Yoga teacher and the students on headstand practice

Headstand is the first basic pose in the traditional Hatha Yoga asana practice.

One doesn’t need to be super strong and flexible to perform headstand.

What allowing one to come into the headstand is both the body and mind is able to be relaxed when coming up into the headstand, while holding the headstand, and while coming down from the headstand, without tension, judgement, comparison and expectation.

What hinders people to come into the headstand and holding it, is fear. The fear of falling, fear of injury, fear of pain, fear of death and fear of the unknown.

Headstand is an effective asana to stimulate and purify the crown energy centre and rendering the mind calm and quiet for meditation, as well as giving many other physical and mental health benefits, if it is being performed with the correct understanding and technique, and without the interference of the egoism.

Although it is a great asana for many people, there are some people are not suitable to practice headstand due to certain physical limitations and health complications. People who don’t have those physical limitations like neck injuries and had performed heart surgery before, and don’t have health issues like serious high or low blood pressure, heart problems, eyes diseases, nose and ears infection, intense nose-blocked or headache, or have been advised by their doctor that they are not suitable to practice headstand for some reasons, but if they have great fear of performing the headstand (fear of falling and injuries), then they also are not suitable or ready to practice headstand yet, until they know how to deal with fear, and not being over-powered by fear. If they have great tension in the body and mind due to intense fear while learning to come into the headstand, it will only bring them more harms than benefits. Otherwise, anyone can practice headstand by learning how to come up into the headstand in a gentle and relaxed manner, and keep practicing until one can stay in the headstand for a prolonged period of time, comfortably. But one doesn’t need to be able to perform headstand in order to be peaceful and compassionate. It’s okay if people can’t perform headstand, or any of the yoga asana poses, due to certain physical restrictions.

Falling, whether during the yoga asana practice, or in life (whether physically, mentally or emotionally), is not something bad or negative. It’s neither good nor bad, neither positive nor negative. It’s part of the learning process to allow the mind to be more open and wise. When one learns how to perform the challenging asana poses under a calm and fearless mind, one would be able to remain calm and stress-free when performing any challenging tasks in life under any conditions and situations.

Just like when we learn how to stand up and walk when we were toddlers, falling was merely part of the learning process. But, we continued to learn how to stand up and walk, again and again, no matter how many times we fell. And gradually, we developed the stability and learned how to stand up and walk without falling.

As parents, they do their best to guide and assist the children until they are able to stand and walk by themselves, in their own pace, without being pushy, without judgment, comparison and expectation. This includes allowing them to fall during the learning process before they develop the stability. The children also continue to learn how to stand and walk, again and again, no matter how many times they fall. The parents allow the children to take responsibility for their action and the consequences of their action.

This is the same as when come to teaching, guiding and assisting the yoga students to come into the headstand.

The yoga teacher should have no fear to teach the headstand to the students, and without fear about allowing the students to learn how to fall in a relaxed manner, bringing the risk of physical injury to the minimum. And allowing the students to take responsibility for their action and the consequences of their action. The teacher must endowed with patience and compassion to guide the students coming into the headstand, in their own pace, without being pushy, without judgment, comparison and expectation. Meanwhile, the students should learn how to confront the fear and overcome it, while developing acceptance, adjustment, adaptation, accommodation, patience, perseverance, forbearance, non-attachment, non-identification, non-judgment, non-comparison, non-expectation, self-awareness, self-control, self-discipline and be free from craving and aversion, during the process of learning and performing the yoga asana poses.

Sometimes, some of the students see other people fall down from the headstand, they might generate fear and worry in themselves towards the headstand practice, even though the people who had fell didn’t hurt themselves, and they didn’t allow the fall to stop them from continuing their practice. One must learn not to be affected by one’s past experience of falling or other people’s falling from the asana poses, and do not let fear and worry to stop oneself from continuing to perform one’s own practice.

Fearlessness is part of selflessness. The one who has fear towards something, is the ego. Yoga is the realization of selflessness – the annihilation of the ego. The practice of headstand is confronting fear and be free from fear. The health benefits derive from the headstand practice are just some side-effects. Practicing headstand against the wall might bring health benefits to the practitioner, but it doesn’t allow the practitioner to confront fear and conquer it, instead, it is running away from dealing with fear.

Whether one can perform the yoga asana poses, or not, it’s really not important at all. Even after many times of practice, one might still unable to perform some or many of the yoga asana poses and might fall from time to time, and it’s fine, just keep practicing. What matter is, the practice of letting go of the egoism and not being over-powered by fear. Do our best, perform all our duties and responsibilities, without attachment towards our action and the result of our action, allowing the result to be what it is.

If the students have great fear of performing headstand and refuse to take responsibility for themselves, then they are not ready yet to practice headstand.

Be free.

Practice yoga of selflessness, attributelessness, namelessness and formlessness…

Many people like to do yoga asana exercises, as the yoga exercises, the breathing exercises, and the concentration while performing the yoga exercises can give many physical and mental health and fitness benefits when being done regularly. The body and the mind will feel good and light after the yoga asana and pranayama practice. The vast variations of the yoga exercises also give some sort of challenges and stimulation to the restless mind that craves to be stimulated and kept interested all the time. Or else the mind feels bored, dulled, depressed, meaningless, void or empty. But all these benefits and effects of performing the yoga exercises are impermanent and they are not the end of yoga practice.

Yoga practice is meant to allow the mind to go beyond all the qualities of name and form, to stop chasing after the objects of name and form, to be free from restlessness, to realize the truth of things as they are, and be free from ignorance, egoism, attachment, identification, desires of craving and aversion, and thus be free from suffering.

The benefits and effects derived from the yoga asana practice that consumes lots of time, effort, concentration, patience, determination and perseverance of the body and the mind, can help to interest the mind to be busy doing some physical and mental activities that don’t just benefit oneself physically and mentally, but at the same time one won’t have the free time, free body and mind to be engaging in any unhealthy physical and mental activities that can harm oneself or other beings. It is very good even if one isn’t interested in the complete annihilation of ignorance and egoism.

All these benefits and effects are momentary, and don’t guarantee one freedom from ignorance and suffering, if one doesn’t know how to be free from egoism, attachment, identification, and desires of craving and aversion.

The root cause of suffering is ignorance (not knowing the truth of things). From ignorance, there arise egoism. From egoism, there arise attachment, identification, desires of craving and aversion. From all these attachment, identification, desires of craving and aversion, there arise all sorts of impurities and restlessness. From impurities and restlessness, the mind has no peace and perceives suffering.

Most minds want to be free from suffering and have peace, but not many are interested when come to the yoga practice towards selflessness (the annihilation of egoism, attachment, identification, desires of craving and aversion), attributelessness, namelessness and formlessness.

We can be putting our body in many different yoga asana poses after years and years of repeated practice of all these yoga poses, becoming more skillful and effortless while performing all these yoga poses, but, the mind might still be influenced by egoism and ignorance, it’s not free from attachment, identification, desires of craving and aversion, impurities and restlessness. The mind is constantly being affected, disturbed, influenced and determined by what it perceives through the senses of what it sees, hears, smells, tastes, touches and thinks. There is no real peace which is beyond impermanence, which is not the momentary calmness, peaceful feelings and pleasant sensations that derived from performing some yoga exercises.

There is a common reaction of most minds who love yoga or love to do the yoga exercises – After we manage to perform certain yoga asana poses, the ever restless and dissatisfying nature of the egoistic mind will have this thought about “What next?” and try to do some other more challenging poses or new exercises that it never done before, one after another one. Even after the physical body has come to a point in achieving its highest strength and flexibility, the mind is still wondering “What next?”

By challenging and pushing the body to go beyond its physical limitation, and making the mind feels good doesn’t guarantee one peace and compassion. Peace and compassion has nothing to do with physical conditions and abilities, or the impermanent states of the mind. It is freedom from ignorance and egoism.

The restless mind is never contented with just doing the same few basic yoga poses everyday, which is all that we need to help to balance and calm the mind, preparing the mind for meditation. There’s nothing wrong with that. That’s what the mind does. It gets bored. It needs new toys, new interests, new stimulation.

Even though the body and mind is busy spending lots of time and effort into practicing yoga asana exercises, years after years, and attaining many benefits of the exercises, but we are not really practicing yoga at all, if we never train the mind to go beyond the qualities of name and form, to free the mind from ignorance, duality, egoism, attachment, identification, intention, expectation, desires, greed, dissatisfaction and restlessness. Instead we keep on trying to satisfy the desires of craving and aversion of the restless mind, keep on feeding and strengthening the egoism of the mind and all its modifications while performing the yoga asana practice.

May all be free, by practicing yoga, not just doing some yoga asana exercises.

Om shanti.

Yoga asana practice?

When we perform the yoga asana practice:-

  • Take full responsibility for our own well-being. No one can force us to be doing something that we don’t want to do. No one can stop us from doing something that we want to do. We don’t have to agree nor disagree with anyone or anything. No one but our own self knows what is going on in our body and in our mind. It is our own responsibility to entrust “somebody”, or “teachers”, or “philosophy”, or “teachings”, or “practice”, and bring ourselves to be performing some “practice”.
  • Let go of the past experiences. Be open-minded for what our body can do and cannot do in the present moment now. Let go of the future anticipation, speculation or expectation. Be open-minded for whatever possibilities that may or may not occur during and after the yoga asana practice, no matter it is something that we desire or don’t desire. Be in the present moment now. Be aware of the reality in the present moment now, and allow the reality to be what it is.
  • Let go of the ego. Let go of try to control or interfere with the reality that our ego doesn’t like and doesn’t agree with, to change it to be the way that the ego likes it to be. As what our ego likes and dislikes, agrees and disagrees with, is not necessary the truth of what things really are, or how things should be.
  • Let go of craving and aversion. Do not generate craving or clinging onto the pleasant sensations that arise from certain positions or movements. Do not generate aversion towards unpleasant sensations that arise from certain positions or movements.
  • Let go of attachment and identification with the physical body and the mind. The body is not me, I am not the body. The mind is not me, I am not the mind.
  • Let go of judgment towards the yoga asana practice or the exercises, as the yoga asana exercises or poses are just being what they are, they are neither easy nor difficult, neither beginner nor advance, neither safe nor unsafe. They have no intention nor quality to be something easy or difficult, beginner or advance, safe or unsafe. It is how our body and our mind approach and react towards all these exercises or poses. If an exercise is being labeled as “difficult”, or “advance”, or “unsafe”, it is not the truth. If it is the truth, then everyone who is doing this same exercise will be encountering difficulty and injury, as well as only “advance” yoga practitioner will be able to do it. But it’s not. Some people may find this exercise is not difficult at all and they are not suffering any injuries from doing it, as well as a complete “beginner” yoga practitioner can be performing this exercise comfortably or effortlessly.
  • Let go of judgment towards the physical performance or the ability of the physical body to perform the exercises. As selflessness, unconditional peace and compassion has nothing to do with how fit, or strong and flexible is the physical body to be performing the yoga asana exercises “nicely” and “perfectly”, or not.
  • Let go of comparison with other people or with oneself. We cannot expect ourselves to be having exactly the same physical condition and ability, and the state of the mind as somebody else whom we admire or look up to. As yoga teacher, we don’t say to the yoga students, “If I can do this, you can do this as well.” as everyone has different physical limitation that cannot be denied or ignored. And yoga, peace and compassion is not being attained by imitating the teacher physically or mentally. It’s coming from self-realization of the truth when the egoism and ignorance is eradicated. We can’t compare ourselves in the present moment now with ourselves in the past experiences, as every moment the conditions and abilities of the physical body and the states of the mind are constantly changing. They are different from moment to moment. What our body can do and cannot do is constantly changing. How we feel and the reactions from the body and the mind towards the exercises while performing the same exercises in different practice also will change. It is not about what our body could do or couldn’t do in the past, nor it is about what our body can do or cannot do in the future. It is about what our body can do or cannot do in the present moment now, according to the condition and abilities of the physical body in the present moment now. We learn about impermanence and allow all the impermanent changes to be what they are from moment to moment.
  • Let go of expectation towards the physical performance and the expectation towards the result, or the benefits, or the effects of the yoga asana practice or the exercises. Allow the result, or the benefits, or the effects of the yoga asana practice or the exercises to be what it is. The objective of performing the yoga asana poses is not determined by how strong and flexible is our physical body. We don’t have to be super strong and super flexible to balance the mind, to calm down the mind, and to purify the mind. Even though we don’t know what are the names of the yoga poses, or we don’t know about the history and scientific facts about the yoga asana practice, or we don’t know what is the anatomy and physiology of the physical body, or we don’t know what are the benefits of the exercises, or we don’t expect any of the benefits, the benefits or the fruit will still be there as they are, as we practice. They won’t increase nor decrease, or change into something else, or disappear.
  • Let go of anticipation or speculation about possibility of injuries. Be free from fear and worry. Fear and worry won’t stop injury from happening, but it will increase the risk of injury. We perform the exercises with care and attention, but without fear and worry.
  • Learn to relax while performing the exercises, while coming into yoga poses and while holding the yoga poses. Let go of timing ourselves about how long we need to perform the yoga asana practice, or how many yoga asana poses we need to perform, or how long we need to hold the yoga poses. Allow the yoga asana practice to be natural being performed according to the condition and abilities of the physical body in the present moment now, not according to what we would like it to be.
  • Allow the breathing to be natural. The body will know when to inhale and when to exhale, if we allow the breathing to be natural.
  • Learn to be patient, be persevere, be determine to gradually develop the skill, stamina, strength and flexibility for coming into and holding the yoga asana poses. Forbear or withstand any discomforts or difficulties that may arise during and after the yoga asana practice. Be able to adjust, adapt and accommodate the yoga asana practice that the body and mind is not familiar with.
  • Do our best. Do what the body can do in the present moment now and not pushing the body to go beyond its limitation. Let go of pre-judgment about what the body can do or cannot do. Be open-minded towards what the body can do and cannot do in the present moment now, as the condition and abilities of the physical body is subject to impermanence.
  • Be ourselves. No need to imitate anyone else, nor try to be like someone else, not even our yoga teachers. What other people can do with their body is their capability. What talents and knowledge other people have, is their capability. We don’t have to be able to do everything that other people can do with their body or their mind. How other people think, believe, behave, act and react is their freedom and responsibility. We don’t have to think, believe, behave, act and react like how other people think, believe, behave, act and react, not even the yoga teachers whether they are perfect or not perfect.
  • Accept ourselves as we are. Let go of dissatisfaction towards ourselves nor expect ourselves to be somebody else that we are not. Perform actions that we think will bring improvement, and allow changes or improvement to be happening as it is. Accept all the changes in us or in other people as they are, not necessary the way that we like it to be.
  • Perform the yoga asana practice out of compassion, renounce the fruit of action or the result of the practice. Allow the result or the effect of the yoga asana practice to be there as it is, not expecting it to be the way that we like it to be, or the way that we think it should be.
  • The practice of relaxation is to relax the body and the mind, to release tension physically, mentally, emotionally. If somebody believes in the existence of the soul, then the soul also will be benefited from the practice of relaxation. As anything that is subject to existence, and has a name and a form, they will be affected or influenced by ignorance, egoism, and the qualities of names and forms, and thus it needs to be purified, or to be healed. If the body, the mind, or the soul has some “damages” or “pain” that need to be healed, then naturally they will be healed eventually, even without any awareness nor intention coming from the ego. As all the “damages” and “pain” are caused by ignorance and the ego itself, and nothing else. If we truly want to heal the body, the mind, and the soul effectively, all we need to do is stop hurting ourselves, or stop causing damages and pain onto the body, the mind, and the soul, by eradicate egoism and ignorance, be free from impurities like craving, aversion, anger, hatred, jealousy, greed, dissatisfaction, disappointment, feelings of hurts, pride, arrogance, animosity, fear and worry.
  • We don’t need to have any intention to balance the both sides of the body, the body will be balanced by itself as we perform our practice. We don’t need to have intention to be healing anything, everything will be healed by itself as we perform our practice. All these intentions whether good or bad, they are coming from the ego. If we let go of the ego, there is no intention. Allow everything to be what it is. We just do our best. Perform actions, give and let go.
  • Our true nature is beyond existence and qualities of names and forms, beyond name and form, beyond birth and death. It doesn’t need to be purified nor be healed, nor be benefited from the practice of relaxation. It is untouched by good or bad Karma. It is not important whether the physical body can perform the yoga asana poses perfectly or not. Realize our true nature and be free.

Our true nature is not affected, nor disturbed, nor influenced, nor determined, nor contaminated by the condition and ability of the physical body and the states of the mind, and the actions and inactions derived from the egoism. Our true nature is not affected nor influenced by ignorance, egoism, and qualities of names and forms. It doesn’t need to be benefited from the yoga asana practice. It’s the body and the mind that experience suffering, that needs to be purified through the yoga asana practice, to prepare the mind for meditation to know the truth of suffering, and be liberated from suffering that derived from ignorance and egoism.

Yoga asana practice is meant to be releasing tension and not generating more tension into the system. It is meant to be weakening the egoism and not strengthening the egoism.

Relaxed, and not stressed out physically and mentally by trying to perform the exercises perfectly, or try to perform the exercises just like everyone else. We can be doing the same exercises but we might not look the same due to the different physical conditions and limitations that we have individually. Not everyone can do what other people can do with their body. It’s okay, because we don’t have to be able to do what other people can do, to be free from ignorance and egoism. Being able to do what other people can do with their body, doesn’t guarantee us to be free from ignorance and egoism, nor will give us liberation, peace and compassion.

Yoga asana practice is a tool for the mind to attain liberation, be free from suffering that derived from ignorance and egoism. It is about elimination of the egoism and ignorance. It is not so much about being a fitness training or physical exercise to achieve physical and mental benefits, and the body and the mind will feel good after the practice, although there is nothing wrong with all these by products or side effects coming from the yoga asana practice.

It doesn’t mean anything if our body can perform all the yoga asana poses perfectly, but our mind is still influenced and determined by ignorance and egoism, being attached to the qualities of names and forms possessed by the body and the mind to be who we are, being attached to the worldly image, egoistic desires, thinking and beliefs, likes and dislikes, agreements and disagreements in the mind, being restless and disturbed by impurities like craving, aversion, anger, hatred, jealousy, greed, dissatisfaction, disappointment, feelings of hurts, pride, arrogance, agitation, depression, fear and worry.

Om shanti.

Who is feeling happy and unhappy?

It is the mind who feels happy or unhappy. It’s the mind who wants to feel happy and be happy. It is the ego reacts towards what it likes and dislikes, agrees and disagrees with, that generates happy feelings and unhappy feelings in the mind.

If the mind gets what it likes and agrees with, it feels happy. Or else it doesn’t feel happy or it feels unhappy. And so, the mind has craving towards the objects that it likes and agrees with.

If the mind gets what it doesn’t like and doesn’t agree with, it feels unhappy. And so, the mind has aversion towards the objects that it doesn’t like and doesn’t agrees with.

If we attached and identified with the egoistic mind strongly, and thinking this body and mind is ‘I’, then when we attend a yoga asana exercise class that is only about fitness training, physical strength and flexibility, without implementation of the teachings of yoga about non-attachment and letting go of the ego, craving and aversion, and etc, then this type of yoga asana exercise class will be something fun and enjoyable activity for the mind.

By doing the yoga asana exercises that the mind likes to do, and the body is able to do, can make the body and mind feels good and happy during and after the practice, for a period of time. Yoga asana teachers or instructors who are leading the yoga asana exercise class usually give the people what they want that will make them feel happy and feel good about themselves. They try not to give the people what they don’t want that will make them feel unhappy or don’t feel good about themselves. The yoga asana teachers try to make the yoga students ‘happy’ by giving them ‘what they want and like’. But this is really not what yoga practice is about.

It is like giving sweets to the children, it will make them happy, but we know that it is not good for them.

Yoga practice is stop giving the mind what it likes and wants, but train it to let go of craving towards what it likes, and let go of aversion towards what it doesn’t like. Restricting the outgoing mind from chasing after momentary satisfaction and happy feelings that comes from getting what it wants and not getting what it doesn’t want, and turning the mind inward for self-introspection, or reflection, or meditation.

Just by chasing after the impermanent good and happy feelings coming from performing some yoga asana exercises that our egoistic mind likes to do and the body is able to do, doesn’t give us liberation from unhappiness or suffering. As the root cause of unhappiness and suffering, which is the attachment towards the impermanent qualities of names and forms, such like attach to pleasant sensations and good feelings, and the identification with the egoistic thinking mind and the impermanent condition and abilities of the physical body, is still there, even though the mind feels good and happy by getting what it likes and wants.

Having the strong identification with the egoistic mind, when we attend a yoga class which emphasize on the teachings of yoga about non-attachment and letting go of the ego, letting go of the idea of ‘I’ and ‘mine’, letting go of the worldly self-image that is based on qualities of names and forms that the body and mind possessed, letting go of attachment towards the condition and abilities of the body and the states of the mind, letting go of attachment towards the conditioned habits, thinking and beliefs in the mind, letting go of craving for pleasant experience, and aversion towards unpleasant experience, letting go of anger and hatred, pride and arrogance, fear and worry, letting go of attachment towards the qualities of names and forms, letting go of judgment, comparison and expectation, and be able to accept everyone and everything as they are, out of compassion, then this type of yoga class will be a very unhappy and unpleasant experience for the mind. There will be lots of resistance and aversion from the ego, as all these teachings is telling the ego to ‘get lost’ or ‘disappear’.

Some people react strongly and get very irritated and angry being in the yoga class where the yoga teachers teach or talk about non-attachment and compassion. As these essential teachings of yoga are something completely the opposite of the nature of the ego and what the mind being conditioned to think and believe what things are.

The ego is strongly attached towards what it likes and dislikes, agrees and disagrees with, and generate strong aversion towards something that it dislikes and disagrees with, and will react with annoyance, irritation, agitation, frustration, anger and hatred, especially when the teachings are contradicted with what it was conditioned to think, to believe, to behave, to act and react.

Many people think yoga classes or the yoga asana exercises are here to give people happiness, make them feel good and happy, make them feel positive and develop higher self-esteem or confidence about themselves. But this type of thinking and the intention or motivation that motivate them to do the yoga asana exercises doesn’t really give them true confidence, but only boosting or empowering the egoism, which is the complete opposite direction of what yoga really is about. As it is the ego that wants to feel good and happy. It is the ego that needs to feel positive and have confidence. By making the ego happy and feel good about itself when the body is able to perform certain asana that it couldn’t do before will only give momentary good feelings to the mind, or will tune up the egoistic ‘confidence’ for a few moments, but it is not the true confidence that comes from realizing the truth and being free from ignorance.

If people are not looking forward for liberation, but they only interested in chasing after momentary satisfaction and happy feelings from getting what they want, and not getting what they don’t want, then be happy. There’s nothing wrong with that. Life already has lots of complications that sometimes our mind finds them too much to handle, why not just try to be happy by doing what we like to do, and getting what we want to get, to make us feel happy, even though these happy feelings don’t last long. Some people attain good and happy feelings by being good and do good. That is very good. But there are also people in the world who will do things that will hurt other people in order to get some sort of satisfaction and happy feelings.

There is nothing wrong with ‘want to be happy’. But while we chase after some momentary happy feelings from getting what we want, and not getting what we don’t want, we might generate some actions and reactions that will cause disharmony and harmful effects in oneself and in others.

In yoga practice, we are also striving for happiness, but it’s more likely about realizing our true nature being peaceful as it is, the unchanging, unconditioned and unlimited eternal peace and happiness that is being free from restlessness, unhappiness and suffering that derived from ignorance, egoism and attachment.

This unconditional peace and happiness is not coming from getting what our egoistic mind likes and agrees with, or not getting what our egoistic mind doesn’t like and disagrees with.

In the end, it is up to us, what we want for ourselves in this life existence.

There’s no judgment of right or wrong, appropriateness or inappropriateness in whether we are only interested in conditional momentary happiness, or we are interested in unconditional eternal happiness.

Om shanti.

Anything and anyone can teach us yoga, it doesn’t necessarily have to be a person called a ‘yoga teacher’…

Yoga can be found in everywhere. It is not limited in yoga classes doing some yoga practice. It is in this present moment, if the mind is free from being conditioned by restlessness, impurities and suffering that derived from ignorance, egoism and attachment.

Everything and everyone is a Dharma teacher, exists to teach us and guide us towards liberation. Anything and anyone also can make us see, or realize the ignorance in ourselves, and allow us to contemplate upon the truth.

It doesn’t necessarily have to be a human being, or a person who called a ‘yoga teacher’, who is teaching ‘yoga’ in ‘yoga classes’ that can or will teach and guide us towards liberation.

Peace and compassion is not in the yoga practice, but it is our true nature. It’s always there, never increase nor decrease, no matter we realize our true nature or not. It is not contaminated by the good and bad qualities that one possessed through the body and mind. It is not contaminated by the actions and inactions done by this body and mind.

Yoga practice being practiced with correct attitude will help us to realize the truth, but by doing some yoga practice in yoga classes doesn’t guarantee us peace and compassion. It might bring some visible physical and mental benefits to our body and mind. The body will be healthier, and the mind will feel calmer and happier. But these by-products are just part of the effects of the yoga practice that is conditioned by impermanence, as they arise in the body and mind that is subject to impermanence.

The attainment of good condition of the physical body and calmness of the mind through the yoga practice, is not the end of our yoga practice. Although there’s nothing wrong with seeing this as the goal of our yoga practice.

It is going beyond the identification with the good and bad condition of the physical body, and all states of the mind, and realization of the truth via meditation with the calm and pure mind, and the elimination of ignorance and egoism that allows us to realize our true nature, the unconditional peace and compassion.

It is being free from attachment towards the limited thinking and beliefs in the egoistic mind that are conditioned by the likes and dislikes, agreements and disagreements, craving and aversion from the ego, and be free from being conditioned or determined by the impermanent condition and abilities of the physical body, that allows us to be free from being conditioned by dualities, qualities of names and forms, separateness and discrimination, dissatisfaction and disappointment, fear and worry, pride and arrogance, frustration and irritation, anger and hatred, and all sorts of anxieties, doubts, painful sorrows, restlessness and suffering.

Yoga practice has some elements of Hinduism, but it is not a religion practice. It is not some religious ideas and commandments that we have to abide to, or else we will be judged as ‘bad’ yogis or ‘bad’ beings, and will be punished, or will be condemned to ‘hell’.

Yoga teachers are not here to convert anyone to believe in any religious beliefs, nor force anyone to be practicing yoga in certain ways that we think they should be practicing, nor trying to control or change other beings to behave the way that we think they should behave.

It is not that if we do not practice yoga correctly, or by stop practicing yoga will make us a ‘bad’ yogi, and we will be punished accordingly for not being a ‘good’ yogi.

It is up to us, whether to take up the practice seriously, or not. It is up to us, whether to let go of egoism and attachment, or not. It is up to us, whether to realize the truth to be free, or not.

There is no judgment, or comparison, or expectation, through out the journey, whether we are good ‘yogis’ or not.

No one can force, or control, or change another being to be practicing yoga accordingly to what it ‘supposed’ to be, or to make another one to be free from ignorance and egoism.

It is up to us, whether we want to be free from ignorance and egoism, or not.

It is our own free will and effort to practice, to purify our mind, to let go of attachment, to remove ignorance and egoism, to be free.

No one can remove or take away ignorance and egoism from anybody, but oneself.

No one can give liberation to anybody, but oneself.

If we are free from ignorance and egoism, we will be peaceful, and be free from suffering. We won’t generate action and reaction that will hurt ourselves and others intentionally, if we are peaceful, being free from impurities and suffering.

If we are not free from ignorance and egoism, we will be affected and disturbed, influenced and determined by whatever the mind perceives through the senses, we are not at peace. Without self-control, we might generate action and reaction that will hurt ourselves and others, being over-powered by anger, hatred, jealousy, greed, fear and worry.

That’s all.

This is real compassion. There’s no judgment, comparison, expectation, discrimination, criticism, condemn, or punishment. We are able to allow everything and everyone to be what it is, and accept everything and everyone as it is, even though we cannot agree with them, or it is not how we like it to be.

If we think we are better human beings than those whom we think and judge as ‘bad’ and ‘evil’, or we think we are good and compassionate beings who care for the world very much, we are angry with those who are ‘bad’ and ‘evil’ for their ‘bad’ and ‘evil’ behaviors that inflict suffering onto other beings, we criticize them, and condemn them to be punished accordingly so that they will suffer physically and mentally as what we think they deserve, then we are not any different from them, nor are we ‘good’ and ‘compassionate’ beings.

If we think, somehow we have better understanding of everything than some other people, and we live life ‘correctly’ and ‘healthily’, we are being proud of ourselves for what we think we know and what we do and don’t do, and we criticize others who are being different from us, we think they don’t live life ‘correctly’ or ‘healthily’, and we try to change them to be like us, then we are not any different from those whom we think they are being ‘ignorant’ for not living life ‘correctly’ or ‘healthily’.

We are the same, being influenced and over-powered by ignorance and egoism, even though we try to be good, do good and not doing anything bad, if we ever have any ill wills, or ‘sense of superiority’ towards any beings who is different from us, whom we disagree with, whom we think and judge as ‘ignorant’, ‘bad’ and ‘evil’.

If we are not free from ignorance and egoism, that is already a great suffering in us. There is no need of any additional ‘punishment’ to be inflicted onto us physically or mentally to punish us, if we are not ‘perfect’, or not being a ‘good’ yogi, or ‘good’ human being.

The ultimate meaning of yoga is liberation, or freedom from separateness, dualities, qualities of names and forms, conditions and limitations. If yoga and its practice will be conditioned and limited by worldly thinking and beliefs, be limited by specific rules and regulations, then it is not yoga anymore.

Even though in yoga, we have this teaching about the four basic requisites for us to be qualified as a Sadhaka, which are:

1.) Viveka (discrimination of the real and unreal),
2.) Vairagya (dispassion),
3.) Mumukshutva (intense yearning for liberation), and
4.) Shat-sampad (the six virtues)
a.) Sama – tranquility of the mind
b.) Dama – self-restraint or control of the senses
c.) Uparati – cessation from worldly activities
d,) Titiksha – forbearance or the power of endurance
e.) Sraddha – faith in God, Scripture and Self
f.) Samadhana – concentration or one-pointedness of mind,

but all these requisites have nothing to do with the physical conditions and abilities to perform the yoga asana exercises, or how much Sanskrit we know, or how many yoga courses we have attended, or how many ‘recognized certifications’ we have attained, or whether we can stand on our head, and balance on our hands and feet perfectly, or whether we are Hindus, or not.

If we ever hear this, “To be a good ‘yogi’ or ‘yoga teacher’, one needs to participate in some sort of yoga courses for how many hours, able to be strong and flexible enough to do some yoga asana with the perfect ‘correct’ alignment, able to do headstand or hand and leg balancing pose perfectly, able to chant a few chantings and prayers with perfect pronunciation, and attain some sort of qualifications and certifications that are recognized by such and such international yoga alliance, and we need to have certain ‘professional’ yogi image, behavior and appearance, and so on…” then take it as a good opportunity for us to reflect, and to find out what is the truth.

When we hear this, “You look like a yogi.” or “You don’t look like a yogi.” or “As a yogi, you should look like a yogi.” We allow other people to think and to believe in their own way, to act and react towards what they perceive, but we know that yoga is beyond all the qualities of names and forms.

There might be some people react strongly when they read this. Again, take it as an opportunity to reflect and find out who is reacting, and why?

Om shanti.

Yoga Teachers who teach yoga? Or, Yoga Instructors or Fitness Instructors who teach different types of yoga asana exercise classes?

There are lots of ‘yoga classes’, or more precisely, ‘yoga asana exercise classes’ everywhere nowadays.

It’s very good, as yoga asana exercises are really good for everyone physically, mentally and emotionally.

Although not many yoga classes are being taught in accordance with the traditional lineage of what yoga practice really is about, which is to attain Self-realization, it really doesn’t matter.

Even if majority people are practicing yoga asana exercises regularly to gain some benefits physically, mentally and emotionally (being disinterested in the spiritual part of the yoga practice), it is still a very good pastime wholesome activity for anyone to be participating in. As during those hours of yoga asana exercises, at least we are not participating in any unwholesome activities.

There is no need to compare between yoga teachers who teach yoga to other people, or yoga instructors or fitness instructors who teach yoga asana exercises to other people, as these are two complete different things.

Real yoga teachers don’t really need to be teaching yoga asana exercises to other people, in order to teach yoga to anybody. As peace and compassion is nothing to do with how many yoga asana exercises that we can do, or how good we can perform the yoga asana exercises, or whether we know about anatomy and physiology or not.

Yoga practice is about non-attachment and detachment (letting go of attachment if there is attachment). It is about letting go of the ego, craving and aversion. It is about non-identification with the things that we are not, such like the body and mind. It is about unaffected, undisturbed, uninfluenced, undetermined by whatever the mind perceives through the senses. It is about being aware of reality as it is, and accept the reality in the present moment now as it is. And allow impermanent changes to happen as it is, and accept all the changes as they are from moment to moment, without craving for something that we like which is not here, without clinging onto something that we like in the present moment, without aversion towards something that we don’t like in this present moment. All these are nothing to do with the physical condition and abilities to perform the yoga asana exercises, even though yoga asana exercises can help us to purify and calm the mind, to prepare the mind for meditation.

There is no need to criticize yoga asana exercise teachers, or fitness instructors for not able, or not interested to teach the spiritual side of yoga, as even just by guiding people to be doing some yoga asana exercises everyday to many people who are only interested in gaining a better quality of life through doing some yoga asana exercises, is already a great thing to do. The teachers or the instructors themselves are benefited greatly from giving the yoga asana exercise classes, as themselves need to be doing their own yoga asana practice quite regularly, so that they are able to up keep their skills and abilities in performing the yoga asana exercises, in order to lead other people to be doing the similar yoga asana exercises.

Eventually, as we practice yoga asana exercises regularly, naturally the body and mind is being purified to a certain degree that will allow certain shifts in our consciousness unintentionally, even though in the beginning, we have no interests at all about spirituality, purification and self-transformation. That will bring us to start to be interested to know more about the deeper meaning of yoga and its practice.

Real yoga teachers don’t need to call or identify themselves as ‘yoga teachers’. They don’t need to be qualified, or certified, or recognized by such and such ‘international yoga alliance’. They don’t need to go through any yoga teachers training courses to study yoga philosophy, to learn to do some yoga asana exercises, to learn about anatomy and physiology, to learn some chantings and prayers, to learn how to do some karma yoga, and to pass any theory and practical examinations, to attain one or many ‘certification’ to be graduated as ‘yoga teacher’. They don’t even need to be performing any so called ‘yoga practice’, as they are already free from ignorance, egoism and attachment. They are free from impurities, restlessness, or suffering. They are free from craving and aversion. They realized their true nature which is unconditional love and peace, all wise and compassionate. They are at peace as what they really are.

These nameless and formless beings are sharing this unconditional love and peace with other beings who come in contact with them that need some ignition or guidance to realize their own true nature, to be free from ignorance and egoism, without intention, without attachment, unconditioned and unlimited by time, space and causation. Their natural action of sharing the knowledge of yoga is beyond names and forms. This compassionate action of sharing the knowledge of yoga with other beings without intention nor attachment, is not different from being actionless, actions that are not bound by cause and effect, that won’t generate good or bad karma, and is free from birth and death.

Any beings, any things, any happenings that are good or not good, agreeable or disagreeable to us are our yoga teachers, when it allows us to see the ignorance and egoism in us, to allow us to reflect upon the truth.

So, whether Yoga Teachers who teach yoga, or, Yoga Instructors or Fitness Instructors who teach yoga asana exercises, are all good.

If we ever feel disappointed in those who we think they are ‘yoga teachers’ but they are not as perfect as what we think they should be, know that that disappointment is coming from our own expectation, expecting ‘yoga teachers’ should be perfect like ‘God’, as there are not many ‘yoga teachers’ are perfect and are free. There are many people are just ‘yoga instructors’ or ‘fitness instructors’ who teach yoga asana exercises only.

Most important, there is nothing wrong for being imperfect, or is not free yet. Everyone is being there for each other, helping and supporting each other to move towards Self-realization, that’s all.

Only those who haven’t realized the truth yet, will be seeing all the different qualities of names and forms in others, and seeing the defects or imperfections in beings who are not free yet, and generate agreements and disagreements, and have frustration, disappointment, or dissatisfaction in themselves, constantly being affected and disturbed by other people’s actions and inactions, or generate aversion and discrimination towards others whom they disagree with.

Those who know the truth, only see the one true nature in all beings which is unconditioned, unlimited, undetermined and uncontaminated by the different qualities of names and forms possessed by each individual, nor be affected by their actions and inactions. And this allows them (who know the truth and are free) to be completely compassionate towards all beings without discrimination of good and bad beings.

Om shanti.

Are we really practicing yoga?

We are not really practicing yoga, if we are being conditioned by what our mind believes what things are.

Anything that we believe and think is ‘not good’ or ‘not perfect’ is conditioned by subjective ‘standards’ coming from our own perception and recognition about what things are, but it is not coming from the objects themselves.

In different cultural beliefs, being “fat” can be ‘not good’ for some people, but can be ‘very good’ for some other people. What we think is ‘not perfect’ can be ‘perfectly as it is’ for some other people.

Things that might seem like “big problems” for us, might be “no problems at all” for some other people.

It is up to us, how we want to conditioned our mind, or free our mind from conditions.

We either limit ourselves by generate a lot of “standards” and “qualities” for ourselves to live up to, or limit ourselves by allowing other people’s “standards” and “qualities” to determine us.

We also apply our own type of “qualities” and “standards” onto everyone and everything, expecting everyone and everything should also comply to these “qualities” and “standards”, and be judged by these “qualities” and “standards”. We categorize everyone and everything into categories according to our own “standards” of what is ‘good’ and ‘not good’.

The point is, we are free, until the moment we start to apply ‘beliefs’, ‘ideas’, ‘standards’, and ‘qualities’ onto ourselves and towards other people and everything. Expect ourselves, other people and things have to be like this or like that. Making ourselves not free, and disturbing other people as well.

Just by doing some yoga asana exercises and poses, or pranayama, or studying, discussing, talking, reading and hearing the philosophy of yoga, or chanting and praying in Sanskrit everyday, but without practicing the true meanings of non-dualism in everyday life, constantly being disturbed, affected and determined by the good and bad qualities of names and forms, and generate craving and aversion towards what we like and dislike, agree and disagree with, being influenced by discrimination, anger, hatred, dissatisfaction, disappointment, fear and worry, not knowing the practice of non-attachment and non-identification, then it is like performing lots of actions improving the function of the mind, the body, the hands, the feet, and the sense organs, having a good condition ‘vehicle’ with full tank of fuel, but we forgot to learn how to ‘drive’ this good condition ‘vehicle’ towards Freedom or Moksha.

Om shanti.

Intimidated by other people’s physical conditions and abilities in yoga (asana) practice?

If we have been putting in the same amount of time, discipline and effort into our daily yoga (asana) practice, just like those who have been spending lots of time, discipline and effort to keep the body and mind busy engaging in regular yoga (asana) practice, whether for spiritual growth, or for health and fitness reason, or for both;
we won’t have the free space in the mind, nor have the free time to be busy looking at other people’s ‘performance’ or result of a persistent and regular practice, and feel either envy, or intimidated by other people’s physical conditions and abilities, and spiritual improvement.

Although yoga, or unconditional love and peace is nothing to do with the levels of physical conditions and abilities, but naturally, there will be certain amount of improvement in physical conditions and abilities, as an ‘unavoidable’ side effect coming from regular yoga (asana) practice, whether we are aiming at it or not, or whether we like it or not.

We do not intent nor expect to gain any physical fitness, strength and flexibility while performing the yoga (asana) practice, as that is not the objective or goal of performing yoga (asana) practice, and our basic yoga practice is non-identification with the impermanent conditional physical body and the thinking mind. But the physical and mental effect coming from the regular yoga (asana) practice is still there.

The body will gain certain degrees of fitness, strength and flexibility, and the mind will gain certain degrees of calmness and peace. But that is not the end of our yoga practice. We need to use that physical condition and state of mind that is conducive for meditation, to contemplate upon the truth, to go beyond the body and mind, to remove ignorance, to be free from being conditioned by egoism, duality, qualities of names and forms.

We will never feel intimidated by anyone or anything, if we truly practice yoga and meditation.

Om shanti.

Yoga practice in every moment…

In the intensive yoga retreat, we have an advanced practice workshop.

It is not so much about performing some complicated or difficult yoga asana poses that require certain degrees of physical strength and flexibility. As peace and compassion is nothing to do with the physical condition and abilities to perform the yoga asana poses.

It is during the process of learning and performing the yoga asana poses, we learn to let go of attachment and identification with the body and mind, letting go of the ego, judgment, comparison, expectation, craving and aversion.

We learn to accept the present condition and abilities of the physical body as it is, without craving for the condition that we like, nor aversion towards the condition that we don’t like.

We learn to be aware of the reality as it is, and accepting the reality as it is, not necessary it’s something that we prefer, or how we like it to be. Remain at peace, undisturbed, unaffected, uninfluenced, undetermined by the reality of the present moment now, no matter it is pleasant or unpleasant, comfortable or uncomfortable.

We learn to be truthful towards ourselves and others.

We learn to let go of the ego, by letting go of the feeling of intimidation when we ‘see’ other people perform some yoga asana poses that require certain degrees of strength and flexibility. Or when we ‘see’ other people who are more strong and flexible than us physically and mentally, perform some yoga asana poses that our own body is not ready to perform yet, due to physical limitation and mental blockage. We learn to be open minded for what our body can do and cannot do while performing the yoga asana poses that whether we have been practicing, or they are something new to us. We let go of pride and arrogance when ‘finally’ after some repeated practice, we can perform certain yoga asana poses that we couldn’t perform before, or which we thought it’s impossible for our body to be performing.

Being aware of the truth of all the names and forms, about everything is just being what it is. They are not something ‘good’ or ‘bad’, ‘positive’ or ‘negative’, ‘happiness’ or ‘suffering’. There’s no craving or clinging onto something that the mind believes as ‘good’, ‘positive’ and ‘happiness’. There’s no aversion towards something that the mind believes as ‘bad’, ‘negative’ and ‘suffering’.

Our true nature is not determined nor conditioned by the qualities of names and forms that the body and mind is experiencing from moment to moment.

It doesn’t matter what is the condition and abilities of the physical body, or the states of the mind, it won’t determine nor contaminate our true nature to become something ‘good’ or ‘bad’. As our true nature is without qualities, nameless and formless. The good and bad behaviors, actions and reactions, beliefs and thinking, all sorts of impurities, ignorance, emotions and feelings, can’t affect, nor disturb, nor influence, nor determine, nor contaminate our true nature, which is unlimited and unconditional, beyond time, space and causation. And thus, we will respect all beings as they are, when we see the true nature in all which is the same in everyone and everything, disregard the impermanent different qualities, names and forms, personalities, characteristics, thinking, beliefs, behaviors, actions and reactions, and appearances that are possessed by each individual being.

The practice of yoga and meditation is every moment in our life, in our heart, whether we are performing some so called spiritual practice or not. Every moment of observation, mindfulness, non-attachment, detachment, letting go, being in the present, and self-control over the thoughts, action and speech, is the purification process to eliminate ignorance, impurities and egoism.

It is the practice of non-attachment and non-identification towards the body and mind in every moment, whether we are awake or asleep.

Not attached to this life existence and all the experiences through the function of the body and mind, through the eyes, ears, nose, tongue, skin and thinking process, whether these experiences are good or bad, positive or negative, pleasant or unpleasant, whether in pleasure or in pain.

Not attached to the impermanent condition and abilities of the physical body, whether good or bad.

Not attached to the impermanent states of the mind, whether positive or negative, peaceful or restless.

Not attached to the sensations, feelings, emotions, thinking, speculations, anticipations, imaginations, memories and dreams, whether they are pleasant or unpleasant.

I am what I am. Our true nature is not determined nor influenced by the impermanent changes and functions of the body and mind.

The body is not me, I am not the body. The mind is not me, I am not the mind. The intellect and the ego is not me, I am not the intellect nor the ego. The sensations, the feelings, the emotions and the thinking are not me, I am not the sensations, the feelings, the emotions and the thinking.

Being aware of what is happening in the mind, but without association with the reactions of the mind towards whatever it perceives through the senses.

Go beyond the thinking and beliefs in the mind, the likes and dislikes, agreements and disagreements from the ego, there is no anger, hatred, jealousy, greed, dissatisfaction, disappointment, hurts, pride, arrogance, frustration, irritation, agitation, depression, craving, aversion, fear and worry. After eliminating ignorance, impurities, egoism, dualities and separateness, there is only unconditional peace and love.

It is completely being free from fear and worry.

This is real freedom. Free from being conditioned by the impermanent changes of the qualities of names and forms. Free from being conditioned by the body and mind that is subject to impermanence. Free from being conditioned by the limited and conditioned thinking, beliefs, likes and dislikes, agreements and disagreements in the mind. Free from being conditioned by all sorts of impurities, ignorance and egoism.

The freedom of being free from impurities, ignorance, egoism, attachment, craving and aversion, and the realization of unconditional peace and love, is nothing to do with whether we can do all the yoga asana poses skillfully and perfectly or not, whether we know all the names and the benefits of the yoga asana poses or not, whether we know about the anatomy and physiology of the physical body or not, whether we know all the chantings and prayers or not, whether we are vegetarian or not, whether our body is strong and flexible or not, whether our physical health is good or not, whether our relationships with anyone is good or not, whether we know about lots of things or not, whether we are ‘qualified’ and ‘certified’ yoga teachers or not, whether we are affiliated and recognized by so called ‘yoga alliance’ or not, whether we have an enlightened Guru or not, whether we learn yoga from famous yoga school and yoga teachers or not, or whether we are so called ‘yogis’ who practice yoga or not, and etc…

We are able to accept ourselves as we are, and accept other beings as they are. We are able to love ourselves as we are, and love other beings as they are, without attachment, selfish intention, selfish desire, discrimination, judgment, or expectation.

We allow ourselves to be different from others, and allow others to be different from us. Without trying to become like somebody else whom we are not. Without trying to change or control other beings to be the way that we think they should be. We respect everyone as they are.

Being aware of the only existence is the present moment now, we are able to live in the present moment now, letting go of the past and the future. Being undisturbed, unaffected, undetermined or uninfluenced by the past pleasant and unpleasant experiences, and future imaginations and anticipations.

We are always at peace, living in the world, but not being disturbed, nor determined, nor influenced by the world.

We perform all our actions, practice, duties and responsibilities whether towards ourselves or towards other beings, out of compassion. Without attachment towards the actions, and the fruit of the actions.

We are able to appreciate this life existence, and make good use of the body and mind, our knowledge and talents, our hands and feet, to perform actions for the well-being of ourselves and others, without discrimination, without attachment.

Practice yoga, purify the mind, meditate upon the truth, and realize namelessness, formlessness, attributelessness, non-duality, non-separateness, oneness, selflessness, fearlessness, wisdom and compassion, and be free.

Om shanti.

Give yourself 15 minutes, to get you going in daily yoga asana practice…

Before the start of yoga asana practice, it’s normal that our mind feels reluctant to move the physical body. We will give ourselves ‘reasonable’ excuses to escape a two hours of daily yoga asana practice.

The point is, even before we bring the body to perform daily yoga asana practice, to overcome that ‘laziness’ or ‘struggle’ is our real yoga practice.

To develop strong self-discipline in anything that we want to pursue is indeed our yoga practice. It’s not so much about how good we are in what we are doing. But to keep up the discipline is where the practice is.

It is only the first 15 minutes of physical movements that we feel ‘struggle’. After 15 minutes or so, it will turn into ‘enjoyable’ and ‘energizing’ that you don’t want to be disturbed until you finish your daily two hours routine.

That’s why I encourage anyone to do some yoga asana practice even just for 15 minutes (It’s a trick, but it works). Because that is what you need to get your body going. You will no longer need someone to ‘push’ you to ‘finish’ your daily 2 hours routine. As the energy fields in your body will tell you, “Yes! Keep going… 15 minutes is not enough.”

Om shanti.

Adjust ourselves to adapt and accommodate the yoga (asana) classes, is part of our yoga practice…

Yoga classes are different from fitness exercise classes, where the fitness exercise class format and intensity is purposely designed and adjusted to suit each individual different fitness level and liking. Especially when it is about running a commercial business to provide physical health and fitness exercise classes or services to the clients, then the classes have to be designed into multi levels, different varieties and choices to suit all and everyone, try to ‘make sure’ everyone is happy and satisfied with the classes and services that the fitness centres provide and sell.

Naturally, when we attend yoga (asana) classes, we usually like to attend the type of yoga (asana) class that is catering for the fitness level that we think we have, and is designed to suit our liking (what types of asana practice and intensity that we prefer, of what we like and want to do).

Very often in the commercial types of yoga (asana) classes, when we don’t like the type of yoga asana exercises and intensity that the teacher teaches in the class, we will go to the teacher and tell the teacher what we want for that yoga class, and expect or demand the teacher to give us some other types of exercises and intensity that we prefer, depending on our mood and what we like and want to do for that class.

In fitness classes, it’s about what ‘the clients’ want and like, and give them what they want and like. ‘I’ pay to get what ‘I’ want and like, and so, give me what ‘I’ want and don’t give me what ‘I’ don’t want.

But yoga classes is different from fitness classes. Yoga classes are here for us to learn about life, and to accept life as it is, while we do our best to adjust and accommodate every situation and condition that is not necessarily the way that we think it should be, or how we like it to be.

It is for us to practice letting go of the ego, likes and dislikes, agreements and disagreements. It is for us to let go of craving and clinging onto something that our ego likes and agrees with, and let go of aversion towards something that our ego doesn’t like and disagrees with.

It is not about what type of yoga asana exercises and intensity that we do in the yoga class that matters. It is the practice of non-attachment and letting go while performing the yoga asana exercises that our ego likes or dislikes, agrees and disagrees with.

It doesn’t matter what is the format and intensity of the yoga class that is being taught by the yoga teacher, we do our best in that class. Do what we can do, and not forcing ourselves to do what we cannot do in that present moment, according to the condition and abilities of the physical body in that time being. Accepting the present condition and abilities of the physical body as it is. Allow impermanent changes to happen from moment to moment and accept all the changes as they are.

Sometimes we find the same type of asana practice is harder for us, and sometimes it’s easier for us. It’s not because of the exercises or the intensity of the yoga (asana) class is different from what it was that makes us feel harder or easier, but it is because of our own impermanent physical conditions and abilities, as well as the state of our mind that is constantly changing.

We adjust ourselves into any types of yoga classes and different intensity. We accept and accommodate the yoga class as it is, without judgment about the yoga class as easy or difficult, nor judging our performance, our physical conditions and abilities as good or bad. Without expectation towards the yoga class that it should be something that we like it to be, or expect the yoga practice or yoga exercises to be adjusted to accommodate what we like and want. Without expecting our performance to be the way that we think it should be. If we have certain physical limitations, or illness, or injuries during that time being, we adapt ourselves into the practice by making some adjustment, without expecting the class to be adjusted and to accommodate our physical limitations.

Life doesn’t adjust itself to suit our preferences, and it doesn’t accommodate our liking to be something that we like it to be. But, instead we have to learn to adjust ourselves to adapt any life situations, and be able to accommodate any life conditions as it is.

We cannot expect life or the world to be the way that we like and want it to be. We will be very disappointed by our own expectation, as the entire worldly life existence doesn’t belong us, nor in our control of how we want it to be.

We allow life and the world to be what it is, while do our best in adjusting ourselves to adapt and accommodate life as it is, not necessarily the way that we like it to be.

Om shanti.

Strength and Flexibility?

The greatest strength and flexibility is realizing the truth of our true nature, which is wisdom and the unconditional love or compassion, which also manifested, or can be found or seen in patience, tolerance, perseverance, determination, forbearance, forgiveness, adaptation, accommodation, adjustment, acceptance, non-violence, non-hatred, non-discrimination, non-judgment, non-expectation, non-attachment, non-possessiveness, non-dualism, non-separateness, namelessness and formlessness, egolessness or selflessness, beyond the identification as ‘I’ and all the mind perceptions with all the different qualities of names and forms.

This can be illustrated as being free from egoism or ignorance, or being free from craving and aversion, or being free from all the impurities and restlessness, or being free from desires of want and don’t want, or being free from fear and worry, or being free from anger and hatred, or being free from being conditioned by the mind and the perception of names and forms through the senses of seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, touching and thinking.

Realize this real strength and flexibility, there is even no need to forbear nor to endure anything that the mind thinks or believes as ‘bad’, ‘negative’, or ‘suffering’. There’s no longing nor clinging onto what the mind thinks or believes as ‘good’, ‘positive’, or ‘happiness’. As in truth, all the perceptions of good and bad, positive and negative, happiness and suffering, they don’t really exist at all. It is all manifested in the mind itself and will dissolve in the mind itself once the mind realizes its true nature, which is nameless and formless, attributeless, beginningless and endless, birthless and deathless.

The optimum physical strength and flexibility that we can attain through this physical body cannot be compared to this real strength and flexibility that allow us to be existing and living in this world of names and forms, but being able to ‘forbear’ and ‘withstand’ any ‘difficult’ and ‘discomfortable’ conditions and situations, and being unaffected, undisturbed, uninfluenced, undetermined by all these names and forms, but able to fully utilize this life existence, or the body and mind, to be performing some beneficial actions for all beings, but knowing that everything is impermanent, there is no attachment at all towards all the actions being performed and the fruit of the action.

There’s no disappointment nor depression about “Why bother and waste energy in performing actions, as everything is impermanent, everything will come to an end?”

In Buddhism, the monks spend lots of time, doing ‘something’ occupying the mind with ‘something’, so that the mind doesn’t have spare ‘space’ or ‘room’ for any ‘evil’ thinking, or speculation, or imagination, or projection. As the mind is being restrained to be in the present moment on the physical actions being performed.

Same as when we perform yoga asana practice, it is not so much about gaining some physical or mental benefits from spending some time and energy doing the practice, but mostly it’s to engage the body and mind in some wholesome activities, as there are energy in the body and mind that needs to be directed to ‘somewhere’. At the same time, refraining the body and mind from some unwholesome activities while engaging in the yoga asana practice. And that itself is a great purification process for the mind, as well as it is benefiting the whole world of life existence, as this body and this mind is not generating any harmful thoughts or actions into the world during that time being.

There is a very efficient practice in Buddhism about realizing and accepting impermanence, and practicing non-attachment and letting go. Everyone will spend lots of time and energy, sincerely and attentively to make ‘complicated’ and ‘beautiful’ mandala using coloured sand or different colours beans on the ground, and as soon as it is finished, they will mess it up with their own hand, to realize what is perform all our actions for the benefits of all beings, but without attachment towards the action or the fruit of the action.

If we don’t know the truth, we will feel very meaningless and wasting energy or effort to perform actions but then in the end it is nothingness or emptiness. But when we know the truth, there is no gain when we perform any action, nor there is any loss when the fruit of our actions experience impermanence and disappear. There is no wasting energy or effort at all. It is beyond creation and emptiness. There is nothing being created. There’s no actions being performed. Names and forms are not different from emptiness. Emptiness is not separated from names and forms.

Perform Karma yoga, or selfless service is what we can do for ourselves and others with this body and this mind, to make good use of them. Karma yoga is not just about performing beneficial actions for others, but it is not separated from performing beneficial actions for ourselves. There’s no difference whether the actions being performed is for ourselves or for others, there’s no priority nor less priority, superiority nor inferiority, as whether it is for ourselves or for others, it is the same and is benefiting everyone. There’s no intention to be good, or to do good, or to be benefiting anyone, or to be receiving anything good in return. Just perform action and let go. And that is selflessness or compassion.

It doesn’t matter everything will come to an end, we do our best and let go. As this body and this mind has some ‘spare time’ and ‘energy’ that doesn’t belong to them, to be spent without gaining or losing anything. Why not use it for something constructive and beneficial for all beings?

Om shanti.

Advancing or improving in yoga and meditation practice?

How do we know if we are advancing or improving in our yoga and meditation practice?

When somebody come to a yoga class, we all want to know the different levels of yoga classes and what level are we being categorized into.

Nowadays in most of the yoga clubs, yoga centres or yoga studios, yoga (asana) classes are being separated into beginner level, intermediate level and advance level. And usually the different levels of these yoga classes are being categorized, or determined, or judged by the degrees of difficulty or complexity of the yoga asana poses that requires certain degrees of skills, physical fitness level, stamina, strength and flexibility.

The yoga students are being categorized into beginner level, intermediate level or advance level by themselves or by the yoga teachers based on their physical condition and abilities to perform the yoga asana exercises. The people who are physically fit and are able to perform the complicated yoga asana poses are being put into advance level yoga class, and call themselves advance yoga practitioner. And those who has a weak and inflexible physical body, and are only able to perform some simple and easy yoga asana poses, they are being put into beginner level yoga class, and call themselves beginner yoga practitioner. But this is not what yoga practice really is about.

A person who has a very fit, strong and flexible physical body, who only goes to ‘advance level yoga classes’ can still be a very ‘beginner’ yoga practitioner even after many years of ‘advance yoga practice’.

A person who doesn’t has a fit, strong or flexible physical body, who can only goes to ‘beginner level yoga classes’ can be a very ‘advance’ yoga practitioner even he or she hasn’t done many, or never done any ‘yoga practice’ before.

It is about the state of mind. It’s about how pure is the mind and how well the mind is tamed. Even if the physical body can be trained to perform many ‘difficult’ asana poses, but it doesn’t determine whether the mind is well-controlled as well.

In the end, beyond names and forms, there’s no level at all.

x x x x x x x x x x x x x x

If the mind is becoming more peaceful, cheerful, clear and open-minded, whether being in comfortable or discomfortable condition and situation. The mind starts to be able to be balanced in both pleasure and pain;

If calmness of the mind is able to sustain for longer period of time, being less disturbed, or less affected, or less determined, or less influenced by the qualities of names and forms, likes and dislikes, agreements and disagreements;

If the ego (the idea of ‘I’ and ‘mine’, pride and arrogance) is getting smaller or weaker;

If selfish desires, or wants and don’t wants are getting less;

If attachment is becoming less, while non-attachment is getting stronger;

If impurities like anger, hatred, jealousy, fear, worry, disappointment, dissatisfaction, frustration, irritation, agitation, aggressiveness, pride, arrogance, craving and aversion are becoming less, and are losing their strength to influence our action and reaction, and eventually all these impurities are disappearing from the mind;

If argument, criticism, complaint, defensiveness, offensiveness and self-justification are becoming less and disappearing;

If greed, possessiveness, ill will, petty-mindedness, hypocrisy, evil thinking, actions and speech are becoming less and disappearing;

If patience, perseverance, determination, forbearance, forgiveness, humility, contentment, acceptance, adaptation, adjustment, accommodation and tolerance are getting stronger;

If we start to becoming more aware of all the activities in the mind, without identification or association, without judgment or expectation;

If we start to be able to accept the reality of everything as it is, even if the reality is not something that we like it to be, and stop trying to control or change the reality that we don’t like into something that we prefer;

If the mind starts to turn inward and performs self-introspection towards the mind activities, and less going outward chasing after worldly objects of names and forms, material and sensual enjoyment;

If we start to see our own defilements and being aware of the ego, and know how to take full responsibility for our own physical and mental well-being, happiness and unhappiness;

If we are able to respect everyone as they are, without discrimination or trying to change other beings to be the way that we like them to be, or what we think they should be;

We are able to have certain types of beliefs, disciplines or principles of life, but we keep it to ourselves, and allow other beings to have different types of beliefs, disciplines or principles of life from us;

We are able to let go of emotional turbulence a little faster and easier than before;

We can go to sleep without being worried or mentally disturbed by what we had experienced in the day;

We have less projections into the future, less imagining or anticipating about what is going to happen next;

We start to be able to forbear or withstand insults, criticism or condemn without generate anger and hatred;

The mind can be in the present easier and longer than before; And etc;

Then we are advancing or improving in yoga and meditation practice. It doesn’t matter if it is a huge improvement, or just a small little improvement.

x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x

Even though our physical body fitness level and health condition are improving due to the regular yoga asana or pranayama practice; and the body is developing physical stamina, strength and flexibility, and is capable of performing many of the yoga asana poses that it couldn’t perform before; but due to certain ‘reasons’ that the mind has not been getting any of the above mental and spiritual improvements significantly, then we are not really improving in the yoga and meditation practice.

If so, we need to find out why we haven’t really improve anything at all, and work on it. Without judgment or expectation, nor comparing with other yoga practitioners, just keep practice.

As during and after the yoga practice, the mind might feels good and experiences some sorts of contentment, or pleasant sensations, or relaxation in the physical body, but very soon this contentment, pleasant sensations and good feelings will be disturbed and disappearing, and there are more tension continue to be accumulated in the body and mind coming from our everyday life experiences, or derived from the reactions of the egoistic, impure and untrained mind towards what it likes and dislikes, agrees and disagrees with, of what it sees, hears, smells, tastes, touches and thinks.

The mind is constantly swaying between the states of elevation, calmness and depression, being restless and dissatisfied even though sometimes it experiences momentary contentment and peacefulness coming from performing the yoga and meditation practice.

This is because we haven’t really been practicing yoga in our everyday life experiences.

We didn’t know what is non-identification with the body and mind, but instead we attached strongly to the body and mind, and identified with the body and mind as ‘I’. We didn’t know what is perform all actions without attachment, or what is renounce from the fruit of action, but instead we attached strongly to our actions, and have great expectation towards the fruit of action, and be determined by the fruit of action to motivate or demotivate us to perform action.

We think, “The thinking mind is ‘I’. The physical body is ‘I’. ‘I’ am the one who sees, hears, smells, tastes, touches and thinks. ‘I’ am the one who feels good or bad, happy or sad. ‘I’ am a good person. ‘I’ do good actions and ‘I’ will be receiving something good in return. ‘I’ am a yogi. ‘I’ am a meditator. ‘I’ am the one who is performing all these yoga and meditation practice, and ‘I’ will be getting the benefits from performing the yoga and meditation practice.”

How many people who practice yoga will think and say this, “I practice yoga. I have been practicing yoga for how long. I am a yoga practitioner or a yogi. I am a yoga student or yoga teacher. I love yoga. I can do this yoga asana. I cannot do that yoga asana. I like this yoga asana pose. I don’t like this yoga asana pose. I like to do this. I don’t like to do this. I am not strong or flexible. I want to be strong and flexible. I want to be like him or her. I like this type of teaching and classes, I don’t like this type of teaching and classes. I prefer a more gentle practice. I prefer a more intense practice.” And so on.

We didn’t know what is the ego or how to let go of the ego, but instead we are constantly empowering the ego while performing our yoga practice. We didn’t know what is letting go of craving and aversion, but instead we are generating more craving and aversion in our yoga practice, towards the yoga asana poses that we like or dislike.

We didn’t know what is real and unreal, but instead we are being over-powered by ignorance and selfish desires, constantly chasing after for the unreal or impermanent objects of the senses, such like pleasant sensations and good feelings, and good condition of the physical body, which are the ‘side effects’ of the yoga practice, but not the main objective of performing the yoga practice.

We didn’t know what is non-judgment, but instead we are constantly judging ourselves and other people, and judging the practice all the time while performing the yoga practice, and be determined and troubled by our own judgment about everyone and everything. We judge the yoga class or yoga session as good or bad. We judge the yoga teacher as good or bad. We judge the type of yoga teachings or practice being taught in the class as good or bad. We judge our performance as good or bad. We judge the yoga asana exercises as good or bad.

x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x

Yoga and meditation practice is not limited in a yoga or meditation class, but to be practiced in everyday life existence.

As the entire yoga and meditation practice is a purification process for the mind to eliminate impurities, ignorance and egoism. It is about conquering our own mind, changing the conditioned habits of the mind, realization of the truth, going beyond the qualities of names and forms or duality, be free from craving and aversion, and be free from restlessness or affliction that derived from attachment towards the body and the mind, and the qualities of names and forms. This is not determined by the fitness level, or health condition, or strength and flexibility of the physical body.

Purification of the mind, controlling the mind, eliminating the egoism and ignorance, eliminating craving and aversion, is not a ‘pleasant’ experience for most people. Especially during the purification process. The egoistic mind will rejects, generates great resistance towards its own destruction. And this resistance is manifested in the physical body as discomfortable sensations, or tiredness, or low energy level.

In fact, the purification process is quite discomfortable, or even painful or difficult for some people. Depending on the strength of the ego, and the past accumulated tension, impression or impurities in the body and mind, there will be different layers of physical, mental and emotional discomfort manifesting in the body and mind. We need to have patience and perseverance to forbear or endure all these discomfortable experiences being part of the purification process of eliminating the egoism and ignorance.

The mind will see a lot of ‘ugly’ sides of itself. Sometimes due to pride and arrogance, the mind does not want to admit or confront with all these defilements, and wants to avoid or reject the purification process coming from yoga and meditation practice. It will give itself many excuses or reasons why the body and mind should not continue practicing yoga and meditation, or to take a break from the practice for some time. This is a common obstacle in the journey towards realization of the truth.

If we are able to forbear or endure all the discomfortable manifestations during the purification process without any expectations, it will be followed by unconditional and unlimited joy and peace, and real contentment or satisfaction coming from being free from attachment, egoism, ignorance and impurities.

Om shanti.

Compassion? (Things that our ego doesn’t like to hear…)

Different minds might have different understandings or definitions about what is compassion.

The weaker is our ego, the easier for us to be compassionate. The stronger is our ego, the more difficult for us to be compassionate. That’s why our ego doesn’t like to hear or know anything about “compassion”, as compassion is the disappearance of the ego (selfishness).

By hearing or reading about “compassion”, or talk about compassion doesn’t really make us become compassionate. Merely by performing some good actions does not necessary mean that we are compassionate, if we have attachment, selfish intention, desire and expectation that motivate us to perform good actions. There is identification as the doer of actions. There is attachment towards the fruit of the actions. Good actions that are being performed out of compassion, is free from attachment, selfish intention, desire and expectation. There is no identification as the doer of actions. There is no attachment towards the fruit of the actions.

Compassion is our true nature. It is who we really are, whether we realize it or not.

In the end, we need to realize compassion through our own selves, then only we will know what is compassion and be free. Be free from restlessness, unhappiness, frustration, irritation, anger, hatred, disappointment, dissatisfaction, fear and worry, that derive from not knowing what is compassion (or not knowing who we really are), and which is the reason why we do not know how to be compassionate towards ourselves. If we couldn’t be compassionate towards ourselves, how could we be compassionate towards other beings? If we cannot accept ourselves as we are, and constantly criticize ourselves for being imperfect, then how can we accept other beings as they are, and stop criticize other beings for being imperfect?

In the path of unconditional peace and love, compassion is not just about performing some good actions. It is also about refrain from performing any evil actions. It’s not just about being kind to other living beings, but it is also being kind to ourselves. It’s because just by performing good actions and being kind to other living beings, it doesn’t guarantee us peace and freedom. We might still be influenced by ignorance and not knowing the truth of things, and be disturbed by impurities like anger and hatred, pride and arrogance, dissatisfaction and disappointment, fear and worry that derive from attachment towards the qualities of good and bad, and be over-powered by craving and aversion.

Due to ignorance, we will be disturbed by the qualities of names and forms that we experience in life.

Due to the influence of selfish desires (craving and aversion), we might engage in performing some evil actions that will hurt others and ourselves. And this shows that we do not know how to love ourselves.

Compassion, which relieves us from all kinds of impurities, painful sorrow and miseries, is also about purifying the mind, realizing the truth of things and being able to accept the reality of everything as it is, and able to accept everyone and everything as it is without attachment, judgment, comparison, prejudice, discrimination, expectation, craving or aversion.

It is being free from egoism and impurities that arise from egoism.

It is being free from selfish desires, craving and aversion.

It is being free from ignorance.

It is being free from attachment towards the qualities of names and forms.

It is realizing namelessness and formlessness, or non-duality. It is going beyond the qualities of names and forms, good and bad, positive and negative, happiness and suffering.

It is being free from anger and hatred, dissatisfaction and disappointment, fear and worry that derive from attachment towards the qualities of names and forms (craving and aversion towards objects and qualities that we like and dislike, agree and disagree with), and having the idea of possessiveness (such like the idea of my life, my body, my thinking, my feelings, my family, my friends, my country, my culture, my religion, my job, my wealth, my health, my things, my pride, my name, and etc).

It is unconditional loving kindness towards ourselves and other beings that endowed with correct knowledge, or right understanding, or wisdom.

It is about self-acceptance, know how to love ourselves unconditionally, be kind to ourselves and have peace in us. As when we know how to accept and love ourselves as we are, be kind to ourselves, and have peace in us, we won’t be generating any negativities in ourselves, nor into the world. We won’t be in painful sorrow or suffering that arise from attachment towards the qualities of names and forms that derives from being ignorant about the truth of things.

There is no ill will, nor argument, nor criticism, nor condemn about anything or anyone that is different from us and what we disagree with. There is no aversion towards any thinking, believes, behaviors, actions and speech that are contradicting with what our mind believes what things are.

It is about tolerance, adjustment, adaptation, accommodation and acceptance. Even if everyone is being influenced by ignorance and egoism, and behaves in the complete opposite way of loving kindness, peace and compassion, we clearly understand why all these beings act and react in such ways, and accept that everyone has the freedom to be what they are, and behave the way that they want to behave. We cannot enforce or control other beings about how they should behave, or how to think and what to believe.

We allow everything (both “good” and “bad” elements) to be exist in the same space of the universe. There is no possessiveness. We don’t own this space of the universe. There is no such expectation towards the world hoping that “There is only good things, there is no bad things. Everyone is good and is doing good actions only, and there are no evil beings doing any evil actions”, or “The world will not be a suffering place. The world will only be a happy place”. As this is not the teaching of Yoga and Buddhism. The teachings of Yoga and Buddhism is about accepting the truth as it is. We can be aware of all the good and bad elements, but no one (not even the enlightened beings) can change or control anyone or the world to be the way that we like it to be, or the way that we think it should be.

Although we cannot change the world to be the way that we like it to be, but we can contribute peace and love into the world by changing ourselves, and realize peace and love in us, being undisturbed nor affected by the qualities of names and forms that the mind perceives through the senses. If ourselves are not peaceful, and have no love and kindness in us, then how can we expect the world to be peaceful and expect other beings to be kind and loving?

Everyone needs to realize ignorance in ourselves, and through our own free will, we want to change ourselves and we want to remove ignorance in us. We can only do our best in performing all our duties and responsibilities, perform our own spiritual practice and evolve towards highest realization of unconditional peace and love. By changing ourselves, and realize unconditional peace and love in us, then naturally we are helping the world to change and improve. By being peaceful, and vibrate peace and love into the world, we are benefiting the world.

Compassion is also knowing the truth of impermanence and accepting the impermanent changes as they are, from moment to moment. Things exist, and will stop existing. Everything keeps arising and passing away. But at the same time, we perform necessary actions out of compassion, without expectation, without attachment towards the actions and the fruit of actions, and allow the fruit of actions to be what it is, not necessary the way that we expect or like it to be…

It is also knowing the limitations of names and forms, including this perishable and limited physical body and the egoistic intellectual thinking mind, that are conditioned and limited by time, space and causation. Knowing that the body and mind belongs to the energy and elements. It doesn’t belong to us, and it is not who we really are. And at the same time, knowing the unlimited and unconditioned true nature of everything, which is beyond the body, the senses, the mind, the thinking, the feelings and emotions, which is beyond dualities and qualities of good and evil, positive and negative, happiness and suffering.

In the process of learning and performing the yoga asana poses, we learn about the limitations of the physical body and the influence of the ego, and allow us to be able to accept the present condition and abilities, and the limitations of the physical body as it is. At the same time, we perform all the yoga practice without expectation towards the result of the practice, but allowing the result to happen naturally as it is. We allow improvement to happen naturally without expecting any benefits from performing the yoga practice.

We allow physical health condition, stamina, strength and flexibility to improve naturally as we practice yoga asana and breathing exercises regularly, without attachment, without craving towards some pleasant experiences, without aversion towards some unpleasant experiences. As all these physical benefits that come from performing the yoga asana practice and breathing exercises are just a side effect of the yoga practice. It is not the objective of our yoga practice. All these yoga practice allow us to develop the inner strength and flexibility, or the divine qualities that will bring us to the realization of unconditional peace and compassion. It helps to purify the energy fields in the physical body and thus purifying the mind, which helps to remove ignorance or impurities.

Perform all our duties and responsibilities in the world but do not neglect our greatest duty towards our own selves and the universe, which is Self-inquiry, realizing who we really are, and be free from being conditioned by the impure mind and the limited physical body…

That will definitely helps the world to become a better place.

By expecting other people to change into somebody whom we like them to be, or trying to control other people to be the way that we want them to be, will only generate tension, frustration and disappointment in ourselves. Further more, this will also trigger negativities (anger, hatred, aversion) in other people whom we want to control or change them, just because we don’t like and don’t agree with them and their thinking, believes and behaviors.

Compassion is not different from, or not separated from fearlessness. Fear comes from the wrong identification with the body and mind as us, and having attachment towards all the things that are not us or don’t belong to us. This wrong identification and attachment gives rise to the idea of possessiveness, and we will try to protect what we think is “I” and all that belongs to “I”. Out of fear of losing the people and things that we love and which we think they belong to us, we will have fear towards some other living beings (people, animals, insects etc), thinking that they might hurt “I” or “my loved ones”, or might cause harmful effect and damage to “my life”, or “my health”, or “my belongings”, and so, I will attack these living beings, before they will hurt “I” and damage something that belongs to “I”. This is ignorance and selfishness.

We cannot be truly compassionate when we have fear and have self-protection toward ourselves and what we think that are belong to us, due to egoism or selfishness, or influenced by craving and aversion, anger and hatred, prejudice, dualism, discrimination, selfish desires, selfish expectation and possessiveness, even though we try to perform many good actions and try not to perform any evil actions, or try to be kind to other beings, as we will be miserable, constantly being affected and determined by the result of our actions and inactions, as well as being disturbed by other people (bad) actions and (good) inactions. We will be very unhappy, angry, frustrated and disappointed when our expectations and desires are not being gratified, or when the result of our actions didn’t turn out the way that we expect or like it to be.

Constantly contemplate on this teaching about compassion or selflessness, and be free. So that we can help the world to improve to be a better place.

Om shanti.

My life stories – Part 10

My life Stories – Part 10
Stories from my past memories – childhood, family, friends, growing up, poverty, integrity, dreams come true, finding peace and happiness, Buddhism, Yoga, and now…

We had been travelling a lot being away from Langkawi last year. Wherever we went, we enjoyed our stay and travel in these different places with different cultures, scenery and climates. We are also very happy to be back in Langkawi not travelling to some other places. Living in Langkawi isn’t any much different from being in a beautiful holiday destination. Many people from around the world come here for holidays. Throughout our travelling during our stay with our family and friends, and staying in many different tourists guest houses, I continued my daily yoga asana practice wherever we went, in additional of the yoga practice within the mind every moment which is unseen from the appearance.

Yoga asana practice coordinates with the breath which requires certain amount of self-discipline, faith, concentration, awareness, acceptance, adjustment, determination, forbearance and perseverance, isn’t all of yoga. It’s one of the many sides of the yoga practice which can help us to influence the state of the mind, to purify the mind, to bring the mind into the present, to channel our energy into performing spiritual practice to realize unconditional love and peace, to develop divine elements or qualities to counter evil or negative tendencies, to develop non-attachment and non-identification with the body and mind, to let go of the ego, cravings and aversions, and eventually be free form all sorts of suffering that derived from ignorance and egoism.

Yoga asana practice being practiced with the correct attitude and understanding helps us to realize and accept the truth of impermanence in everything, for us to be able to let go of attachment towards the qualities of name and form, and thus be unaffected, or undisturbed, or undetermined by the impermanent qualities of name and form that the mind perceives through the senses. It also helps to maintain a better condition of physical and mental health for us to make good use of this body and mind, or this life existence, to help ourselves to have peace and to serve other beings.

At home in Langkawi, whether we are running yoga retreats, or not, I maintain my daily yoga asana practice even if it’s only for one hour in the evening after sending our retreat guests back to the guest house. When we are running yoga retreats, I will get up around 6.00 am, and will be continued busy until after 9.00 pm, or sometimes after 10.30 pm if we bring our guests to the town for dinner and to explore the local night market. When there is a short break in between yoga classes, I’ll still be busy with preparing the dinner.

I enjoy very much being busy with running the yoga retreats, teaching yoga classes, doing the maintenance works like cleaning and tidying our yoga studio and our home, where our retreats’ guests have their meals with us, being the driver sending our guests between our yoga studio and the guest house, shopping for fresh fruit and vegetables and what we need for the retreats, and cooking for our guests.

When there are no yoga retreats, I also enjoy having more free time for ourselves (my husband and I) spending time together going to the beach, or to the waterfalls and to do the things that we aren’t able to do when we are running the retreats. Usually I practice my daily asana routine for about two hours when we are not running retreats, as well as writing some blog posts inspired by my daily personal yoga practice and from giving yoga classes.

Rarely, some days I will take rest from asana practice. I don’t feel bad or uncomfortable when I don’t perform asana practice for a day or a few days, as that is the resting moments which my body requires for that time being, to be away from too many physical activities. It doesn’t matter if there’s no suitable time or space for me to practice yoga asana, the yoga practice within will never stop.

During our travelling in India for more than one an a half months, I had encountered quite serious discomforts on my left knee coming from old injuries resulted from my previously more than twenty years of high impact fitness workouts and competitive physical trainings for competitions. I couldn’t walk properly. It woke me up during my sleep for many nights. But still, it didn’t stop me from doing my daily yoga asana practice. I still continued with my yoga asana practice with some modifications to allow my knee to heal itself with some exercises that help to strengthen and maintain the mobility of the muscular tendons that support the knees. In the present, after almost four months having discomforts on my left knee, it’s back to its normal condition (discomforts free).

These are the videos of my daily yoga asana practice in India while having the knee discomforts. It wasn’t much different from my usual asana practice, but I performed the exercises with some adjustments to accommodate the discomforts in my left knee :

 

Basically, I live a very simple lifestyle. Besides the daily life routines, I spend most of the time doing yoga, purifying the thoughts, speech and actions, observing the mind and watching the ego, developing and strengthening the inner strength and inner flexibility, letting go of selfish desires, cravings and aversions, and any impurities or impure thoughts that arise in the mind; running yoga retreats, giving yoga classes and sharing yoga through the blogs. I spend some of the time on doing house works, washing and cleaning which I enjoy very much. I never feel there’s any separation from yoga whether I am doing some yoga practice in particular name and form, or not.

It doesn’t matter my body is at rest or in action, being with some other people or being with myself, I don’t feel separation from yoga. Whatever I do or don’t do, all are not separated from yoga practice. Buddhism practice, Karma yoga, Raja yoga, Bhakti yoga, Jnana yoga are all in actions and inactions. It’s all about eliminating the selfish egoism, to remove ignorance, to be free. All these are the yoga and meditation practice in life every moment.

I spend lots of time being with myself (whether surrounded by people and happenings, or being alone), especially when there are no retreats. I don’t feel myself being isolated from anything or anyone, even when I am alone by myself. I don’t feel that I need to be in certain place, or be with certain people, or to do certain things, to feel good, happy, meaningful, love and peace. Wherever I am or I am not, whatever I am doing or I am not doing, I am at ease. Usually I stay out of unnecessary ‘troubles’ when I can see them coming. If I can’t avoid them, I accept them as they are.

I try to stay away from social gossips and vain talks as much as possible.

I don’t need to go to Ashrams or silent retreats to cut off from social life activities for me to observe silence, seclusion, self-contemplation, self-discipline, or to practice yoga and meditation, although occasionally I will spend some time in the Ashrams and silent retreat centres. But there’s no difference for me in my own practice, whether I am inside or outside of the Ashrams and retreat centres. As the mind is being in the present follows wherever the body goes.

x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x

Before we moved to this house where we are living now, I didn’t cook at all. My husband did all the cooking for the meals of our yoga retreats. I had started preparing food and cooking for our yoga retreats only about a few months ago. This was possible after we had rented this house with bigger kitchen and dining hall, and we only use the wooden house as yoga studio for the retreats classes and activities. It’s also conveniently located very close by to our yoga studio.

I enjoy very much preparing and cooking the food for our yoga retreat guests. I had no idea how to cook or what to cook, but I was determined to try to learn to cook from watching you tube videos and getting recipes from the Internet. My husband was my food taster. It didn’t matter to me in the beginning the food tasted not so good. I kept trying to experiment cooking. Until my husband thought it was good enough, I started preparing and cooking the dishes for our yoga retreats.

Because I love eating Malaysian food, Chinese food and Thai food, I have been trying to cook a few dishes like Chinese style stir-fried different types of vegetables, vegetarian Thai green curry, vegetarian Nyonya sambal with Tempe, Achar – vegetables pickles, boiled or mashed potato, vegetable soups, pan fried or grilled mushrooms. Basically I didn’t have precise measurement for the ingredients that I use. That’s why they tasted slightly different every time when I cooked. My husband will prepare the Chickpeas curry, Turmeric tofu with ginger and lemon grass, vegetarian lasagna with Tempe, hummus, tahini, condiment dressings for salads, home made bread and a few other vegetable dishes which I haven’t know how to cook yet. He is a very good cook.

I am contented, grateful and appreciate the present living condition which is very conducive and convenient for me to practice yoga and what we are doing in the present moment, as well as what and where the universe is leading us, or going to lead us.

Om shanti.

Yoga practice is not separated from yoga philosophy or everyday life…

Without yoga philosophy or yoga teachings and without life, there is no yoga practice… It is a contradiction when we say that we want to practice yoga but we do not want to practice the yoga philosophy or the teachings, or we can only practice yoga in yoga classes and retreats, but we cannot practice yoga in everyday life. As when we really practice yoga, we are actually practicing the yoga philosophy or the teachings practically in everyday life, as yoga practice is not just about doing some physical yoga exercises in yoga classes or retreats…

Even though some people practice yoga asana poses regularly by attending yoga classes for many years, and we can perform many of the complicated asana poses that require certain degrees of physical strength and flexibility, and our physical fitness level is at the peak level, it still doesn’t guarantee us peace, compassion and wisdom. We still can be not free from impurities, ignorance, anger, hatred, jealousy, dissatisfaction, disappointment, pride, arrogance, fear, worry, cravings, aversions, unhappiness, and doubts…

We (out of ignorance) might even think and believe that “To share or teach yoga, yoga teachers need to be qualified or certified by some recognized yoga affiliations. And as yoga teachers, they should be able to do all the yoga asana poses and know all their names in Sanskrit by hard, and they should be able to touch their head with their feet from behind…”

We judge and categorize a yoga teacher, yoga practitioner and the yoga practice (beginner, intermediate or advance level) based on the fitness level of physical strength and flexibility to perform the asana poses, or based on how many hours of yoga courses we had attended in the past…

Some people said that they only want to practice “yoga” but they don’t agree with or cannot accept the yoga philosophy or teachings… What they actually mean is that they only want to do the yoga asana exercises as it makes them feel good, fit, strong and flexible, but they do not want to know anything about letting go of the ego, letting go of pride and arrogance, letting go of selfish desires and attachments, letting go of cravings and aversions, letting go of judgment and expectation, letting go of anger, hatred, jealousy, greed, dissatisfaction, fear and worry, and etc…

They are not interested at all to practice non-attachment, or to know about the mind, or to realize unconditional peace, selflessness or compassion. They say it is impossible to practice all these “philosophy” or teachings of yoga in their everyday life, living and working in the big city of the competitive modern world. They think these yoga philosophy or teachings can only be practiced in peaceful quiet environment where there is no external distraction, or disturbance, or tension, or stressful elements… There is nothing wrong with this type of thinking, as just by doing the physical exercise is already a very good pastime activity to improve our physical and mental health and fitness…

The main obstacle that contributes to this type of understanding is our own egoistic mind being not knowing or being unaware of the ignorance in the mind, due to ignorance (absence of wisdom)… Just like the eyes can only see what is in front of it, but it couldn’t see itself. It can perceive objects, names and forms in front of it, but it couldn’t perceive itself… It needs a mirror (reflection) to see itself. And this mirror, is awareness from the higher mind, to be aware of the ignorance in us, to be aware that there are impurities in our mind that hinder us from seeing the truth of things as it is, to be aware that it is our own mind being responsible for the happiness and unhappiness in us…

The one who thinks and believes that “It is not possible to practice yoga in everyday modern competitive hectic lifestyle and stressful working environment” or “Yoga can only be practiced in a yoga and meditation retreat centre with peaceful quiet environment away from all sorts of distractions, disturbance, tension and stressful elements”, is our egoistic mind.

We (our mind) think and believe that there is an “I”. We (the egoistic mind) think and believe that this body and this mind, and all its modifications (sensations, feelings, emotions, thinking, believes, personalities, characteristics, actions and reactions, likes and dislikes, agreements and disagreements, wants and don’t wants, self-image, self-worth, self-esteem, and etc) belongs to “I”, and they are who “I” am.

It’s because of this wrong identification or incorrect understanding, we (the egoistic mind) have selfish intentions (good or bad intention) to motivate us to perform actions, we have selfish desires and attachments. From these selfish intentions, desires and attachments, we have expectations. We expect to receive the fruit of our actions the way that we like it to be (craving for something that we like and agree with), and expect not to receive the fruit of our actions the way that we don’t like it to be (aversion towards something that we don’t like and disagree with)…

From expectations, we have cravings and aversions. From cravings and aversions, we have fear, restlessness, anger, hatred, jealousy, greed, disappointment, frustration, irritation, pride, arrogance, self-protection (something like “I’ll kill you first before you kill me”). And all these impurities strengthen the ignorance… And ignorance strengthens the egoism… And egoism strengthens all the selfish intentions, desires and attachments, and thus strengthens expectation, cravings and aversions, and thus strengthens fear and all the other impurities, and so on…

When we say we cannot let go of the ego, it is actually our egoistic mind being reluctant to let go of its selfish desires and attachments. We do not want to let go of this “I”, who we think what we are…

We do not want, or we have fear of letting go of the self-image that we have been building up for this “I” with such and such qualities that we would like us to be… We identify ourselves as “somebody” with all these qualities that we possess (qualities that we like and agree with) and don’t possess (qualities that we don’t like and disagree with).

We want to protect this self-image to the extend that we will say and do things that will hurt ourselves and other beings. We do not want this self-image to be damaged or stained by any external elements, such like judgments come from people whom we come in contact with, relationships status, friendships status, things, happenings, social status, career status, and etc, as we (the egoistic mind) depend on all these elements to support and compliment us for who we think what we are.

When we realize compassion that is free from (or by letting go of) attachments, craving and aversion, separateness, discrimination, selfish desires, possessiveness, judgment and expectation, we will be able to perform all our duties and responsibility at home, at work or in the society, without being affected or determined by our actions and the result of our actions, whether the actions are being performed for ourselves or for other beings, whether it is a job that is getting some pay, or it is a volunteering work without getting any pay. We are able to perform all actions without fear, without selfish intentions, desires and attachments, without possessiveness and expectation… There is no stress, tension, expectation, disappointment, as there is no such thing as success or failure when we renounce the fruit of actions… We do our best in everything we do, and we renounce from the fruit of our actions. We are not affected nor determined by the result of our actions, or other people’s reactions towards our actions.

Compassion and friendliness is nothing to do with how many personal friends or good friends that we know and have, whom we can spend time with, to eat, to drink, to talk and to do things together (or how many friendships that we have been accumulating and possessed), or whether we have an active social lifestyle or not. It is being free from ill-will, or hatred, or discrimination, or judgment, or expectation, or fear towards any beings, even if some of the beings’ thinking and behaviors are not what we like nor what we can agree with…

When we have selfish intentions, desires and attachments, cravings and aversions, expectations and fear, we will identify or categorize the people or beings whom we like and agree with, as friends. And we will identify or categorize the people or beings whom we don’t like and disagree with, as not friends (or as enemies)… These are friendships or social networks that are made under the influence of our selfish intentions, desires, attachments, cravings and aversions, likes and dislikes, discrimination, judgment, expectation and fear…

When we see a poisonous snake in front of us, out of fear and self-protection (by imagining, or anticipating, or expecting the snake is going to harm us), we might attack and hurt the snake first, even if the snake has no intention to harm us at all… This is selfishness and ignorance… This is absence of compassion and wisdom…

Yoga practice is in life. In our every moment of existence.

Om shanti.

Yoga (Asana) Classes?

One of the yoga students requested the yoga teacher to give a “gentle” yoga asana session this morning, as after a few days of continuous yoga asana practice, the physical body was experiencing discomfort sensations like muscles fatigue, tightness and soreness.

This was what the teacher taught in the class today…

This is what yoga practice is about. It is being aware of the reality of the present moment now as it is, and accept the reality as it is, without generate craving or aversion towards the pleasant or unpleasant experiences… This physical body is now experiencing discomfortable sensations coming from a few days of yoga asana practice, is actually a great opportunity for us to learn how to accept the reality of the present moment now as it is, even though it’s not necessarily the way that we like it to be, nor the way that we think it should be. As well as we are learning, experiencing, observing and accepting about the truth that everything is impermanent. It doesn’t matter they are pleasant or unpleasant sensations, thoughts, conditions or feelings, they all are impermanent…

The yoga asana class is just being what it is. It is not an intense session nor a gentle session. In the same yoga asana class, there are some students might be very fit, strong and flexible physically, and some others might be less fit, less strong and less flexible… Those who have stronger physical condition and are familiar with the yoga asana poses and exercises, they will say this yoga asana session is an easy and gentle session (for them). While the others who have poorer physical condition and are not so familiar with the yoga asana poses and exercises, they will say that this yoga asana session is a difficult and intense session (for them). But the yoga asana poses and exercises in the yoga asana classes have no qualities nor intentions to be something easy or difficult, gentle or intense… The yoga asana class is neither a beginner level nor advance level class. When our body can do it, our mind will judge “it’s easy”, and when our body cannot do it (yet), our mind will judge “it’s difficult”. The same exercises everyone is doing, some will say it’s easy, and some will say it’s difficult, but the exercises itself has no quality or intention to be something easy or difficult…

Yoga, or peace and compassion, is not determined by how strong and flexible we are to perform the yoga asana poses, nor it is about how perfect we can perform the asana poses, nor how good we look and feel during and after performing the asana poses or exercises, nor whether we can perform all the yoga asana poses or not…

And performing the yoga asana poses and exercises in a yoga class is not about trying to attain good feelings or pleasant sensations, or to avoid unpleasant sensations… It is not about “I only want to do the yoga poses and exercises that I like to do, and I don’t want to do the yoga poses and exercises that I don’t like to do…”, or “I only want to do the exercises that will make my body feels comfortable, and I don’t want to do any exercises that will make my body feels uncomfortable…”

Yoga asana practice in yoga classes are here for us to find out what is the ego and how to be free from the ego, or how to let go of the ego… It is for us to practice non-attachment or letting go of attachment. It is for us to practice letting go of the identification with the body and mind. It is about letting go of craving and clinging onto the objects or conditions that we like and agree with, and letting go of aversion towards the objects or conditions that we don’t like and disagree with…

Yoga asana practice and its exercises are here for us to purify the mind, to remove impurities, to balance the mind, to calm the mind, to silent the mind and to channel or direct the mind to contemplate on the Truth of things, names and forms, and to inquire who am “I”… It is to eliminate ignorance to know the Truth… During the yoga asana class, we are limiting or restricting our thoughts, physical activities and speech by focusing on learning and performing the exercises and yoga poses. Most of the yoga poses request paramount of concentration being in the present moment, and letting go of fear, for us to be able to do it. And during this period of time our body and mind is being busy engaging in performing wholesome yoga asana exercises, and stop engaging in unwholesome thinking, physical activities and speech.

Attending yoga (asana) classes is not about expecting the teacher to give us something that we prefer, or what we like it to be, or what we can agree with… It is about learning to be open-minded to adapt and accommodate the exercises that we are not familiar with, and to adjust ourselves into any types of exercises with knowing our own physical limitations, and we do our best without forcing, nor trying to challenge our physical body to go beyond its limitations. We don’t have to force ourselves to perform all the exercises in the yoga class. We don’t have to look like other people in the yoga class, or be like the yoga teacher when we perform the asana poses, as we all have a different body and having different physical limitations. We should know when to take some rest and when to continue practice. We should know whether it is the ego rejects to continue the practice, or it is the physical body has come to its limitations and it needs to take some rest… We learn to become our own teacher and take full responsibility for taking care of the well-being of our body and mind.

We learn to forbear or withstand certain amount of physical “discomforts” coming from performing the yoga exercises (this discomfortable sensation is not the same as the sharp painful sensations coming from muscular tendon injuries due to pushing our body over its limitations, which is an alarm warning us that we should not go beyond that limitation), and allow the physical body to improve its stamina, strength and flexibility gradually as we practice regularly. And allowing the physical body to continue to practice the exercises that it doesn’t familiar with until it can adjust and adapt into all these yoga exercises.

Unless the physical body is experiencing or suffering from certain injuries or illness, then we should allow the physical body to take some rest and avoid performing certain physical activities that will stimulate or exaggerate the injuries or illness. In order to improve physical fitness level, we need to “push” the physical body to its maximum limits, but not beyond its limitations, so that we can train the body to become fitter, stronger and more flexible without injuring it…

In the beginning of our yoga asana practice, it is normal that our body will feel discomfort, struggle, tiredness and soreness from time to time, as the physical body needs regular practice to adjust and adapt into the physical activities that it doesn’t familiar with, and it needs to take sufficient rest in between practices. Then only the physical body can improve its overall fitness level with continuous regular practice… Eventually as we continue performing the exercises while enduring some discomfort sensations due to the unfamiliar physical activities, the stamina, strength and flexibility will improve, and all these muscles fatigue, tightness and soreness will become less and less… Our body will develop stronger endurance, stamina, strength and flexibility.

This practice of non-attachment is not just being observed or practiced in yoga classes while performing the yoga exercises, but it is every moment in our heart, in our life, we are practicing non-attachment. We learn to accept the reality of the present moment now as it is, even though it is not what we like it to be. We accommodate the discomfortable or difficult situations or conditions. It is not about trying to change the situations or conditions that we don’t like, into something that we like it to be to accommodate us, but we are able to adjust and adapt ourselves into any discomfortable, or difficult conditions or situations. When we experience some discomfortable situations or difficult conditions in life, we do not, or cannot ask life to be easy and gentle on us… Instead we accept the reality as it is, adjust and adapt ourselves into any discomfortable or difficult conditions and situations, and accommodate the present conditions or situations that we don’t like or disagree with, in peace…

This is the inner strength and flexibility that we want to develop in our yoga practice while performing the yoga asana exercises… It is about life. It is not just in a yoga class performing some yoga asana poses, and telling ourselves and other people that we are practicing yoga, or we have done our yoga practice everyday, but then in life, we attached to the body and mind, over-powered by the ego, and we are constantly being affected, disturbed, influenced, determined by our craving and aversion towards the situations and conditions that we like and dislike, agreeable and disagreeable… It is about being able to be undisturbed, unaffected, uninfluenced or undetermined by the qualities of names and forms that our mind perceives through the senses of what we see, hear, smell, taste, touch and think, without generating craving and aversion… It is knowing and accepting the truth of things as they are. Knowing that everything is just what they are… They are not something good or bad, positive or negative, happy or suffering…

Compassion is not just about performing some good and kind actions in the world. It is about accepting the reality as it is, and accepting everything and everyone as they are… There is no fear, no worry, no anger, no hatred, no greed, no dissatisfaction, no selfish desires, no selfish expectation, no discrimination towards all the different qualities of names and forms, no preferences of likes and dislikes, no attachment towards the qualities of names and forms, no jealousy, no possessiveness, no pride, no arrogance, no disappointment, no criticism, no condemn, no attachment towards the actions and the result of the actions… It is realizing what is non-duality, namelessness and formlessness, oneness, non-separateness, and being free from dissatisfaction, restlessness, unpeacefulness or suffering that comes along with impurities or ignorance…

In the process of learning and trying to perform the yoga practice and yoga asana poses or exercises in yoga classes, we are actually developing inner strength and inner flexibility. These are the positive qualities that will allow us to realize unconditional peace and compassion that will free us from ignorance, doubts, impurities, restlessness, dissatisfaction, anger, hatred, disappointment, fear, worry, unhappiness or suffering.

The physical strength and flexibility are just a side product coming from performing the yoga exercises. It is not the main purpose of performing the yoga practice.

We should be developing patience, perseverance, determination, will-power, forbearance, withstand, acceptance, tolerance, adjustment, adaptation, accommodation, cheerfulness, courage, positive thinking, observation, mindfulness, awareness, thoughtfulness, humility, concentration, being in the present moment, one-pointedness, self-disciplinary, non-judgment, non-comparison, non-expectation, non-identification, non-attachment and letting go of the ego, during the process of learning and practicing the yoga asana poses, breathing exercises, chanting, studying or contemplating on the yoga teachings, selfless service, self-control or self-restraint, concentration exercises and meditation practice.

These positive qualities act as a medium, or a tool, or an instrument for us to render the mind calm and pure, for meditation or contemplation upon the Truth, to realize our true nature as it is, which is unconditional peace and compassion.

Without these positive qualities, it is not easy for us to realize peace and compassion, as we will be easily be annoyed, frustrated, irritated, angry, disappointed or hurt by the objects of the senses or names and forms that we don’t like and disagree with. There is no peace, as we are constantly being affected, disturbed, influenced, determined or over-powered by all the impurities that arise in the mind coming from the reactions of the egoistic mind towards what it perceives through the senses, from moment to moment.

When we hear the yoga teachings about “Go beyond the physical body”, it doesn’t mean that we challenge our physical body to go beyond its limitations to make it stronger and more flexible than what it is now, but it is about go beyond the attachment or identification with the physical body. Let go of the identification with the impermanent conditions and abilities of the physical body as “I”, as making the body stronger and more flexible, or being able to perform many asana poses, is not a guarantee of peace and compassion… Peace and compassion doesn’t come from being physically strong and flexible…

Being a “vegetarian” or “non-vegetarian” is not a guarantee of peace and compassion…

Being a good person or bad person is not a guarantee of peace and compassion…

Performing good actions or bad actions is not a guarantee of peace and compassion…

Being highly educated or having limited education is not a guarantee of peace and compassion…

Being artistic or not, creative or not, intelligent or not, is also not a guarantee of peace and compassion…

Being in good conditions or bad conditions in life, is not a guarantee of peace and compassion…

Having a good physical condition or poor physical condition is not a guarantee of peace and compassion…

Peace and compassion is our true nature as it is. It is realizing the Truth, realizing namelessness and formlessness, or attributeless-ness, or non-duality, or oneness, or non-separateness…

It is going beyond the attachment towards all the qualities of names and forms that will allow us to realize our true nature which is unconditional peace and compassion.

Yoga is not about being positive… It is about not attached to the qualities of names and forms, or to go beyond what our mind believes is positive and negative, happiness and suffering, good and bad… As it is not the truth of what things really are. Everything is just what it is. They have no qualities or intentions to be good or bad, positive or negative, happiness or suffering… All these “qualities” are coming from our own mind, what our mind wants to believe what things are…

And so, allow the teacher to teach whatever the teacher wants to teach in the yoga class, without expecting the yoga class to be something that we prefer or what we like it to be… But we adjust and adapt ourselves into the practice that are new to us, or being different from what we familiar with… In the same session, some students will prefer more gentle form of exercises, and some will prefer more intense form of exercises, even if the class is stated “gentle yoga class” or “intense yoga class”… As we all have different expectation or projection towards what types of gentleness is “gentle” and what is not, or what types of intensity is “intense” and what is not… A gentle class can be too gentle for certain people or might not be gentle enough for some other people. An intense class can be too intense for certain people or might not be intense enough for some other people… Everyone has different types of physical stamina, strength and flexibility, different types of physical limitations, and different types of likes and dislikes towards certain asana poses or exercises…

The physical exercises and its effects that come from attending yoga (asana) classes are here for us to be aware of our ego, and not being influenced by craving and aversion that comes from the ego…

Om shanti.

Non-attachment or non-identification?

Yoga asana practice without collaborate with the yoga philosophy is just a form of physical movement… We can still be restless and have no peace. When we implement yoga philosophy into every actions, no matter it is yoga asana practice or any forms of action that we perform in daily life, perform all our actions without attachment towards the actions and renounce the fruit of actions, then all these actions are not merely physical movements but it is Sadhana that will bring us to unconditional love and peace…

This is non-attachment or non-identification with the doer of actions.

There is no “I”.
There is no “I” am performing actions.
There is no “I” am or will be receiving the fruit of actions.

Yoga workshops?

Strength, flexibility, stamina and skills to perform the asana poses are not attained just by a few hours of practice in a workshop, but consistent practice regularly after attending a workshop, will bring tremendous improvement in all these elements.

Peace and compassion is not determined by how fit and strong we are physically, but with a strong and healthy body it allows us to perform yoga sadhana and karma yoga selfless service for ourselves and other beings to evolve in life.

Om shanti.