Want to practice yoga? (4)

All the yoga enthusiasts or practitioners are being taught that one shouldn’t follow or blind-believe in any teachings or philosophies from anybody and anywhere, including the teachings of yoga, but to perform self-inquiry to investigate into the truth of all the teachings of yoga. That action of self-inquiry is indeed the main yoga practice. All the other yoga practices are there to assist the mind to be able to be free from all kinds of restlessness and impurities, and allowing the mind to know the truth or seeing the truth as it is.

Contemplate on these teachings to attain self-realization of the teachings of yoga :-
– The body is not me, I am not the body. The mind is not me, I am not the mind.

– Selflessness or the annihilation of the egoism – There is no ‘I’. ‘I’ doesn’t exist.

– The root cause of suffering is ignorance – not knowing the truth of ‘I’ and all the perceptions of names and forms, the illusion of the existence of ‘I’ generates attachment, identification, desires, craving and aversion, reactions of likes and dislikes, agreements and disagreements, pleasantness and unpleasantness where all kinds of impurities arise and influencing and determining the state of mind.

– Go beyond all the qualities of name and form, including the body and mind and worldly conditioned thinking and beliefs, realize the truth of non-duality or non-separateness or oneness.

– The truth of names and forms is just what they are. Everything is neither good nor bad, neither positive nor negative, neither right nor wrong, neither happiness nor unhappiness.

– Know thyself or knowing oneself as the highest duty above all. All kinds of duties exist to support the highest duty towards oneself.

– The law of impermanence – there’s no ‘I’ exists in all the impermanent changes or transitions, or forming and deforming.

– The observer is undetermined by the action of observing and the object of observation.

– Turning the outgoing mind inward, resting in silence – dispassion and disinterest in worldly objects and ideas.

– The conquest of one’s mind is the highest goal of life existence and to serve humanity.

– The ignorant ones take what is unreal to be real, and take what is real as unreal.

– Performing all duties and responsibilities while renouncing worldly objects and activities.

– The realization of selflessness and compassion will allow one to perform all actions while being undetermined by the fruit of actions, to be liberated from good and bad karma, the cycle of cause and effect, or the wheel of birth and death – Enter into Silence or Samadhi.

– Everything is Maya (illusion). The world is not real and doesn’t exist. Suffering doesn’t exist. Birth and death doesn’t exist. Due to ignorance, the illusory ‘I’ longs for existence to fulfill all its desires. And hence, all kinds of actions and fruit of actions sprung from desires and bring forth the wheel of birth and death, existence and non-existence, all kinds of names and forms are being projected as the worldly existence as the result of cause and effect. Yoga practice is to realize the truth and return to the state beyond names and forms, existence and non-existence, birth and death.

Happy practicing yoga contemplating upon the teachings of yoga.

Om shanti.

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Want to teach yoga?

Teaching yoga is not about trying to convince other people to believe in the teachings of yoga, or to persuade other people to like yoga and practice yoga, or recruiting many people to be our yoga students and joining our yoga classes, or to set as an example for others to imitate us, or to build a yoga empire. The students shouldn’t follow or imitate the teacher, or blind-believe in the teachings of yoga or what the teacher taught them. It’s guiding the students to be free from egoism, and allowing them to be free from attachment and identification towards any thinking and beliefs including the teachings of yoga, but to investigate into the truth of everything, to attain self-realization. Everyone may or may not need some guidance, but it’s up to everyone’s free will to change their own thinking and behavior by developing self-control and self-discipline over their own thinking, actions and speech, and attain self-realization be free from ignorance, and realize unconditional love and peace, and stopped hurting themselves and others. The teacher doesn’t and can’t control or change the students, but can only give them guidance and encouragement. The teacher and the student will meet at the right time and the right place naturally when the time has come, without the influence of egoistic selfish desires.

There’s nothing wrong when people think that when they feel unhappy or angry, feel hurt and disappointed, it’s nothing to do with their own ignorance and egoism, but instead, it’s everyone and everything out there that are bad and wrong that give them unhappiness and suffering. There’s nothing wrong when people believe in God or disbelieve in God. It is everyone’s freedom of thought, actions and speech. But when people start to have strong attachment and identification with what they think and believe, there arise separateness, discrimination, prejudice, hatred, violence, fear and unrest in their minds towards others who are different from them. Some people even enjoy being angry and violent. They won’t feel good unless they get angry and violent.

If people don’t like to practice yoga about letting go of the ego, attachment and identification, no one can force them. The teachings of yoga teaches about everyone purifying their own thinking, actions and speech, but respecting others’ freedom of thinking, actions and speech, for what they want to do with themselves, their lives, their bodies and minds. Everyone takes the responsibility for the consequences of their own actions and inactions, for what they believe and disbelieve, for what they want and don’t want. No one can control or purify other’s mind. It is up to each one’s effort and free will to control and purify one’s mind. Yoga never condemns anyone who doesn’t like the teachings of yoga, or who doesn’t want to practice yoga as it is, or who misunderstands about yoga, or who criticizes yoga. Anyone can take up any yoga practice and practice anyway that they like, or do whatever they like with yoga, or they can stop practicing yoga for any reasons. There’s no condemn, or sin, or punishment.

Those who practice yoga, they don’t condemn nor criticize. Vice versa, those who condemn and criticize, they don’t practice yoga. We share yoga out of compassion, not out of egoism thinking that “Yoga is good for everyone. Everyone should practice yoga, and practice properly in a particular way, or else they are insulting the sacredness and purity of yoga.” One type of medicine may cure a person’s illness but may not necessarily has the same effect on another with the same illness, or would it cure some other form of illnesses. People react differently towards the same medicine and have different tolerance towards certain side-effects of that medicine which appear differently on different people. Some people may be a good friend for many others, but may not be a good partner or good parent. There are people dislike and disagree with the teaching and practice of yoga. That is their freedom. We can’t expect or force everyone to like yoga and practice yoga as it is. There are people who never heard about the teachings of yoga and don’t do any yoga practice in a particular name and form, but they are selfless, compassionate and peaceful beings. And if yoga is something sacred and pure, how can it be insulted or contaminated by anything at all?

Some people kept modifying the traditional yoga practices into many different new styles and versions to suit the preferences of what people like and don’t like, what they want and don’t want. Though there’s nothing wrong with that in terms of business marketing strategy and customer service and value, but then the yoga teachers are not really teaching yoga, and the students are not really practicing yoga. Instead it is empowering the egoism, attachment, identification, worldly thinking, ideas and habits, and encouraging the desires of craving and aversion of the egoistic mind. When we practice yoga, we stop giving the egoistic mind what it likes and wants. No doubt that sharing yoga is about sharing love and happiness. Yoga teachers are there to guide the yoga students on how to attain unconditional love and happiness by letting go the egoistic desires of craving and aversion. It’s not about giving them what they like and want, or don’t give them what they don’t like and don’t want, to gratified their desires of craving and aversion, to make them feel loved and happy. They feel happy is because they are getting something that they like and want, and not getting anything that they don’t like and don’t want. It doesn’t help them to be free from the desires of craving and aversion, to realize unconditional love and happiness. When they are not getting what they like and want, and getting something that they don’t like and don’t want, they will feel dissatisfied, disappointed, unhappy or miserable. This is moving away from what yoga is about.

Though there is a very significant teaching of yoga about seeing God in all and everything, that God exists in all and everything, but one doesn’t need to believe in God or spirituality to practice the teachings of yoga. For those who don’t believe in God, this teaching can be taught as seeing the one same universal consciousness of all and everything, which is the truth of impermanence and selflessness, that there’s no ‘I’ or individual existence exists in everything or in all the impermanent changes. For those who don’t believe in God or the one same universal consciousness, this teaching can be taught as seeing the element of teacher in all and everything to teach us something for higher understanding about worldly life existence, and be grateful and thankful for all kinds of good and bad experiences. Those who truly implement this teaching in everyday life wouldn’t be disturbed or determined by all the pleasant and unpleasant experiences, and wouldn’t generate anger or hatred towards anyone or anything, but they would respect the law of impermanence in all the different qualities of name and form, and respect all the different types of thinking, belief and behavior that exist in the worldly community as they are. This teaching leads us to peace and harmony in ourselves and not generating violence, anger and hatred in ourselves and into the world. But if our minds are over-powered by strong egoism and have pride and arrogance about ourselves and our thinking and belief, we would find this practice impossible or very difficult, unless we are ready to let go of our ego, pride and arrogance.

Peacelessness and disharmony exist in our minds are coming from the strong egoism, pride and arrogance, attachment and identification, craving and aversion, greed and discontentment, fear and worry, and all kinds of impurities empowered by ignorance or corrupted thinking and belief in the mind. One also generates restlessness and disharmony into the surrounding environment when one isn’t peaceful and harmony. If every being is free from ignorance, egoism and impurities, naturally the society will be free from separateness, discrimination, prejudice, hatred, violence, fear and unrest. If we want peace in the world, we must have peace in ourselves. Having peace and harmony in oneself is the only effective way to help the world to be in peace and harmony among all the different qualities and diversities. By being violent, angry and hating others and happenings that we don’t like and disagree with, and provoke anger and hatred in other people to also be angry and hate those whom we think they are bad and wrong, it wouldn’t help the world to be peaceful and harmony as how we would like it to be, but instead, we contribute so much restlessness and disharmony into the world, it doesn’t matter how good and right we think we are.

When we know what is yoga, we will know that teaching yoga has very little to do with qualification and certification coming from attending yoga teachers training courses. Yoga teachers training courses are for people to learn to become their own teacher. When one realizes the teacher within oneself, one will know that everything and everyone are teachers to teach everyone something. One will be free from discrimination and hatred towards anyone and anything, and will respect everyone and everything as they are. And naturally, one can also guide other people to become their own teachers with one’s unconditional love and peace, without any certifications or acknowledgement from anyone or any organizations.

It doesn’t matter whether we know the names of the yoga poses in English or Sanskrit, or not, what type of yoga we practice and what are the benefits of the yoga exercises, because yoga practice is not about gaining the benefits from the yoga exercises at all, and knowing the names of the yoga poses and which type of yoga we practice have nothing to do with the realization of unconditional love and peace. It’s about letting go of attachment, identification, expectation, craving and aversion towards all our actions and the fruit of actions, or towards the yoga practice and the result of the yoga practice.

Yoga is about realizing compassion and selflessness through the practice of dispassion towards worldly objects and ideas, discrimination of what is real and unreal, eliminating the ego and quieting our own mind, and be free from all kinds of attachments, identifications, desires, craving, aversion and impurities. And all these practices have nothing to do with the impermanent condition and ability of the physical body to perform the yoga poses, or how many years we have been doing yoga exercises, or how much yoga exercises we had done, or how many yoga poses we can perform and whether we can perform the yoga poses in perfect alignment, or not. It’s also nothing to do with all the physical health and fitness benefits that come along as side-effects from the yoga practice. All these names and forms cannot guarantee or determine whether we know about yoga or not, whether we are practicing yoga or not, whether we can teach yoga or not, and whether we are free from ignorance and egoism, and be liberated from suffering, or not.

Many people including many yoga enthusiasts don’t like to hear about the practice of dispassion. They give themselves many reasons to justify themselves that they don’t need to be dispassionate, instead they promote passionate way of thinking and living. They said follow all our desires and live passionately. There’s nothing wrong with having desires and being passionate towards worldly life existence, self-image, ideas, ambitions and social activities, and everyone has the freedom to choose what they want to do with their life existence, but then it isn’t what yoga practice is about.

Dispassion towards worldly objects, ideas and activities helps to render the mind calm and quiet to be able to perform self-inquiry to know who we really are, or, who we are not. Passion invigorates strong attachment and identification with worldly life existence, the function and ability of the body and mind, and passionate desires of craving and aversion. Instead of quieting the mind, annihilating the worldly ideas and eliminating the ego, it is stimulating the mind, strengthening the worldly ideas and empowering the ego. Passion hinders the mind to see the truth of things as they are. But if people enjoy being passionate and don’t mind being restless, that’s their freedom.

Dispassion doesn’t mean that we have no love. It is loving the world and everyone as they are, without selfish desires or expectations, discrimination of likes and dislikes, attachment, identification, craving and aversion, not necessarily it’s the way that I like it to be, or the way that I think it should be.

Passion is loving the world and people with selfish desires and expectations, discrimination of likes and dislikes, attachment, identification, craving and aversion. It’s I love my world to be the way that I like it to be, or the way that I think it should be.

When one is free from ignorance and egoism, then there’s no difference between passion and dispassion. As one can live and perform actions passionately in the world, but is undisturbed and undetermined by one’s actions and the fruit of actions.

The realization of selflessness will allow us to be undisturbed or undetermined by whatever the mind perceives through the senses, and remain equanimous and be at peace unconditionally. When one has realized unconditional love and peace, one won’t be intentionally generating thoughts, actions and speech that will hurt oneself and others under any circumstances, which is compassion. And the realization of unconditional love and peace has nothing to do with the knowledge about anatomy and physiology, or the physical condition and ability and alignment to do the yoga poses.

Everyone can practice yoga and share the wisdom of yoga and its practice with anybody, when they are free from ignorance and egoism and have realized unconditional love and peace through their own persist and sincere practice. They don’t need a piece of commercialized paper to allow them to share love and peace with others. Those who haven’t realized unconditional love and peace in themselves, they can’t share love and peace with others even if they have been attending many yoga courses and possess many pieces of certifications. Those who think and believe that they need to attend professional yoga courses and acquire a few pieces of paper to accumulate credits to allow them to share love and peace with other people, then they don’t really know what is yoga. But their minds are influenced by worldly ideas and qualities of name and form.

May all be happy, be peaceful, be free.

Om shanti.

Yoga, the teachings, the practice and teaching yoga…

There were some people suggested to us that we should be teaching ‘yoga teachers training course’.

There were some people asked us whether our yoga studio issues any ‘Internationally recognized certification’, if they participated in our yoga retreats and workshops.

There was ‘Yoga Alliance’ wrote to us whether we want to pay them some member fees so that we can put some ‘logos’ on our website and be affiliated and registered with their organization.

I don’t disagree nor criticize anyone or any organization to think and do what they want to think and do.  Everyone has the rights and freedom to think and act the way that they want to think and act.

There’s nothing wrong with all these worldly qualities of names and forms.

Most people are conditioned to think in certain ways, to believe in certain ‘commercial’ or ‘worldly’ values and qualities of names and forms. There’s nothing wrong with that. And it’s okay if some people cannot go beyond those conditioned thinking and beliefs, no matter how hard they try to understand what is beyond their thinking and beliefs.

Just that, Yoga and teaching yoga, or self-inquiry and self-realization, or to develop mindfulness, insight, self-awareness and self-control, or the practice of non-attachment and non-identification, or the truth of names and forms, or transcending qualities of names and forms, or the elimination of the egoism, or selflessness, or be free from ignorance and suffering, or the realization of unconditional peace and compassion, or sharing wisdom, love and peace with other beings, or be compassionate towards other beings, or be free from anger and hatred, greed and jealousy, dissatisfaction and disappointment, craving and aversion, fear and worry, really has nothing to do with all these organization, certification and qualification.

It means nothing if a ‘wandering yogi’ hangs a few certificates issued by some yoga schools around his neck, going around with a statement of his personal profile about how many years, months and days he has been practicing yoga, where he has been learning and practicing yoga, who are his Gurus and teachers, what he has achieved from his practice and self-inquiry, since when he has started sharing his wisdom and unconditional love and peace with other beings, how many people have been learning and practicing yoga under his guidance, or what sorts of certifications he will issue to those who practice yoga under his guidance, and etc.

We don’t even display our ‘Internationally recognized yoga teachers training certifications’ anywhere in the yoga studio or at home. We respect everyone for their personal freedom of thinking, speech and actions, and we are really grateful and thankful for all the teachers and the Ashrams to provide us with the opportunity to learn and practice yoga, as well as the ‘Internationally recognized’ certifications. But whether by attaining and displaying these certifications, or not, really doesn’t determine anything about ‘who we are’ and ‘what we do’, and it has nothing to do with the teachings of yoga about transcending the body and mind, the modifications of the mind, the worldly existence, all the qualities of names and forms, be free from egoism, ignorance and suffering, realize unconditional love and peace, and rest in ones nature as it is.

We don’t mention about what type of certification or qualification that we have in our website, as it doesn’t determine anything.

If some people are looking for all these qualities of names and forms to find a teacher or a school to learn and practice yoga, then let them be.

If people didn’t find what they are looking for in our website or in our classes, retreats or workshops, and are not interested in what we share, let them be.

May all find their own way, their own path, their own realization.

May all be free, be peaceful, be happy.

Be happy…

I have just found out that an old photo of me has been used as the front cover of a Malaysian yoga magazine in one of their issues in year 2013 without my knowledge.

I don’t mind if any contents or photos that I shared online might be used by anyone for sharing yoga with others, but, just to be clear that I have no interest at all in being associated with any ‘Yoga Alliance’ or ‘Yoga Teachers Association’ whether they are from Malaysia or International organization.

Yoga is beyond qualities of name and form. It’s not about a great and beautiful yoga pose. It cannot be represented by some forms of image or photo. People are mislead about yoga by some images of ‘beautiful’ yoga poses, or images of ‘yogi’, or images of some forms of ritual, or images of doing some forms of yoga practice, or even images of someone in a meditation posture. Yoga poses is only a small part of the yoga practice to help to prepare the mind for meditation. Not being able to do any yoga poses doesn’t mean that one cannot or doesn’t practice yoga. Not being able to put the body in a particular meditation posture doesn’t determine that one is not meditating, or one is not peaceful and compassionate. We neither agree nor disagree with how other people want to promote ‘yoga’. That is their freedom. But we do not associate with what people want to do or don’t do.

Be happy.

Yoga asana practice is just a very small part of the yoga practice…

Those who enjoy doing the yoga asana exercises but don’t like the practice about letting go of the egoism, attachment, identification, craving and aversion, say that yoga asana practice is the most important part of the yoga practice, and that is what they are learning from the ‘yoga classes’ that they have been attending for months and years.

If they have done a yoga asana practice that day, they will tell themselves and others that they have done their yoga practice that day. And if they didn’t practice yoga asana for a few days or a few months, they will tell themselves and others that they haven’t been practicing yoga for a few days or a few months.

But yoga practice exists in every moment in everything that we do and don’t do. All actions, including inactions, are free from egoism, attachment, identification, desires of craving and aversion.

Well, everyone can think and believe what they want to think and believe. If some people insist that yoga is all about the yoga asana practice, and how to make their yoga asana poses to be ‘perfect’ is the goal of their yoga practice, and to make the physical body super strong and flexible will make them a perfect ‘yogi’, then let it be.

Yoga asana practice is just a very small part of the yoga practice to help the yoga practitioners to balance and calm the mind, to prepare the mind for meditation. But, if we don’t want to let go of the egoism, attachment, identification, craving and aversion, and there are countless impurities constantly arise in the mind influencing our thinking and behavior, then no matter how much yoga asana exercises we have been practicing, and how much health and fitness benefits we are getting from performing the yoga asana practice, and the physical body becomes super strong and flexible, we are not free.

People who can’t or don’t perform yoga asana practice due to any reasons, can also attain the means of yoga, to be free from ignorance and suffering, if they know how to free the mind from egoism, attachment, identification, craving, aversion, and all sorts of impurities.

Sometimes how some of the yoga teachers training courses train the ‘yoga teachers-to-be’ for what they will be teaching to the others who will learn yoga from them after they are ‘graduated’ from the yoga teachers training courses, will make their yoga students misunderstand about yoga, the teachings and the yoga practice. There’s nothing wrong with that either, as the students will be getting some health and fitness benefits from doing the yoga asana exercises regularly, just that they might not be practicing yoga.

Om shanti.