namaskar A VOICE FOR THE YOGA COMMUNITY OF ASIA
Christianity & Yoga
Inside APRIL 2012
Born & Unborn, 12
A Sweet Life, 19 One man shows
Birth is one of the links in the chain of suffering, Kimberley shares her story.
how he can do what he loves and help his community.
Bir th o war ene irth off A Aw arene enesss, 13
Friends or Foes, 20 Can Christians
Kim explains how the last four limbs of Ashtanga’s eight-limb path give birth to true joy.
practice yoga? Andrew explains.
Yoga o ir th, 14 off B Bir irth,
Yin Side, 27 AYC faculty Bernie Clark’s introduction to Yin Yoga.
Julie compares her two birth experiences and the role of yoga in both.
Reborn, 31 June’s experience with
A path to the Divine, 16
Children & Yoga, 36 AYC faculty
Doulas, Rosie & Justine write about different birthing methods.
Paul Dallaghan writes about his philosophy on raising children.
Who reads Namaskar?
NEWS, WORKSHOPS, RETREATS & TEACHER TRAININGS, 5 MYTHOLOGY IN A MINUTE, 23 CROSSWORD, 28 CONFERENCE REVIEW, 32 AYURVEDA, 35 SSRF, 39 BOOK REVIEW, 41 RECIPE, 32 TEACHER & STUDIO LISTINGS, 45
ovarian cysts are a re-birth of sorts.
5,000 copies are distributed for free in Australia, Cambodia, China, Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Japan, Malaysia, Netherlands, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, UK, USA, Vietnam If you would like to offer Namaskar to your students or customers, email firstname.lastname@example.org
About Namaskar Namaskar provides a voice for the yoga community around the world. The publication is a vehicle for practitioners on a yogic path to share their knowledge, learnings and experiences with others. Namaskar, is published quarterly in January, April, June (coinciding with Asia Yoga Conference) and October. We welcome unsolicited submissions, therefore the opinions expressed within these pages are not necessarily those of Namaskar or its volunteers. Namaskar is distributed at no charge through yoga studios, fitness centres, retail outlets, food & beverage outlets and other yoga-friendly locations. For more information, to contribute or to order Namaskar, please contact:: Carol, Administration email@example.com Wai-Ling, News Editor & Copy Editor firstname.lastname@example.org Frances, Editor & Publisher email@example.com /+ 852 9460 1967
Deadline for June 2012 issue: May 10, 2012 3
Walking to and from the bus these past weeks, I’ve noticed little flowers blooming in the most unlikely places - in pavement cracks, in the rain gutter, from the remains of fallen leaves. Living in a busy city, I’m rather disconnected from the seasonal cycles of the natural world. But these bursts of orange, purple, pink and light green remind me that Spring is upon us, and life is strong. In nature this is a time of birth and in Christianity it’s a time for renewal. And those two together – birth and Christianity, were the inspiration the choice of cover photo of Katy Schaffer taken at Samahita Retreat, Thailand by Nigel Gregory. This issue’s dristi , birth, inspired more contributions that any before. So many in fact we were not able to re-print them all. I apologise to Cassandra & Carol for omitting their offerings and thank them, as I do Kimberley, Kim, Julie, Justine & Rosie, for sharing their experiences and learning with us. Thank you also to Andrew for his article comparing yoga and Christianity. I think it will put the minds of some interested practitioners at ease to read how much the philosophies have in common. I draw your attention to the story of Yogiuday and his new Yogi Yum Yums on page 19. All the profits from his enterprise are going to sending a few Rishikesh children to finish school and university. I encourage you to join Namaskar in making a contribution to this worthwhile endeavour. Hong Kong readers may be familiar with Yogiuday’s previous venture, XTC on Ice Gelato. All delicious flavours, though unfortunately loaded with white sugar! Coming up very soon is Evolution Asia Yoga Conference (7 – 10 June, Hong Kong), of which Namaskar is a media sponsor. As such we have three tickets to share with readers. Details of this are on page 27. We also have two articles by AYC teachers, Yin yogi Bernie and Ashtangi Paul. Please have a look at the programme at www.asiayogaconference.com. As well as plenty of asana, there are also pranayama workshops, philosophy lectures, demonstration, and plenty of free events for those who would like a sneak peak or aren’t in a position to pay. And finally, in addition to all contributors mentioned so far, thank you to Ana, Carol, June, Metta, Mindy, Moosa, Tia, Vinod and Wai-Ling for your time and energy. Frances Gairns EDITOR
SOMETHING TO SHARE? If you have something to share with the yoga community, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
NEWS TEACHING OPPORTUNITY Inspire Yoga, Hong Kong Inspire Yoga is expanding their team of teachers! They are looking for certified Yoga teachers who are creative, confident and responsible to host private and semi-private classes. Teaching experience is an advantage. Freelance and full-time teachers welcome. For more information email@example.com; +852 91673376 YOGI TEA LAUNCHES IN KOREA & JAPAN Yogi Tea launched in Korea in 2011 with the organic company Nedahan. Along with Jai Yoga Studio, World Gym Magic Pond and MF Fitness and Olive Young; they aim to spread Yoga and the message of health in Korea. In Japan, Yogi Tea also launched a campaign to promote Yoga and healthy living this year at the 2012 Japan Supermarket Expo with Yoga demos by the 2008 World Yoga Champion, Ball Rattanapong, from Thailand. For more information www.yogiteakorea.com FIRST KOREA YOGA FESTA 2012 Seoul, Korea 25-26 February The 1st Korea Yoga Festa organized by Hot Yoga Academy in Daejeon (www.hotyogaacedemy.co.kr) was an exciting 2-day experience sponsored by Yogi Tea with Yoga workshops and classes, and many Yoga clothing booths on site. Some of the international teachers included Heeki Park, Santosh Kumar, Brian Campbell, Yogananth, Patrick Creelman, D. Sudhakar, Clayton Horton, Duncan Wong and Ya Ya Hamat Kaur. Yoga teachers from Korea included Sin Hee McCabe, Nadia, Kim Young Ho, Kim Yi Hyeon, Song Sun Ja, So Hyang and Tao.
For more information www.yogafesta.co.kr TUNG CHUNG YOGA Life Skills Foundation (LSF) launched community Yoga classes in March at Caribbean Coast Tung Chung in Hong Kong every Monday and Thursday 10-11am. LSF aims to bring authentic Yoga into your community by providing classes to suit your timings and at a venue convenient to you, whether at home, company, clubhouse, hotel, school or community centre. Their Yoga classes combine scientific techniques to achieve complete relaxation and revitalization for people of all ages and gender. Tung Chung Yoga classes cost HK$100 per class for an 8-class package; HK$120 per class for a 4-class package, or HK$150 drop-in rate. To register for the class email firstname.lastname@example.org or call +852 9465 6461.
Patrick Creelman was one of the international and Korean teachers at the first Korea Yoga Festa in February
For more information www.LSFglobal.com/ facebook.com/TCyoga SUNSET YOGA Repulse Bay Beach, Hong Kong Sunset Yoga class on the beach at Repulse Bay will start again on 14 April. Timing remains the same 5:30-6:30pm on the 2nd Saturday of each month. This is a free Yoga class for charity taught by volunteer teachers and participance is by donation only. 100% of the proceeds collected will be donated to a local charity or worthwhile cause. All levels are welcome and bring your own mat. To register for the class go to Sunset Yoga on Facebook; email email@example.com or call +852 9465 6461. This event is organised by Life Skills Foundation and sponsored by Stephen James Luxury Organics, who will provide each participant with their own delicious and energyladen organic whole food bar.
Just bring your own mat to the free yoga class on Repulse Bay beach in Hong Kong. They take place on the second Saturday of the month
For more information www.LSFglobal.com/ www.sjluxury.com/ BODYTALK ACCESS TALKS AND SEMINARS WITH ANGIE TOURANI White Lotus Centre, Hong Kong April-August BodyTalk Access is based on the BodyTalk System, a holistic approach to healthcare which believes the body has the ability to heal itself in the vast majority of cases. Angie will be giving free talks as well as a range of seminars at various prices. The Access seminars teaches participants a series of simple techniques which can be used at any time, and anywhere, to improve health and
Yogi Tea launched in Korea and Japan and is spreading their message of healthy living
WORKSHOPS wellbeing. BodyTalk treatments are safe, effective and noninvasive as they rely on the body’s own healing ability and works at the cause of the problem. For more information www.bodytalksystem.com.hk; firstname.lastname@example.org NEW FITNESS AND WELLNESS PROGRAMME AT MANDARIN ORIENTAL Jakarta, Indonesia Mandarin Oriental, Jakarta has launched a new series of Fitness and Wellness daily activities to encourage guests towards achieve peak physical, mental and emotional performance. The extended list of workout exercises which are available throughout the year include Morning Yoga Sun Salutations by the pool, Aqua Yoga; and breathing exercises. In-house guests can enjoy these new programmes on a complimentary basis, while local visitors to the hotel can join for USD 20 (net) per class depending on availability. For more information www.mandarinoriental.com; +62 (21) 2993 8999; email@example.com
will be teaching Sivananda, Chanting and Meditation, Restorative and Basics classes at SPACE. Steeve has completed his 500-hour yoga teacher training in Sivananda school founded by Swami VishnuDevananda and is currently part of their teaching team that offers teacher training courses all over the world. The new Sivananda Yoga classes at SPACE includes pranayama and are slow paced, allowing for a full exploration of each pose. After warming up with sun salutations, the focus is on mastery of the twelve basic poses. It is a spiritual practice that invigorates the body and clarifies the mind, enabling one to practice meditation or other forms such as Karma Yoga. For more information www.withinspace.com SECOND KOREA YOGA CONFERENCE The 2nd Korea Yoga Conference will be held on 14-16 September at the Coex this year. The organizers are Yoga Kula and Jai Yoga studios. For more information www.koreayogaconf.com/ www.jaiyoga.co.kr
NEW TEACHER AND CLASSES AT SPACE YOGA, TAIWAN Steeve Petteau, from Belgium
Sanjukta will be co-teaching at White Lotus Centre
Carol will be co-teaching at White Lotus Centre
WORKSHOPS WITH ANGELA FARMER Pure Yoga Hong Kong – Tsim Sha Tsui - 14-17 April Pure Yoga Singapore – Ngee Ann City - 21-24 April Finding Your Own Yoga Practice: Now is the time to trust the natural evolution of your personal Yoga practice. Two Days for Women: Yoga with a Difference: Celebrate the divine and miraculous fact that you are uniquely woman.
AGAMAYOGA WORKSHOPS Koh Phangan, Thailand April-December
For more information www.pure-yoga.com; firstname.lastname@example.org PRACTICAL TRAINING FOR YOGA THERAPISTS Adaptive Yoga for Children with Moderate Learning Difficulties White Lotus Centre, Hong Kong 28 April Taught by Sanjukta Sharma & Carol Chapman and presented by Gecko Yoga in Hong Kong A one-day workshop to demystify Yoga therapy and present the common concerns for Yoga teachers, parents or educators working with children with learning difficulties. This training will help show which poses are suitable for the spectrum of children’s learning difficulties as well as their contraindications.
Belgian yogi Steeve joins SPACE in Taiwan
Wai-Ling compiles and edits this section of news, workshops, retreats & teacher trainings. Email her directly on email@example.com
For more information firstname.lastname@example.org; +852 6973 1792
Tantra 1, 17-21 April Their most popular workshop. Explore your sexuality from a Tantric perspective. Tantra 2, 21-25 May Follow-up to their popular Tantra 1 workshop. Kashmiri Shaivism, 1-5 June Explore the depths of this almost extinct philosophy. Intro to Tantric Rituals, 18-22 June Go deeper into the amazing subject of Tantric Rituals. Yoga & Science, 16-20 July A new workshop that explains the mysteries of Yoga in a more scientific way. For more information www.agamayoga.com; email@example.com; +66 892 330 217 BARON BAPTISTE PERSONAL REVOLUTION PROGRAMME WITH WENDY WYVILL Pure Yoga Hong Kong, Central - 5 May-13 June 40 Days to Personal Revolution - based on the book by Baron Baptiste. A breakthrough programme to radically change your body and awaken the sacred within your soul. Sign up before 12 April to catch the early-bird discount!
For more information www.jakartadoyoga.com/ www.sebastianpucelle.com or call Yusni +6221 3100071/ +62888 896 7392
Amarjit leads a mixed level workshop in Bangkok
Chris will be teaching anatomy for yoga in SIngapore
For more information www.pure-yoga.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
stress trapped in the muscles. A mixed-level workshop.
WORKSHOPS AT YOGA CENTRAL 5-6 May Weekend Immersion Workshops by Peter Scott, SI3certified Iyengar teacher 1-2 July Holiday Intensives for Twists & Backbends by Sue Scott, JI3-certified Iyengar teacher 8-Hr Personal Practice Workshops to start Iyengar Yoga at home For more information www.yogacentral.com.hk MOVING FROM THE OUTSIDE IN WITH MATY EZRATY Pure Yoga Taipei, Pure Tower 18-24 May This will be a weekend of master classes and Asana Intensives. For more information www.pure-yoga.com; email@example.com THE SECRET OF ASANA PRACTICE II WITH AMARJIT KUMAR Bangkok, Thailand 19-20 May This workshop brings you interactive presentations that will show you the best practices of inversion, backward and forward bend postures. You will master how to get into inversions safely and confidently; learn scientific techniques to improve flexibility without getting injured; and relieve tension and
For more information www.anandayoga.hk firstname.lastname@example.org; +852-35639371 YOGA AND ANATOMY WITH CHRIS KUMMER Pure Yoga Singapore, Ngee Ann City 25-27 May A series of workshops to assist in building a stronger foundation for your actions as well as enlightening your understanding of Yoga practices. For more information www.pure-yoga.com / or email email@example.com YIN YOGA AND MEDITATION WITH SEBASTIAN PUCELLE Jakarta, Indonesia 26-27 May The practice of Yin Yoga is to naturally evolve toward meditation, as the yogic path is to go toward an understanding of the nature of the mind. Yin Yoga spontaneously brings you closer to this understanding, the calmness and relaxed approach allow the practitioner to integrate more easily breath awareness, and the asanas are designed mainly to open the lower body which enables you to sit longer and lessen discomfort as you meditate. Regular Price : IDR 1,300,000; Early Bird Price : IDR 1,200,000
FROM STANDING TO INVERTING WORKSHOP WITH PETER SCOTT SPACE Yoga, Taipei 12- 13 May In this workshop you will learn the precise Iyengar method in standing poses and how standing poses can build awareness for backbends and inversions. It will also cover methodology for growing a backbend practice, techniques for holding inversions, as well as how to work with restorative poses. For more information www.withinspace.com AN IMMERSION IN IYENGAR YOGA 2 WITH PETER SCOTT SPACE Yoga, Taipei 14-18 May The focus here is to build towards the evolutionary inversion practice in Iyengar Yoga. We will develop the Inversions with methodology that can support and endure over a lifetime. Learning for the inversions will be based on standing poses and backbends, bringing actions and movements from those asana groups to enhance and enliven actions and directions for a strong and deep inversion practice.
the direct guidance of R. Sharath Jois, Pattabhi Jois’ grandson, Director and main teacher of K. Pattabhi Jois Ashtanga Yoga Institute (KPJAYI) Mysore, India. All classes will be ‘count-through’ guided classes, one of the traditional ways of teaching Ashtanga Yoga in KPJAYI. For more information www.withinspace.com INSIGHT YOGA WITH SARAH POWERS 3-6 May - Insight Yoga intensive at Yogayard, Beijing For more information firstname.lastname@example.org 2-4 November - Insight Yoga workshop in Osaka, Japan For more information spirityogastudio.com 8-11 November - Insight Yoga Intensive in Tokyo Japan Continuing education for teachers. For more information www.underthelight.jp 6-16 December - Insight Yoga retreat and teacher training in Koh Samui Thailand For more information email@example.com
For more information www.withinspace.com TRANSMITTING THE ASHTANGA LINEAGE WITH R. SHARATH JOIS SPACE Yoga, Taipei 31 May–3 June Don’t miss this rare opportunity to practice Ashtanga Yoga under Yin specialist, Sebastian, will be teaching in Jakarta
RETREATS TOTAL IMMERSION YOGA WITH ADARSH WILLIAMS Samahita Retreat, Thailand 7 – 14 April Focus on making our yoga mat practice a life practice. Using traditional and contemporary Ashtanga techniques, you will be guided through the complete practice of yoga postures, breathing, and meditation. Open to all levels. Helen will be at White Lotus Centre
WEEKEND YOGA GETAWAY AT THANYAMUNDRA Thanyamundra, Thailand 6-9 July Take a break and learn practices to stay calm and centered— morning Ashtanga Yoga and afternoon pranayama and meditation. For more information www.papayayoga.com INTRODUCTION TO THE MOTOR DEVELOPMENT ANATOMY & PHYSIOLOGY OF CHILDREN White Lotus Centre, Central, Hong Kong September Taught by Helen Binge and presented by Gecko Yoga in Hong Kong. This series of courses is an introduction to children’s physical development for all people working with children and families in health and social care sector. Suitable for therapists, carers, parents and teachers alike, you can attend just one or all three.
For more information www.yoga-thailand.com ASHTANGA WITH JOHN SCOTT Purple Valley Retreat Centre, Goa, India 14 - 20 April This workshop will reflect on the teachings of Shri K Pattabhi Jois, with each morning commencing with a favorite quote from Guruji. This 1% theory will set the focus to be explored through 99% practice. The morning practice will be a combination of Vinyasa count and guided self-practice. The afternoon classes will take the morning Guruji quote plus one more to explore and develop an understanding of their deeper and very powerful meanings. For more information www.yogagoa.com ASHTANGA YOGA AS A SPIRITUAL PATH WITH KINO MACGREGOR & TIM FELDMANN Samahita Retreat, Thailand 14 – 28 April Get the chance to practice with
Kino and Tim in a beautiful beach front setting. Being so busy they rarely teach together, but when they do their unique styles complement each other perfectly. Open to all levels. For more information www.yoga-thailand.com ELBOW BEACH, BERMUDA OFFERS SERIES OF IYENGAR YOGA WEEKEND RETREATS Mandarin Oriental, Bermuda 15 - 17 June & 30 November 2 December Elbow Beach, Bermuda will offer a series of Iyengar Yoga Weekend Retreats. The weekend retreat includes accommodation, two signature Mandarin Oriental massage treatments and a healthy lunch. Elbow Beach’s new custom Yoga studio, located at The Club at Fritholme, will play host to Iyengar yoga practitioners Richard Agar Ward (for June retreat), from the Bath Iyengar Yoga Centre in the United Kingdom and Marlene Mawhinney (for November retreat), President and Senior Teacher at Yoga Centre Toronto.
Dong Shan He, Yilan, Taiwan 26-29 April This mindfulness retreat is a well-rounded programme in which you will learn ways to apply a meditative yoga practice into the way you walk, eat, sit, talk, listen, and much more. For more information www.pure-yoga.com; firstname.lastname@example.org MINDFULNESS OF BODY: A YOGA AND MEDITATION INTENSIVE Thanyapura Retreat, Thailand 2-30 June In this program, we will explore what it means to develop awareness of the subtle body, settling body and mind in order to ripen the fruits of practice. Daily dynamic yoga class, guided meditation, gentle physical movement and breathing techniques will be presented, followed by discussion, readings and plenty of time to practice meditation on your own. Come for one week or the whole month. For more information www.papayayoga.com
MINDFULNESS YOGA & MEDITATION RETREAT WITH JANET LAU
EXPAND YOUR AWARENESS WITH GERALD DISSE & LINDA MUNRO Samahita Retreat, Thailand 28 April – 5 May During the Pranayama sessions you will be introduced to different yogic practices and breathing techniques to purify the body and the mind. In asana, for those who already have a Mysore practice, you will
Janet leads a mindfulness retreat in Taiwan in April
Samahita’s diet & nutrition expert, Claudia
The packages are USD 1,560 for the November retreats and USD 2,645 for the June retreat. For more information +1 (441) 236-3535 or email@example.com
Cost: HK$600 per 3-hour workshop or Early bird for all three for HK$1,500. For more information firstname.lastname@example.org; +852 6973 1792
Adarsh will be at Samahita Retreat in April
do your self-practice under the guidance of Gerald & Linda. For the others, you will be given the tools to develop your personal practice. For more information www.yoga-thailand.com AWAKENING YOUR POWER, PURPOSE AND PASSION WITH RACHEL GREY & DORIEN ISRAEL Samahita Retreat, Thailand 5 – 12 May Transform your yoga practice and your awareness on this fun and explorative retreat, combining asana, breath work and personal development. For more information www.yoga-thailand.com BASICS AND BEYOND WITH ELONNE STOCKTON Samahita Retreat, Thailand 12 – 19 May Develop a strong foundation in the practice of yoga asana and breathwork -pranayama, while you discover where the practice of yoga comes from, learn why we practice yoga to begin with and have some fun! For more information www.yoga-thailand.com AN EDUCATION IN HEALTHY EATING AND LIFESTYLE FOR EFFECTIVE WEIGHT MANAGEMENT WITH CLAUDIA JONES Samahita Retreat, Thailand 19 – 26 May This retreat is designed to assist you in your transition to a
Elonne teaches about the basics and more at Samahita
As idyllic a setting as they come - Amankora in Bhutan hosts London-based Iyengar teacher Lorraine McConnon in July (image courtesy of Amanresorts)
healthy lifestyle bringing with it the rewards of greater health and wellbeing. For more information www.yoga-thailand.com DETOXIFY BODY AND MIND AND DEVELOP A YOGA PRACTICE WITH CLAUDIA JONES Samahita Retreat, Thailand 30 June – 7 July The seven-day detox and yoga program is the ultimate opportunity to take your wellbeing to a new level. For more information www.yoga-thailand.com BORN TO RUN & DO YOGA WITH BORN TO RUN’S BAREFOOT TED & YOGI PAUL DALLAGHAN Samahita Retreat, Thailand 7 – 14 July The natural, uplifting force of running barefoot or minimalist goes hand-in-hand with the natural barefoot style of yoga practice. There will be morning runs led by Ted, short asana sessions post running to aid you post-run and keep the body open and injury free followed by “Born to Sit” sessions with breath and power of the mind. For more information www.yoga-thailand.com.
YOGA AND THE ART OF BEING WITH SHARYN GALINDO Samahita Retreat, Thailand 14 – 21 July In the world of multi-tasking, high technology and hectic schedules it is difficult to relax. morning practices will begin with meditation and pranayama , followed by asana practice. Afternoon sessions include: Q & A, more detail on philosophy, ayurveda, poses, breathwork, meditation and yin/restorative style asana. For more information www.yoga-thailand.com AMANKORA’S YOGA RETREAT Bhutan 15-24 July Amankora’s Yoga retreat offers a unique experience of Bhutan – one of the last intact Buddhist cultures in the world. Explore sacred temples and monasteries, enjoy hikes and take time for daily meditation and individualised Yoga sessions with Lorraine McConnon, a London-based teacher with 25 years of Iyengar Yoga teaching experience. For more information www.amanresorts.com; email@example.com AGAMAYOGA RETREATS Koh Phangan, Thailand
April-October Crown Chakra Retreat, 6-15 April A 10-Day Silent Meditation retreat that explores Sahasrara, the Crown Chakra. Serpent Power Retreat, 4-13 May A 10-Day Silent Meditation retreat that explores the secrets of Kundalini Shakti, the dormant energy in our being. Kashmiri Shaivism Retreat, 6-10 June A 5-Day Silent Meditation retreat using the techniques of our Kashmiri Shaivism workshop, which is the prerequisite for this retreat. Hridaya Retreat, 29 June-8 July & 27 July - 5 August Two 10-day silent meditation retreat that focuses on the opening of the Spiritual Heart. Agama - Awakening the Spirit Retreat 24 August-2 September, 21-30 September, 19-28 October Agama Yoga’s new 10-Day Silent Meditation retreat that explores the awakening of the true Spirit. For more information www.agamayoga.com,; firstname.lastname@example.org; +66 892 330 217 9
TEACHER TRAININGS INSIGHT YOGA TT INTENSIVE WITH SARAH POWERS SPACE Yoga, Taipei 21-29 April This advanced training will deepen your ability to teach both a receptive Yin style and an active flow or Yang style of Yoga with an interest in promoting a conducive inner environment for meditation. For more information www.withinspace.com 220-HOUR KUNDALINI YOGA TT PROGRAM Salesian Retreat, Cheung Chau 3-7 May, 12-17 June, 7-12 September, 16-18 November The Aquarian Teacher, KRI Level 1 (iSKY- International School of Kundalini Yoga) Kundalini Yoga facilitates the integration of body, mind and soul through achieving, maintaining and expanding a state of higher consciousness. This state is reached through asanas (physical exercises and postures), pranayama (breath control), meditation, relaxation, yogic philosophy and a yogic lifestyle as shared, taught and practised on this course. Instructors: Guru Dharam Singh, Darryl O’Keeffe, Amir Jaan, Simrit Kaur Maor and Han Ni Choong. Dates:. Fees: HK $22,000 (prepaid by 14 April) or HK$24,800 For more information www.sol-wellness.com; www.isky.net; Chan@solwellness.com; +852 2581 9699 ADVANCED HATHA YOGA TT WITH YOGANANTH Anahata Yoga, Hong Kong Level 1 : 5 May - 3 June Level 2 : 9 June - 8 July This intensive training takes teaching Yoga postures to new limits. Practice, explore and learn to teach some of the most advanced Hatha Yoga postures. Immerse yourself and set new heights in your 10
practice and explore the limitless possibilities of mind, body and spirit. For more information www.anahatayoga.com.hk/ advanced2012/ hathayogal1theory.html ; +852 2905 1822 or email@example.com PRENATAL YOGA TT One Wellness Fitness Club, Singapore 5-20 May (3 weekend course) Learn how to help pregnant women enhance their experience of pregnancy, childbirth. In this course, you will learn about the anatomy and physiology of the growing foetus and how this produces changes to the mother’s body during each trimester. You will also learn to lead and sequence a prenatal yoga class, be exposed to partner prenatal and hands-on assists and learn to market yourself as a prenatal yoga teacher. For more information +65 6221 9663; firstname.lastname@example.org CENTRED YOGA TT SPACE Yoga, Taipei 22 - 30 May; 22 - 30 June; 14 21 July Led by Paul Dallaghan, Asia’s most respected and longest running Yoga Alliance Registered programme is offering a truly bilingual program at SPACE – with study material and classes in both English and Chinese. The course is conducted in three separate sessions with the first session starting in May, the last session in July will be held at Samahita Retreat, Thailand. For more information www.withinspace.com CENTERED YOGA TT Koh Samui, Thailand 26 May - 23 June Led by Paul Dallaghan since 2000, this programme offers 200 hour and 500 hour levels.
For more information www.centeredyoga.com UNIVERSAL® HATHA YOGA TT Pure Yoga Hong Kong, Langham Place; with Andrey Lappa & Will Lau - 26 May-6 June Pure Yoga Singapore, Ngee Ann City; with Andrey Lappa & Copper Crow - 7-27 June Pure Yoga Taipei, Pure Tower; with Andrey Lappa - 23 June -4 July This course is the first 100 hours (Part 1) of the full 200hour RYS Universal® Yoga Teacher Training Programme. The programme focuses on different sub-styles with practices that challenge experienced students and are accessible to all levels of practitioners. For more information www.pure-yoga.com, or email@example.com 500-HR AGAMA YOGA TT Agama Yoga, Koh Phangan, Thailand 28 May-18 August Learn how to teach Yoga in this very intensive, 500-hour+ Teacher Training on a tropical island paradise! For more information www.agamayoga.com, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call +66 892 330 217. NEXT GENERATION YOGA™ TT FOR 2-7 YEARS Amico Studio, Wanchai, Hong Kong 11-13 June Taught by Jodi Komitor and hosted by Gecko Yoga in Hong Kong. This NGY Teacher Training™ is an inspiring programme that shares Yoga for rapidly growing and everchanging 2-7 year old yoginis. It covers how to plan, sequence and lead fun, creative and educational Yoga classes; ideas for incorporating art, music, books, props and storytelling; themes, poses, group games,
Yogananth is the teacher to see if you want to try and get into some extreme asana
partner yoga, breathing exercises and relaxation techniques; and behavior management techniques for facilitating a classroom environment that is positive, safe and non-competitive. Cost: HK$6,200; Early Bird by 1 May HK$5,550 If you sign up for both 2-7 year olds and 8-13 year old courses the total price is HK$10,900; Early Bird $9,300 For more information email@example.com NEXT GENERATION YOGA™ TT FOR 8-13 YEARS 14-15 June Taught by Jodi Komitor and hosted by Gecko Yoga in Hong Kong This is a comprehensive exploration of Yoga for the maturing minds and budding bodies of 8-13 year old yoginis. Includes planning sequences, themes, partner poses, props, music, breathing, chanting, child development and anatomy, behaviour and management techniques. Cost: HK$6,200; Early Bird by 1 May HK$5,550 If you sign up for both 2-7
personalised approach to Yoga and help you develop the skills you will need to teach a variety of people taking into account their occupation, life stage, and state of health: whether it is a 15-year old on the school basketball team, or a 70-year old grandmother not doing any other regular exercise.
Stephen will be teaching at Centered Yoga this November One of Asia’s most respected Ashtanga teachers, Paul, will be leading teacher trainings at SPACE in Taipei and at his home studio, Centered Yoga
year olds and 8-13 year old courses total price is HK$10,900; Early bird $9,300 For more information firstname.lastname@example.org THE FOUNDATION - PREPARING TO TEACH WITH PATRICK CREELMAN Pure Yoga Hong Kong, Tsim Sha Tsui - 16 June-8 July Transformation is the goal by way of theoretical learning, academic study, strong physical practice, live teaching, weekly quizzes and journalling - this is a professional step towards being a fully accredited Yoga Teacher and a huge leap into your own empowerment. For more information www.pure-yoga.com / or email@example.com NEXT GENERATION YOGA™ TRAIN THE - TRAINER FOR 2-7 YEARS White Lotus Centre, Central, Hong Kong 18-21 June Taught by Jodi Komitor and hosted by Gecko Yoga in Hong Kong. The NGY Train-theTrainer (TTT) program is a 4day intensive training with Jodi Komitor. You will learn how to lead NGY Teacher Trainings for 2-7 year olds, how to successfully set up your own
NGY Teacher Trainings and expand your kids Yoga business. Bookings is essential as only 6 spaces available. Cost: HK$10,000. For more information firstname.lastname@example.org; +852 6973 1792 YOGA TT DIPLOMA COURSE IN HONG KONG June This is a 200-hour Teacher Training (RYS-200) with Parttime and full-time modules taught in Hong Kong by Vijayarama Raju. The approach is authentic and traditional and will equip you with the foundational skills as a Yoga teacher of yourself and others. In line with the University standard, the “anatomy and physiology” session will be taught with the assistance of a medical practitioner. The goal is to enable you to develop an individualized selfpractice, and to acquire a thorough understanding of Yoga as a scientific way of dealing with life challenges at physical, emotional and spiritual levels as well as the skills in applying ancient Yogic techniques as a path to holistic health. You will also learn Yogic massage, Yoga nidra (psychic sleep) and practice of mindfulness. The course will be conducted in English with Chinese support.
Vijayarama is offering a full and part time diploma course in yoga teaching
For more information www.pure-yoga.com or email@example.com
For more information www.homeofyogaindia.com/ www.houseoflight.com.hk; firstname.lastname@example.org; +852 9873 0359 / 3595 2134
CULTIVATING EMOTIONAL BALANCE TT WITH DR. ALAN WALLACE 16 July-20 August Thanyapura Retreat, Phuket, Thailand
VISION OF YOGA - THE ART OF TEACHING WITH SUDHAKAR DHEENAN Pure Yoga Taipei, Pure Tower 7-29 July Pure Yoga Hong Kong, Central - August The Art of Teaching is a 20-day foundation in Hatha Yoga inspired (Dheesan Yoga) training. This course is the first step in equipping yourself with the essential knowledge of yogic traditions, the history of yoga and the know-how of designing a class and a sequence. It will open students to a greater depth in the spiritual and philosophical aspects of yoga, and in understanding their challenges in life, their practice and the path of growth. Sign up before 7 June to catch the early-bird discount!
For more information www.cultivatingemotionalbalance.org
For more information www.pure-yoga.com; email@example.com
200-HOUR HATHA YOGA TT WITH DEV KAPIL 17 August-30 September (7weekends course) One Wellness Fitness Club, Singapore Develop your knowledge and deepen your understanding of Hatha yoga as you practice, explore and learn to teach 54 basic and advanced postures in this 200 hours teacher training led by Dev Kapil. For more information +65 6221 9663; firstname.lastname@example.org HATHA VINYASA 200 HOUR TT WITH STEPHEN THOMAS Koh Samui, Thailand 8 November - 6 December For more information www.centeredyoga.com
SVASTHA YOGA OF KRISHNAMACHARYA WITH DR. GANESH MOHAN Pure Yoga Hong Kong, Tsim Sha Tsui - 14 July-5 August Krishnamacharya’s central principle was that Yoga must be made relevant to the student. Consequently, this programme will emphasise a 11
Born & Unborn Kimberley Reid
WHEN MY FIRST BABY WAS BORN IN Melbourne, Australia, her heel prick test came back abnormal. This test is standard procedure in Australia although it is fairly harrowing for new parents. A nurse spikes your three-day old baby in the heel and squeezes the flesh until your baby screams in outrage and enough bright blood appears to make a red stain on a card. The bloodstain is then sent off to a sophisticated lab and screened for genetic abnormalities including some profoundly debilitating conditions that would condemn you and your child to a very different life than the one you had planned. After this first screening test, there were series of further interventions – make our two-week old to pee in a cup, more blood tests, the horror of children’s hospital, surely one of the saddest places on earth. During this longest month of my life, I had a coffee with a middle-aged friend. An old hippy, confirmed bachelor with a philosophical bent, he didn’t take much to babies and I think rather resented this new maternal incarnation of his erstwhile party friend. Watching me cling and fuss over my little bundle with vigilance heightened to the edge of hysteria, he was moved to muse about the curious way parents distil and concentrate ferocious quantities of love and
protectiveness into one individual when so many children, adults and other creatures abide in utter indifference. This whimsical little speech struck me as the height of pomposity and perversity and I heard it as some kind of violence against my undefended angel and my natural feelings as a mother. I couldn’t pause then to reflect on what it meant that all my hopes, my energies; my universe had contracted into the welfare of this small person. Nothing before or since had seemed more intimate or precious to me, everything else in the world receded before my greed for the baby to be well, to be perfect. At that time it was unthinkable but now, living with my lovely, lanky, foal of a daughter, I read this as a parable of the Buddhist concept of birth into suffering and the potential antidote for that suffering. In Buddhism, (in this respect similar to the philosophy in the Yoga Sutra II.13) birth is one of the links in the chain of suffering. Whenever something is born, it is necessarily set for suffering and death. “Where birth takes place, quite naturally are fear, old age and misery, disease, desire and death, As well a mass of other ills. When birth’s no longer brought about All the links are ever stopped.” - Venerable Nagarjuna Taken literally, the idea that physical birth from a mother leads to pain is hardly news to anyone cast in either role in the process; and the inculcation of birth into the chain of dependent arising – the core Buddhist principle of causality - doesn’t seem to offer much insight or give rise to any redemptive possibility.
Kimberley is a yoga student and mother currently living in Cambridge Massachusetts.
But the concept of birth in the dharma isn’t physical birth and suffering (dukka) is not (only) to be equated with physical pain. The word “birth” refers here to a psychological process of attachment unaccompanied by awareness. This is clinging and thirsting for the false ideas of “I, me, mine,” and all the attendant insistence that things must be the way I want and should not be what I fear, abhor or hate. This is birth as a suffering self.
Kim’s newborn baby, apaprently not too pleased with the heel prick test!
In the moment with my philosophical friend, I was born as the mother avenger, jealous owner of the perfect, sacred child wielding the most powerful will to control and hold on that I had known my whole life until then. This was the suffering of the mother. Buddha dharma says a person who does not separate and identify with self in this way, is not “born” and so is free from suffering - whether she is a mother, millionaire, a beggar, a yogi, or whatever. Intriguingly, the experience that brought me a glimpse of freedom from birth as a craving self, was during the physical birth of this same baby. Of course, as a first baby, the process went on for hours and was full of blood, struggle and fear. But there was a moment - a series of moments - when a stillness and quiet descended. I won’t say, “I was quiet” because that’s not how it was experienced. There was no “I” present; just deep concentration, entering into a process you can’t stop. Waiting, breathing, being ready. Then, a deep letting go, opening up and the process unfolding under its own power into its fruition. This is a glimpse, nothing more. And yet the experience presents a passage to another way of being, sometimes called the unborn Buddha mind, that flickers tantalisingly in meditation or in asana when we momentarily stop trying to get better and rest into the pose. From this place its not impossible to conceive of the fierce love I have for my little girl radiating out in brightness to all the lonely beings with wishes of peace, protection and freedom from suffering.
The Birth of Awareness Kim Roberts
IN THE EIGHT-LIMBED PATH OF ASHTANGA YOGA, IT IS SAID THE FIRST FOUR LIMBS ARE techniques we can practice, whereas the second four limbs arise after sustained effort and discipline, and with a little sprinkling of grace. This may lead to some confusion, as in most Buddhist traditions, these limbs that address various states of meditation are taught as specific practices in and of themselves. So what does it mean to develop mindfulness and awareness, the final limbs of pratyahara, dharana, dhyana and samadhi? MINDFULNESS Yoga asana practice— with mindful breathing— is a wonderful tool to tame the mind. You will probably notice as you try to follow the breath, the mind wanders. Mind has a tendency to get distracted. If you allow your mind to play itself out long enough, loudly enough, and keep coming back to the breath, eventually it will wear itself out, somewhat like an unruly beast, or a hyperactive child. Keep showing the mind who is responsible by returning again and again to the breath. Not in an overly authoritarian way, but in a kind, knowing way. A wise way. Tell your mind, “I know all the tricks you will use to try to dissuade me from paying proper attention to the breath. You are very clever. But I am wiser than you.”
too soft, I can learn to be strong. The antidotes are not the medicine; they are journey we take to awareness. Without imbalances, there would be no journey to take. So we should also bow to our weaknesses, in gratitude.
Without imbalances, there would be no journey to take
Observing is the hardest task of all, and the most important. It gets even harder when sitting still for meditation. But the more you practice, the more subtle detail you will observe. It is excruciatingly slow and tedious work at times. The mind is elusive. Tame it once, and it is easier to tame again, but it is never a done deal. There is always a discipline, a precision required to bring the mind back to rest. Calm abiding requires a gentle touch, and dedication is essential. This is how to develop mindfulness, the discipline of staying on task with full presence. It is a noble accomplishment and useful for all sorts of activities, like performing yoga asana, or operating heavy machinery. But according to some traditions, this will only alleviate emotional suffering temporarily. AWARENESS For that we need awareness, which arises through insight. Awareness is something that happens naturally when you are fully engaged. Say you are in conversation with your beloved, and he or she is telling you all the reasons you are so wonderful. Chances are you are so riveted by these words you are not in the slightest way distracted by the child screaming in the restaurant, or the clatter of plates as the waiters rush about, or the sound of traffic outside. Mindfulness is what keeps your ears tuned in to the words; awareness is your total focus on the present situation. Essentially, there is no effort involved in awareness—the effort to stay focused is mindfulness. Do not underestimate the power of awareness. When you start to discover the bliss of settling the breath into the body, and the awareness into the breath, it is such a joy to experience that distraction becomes less interesting. Eventually awareness is not about disciplining ourselves to stay undistracted, as much as it is about settling completely in the experience of the practice—the present moment— so everything else seems less interesting.
Through practice, we put ourselves under the microscope, and then use the data for further inquiry. You have options here: you can run away and criticize the practice, in essence killing the messenger. Or you can muster your courage, face your demons and try to learn something from them. It is said the human body is a microcosm to the larger macrocosm of the universe. Each reflects the other perfectly and down to the smallest detail. Begin by switching your allegiance from looking outside to inside. By understanding your internal world in depth, you have access to the secrets of the universe. Becoming aware of your own particulars allows you the freedom to choose consciously to engage in behaviors and patterns, rather than being dragged along by a lifetime’s worth of momentum. So when full awareness finally awakens, we can rest undisturbed and joyful no matter what the moment brings. Kim Roberts, pilgrim, writer, teacher, directs the yoga program at the new Thanyapura retreat in Phuket, Thailand. www.papayayoga.com
Awareness is observing, without agenda. If something is lovely or horrible, awareness stays present. Judgment is a sure sign awareness is lacking. Judging is a refusal to engage directly and personally; it is a refusal to take responsibility for one’s own experience. Practice sets the parameters—creating a container in which awareness germinates. But without disciplined attention, awareness will elude us. In practice, we learn our own individual tendencies, which are different from everyone else’s. Then, once we know a bit more about our patterns, we can apply the antidotes necessary to bring us back into balance. If I am an internal spiraller, I need to emphasize the external spiral. If I am too strong, then softening will balance the equation. If I am 13
The Y oga o ir th Yoga off B Bir irth Julie Choi Trepkau
WHEN I BECAME PREGNANT WITH OUR FIRST child at 35, I’d had a six-day-a-week Ashtanga practice for seven years. I had a lot of practice breathing myself to a comfortable place and that prepared me very well for labor. So I thought! I did yoga breathing throughout the 30something hours of active, unmedicated labor. That is, until I “ran out of time” at the birthing center (time limit to give birth: 24 hours) and I was transferred to a hospital. There, they hooked me up to various drugs to speed up my labor and numb me from the intensified pain of induced labor. When that didn’t work after 2 hours, the doctor decided I needed a cesarean section. My daughter, Leilani, was finally out of my body and into my arms, strong and safe at 9 pounds. Although ecstatic to meet our baby girl, part of me felt dissatisfied with my birth experience, and I wondered what went wrong. Was there something wrong with me that I was incapable of birthing my baby? Did Mother Nature make a mistake since I and so many other women seemed unable to birth their babies without medical and technological interventions? I pushed these uncomfortable questions aside, said “thank you, universe,” for gifting me with a healthy baby and a swift recovery, and jumped into the chaotic bliss of motherhood.
Did Mother Nature make a mistake since I seemed unable to birth without medical interventions
Two and a half years later, I became pregnant with our second child. I wanted another shot at birthing the way nature intended, and the way it felt right for me. I had done my homework and knew my best chances for giving my baby a gentle entrance into this world, without unnecessary interventions, was to deliver at home. As long as my baby and I were healthy during the pregnancy, I would stay home for his or her birth. I dove deep into my yoga practices as preparation for this beautiful birth. Since both my body and my baby had been in optimal health for a low-risk, natural delivery, I knew it was my mind I had to prepare. During hours of mat time, meditation practice, research into the facts of birthing, and exploration of my
emotional and mental space, I realized I believed, deep down, there really was something wrong with me and Mother Nature. I feared even for a healthy mama and baby, medical technology could do a better job. Once I knew this seed of doubt existed in me, I had something to work with. I knew what needed to be released. By the time our baby was ready to come, I was ready, having worked through my issues and ready to experience this birth no matter how it played out. My body received this acceptance; I breathed, relaxed and opened, and I reached the second stage of labor (the pushing stage) very quickly. The six hours we were in the second stage dragged on. It was exhausting, painful, beyond intense, and tremendously tough on my mind. The “I” that was perceiving this pain was also resisting it, thereby resisting the birth itself. I knew my resistance was extending the labor and I needed to go deeper and surrender. My midwife kept telling me to “go into the pain.” I tried to allow what I perceived as pain to happen, instead of running away from it, which I couldn’t do anyway. At one point, I was afraid, but of what, I don’t know. My midwife reassured me “even if you feel afraid, the baby will still come.” With great compassion, she held my hands, looked me in the eyes, and told me only I could bring this baby out. So I let it all happen: I allowed any feelings I had, physically or emotionally to flow. My mind found a place in the backseat and allowed my body, my instinct and my intuition to take over. I assumed any position that felt right, and made any sound that came out. Baby Kanoa finally slid out and took his first breath outside of me as I half-kneeled and half-squatted (on my yoga mat) - and I scooped him up into my arms. Suddenly, the pain fell away and I was as high as a kite. And so it happened Baby Kanoa was born in the loving familiarity of our own home, with my husband and two midwives present. My hands were the first to touch him. My birth experiences were quintessential yoga practices in self-study and releasing of
the mind, on focusing on each moment and letting go into that very moment no matter what that moment offered. They were about allowing my controlling mind to step back so my body and my baby could do their jobs. Birthing, like yoga and life, is about being open, aware of, receptive and present to each moment’s experience and relaxing into it. It’s about honestly and directly facing what is front, and going straight through it with total acceptance. Only by letting go can true transformation
miraculous moment as it passes, loving fiercely in the midst of the truth that all of these moments will end. My practice continues to serve me well as I transition to being a mama to two, with all its glorious and messy cacophony of contradictions. Aviva Jill Romm put it beautifully: “Motherhood is raw and pure. It is fierce and gentle. It is up and down. It is magic and madness. Single days last forever and years fly by ... Be gentle with
Birthing, like yoga and life, is about being open, aware, receptive and present to each moment’s experience and relaxing into it
Whether by natural or C-section, the birth is a good warm up for the real practice of being a Mum.
unfold. Birth, like yoga and life, is about being present and surrendering to God, to Spirit, to the Universe. While my first birth experience prepared me for my second, the sum of these experiences laid the foundation for the yoga of motherhood - which is a whole new chapter in this epic adventure. The language of of parenting includes words such as bonding and attachment, which are obviously the opposite of letting go. As a mother, I now find myself attached to the pleasures of human existence even more than before. Strongly bonded and attached to my children, to my husband, my family, like nothing before in my life, I am at a new stage in my practice: to embrace each
yourself as you travel, dear mother. Don’t miss the scenery. Don’t miss conversation with your traveling companions. Laugh at the bumps and say “ooh, aah!’ on the hairpin turns. Buckle your seat belt. You’re a mom!” Julie is a Hamburgbased yoga student and teacher, sometimes writer, seeker and lover of life. She is also mama to Leilani (3.5) and Kanoa (3 months), partner Joern, and passionate about exploring the women’s rites of passage of pregnancy, birth and motherhood. www.juliechoitrepkau.squarespace.com
Bir th a p ath tto o the Divine irth path Rosie Matheson & Justine Baruch
WHEN WE ALLOW IT, THE EXPERIENCE OF BIRTH TEACHES US SO MUCH: TOTAL SURRENDER, THE interconnection of breath, body, and mind; the power of intention; and the true nature of unconditional love, all of which are found in the teachings of Yoga. There are many paths to the divine, and Yoga is commonly acknowledged to be one of them, however, less widely understood is the spiritual path that birth offers. When birth is honored and experienced with awareness there is no disputing it provides one of the most mindaltering, connected experiences available to us in a lifetime. It is a time when women can shine in their full power, transforming into primal goddesses, birthing not only their babies, but also themselves as mothers. Men, protective and strong, find not only greater amazement for the feminine but also for their own vital nature as the masculine. They shine their strength in stillness and their ability to literally and metaphorically hold firm in the moment. They birth themselves as fathers. From this interaction, aware beings are brought forth into the care of empowered men and women. Unfortunately, the powerful potential of the birth experience is often lost and the majority of our children are born under different circumstances. We birth our babies in sterile rooms, under fluorescent lights, hooked up to machines that tell us what our bodies already know, but we are not taught to listen to. Our men stand by, feeling helpless, looking to the doctors for cues as opposed to looking to their women and themselves. Our babies are met by strangers and, all too often, steel instruments. We are educated to be thankful only for (what immediately appears to be) healthy babies and healthy mothers. We have forgotten ceremony, initiation, and connection to that which is sacred. We have forgotten the meaning of birth. This is an invitation to remember. The path of conscious birth encompasses all the steps in the journey of becoming a parent: conceiving with intention, returning our trust to the intelligence of our bodies, our babies, and our beings; bringing our children into this world in the most natural and empowering way possible; and parenting with full awareness and unconditional love. Much of how our babies perceive, and therefore respond to the world is learned while they are in the womb, and during the birth process itself. By shifting the way we birth we have the potential to shift the way we exist as humanity, and to move closer to a peaceful world.
birth teaches us total surrender and the true nature of unconditional love
Like many elements of todayâ€™s society, being pregnant and giving birth have become factory line procedures. We go through the motions without thinking about what we are doing. We spend more time researching our health insurance choices or stock investments than we do finding out how we want to give birth. Conscious birth is about bringing the reins back into our own hands and acting from the innate knowledge within. STEP 1: CONCEPTION There are many ancient methods for conception that carry with them wisdom and opportunity for greater connection. There is an African tradition of singing a soulâ€™s welcome prior to conception to create a loving relationship with the baby even before merging physically. Dr. Eugene Jonas, a Czech psychiatrist and gynecologist, revived how to recognize the moment of peak fertility for a woman through her relationship to the moon. The Yogic teachings of Shiva Swarodaya offer insights on how the flow of prana through the body affects the conception of a child. In addition to these time-honored methods, there is plenty of basic information about diet and health we can mindfully apply to bring maximum wellbeing to ourselves and our babies: eating an alkalized diet; rejecting preservatives, caffeine, alcohol, sugar, etc.; increasing the intake of folic acid to set up optimal conditions for the development of our babiesâ€™ nervous systems and spinal health; and keeping cellular phones out of our pockets and computers off our laps to minimize exposure to harmful radiation. All increase the resonance and performance of the temple in which we live. STEP 2: PRENATAL CONNECTION We work on our emotional and mental wellbeing not only for our own development, and for the radiance that comes from self-study, but also for the good of our babies. From the moment of conception a mother initiates her child in how to experience the world. Parenting begins here, as we are already teaching our babies what it is to be loved and connected, how to deal with stress and emotions, and
what to expect on arrival. By working with transformation and acceptance, when negative emotions arise we have the opportunity to teach our unborn children to be able to take painful and inferior mindsets and shift them into superior ones. Learning to trust ourselves and our innate body knowledge is another precious lesson worth sharing. However, the vast array of prenatal tests imposed upon us does not deepen this trust. It is important to take the time to research which of the standard procedures (ultrasounds, glucose screenings, cervical checks, etc) are relevant, which are not, and which are potentially harmful. We gain empowerment simply in the act of questioning and in doing so we come back to listening to our own intuitive wisdom. STEP 3: BIRTHING When we let our bodies unleash their magic, birth can be an ecstatic experience. The hormones that move through us when we give birth are the same as the hormones that are released when we orgasm or reach peak experiences of meditation. Our bodies intelligently deliver us natural opiates (pain killers) and endorphins, namely beta-endorphin and oxytocin. However this is unable to occur when we disturb the process by employing outside interventions such as inductions or epidurals. Our bodies are no longer able to support us as they were designed to, therefore outside assistance is required resulting in one intervention leading into the next. This understanding helps us to see how we have reached the current statistic of one in three babies born by cesarean. In addition to diverting us from experiencing our journey to the fullest, interventions typically diminish the connection between our bodies and our babies, which can provoke feelings of abandonment in the baby as it is now working somewhat alone.
Rosie (left), an Agama Yoga student, is a doula, regularly holds birth and pregnancy information nights, assists women who have had trouble conceiving, and is a yoga teacher with an emphasis on fertility and prenatal/postnatal care. Justine(right), is a senior Agama Yoga teacher and a doula. She is also an adept in the science of tantric sexuality, and she and her partner regularly present tantra workshops.
There are numerous ways we can support ourselves in maintaining our alignment with the flow of natural birth. Finding out where we feel safest to birth, and why, is essential to our journey. At present there are three main options: home births, birthing centers, and hospitals. [Editorâ€™s note: home births are not legal in some countries] It is only by taking the time to deeply investigate each of these options that we are truly able to determine our preference. Whichever we choose, it is vital that we have the liberty to move our bodies to our own instinctive rhythm. This is particularly crucial in a hospital environment where we might have to request minimal fetal monitoring or decline the common policy of â€œnil by mouth,â€? instead opting to eat and drink as we feel, creating no need to receive fluids through IV. In doing this, we preserve physical freedom and remain in tune with ourselves, relying on our bodies to inform us of our needs. Unrestricted movement also allows us to be active in our poses and to work with gravity to find the most accommodating positions for labor and birth, such as squats or being on our hands and knees. When we are not limited by monitoring cords we are less likely to end up working against gravity by lying on our backs, which generally is the most uncomfortable birth position and unfortunately, the most common. Many of us fear the pain of childbirth so we quickly turn to medicine to numb it; however, there are natural methods to help manage the pain. In addition to movement, gravity and leaving room for our own hormonal dispense system; we can use breath, sound, massage, warm water, and loving encouragement from our birth team. These gentle aids support us effectively while allowing us to stay present with our bodies, babies, and experiences. Doulas are another valuable instrument. They offer knowledge, experience, comfort and strength. Most importantly, when we find the right ones, they provide unwavering and contagious trust in our own abilities to birth beautifully. By working with these tools we create the best possible circumstances for nature to guide us towards ecstatic birth. We gain strength in ourselves, and pass on the legacy of empowered birth. With this understanding we can approach birth fully prepared, from a place of knowing and surrender to the lessons birth offers to us on this sacred path to the divine.
hormones that move through us when we give birth are the same as when we orgasm 17
AS wee e Sw eett Lif Life Yogiuday
I HAVE BEEN LIVING PART TIME, FOR SEVEN years, and full time, for the past two years, in Rishikesh, north India. Down the lane from where I stay is a children’s home and school where I have been helping since I came here. The school only goes up to 8th class and after that the children need to go to outside school and somehow find funding for that. After school, university is virtually impossible unless they get a scholarship or find a sponsor. All these children come from impoverished backgrounds, some have no family, some come from absolutely nothing. To see them now, it’s hard to understand this as they all have healthy food and water, warm clothes, excellent education and medical care and so much love from so many international volunteers. As these children grow up, their higher education becomes critical so they can become valuable members of society. One year ago I decided to sponsor one of the boys for his 9th class as he entered outside school, but I quickly realized so many of the kids were deserving of this possibility. Four months ago I started a new business from which all profits go to an education fund for as many children as possible. Yogi Yum Yums sells sweets and treats without white sugar, white flour, eggs or microwaves and with as much organic ingredients as possible. All items are made by me and sold at our ashram, Anand Prakash Yoga Ashram, five days a week. I make many kinds of halva, which are sesame honey based. Eternal Bliss is a cashew cardamom halva; Sweet Jean is
cinnamon oat; Koko Kali is an organic chocolate halva and Instant Samadhi is date, walnut, sesame and ghee. Some of the flavours are very popular and others are specialties such as Black Lotus, which is lotus seed and black pepper, or Imli Crunch, which is a salty tamarind halva. I also have various yoghurts such as a sweet cinnamon fig lassi or very rich, condensed yoghurts either sweetened with honey or unsweetened with masala, rose or saffron. Medicinal amla, hot tamarind and coconut are some of the chutneys available and topping off the list for popularity is Maha Shakti a heavenly mixture of organic cocoa, honey, organic puffed brown rice and organic puffed amaranth. There is also NOTella, full of ground cashews, cocoa and honey to satisfy any Nutella addict, but without the sugar and chemicals.
Kulkeet and Uday both start ninth class this April, with tuition paid for by Yogi Yum Yums
on the school. For university it will vary greatly depending on choice of study, school, inflation etc…but I am hoping to save at least USD2,000 per student per year including everything. If you can be of help in any way, through donation or fundraising or spreading the word I
White sugar is not necessary and very dangerous Part of Yogi Yum Yums work is to educate for healthy eating. White sugar is not necessary and is very dangerous. Unprocessed honey is far superior. And sweets need not be considered unhealthy when made properly.
appreciate your kind efforts and thank you sincerely on behalf of the children and the communities they will one day help. A little money can go a long way and helping others is a great opportunity to wash away difficult karma.
So with Yogi Yum Yums, everyone wins. Guests get healthy sweets, the children get a better education and I am allowed the opportunity to be of service.
A Yogi Yum Yums recipe to convince you of the sweetness of life.
Yogi Yum Yums is now sponsoring four children for school and also saving for their university. If the business does well, more children will have a similar opportunity. The cost for one child’s schooling for one year is approximately USD700, depending
CHOCOLATE HALVA 1. 260gr sesame, white: put in food processor for a little while, but not too long or the oil will seep out and the halva will become heavy and oily. 2. Then add 50gr cocoa powder (organic, freshly ground is how I make it) and 110gr honey (unpasteurised, field fresh is best): process again, not too long. 3. Put in a tray or roll into balls. Refrigerate, or not, as you like. This halva is not too sweet but you can alter the sesame, cocoa and honey amounts to suit your personal taste. You may contribute to this education fune through this blogsite: http:// solotravelerblog.com/yogi-yum-yums/
Yogiuday sells his handmade “healthy” sweets from the Anand Prakash Yoga Ashram in Rishikesh, India, five days a week for two hours each day. All profits go to helping local children finish school and go onto university
Or if you would like to make a larger donation, please write to me at: email@example.com 19
Yoga & Chris tianit y– Christianit tianity oe Foe oess? Friends or F Andrew Wilner
SOME CHRISTIANS THINK YOGA IS INEXTRICABLY LINKED TO HINDUISM or Occultism and so participating in a yoga class conflicts with their Christian beliefs. This article attempts to address some of these concerns and suggests the two may be more similar than different. WHAT IS YOGA A good start is the definition found in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali: “yoga is the restraint of the fluctuations of the mind.” (Ch.1 v.2) Only when consciousness becomes totally still, can it reflect true awareness, recognize its true nature and overcome suffering. This definition of yoga is very different from the concept of union between atman (individual spirit) and brahman (universal spirit) expounded in many of the Upanishads but resonates with what we find in the Bhagavad Gîtâ which states “yoga is perfect evenness of mind” (ch.2 v.48) and also “yoga is skill in action” (ch.2 v.50). Like Patanjali, the Bhagavad Gîtâ also states when “your mind is completely united in deep Samadhi, you will attain the state of perfect yoga” (ch.2 v.53). As we move forward into more recent yoga history, new schools emerged challenging Patanjali’s classical yoga view of duality. Schools emerged such as Sankara’s Advaita (non dual) Vedanta school which, whilst still a negative world view, argued there is only one reality, and ignorance causes us to be deluded by our own senses. Finally, Tantric schools sprung up, particularly around the eighth century AD which were also non-dualist but took a positive view of the world and argued if everything comes from the divine then so does life, so therefore it is not something to try to escape from but rather to embrace i.e. human life is a condensation of supreme consciousness, so all we have to do is recognize our true nature by expanding our own consciousness… simple huh?
yoga is in religion, but religion is not in yoga - Swami Jnaneshvara Bharati Why is all of the above important in understanding yoga? Mainly because it demonstrates there is not one universally agreed philosophy. Indeed the Hatha Yoga practised today didn’t even exist in Patanjali’s day and his definition of asana was completely different from what is practised today. A more modern definition of yoga presented by Carlos Pomeda is yoga is the “union of the practitioner with the practice”. Carlos argues the practices help you address the existential dilemma, whatever you believe it to be… whether rebirth or greater understanding of the enormity of the love of Jesus. Hence yoga can be seen as a system of practices to develop our full potential during our lives – it is a science or philosophy rather than a religion: “yoga is in religion, but religion is not in yoga…” Swami Jnaneshvara Bharati. 20
CONFLICT OR COMMONALITY BETWEEN YOGA & CHRISTIANITY If we return to classical yoga, there is great commonality with Christian principles. In particular, there is great resonance in the yamas and niyamas for Christians. The five yamas (non-violence, truthfulness, freedom from avarice, control of sensual pleasure, and non-covetousness) are consistent with the ethical principles of the Decalogue. Moreover, the personal observations of niyama (cleanliness, contentment, zeal, self-study, devotion to God) are very much in line with the teachings of the Bible. But the commonality is not just limited to the moral and ethical codes. If
niyama are very much in line with the teachings of the Bible we return for a moment to the Bhagavad Gîtâ, we find four types of yoga, which also correspond to Christian teachings. a) The first is karma, the yoga of selfless action, in which the practising yogi focuses on serving others. This too is a fundamental tenet of Christianity per Jesus: “just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve…” (Matthew 20:28)
b) The second is jnana, the yoga of knowledge. On this path, the aspirant needs to use his discrimination (viveka) to determine what is truly eternal and what is temporal. The Bible also emphasizes exploration of reality to evolve one’s understanding of truth. Paul writes: “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans, 12:2). c) The third type of yoga is bhakti , the yoga of devotion, which is usually associated with devotion and worship to a personal God. Many famous Christian mystics focussed primarily on love and devotion to God above all else. St John of the Cross believed love was the most important element in discovering our true nature: “In order to overcome our desires and to renounce all those things, our love and inclination for which are wont to inflame the will that it delights therein, we require a more ardent fire and a noble love – that of the Bridegroom. If our spiritual nature were not on fire with other and nobler passions, we should never caste off the yoke of the senses”. The Christian mystic work known as the “Cloud of Unknowing” written in the late 14cAD also states: “By love he can be grasped and held, but by thought, neither grasped nor held.” d) Finally we come to raja, yoga of meditation. Also called royal yoga, the focus here is on concentration after body and mind have been cleansed. Again this type of deep concentration has also been practised by esoteric Christians, who focus their attention on Jesus in order to experience ‘union’ with Him. At this point it is worth turning our attention to Hatha yoga, which some see as a subset of raja yoga (raja yoga is sometimes referred to as the ‘Crown of Hatha Yoga’), but at the very least is complimentary to raja yoga, as Hatha yoga prepares the body for the spiritual part of Raja yoga. This is the form of yoga most prevalent in the West today and is based mainly on asana and pranayama practices e.g. Ashtanga Vinyasa, Iyengar, Bikram etc. 21
Typically, Christianity in the modern age has not been focused on disciplining (tapas) the body, with obesity levels in churches no different from the secular world. Whilst Christians are strongly encouraged to steer away from drugs and cigarettes, there has tended to be less emphasis on gluttony. Nevertheless the Bible makes it quite clear: “Do you know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?” 1 Corinthians 6:19. So disciplining the body and exercising self control over what we eat is clearly an important teaching from the Bible. At this point it is worth turning our attention to two aspects of yoga that may cause the most debate with regard to their compatibility with Christianity. The first is the use of mantra in yoga classes and the second is the implications of awakening kundalini. In the Bible we find: “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the word was God” (John 1:1). Many Christians however equate the ‘Word’ simply with the ‘Bible’ but that seems to oversimplify. It seems sounds can also have divine meaning, and indeed many Christians today will ‘talk in tongues’. Furthermore, in early Christian times, monks used mantra to enhance their spiritual
Can Christians incorporate yoga into their lives?
experience. One of the most famous mantras used by Christian monks was the Aramaic word ‘Maranatha’ which translates as ‘come Lord’ and is found in both 1 Corinthians 16:22 and Revelations 22:20b right at the end of the Bible. Ultimately, each individual has to determine whether they wish to engage in mantras and if so, what mantras they wish to chant. The second issue relates to the awakening of Kundalini, which is akin to arousing a deep well of energy that rises up the spine opening up the chakras. Some Christians have expressed concern this practice could result in exposure to occult influences: Swami Muktananda “A great deity in the form of my guru has spread all through me, as chiti and was shaking me… my whole body shook violently, just as if I were possessed by a god or a bad spirit”. Whilst this apparent reaction occurred for Swami Muktananda, in talking to Carlos Pomeda, who has taught this experience to great numbers of students, he had never seen this kind of reaction. Maybe the Bible was even referring to something similar to kundalini arousal in Matthew 6:22: “The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light”. Some contemporary translations of the Bible into English have treated this as meaning your eyes being clear, but that is not what was stated in the original Greek, and maybe Jesus was actually talking about one’s third eye located in the forehead which is used as a focal point in yogic meditation! 22
qualities of the heart can greatly help deepen anyone’s religious faith, highest virtues, and ability to offer themselves in devotional service
So, the ‘Christian yogi’ should just stay in their comfort zone. For example, Anusara yoga founded by John Friend addresses the issue of whether this form of yoga is compatible with Christian faith in the FAQ section of their website. It concludes “these qualities of the heart (promoted by Anusara yoga) can greatly help to deepen anyone’s religious faith, highest virtues, and ability to offer themselves in devotional service of something greater”. However, it does go on to warn there could be a philosophical conflict as Anusara believes in the intrinsic goodness of all humanity, whereas some Christian denominations believe humans are inherently sinful (“original sin”) and the only way to salvation is through Jesus Christ. I argue there is no conflict of philosophical doctrine as there is no universally accepted definition of ‘original sin’ and has been characterized from a mere tendency towards sin without collective guilt to total depravity! For example, Thomas Aquinas in the 13th Century AD distinguished the supernatural gifts of Adam before the Fall from what was merely natural and said it was the former that were lost, privileges that enabled man to keep his inferior powers in submission to reason and directed to his supernatural end. Hence depending on one’s definition of original sin, one could consider the state of the ‘Fall of Man’ as simply being born into limited consciousness, which through the Grace of Jesus, the veil (Maya) of the unmanifest is lifted to recognize one’s true nature. So redemption through Jesus is not incompatible with the inherent goodness of humanity, and ‘original sin’ is equivalent to avidya or ignorance of who we really are; the Catechism of the Catholic Church even states: “As a result of original sin, human nature is weakened in its powers, subject to ignorance, suffering and the domination of death, and inclined to sin (this inclination is called “concupiscence”). In conclusion, I remind readers of Jesus’ most important instruction: “Love the Lord God with all your heart and with all your soul and will, all your mind and with all your strength” (Mark 12:30) and yoga gives you the tools to do so! Andy has been based in the Far East on and off for over 20 years. An ex-investment banker and now head hunter, he began to practice yoga more diligently in early 2008. When not practicing yoga, Andy also enjoys learning about different worldviews to better appreciate the perspectives of others. Born Jewish, Andy considers himself a Tantric Christian…if he had to be labelled at all.
Mythology in a Minute
advised Dhruva to meditate on the mantra, Om Namo Bhagawate Vasudevaaya.
KING UTTANAPADA HAD TWO WIVES, SUNITI and Suruchi and a son from each wife, Dhruva and Uttama respectively. One day, Uttama, the younger son was playing with his father when Dhruva entered the room. When little Dhruva expressed his wish to play with his father as well, Uttama’s mother, Suruchi, scolded him. Perhaps she could get away with this because she was the preferred queen. A bewildered Dhruva ran to his mother in tears. Why was this happening to him, he wanted to know. Why couldn’t he play with his father when his younger brother was playing with him? Suniti replied only Lord Vishnu could give him the answer. Determined to find an answer to his question, the hurt Dhruva left home for the forest in search of God. He was only five years old. Gauging such strong resolve in one so young, Narada, Vishnu’s devotee, appeared before Dhruva and tried to dissuade him from this difficult endeavour at such a tender age. But Dhruva was adamant. Having tested his resolve, Narada
Little Dhruva meditated in the forest with all his heart. After six months, impressed by his perseverance and austerities, Lord Vishnu appeared before Dhruva and granted him a boon. But Dhruva wanted nothing for himself. All he asked for was the knowledge of a poem in praise of Lord Vishnu. Vishnu granted his wish. Dhruva returned to his kingdom and his family received him warmly. Dhruva was crowned at the age of six, ruling wisely for decades. In Hindu mythology, stars are named after sages and other realized beings. Dhruva’s achievement was so remarkable the pole star is known as Dhruva Tara. When one thinks of perseverance on the inner journey, Dhruva’s name springs to mind. Dhruva’s story inspires us to practice with zeal. It also shows us how hurt and emotional pain can be fuel on the path. Tia, who teaches Hatha Yoga to the nuns of Dongyu Gatsal Ling, Himachal, has, of late, been spending most of her time in solitary retreat at the nunnery.
Take a Walk on the Yin Side Bernie Clark
THE DAY IS ENDING: THE SUN HAS SUNK BELOW THE HORIZON. FOR 12 hours, maybe more, you have been on the go: moving, doing, thinking, planning. Now would be a great time to relax and unwind, but as the colour fades from the sky, lights turn on – artificial daylight extends our busy hours into the night. This is a perfect description of a yang lifestyle. How long can it go on? Nature will always find balance: for each hour of light, there will eventually be an equal hour of darkness. For every up there is a down, for every left a right. Balance demands busy times be complemented by quiet periods. But what happens if we go against this law of nature, and put off the required rebalancing? If we don’t seek balance ourselves, Mother Nature will impose it upon us, often through some severe illness or crisis that will force us into stillness. Why wait for that? Balance is always available: the yin-side of life is right here – all we have to do is let it in. Many people come to yoga to find a balance for their stressed lives: they don’t feel healthy. It is curious and ironic that their yoga practice is just a continuation of their yang pattern of living. Yoga becomes another job: a practice that needs to be worked on, improved, perfected. Eventually even yoga can lead to injuries and depletion: and when yoga no longer heals, then where do we turn? We turn yin-side. Yin Yoga is the other half: the balancing practice to the active, muscular, dynamic forms of yoga common today. Yin is quiet, deep and nourishing in ways that complement the yang forms. Let’s take a moment and define our terms. The taijitu symbol shown here is the symbol of balance, a symbol of the Tao. It is composed of two mutually embracing “fish” swimming together. The light fish is yang: yang represents qualities of brightness, elasticity, action, heat and looking outward. The dark fish is yin: yin represents the complementary attributes – darkness, plasticity, stillness, cold and looking within. To properly use these terms we need a context, and since we are talking about yoga, let’s use the body as the ultimate context. Tissues of the body that are hotter or more exterior are yang-like compared to tissues that are cooler and more interior, which are yin-like. Muscles, which love rhythmic and repetitive movements, are yang compared to our connective tissues, which includes our ligaments, joint capsules, bones, cartilage and the deep fascial networks of the body. All tissues need to be healthy for us to be balanced. We all know how great it feels to have a lovely, sweaty yoga practice: to stretch and strengthen our muscles. Just as important, however, is to exercise and keep healthy our joints and other connective tissues. While we can intuitively agree with this, it sounds dangerous – exercise our joints. Won’t that destabilise and harm the joints? Yes, if the form of exercise is yang-like: the joints, being yin tissues, require yin forms of exercise: they require Yin Yoga.
Namaskar is pleased to have three tick ets ffor or this y ear volution ticke ye ar’’s E Ev e enc e tto Asia Y oga C on share Yoga Con onffer erenc ence o shar with readers:
One ticket for the first person to corr ectly ccomple omple ia’ orrectly omplette T Tia’ ia’ss 8. Cr osswor d on p age 2 Cro ord page 28.
One ticket for the first person to tell us which five teachers at this year YC als o ttaugh augh ir ar’’s A AY also aughtt at the ffir irsst 7. AYC in 2 00 200 007
One ticket for someone willing to write a conference summary for the Oct ober is sue o ar October issue off Namask Namaskar ar..
Please submit to fgairns@ne or gairns@nettvigat vigator or..com
Evolution Asia Y oga C on enc e ttak ak es Yoga Con onffer erenc ence ake plac e 7 - 10 June 2 012 at HK CE C, place 2012 HKCE CEC, Wanchai, Hong K ong. Kong. These are all-conference passes, good for all e ven xcep ath ev entts e ex eptt Shar Sharath ath’’s led primary series.
Tia’s Crossword The benefits of Yin Yoga go much deeper than our physiology: Yin Yoga will provide the missing balance mentally, energetically, emotionally and even spiritually. The practice itself is quite simple, but simple does not mean easy. The postures are passive: no muscular engagement. The poses are held in stillness, and they are held for long periods of time – anywhere from 1 to 20 minutes, providing no pain is felt. The challenge arises when the postures become juicy: there will be urges! The urge to come out early is especially educational: this is the time to go inside and explore what is really happening. And the joy! Oh my! The joy of coming out of the poses is what keeps people coming back to their Yin practice. Yin Yoga is starting to be taught in Yoga studios all over the world: it is becoming popular for one simple reason – it is needed. The reason people are beginning to find out about this simple and wonderful practice is due primarily to the efforts of a couple of teachers: Paul Grilley and Sarah Powers. Paul originally discovered Yin Yoga when he studied for one year with Paulie Zink, a master of Daoist Yoga and Kung Fu. Paul extracted from what he learned with Paulie the yin aspect of Daoist Yoga and started to offer it raw, on its own and separate from its yang-brother. Fortunately for us, Paul began to travel and wherever he went he spread the story of this missing aspect of yoga. One of the teachers who resonated with Paul was Sarah Powers, a formidable yangster. She too saw the logic in balancing her active Ashtanga practice with the subtle yin practice, and to this she added an exploration of the meditative benefits that Yin Yoga provides. Paul complemented Sarah’s offering with explorations of the anatomical and energetic benefits of the practice. My own contributions to the practice of Yin Yoga build upon Paul and Sarah’s work. Standing on their shoulders, and helped by my own background in the sciences, I have been able to delve deeply into the energetics and physiology of why the practice is so healing, from a Western medical perspective. From my interest in studying religions, mythology and psychology, I also use classes in Yin Yoga as a chance to explore the deeper psychic realms that lurk beneath everyone’s superficial consciousness through the telling of stories. It is a fascinating journey. The long held pauses in Yin Yoga give us a wonderful opportunity to go inside and see what is actually happening: psychically and physically. If you have not yet tried the other half of your yoga practice, do so before Mother Nature makes you. Seek the balance: as is taught in the Bhagavad Gita, balance is yoga. Bernie has been teaching yoga and meditation since 1998. He has a bachelor degree in Science and combines his intense interest in yoga with an understanding of the scientific approach to investigating the nature of things. His most recent book is The Complete Guide to Yin Yoga. He is also the creator of www.YinYoga.com.
Bernie Clark’s schedule at AYC: 7 June 5:30 – 7:30 pm Yin Yoga and the Physical Body 8 June 5:30 – 7:30 pm Yin Yoga and the Energy Body 9 June 5 – 7 pm Yin Yoga and the Mind Body 10 June 5 – 7 pm Yin Yoga and the Whole Body
This crossword pays homage to the 84 Mahasiddhas or spiritual adepts whose stories inspire us. Most of the information for the crossword is from the book, Buddhist Masters of Enchantment, The Lives and Legends of the Mahasiddhas, translated by Keith Dowman and illustrated by Robert Beer.
ACROSS 1. Jumble ‘Ana, Jug ran’! For a brilliant scholar who took to a life of debauchery due to boredom, and to spiritual practice due to disgust with this life of debauchery. (9) 4. His grief at the premature death of his beloved young wife drove him to practice and eventually, Mahasiddhi. (9) 8. Jumble ‘aka a Lapp’ to give a labourer who took to spiritual practice when, in one night, he lost to an epidemic, his wife and five little sons. (8) 10. Jumble ‘a pilot’ to give Naropa’s guru found frying fish! (6) 11. Jumble ‘pan oar’ to give a scholar famous for his Six Yogas. (6) 12. Jumble ‘aka Lap’ to give a handsome man who was so pained by the effect of his beauty on others that he practiced in isolation, obtaining Mahasiddhi. (6) 13. Academic who wasted a hundred years of his life teaching and in indulgence until one of his own realized students opened his eyes to spiritual discipline. (8) DOWN 1. Jumble ‘Puna grain’ to give a Mahasiddha who was reviled by his family and named moron. (9) 2. Jumble ‘I proud hag’ to give a bird catcher who repented and gave up his violent livelihood and became a Mahasiddha by meditating on birdsong. (9) 3. Brahmin priest, secretly a Buddhist tantric who liked to feed crows and was eventually saved by them. (9) 4. Jumble ‘koala pit’ for a peasant who became a Mahasiddha. (8) 5. Jumble ‘a lank pita’ to give a rag-picker distressed by his life of toil and poverty, who was guided by a dakini to turn his trade into spiritual practice. (9) 6. Jumble ‘Goa shark’ to give a cowherd who cared for a dying prince whose arms and legs had been cut off and attained Mahasiddhi. (8) 7. Jumble ‘a patent’ to give a gambler who took to spiritual practice upon losing all. (7) 9. Jumble ‘u pail’ to give a prince-turned-yogi who ate only the entrails of fish for 12 years. (5) First person to submit the correct solution to this crossword to firstname.lastname@example.org will receive an all-conference pass to Asia Yoga Conference 7 - 10 June 2012 at Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre.
Reborn June Chan
AS I WAS BEING WHEELED INTO THE OPERATING theatre to remove two ovarian cysts, I remembered what others had told me – their greatest fear was this moment would be their last seeing this colourful world. In contrast I felt unusually calm. Little did I know then, that through my pain, I would feel reborn!
The cysts were successfully removed, though there’s no guarantee they won’t grow back again. I’ve had to accept this and the fact my body is different than before. My doctor has already warned it will be difficult to become pregnant in the future. I will be on long-term medication to balance my hormone levels and I will need frequent medical check ups.
Just two weeks before, my doctor broke the news to me, after an ultrasound scan, that I had two ovarian cysts, one the size of a four-month foetus, and had to have them removed quickly. My doctor took care to explain that my cysts, called chocolate cysts [formed when a patch of endometrial tissue sloughed off and became implanted and enlarged inside an ovary] was fortunately begnin. These cysts can be genetic, hormonal or the result of endometriosis.
After a month’s rest, I took my first yoga class. It started with Adho Mukha Svanasana. Cautiously I lifted my knees, lengthened my tailbone, pushed my upper thighs back and stretched my heels to the floor. Despite a regular practice of four years, I felt helpless. The sharp abdominal pain and lack of any core strength meant I couldn’t do many previously-easy postures. I felt like a complete beginner – a yoga baby.
I’d traced back over my teen years, recalling the hormonal disorder which resulted in my having two heavy flows a month. My first ultrasound scan at 16 revealed I had immature ovaries and the doctor suggested I take contraceptive pills. My mother decided instead to take me to a Traditional Chinese Medicine doctor. And after a short course of bitter herbal medicine twice a day, I thought I was cured. That was until last October, when menstural irregularities, lower abdominal pain and frequent urination sent me to this doctor. The night I told my mother about my condition, she burst into tears asking how this could happen to such a young woman. I’ve two relatives with the same condition, and both after years of treatments, eventually resorted to complete hysterectomies. While I was scared, I never questioned why this had happened to me. But seeing my family worry about me, broke my heart.
as I lay on the gurney in the hospital, I felt I was in Savasana
During that time, I kept reminding myself to “listen to my body because yoga is your own practice. Don’t compare or compete with others.” I also dealt with my rehabilitation, as the prescribed contraceptive pills didn’t work well for me. The practice of yoga and its theories helped me stay positive and surrender my frustration despite the odds. I changed my medication and continue my yoga routine everyday, but have shortened the duration and limit my movements. I manifested a mantra – Let go more to go deeper. After three months, I feel my body is slowly getting back to how it used to be. I feel reborn, learning to crawl, walk, run and practice yoga all over again. June is a former journalist who now teaches yoga at various studios in Hong Kong. email@example.com
I gave up job running my own publication and escaped to India for a yoga vacation. During my time there I learned to surrender to this situation over which I’d no control. And in this peace, I was inspired me to pursue yoga professionally. While the cysts certainly affected my daily life and yoga practice, I continued to practice daily up till the day before my operation. It helped - as I lay on the gurney in the hospital, I felt like I was in Savasana. 31
Yoga tto oS ave Sa the Planet Metta Anggriani
YOGA CLASSES OFTEN START WITH SOME pranayama, breathing exercise. The yogic breathing brings awareness to our body and mind. To me, the practice of Pranayama is a practice of gratefulness for that which we usually take for granted. Similarly we often take our environment for granted. But attending The Climate Project Asia Pacific Summit last year in Jakarta, prompted me ask myself “what is happening to our world?” GLOBAL WARMING POLLUTION Regrettably, we have contributed to global warming. We are polluting our atmosphere, which is trapping heat and raising the temperature of the air, oceans and surface of the earth. The main pollution comes from greenhouse gasses. They are called greenhouse gasses because they trap heat coming up from the earth, similar to how the glass roof of a greenhouse traps heat inside. Energy from the sun, in the form of sunlight, enters the earth’s atmosphere and strikes the surface of the planet. Then
choose the yogic way for saving energy, eat less meat
some of the energy bounces back into space in the form of heat (infrared radiation). The greenhouse gasses absorb infrared radiation, trapping the heat in the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide and methane are two greenhouse gasses that contribute almost 70% to global warming pollution. Carbon dioxide is produced whenever we burn something. The biggest source of carbon dioxide is burning of fossil fuels: oil, coal and gas. We burn gasoline in our cars. We burn coal to produce electricity. We burn gas and oil to heat our homes and run our factories. One way to end the climate crisis is to find new resources of energy. Wind, solar and geothermal power, for example, produces electricity without producing carbon dioxide. The second biggest source of global warming is methane. Methane is produced by hundreds of millions of cows and livestock – chickens and pigs. These animals produce methane when they digest plants. Most of if comes from cows belching. Methane also escapes from landfills and leaks in natural gas pipelines. Black carbon is the third biggest source of climate crisis. Unlike greenhouse gas, black carbon does not trap heat coming from the earth; instead it absorbs heat from incoming sunlight as it enters the atmosphere. The largest source of black carbon is the burning of forests and grasslands. As we know, this is a big problem for Indonesia as we burn forest to make room for farms, plantations and industrial / housing areas. GLOBAL WARMING SOLUTION When we know the cause of global warming, we know the solution is to sharply cut back on the global warming pollution that we put in the air. It can be done from the top level, i.e. our government can support the development of renewable energy (i.e. wind, solar, geothermal, biomass) and to minimize deforestation. Currently, Indonesia is the world’s third largest emitter of carbon, which emits 1.8 billion tons of carbon into atmosphere, primarily through deforestation. Our President, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, has pledged to cut greenhouse gas emissions 26-41% from the projected level by 2020. However, it doesn’t stop there. We can also contribute to a global warming solution at the personal level. We can save energy in
every area of our lives – in our homes, businesses, transportation, etc. Whenever possible, we can practice being more efficient in using energy. Instead of driving, we can car-pool or use mass transport (and some are very efficient by cycling, e.g. the Bike to Work community). We can choose to use LED (light-emitting diodes) or DFL (compact fluorescent) lightbulbs that put out more lumens per watt. We need to turn electronic devices off, e.g. TVs, DVD, computers, not only putting them in standby or “sleep” mode. Or, if we want to choose the yogic way for saving energy, eat less meat. We can be creative about other solutions to protect the earth. We can start planting trees, recycling garbage. It is not about the cost. It is about choice, hope and willingness. When we make the choice, we begin to change our mind. We begin to think our cities as energy systems. We begin to see the links between fighting global warming and solving other problems humanity faces. We begin to feel responsible for future generations. Here everyone can be a leader to take actions. HOW DOES IT RELATE TO YOGA It is said yoga is the union of body, mind and soul, with the breath uniting all three. By focusing on our breath, we become aware of what is happening in our body when we practice asana. When the mind and the body connected, the soul is liberated. Practicing this awareness is like opening the third eye. It helps us understand not only ourselves, but also about how things relate to each other. It brings us knowledge and understanding of life. And when we put our knowledge into our daily activities, we gain wisdom. With wisdom, we understand a healthy life is not just about keeping ourselves healthy, but is also absolutely dependent on a healthy environment.
Metta is a yoga instructor at Rumah Yoga Studio I Spa Jakarta and The Climate Project Indonesia presenter. As well she is a Compliance Officer. firstname.lastname@example.org www.metta-mangala-yoga.blogspot.com
Ayurveda, Yoga & Fertility Vinod Sharma & Mindy Tagliente
WHAT IS THE AYURVEDIC AND YOGIC PERSPECTIVE ON FERTILITY? Vinod : According to the philosophy of Ayurveda, men’s & women’s fertility depends mainly on:1) the Chakras - mainly the Manipur chakra, Swadishthan chakra & Muladhar chakra; 2) the endocrine glands eg. Pituitary, Pineal, Thyroid and Parathyroid and; 3) the quantity and quality of the Shukra Dhatu (the reproductive tissue). Firstly, to produce good quality eggs and sperms, it is important the chakras are properly aligned and the energy flow around the chakras is smooth, without any blockages. Though it is important for all the chakras to be strong and functioning optimally, the position and functioning of the Manipur Chakra (the Navel Centre/ Solar Plexus) is the most important. It is mentioned in traditional Ayurvedic texts that Manipur Chakra is the epicentre of 72,000 important Nadis (energy channels) in our body. If the Manipur chakra is dislodged, it is almost impossible for a woman to conceive and for a man to impregnate a woman. For example, when the Swadishthan (sacral/ second) Chakra becomes weak, it will have a very negative effect on the functioning of the ovaries and uterus in a woman’s body, which in turn will affect the quality of eggs produced. In a man, a weak sacral chakra affects the functioning of the testicles and genitals, thereby affecting the quantity and quality of sperms and even erectile power. Secondly, the endocrine glands eg. Pituitary and Pineal glands, affect the quantity and quality of hormones. If these glands do not function at an optimum level, the production of hormones becomes affected which directly affects fertility/virility and the emotions of an individual. Thirdly, the quantity and quality of sperms in men and the quality of ova in women depend on the quantity and quality of the seventh tissue, called Shukra Dhatu. Mindy: Stress can be one of the main
causes of low fertility in today’s society and finding ways to release stress through yoga is a great way to improve fertility. Specific Yoga postures can help to stimulate and tone the reproductive organs and increase the production of hormones. In fact, Yoga for fertility is becoming ever more popular, as people are looking more and more to alternative therapies to be able to conceive. Adopting a more holistic approach to fertility by addressing one’s overall health can increase one’s chances of conception quite dramatically. CAN AYURVEDIC PRINCIPLES AND YOGA POSTURES ENHANCE FERTILITY IN MEN AND WOMEN? IF SO, HOW? Vinod: First we need to find out the main cause of infertility, i.e. whether it is caused by the dislodgement of the Navel Centre and poor functioning of the two lower chakras, or due to the weakness of any gland (pitutory, pineal etc.), or inferior quality of the shukra dhatu. If it is caused due to the dislodgment of the navel centre and weakness of the lower chakras and/or malfunctioning of the glands, then the navel centre should be realigned, the lower two chakras should be strengthened and the functioning of the glands should be optimised, through Ayurvedic methodology.
adopt Sitari or Sitkari Pranayam techniques. Vinod Sharma hails from several generations of healers and is well versed in the ancient medical scienceof Ayurveda and Ayurvedic Panchakarm, Chakra Healing, and Homeopathic/ Biochemic Remedies.
Mindy has been devoted to yoga for over 14 years. She has been teaching Hatha, Ashtanga, Vinyasa, Iyengar and Kryoga around the world for 8 years and founded Yoga For Life in 2007, Hong Kong’s leading private Yoga organization. Vinod & Mindy are co-hosting an Ayurveda & Yoga workshop in Hong Kong 23 - 24 May, 6:30 - 9:30 pm at Estoril Court Clubhouse, Garden Road, Midlevels. For more information email@example.com
If there is some problem related to the Shukra dhatu, it can be easily corrected by following a specific Ayurvedic diet and lifestyle, using some Shukral herbs (herbs that can enhance the shukra dhatu instantly, like Ashwagandha, Tribulus etc. for men and Ashoka, Shatavari etc. for women). Mindy: Apart from Yoga helping to generally relieve stress, there are many postures that can improve one’s fertility. Asanas that focus more on increasing fluid in the body are highly recommended. If men and women both have a good reserve of fluid in their body, then they can remain calm in any situation, responding to it, rather than reacting to it. For instance, a fluid motion in Bhujungasana (Cobra) can help to increase stimulate the lower chakras, especially the second chakra and increase the fire and water element in the body. For more meditative postures, which can help to calm an agitated mind, one can perform Janu Sirsasana or Pashimottanasana and hold for at least 10 long breaths. For further calming or cooling effect, one can 35
My Childr en and Y oga Children Yoga Paul Dallaghan
I AM OFTEN ASKED: “AM I TEACHING MY KIDS yoga?” My typical response is: “they are teaching me yoga.” Tongue in cheek it may be but nevertheless much truth lies herein. What should I be teaching them and where does yoga fit in? Is it merely introducing them to the asanas and telling them to breathe? Anyone raising kids knows it is the seventh series! It requires sacrifice and tests your ability to be a normal human being, and not this ogre screaming over minor things that have accumulated here and burst out in one mass of frustration (whew). As Chekhov once said, “any fool can handle a crisis, it’s the day-to-day stuff that wears you down.” To me yoga is an opportunity for willing self-reflection, an effort to be nice, ultimately working on myself. And much of that has, and should be, spent and shared with my adorable children. The time taken to practice is the training on working on myself, refining the nervous system. Over years of practice I have seen a positive change in myself in handling and being with the children. It’s not the practice alone, but also the precious situations with the children to temper it, to mould it. In other words, the practices without corresponding life situations would be close to impotent.
mean by the interaction with the children being the yoga lesson. The primary yoga with children is loving, caring and actually making sure we have time together. Second is the set of values I work on in my life that I aim to share with them. In terms of a yogi it is easy to hone the values from the yamas and niyamas. I am grateful to my kids (and wife) that I am able to look at these everyday, inculcate them, live them. Believing in ahimsa, I promise them I will not hurt them. I have to look at that on all levels: physical responses to mind games and emotional care. Am I living a life based
I prefer to see signs of caring coming from my boys than them being the “best”. This may again seem obvious, especially to one not involved, but time and opportunity easily slip by. You have to make a clear inner resolve to “be” it at all times. This is one of the true values of what yoga has taught me and also what I have learned during my time with my parents. My wife and I have
Anyone raising kids knows it is the seventh series on truth, honesty, or is it just when it’s convenient? Though these and the other values are often considered obvious they can easily be forgotten in the course of a
The big lesson here is my response to whatever it is coming up with the children, is actually the teaching I give them, the yoga I pass on. This is especially true in their formative years. In years to come will they remember their daddy’s 2,456 asana practices or the memories of being together, sharing, having fun, bonding? A thoughtless reaction borne from frustration, not properly channeled, sticks much stronger in a child’s memory. I have witnessed a particular stimulus frustrating me and from there I have observed the pre-existing pattern of how I could act. Fortunately, from awareness practice over the years, I see the two options inside and am able to channel that energy to respond in a more constructive manner. This may include a stern rebuke or a patient response to further explain. I stress this is a work in progress, by no means perfected. But that is exactly what I
day. To be kind, honest, respectful, loyal and faithful, and knowing what is enough is to share with your children. They will naturally have the opportunity to form their own values over time and have their own personalities, but these are universal and essential.
The Dallaghans - a modern yoga family
not forced any formal religion on our children as they are exposed to many through our life and the community, but already they know certain Sanskrit mantras
as we’ll do them together at night when giving thanks.
stuff their parents do can help their football.
Finally we come to the techniques of yoga, the practices of asana and more. I know constructive skills learned at an early age can be invaluable throughout life. At the same time it is important for anyone, including my children, to come to a practice of yoga by their own volition. But my wife and I have the duty and opportunity to introduce these elements. Already the kids have played with yoga poses and are quite adept at using it as a term to get rid of me, “Papa, go do yoga”, if they don’t want me around (which of course is very rare). I also see they are a little young to properly engage in it yet.
As my specialty lies in the breath I am always aware of how I or others breathe. I have noticed the rapid breathing of my children as infants, to a more normal one, still quick, as young children. When they have been upset I have put my hand on their upper abdomen and tried to get them to be free there and breathe. I have tried but it is difficult because the emotion at that age overrides the rationality and a reactivity takes over. It’s almost an inevitable part of human growth. And at this young age to keep an awareness of the breath is almost impossible. It requires maturity. Yet if I can introduce an awareness of the breath early on I feel I have done some good for these growing boys.
That is a popular question: what age should they start? Some say 8, others 12 or as long as the child can take care of themselves (through dressing, feeding and teeth brushing). So that leaves it a bit open. In my opinion it comes down to a certain amount of maturity to want to do something. At this stage soccer is much more valuable for them than yoga. It’s their primary choice and it really gets them moving. Of course in time they’ll find this
I break down the sharing of yoga with my children into different phases. Early on it is all about the care and love. These should dominate throughout life but naturally change color and shape. The sharing of clear, strong values is imperative to their growth and maturing, something that becomes more relevant as they get into later
childhood and adolescence. Then finally, the practices themselves, that are initially play but later, really post-puberty, constructive and formational. From their mid-teens on it’s really up to them. I began yoga at 23. It would have been great to be exposed earlier but life had its own path of experiences. So it’s all about what I do with my life now. I hope to share yoga in all its ways with my children: through love, kindness and caring; with strong, clear values that carry them through life with integrity so they develop into adults of value to society and all beings everywhere; to the practices themselves, full of their own inherent wisdom and refinement that can help transform their nervous systems and enrich the children’s growing years into adult life. Paul is director of Samahita Retreat, Yoga Thailand. www.yoga-thailand.com
Paul Dallaghan’s schedule at AYC: 9 June, 10:30am - 12:30pm Pranayama: The Key Practice of Yoga 10 June, 10:30am - 12:30pm Asana for Pranayama and Meditation
Spiritual Science Research Foundation
And the ssttory begins Ana Prodanovic
BIRTH HAS ALWAYS ENTHRALLED MAN AND held him in awe, amazement and wonder. One can see these emotions when one looks at a mother watching her newborn or a gardener tending his plants with satisfaction as they finally bear their muchawaited fruits or flowers. In India a girl is considered re-born when she gets married and goes to live in her husband’s family, since ideally she has to learn to adapt to their lifestyle. The Western world has come to accept karma and the theory of re-birth. There are a number of movies on this theme. The movie ‘Birth’ had Nicole Kidman as a young widow, Anna, meet a 10-year-old who claimed to be the re-incarnation of her husband. Now engaged to be married Anna can’t get the boy out of her mind. Her contact with him leads her to question the choices she has made in life. The birth of a new child brings a great joy to the family. From the spiritual perspective it is a chance for that soul to overcome its destiny, grow spiritually, and be liberated from the cycle of birth and death. As per the theory of destiny or karma, a child is born into a family where it has the maximum give and take account. Here life is viewed not from the perspective of that single life, but as a continuum of a series of lives. The theory of karma can be understood by Newton’s law of ‘every action has an equal reaction’, if an individual has given a lot of sorrow to someone in a previous life he/she has to be re-born to experience that sorrow from the same soul. In this way each individual soul is repeatedly born to experience sorrow or joy per his previous actions. One to wonder if there is a way out of this cycle of repeated birth and death. If one repeatedly failed high school and were made to study the same curriculum year after year, at some point one would realize the need to work harder to meet the grade and go to college. In the same way a soul needs to go beyond the monotony of the physical existence. When the turning point comes he realizes there is more to life than this mere physical existence. At that time he turns to spirituality to understand the meaning of life and death.
There are some however who are disturbed in life and want to get out of their misery whether it is a physical illness, lack of a job or life partner and it is that, that makes them turn to God. There are still others who are curious to know about life, death, why are we born and why was the Universe formed, etc. However no matter what the reason, if we persevere the ultimate result is the achievement of Bliss. The material universe is temporary; hence it can only give temporary happiness.
From the spiritual perspective birth is a chance for that soul to overcome its destiny, and be liberated from the cycle of birth and death Spiritual masters throughout the ages have guided aspirants to turn inwards and grow spiritually and experience Bliss. Spiritual Science Research Foundation (SSRF) provides a very simple tool to go inwards to experience this happiness - simply repeating the name of God as per the religion of your birth. Spiritual science believes the nature of the soul is Bliss. But unfortunately we are always searching for something that will give us never-ending happiness in the material world. Some believe they will get it from a promotion, others feel getting the person of their dreams will give it to them and still others feel owning a dream home will give them that much craved for happiness. However no sooner do we get that promotion do we realize the extra effort we have to put in at work, no sooner are we married to the person of our dreams, we see the chinks in his personality and after we get that dream house, we realize the extra effort and finance that is required of us. If we do not get what we desire we get depressed or angry. And if we see others getting what we want, we suffer from jealousy. As a result man is always riding the waves of joy and sorrow and is a mere puppet of external circumstances and his emotions. Man was born to lead a blissful and carefree life but the six foes of the soul (anger,
jealousy, greed, lust, pride, arrogance) prevent him from experiencing it. Practicing spirituality to overcome these defects, as advised by the Path of the Guru’s grace, leads one to overcome defects that cause unhappiness and problems in worldly life and also to achieve the main purpose of one’s life - that is to grow spiritually. Ana is an anthropologist of the social aspects of health and illness. Over the last 8 years she has participated in research projects exploring the effect of the spiritual dimension on the individual and society as a whole. www.spiritualresearchfoundation.org / firstname.lastname@example.org
Why Meditate? by Matthew Ricard Reviewed by Tia Sinha
To be free is to be the master of ourselves. It is not a matter of doing whatever comes to our head, but rather of freeing ourselves from the constraints and afflictions that dominate and obscure our minds – Matthew Ricard IN HIS SLIM, SIMPLE AND CLEAR BOOK, Matthew Ricard addresses three questions, the why, what and how of meditation. A practitioner of Tibetan Buddhism for over 40 years, Matthew, the son of a wellknown philosopher had the good fortune of living with and being trained by genuine Tibetan Buddhist masters of meditation like the late Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche. Matthieu translates for the Dalai Lama in French, is a regular participant at Mind and Life Conferences where neuroscientists and practitioners of meditation present the latest research to the Dalai Lama, and is often the subject of tests done on the brain by neuroscientists to determine changes in the brain due to meditation. His book draws upon Tibetan Buddhist techniques of meditation. However, Matthew has taken care to present these techniques in a way that is not only nonsectarian but also non-religious. The approach of the book is of a scientist of the mind. Matthieu takes care to shatter several myths about meditation. Sometimes practitioners of meditation are accused of selfabsorption. But to regard as selfish a process whose goal is to root out the obsession with self and to cultivate altruism, would be like blaming an aspiring doctor for spending years studying medicine before treating others. He points out meditation is not an attempt to create a blank mind by blocking out thoughts, nor an attempt to endlessly analyze the past or future, nor a simple process of relaxation in which inner conflicts are temporarily suspended in a vague, amorphous state of consciousness. There is not much point in resting in an inner state of bewilderment. The relaxation that comes from meditation is connected with the relief that comes from letting go of hopes and fears, of attachments and the whims of the ego that never stop feeding our inner conflicts. Haste and meditation do not go together.
There is no point in setting goals. There is no point in clinging to certain blissful experiences that may arise during meditation, just as one does not get off a train whenever one notices an interesting landscape but carries on till one reaches one’s destination. The goal of meditation is to free the mind from ignorance and suffering, transforming our experience of the world. This happens through transformation of the mind over years. The positive effects on health are a by-product of meditation, not the goal. To prepare the mind for meditation, the mind must first be turned toward meditation. This is done by thinking about four thoughts: the preciousness of human life; the fragility of human life and the transitory nature of all things; choosing beneficial actions and avoiding harmful actions and; the unsatisfactory quality inherent in ordinary life.
To conclude, in Matthieu’s words, it is a pity to underestimate the capacity we have to transform our minds. Each of us possesses the potential to free ourselves from the mental states that perpetuate our own suffering and that of others – the potential to find inner peace for ourselves and contribute to the happiness of all beings.
Matthew stresses the need for an authentic spiritual master with many years of personal experience. ‘In truth, nothing can replace the exemplary power and profundity of transmission from a living master’. Such a being would also ensure the student doesn’t get sidetracked. Failing such an opportunity, Matthieu suggests studying with a person who is more knowledgeable than one and whose instructions come from an established meditative tradition. Failing this, Matthieu suggests getting help from a book, even a very simple one like this one that is based on trustworthy sources. This way, one is not misguided by a self-proclaimed teacher who invents techniques!
Tia, who teaches Hatha Yoga to the nuns of Dongyu Gatsal Ling in Himachal, India, now spends most of her time in solitary retreat at the nunnery.
Why Meditate comes to us from a writer and practitioner with impeccable credentials. The book is useful for those who have never meditated, would like to and do not know how to start. It brings clarity on techniques and intention to those attempting to tame, train, subdue and transform the mind through the arduous yet fascinating process of meditation. 41
Recipe Keep Me Warm Till Summer Moosa Al-Issa
RICH SATISFYING DISHES REALLY HELP ONE GET THROUGH THE COOLER months in Hong Kong. I particularly love Asian curries with their great balance of sweet, sour and salty flavors. When making these dishes I use two basic techniques: 1) stewing and 2) stir frying to create the perfect curry. The end result is a deeply flavored curry with perfectly cooked, but still crisp vegetables. Most the ingredients you need to make this curry can be found in your local neighborhood street market so give it a try! HAI SCENTED LENTIL AND TOFU CURRY WITH ORGANIC QUINOA Curry Ingredients 1 can organic Lentils, washed and drained 1 lbs extra firm tofu, cut into ½ inch cubes 2 medium yellow onions, peeled, halved and quartered 2 medium Carrots, peeled, halved and cut on angle to ¼ inch slices 3 large stalks Celery cut at a slight angle into 1/3-inch slices 2 red peppers, stemmed, cored and cut into 1 inch squares 1 small red chili pepper, halved, seeded and finely chopped 1 cup Cherry tomatoes, halved 1 Tbsp Lemon grass, root portion, finely sliced 1 can coconut milk 2 Lime leaves, whole 3 cloves garlic, minced 4 Tbsp ginger, minced 3 limes, zested and juiced 2 Tbsp. nutritional yeast 2 Tbsp. liquid aminos 2 Tbsp agave nectar Quinoa Ingredients 2 cups quinoa, washed twice and drained 3 cups water ½ teaspoon sea salt Preparation 1. In a medium pot add the quinoa, water and salt and bring to a boil on high heat. Cover the pot, turn the heat to the lowest setting and cook for 15-20 minutes until all the water is absorbed and the quinoa is cooked. 2. In a large saucepan, add a small amount of oil and fry the cubes of tofu at medium high heat for 2 to 3 minutes till nicely browned. Add half of the garlic & ginger, the chili and the lemon grass and fry for 2 minutes more. Add the lentils, liquid amino, coconut milk, lime juice, lime leaf, nutritional yeast and agave. Turn heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes. 3. Heat a large frying pan or wok on high heat, add 2 to 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil to the pan, (preferably one with a high burn point like grape seed oil) and add the remaining garlic and ginger and fry for a few seconds. Add the carrots, celery, onions and peppers and stir fry for 5 minutes till the vegetables are cooked but still crisp. 4. Add the vegetables to the curry and the cherry tomatoes to the curry and cook for a few minutes. 5. Portion the cooked quinoa on four plates and cover with the curry, garnish with chopped coriander and a wedge of lime and serve. Moosa is the Executive Director of Life Cafe and Director of Just Green Organic Convenience Stores in Hong Kong.
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PURE YOGA Hong Kong 16/F The Centrium, 60
NAMASKAR LISTING AND DISPLAY ADVERTISING RATES FOR 2012 (IN HK DOLLARS) Outside back cover $21,000 210 mm x 297 mm Inside front cover $2,800 210 mm x 297 mm Inside back cover $2,300 210 mm x 297 mm Full page $1,800 210 mm x 297 mm 1/2 page $1,050 188 mm x 137.5 mm horizontal / 90 mm x 275 mm vertical 1/4 page $580 90 mm x 137.5 mm 1/8 page $370 90 mm x 63 mm Teacher listing $530 (January - October 2012) Studio listing $1,050 (January - October 2012) Advertisements should be submitted as high resolution (300 dpi) tif files (no pdf or ai files please). Advertising fees are payable in Hong Kong dollars only to: Namaskar c/o Carol Adams, 1/F 46 Leung Fai Ting Lower Road, Clearwater Bay, Hong Kong For more information contact Carol on (852) 9137 9992 /firstname.lastname@example.org or Frances (852) 9460 1967 / email@example.com 45
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t: (852) 9465 6461 e: email@example.com
YOGA CENTRAL 4/F Kai Kwong House, 13 Wyndham St, Hong Kong s: Hatha/Iyengar clases, yoga teacher training workshops, private group classes, corporate health programs. t: (852) 2982 4308 e: firstname.lastname@example.org w: www.yogacentral.com.hk
YOGA on CAINE ROAD @ COSMO KIDS 1/F Jadestone Court, 138 Caine Road, Mid-Levels, Hong Kong s: Kids, Privates, Meditation & healing, studio rental t: (852) 2915 8138 e: email@example.com w: www.cosmokids.nets
To list your details here for the two remaining issues of 2012 (June & October), please contact Frances on firstname.lastname@example.org The cost is HK$530 for individual teacher & HK$1,050 for studio.
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