Traditional Chinese Medicine doc- A mix of all these root herbs and you have it as a hot drink 2-3 times a day! It is not as pleasant a drink as #2 but you can taste its potency from the flavours and it also helps clear out the gunk from the chest and belly.

4) Coconut milk!! - This is a recent discovery for me while healing the flu! I have always thought any milk will actually create more mucus in my system. However, last night I craved a hot spicy soup so I ordered a spicy vege Laksa and oh boy, not only was it a treat but it really helped with my circulation. It in fact is a great thing to use in daily recipes - Coconut milk - it helps improve circulation besides all of its other benefits!

5) Water + Sleep - this is a must and a friendly reminder to myself! worthy of listing here even if obvious! Water (warm water + peppermint & lemon essential oils) and actual sleep not a savasana. Your body has its way of repairing itself and sleep is one of the most effective ways.  

So there you have it - an inventory of things I apply to me, when I am managing a cold or flu.  

Buenna notte for now! 

In Seva

Sunday, June 15, 2014

This week's Practice Focus: Sthira = Stability

This week's practise focus at Seva Yoga is "Sthira" meaning Stability. This is a quality, which the system of yoga demands from the practitioner to cultivate. When cultivating stability, one has to be highly mindful of when their instabilities arise in their practise and where exactly in the body or mind can they inject more of this quality through their mindfulness. 

Here I am not just balancing on my head and forearms, I am co-contracting various muscles alongside aligning my spine to help maintain the quality of stability in my posture. The benefit of cultivating stability is it improves muscle awareness and joint health. Yoga being an experiential process, I make it my job to guide the practitioner to hone their ability to bring their highest quality of attention on the specific muscles they need to know in order to be in a pose so they can better align and strengthen their joints when moving. 

Yoga Sutra II: "Sthira Sukham Asanam"= Yoga is Stability and Comfort in a Posture". 

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Cultivate a Compassionate Warrior within

This is my Virabhadrasana variations practise this morning, also known as the Warrior pose series. This is a 3 part pose and is quite the iconic yoga posture in the Hatha yoga practise series. This series helps cultivate Upper body length and Lower body strength. Creating length helps us open in the heart and lungs area helping us breathe better and having a greater sense of space within. Growing stronger in the legs and the lower body cultivates a sense of our own presence wherever we stand not to mention support our spine that helps us be someone of use day in and day out. Personally these poses were hard for me to adopt but through consistency they helped yolk out a Compassionate Warrior Mindset in me, which I know will help me maintain my practise lifelong.

Right, off to live my Sunday! see you on the mat Yogi/nis!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

How to be of Service to the world

So, if we are to be focusing on ourselves all the time, how can we be of greatest service to others?

Let us keep it very simple! The simplest and greatest way you can be of service to your world is by giving it the healthiest version of you.

The word healthy comes with all kinds of definitions but Yoga being an all encompassing study, it points the practitioner to all facets of life, not just the physical health (which by the way is a great bi-product). But its focus is Mental health, which is key to experiencing and sharing a great l
ife. Mental health has a direct influence on how we treat ourselves and others. This is a big truth in life. "We are what we Think"- Gautama Buddha

Anyway - so Yoga being a practical, living science has taught me personally to redefine some of the ways in which I can give back and while keep giving to myself. Be of service to myself and naturally be of service to all else.

You take your car to the mechanics for a service don't you? And the body to the doctor to do a quick check. What about a maintenance system for this living breathing organ that is your body and the ever active recorder of all your experiences called the mind? Wouldn't you like to maintain their health so you feel the smoothness of this service? Wouldn't you feel more at harmony if both your mind and body were in sync? But its not an easy thing to do for all. It is not as easy for us to access this sync for a while and this is why we must cultivate all other qualities like humility, patience and compassion toward ourselves. What great gifts to be giving one's self and of course then as a ripple effect we know when others also need it.

This is compassionate action. Yoga is the practice of uniting mind with the body, starting the communication between the subtle with the gross and it is acquired through regular practice. It feels great, it increases vitality, increases our sense of connection and refills our cup of love and compassion for ourselves and our kind. What a wonderful thing to cultivate for you in your life and share that wonderful quality with your individual environment.

Give the world a healthier you. Being of service is as simple, yet as great as that.

See you on the mat or web or both.

Yoga, Compassion and Seva - Overviews

Yoga is a science. It is a study of the mind at its various states, be it the physical or the spiritual mind. Yoga believes in there being 6 states to the mind, one of which is the physical body. And this brings about questions on how that can be when we know the physical body is body and mind is a thinking thing etc.. It is true that the body and mind are one however it is a paradoxical truth. This study and practice of Yoga (the living science) enables one to break through the psychological state of mind's perceptions of separation and understand the paradox of ourselves being one yet part of the many, and actually realise it holistically. It is this state of union or Oneness, that Yoga calls Samadhi, (being one with the object of query / meditation). Samadhi being the 8th limb of the practice of Yoga then helps the practitioner move toward freedom from the human bonds on their earthly life as a human being. There are several states of awareness past Samadhi and we can discuss those later on other blogs / in person / workshop....

This may still all be a little much to grasp for those new on this journey but the simplest way to understand it is that Yoga helps unite the mind with matter or whatever the mind feels it is separate from. It may be a mental or a physical thing. It goes like the good ol' saying "We are all waves of the same ocean!" Which means if per se our bodies were bottles, the waves being part of the ocean bottled individually, we are all still ocean just contained separately It is a paradox to be the great yet the small. But it is possible to be the greatest to live through this space of knowing our highest self (the ocean) and the magnificence of being so adaptable, through a set of conscious choices and actions. Yoga encourages this type of conscious action from our highest potential space (the ocean) as it then encourages the wave to actualise into its true self, being the ocean.

This brings me to Seva, and this word in Sanskrit or Hindi simply means Service. We all want to serve and be of great service wherever we may be situated. More specifically we want to serve those that we care about and are nearest to us. However as our nature is naturally a giving kind, we end up serving the whole world daily and sometimes lose integrity to a high level quality service containing our full attention. The service quality can become of a wave level rather than the ocean. And this is because we lose touch with who and what we are and we forget to be of service to ourselves. The quality of service that we offer to ourselves is a direct reflection of how we are serving others. This is because we are all one (the ocean) whether we are experiencing it individually or not, our individual actions still impact the many - Can you see where I am going with this?

When I felt my calling to lose myself in this vast field of yoga I realised that in order for me to really learn this living art, I would have to unlearn quite a lot despite being raised in India, knowing much of the Yoga Philosophy, language, living Hinduisms and all the rest. Through my practise I understood how much compassion I actually needed to offer myself to truly get to know my own needs and relate to myself to be of service to me. And this process helped me identify how little I knew about offering my service genuinely to those I cared for most. Furthermore, I also understood that practising compassionate service meant living a high standard quality of life and lifestyle which promoted best health for me so I could be of best service to others. I quickly realised the meaning of Oneness and how responsible I was in helping my extensions and that I was the gateway for my purpose being fulfilled. I see Compassion as my own need for me and I feel that this is how I want to serve and relate to all else.

Service is a verb! It is action and is movement! Being Compassionate is an adjective and it is feeling and the part of having felt! I leave it you to feel it out now, what my Motto Compassionate Action means for you.

My Yoga Idol Sri T. Krishnamacharya was a master, yogi, healer, linguist and a family man. He never imposed a yoga posture or form on his students. His teachings were always focused on functionality and feeling for the body or mind and that to me was pure compassionate action. Spending time in India solo and finding myself consumed by this passion and the guidance of this lineage of yoga, I decided to take the next step. Serve by guiding others to find compassion for themselves. Help people serve others by being their highest quality selves.

Yoga and Compassionate Action go hand in hand in my views. It is a practice and attitude from a conscious and responsible space.

Restorative Yoga on Friday nights are a nice way to slow it down, find out a little more about an ongoing physical or mento-emotional issue - releasing some of the stuck-ness through various yoga, breathing and meditative exercises. Check out the timetable on the website www.sevayoga.com.au

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Breaking the ice here


It feels great to be motivated to write again! I'm glad to report that I'm again in a space, in my personal practise where connecting with the inner flow has switched back on! I call it my Goddess or God force, but there are other terms for the same energy, so I will leave the naming up to you.

Right now, just breaking the ice here to let you know this blog site is ACTIVE. Moving forward you will find bite sized posts here on how you can apply yoga in daily life and since I am writing this, it will have a special focus on the concept of Seva = Compassionate Action ; for the self and hence others. These posts will be closely related to my experience of this journey, living my understanding of Yoga and my Seva (service) from a space of practising what I have learned, already know and am constantly learning.

In short, my reflections this week lead me to a 7 year old memory of when I was at a desk job in Sydney. I was already teaching people to stretch out their necks and shoulders twice a week at 3pm because they said they wanted to be as happy and as calm as me at the office! hahaha! This was a time when I had not even conceived of taking my studies further into books and theory. I was planning on other things like the next adventure overseas, paying my bills, dealing with angry stakeholders, getting that promotion, but all with a laid back attitude, so making my colleagues wonder what it was that kept me so focused yet excited every day. I had already started living my yoga then I think... but I remember naturally I had also stopped wanting to go to happy hour and instead attended the local yoga class at 6pm. Back then, for me it was just practise, practise and practise on the mat and feeling myself get closer to my own mysteries!!! But now here I am again 7 years later, just a couple of weeks ago I got asked to get clear again as to where I am headed as a teacher of this wonderful & powerful life tool Yoga. Wow! It feels like a long time ago but the question looms again. I have chosen to take the opportunity up and move closer toward the answer through my inspired actions. I could have ignored it, but I can't seem to. Perhaps it is important now more than ever, since there is a sense of depth and attachment to this mystery in me. I don't have a clear answer to the question but I don't work in that method anyway. I am happy to keep taking steps toward the answers, moment by moment. Day by day. Phase by phase.

So here I have decided to share my journey with you in service (Compassionate Action) and make it accessible to you outside my classrooms.

Right now, I am off to teach my Wednesday night Hatha Yoga class in Ropes Crossing. See you either on the mat or back on web.