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How much have you lived?

What’s the most inspiring thing that happened for you this week?

The most inspiring thing that happened to me this week is this – news of the death of an old friend whom I knew from my teens. I was informed that he passed away from heart attack, and at the time of his death, his wife was 8 months pregnant with their baby.

At first I felt a sense of sadness and loss. His name was Kelvin, about a couple years older than me. Which means to say he is still very young. We used to party a lot together and shared many good buddy moments. He was a friend that we could always count on when we needed any help. However we lost contact over the last decade when I switched from corporate to holistic health and personal growth. He was one of the friends that I ‘left behind.’

If you had ever had a loved one or good friend pass away before you would probably know that the first thoughts that appear in our mind are the ‘What Ifs’.

What if I had kept contact with him and taught him raw foods, yoga and healthy living. Would it have changed the odds of his heart attack?

And then I quickly realized that there are no ‘What Ifs’ in life. There are only the ‘What Is’. The ‘What Ifs’ present themselves as a medium for confronting our fears and regrets, which in turn leads to self acceptance and inner growth. The bridge between the ‘What Ifs’ and the ‘What Is’ is one of the things in life that I call enlightenment; amongst several things including tasting quality wine, staring at a breathtaking sunset, and looking into the eyes of a lover.

Meditating on the memories of Kelvin, I wrote a song:

How much have you lived 
How much did you love
Time, is it months and years 
Or fun and tears.

Can time make sense 
If we don't know love and pain
How much have you lived
How much have you let love

Did you just watch the world pass you by
Did you put yourself out there
What am I afraid of 
I thought I knew who I was
Until love found me

Until you put yourself out there, bare, uncovered
How much have you lived

These 2 consecutive years had particularly been interesting in that I’d experienced the deaths of 2 close friends one after the other. The greatest lesson that stood out, underneath all the grief, is this:

While I’m alive, its my duty to live an amazing, wondrous and awesome life filled with love, fun and growth. And in turn, radiate this Light outwards to others who are in my path.

Thank you for being a part of my awesome life, and allowing me to serve you.

Hugs and Kisses

Linda         

YTTC Graduation Party 2016

Power in doing the “Impossible” (YTTC Graduation)

We had just finished another round of Teachers Training and although it was intense – spanning over 2 months, we (the 4 graduate teachers and I) thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. Amidst a ton of self study, rigorous training and drills, we also did an in-depth exploration of using authentic Yoga as a tool for self realization.

Graduation was nothing short of a celebration party. The picture above was taken after 2 bottles of red wine and 2 hours of singing and dancing. My first core belief in life – Never miss a chance to party!

In this short article today I want to touch on doing the so-called ‘impossible’. If you think that training to achieve a full split or a head stand within 2 months is impossible, think again. We sure did it under the Yoga Teachers Training Course – with an intense cirriculum, hard work and discipline.

Contrary to most false beliefs, it is not the age; and definitely not size, shape or fitness level that determines whether you breakthrough on your mat, or in your life for that matter.

It is your beliefs (including your perception of failure), and level of commitment.

There is a lot of power and inner strength in achieving something we had never been able to do before. Take for example inversions. To go upside down, to see the world upside down, to be seen upside down, and to have your legs in the air, these require courage, strength, balance, control of your entire physical body and mental power.

My second core belief in life is: “Do the toughest things on your yoga mat, stick with it with integrity and grit, and everything else in your life becomes easy. When you give in to excuses on your mat, you tend to also give up power in your life. Your practice reflects your entire life, there’s simply no faking it.”

First of all, you gotta believe that you can do it. Then you actually train for it, commit to consistency and never giving up. Unless you are the reincarnation of great sages, most Yogins did not achieve difficult poses overnight; we had to train very hard for them.

For instance, when you train for the head stand Sirashasana (King of Poses); you have to keep attempting to lift the legs even though its so darn difficult. You fail, and keep failing, for a few hundred times, until your body becomes strong enough to lift the legs. If you had given up in any of those one time of failure, then the pose becomes only a book concept for you because you stopped trying.

But if you pressed on, you will come to the day when you realize you could lift one leg; and another day you realize you could lift both legs. And soon, you could bring both legs up, and then you begin to find balance upside down. You see new things in the upside down view and you discover a whole new confidence in life.

And whenever you achieved a breakthrough on your mat, the breakthrough spill over from the mat into your life. You gain a new insight about your character, why you behave a certain way you do, you see new things in your life that you didn’t notice before; and you don’t stop there; you keep moving forward. Life is always an expansion – either you expand forward or you ‘expand’ backwards, you know what I mean 🙂

So keep practicing, keep making new breakthroughs and don’t forget to celebrate every step of the way.

Be extraordinary; be awesome!

XOXO

(C) Copyright Linda Loo

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The Universe in a Sunflower

Contrary to most women I know, my favorite flower is not the Rose, Lily or Carnation. My favorite flower is the tall, rugged looking smiling Sunflower. Whenever I see Sunflowers I break into a smile, sometimes even a dance! They sing to me a sacred song of the universe:

“Look at me, I lean upwards into the sun boldly. I embrace the sun’s rays thirstily and I embrace what’s ahead of me with verve. Look at my spirals – they are evidence of Infinite Intelligence, always containing a Fibonacci number. Come close to me, let me teach you how to smile. Touch my petals, soft and ruffly, you will come alive. My life span is short and maybe I shall die next month, but look around me, I recreate my own grandeur again and again in my family. There’s no lack of extraordinariness wherever you are looking. How do you want to live your life?”

When you look for it at any given moment, there is a sacred song that God wrote for you. His song always contain reminders, signposts and reassurance for your road ahead. My song is found in the Sunflower; have you found yours yet? If not, don’t stop looking for it 🙂

 

In Awesomeness and Love (C) Copyright Linda Loo 2016

 

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TY (Transformational Yoga) – A Manual to an awesome life

(A self proclaimed growth junkie’s view on how TY works as well if not better than any self development program available out there.)

At the age of 10, I told myself that I would live an extraordinary life; a life based on my own terms and conditions, and what I want out of life. I made up my mind to create an awesome life, and never settle for mediocrity.

Since then, I constantly strive to be better. While other kids my age were thinking about where to go for movies after school, or where to go for the next school holiday, I worked to earn money for my education. Before I realized it, I was all grown up – a successful young working adult who overcame adversity to get to where I was. There were several successful achievements of which I was proud of – being a straight ‘A’s student in college, earning an NUS degree all by myself, getting my dream job in a financial industry, and a paycheck I never imagined was possible.

The best thing that ever happened to me however, was not the material success. It was the early-life crisis that led me to question “Who am I?”, and eventually the wisest choice of my life to leave corporate and pursue my passion in Yoga. My life now is much more satisfying and fulfilling and I will never want to exchange this for anything else.

The thirst for knowing myself has somewhat compounded in the last decade. A self proclaimed ‘Growth Junkie’, I attended more development programs than I could count with my 20 fingers and toes. From loud ‘ra-ra’ adrenalin pumping seminars, to language based forums, intensive retreats and camps which included lots of crying and screaming, to energy-based healing therapies like Reiki, esoteric dance, hypnotherapy and eventually Yoga, I spent a whopping 6-figure sum on developing myself just in the last decade alone.

All these programs were mostly great; they worked at that specific space time of my life. While I used to enthusiastically enroll close friends and loved ones to do the programs that I did, I stopped doing that when I discovered two things:

  1. At some level, every tool employed in these programs is a Yogic tool. There is nothing I can find in them that I can’t find in Yoga. However, there are plenty in Yoga that are not found in them.
  2. The results gained varied with different people, and some seemed to fade off with time.
  3. There are flaws in every modality, none of them are complete on their own; just like there are imperfections in every human. Some teachers and program facilitators are aware of that (which is very respectable); some are not.

Regardless, when friends and yoga students asked me of an opinion of these programs, my first response is always that of delight. Anyone striving for betterment deserves nothing less than a delightful response. Then I would give a summary of my experience, followed by a hi-five “Give it all you have, enjoy the whole process and have a bunch of fun!”.

The only one Science that caught my heart, and continued to captivate me even more as I delve deeper into it however, is only Yoga. The word Yoga means union, as taught by the sacred texts that existed long before anyone invented any conceivable self development modality. It has been there way before the well known masters and trend setters like Socrates, Karl Marx, Pyhatogarus, Freud, Jung and Einstein. We don’t yet know for certain how and where the scriptures, the Upanishads originated from – some sources traced it to ancient holy men called Rishis who meditated and compiled it, others said it seemed to be there before human beings even existed. But unmistakably the study and practice of Yoga itself is a journey towards completion. Anyone who is passionate and consistent about Yoga knows this – It always feels like we have reached home.

Science is only now beginning to discover all the laws of reality that has already been recorded in the Vedas and Upanishads dating back up to 6,000 years ago. Does that tell us something about the integrity of Yoga?

In our modern world today there are too many scattered ideas and methodologies about Yoga, and I consider it our good karma to have a chance to know Yoga in the ancient forms, particularly the Transformational tradition. This tradition is unlike most other traditions in that it unifies and integrates the key ancient principles as taught in the major Upanishads.

(The Yoga we are talking about here is not the diluted forms practiced in gyms and commercial centers. We are referring to traditional Yoga, the non adulterated forms of teaching as handed down in the Upanishads, practiced consistently and applied proactively, in a targeted and self inquiring manner.)

In and of itself, Yoga, when practiced the ancient way as taught by the sages, is a tool for self realization. Here’s where it gets interesting. What has self realization got to do with winning in life? Realize what?

Upanishadic wisdom teaches that our ultimate aim is to realize the Self, the unlimited, infinite, vast Source from which came all these experiences of reality we think we are experiencing. In this Self, lies our infinite potential. In other words, the Upanishads teach that our ultimate aim as a human being includes winning (ourselves) and succeeding in life. We are meant to thrive, not survive.

To win in life can be generally accepted to mean getting what we want, and reaching new heights in life. It includes being successful in career, money, love, social circles and all areas of our life. So, I had always been curious – what determines the actions that lead to success? What determines how much conscious choice we have over actions that create a destiny that is successful?

The answer to that is Awareness and State.

Awareness
For any lasting transformation to occur, you first must have self awareness. If you can’t see it, you can’t solve it. If you can’t see why you are creating the same situation over and again, you can’t change a thing. Only when you see how you allow yourself to play small, why you always sabotage yourself, that you begin to command higher situations into your life.

State
This refers to the energetic state of beingness with which we think, speak and act. Is it an expansive, empowering state; or is it a reducing, limiting state. Is it highly, positively charged, or flaccid. How often do you live in the former, and how often in the latter. This is so important, and so simple that most of us don’t notice.

Besides having a body that someone 20 years younger than you would envy, there are some pretty good reasons why Yoga is the coolest tool you can ever learn and use to live an extraordinary life. As for Transformational Yoga, well, it is simply kick-butt powerful! I’m not even going into the details of how TY gives you at least double the effects of any regular Yoga class you get outside. Perhaps I will just mention that the very moment you add in the breathing and sound projections into an Asana, you amp up the heat and difficulty. If you could do an Asana with TY, you can do it in any way you want – Hatha, Vinyasa or Bikram.

So, here’s why Yoga is cool:

Would you go shop for apples in the markets when you can have the entire apple plantation, with every possible breed and colors of apples, in your backyard? Why not go straight to Source.

Isolated Yoga modalities can be found in every, and I literally mean every, self development program out there. But as I mentioned earlier, we can’t say the same for the vice versa. Many famous, ‘ra-ra’  kind of motivational programs uses intensity, movement and loud music to alter state. They showcase life examples of other participants as a huge mirror so that we can see ourselves – awareness.

In TY, we use Mantras to work with the mind. Instead of using Mantras, these programs use language. The difference is that Mantras invoke an energetic effect – it bypasses our thinking mind; while language stills carries a layer of individual meaning, which is subjective. The results depends on how much gunk a person has on their filters. For some, the effects are impressive immediately after the program; however they sometimes disappear quickly too. Shifts are hardly permanent unless new structures are established – usually involving new routines, daily rituals and joining a community.

These are all good, and of course every institution has their own agenda. Many of their programs are structured around these agendas. As in, your progress after the program hinges on serving their agendas. Which are not wrong or bad; but it certainly helps for us to see clearly what these are. It is OK to serve their agenda as long as it serves you equally well too.

Language based forums are great in creating shift, I myself benefited substantially from some of them. But then again, I had Yoga as my base; and sustainability of results for different people vary greatly, as I’ve noticed. The compromise comes from the fact that human beings are multi layered integral beings with states of consciousness beyond the mental body. There are more powerful states beyond the mind that affect our habits and behavior. These states are not detectable in our waking state ie. they are not accessible while we are engaged with the mind using words. Because words and language are still created within the boundaries of mind.

The most effective method to access, understand and alter these deeper, subtle states of consciousness is via the ancient practice of Yoga Nidra (which is NOT hypnosis by the way; its a different game altogether).

“The Cosmic Person (Purusha) is all this, what has been and what will be.
From his mind, the Moon was born, from his eye came the Sun. From his mouth arose the powers of fire and lightning. From the wind his breath was born.
From his navel came the atmosphere, from his head Heaven, from his feet the Earth and from his ears, the directions of space. Thus all the worlds were formed.”

Rig Veda X.90, 2, 12, 14.

The Vedas taught that the ultimate aim of humans is to realize the Purusha, the light of the Cosmic Being and Cosmic Universe. This Purusha both exist in our hearts and pervades throughout the entire Universe.

Before we begin to ascend the path, we have to possess clear vision.

Many of these retreats and programs are great as ‘spring cleaners’. They wipe off the dirt from our windscreen, and suddenly, we see clearer. At least for a few days (or weeks depending how dirty our car is). And then you see new roads, new options. But before long, dirt starts to accumulate again.

Transformational Yoga practice gives us crystal clear vision. After every session, we sense mental clarity, become calmer, more balanced, and more self assured. We are ready to start on a clean slate. Compared to peering through a murky windscreen, we can now drive with more confidence. It doesn’t end here; even if we allow for just a simple 5 minute breath meditation or silent self inquiry, we could actually begin to see how the dirt flies onto our screen, and prevent it from flying onto our screen again.

Here’s a really simple tip. Before you begin your practice, start by centering yourself through the breath. Then set an intention. It could be – ‘I want to solve this problem right now and I want to see more options for solutions at the end of this practice.’ or ‘What is it in me that is creating this repeating behavior in this situation/person.’ or ‘What is it that I’m not seeing that is preventing me from getting XXX.’ or ‘What is the immediate thing I have to do to achieve this XXX result.’ At the end of your practice, center yourself again, and then revisit the question. Then simply allow the answers to surface. The truth is that you already know and have all the answers, resources to everything you ever needed. Your answers are found in your own Truth, this Truth is all you ever need, and it resides in your Self. TY shortens the distance between you and Self.

There is only one Truth in you, and that’s the only Truth you ever need to know; everything else is just what other people says to you.

I was one of those people who are always going for different healing retreats, meditation camps and programs. While it is good to explore different modalities at various intervals of your life, there could come a time where you overdo it and get pulled in several different directions. Yes, maybe there is some trauma to release or some blind spots to realize, but it could be easy to lose sight of what was important in the first place, plus an average understanding of each modality, hardly a mastery.  You must know that all of these things you learn are only as useful as they help you to realize your inner Teacher, they must help you look within, and eventually your inner Teacher becomes strong enough that you don’t need external teachers. Make sense? There has to be a time where you actually start doing life.

“Whatever is here is found elsewhere. But whatever is not here is nowhere else.” Mahabharata

As long as any teacher has a physical body, there is a possibility of limitations. Whether it is a highly respected facilitator or a swami wearing robes, he/she is still human. The greatest teacher is the one that lives in you. All external teachers (including yours truly, if I’m fortunate to be one of yours) are meant to lead you to your own Truth, your own Teacher. Therefore, there is no hard and fast rules to follow for prolonged periods of time. What worked before may not work now or in future.  What I say to you now could be completely obsolete in another 5-10 years. But they will work in this moment to bring you closer to your own Truth.

This is where Yoga, especially Transformational Yoga beats all the other programs hands down. The more you practice, the more you recognize your own Truth, and you become your own Teacher. You have at your disposal the tools to clear your windscreen any time you wish; and alter your state at will. Life unfolds before you like a huge forum everyday, people and things show up as your biggest mirror for learning. All you need to do is just set aside alone time and go hang out on your mat.

If you could win a million bucks now without moving an inch, would you choose to wait and have it in 3 years and only after traveling a hundred miles?

In fact, TY helps you realize in astonishing short periods of time, the things in your life that are unnecessary, people and situations that are not helpful, and how you can avoid them amicably. There was a point in my life that I was doing a few programs simultaneously. Friends called me a ‘seminar junkie’. Not that there was anything bad with that, but I was completely wiped out on most days. Plus I had no life. Growth was phenomenal yes. Was that the only way to get the same growth? No. Was there a shorter simpler way with more time to enjoy the other parts of my life? Heck, yes. When I reflected back, I realized I could have that same growth, maybe even more, had I allocated a fraction of time to my Practice; if I had taken time to look inwards instead of outwards. But its all good, because that was what I needed to realize I don’t have to go that way again, and take other better alternatives.

Shifts are not permanent unless you eradicate the underlying beliefs.

Beliefs are caused by Samskaras, or simply, the loop of our Karma. These Samskaras, flavored and colored in a certain pattern to cause us to believe, behave and become in a corresponding pattern, are only visible when we get conscious of our unconscious natures.

Samskaras live in the unconscious parts of our mind and continue to control our behavior from there. The bad news is that we will never be free of these Samskaras as long as they stay hidden in the unconscious. We can keep attending seminar after seminar, program after program; retreat after retreat; we keep sending the car for a wash, change a new car, use a new car washer, and still, the Samskaras will cause the same kind of dirt to accumulate in the same speed at the same spots on our windscreen eventually.

The good news is that, we can ‘discolor’ the Samskaras, bit by bit, via Yoga Nidra. We fade them out so they have a less push/pull over our behavior. Yoga Nidra is extremely powerful, but also one of the hardest modalities to master because its effectiveness lies not only with the cleanliness of our physical, emotional and mental bodies, but also with the strength of concentration, and intensity of Kundalini that has been awakened. The beauty of TY is that it prepares the practioner to be ready for a deep NIdra in the shortest amount of time.

As Samskaras loses their color, the drivers of actions become paler, less dirt flies onto our screen. Eventually, we see new roads that are smoother, shorter, less dirty and more enjoyable than others, and we choose to drive down those roads.

You are everything that you experience as Reality and more.

You are the Universe.

Have you ever wondered – What is this reality that we are experiencing? We already know that matter is not solid. If everything is energy in the universe, then Einstein’s famous equation of E = MC Sq offers some comfort. But this formula has too many flaws in that the assumptions are doubt-able. For one, this formula works only when there is gravity i.e. a point of reference. And two, that the speed of light is constant and time is linear. But is time really linear? Any one who practices meditation or studies Quantum Mechanics will tell you that linearity is questionable.

It is not inaccurate to say that space and time only makes sense with the force of gravity. And our planet is but a speck of something which we don’t quite know yet, in a continuously expanding Universe.

Hawkins came up with a brilliant conclusion on Reality “There is no observer-independent observation of reality.” Physicists have now discovered Quantum Mechanics, theories which are in total conflict with Classical Particle Physics. In short, Quantum Mechanics suggest that matter, or simply stuff as we know, is not fixed; atoms behave like a particle when nobody is watching, and a wave when someone is observing.

Here’s where it gets exciting. Under the study of Quantum Chromodynamics (how atoms bind together to give us stuff), the formulas work backwards into a value of zero. The Universe is nothing in terms of quantity.

Quantum Mechanics and its modifications have been widely argued and debated. From the perspective of Science, our human brain could not comprehend why matter is nothing, and how can something be derived from nothing. But from the perspective of a Yogic brain, armed with knowledge from the major Upanishads, we know we have been asking the wrong question. The right question to ask instead is –  Why does nothing seem like something? The answers to this question alone will lead us into our Truths.

Are you becoming as excited as me? There is something about Quantum Mechanics that reinforces everything we read and practiced in TY. It keeps me awake at night, and makes me so enthusiastic that I want to do cartwheels around my neighborhood.

ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE. Your life is as awesome or as awful as you want it to be. You choose it, and then you create it, whether you know it or not.

You are already creating destiny every moment; why not make it conscious, make it awesome and live like a champ?

(C) Copyright Linda Loo 2016

To start your awesome life today, join us for a trial class. More details can be found here. To register, email to contact@lightlovelaughteracademy.com with your name and contact number.

You can also get a copy of the book to begin your practice at home.

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Loving yourself through relationships

(This piece of sharing is written from my perspective as a woman who likes men. I respect all sexual orientations and have no comments about preferences different from mine. If anything here offends you, I apologize in advance, and you don’t have to read anything that doesn’t sit well with you. Please close the browser, keep your comments to yourself and channel your energy to something else that resonates with you.xoxo)

As long as we are human, it is impossible to avoid love. Of course, the concept of love and relationships extends far beyond that of romantic and marriage based relationships. But for the vast majority of us earthly mortals, romantic relationships are still the kind of relationships that offer the most challenge, fulfillment and growth.

My last relationship ended some 8 years ago. Each time the topic of marriage came up, I did the disappearing act. It wasn’t long before I realized that I was deeply freaked out by the idea of commitment  After the breakdown in my 3rd relationship, I realized that the problems with my love life did not arise with the other person. The problems came from ME. And so I said to myself – Let’s take a break from relationships and really look into ‘Who am I’.

So began an arduous journey of Raw foods, Fasting, Yoga, Meditation, contributing to humanity and so on. I was obsessed with personal development and became a growth junkie.  I rejected men who showed interest in me, and closed myself to relationships. Several times, I seriously contemplated the idea of renouncing the world, going to the mountain ashrams and shaving my head.

As life would have it, a year ago, I fell in love for the first time in 8 years. It didn’t quite work out, and I was heart broken for a few months. But through the experience, something hit me on my head – I realized that in order for me to progress, I have to fall in love, the human kind of love. I have to participate in human life, in human worldly love, to allow my colored Samskaras (drivers of behavior) to play out, so that I can identify and work on them. So, 7 years after intense self work, I opened myself up to dating, love and relationships.

You might have already guessed that, the path of love is not less arduous than the ‘spiritual’ path. I also realized, after studying myself intensely, that my ‘spiritual path’ was at times bordering into being a bandaid over unresolved issues that I wasn’t able to yet integrate. I began exploring the feminine part of me that I had lost contact with. I allowed myself to feel what every woman who is deeply connected to their core feminine knows about – desire and longing. I longed to be in a spiritually fulfilling, fully self expressed and committed relationship with a quality man; not just any man, but a man who is my soul mate on every level. With that I created a new goal for myself, to attract and keep a soul mate relationship with a man that inspires me into full expression as a woman.

In fact, the moment we fall in love and enter relationships with another human being, breakdowns and pain are inevitable. There will surely be some form of pain because we are human beings, we are not immortals. And as for the meanings we give to our pain, our beliefs about it, and the subsequent choices we make, well, that determines the amount of fulfillment and suffering we experience 🙂

Interestingly, over the same period that I began learning about love and relationships and men, I also had a record high of close friends opening up to me about their relationship breakdowns. Most of them came from my girlfriends, although I did get to hear from some of the men too. All of them were undergoing unpleasant breakups, some were in the midst of divorce and separation; and some even have kids. Although they don’t know one another (I have very diverse groups of friends who do not mix well) but all these close girlfriends of mine were heartbroken, whether they show it or not. Some were on the very verge of emotional breakdown. I was learning a lot from them, especially when I get to hear the stories from both the man and the woman.

In contrast, I also had a fair share of friends in blissful, fulfilling and mutually supportive relationships and marriages. They were such a joy to be with! These women have a different quality about them, different mechanism of dealing with breakdowns, and their men too have very different characteristics. Whenever I observed these happy couples, I was awed by the differences of relational chemistry displayed through their interactions.

The biggest lesson that stood out glaringly to me was this – we are in fact, in a relationship with ourselves. Our partner is merely a mirror to reflect to us who we really are showing up as.

Be a Soulmate unto Thyself

Your partner will treat you the same way that you treat yourself. If you take care of yourself, all of your physical, emotional and spiritual needs, then your partner will show up as that too.  Your insecurities, fears and self judgements towards yourself will be amplified exactly in the same manner in your man. If you want someone to be committed and devoted to you, you first have to be equally devoted and committed to yourself in the first place. How much do you nurture and give to yourself? There is no way someone can love you more than you love yourself. If you want soul mate love, you first have to be a soul mate to yourself.

To heal from anything, you have to feel your emotions

It probably takes another conversation to cover the importance of using emotions to transcend and grow. I can’t over-emphasize how devoid of emotions we are as society, and how important it is to be able to feel them. Consider that, no experience of reality is complete without allowing ourselves to feel. Emotions are energy in motion; when we don’t feel them, its not because we don’t have them; rather, Its because we suppress them. Prolonged suppression leads to depression because these energy gets stuck in your system. And then eventually, life becomes stuck.

Do you know people who are constantly depressed and moody? Its almost like they are afraid to be happy because they are scared that someone will demand something from them if they become happy. That is what we become when we suppress feelings. People who live from this state have very limited resources to give to others, and others who love them or lives with them suffers. Many of these emotionally constipated people continue living quiet lives of desperation, swinging between momentary numbness and despair. Dragging their feet through life, existing, surviving; that is hardly a way to live at all. Whenever there is pain, we have to go through them as authentically as we can; there are plenty of methods to express negative emotions without damage. Yoga is one marvelous tool.

If it doesn’t work, wish them well and move ahead

Love and relationships are not a bed of roses; life isn’t either. It is challenging, although it can be tremendously rewarding. Before you understand yourself, become a better version of yourself and learn how to love better, there could be plenty of breakdowns along the way that are heart wrenching. Sometimes it didn’t work out, sometimes our loved ones die before us, sometimes it was a traumatic breakup. In those times you will feel like the sun will not shine tomorrow, and you can’t find it in you to smile again. But you know what, you just have to move on. With tons of tissue to wipe the tears maybe, but you have to get moving away from the one who is no longer available so that those who DO love and are available for you can come running to you.

Do you remember the last time you saw a crappy movie which was a waste of time and brain cells? How many times did you see that movie – only once isn’t it? You didn’t go back to watch it over and over again – because its simply not worth it. So, all those relationships that didn’t work out, wish them well, and then move on with your life. Know that it is no loss to you because they can’t contribute to you anymore. The fact that a relationship had ended means its value to you is over and a better one awaits you. And, don’t resent or hate either, because it does you no good. You will never know how wonderful your life can get if you stop moving.

Never settle. You are a speck of divine force in action, and you create your destiny.

I believe that the vast majority of people have good intentions, until they show that they do not. People do not intentionally want to hurt others unless they are acutely confused. Don’t blame them, but remind yourself that confused partners cannot make you very happy. Quality men actually want to make their women happy.

It may not seem obvious at first, but its the well developed masculine energy that draws out the beautiful feminine essence in almost every situation of life, and vice versa. The best of men are strong, generous, kind, authentic, steadfast and totally sexy when they dare to go after what they want in life, be it business or love. Of course, I’m not saying that there are no knuckleheads around, but my belief is that these are the minority. Women with a well developed feminine energy have the same attributes with an added flavor of grace and fluidity. As soon as you commit to loving yourself, you will begin to notice the quality people, including quality men in your life. To all of you women who are single and moving towards your soul mate, I feel like saying to you this – Don’t settle for just any man that you can pass time with; go for that man who loves you enough to be a real man for you, who commits to showing up in his best for you, who recognizes the divine in himself and in you, and who is ready to co-create your best life with you together.

Life happens FOR you; never TO you. And for me, life is a celebration. Never miss a chance to party dance or laugh. Big hugs!

Linda Loo (C) 2016

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7 things that make a Yoga Class rock

Almost 2 out of every 10 guys I meet nowadays say they had tried a few classes and liked it. Today there are no shortage of Yoga classes to choose from – fitness centers, gyms, boutique studios and in Singapore we have something called Community Centers (which offer government subsidised services for mass market consumption). But good classes are rare. Any savvy and genuine seeker of Yoga knows that there aren’t that many authentic Yoga classes in  Singapore that offer close to the benefits of what Yoga is supposed to bring.

Because I feel blessed to have the karma of learning the most original, undiluted teachings of Yoga, I’d made it my personal mission to share this ancient tool of self development with as many people as possible for their positive transformation.

This article is written mainly for certified Yoga Teachers; but it would help expand any practioner’s perspective when choosing a class for yourself. Whether you had done your certification with us under LLLA’s Teacher Trainings or with other institutions, I’m sure this will interest you.

What makes a Yoga Class awesome and sets it apart from a mediocre one?

  1. Work with the Chakras – If you don’t know what are Chakras and you call yourself a Yoga Teacher, you are shortchanging your students. Chakras are energy vortexes from which our several dimensions of reality arise ie phyiscal, emotional, mental and so on. Everything is created from the vibration of Chakras; and the whole point of Yoga is to purify and balance these Chakras to achieve union. Your class will be amped up if you understand what are Chakras, how they affect daily life of a person, and how to structure your class in accordance to the locations of a person’s main Chakras.
  2. Your own Practice – This is one of the underlying factors that will determine how effective you are as a teacher/facilitator; actually this extends to almost anything you do. As a trainer, your students can only progress as much as you do. So before each class, you first have to make sure you have done ample practice to super charge your cells with Prana and vibration. So that you can ground the space and provide the room for your students to reach that deeper part of themselves that they could not reach on their own.
  3. Your Listening and Perceiving – I don’t mean listening with your ears. I mean listening with your whole being – your 5 senses and more. Once class begins, feel every of your student, feel their breaths, and through their breaths feel their feelings and thoughts, resistances and fears. Feel where there is room to work a little harder, and feel where acceptance is required. Listen to the sounds they make, and beyond the sounds. Witness how they are pushing beyond their own boundaries. Hold that space for them in love, and non judgement, as they have entrusted you to.
  4. Meditation – This could be done via sitting, lying down in a simple guided relaxation, or a deep Yoga Nidra practice. A Yoga Class is incomplete without Meditation, don’t skip it for any reason. You could cut the another part of the class but not the Meditation because this is the ultimate goal of Yoga. A good facilitator will know how to remind the class that Meditation is the primary reason why they huffed and puffed through the challenging Asanas. A Yoga session becomes awesome when there is shifts in the consciousness, and these shifts can only occur via Meditation.
  5. ‘The’ Class vs ‘A’ Class – Before every session I think, plan, meditate and run through everything I intend to teach in the class, with one main objective – to create upward shifts. It is not simply ‘a’ class that I mechanically go through; it is an event that I treat seriously because I know there will never be the same class again. When you treat something as a precious experience that will only occur once in your lifetime, your whole perspective changes.
  6. Variety – The fact is that human beings are easily bored creatures, hence the saying familiarity breeds contempt. Too many commercialized Yoga classes teach the same old sequence again and again, some for years. Nothing wrong with that, especially if its a sequence that works. But if you want your students to still feel the wow in your sessions after years, then variety is key. I get bored with my own training after an average of 3 months, and I make sure I cross train my muscles with running and swimming. Finding new ways to keep yourself engaged as a trainer determines how much your students benefit from your classes.
  7. Individual Attention – I have a prejudice against large classes. I feel anything larger than 15 people in a class is an ineffective use of time for the students. I once heard a Yoga teacher (supposedly celebrity level) from Bali say that “every class is just bodies and bones, and with 50-80 students in a class, most of the time I have no freaking idea what is going on inside of them.” Well, I don’t have x-ray eyes either, but I find it hard to trust a teacher who sees me as just one of the many “bodies and bones”. If I were attending a class, I want to know that my trainer got my back while I’m exploring my potential. This is not baby sitting, but rather an extra pair of eyes to help me watch where I can push and where I should let go. It is literally impossible for a trainer to give that kind of attention to a class of 20 and more. So, keep your classes small and you will impact your students better.

 

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Bereavement is God’s Love Song

Have you ever lost your loved ones to death before? If you had, I believe this article will resonate deeply with you.

My father was my best friend, soul mate and mentor rolled into one. At 30 years old, I reconnected with him after years of resentment. Over 2.5 years, we completed everything in our relationship. We said all our ‘sorry’s, ‘thank you’s and ‘I love you’s. There is nothing unsaid between us.

It is quite difficult to imagine the level of connection I had with my father. Most people don’t even come close to that in life long marriages, let alone parent-child relationships. Let me try to describe it to you.

My dad and I could discuss about anything under the sun – from complex topics like science, religion, spirituality to something as simple as permaculture. One moment we could be dissecting the multi-layered concept of quantum mechanics, the next moment we would suddenly break into a song and poem. Full moons, sunsets, the sea and forests, these are the grandeurs of nature that we share an immense love for.

Many times dad and I walked silently hand in hand. We could be watching an angry thunderstorm unfold from indoors, or we were lost in the sounds of crickets at the park. It doesn’t matter what we do, or where we go. What matters was that we had each other’s company and we enjoy every moment deeply, while holding hands.

We would watch comedies together and laugh till we cry, or watch sad movies and cried until we laughed. Everything we experienced together reminds us of all the mistakes we had made, me as a daughter, him as a father, and how grateful we were to have each other again.

That is not my boyfriend, or my husband. That person I am talking about is my father.

If I said 2.5 years was enough, I’d be lying. It is too short. Like a kid whose toy had been snatched, I was angry when dad passed. I wish I had more time with him; I wish I could reverse the clock and stop him from going to the place where the accident happened; I wanted to strangle the person who caused his death; I wish I had the sensibility to wake up earlier and reconcile with him earlier, so that I can have 20 years instead of 2.5 years with him; I wish…the wish list never ends.

In the first year after his passing, I sold my apartment because everything in it reminds me of him. Footsteps in the corridor, the sound of keys, the door bell ringing all gave me hope that I would see him returning. After I moved out, his memories followed me. For almost every night, I played back the recordings of the songs I sang when I was out with him. Although I could not hear his voice, i could sense his energy from the moments of recording. It was the closest I could get to having him with me at that time.

Grief never really ends, as I’ve learnt. It comes in waves, often when we least expect it. 3 years after dad passed, the waves of grief began to spread out. In between there are gaps. Gaps for life. I feel life at a much deeper level. I feel people and their emotions; sometimes even emotions that they didn’t know they had.

Gradually, the waves of grief get triggered not only by memories, but new beginnings as well. A milestone in my work, a lover’s loving caress, a perfect sunset, full moon or an intense moment of concentration in nature, these too led to my missing of dad, and tears of joy. Sometimes it lasted a few minutes; sometimes it lasted several hours. In all these moments, all my senses were filled with God’s presence.

And I have come to realize that, as long as I want deeply connected, passionate, fulfilling relationships with people, I cannot avoid pain. I’ve lost count of the times which I’d felt incredible pain, through death or through breakdowns in relationships with people; but I would never choose any other way to live. I know I’d rather feel the pain and feel alive, than to avoid it and slowly die inside. No matter how badly my heart had been broken, there is nothing God cannot fix. Maybe there is nothing to fix at all; because my heart broken does not mean I am not whole. And since I am a speck of God consciousness, how can I be not whole?

And thus I leave you with my little nugget of dealing with grief. Don’t be afraid of it. Face it, go fully into it. Let it engulf, overwhelm and break you. When you are through, pay attention to the bareness, vulnerability of your heart. Stay in that openness, and operate your life from that openness. That is the space of love, from which no acts of violence or terrorism can arise. That is the space from which you too will hear the music that is God’s love song.

(Article is an excerpt and edited from 2013’s version)

(C) Copyright Linda Loo

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An unconventional application of Karma – Take Life, and Run

Karma is defined in the ancient texts as “Action”. In general, this is a concept that outlines the cause and effect of our actions. Karma determines the conditions of existence, it holds no judgement nor forgiveness towards the good or bad, right or wrong; but merely an impersonal universal eternal law that governs the universe.

Human beings cannot live without doing karma, or action. Every action brings a set of consequences. Even if we sat there in silence, and do nothing, our thoughts create a reverberation in the universe.  So, to live is to do karma.

I am especially cautious towards spiritual teachings that uses the term Karma to instill fear and discipline. There have been too much misunderstanding and misuse of this concept to the point that it causes delusion and inertia. Think of people who lament that their fates are acts of karma, convincing themselves that they are helpless victims. Or those who uses karma as an imprisonment, afraid to take actions. As with anything in life, karma has been misappropriated as a bandaid to allow people their escape from themselves.

We need to first get it that the value of any self transformative concept is only as good as the positive impact it brings to your life. By positive impact I mean specifically that which furthers you into yourself, that which makes us closer to God or the Divine part of ourself, that which brings out your best potential, and eventually makes us more connected to other human beings.

So, as much as a believer of the karma-concept can experience moments of enlightenment by contemplation, he can also be a victim of it if he is not careful. You can be overly attached to the concept of karma itself, which itself is another level of suffering.

My recommendation on using the karma-concept is simple. Take action everyday. Make your action slightly bigger compared to yesterday. Take one action per week that you have never taken before – it can be anything like visiting new places, connecting with new people etc. Do something ‘abnormal’ once a week, something that freaks you out. Do these, and then watch what happens in your reality, ponder on it silently at night. And then take action again the next day. You will know what I’m talking about because you will begin to see how you are solely responsible for every single result in your life.

Karma : take it up and run with it.

 

Copyright 2015 Linda Loo