Page 1


TWELVE YEARS IN A CAVE Interview with Buddhist nun Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo.............................................................p16

YOGA STOPS TRAFFICK One teacher’s mission to raise awareness of the trade in human trafficking................................p17

Micha Chan Tai Wing in Ardha Matsyendrasana / Seated Spinal Twist Pose, photo by Pedro Faillace Salazar

April 2017 YOGA & DEMENTIA How yoga can help dementia sufferers and their carers through, and even at the end..............p32




LETTER FROM THE EDITOR My mother was recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.

Now every spare moment I have is spent trying to understand this disease and how best to support my parents in the UK. It’s times like this that are the real test of one’s yoga practice. How to stay centered and manage one’s emotions. How to think clearly about viable options, putting aside one’s fears and sadness. Most of the articles in these pages over the 14 years I’ve edited Namaskar have helped me in some way to respond to this situation. The resolution I undertook in January to make time to contemplate weighty issues, seems so insignificant now. And my perspective on things has changed dramatically. This is the context for choosing Yoga & Dementia as the Dristi. It was only when I started to learn about Alzheimer’s and dementia, did I realize what a massive problem the world is facing! Today, one in five 80-year-olds and one in three 85-year-olds suffer some form of dementia. Alzheimer’s in the largest portion and it is a terminal illness, with no cure as yet. The short term memory loss might be cause for some funny stories, but when the brain forgets how to swallow, react to pain and eventually breathe, there’s a different reaction entirely. What I’ve also learned is there is very little coordinated and informed support available to Alzheimer’s or dementia sufferers or their families. The onus is on the family to decide what approach to undertake. And informed decisions have to made by people who’ve been plunged into deep sadness, and without the necessary medical knowledgeor psychological experience. The three articles concerning Yoga & Dementia, plus Vinod’s Ayurvedic approach are a great springboard into further investigation. Please read Katherine’s article about raising awareness of the human trafficking and sex trade. Inspired also by lululemon’s show of support Namaskar is pleased to have donated £1,000 to the Odanadi Yoga Stops Traffick fund in support of their efforts to eliminate human trafficking and sexual exploitation. Asia Yoga Conference number 10 is just around the corner! I encourage you to stop by to show your support, even if you are not interested in paying for workshops or buying another pair of leggings! There are lots of free events and it’s just fun to be around so many yoga practitioners at one time. On page 50, we are pleased to offer two free passes to the workshops and lectures.


On the cover - Micha Chan is a Hong Kong-based yoga teacher. He recently opened a new studio in Tsuen Wan called YogaPoint.


33 34 36

SPECIAL FEATURES JETSUMNA TENZIN PALMO 17 Noted Tibetan Buddhist nun talks to Tia about the role of women in Buddhism today YOGA STOPS TRAFFICK 19 Katherine’s experience with Indian charity Odanadi inspires raise awareness in Asia SAMYAMA 21 Balaji explains why this concept is the essence of yoga MANTRA MEDITATION 22 Ram explains some basics about mantra STRONG BODY 23 How yoga is helping Vincent with his competitive running ASIA YOGA CONFERENCE TICKETS 50 First reader to correctly answer five questions gets two free passes


6 14 27 43 45 46 48 52

Namaskar provides a voice for the yoga community in Asia and around the world. The publication is an opportunity for practitioners on a yogic path to selflessly offer their knowledge, learnings and experiences with others.

Articles and photographs in Namaskar are contributed at no charge. Advertising income covers production, distribution, administrative costs and discretionary contributions to selected charities and causes.

We welcome unsolicited submissions, therefore the opinions expressed within these pages are not necessarily those of Namaskar or its volunteers.

Namaskar, is published quarterly in January, April, July and October. About 5,000 copies are printed and distributed for free to yoga studios, teachers, fitness centres, retail outlets, cafes and yogafriendly outlets. Mostly distributed in Hong Kong, with 1,500 copies mailed to readers in 32 other countries.

EDITOR & PUBLISHER Frances Gairns,

April 2017



travels around the world sharing his knowledge using modern examples and humour

Based in the UK, Carol takes care of the Namaskar’s administration, advertising and billing. She works from home which gives her the freedom to take care of her 10year-old son.



way. She has deep compassion for victims of human trafficking and children in poverty.

Angela takes care of the distribution and circulation of Namaskar. Now based in her home town of New York, has been practicing yoga for 10 years. She currently teaches privately.


BALAJI THIRUVENGADASAMY Sarah is the Wellness Advisor at Samahita Retreat in Koh Samui, Thailand, where she teaches yoga, fitness and holds workshops. Over the past decade, Sarah has taught Visual Art in Egypt and Italy, in colleges which focused on promoting peace, intercultural understanding and sustainable development.

Chandrika is Vice President of the Australian Association of Yoga Therapists, a yoga teacher, yoga therapist, wellness consultant and naturopath. An experienced lecturer, keen researcher and writer, Chandrika holds a Master’s degree in Wellness. Krishnaa lives in London. She studied with B.K.S. Iyengar and now runs classes in London and teaches Sanskrit and Mudras for Yoga for the Yoga Alliance and British Wheel of Yoga. She has written 15 books on Bhakti Yoga.


Balaji is a practitioner of Yoga and a student of Yoga Philosophy. He has diverse work experience spanning technology, military and investment banking. Today Balaji is a Yoga Alliance registered teacher and a licensed practitioner of Yoga for the Special Child. CAROL ADAMS


Gabrielle’s life work is Yoga, Meditation & natural living. She created BeBliss 10 years ago and works with groups and individuals inspiring them to live their best life. KATHERINE CAMILLERI Katherine fundraises and participates in fundraising events in Hong Kong for small charities around the world. She is energised by the vibe in Hong Kong to make the world a better place and she believes a little bit can go a long



Ram is a Nada Yogi, Kirtan leader, Yoga philosopher, Sanskrit expert and Meditation teacher. Born and brought up in India steeped in the Vedic tradition, Ram is currently based in Toronto, Canada and


Tia worked for Star TV in Hong Kong. In 2006, she took time off to study yoga and meditation. Tia taught Hatha Yoga to the nuns of Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo’s DGL Nunnery, has been meditating under Jetsunma’s guidance and has translated some of Jetsunma’s talks and her biography, Cave in the Snow into Hindi.


experienced Yoga instructor practicing in Hong Kong for over 25 years., VIRGINIE MOREL

namaskar Now on-line at: Timy started hot yoga 2003, and started teaching yoga in 2009. He specializes in Vipassana Meditation, Mindfulness Yoga, Pain-Relaxation Yoga, and Meridian-PaiSha: Vibration Therapy., VINCENT WONG

Back issues still at:

Virginie is a French yoga teacher based in Hong Kong. She studied in Rishikesh, India, with Kia Miller. She teaches classes which combine the ancient practices of Hatha and Kundalini yoga. In her classes Virginie shares her love of yoga and invites her students to practice with an open mind.,

July’s dristi:

Dhyana & Dharana • • • • •

What are they? And what ‘s the difference between the two? Can I practice one and not the other? How can I practice dhyana and dharana in my yoga asana class? Is Is samadhi possible without them? Best books for learning more about these concepts.


If you’d like to contribute, please email with the idea for your article.

Vincent is a mid-distance runner and event organizer from Hong Kong Trail Runner. He loves running and hiking on sunny days and participating in aquathlons.

Contributions are also welcome on other topics. Final articles are welcome before March 10.

VINOD SHARMA Wai-Ling practices and teaches mindfulness, therapy and is Kula editor for Namaskar.

Vinod is a qualified Ayurvedic & Homeopathic Consultant and an April 2017





Byron Yoga Retreat Centre goes fully organic! Byron Bay’s most affordable retreat centre just increased the potency of its food and is now following the principals of SLOW Food: Seasonal; Local; Organic and Without processed foods of any kind. While much of the produce comes fresh from the Byron Yoga Retreat Centre’s own organic gardens, they are now buying in pretty much only local, organic food in season. Book one of the 8, 5 or 3 day retreats and you can be assured of toxin free food that tastes amazing! For more information

Yogapoint is a cosy new studio opened by Micha Chan in Tsuen Wan

anniversary of Shakti Healing Circle in Hong Kong.

friends. By then I just knew I was supposed to give up my day job, so to speak, at Cathay Pacific.” Husband Stephen, at that time an executive coach, encouraged her at every step in starting Shakti. Although they rented more space than they needed in March 2007, within days they were being approached by practitioners wanting to work from their centre. Pervin and Stephen feel “so lucky with the wonderful people who have brought their amazing talents to work with us. And it just shows if you dream big you will find everything you need just landing at your door!”

Stephen & Pervin Clasper opened Shakti Healing Circle 10 years ago.


Shakti Healing Circle is 10! Congratulations to Pervin and Stephen Clasper on the 10th 6

It was Pervin’s dream to have “my own centre, and then became so irresistable I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I first learned Reiki in 1997 and started with sessions for family and close friends and then for friends of

New Tsuen Wan studio Indian yoga organization, Yogapoint has opened a small Hong Kong studio in Tsuen Wan. Run by Micha Chan, the studio


provides traditional 90mins Hatha yoga, Yin Yang Yoga, Pranayama, Meditation and Prana Kriya Yoga. The classes are in English and Cantonese. For more information

Easter Hammock Yoga Course for Tweens & Teens 10 & 13 April The Yoga Room Join Cindy for this Easter Programme Hammock Yoga for Kids, 10 - 15 years. We will explore yoga in the aerial hammock in a fun way and learn mindfulness and self-regulation strategies to help today’s teen develop both mentally and physically. For more information:;;+852 2544-8398

BodyTalk Fundamentals Seminar 19 April – 2 May Learn to decode the biofeedback of the body and find and release the root cause of health issues. Angie will teach over 20 energy balancing techniques intended to optimize brain function; release past trauma; boost immune system function. For more information,, +852 6683 5755

Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre Join David Swenson, Carlos Pomeda, David Life & Sharon Gannon, Sri Dharma Mittra, Paul Dallaghan and many other international and local yoga teachers for four days of yoga workshops, lectures, demonstrations, and lots of yoga paraphernalia (that you really, really need)!

The activist is not the man who says the river is dirty. The activist is the man who cleans up the river. - Ross Perot

For more information

15th Sakyadhita International Conference 22 - 28 June University of Hong Kong The topic for this year’s conference is ‘Contemporary Buddhist Women: Contemplation, Cultural Exchange & Social Action’. For more information INDIA

2nd International Yoga Festival 2017 Guided Study in Basic Bhagavad Gita with Sravaniya DiPecoraro 21 April - 26 May Alive Wellness, Central This module Bhakti Yoga Practical Samadhi covers such topics as knowledge of the Absolute, The Universal Form, Attaining the Supreme. Srav was one of the first Western yoga teachers in Hong Kong. She has authored a book on the Bhagavad Gita and conducts personalised astrological readings. For more information

8 – 12 November Yoga Vidya Gurukul, Nasik Join different yoga classes and lectures by senior yoga teachers and doctors. There will also be cultural performances, traditional dance, mallakhamb (Rope yoga) and Indian concerts. For more information SINGAPORE

Yoga Sutra Studies April – December Being in Yoga Valerie Faneco leads these 14 sessions on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. She will introduce yoga philosophy, key concepts in Samkya philosophy, explain each sutra thoroughly and lead chanting of selected sutras. For more information

10th Asia Yoga Conference 8 – 11 June April 2017




Kino McGregor will be all over Asia this May. Photo by Yoshi Anwar


focus on bakasana.

Kino MacGregor Weekend Workshop

For more information workshop/detail/269

13-14 May Pure Yoga, Shanghai Kino is an Ashtanga yoga teacher based in Florida. She was the youngest woman to be certified to teach this form of yoga by Sri Pattabhi Jois. The workshop will be divided into four sessions, which can be taken all together or separately. They will cover full primary series, hip opening, introduction to second series and 8

David Swenson Workshop & Immersion

yoga. He will be offering several different workshops during his time in Shanghai – for beginners, advanced practitioners, students more interested in breathwork or philosophy. For more information http:// workshop/detail/276

13-25 June Pure Yoga, Shanghai David started practicing yoga in 1969 when he was 13 years old, and Ashtanga yoga since 1973. Today he is one of the most popular teachers of Ashtanga


Wheel Workshop with Rachel April 22 The Yoga Room, Sheung Wan Yoga wheels give the individual


the ability to expand and stretch and helps develop more flexibility. It can helps new and intermediate students backbend more easily while increasing more flexibility in the spine, shoulders, quads and hips. In this workshop Rachel will guide you through a gentle flow on your wheel. For more information wheel-workshop-with-rachel-3/

Kino MacGregor 30-hour Ashtanga Immersion 5-9 May Pure Yoga, Hutchison House Join Kino for this five-day immersion into Ashtanga, including daily practice, asana techniques, anatomy, learning about hands-on adjustments, counting vinyasa and yoga philosophy.

David Swenson will be teaching at Pure Yoga in Shanghai and Hong Kong

For more information http:// workshop/detail/265

David Swenson Mysore-style Prana Power Yoga Practice, Workshops & Workshops with Intensive Master Anurag 2-7 June 23 & 30 April Anahata Yoga, Sheung Wan In this Prana Power Yoga workshop, you will learn the essential elements of Power Yoga practice; key power yoga postures to build strength and flexibility safely and how to breathe for both relaxation and awakening prana. Module 1 will focus on the Sun Salutation Sequence and Twisting Poses, while module 2 will focus on Seated, Back Bending and inverted Poses For more information training_workshop/pranapower-power-yoga-workshopswith-master-anurag/

Workshops & Master class with Gokulacandra 19 – 21 May The Yoga Room, Sheung Wan Gokulacandra, also called Jani Jaatinen has been practicing yoga since 2000. Based in Kota Kinabalu where he lives with his family, he travels extensively around the world offering workshops and trainings. Here in Hong Kong, he will lead four workshops covering hip opening, arm balancing, inversions and backbending. For more information workshops-and-class-withguest-teacher-gokulacandra-inmay/

Pure Yoga, Centrium Join David for a fun-filled five days. Whether attending all or just the morning practice, you are sure to learn loads about Ashtanga and have a good time doing it.

For more information workshop/detail/293

Yoga Assists with Dr. Trish Corley


27-28 May New Angle Yoga Empower your practice and your teaching by discovering how to assist over 50 yoga postures. As a student, you will gain an understanding of alignment and the possibilities of the poses. As a teacher, you will learn how to confidently assist students and empower them to experience their own greatness in each pose. Your hands already have the power to support, the workshop will give you the guidance to do so! For more information

Kino McGregor One-day workshop 16 May Pure Yoga, Urban One This one-day workshop with Kino McGregor will cover the full primary series in the morning, an inversions session after lunch, followed by a yoga talk and meditation. For more information detail/272

Sharon & David’s Jivamukti Master Class 3-4 June

For more information SINGAPORE

Kino MacGregor One-day Workshop 3 May Pure Yoga, Ngee An City This one-day workshop with Kino McGregor will cover the full primary series in the morning, an inversions session after lunch, followed by a yoga talk and meditation. For more information workshop/detail/270

Anatomy with Dr. Trish Corley 20 – 21 May New Angle Yoga Gain a clear understanding of yoga anatomy and put it into action on the yoga mat. The workshop consists of interactive lectures with anatomical models and illustrations and is integrated with full asana practices. Have fun while practically applying the knowledge of human anatomy to your own practice and/or your teaching.

Jason Crandell will be teaching in Singapore

Move your practice forward with Jason Crandell 3-4 June Pure Yoga, Asia Square Tower 2 The Move Your Practice Forward Weekend Workshops are for students and teachers with less time to invest, which may be taken as a standalone in the 5-day programme. In this workshop, you’ll approach challenging poses and variations with greater poise, awareness, and attention to detail. You’ll expand your edge, deepen your practice, and learn to stay connected to your centre in challenging situations.

Pure Yoga, Urban One Sharon and David are founders of the Jivamukti Yoga Method, which emphasises vinyasa, scriptural study, devotion, music, chanting and meditation, as well as animal rights, veganism, environmentalism and political activism. For more information / workshop/detail/317

For more information

April 2017





For more information;;+852 2544-8398

Love yourself as you are – Yoga & Self-Discovery MONGOLIA Retreat with Janet Mongolia Yoga Lau & The Yoga Retreat with Room Emma Henry 13-19 August Navutu Dreams, Siem Reap, Cambodia

This retreat offers a wellrounded program exploring ways to apply a meditative yoga practice to everyday actions such as walking, sitting, talking, and listening. Through these practices, we begin the process of healing. This will be an opportunity to learn more about meditation, mindfulness, spirituality, and living a more joyful and peaceful life. For more information:;;+852 2544-8398 HONG KONG

Spring Cleaning Day Retreat with Holly & The Yoga Room 22 April Mui Wo, Hong Kong Starting with a detoxifying vinyasa class focusing on twists and binds, followed by a healthy and refreshing vegan lunch. In the afternoon there will be a mini lecture on the Traditional Chinese Medicine theories and yin yoga. We will finish off the day with a restorative and yin practice. 10

29 July – 7 August Jivamukti yoga in the Mongolian wilderness with teacher Emma Henry. Experience powerful and brilliantly taught yoga, camp-fire kirtan and desert meditation. Sleep in luxury yurt camps and enjoy delicious vegan food. The perfect mix of yoga, healthy food and adventures. Horse riding, rafting, camel treks and hiking.

Adinath Yoga Ashram, Chiang Rai Join Micha for a 4-day retreat at Yoga ashram in the heart of Chiang Rai. Micha is sharing asana, pranayama, mantra practices & lectures, helping everyone realize oneself on physical, mental, intellectual aspects. Different lectures on yoga: Kundalini, alignment, concepts of happiness & true ashtanga yoga by Patanjali. For more information: +852 93448589 Facebook page: Yoga Point Hong Kong


23 – 30 September Nepal Join John and his team of teachers in Nepal at the foothills of the Himalayasa. The teachers will donate all the proceeds from their teaching to the monastery for the poorest children For more information project/nepal-23sep17/ THAILAND

Yoga Retreat with Micha Chan April & twice a year

For more information

Samkhya-Yoga - 7 Days Retreat 30 April – 6 May, 4-11 June 9-15 July, 22-28 October 26 November to 2 December People glibly speak about Yoga without realizing that it forms an integral part of a composite Samkhya-Yoga Philosophy, the oldest philosophical system in the world. Include theory and practice of Yoga techniques, vegetarian meals in residential basis. Wise Living Yoga Academy Chiang Mai, Thailand

For more information,

John Scott Nepal Buddhist Monastery Retreat

2003. He began teaching yoga full time in Hong Kong in 2008, where he currently lives and works.

Daniel Stringer will be teaching at

For more information+66 825467995,,

Samahita Retreat

Integrated Yoga Practice with Daniel Stringer 29 April - 6 May Samahita Retreat, Koh Samui. Daniel explore and integrate the layers of Self experienced through ashtanga vinyasa asana, pranayama, chanting, meditation techniques practices, philosophy and open debate. With a background in martial arts and Qi Gong, Daniel has been studing Ashtanga yoga since


Samkhya + Bhagavad Gita - 14 Days Retreat 30 April - 13 May, 4-17 June 9-22 July, 22 October - 4 November 26 November - 9 December 2017 In this retreat, besides the study of Samkhya and many traditional practices and techniques, the student will be lead to dive deeper into Yoga as the Bhagavad Gita will be explained in the view of the Four Paths of Yoga, namely Raja Yoga, Jnana Yoga, Bhakti Yoga & Karma Yoga. Include theory and practice, vegetarian meals in

residential basis. Wise Living Yoga Academy Chiang Mai, Thailand For more information +66 825467995,,

Re-energize, Relax, Retreat in Koh Samui with Flex Studio 4-9 May Kamalaya Resort, Koh Samui Flex Studio Hong Kong is again hosting a luxury retreat to the beautiful Kamalaya Resort in Koh Samui, Thailand. This year’s retreat offers daily yoga and Pilates, signature wellness and spa treatments and the delicious vegetarian menu for which Kamalaya is famed. Michelle Ricaille, homeopath and yoga instructor, will join Flex cofounder Heather Shalabi on this intimate getaway. For more information,, +852 28132212

Unlock Your Creativity with Emily Alp & Manuel Molina de la Torre 3 - 10 June Samahita Retreat, Koh Samui Engage in activities designed to reduce inhibition around creative expression. Move into right brained thinking. This workshop is about learning to express your emotions through writing, multimedia and movement. We will be using daily yoga practices like, pranayama, asana and contemplative practices as catalysts and supports for the cathartic experience. For more information

Luxury 7-night Retreat with E:scape 17-24 June Koh Samui

Emma Henry leads a10-day yoga retreat in Mongolia

E:scape hosts retreats in luxurious locations around the world, wellness professionals and coaches will help you feel your best. Retreats are designed to bring together a group of likeminded individuals looking to E:scape from their daily life and work on themselves. The next retreat will be held at a luxurious private villa in Koh Samui with daily yoga and meditation, cultural excursions and an executive coach hosting workshops on stress reduction and private sessions to help you achieve all your wellness goals. For more information:,

Ashtanga Yoga Therapy Retreat With Rachel Grey 18 - 26 June Samahita Retreat, Koh Samui Peace, harmony, balance and sustainability both on and off the mat. Create a seamless yoga practice to unify breath body and mind using the Ashtanga series and Yoga Therapy. For more information

Ann will be leading the retreat at E:scape on Koh Samui

Ashtanga Yoga Therapy Retreat with Michele Loew 29 July - 5 August Join Michele Loew for an intimate exploration of The Ashtanga Vinyasa Primary series. Open to all-levels of practice. Deepen your awareness of internal and external alignment to create a refined and intelligent

April 2017

practice, improve asana, repair and prevent injury, and ultimately awaken the unsurpassed joy from our highest self. This week-long session of philsophy study & practice will count as 20 hours of Yoga Alliance CEUs and credit towards Michele’s 500 hr. Teacher Training program. For more information:



Teacher Trainings


95hr Children’s Yoga Teacher Training with Gecko Yoga 11-20 May Yoga Space Maylands Studio – Perth Whether you want to teach toddlers, tweens or teens this course with Gecko Yoga will ensure you are inspired and prepared to share yoga with the next generation of budding yogis. For more information

95hr Children’s Yoga Teacher Training with Gecko Yoga 9-17 September Flying Masters, Melbourne Gecko Yoga’s 95hrs Children’s This training is registered with Yoga Australia and Yoga Alliance so you can become a RCYT. For more information workshop/95-hour-childrensyoga-teacher-training-withjenny-smith-gecko-yoga-hk/ HONG KONG

300hr Yoga Teacher Training (Chinese) with Ann da Silva & Keiki To 12

Pregnancy Yoga: 29 April – 7 May Yoga Therapy: 30 Sep – 8 Oct Master Curriculum (Mandatory): from 7 July (rotational) The Yoga Room, Sheung Wan Suitable for yoga teachers with 200-hr foundation training. Training modules can be taken individually without joining full program. Graduates of full 300hr program will qualify as RYT500 with the Yoga Alliance. For more information ;; + 852 :2544-8398

100hr Advanced Hatha Yoga Teacher Training with Yogananth Andiappan 10 May - 5 June Anahata Yoga The course focuses on intermediate and advanced poses, their possible modifications and variations, and teaching and demonstration techniques. The aim of the course is to challenge practitioners to advance in their practice by exploring the limits of their body and overcoming them, as well as to develop their knowledge of the body in order to better understand every joint and muscle nuance in the poses. For more information,, +852 2905 1822

Upeksha Advanced Teacher Training with Carlos Pomeda 13-22 June Pure, Hong Kong In this training, you will explore Tantra and its most refined formulation, Kashmir Shaivism, from a perspective that is both inspirational and entirely applicable to our daily lives. You will dispel the most common misunderstandings about what Tantra is and is not, investigating its roots and its development, and uncovering the answers it provides to the most fundamental questions of existence. For more information hongkong/teachertraining/ upeksha2017/index.php

Gecko Yoga 95hr Children’s Yoga Teacher Training 13-23 June Gecko Yoga, Hong Kong If sharing yoga with all ages is something you aspire to, especially the challenge and joy of teaching children, then Gecko Yoga® can help add this inspiring and useful string to your teaching bow.

23 June - 15 September Anahata Yoga Anahata Yoga’s Teacher Training Certificate Course gives yoga practitioners, enthusiasts, and aspiring instructors the chance to deepen their self-knowledge of yoga philosophy and improve on various aspects of their practice. It is an open-level training programme. For more information,, +852 2905 1822

Integral Yoga Level 1 (200hr) September 2017 - June 2018 2 Saturdays per month + weekend retreat Integral Yoga uses an inward, spiritually focused form of Hatha Yoga to lead students to an experience of their true Self. The part-time curriculum focuses on nurturing a personal practice, competency in teaching a Level 1 class and experience in Integral Yoga’s six branches. For more information

For more information:

300 hr Yoga Therapy Teacher Training Certificate Course at Anahata Yoga

200hr Yoga TT Certificate Course

1 September - 29 November Anahata Yoga Yoga therapy may be worlds apart, but through this specially-


designed course, participants will be given a good introduction to the two sciences as well as a solid foundation on which to build their knowledge. The course is a good starting point for those interested in learning more about these two subjects. Explore the principles of yoga therapy and Ayurveda and their various applications in our daily lives. For more information,, +852 2905 1822

Level I - Insight Yoga Teacher Training Intensive with Sarah Powers 4-13 October Pure Yoga, Hong Kong This intensive will deepen one’s ability to teach/practice a receptive Yin style and an active Yang style with an interest in promoting a conducive inner environment for meditation.

For more information: http:// schedule-2017/level-i-teachertraining-intensive-october-2017/

Yoga for the Special Child with Sonia Sumar 30 October - 5 November Yoga for the Special Child is a comprehensive program of Yoga techniques designed to enhance the natural development of children with special need. Sonia Sumar is a pioneer in this field and her style is gentle and safe for babies and children with a range of special needs and physical or intellectual disabilities. For more information INDONESIA

200-hr Blissology Yoga Teacher Training with Eoin Finn

12 April - 13 May Samadi, Canggu, Bali Join yogi + Blissologist, Eoin Finn and a crew of great assistants. This comprehensive Yoga Alliance certified course will teach you how to embody, breathe and teach yoga, while offering an authentic, powerful and sustainable way for you to deepen your life’s purpose and meaning. For more information:,

200hr Yin Yoga Teacher Training with Jo Phee & Joe Barnett

Teaching Team 6 May - 3 June Samahita Retreat, Koh Samui. Centered Yoga is located at Samahita Retreat on the beautiful tropical island of Koh Samui, Thailand. This Yoga Institute has been providing yoga certification courses since Paul Dallaghan founded the school in New York in 1999. We offer one-month residential trainings, which are preceded by pre-course assignments and preparation. For more information

13 October - 3 November Ubud, Bali Covering YinspirationCore Modules: Yin Yoga: Theory and Practice, Anatomy of Yoga, Chinese Medicine & Five Element Theory Fascia Study: Science & Research, Sequencing & Teaching Methodology. For more information:,

200hr Yoga Teacher Training 1- 29 October Dena Seni, Bali The team of teachers, who bring together the different traditions of Kundalini, Ashtanga, Vinyasa Flow, Tantra, and Hatha, will be working to share, educate, nurture all those interested in becoming a teacher or deepening their practice. This experience will incorporate all Desa Seni’s philosophies, a fully rounded spectrum into yoga, offerings from additional teachers who will further educate, along with organic food, holistic wellness. For more information THAILAND

Eoin Finn will be in Bali

200hr Foundation Course with Paul Dallaghan & Centered Yoga April 2017

Arielle Nash leads a 300 hr TT at Samahita

300hr Advanced Yoga Teacher Training: Anatomy with Arielle Nash 18 June - 1 July This course continues dives deeper into understanding adjusting by exploring subtle biomechanics, kinesiology and psychosomatics. Hands-on adjusting experience will occur in a live setting. The Ashtanga Primary and Intermediate Series’ will be used as reference for asana study. Pre-course reading will be recommended to students who need to refresh basic anatomy knowledge prior to attending the course. For more information:




What does your asana look like? BY SARAH PIERROZ In yoga, we use tools like breath and dristi to help stay centered and focused while we move through various asana. A challenging balancing posture or opening backbend can bring up all sorts of feelings of joy and fear. Sometimes we may feel completely rooted and connected in pose, strong and glorious, with a calm mind and easy breath. Other postures may leave us feeling unstable or tense. As an artist and yoga practitioner, I ask myself, what does that experience look like? I once had a student describe Ustrasana as a complete opening, like a garden of flowers was coming forth from her ribs. For months before the pose had felt tight and contained, but it had flourished into something much more alive and expanding. I drew my interpretation for her and, as she moves onto other inevitable challenges, it reminds her of the way we shift from unease to ease, of how we can push and redefine our edge. Have you taken a moment to reflect on your own metaphors for a posture? What does it look like when you imagine yourself watching your body from the outside? And from the inside? What images does surya namaskara bring up for you? Paschimottanasana?



Drawing gives us a chance to pause and consider our experience in yoga, experiences which tend to leave us at a loss for words. Consider this thought experiment for a moment: if line was your breath in yoga practice, how does it move? Does it flow with curves and swirls? Does it have an unrestricted and uninhibited quality? Or are there spaces which feel jagged and sharp and bound up? Does it feel boundless and completely dissolved into the background? When? For these particular line drawings, I use a very fine permanent black pen and a very large sheet of blank, white paper. That’s all. There is nothing else on my desk. All distractions are put aside. The blank page is quite poetic. Vast. Nothing. Pure. Once the black ink touches the paper there is not going back, no undoing, no eraser. You have to commit to the task at hand. You are there to express your metaphors and let something come through you. Step aside from your thoughts. Let your eyes and fingers unite. If there is hesitation, or shaking, or doubt, the crisp line will turn frail, and the experience will be lost. Drawing is a process, a happening, a place to enter a calm abiding within. There is nothing you need to prove, no outcome you have to focus on. Just you and the pen and page. You never have to show the outcome to anyone else. Try it out! Think of a posture that brings up an emotion, story or metaphor. Write down all the ideas you associate with it. Then, close your eyes, start to visualize how that pose looks in your imagination. Where do you feel connected? Where do you feel tight? Then, let the pen hit the paper, and let it flow. Attempt as many times as you need. Just try to finish one image all the way through. And enjoy the experience of what comes out of your brilliant imagination!

April 2017






Talking with Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo BY TIA SINHA

non-Buddhists as well. Jetsunma is also President of the Sakyadhita International Association of Buddhist Women, Founding Director of the Alliance of Non Himalayan Nuns, Honorary Advisor to the International Network of Engaged Buddhists and Founding Member of the Committee for Bhikshuni Ordination. Part 1 of the interview follows:

Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo, a Tibetan Buddhist nun of British origin is a living legend. She ordained in 1964 in India at the age of 20. She became well known in the Buddhist world through her exceptional spiritual endeavour of meditating for 12 years (from 1976 to 1988) in a Himalayan cave, 13,000 feet above sea level. Her biography, Cave in the Snow, written by journalist Vicki Mackenzie, chronicles her incredibly inspirational life. In February 2008 Tenzin Palmo was given the rare title of Jetsunma (Venerable Master), by His Holiness the 12th Gyalwang Drukpa, Head of the Drukpa Kagyu lineage in recognition of her spiritual achievements as a nun and her efforts in promoting the status of female practitioners in Tibetan Buddhism. Jetsunma is the founder and abbess of Dongyu Gatsal Ling Nunnery near Dharamsala in India. She has authored two books on Buddhism, Reflections on a Mountain Lake and Into the Heart of Life. She teaches internationally. Her talks as well as her books offer clear and simple explanations of the Buddhist path and meditation techniques that are relevant for

THANK YOU, JETSUNMA, FOR THIS INTERVIEW. COULD YOU TELL US ABOUT THE STATUS OF WOMEN IN BUDDHISM, NUNS AS WELL AS LAY PRACTITIONERS? In general along with all other religious traditions the role of women - both monastic and lay - has been overlooked and neglected. In the past women in Buddhist countries have been mostly delegated to a secondary and inferior place within society and opportunities for study and advanced spiritual training have mostly been denied. Nonetheless it has always been noted that in purely Buddhist countries such as Burma and Tibet the lay women are strong and outspoken and often run the businesses. In recent times the status of women is changing with the introduction of universal education which allows women to find their voice. Nowadays both nuns and laywomen are on the move and are already making a significant contribution both in social activism and in spiritual circles. YOU HAVE BEEN CHAMPIONING THE RIGHTS OF BUDDHIST NUNS TO RECEIVE FULL ORDINATION ON PAR WITH BUDDHIST MONKS. WHAT ARE THE OBSTACLES? DO YOU SEE FULL ORDINATION BEING GRANTED SOON? In the Theravadin countries of South-East Asia the bhikshuni or full ordination for nuns died out several centuries ago. There have been recent efforts to revive this nuns’ ordination in Sri Lanka and Thailand despite opposition from conservative elements of the monk sangha. In Tibet the full ordination April 2017

for nuns was never introduced so the argument is that it is broken and cannot therefore be revived. Nonetheless there are plans to try to bring back this ordination with the help of bhikshunis (fully ordained nuns) from the Chinese tradition who hold a different lineage to the Tibetans. This issue has been under ‘research’ for the past 30 years but no decision has yet been reached. However now His Holiness the Gyalwang Karmapa has announced his intention to host this ordination for a select group of nuns and we await the outcome of this. WHAT, IN YOUR OPINION, ARE SOME OF THE CHALLENGES LAY PRACTITIONERS OF BUDDHISM, BOTH FEMALE AND MALE, ARE FACING IN THE WORLD TODAY? Probably the main challenge is the onslaught of consumerism and constant sensory distractions. People are continually bombarded by stimuli which take them away from their own centre. They become stressed, and caught on the treadmill of daily living. Modern society assures us happiness lies in the satisfaction of our cravings and so we hasten after acquiring and experiencing more and more and feel increasingly empty. Like drinking salty water we just become more thirsty. For Buddhists and anyone on a spiritual path the answer is to clearly distinguish our needs from our greeds and to cultivate appreciation and contentment. We have to swim against the stream. COULD WE HAVE SOME WORDS OF ADVICE FOR LAY PRACTITIONERS OF BUDDHISM? I feel it is important to make our daily life into our dharma practice. It is not just a matter of visiting temples or sitting retreats. Cultivating awareness and kindness would go a long way to helping us to live more sane and meaningful lives. This is why the practice of Mindfulness has become popular even in business organizations and even the military!

Look out for part 2 in July.




Hong Kong with open hearts and genuine intent took part in Yoga Stops Traffick on Sunday 5th March 2017. Yoga Stops Traffick is an annual worldwide fundraiser for Odanadi Seva Trust. Odanadi is a charity in MySore, India who rescue, rehabilitate, and reintegrate women and children who have been victims of human trafficking, sexual exploitation, bonded labour and abuse. At the event, participants are guided to perform 108 sun salutations (surya namaskar) or a number divisible into 108 (for example 54 or 27). As you may know, 108 is considered a sacred number in Hinduism, Buddhism and yogic tradition. Mala beads come in a string of 108 and are used for devotional meditation, mantra and prayer. There are 108 energy lines converging to and from the heart chakra. Yoga Stops Traffick was started 7 years ago by some volunteers at Odanadi. They picked a day in March and gathered the community of Odanadi to do sun salutations in the pubic space outside Mysore Palace. Over the years it has grown into a global event with 30 countries participating. Last year the event raised over GB£16,000 (HK$150,000) which covered the operating costs (food, water, electricity, support staff) for running the rehabilitation centres for one year. I was prompted to learn about human trafficking in 2014 whilst living in London. One Sunday morning in his sermon, my local parish priest talked about the impact of the trade in our own backyards; people were keeping slaves who had been trafficked in Central London. In 2014? How could this be? Yes, human trafficking is a global crime in industrialised nations as well. Today there are 20-30 million slaves – 79% of which are sexually exploited and 19% of which are exploited for labour. It is the 3rd largest international crime behind illegal dugs and arms trafficking. And at best, we can estimate it yields US$32billion profit per year. It’s a lot to take in. As I was learning more about this hideous crime, I was introduced to Yoga Stops Traffick at my regular London yoga studio, the flyer read: 108 sun salutations for the Odanadi charity to help stop human trafficking. Who could argue? This clearly

was for a good cause. So, I signed up for the 7am start on a Sunday without considering the fact I had a pretty bad hip injury and was thick in the midst of sleep deprivation as my toddler suffered from frequent nightmares. After a pretty brutal night, my alarm sounded at 6am and I did consider skipping the event. But I peeled myself out of bed, got dressed and left the house without interacting with a soul. I got on the number 11 bus on that grey London morning to arrive at the studio. The practice was hard but the vibe, the compassion for something beyond that yoga room set me on a path to support this cause. When I moved to Hong Kong, I was surprised Yoga Stops Traffick 2015 was not hosted anywhere. Determined be a part of this movement, I remembered reading “the event is run by volunteers”. I designated myself a volunteer and discovered Alive Wellness in Central who graciously donated their space. I organised a small group to do the 108 sun salutations. From that small group in the spirit of Yoga Stops Traffick, a Kirtan to support Odanadi was born hosted by Manipura Wellness. 2016 rolled around and I replicated the same model. And again, Manipura led a Kirtan following the event. This was all making a difference but as my commitment to this charity / event / cause grew, my desire to raise awareness and increase participation in Hong Kong swelled. Last December, I quickly secured commitment for the third year from Alive Wellness. Then I launched a word of mouth campaign to friends, family and yogis, and reached out to businesses and studios. Everyone I spoke to thought it was an incredibly important initiative. Again, who could argue? But sometimes it takes one person to believe in something as much as you do. I met, Eri, a Community Key Leader at lululemon amidst Christmas shopping. On Sunday 5th March, a small group again gathered at Alive Wellness in Central early that morning. Later over 130 people gathered on Shek O Beach sponsored by lululemon. We all set out our yoga mats on the sand, faced the ocean and were present with intention. I venture to say every single person felt the vibe throughout the practice



Raising Awareness of Human Trafficking BY KATHERINE CAMILLERI

but they also felt that vibe reverberate beyond Hong Kong. There was an element of global healing that took place. Those involved took part in a movement to drive awareness to this growing global problem. At the deepest level, we flowed 108 sun salutations in solidarity with each other, with the victims of human trafficking to fight this crime. Over HK$30,000 was raised in Hong Kong this year through Yoga Stops Traffick including donations from a Kirtan hosted by Manipura Wellness and the Rising Goddess Girls Day Fest hosted by Pure Potential Worldwide. While the money raised to support the victims is important, it also means something else to them: “For the young people, at Odanadi, Yoga Stops Traffick means a sense of belonging. They feel they have relatives and friends across the world who love them and want the best for them. When the name Odanadi is taken to countries across the world, it starts a healing process. It gives us the energy to carry on.” Odanadi founders Stanly and Parashuram. For more information and how to donate, please visit: /

lululemon sponsored Yoga Stops Traffick at ShekO beach, Hong Kong in March

April 2017







Samyama is a process of meditative analysis which helps us develop discrimination, or Viveka-Khyati. And this faculty of discrimination is the means to liberation from bondage and suffering. Samyama is a way of directing attention to an object or feature of an object to understand it correctly. Correctly here means to see an object for what it is, uninfluenced by biases and conditioning. Correct understanding helps in renunciation of those objects that ensnare us in a cycle of attachment and suffering. In other words, Samyama is the essence of Yoga. All the tools and techniques of Kriya Yoga are to develop the ability to apply Samyama. For example, austerities (Tapas) and codes of conduct (Yama and Niyama) limit the activities of the practitioner so habits not conducive to concentration are destroyed and habits conducive to concentration are formed and reinforced. A FITNESS ANALOGY Samyama is a bit like cardiovascular fitness. It is a means to an end and it can be developed in a number of ways. For example, improving cardiovascular fitness is useful for a tennis player. One can simply play more tennis and improve. Or train off court by running, interval training, swimming, biking, etc. Running is one way to develop cardiovascular fitness, but if you have bad knees, swimming may be a better option. Another useful analogy is strength training. Strength is useful for everyday health and elite athletics. Squats and deadlifts are useful to develop functional strength. For some strength is an end in itself. They squat and deadlift just to squat and deadlift heavier weights. A bit like people doing asanas so they can do more difficult asanas. WE HAVE DONE IT BEFORE All of us have done Samyama in some form. As students, we spent time studying, analysing and contemplating academic problems. Concentration comes easy to some and we lose ourselves in doing things we love, and for others, it is hard work.

Interestingly, the ability to concentrate is, to my knowledge, rarely addressed as a specific skill to be developed at schools and colleges. Either you have it, and hence you are a good or gifted student, or you don’t. The tools of yoga are frequently sold short as means to health and stress management. In my opinion, their usefulness is more in their primary objective i.e. to develop the ability to concentrate at will. This is an essential skill in all walks of life.

The final stage Samadhi is the hardest to attain. To suppress at will one’s biases, conditioning and patterns of thinking requires supreme mastery over one’s mind and sense organs.

YOGA SUTRAS ON SAMYAMA Samyama has three stages, as outlined in chapter 3 of the Yoga Sutras. The beginning is Dharana, where concentration is intermittent. The mind is focussed on thoughts about the object under meditation.

3.4. trayam ekatra samyama / the three together (applied on the same object) is called samyama.

Samadhi is not a mindless blank state, where one is filled with bliss. The yogi is in control of the process and there is an object on which the concentration is directed with the purpose of understanding it.

And Samyama leads to the ultimate knowledge pertaining to the object.

As cardio training off court helps a tennis player, practicing samyama helps the yogi cultivate discrimination. 3.1. desa bandha cittasya dharana / dharana is the mind’s fixation on a particular point. Dharana is followed by Dhyana. In Dhyana, concentration is unbroken for a meaningful length of time and the attention narrows to a single thought. 3.2. tatra pratyaya ekatanata dhyanam / In dharana, the continuous flow of similar mental modifications is called dhyana. Dhyana finally leads to Samadhi, where concentration is so intense the object meditated upon is reflected on the mind of the meditator in its true essence, without being coloured by biases and conditioning. 3.3. tad eva arthamatra nirbhasam svarupa sunyam iva samadhihò / when only the object of meditation shines forth in the mind, as though devoid of the thought of even the self (who is meditating), that state is called samadhi or Yogic concentration.

April 2017

3.5. tajjayat prajna lokaha / by mastering that, the light of knowledge dawns. By applying Samyama to different objects the Yogi attains discriminative knowledge, Viveka, the means to liberation. 2.26. viveka khyatiho aviplava hanopayaho / (being established in) unbroken discriminative knowledge is the means (to liberation) WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR US? While samadhi is the highest level of concentration, the ability to concentrate to lesser degrees is still useful in real life. For example, it helps one to grasp a situation for what it is, uninfluenced by one’s biases and conditioning. Such an understanding will result in better decision making, which in turn will avoid needless suffering. As cardio training off court helps a tennis player, practicing samyama helps the yogi cultivate discrimination on and off the mat. 21



Sacred Sounds leading to Stillness BY RAM VAKKALANKA

Mantras are powerful vibrations that rekindle the latent energies inside us. The universe is a repository of vast, limitless energies. For example, we all know the tremendous power of Solar energy. Similarly, water contains electrical energy. Our Planet has gravitational energy. Yoga philosophy teaches us to go beyond the apparent phenomena of the universe and see the presence of underlying intelligent Energies. Human beings are miniature universes in themselves, filled with microcounterparts of the macro cosmic energies. However, these energies are in a potential state in us and we need to ignite these slumbering giants inside of us. Mantras provide the spark to rev up these energies inside of us into motion. Mantras are sacred sounds which raise our vibrational level and connect us with the cosmic energies. Mantra is defined is mananat trayate iti mantraha - the which uplifts our consciousness when repeated is a mantra. In other words, mantra changes our vibration and lifts us to higher states of being. ORIGIN OF THE MANTRAS Mantras are found in the most ancient spiritual texts known to man - the Vedas. There are four Vedas and each Veda has four parts: the Mantra part, the Aranyakas, the Brahmanas and the Upanishads. There are said to be 8.4 million mantras. AUTHORSHIP OF THE MANTRAS Mantras are not authored by any one. They are not products of human creativity. Ancient Rishis (aka Yogis) elevated themselves to higher states of consciousness through deep meditation. In these states where they were connected with the root energy, they received the Mantras, channeled them and shared them for the benefit of humankind. In other words, Mantras are received from the Universe. They are not conceived like poetry or writing. SIX IMPORTANT ASPECTS OF MANTRA It is important to understand what makes a Mantra a Mantra. This prevents gullible seekers from becoming victims of fake Gurus. 22

SIX PRE-REQUISITES OF MANTRA 1 Rishi - the ‘Seer’ of the Mantra, the first person to receive the Mantra from the Universe. A Rishi is not the author of the Mantra but rather one who channeled it. 2 Devata - is the cosmic energy manifested in sound form in the Mantra. Usually, the Mantra contains the name of the Devata. For example, Shiva is the Devata for the popular Mantra ‘Om Namaha Shivaya’. 3 Chandas - is the numerical potency of the Mantra. Every Mantra has a specific number of syllables. Chandas stands for the numerical potency of this number. For example, the Mantra ‘Om Namaha Shivaya’ has the numerical potency of five. It is also known as ‘Panchakshari Mantra’ - the five-syllabled Mantra. 4 Shakti - indicates the application of the Mantra. Mantras have many applications such as removal of obstacles from one’s path to growth, removal of illnesses, reducing inner resistance to change, attracting what one needs into one’s life. Mantras achieve this by raising one’s vibration and creating positive energies in the inner world of the practitioner. Shakti indicates the applicational energy of the Mantra. 5 Bija - means seed. Out of a small seed comes a big tree. Similarly, out of the Bija NAMASKAR

comes a vast energy. Bija is the seed-energy of the Mantra. 6 Keelakam - means key. It is the key to unlocking the vast potential and energy of the Mantra. TIPS FOR PRACTICING MANTRA MEDITATION Create a peaceful ambiance for yourself either in a room or a corner of a room. Practice Mantra meditation in this space only, as often as possible. Decorate your sacred space appropriately to evoke peace and tranquility. One may use one’s favourite incense. Mantra repetition is better done while seated on something rather than directly on the ground. A mat made with natural materials is best. Chair may also be used. Generally, early morning hours are the best time for Mantra meditation. However, practice anytime you can. ACCESSORIES FOR MANTRA MEDITATION 1. Mala 2. Favourite incense 3. Candles COMMON QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

1. What is the language of the Mantras? It is an ancient language known as Sanskrit. 2. Can Mantras be translated into other languages such as English? Mantras were originally in Sanskrit. The meaning of the Mantras can be translated but the vibrations of the Mantras are unique to Sanskrit and cannot be translated. 3. I don’t know the meaning of the mantra, is it still safe for me to repeat the Mantra? Yes, intellectual meaning is considered secondary to the vibrational energy of the Mantra. Mantra repetition is beneficial even if one doesn’t know the meaning of the Mantra. Fire burns when touched knowingly or unknowingly. Similarly, Mantras will create positive energy whether the practitioner knows their meaning or not. 4.Is a Mantra similar to a positive assertion? A Mantra is similar to a positive assertion. However, Mantra has some distinctive characteristics. A positive assertion influences our mental make up. Mantra positively influences us at Karmic level which is much deeper. Mantras are more than positive assertions. A Mantra embodies a cosmic energy. Mantra meditation calms the mind down, helps to quiet the negative chatter in the mind and can help fight addictions and complexes. Mantra meditation can be safely practiced by anyone interested.



May the Mind follow BY VINCENT WONG

I have to confess I joined yoga to heal my body and as cross-training for my regular running. My back was injured from work. The diagnosis I got was the muscles on one side of my back were constantly contracted. I would wake up from my back in pain. Doing yoga has eased my back pain by strengthening the weaker side of back muscles, so I am more balanced. After a year of doing yoga, I find I am drawn into it. I look forward to going to class after work. I still mostly treat yoga as exercise and an excuse for a good sweat, and I have improved a lot since day one. Doing yoga is not easy. Beside strong muscles and flexible body, yoga also requires

April 2017

tremendous focus and patience. As a runner, I thought of myself as very fit. But, there are poses I couldn’t do. I realised what I was missing isn’t lack of muscle, but lack of spirit. To me lack of spirit means when you struggle to hold a pose you would talk yourself into giving up. I am learning how to focus from yoga. And in my observation, women are very good at that! A strong mind is not something you can teach. You can’t read an article, and then just tell your mind to be strong. It is an experience and it takes practice. It struck me one class when seeing people doing an “impossible” pose really well - Yoga is like continuously failing, but you keep trying that difficult pose, and everyone else in the class comes along with you too!




April 2017






Balancing Udana Vayu BY VINOD SHARMA

Ayurveda is an ancient but timeless science. It’s a complete science which can help everyone equally - infants, young and old - to enjoy a healthy life in all respects, physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. In this article I’ll share how Ayurvedic principles of diet and lifestyle coupled with simple herbs and home remedies, can help deal with a fast growing problem called dementia, and even reverse it, if applied at its initial stage. According to main stream science, Dementia is a clinical/health condition in which one’s normal brain functioning is adversely affected, which can cause complete or partial memory loss, impaired cognitive skills, depression, anxiety, confused mind, insanity, disorientation, etc. As a result of this, the affected person cannot perform his/her regular daily activities properly. Dementia is considered as one of problems generally sprouting from mental/ psychological and/or emotional platform. In Ayurveda, we try to find out what is the main cause of the problem. Broadly speaking, the health issues are mainly caused due to the imbalance of any one or more of the three humours, called “doshas” in Ayurveda: Vata (Air + Space), Pitta (Fire + Air + Water) and Kapha (Water + Earth). Dementia is considered as a subtle problem mainly caused by Vata imbalance. Vata is considered as a transporting dosha/element

Vata is a transporting dosha and a link between our body and our mind

in our body and it’s a link between our physical body and our mind. This is the most significant of the three doshas. There are five types of primary Vata in our body, namely Prana Vayu (the air element which is located in our chest/heart region, mainly governing the functioning of our respiratory system and the heart), Samana Vayu (the air element located in our stomach region, helping to digest the food we consume), Apana Vayu (the air element located in our lower abdomen, controlling the functioning of our excretory and reproductive organs/systems), Udana Vayu (air which circulates around and above our throat region, which helps us to express ourselves through articulation and expressions), and Vyana Vayu (air which circulates all around our body, facilitating blood circulation throughout our body). The particular type of air which causes subtle problem like dementia is Udana Vayu. When Udana Vayu does not circulate well and its flow slows down, oxygen supply towards the brain is insufficient and inconsistent. Due to this, the brain cells are not nourished properly and as a result, they become damaged and can also decay prematurely. Air is the most unstable element of the five elements. So when someone’s brain is affected by air imbalance, that individual’s memory becomes impaired, thinking/ reasoning ability is diminished, and that person may even feel disoriented due to lack of coordination between his/her brain and his/her body. Secondly, weakness of the earth element also contributes to dementia. Due to the weak earth element, an individual’s ability to retain any information becomes quite adversely affected. Therefore one does not remember even a simple thing like whether or not he/ she had breakfast that morning. The combined effect of imbalanced Vata and weak earth element can become the main cause of many neurological problems such as dementia. According to Ayurveda, generally

April 2017

Walnut fruit on tree. Walnuts can be helpful in treating dementia.

old age is the period when our system is more influenced by Vata disorder, that’s why old age is known as the “Vata Period”. However, in modern times due to improper eating habits and unhealthy lifestyle, (air), being the most sensitive element, can go out of sync very easily even amongst young people and children. Therefore many serious neurological issues which were seen only in older people a few decades ago can be seen in very young people nowadays. HOW CAN AYURVEDA HELP DEMENTIA? There are certain simple home remedies which can be very effective. According to Ayurveda, there are three main things to enhance “Buddhi” (intellect/brain), and therefore help in combating this issue. These are “Brahmi” (bacopa monnieri), “Badam” (almonds) and “Bhastrika” (a Yogic pranayam/breathing technique). Please use Brahmi and almonds with other ingredients as follows: 1. Soak 2 almonds (unroasted), 2 walnuts, 1 teaspoon coriander seeds, 1 teaspoon fennel seeds, 3 pieces black pepper corns, 1 pod cardamom (only the seeds) and 1 teaspoon poppy seeds in half a cup of warm water (preferably use a copper bowl or a porcelain bowl but no other metal bowl for this purpose). Next morning, blend all the ingredients to make a paste & lick this paste before breakfast. Honey or maple syrup can be added to this as a sweetener. This formula will have a very relaxing effect on the brain 27

and rejuvenating effect on brain cells. It will also have a calming effect on the nervous system by regulating Vata (air) circulation, specifically around and above the throat region, towards the brain and neurotransmitters. 2. Mix 1 teaspoon of fresh turmeric juice with 1 teaspoon fresh gooseberry (amla/yau kam tze) juice, 1 teaspoon pure unprocessed honey and ¼ teaspoon black pepper powder. Take this mixture 2 – 3 times a day. Avoid eating/drinking anything for at least 15 minutes before and after taking this. 3. Take 2 tablets/capsules Ashwagandha (withania somnifera), 2 tablets/capsules Brahmi (bacopa monnieri) and 2 tablets/capsules Shankhapushpi (Convolvulus Pluricaulis) with 100 ml warm water, after meals, 3 times a day. These remedies can be easily ordered through the internet. According to Ayurveda, when the combination of these three herbs is taken continuously for three months, it helps to improve the functioning of one’s brain tremendously. Therefore one’s memory, ability to reason, ability to analyse, ability to make decisions, can all improve substantially. This formula can also help to improve coordination between mind and body. 4. Use pure almond oil for massaging the temples and scalp for 5 minutes at night before going to bed. This will have a relaxing effect on one’s brain and induce good sleep. 5. Avoiding uncooked vegetables, beans, nuts, yoghurt, citrus/sour fruits, eggplants, cucumber, onions and cooked tomatoes will help one prevent sleeping disorders, thereby helping to combat this issue. In short, one should follow a diet and lifestyle which can help to pacify and regulate Vata and which can enhance/strengthen the earth element and also boost the fire element within one’s system.

Bhastrika Pranayama enhances fire element and has beneficial effects on brain and intellect.

2. Start breathing in deeply and exhaling completely through your nose, increasing the speed of your breathing gradually, like an engine, and slow it down after 25 – 30 deep breaths. 3. Then straighten your neck and bend it forward completely so that it touches the cavity of your throat. Keeping your eyes closed, concentrate on the nape of your neck (according to yogic literature, there is a point at the nape of the neck called “the point of intellect”). 4. Repeat the vigorous breathing in the same manner for 25 – 30 times. Bhastrika Pranayama enhances fire element in one’s body and has many beneficial effects on one’s brain and intellect. This wonderful pranayama can also help to improve the condition of an individual who is suffering from dementia due to less than optimal functioning of the Pituitary, Pineal, Thyroid and Parathyroid glands. One can start experiencing the benefits within three days of practicing it. Please note this pranayama should be done only in the morning on an empty stomach - avoid doing it in the evening, because it will activate the brain and therefore make it difficult to fall asleep.

From a yogic perspective, Bhastrika Pranayam can be very effective and useful to improve functioning of the brain. There is a specific way of doing this pranayam, which is as follows: 1. Stand straight on a yoga mat keeping the feet together. Tilt your head back as far as it can go. Close your eyes and concentrate on your crown.

Almond fruit on a tree. The raw nut is inside and can be helpful in treating dementia



April 2017




April 2017




A THREE-PRONGED APPROACH From China, India & the West................................................36 32


THE YOGA OF DEATH & DYING Preparing for final savasana....................................................................37

“The hardest thing? Everything is hard”, she says when asked what is her greatest obstacle for caring for her husband of 30 years with advanced dementia. With our ageing society, dementia and its impact upon carers, is becoming more prevalent. There are more than 413,106 Australians living with dementia and worldwide there are more than 46.8 million people with dementia today and 131.5 million predicted by 2050. The total estimated worldwide costs of dementia were US$818 billion in 2015. Although dementia is regarded as “a progressive decline in a person’s functioning,” a student said of his mother: “It was difficult dealing with the shock of the sudden deterioration. Deep sadness was my biggest emotion with the speed and extent of the change and now on a daily basis accepting the deterioration in quality of her life, is just heart-breaking.” My personal interviews of carers shows the impact that flows on from dementia, a disease impacting everyone from the individual to the Carer, to our society. Dementia is the single greatest cause of disability in older Australians (aged 65 years or older) and dementia is the second leading cause of death of Australians. If dementia were a country, it would be the world’s 18th largest economy. WHAT IS DEMENTIA Dementia is the term used to describe the symptoms of a large group of illnesses which cause a progressive decline in a person’s functioning. It is a broad term used to describe a loss of memory, intellect, rationality, social skills and physical functioning. There are many types of dementia including Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia, frontal temporal dementia and dementia with Lewy Bodies. Dementia can happen to anybody, but it is more common after the age of 65. INDEPENDENCE TO DEPENDENCE The stress of caring for a loved one with dementia can take a toll on the Carer. As the sufferer no longer has the ability to perform tasks once taken for granted, their loved one takes on those roles. In doing so, the nature of the relationship changes significantly and a loss of independence for both of them often causes much frustration. The relationship changes from a partnership and interdependence to a dependent one. A fun,

adventurous and loving connection can change to an administrative and task orientated relationship with dementia. “She is so focused on her medication now”, a Carer said of his mother. Some sufferers can appear to be more demanding, “I am unable to leave my husband for more than a few hours, as he becomes very anxious and fears being left alone” said one wife, as they attach themselves very heavily to their main Carer. This can present a challenge for the Carer to have their own time. Frustration arises in the changing relationship “the most stress is dealing with all the details of managing third parties, all the tasks they can no longer perform by themselves”, commented a son in his new role as Power of Attorney of his Mother’s estate.Carers uniformly said: “Everyday is stressful, you do the best you can.” PREVENTATIVE MEDICINE With the potentially hereditary component and the link to autoimmune disease, preventative measures for the Carer have been important to keep positive about their

Carers all found “the breath the most powerful tool to keep them in the moment, to remain compassionate, patient and respectful”, in their demanding caring roles. “The Yogic deep breathing is most helpful”, because of the stress and worry with the caring for her husband as “it helps relax me”. Caring for a loved one often has the added challenge of the Carer themselves dealing with their own health concerns. This can put an additional strain on the relationship. “My morning routine of Yoga and meditation is “my time” for physical activity and quietness, that helps me balance my day”, said a busy office professional managing his own health concerns, caring role and high profile career. RETURNING TO BALANCE These are some of the tips I give my Wholistic Coaching clients who are full-time Carers: 1. Time for Yourself. Find something they enjoy doing outside of the home and for themselves each week. Such as going out for a “cuppa” with friends, sewing or Men’s shed

A fun and loving connection can change to an administrative and task orientated relationship with dementia own health, “I’m very focused on diet and keeping my body and mind active. Daily meditation and yoga, and trying to find time for some relaxation has been a game changer in how I care for my Mother and keep myself in good shape.” said a Carer living with an autoimmune disorder. The Carer’s loss of emotional support from their partner with dementia, can be very isolating. Joining the supportive weekly meditation group “enabled me to connect with others” and feel I wasn’t alone, said one sufferer’s wife. HOW YOGA, MEDITATION & BREATHING HELPS CARERS “Yoga and meditation helps to me switch off from the intensity of caring. My ability to focus on the pose depends on how Mum has been that day,” commented a student. “My caring life is much easier with meditation, I found it relaxes me and I have my own time”.

April 2017

(woodwork for men), many come to Yoga or Meditation to be part of a positive and connective group. 2. Ask for help. Get support from local agencies to help with their loved one’s care needs and get involved in programs to educate and support themselves. 3. Accept help. Say yes to others offers to supply a cooked meal, drive to appointments, clean the house etc. 4. Join a support group. Meet with other Carers, or a find a like-minded group that makes you smile, laugh or sing! 5. Keep active. Do an activity that helps to reduce stress and take your mind off worrying about the person you are caring for, such as walking, swimming, bowling, cycling or Yoga!




Therapies from East & West BY TIMY HUI Dementia is a broad category of brain diseases which cause long term and often gradual decrease in the ability to think and

remember to the extent that it affects a person’s daily functioning. Accompanying dementia is usually emotional problems, language/speech issues and apathy or a decrease in motivation. The most common type of dementia is Alzheimer’s Disease which makes up 50 – 70 % of dementia cases. Diagnosis is usually by cognitive testing, i.e. asking a series of questions, with blood work to rule out other possible causes. There are about 46.8 million people living with dementia worldwide, and this is expected to double every 20 years, reaching 74.7 million by 2030! The fastest growth in the elderly population is in China and India. From the perspective of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the Kidney Meridian Energy Channel is closely related to the health of our brain. The gradual decline of the level of Qi and the increase in blockage of Qi along the Kidney Meridian may lead to a series of symptoms - dementia being one of them. TCM views the Kidney Meridian as working closely with the Lung and Spleen Meridians. So by gently stimulating the sore points along these meridians supposedly unblocks the flow of Qi, thereby alleviating the symptoms of dementia. VIBRATIONAL THERAPY FOR DEMENTIA Meridian-PaiSha: Vibration Therapy is a deeper form of Guo-Sha. In both treatments repeated physical pressure is used to break down blockages from the muscles, tendons, blood vessels, lymphatic system along the affected meridian, allowing the waste materials to be expelled or assimilated. In the more controversial Guo-Sha [controversial because Western medicine does not recognize Qi and some recent deaths have been potentially linked to the treatment], the vibration is administered by repeated slapping. In the gentler Pai Sha (Vibration Therapy), a cotton hammer is used to stimulate the painful points along these three Meridians. The practice would be conducted three times a day (once between 5 – 7 am, once between 5 – 7 pm and once just before bed) for 30 minutes each time, and at least 3 days per week, but ideally every day. In addition to the physical breakdown of the blockages, the gentle painful sensation generated will stimulate the activities of the brain cells directly and hence can slow down the process of dementia. Dementia sufferers should see improvement after 52 weeks of continuous practice.



YOGASANA FOR DEMENTIA As dementia is a primarily a brain problem, so yogasana to treat it should be focused on stimulating our brain, such as through gentle inversions. In addition, there should be some aerobic element to the yogasana sequence to improve blood circulation to the brain. As well as strengthening and stretching to balance muscles tone. WALKING DOWN-DOG Downward Facing Dog is one of the asana that can meet all the above criteria. “Walking” here means to walk using both the two hands and the two legs, while keeping pose in Downward-Facing Dog, for about 5 minutes. If the practitioner suffers dizziness or discomfort, he/she can stand up and walk with two legs until the discomfort has passed. As dementia suffers are usually elderly, Walking Down-Dog maybe preempted by “Baby Walking” first. That is, to walk using the two hands and two knees. YIN-YANG STANDING FORWARDBACKWARD BENDING SEQUENCE This is a gentle inversion pose that will improve the Qi of our brain. It is a standard standing forward bend with both leg engaged Yang style while the upper body muscles are totally relaxed Yin style for about 23minutes. Then follow this sequence: 1. Breath-in and stand-up slowly with both hands pointing to the ceiling 2. Breath-out backward bend for about 3 seconds (those with low Qi level may feel dizzy when go backward bend, if this is the case, just stand still and close the eyes until the dizzy feeling disappears) 3. Breath-in go back to standing position 4. Breath-out to “Yin-Yang” forward bend for about 2-3minutes 5. Repeat the above 3 times 6. Savasana 2-3minutes. SQUATTING BACKWARD-FORWARD BENDING SEQUENCE This sequence redirects Qi and body resources to our leg and improve the Qi flowing inside the Kidney Meridian and Spleen Meridian. 1. Squat down and totally relax body and mind for about 3-5minutes 2. Breath-in and stand-up slowly with both hands pointing to the ceiling 3. Breath-out backward bend for about 3 seconds (those with low “Qi” level may feel dizzy when go backward bend, if this is the case, just stand still and close the eyes until the dizzy feeling disappears) 4. Breath-in go back to standing position 5. Breath-out to “Yin-Yang” forward bend 6. Squatting again for another 3-5minutes

dementia is a primarily a brain problem, so yogasana should focus on stimulating our brain; gentle inversions; aerobic element to improve blood circulation to the brain; and strengthening and stretching to balance muscle tone.

April 2017


7. Repeat the above for 3 times 8. Finally, take a gentle walk for about 23minutes

the condition of your lungs and the whole respiratory system will degenerate as time goes by.

LIFE RE-ENGINEERING FOR DEMENTIA According to WHO (World Health Organization), Chronic Diseases are of long duration and generally slow progression, when viewed from the result of the disease. If we observe from the “cause”, Chronic Diseases are the accumulation of “Tiny Root Causes” over years or decades until the body of the patient suddenly collapses from a heart attack, stroke, is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease, diabetes, or even cancer.

The role of “Life Re-Engineering” is to help dementia sufferers or carers identify “Tiny Root Causes”, to remove them and to establish a healthy lifestyle. It is labeled as “Re-Engineering” because changing one’s habit is very difficult!

One example of the relationship between “Tiny Root Causes” and Chronic Diseases is smoking and lung cancer. If you just smoke one cigarette, probably nothing will be happened; but if smoking becomes a habit,



Preparing for Final Savasana BY CHANDRIKA GIBSON

Common “Tiny Root Causes” in a city like Hong Kong may be: 1. Over using our body – e.g. shop assistant standing 10 hours a day, restaurant worker putting in 12 hour shifts 2. Inadequate use of our body – e.g. zero exercise, sleeping later than 11pm 3. Long-term emotional problems - working under intense and long-term pressure, bad relationships with family members

On their own, these may be little and insignificant issues, but all together they can put tremendous pressure on our physical, emotional and spiritual bodies after years or decades. Making an assessment of yourself or a loved one’s life could be a starting point to preventing your own decline, or slowing the decline of someone you are caring for.

Have you ever contemplated your own death? Not in a suicidal sense, but in the realistic contemplation of the eventual demise of the physical self. Contemplating mortality forms a spiritual practice for many different traditions including some Yogic and Buddhist practitioners. This is really the antithesis of modern postural yoga’s body consciousness. It’s easy, and some might say preferable, to imagine your body will last forever. Yet no matter how lovingly you tend to its needs, the ageing process will occur in a timeframe that is both fast and slow. The ultimate transition from life in a physical vehicle is inevitable. Death is the final stage but before that, a whole process of living plays out in a phase known as dying.

food and movement, right through to the wisdom (jnanamaya kosha) and bliss (anandamaya kosha) sheaths. Yogic philosophy describes incarnation as a crudifying process, from the bliss sheath into the form of the physical body, and death as a reversal of the same process, becoming increasingly more subtle until the physical form dissolves.

Like other big transitions such as the birth of a baby, the major transition of end of life, is potentially a catalyst for engaging in spiritual practice. Yoga therapists are well placed to support people who seek mastery over their minds, and peace with their changing bodies at the end of their life. KOSHAS, SUTRAS AND THE GOOD LIFE The Taittriya Upanishad, a Vedic era Sanskrit text, describes a model of the human being as five-layered, the pancha maya kosha model. The model functionally describes lifestyle and techniques to clarify perception in order to accurately observe the self (svadhyaya). Each layer is increasingly subtle, beginning with the body (annamaya kosha) made of physical elements and maintained through


4. Cold-Body Effect – habitually eating icecream, iced-drinks, spending a great deal of time in low-temperature air-conditioned interiors in summer time 5. Eating too much or eating too late 6. Daily medication 7. External and Environmental Pollutants Air Pollution, Water Pollution, Radiation from WiFi Routers, Mobile Phones and Mobile Station


According to Patanjali’s yoga sutras, clinging to life (abhinevesha) is one of the obstacles to yoga, or ultimate union with cosmic consciousness/bliss. Recognising ourselves as multi-dimensional beings (panchamaya kosha) means perceiving the physical body (annamaya kosha) as one aspect to ourselves, temporary, crude, useful for sadhana ( spiritual practice) but not indicative of our essential nature ( ananda maya kosha) which is cosmic bliss. While the great mystery of what happens after the body dies may not be directly perceivable, yogic cosmology gives us a beautiful model to work with in life. Recognising the impermanence of the body removes a layer of ignorance (avidya) and liberates the mind from the habit of clinging to body identification. STARING AT THE SUN Author Irvin D. Yalom describes thinking about your death as akin to staring at the sun. It’s radical, dangerous even, certainly fear provoking. It can only be done fleetingly, through the protective shield of cupped hands. Yalom explains many of our life

practice dying regularly, so you may live more fully

Azmi in Vrksasana variation, photo by Yoshi Anwar

April 2017


choices are driven by the deep seated anxiety we have about death. In yoga we consciously cultivate a relationship with the sun through practices such as surya namaskar, but using Yalom’s analogy we lean in to what we fear, whether that’s through asana, relationship or in our own mind in meditation. Not everyone feels anxious about death. In some cultures death is seen commonly, and involves rituals to include everyone in a shared experience of letting go. In India it’s not uncommon to see bodies carried through the streets, on their way to the ghats where the remains will be burned and set afloat on the river. In other places though, youth and health are highly valued, and elderly people disappear into facilities isolated from the wider community. Even in sudden, traumatic deaths, bodies are quickly covered and removed from public spaces. We may see the chalk outline of death, but seldom the visceral reality. In yoga the whole mess of life and death can be observed, even celebrated. Active meditation on self can carry us beyond bodily and ego identity, to other concepts of what ‘I ‘may be. Enquiry practices encourage us to ponder the thinker having the thoughts, is that who I am? The witness to the sensations, is that the true self? Vedic wisdom gives us a technique, noted in the Upanishads, of Neti Neti, not this, not this. By watching the thoughts of who or what ’I’ identifies with, the meditator loosens identity with external things, until they realise ‘I’ am simply ‘I’. As a reminder of this realisation we can use the mantra, So Ham, repeatedly reminding oneself, ‘I am that I am’. PRANA FLOW IN LIFE AND DEATH Yogic physiology describes the flow of Prana through nadis, governed by winds or Vayus which may be manipulated through specific practices to direct Prana to spiritual goals. The end of life is the natural culmination of Prana leaving the nadis and being directed towards subtler functions, until finally merging into the pranic ocean of the universe. Daily life is not generally concerned with directing consciousness or Prana. Many people draw their prana from stimulants, relationships and exciting adventures in the world. Yoga practitioners may undergo a


process of deeper understanding of their own prana, developing a sattvik lifestyle with fewer requirements from the external world. Yet no matter how practiced, the end of life will still likely ask you to drop your sense pleasures. Even simple pleasures like nutritious food and drink, loving touch, sunshine and fresh air, are minimal and eventually unavailable at the end of life. So all the ways you sent your Prana out, all the karmendriyas (exit doors for senses) of your nervous system function, are shutting down, until internal senses are all that’s left. This can be understandably terrifying. SATYA & SURRENDER The ethics and models of yoga philosophy can be used to frame the experience of death and dying. One common experience is of receiving a prognosis, a doctors’ educated guess at how long the disease process is likely to take in your case. Satyam Brown, palliative care consultant says most patients or residents in care facilities want to know the truth. They seek Satya for themselves, to come to terms with their experience, and for their loved ones too. They appeal to medical professionals to drop the euphemisms and double talk and give them benevolent truth. They want this so they can make informed decisions about things like power of attorney (who decides when life support is switched off and more), whether to try an experimental drug regime, to hang on valiantly, or to surrender. Ah surrender, the spiritual notion of letting go. Surrender has many forms and is seldom practiced in any deep way during our householder years. In fact most people are rewarded by striving and avoid surrendering to anything external. Yet life is fleeting and our practiced approach is what becomes our default setting under stress. So if you’ve practiced in business for example, responding to threats to your security with aggression, imagine the experience of an aged care resident who has lost control of their finances, cognitive function and bowels. Their shame, frustration and even rage is rational, yet distressing. RELATIONSHIP YOGA The whole process of dying can be greatly distressing to observers, including nurses, carers, relatives and support staff. When you contemplated your death did you want


certain people around? Yet frequently it’s an isolating experience due to others withdrawing out of fear or pre-emptive grief. Close relationships are the solace of life. In the Anahata chakra , the vritti of mamata, (attachment) speaks to our bonds with those we consider our own kin. Yet while the dying person may be seeking reassurance of that kinship, the significant others may be protecting themselves from the pain of loss, by covering their own tender hearts. Yoga therapists can offer a professional, heart centred relationship that is a rare gift at any phase of life, but particularly valuable at the end of life. Having a professional listener who is not personally grieving (not to say therapists don’t also feel the loss of clients but it’s different from the child or partner of the person dying), and has no agenda other than to be of service, allows the dying person to use their strengths and accept their changing circumstances with support. Offering guided relaxation, meditation, pranayama, mudra, mantra, gentle asana like movement that may alleviate the discomfort of being in a bed, and self awareness opportunities are all ways the yoga therapist assists. Perhaps the most powerful offering though is calm, kind presence. FACING FEAR FOR YOURSELF AND OTHERS To prepare for our own deaths we can choose to practice with inner focus, using drishtis when eyes are open, and practicing seated or supine meditations where senses are withdrawn from the outer world. In every savasana is an opportunity to gently sneak up on our own death anxiety, to witness our mental fluctuations in the face of stillness, and gradually, over time, cultivate santosha, a contentment with what is, even if what is turns out to be inevitable loss and discomfort. Your own fears around death must be faced enough to be calm and kind in the presence of someone’s suffering. The urge to save, fix or even alleviate suffering is an impulse to watch dispassionately. For beyond basic physical care, the most important quality to have with a dying person, is calm acceptance. This can only be cultivated through your own sadhana. So practice dying regularly, so that you may live more fully and accept the eventual cessation of individual pranic flow. The universal Prana welcomes all.

The universal Prana welcomes all

April 2017




April 2017





MUDRAS BY KRISHNAA KINKARI Mudras provide easy access to yoga for those facing physical or mental challenges however these arise; age-related frailty, decrease in memory power, letting oneself give up when faced with endless problems. All yoga provides the super tools to overcome these human weaknesses that are just part of life! Mudras are simple to perform and rely a lot on touch so can be felt even by those who do not see so well. They are simple, very personal, are numerous enough to give a positive answer to all sorts of disorders and definitely invite spiritual insight and the willpower to succeed even in the direst of conditions. The heart and the brain align and combine to fire up the boiler of enthusiasm.

onward with our life throughout this year ahead: remember, all mudras need to be practised with regularity and faith! Resolve to renounce those habits which afflict our progress and adopt those which are beneficial. So we will look at: 1. Prithvi – earth element, represents stability 2 Varuna – water element, represents fluidity 3 Akasha – ether or space element, represents upliftment 4 Vayu – air element, represents movement 5 Agni – fire element, represents warmth and growth and understand them within the contexts of our adhibhautik (physical), adhyatmik (mental) and adhidaivik (spiritual) realms.

I spent a month and a half in India recently and found a school for abandoned and abused blind boys. I felt so humble in front of their courage; there they were writing their national exams in braille in the humblest of conditions, smiling and singing their hearts out! Let’s take a look at purifying the five elements of which our bodies are made up so we can proceed comfortably and healthily

PRITHVIA MUDRA The fourth ring finger is our earth finger, related to Muladhara Chakra and to the faculty of smell. The earth provides

April 2017

sustenance, stability balance and confidence, a knowledge of personal identity in relationship to humanity as a whole and great growth potential. Method: With palms facing up join the tips of the thumb and the ring finger. Extend the other fingers. Hold with both hands for 5 to15 minutes. It is nourishing, eliminates energy deficit, and brings a feeling of security. It helps with inner cleansing and thus upliftment.

VARUNA MUDRA The little finger is related to the water element and thus to Svadhishtana chakra and the sense of taste. Water is ultimately purifying. This mudra can stimulate cleansing of the blood and release of mucous congestion. It is probably the most effective face lift and anti-wrinkle treatment when it rehydrates. It keeps the mind flowing and lucid and brings clarity to the intellect, removing the clouds of fear, doubt, anxiety and grief.


Method: Join the tips of the thumb and the little finger with both hands, palms up and the other fingers extended. 5 to 15 minutes.

VAYU MUDRA The forefinger is related to Vayu or wind/air.

AKASHA MUDRA The middle finger is related to Akasha, space, sky, infinity. From Akasha arises sound and this mudra is related to the fifth, Vishuddi Chakra and speech. Awareness of space brings peace and pleasant emptiness to the mind. This mudra can help with physical and mental clutter. Golden silence, most nourishing for the soul, can be experienced and appreciated. Method: Join the tips of the thumb and the middle finger. Sit with the palms up, backs of the hands on the knees, other three fingers flat. Five minutes daily is good.


It is easy to understand the effects of excess wind in the body since it causes so much discomfort in the body and is also responsible for disruptive mental states such as attention deficit disorder and fragmented concentration.The memory becomes weak too leading to agitation. However it is often caused by bad diet and so this must also be regulated. Air is the element related to the Anahata [heart] Chakra. And so its stabilization through the focus of the Mudra can be very healing to the heart. Method: Touch the ball of the thumb with the tip of the index finger. Then fold the thumb over it between the two finger joints. Palms up with the other three fingers extended relaxedly. Five to 10 minutes daily .


AGNISURYA MUDRA The thumb relates to the element of fire which is the catalyst for all changes/ processes. The Mudra used here is the Surya Mudra or the Gesture of the sun. The most important fire of the body is the digestive fire without which the body cannot be nourished. Growth requires sunlight. People have great energy when exposed to sunlight, as do plants .

This Mudra is related to the Manipura Chakra and can help with obesity when practiced for up to 45 minutes daily! Method: Touch the ball of the thumb with the tip of the ring finger. Fold the thumb over the ring finger between its two joints. The other three fingers remain extended. Obviously its efficacy can be increased by gentle exposure to the sun especially at sunrise when positive energy abounds. With all of these Mudras the regular practice of the techniques will lead to the beneficial effects. You cannot taste a meal just by talking about it! We share our five elements with all created matter and we should become aware of our special place within creation most especially as yogis who always seek to benefit and serve others. Enlightenment needs to gain entrance through many gateways into the body and soul.


GREAT DISCIPLES OF THE BUDDHA by Nyanaponika Thera &Hellmuth Hecker BOOK REVIEWED BY TIA SINHA “A wonderful addition to our understanding of the culture of awakening. Scholarly and inspiring, this book brings to life the struggles, practice and realization of the great disciples of the Buddha – and we begin to connect their spiritual journeys with our own.” - by Joseph Goldstein Containing living portraits of 24 of the most distinguished disciples of the Buddha who were also contemporary to him, this book is a masterpiece. The principal source for the biographies of these great disciples is the Pali Canon, the scriptural collection of Theravada Buddhism. Within the Pali Canon, the principal source is the Sutta Pitaka. The disciples whose lives are portrayed here include, of course, the better known disciples such as Shariputta and Mahamogallana, the generous merchant Anathapindaka, Buddha’s attendant Ananda

April 2017

and the serial killer-turned-saint Angulimala. Each life is dealt with in detail – always relevant detail that keeps the story interesting. We come to know about the early years of each disciple, incidents in their lives that led them to question, their meeting with the Buddha, the training they underwent under his guidance, the transformation that came about in them and their contribution to the spread of the Buddha’s teachings. Twelve female disciples are also included. Among these, there are the courtesans Ambapali and Sirima. There is Kisagotami, the mother who refused to accept the death of her little child. There is Sona who was driven to the ascetic life by the ingratitude of her children. There is Mallika who became a queen due to a single act of generosity to the Buddha. There is Visakha whose generosity to the Buddha and his monks transformed her niggardly father-in-law. There is Nanda whose physical beauty had made her vain. There is Bhadda Kundalakesa who repented after murdering her thieving husband. There is Isidasi who had to pay for sexual misconduct as a man in a previous birth, for many lives to come. And of course there is Patacara who became mad with grief when she lost her husband on a dark stormy night and her two little children, both parents and brother in a flood. Each tale is told with great simplicity. It is heartening to see how ordinary people were transformed into awakened beings after they


came in contact with the Buddha and worked on their minds. Sometimes misdeeds from the past lives of the disciples that led to pain in their current lives and also good deeds that led to good fortune and happiness are also explained. The tales are liberally sprinkled with poetic compositions of these great disciples. Each disciple comes alive in the pages of this enjoyable, eye-opening, often moving and truly inspiring book. Great Disciples of the Buddha is a marvelous must read for those committed to transforming themselves.


FROM IMMERSION TO A DAILY PRACTICE BY VIRGINIE MOREL The house is calm. The city is slowly waking up. The morning sun is gently spreading its rays. I light a candle, go to my mat, sit on my cushion, close my eyes and start my morning practice. I orientate my awareness inside, tune in to my breath, observing a moment of gratitude for this practice. Allowing me to be present and filled with joy. After a few slow spine movements and some breathing exercise, slowly my body starts to stretch and my breath deepens. I then sit in stillness, start chanting and afterwards meditate. This has become my morning practice, a daily ritual that grounds me and enables me to choose the energy that will lead me through my day. It feels so natural to me now. But it hasn’t always been the case. Let’s go back to the Spring of 2015… I was sitting in a very shaky airplane from Hong Kong on the way to Rishikesh, on the foothills of the Himalayas, where the River Ganges starts. I was going to spend a month of immersion in the teachings of yoga in this scared land of the Rishis. I would soon meet my teacher Kia Miller and follow her training to become a yoga teacher. I had never met her before the trip but followed my heart - though this bumpy flight

Rishikesh, India



did make me wonder if it was a good omen. Nevertheless, I knew I had made the right decision and I was in the right place. In the following morning, I found myself sitting in a circle with Kia and 25 other yogis, sharing what led us to this yoga teacher training. When my turn came, I told them I just wanted to have my own practice and I had no interest in teaching (little did I know then that the universe had other plans for me!). After about ten years of practicing Hatha and Iyengar yoga, I felt ready to dive deeper in the practice, focus on breathing and meditation. Above all, I would like to be able to practice on my own without relying on a teacher, being able to practice in silence, just following the rhythm of my breath and the needs of my body. As it turned out, coming to India was one of the most transformative experiences in my life. Being in the place where yoga has been practiced for thousands of years gives you a different perspective. Every day we started with a sadhana (spiritual practice) at 6am. This involved some movements (asanas), breaths (pranayama) and meditation. It was all very new to me, but from this day on, I was hooked. This is where it all started. The quiet time in the morning before the whirlwind of life kicks in. I remember meditating in the yoga shala: wrapped in my scarf, eyes closed, senses inward, yet aware of the world around us waking up – noises from the animals like the monkeys running on the roof (maybe this is where the concept of monkey mind comes from), the smell of the fire being started from the nearby houses, the sound of the river...An hour later, we gathered to have breakfast and spent the rest of the day studying, practicing and becoming familiar with the various aspects of Yoga.

This was a transformative month of intense learning on a physical, spiritual and emotional level – mostly about myself. And a new journey began. Practicing yoga daily during the training has changed me in many ways. Although I had practiced yoga for more than ten years then, I had never had a daily practice like sadhana (spiritual practice). During this month of immersion, we had the daily practice together in the wee hours in Rishikesh. I discovered a new relationship with my body, my mind and even my soul. I started to let go of things that didn’t serve me and thoughts that were negative and harming me. My whole vibration started to change. I started hearing from people how I looked differently. At the same time, I definitely felt that I was more centred and happy - and overall I knew I was changing for the better. What an amazing journey toward a new way of being! After I came back home after this India trip, I wanted to continue with this daily practice. So I started practicing a short and simple sadhana: 10 minutes of some movements to warm up my spine and some breathing exercises. I find it easier to practice in the morning as there are less distractions - as the whirlwind of the day hasn’t started. As I look back to the month of immersion, it

was a beautiful privilege to start and create a new habit of having a daily sadhana with a group of yogis – it is the support of a sangha that really helped kick start my daily practice. Naturally, when I am alone, it would take more effort to keep up - and the key is to do a little bit every day. Kia told me to choose a practice that would be realistic and easy to integrate in my daily life. With that in mind, I think that is why I can stick with it to this day. Just keep it simple. Over the time, I have started to add more elements and increase the length of my sadhana. The content changes regularly, too. To make it less dull (like counting the days for the sake of it), I usually do a special practice for a period of 40 or 90 days (e.g. a kundalini kriya or a special meditation). By keeping the content consistent for a period of time – though it may appear to be the same – shifts start to take place for me and I find myself in a different place each day. Today is a special day for me - as I have been doing my sadhana for 700 consecutive days. A daily practice has taught me so much about myself, life and universe. I am thankful for the gift of yoga that brings me from darkness to light. In kundalini tradition, they say that once you pass one thousand days of sadhana, the whole world will change - what an exciting journey I have ahead!

April 2017

Yoga teacher, Kia Miller







ACROSS 1. Jumble ‘Goa aim skit’ to give a woman who, unable to accept the death of her little son, implored the Buddha to revive him. (10)


5. 6. 7. 8.


6. Anagram of ‘a la milk’ gives the daughter of a garland-maker who became a queen the day she spontaneously gave some rice to the Buddha. (7)




8. Jumble ‘Aka Shiv’ to give the Buddha’s chief patroness. (7)


11. Jumble ‘Anand’ to give the Buddha’s half-sister whose enthrallment with her own physical beauty was shattered when the Buddha conjured up a vision of an even more beautiful woman who then aged visibly and relentlessly before her very eyes. (5) 12. Jumble ‘apa carat’ to give a woman who became mad with grief when her husband, two sons, both parents and brother died in the space of one day. After meeting the Buddha, she practised diligently and was to become a great practitioner of the Buddha Dharma. (8) 13. See 3 ACROSS. DOWN 1. Anagram of ‘K Ahem’ gives a woman from a royal family who became an Arhat when she listened to just one sermon by the Buddha. (5) 2. Jumble ‘I said si’ to give a woman who married thrice, was repeatedly and mysteriously rejected by her husbands despite her good behaviour and became an Arhat under the Buddha’s guidance. (7) 4. Anagram of ‘bail a map’ gives a courtesan who became a devotee and a generous patroness of the Buddha. (8) 5. Jumble ‘Mira is’ to give another courtesan who became a great devotee of the Buddha. (6) 7. Jumble ‘a taut r’ to give a young follower of the Buddha who was not allowed to perform a single meritorious deed in her husband’s home. (6) 9. See 3 ACROSS. 10. Jumble ‘a son’ to give a woman who brought up 10 children only to receive ingratitude and scorn from them, became a nun at an old age and soon after, an Arhat. (4) Solution on page 50


3. 3 ACROSS, 9 DOWN and 13 ACROSS. Jumble ‘Baulk sake add a hand’ to give a curly-haired woman who murdered her husband who was robbing her, repented, renounced and later became an Arhat. (6,7,4)


10. Anagram of ‘via a mast’ gives a woman lay disciple the Buddha called the most skilled in spreading Metta or loving kindness. (8)

April 2017



TWO FREE PASSES FOR ASIA YOGA CONFERENCE 2017 The 10th Asia Yoga Conference will take place 8 - 11 June at Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre. Headliners include Ashtanga Yoga teacher David Swenson, Jivanmukti founders Sharon Gannon & David Life, Dharma yoga found Sri Dharma Mittra will be joined by a host of other yogasana, meditation, philosphy, related discipline teachers. Namaskar is proud to be the sponsor of this event and grateful to the organisers for offering free passes to our readers. The first person to email with the correct answers to the following questions will receive two passes to the four-day event. i

How many presenters will there be at AYC 2017?


How many types of workshops will there be at AYC 2017?

iii Which meditation teacher at AYC 2017 is originally from Spain and spent 18 years as a monk? iv Which Ashtanga teacher at AYC 2017 founded Samahita Retreat in Koh Samui, Thailand? v Which Iyengar teacher started studying under B.K.S. Iyengar at the age of 7?

CROSSWORD SOLUTION FROM PAGE 48 ACROSS 1. Kisagotami, 3. Bhadda , 6. Mallika, 8. Visakha, 10. Samavati, 11. Nanda, 12. Patacara, 13. Kesa DOWN 1. Khema, 2. Isidasi, 4. Ambapali, 5. Sirima, 7. Uttara, 9. Kundala, 10. Sona



April 2017



Guide to yoga studios & teachers

ANAHATA VILLAS & SPA RESORT Ubud, Bali, Indonesia s: group retreats, yoga for private & corporates. Yoga studio available for rent. l: Indonesian & English t: (62) 361 8987 991/ 8987 992 / (62) 811 8748 910 / (62) 811 1442 233 f: +62 361 8987 804 e: / w: ANAHATA YOGA 18/F Lyndhurst Tower, 1 Lyndhurst Terrace, Central, Hong Kong s: Hatha, Ashtanga, Yoga therapy, Yin and more. Groups & privates t: +852 2905 1822 e: w: ANANDA YOGA 33 & 34/F, 69 Jervois Street Sheung Wan, Hong Kong s: Private and Group Classes : Yoga Therapy (neck, shoulder, back, hip, knee and joints), Hatha, Power, Ashtanga, Vinyasa, Detox, Yin Yang, Kundalini, Chakra Balancing, Pranayama, Meditation l: English t: (825)35639371 e: w: Anna Ng Privates d: Hong Kong s: Hatha yoga l: Cantonese t: (852) 9483 1167 e: BEING IN YOGA – SINGAPORE Teaching yoga in the tradition of T Krishnamacharya and TKV Desikachar. s: yoga therapy (customized personal practice), teacher training (Yoga Alliance RYS 500 52

hours+), in-depth yoga studies, small group classes for children and adults, workshops, meditation classes, Vedic chanting, continuing education for yoga teachers. Certified Teacher Trainer – Yoga Therapist - E-RYT 500 RYS 500 t: +65-9830-3808 e: w: B.K.S. IYENGAR YOGA ASSOCIATION OF MACAU 174, Rua de Pequim, Edif Centro Com. Kong Fat, 7A, Macau s: Iyengar t:(853)2882 3210/6662 0386 David Kim Yoga E-RYT 500+, Senior YogaWorks and YogaWise Yin Yoga Teacher Trainer;International TTs, Workshops & Retreats d: USA, Japan, China, Vietnam, Korea, Malaysia, Greece s: Yin Yoga, YogaWorks, Vinyasa Flow l: English, some Korean t: +1 310 480 5277 e: w: FLEX STUDIO Island South Shops 308-310 One Island South, 2 Heung Yip Road, Aberdeen, Hong Kong s: Vinyasa, Power, Detox, Hatha, Pre-Natal, Kids Yoga t: + 852 2813 2212 f: + 852 2813 2281 e: Central 3/F Man Cheung Building, 15- 17 Wyndham Street, Central, Hong Kong s: Detox, Power, Pre-Natal Yoga t: + 852 2813-2399 f: + 852 2812 6708 e:

IYENGAR YOGA CENTRAL s: Boutique studio with Iyengar Yoga classes; flexible timings for corporate wellness, small groups, and privates l: English, Cantonese, Mandarin, French, Malay t: +852 2982 4308 e: w: fb: Iyengar-Central MND STUDIO 7/F Tack Building, 48 Gilman Street, Central, Hong Kong s: Hatha, Yin, Therapy, Ashtanga, Iyengar, Pilates Equipped yoga studio for groups, privates, aerial yoga classes and workshops. t: +852 5400 8824 e: w: PURE YOGA China L6-615 iapm mall, 999 Huai Hai Zhong Road, Xuhui District Shanghai t: +86 21 5466 1266 Hong Kong 16/F The Centrium, 60 Wyndham Street, Central t: +852 2971 0055 25/F Soundwill Plaza, 38 Russell St, Causeway Bay t: +852 2970 2299 14/F Peninsula Office Tower, 18 Middle Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon t: +852 8129 8800 9/F Langham Place Office Tower, 8 Argyle Street, Kowloon t: +852 3691 3691 4/F Lincoln House, TaiKoo Place, 979 King’s Rd, Quarry Bay t: +852 8129 1188 2/F Asia Standard Tower, 59 Queen’s Road, Central t: + 852 3524 7108 Level 1 The Pulse, 28 Beach


Road, Repulse Bay t: +852 8200 0908 3/f Hutchison House, 10 Harcourt Road, Admiralty t: +852 8105 5838 Singapore 391A Orchard Road, #18-00 Ngee Ann City Tower A t: +65 6733 8863 30 Raffles Place, 04-00 Chevron House t: +65 6304 2257 Taiwan 151 Chung Hsiao East Road, Sec 4, Taipei t: +886 02 8161 7888 4/f Urban One, 1 Qingcheng St, Taipei t: +886 02 8161 7868 Ling Yoga and Wellbeing, Private Yoga Teacher, Privates, Groups, Corporates, Free Yoga Community Event: Yoga in the Park with Ling yogaintheparkhk d: Hong Kong, China s: Yoga Therapy, Sivananda, Hatha, Svastha, Mindfulness, Yin, Breathing (Pranayama), Guided Meditation, Total Relaxation (Yoga Nidra) l: English, Cantonese, Mandarin t: +852 9465 6461 e: w: yogawithling RED DOORS STUDIO 21/f, 31 Wong Chuk Hang Rd s: Gong meditation and training, labyrinth facilitation and construction, kundalini therapeutic yoga and complementary practices to elevate energy. Multiple studio spaces available to rent. t. +852 21110 0152 e. w. SPACE YOGA s: Hatha, Ashtanga, Advanced, Flow, Yin, Yin Yang, Restorative,

namaskar Hot, Yin/Meditation, Pranayama, Mat Pilates, Jivamukti, Universal, Myofascial Release Yoga, Mindful Yoga, Rope Wall Yoga, Yoga Nidra and Yoga Therapy l: English and Mandarin w: An-Ho Studio 16 F, No. 27, An-Ho Road, Section 1 Taipei, Taiwan t: +886.2.2773.8108 Tien-Mu Studio #5, Lane 43, Tian-Mu E. Road, Taipei, Taiwan t: +886.2.28772108 Sravaniya DiPecoraro d:Hong Kong s: LifePath Yoga Philosophy, Vedanta, Bhagavad Gita, Yoga Sutras; beginners and advanced; ACBSP disciple (1971), YA ERYT500, Sivananda Certified (1991) l: English and Mandarin t: +852 9856 0799 e: w: THE YOGA ROOM 3, 4, 6, 16/F (Studios) & 15/F (Office) Xiu Ping Commercial Bldg, 104 Jervois St, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong s: Hatha, Hot, Ashtanga, Vinyasa, Candlelight Yin, Yoga Therapy, Jivamukti, Hammock Yoga, Mindfulness Yoga, Detox Yoga, Pre-natal Yoga, Pre-natal Pilates, Mat Pilates, TRX, Kids Yoga and Mum & Baby Yoga l: English, Cantonese t: + 852 2544 8398 e: w: KUNDALINI @SHAKTI 7/F Glenealy Tower, 1 Glenealy, Central, Hong Kong. s: Kundalini, Reik healing, life coaching, Shamanic healing, Ayurveda, Feng Shui consultations, Angel Cards t: +852 2521 5099

e: w: THE COLLECTIVE, DESA SENI SCHOOL OF YOGA Jl. Subak Sari #13, Canggu, Bali, Indonesia s: Full service resort, Ashtanga, Embodied Flow, Hatha, Kundalini, Restorative, Tantra, Therapeutics, Yin, Yang, Vinyasa, Buddhist Meditation, Vedic Meditation. Teacher Trainings, Intensives, Privates, Workshops, specialising in hosting retreats. t: +62 361 844 6392 e: w:

4 times a year 6,000 yoga practitioners 32 countries

TRUE YOGA Singapore 9 Scotts Road, Level 4, Pacific Plaza, Singapore 228210 t: +65 6733 9555 9 Scotts Road, Level 5, Pacific Plaza (Bikram Original Hot Yoga), Singapore 228210 t: +65 6735 9555

DISPLAY ADVERTISING RATES & SIZES Outside back cover HK$25,000 210 mm x 297 mm Inside front cover HK$3,500 210 mm x 297 mm Inside back cover HK$2,700 210 mm x 297 mm Full page HK$2,200 210 mm x 297 mm 1/2 page (horizontal) HK$1,500 180 mm x 133.5 mm 1/2 page (vertical) HK$1,500 88 mm x 275 mm 1/4 page HK$700 88 mm X 133.5 mm 1/8 page HK$440 88 mm x 66 mm

Taiwan 337 Nanking East Road Section 3, 9 & 10/F, Taipei T: +886 22716 1234 68 Gongyi Road, West District 12 & 13/F, Taichung t: +886 43700 0000 s: Ashtanga, Bikram, Flow, Gentle, Hatha, Kids, Power, PreNatal, Vinyasa, Yin, Yoga Dance w: / WISE LIVING YOGA ACADEMY 198 Moo 2, Luang Nuea, Doi Saket, Chiang Mai, Thailand s: Classical Yoga, Hatha Yoga, Yoga Therapy t: +66 8254 67995 e: w:

DIRECTORY Individual listing Studio listing

HK$640 HK$1,300

for full or partial year for full or partial year

PUBLICATION DATES, BOOKING & MATERIAL DEADLINES Publication date Booking Deadline Material Deadline January December 1 December 10 April March 1 March 10 July June 1 June 10 October September 1 September 10 NOTES Advertising materials should in black & white and submitted as 300 dpi high resolution .tif files (no pdf or ai files please) Listings should be submitted as text only (approx 35 words) PAYMENT Payments should be made in Hong Kong dollars to: Namaskar c/o Carol Adams, Flat 101, Block L, Telford Gardens, Kowloon, Hong Kong INFORMATION Carol +44 75432 55886 / Frances +852 9460 1967 /

April 2017




April 2017




Profile for namaskar

Namaskar apr 2017  

Free Yoga magazine with news from Asia and worldwide.

Namaskar apr 2017  

Free Yoga magazine with news from Asia and worldwide.