Namaskar feb 2018

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LESSONS FROM THE BREATH What we can learn about our life from how we breathe............................................................p19

MUST READ FOR NEW TEACHERS What’s next for teachers after finishing a 200-hr yoga teacher training......................................p21

February 2018 THE UPANISHADS Ancient wisdom for a modern life.................p30

Robert Wolf Petersen, photo courtesy of Heather Bonker




LETTER FROM THE EDITOR Our brain is the most complex organ in our body, and the most hard working. All day our brain tells the rest of our body what to do, when to sweat, what to eat or how to get our heels to the mat! All that conscious and unconscious thought produces waste, in a similar way our muscles produce lactic acid when we practice asana. Our body’s waste is removed via the lymphatic system. But how does our brain rid itself of waste? Only recently scientists have discovered the glymphatic system removes waste from our brain. Waste which is the by-product of thinking, being stressed or scared, such as cortisol, adrenaline, amyloid beta, tau proteins, to name a few. These waste products are only cleared out when we sleep. Apparently because when we sleep, our brain contracts, which physically pushes the toxins into the Cerebrospinal fluid around our brain and spinal cord. It’s a bit like squeezing a sponge to get rid of the dirty water. So it seems sleep is even more important than we might have imagined. The process of fully clearing the brain apparently takes about 7 – 8 hours, so this is the amount of time we should aim to sleep every night. Otherwise, the waste products build up to a point of becoming toxic. Amyloid beta accumulates and damages the neurons in our brain, and we lose our memory, one of the hallmarks of Alzheimer’s. Protein build up results in Parkinson’s. Excessive cortisol damages the tissues of our Hippocampus, the part of our brain which processes emotion, long-term memory and spatial recognition. This is information I have recently learned from studying Dementia and Alzheimer’s. Much of it is very new science, from the past five years. So hardly surprising if it’s new to you too. May I encourage you to do your own research. And if you are convinced, as I have been, of sleep’s importance, then make a plan to adjust your life or sleep patterns. Hopefully the skills you are learning through your yoga practice, can help you rest easy. Good luck.


Carol Adams,


Wai-Ling Tse,


Angela Sun,

On the cover - Robert Wolf Petersen is a yoga and meditation practitioner, professional wordsmith, and amateur photographer


30 34 35 37 38 40

SPECIAL FEATURES THE BREATH 19 Lessons about life, learnt from our breath WANT TO BE A YOGA TEACHER 21 Seasoned teacher offers her advice to new teachers WHAT IS YOGA THERAPY? 23 And how it is difference than regular yoga. UNION 24 A poem about the meaning of yoga


6 14 26 27 43 43 44 48

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,

February 2018


Gabrielle’s life work is yoga, meditation and natural living. She created bebliss 10 years ago and works with groups and individuals inspiring them to live their best life.




Andy teaches at Pure Yoga in Hong Kong.



Karen is teacher/manager at Yoga Central-Iyengar Central in Hong Kong. She promotes the study of yoga as a subject and not merely for its asanas.

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. LOGANATHAN


Charu is a classical homeopath and a life guide. She has a background in Buddhist Psychology and has a strong meditation and yoga practice. She teaches regular dharma classes for Asia Spiritual Classics and The Still Space. DYLAN BERNSTEIN Dylan journeys, practicing. He will be teaching in Hong Kong in April and hopefully return in Autumn.


With an advanced degree from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, Gabriel has over 20 years of yoga practice and teaching. GABRIELLE MCMAHON An ERYT500, Loganathan is a physiotherapist, acupuncturist and yoga teacher. He runs teacher training and yoga therapy diploma courses in Hong Kong and India. Kim is an Ashtanga Vinyasa and meditation teacher based in Colorado, U.S.


MELINDA JUANG Melinda is a Taiwanese living in Hong Kong. A freelance yoga teacher, writer and photographer. FB: Yun.Yoga.Portrait.

namaskar Now on-line at: Back issues still at: Handbook: A Practical Guide for Yoga Teachers and Trainees’ (Singing Dragon). SANJIV CHATURVEDI

April’s dristi:



If you’d like to contribute, please email with the idea for your article. Contributions are also welcome on other topics. Final articles are welcome before March 10.

Master Sanjiv is a yoga specialist and co-founder of Divine Yoga Studio in Bangkok. He received his Master’s Degree in Applied Yogic Science from the Bihar Yoga Bharati. Sanjiv’s mission in life is to teach authentic, correct and accessible yoga to enhance and empower the lives of as many people as possible.

Tia teaches yoga and Tibetan Buddhist meditation techniques and translates for Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo.

SIAN O’NEILL Sian is a British Wheel of Yoga (BWY) accredited yoga teacher. Her classes incorporate alignment, a mindful flow and breath awareness. She is editor of the recently published ‘Yoga Teaching February 2018



Yoga teacher Clayton Horton shares this photo, which inspired him and some friends to launch an online petition to ban Styrofoam in Hong Kong.


Teachers Take Yoga off the Mat with a Petition to Protect the Environment A small group of Hong Kong yoga teachers who are avid water sport enthusiasts have put together a petition to Ban the use of Expanded Polystyrene (Styrofoam) in Hong Kong in a response to excessive beach and waterways pollution. Styrofoam does not decompose and its ingredients are listed as a possible carcinogen. Please sign and share this petition to help Hong Kong’s future become cleaner and greener. 6

For more information petition/ban-expandedpolystyrene-styrofoam-hongkong

psychotherapy, with particular reference to current scholarly research. Closing date for application 15 March.

and the Spiritual Advisor of the Bodhinyana International Foundation (BIF) in Hong Kong,

For more information / (852) HKU Master of 3917 2847 / Buddhist Studies – Highway to In Search of Happiness: Ajahn Sustainable Brahm’s HK Happiness The University of Hong Kong, Teaching Tour Pokfulam Now open for the new intake in September 2018. Topics range from the history and doctrines of different Buddhist traditions to contemporary Buddhism and Buddhism as applied in counselling, palliative care and

27 February-7 March Born in London and graduated with First Class Honours in Theoretical Physics from Cambridge University, Ajahn Brahm is currently the Abbot of Bodhinyana Monastery in Serpentine, Western Australia


Ajahn Brahm will be teaching in Hong Kong February/March

among others. He will be giving various public and private talks, offering full-day workshops and leading a four-day retreat. Explaining how we can maintain happiness even when everything is falling apart around us. In particular, he will point out that happiness is a choice and we can choose not to allow anyone, or any misfortune, to take away our happiness. For more information

Self-Attunement Meditation Amita Institute, Central For the past 20 years, this community has been assisting people to bring real change their lives! Held every Wednesday 89:30pm HK$100. First timers HK$50, can arrive at 7:30pm. Room 2502, 73 Wyndham Street, Central. For more information / / (852) 2167 8661

Prior to yoga, Adam trained in martial arts and spent 12 years working in education. He aims to combine these skills with yoga to encourage positive and challenging yet educational experiences for students. For more information /

Yoga Stops Traffick 11 March Yoga Stops Traffick is a one-day, worldwide community yoga event run by volunteers to raise awareness about human trafficking and much-needed money to support its victims and anyone can take part. For more information / Katherine at

B.K.S. Iyengar

New booking platform for Freelance Instructors An on-line class booking platform called YClass ( has been launched by meditation coach, Kit Lee.

BKS Iyengar Centennial Celebration

Kit Lee has launched YClass an online

Pilates / Yoga / Rehab Trainer Openings

Adam Weirick Comes To Flex Adam is now teaching at Flex, bringing his style of alignment and strength-focused vinyasa teachings. Originally from Sydney, Adam has been teaching group Yoga classes and private students in the city since 2014.

UK-based yoga teacher, writer, translator and long-time Namaskar contributor Krishnaa Kinkari donates the proceeds of her yoga classes in London and book sales to the Vraja Kishori Seva Trust, an Indian registered charity run by volunteers.

If you would like to know more about their work, or make a contribution,please contact

resource for freelance teachers and students.

Adam Weirick

Seva in India

The Trust works at very grassroots level distributing supplies such as blankets, fans, food, clean drinking water, clothing, medicines to needy children, widows, homeless people, religious pilgrims and the like. They even take care of sacred cows in Viharvan!

2018 marks the centennial birthday of Mr. BKS Iyengar, Yoga Central-Iyengar Yoga will be offering free trial classes to community centres and underprivileged groups at selected venue across the local territory. Please book your time/date in advance. Refer to Iyengar Yoga Association of Hong Kong’s Facebook for events. For more information /


Yoga Privates provides private Yoga, Pilates and Rehab Training sessions across Asia since 2008. They are seeking registered, experienced instructors to join their team. You may email your CV to For more information / (852) 6504 4280

Kit hopes her platform will connect freelance instructors and students. Freelancers can set up their own profile page in lieu of a website, students can easily see what classes are being offered around Hong Kong (for now), and the payment for classes and to freelancers can be handled through the website. The only fee is a 5% charged by YClass for the administration. For more information


11th BaliSpirit Festival 2-8 April Ubud, Bali BaliSpirit Festival is one of South East Asia’s biggest and diverse Yoga, dance and music festivals. It is a non-profit festival supporting local outreach programs in Bali. The festival has its roots in the principle of Balinese Hinduism - Tri Hita Karana - to live in harmony with God, with people and with nature. For more information

February 2018



Chair Vinyasa Intensive Practice Workshop with Workshop with Angela Lohse Noy Petchwikai 10-11 March HONG KONG

24-25 February Pure Yoga This workshop includes long hold full inversions such as head stand and shoulder stand. Ends with a long savasana with the gong to help relaxation and rejuvenation. Leslie Howard

For more information


Yoga for Pelvic Health Workshop with Leslie Howard 17 -20 March SpaceCycle, Beijing Reconnect with your mula (root). You will learn to locate, assess, soften, stretch, strengthen and exercise the pelvic floor muscles, discuss mula bandha, abdominal health and how to properly utilize the pelvic floor to create the correct foundation in asana and everyday movement. This is the true meaning of “core work.� For more information

Parampara Workshop with Mark Flint & Stephanie Yau 24 April - Henan May - Shenzhen, Guangdong, Tianjin June - Inner Mongolia, Shanxi, Guangxi Join Mark and Stephanie, 8

Mark Flint & Stephanie Yau

KPJAYI Authorised Ashtanga teachers for workshops and intensives in China. For more information / wechat: markstephanie ENGLAND

20-22 April Glasgow Live storytelling and interpretation bringing the practical teachings of the yoga tradition, followed by principlebased asana explorations, meditations, satsang discussion and short kirtans. For more information workshopsevents/

For more information

Aerial Yoga Workshop with TT Ho 24-25 February Pure Yoga With the support of aerial fabric hammock and by working with gravity, learn to re-align and relax the body, enhance awareness and uplift the spirit. For more information

Merchant City Yoga Weekend Intensive with James Boag

Pure Yoga Use the chair and back extender to experience openings of your back, hips and shoulders. Learn how to gracefully flow on the chair while perfecting your inversions and backbends.

Vinyasa Yoga Wheel Workshop with Rachel Solomons 10-11 March Pure Yoga Using the yoga wheel to experience deep stretching, cleansing twists, shoulder openers, backbends and inversions. For more information


Hot Yoga specialist Esak Garcia

Exploring Hot Yoga with Esak Garcia 31 March Pure Yoga An asana workshop (not heated) plus Hot 26 practice. Covering 710 postures of the 26 & 2 series. Participants can help choose what postures to focus on. For more information

Svastha Yoga with TAIWAN Special Iyengar Dr. Ganesh Yoga Mohan Intermediate 12 – 16 April The Yoga Room, Sheung Wan Class with Peter Specific guidelines for different Scott conditions and general treatment

Fundamental Principle of the Science of Life Immersion with Dario Calvaruso 7-8 April Pure Yoga Ayurveda imparts the knowledge of life and discusses the means for attaining life’s goals and longevity. Ayurveda has changed and evolved in the course of the last two millennia but has kept intact the basic theoretical principles on which the entire system is based. For more information

BodyTalk Fundamentals Seminar with Angie Tourani 1-4 March (9am– 5pm) Half theory and half practice, BodyTalk Fundamentals is a four-day deep healing experience as well as an introduction to the essentials of the BodyTalk System. Participants will learn to do complete BodyTalk sessions working with a holistic map of the mind-body (the BodyTalk protocol chart) and the language for dialogue with the body’s innate healing wisdom (the BodyTalk Exploring Procedure). For more information / /

Playful Practice, Variability & the Art of Resilience with Carrie Owerko 23-25 March Yoga Central-Iyengar Central Carrie is a New York-based Senior Iyengar teacher, known for her fun and playfulness in class. Knowledge of head stand and shoulder stand is required. For more information /

principles will be detailed, empowering you to safely and effectively address disabilities and ill-health through yoga.

Carrie Owerko will be at Yoga Central

Teachers’ Workshop with Carrie Owerko

For more information / / (852) 2544 8398

5 April Space Yoga, Taipei A complete practice and a variety of poses will be covered. Offering an opportunity to elevate your practice safely and effectively with the Iyengar methods. For more information

26 March (2-5pm) Yoga Central-Iyengar Central Carrie uses fun and functional means to practise advance poses and to teach them. Suitable for yoga teachers and experienced practitioners. For more information /

Start Your Yoga Practice at Home 5 April (2-5pm) Yoga Central-Iyengar Central Advanced teacher, Stephane Lalo, from Marseilles, France, will introduce safe and progressive steps to practise at home. For more information /

Options & Methodology with Stephane Lalo 5-8 April (10am-1pm & 3.30-6pm) Yoga Central-Iyengar Central Class size strictly limited to 15 persons to allow Stephane to provide personalized guidance on each student. Participants are advised to be familiar with Iyengar Yoga and have a regular personal practice before enrolment. For more information /

The view of Mount Yotei from Powder Yoga, Niseko


Powder Yoga Niseko’s 7-Day Spring Intensive

The Elements in Yoga with Peter Scott

2-9 April Niseko, Japan Join Powder Yoga Instructor/ Director, Kanami Anderon for this 42-hour Intensive Course. Mornings begin with meditation and pranayama, followed by an intermediate-level vinyasa practice themed around that day’s topic. After lunch continue with posture clinics, lectures, and discussions on different yogic teachings and philosophies. Throughout the week gain the tools needed to sustain a solid home practice. Topics of study: anatomy, Ayurveda, history of Yoga, posture clinics, the seven Chakra systems, eight limbs of Yoga, and much more!

14-15 April Space Yoga, Taipei A chance to experience the spiritual and philosophical aspects of Iyengar yoga. Enabling you to embark on the journey of connecting beyond your gross body. Explore how to gain mastery over the gross and subtle elements of nature, their forms and gunas (tendancies), as well as their purpose.

For more information

February 2018

For more information



tropical brunch, also enjoy the beach, try out a surf lesson, stroll through Canggu’s Bohemian streets, or simply chill by the pool reading a book. Afternoons, relaxing Yin or Restorative Yoga, or a playful Yoga workshop. For more information /

Tabata Ogilvie in Byron Bay, Australia



Byron Bay Women’s Retreat

Self-Healing Yoga Yoga & Kirtan Retreat with Weekend Retreat Emily & The Yoga with James Boag 18-20 May Room Ampleforth Abbey

19-23 March With feminine focused yoga and meditation classes, plus sessions on women’s health led by Tabata Ogilvie. This retreat coincides with the new astrological year (celebrated when the sun enters Aries) and the Autumn Equinox falling on 20 March. Tabata will prepare a session on the astrological outlook to look at the stars going forward from the Equinox. For more information


March 16-19, 2018 Navutu Dreams, Siem Reap Pranayama and meditation followed by an invigorating Yin Yang flow class. In the afternoon, there will be daily Yoga Nidra – a guided meditation that promotes healing throughout the entire body and nervous system rejuvenation. Yoga Therapy will allow you to reconnect to yourself, beginning on a physical level and continuing to explore deeper into your emotional and energetic well-being. For more information / / (852) 2544 8398


An integrated program with movement, meditation, inquiry, storytelling and practical philosophy, with focus especially on Kirtan and the Yoga of sound. For more information (44) 7880 545 545 / gillian@ INDONESIA

Vinyasa Yoga Retreat 17-23 February Samadi Bali, Canggu, Bali Join Lisa Andersson and Naza Grisolia for daily dynamic Vinyasa Flow and nourishing


Mark Robberds

Ashtanga Yoga Retreat with Mark Robberds & Deepika Mehta 2-29 June and 5-31 August Samadi Bali, Canggu Dive deeper into a four-week intensive Ashtanga Yoga practice. Each week will include five Mysore classes and one Led class on moon days and alternate ‘workshop’ class will be taught. Each week will include three afternoon workshops. For more information

For more information

Internal Forms, Breath & Mudra with Richard Freeman & Mary Taylor 25 March - 7 April Ashtanga primary and intermediate series in the morning and sitting, chanting and philosophical discussions in the afternoon.

James Boag

For more information


Casa Cuadrau Retreat with James Boag

For more information (66) 825467995 / /

Samkhya & Bhagavad Gita Retreat 29 April-12 May; 3-16 June; 8-21 July Wise Living Yoga Academy, Chiang Mai Besides the study of Samkhya and many traditional practices and techniques, you will be led 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 and Karma Yoga. Includes theory and practice, and vegetarian meals in residential basis.

Missy & Noy

Hot Yoga Retreat with Missy & Noy

For more information /

27 April-1 May Absolute Sanctuary, Koh Samui Missy and Noy are two experienced and passionate Bikram certified teachers who teach at Pure Yoga in Hong Kong. On this five-day journey they will push you to expand your practice and deepen your awareness of the 26-posture series.

Gillian Breetzke

Women’s Only retreat with Lorraine Tayler, Maryz & Vidhu 17-24 March Samahita Retreat A feminine Ashtanga-influenced retreat exploring the healing power of voice, wisdom of boyd and depths of heart. There will be Sufi meditation, sound healing mantra, Fire ceremony, dance and sunset kirtan. For more information

Ying & Yang Yoga with Simon Low 17-24 March Two daily practice and study sessions daily. This retreat can count towards The Yoga Academy’s ongoing teacher training programme.

For more information / retreats/

For more information (66) 825467995 / /

24-30 March; 1-7 April 1-7 June 9-16 June These will all be integrated programs with daily meditative walking and hiking, yogic movement, meditation, and satsang. Move, sing, inquire, share, meditate, rest, refresh and be inspired.


signature wellness treatments. Afternoons finish with a holistic yoga practice, incorporating Hatha asanas, Pranayama and Yoga Nidra. Two Yamuna Body Rolling workshops will be offered during the retreat.

Rejuvenate & Flow with Gillian Breetzke & Daphne Tse 7 -14 April Morning practice of meditation, pranayama and Ashtanga with Gillian, followed by afternoons of chanting and singing to connect with the chakras. For more information

Samkhya-Yoga Retreat 29 April-5 May; 6-12 May; 3-9 June; 8-14 July Wise Living Yoga Academy, Chiang Mai Samkhya-Yoga Philosophy is the oldest philosophical system in the world. Residential programme includes theory and practice of yoga techniques and vegetarian meals.

Heather Shalabi

Cleanse & Energize in Koh Samui 1-6 May Kamalaya Wellness Sanctuary, Koh Samui Flex co-founder Heather Thomas Shalabi, Yoga instructor, homeopathic doctor Michelle Ricaille and Mika Childs, a certified Yamuna Body Rolling (YBR) practitioner lead this getaway. Start each day with an energetic Pilates practice, a healthy breakfast and Kamalya spa treatment. After lunch, chill out by the beach or pool, kayak the lagoon, or indulge in

February 2018

For more information


Teacher Trainings


New 500-hr RYT TT in Byron Bay 11 March Byron Yoga Centre Starting 11 March for either the 40-day or the 50-day 500-Hour RYT Course. For more information CHINA

Rainbow Kids Yoga TT 6 -8 October SpaceCycle, Shanghai A comprehensive, intensive and practical certification course, for anyone who loves working with kids, and loves Yoga. For more information HONG KONG

AntiGravity Restorative Yoga 17-18 March This method focuses the mind through powerful visualizations as it floats the body through a series of gentle gyro-kinetic motions, deeply opening the entire spine, hips, and connective tissues of the body. For more information / / (852) 2544 8398

Expand Your Power TT with Tryphena Chia 2 March – 30 April Pure Yoga 12

A Baptiste Yoga influenced teacher training. For more information

20-hr Yoga TT with Joan Hyman 9-11 March The Yoga Room, Sheung Wan Day 1: Advanced Asana & Hands on Adjustments Day 2: Injury Management and Healing the lower back with yoga & Unlocking the tension in the neck and shoulders Day 3: Inversions, Arm Balances, Authenticity and Self Care For more information / / (852) 2544 8398

Yoga for Pregnancy, Birth and Baby TT 17-25 March Pure Yoga Training for Yoga teachers, aspiring Yoga teachers, pregnant women, midwives, doulas and anyone interested in Yoga during and after pregnancy.

source of their teaching and includes a comprehensive study of the techniques and mechanics of the fundamental postures, as well as the tools necessary to teach and inspire others.

The Yoga Room, Sheung Wan A training in Chinese to deepen your practice, inspire you to find your own inner teacher, and empower you to teach Yoga effectively.

For more information

For more information / / (852) 2544 8398

Yoga TT with Dario Calvaruso 29 March – 21 October Pure Yoga Training focused on how to practise and teach 12 series NavakaraGa Vinyasa Mala. For more information

Unveil the Teacher Within with Samrat Dasgupta 30 March-13 May Pure Yoga Over weekends and public holidays , this training hopes to transform a student’s understanding in yoga philosophy, yoga-asanas and to face the challenge of teaching. For more information

For more information

WildLotus 300-hr 200-hr Hatha Yoga TT TT with Patrick (Chinese) with Creelman Ann da Silva & 19 March-6 October Pure Yoga Keiki To This training aims to deepen the direct experience with yoga for yoga teachers. With emphasis on students’ personal practice as the

31 March-8 April - Module I: Teaching Fundamentals 16-24 June - Module II: Refining the Teacher


300-hr Advanced Yoga TT (Chinese) with Ann da Silva & Keiki To 28 April-6 May - Yin and Restorative Yoga TT 29 September-7 October Pregnancy Yoga TT from 27 July - Master Curriculum (Mandatory) The Yoga Room, Sheung Wan Suitable for Yoga teachers with 200-hr foundation training. For more information / / (852) 2544 8398

50-hr Vinyasa / Yin Yang Immersion with Wendy Wyvill 21 April-26 May Pure Yoga Suitable for new teachers or those who have experience and would like to get more comfortable teaching pranayama/ meditation with asana. For more information

100-hr Advanced Hatha Yoga TT with Yogananth Andiappan 23 April-14 May Anahata, Central The course focuses on intermediate and advanced poses, their possible modifications and variations, and teaching and demonstration techniques. For more information / / (852) 2905 1822

100-hr Kids Yoga TT Certificate Course 21 May-4 July Anahata, Central Kids’ Yoga designed to match the interests of the individual child. For more information / / (852) 2905 1822

26 June-8 July - 110-hr Yin Yang 9-19 August - 90-hr Yoga Sutras 22-28 September - 60-hr Speak Your Truth The Yoga Room, Sheung Wan Suitable for those who are ready to teach, already teaching, or those who want to gain more clarity of their life purpose. For more information / / (852) 2544 8398

300-hr Yoga Therapy TT Certificate Course 27 August-28 Jan 2019 Anahata, Central Participants will be introduced to the two sciences as well as a solid foundation on which to build their knowledge. Explore the principles of yoga therapy and Ayurveda and their various applications in daily life. For more information / / (852) 2905 1822

200-hr TT Mental Health, Certificate Course Yoga & 5 June-23 August Anahata, Central Mindfulness Opportunity to deepen knowledge of Yoga philosophy and improve aspects of practice. For more information / / (852) 2905 1822

22-27 October Learn powerful tools for assisting in emotional healing, self-regulation and resiliency. For more information INDONESIA

Motherhood Yoga Samyak Yoga TT with Sally Intensive TT with Lomas Yogacharya 6-10 June Trupta The Yoga Room, Sheung Wan Tap into femininity and learn to support women through pregnancy, birth and beyond. For more information / / (852) 2544 8398

200-hr & 300-hr Advanced Yin Yang TT with Janet Lau

1-27 April Samadi Bali, Canggu For just 20 students, this course is accredited with Yoga Alliance US and Yoga Alliance UK. For more information

Blissology TT with Eoin Finn

Samadi Bali, Canggu Yoga teacher, surfer and Blissologist Eoin Finn aims to each you how to embody and teach Vinyasa Yoga, and deepen your life’s purpose and meaning. For more information / /

RYT 200-hr TT 1-29 July Cosmos Oasis, Canggu, Bali This course incorporates all elements of Yoga with a clear focus on Vinyasa and therapeutic approaches, anatomy, Ayurveda and Yoga philosophy. For more information /

Svastha Yoga Intensive TT with Dr. Ganesh Mohan 8-29 July Samadi Bali, Canggu A teacher training programme to achieve personal well-being through Yoga and Ayurveda. For more information / MALAYSIA

95-hr Children’s Yoga TT 8-17 June HotYo, Kuala Lumpur An holistic, therapeutic approach to Yoga for children and teens. Yoga Alliance Registered. For more information / SINGAPORE

95-hr Children’s Yoga TT 8-17 April Hom Yoga A holistic, therapeutic approach to Yoga for children and teens. For more information /

1-31 May February 2018


200-hr Classical Yoga TTC 29 April-25 May; 3-29 June; 8 July-3 August Wise Living Yoga Academy, Chiang Mai A full immersion experience in traditional Yoga studies in an Ashram-like environment. For more information (66) 825467995 / / www.teachertraining.

Centered Yoga 200-hr TT with Paul Dallaghan & Faculty 5 May - 2 June Samahita Retreat A one-month residential teacher training with Paul Dallaghan, who has been teaching since 1999. For more information

500-hr Advanced Yoga TT 3 June-3 August; 21 October-21 December Wise Living Yoga Academy, Chiang Mai The 200-hours TT plus 300 hours on nature cure, Shatkarmas, Ayurveda and scriptural studies. The Ashram routine is followed. For more information (66) 825467995 / / www.teachertraining.

Sivananda Yoga TT 30 September-28 October Chiang Rai This four week Yoga intensive is situated in the Phu Chaisai Mountain Resort. It will train you in all the theoretical and practical aspects of Yoga. Training Yoga teachers since 1969. For more information





Multifaceted BY MELINDA JUANG As a Taiwanese who moved into Hong Kong six years ago; I am sometimes asked by locals how I feel about living here. I tell them of a conversation between my husband and I. Once he asked me where is my favorite place to live in this world? “Hong Kong. At least for now! “ I replied without hesitation. He was very surprised with my answer and as are others. My choice is very personal yet from my heart. Hong Kong is an international hub and to me it is an ideal place for yoga seekers. There is such a variety of yoga practices to start with, so many yoga-related activities are available, we can connect with practitioners and resources from all over the world. I am very blessed to have find my Guru and the path suitable for me. The living environment here also echoes such a dynamic spirit. From nature to urban life, Hong Kong will never bore you as long as you are willing to explore. I like to look for new places for yoga photography. The yoga photos shown here are all taken in this land of diversity. Throughout years, my fondness for Hong Kong reflects a journey into yoga, photography and art. Little by little, I discover the inner treasure of the self by experiencing various aspects of life here. Hong Kong is like a diamond with many facets cut by its unique history and landscape. Perhaps inner change brings outer change and ultimately we are our own diamond cutters in life.

February 2018



February 2018





And the lessons which follow BY CHARU RAMESH

Inhale, and God approaches you. Hold the inhalation, and God remains with you. Exhale, and you approach God. Hold the exhalation, and surrender to God. ~Sri Krishnamacharya The Sanskrit word for breath is prana, which means not only the physical breath but also the life force itself. The physical breath can be a gateway to understanding this force that permeates everything. In fact, if we just pay attention to our breath, it can help us understand what life is about and how flowing with it can bring peace and happiness. Here are a few things that my breath has taught me: 1. LIFE OPERATES IN CYCLES Inhale follows exhale and exhale follows inhale, night follows day, death follows life, the seasons follow each other. Linear time is a convenient construct that helps us operate in the world, but has no inherent substance.

While it is important to respect time and operate according to it, taking the construct for reality is one of the main causes of our stress and worry, as we take all beginnings and endings to be final. 2 THINGS CHANGE Just as we cannot hold on to our inhale or our exhale, we cannot hold on to anything in life. Whether we like it or not, things always change. In the larger scheme of things, our holding on makes no difference – we lose people and things no matter how tightly we may cling to them. Clinging to the breath is letting go of life itself. In the same way, grasping takes away what infuses us with life by making us rigid and not allowing space for anything new or different to flow in. Just as the body gracefully lets go of the inhale to make space for the exhale, we can allow things to move on and make space for our life to be filled with fresh experiences. 3. ALL OPPOSITES ARE INEXTRICABLY LINKED & ARE POSSIBLE BECAUSE OF EACH OTHER Inhalation brings renewal and exhalation symbolizes extinction. Life is made of dualities – birth and death, joy and sorrow, meetings and partings, gain and loss; each one is tied to the other and exists because of

the other. Wanting one and thinking that we can keep the other at bay is wishful thinking, like thinking we could breathe in and never have to breathe out. Happiness doesn’t come from clinging to any one of these polarities, but rather from keeping the perspective that they are linked and having the groundedness to handle whatever comes. 4. WE ARE PART OF SOMETHING MUCH LARGER THAN OURSELVES The breath happens by itself. We only have limited control over it – we can manipulate it to an extent, but never control the process of breathing itself. Just so, we can work with the world and what life gives us, but cannot control what shows up. Things do not go according to our plans, but rather manifest in accordance with a greater plan, of which we are a small part. Recognising this is extremely liberating and empowers us to find happiness in any circumstances. The more we pay attention to our breath, the more we learn from it. When we are in difficult times, listening to what the breath is telling us can often suggest a way out, or provide a different perspective.

Listen, are you breathing just a little and calling it a life? - Mary Oliver

Clayton Horton practicing pranayama in Bali

February 2018





Your 200-hour yoga teacher training was just the start BY KIM ROBERTS

I never consciously set out to be a yoga teacher. My life was so profoundly transformed by my dedicated Ashtanga practice, it became the focus on my life – my obsession! When people saw my passion for the practice, they were inspired to learn as well, so they asked me to teach. I only got a teacher training certificate to satisfy the professional establishments who asked me to teach. I developed the basis of my experience through time on the mat. What I notice today, is many aspiring teachers feel they can bypass that commitment to daily practice, and the indepth self-examination that accompanies that process, simply by completing a teacher training course.

experiences and you have the key to letting go of struggle. Commit to a dedicated daily selfpractice and stick with it. This is the foundation of teaching. ALIGN WITH YOUR INNER WISDOM Sift your mindset from “teaching postures” to “teaching people.” What are we teaching? How to relax into change. And the most effective way to do that is to learn to do it ourselves – to model it as teachers. The tools of yoga teacher you to listen. Listening is a powering skill that allows us to guide students – and our own lives – with wisdom and compassion.

PUT YOURSELF OUT THERE Full disclosure – this is a work in progress for me. They say the work of writing a book starts once the book is written. Same with becoming a teacher. Find creative ways to spread your message, and accept that repeated rejection builds character. I’ve got tons of character! You will too if you stick with this. You increase your reach, your marketability, by expanding your vision while maintaining your deep connection to practice. Instead of marketing, I think of it as sharing valuable tools with people I love. NOURISH RELATIONSHIPS Let the practice and teaching situation connect you with people. Offer to do things for teachers you’d like to learn from. Build relationships with your students, not because it will get you somewhere, but because you truly care about them

When you experience the power of yoga and share, you let yoga transform you into an agent of positive change in the world.

While a teacher training certificate can help you develop skills, teach you information and boost confidence to get out there and teach, it should never be a replacement for your own continued exploration. There are other important steps to keep in mind if you want to be a great teacher. So if you earned your teacher training certificate, now what?

PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE The most important thing you can do as a teacher is practice. As yoga teachers, we work with the source of suffering, which is often what compels people to attend their first yoga class. What is the source of suffering? It is struggle, or resistance to what is. When you can learn to accept whatever is happening in the present moment, which requires first being aware of what happening, then struggle vanishes. Pain, confusion and obstacles may continue, but fighting against these experiences only solidifies them. Practice being authentically in the present moment with these

BE PROFESSIONAL When I was hiring teachers for the studio I ran in Hong Kong years ago, I had to turn away so many teachers because they just could not get their act together; get paperwork in order: maintain appropriate boundaries with students; show up on time; be clear and fair about finances; speak in a professional manner; learn to communicate with students without laying your own trips or unfinished business on them. Attention to these simple details yields amazing results. LISTEN TO (AND TEACH FROM) YOUR HEART Your unique style is the reason students will come to you and not someone else. Identify your gifts and talents and let them shine! That doesn’t mean creating your own brand of yoga. It means developing an unbreakable relationship with your experience and learning to translate and communicate that wisdom. Look outside the box to discover ways to share your teachings. And never stop being a student.

February 2018

I don’t need to tell you yoga helps people tune into their higher wisdom. Why is this so important right now? Because our planet is suffering the effects of ignorance and gorilla wisdom, and it is affecting all of us. If more people practice yoga, more people’s lives will be transformed. If more people’s lives are transformed, our planet will be transformed. By helping people to elevate their awareness, you can help shift the consciousness of our planet. When you truly experience the power of yoga and feel inspired to share this wisdom, then you can let the beautiful practice of yoga transform you into an agent of positive change in the world. Be grateful for your good luck in finding the practice and please share it with us! Because the world needs you!





A Practice of Self-Healing BY SANJIV CHATURVEDI

Yoga therapy is an integrated practice of asana (postures), pranayama (breathing), detoxification, relaxation and meditation to facilitate self-healing. Rather than focusing on the asana, as is often the case with yoga practices, yoga therapy emphasizes the conditions for the practitioner is heal themselves. Key to this process is practicing with awareness. Yoga practiced with awareness assists the body to recover after illness and injury by strengthening weakened muscles, promoting efficient oxygen circulation, increasing flexibility in the spine, which allows for free flow of energy.

and modern medicine is yoga focuses on the root of the problem and does not isolates the symptoms from the person, where as modern medicine suppresses the symptoms of the disease with external intervention or drugs. With yoga, patients learn to take charge of their own recovery rather than becoming dependent on foreign substances.

PM Series revolutionized yoga therapy by making practices accessible to everyone and allowing individual combinations to suit particular conditions. All PM series are effective in improving the elasticity of muscles and thus promoting healthy circulation of blood and energy and setting forth a powerful healing force. It is important to remember yoga and modern medicine are not mutually exclusive. In some cases, medical diagnosis, surgical procedures and or medications are necessary for a patient. However, maintaining a healthy body through yoga will enhance the effectiveness of medication with less dosage and speed up the recovery process. The basic difference between yogic treatment

(c) Pawanmuktasana Part 3: Improve prana flow in lower body by stretching and twisting pelvic organs. Easy to do and effective in improving function of reproductive and urinary organs and tones abdominal organs. 2. BACKWARD BENDING Tones and massages abdominal organs, opens up heart and lungs to enhance the immune system and makes the spine flexible and strong.

The practices are designed to create space within the body to promote a natural flow of prana (energy) and blood circulation and to relax the body and mind so healing may take place. Yoga speeds up the process of regeneration and rehabilitation, mainly by reducing inflammation, the natural reaction of the body to injury and irritation, and by purifying the body of toxins. Among the practices, pawanmuktasana series (PM Series 1-3), developed by Swami Satyananda, founder of the Bihar School of Yoga, are suitable for practitioners of all physical aptitudes.

system and core muscles by using leg movements such as aimple leg lifts and leg rotations. Burns extra calories, builds strength and confidence.

Examples: cobra, bow, wheel poses etc. 3. FORWARD BENDING Releases tensions from the spine, back and legs. Stretches all abdominal organs and improves the functioning of digestive and reproductive systems. Examples: rabbit and head to knee poses. Caution: Those with back pain should not do this group without guidance.

Depending on the patient’s health issue, a trained yoga therapist designs practices to suit the individual’s needs. However, the following practices are suitable for most people with chronic diseases or recovering from other ailments. 1. PAWANMUKTASANA SERIES (a) Pawanmuktasana Part 1: Simple joints rotation practices (wrists, hip, and ankles) to encourage the flow of blood and prana to each and every part of the body. Releases accumulated stress and tension from joints, nerves and muscles to induce relaxation in body, and mind. Improved blood circulation allows for proper functioning of all organs. Suitable even for patients with high blood pressure and heart disease. (b) Pawanmuktasana Part 2: Abdominal practices to improve strength of digestive February 2018

4. SPINAL TWIST Most important group of practice for diabetics to squeeze the pancreas, kidneys, liver, intestine and other organs to rejuvenate and revitalize them for optimal and balanced functioning. Examples: waist rotation and half lord of the fish poses and variations according to the capacity of the practitioner. 5. OTHER GROUPS OF ASANAS Lateral bending and variations, balancing poses, inverted poses are also suitable. Caution: Those having hypertension, heart problems and other severe complications should avoid inverted poses. 6. SUN SALUTATION Combination of 12 postures to enhance the metabolism and stretches all muscles and nerves to create space for the free flow of



prana and blood. Effects the endocrine glands for balanced hormone secretions. Caution: Those having hypertension, heart problems or having symptoms of hypoglycemia should avoid this practice or only under expert guidance. 7. PRANAYAMA Breathing practices purify the blood and caries energy to every cell in the body. An important detox for the management of diabetes which enhances the metabolism. Daily practice from each of the following groups is recommended.

hypertension and heart conditions. (c) Ujjayi (throat breathing): Reduces stress and balances hypertension, heart and thyroid issues. Suitable for all.

With every fibre of my being I feel an inner sense of freeing As the energy begins to surge The elements meet and merge

8. YOGA NIDRA (SLEEPING MEDITATION) A lying down guided meditation to reach a state of deep physical and mental relaxation, speeds up healing and enhances awareness and mental strength. Effective for emotional issues.

On cresting waves dance ever higher

STEPS TO RECOVERY By choosing one or two practices from each group of asanas, pranayama and relaxation, along with observing a moderate diet, people can enjoy their daily life to its full potential.

(b) Svan Pranyama (dog panting): Massaging and toning effects on abdominal organs. Strengthens abdominal muscles and burns belly fat. Improves respiration quality and enhances lung capacity. Caution: Avoid if suffering from

All photos courtesy of Michelle Kwok


In the natural flow from night to day

(e) Bhramari (Humming Bee): Best stress buster and effective for a good night’s sleep.

However, for successful yogic healing to take place, the patient must resolve to dedicate him or herself to the discipline. Regular practice is imperative for the body, mind and spirit to create an internal balance which is healing in its self. Secondly, finding an experienced and qualified yoga teacher who can accurately diagnose the problem and prescribe the appropriate method of treatment is crucial in the healing process.

Caution: Avoid the practice if having symptoms of hypoglycemia, hypertension or heart ailments.

Salutations to the moon and sun

Dark and light unite and interplay (d) Nadi Shodhana (alternate nostril breathing): Recharges and purifies each cell and nerve passages. Suitable even for those bedridden.

9. DETOXIFICATION Neti, kunjal, and laghoo sankhaprakshalana are health promoting detox practices to be done in conjunction with asanas and pranayama practices. Must be done under expert guidance. Laghho naturally cleans the digestive tract and rejuvenates digestive organs by throwing out all accumulated toxins from the intestine. Neti is good for reducing mental stress and Kunjal remedies emotional imbalances.

(a) Bhastrika/Kapalbhati (rapid abdominal breathing): Counters obesity and stress. Activates the fire element and increases metabolism.

Breath and body move as one


Earth, ether, water, air and fire

Each stretching breath lifts to inspire The next to rise to overflowing Innately knowing where it’s going Following an inner urge Melting in nothingness to emerge In the endless eternal heart’s embrace Of spirit beyond time and space Ever flowing ever still Its fathomless peace Will never cease To thrill As I fill With the bliss Of a kiss To my very core From the One I endlessly adore You are who you were waiting for Sweet blessed union with Forevermore

February 2018



BaliSpirit Festival 2018 Presenter

Gypsy Bast is a yoga and meditation teacher, Pilates master, healer, and performance artist with over 22 years experience teaching and traveling across the globe. She’s an energy shape-shifter who’s trained Cirque du Soleil shows and helped thousands of people overcome pain, trauma, and fears with her teachings. A regular presenter at BaliSpirit Festival, Gypsy combines dance, yoga and drama this 2 – 8 April. WHAT DID YOU HAVE FOR BREAKFAST? I started a three-day juice fast today! So I had lemon water, a fresh coconut, and then later some fresh pressed green juice. WHAT BOOK ARE YOU READING RIGHT NOW? I’m re-reading Tao of Leadership, and for pure, adulterated fun, Bad, Little Lies. YOU HAVE 30 MINUTES SPARE, DO YOU PRACTICE ASANA, PRANAYAMA OR MEDITATE? Yes, all of the above or I take nap! Now that I’m in my 40s it’s important for women to rest in preparation for menopause and restoring their reserves. I’ve always been active, and now I slow down more. I listen to


what my body and mind’s needs are with intuition. Sometimes it’s sitting and chanting or conscious breathing. Other times practice asana or when I need Yoga Nidra. WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU WERE ANGRY AND HOW DID YOU REACT? Yesterday morning, from a man who disrespectfully yelled at me and I felt attacked by his own anger. I went to a private space in my bed, took a pillow and punched it! By yelling back at it until the anger was gone... I felt relief. Then, I started singing and laughing at how easy the nervous system can be affected by others negativity! WHAT ADVICE DO YOU SHARE WITH NEW YOGA TEACHERS? Study and teach as much you can because experience is the best teacher. Feel into your students needs, and be willing to change your planning. Sharing the benefits of why we practice the different limbs of Yoga, helps them want and understand more as to why we are here. It’s not just exercises and stretching! Always be open to sharing stories that bridge your class together, and to the teachings that everyone brings to your path.



MEMORY CHALLENGE The official language of yoga, Sanskrit is one of, perhaps even, the oldest human language. Read and try to remember the 20 words here. Then next time you are in yoga class, see if you recognize when your teacher says them. Nothing lost if your teacher doesn’t use Sanskrit to describe poses. Just by attempting to learn something new, your brain will form new neurons. And the more neural connections, the better insurance against dementia and other forms of cognitive decline. 1. Adho - down 2. Anga - limb 3. Ardha – half 4. Asana – pose/seat 5. Baddha – bound 6. Chandra – moon 7. Chatur - four 8. Danda – staff/stick 9. Hasta – foot 10. Kona – angle 11. Mukha - face 12. Pada – hand 13. Padma – Lotus 14. Parivrtta – revolved 15. Supta – reclining 16. Surya – sun 17. Svana - dog 18. Upavistha - seated 19. Urdhva – upwards 20. Utthita – extended

Zoe in Side Plank, photo courtesy of Yoshi Anwar, Singapore

February 2018



February 2018


WHAT ARE THE UPANISHADS? How do they tie in to Vedic Traditions BY ANDY WILLNER

TALKING WITH THE TRUE GURU What we can learn about life from death..............34 WHAT’S SPECIAL ABOUT THESE TEXTS Iyengar teacher shares what’s she has learned......35 YOU ARE ALREADY IMMORTAL Lessons from the BrihadAranyaka Upanishad......37 EXPAND AWARENESS The Upanishads in everyday life...........................38 THE WAY TO LIBERATION A commitment to daily work...............................40 30


The meditative experiences of ancient forest-dwelling sages in India became the Upanishads.

February 2018

Literally Upanishad means “To sit down near” the guru (upa=near; ni=down; shad=to sit), so the teacher would share his wisdom with the students. These teachings came from discoveries made by forest dwelling sages passed down orally and were only written down centuries after. Typically the Upanishads date back to around 800 BCE up to the turn of the millennium. It is important to understand these teachings came from direct perception and intuition rather than merely intellectualizing; indeed our intellect is not capable of understanding the complexity of reality. We must also understand these teachings came from a great variety of teachers and are therefore at times not consistent with each other, but their aim is to inspire students in their own pursuit of understanding reality rather than as an instruction manual. When studying the Upanishads, one will notice the emphasis has moved squarely away from external rituals of the original Vedas seeking favours from the Gods, towards introspection of the nature of reality. It is also clear the Upanishads were heavily influenced by heterodox non Vedic traditions (known as sramanas) such as Jainism and Buddhism, hence the inclusion of concepts such as samsara, karma, dharma and moksha which are not found in the earlier vedic corpus of texts. Within the Advaita Vedanta tradition in which Vedanta literally means ‘end of the Vedas’, the Upanishads are considered the ultimate teachings on attaining ‘oneness’ with the Absolute – Brahmin. Hence the Upanishads are always found at the end of their associated Veda and are supposed to fully clarify the aims of their respective Veda. (Note: the original Vedic texts known as ‘Samhitas’ i.e. mantras and benedictions pertain to different orthodox traditions which are collectively known as the Vedas – Rig, Sama, Yajur & Atharva. In addition to the Samhitas are the Aranyakas, which focus on rituals, ceremonies and sacrifices, the Brahmanas, which focus on more detailed commentary with rituals and sacrifices and finally the Upanishads, which are more focused on metaphysics and spiritual knowledge).


Given there were well over 1,000 branches of the four Vedas, we should expect to find a similar number of Upanishads however there are only 108 in print, from which 10-13 are considered Mukhya (principal) ones both from a doctrinal and authenticity perspective. Originally only 10 were viewed as the main ones but typically in modern times, most scholars accept the addition of three more. Various sages have written commentaries on the principal Upanishads, most notably Shankara in the 8th Century, who wrote on the original 10 Mukhya Upanishads coming from an Advaita (non dualism) perspective. In contrast, Sri Madhva in the 13th Century also wrote on the same 10 Upanishads but from a Dvaita (dualism) perspective which argues Atman (the individual soul) and Brahman (ultimate reality expressed in the form of the god Vishnu) are distinct and different. The third famous commentator on these same 10 Upanishads is Sri Ramanuja, who lived in the 11th Century and offered a third philosophy known as Vishishtadvaita (qualified non dualism), which lies somewhere in between Shankara’s and Madhva’s views, leaning more towards the former than the latter. So let’s turn to my favourite quote from the Upanishads....which is a tough decision as there are so many nuggets from which to choose. But if I had to pick just one it would be the following: “Watch your thoughts, they become your words. Watch your words, they become your actions. Watch your actions, they become your habits. Watch your habits, they become your character. Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.” This quote has been incorrectly ascribed to a variety of authors, ranging from Lao Tzu and Gautama Buddha to Margaret Thatcher’s dad! Rather amusingly a Texas newspaper in the Seventies apparently ascribed it to Frank Outlaw, a successful US supermarket chain magnate! For me, this statement holds a critical key for how we create our karma during this lifetime as karma does not happen to us but derives from us. (Often karma is misunderstood as something external as commonly seen on social media such as “Karma will get him”).


So we have to begin with our thoughts: if we can develop the qualities of loving kindness, compassion, joy in the virtuous success of others, and acceptance towards negativity from others (which are the four immeasurables in the yoga Sutras of Patanjali), then our thoughts will generate words that positively impact others as well as ourselves. When we speak our vision we have the power to motivate ourselves to great actions and encourage others to follow as was amply demonstrated by Mahatma Gandhi or Winston Churchill. As we put our thoughts and words into action, we can then observe their impact. Repeated actions whether beneficial or detrimental shape our habits - practising asana each day or meditating can help us to evolve positively as people, and after a reasonable period of time they clearly begin to shape our character, which is certainly how we are seen as individuals by others. As our character evolves, how we see ourselves and others will shape our destiny. If we are filled with self judgment and negativity, then our character will attract like. On the other hand, if we learn to love ourselves and others, recognizing our interdependence and connectivity, then that too will attract like. If this sounds too simplistic just ask yourself who you like to hang out with – people who inspire and uplift you through their character or those who bring you down with a constant stream of negative energy? They say “misery wants company” which may well be true...but so does joy! I leave you with my favourite prayer for Enlightenment: Aum. Asato ma sad-gamaya; tamaso ma jyotir-gamaya; mrtyor- maamrutam gamaya. Aum. Shanti, shanti, shanti. Aum. Lead me from unreal to real; lead me from darkness to light; lead me from death to immortality. Aum. Peace, peace, peace. Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 1.3.28

Lead me from unreal to real; lead me from darkness to light; lead me from death to immortality. Brihadaranyaka Upanishad

Going into the forest to study and meditate continues today. The Thai Forest tradition is the branch of Theravada Buddhism in Thailand that most strictly holds the original monastic rules of discipline laid down by the Buddha.

February 2018




Katha Upanishad distinguish between what is truly good and what is merely gratifying

The Upanishads offer wisdom in a most tantalizing format: some Q & A time with a fully realized teacher. Many truth-seekers wish for nothing more than such an auspicious opportunity. We see this interview format repeated in Bhagavad Gita, Zen fables and in Satsangs around the world today. But in the Katha Upanishad, we get a rare chance to hear from reality’s finest and most illuminating teacher himself: Death. The young boy Naciketas is offered three wishes from Yama, Lord of Death. The first two boons are expended on restoring good relations with his family and learning an important sacrificial rite. But he insists for the final wish that Yama instruct him as to the nature of living and dying. Smart lad! So many of us would focus on worldly enjoyments and comforts. I’d argue the struggle to understand death is the constant fabric that unites all spiritual studies and religious practices throughout history. Death tries to dodge the question but eventually gives in and offers a short but illuminating lecture. I think his little sermon reveals not only the Hinduistic approach to existence, dying and rebirth but also lays down a fundamental measure for every yogic practice. Karma and rebirth are fascinating principles that guide much of the flow of pan-Indian beliefs. But whether or not we accept reincarnation, the Katha Upanishad insists we distinguish between what is truly good and what is merely gratifying. Near the beginning of his teachings, Yama speaks of these two Sanskrit terms: shreyas and preyas. Preyas is the bulk of our activities, those which provide short-term immediate gratification. Sensual indulgence is the perfect example. Shreyas, however, is said to be that which is truly good. How can we define what is actually good and not just a fleeting comfort or illusory play? To clarify this matter, Yama then goes on an extended description of Atman, Self, or what some might call the Soul. The explanation is a wonderful study in the Hindu belief in an eternal Self, eternal truth. Dynamics of reincarnation are introduced. Repeatedly, Yama insists the wise must come to realize the true Self. Then, at the time of death, one would avoid an ignorant fear of destruction.



Again, I don’t think belief in reincarnation is required to gain great insight from Yama’s teachings. We must simply question what is merely gratifying and what is truly good. My favourite definition of Shreyas begins, “That which is useful at the time of physical death...” Anything that isn’t of service during the process of dying is simply not shreyas, not ultimately beneficial. The struggle to accept death guides every religion. Most of us seem comfortable to give scarce attention to the inevitable and then rightfully quake in genuine sorrow when we lose loved ones. We may be even less willing to consider our own impending extinction. Many do little to prepare for the loss of human life. Yet, ironically, death is the one thing that seems absolutely certain. So shreyas includes any practice, experience or ritual that helps us accept and perhaps prepare for death. All of the traditional yoga methods seem to have “Death Prep” at their very centre. But in today’s world, most practices seem to focus on temporary pleasant feelings, increased health or even beautification. These are all valid benefits in the immediate experience but they qualify as mere preyas when looking through a longterm perspective. Studying our own beliefs, fears and uncertainties should help guide us towards practices that serve the highest good. This past year, I said goodbye to a few wonderful friends. Although it was a challenging time, the process served to remind me just how vital my daily practices might become. They may offer some help in finding peace and clarity towards loss and eternity. Equanimity could be a highly useful effect of yoga sadhana, not just in our day to day lives but also beyond. Actually, this how my preferred definition of shreyas completes: “That which is useful at the time of physical death... and beyond.” Without trying to understand or explain the complicated and mysterious nature of existence, I encourage reading the Katha Upanishad. A good conversation with the highest of teachers should help us check in with the value of our own practices. May we all continue to step into the light of wisdom.



Why should we read them? BY KAREN LAM

What is Upanishads? Wikipedia says they are “a part of the Vedas, are ancient Sanskrit texts that contain some of the central philosophical concepts and ideas of Hinduism, some of which are shared with Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism. Among the most important literature in the history of Indian religions and culture, the Upanishads played an important role in the development of spiritual ideas in ancient India, marking a transition from Vedic ritualism to new ideas and institutions.”

“end of knowledge” meaning the end of using human intellect to conceive the cosmic wisdom, truth and revelations intuitively experienced by the sages or Guru to pass on to their disciples. Mr. Biria, further explains the word Upanishad is composed of the verbal root “sat” which means “to sit”. It means “to sit down close to one’s preceptor”. The Upanishads stated in the Vedas, were initially understood as secret teachings (Rahasya)

One just has to spend a few minutes sitting quietly in a forest to feel the calming and inspiring effect of Nature and then to understand why the sages chose the forest for their practice.

If we base our understanding only on Wikipedia, we may be miss the full story. Here’s the explanation of a renowned Vedic scholar and a senior Iyengar Yoga teacher, Mr Faeq Biria: “Upanishads are discourses transmitted from the Guru to his disciple on philosophical, mystical and esoteric issues. Such philosophical concepts inspired Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism. They are revelations, not products of the individual mind nor intellect.” These texts are usually in the last section of the Veda and are considered the source scriptures of Vedanta. ”Veda” means “knowledge”; “anta” means “end”. Such texts are considered as esoteric continuation of Vedic ritualism, constituting the “end” part of Vedas. Also “Vedanta” literally means

and their metaphysical thinking revolves around four closely related themes: 1. The Atman (the self) is identical to Brahman (Universal Self). 2. The repeated embodiment (punar janman) and repeated death (punar mrityu) of human beings. 3. The doctrine of Karma or metaphysical effects of a person’s actions. 4. The concept that one can stop the production of Karma and future incarnations through the spiritual practices such as renunciation and Yoga. Traditionally students must attain a certain understanding of philosophical precepts and/or life experience before attempting Upanishads. Upanishads, Bhagavad-Gita, and Brahma Sutras are the three main texts of Hindu philosophy related to Vedanta; they February 2018

are known as the Prasthanatrayi, or three axioms of the Hindu philosophy. PRACTICAL ADVICE TO COMMENCE STUDYING UPANISHADS There were originally 108 Upanishads from the last sections of four Vedas (namely Rigveda, Yajurveda, Samaveda and Atharvaveda). The earliest ones were composed around the 9th century BC. The youngest ones are presented as recent as the 21st century! They are considered sacred revelations belonging to the wisdom part (Jnana Kanda) of Hindu philosophy as opposed to the ritual part (Karma Kanda). Brahma Sutras, also known as Vedanta Sutras, systemize the doctrines delineated in Bhagavad Gita and Upanishads. Today there are more than 200 Upanishads.

Passing on the knowledge - The author thanks Faeq Biria (above) for his guidance on her study of The

The later Upanishads were added and classified by subject titles between 7-12 A.D. The three sources to Vedanta school of philosophy, Prasthanatrayi, are not easy to read on our own and one needs an expert teacher to study them. According to Hindu tradition, a true Acharya (teacher) is one who has his own commentaries on these three texts. There have been seven Archaryas - Adi Shankaracharya, Ramanujacharya and Madhavacharya are the most known among them. Studying Upanishads, then commenting on them becomes a scholarly pursuit for most accomplished teachers.

Upanishads. Faeq is the director of the Iyengar Yoga Center in Paris. Initiated from an early age to the mystical arts of the East, and after a brilliant academic career, Faeq travelled many years for his spiritual quest, during which he met Yogacharya BKS Iyengar, whose disciple he became.

Among the three texts, Bhagavad Gita is the least difficult to learn and to understand. Though it is not technically an Upanishad, some consider it as the Upanishad of Yoga. (Not to be confused with other texts called Yoga Upanishads). Concerning Upanishads, one must begin with easier ones. Traditionally, Isha Upanishad is the first to study as suggested by Mr. Biria. There are many scholars who offer outstanding translations and commentaries of the Upanishadic texts for modern student. Mr Biria recommends the following: 1. Dr. S. Radhakrishan’s The Principal Upanisads (published by Harper Collins) 2. Swami Chinmayananda – who wrote beautiful commentaries on Upanishads. 3. Paul Deussen and his Sixty Upanishads of Vedas. This great German scholar wrote also a beautiful introduction to Upanishads called The Philosophy of Upanishads. 4. Srinivasa Ayyangar, the translation of The Yoga-Upanishads (published by The Adyar Library) which has been reprinted recently



and that is recommended to all serious Yoga practitioners. 5. There is even a very interesting DVD on the teachings of Upanishads named Upanishad Ganga available on Amazon to those who are interested on the subject. Mr. Biria’s (and my) revered Guruji Yogacharya B.K.S. Iyengar advised yoga practitioners to read Itihasas (Mahabharata and Ramayana) and Puranas, especially Bhagavata Purana (famous as Srimad Bhagavatam) before attempting the pure philosophical texts. In addition, Mr. Biria recommends the soulful translations of the late Dr. Kamala Subramaniam published by Bharatya Vidya Bhavan. RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN YOGA & UPANISHADS The origins of yoga have been speculated to date back to pre-Vedic times; it is mentioned in the Rigveda. The chronology of earliest texts describing yoga practices is unclear, perhaps suggested in parts of Upanishads. Yoga also respresents one of the six Hindu philosophies based on Vedic tradition. Yoga practitioners who have consistent practice and study yoga as a subject, would usually be intrigued to look into the relationship of individual self and the cosmic Self. Upanishads, with its source from Veda and discourses on cosmology and mysticism of esoteric nature, draw yoga practitioners’ interest and attention naturally. Unfortunately, the lack of Guru/disciple relations on Upanishads has impeded the study of such texts. Yet, blessed with a personal encounter with Mr. Biria and his guidance, we can make Upanishads a title on our next reading list using his suggested texts (and DVD) after Mahabharata and Ramayana and Puranas. For my own attempt, I bought Swami Chinmayananda’s Discourses on Kenopanisad (which is the only thin book I found in a Mumbai bookstore at the Scripture section). At its Appendix section by the author, there is a map with concepts matching those in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali – our classical ‘textbook’ for understanding Yoga. For long-term study, I also bought S. Radhakrishnan’s The Principal Upanisads (see picture). Now I intend to become a serious yoga practitioner and let’s hope the divine light will shine on all of us as we attempt reading Upanishads!



Secrets of life from BrihadAranyaka Upanishad BY GABRIEL AZOULAY

“Can I be happy, immortal and satisfied through things?” asks Maitreyi of her husband Yajnavalkya. Yajnavalkya just informed his wife he is leaving the household to pursue the last phase of life, renunciation. He is leaving, yet he made sure her life is one of physical comfort. This is the start of India’s oldest Upanishad the BrihadAranyaka Upansihad. There are 108 Upanishads. Extensions to the Vedas, which basically answer your most basic question: ‘who are you, and what are you suppose to be doing in this life?’

In the process it offers practices such as rituals to help bring about this answer. Metaphors and insight into the connection between Earth and Stars, animals and humans, life and death are prevalent both in the Vedas and the Upanishads. The BrihadAranyaka Upanishads is a beautiful example of such interplay.Known as the Great Forest Upanishad, you also learn that these teachings are done through direct student and teacher connection. The power of the Internet today is its ability to present the Upanishads and a variety of commentaries, revealing the scope of their insight.

When Yajnavalkya recognizes that his wife is actually interested in the subject of what is life really about, and does wealth and comfort equal immortality, he is astounded. This theme that we must choose to know, that we must have the desire to discover what lies beyond this life is an important theme in the Upanishad. While the main theme is the discovery of the Supreme Self, each chapter offers a different example of how this expresses itself in the universe and in human development. When I first read the Upanishad I was astounded by the images and the ideas of this

The tradition continues - Forest Schools for children and adults, which use the natural environment as the classroom, have been appearing up all over Europe and North America since the 1990s.

February 2018

world as a sacrificial horse. Each part of the horse is important, as each aspect of the external reality is important. Yet there is something that is beyond the distinction of parts. The sacrifice itself is to reveal that which is unseen. However, it was the second chapter that has astounded me the most, and continues to offer a glimpse into human and social condition. Maitreyi is not lesser than her husband because she is a woman. Nor is she any less because she may not care about the question of life after death. There is no judgment in Yâjñavalkya response, only a deep excitement that his beloved is interested in the question of life beyond material wealth. You are offered a glimpse that life 3000 years ago was not that different than life today. Most people still worry about physical comfort. In fact the Upanishad in some regards extols that one should spend 3 portions of their life in creating physical comfort, before choosing to retire and seek renunciation. That’s why Yajnavalkya shares with his wife: ‘I never expected you to ask me about such matters when I am leaving you with immense comfort and wealth.’



With the Upanishads BY GABRIELLE MCMAHON

Though he is very honest and informs her that in fact, no physical wealth or comfort can alleviate the fear and doubt that lives in everyone, rich or poor. He then begins to share with Maitreyî the secret of all things.

That is the meaning of the word Namaste.

From this point the Upanishad goes into the connection between things that are temporary and things that are eternal.

The BrihadAranyaka Upanishad is the oldest Upanishad to define and describe this essence known as ‘One of Us.’

That which we see with the eye, things that are controlled by time, ideas about ownership and possessions, all aspects that are temporary, and how to develop the skill to discover the eternal, that which never changes.

As the great Jewish Mystic and Rabbi “The Baal Shem Tov’ once responded to a heckler asking if the bible can be learned standing on one foot. The Rabbi smiled and said ‘indeed it can be! The entire bible can be summarized into: ‘do not do unto another what you would not do unto yourself. Everything else is a commentary. Now go and study!’

Where gender and class differences often plague the history in India and in the West, the BrihadAranyaka Upanishad stands not only as a testemant to the impermanence of things, but also to the fact that in ancient Vedantic times there was awareness that there is no difference, and no cause to create separation, based on gender or class. There is only the desire to know what lies beyond this life or not.

You must love yourself so deeply that there is no difference between you and another. Then there is nothing you will do to another person that you will not do to yourself. What a powerful statement of Love. The power of Yajnavalkya love for Maitreyî shines as he shares with her the same secret the great Rabbi shared with the crowd.

That is a choice you make every moment in Yoga. Do you notice the fullness of life in your Inhale? Are you conscious of the life you have when you Exhale?

The rest is commentary.Now you go and study.

A common theme in the Upanishads seems to be the expansion of our awareness. The ability to discern on a daily basis, the ability to move beyond ignorance and attain deep knowledge. Knowledge of the Self.

As well this awareness gives one the understanding and knowledge of all beings, that all beings are interconnected, united and one. A deep respect can evolve from this perspective.

Upanisad‘s meaning can be broken into upa – near, ni – with certainty and sad – to split up/ destroy. Implying this knowledge destroys the seeds of worldly existence, such as ignorance (Katha Upanisad, part 1, Canto 1).


The Upanishads is a guide to determine the true nature of the Self, by recognizing and releasing ignorance and the mental preoccupation with the non-self. Ignorance or lack of knowledge which keeps one in a cycle of birth and death.

Moving beyond worldly existence, beyond desires and attachments to the material world and its wealth, one can move into awareness and realization of the Self, through a spiritual life, meditation on God’s divine wealth.


With the purification of the mind freedom from desires helps set us free. If we understand knowledge to be purposeful and non-ignorant, and if are aware our senses can distort our daily life, we begin to see patterns of habits and activity that, in a spiritual sense, do not uplift our inner Self.

If we can move beyond this cycle, beyond human miseries and suffering this can lead us to the awareness and deep knowledge of our true potential and beautiful Self. 38

Are you aware of that place that is of light, truth, peace and joy that is constantly inside of you? Such that when you find that center, and I find that center, there is only One of Us.



Hope for the future - Surely the more people, especially children, who connect with Nature, the better our chances for restoring balance to humanity and the environment.

With attentive awareness over our thoughts we can develop greater discrimination over our actions. EAR OF THE EAR, THE MIND OF THE MIND, THE SPEECH OF THE SPEECH THE LIFE OF THE LIFE AND THE EYE OF THE EYE, THEREFORE THE INTELLIGENT MEN AFTER GIVING UP (SELFIDENTIFICATION WITH THE SENSE) AND RENOUNCING THIS WORLD, BECOME IMMORTAL. Who is in control of the mind, the intellect, of the senses? We can ask ourselves, and as we practice greater awareness we can begin to see mastery over these can be attained with the right practice. We can feel prana going beyond merely sustaining us, but bringing us into the bliss of Brahman. We can see the reality of the situation without distortion from the external world. With attentive awareness over our thoughts we can develop greater discrimination over our actions. To travel on this path we must begin to use our real intellect and give up identifying ourselves with the senses and other external objects, but rather go within and connect and develop the awareness of the Self.

KENA UPANISHAD 11.5: IF ONE HAS REALIZED HERE, THEN THERE IS TRUTH; IF HE HAS NOT REALIZED HERE, THEN THERE IS GREAT DESTRUCTION. Here we create our own suffering through ignorance and fear – fear of dying, fear of ageing, fear of loss and more, keeping us separated from the truth and our full potential, distant from the illumination of the light of consciousness. KENA UPANISHAD 11.4: IT (BRAHMAN) IS REALLY KNOWN WHEN IT IS KNOWN WITH EACH STATE OF CONSCIOUSNESS, BECAUSE THEREBY ONE GET IMMORTALITY. (SINCE) THROUGH ONE’S OWN SELF IS ACQUIRED STRENGTH (THEREFORE) THROUGH KNOWLEDGE IS ATTAINED IMMORTALITY. So now, I will take more time to consider my understanding and awareness and go deeper into the search for the Self, until it is known, by sitting in the stillness of meditation to surrender to what arises.

February 2018



Dharma is the Path BY LOGANATHAN

Upanishads are ancient Sanskrit texts which scholars such as Signe Cohen, Associate Professor of South Asian Religions at the University of Missouri, say teaches Atman [individual soul, spirit] and Brahman [universal soul, God] are one and the same, and knowledge of this leads to liberation from the cycle of birth and death. Commentaries of the Katha and Brihadaranyaka Upanishads by Adi Shankara explain Atmavidya as ‘Knowledge of the Self” and Brahmavidya as “Knowledge of Brahma”. It is often written the knowledge contained in the Upanishads was revealed directly by Brahman himself to ancient Indian seers and rishis. And in fact, the word Upanishad means sitting near the enlightened master. Though some Western scholars have translated it as “secret doctrine,” “mystic meaning,” or even “hidden connections.” These enlightened rishis then imparted the Upanishadic knowledge of physical body, mind, prana, intelligence and more, to

worthy students in the classic form of netineti.

ailments. Therefore removing the stress, removes the ailment.

Meaning “neither this, nor that,” neti neti is an analytical meditation in which the practitioner learns what is, as a result of understanding what it isn’t.

The importance of dharma is emphasized by the great saint Thiruvalluvar, author of the ancient Tamil Veda entitled Thirukkural.

For example, most of us identify our self as a body, with a thinking mind and feeling emotions. Or through our roles as husband, wife, parent, teacher or doctor. Through our study of Brahmavidya, and our work or dharma, we, the student, can break this maya, or illusion, of being our body, mind, emotions, and discover ourselves as being everlasting bliss. So what is this work or dharma? Dharma are the duties, rights, laws, virtues and right way of living which makes life possible. Dharma is a core teaching of Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, Sikism, Taoism and other religions and spiritualties. According to Pathanjali, dharma is divided in two categories: yama (five moral

the problems of society are the result of lack of dharma being practiced restraints of non-violence, truthfulness, non-stealing, conscious use of energy and non-attachment) and niyama (five observances of cleanliness, contentment, effort, self-study and humility) which are the prerequisites for achieving samadhi (enlightenment). Practicing yama and niyama removes energetic impurities from the mind, emotions, body, and intellect of the practitioner. Here Western science clearly corroborates this Eastern philosophy. These days it is proven that mental stress causes indigestion, joint pain, high blood pressure, decline in cognitive function and other 40


“If one performs good deeds without missing a day, it will become the stone that blocks his path of births.” Remind the ultimate goal in the cycle of birth, death and rebirth, is eventually not to be reborn, and instead become one with the Universe. This kural explains dharma as good deeds, and by practicing this in one’s personal life leads to the cycle of birth and death cycle finally ending. A scary concept perhaps. In the Book “Joy of compassion” Lama Zopa Rinpoche, talks about practicing dharma to overcome the fear of death. He says fear of death motivates us to practice dharma and by practicing dharma we realize samsara and the absolute permanence of the self. Then we gradually overcome fear of death. What does this mean in reality? Hopefully we can see the problems of our society - pollution, nuclear war threats, poverty, gender inequality, global warming, child labor and abuse, are the result of lack of dharma being practiced by us humans collectively. The spirit of non-violence, universal love and purity of heart are the tools to bring social harmony. And as each one of us is part of this society, we all have a responsibility to practice it. Finally, I hope to inspire you with this from the Rigveda “Sam Gachchhadhvam Sam Vadadhvam Sam Vo Manansi Janatam”, “You go together, speak together, let your minds think together.”

February 2018





Hong Kong Yoga Phenomenon BY SIAN O’NEILL We arrive at the studio in the busy Tsim Sha Tsui district of Hong Kong, not far from the high-end Shangri-La Hotel. The studio is smart and colourful with a vegetarian restaurant and juice bar. We are greeted by Judy Ho, Master Dickson’s business partner and a former banker who left a life of finance to join Master Dickson in 2003. Judy is energetic, attentive and chatty and helps explain the background to what is something of a phenomenon in Hong Kong: the popular and unique Dickson Yoga. A youthful looking 49, Dickson Lau has been teaching yoga for 30 years. Completely selftaught, he learned yoga at a young age, through reading books and exploration. Also a Taekwondo Master, Dickson in fact started teaching Taekwondo before yoga, as it was more popular at that time. He started to teach yoga at the age of 16-17- Taekwondo clearly influencing his style of yoga, particularly in the use of props. Dickson’s first small studio opened in Wan Chai in 2003 with a second larger studio opening in 2005/6 (the partners borrowing money in order to grow). Although Dickson Yoga attracted a strong following of students, they were not immune to the financial crisis of 2008, which saw business drop by two thirds and many studios in Hong Kong closing. Against all the odds, their landlord at that time saved the day by agreeing to a 50% drop in rent, helping them out in the most difficult of times. Money, however, is clearly not the motivator for Dickson. He mentions that if he wanted to be rich, he’d go into hot yoga which is very popular in Hong Kong. Instead, he mentions quietly that he feels he is not wasting his life and that his teaching life is more satisfying spiritually. It is what he enjoys most. There is a therapeutic thread to Dickson’s work, having now developed a yoga therapy series in addition to teacher trainings. He clearly in fact views yoga as an alternative medicine and draws correlations between yoga and Qigong, noting how both work with energy. Although the terms in both traditions

Dickson (left) with yoga partner

may be different, both yoga and Qigong manipulate energy. A strong feature of Dickson Yoga is adjustments- Dickson believes that to be an outstanding yoga teacher, adjustments are a key part, either to correct those who are misaligned or to facilitate students into a deeper expression of a pose. During our interview, Dickson adeptly leaps onto the floor and demonstrates an adjustment in a yoga pose on a willing colleague- the yoga teacher himself practising yoga while attending to the student. We are treated to two classes during our stay in Hong Kong of Dickson Yoga- his own unique style of yoga. By Western standards, I find the beginners class quite tough going. The two classes I attend are less dynamic, with a focus on seated postures deeply held and with fairly strong adjustments. One feature in fact of Dickson Yoga is the concept of pain: ‘when we perform asana, even when we feel discomfort or pain, we must try to deal with it through relaxation’. Dickson is clear to distinguish different types of pain making it clear that sharp pain is never a good thing. He believes in the concept of effortless effort (the Qigong concept of Wuwei) and learning to relax into a pose through breathing. Another distinct feature of Dickson Yoga is the use of props. During the class I attend, a prop called Twin Peaks (a wooden prop with two mounds/peaks), developed by Master Dickson himself, is placed under the bra strap line while supine. The props are used to stimulate Marma points (like acupuncture points in yoga). Dickson likes the use of props to be fun and creative and indeed has developed different styles of yoga including ‘Hanuman Yoga’ involving ropes and hammocks to enjoy the benefits of inversion for longer. February 2018

Looking to the future, Dickson plans to open in mainland China and is exploring joint venture opportunities. Meanwhile, back in the studio in Tsim Sha Tsui, Dickson has left his Western audience somewhat in awe. There is something of Bruce Lee about Dickson- in his determination, focus and passion for his discipline. He has a quiet charisma. As he says in the foreward to his book, Dickson Yoga Panorama: “I promise you I will never slack in injecting even more dynamism and creativity to yoga’. That I definitely believe. IN BRIEF



Here at last is the long-awaited biography of a remarkable woman named Freda Bedi or Sister Khechog Palmo, who was a pioneering figure in the early years of the Tibetan exile in India. - Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo in her foreword to the book Freda Bedi (1911-77) was the first Western woman to become a fully ordained Tibetan Buddhist nun. She was born in England. She studied at Oxford where she met and married a fellow Indian student from the Punjab. It was a time when such a match between an Englishwoman, that too, a highly educated

translated and taught several Buddhist texts into English. Vicki discusses the complexities of Freda character and also describes the circumstances surrounding Freda’s death. And it was no ordinary death, but a conscious, controlled one. Freda Bedi was indeed a pioneer in many fields. She was a true visionary. Hers was a life dedicated to spiritual growth and to serving others, particularly the neediest of the needy. She cared for others, and deeply at that. Freda Bedi’s story needed to be told. And her fast-paced, moving biography, written by journalist Vickie Mackenzie who has also written the much loved biography of Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo, Cave in the Snow, needs to be read.

one and an Indian man was frowned upon. She later went on to assist her husband in India’s struggle for independence. It was rather unusual for an Englishwoman to resist British rule in India. As a disciple of Gandhi ji, she even went to jail for her convictions and her active participation in India’s freedom movement.

Suryabhedana: Constrict the left nostril and breathe in to capacity through the right. Then constrict the right and breathe out through the left. Chandrabhedana: Constrict the right nostril and breathe in to capacity through the left. Then constrict the left and breathe out through the right.



Vicki’s book has been put together from accounts and anecdotes offered by Freda’s children (including the international movie star, Kabir Bedi) and others who knew her well. Vicki describes Freda’s constant struggle to provide financial support to her family; her intense fervour in serving the poor, the downtrodden and the dispossessed in India, particularly after the bloodbath of the Partition; and her meticulous spiritual search from a young age that made her study one religion at a time and eventually led her to Buddhism. Freda meditated in Burma, extended her organizational skills and support to Tibetans in refugee camps and eventually embraced Tibetan Buddhism. Known fondly as ‘Mummy la’ by Tibetan refugees and High Lamas alike, she came to be regarded by Tibetans as an emanation of the goddess of compassionate activity, Tara.


Freda’s seminal role in the transmission of Tibetan Buddhism to the West is described in some detail in the book. Recognizing the caliber of some of the Lamas who had fled to India from Tibet after Chinese occupation, particularly the Tulkus (the ones who had consciously reincarnated to continue their Bodhisattva activities), and sensing the need for their wisdom in the West, Freda set up the Young Lamas’ Home School in Dalhousie in the Himalayas to educate these young Tulkus, not only in the English language but also in subjects and ways of the Western world. Later serving as the Sixteenth Karmapa’s Secretary, Freda Bedi organized his first teaching tour in the West and even

Inhaling through the Sun Nostril (right, pingala) stimulates the sun energy (exhale through the left).


It is these fingers that constrict the nostrils during the in and exhalations.

This month’s article hopes to simplify essential techniques for renewed good health and happiness. There are two very important yet simple methods of Pranayama named Surybhedana Pranayama (Sun Breath) and Chandrabhedana Pranayama (Moon breath).

On completion of as many rounds as you have time for, please relax into: DHYANI MUDRA Adopt a suitable meditative position. Place both hands in the lap on top of each other with the palms up, either hand on top. Join the tips of the thumbs. Breathe calmly yet fully through both nostrils with calm demeanour. It brings balance, harmony and tranquility.

The Sun Breath invokes the sun’s selfcreated warm, active, awakening energy and the Moon breath effects the reflected cool, gentle and calming energy. They are beneficially used at opposite ends of the day, following natural time from dawn to dusk. Sun for the start, moon for the close of the day.

Inhaling through the Moon Nostril (left, ida) brings in the peaceful moon energy (exhale through the right). To practise these the Sadhaka uses the: VISHNU MUDRA With either hand, palm facing you, fold in the fore and middle fingers to touch the palm. The small finger, ring finger and thumb are raised.


Ready now for anything presented to us by the Universe!

February 2018



February 2018


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 / (62) 811 8748 910 / (62) 811 1442 233 f: (62) 361 8987 804 / 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: Anna Ng Privates d: Hong Kong s: Hatha yoga l: Cantonese t: (852) 9483 1167 e:

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:

Queen’s Road, Central t: + 852 3524 7108

Central 3 & 4/F Man Cheung Building, 1517 Wyndham Street, Central, Hong Kong s: Detox, Power, Pre-Natal Yoga t: + 852 2813-2399 f: + 852 2812 6708 e:

7/F World Trade Centre, 280 Gloucester Road, Causeway Bay t:+852 8108 7889

YOGA CENTRAL-IYENGAR CENTRAL s: Boutique studio with Iyengar Yoga classes; flexible timings for corporate wellness, schools, small groups and privates l: English, Cantonese, Mandarin, French, Malay t: +852 2982 4308 PURE YOGA Hong Kong 16/F The Centrium, 60 Wyndham Street, Central t: +852 2971 0055

David Kim Yoga E-RYT 500+, Senior YogaWorks and YogaWise Yin Yoga Teacher Trainer; International TTs, Workshops & Retreats d: USA, Asia, Europe, Australia s: Yin Yoga, YogaWorks, Vinyasa Flow l: English, some Korean t: +1 310 480 5277 e: david@davidkimyoga.comw:

14/F Peninsula Office Tower, 18 Middle Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon t: +852 8129 8800


3/f Hutchison House, 10 Harcourt Road, Admiralty t: +852 8105 5838

Shanghai 615 iapm mall, 999 Huai Hai Zhong Road, Xuhui District t: +86 21 5466 1266 335 Plaza 66 Mall, 1266 Nanjing West Road, District t: +86 21 6279 1119 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 #06-02 Asia Square Tower 2, 12 Marina View t: 65 6100 8866

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

25/F Soundwill Plaza, 38 Russell St, Causeway Bay t: +852 2970 2299

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

Level 1 The Pulse, 28 Beach Road, Repulse Bay t: +852 8200 0908

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 RADIANTLY ALIVE YOGA STUDIO Jalan Jembawan No. 3 Ubud, Bali, 80571, Indonesia l: English s: Radiantly Alive Vinyasa, Roll & Release, Qigong, Sky Yoga, Hatha, Ashtanga, Yin, Bhakti, Yoga Teacher Trainings, Yoga Therapy & Detox Programm, Healing sessions t: +62 (0)361 978 055 e: w: SHAKTI HEALING CIRCLE 7/F Glenealy Tower, 1 Glenealy, Central, Hong Kong. s: Reiki healing classes, life coaching, Shamanic healing and workshops, Ayurveda, Feng Shui consultations, Angel Cards t: +852 2521 5099 e: w: SPACE YOGA s: Hatha, Ashtanga, Advanced, Flow, Yin, Yin Yang, Restorative, 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

namaskar 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: 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: 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:

4 times a year 5,000 copies 21 countries Australia Austria Canada China Finland Hong Kong India Indonesia Japan Macau Malaysia Netherlands Philippines Singapore South Korea Taiwan Thailand Turkey UK USA Vietnam

DISPLAY ADVERTISING RATES & SIZES Outside back cover HK$26,000 Inside front cover HK$3,700 Inside back cover HK$2,800 Full page HK$2,300 1/2 page (horizontal) HK$1,600 1/2 page (vertical) HK$1,600 1/4 page HK$730 1/8 page HK$460

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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 /

February 2018



February 2018