Sympathetic minds without wisdom

Many years ago in India, there are many pitiful beggars everywhere. Most of them are ‘working’ under the control of many different syndicates.

Many of them are small boys and girls from toddlers to pre-teens, and also some young girls or young women carrying baby in their arms. Sometimes there are old women as well. These small children and small babies, young girls, young women and old women ‘look’ extremely pitiful in their dirty worn-out clothing with new and old scars and wounds on their bodies or even partially ‘handicapped’ that most probably are being inflicted intentionally by the syndicates. The young girls or young women with the small babies and the old women look hungry, under nourished, tired and so sad.

A few of them will come to you with their piteous sad tearful eyes and hungry face, with their heads wobbling side to side, and they gently tapping your arms or pulling your sleeves, and cry out ‘Paisa, paisa, paisa…’

Out of sympathy and righteousness, you think you should give them what you think you can afford to give to them. And the moment you hand out something, either food or money or objects, to them, immediately there will be another ten or twenty or thirty of them running towards you, surrounding you making a thick human wall separating you and the onlookers, and also wobbling their heads, tapping your arms and pulling your sleeves and shirt, while pushing their bodies squeezing your body until you feel that you can’t breathe.

If you still have no idea of what is going on, and out of helpless sympathy, you tell them with your great sadness that you couldn’t help all of them, they’ll keep begging you until you give in and give everything that you have on your body. They won’t let you go easily. Unless there are police alert and came to your rescue. Or worst, even some of your valuables would be stolen in those chaos moments without your awareness.

If you start to feel intimidated and ask them to go away to leave you alone and try to run away from them, they will run after you, and attack you verbally by cursing at you, and even attack you physically by pinching you or spitting on you or throwing stones towards you.

This is the consequences of ignorant sympathy without wisdom. It’s nothing to do with compassion out of wisdom.

Those who are compassionate are free from this kind of ignorant sympathy without wisdom. They would ignore these syndicates controlled beggars. As they know if they give something to these beggars out of sympathy, it’s definitely not going to help them to be free from the syndicates, but it will be supporting and empowering the existence of such syndicates. It encourages the syndicates to exploit and abuse more toddlers, young children, young girls, young women and old women. Most of them are being drugged, or being threatened, or even being abducted from their family and home to put them on the streets as beggars and they have no freewill but to give all the begged money to the syndicates to avoid being beaten or punished in exchange for shelter and food, and lots of them are being intentionally partially blinded or amputated to get the effect of ‘piteous’ and ‘sympathy deserving’ look. It’s a ridiculous terrible thing that might still happening somewhere.

Some of them are not begging under the control of syndicates, but they are being abused and forced by their own parents or relatives to go out begging on the streets. And some of them, are out of their own freewill.

Sometimes there are old men who look so hungry, sad and pitiful come to beg you for money. You feel so sympathy and give them some money. They took the money and go straight to the liquor shop to get their fix, and they got drunk, either they become unconsciousness for many hours, or they would fight with each other, or they go back home and behave violently towards their wives and children under the influence of alcohol.

Those who truly practice yoga, or have the basic wisdom of humanity, they will not support or encourage such activities out of such ignorant sympathy. A lot of time, out of wisdom and compassion, you have to say no. And that’s not cruel at all. It’s ignorance that make the mind thinks and believes that it’s cruel and wrong to not show sympathy towards such ‘pitiful’ beings, regardless human or animals.

You will see signs in India everywhere, telling people do not encourage begging and do not give anything to the beggars.

It’s the same as there are many people have great love and affection towards particular animals, especially those animals that are ‘cute’ looking, that enjoy being pet and fed by people, and out of ‘love’, people want to possess them to keep them as pet, to show affection to them and look after them. Some even treat the animals or their pets more loving and caring than towards their own family members or their parents or their children. When they think other people don’t show any particular interest or ‘respect’ or ‘proper treatment’ towards the animals that they love very much, they would feel greatly disturbed or offended. In order to protect the animals that they love very much from other animals’ or human’s threats or intimidation, they would hurt other animals or human that they think are threatening or intimidating the animals that they love very much. Out of love and affection towards animals, people keep them, feed them, pet them, pamper them, and keep them away from any threats. It’s like well-pampered and protected children growing up without knowing how to be independent or to survive by themselves. This is ignorance. This is not yoga or yoga practice.

Another example, children who like to eat sweets and drink sweetened soft-drinks everyday. If the children don’t get their sugar fix on time, the way that they like it to be, they will be very unhappy and cry and shout and do things that would hurt themselves. If out of sympathetic love and affection towards the children, you will want to give them what they want, so that they will be happy and stop crying or hurting themselves, but in fact, you are responsible for supporting and empowering their ignorance, and they will suffer for their consequences of their ignorance very much. If out of compassion, you do not give them what they want, and let them be unhappy and throw tantrum, but at the same time, allowing them to learn and understand the damaging effects of consuming sweets and sweetened soft-drinks regularly. And this will help them to avoid unnecessary painful suffering later, or maybe, to suffer less.

Be kind towards other beings and appreciate all beings and objects out of compassion with wisdom, not out of ignorant passionate love and sympathy.

Yoga teachers who are wise and compassionate do not try to please the yoga students by giving them what they like and want, or telling them what they like and love to hear. But out of compassion, to guide them to be free from ignorance, by giving them the teachings and practice that are not necessarily what they expect it to be, that is not necessarily what they like or can agree with. Out of ignorance, they might be dissatisfied and unhappy about it, but it gives them the precious opportunity to come in contact with the truth of what is going on in their minds, and allows them to learn to see the ignorance and egoism in their minds, and if they realize the ignorance and egoism in themselves, out of their own freewill, they may or may not want to work diligently to free their minds from ignorance and egoism, and that is their freedom. The teachers cannot be there for them all the time, watching their practice, to discipline them, to tell them do this or don’t do that. But the teachers allow the students to learn to become their own teachers and develop correct understanding and self-independence, out of their own freewill, self-awareness, self-discipline and self-control, they perform their own practice to purify and quiet their minds, and through self-inquiry and silencing the mind to attain self-realization of the truth, and be free.

Contemplate on this and be free.

Video – Happy journey in India photo slideshow (3)

 

This is a collection of the photos that I took while traveling in India a few years back. Thanks to India, the people, the nature, and all the animals. May all beings be happy.

Video – Happy journey in India photo slideshow (2)

This is a collection of the photos that I took while traveling in India a few years back. Thanks to India, the people, the culture, the birds, the animals, the plants, the buildings, the mountain, the desert, the scenery, the arts, the colours, the sounds, the smells, the tastes, the weather, the life, the incredible diversity and yet all mixed together as one in peace and harmony sharing everything provided by nature. May all beings be happy.

Yoga, India, Indian, Hinduism?

Some good yogis feel ‘yoga’ is being manipulated. They want to protect the lineage of ‘authentic yoga’. They insist that yoga belongs to India, or Indians, or Hinduism. I respect what they think and believe – according to history the practice of ‘yoga’ did start in India, and was rooted in Hinduism.

But even though the practice of yoga originated in India that doesn’t mean that yoga only belongs to India, or Indians, or Hindus. Yoga is for all of humanity. It exists in the universe for all beings to transform spiritually, to be liberated from suffering.

Being in India, or being an Indian, or being a Hindu doesn’t guarantee us peace and compassion or enlightenment. If it did then every Indian, or Hindu or anyone in India would know yoga and have attained self-realization, there wouldn’t be any ignorant beings, and suffering would not exist in India, or for Indians, or for Hindus.

If yoga belongs to India and Hinduism, then no one else but only Indian and Hindus can be ‘allowed’ or ‘qualified’ or ‘authorized’ to realize yoga of selflessness, or compassion and unconditional peace, to be free from suffering, while all the others who are not Indian or Hindu will never realize yoga, or be selfless, compassionate and peaceful, or be free from suffering. But, yoga doesn’t belong to anyone with a particular quality of name and form. All and everyone are subject to the suffering of impermanence and selflessness, and anyone also can realize selflessness and be free from suffering upon liberation from ignorance. Just like if ‘God’ exist, ‘God’ doesn’t belong to anyone.

Although we all live in different regions in the world, have different nationalities or skin colour, features, or cultures, or language, or beliefs and religious influences, we all come from the same source.

How can we limit and condition yoga to a certain region and religion when the basic teaching of yoga is oneness or non-separateness? What is the difference between this religion and that religion, or being religion-less? What is the difference between this nationality and that nationality on this tiny little earth compared to all the other planets in the universe? Even though we all have different beliefs, religions (or not), characteristics, personalities and appearances we are all living beings sharing the same space in the universe, dependent on the elements of fire, wind, water, earth and space to exist. Beyond names and forms our true nature is the same. We are not different nor separated from one another.

Yoga exists in all beings regardless of where we are, who we are, what we are or how we are.

The teachings of yoga and Buddhism are all about selflessness, non-dualism, oneness, attributelessness, namelessness and formlessness. Even though the practice might be different, the end of the practice is not different from each other. If this is not what yoga is – oneness or non-separateness, then I don’t want to practice ‘yoga’ nor share ‘yoga’ with other beings. Those who think ‘yoga’ belongs to them can keep their ‘yoga’ for themselves.

When the Buddha attained enlightenment he never claimed that he founded Buddhism, nor do the teachings and practice of Buddhism belong to any race, sect or caste, nationality, or religion, or being. It always existed in all beings regardless of the differences of names and forms, or whether beings are separated by time, space and causation, and whether we realize Dhamma or not. The Dhamma of Buddhism existed before Buddha realized the truth and became enlightened. Buddha didn’t own the teachings of Buddhism or Dhamma. Dhamma doesn’t belong to anyone or any place. Anyone and everyone, even the most ignorant beings, or the most evil beings in the universe, can realize Dhamma and attain enlightenment. It is within every being and beyond time, space and causation. Other beings in other regions of the world attained enlightenment before and after Buddha.

Even though the Buddha came from India, attained enlightenment in India, and taught Buddhism in India, dhamma didn’t originate in India. Dhamma does not come from a geographical region or era – it is beyond time and space. Dhamma does not belong to anyone.

Om shanti.

Yoga courses or classes is not a business trading object or service that we can sell or buy, even if there is some fees involved…

If we went to an Ashram or a yoga school and found that it is a very good place with good teachers, convenient facilities and conducive environment for learning and practicing yoga, naturally without the people in the Ashram or yoga school asked us to recommend the Ashram or the yoga school to anyone, and without any intention to expect any kind of incentive in return, we will recommend other people who are interested in learning and practicing yoga to go there, but we will never ask for any commission from the Ashram or yoga school for us to do this, nor will we ask for any discounted fees for ourselves to be taking courses there.

As yoga or yoga courses is not a business trading object. It is not like because we like the service from a massage spa centre and we are motivated to recommend it to other people, but we expect the massage spa centre to give us some commission in return or expect them to give us special rate on our future visits for their services. Then this action of recommending something good to other people is not genuine anymore. There are selfish motives or intention behind the action of recommendation, even though it is something good.

We never went to a massage spa near our yoga studio. But due to many of our retreat guests went there before, and had very nice experience, we would recommend it to any other of our guests who ask for recommendation for a good massage spa. We never received any commission from the massage spa centre for us to recommending so many people to go there for massage. We never intend to ask any commission from them, nor do we expect them to recommend anyone to come to us for yoga retreats, nor expect them to give us some sort of discounted rate for us to use any of their services. We recommend it because it has good reputation. If it has bad reputation, we won’t be recommend it to anyone, even if they want to give us commission or discount. We do not ask nor expect anything in return for recommending something good to anybody.

If we are looking for some sorts of commission or discounted fees from the Ashram or yoga school by recommending people to go there, as we think that yoga and yoga courses is like a business trading object or service, then we don’t really know what yoga is about (even though we have been practicing ‘yoga’ for a long time). We had no idea what is the yoga practice about selfless service, compassion, loving kindness, generosity, true charity, non-attachment, intention-less, non-expectation and renounce the fruit of action.

It is great virtue and merit for anyone to be supporting an Ashram or yoga school to run yoga courses or classes, to allow other people to be learning and sharing the greatness of yoga, provided that if they give their supports without attachment, without expectation towards any rewards or incentives in return.

An Ashram, or a yoga school doesn’t sell yoga, or wisdom, or compassion, or peace, or liberation. They can only provide teachers, teachings, disciplines, schedule or program, methods, guidance, supports, facilities and conveniences to the people to be learning and practicing yoga. It is up to the people’s own responsibility, discipline, effort and sincere practice, to realize or attain yoga, or wisdom, or compassion, or peace, or liberation.

The fees or donations from the people is not a business exchange of selling and buying a product or service, but mainly to support the cost or expenses that couldn’t be avoided in providing such courses, facilities, conveniences and environment to allow ourselves and other people to be learning and practicing yoga and become our own teacher. At the same time we also provide some supports to the teachers who need to support their own living and perform their own practice. What a great merit, even if we do not greed for attaining any merits by performing great virtue.

I never asked for any discounted rate for the fees of the yoga courses in the Ashram or from any other yoga schools when I didn’t have enough money to pay for the total expenses in the beginning, including course fee, flight ticket and visa fees, and my parents living and medical expenses. But I didn’t worry, and the money came to me on time when I needed it for paying all the expenses to go to the Ashram in India to learn and practice yoga. As I know yoga or the ‘fees’ for the yoga courses is not something to be negotiate nor trade about. It is not like we paid some money to a hotel for a hotel room, and expect certain types of service that worth ‘how much we had paid’ in return.

If we don’t have strong self-discipline to follow the tight schedule and curriculum, if we don’t have will-power and determination to forbear any difficulties or discomforts physically, mentally, or emotionally that arise in the process of purification, we will give up easily, or drop out and not finishing the course, no matter how much money we had paid for the course or it is a free course.

Especially in real yoga practice about eliminating the egoism is really not a very pleasant experience, it’s not like going to a spa massage which is about paying for a service that will give us momentary enjoyment and pleasant experiences, but it doesn’t help us to eliminate the egoism, craving and aversion, but in fact, it is empowering them.

Attending ‘real’ yoga courses is not about chasing after pleasant experiences, or learning to do a few challenging yoga asana poses. It is about letting go of craving towards pleasant experiences and aversion towards unpleasant experiences. It’s about letting go of pride and arrogance towards what we think we know about ourselves and things. It’s about letting go of what our mind believes what things are. There will be lots of discomforts and aversion manifested physically, mentally and emotionally during the purification process of eliminating the egoism, impurities and ignorance.

If we are able to forbear and withstand all these discomfortable manifestations that arise in our yoga and meditation practice, and be determined to continue the practice until we realize the truth, we will realize the unconditional joy and peace that comes from realizing the truth of things and ourselves, and being free from attachment, ignorance and egoism, craving and aversion, cause and effect, birth and death. There’s no fear and worry, anger and hatred, pride and arrogance, dissatisfaction and disappointment, hurtful thinking and feelings, or painful sorrow and suffering.

If our yoga students or retreat guests feel that the yoga courses or retreats were very good for them even though they had to forbear some discomforts during the course, and naturally recommending the yoga courses or retreats to other people, not because with the intention to bring us more ‘business’, and not because with the intention to get some incentive, commission or discount, but to allow other people to be sharing something really meaningful, then this type of recommendation is welcome.

If somebody says to us, “I love your yoga course/retreat. I will write you a very good review about my experience in your yoga course/retreat, and recommend other people to come to your place, but how much commission or discount can you give me in return?” We will tell them, we don’t need ‘good’ reviews that are not genuinely coming from the heart, nor interested in advertising the yoga courses or retreats to bring in more ‘business’.

You may read about the story about why and how I went to India to learn and practice yoga with this link – https://mydailyyogapractice.wordpress.com/2011/11/28/my-life-stories-part-6/

Om shanti.

The lineage of yoga is being contaminated or manipulated by some impure beings?

Out of  love and protection towards the lineage of yoga and meditation, some good beings are being angry and worried about the lineage of yoga might be destroyed, or contaminated, or manipulated by some people in the world who are involving in practicing and teaching yoga and meditation without correct understanding or pure intention.

It is normal and nothing wrong to be worried and upset about this. Anyone also will feel sad when seeing something “good” is being contaminated or destroyed.

The point is, we don’t have to be angry or worried about whether the lineage of yoga will be destroyed, or contaminated, or manipulated by some impure beings, as there is no one, or nothing can destroy, contaminate or manipulate the essence of the teachings of yoga or the lineage of yoga. When we think like that (even though it is out of our love towards the lineage of yoga), it shows that we don’t really have faith in Dharma/Dhamma, or in God, or in the universal consciousness, or in the Self… As all these names and terms are not separated nor different from each other.

The true Self is identical with the universal consciousness. And the true Self will not and cannot be contaminated, nor affected, nor destroyed, nor hurt, nor wounded by anyone, or anything, or qualities, or elements… This teaching is indicated in the Bhagavad Gita.

Ashochyaan anvaschochastwam prajnaavaadaamshcha bhaashase;
Gataasoon agataasoomshcha naanushochanti panditah.
(commentary by Swami Sivananda – Thou hast grieved for those that should not be grieved for, yet thou speakest words of wisdom. The wise grieve neither for the living nor for the death.)

Acchedyo’yam addaahyo’yam akledyo’shoshya eva cha;
Nityah sarvagatah sthaanur achalo’yam sanaatanah.
(commentary by Swami Sivananda – This Self cannot be cut, burnt, wetted or dried up. It is eternal, all-pervading, stable, ancient and immovable.)

When we say Dharma/Dhamma is not affected, nor contaminated, nor hurt by anything or anyone, but it’s existence with name and form (the appearance and qualities) in this world is still conditioned by impermanence. It can be destroyed, be contaminated, be manipulated. But the essence or the true nature of Dharma/Dhamma, or the Truth, cannot be destroyed, nor contaminated, nor manipulated. We need to be able to accept the qualities of names and forms (the appearance of Dharma/Dhamma in the world) is subject to changes and impermanence.

Buddha had mentioned about everything that is existing with certain qualities of names and forms, is impermanent, even Dhamma also will be disappearing from the world, but the essence of Dhamma or the Truth can never be contaminated, nor manipulated, nor destructed by anyone or anything…

So what if the authentic lineage of yoga is gradually disappearing from the world? There must be a cause for that to happen, and the truth about everything is, all the names and forms are subject to impermanence.

If everyone is free from ignorance, if everyone is wise and compassionate, if everyone is pure and enlightened, then there is no need of this practice or that practice, including yoga, meditation, Buddhism or any other forms of practice…

It is because people are not free and are not pure, that’s why everyone should take up some forms of practice that can help them to be free, to be pure, to be wise, to be compassionate…

Yoga, meditation, Buddhism and other types of practice, are not specially prescribed for the wise, compassionate, peaceful and selfless beings, as all these beings are already free. They don’t need yoga, meditation, Buddhism or any other forms of practice to help them to be free, as they are free…

And so, it is not abnormal, nor strange, nor bad, when we see so many people are practicing and teaching yoga in the world now without “correct understanding” or “pure intentions”, as these beings are the one who needed yoga, meditation, Buddhism, or any other forms of practice mostly and urgently, to attain correct understanding and be purified through all these practice.

Out of compassion, anyone are welcome to practice yoga, meditation, Buddhism, or any other forms of practice, as that is what all these practices are here for…

And thus, why be angry and upset towards all these “impure happenings” that are going on in the world of yoga, meditation, Buddhism, or any other forms of practice?

If the door of yoga and meditation is only accepting and be opened to those who are pure and wise, so that the lineage of yoga is not being contaminated nor manipulated by all these beings that are not free yet, who are not enlightened yet, then there are only few people in the world are qualified to practice yoga and meditation…

Indeed, we should try our best to protect Dharma/Dhamma as much as we can, as long as we can, so that more beings (who are not free, who need Dharma/Dhamma) will be benefited from the lineage of yoga to be free. But out of compassion, we need to allow and accept all these impure beings into the world of yoga and let them mess around a bit, allow everyone to take their own time to purify, to transform, and be wise and pure. Just like bringing up children. We have to accept them as they are, allow them to make mistakes and learn to take responsibility for the consequences of their actions, allow them to learn and transform in their own ways and pace, allow them to be who they are, and love them as they are.

We don’t have to be worried and angry about all these things that are going on in the world of yoga and meditation that seem to be “corrupted”, or “not so pure”, or “not so authentic”, if we truly love yoga, love God, love Dharma/Dhamma, love our Self and love all beings.

I don’t even identify myself as pure being, that’s why I am still performing my practice regularly as much as I can…

Who am I to judge or criticize other beings for being not pure?

It is okay if in the beginning there are many people who are not pure, who try to do yoga, but are not doing the yoga practice the right way, nor with correct understanding, nor with pure intentions. Everyone starts with being impure and ignorant, and then transformation happens as we practice and when the time is right.

In the beginning when I first started teaching yoga (exercise) class in the dance studio, I had no idea what yoga is or is not. I had no intention to be a yoga teacher to teach yoga classes. I didn’t like yoga asana exercises, as I thought they were boring and too slow for me. I didn’t even think that I will be giving yoga classes and share yoga with so many people in the present now. My main motivation to teach yoga (exercise) classes beside my full time job as aerobics instructor in the past, was to earn a living to support myself, my parents and to help out my poor family.

The income that came from teaching yoga classes before I went to India, allowed me to be able to pay for my course fees, flight ticket and other expenses, as well as some monthly financial support for my parents when I was not around.

You may read the more detailed story about what brought me to India and how I managed to have the money to go to India to learn yoga, from this link MY LIFE STORIES  – PART 6

As I went deeper into the practice while at the same time giving yoga classes, I allowed myself to transform from within, and I owed this to the opportunity given to me by the universe. The universe was and still is so kind to me. It accepted me when I was ignorant, and be compassionate towards me and my family for my family’s poor living condition, and gave me the opportunity to teach “yoga classes” to improve my earning to support myself and my family, but most importantly, it gave me the opportunity to learn about yoga, and to practice yoga, and to transform myself into a more peaceful being. And I serve the universe by sharing these learning and transformation with other beings, where the universe bring us to meet each other.

Protect and preserve the Dharma/Dhamma in us by destroying the ego, impurities and ignorance in us. Trust and have faith in the universal consciousness, allow the universal consciousness to take care of everything else. We are underestimating the power of the universal consciousness (the power of nature) if we think Dharma/Dhamma is going to be contaminated or manipulated by some impure beings. As even if that is happening, there is something for everyone to learn from. A fake guru, or an impure yogi, or a bad yoga teacher can teach us a lot about many things that we need to learn.

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.