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namaskar A VOICE FOR THE YOGA COMMUNITY OF ASIA

MANY ROADS Non-traditional styles of yoga can have much merit as classic forms, suggests one teacher....p19

KNEE IN TREE How important is where you place your foot in tree pose.......................................................p25

Bianca & Samrat practice partner yoga, photo by Siuman Yuen

October 2016 BEYOND ASANA Teachers and practitioners share how they’ve expanded their practice beyond the mat ......p28


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NAMASKAR


NAMASKAR - OCTOBER 2016

LETTER FROM THE EDITOR A family of four emits more greenhouse gas, from the meat they eat, than driving two cars! If everyone in the world became vegan by 2050, food related greenhouse gases would drop by 70%. These according a 27 September article on www.bbc.co.uk. While the future of our environment might not be as simple as becoming vegetarian, it seems to me cutting down on meat can be a start. Yogi or not, we all know eating less meat is better for our health. The real challenge is changing our habit. And here’s where our yoga practice helps. As yogis we regularly look at our existing habits and patterns; exploring alternative ways to do things; and working hard to make new and better habits. If we can do it with Downward Facing Dog, we can do it with other things too! We can start with things directly related to our yoga practice – walk if you can, or take public transport instead of your own car to the studio; use the least number of towels during your yoga class and after for your shower; bring your own re-useable water bottle; limit your shower to three minutes. At the same time as reducing our impact on the planet, taking these little steps are an opportunity to practice looking at and changing our habits for the better. The dristi for this issue – Beyond Asana, is an attempt to suggest how readers can take this step. And Valerie, James and Andy kindly remind us all that yoga is so much more than the postures we love. For no matter how beneficial the physical benefits of yogasana, the real power of yoga becomes apparent when we embark on our path inwards. Those who read our July issue may recall Andy’s piece “Starbucks Yoga” discussing the dilution of yoga as a result of the myriad styles offered today. This time, we have a differing opinion by Mary on page 19. A potentially controversial approach to vrksasana / tree pose is proposed by Trish on page 25. Any anatomists out there who’d like to present a different perspective, please contact me on fgairns@netvigator.com Finally some housekeeping - advertisers, please note from January 2017 for a year, we will trial a two-page limit of advertisements per issue. The intention of this is to accommodate more advertisers from the wait list for each issue. Also please see our new rates on page 49, also effective January 2017. They represent a modest 3% increase over this year, which we trust will still be affordable for the individual teachers and small studios which are as important a part of our kula (community) as the large studios. As this is our last issue of 2016, I wish you peace and happiness for the rest of the year.

ABOUT NAMASKAR ADMINISTRATION Carol Adams, carol@caroladams.hk NEWS EDITOR Wai-Ling Tse, wailing.tse@gmail.com CIRCULATION Angela Sun, angela.sun@gmail.com

On the cover - Samrat Dasgupta teaches at Pure Yoga in Hong Kong. He also offers regular workshops, immersions, retreats and teacher training courses. samrat.dasgupta@pure-yoga.com

In This Issue DRISTI - BEYOND ASANA YOGA, BEYOND THE PRACTICE DOING YOGA, WITH THE SUTRAS I DO YOGA, OR I AM YOGA

28 31 33

SPECIAL FEATURES MANY ROADS TO GOD 19 The key is to find the path which resonates with each individual POWER OF SWEAT 21 An Auyrvedic approach to sweating YOUR KNEE IN TREE 25 A rather different perspective YOGA TO MARTIAL ARTS 26 One practitioner’s observations of these two popular Easterns forms

REGULAR CONTRIBUTIONS KULA UPDATES, WORKSHOPS, RETREATS, TEACHER TRAININGS PHOTO ESSAY MUDRAS MYTHOLOGY RETREAT REVIEW BOOK REVIEW COLOURING DIRECTORY

6 14 38 40 40 43 46 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, fgairns@netvigator.com

October 2016

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CONTRIBUTORS ANDY WILLNER

mat since 2001. Currently teaches internal martial arts at the Yang Xin Studio in Hong Kong. http:// benotdefeatedbytherain.blogspot.hk / kwanboonlarp@gmail.com

KIRSI ASTRÉN

CAROL ADAMS

Kirsi is a blogger, photographer and photo editor out of Helsinki, Finland. She wanted to challenge herself, professionally as well as physically. Her blog has enjoyed a few years outlining the good life in Helsinki, Finland, the healthy food, and the short working days and other important issues. wwwinspirations.pro

Andy teaches yoga at Pure Yoga in Hong Kong. Andy@pure-yoga.com ANGELA SUN

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

MARY J. DIMEGLIO

KRISHNAA KINKARIDAS

Mary is based in Philadelphia, USA, and is a certified teacher of SpiritDance SoulSong. She guide others to radiant physical and metaphysical wellness through the world’s oldest spiritual practices of singing and dancing. www.spiritdancesoulsong.com & www.movingventures.org.

JAMES BOAG

Angela takes care of the distribution and circulation of Namaskar. Originally from New York, she has been practicing yoga for 10 years. She currently teaches privately. asunwellness@gmail.com

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. kinkaridasi@hotmail.com

BERNARD KWAN

James teaches integrated yoga programmes: classes, courses, retreats and intensives; around the world. He regularly gives courses studying chapters of the Gita direct from the original Sanskrit text in Mysore, India. www.jamesboagyoga.com

MAS VIDAL

LAKSHMI HARILELA

A writer and martial artist based in Hong Kong and Taiwan, Bernard practices Tai Chi, Baguazhang and Qiji Daoyin and has a black belt in Aikido. He has been on the yoga 4

Born in Hong Kong, Lakshmi is a passionate health chef, food photographer and yogi. She studied the art of cuisine in Switzerland at Les Roches Hotel Management School and earned her Bachelors of Business Administration in 2003. In 2008, she picked up a camera and fell in love with capturing the essence of food. Away from the camera, Lakshmi is a Integral Hatha Yoga teacher and Diving enthusiast. lakshmiharilela@me.com

NAMASKAR

Mas is a yogi, mystic, practitioner of Ayurveda and founder/director of Dancing Shiva Yoga Ayurveda, an international non-profit educational organization based in Southern California. His teachings are based on the lineage of Paramahansa Yogananda founder of Self Realization Fellowship. His first book “Sun, Moon & Earth” will be released in October 2016 and


he offers certification programs in USA, Hong Kong and India. www.dancingshiva.com

VALERIE FANECO

TIA SINHA

namaskar Tia teaches yoga asana, philosophy and Tibetan Buddhist techniques of meditation and translates Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo’s teachings and books into Hindi. onlytia2@yahoo.co.in

Valerie has been a yoga teacher since 1999, yoga therapist, teacher trainer certified in the tradition of T Krishnamacharya under direct supervision of his son TKV Desikachar. She translated Frans Moors’ commentary of the Yoga Sutra into English (2012). She lives in Singapore where she runs courses and works as a yoga therapist. www.beinginyoga.com WAI-LING TSE

Now on-line at: www.issuu.com/namaskarasia Back issues still at: www.issuu.com/caroladams

January’s dristi:

TRISH CORLEY

Hatha Yoga Pradipika

Trish is a Baptiste certified yoga teacher, a doctor of physical therapy, and an anatomy professor currently located in Singapore. She specializes in teaching anatomy for yoga. www.newangleyoga.com

Wai-Ling practices and teaches mindfulness, therapy and is Kula editor for Namaskar. yogawithling@gmail.com

For this dristi, we are looking for several articles about this classic text of Hatha Yoga. Possible topics include: • An overview of Hatha Yoga Pradipika • Explanation of the 15 yogasana mentioned in Hatha Yoga Pradipika and their importance • What did the Hatha Yoga Pradipika introduce that earlier yogic texts hadn’t? • Top ten most important take aways from Hatha Yoga Pradipika • Pranayams mentioned in Hatha Yoga Pradipika • Why all the secrecy?

If you are interested in contributing on this subject, please email me first on fgairns@netvigator.com to discuss your theme. Contributions are also welcome on other topics. Final articles are welcome before December 10.

October 2016

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KULA

Updates

HONG KONG

Spiritual Development Circle Every Monday 7:30-9pm Shakti Healing Circle, Central Take time out of the hectic city life in an environment that gives you the chance to stop and breathe. Through guided meditation and learning how to read different oracle decks, to tune into your own intuition and begin using it in your every day life. The evening also includes talks on a variety of spiritual subjects and will close with full presence in the moment. For more information www.meetup.com/Hong-KongIntuitive-Development-CircleMeetup/

Integral Yoga Hong Kong Sangha Join the community of Integral Yoga teachers and students to practise and study together. Open to all ages and abilities; and beginners are welcome. Monday Classes (7-9pm): 7-8pm: Integral Yoga practice; 8-9pm: Study of Bhagavad Gita / Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. Classes are by donation and all proceeds go towards the YAMA Foundation: a nonprofit that makes Yoga, art and meditation accessible to underserved communities. For more information info@hershayoga.com

Bhagavan Asia Tour

Highlights from Yoga Central

12-29 November China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore Bhagavan, is the core and founder of the International Vedanta Society. Inspired early on in his life by the ideals of Sri Ramakrishna and Swami Vivekananda, Bhagavan has worked hard for the last 30 years, to bring to fruition Swami Vivekananda’s dream - that the knowledge of Vedanta, be spread amongst the masses, all over the world.

Jennifer will take over Annisa’s Monday evening class in October. Jennifer has over 10 years of experience with mYoga and is a teacher trainee with Peter Scott. Their weekly Saturday 11.30am class is offered in Cantonese and Mandarin by Shirley, who is a certified Iyengar Yoga teacher and a Chinese Herbal Doctor.

For more information Whatsapp (852) 9338 8931 / vedantaspiritualretreat@gmail.com / www.ivsweb.org

Thank You Mother India Fundraising Campaign

Introduction to Iyengar Yoga are a course of eight 75-minute classes, with flexible grouping, requiring a minimum of 5 persons to commence. Manduka mats are now available for bulk purchase inside the studio. For more information yogacentralhk@gmail.com / yogacentral.com.hk

1 September-31 January 2017 Yoga Gives Back officially kicks off their “Thank You Mother India” fundraising campaign on 1 September through to 31 January 2017.

Yoga Poetry Reading

For more information www.festival.org.hk

Festival of Inspiration 12 November (2-8pm) Promenade Piazza at Hong Kong Cultural Centre Organised by ISKCON HK (International Society of Krishna Consciousness) as part of their 50th anniversary celebrations with Kirtan, Yoga, vegetarian food, dance, henna skin designs, Tai Chi and more. For more information (852) 2739 6818

Silent Disco Yoga with The Yoga Room & Keith Mitchell

Unite with the global yoga community to help change the lives of those less fortunate. This annual campaign generates the majority of Yoga Gives Back’s funding to India, financing nearly 900 mothers and children with micro loans and education funds.

20 November (5:30-6:45pm) Yat Sen Memorial Park Keith is a former NFL All-Pro Linebacker and now a yoga teacher. Here he collaborates with The Yoga Room to bring . Registration required in advance and bring your own mat.

For more information www.yogagivesback.org / info@yogagivesback.org

For more information www.yogaroomhk.com / (852) 2544 8398Ajahn

Leza Lowitz will be reading some of yoga poems live at Kee Club

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12 November Kee Club As part of the Hong Kong International Literary Festival, yoga teacher and author Leza Lowitz will read from own Yoga Poems: Line to Unfold By and Yoga Heart: Lines on the Six Perfections, while a group of yogis peform.

NAMASKAR


age, KookHee leads dynamic classes, coupled with her insights and wisdom. Flex will collaborate with Aromatherapy Associates, a producer of essential oils, mixed into signature blends. They will sponsor three of Flex’s signature classes, using specific oil blends to enhance the class experience. In Prana Flow, Breathe Ease oil is rubbed on the wrists and inhaled during opening breathing exercises; Chakra Flow introduces Muscle De-Stress; and Recharge and Restore incorporates Revive Morning oil. Instructors may change oils with the seasons and to match the focus of their class. Aromatherapy Associates products are now also sold at Flex.

Are You Ready to Unbind? Amita Institute for Cognitum Engineering, Central Unbinding your “program” can help bring about a new perception of your “reality” and hence initiate a new course for life! Held every Wednesday 89:30pm, first timers are welcome at 7:30pm. Room 2502, 73 Wyndham Street, Central. For more information www.amita-institute.com / www.picer.org / (852) 2167 8661 / facebook.com/AmitaInstitute

For more information www.flexhk.com / info@flehk.com

Tapping into the Mechanics of Life Central A face and body re-programming treatment which claims to access

Buddhist teacher Ajahn Brahmali will be in Hong Kong

Ajahn Brahmali’s Teaching Tour 26-29 November The University of Hong Kong 30 November - Day of Kindfulness The University of Hong Kong Born in Norway, Ajahn Brahmali is one of the senior disciples of Ajahn Brahm and has been ordained for almost 20 years. He is renowned for his knowledge of the Buddhist Suttas and the Pâli language. He is a highly sought after teacher in Australia, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia and Sri Lanka. His clear and thoughtful Dharma talks make the Buddhist teachings easily accessible to all. For more information www.bodhinyana.com/

Flex Studio News Flex Studio welcomes Dani Bruns to the Flex team. Originally from Germany, Dani specialises in aerial arts and aerial yoga. Dani’s aerial journey began in 2009 in pole fitness

Kook Hee returns to Flex

Dani flying high at Flex

and continued onto aerial arts and aerial yoga shortly after, and since then, has taught Aerial Fitness and Yoga in Scotland and Vietnam. Dani is a certified 200 hour E-RYT and 500 hour RYT with Yoga Alliance.

the DNA messaging system and re-educate the cells of the organs to reduce their toxic thinking patterns. This allows the body to stablize itself naturally and bring balance back to our emotional, physical and mental well being.

KookHee Andersson returns to Flex! KookHee has resumed her teaching schedule, leading classes in both Island South and Central. Born in Korea and adopted to Sweden at a very early

For more information www.encode-labs.com / (852) 2808 1208 / info@encodelabs.com/ facebook.com/ EncodeLaboratories

October 2016

Heloise samples some Aromatherapy Associates products at Flex

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KULA

Workshops

CHINA

A Taste of Esalen 10-23 November Shanghai and Hangzhou A series of introductions to SpiritDance SoulSong, Touching Essence, Esalen massage and bodywork, and Holotropic breath work. For more information 21454450@qq.com / 11287514@qq.com HONG KONG

Four Adventure Yoga Workshops with Stephen Ewashkiw The Yoga Room, Sheung Wan 28 October - Body Movin’ Vinyasa – A Form N’ Flow-Ride 29 October - Who Are You? A Hatha Yoga Class 30 October: 9:30am-12pm- Wake Up And Smell The Coffee: A Hatha Practice To Wake You Up / 2-5pm - Everything Just Got Real – A 3-Hour Led Practice For more information www.yogaroomhk.com / (852) 2544 8398

Yoga SelfRealisation Immersion with Andrei Ram 3-6 November Pure Yoga Andrei Ram spent over 10 years serving yoga master Sri Dharma Mittra, from whom he received yogi initiation in the yoga linage. For more information www.pure-yoga.com 8

Mukta Kaur comes to teach at Red Doors in Hong Kong

Break Habits & Addictive Behaviour with Mukta Kaur 5 – 6 November Red Doors Studio Learn how Kundalini Yoga, meditation and nutrition can help people whose health has been compromised by drugs, food issues, smoking, codependency, depression, worry, stress or information overload. For more information www.reddoors.com

Yoga Immersion with Sue Scott

Keith Mitchell Workshops

9 November Yoga Central, Central 10am-12 noon - Advance Your Yoga Practice L2 and above 2.30-5pm Workshop - Teach & Adjust in Inverted Poses 7-8.30pm Restorative Class

The Yoga Room, Sheung Wan 18 November - Freedom Through Yoga and Meditation: Breaking Free of the Roles We Play 19 November: 1-3pm emBODYment / 3:30-6pm Embrace Your Greatness Potential 20 November - Practice Becomes Habit. Habits Become Lifestyle Keith is a former NFL AllPro Linebacker, who has been turned to yoga after a spinal cord injury ended his football career.

Senior Intermediate 1-certified and Founder/Director at Yoga Jivana, Melbourne, Sue has extensive knowledge of the body gained from her background in classical and modern dance in Australia and Europe that informs her practice at a deep level. She is currently Chair of Iyengar Yoga Association, Teacher Trainer & Assessor in Australia. For more information www.yogacentral.com.hk / yogacentralhk@gmail.com / (852) 2982 4308

Therapeutic Immersion with Ross Rayburn

7 November Red Doors Studio The art of goodwill and friendship as the essence of public relations. The course will be interactive with discussion and practical tools to persevere with grace and manners.

13-17 November Pure Yoga Ross has also become renowned for his knowledge and skills in helping people with physical injuries. He has focused on yoga therapeutics for the last 11 years, and has worked with a number of professional athletes and dancers. He has taught over 50 therapeutic trainings internationally to hundreds of teachers and students, including physical therapists and medical doctors.

For more information www.reddoors.com

For more information www.pure-yoga.com

Public Relations – A formula for Success with Mukta Kaur

NAMASKAR

For more information www.yogaroomhk.com / (852) 2544 8398

Kirtan, Detox Yoga & Ayurveda with Mas Vidal 2-4 December Pure Yoga An Ayurvedic approach to purifying your body of toxins, excess fat and phlegm through a yoga practice infused with combinations of postures and powerful breathing exercises. For more information www.pure-yoga.com

Svastha Yoga: Therapeutic Foundations Program with Ganesh Mohan Module 1: Locomotor System/ Body: Low Back, Pelvis & Lower Limb 14-18 December


The Yoga Room, Sheung Wan Introducing the most effective aspects of traditional Yoga and Ayurveda combined with modern medicine. Specific guidelines for different conditions and general treatment principles will be detailed, empowering you to safely and effectively address disabilities and ill-health through yoga. The program is delivered in 7 intensive modules. Each module can be attended independently. Certificates will be issued for each module. This is part of an advanced 300-hour yoga training registered with the Yoga Alliance. For more information www.yogaroomhk.com / (852) 2544 8398 INDONESIA

Aquatic Bodywork 10-15 November Mimpi Menjangan, Bali Dancing With & On The Body: Aquatic Bodywork, Moving Yours and Your Partner’s Body on The Table is specialized training for those with prior experience in bodywork. Led by Purnomo “Momo” Blackpearl Diretno. For more information www.movingventures.org / contact@movingventures.org ITALY

Touching Essence Certification Training 27 January-2 February 2017 Tactus Studio, Turin Module I, with Ellen Watson and Elena Gilli. For more information Tactus@Cumtactus.it / cumtactus.it/en_US/touchingessence-esalen-massagebodywork/ NEW ZEALAND

Yin/Insight Yoga Workshop with Sarah Powers 3-4 December Flow Hot Yoga, Christchurch Sarah will blend the soft and strong practises of Yoga with an intention of cultivating an inner atmosphere of ease and vitality, qualities essential for compassion and insight to

grow. Suitable for anyone with at least one year yoga experience with some understanding of Yin. A sincere interest in meditating also required.

KULA

Retreats

For more information www.flowhotyoga.co.nz/sarahpowers-receptive-radiantworkshop/ SINGAPORE

Yoga Anatomy with Dr. Trish Corley 29-30 October New Angle Yoga Gain a clear understanding of yoga anatomy and put it into action on the yoga mat. This workshop consists of interactive lectures with anatomical models and illustrations and is integrated with full asana practices. Have fun while practically applying the knowledge of human anatomy to your own practice and/or your teaching. For more information www.newangleyoga.com

Yoga Assists with Dr. Trish Corley New Angle Yoga 5-6 November Empower your practice and your teaching by discovering how to assist over 50 yoga postures. As a student, you will gain an understanding of alignment and the possibilities of the poses. As a teacher, you will learn how to confidently assist students and empower them to experience their own greatness in each pose. For more information www.newangleyoga.com USA

The Gift of Touch 18-23 December Esalen Institute, Big Sur, California 5-day introduction to Esalen® Massage with Ellen Watson and Deborah Medow. For more information www.esalen.org / contact@movingventures.org

AUSTRALIA

New Retreats at Byron Yoga Retreat Centre Byron Bay Three new special interest weekend retreats: Yin Yoga, cooking and a Surf and Yoga Retreat. Retreats include massage treatment, morning and afternoon yoga classes, optional early beach walk, time to relax by the heated mineral salt swimming pool and delicious food, grown on site in their organic gardens. They also offer 8-Day Health and Yoga Retreats and 5-Day Mid Week Retreats. For more information wwwbyronyoga.com INDONESIA

Desa Seni Field Trip with Angela Perez 17 - 21 November Bali, Indonesia A field trip for anyone who wants to connect with their deep source of wisdom and develop their capacity to listen to the stillness within. Includes yoga, pranayama and meditation. For more information events@desaseni.com ITALY

A Taste of Esalen

bodywork, holotropic breathwork, sensory awareness and gestalt practice. For more information Tactus@Cumtactus.it JAPAN

SpiritDance SoulSong Retreat 25-27 November Villa Shirahama, Shimoda, Shizuoka Dance and sing with SDSS cocreators Ellen Watson and Daphne Tse. For more information azusankonxxxx@gmail.com / (81) 80 4018 1114 MALAYSIA

Anatomy Connections Yoga Anatomy with Dr. Trish Corley 18-19 February 2017 New Angle Yoga, Kuala Lumpur Gain a clear understanding of yoga anatomy and put it into action on the yoga mat. This workshop consists of interactive lectures with anatomical models and illustrations and is integrated with full asana practices. Have fun while practically applying the knowledge of human anatomy to your own practice and/or your teaching. For more information www.newangleyoga.com

3-5 February 2017 Turino Introduction to SpiritDance SoulSong, Esalen massage and

October 2016

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SPAIN

Yoga & the Art of Living & Dying with James Boag 29 October-5 November Casa Cuadrau An opportunity to explore grief, loss, silence, renewal and the cycles of life.

challenges healthily, guided by Kamalaya’s Life Enhancement Mentors Rajesh Ramani, Smitha Jayakumar and Sujay Seshadri. Having been immersed in monastic lifestyles in India for over a decade, all are experienced teachers with a strong background in ancient Asian philosophies. For more information: www.kamalaya.com

For more information info@casacuadrau.org / www.casacuadrua.org Cory Bryant

THAILAND

Anthony “Prem” Carlisi

Tune in & Tune Asana & The up Yoga Retreat Buddha Mind with with Nora Lim & Cory Bryant The Yoga Room NEPAL

24 October-3 November Exploring the Eight Limbs of Yoga and the Eight-fold Path of Buddhism in Kathmandu with the help of expert guides and educators, covering many of the valley’s major pilgrimage and cultural heritage sites in depth.

4-7 November The Pavana Resort, Chiang Mai Offering you an opportunity to unplug, tune in and connect with your highest Divine Self by tuning up your physical, emotional and mental bodies to find balance and bliss from within.

For more information www.yoganepal.com/cory-fall2016

For more information www.yogaroomhk.com / (852) 2544 8398

NEW ZEALAND

Retreat with Angela Cervevich 6-16 March 2017 Enjoy the breath-taking landscapes of New Zealand’s South Island along with daily yoga and meditation bringing the expansiveness of nature into your daily life. For more information info@nzyoga.com / www.nzyoga.com

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Finding Emotional Balance & Freedom 10-16 November; 6-12 April 2017; 27 April-3 May 2017; 22-28 June 2017; 31 August-6 September 2017; 2-8 November 2017 Kamalaya Wellness Sanctuary & Holistic Spa, Koh Samui Explore your emotional habits and learn to respond to life’s

Yoga & Ayurveda Retreat with Anthony ‘Prem’ Carlisi & Gabriel Azoulay

Simon Low

Yin & Yang Yoga with Simon Low 1-5 December; 13-17 April 2017; 19-23 October 2017;7-11 December 2017 Kamalaya Wellness Sanctuary and Holistic Spa, Koh Samui Yoga immersion with daily Yin and Yang Yoga practice, complemented by nourishing cuisine and selected wellness treatments. For more information: www.kamalaya.com

NAMASKAR

7 – 14 January 2017 Aava Resort & Spa Led by two long time teachers, who’ve combined experience of over 50 years. This retreat aims to education practitioners about health and rejuvenation through yoga and Ayurveda. For more information www.thailandyogaretreat.com UK

Yoga & the Art of Living & Dying with James Boag 18-20 November Ampleforth Honouring, celebrating and exploring death and the cycles of life. For more information (44) 7880 545 545 / gillian@ mrsosbornerecommends.co.uk


KULA

Teacher Trainings

this training. Guiding students to their next level of training by deepening their understanding and practice of yoga asana, pranayama, meditation and anatomy. Open to graduates with a 200-hour Yoga certification (all traditions) with minimum six months teaching experience. For non-Integral Yoga graduates, immersion classes are available. For more information info@hershayoga.com

Pre- & Post-natal Yoga Teacher Training with Samantha Chan

Beautiful Byron Bay, a mecca for yoga down under.

AUSTRALIA

A Year in Byron Bay - Live, work and study Yoga Byron Yoga Centre is offering two tuition scholarships for its part-time 12-month Certificate IV in Yoga Teaching worth AUS$10,000 each. One scholarship will be awarded to an International Student and one to an Australian student (International students can qualify for a 12 month student visa for Australia and Australian Students can apply for Austudy). The award covers all training components. (It does not cover any other expenses such as accommodation; plus for overseas students: health cover and the cost of the student visa).

Applications close 31 December 2016 and the scholarship places would be available for intake in August 2017. For more information admin@byronyoga.com HONG KONG

300-hr Advanced Yin Yang Vinyasa Yoga TT with Janet Lau 23-29 October & 8-17 December 2017 - 150-Hr Mindfulness 6-12 November - 60-hr Healing our Hearts 19 June-1 July 2017 - 110-hr Yin Yang 19-29 July 2017 - 90-hr Yoga Sutras The Yoga Room, Sheung Wan

Designed for those who do not just want to teach, but also to transform themselves inside and out so they can share the experience with others. Using the essence of mindfulness and spiritual teachings from different lineages woven into the Yogic teachings and your everyday life. For more information info@yogaroomhk.com / www.yogaroomhk.com / (852) 2544 8398

Integral Yoga’s Intermediate TT Part 1: 4-12 November / Part 2: 25 May-3 June 2017 Swami Ashokananda and Swami Ramananda are two of Integral Yoga’s most experienced teachers and will be in Hong Kong to lead

October 2016

7-16 November Pure Yoga This training offers an in-depth review of the anatomy and physiology of pregnancy, labour and birth. Trainees will gain extensive experience with asanas suited to pregnant women and a thorough understanding of contraindications during pregnancy. For more information www.pure-yoga.com

Transformation Unveil your Inner Teacher with Samrat 1 April-14 May 2017 Pure Yoga A 200-hour program spread over 1.5 months during the weekends and public holidays to give students time to assimilate the information, closely concentrate on weaknesses to flip them by exploring a new juncture and 11


learning the perspective of a teacher’s vision. Special focus is given towards advancement of asana practice and clarify questions about Yogic Philosophies, Sanskrit names and their details. For more information www.pure-yoga.com / events@pure-yoga.com

This 50-hr certification programme will make you an expert in vinyasa yoga sequencing, manual adjustments, sustainable alignment and practical anatomy. For more information www.pure-yoga.com

Universal Yoga Teacher Training 50-hr Yoga for Kids TT with Jodi with Andrey Lappa Komitor 25-27 November TT for teaching 2-7 year olds 28-30 November TT for teaching 8-13 year olds The Yoga Room, Sheung Wan A practical and experiential programme, filled with live demonstration classes, lesson planning opportunities and ready-to-use practical teaching

2-21 January 2017 Pure Yoga The 200-RYT course compresses a vast array of yoga subjects and styles into a comprehensive

Hutchison House in Central. For more information www.pure-yoga.com

Surrender Weekday Yin Yoga TT with Frances Gairns 15 February – 16 June 2017 Pure Yoga Yin Yoga is a practice of stillness and introspection, achieved through the release of physical, mental and emotional tension. As we gracefully surrender the layers of tension, we find freedom and happiness has been within us all along.

professionals with a committed yoga practice. For more information www.brahmaniyoga.com/yogateacher-training/prenatal-yogateacher-training-course-2017 INDONESIA

Power of Now Oasis TT 29 January-26 February Vinyasa Flow with Judit 5 March-2 April; 7 May-4 June; 2-30 July - Hatha Vinyasa with Carlotta, Myron, Mallika 3 September-1 October Hatha Yoga with Myron & Mallika 5 November-3 December Vinyasa Flow with Jolie Join Judit Varga, Carlotta Castangia, Myron D’mello, Mallika Savalkar and Jolie Manza who have extensive knowledge on

Andrey Lappa Jolie Manza

Kids yoga teacher trainer, Judi Komitor

tools. Age-appropriate poses, animated breathing exercises, guided visualizations, thematic classes, child development principles and behavior management techniques are sure to fill your Yoga bag with proven practices for developing meaningful Yoga experiences with children. For more information info@yogaroomhk.com / www.yogaroomhk.com / (852) 2544 8398

Mastering the Art of Vinyasa Yoga 50-hr Training with Jason Crandell 5-11 December Pure Yoga 12

course, including physical practice, complete yoga system theory and teaching methodology. For more information www.pure-yoga.com

This 200-hr part-time TT will be held 9 am - 3 pm on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays at Hutchison House in Central. For more information www.pure-yoga.com

Embrace Weekday Hot Yoga TT with Frances Gairns

INDIA

Prenatal Yoga TT

13 February – 14 June 2017 Pure Yoga Hot room, sweat, mirrors, fixed sequence of postures are all trademarks of a Hot Yoga practice. When we embrace them fully, they can be powerful catalysts for our physical, mental and emotional transformation. This 200-hr part-time TT will be held 9 am - 3 pm on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays at

13-23 January 2017 Brahmani Yoga, Goa This course is about honouring the goddess within women at the most sacred time in their lives. You will learn how to sequence Yoga classes specifically designed to empower and prepare women for birth. This 90-hour Yoga Alliance programme is for experienced teachers who have completed a Level I Yoga teacher training, as well as for experienced childbirth educators, doulas, midwives and other pregnancy health

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Judit Varga

Yoga. This programme combines the ancient traditions of Yoga with the powerful body aware practice of today’s world. The maximum number of students in a group is 16. For more information powerofnowoasis.com / info@powerofnowoasis.com


training in December. SpiritDance For more information SoulSong TT with enquiry@onewellness.com.sg Ellen Watson and Power to Lead: Daphne Tse Vinyasa Yoga 2-28 April 2017 Mimpi Menjangan, Bali TT with Dr. Trish Ellen and Daphne will help you discover the skills and confidence Corley to spread joy, healing and selfexpression through movement and sound. For more information www.spiritdancesoulsong.com / contact@movingventures.org MALAYSIA

Vinyasa Yoga TT with Dr. Trish Corley Kuala Lumpur: 10-26 February 2017 New Angle Yoga Based on Baptiste Yoga, this 200hour training is accredited by the Yoga Alliance. Through the practice of yoga and selfexploration, you will have breakthroughs to discover the greatest version of yourself, gain the tools to confidently lead yoga classes and to access new possibilities in your practice, your teaching, and your life. For more information www.newangleyoga.com.

Singapore: 14-23 & 29-30 October; 5-6 & 12-13 November New Angle Yoga Based on Baptiste Yoga, this 200hr training is accredited by the Yoga Alliance. Through the practice of yoga and selfexploration, you will have breakthroughs to discover the greatest version of yourself, gain the tools to confidently lead yoga classes and to access new possibilities in your practice, your teaching, and your life. For more information www.newangleyoga.com

The 200-RYT course compresses a vast array of yoga subjects and styles into a comprehensive course, including physical practice, complete yoga system theory and teaching methodology. For more information www.pure-yoga.com TAIWAN

Universal Yoga Teacher Training with Andrey Lappa 14-31 December Pure Yoga The 200-RYT course compresses a vast array of yoga subjects and styles into a comprehensive course, including physical practice, complete yoga system theory and teaching methodology.

Light on Hatha Yoga 30-hr CET

For more information www.pure-yoga.com

November 2016 – May 2017 Being in Yoga Explore the Hatha Yoga Pradipika thoroughly and leisurely with Valerie Faneco. Held two Saturdays per month, 2 – 5 pm, each session will include a one-hour practice and two hours of presentation. Open to live and Skype participants.

THAILAND

For more information www.beinginyoga.com

Universal Yoga TT with Andrey Lappa 25 November - 18 December Pure Yoga

For more information www.thesanctuarythailand.com/ anahata-yoga-200-hour-yogateacher-training-with-peterclifford.html / life@thesanctuarythailand.com

Anahata Yoga 200-hr Yoga TT with Peter Clifford 15 November-9 December Sanctuary Thailand, Koh Phangan Peter has accumulated decades of study in India, and refined over the last 55 years of teaching. He has been offering daily classes and short courses at The Sanctuary. This programme offers a Yoga Alliance certification upon completion, as well as an empowering journey of self-discovery.

Dhugal Meachem

The Yin Yoga Foundation with Dhugal Meachem 11-23 March 2017 Koh Samui This program is open to all and is a 6-day (50-hours) or 12-day (100-hours) full-time training program. It will give you the essential skills necessary to step into a classroom upon graduation and confidently teach Yin Yoga. Yin yoga applies long-held non-muscular torque on your body. Yin stimulates and strengthens your skeletal, connective, fascial and ligament tissues, mobilizes joints and soothes the nervous system. For more information www.blackmatyogi.com

Dev Kapil

SINGAPORE

50-hr Advanced TT with Dev Kapil 19-20, 26-27 November & 14-16 December One Wellness Fitness Club, Singapore The Yoga Therapy training will be held over two weekends in November and Yoga back bends Peter Clifford

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PHOTO ESSAY

INTEGRAL YOGA’S 50TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION

To benefit YAMA Foundation BY LAKSHMI HARILELA

On October 7, 2016, Integral Yoga celebrates half a century of service. Integral Yoga’s beginnings date back to the summer of 1966, when Sri Swami Satchidananda arrived for a two-day visit to the United States to teach a group of actors, artists, photographers and musicians. It only took a few evenings in Gurudev’s company to inspire this group to request him to stay, leading to the founding of Integral Yoga on October 7, 1966. In celebration, Integral Yoga’s Hong Kong Sangha hosted “50 Sun Salutations for 50 Years” challenge followed by a family “Kidding Around Yoga” class to honour Sri Swami Satchidananda’s timeless teachings. The goal of Integral Yoga and the birthright of every individual is to have easeful body, a peaceful mind and a useful life. The event raised funds for the YAMA Foundation: a new non-profit organisation that makes Yoga, Art & Meditation Accessible to all people regardless of ability or background. Co-founded by Hersha & Shaman Chellaram, YAMA seeks to bring the ancient teachings to communities that would not usually have access, including those with disabilities, chronic illness, special needs. For more information www.integralyoga.org & www.yamahk.org

right Co-founders of YAMA Foundation, Hersha & Shaman Chellaram and their children below Catrin Andersen (far left), YAMA’s advocate for persons with disabilities, joining in the 50 Sun Salutations Challenge

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below YAMA Foundation’s committee (known as the ‘blanc’ yogis)

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October 2016

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OPINION

THERE ARE MANY ROADS TO GOD

Find the Best Path for You BY MARY J. DIMEGLIO

For yogis, the definition of “yoga” is often as individual as — and no less complicated than — one’s definition of “God.”

over my body, moving it without planning or judgment. In the dance, I discover the union of breath and body, of body and beat.

And, as with finding one’s way to the divine, each individual can determine the best path for themselves.

The healing art of massage teaches practitioners that quieting one’s mind to be fully present in the moment with the body on the table is essential to allowing intuition to guide them in providing healing touch.

In my practice — in which we use sound and movement to open our chakras — we resonate with one of our favorite poets, Rumi, who said: “There are many roads that lead to God. I have chosen the one of dance and music.” WHAT IS YOUR PATH? WHAT IS YOUR YOGA? In the Yoga Sûtras of Patanjali, it means concentration. “The restraint of the agitation of thoughts.” So, whatever activity (or non-activity) brings you to a focused and calm mind can be your yoga. As yogis, wellness experts and medical studies praise the many benefits of yoga to the body, mind and spirit, a wide range of practices have begun incorporating yogic postures and principles. Yoga asanas have been blended with acrobatics (acroyoga), with pilates (yogalates), with weight training (yoga sculpt) and with flying (aerial yoga). While yoga fundamentalists might scoff that these hybrids are not “real yoga,” these new modalities all encourage and enable focused concentration and a deeper mind-body awareness. Though they might begin purely for fitness or fun, a student is likely to discover as they heal and balance their physical body and learn to put full attention on their breath and uniting breath with movement, their mind becomes clear. I easily slip into a meditative state on the dance floor. Putting my complete awareness on my breath and the sensation of my feet against the earth invites my thinking mind to take a pause as I let spirit completely take

As an E-RYT, massage teacher Ellen Watson includes yogic philosophy, asana, partner, nada, restorative and yoga nidra in her massage trainings. Students learn to use asana adapted for the table to move both the giver’s and the receiver’s body. They learn to tune in by tuning out the chattering monkey mind. The massage practice becomes their yoga. Watson’s journey begin in an unlikely way — 1980s exercise videos! She shares her story: “I found it through Jane Fonda’s workout challenge in the ‘80s, and Raquel Welch and Alan Finger’s video — in high heels and bathing suits at a Mailbu beach house! Then to Esalen Institute, where I discovered classical Indian yoga with savasana between each asana. I became a devotee of all yoga. I especially was drawn to the eight limbs and how this map was similar to my Episcopalian studies of all but the asanas and pranayamas.

Ellen Watson’s path to the Divine is paved with various yoga styles, massage and dance.

“I was a fitness professional and a triathlete, and appreciated the integration of mind, body, spirit, actions, eating, devotion, right action, all in one practice. And, all the while, I was taking yoga teacher trainings, holotropic breathwork, dance, sound healing and bodywork. All of these flowed together for me, in that all were my yoga.” Considering “yoga” as the union of the lower self and higher self and as a tool to rise and expand consciousness, it’s easy to see there are many paths to the divine.

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AYURVEDA

THE POWER OF SWEAT

Good for All, but Varies by Dosha BY MAS VIDAL

The fascination with sweating is nothing new. It has been a healing practice in many ancient cultures and traditions for centuries. The hammam or Turkish bath, the Mexican temescal, and the Native American sweat lodge were all used to purify the body and as spiritual rituals for releasing negative energies. The Finnish sauna was a popular social practice and a place to relax and share time with family and friends. There is obviously a psychological aspect to perspiring, because sweat is regulated by the sympathetic nervous system and adrenal glands. The modern lifestyle’s tendency to stress the adrenal glands can cause excessive sweating in some individuals, and over time this leaves a person feeling depleted, and can eventually lead to chronic fatigue issues. The adrenal cortex produces cortisol, a hormone that functions to produce and store energy. When sweat therapies are used for detoxification purposes, they must always be combined with some form of restoration and cooling. This is what distinguishes Ayurvedic sweating or fomentation therapies from the practices of other cultures. Three main factors govern Ayurvedic use of sweat therapy for detoxification and maintaining health. The primary factor is regarding the head, which, as it contains sensitive organs like the eyes and brain, should not be heated. The second consideration is the season. Depending on the climate, excessive heat or sweat therapies should be minimized in the summer, as the season naturally induces sweat in daily living. The third and most specific factor is the individual prakriti or constitution and vikriti or imbalance. This is also considered when determining the duration of the treatment and also the type of sweating device to be used. Ayurveda has a full-body steam bath called svedhana implemented as part of the pancha karma system. Other types of fomentation are used in a more localized fashion for specific areas like arm and leg joints or the lower back muscles. This type of steam therapy is called nadi svedhana. While all dosha types can benefit from sweating, length and frequency should be adjusted according to type. Kapha types take

the greatest time to perspire and can enjoy steam baths at high temperatures without any concern of provoking an imbalance. Vata types also benefit from sweat therapies, but should take heat in lesser amounts and for shorter durations to avoid drying out. Pitta types should enjoy a small amount of sweating therapy administered infrequently, especially for those living in the tropics.

The skin is often considered to be the largest organ in the body. The porous qualities in the epidermis allow it to take in oxygen and almost anything it is exposed to. The epidermis is composed of the outermost layers of the skin. It forms a protective barrier over the body’s surface and is responsible for keeping water in the body and preventing pathogens from entering. The epidermis also helps the skin regulate body temperature. The dermis is the layer of skin beneath the epidermis and consists of connective tissues that cushion the body from stress and strain. The endocrine system is directly linked to dhatu or tissue strength and density. In Ayurveda, the quality of these tissues is measured by the strength of the agni or fire that supports each of them. Although a good capacity to sweat and heat the body is October 2016

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with herbal medicines begin to penetrate the epidermis, into the dermis and beyond, to loosen subtle toxins known as ama that get clogged in the bodily tissues. Consistent and repetitious strokes aid in loosening these toxins. When this is followed by svedhana or steam therapy, the heat opens the pores, pushing sweat through to cleanse bodily channels and pathways. Oiling the body also has a powerful nourishing effect, bringing nutrition (rasa) to the tissues. This is like feeding the body through the skin to nourish the plasma, purify and strengthen the blood, improve muscular flexibility and joint mobility, balance nervous system function, increase immunity, and calm the mind. Steam or any heat therapy, including yoga asana practice, aims at detoxification. While oiling the body promotes energy intake, the process is complete only when sweat, moved by subtle pranic currents, releases toxins. necessary for maintaining the tissues and balanced endocrine function, pitta types who are not cautious when using sweat therapies or yoga practices can develop estrogen deficiencies. The role of estrogen deficiency in skin-aging and wound-healing can serve as an initial marker for the onset of greater complications with menstruation, fertility, and, potentially, immune disorders. In Ayurveda, the skin is considered to provide a major entryway for the delivery of vital herbal medicines carried through oils. The importance of the skin must not be overlooked, as oils, herbs, and foods can be absorbed through the skin to nourish the entire body and its systems. This is called oleation (snehana) and sweating (svedhana). These are preliminary practices (pruvakarma) for preparing the body for detoxification in the pancha karma system. The practice of self-massage is called abhyanga and is endorsed as a powerful practice in a daily preventative-medicine routine. The external oleation of the body serves two primary purposes. Oils infused

In the broadest sense, the main function of this staple Ayurvedic practice is intake and output, which also impact the direction and flow of prana. Snehana and svedhana both improve digestion by strengthening the jatharagni or digestive fire, and increase the main respiratory function in the heart and lungs (pranvaha srota). This is especially the case when oils containing stimulants like camphor, eucalyptus, tulsi, mint, and thyme are used. Oleation and yogic practices combine powerfully to increase the function of the pranvaha srota. Abhyanga or self-massage is an important prerequisite to postural yoga and pranayama, as the oils increase the body’s agility and help stimulate lymphatic function, which helps release toxins from the body. Fomentation can also be done with a warm to hot bath to which oils and vata-alleviating herbal decoctions have been added. The use of any heating therapy or yoga practice has its precautions and should be adjusted with the factors just mentioned: head, season, and dosha type. Other specific precautions on the use of heating therapies include: high pitta vikriti, physical weakness, excessive thirst, use of strong drugs or alcohol, pregnancy, diarrhea, jaundice, skin rash, and low ojas or diminished immunity. There are many practical ways to integrate body-oil massage and sweat therapies into a lifestyle routine. I often tell my clients that there is no better way to begin the morning than with detoxifying practices such as these, which enhance the sadhana and set the course for the entire day. The easiest type of sweat therapy is a hot shower taken after performing oil massage in the morning. The frequency of the therapy depends on the dosha and also the climate you live in. Excerpted from the upcoming book Sun, Moon, Earth:The Sacred Relationship of Yoga and Ayurveda by Mas Vidal.

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Some Sweaty Statistics MOSTLY WATER Sweat is 99% water along with some sodium, chloride, potassium, urea and ammonia. TWO TYPES OF SWEAT GLANDS Eccrine glands are all over our body and pull water and salt from our blood to the surface of our skin to help us to cool down when we are hot. The sweat from these glands is odourless. Apocrine glands are in areas where we have lots of hair follicles, like the head, armpits, chest and groin, and are productive when we are anxious or stressed. The sweat from these glands contain fats and proteins which react with the bacteria in our skin to produce odour. NATURAL ANTIBIOTIC Sweat contains dermcidin, a natural antibiotic which helps our skin to heal from a scratch or insect bite. SOME TOXINS CAN ONLY BE ELIMINATED THROUGH SWEATING Heavy metals like lead, mercury, cadmium, arsenic, and other chemicals stored in our fat are all eliminated through sweat. WE SWEAT A LOT The average person sweats 0.8 to 1.4 litres per hour during exercise. An Ironman competitor can lose up to 15 litres of sweat during a race!


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ANATOMY

WHERE’S YOUR KNEE IN TREE?

Foot position’s effect on knee stability BY TRISH CORLEY

I have heard countless yoga teachers tell me to avoid placing my foot on my knee during tree pose. I listened to my teachers for many years, and I never did experience any knee pain or injury during tree pose. More recently, I started questioning some of the common cues given in yoga and wonder where they come from and how they get passed down through generations of teacher and students. I played with placing the center of the sole of my foot directly on my knee during tree pose. And it feels good. It actually feels stable. And an anatomical analysis supports that it can be very stabilizing.

for the ends of the femur to rest in. However, we rely on our ligaments as well as the strength of muscles to really keep the knee stable. Without them, the knee would actually be as unstable as eggs on spoons. It just so happens the structures around the knee allow for significant bending and straightening the knee, while rotation and

(foot below the knee), you may be pressing the tibia away from the femur.

side-to-side movement is limited. We rely on the strength of such structures to provide enough stability in the knee to hold us upright. In tree pose, you are standing on one leg and therefore stability in the knee is extremely important.

bottom block. Now restack the blocks and push onto the side of the bottom block. It likely moved, taking the top block down with it. Now restack the blocks and press equally into both blocks (at the crease where the two blocks meet). They likely remain stable. So it is possible placing your foot onto your knee in tree may create support!

Stack two yoga blocks on top of each other at their greatest height. Imagine this is your knee with the top block being your femur and the bottom block being your tibia. Push onto the side of top block. It likely moved off the

Although you may have been told so, the knee is not a hinge joint. Consider the hinge on a door. It allows the door to open and close. That is, the door only moves back and forth in one plane of movement. It may seem your knee only bends and straightens. However, your knee (specifically the tibiofemoral joint) also has the ability to rotate slightly and if not for the stabilizing structures of the knee, it could move side-to-side.

By definition, the knee is made up of two condyloid joints. The lower part of the femur (thigh bone) has two large rounded convex ends. The top part of the tibia (shin bone) has two shallow concave ends that support the convex ends of the femur. It is similar to two eggs resting on two spoons. And just as you would not want an egg to fall of the spoon, it is important that the ends of the femur stay inside the shallow supports of the tibia (while still allowing for movement to bend and straighten the knee as required in so many functional activities). Fortunately we have the menisci that create a deeper surface

Does placing your foot on your knee during tree increase, decrease, or not affect the stability of the knee? Two of the major supporting ligaments of the knee run along the inside and outside of the knee. As shown in the image (see image of the knee joint below) the lateral collateral ligament connects the femur (thigh bone) to the fibula. On the inside of the knee the medial collateral ligament connects the femur and the tibia. The primary role of the collateral ligaments is to prevent the knee from bending from side-to-side. Placement of the sole of your foot on the outside edge of your knee may play a similar role as the medial collateral ligament and provide more stability to the inside of your knee. If you press your foot into the femur (foot above the knee), you may be pressing the femur away from the tibia. And if you press your foot into the tibia October 2016

As with any yoga posture, the key to creating stability comes from well-aligned joints and muscle action drawing into the centerline. I suggest you play around with the placement of your lifted foot on your standing leg and determine what feels good in your own body. And consider your body will feel most powerful if you ground down through the four corners of your standing leg; press your standing leg and lifted foot into each other; pull your low belly up and in to neutralize your pelvis; stack your shoulders over your hips, and reach the crown of your head up to the sky. After all, a strong tree has deep roots and a stable trunk allows it to withstand the wind forces of even the strongest winds.

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PERSPECTIVE

FROM YOGA TO MARTIAL ARTS

...and Back BY BERNARD KWAN

Humanity is in transition - climate change, mass extinction, religious sectarian conflict, racial tension, technological advances leave us off center. No wonder so many choose to withdraw to their own world, frittering hours away in front of tiny screens. Although humanity has made significant progress, we wonder whether, behind a thin veneer of culture, anything has changed. Sudden crises throws societies into turmoil. Climate change threatens the end. We can see the effect of extreme circumstances on our

We cultivate deep stillness in our meditation, yet we still lose it with our loved ones.

most advanced societies - Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans in 2007 and the Tsunami in Japan in 2011. In one instance there is widespread looting and riots in the aftermath, culminating with people being locked and trampled to death in a stadium. In the other, orderly lines and sharing of food with well-organized relief efforts, and a sense of shared sacrifice. Dystopian and post-apocalyptic futures fill the media. Myth making has been a timehonored way for humanity to frame its deepest, most pressing fears. They allow us to question how we would act in extreme circumstances. Would we really kill for a bag of food? Would we join a gang for our own protection and dominate those weaker than us? Would we look the other way while someone lies dying? Or can we do better? If we place any importance upon the spiritual evolution of mankind, these are not theoretical questions but the very purpose of our practice. The circumstances we face may not be extreme. But how does our practice help when we are thrown from our refuge into the messiness of everyday life? We may cultivate deep stillness in our meditation, yet we still lose it with our loved ones. Yogic philosophy helps deepen our understanding beyond the asanas. The foundation of yoga ethics such as the yamas and the niyamas (the first two limbs of the yoga sutras), provide principles such as ahimsa (not harming), satya (truthfulness), asteya (non-stealing) and brahmacarya (celibacy) to guide us. But these lofty ideals provide scant guidance for everyday behavior. Life is full of messy compromises and painful calculations. Should I tell the truth so that my friend can change or should I refrain from hurting her feelings? It is truly hard to know the right course of action and the ego often intrudes. There was a period where I questioned the efficacy of my yoga practice. It provided a refuge, but it did not help me resolve my struggles. Life on the mat was lonely, a solitary dialogue day after day. Despite friendships forged in the studios, I longed for meaningful interaction as part of my

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practice. Yoga seemed better suited to a renunciant than one entangled in the world. My path led me to the spiritual art of Aikido, then to Tai Chi and other Chinese arts, and I came across some answers in the traditional values of China and Japan. Martial arts arose from man’s propensity to commit violence against his fellow man. Although many styles have degenerated into theatre, most remain forms of controlled aggression and deal intimately with our basest emotions: anger and fear and desire to dominate. Their genius lies in their ability to use these states and transform them into a vehicle for self-improvement and enlightenment. By incorporating threads from Confucianism, Zen and Tantra and Taoism and the past masters have woven a coherent way of living for daily life. Indeed these three religions had arisen in response to periods of intense conflict and suffering and attempted to initiate a spiritual evolution of humanity. Relationships are messy and setting rigid guidelines are bound to fail, except perhaps in a cloistered environment. Central to martial arts is the virtue of humility - the secret to being morally effective in our relationships. It is a recognition that we are flawed, do not have a monopoly on suffering in this world, and cause great suffering through our thoughts and deeds. This is reinforced by the fact that many of the techniques can cause grave injury and no matter how strong we become there is always someone stronger. Thus when training we learn to be responsible for our training partners. And by extension, this care is shown to other students and family, onwards to the wider world, like ripples on a lake. Words are deficient, and the ancients realized that it was not enough to teach virtue, it had to be practiced. Just as we hone our techniques or asana, there has to be period of leavening before understanding is incorporated into our bodies. Ethics also requires muscle memory. And this is where rites comes in. Confucius listed six arts for a well-developed man - rites, music, archery, chariot racing, calligraphy and mathematics. And ritual was seen as the most important.


In the dojo, there are elaborate rituals of bowing and respect, care of the surroundings, teaching newcomers, and shared celebrations and losses. At first these may seem forced, but there is an element of you “fake it until you make it” and slowly the requisite feeling takes root. Show respect towards your seniors and then towards others in the outer world, even those whom you dislike. Cleanliness in the dojo plants the seed of environmental consciousness. In the heat of a fight, if you can keep your head while others are losing theirs, in a compromised situation you have a good chance of doing the same. We incorporate principles in our daily life. The Japanese are onto something when they teach their children through etiquette and ritual. To greet people with the proper respect, enforced care of communal spaces, clear guidance as to the right words and behavior, an understanding of the appropriate duties one has to others. These create space for daily practice. The fruits were plain for all to see in the aftermath of the Tsunami. There is space for us to reclaim some of the old traditions in Hong Kong. The alternative would be to force people to act morally through fear of sanctions. The only way to keep them in line is through a police state. This view was implemented with

brutal force through history. In America the jails overflow, but when the state fails, society fails also. There has been a general decline in moral education and the adoption of extreme capitalism. People look towards rules and laws for guidance as to what not to do, but all else is permitted. Humility, compassion, faith, temperance, become empty words as there are no role models and guides to follow. Businesses look for loopholes, cut corners, and weigh the costs and benefits of acting ethically against the cost of the fines imposed. People criticize that the Japanese are rigid, and not creative. In China, Confucianism was seen as an impediment to modernization. This wholesale revolt against traditional values led to the excesses of the Cultural Revolution, and what remained was a deep nihilism followed by extreme materialism. Thankfully Confucianism is undergoing a resurgence because at its heart lies an internalization of values and behavior without recourse to divine sanction or an external God. It is true that codes of behavior can become rigid and stifling, but like martial arts we adopt the codes to transcend them. Many Eastern arts are in essence crafts. They begin with a rigid adherence to a master of skill and good character. One models oneself completely after the master. When one has

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internalized everything and is able to reproduce the techniques perfectly, then one is deemed a master in one’s own right. It is then time to break free and strike forth in one’s own direction. So with morality, with a deep understanding through years of observing and adhering to codes of behavior, one is able to able to act sensitively and empathetically and even contrary to custom when required, to heal a conflicted situation. “Confucius said: At 15 I set my heart upon learning. At 30 I had planted my feet firm upon the ground. At 40, I no longer suffered from perplexities. At 50, I knew the mandate of Heaven. At 60, I heard them with docile ear. At 70, I could follow the dictates of my own heart; for what I desired no longer overstepped the boundaries of right.” In the four life stages of life (Asrama), one completes life as a householder before committing to spiritual practices. In recent years I have returned frequently to the yoga mat. Gone are the competitive poses, what remains is a softness and correct breathing. The peace that it brings allows me act more effectively in the world. For me there are no longer rigid shades of black and white. And deep in my practice, sometimes, just sometimes, I can hear the whisper of heaven.

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DRISTI - BEYOND ASANA

YOGA, BEYOND THE PRACTICE Practice, Observe, Reflect & Adjust BY VALERIE FANECO

DOING YOGA With the help of the Yoga Sutras............................................................31 28

I DO YOGA, OR I AM YOGA Is there a difference?.............................................................................33

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Kino McGregor in Natarajasana - definitely practicing yoga!

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The mango is picked, eaten, mashed, or made into chutney. The seed can be planted to give a new tree. The essence of the mango is the same, but each manifestation is a transformation.

For most people yoga begins with asana, and it is usually considered that we practice yoga when we roll out the mat to engage in some form of physical exercise.

forcing a round peg into a square hole. Individual practice, on the other hand, creates room for self-exploration and allows us to do just what we need to do.

More specifically, the Yoga-Sutra tells us to practice yoga is to act consciously, mindfully, with deliberate intention. Action (karma) includes what we do but also what we think and what we say. Therefore a complete definition of yoga should encompass all of these parameters and apply to all aspects of life. The Yoga-Sutra calls this Kriya-Yoga, the Yoga of Action (chapter II).

How do you work out what you need to do? Of course you can pick postures and breathing exercises by yourself, or you can ask a senior teacher to design a programme for you. Choosing by yourself might be tricky because you may end up doing only what makes you feel good or feeds your tendencies. For example, it is very common for students who are mentally agitated to like dynamic vinyasa sequences despite the fact they contribute to more agitation in their mind. It is important to identify what kind of practice supports you, with the help of a mentor who knows you well.

The idea of practicing “off the mat” is attractive but how can it be done? Can we really be conscious of the way we act, all the time? Is it necessary to add a spiritual belief to asana practice? Does it help to chant om or recite the Yoga-Sutra? In other words, how can we introduce the deeper teachings of yoga into our life? STEP 1 – PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE In my view, the first step is simply to start with asana practice. You may like to attend a group class and this is fine. But in addition to that practice your own programme on a daily basis. It does not always come easily as it requires a certain amount of discipline. The Yoga-Sutra calls it tapas: the effort to incorporate practice into daily life. Tapas includes the practice of yoga postures but also breathing exercises, an appropriate diet, and good company, amongst other things. Ideally when you are spending time practicing by yourself you are only doing what is suitable for you. In a group class the potential of self-discovery is limited because everyone follows the same routine and has a tendency to try to fit in, with the risk of 30

STEP 2 - OBSERVE In this case observing does not consist of watching the external aspect of your postures in a mirror but in perceiving the holistic effect of your programme. Writing a journal after practice helps document what came up while you were doing it and also how you feel after it. Sharing with your mentor or a close friend is also helpful. Practicing on your own creates a range of experiences: moments of focus; moments of distraction; a resistance to some exercises and a strong preference for others; feelings of peace, boredom, anger, and so forth. These may all happen during a one-hour session, or within a few days of doing the same programme daily. Of course we can also swing between focus and distraction, peace and anger, etc. in a group class, but we are more likely to see them manifest when we are alone rather than in a group. NAMASKAR

Working with the body also has the potential to trigger unconscious memories buried in past experiences, so besides physical sensations there might also be thoughts or emotions that pop up unexpectedly. This self-enquiry is a cornerstone of the practice. The Yoga-Sutra calls it svadhyaya, literally “investigating yourself”. To do that there is no need to look at yourself in a mirror because the practice itself mirrors your qualities, flaws and habits. And you gradually become more aware of what you feel rather than look like. STEP 3 - REFLECT To reflect is to search for solutions or examine as many sides of a topic as possible. To meditate is to focus our attention on one thing and sustain this attention for some time. In this regard meditation and reflection are one and the same. You could say, therefore, that meditating on your practice takes your observation to a new level. The time you spend on the mat every day may be an hour or less but reflecting on its impact can last for much longer. When facing a difficult choice or stressful situation you might notice you are dealing with it better than you would have a few months ago. Perhaps it is because your mind is less scattered and you are calmer, more grounded, more capable of standing in other people’s shoes. So you can reflect on the various events in your life: do you feel confused or are your ideas clear? Have you gained a new perspective on the problem? You may not want to do this every waking hour and in every single situation, but if you try often enough you will hopefully identify which habits are healthy for you and which


DRISTI

DOING YOGA

With the Help of the Sutras BY JAMES BOAG

Inna Constantini (l) and friend in padmasana, presumably at the end an Ashtanga series - still practicing yoga.

ones are not. An appropriate practice helps you to build positive qualities such as steadiness, patience and clarity of mind, not restlessness and instability. STEP 4 - ADJUST A dual principle is fundamental in yoga philosophy: everything is real (sat) and everything changes (parinama). If you fall and break a leg, you cannot ignore the pain. If you score well in an exam, your happiness is real too. In this respect yoga differs from other Indian philosophical systems which purport that everything is illusory and that only God exists. But yoga also says whatever exists is temporary and bound to evolve into something else: another state, another feeling, another moment, another place, etc. The mango is picked and eaten as a fruit, mashed to a pulp, or made into chutney. The seed can be planted to give a new mango tree. The essence of the mango is always the same but each manifestation is the result of a process of transformation. Similarly, our individual essence - or consciousness - remains the same but we evolve from childhood to old age through various stages in life. Yoga teaches that change is unavoidable. We learn to embrace it rather than fear it. We also learn how to implement certain changes for our own benefit, even if it is very hard to do this without any tension or excessive attachment to projected results. To keep seeing ourselves as we were and not as we are is bound to cause pain, sooner or later. It keeps us attached to the same kind of practice. We need to detach, surrender, and give something up to find something new. We

need to adjust, as gracefully as possible. Yoga calls this ishvara pranidhana. MOVING ON Based on my understanding of the YogaSutra and other classical texts, I believe yoga is all pervasive: it is meant to reach multiple layers in our person and in our life. Like water slowly seeping through the ground to reach the roots, yoga is fluid; it follows the unique terrain of our persona, doing its work without us necessarily noticing it. The inherent spirit of yoga, as described in the Yoga-Sutra, is the adaptation to individual needs. We are invited to trace our own path by choosing among a number of solutions instead of being imposed a single one. The purpose of this journey is two-fold: freedom from pain, and connection with our deep consciousness – which is the part of us that remains unchanged. Those are ambitious goals! Any practice that helps us to reach them is worth implementing but it may not involve yoga postures at all. One may prefer to be deeply absorbed in painting or music. Another may thrive on lesser-known yoga techniques such as energy work, sound, dialogue, visualisation methods or symbolic gestures. We are not all obliged to use the same tools in the same way. I am not sure if yoga’s ambitious targets can be reached in a lifetime but we can always try, because sincere attempts to create more peace are bound to bring rewards along the way. And at least we can improve our quality of life.

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Yoga is a system of practical philosophy, but it’s not armchair philosophy. Yoga can be cultivated on a mat, but it is not limited to the mat! If we practice and really cultivate yoga, then regardless what style, brand or blend of hatha yoga, the transfer beyond the mat will happen almost automatically. ASANA – SEAT OF OUR AWARENESS Yoga asana is experienced when we sit or stand, steadily and easily in full recognition of our wholeness. Practising yoga asana is not limited to performing classic yoga postures or sequences. Rather, asana is practiced when we bring steady easefulness into all our actions and interactions. YOGA TECHNIQUES AS PREPARATION FOR THE REST OF THE DAY The point of asana practice is not to become adept at fancy-looking shapes to post on a social media site, but to live steadily and easefully through the comings and goings, ups and downs, thrills and challenges of everyday life. If we practice meditation, the idea is not to become adept at sitting still, doing nothing, but to be more adept at staying centred through the vagaries and whirlings of the day. Techniques as training for life Everything we do is training. We become what we practice. So if we train with a ‘no pain-no gain’ attitude, it is very easy to get injured, physically or mentally while seemingly practising classical yoga exercises. DOING YOGA – WITH PATANJALI’S YOGA SUTRA AS OUR PRACTICE GUIDE The trick is to work with yoga practice techniques as a means to train, develop and reaffirm habits conducive to sustainable 31


Standing in a line with some pals, eyes closed, hands in Anjali mudra - also practicing yoga.

ease, balance and efficiency. One way to do this is to use practical teachings from Patanjali’s classical Yoga Sutra as our guide. When practice is introduced in Sutra-s 12-14 of Patanjali’s opening chapter it is defined as “the effort to foster steadiness, a steadfast yet sustainable effort maintained for a long time, without interruption, with real presence and a spirit of devotion” (Sutra-s 1.13-14 my rendering). In other words, practice is all the time, it is everything we do. When Patanjali elaborates the way of yoga practice in his second chapter and gives the eight limbs, the yama-s come first and are highlighted as the most important practice. After listing the five yama-s: ahimsa, satya, asteya, brahmacarya and aparigraha; Patanjali emphasises unequivocally that they are the universal great vow to be practised and observed at all times (Yoga Sutra 2.42 my rendering). HARNESSING OUR ENERGY Sometimes people use restraints or prohibitions to talk about the yama-s, however I feel it is more the spirit of Patanjali to consider them behavioural 32

principles that harness our energy for the sake of harmony.

think of it as being present and ‘loosening our grip’ on things being a particular way.

The yama-s are active principles, things we do, cultivate, observe and practice. These are the principles that can help us ‘yogify’ our day-to-day life, and help us navigate times when we might feel torn and carried away. The first yama Ahimsa is non-harming. However this is just the beginning. I think it is the principle of ‘cultivating harmony’. The second Satya, is usually translated as truthfulness, but perhaps more essentially it is about being fully present.

Using the yama-s to positive effect When working with yogasana or other yoga practice techniques, the yama-s can be tremendously helpful. Of course, we can use them as reminders of what not to do: not to be violent, aggressive, or harmful (ahimsa), not to cheat myself in the practice, or rob or deny myself of the chance to really practice, not to let my ‘practice’ be an excuse that steals me away from my real responsibilities to myself and others (asteya); not to be careless with my different energetic resources (brahmacarya), and not to cling to the practice feeling or looking a certain way (aparigraha).

Asteya, the third, is non-stealing, but we might describe it more broadly as being respectful. Brahmacarya is a particularly misunderstood principle as it often gets clouded by the same Sansk[it word describing one of the four stages of life in Orthodox Indian custom. Here though, it carries the sense of taking great care with one’s energy to ensure it is channelled towards an experience of Brahman – totality. The fifth and last yama is aparigrahah, usually translated as non-grasping and noncovetousness. However, it can be helpful to NAMASKAR

However, we can also, and perhaps even more powerfully, use the yama-s as positive frames to orient our engagement and as lenses to check in with our motivation. For example, as ways of channelling our energy we could work with the yama-s along these types of lines: • Ahimsa - let me cultivate harmony, balance and integration;

Satya - let me be truly, gratefully present


DRISTI

I DO YOGA, OR I AM YOGA?

Is there a Difference? BY ANDY WILLNER

we practice yoga postures to help clear the dirt from our minds, so we can see who we really are.

in this miraculous moment and honestly, appropriately, work with the gifts of this technique and my awareness to foster harmony and deeper awareness;

• Asteya – let me be truly respectful of the opportunity to learn and grow from the particular opportunities of this day/ situation/practice technique session; • Brahmacarya – let me be cognisant and respectful of the different powerful energies, the divine powers with which I am blessed, and may I make this practice, this experience, an opportunity to honour, include, nourish and tend them all; •

Aparigraha - may I be deeply and honestly present, may I seize the cup of life and the opportunities it offers me in this moment, yet may I handle this cup gently, skilfully with the humility and poise required to gracefully imbibe the gifts of the unexpected. As we begin to explore working with the yama principles in this way, whether on the mat, when practising other techniques, and in the course of our lives, we start to invite the harmonising power of yoga into all we do.

Yoga, or more specifically asana practice, has been growing exponentially over the past decade, and Hong Kong is no exception. When I came to live here in 1992, there were virtually no studios and it was rare to meet anyone who practised yoga....at least I don’t recall meeting any “yogis” at social gatherings. Fast forward almost 25 years, and it is rare to attend a party at which there are no yogis present! The majority of yoga practitioners focus heavily, if not exclusively, on asana practice (i.e. the physical postures) in the early stages of their yoga journey. This is not a bad thing given connection to our bodies is the most obvious aspect of our being, but for many practitioners there comes a point when they desire to delve deeper and explore more subtle layers of their being. So is yoga something I ‘do’ or something I ‘am’? Ultimately at our deepest level of being – the layer referred to as Anandamaya kosha, in the ancient yogic text the Taittiriya Upanishad - yoga is our natural state. There is nothing we need from outside to make us complete. At this subtle layer we ‘are’ yoga! So why don’t we realise this instantly? Then there would be no need to practice asana or indeed anything else. Well, just as we cannot see our physical selves in a mirror covered with dirt, similarly we cannot connect to our true yoga nature because of all the “dirt” masking our awareness. So we don’t really ‘do’ yoga, but we do practice yoga postures and other techniques to help us clear the dirt from our minds, so we can see who we really are. We can also use the analogy of peeling an onion layer by layer to discover what is at the core, however like most analogies it only works to a point. In our yoga practice, each layer encompasses the less subtle layers but we initially need to discard our identification with the gross layer to recognize the more subtle one. Eventually once we arrive at the most subtle layer we realise all those other previously discarded layers are a part of us October 2016

too. To some yoga students, this may all sound very esoteric and mystical, but many people have experienced the flow of energy through their body once their awareness moved away from the physical body. This is already the first step in the journey! For me it is somewhat ironic that many asana classes taught today focus almost exclusively on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali as their “yoga bible”. Whilst this classical yoga book of aphorisms (written around 350 C.E.) has many wonders to offer, there are only three verses in the entire work featuring asana. In Patanjali’s day it involved very few seated positions to strengthen one’s posture for lengthy periods of meditation. In classical yoga the body was considered an impediment to enlightenment! It was actually the subsequent Tantric tradition that both recognized the divinity of the body and the ability to use the body as a tool towards greater clarity of mind and selfrealization. Hence the oldest existing book on Hatha Yoga, the Hatha Yoga Pradipika by Svatmarama, was written relatively recently in the 15th century C.E. So how do we adjust from a purely physical to a deeper understanding of ourselves, which in turn will reflect in our interactions with others ‘off the mat’? For me, the key is finding a teacher who can guide you through the labyrinth. There is no point attempting to determine how “spiritual” a teacher is, since it is impossible to know, so I recommend taking your time to seek a teacher who appears “authentic” and is still learning and growing - talking the talk and walking the walk! When I started practising yoga asana, I tried dozens of classes taught by lots of different teachers until I found a couple of teachers with whom I resonated and whom I trusted to guide my own practice. Once you find that teacher my advice is to trust the process even when it gets difficult and stick with that teacher. Otherwise you end up “church hopping” and never getting truly grounded in a yoga practice. When in 2008 I discovered Anusara Yoga taught by Patrick Creelman, who remains my teacher today, the connection between Tantric philosophy and asana really awakened me to the reality that asana could actually assist me on an internal, introspective journey beyond mere physicality. As Patrick has evolved his teaching over the last few years, I have continued to trust the process knowing his discoveries in his practice can also lead to new discoveries in my own. As a yoga teacher I am always grappling with how to reflect the deeper teachings of yoga within a 60-90 minute asana class. I firmly 33


believe taking a few moments at the start of the class to highlight some aspect of yogic philosophy and then remind students of that at appropriate junctures during the asana practice is a valuable assist in their inner journey. Beyond the asana practice, I believe it is crucial to allocate time on a regular basis to pranayama, meditation and svadyaya (introspective study of oneself) on one’s own to deepen one’s yoga practice. Combining these practices with study of yogic texts under the guidance of a knowledgeable teacher (a form of jnana yoga) and practising selfless service in one’s community (a form of karma yoga, if practised without attachment to self-serving motivations) are also of tremendous benefit towards balancing the mind and discovering new layers of one’s being. For some practitioners, the path of devotion to something greater than oneself, namely the Divine, however the practitioner perceives that, (bhakti yoga) is a key practice on the path of self-realization. Indeed the Bhagavad Gita highlights devotion to Krishna as the highest of all the paths.

ASANA

Her practice is incredible incredible!

Them sitting quietly is fantastic!

Ultimately, as aspects of one Divine Light of Consciousness (prakasha) each of us is a unique being, hence the route to our natural state of yoga differs from person to person some are attracted to bhakti yoga, some to jnana yoga, some yogis prefer very strong dynamic flowing asana practice, some enjoy greater stillness in their asana practice and some enjoy both at different times. There is no one right path up the mountain, but with the help of our teachers at least we are on the mountain whether at base camp or close to the summit!

Us living peacefully within a loving yoga community, is

AWESOME

!

But, is my yoga helping me get to the point where I could change my life to spend a few days cleaning up rubbish off a foreign beach, under the glaring sun, with in my heart?

love

That’s

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IN BRIEF

MUDRAS BY KRISHNAAKINKARI With the dristi of this issue being “beyond yoga”, which I understand to be the deep absorption of yoga principle into every aspect of life regardless of geographical location or cultural background, the Mudra, an action of re-alignment of the consciousness, must be the perfect tool. To go beyond yoga the practices must be transformatory on every level. Mudra is easy to practice and effective even for those whose distraction of mind often plagues their progress to the higher steps on the ladder of this traditional Ashtanga yoga of Patanjali. With the overwhelming amount of digital invasion into life and, the increasing necessity to be involved in order to survive, the levels of Pratyahar, Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi could appear insurmountable. We also now see yoga presented as a five-star package holiday or alternative entertainment and find fast fix teacher qualifications and unethical practice guides. So, let’s probe the transforming practice of more Mudras.

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So far, in these articles, we have examined: Apana, Atmanjali, Chin, Dhyani, Garuda, Gyana, Hakini, Kripa, Kshepana, Linga, Mahakranta, Matangani, Matsya, Padma, Prithvi, Sankalpa, Sambodhini, Shanka, Simhakranta, Surya, Udana, Upasanhar, Usha, Vairagya, Vajra, Vayana, Vayu.

the sun rises. 2. SHAKTI MUDRA Place the palms in front of each other. Touch together the tips of the fifth and fourth fingers. They point upwards. Put the thumbs across the palms and fold the

This month we feature: 1. UTTARABODHI MUDRA Place both palms together in prayer position but keep the thumbs [touching each other] pointing away from the other four fingers. Raise the arms and place the tips of the thumbs to the middle of the brow at the Agya Chakra. The tips of the other four fingers will automatically point upwards. This facilitates the upward streaming of the consciousness. Since the third eye, which perceives unity instead of division, is the command centre of all hormonal and energetic processes, this channeling of the heart from the mundane to the divine is beneficial on all levels. It is an elevating mode and mood which can be used at any time to transform the mind to higher vision: everyone and everything is viewed with respect and humility. The selfish become selfless and the takers become givers. Depression is lifted and replaced by hope and inspiration. Best practice time:10 minutes minimum as

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first and second fingers over them. These two fingers then touch each other from the middle joint down to the tips. Thus the fire element is at the base of the air and the ether which expand. The earth and


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water elements also have an upward mode and mood. Shakti (power and energy) are motivated to elevation. Inspiration brings to the surface the amazing and often concealed power present in each and every creature, although often suppressed in humans due to too much expenditure of unnecessary mental speculation. This mudra is a good recharge and opens the window of the mind to endless possibility. There are two well-known poems that provoke such thoughts for me: Let me enjoy the world no less, Because the all-enacting Might, That fashioned forth this Loveliness, Has other aims than my delight. By Thomas Hardy To see the world in a grain of sand, And heaven in a wild flower, To hold infinity in the palm of one’s hand, And eternity in an hour. by William Blake These might help us to discover the Bliss that is our essence. Practice makes permanent.

MYTHOLOGY

SATI A burning tale BY TIA SINHA Sati was Lord Shiva’s first consort. She was the earthly form of Goddess Uma. Goddess Uma acquired an earthly form due to the machinations of two gods. Lord Brahma, the Hindu god of creation, wanted Lord Shiva, the god of destruction, to marry. This was not going to be easy as Lord Shiva was a celibate yogi, dwelling on Mount Kailash. Lord Brahma appealed to Vishnu, the god of preservation. Vishnu advised Brahma to serve and request the goddess Uma to take birth on earth and become Shiva’s consort. Brahma obeyed Vishnu. Uma was born to Brahma’s son, Daksha. She was named Sati. From a young age, Sati was utterly devoted to Shiva. When she had grown into a beautiful, comely young maiden, Brahma bestowed the blessing on Sati that Shiva would take her as his consort and never any other woman. To capture her husband’s heart, Sati performed severe penances on a river bank, concentrating single-pointedly on Shiva. Pleased by her sincerity (and obviously bowled over by her beauty), Shiva appeared before Sati and granted her wish. Sati was thereafter married to Shiva. Sati and Shiva’s marital bliss atop Mount Kailash lasted a long time. However, as is 40

often wont to happen (otherwise how could a tale move forward?), trouble soon ensued in paradise. At a grand sacrificial ceremony at Prayag performed by sages, as Daksha entered the enclosure, he felt insulted when his son-in-law, Shiva, remained seated. Mightier than Daksha, Shiva was not supposed to bow to him. To avenge this insult, the vain Daksha decided to host a great sacrificial ceremony to which gods and sages and everybody who was anybody was invited. Except Shiva and Sati. When Sati learnt of this slight, she appealed to her husband to accompany her to Daksha’s ceremony. However, Shiva had divined that they had been overlooked deliberately by his father-in-law. Also divining the disaster that lay ahead, Shiva tried to dissuade Sati from attending the sacrifice. But an obstinate and determined Sati insisted on going. So, with a grand retinue, Shiva sent Sati to her father’s sacrifice. And, unbeknownst to Sati, to her own doom. When Sati reached the sacrificial grounds, her father, Daksha, refused to acknowledge her presence. Yet she bowed respectfully to her parents. Then, grabbing a quiet moment, she asked her father why she and her husband had not been invited. When Daksha remained silent, a livid Sati asked Brahma and Vishnu how they could have tolerated this insult. At this, Daksha was enraged and asked her why she had come at all. He admitted that he found Shiva uncouth and had married her to him only because Brahma had persuaded him to do so. A mortified Sati regretted having come to the sacrifice uninvited. Calling her father vain and wicked and saying that she was ashamed to call herself his daughter, Sati announced that she was going to cast off her body. She prayed to Shiva that she would return to him when she was reborn of a father she could respect. With her yogic powers, she then created flames and immolated herself. Sati’s shocked and enraged retinue rushed towards Daksha. However, to protect Daksha, Sage Bhrigu invoked thousands of ferocious demons from the fire. In the fierce battle that ensued, Sati’s attendants were defeated and forced to retreat to Mount Kailash. When he learnt what had happened, a furious Shiva plucked out a lock of his matted hair and dashed it to the ground. As the lock split into two, from one half arose the terrifying demon, Virabhadra and from the other, the wrathful goddess, Mahakali. As commanded, Virabhadra and Mahakali vanquished Daksha’s army and killed him. Tearing off Daksha’s head, Virabhadra threw it into the sacrificial fire and returned to Kailash with his family. A distraught Brahma, accompanied by Vishnu, appealed to Shiva to restore Daksha’s life and to allow the sacrifice to be completed. To teach him the NAMASKAR

lesson that hatred towards another being recoils on oneself, Shiva restored Daksha’s life but gave him the head of the sacrificial goat. A humbled Daksha admitted his faults and was allowed to complete his sacrifice. Shiva returned to Kailash and meditated till Sati, true to her word, was reborn as Parvati. Parvati had a father who loved and respected her and she loved and respected him as well. Parvati then set about to capture Shiva’s heart, never to be separated from him again. The barbaric ancient Indian custom of ‘Sati’ is named after this angry lady who burnt herself to death. According to the custom of ‘Sati’, certain Hindu women who had been widowed were expected to throw themselves into the fire and immolate themselves. ‘Sati’ was made illegal in India in 1829. The moral of Sati’s story could be that slights suffered at the hands of one’s family members can be very painful. So, better be nice to one’s family members! And that gatecrashing a party could turn out to be lethal.

RETREAT REVIEW

UNEXPECTED DISCOVERIES BY KIRSI ASTREN

“The Chinese Yin-Yang philosophy teaches that everything has to be counter-weight. There is no night without day. All opposites alternate and this create a balance of life, where things are as they should be.” I was soaking in the information and trying to relax in the yin pose called swan. “Each Yin prepares us for the next Yang movement. Night prepares us for the next day and deep relaxation enhances peak performance, from easy to difficult, from


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Yoga teacher Gabriel Azoulay

dark to light. The dynamic yoga needs counterweight passive, long-Yin exercises.” What did he say in the beginning of the practice? Yin Yoga was not a relaxing practice? It’s quiet, but challenging. The insights Gabe gave helped with the strain. Yin Yoga counteracts the excessive sitting we do in the Western world. When my daughter and I visited a local Thai home, we did not see the chairs or sofas at all. All sitting took place on the floor. It was my daughter, Julliana, who recommended we seek out Thailand as our first destination to travel together. She wanted yoga to be a significant part of the program but without the power of it all. After an extensive research she discovered the Finnish resort, Aava Resort & Spa, which is set in Thailand’s secluded, and still undiscovered, Khanom region. In addition to the high praise about their diverse wellness program, we were surprised to discover our week fell on the same week as the yoga retreat by American Yoga Master GabeYoga! I thought I’d attended other Yin classes in Helsinki, where positions were held for long periods. However Gabe’s sequences, the lapping waves, soft music and his stories that fed the imagination left me feeling incredibly good and immensely renewed. Without using notes, books, or the Internet, Gabe shared anecdotes from old Buddhist wisdom, facts about the effects of yoga on health, Sufi poetry, ancient Yoga texts from what I later found out were part of the ancient Upanishads, as well as spiritual humor in the form of jokes. Yin Yoga was part of the evening yoga classes, and the day began with a dynamic Yang-style, BikYasa practice. A yoga practice, developed by GabeYoga, that combines principles of Hot 26 and Vinyasa Yoga, perfectly balanced with silence and modern music. BikYasa has been the most attended yoga class at the Helsinki Festival and is offered at the popular Yin Yoga Studio throughout 42

Helsinki. Julliana and I discovered that BikYasa activated our muscles in a most intelligent and powerful manner, establishing an energizing feeling to start their day. As the week progressed, we experienced a remarkable development. Our bodies began to bend at places that only saw freedom as teenagers while our minds discovered a calm and peaceful satisfaction.

BOOK REVIEW

Aava was born by chance when friends told Kati and Atte (the owners) about the magnificent and quiet region of Khanom. Soon the couple traveled there 70 kilometers from Surat Thani airport by local rickshaw .

‘Sometimes you have to travel a very great distance to find a home within yourself.’ Leza Lowitz

Khanom is a fishing village; with a maximum contribution is an authentic Thai country life. Long sandy beaches are among the longest in Thailand, and the tops of coconut trees towering to the sky. The area and its surroundings offer amazing nature experiences, which are easy to access. The yoga classes felt as if they were designed just for the group and each experience was inspiring and unique. When I interviewed Gabe to hear how he achieved this unique ability I discovered he talks in a clear, firm voice and takes advantage of the full spectrum of yoga history and philosophy which include the Upanishads, ancient Indian poetry or prose texts, explanations and guidelines in life. Gabe skillfully cultivates them as a part of yoga classes as a whole. He told us these different ways to describe the divinity, beauty and love are the most essential part of yoga instruction. I also discovered Gabe tailors the journey to the relevant people and uses his teachings to illuminate participants’ growth. He started practicing yoga from the spiritual side and emphasizes it over and over. At age 19, as a psychology university student, he became interested in yoga philosophy and went on to get more information on India. Gabe often, and graciously, credits various teachers. Yin Yoga’s Paul Grilley shed light on the power of connective tissue, while Pichest Boonthume, Master Thai Massage teacher, evolved Gabe’s understanding of Yin ideas’ origin with Thai Massage spreading through to China. From Ashtangi David Swenson, Gabe connected the physical practice and philosophy of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras; from Tim Miller, with whom he practiced Mysore for two years, he learned “yoga is not about the pose.” Then, from Anthony “Prem” Carlisi, Gabe learned about Ayurveda and through Pattabhi Jois he learned, “Yoga is to find God.” For my own divine moment - I walked over to Julliana and gave her the kind of hug only a mother can.

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HERE COMES THE SUN by Leza Lowitz REVIEWED BY TIA SINHA

An American woman in her early thirties finds herself in Japan. In her own words, ‘This is not a story about navigating the ins and outs of adoption in a foreign country. It is about navigating the ins and outs of my own body and spirit to heal, and to arrive at a place where motherhood could become a possibility. I’ve taken the chakra system as a metaphor and roadmap for personal growth and transformation, charting the movement from “me” to “we”.’ At one level, Leza’s story is about her search for love in a foreign land. At another, it is about facing the demons of her mind and memories that haunted her. It’s about learning to trust and believing in oneself. It’s about laughing at fear. It’s about endurance. And it is about mustering the courage to tread new ground. Leza captivates with her simple, lucid style of writing. Rarely does one come across a book that makes one feel, “Hey, this is honest. I want to know what happens next. Yes, I can identify with this, and that, and that. And yes, I’ve felt this way too. Her honesty is helping me. “ When we write about our life with honesty, we give others permission to heal. In ‘Here Comes the Sun’, Leza Lowitz does just that. And she does it with élan, making her autobiography a compelling read.


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COLOURING PAGE

From www.azcolouring.com

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DIRECTORY

Guide to yoga studios & teachers ANAHATA VILLAS & SPA RESORT Ubud, Bali, Indonesia s: group retreats, yoga for private & corporates. Yoga studio available for rent. l: Indonesian & English t: +62 361 8987 991/ 8987 992 / +62 21 70743366 f: +62 361 8987 804 e: sm@anahataresort.com / info@anahataresort.com w: www.anahataresort.com 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 1922 e: enquiry@anahatayoga.com.hk w: www.anahatayoga.com.hk ANANDA YOGA 33 & 34/F, 69 Jervois Street Sheung Wan, Hong Kong s: Private and Group Classes : Yoga Therapy (neck, shoulder, back, hip, knee and joints), Hatha, Power, Ashtanga, Vinyasa, Detox, Yin Yang, Kundalini, Chakra Balancing, Pranayama, Meditation l: English t: (825)35639371 e: adm.anandayoga.hk@gmail.com w: www.anandayoga.hk Anna Ng Privates d: Hong Kong s: Hatha yoga l: Cantonese t: (852) 9483 1167 e: gazebofl@netvigator.com BEING IN YOGA – SINGAPORE Teaching yoga in the tradition of T Krishnamacharya and TKV Desikachar. s: yoga therapy (customized personal practice), teacher training (Yoga Alliance RYS 500 hours+), in-depth yoga studies, small group classes for children and adults, workshops, 48

meditation classes, Vedic chanting, continuing education for yoga teachers. Certified Teacher Trainer – Yoga Therapist - E-RYT 500 RYS 500 t: +65-9830-3808 e: beinginyoga@gmail.com w: www.beinginyoga.com 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 e:yoga@macau.ctm.net w:www.iyengar-yoga-macauchina.com Chloe Yates Private and Group Kid’s Yoga, Mindfulness and Meditation d: Hong Kong, Kowloon, New Territories and Outlying Islands s: Kid’s Yoga, Mindfulness and Meditation Mummy and Baby Yoga, Dance Therapy l: English, Cantonese t: 9543 1524 e: chloe.yy.yates@gmail.com w: www.facebook.com/ humblewarrioryogaanddance Corinne Konrad Luxe Nova 68 Wellington Street, Central, Hong Kong & home visits s:Pre and Post-natal yoga, home classes as boutique yoga classes for beginners t: +852 9633 5573 e: corinne@rawandrich.com w: www.rawandrich.com David Kim Yoga E-RYT 500+, Senior YogaWorks and Yin Yoga Teacher Trainer; International TTs, Workshops & Retreats d: Korea, Japan, Vietnam, Philippines, Sweden, Norway, USA s: Yin Yoga, YogaWorks, Vinyasa Flow l: English, limited Korean t: +1 310 480 5277 e: david@davidkimyoga.com w: www.davidkimyoga.com 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: info@flexhk.com Central 3/F Man Cheung Building, 15- 17 Wyndham Street, Central, Hong Kong s: Detox, Power, Pre-Natal Yoga t: + 852 2813-2399 f: + 852 2812 6708 e: central@flexhk.com www.flexhk.com PURE YOGA China L6-615 iapm mall, 999 Huai Hai Zhong Road, Xuhui District Shanghai t: +86 21 5466 1266 Hong Kong 16/F The Centrium, 60 Wyndham Street, Central t: +852 2971 0055 25/F Soundwill Plaza, 38 Russell St, Causeway Bay t: +852 2970 2299 14/F Peninsula Office Tower, 18 Middle Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon t: +852 8129 8800 9/F Langham Place Office Tower, 8 Argyle Street, Kowloon t: +852 3691 3691 4/F Lincoln House, TaiKoo Place, 979 King’s Rd, Quarry Bay t: +852 8129 1188 2/F Asia Standard Tower, 59 Queen’s Road, Central t: + 852 3524 7108 Level 1 The Pulse, 28 Beach Road, Repulse Bay t: +852 8200 0908 3/f Hutchison House, 10 Harcourt Road, Admiralty t: +852 8105 5838 Singapore 391A Orchard Road, #18-00 Ngee Ann City Tower A

NAMASKAR

t: +65 6733 8863 30 Raffles Place, 04-00 Chevron House t: +65 6304 2257 Taiwan 151 Chung Hsiao East Road, Sec 4, Taipei t: +886 02 8161 7888 4/f Urban One, 1 Qingcheng St, Taipei t: +886 02 8161 7868 Ling Yoga and Wellbeing, Private Yoga Teacher, Privates, Groups, Corporates, Free Yoga Community Event: Yoga in the Park with Ling www.meetup.com/ 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: yogawithling@gmail.com w: www.facebook.com/ yogawithling RED DOORS STUDIO 21/f, 31 Wong Chuk Hang Rd s. Gong meditation and training, labyrinth facilitation and construction, kundalini therapeutic yoga and complementary practices to elevate energy. Multiple studio spaces available to rent. t. +852 21110 0152 e. info@red-doors.com w. www.red-doors.com 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: www.withinspace.com 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 Kathy Cook Wellness Retreats, Workshops, Private Groups and Privates d: Hong Kong, Bali & Thailand s: Iyengar Certified (Junior Intermediate III) l: English t: +852 6292 5440 / +62 811 387781 e:kcinasia@gmail.com w: www.yogawithkathy.com 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: info@yogaroomhk.com w: www.yogaroomhk.com KUNDALINI @SHAKTI 7/F Glenealy Tower, 1 Glenealy, Central, Hong Kong. s: Kundalini, Reik healing, life coaching, Shamanic healing, Bowen Therapy, Angel Cards t: +852 2521 5099 e: info@shaktihealingcircle.com w: www.shaktihealingcircle.com 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, all on a regular basis. Teacher Trainings, Intensives, Privates, Workshops, specialising in hosting retreats.

namaskar

t: +62 361 844 6392 e: info@desaseni.com w: www.desaseni.com TRUE YOGA Singapore 9 Scotts Road, Level 4, Pacific Plaza, Singapore 228210 t: +65 6733 9555

4 times a year 6,000 yoga practitioners 32 countries

9 Scotts Road, Level 5, Pacific Plaza (Bikram Original Hot Yoga), Singapore 228210 t: +65 6735 9555 Taiwan 337 Nanking East Road Section 3, 9 & 10/F, Taipei T: +886 22716 1234 68 Gongyi Road, West District 12 & 13/F, Taichung t: +886 43700 0000 s: Ashtanga, Bikram, Flow, Gentle, Hatha, Kids, Power, PreNatal, Vinyasa, Yin, Yoga Dance e: operations@trueyoga.com.sg w: www.trueyoga.com.sg / www.trueyoga.com.tw Ursula Moser The Iyengar Yoga Centre of Hong Kong d: Central s: Iyengar Certified (Junior Intermediate III) l: English t: +852 2918 1798 / 9456 2149 e: uschi.moser51@gmail.com

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

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: info@wiselivingyoga.com w: www.wiselivingyoga.com

LISTINGS Individual listing Studio listing

HK$640 HK$1,300

for full or partial year for full or partial year

PUBLICATION DATES, BOOKING & MATERIAL DEADLINES Publication date Booking Deadline Material Deadline January December 1 December 10 April March 1 March 10 July June 1 June 10 October September 1 September 10

YOGA CENTRAL – IYENGAR CENTRAL s: Boutique studio with Iyengar Yoga classes; flexible timings for corporate wellness, small groups, and privates l: English, Cantonese, Mandarin, French, Malay t: +852 2982 4308 e: yogacentralhk@gmail.com w: www.yogacentral.com.hk fb: Iyengar-Central

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 / carol@caroladams.hk Frances +852 9460 1967 / fgairns@netvigator.com

October 2016

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October 2016

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Profile for namaskar

NamaskarOct 2016  

Free Yoga magazine with news and events from Asia and world wide.

NamaskarOct 2016  

Free Yoga magazine with news and events from Asia and world wide.

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