The world of yoga

People asked us how come we don’t run/teach yoga classes and teachers training courses?

Yoga practice is about taming/quieting the restless mind to free the mind from suffering of restlessness and impurities derived from ignorance and egoism by realizing selflessness (birthlessness, deathlessness, attributelessness, namelessness, formlessness) through the practice of dispassion, renunciation, silence, self-inquiry, concentration, meditation, non-attachment, non-identification, non-craving, non-aversion, non-judgment, non-comparison and non-expectation that require a high degree of open-mindedness, right discrimination, intense yearning for liberation, will-power, perseverance, independence, self-control and discipline.

After one learned about the teachings and practice from someone who has direct experience of the teachings and practice, one implements these teachings and practice in everyday life, to free the mind from ignorance and egoism, which is nothing to do with attending regular ‘yoga classes’ or attending ‘yoga teachers training course’ to become ‘certified professional yoga teacher’ to teach/conduct ‘yoga classes’.

Most people don’t really interested to learn and practice yoga when they are interested in joining ‘yoga classes’, as they wouldn’t/couldn’t let go the thinking and belief which they think and believe is who they are (the main hindrance towards the realization of selflessness.) They just want to do some physical exercises to keep fit and be healthy, to feel good and look good. And it’s nothing wrong. Everyone has the freedom for what they want and don’t want, and what they think and believe.

Most ‘yoga classes’ are existing mostly as one of the healthy leisure activities for health and fitness enhancement by doing some yoga asana, relaxation and breathing exercises, just like any other personal/group fitness training exercise classes, which is a very healthy activity. It’s very good that people would love to do some form of physical exercise regularly for maintaining good health and vitality to enjoy a higher quality of life. And some highly talented people even transformed yoga asana practice into amazing acrobatic performance, it’s very inspiring for people to take up some physical fitness training to look good and feel good, and not spending time and energy in unhealthy/unwholesome activities.

The initial objective of ‘teachers training courses’ is about oneself learning and practicing the teachings of yoga to purify one’s mind, to awaken/realize the teacher within to become one’s own teacher, to discipline one’s mind to be free from ignorance and egoism. It’s not about training people who are interested in ‘teaching yoga classes’ or ‘running yoga courses’ to become ‘certified professional yoga teachers’ and issue/authorize them with ‘recognized certification’ to conduct yoga courses/teach yoga classes according to the different types of teaching style from different types of yoga school. It’s training one’s own mind to be it’s own teacher. Upon self-realization of yoga/oneness/selflessness, one might or might not share the direct experience with others.

‘Yoga retreats’ are also being ‘transformed’ into self-pampering/indulgence of the senses getaway that empowers the egoistic desires of carving and aversion, or being ‘transformed’ into ‘mystical healing’ camp. Even so, it’s neither right nor wrong. That is what most minds like and desire. It really doesn’t matter. In the end, yoga is still what it is, whether people are learning and practicing and teaching yoga as it is, or not. The truth won’t be affected/contaminated by any add-on/take-out elements, although the creative worldly minded can transform the teachings and practice of yoga into something that they prefer.

Most of the serious yoga practitioners don’t really run/teach ‘yoga classes’, or ‘yoga courses’, or ‘yoga teachers training courses’ although they might be teaching yoga to many others. Sharing the teachings and practice of yoga with others doesn’t necessarily has to be in the form of conducting yoga classes/courses/retreats. Some might have been teaching ‘yoga classes’ in the beginning, but after some time, they renounced the worldly social life and activities to concentrate on their own practice, upon realization that renunciation from worldly affair/interaction/activities/relationships is the greatest compassion towards oneself and all beings. Everyone is responsible for their own practice to look after their own mind, to discipline/quiet/purify their own mind, to deal with the consequences of their own ignorance, to become their own teacher, to free their own mind from ignorance, egoism and impurities via their own effort.

Meanwhile, ‘yoga teachers training courses’ are no longer about learning and practicing yoga to become one’s own teacher to be self-independent, to perform self-inquiry, to silent/annihilate the mind to attain self-realization, but the identity and qualification of a ‘yoga teacher’/recognition/authorization/certifications/association/commercial value/career value are the drive for conducting/participating yoga teachers training courses.

This is the world of yoga, and there’s nothing wrong or bad with it.

Many people think that they like and love yoga, but not really. When come to serious yoga practice, most people would turn away or justify that it is not yoga (the way that they think it should be.) And there’s nothing wrong, as all minds take their own pace and own path to evolve and realize.

In the silent meditation retreat that doesn’t charge any fees (donate as you like, or even nothing), quite many people would want to runaway or quit after a few days observing silence, for not being able to talk to other people, can’t have physical/eye contact with other people, not able to express as they like, can’t do what they usually like to do, can’t eat what they usually like to eat, no stimulating entertainment for the mind, sleeping on hard bed in basic accommodation, and they have to sit for meditation for more than 10 hours a day, while lots of physical/mental/emotional discomforts arise and random thoughts bubbling up to the surface of the mind. Some people would stay until the retreat finishes, but they don’t really observe silence throughout the entire retreat, such like they are still talking/whispering/making signs/interacting with their friends and keeping their phones with them, even though it’s not allowed. But, there’s nothing wrong with that either, as it’s how most worldly minds would behave, out of loneliness, boredom and meaninglessness derived from being refrained from their usual worldly stimulation/activities.

Most minds would ‘cheat’ to be comfortable and not to be uncomfortable. It’s not about what’s right and what’s wrong. And it’s not about how good is one’s yoga practice and meditation experience, but it’s the ability to confront/deal with all the things that the mind doesn’t familiar with, doesn’t like and doesn’t agree with, while not coming in contact with the things that the mind familiars with, likes and agrees with, being free from craving and aversion, be able to forbear difficulties and unpleasantness equanimously, and free the mind from restlessness/impurities out of ignorance and egoism, that matters most.

The mind won’t evolve/progress and keeps running round and round in the loop of worldly ideas/thinking/belief, if it keeps swaying in between craving and aversion, running away from difficulties and unpleasantness and what it doesn’t like (the mind perception of the qualities of bad, negative, wrong, meaninglessness and unhappiness,) and chasing after what it likes and desires (the mind perception of the qualities of good, positive, right, meaningfulness and happiness,) even after many years of attending ‘yoga classes’ and ‘yoga retreats’ or doing yoga asana and breathing exercises regularly, or possessed many ‘yoga certifications’ and given ‘yoga classes’ to many people.

Be free.

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Not the kind of yoga retreat that most people expect it to be

We have been running yoga retreats in Langkawi for the past nine years. The retreat evolves over the years as we learn, as well as it changes to adapt the different condition and situation according to the circumstances that exist from time to time which are not in our control.

The main objective of running the retreats here is to allow those who truly want to learn and practice yoga to come here for a few days up to a few weeks to learn and practice yoga and meditation as much as possible, so that they can take away the basic understanding and direct experience of the teachings and practice of yoga, which allowing them to practice yoga and meditation practically and independently when they go home back into their everyday life, wherever they live, under any conditions or situations.

We don’t have intention to create an ‘out of the world’ place with holiday resort environment to pamper the guests with hotel customer service and resort facilities or pleasurable enjoyment and indulgence for the senses, to empower or gratify the egoistic desire of craving and aversion of the mind, to make the minds feel pampered, deserving, satisfied, good and happy momentarily by giving the mind maximum pleasurable enjoyments that it likes and wants.

We do our best to provide a simple, clean and tidy place for performing the yoga and meditation practice, and give maximum guidance to the people who sincerely want to learn and practice yoga and meditation to know what is going on in one’s mind, to transcend suffering, to free the mind from the cause of suffering – ignorance, egoism and impurities.

Non-commercial yoga and meditation practice is not what most people expect it to be. Most of the time, it’s not necessarily comfortable or fun. Instead, there is a lot of persevered ongoing hard work and the purification process is quite challenging for many, that many people would give up easily if they don’t have the basic correct understanding of the teachings of yoga and lack of determination, patience and forbearance to endure or withstand difficulties or discomforts that arise during the purification process to eliminate egoism and impurities, to transcend the mind perception of an impermanent and selfless worldly life existence of names and forms.

Most people would think and imagine, or expect and desire ‘yoga practice’ and ‘yoga retreat’ as one kind of pleasurable leisure health and fitness activity and enjoyment, to momentary unwind from stress, exhaustion and burnout, or to escape worldly everyday life and environment that is not necessarily the way that they like it to be, and hence, many of those who provide or conduct ‘yoga classes’ or ‘yoga retreats’ also make use of the trend/demand of ‘yoga classes’ and ‘yoga retreats’ to provide ‘yoga classes’ and ‘yoga retreats’ that are being marketed as a ‘pleasurable leisure health and fitness activity and enjoyment in an out of the world environment’ to meet up with the expectation and desire of many people.

Those who expect ‘yoga retreats’ that provide ‘pleasurable leisure health and fitness activity and enjoyment’ in an ‘out of the world’ holiday resort environment with all kinds of convenient service and facilities other than the basic facilities, and expecting to be receiving hotel customer service and indulging in pleasurable enjoyment and indulgence of the senses will be very disappointed when they attend the retreats here. This is definitely not the kind of ‘yoga retreat’ that they expect/desire it to be.

People who attend the retreats here need to ‘work’ on purifying one’s mind, letting go egoism, and to ‘endure’ any challenging discomfortable or undesirable condition or situation that may or may not arise, that is not necessarily the way that they like it to be. In the end, the mind realized that all the disturbance arise in the mind perceiving all kinds of challenging condition and situation is due to the reaction of craving and aversion in the mind itself, it’s nothing to do with the condition and situation being what it is. “I don’t agree with this. I don’t like this. I don’t want this.”

Only those who sincerely want to learn and practice yoga and meditation to know one’s mind, to transcend the mind perception of names and forms will ‘appreciate’ this kind of retreat that guides the mind to go beyond the gratification of the desire of craving and aversion of “only want to enjoy pleasurable indulgence of the senses as much as possible and don’t want to have any difficulties or discomforts”, but ‘working’ diligently to render the mind calm and quiet to allow the mind to see the ignorance, egoism and impurities in one’s mind, while living in the world as we are, dealing with everyday live conditions and situations that are not necessarily the way that we like it to be, that is not in our intention or control of how we like it to be.

We don’t expect everyone would appreciate this kind of yoga retreat or yoga practice. It’s everyone’s freedom for what they want to do with their life, body and mind, or how they perceive yoga and yoga practice.

This life is impermanent and it’s closer to death every moment. This is the truth of all living beings. Death is not something negative, bad, sad, sorrowful, inauspicious, fearful, or horrible, it doesn’t matter what is the scientific cause of death, or how and when it happens. Whether some die without much prolonged physical/mental painful suffering, while some die after much prolonged physical/mental painful suffering, it’s still death, neither good death nor bad death. The only difference is whether the mind is able to let go in peace, or not, confronting the process or moments of death.

Be happy.