Monthly Archives: December 2016

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Do you know what you are thinking?

Pause for a moment, bring your attention to your breath. Now try to recall, the number of thoughts you’ve had since the day started until now.

Now, try to recall just 5 of those thoughts. Chances are, most of us would recall the thoughts that dictated immediate action, for instance – What color to wear to work today; what time we are picking up the laundry; did I miss out anything in the preparation for my meeting in the afternoon; etc.

Experts have discovered that on average, a person register a whopping 50,000 to 70,000 thoughts per day. I find it difficult to imagine that so many thoughts could actually pass through the mind just in a single day. If we take the average of 60,000 thoughts per person per day, that works out to roughly 40 thoughts per minute.

I definitely don’t recall close to even 10% of that number at the end of every day; so either I have amnesia (which is quite likely!) or I had done a great job of clearing my mind with meditation.

So anyway, 40 thoughts per minute is no joke. We all already know that our thoughts create our reality. Every thought you have carries with it an electrical charge. And this thing which we call our life, is like a consolidated balance sheet of the 60,000 daily thoughts that raced through our mind over an entire day. Most of us think the same 60,000 thoughts day after day.

Each time a thought arise, an order is sent to the Universe. Imagine you are sitting in a restaurant called ‘Your Life’, and your thoughts are food orders you sent to the Universal kitchen, wouldn’t you be curious about what you are ordering?

Besides thoughts that initiate action for our daily BAU (business as usual) like those we discussed above (let’s be generous and assume they take up 50% of everything), we also have thoughts induced by external environment, and thoughts which are auto generated by underlying belief systems.

Let’s look at thoughts planted by the external environment. The first things people most commonly do in the morning are to read the newspapers. Then while commuting to work, we listen to the radio, we are exposed to infomercials either on air, or advertisement signboards on the road, or in a train. Given the fact that most news are not very good news, and almost every product and service sold out there are based on a premise that we are not good enough unless we use that product, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out the nature of the thoughts generated by advertisements stimuli are mostly negative.

Or we listen to songs on the radio, some of us including myself loves to sing Karaoke. Many popular love songs today, although they carry beautiful melodies, acutally contain sad, frustrating and heart broken lyrics. Nothing wrong with enjoying or dancing to your favourite love ballads; just make sure they don’t stick to your mind after that! Or don’t be surprised that your love life ends up exactly like the lyrics of the songs that you sing most often.

Then there are the people in our lives, maybe family, or friends, or colleagues that we have to interact with. Some of them love us, well at least to their best effort. Whenever there is interaction with people, there is a fusion of thought bodies, we inherit thoughts from those whom we spend a lot of time with.

This is probably the number one reason why the most successful people on the planet advises that we want to select carefully the people we hang out with if we wish to create a certain outcome with our life. Seek out the company of people who uplifts you, who have healthy self esteem, and who wants the best for you geniunely.

So let’s take another 50% of the remaining 20 thoughts per minute and attribute them to reactionary and inherited thoughts to stimuli from the external environment. We are now left with 10 thoughts per minute. This is a modest number to account for thoughts arising from our fundamental belief systems.

What are these belief systems? These are mainly subconscious programming, usually ingrained in us while we were still kids. Becasue they are so deep, we aren’t even aware that they are there in the first place.

If we are fortunate enough, perhaps in this life we had a chance to experience Yoga and Meditation. The more we practice, the more we begin to become aware that we have a consciousness separate from our thoughts. We realize that the source of thought and the thoughts themselves are separate. Which means –  we are NOT the same as our thoughts.

We start to be able to tell when supportive thoughts arise, and when the not-so-supportive thoughts arise. Initially our points of awareness were fragmented, and eventually we build up a strong enough practice to sustain that awareness over longer time horizons.

That began our journey of self realization. We start to gain clarity on how we literally created our life and every experience with the sum total of the thoughts we have had about ourselves and others and the Universe. (By the way, not believing that there is a Universe is a belief by itself that generates a bunch of thoughts of a particular nature. So literally, every thought is a branch of a underlying belief system.)

Now if you are still reading, I wonder if you are curious like me. Have you ever wondered what would happen if we actually intentionally put in thoughts that could shift and reshape our experience of reality?

I mean, after all we are already by default creating reality with the 60,000 thoughts. The first step which we had done was to become aware of them. But that’s not enough because we are still creating and recreating reality with the same thoughts.

The next step in self realization is to replace them with radically new thoughts of an entirely opposite nature.

Regardless of gender, race, nationality and age, the most common negative thoughts that we have are:

‘I am not good enough’

‘I am not rich, intelligent, pretty, handsome, lucky enough’

‘I don’t deserve the good in life’

‘I am unloveable’

Whether we like it or not, these negative thoughts are like affirmations that affirmed the negative circumstances in our life. The good news is, since they worked so well, then positive thought affirmations would also work as well too.

Some of my personal favorites are:

“I am good enough”

“I am open and receptive to all good in life”

“No matter what happens, I love and approve of myself”

“I inhale love and peace, exhale harmony and joy”

Just simple as that – you can start to shift your sense of reality and begin to live a set of totally different outcomes. Even if you cannot make it to Yoga class, or practice with us, you can at least manage 15 minutes of affirmations on your own.

Just 15 minutes a day and you could have a totally new life. You owe it to yourself to live your most vibrant and amazing life.

To your awesome and successful life.

(C) Linda Loo

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Integrative Transformational Yoga

It is interesting to note that the percentage of people practicing Yoga in America is rising by 14% on average per annum. Given that the majority of Yoga available out there are mostly limited to Asanas, I wonder what percentage of this 14% increment had actually experienced the full complete practice of Yoga up till now.

In Singapore we have a plentiful supply of Yoga classes in gyms, Yoga studios, and public communes known as Community Centers. There is a curious side of me that loves asking every Yogi that I meet this question – What is your understanding of Yoga and why do you want to practice Yoga?

Most of the answers I get are “For physical health; increase flexibility”. Some people who have been practicing for years would say “mental peace; body mind awareness”.

I have yet to come across anyone in Singapore (or most developed countries where Yoga is a rising phenomenon) that could answer in a way that demonstrates a true understanding of what is Yoga and what it offers.

Briefly, the real meaning of Yoga is “Union”; and the real reason behind practicing Yoga is to cultivate the Mind towards its highest realization. What is this realization?

This realization refers to the understanding of how a person is an ‘architect of his own destiny’ as Swami Rama calls it; and the freedom to choose thoughts and actions leading to the highest possible development and expression of this person.

Something I would add to that would be the cognitive ability to realize how at any given moment in time, we as an individual human being is partnering the greater creative power of Life to result in both individual and planetary outcomes.

All the benefits of physical health, mental peace, higher awareness are milestones along the Yoga path, they are not the actual benefits although it is not a bad thing to practice Yoga for these benefits.

Yoga is just – Yoga

So which is the ‘best’ type of Yoga to practice? My take is – all Yoga are good. Any practice is better than no practice at all.

However if you have a chance to know and practice the authentic system of Yoga that brings benefits on levels much more than the physical plane, wouldn’t you want to?

Think of the scenario where you have a choice to invest the same amount of money into 2 different risk free bonds. Within the same investment period, one gives you 2% return, and one gives you 8% return. Which one would you choose?

In this case, your time and effort is your investment money, and the type of Yoga is the bond that you choose to invest in.

Many people, after practicing for years and decades, have come to realize that Yoga offers much more than what is being taught. One can’t help but wonder how much more progress they would have made if they had invested the same number of years in practicing Yoga integratively.

Are you a seasoned Yogi and want to find out how to get more out of your practice? Here are the 5 Tips for you to a better practice!

Contemporary types of Yoga

The most commonly known types of Yoga are namely Ashtanga, Hatha, Iyengar, Bikram, Power, and the rapidly growing Yin Yoga.

In the 196 scriptures of Yoga Sutras, only 2 of the above words are mentioned – Ashtanga and Hatha.

Let’s look at Ashtanga (made popular by the teacher Pattabis Jois). Based on the Sutras, the original meaning of this word is ‘8 fold path’. It describes the systematic process to enlightenment with 8 steps, of which Asana and Pranayama are 2 of them. However, now if you do a google search for Ashtanga Yoga, you would find it to be defined as ‘a series of challenging Asanas…’, and most Ashtanga fans now hardly practice it beyond the challenging Asanas.

Now let’s look at Hatha Yoga. The word Ha means ‘sun’ and Tha means ‘moon’. Hatha Yoga refers to a physical Yoga practice to balance the sun/masculine and moon/feminine channels of a person. Again, looking at the cyber information out there, there is much misrepresentation. For example, some websites explained Hatha Yoga as a ‘forceful yoga’ on their website, which is totally off from the original meaning as taught from the Sutras.

Iyengar Yoga is named after the teacher BKS Iyengar, and makes use of props like blocks, chairs and ropes etc to reach deeper postures. Bikram Yoga, also named after the teacher who invented it, refers to a specific series of Asanas done in a hot room. Power Yoga is yet another contemporary form of Yoga that integrates aerobic movements and cardiovascular strength training poses to result in a challenging workout.

All of the above are good, except that more than 50% of the important aspects of Yoga have been left out. Much of the work done out there are limited to the physical body. Based on the ancient teachings of Yoga, this physical body is only one out of the five bodies we have. Which means contemporary types of Yoga, in their isolate natures, give us limited benefits. 

The premise of Integrative or Transformational yoga

According to one of the earliest Taittiriya Upanishads, there are 5 koshas or ‘sheaths’ to every human being. We have namely a physical body, energetic body, mental body, higher wisdom body and a bliss body.

The cultivation of the mind towards enlightenment, can only begin to happen when these 5 bodies are activated and integrated.

To begin working on these ‘sheaths’, we have to start with the densest body which is the physical body – this is where Asanas are used.

After the physical body is cleansed, the next step is to activate the energetic body with Pranayama – which means vital energy generation and redirection.

Subsequently, the mental body is cleaned up and activated with Mantra invocations, which is a combination of breath, sound and mental focus; and meditation.

After the first 3 bodies are activated, we enter into the higher wisdom body using self study/contemplation, Bhakti Yoga (which is the Yoga of devotion and love), Karma Yoga and guided meditation with visualizations.

The final 5th body is the bliss body. When awareness permeates through the outer 4 bodies, we connect with this bliss body, and a supreme sense of joy is experienced. When the bliss body is lived, a person embodies characteristics similar to the Divine Consciousness – of pure creation, joy, bliss, unconditional love, equanimity and Oneness.

Why Integrative Transformational Yoga works every time

We have countless testimonials from Yogis who, although have had a number of years of conventional (by conventional I mean conventional by modern world standards) Yoga practice proving the effects of Integrative Yoga practice. After just one practice, they often exclaim that they felt a deep sense of calm and peace, an awakening that they never felt in other ‘normal’ Yoga classes; or some would inform us that they achieved the same effects as when they had done 3 times longer of a practice.

Besides a solid education of the relationship between Chakras, Nadis, Prana and Kosha systems, what sets our Integrative Yoga classes apart from the others, is the underlying fundamental understanding that humans are a multi-dimensional organism. Our experience of reality is made up of a multiplex of projections.

At the beginning of every Integrative Yoga class, the sequence is designed with a purpose of waking up and activating the respective Chakras, directing Kundalini up the spine, permeating awareness through the 5 bodies, and then a guided Shavasana leading into Yoga Nidra.

Every practice brings you deeper into integration, closer to Spirit and makes you more aligned with the creative forces of Life.

 (C) Linda Loo

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5 Mistakes with the modern conventional diet

Human beings in this current civilization of 15,000 years, have never been more wealthy, advanced and well informed. Yet, if you look at statistics, we are getting sicker and dying younger. We get sick mainly from degenerative diseases – which by the way never existed until the last century; and to deepen the assault, we are now getting diagnosed with mental illnesses that scientists and doctors have to create names for.

There are probably more than one contributive reason to this phenomenon, and most experts would agree that the number one factor is the problem with our diet.

Too much metabolic waste

Whenever we consume food, in order for our body to assimilate nutrients from the food, there are by-products created from digestion. Generally, the more complex the structure of the food, the more by-products are created; and foods with simpler molecular structure are easier to digest with less by products.

Foods that create a high toxic digestive load are basically all meats – with those higher on the food chain containing more toxins than those lower; foods that create the least toxins are plant foods like fruits vegetables seeds and nuts.

Chlorophyl deficient

The most important substance that give life to all organisms on Earth, is chlorophyl. It is the basic substance of life because of its ability to generate sugar and oxygen by taking in sunlight and carbon dioxide.

Chlorophyl is the single most alkalizing and healing substance. Countless scientific research has already shown the dramatic healing effects of chlorophyl on degenerative symptoms. It is the most abundant material on Earth yet humans are not getting enough of it. Why? Because we have taught ourselves to denature, cook and process our food.

The easiest ways to include Chlorophyl in our diet is via the form of green juices, green smoothies, fresh salads with plenty of raw greens, and raw condensed green powders/concentrates.

EFA myth

Today the supplement industry is valued at USD40bil, out of which an increasing chunk is being channeled into Omega 3 supplementation.

The word EFA stands for Essential Fatty Acids. The word Essential means our body needs it but we cannot manufacture it, hence it could only be obtained from the food we eat.

We need both Omega 3 and 6 to have healthy brains, cell membranes and basically proper functioning. 3’s are found mostly in nuts, seeds, plant foods and seafood; 6’s are found in all land animals and processed cooking oils.

If you do a study of the most healthy tribes and civilizations of our time, their diets all have something in common – high in plant foods and just a small portion of meats. Today, we have managed to completely reversed this – we eat a diet super high in meats and just a small portion of vegetables. We have now increased our ration of Omega 3 to 6 from 1:5 to 1: 30 within less than a century.

The cause of disease today stems mainly from the inflammation that is in turn caused by an over supply of Omega 6.

There isn’t much money to be made from us lowering 6’s consumption; but there is a ton of money to be made from having us increase our 3’s. That is the likely reason that we have so many advertisements on Omega 3 supplementation today.

Supplementation aside, if we can consciously reduce our Omega 6 intake, it could do wonders for our health.

Gut Health

Many people do not know that our gut is our second brain. Memory loss and brain fog is not merely caused by deficiency, but also a gut with imbalanced flora bacteria.

Lately, scientists have discovered that our body is mainly empty space and bacterium. It may not be incorrect to say we are an organisation of bacteria colonies. There is an intricate balance of good versus bad bacteria in us, and in many cases, our health and sports performance depends on maintaining the balance and the stability of the balance.

Our diet today, besides giving us too much metabolic waste, also does a good job at wiping out our good bacteria. Things like anti-biotics and over processed foods make sure that our gut has a harder time re-establishing the good bacteria. In a certain sense, our body is always working against the ‘current’.

To reset the healthy bacteria balance, we have to take note of 2 things – Probiotics and Prebiotics. Probiotics are the strains of healthy bacteria that we can ingest; the good news is that they are widely available in health food stores in capsule or powder form. Just make sure to get a variety and rotate them over time. The second thing is Prebiotics – this is the food that the good bacteria feeds on. Think fibrous vegetables, sweet fruits like bananas. Its not that difficult to gain back that balance once you know how to.

And of course, consuming plenty of fermented foods like kim chi, saukrauet, kombucha tea, rejuvelac and kefir drinks will help reset the flora back to optimum.

Fats avoidance

Avoiding fats because we think they make us gain fat is like throwing out the baby with the bathwater. Our body need fats for the following reasons:

  • To absorb fat soluble nutrients
  • Flavoring food and making us feel satiated so we won’t over eat
  • Facilitates neurotransmission
  • Cushions our organs against shock and nervous stimuli
  • Fat is needed to burn fat

When we are fat deficient, we tend to eat more, have cravings, mood swings, memory loss and coordination problem. We also tend to be more edgy. For those thinking that they could lose weight by avoiding fats, it is a mistake because the body holds on to fat for longer when your diet is fat deficient.

The key thing to note is that not all fats are the same. You want to take in the good uncooked plant fats that are unprocessed and whole. Go for raw sprouted seeds and nuts, high fat fruits like coconuts and durians, and a small portion of cold pressed seed and nut oils.

Remember that your body is not a ‘thing’. It is a constant work in progress; a state of manifestation and expression of your accumulated choices. Whatever you do today has an impact on creating new cells and organs tomorrow, and in 6 months you get a completely new organ.

Instead of perfection, aim for progression. Make your journey of health a fun and enjoyable one!

(C) Linda Loo