Letting go and let it be, it’s okay

Human beings might be having the opportunity and financial ability to enjoy a higher standard of living with all kinds of education, entertainment, gadget, equipment, comfort, convenience and enjoyment for the senses while living in the modern society of higher technology and creativity, but it doesn’t determine that the minds are free from restlessness/disturbs and other impurities deriving from ignorance and egoism, where there’s so much tension in the minds resulting in losing the ability to think clearly and act properly, affecting the interactions with others in the daily affairs that human beings have to deal with, may it be in relationships or at work, during the process to achieve whatever they want to achieve in life and the world, with great expectation/aspiration towards life and the world to be in certain way that they desire and not to be in certain way that they don’t desire.

It has to come from the mind itself to realize the urgency to be looking after itself before it’s too late, to learn how to let go and let it be, that it’s okay, when things in life are not being the way that the mind would like them to be, even after oneself had tried the best and very hard to achieve a life and a world that one thinks and believes how it should be.

What’s the point of all kinds of opportunity, education, aspiration and effort, but losing the clarity and sanity of the mind while trying to achieve a life and a world that one’s thinking and belief categorized as good, righteous, positive, successful and meaningful life/living/way of life, as the mind couldn’t let go, or let things being what they are, not necessarily pleasant/desirable/agreeable in the way that the mind would like it to be, where the mind is being over-powered by the desire of craving and aversion and great expectation, and drowning itself in frustration, disappointment, dissatisfaction, anger, hatred, hurt, fear and worry?

Just do one’s best, but also be able to let go and let it be, being free from attachment, identification, craving and aversion, and expectation.

The so called ‘negative/bad/wrong/unpleasant/undesirable/disagreeable’ things in life or the world don’t hurt the mind or what the mind thinks and believes as ‘I’, but it’s the egoistic attachment, identification, craving and aversion and expectation in the mind that is hurting the mind.

It’s everyone’s freedom whether they want to let go, to maintain the clarity and sanity of the thinking mind, or not.

Approaching a teacher asking to be accepted as student of yoga

Traditionally, when someone is interested in finding a teacher to learn, study and practice yoga and meditation under the guidance of this person (the teacher), one needs to approach the teacher humbly asking to be accepted as a student of yoga under this teacher, serving the teacher without asking/expecting “What am I getting from learning yoga under you?” or “What can you (the teacher) give me in return for offering fees/donations to you to be learning and practicing yoga from you and serving you?”

The teacher will then observe and test this person to see whether this person is fit to be a student of yoga. Once the person is accepted to be a student of yoga, this person will live closely to the teacher for many years, where in the first few years are merely doing some random ‘work/service’ in daily life, such like housekeeping/cooking/gardening/cleaning/washing serving the teacher (very important/efficient initial purification to eliminate worldly habits of egoism and impurities) before being initiated into the practice. There’s high degree of segregation/non-physical contact among the teacher and the student. It’s not like nowadays, most people are looking forward to be touching and hugging as the way to show friendliness, love and care.

The teacher doesn’t advertise/boast about “I am a certified/qualified/experienced/internationally recognized/affiliated yoga teacher” and “What kind of benefits/certification/qualification/result/achievement you will get if you attend my classes/courses learning yoga from me.” but instead, “It’s a hard-work. There will be lots of unpleasantness/pain and hardships/obstacles that you need to deal with by yourself. You have to walk the path alone by yourself. You need to be determined, persevered and vigilant to discipline your own mind until you attain self-realization.” And the students of yoga will be determined to finish their learning under the teacher no matter how much difficulties and obstacles arise during the physical/mental/emotional purification process, while developing discipline and independence in their own practice, as one day, they will have to leave the teacher, or the teacher will leave.

It’s not about to be ‘qualified’ as ‘yoga teachers/masters’, be ‘affiliated’ with ‘yoga alliance’ to be ‘conducting yoga classes’ to teach ‘yoga classes’ or ‘conducting yoga courses’ to be ‘training yoga teachers to teach yoga or conduct yoga classes/yoga courses to other people’. As a ‘yogi’ who knows yoga doesn’t need to be ‘trained’ to be ‘qualified’ to be ‘certified yoga teacher’ and ‘affiliated with’ such and such ‘yoga organization/alliance’ to be ‘recognized/authorized’ to teach yoga to anyone. It’s neither about ‘correct/proper physical alignments’, ‘teaching techniques’, ‘effects/benefits of the yoga practice’, ‘healing’, ‘connecting’, ‘sharing’, ‘hugging’ and ‘touching’.

Nowadays, this tradition is no longer be seen/practiced/appreciated. One of the reason would be the existence of ‘sincere teacher of yoga’ and ‘sincere student of yoga’ is very rare now.

In this modern commercialized world of ‘higher education and higher quality of life with worldly social values and practice’, the ‘yoga teachers’ have to ‘advertise’ or ‘boast’ about their ‘certification/qualification/recognition/affiliation/experiences/achievements’ and ‘to be presenting’ something ‘unique, enjoyable, innovative and attractive’ to attract people to be interested to come to attend the ‘yoga classes’ or ‘yoga courses’ conducted by them, while gratifying the people’s desire of craving and aversion, by giving them what they want/like and don’t give them what they don’t want/like, to make them feel treasured, appreciated, valued, pampered, satisfied and empowered. Both the teacher and the students also want to develop and maintain an inter-dependent ‘connection/relationship’ where the students ceaselessly need to receive attention, love, care, support, acknowledgement, advice or feedback from the teacher, while the teacher wants to ‘be close’ to the students, ‘be there’ for the students, ‘be connecting’ with the students, or ‘be loved/needed/glorified/supported/respected’ by the students.

Because most egoistic impure minds are being conditioned deeply by the worldly thinking behavior pattern, almost all of the ‘yoga enthusiasts’ or the ‘prospect/potential students/clients’ of the ‘yoga school/yoga studio/yoga centre’ will have some kind of ‘request’ or ‘expectation’ towards the ‘yoga school’, ‘yoga studio’, ‘yoga center’, ‘yoga classes’, ‘yoga courses’ or ‘yoga teachers’ to meet up their ‘requests’ and ‘expectation’ in terms of the ‘quality’ of the ‘professional profile/image’, ‘qualification’, ‘certification’, ‘recognition’, ‘affiliation’, ‘organization’, ‘experience’, ‘achievement’, or ‘result orientation’, and above all, “How much and what do I get from paying this amount of ‘fees’/’donation’ to the ‘yoga school’/’yoga studio’/’yoga centre’/’yoga teacher’ for attending the ‘yoga classes’/’yoga courses’.”

Many of the untrained worldly egoistic impure minds will have doubt/insecurity towards their own ‘determination’ being determined by whether they will like/enjoy ‘the teacher’s over-all presentation/image/charm/professionalism/credibility/teaching style’ or ‘the classes’ or ‘the practice’, or not, where they are unsure/unwilling to pay fees in advance which might be ‘non-refundable’ if they want to ‘give up’ when they experience discomfort or difficulty, or when they ‘don’t like/enjoy’ the ‘teacher/classes/practice’, while the truth of the purification process deriving from performing ‘serious/intense/persevered yoga and meditation practice to eliminate ignorance/egoism/impurities/restlessness’ is inevitably ‘unpleasant’ and ‘painful’ physically/mentally/emotionally for all egoistic impure minds. Even before the students come to the ‘yoga school/yoga studio/yoga centre’ to begin learning and practicing yoga under the teacher, the test/obstacle derived from the purification process already started. All kinds of obstacles manifest in the form of physical/mental/emotional discomfort and doubt.

Unfortunately, there are quite many stories of ‘impure yoga teachers’ existing in the world ‘taking advantage’ of the attention/love seeking ‘yoga students’, where people looking forward to be ‘touched’, creating many forms of ‘corruption’, and then there are ‘impure yoga students’ who didn’t get what they like and want from the teachers and they criticized and bitched about the teachers with the intention to hurt/damage the teacher’s reputation, that makes it even harder and more challenging for ‘yoga enthusiasts’ to ‘surrender’ all doubts/insecurity, to be opened to approach a teacher to ask to be accepted as ‘student of yoga’ and to ‘serve’ the teacher without attachment, identification and expectation, to be effectively purifying and eliminating egoism and impurities, to free the mind from restlessness and the veil of ignorance.

There’s neither right nor wrong, neither good nor bad. It’s just how things are in this world.

Anyway, ‘sincere teachers of yoga’ and ‘sincere students of yoga’ will meet each other in due time and due cause. There’s no ‘attachment’, ‘identification’ or ‘expectation’ towards each other. The students/practitioners ‘serve’ the teacher humbly for years, surrendering the ego and worldly passionate desire/ambition/thinking/belief/social behavior pattern, and developing self-discipline. After learning/receiving the teachings from the teachers, the students retreat into seclusion and solitude, working diligently and independently towards purifying and silencing the modification of the mind, to perform self-inquiry upon the truth of everything, to attain self-realization and total annihilation of the mind or the mind perception of an impermanent and selfless worldly life existence of countless ‘births’ and ‘deaths’ of names and forms (thoughts/feelings/emotions/relationships) arising and passing away, of ignorance, egoism, impurities, restlessness and suffering.

“You are left alone now.” – Swami Sivananda

The yoga class

Teaching yoga or practicing yoga is nothing to do with money, ‘fees’, or ‘donation’. No one can sell or buy yoga, or peace, or compassion, or wisdom, or liberation from suffering with any amount of money, or ‘fees’, or ‘donation’.

Meanwhile, running ‘yoga classes’ or ‘yoga courses’ that involve a lot of expenses/maintenance/labour/management/coordination requires money in the form of ‘fees’ or ‘donation’ for it to be happening. It doesn’t necessarily mean that if the money received is in the form of ‘donation’, it means ‘non-commercialized yoga’ or ‘authentic yoga’, or if the money received is in the form of ‘fees’, it means ‘commercialized yoga’ or ‘inauthentic yoga’. Such a simple understanding, but due to ignorance, many minds/people do not understand this.

Yoga classes/courses based on ‘donation’ without requesting a specific fees are not necessarily pure and authentic, or it’s being free from any form of ‘corruptions’. While yoga classes/courses required specific amount of fees are not necessarily impure, inauthentic, or corrupted.

People would perceive ‘yoga classes’ based on ‘donation’ or ‘small amount of fees’ that they think is ‘appropriate’ or ‘acceptable’ as ‘authentic yoga’ conducted by ‘compassionate’ yoga teachers, while ‘yoga classes’ required ‘certain amount of fees’ that they think is ‘inappropriate’ or ‘unacceptable’ as ‘inauthentic yoga’ conducted by ‘money minded’ yoga teachers.

Yoga students come to the yoga teacher to study yoga and seek guidance from the teacher and they give some fees/money to the teacher to support the teacher’s living is nothing to do with ‘commercial’ or ‘inauthenticity’. It’s like grown up working children give their parents some money regularly to support their parents’ living, there’s nothing wrong and nothing commercial. It’s a form of love, kindness, generosity, sharing, gratitude and gratefulness, even though the parents bring up the children out of love, without expecting anything in return. If the children grown up and are working, but only want to keep all that they earn for themselves, for they own living enjoyments and social expenses, and they refuse to support their own parents’ living, or those who are grown up but are lazy to work or spent all their earned money on non-essential things and enjoyments, couldn’t support their own living and need to depend on other people’s charity for living, not to say to support their parents’ living, then that is something ‘absurd’.

Many people who only want to pay very little ‘fees’ to attend ‘yoga classes’ or who prefer to attend ‘free yoga classes based on donation’ would think and expect that ‘yoga teachers’ should all be beggars to beg for donation, food, clothing and shelter on the street while giving ‘yoga classes’ for free or on donation basis. This type of ‘yoga classes’ is most probably unwittingly empowering ‘ignorance’ and supporting ‘corruption’, supporting people who would spend money generously on their personal worldly indulgence/enjoyment/social life activities, but would think and believe that it’s ‘wrong’ or ‘inappropriate’ to pay certain amount of fees to attend ‘yoga classes’ or ‘yoga courses’.

There are some people who already have a good financial support for their living, where they don’t need to depend on receiving any ‘fees’ or ‘donation’ from teaching or running ‘yoga classes’ as a form of charity coming from them to other people. That’s very good, but not many people are having such financial-free living condition. Many people need to somehow ‘make a living’ to support themselves and also maybe some other people under their care. If the basic living necessity is not available, people need to be spending time and energy to ‘make a living’ in order to ‘survive’, not to say to have the spare money, time and energy to ‘organize’ charity yoga classes for people who want to enjoy cheap or free yoga classes.

Meanwhile, there are those who think and believe that they are ‘highly spiritual beings’, would perceive receiving ‘money’ in the form of ‘fees’ for conducting ‘yoga classes’ or ‘yoga courses’ as a form of ‘evilness’, ‘wrongfulness’, ‘impurity’, ‘corruption’, ‘greed’, ‘down fall’, or ‘non-spiritual’, that ‘yoga classes’ or ‘spiritual activities’ shouldn’t be ‘tainted’ by ‘money’ or ‘fees’. They don’t mind receiving ‘donations’ from anyone, but they don’t want to get involved in ‘money matters’ personally. They don’t want to be physically touching any money or keeping any money under their names, or keeping any money close to their body or their ‘spiritual practice space’, but they need some other people who look after them to handle the money in the form of ‘donation’ that support their living and all kind of expenses.

Many good people who try to be good and do good and work very hard to make an honest living in this world are not exempted from the suffering of poverty or hunger/thirst and exploitation by others. People want to enjoy cheap goods, enjoyments, conveniences and services, and that’s how all kinds of exploitation started in this world of commercialism.

People who are busy in life need the existence of the convenience and service of shops/eateries, which rely on the people who devote their time, effort, attention and money into running shops/eateries to provide the convenience and service to the people while taking the risk of running business. The existence of shops/eateries also need to depend on other people who work or run business that provide everything from farming and harvesting to transportation and providing all kinds of shop, kitchen and dining equipment, that allow the shops to put goods on their shelves for people to buy and allow the eateries to put meals on the table for the people to consume. Even though it’s a business or work involved with money transactions, but still it’s a form of ‘convenience and service’ that benefits many people. If nobody interested in taking the risk of running a business and devoting their time, energy and money into starting a shop/eatery, or if nobody is involving in farming/harvesting/transportation/providing shop, kitchen and dining equipment, or food production is not available due to any natural/technical cause, people won’t be able to enjoy such convenience and service. It doesn’t mean that any form of ‘business’ involved with money transaction is ‘non-giving to the society’ or ‘non-compassionate’.

Compassionate actions are not necessarily have to be free from any involvement with ‘money’. Even when there are some good and kind people want to help other unfortunate people in this world, they also need to gather money in the form of donation/contribution/funding from somewhere in order to help other people. Selfless actions are also not necessarily have to be free from the involvement of ‘money’, it’s about non-attachment and non-identification towards one’s actions and the fruit of the actions. It doesn’t mean that when people are working and getting some monthly salary for living, or people who run business and getting some yearly profits for living, that their action of contributing their time, energy, attention, knowledge, skill or talent into their work or business is nothing to do with ‘selfless service’. If everyone doesn’t work or run any business, this society that builds on social economy that provides all kind of conveniences and services will collapse.

Any kinds of work, or duty and responsibility towards oneself and others, or business, can turn into a form of selfless service even when there are involvement of ‘money’, if people know what is performing actions without egoism. Volunteering work doesn’t necessarily means ‘selfless service’ when it’s done with attachment and identification. Non-expectation also doesn’t mean that ‘not receiving anything in return’. As all actions will bring the fruit of actions as it is, whether people have expectation, or not. Those who are free from expectation, they allow the fruit of actions to be what it is, it’s not about ‘I don’t want any fruit of actions after I performed actions’. That is ignorant understanding influenced by egoism of ‘I want to give without getting anything in return as it’s not selfless service anymore if I am getting something in return’.

People don’t really need to attend any ‘yoga classes’, or ‘yoga courses’, or ‘yoga retreats’ to be learning and practicing yoga, or to be peaceful, compassionate, wise, forgiving and be able to let go what the world categorize as ‘bad’, ‘wrong’, or ‘hurtful’. People can be attending many yoga classes and yoga courses regularly for many years, or teaching yoga for a long time, but still, the mind is not free from ignorance, egoism, impurities and restlessness, still being determined by worldly idea, thinking, belief and practice, and are under the influence of the desire of craving and aversion towards dualities and qualities of names and forms very much, as the mind still couldn’t go beyond the mind perception of the duality of ‘good and bad’, ‘right and wrong’, ‘positive and negative’ and ‘happiness and unhappiness, and hence, unwittingly chasing after what the mind categorizes as ‘goodness’, ‘rightfulness’, ‘positiveness’ and ‘happiness’, while rejecting what the mind categorizes as ‘badness’, ‘wrongfulness’, negativeness’ and ‘unhappiness’. The mind couldn’t see things as they are, or allow everything to be what they are, as they are. That’s nothing wrong, as the mind misunderstood the teaching of yoga about ‘positive thinking’. Many yoga enthusiasts, including ‘yoga teachers’, think and believe that it’s about influencing/making/changing everything to become ‘positive’ or ‘good’. But actually it’s merely about when the mind is over-powered by ‘negative thinking’, then the mind can cultivate positive thinking to counter negative thinking, and when the mind is free from negative thinking, there’s no need of positive thinking, as everything is just what they are, neither positive nor negative, neither good nor bad.

Although there’s nothing wrong with sincerely looking for a teacher to learn and practice yoga, to seek guidance of how to free the mind from ignorance and its by-products of egoism, impurities and restlessness – the root cause of suffering.

It’s everyone’s freedom for what they want to think, believe, behave, act and react.

Contemplate on this, and be free.

Cause and effect – Consequences of actions

There’s neither right nor wrong, neither good nor bad, neither positive nor negative, it’s just the law of cause and effect – different consequences of different actions.

The consequences of actions might be pleasant/desirable/agreeable or unpleasant/undesirable/disagreeable.

The different actions and the different consequences of the different actions are just what they are, neither right nor wrong, neither good nor bad, neither positive nor negative.

Something that the mind likes and agrees with, are being judged/categorized as ‘right’, ‘good’ and ‘positive’, while something that the mind dislikes and disagrees with, are being judged/categorized as ‘wrong’, ‘bad’ and ‘negative’ by the mind under the influence of ignorance and egoism.

All these judgments are not the truth of things.

Free the mind from the influence of ignorance and egoism, to see the truth of things as it is, is the yoga and meditation practice. Upon seeing the truth, being free from ignorance and egoism, the mind is undisturbed by all the names and forms that the mind perceives through the senses. There’s no problems, dissatisfaction, hurts, unhappiness, sorrow, fear, or suffering.

All the other effects/benefits of the yoga practice are just the by-products which are also impermanent and selfless. By receiving all the impermanent effects/benefits of the yoga practice and coming in contact with/reading/hearing/studying/memorizing the teachings of yoga, or being highly intelligent/educated/accumulating vast knowledge of everything, doesn’t guarantee that the mind will be free, if the mind cannot go beyond the limited worldly thinking and belief in the mind that influence how the mind perceives/reacts/judges/expects towards all the names and forms that the mind perceives through the senses, where the mind is unwittingly drowning in the state of restlessness/greed/ambitiousness/dissatisfaction/disappointment/hurts/unhappiness/sorrow/hostility/fear/suffering.

There’s nothing wrong when the mind thinks and feels angry/hurt/sad/dissatisfied/unhappy when the mind perceives/experiences something that the mind thinks and believes as ‘wrong’, ‘bad’ and ‘negative’. Just that this mind is not free. There’s no peace.

The mind will not be free from being disturbed by the mind perception of names and forms/what the mind comes in contact with/experiences, until the mind is free from ignorance and egoism, and sees the truth as it is.

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.

Good life?

Despite a small group of people in the world of ignorance, greed and selfishness who would wish for bad condition and situation in the world so that they can make profits/benefits out of the bad condition and situation of the world and other people’s suffering, painful sorrow, difficulties and hardships, most people would appreciate and be grateful and wish for good life, good condition and situation, good relationships and enjoyments for everyone.

There’s nothing wrong with joy and happiness, good life, good condition and situation, good relationships and enjoyments, just that it can easily become one of the great hindrances for those who are on the path of yoga to progress towards the highest aim of yoga of transcending the mind and the yearning for liberation is no longer the highest motivation for performing the yoga practice and would eventually disappear from the mind completely, unwittingly, where performing yoga practice is only one of the healthy leisure activities in life.

“Oh, what a wonderful life and beautiful world we have here. Good family, good friends, good condition, good activities and plenty of good enjoyments. We should just enjoy all the good things that we have as much as we can. We should make use of the opportunity of good life, good condition and situation to do so many things in this world. Why bother about all those unpleasant yoga practice about silencing/transcending the mind of letting go this beautiful wonderful happy world?”

Everything is impermanent. Because of the impermanent nature of everything, we should appreciate the precious moments of good life, good condition and situation, good relationships and enjoyments even though knowing that it’s impermanent, that it will change and pass away. And this statement is not something negative, or depressing, or bitter at all. It’s the truth of everything.

If people realize the fleeting impermanence of everything, it could inspire them to work diligently towards transcending the mind perception of worldly life existence even though they are enjoying good life, good condition and situation, good relationship and enjoyments that they know all are impermanent. If there’s no attachment towards all the impermanent good enjoyments and happy joyful moments, it’s fine. There’s no suffering when impermanence strikes. But, when there is attachment and suffering arise, how many people would cry, “OH! Dear God/Guru/anyone, help me please! Save me please! Take away all these suffering from me. I don’t want them. Please bring back the joy and happiness to me!”

Suffering, painful sorrow, bad condition and situation, disappointment, bad relationships, difficulties and hardships are not something negative, depressing or bitter at all, it’s indeed the great motivation/inspiration for people to let go the world (regardless good or bad condition/happy or unhappy experiences), to be determined to perform yoga practice to transcend the mind perception of an impermanent selfless worldly life existence of names and forms, and be free from the suffering of restlessness swaying in between satisfaction and dissatisfaction, happiness and unhappiness, due to endless desires of craving and aversion waiting to be gratified under the influence of ignorance, egoism and impurities.

“The world is unreal.” – The teachings of yoga.

This is not about shunning/condemning/pushing away/denying good life, good condition and situation, good relationships, activities and enjoyments, but to remind ourselves not to be drowned in impermanent pleasurable good condition, activity and enjoyment until we forgo the highest aim of yoga. Though it’s everyone’s freedom for what they want to do with their life, body and mind.

Be free.

In the end, it’s what matters most to oneself

For some people, to be able to contribute to humanity, to help and serve other beings selflessly is what matters most.

For some people, to be able to think and move freely, to go everywhere freely is what matters most.

For some people, to have peace and harmony is what matters most.

For some people, to have joy and happiness is what matters most.

For some people, to be able to love and be loved is what matters most.

For some people, to have good health is what matters most.

For some people, to have a shelter from harsh weather and be free from hunger and thirst is what matters most.

For some people, to have a complete and happy family is what matters most.

For some people, to have a successful career that support a stable income and comfortable living is what matters most.

For some people, to have one or many good friends to support each other is what matters most.

For some people, to be able to achieve all their ambitions, to do whatever they like to do and enjoy whatever they want to enjoy is what matters most.

For some people, to accumulate wealth and power is what matters most.

For some people, they want to have all and everything, if possible.

For some people they don’t know what they want or what matters most.

For some people, they thought they know what they want and what matters most, but not really.

There’s neither right nor wrong, it’s just about what matter to oneself in the end.

For those who practice yoga and meditation, to live in the present being free from desires of craving and aversion, to free the mind from ignorance and egoism and the suffering of the consequences of ignorance and egoism, is what matters most.

For many people, “If people don’t kill themselves out of tiredness, restlessness, unhappiness, depression, dissatisfaction, disappointment, loneliness, boredom, hurts, guilt, regret, painful sorrow and meaninglessness, and be grateful for being alive and appreciating life, family and friends, be positive keep on fighting for the values of life or what they think is ‘humanity’, try to create or contribute to a ‘better world’, and be optimistic never give up searching for happiness, satisfaction and meaningfulness through engaging in ‘constructive’ ideas/objects/relationships/friendships/activities in this impermanent worldly life existence, it’s good enough for existing as a ‘human being’.”

There’s nothing wrong with passionate worldly desires/ambitions/relationships/activities, as it’s what most people think and believe what (lively and meaningful) life existence is about. In the end, it’s what matters most to oneself.

Meanwhile, for those who sincerely want to practice yoga and realize yoga, silencing/annihilating the mind to attain Self-realization to know the truth of the mind/thyself/what the mind thinks is ‘I’, or liberation from ignorance/suffering, is what matters most.

Stop feeding worldly passionate thinking/beliefs/ideas/objects/ambitions/social interactions/activities/relationships/desires to the mind, to annihilate the idea of ‘I’ existing in a selfless worldly life existence of the objects of the senses of impermanent names and forms, is the essence of the traditional yoga practice. For many people, including yoga practitioners and yoga teachers, would perceive this kind of yoga practice of dispassionate/disinterest towards ‘worldly life of ambitions, enjoyments, relationships, interactions and activities’, and renouncing ‘worldly social affair and family life’ as ‘lifelessness’ or ‘meaninglessness’, and they would not like to practice ‘this kind’ of yoga.

One can think and believe that one has been practicing many different types of yoga practice for some time or a long time, and receiving the many benefits of the regular and persist ‘yoga practice’, but at the same time, the mind is still very much engaging/entangling in the passionate worldly life of worldly affairs/objects/activities/thinking/beliefs/ideas/ambitions/relationships/desires under the influence of egoism of attachment and identification towards certain qualities of names and forms, then this mind is not free, even though one might feel good, happy and satisfied with having certain desirable achievements and relationships in the present, upon coming in contact with the qualities of names and forms that the mind likes and desires, and not coming in contact with the qualities of names and forms that the mind doesn’t like and doesn’t desire.

Some yoga practitioners would think and believe that they are quite ‘dispassionate’ and ‘being unattached’ towards all the worldly affairs/contacts/objects/ideas/relationships/activities/interactions while they are living/mingling among the society/community and actively engaging in ‘what/how all ‘good, normal and healthy’ human beings do in everyday life.’

If one wants to know the truth of one’s mind, one can practice serious solitude and seclusion for at least 5 to 6 years, being away from all kinds of worldly affairs/contacts/ideas/objects/activities/relationships/interactions, and one will see the truth of this mind. Fear, doubt, loneliness, emptiness, boredom and meaninglessness kick in and most minds will want to run away from the practice of solitude and seclusion after a prolonged period of time due to the under current of ignorance and subtle attachment and identification towards worldly life of names and forms. They will tell themselves and others that it’s not necessary to practice solitude and seclusion as part of the yoga practice, and it’s better and more meaningful to practice yoga of living a ‘good, normal and healthy’ everyday life just like all the other ‘normal’ human beings, building relationships and accumulating friendships, enjoying and engaging in worldly interactions and activities, mingling into the society to ‘serve other beings’, do some work to make a living, do some yoga and breathing exercises, do some meditation practice, do some healthy recreation activities, go for holidays from time to time to unwind.

“Helping/sharing with others makes me happy, good family relationships and friendships makes me happy, being with family and good friends makes me happy, experiencing or doing this makes me happy. They give me the sense of meaningfulness in life existence.” What happens when all the ‘names and forms’ that make me happy and give me the sense of meaningfulness changed into something else and is no longer available?

Some people had the ability and opportunity to do all the things that they wanted to do, went and travel everywhere that they wanted to go, met with many other people and experienced many different cultures, obtained the vast knowledge of many things in this world, attained great success in their career and had a nice family and friends circle and wide social networks, being admired by many people in the world, had a comfortable lifestyle, but still, the mind was not free from suffering.

Be free.

Self-practice

Developing awareness and correct understanding along with self-discipline and determination, one doesn’t need to continuously attending yoga classes to be following the instructions of a yoga teacher/instructor to be performing the yoga practice, but out of own freewill and intense yearning for liberation, one retreats into seclusion and solitude to perform self-practice. One takes one’s natural pace to perform the practice at ease, without rushing or struggling or straining the body and mind beyond its limitation, and allowing the fruit of the practice to be there as it is.

Many people who attend yoga classes and those who provide yoga classes or other kind of yoga services, will look at or take consideration or give importance onto these factors –
– The qualifications/certifications/experience/background of the yoga teachers
– The professionalism and the ‘yogi’ look/appearance/image of the yoga teachers
– The atmosphere of the yoga practice space, such like the ‘spiritual/zen feel’, the decorations, the colour theme, the furniture, the fittings, the lighting, the plants, the sub-yoga products of ‘yoga attires’, ‘yoga mats’, ‘yoga accessories’ or ‘yoga health supplements’, the convenient facilities and other supplementary services, and/or other yoga family members of animals and pets.
– The surrounding environment of the yoga school or yoga studio, such like the scenery and the ‘quality’ of the neighbourhood.
– The degree of pleasantness of the enjoyment of the senses of sights, sounds, smells, tastes, sensations and imagination/visualization/stimulation, and so on.
– The money-worth element of the fees in comparison with the services or enjoyments provided, and the rewards/benefits/effectiveness/recognition/qualification that one would be getting from attending the yoga classes or performing the yoga practice.

Meanwhile, yoga and the yoga practice has nothing to do with all these names and forms. If the yoga teachers or the yoga classes providers don’t get this or don’t understand this, then they don’t know what yoga is. In the process of yoga practice of silencing the mind or meditation, the eyes are either closed or the mind is focusing/restraining within, and all the other senses are restrained/withdraw from the objects of the senses. What kind of scenery or environment or atmosphere is irrelevant to one’s practice. So as all the other factors.

Yoga is in the moment regardless of the mind perception of different qualities of names and forms, environment, experience, time and space. It is not confined in a particular quality of name and form, environment, experience, time and space. If one can only find oneself or peace or the truth in a particular yoga practice environment, experience, time and space, such like being in the nature of forest or mountain or seaside, and doing a particular yoga asana practice or nature activity, then one doesn’t know what yoga is even though one might feel good and peaceful and meaningful being in that particular environment, experience, time and space, and doing that particular yoga asana practice or activity. The truth/yoga is always there as it is, regardless one is doing a particular kind of yoga asana practice or physical/mental activity, or not, and being in what kind of environment, experience, time and space. Peace, compassion and the ability to forgive and let go what that the mind perceives as ‘wrong’, ‘bad’, ‘hurtful’, ‘painful’, or ‘sorrowful’, is nothing to do with the mind perception of different qualities of names and forms.

There’s nothing wrong and it’s very common that most people who attend yoga classes will expect the yoga teacher/instructor to be looking at them and their practice, to tell them to do this and don’t do that, to correct their postures, to help them to push/challenge themselves beyond the limitation of their body and mind to make the body become more fit/strong/flexible and be able to do more ‘challenging’ yoga asana poses, to give positive feedback about their practice, to give encouragements of praise and compliments to motivate them to be continuing their practice, to be interacting in some kind of social conversation, to be involving in some form of social community activities together. Just that they haven’t learn/realize what yoga really is about, even after many years of attending many hours of yoga classes regularly, and performing the yoga asana practice in perfect alignment and attaining better health condition, developing fitter, stronger and more flexible physical body, being able to perform many complicated yoga asana poses, and generating momentary good, positive and meaningful feelings in their minds due to the effect of the yoga practice.

All these names and forms are nothing but the modifications of the conditional thinking and belief and behavior of the worldly egoistic impure minds. Yoga practice is mainly to free the mind from all these conditional thinking, belief and behavior of the worldly egoistic impure mind modifications.

One only needs a simple clean space free from dust or insects/animals to be practicing external yoga practice of yoga asana and pranayama practice. If there’s no clean space available to be practicing yoga asana and pranayama practice, or if the weather doesn’t permit such practice (extreme weather condition), or the environment is not suitable for such external practice (causing inconvenience to other beings), then one doesn’t have to be practicing external yoga practice of yoga asana or pranayama practice, but it doesn’t stop one from the unconditional unlimited internal practice of maintaining a calm and quiet mind, allowing the perceived reality/experience/qualities of names and forms that is not necessarily the way that the mind likes it to be, as it is, and be able to forgive and let go something that the mind perceives as ‘wrong’, ‘bad’, ‘hurtful’, ‘painful’ or ‘sorrowful’, without craving or clinging towards ‘good’ condition or pleasantness, without aversion towards ‘bad’ condition or unpleasantness.

Contemplate on this and be free.

Before, during and after the yoga class

Attending yoga classes is what most people do when they think they want to learn and practice yoga.

Naturally, many people would also make use of the opportunity of joining yoga classes to be interacting or socializing with other people, to be making friendships or mixing into a ‘yoga community’, especially before and after the yoga class. People like to talk or have a conversation with other people getting to know each other, before and after the yoga class, and sometimes even during the yoga class, due to the restless outgoing passionate mind. Though there’s nothing wrong with that, just that it’s not what yoga practice is about.

Many people attend yoga classes are mainly for doing some yoga exercises to attain the goal of fitness training. Again, there’s nothing wrong with that, just that it’s not what yoga practice is about.

Silencing the mind or transcending the mind perception of worldly life existence of impermanent names and forms (which is the annihilation of the thinking mind under the influence of ignorance, egoism and impurities) is the main objective of performing all kinds of yoga practice, whether people like or agree with it, or not.

Getting to know about this mind or what is going on in this mind is the practice.

Restraining the outgoing mind to turn the mind inward for self-introspection is the practice.

Quieting the restless busy mind is the practice.

Withdraw the senses from the objects of the senses is the practice.

Reducing and restricting mind activities and imprints (inputs and outputs) is the practice.

Reducing and restricting social interactions, conversations and activities is the practice.

Purifying the mind to free the mind from impurities is the practice.

Eliminating egoism of attachment, identification, desire of craving and aversion, judgment, comparison and expectation is the practice.

Letting go worldly ideas, objects, thinking, belief and behavior is the practice.

Being dispassionate and disinterest towards worldly affairs, objects, ideas, activities, social interactions and relationships is the practice.

Going beyond the mind perception of names and forms of a worldly life existence that is impermanent and selfless (there’s no ‘I’ existing to be in control of all the impermanent changes) is the practice.

Transcending the idea of ‘I’ and all kinds of fear and worry that exist due to the idea of ‘I’ is the practice.

Contemplating upon what is real and unreal is the practice – All kinds of impermanent names and forms in this worldly life existence perceived under the function of the mind is unreal. When the mind is absence there’s no world. The nameless, formless, attributeless, changeless, beginningless, endless, birthless, deathless Brahman is real.

Before and during the yoga class, there might be some doubts in the minds of the yoga students, there might be some questions that they would like to ask the yoga teachers to get some answers to clear their doubts if possible.

During the yoga class, under the guidance of the teacher, everyone should be focusing on their own practice, being aware of and unattached towards the mind activities and reactions while performing the yoga practice according to the present condition of the body and the state of the mind, working diligently to quieting the restless outgoing passionate doubtful mind.

After the yoga class (Yoga practice that is about silencing the mind, freeing the mind from restlessness due to egoistic attachment, identification, craving, aversion, judgment, comparison and expectation), the minds that truly immersed into the practice will be in a momentary state of quietness, calmness and question-less, due to the effect of the practice of quieting the mind. They’ll find that there are no more questions in the mind (the mind is silent), and if there is still doubt existing in the mind (the mind is moving), they understood that the answers to all their questions must be coming from their own direct experience and self-realization, it’s not coming from asking other people (the teachers) to get some answers, as it won’t clear their doubts, because they will never know whether the answers coming from other people (the teachers) are true, or not.

Those who know this, will continue to evolve and transcend the egoistic impure thinking mind, regardless any amount of difficulties and obstacles that might arise during the practice, without the supervision or guidance of any external teachers (in human form), without judgment or expectation, leading the mind towards silence of the mind – pure consciousness.

Those who don’t know this, will be doing some forms of yoga exercises under the instructions of some other people (the teachers) regularly, but their minds might still be conditioned by worldly egoistic thinking, belief and behavior, being busy with the worldly affairs, objects, ideas, activities, social interactions and relationships, finding attention, love, support, acknowledgment, companionship, satisfaction, fulfillment and meaningfulness in this mind perception of a worldly life existence, while regularly attending the yoga classes, meeting up and mingling with other yoga enthusiasts/community, talking about the past, the present and the future, likes and dislikes, agreements and disagreements, intentions and expectations, aspirations and inspirations, inspiring and motivating each other, and planning outing, gathering and doing some social activities together. And that’s their freedom.

Be free.

Expectation from the yoga students towards the yoga teachers

“How come the teacher didn’t say anything about whether my execution is good or not, or whether I’m doing the postures and movements right, or not?”

In most of the “yoga classes” (yoga asana exercise classes), the teacher or the instructor will go around and adjusting the body of the students, correcting their poses and movements, and telling them whether they are good and whether they are doing it right, and constantly give encouragement to them to try harder, to do something that they don’t want to do, or are not comfortable doing, or what they think they can’t do. And of course, there’s nothing wrong with that.

In the yoga class of learning and practicing yoga to eliminate ignorance and egoism to free the mind from suffering, the teacher seldom or does not go around adjusting or correcting their physical positions or movements, or give them appraisement whether they are good, or not, whether they are doing it right, or not. Because how they look in the positions or how well they execute the movements are irrelevant towards the elimination of ignorance and egoism to free the mind from suffering.

Wisdom and compassion and the ability to let go and forgive, is nothing to do with making the body more strong and flexible to be able to perform many yoga asana poses beautifully or to mastering the skill to perform the yoga poses. It’s about putting the body in certain positions within the ability and comfort of the physical body and holding the positions comfortably as long as the body can stay in those positions comfortably without struggling, in order to bring the mind to be in the present to calm down and quieting the restless mind, to prepare the mind for meditation. And this is nothing to do with whether the yoga practitioner is performing the yoga poses in perfect alignment or not in the yoga asana practice.

Even when a person can perform all the yoga poses nicely in perfect alignment and executing all the movements correctly and gracefully also doesn’t guarantee that this person is or will be free from ignorance and egoism and impurities of anger, hatred, jealousy, pride, arrogance, greed, dissatisfaction, disappointment, agitation, depression, hurts, regret, guilt, craving, aversion, ill-will, ill-thinking, fear and worry, and so on, if this person doesn’t work on eliminating the egoism that feeds ignorance that gives rise to suffering and all sorts of disturbs and unhappiness.

The teacher who teaches yoga delivers the teachings and the guidelines for the practice to the students to perform their practice, and the teacher might or might not be observing their practice from time to time, but at the same time, without interference, judgement or expectation, allowing the students to experience the teachings while practice what they learn from the teacher about the teachings and the practice, disregards whether their understanding towards the teachings and the practice is perfect or imperfect, and whether they are following the guidelines accordingly, or not, but to inquire the truth of the teachings and the practice through their own direct experience, to develop understanding and awareness towards their own body and mind, to become the observer or the teacher towards their own mind, without attachment, identification, judgement, comparison and expectation.

The students learn to develop self-independence and self-discipline. They don’t need to depend on a ‘teacher’ to tell them whether they are doing their practice correctly, or not, as they should be able to have the basic awareness of whether they are practicing correctly, or not, by being aware of the consequences of the action of doing the poses and movements. For example, the teacher teaches the students who have never seen fire, “Fire can burn your skin and flesh and it might cause painful sensation and damages. And hence do not touch the fire.” and if the students still want to touch the fire, whether intentionally or unintentionally, and got burnt by the fire, that is not the teacher’s responsibility. The teacher cannot be there every seconds watching the students to make sure they don’t touch the fire so that they won’t hurt themselves. The students will have to learn from their own direct experience and be responsible for looking after their own well-being. Just like parents can give advice as much as they can to their children, but they cannot be there all the time to control their children how they should act or react or behave, making sure that they only do good and the right thing, and don’t do bad or the wrong thing.

Only the students themselves will know whether they are practicing yoga, or not. People can be doing yoga poses everyday for years, but they might not be practicing yoga at all, including yoga teachers. It’s not about looking at the teacher and trying to imitate the teacher or other people. The yoga practitioners learn how to perform all their actions, practice, duties, and responsibilities out of compassion, without egoism, being free from attachment, identification, judgement, comparison and expectation towards the actions, the practice, the duties and responsibilities, as well as the result or fruit of the actions, the practice, the duties and responsibilities.

If the students don’t feel comfortable while putting their body in a particular position or executing particular movements, they shouldn’t proceed further or force their body to continue to perform the position or movements that the body feels discomfortable or painful, whether it’s due the limitation of their body, or there’s mind blockage of fear and worry, or it’s due to incorrect understanding towards the practice. If it’s due to their incorrect understanding towards the practice, the teacher will redeliver the guidelines of the practice to them, without expecting them to be fully understanding the practice right away.

The students learn to be aware that all their experiences, whether it’s okay or not okay, are all impermanent. Through their own awareness and understanding, they learn how to make appropriate adjustment to put their body into the positions comfortably, or execute the movements in the way that suits their body most, without expecting a teacher constantly be there to make adjustments for them. Everyone has a different body with different condition and limitation. What is comfortable for some people might be very painful for other people. There’s no best way to execute the movements or the best perfect look of the positions or poses, it’s just what the body can do comfortably, in this present moment. And no body is aware of what is going on in one’s body and mind but oneself, not even the yoga teacher.

For those who have been doing yoga poses for many years, how they look and how they feel in the poses or movements could be different in every practice. It is the truth of impermanence and selflessness. One can’t even look and feel the same in one’s different sessions of practice, then why should one look and feel the same as any others or the teacher in particular in their respective practice?

So what if some people’s body are really inflexible and weak, and they don’t look like everyone else while performing the yoga poses or while executing certain movements? It doesn’t mean that they won’t be able to realize unconditional peace and love or to let go and forgive something that is hurtful. It’s really unimportant and irrelevant about the physical ability and limitation in the realization of selflessness, unconditional peace and love, and the ability to let go and forgive something that the mind perceives as bad, wrong, undeserving, hurtful, painful or disturbing.

A yoga teacher allows the yoga students to take their time to find their own way of putting their body comfortably in the poses without pushing or forcing their body beyond its limitation or disability in the present moment, or adjusting their body and mind by themselves to adapt and accommodate the practice, the poses or the movements with care and responsibility from themselves towards themselves.

What the students can do or cannot do, what the students want or don’t want to do, and how the students interpret and execute the teachings and practice or how they look in the positions or movements are the students’ freedom and responsibility. The yoga teacher is not here to control and judge every action of the yoga students. After learning the teachings and practice by coming in contact with the teachings from a teacher, it’s up to the yoga students to interpret and perform the teachings and practice in their own pace, in their own way, by experiencing and inquiring the truth of these teachings and practice.

The students should be learning how to be aware of their practice and understand the practice via direct experience, without attachment, identification, craving, aversion, judgement, comparison and expectation, and don’t depend on the teacher to look at their practice and constantly telling them about how good or bad is their practice. It’s not about how perfect do they look in the positions and how good they execute the movements, but it’s about via the positions and movements, they learn about what is going on in their minds, about the ignorance and egoism and the consequences of ignorance and egoism, about the suffering and the cause of suffering, about the impermanence and selflessness of the physical body and the activities of the mind of all the ceaseless thoughts, feelings, emotions, actions, reactions and impurities.

In order to perform the exercise safely so that the yoga practitioners won’t generate stress or injury onto the physical body has nothing to do with executing the yoga poses or movements in perfect alignment. It’s by understanding and listening to their own body, just do what their body can do comfortably in this present moment, in a relaxed manner, without forcing or pushing their body beyond its limitation, without trying to follow the standard of the perfect alignment, there’s no stress or risk of injury. In contrast, while trying to perform the positions or movements according to the perfect alignment that is beyond their physical limitation, to look exactly like other people or the teacher, building up tension from attachment, identification, craving, aversion, judgement, comparison and expectation, could generate unnecessary stress and injury to the body and mind while trying to perform the yoga poses perfectly according to the standard of perfect alignment. Putting the body in the perfect alignment also doesn’t guarantee that the mind is or will be free from ignorance, egoism and suffering. People who are physically fit, strong and flexible, and can perform many yoga poses skillfully in perfect alignment, are not necessarily be free from ignorance, egoism and suffering.

Be free.

People’s power?

People’s power is no doubt very powerful, of course. There’s no doubt that other than the greatest power of nature, it’s the people’s power that is so powerful and influential that it influences the condition or situation of the world, in a country, in a community, in a company, or in a family, through their thinking and behavior, making the world a better or worse place to be in. But what is influencing the people’s thinking and behavior is more powerful. And so, what happen if ignorance, egoism and impurities is the power that influencing many people in the world to think, behave, act and react?

Even those who think they are good people who want to be good, who do good actions and don’t do bad actions are not necessarily be free from the influence of ignorance and egoism and impurities. If the mind thinks and feels, “I am disturbed, disappointed, frustrated, threatened, depressed, angered or hurt by something that I think is bad, negative and wrong”, know that this is ignorance, though there’s nothing wrong with this reaction of thinking and feeling in such way reacting towards certain perceptions of names and forms that the mind believes as bad, negative and wrong. The power of ignorance is so great that the mind doesn’t even know it is under the influence of ignorance, thinking that it is wise or smart enough, or it is wiser or smarter than others. And the ego doesn’t like to hear or be pointed out that it is the product of ignorance, and would feel offended or humiliated or intimidated.

The wise won’t be disturbed nor determined by the ignorance of others of all sorts of ignorant thinking and behavior, or what the mind thinks and believes as bad, negative or wrong. If one will be disturbed and determined by the ignorance of others of their ignorant thinking and behavior, or what the mind thinks and believes as bad, negative and wrong, or be disturbed by the condition and situation of the world that is not how one would like it to be, then this mind is under the influence of ignorance.

One can choose not to be disturbed or determined by the ignorance of others of all sorts of ignorant thinking and behavior, or not.

The wise don’t have any intention to change the world. They allow everyone to be free from ignorance, or not, through everyone’s own interest and effort. If people are not interested in freeing their mind from ignorance, that’s their freedom.

Even the enlightened liberated beings can’t change the world or take away the ignorance in others or remove ignorance from the world. If not, the world is already be free from ignorant beings/thinking/behavior. One can only free one’s mind from ignorance through self-initiative, self-effort, self-discipline, self-inquiry and self-realization.

If there are people have the great ambition to be ‘superhero’ to change and save the world, that’s their freedom.

The YTTC or Yoga Teachers Training Courses is about being a platform for truth seekers who are interested in attaining liberation from ignorance and suffering to learn and practice yoga to become their own teacher to perform self-practice/Yoga Sadhana, to attain self-realization and independence, and when one is free from ignorance and suffering, the world will have less a being under the influence of ignorance. And one can share one’s self-realized knowledge of yoga with others, where yoga asana practice is one of the many practices to purify and quiet the mind to prepare the mind for meditation. But nowadays, many YTTC are not about developing serious self-practice or Yoga Sadhana to free oneself from ignorance and egoism, but, it’s mainly about to be equipped with some ‘teaching technical information’ for ‘teaching yoga (asana exercise) classes’ to most people who are not really interested in the elimination of egoism through the practice of silence, desireless, dispassion, self-discipline, self-inquiry and self-realization, but more interested in empowering egoism and gratifying their worldly passionate desires of craving and aversion especially towards enhancing physical health and fitness level, physical appearance and ability through performing the yoga asana exercises, while some others are interested towards developing mental psychic power for different reasons or intentions.

“I have been doing some yoga regularly for some time. Now, I want to learn and do more yoga. Can you teach me?”
“Really?”
“Yes! I am really interested to learn to do all the yoga poses that I am still not able to do. I also want to know what are the different muscles groups that we use in the different yoga poses and their specific benefits related to health and fitness. I hope to become a yoga teacher to teach yoga classes someday. I need to make my body healthier, fitter, stronger and more flexible so that I can do lots of the yoga poses to be qualified to join the yoga teacher training course. I also want to feel better about myself, because right now, I am not very happy with myself, my yoga practice, my physical appearance, my health and fitness level, my job, my life and my relationship. Many yoga teachers say yoga can gives us lots of benefits to improve health and fitness, and make us look good and feel good about ourselves, and become superhuman with superpower to do anything that we want to do with our body and mind. They say yoga can make our body stay young and strong, that we won’t get sick and we can defy aging. They say by doing yoga we can defy gravity and we can fly. And they say practice yoga can also have all our desires come true. I want a better life, a better body, a better relationship and a better job. I really want to learn and do yoga!”
“I can teach you yoga. But first, you will need to let go all these desires of what you want and don’t want.”
“This is not the yoga that I want to learn and do.”
“Be happy then.”

Loneliness?

Loneliness doesn’t exist in the minds that are free from ignorance and egoism, even when being by oneself alone, without engaging in any personal relationship or friendship or contact with anyone, or without engaging in any forms of mental or physical social interactions and activities, as there is no sense of separateness of time, space and causation in the minds that are selfless/compassionate. The minds are peaceful and contented as they are, being free from clinging onto the existing companionship, love and support from other beings, being free from craving towards the companionship, love and support from other beings that are non-existing in the present, being free from aversion towards the absence of companionship, love and support from other beings in the present, and being free from aversion towards losing the existing companionship, love and support from other beings.

The sense of loneliness and all the other forms of impurities such like separateness, restlessness, dissatisfaction, meaninglessness, emptiness, boredom and all sorts of fear will keep following the egoistic minds that are under the influence of ignorance and egoism, wherever they are and whatever condition they have, even when these minds are having a good life in a good living environment and a good condition of the physical body, and they are surrounded by many other beings, being engaged in different relationships and friendships with many other beings, and being busy with all sorts of worldly mental and physical social interactions and activities, as there are attachment of clinging, craving and aversion in the mind that give rise to the sense of loneliness and all other forms of impurities.

Realize selflessness and be free from ignorance and egoism, being unattached towards the life existence and function of the body and mind that are selfless and subject to impermanence, and being undetermined by any qualities of names and forms that the mind perceives through the senses that are also impermanent, and the mind will be free from loneliness and all other forms of impurities.

Otherwise, the mind ceaselessly looking for or relying on companionship, love and support from other beings to occupy itself with some forms of mental or physical social interactions and activities, to get rid of loneliness, dissatisfaction, boredom, emptiness, meaninglessness and so on. There’s nothing wrong with trying to get rid of loneliness by keeping the mind busy engaging with someone or something, but then the mind will be in a state of restlessness, which it will come to a point where the mind goes wild and couldn’t ‘unwind’ or ‘shut down’ naturally, and affecting the mental and physical health and relationships with everyone in long term. In serious cases, people might hurt themselves and/or others either out of loneliness or restlessness.

For those who are sincere in their yoga practice to ‘know thyself’, to be free from ‘suffering’, who might think that they have a ‘good’, ‘contented’, ‘positive’ and ‘happy’ mind, can try to live alone in solitude and seclusion being isolated from ‘the world’ for a prolong period of time, and one will find out the true state of the mind, or whether the mind is free, or not.

Be free.

The great impact of what the yoga teachers deliver to the people in the yoga classes

What the yoga teachers deliver to the people in the ‘yoga asana exercise classes’ generate a great impact on how the people understand about yoga, especially when they teach yoga asana exercise class as merely a fitness exercise class to attain some benefits for health and fitness to look good and feel good, in oppose to teaching yoga asana practice as one of the many yoga practice to discipline the ignorant, egoistic, impure, passionate and restless mind, to prepare the mind for meditation to attain self-realization.

There is a difference between “Yoga is just a physical exercise” and “Yoga asana practice is a physical exercise”.

There’s nothing wrong with “Yoga asana practice is a physical exercise” because yoga asana practice is a form of physical exercise/postures, but it is beyond just a form of physical exercise for attaining health and fitness benefits, because it is one of the tools in yoga to serve the purpose of influencing the state of the mind, to render it calm and quiet, to prepare the mind for meditation upon the truth of names and forms.

Meanwhile, Yoga is not a physical exercise at all. It’s a profound knowledge and practice or wisdom for all beings who seek ultimate liberation from suffering, to transcend all kinds of suffering from its root cause – Ignorance and egoism.

There are ‘yoga teachers’ and ‘yoga medias’ deliver the message about “Yoga is just a physical exercise”. It’s ignorance feeding deeper ignorance. They are responsible for why many people think that they are ‘practicing yoga’ and that they love ‘yoga’ so much because they have been attending ‘yoga asana exercise class’ regularly for many years with the understanding that “yoga is just a physical exercise” because that is what the ‘yoga teachers’ and ‘yoga medias’ have been delivering to them. And when they come in contact with the teachings and the traditional practice of yoga, especially the parts that their minds dislike and disagree with, they generate aversion, dissatisfaction and disappointment, and complain that “This is not yoga (that they think what it supposed to be)”.

When these people who think they love ‘yoga’ (actually what they love is the ‘yoga asana exercise’ and the effects and benefits of the yoga asana exercise) have the chance to experience the traditional yoga practice that integrate the entire teachings of yoga of the elimination of ignorance and egoism into the yoga classes (where yoga asana practice is just a small part of the yoga practice), these people will be in great shock. Some of them might open up their mind to relearn what yoga is about, but many of them generate great aversion towards what yoga really is, and think, “This is not yoga!” or “This is not the yoga that I know that I want!”. Not just that they don’t like yoga as it is, which actually is quite an unpleasant purification process/experience/journey for many egoistic impure minds conditioned by worldly cultural, religious, social and personal thinking and belief, they also condemn yoga (not the ‘yoga’ that they think it should be), the yoga practice of eliminating ignorance and egoism, and the people who teach yoga (those who deliver yoga as it is).

Especially in the traditional ashrams or yoga retreats centres that provide the facilities to conduct yoga courses and retreats for people who want to learn and practice yoga following the tradition of yoga in an environment that allow the people to immerse into the traditional yoga practice to eliminate ignorance and egoism, it is not about ‘commercialized yoga retreats centres’ doing ‘yoga business’ where the ‘customers’ paying ‘money’ to receive some ‘customer service’, ‘special treatments’ and ‘pleasurable enjoyments’. But, it is about the peace seekers contribute some ‘fees’ to make use of the facilities and programs provided by the ashrams and retreats centres to immerse into the yoga practice where it’s about letting go of pleasurable enjoyments of receiving special treatments and customer service, but to give their ‘service’ to serve themselves and other people by observing/purifying/disciplining their own minds as well as to help to maintain the entire place to support Dharma and other people to come to the ashrams or the retreats centres to learn and practice yoga.

During the course or retreat, one practice yoga of changing the egoistic habits of the mind. If there is attachment and identification, let them go. If there is craving or aversion, let them go. If there is pride and arrogance, let them go. If there is defensiveness and offensiveness, let them go. If there is dissatisfaction and disappointment, let them go. If there is anger and hatred, let them go. If there is intolerance and frustration, let them go. If there is fear and worry, let them go. If there is petty-mindedness and covertness, let them go. And so on.

In a simple term, peace seekers come to the ashrams or retreats centres and ‘pay’ to learn and practice “How to take care of oneself or one’s mind”. They learn to develop self-awareness, self-discipline and self-independence to perform their yoga practice, maintaining the tidiness and cleanliness of their own living space and practice space, mind their own practice/minds, and most important is to observe silence and solitude to reduce inputs and outputs of the mind, to silent the restless outgoing mind.

There is also a huge difference between the message of “Yoga asana practice is a physical exercise for health and fitness” and “Yoga asana practice is one of the many yoga practice to discipline the impure restless mind to prepare the mind for meditation to be free from ignorance and egoism to realize the truth of names and forms, to transcend suffering and realize unconditional love and peace, or selflessness and compassion, as the greatest meanings of life and greatest form of contribution to the world to serve humanity”.

It’s everyone’s freedom for what they want and don’t want, and whether they want to practice yoga as it is, or not. Yoga teachers should teach/deliver yoga as it is, and allowing everyone to decide what they want or don’t want to practice. It’s okay if people don’t want to practice yoga but only want to do some exercise for health and fitness benefits, but with the correct understanding about what is yoga.

Be free.

Yoga is not about achieving better or highest qualities through the yoga practice

Yoga is not about achieving better or highest qualities through the yoga practice, but it’s about going beyond all the impermanent good and bad qualities of names and forms to realize selflessness, attributelessness, namelessness and formlessness.

Even the good or highest qualities that one can achieve in this world of names and forms, including what the mind thinks is the highest performance and benefit that one can achieve from the yoga practice are also impermanent. Such like, one can achieve calmness and relaxation of the mind after a yoga asana and pranayama practice session, and one feels good when the mind is calm and relaxed, but even this calmness and relaxation of the mind is impermanent. If the yoga practitioners generate attachment of clinging and desire of craving onto this impermanent state of the mind deriving from yoga asana and pranayama practice, this yoga practitioner will soon be disappointed and dissatisfied when he/she couldn’t repeatedly achieve such effect from the yoga asana and pranayama practice due to unforeseen circumstances. One should make use of the calmness state of the mind attained from the yoga practice to meditate upon the truth, but without clinging or craving onto this calmness state of the mind. Even this will change and pass away. When this calmness state of the mind passes away or is unavailable for some reasons, it doesn’t affect/decrease/remove the unconditional peace that one realized from non-attachment and non-identification, and being free from the desire of craving and aversion.

The annihilation of egoism is the core of all kinds of yoga practice with different names and forms. The effects or benefits of both the physical and mental yoga practice are not the goal or the objective of yoga practice.

‘Advancing in yoga’ is nothing to do with the enhanced physical ability for performing more complex/challenging form of yoga asana practice, or the improvement of the physical health condition, or the achievement of greater ability to perform physical and mental activities, or the enjoyment of a higher quality of living. But the mind has developed a profound realization of the existence and function of the body and mind and the cause of suffering, and the mind has established firmly in dispassion and right discrimination, undetermined by all the impermanent qualities of names and forms.

One’s liberation from suffering has nothing to do with the condition of the world or the surrounding environment, or the suffering that exist in all other beings in the world due to ignorance and egoism. One can be peaceful even though many other beings undergo painful suffering. One can be compassionate and show sympathy towards other beings’ suffering, but one is undisturbed by it. Those who haven’t realized selflessness and compassion, including many yoga practitioners as well as yoga teachers might not understand or agree with this, and might criticize this as ‘selfishness’ or ‘cold-hearted’. Just like there are people, (including those who enjoy doing the yoga practice to get the effects or benefits of the yoga practice) criticize the teachings of Bhagavad Gita because they read the context with a closed mind that is being conditioned and limited by worldly social, cultural, religious and personal thinking and belief, under the influence of ignorance and egoism.

‘Good and kind’ people might think and believe that as long as there are evilness and bad people existing in the world, none will ever have peace, and everyone should be miserable and suffer for all the bad qualities that exist in the world. People think and believe that all kinds of evilness and bad people must be eliminated from the world because only by then they (the good and kind people) can have peace and be free from suffering while living/existing in this world. This is deep ignorance. The world might appear to be not peaceful, having all kinds of evilness, wrong doings, inhumanity and chaos here and there, but unconditional peace exists in all and everyone disregard the good or bad condition of the world, or the good or bad qualities existing in the world.

Many people are seeking liberation from discrimination, racism, bias, prejudice, violence and hatred in this world of diverse names and forms, and fight for their rights and respect from others for being who they think they are, but a yogi doesn’t seek liberation from discrimination, racism, bias, prejudice, violence and hatred in this world of diverse names and forms, but is seeking liberation from ignorance and egoism, the seed of suffering. The yogi also doesn’t fight for the rights and respect from others for being ‘who I think I am’, because there is no ‘I’/ego exists in the selfless mind to be identifying as “This is I”, “This is my right”, or “I deserve respect from others”. People might want to change/expect/control the world to be the way that they like it to be and to change/expect/control other people to behave the way that they think how people should behave. The yogi doesn’t interested/intend to change the world or discipline other people, but only to purify and discipline one’s own mind to be free from ignorance and egoism.

There’s no “I am a yogi”, “I am a beginner/advance yogi”, “I practice yoga”, “Yoga is good/not good”, “I am good or not good at yoga practice”, “I love yoga”, “I like/don’t like this type of yoga”, “Yoga gives me such and such effects or benefits”, “I am a yoga teacher”, “I want to be a yoga teacher”, “I am a good/advance/experienced/qualified/certified yoga teacher”, and etc.

Be free.

How yoga is being perceived as one type of physical health and fitness exercise

Some people asked us if we teach TTC (Yoga Teachers Training Course). No, we don’t.

Anyone who has realized selflessness and unconditional love and peace through self-realization, who knows the path to free the mind from suffering that derived from ignorance and egoism (attachment, identification, worldly desires, craving and aversion), not necessarily that one has to be a yoga practitioner and disregards how long one has been practicing yoga, one can share the knowledge of selflessness and unconditional love and peace with anyone, without the necessity of becoming a ‘yoga teacher’ to ‘teach yoga classes’. One doesn’t need to attend TTC to be trained to become ‘qualified yoga teacher’ to ‘teach yoga classes’ to share the realization of selflessness and unconditional love and peace with other beings. One doesn’t need ‘approval’, or ‘authorization’, or ‘qualification’, or ‘certification’, or ‘affiliation’, or ‘graduation from TTC with excellent results’ to share the knowledge of unconditional love, peace and fearlessness through self-realization with other beings who are in search for liberation from ignorance and suffering.

Attending TTC and graduating with excellent results from TTC doesn’t determine that one is, or will be free from ignorance and egoism. Teaching yoga is nothing to do with ‘professionalism’, or ‘teacher training’, or ‘certification’, which is part of the worldly ideas born out of egoism.

TTC are a platform or medium for anyone, including those who have never done any yoga practice before but who have the interest to know about yoga, to be open-minded and be humble to learn about the teachings of yoga, and begin their self-practice with self-discipline to purify the mind to free the mind from egoism and ignorance. Once the mind is purified and has realized selflessness and unconditional love and peace, one can share the knowledge of selflessness and unconditional love and peace with other beings without intention, without identification, without attachment.

Meanwhile many of the ‘professional TTC allied with yoga alliance’ are about being a platform or medium for people who think they know a lot about yoga and that they are good enough or ready to become ‘yoga teachers’, and they think they need to attend ‘internationally recognized TTC allied with yoga alliance’ to be trained ‘how to teach/conduct professional, safe, effective, creative, fun and motivative yoga asana exercise classes’ to acquire some kind of ‘internationally recognized certification allied with yoga alliance’ so that they can find a job called ‘yoga teacher/instructor’ to teach/conduct ‘yoga asana exercise classes’ in yoga centre or fitness centre or community centre, and lots of these TTC exist to cater to their ‘needs’ to provide the appropriate ‘training’ and ‘certification’ that they are looking for.

These ‘professional’ TTC also teach about the teachings or philosophy of yoga but emphasize mainly on training the people about how to teach/conduct a ‘yoga asana exercise classes’, about how to give instructions, how to perform the yoga poses, what to do or what not to do, what are the benefits of the different yoga poses, the breathing exercises, the relaxation and the other practices, how to make physical adjustments, what are the ‘correct alignment’, general knowledge to share in the class (about diet, lifestyle, positive thinking, anatomy, physiology, health and fitness, stories telling, philosophy, and etc), how to interact, what is a ‘good teaching technique’, or a ‘good practice’, or a ‘good class’, how to make the students or clients happy and satisfied, how to ‘touch’ people’s heart, and etc. It is a great contradiction because during the philosophy class they teach/talk about “perform all your actions without attachment and identification, renounce the fruit of actions and allowing the fruit of actions to be there as it is” but then in the ‘yoga asana classes’ is about feeding the egoism of both the teachers and the students – empowering the identification and attachment towards the action and the result of the action. Such like, “I am a good yoga teacher who teach/conduct good yoga classes” and “I am a good yoga student/practitioner who performs the yoga poses nicely and achieves good results/improvement from the practice”

Love and peace has nothing to do with how a person look or feel while being in particular yoga poses, or what is the physical condition, ability and limitation, or what type and how much benefits coming from the yoga practice. People don’t have to put their bodies in any particular yoga poses to be kind and compassionate, or to be peaceful. The impermanent physical condition, ability and limitation doesn’t determine a being would be free from ignorance, egoism, impurities and suffering, and be compassionate and peaceful, or not.

If one truly knows what is yoga or has realized selflessness and unconditional love and peace, one doesn’t need to attend TTC to learn how to conduct ‘yoga classes’ to attain ‘certification’ to be ‘authorized’ to become ‘professional internationally certified yoga teacher’ to be teaching or passing the knowledge of yoga to other beings, or to be compassionate towards oneself and all beings.

No doubt that there are ‘TTC graduates’ who realize yoga through the practice of silence, self-inquiry, dispassion and right discrimination, and they may or may not be teaching ‘yoga classes’.

The attachment towards the performance/results/effects/benefits of the yoga practice, and the emphasis on the technical/professional teaching instructions about “the correct body alignment of each yoga pose”, or “how a yoga pose/position should look like”, and the ‘positive’ encouraging words, cheering and hand clapping to congratulate or give encouragement, such like ‘Well done!’, ‘You can do it!’, ‘You did it!’, ‘That’s very good!’, ‘You’re amazing!’, ‘Awesome!’, ‘Feel strong!’, ‘Be strong!’, ‘Let’s boost your confidence and self-esteem!’, ‘Yoga strengthens your body and mind’, ‘Yoga elevates your mind!’, ‘Yoga makes you feel great!’, ‘You should be proud of yourself!’, ‘I am so proud of you!’, and etc, as the core structure or important qualities of the ‘yoga exercise classes’ are indeed feeding the egoism (attachment, identification, craving, aversion, judgment, comparison and expectation).

But there is nothing wrong with all these TTC producing ‘internationally certified yoga teachers’ teaching ‘yoga asana exercise classes’ because most people who want to attend yoga classes are only interested in doing something that will make them feel good and look good, or give them the benefits/effects/results that they want. Being conditioned by worldly ideas, people evaluate a ‘yoga teacher’ based on their ‘qualification’ and ‘certification’, their ‘professionalism’, their ‘ability’ to give a ‘good yoga exercise class’ that can make them look good and feel good physically and mentally, or their up-to-date tips/general knowledge on the latest styles and techniques and about health and fitness. Many people are not interested in the practice of silence, quieting the mind, self-inquiry, dispassion and self-discipline to be free from ignorance and egoism, mainly it’s because people don’t think their minds are influenced by ignorance, they don’t think they need to free the mind from egoism, as they love their ego of who they think they are. They don’t see what’s wrong with egoism. They enjoy being passionate about worldly life and social activities, and spend most of their effort on gratifying all their desires, and do what will make them feel good and happy as the meanings of life.

All these TTC graduates are ‘good people’ who have ‘good intention’ and hope to ‘be qualified’ to share yoga with other people, and it makes them feel meaningful and happy when their students look good and feel good about themselves after taking yoga exercise class with them. There’s nothing ‘wrong’ with that.

It’s like many children don’t like to eat healthy food, the parents or care-taker might give them something that they like in return, such like desserts, to persuade them to eat the healthy food that they don’t like to eat. And the parents feel happy seeing their children eating the healthy food and enjoying the desserts afterwards. So everyone is happy. That sounds very ‘good’. Eventually, some of the children might start to realize why it is important to eat the healthy food, and even without any desserts in return, they will eat the healthy food out of their own choice. But very few children will have the self-realization, and in the end, they are addicted to the desserts, and they won’t be happy unless they have their desserts. Just like people won’t do something that is good for them or other people unless they will get something that they like and want in return. This is not yoga.

Imagine when a great ‘yogi’ who has attained self-realization and is compassionate comes to the yoga centre and offer himself to share the knowledge of yoga to whoever are interested in learning and practice yoga, and the yoga centre staff ask him, “Do you have internationally recognized either 200 hours or 500 hours yoga teacher certification allied with yoga alliance?” The yogi tells them, “No.” And they tell him, “Sorry, we only employ ‘qualified’ professional yoga teacher with internationally recognized yoga teacher certification allied with yoga alliance to conduct yoga classes here.”

Everyone has the freedom to choose what they want to do with their life, their bodies and minds. If people are contented with living a restless passionate worldly life full of attachments and identifications, and are okay with being the slave of their desires of cravings and aversions, and enjoying doing some yoga exercise regularly that will make them look good and feel good, that’s their freedom.

Be free.

Feedback for yoga teachers?

There’s nothing abnormal or wrong for the ‘yoga students’ to provide feedback to the ‘yoga teachers’ who conduct the ‘yoga classes’ for them to learn and practice yoga, and it’s normal for the ‘yoga teachers’ who conduct the ‘yoga classes’ would appreciate feedback from the ‘yoga students’ as part of the worldly thinking or ideas about ways to improve or evolve.

Just that it’s moving away from the teachings and practice of yoga about eliminating the egoism. This is part of the plays of egoism. It actually ‘holds back’ the mind from going beyond the perception of duality. It empowers attachment and identification with qualities of names and forms, as well as attachment and identification with the actions and the result of the actions.

A ‘yoga teacher’ who ‘teaches’ yoga to other beings should be able to be aware of the modification of one’s mind and the actions and reactions, without attachment and identification with all these names and forms. There’s no attachment or expectation towards one’s action of teaching yoga to other beings and the results or consequences of the action of teaching. The ‘yoga teacher’ allows the ‘yoga students’ to develop awareness towards the modification of their own minds, and to act and react in their own way, or to express their thoughts/ideas/suggestions/advice out of their own perspective, or not, towards the process of transmitting or receiving the teachings of yoga to or from other beings.

It’s not about – “I know I am a good yoga teacher and I can teach good yoga classes, and so, I don’t need any feedback, suggestions or advice on how to be a better yoga teacher to give better yoga classes.” or “I don’t know whether I am a good yoga teacher, or not. Or whether I teach good yoga classes, or not. I need feedback/suggestion/advice from the students or other people to tell me whether I am good or not good, or how I can improve myself to be better yoga teacher to teach better yoga classes.” As yoga really is nothing to do with all these names and forms. One can be identified or acknowledged as a ‘very good’ yoga teacher who can teach ‘very good’ yoga classes, but that doesn’t mean that this yoga teacher is free from ignorance and egoism, or, vice versa.

This is nothing to do with ‘pride’ and ‘arrogance’ or ‘humility’, ‘improvement’, ‘constant learning’, or ‘the way how it should be’. Feedback/suggestion/advice coming from minds that are not free from ignorance, egoism, duality and qualities of names and forms, is irrelevant towards one’s mind evolution towards selflessness. The minds that are free from ignorance, egoism, duality and qualities of names and forms, don’t ‘require’ or ‘provide’ feedback/suggestion/advice. As peace and compassion is nothing to do with whether the teacher is a ‘good’ yoga teacher who teaches ‘good’ yoga classes, or whether the yoga students are ‘good’ yoga students who perform their ‘yoga practice’ or ‘yoga poses’ ‘correctly’ and ‘perfectly’, or not. Just like to be able to let go of attachment, it’s just ‘let go’. There’s no thinking about “how to let go”, “how fast or slow to let go”, or “one should let go in this way or that way which is the ‘good’ or ‘right’ way”.

In a ‘yoga asana class’, whether it’s a group class or a private individual class, there are countless mind reactions arise from different states of minds and different physical conditions. At one moment, the mind and the body is at ease with the practice, and in another moment, the mind and the body is not at ease with the practice. And this changes from moment to moment. For the same practice, different minds and different bodies react differently. One might suggest that the practice is too rush or too intense, another might suggest the practice is too slow or too gentle, while another might suggest that the practice is just nice, it’s not too rush and not too slow or it’s not too intense and not too gentle.

Teaching ‘yoga classes’ is not about trying to gratify everyone’s craving and aversion towards their personal likes and dislikes towards the style, or type, or way of practice, and to adapt to the familiarity or habit of each individual. It’s not about trying to be a ‘good’ yoga teacher to teach ‘good’ yoga classes to create ‘good’ yoga students to achieve ‘good performances’ or ‘good results’. It’s about doing one’s best making use of one’s opportunity, ability and knowledge, without attachment and identification towards one’s action and the results or consequences of action. It doesn’t matter if one’s mind or other minds think or judge that ‘this action’ or ‘the result of this action’ is ‘good’ or ‘not good’. It’s about guiding the students towards the annihilation of ignorance and egoism.

A ‘yoga teacher’ or ‘yoga student’ will never be free from ignorance and egoism, if this ‘yoga teacher’ or ‘yoga student’ is still ‘teaching’ and ‘learning’ yoga according to the ‘ways’ of the worldly modification/thinking/ideas of the egoistic mind.

There is no egoistic intention or identification of “I am here to teach or share yoga with other beings”, not to say, “I am, or I want to be a ‘good’ yoga teacher who can teach or share ‘good’ yoga classes to other beings.”

Realize the essence of the teachings of yoga about selflessness, non-attachment, non-identification, non-duality, non-separateness, attributelessness, namelessness and formlessness, and be free.

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.

My life stories – Part 8

My life stories – Part 8 
Stories from my past memories – childhood, family, friends, growing up, poverty, integrity, dreams come true, finding peace and happiness, Buddhism, Yoga, and now…

Usually when people come together, people expect to have a social interactive conversation by either telling stories about themselves, or asking questions about other people, and talking about this and that, exchanging information and opinions, and getting to know one another. It’s part of the social ethics.

Some people enjoy being sarcastic or hypocrite. Some have the habits of story telling, boasting, moaning, lying, flirting, gossiping, criticizing, teasing and mocking. Some don’t really mean what they say. While some others enjoy playing psychological mind games. Some people prefer not to be straightforward or direct, thinking that it’s rude or impolite to be straightforward and direct, but then, things might become confusing and cause misunderstanding. While some others prefer to be straightforward and direct, it doesn’t matter if other people would feel offended or intimidated, but then, they are able to get things straight and clear. Some people take social conversation seriously, or even too seriously, while most of the time, we can’t take seriously of what people say, as people might not mean what they say. That’s the freedom of everyone for what people want to say, how they say it and why they say it.

Some people expect other people to show interest in listening to their stories, and they are also interested in knowing or listening to other people’s stories. It is part of the characteristic of the impure mind that keeps looking for stimulation, inputs and outputs, to get rid of boredom or knowledge deficiency coming from the ego. While some people would feel awkward or unease when other people aren’t interested to get involved in a social conversation with them, or if other people don’t response to the conversation as how they expect it to be. Those who are proud and arrogant will feel offended by other people who don’t response the way that they think it should be, thinking that other people are being rude. Meanwhile those who are low self-esteem will think and feel bad about themselves, thinking that maybe other people might be somehow being offended by them, or other people don’t like them.

All these thinking and behavior seems to be normal for the worldly minded people. If people don’t think and behave in such way, it would be seen as abnormal or inappropriate. But, yoga practice is indeed to breakaway from all these conditioned thinking and behavior.

Many people like to ask about our past, whether to learn something from other people’s experience or just want to have a conversation going on, breaking the silence. Most people would feel very uneasy if there is a long silence without any talking. For those who are truly interested to know about our stories of the past, and if they have the patience, they can read my blog about my life stories after the retreat finished. If they aren’t really interested, then I don’t exert time and energy in talking about the past as a social conversation. During the retreat, people are supposed to retreat from worldly social conversations and activities, but to observe certain degrees of silence of thoughts, actions and speech. But for many people, they expect to be socializing with other people when they join a yoga retreat. People expect to be talking and interacting most of the time. They thought that is what yoga is about. They thought that is what sharing is about. Being in silence without talking and interaction seems weird or wrong for some people.

Some people, including many of the yoga enthusiasts, would think that sharing yoga means getting involve in a yoga community, interact with each other and do things together. Real sharing is nothing to do with social interactions, or mingling in a particular community. Real sharing is there naturally, without any intention to be sharing anything, when one’s mind is free from ignorance, egoism, attachment and identification, realizing unconditional love and peace, be free from impurities of desires, craving, clinging, longing, anger, hatred, ill-will, jealousy, greed, dissatisfaction, disappointment, fear, worry, pride and arrogance.

We observe silence of thoughts, actions and speech when we immerse into yoga and meditation practice. We observe limitation of talking and social activities to conserve energy as well as to quiet the mind. We observe truthfulness and straightforwardness in everyday life. If we talk, may the conversation brings peace and harmony into oneself and others. If the conversation will bring unrest and disharmony into oneself and others, then it’s better don’t talk. And yoga retreat is a time and space for people to be retreating or moving away from the common worldly behavior and activities of the mind over a period of time, to allow the mind to have a few moments of quietness by reducing inputs and outputs of the mind, to turn the outgoing mind inward to perform self-inquiry and focus on our own yoga and meditation practice.

People also like to know about our own personal practice. But, yoga and meditation practice is a very personal self-evolution journey. It has nothing to do with how other people perform their own practice, as everyone has different temperament and characteristic. What type of yoga and meditation practice, and the amount and frequency of the practice that are designed for some people might not be suitable for some others. Everyone must find their own path and own practice. It also has nothing to do with the worldly thinking and belief, or the good and bad condition and situation of the world. But most important, it’s to have determination, perseverance and discipline, until the restless mind is subdued, and the ego and ignorance is completely annihilated.

By asking questions and getting answers from other people might let us know what we want to know, but it doesn’t take away the ignorance and egoism and impurities from our mind. Hearing about other people’s life experiences and their personal yoga practice might can inspire us to practice yoga, but it doesn’t give us liberation from ignorance and egoism, unless we perform our own practice and attain self-realization. That’s why in meditation practice, it’s about observing silence and be aware of the reality as it is, to perform self-inquiry or contemplation upon the truth. It is not expecting an answer from someone else, as even though someone is telling us the truth of things, we will always have doubt about the truthfulness of the answers given by others for all our questions, as all these knowledge are not realized by ourselves, but it’s other people’s realization. We will still need to attain our own self-realization of the truth or the answers to all our doubts, to be free from doubts and ignorance. Knowing and accumulating a lot of knowledge and information about this and that, is completely different from knowing the truth of things, as knowing many things doesn’t necessarily mean that we know the truth of things.

Coming in contact with different types of people coming from different cultural and educational backgrounds, who possess different qualities of names and forms with different thinking and beliefs, where some are gentle and some are aggressive, while some are being gentle in certain things and aggressive in some other things, but none of these qualities, or specific personality, characteristic, thinking and belief can guarantee that one is free from ignorance and egoism, that one is peaceful as one is, if there is attachment and identification with certain qualities of names and forms to be who ‘I’ am. There’s so much tension exist in those who have strong attachment and identification with certain qualities of names and forms coming from disagreement and resentment towards other qualities that one doesn’t like and doesn’t agree with, or doesn’t want to possess. Disregard what type of qualities that they possess and don’t possess, there are people who couldn’t allow other people to be different, as they couldn’t understand why other people who are different from them would behave in certain ways that they don’t agree with, that are unacceptable for them based on their own thinking and belief about how people should behave. And there’s nothing wrong when people couldn’t accept other people’s thinking and behavior that are different from their own thinking and behavior.

Yoga practice is here for those who are willingly to let go of attachment and identification towards all kinds of conditional worldly thinking and beliefs.

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

 

“How come we moved to Langkawi and teach yoga here?”

This was the most common question that everyone asked us. I am thankful for all the questions asked, as it inspired me to write about my life stories of From where I came from and how I came here.

We didn’t choose Langkawi.

It was either Langkawi had chosen us, or the universe had brought us here.

We had no intention at all to be living in Langkawi one day, and teach yoga here.

We went to Koh Lipe with our friends from Austria for holidays in January 2009.

The easiest way to get to Koh Lipe from Kuala Lumpur was to take the flight from KL to Langkawi and then take the speed boat from Langkawi to Koh Lipe. We didn’t plan to stay in Langkawi at all. We didn’t even think of to take a look at Langkawi. We had no interest to know about it either.

We wanted to stay in Koh Lipe for seventeen nights and spend our entire holidays there. So we booked our return flight tickets to go back to KL seventeen days later. Marc, my husband, went to Bangkok before and he could get a 30 days tourist visa stamp. We thought we would get a one month tourist visa upon arrival in Thailand.

As soon as we stepped out the Langkawi Airport, we took a taxi to bring us to the Langkawi-Koh Lipe speed boat jetty at Telaga Habour. One and a half hours later we arrived in Koh Lipe, a very beautiful island with clear water and white sandy beach.

When we got to the immigration booth in Koh Lipe to get back our passports, the immigration officer gave my Malaysian’s passport a thirty days visa stamp and gave my husband’s Irish passport a fourteen days visa stamp. We didn’t know that they had made a new regulation that tourists coming into Thailand by land and by sea could only get a fourteen days visa for other foreigners, but Malaysians could still get a thirty days visa.

We asked the immigration officer on how we could extend his visa for another 3 days. They told us that the only way was to come back to Malaysia and go back to Thailand again. And this would cost us a lot more than if we just stayed in Langkawi for the last three days of our holiday before our flight back to KL. So we decided to shorten our holidays in Koh Lipe and stayed three days in Langkawi instead, unplanned.

After spending 2 weeks in the beautiful clear water island of Koh Lipe doing yoga asana practice on the beach everyday, snorkeling and collecting beautiful sea shells, and enjoying delicious Thai food on the island, we left Koh Lipe and came to Langkawi island. We didn’t really know where to head to.

We met some other tourists in Koh Lipe who told us that Pantai Cenang was the most popular place in Langkawi and there were some budget guesthouses to choose from. We took a shared van taxi with some other tourists and they were heading to Pantai Cenang as well. Each of us paid ten Ringgit for the taxi.

Half an hour later, we arrived at AB Motel. But they had no room for us. We walked along the Pantai Cenang street carrying our backpack and looked at several places to stay, but they were either fully booked or too expensive for us.

At last, we found Amzar Motel for fifty Ringgit a night. It’s a simple accommodation, so we didn’t expect too much. But we had some noisy neighbours quarreling in the middle of the night. We didn’t sleep very well.

On the next day, we spent our day walking along the street of Pantai Cenang and strolled on the beach. The beach was nice, but fulled of jet-skies, motorbikes, cars and four wheeled drives on the beach, and lots of tourists. The sea water was not as clear as in Koh Lipe. But the sea was very calm. We went for a swim in the sea. We didn’t find the place interesting at all.

On the second day, we took a taxi to the town of Kuah. The taxi fare wasn’t cheap. It was twenty Ringgit one way at that time in 2009. The taxi brought us to a duty free shop. We weren’t really interested in shopping. So we walked around the shop lots and we came to Trimula. There was a vegetarian restaurant and we went to take a look at their menu, but it wasn’t appealing to us as the dishes were pre-cooked and already sitting there for some time. They had other dishes that can be cooked fresh when you place order, but most of them were deep fried mock meat stuffs that we didn’t really want to eat.

The restaurant owner was a very friendly man. He had a tours company and car rental business next to the restaurant. We asked him what were the interesting things to do and places to visit in Langkawi. He said that the best way to get around Langkawi was to rent a car. He was right about that. Because of the expensive taxi fare in Langkawi and there was no public transport like buses, it was be a lot cheaper to rent a car to explore the entire island.

He gave us some discount for a small car at eighty Ringgit a day. It was a Suzuki Swift. So, we explored the island with a guided map. We drove towards the highway. It was a very good highway on the island from Kuah town straight to the airport. We turned into a side road that led us to the centre of the island. We drove up to Gunung Raya with a nearly empty fuel tank. We forgot to fill up the petrol tank before we went. It was very nice to be up there because of the cooler temperature and the nice view of the island from the top. Anyway, we were lucky to come back down to a petrol station to feed the car.

We continued our journey and came to a waterfall – the Durian Perangin waterfall near the Air Hangat Village Hot Spring. We hiked up the path that led us to the waterfall. The path was surrounded by rain forests. The air was so fresh and cooling. It was a small waterfall, but powerful. It had a big enough pool for dipping in. The energy there was really great. It had been a long time since the last time we visited a waterfall and rain forest. We liked this waterfall very much, especially my husband. He’s a man of nature. He finds peace in nature. This waterfall gave us a different impression about Langkawi.

After that, we continued to explore the island and came to the hot spring. there was nothing much to see or do. It wasn’t renovated at that time and lack of maintenance. But now it is renovated and looks brand new with some hot spring Jacuzzi rooms. From there we drove by some villages with rain forests and rubber plantations along the way. This experience of driving on roads with trees and mountains that we can see, but not high rise concrete buildings, gave us a great impression about Langkawi Island. We stopped by at the Black Sand Beach and the Craft Complex. That was very nice too.

That evening we went back to Pantai Cenang with complete different point of view about Langkawi. Langkawi wasn’t just Pantai Cenang as what we thought that was all it was. It has some other beautiful features – nature, waterfalls, rain forests, mountains, mangroves, rivers, nice beaches and slow paced lifestyle. It’s economy depends mostly on tourism. It is a touristic place, but it’s also very good for living.

The following day, we went back to the big city of Kuala Lumpur. Both my husband and I had a strong feeling about Langkawi, and that led us to booked another return flight tickets to Langkawi because just happened that AirAsia had great promotional air fare at that time. So, we took three days off from teaching yoga classes at home, and came back to Langkawi again in less than two months. On this trip, it was mainly to come here to see if there would be a suitable house for us to live and to teach yoga.

We had been thinking of moving away from Kuala Lumpur where we can be closer to nature. I didn’t mind living in Kuala Lumpur. I was contented living there for many years. But, if there was a choice I would prefer to live in a village near by nature just like when I was growing up. A year ago before we moved to Langkawi, I painted a painting with a wooden house near the beach with mountains and coconut trees around it. I always dreamt of living in a house by the sea. And the house that I painted looked almost the same as the house that we found in Langkawi later. But we didn’t think of Langkawi before.

So we were in Langkawi again, looking for a house to rent that wasn’t too close to the busy street of Pantai Cenang, but yet close enough for people to walk from Pantai Cenang. We wanted to look for a house that is surrounded by nature and not too close to other houses or the noisy and dusty road. We also looked for a house that has a big space that we can have four to six people in a yoga class, and the rent had to be within our budget. It wasn’t easy for us to find a suitable house.

We told each other that if we could find a suitable house within that three days, we would move here. It wasn’t so easy to find a house to rent in Pantai Cenang area and the rent was much higher than other areas. It was a popular location for foreigners to rent a house for long stay.

Many of the houses in good condition were already occupied by foreigners. There were some half-built abandoned houses available, but they needed a lot of renovation before anyone can move in.

We found a budget place to stay for forty five Ringgit a night at the Shirin Guest House. We didn’t expect much from this room. The lady owner was a very nice Japanese lady named Hiroko. She married to an Iranian man and had been living in Langkawi for many years. She also had been to India studying Yoga for two years. She was a very strong woman in the heart.

We thought that the best way to look for a house, was to go around this area by feet. We walked around the villages behind the Pantai Cenang street. It was a hot and sunny day, but we were determined. We asked a few villagers about vacant houses and told them that we were looking for a house to rent. One of the villagers told us that we should buy a house instead of renting it. First of all, we don’t have money. Then, even if we have some money, we couldn’t afford to buy anything here as the price of properties here is ridiculously high. Lastly, Majority of the lands and houses here are Malay Reserved properties. Only Malays can own the properties here. Though I am a Malaysian citizen, I couldn’t buy or own any properties here on the island.

We looked and looked, and asked many people along the way. Some people showed us some houses that were available. Some of them were near to the noisy main road. Some were very close to neighbouring houses. Some were too far to walk from Pantai Cenang. Some ticked all the other boxes, but they didn’t have a big hall for yoga classes and the rentals were beyond our budget. We talked to a couple in a tackles shop and gave them our contact numbers.

We were exhausted from walking a few hours under the hot sun in the last two days, and decided to relax on the beach on the last evening. We changed into our swimming attires and was about going to the beach, and the phone rang. A Malay man asked me over the phone if we were still interested to look for a house to rent, that he knew there’s a house was available for rent. We wanted to give ourselves the last chance.

So we meet up with this man and his friends in front of our guesthouse, and they brought us to see the house in their car. We came to a road with a sign said ‘Wrong Place’. We saw that sign earlier when we walked pass it, and thought it was strange. And we came to a little Malay wooden house at the end of the road. It was a very beautiful wooden house near the paddy fields and there’s a swamp in front of it. It’s away from the main road and other houses and close to Pantai Cenang. It ticked many boxes. But we still needed to see the inside of the house and we didn’t know how much was the rental.

This house aged around one hundred and fifty years old. The owner bought it from somewhere else in Langkawi. They took down the woods piece by piece with numbers written on them, and then brought it here and resembled the woods back into a house. It had a small balcony to sit out looking over the garden and the paddy fields.

They opened the door for us to get in. The living room was big enough to accommodate six people. The sunlight and the breeze rushed in when they opened the windows on three sides of the living room. There was a small kitchen that could only fit one person at a time and a small bathroom that we couldn’t stretch out our arms. There was a medium size bedroom and another small room which we could use as an office and store room. It was almost perfect, except that the kitchen was really small as my husband loves cooking and we planned to do all the cooking for the yoga retreats besides teaching daily yoga classes. The rental was within our budget too. We both agreed that it was what we were looking for. So, immediately we paid them one month deposit to reserve the house. We told them that we could only move in two months later because we needed to settle all our classes in Kuala Lumpur. They said they didn’t mind. In the end we could only come three months later because we need more time to stop all our classes. And they didn’t charge us extra money to hold the house for us.

We came back to Kuala Lumpur the next day, and were very excited about our spontaneous decision to move to Langkawi. We informed all our students about the move, and had a farewell dinner at home to say goodbye to our friends and students.

Two weeks before we moved, my husband went for a ten days Vipassana silent meditation retreat in Malaysia. He would come back on the day before we moved. Meanwhile I was busy with packing our things into boxes while he was gone, so that we would be ready to go when he came back.

Because my husband loves cycling, we thought that he could do some cycling when we moved to Langkawi living in a village without heavy traffic and air pollution. So we went to PJ Old Town and bought him a new bicycle on our last day in Kuala Lumpur. Somehow one of the tyres punctured when he cycled back to our condominium in Taman Sri Manja. And so, we had to take off the wheel from the bicycle and brought it back to the shop to repair it. We were really busy that day. But we enjoyed every moment of it.

On the morning of the 10th of July, we loaded all our furnitures and things onto a six wheeled lorry, and we drove our little Kelisa to Langkawi. We spent one night in Ipoh. On the next day, we arrived at Kuala Kedah and sent our car to the car ferry, and we took the passenger ferry to Langkawi. We stayed a night in a motel in Kuah town near the Jetty Points where the passenger ferries come in.

On the next morning, we took a taxi to the car ferry port at Dermaga Tanjung Lembung to collect our car and drove to our new home in Pantai Cenang. It was monsoon season and it had been raining heavily all day all the way from Ipoh to Langkawi. But it stopped raining at the time we arrived at our new home and our lorry arrived not long after us. We managed to move all our furnitures and things into the house just before it started to rain again. It’s like a miracle.

After that, we found out that this wooden house had been empty for six months when we saw it the first time. One of our neighbours told us that there had been many different people looking at the house before, and though they were interested to rent the house, the owner didn’t want to rent to them. And then, when the owner wanted to rent the house to a very rich couple, they didn’t take it as they said the kitchen was too small for them. And so, the house was sitting empty for six months until we saw it. It meant it had been empty for nine months before we moved in.

The house was there waiting for us to come, all that time.

And now, we had rented another simple but spacious house about two minutes walk from our yoga studio with bigger kitchen and dining hall to prepare the meals for our yoga retreats. A few months later, we had moved out from the wooden house and started to live in this house. The wooden house would be used as the yoga studio for doing the yoga classes.

This was the story of why we live in Langkawi and teach yoga here.

We didn’t choose Langkawi, but Langkawi chose us.

We didn’t have much money. We spent a lot of money for moving house and for getting the business license. We didn’t see teaching yoga as a business. We didn’t really need a business license to teach yoga to anyone. But when we went to the city hall to ask about it, the head officer told us that we had to apply for a business license. We wanted to do it the proper way legally to avoid any problems with the local community, as it was quite a sensitive issue here about running yoga classes in a Muslims predominant village area.

The business license took more than a year for it to come through. Before we applied for the business license we needed to apply for a temporary permit for the house. That took about three months to come through. When we applied for the business license, the business license department people weren’t very sure about what was going on with the yoga fatwa thing. They didn’t know whether they could give us the permission to teach yoga here. After holding our application for more than six months, they decided to send our application to the mosque to get the advice of the head of the mosque whether we could teach yoga here. And after another few more months, the mosques finally gave us the permission to teach yoga in Langkawi, but with a special condition that we cannot accept any Muslims of any origins for attending any of our yoga classes and retreats activities. Or else our business license would be terminated, and we wouldn’t be allowed to teach yoga here on Langkawi anymore. We still want to teach yoga to so many other people who come here to learn and practice yoga. And so, we respected the rules and regulations of the business license.

For understanding more about the terms and conditions of our business license that forbids us from teaching yoga to Muslims, please click on this link to read about it. And for understanding more about yoga is unconditional and unlimited by any names and forms, please click on this link to read about it…

We had to spent lots of money for moving house and applying for the business license. We were living on my husband’s savings for many months before the classes and retreats started to take off one year later. Though I knew we couldn’t live on my husband’s savings for too long, I didn’t worry. I told my husband that if things became too difficult for us to make a living in Langkawi, I would go back to Kuala Lumpur to work to support our living. I believed the universe would take care of everything. And it did.

We will continue to teach yoga here, unless the universe wants us to be at somewhere else.

Om shanti.

This video below was taken when we were in Koh Lipe