Category Archives: Yoga

The birds are OKAY with doing nothing; why shouldn't we?

Mauna – The Practice of Silence i.e. The Art of Doing Nothing

Since 2009 when I first earned my Yoga Teacher’s Certification from India, I made it a point to upgrade my learning at least once a year. What astonishes me each time is not what I have learnt; but increasingly what remains unknown to me.

This year, during my stay in India during Mar/Apr, the biggest takeaway was an exponential increase in an inner level of stillness. (Stillness is not the same as dullness, or numbness). I often wake up with 6 breaths and less per minute these days.

Not without a price. I went through a few days of silent meditation where my biggest monster stared right at me. This monster had been with me for as long as I knew sense (since 3 years old), and I know it so well that I may very soon think of it as my pet LOL.

The monster is that I couldn’t stand myself not doing anything. I just didn’t like myself when I did nothing.

In our group, there were people from America, Germany, Brazil, Spain, Canada, Japan and other parts of India. There was one other lady from one of the above countries that had the same fear I did – which was the fear of doing nothing. Make a guess about where the lady was from… (The answer is revealed at the end of this article)

“Mauna’ is a Sanskrit word for silence. It is a spiritual practice for cutting through the illusions and mental chatter, and communicate directly with our God, our highest Source. The catch is that before you get to God you first have to meet your demons.

In my case, I saw how unbearable it felt when I let go of everything – not checking emails, not working, not writing, not reading, not training… which by the way, are all disguises for something deeper.

So all the filling up the diary with appointments, rushing one meeting after the other, checking the phone for emails and messages and maybe FB updates (God forbid!!!), reading/learning,fixing the car/toilet bowl/hair/nails/face______________________________(go ahead and fill in the blanks!)

The real practice of Silence in the Ashram is to cease all interactions with the external world, and really sit and be with yourself. It does not mean you merely zip your mouth and then go and use your phone to surf internet! Real practice of silence means there is no contact with the urban world, no escaping and no distractions. You have nothing else – except you, your breath and your feelings.

My fear had something to do with lack, and self worth issues. I was scared, that I was not enough, if I do nothing.

So, there my monster was, staring at me, challenging me, telling me that: “I am not enough unless I work my butt off.”

The beauty of Mauna is that clarity happens if you push through the silence. Without external distractions, activities or people that make extra noise to confuse you, you see your inner monsters as they are.

So, clarity is painful, but not having clarity brings more pain. Not exaggerating.

What did I do? First I was disappointed. What? I thought I had this fixed like 5 years ago in that I-forgot-how manyth self development program?

And then I sat with it. Since I had nothing to do.

So what if I do nothing?

So what if i am not hard working enough? Not good looking/lovable/rich/intelligent/strong/funny/blah blah blah enough?

So what? What’s going to happen?

—>Pause in time. Stillness. Quietness.<—

It is actually okay to be not enough 🙂 I don’t have to make myself wrong for feeling not enough. This realization itself is good enough to disarm the monster.

Anybody who is sincere in pursuing the spiritual path, of growing to become better versions of themselves will have gone through this at one or more points of their journey.

In the garden of our soul, we unearthed the seeds of our pain and demolished all the weeds and ugly plants, we plant new seeds in the garden, after some years of hard work we are rewarded with beautiful flowers edible greens. All of a sudden we spot weeds and that is all it takes to remind us we had an unruly soul. But the good thing is that even though weeds continue to pop, it is now far more easier and faster to spot, and pull them out (or you can eat them since they are so nutritionally dense!).

Just don’t let them spoil your garden.

Take it that as long as you have a garden, you will have weeds springing out.

And take it that as long as you are alive, your triggers of emotional pain will stay. But I am not saying that in a discouraging way.

Your actions don’t have to be that of weeds and ugly plants. You can turn any seeds into beautiful flowers by channeling with the right actions.

This is why stillness is so important. In the clarity of stillness you can see that it is OKAY to be weed prone.

As long as you keep practicing, sincerely and persistently, I promise you will be able to remove your weeds with more grace, in time to come, even unseen to the people who passes by your garden. Isn’t that cool.

Please, love yourself enough to give yourself a day of Mauna at least once a week.

Namaste and Hugs

P.S. The answer to my question – the lady was from Japan. Haha, so much for developed countries!

Copyright (C) Linda Loo

 

 

Love & Involution

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Love, a word that reveals no less than 3 billion results on google, and a topic that every famous poet, philosopher and spiritual teacher speaks often about, a word that causes people to undertake tasks of great creation or destruction; how much of this concept do we really understand as a humanity?

The dictionary and thesaurus says that “love” is associated with feelings of pleasure, attraction, personal attachment, affection; many definitions go a step deeper to include kindness and compassion.

Did you observe that all these definitions are external based; very little, in fact nothing is said about how to conduct our relationship with ourself. Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra, which existed more than 5,000 years ago, outlines the first principe of Yama as Ahymsa – Non Violence. The scriptures had already taught us that the first step to ‘Love’ is ‘Non harming’.

He did not define what is Love, but he told us clearly that NON harming, NON hurting, NON injuring, is Love. How clever; the famous sage already understood that as long as love is based on humanistic terms, on external senses, it leads always to injury and harm.

Some common forms of Love based on humanistic terms includes (not limited to):

1.    Loving a person based on our creation of certain needs we want fulfilled (eg lack of paternal/ maternal love)!
2.    Loving a person based on what the person means for us (eg our need to feel important and needed; the need to be provided for financially, or having a good looking spouse to show off)!
3.    Loving a person based on sexual attraction!

This list is not exhaustive. The above are definitely not wrong; in fact, we all have these at some point of our lives. These are our inevitable characteristics as long as we have a physical body. However, the point is – if we do not grow conscious, and grow out of these characteristics, the love relationship will pass through mutual injury at some point, some even go through prolonged periods of mutual injury – creating what are known as abusive relationships.

Whether the relationship survives through the stages of mutual attacking, harming/hurting, or ends leaving trails of pain and samskaras, depends on whether we are willing to begin a process of involution.

Involution, compared to evolution, is a process of inner progress. It takes effort, discipline and constantly watching our egos, to tread this path. We could briefly summarize 3 main areas of our involution process:

1)    Know Yourself
As long as you are stranger to yourself, you have no real love to offer. Every act of love, or so- called act of love, results in injury to the other person, and eventually to yourself. ! ! By knowing yourself I mean really take time to study your life, how you conduct your life, observe like a scientist (observe without conclusion nor judgement), what motivates you, what makes you happy, what fears you have and why. Again, remember to notice and not pass judgement.

In the initial stages, this process of contemplation, will neutralize the reactivity you have towards your loved ones. If you persist on this self introspection, it brings much joy to your life, be it alone or with any partner.

2) Know the people you love
So, you claim you love your husband, wife, sister, lover, children, parent, best friend etc. Do you know what makes them happy? Do you know how they would like to be loved by you?! ! How to get the answer? Just ask.

Loving a person correctly includes doing things that concern the welfare of the person, not for your own welfare. Like how a mother nurtures her baby in the first few years, purely for the joy of seeing the baby well. Seek to understand them.

The best thing you could do to solicit forthcomingness, is to invite your partner to also embark on the process of involution. When you are able to live and breathe this process of self observation, your attractiveness grows and your loved ones will be inclined to hear what you have to share.

This is also the primary reason why couples and families who practice Yoga & Meditation together often grow closer and more loving. When husband and wife are committed to knowing themselves and each other, their love becomes invincible.

3) Know the nature of this Universe
There are many laws of the Universe. The sun rises to give us day, an apple seed you sow today reaps you an apple harvest later on, water flows from high to low gradients, fire transforms matter, etc. You can observe these from observing how Nature functions. The process of involution gets deeper and more interesting here. When you contemplate on Mother Nature and her works, you begin to realize that it is not Earth that belongs to you, but its you who belong to Earth.  This realization allows us a glimpse into the macro-microsm mechanics of matter. We humans inhabiting Mother Earth is as per how our trillions of cells, micro flora and bacteria are inhabitants of our body. Our entire Universe, is a macrosm of our body. And our relationships, with every other human being, is a reflection of the relationships we have with the various personalities of our minds.

Begin the inward journey today, and you will be sure to see some shifts in your surroundings. Wishing you fulfilling, enlightening and joyful love journey with yourself and your loved ones.

(C) Linda Loo

“Who is Breathing”?

Who Is Breathing

 

 

 

 

 

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Take a deep breath in, now. Take another deep breath in, and exhale. Watch your breath. Then ask yourself – “Who is Breathing?”! ! What is this knowingness in you and me? What is this energy, or who is writing this, who is it in you whom is reading this? Why am I me, and not you?

Who made your bones, and gave you blood; the arteries, veins, muscles and organs that coordinate like a fine orchestra?! 
 There are probably no answers to the questions above. They are not meant to have answers. Even if they did, by the time they become words, the meaning is lost. They are meant for you to enquire deeper into yourself, beyond this body.

As I look back with amusement at my earlier years. Before I turned 20 years old, I was already practicing Nadi Shodana (Alternate nostril breathing method used in Yoga as a technique to relax the body) with Marijuana. And Kapalabti with cocaine. When I told this to my teachers in the ashram, they were tickled helpless. Who would have guessed that somebody with a fierce death wish, addicted to unorthodox ways to numb childhood trauma, now turns the same passion towards knowing myself.

I consider myself a late learner. Only at the age of 28, when most of my peers have gotten married and had kids, that I discovered I could not fall in love. It took an auto immune disorder, Eczema and a string of heart breaking relationships, to make me finally admit – I have a problem and I don’t know what it is. For the first time in my life I realized I have a soul; and I am not my body.

We carry our body wherever we go, and its difficult to remember that it will go one day. We identify so much with what we see and touch, our accomplishments, bank accounts, our children, our bodies and faces and even how many lovers we have had. But all tangible things are subject to change. They are not truths.

Our bodies, no matter now well we take care of it, will cease to serve us at some time. That is for sure. And then, we will have to change to a new piece of garment; just as we would change into new clothing after a shower.

This body is not our truth. Only that which does not change nor decay over time, is the truth. How much love and joy you have brought to the world, the good and the growth you created for people, your legacy – these are more true than the body.

And perhaps most true of all – Your soul, do you know your soul, and upon releasing that last exhale, how quick you can return back to the source. This is more true than your net worth.

If I could encourage you to enquire just a wee bit deeper into your existence today, I am fulfilled. May we all die with as much light in our eyes as we were born with.

(C) Linda Loo

Healing Trauma on Yoga

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More than a few Yogis and Yoginis have experienced the occasional emotional release during a Yoga class. Sometimes it comes with a warning – you know that an emotion is brewing as you assume a few specific Asana. Sometimes it just hits you – like a sudden downpour of rain in the middle of a sunny day.

When we were first born as a baby, we are mostly flexible. Toddlers are still pretty flexible; as they grow up gradually, the body begins to stiffen. Stuck emotional energy, repressed pain and unresolved trauma can get lodged into various body parts, joints and muscles. By the time we become adult, we are rigid as a stick.

The first 4 limbs of Yoga – Yama (Code of conduct to others), Niyama (Code of conduct to self), Asana (Physical Yoga Posture) and Pranayama (Breathing Control) are what we call external cultivation. This means that we practice them using an outer awareness.

When we assume an Asana, the bending and twisting action exposes some parts of our body that are otherwise inaccessible during the normal position of our body throughout a typical day of standing, sitting or walking. We then breathe into the body part that hurts most, and concentrate the mind onto the stretch or mild pain. In a way, we are bringing light into the dark parts of ourself that we never wanted to face. As the blocked energy begins to release, a variety of symptoms – ranging from intense deeper breathing, sighing, crying and even cartharsis could happen.

While it is not definite that crying or major cartharsis must happen in order for the practioner to achieve healing, such emotional outbursts are not bad things. It is better to be released in class, in a non harmful way, rather than to have it manifest through other imbalances in daily life. Emotional pain for example, if repressed for long, could result in formation of tumors, fibroids and other undesirable health conditions.

Science, no matter how advanced, cannot teach us what is the science of our soul, what is prayer what is god and what is compassion. Science does not answer our fundamental questions about who am I, what is the reason that I am born, and what is our relationship with god.

Yoga, on the other hand, teaches us that to get the answers to these questions, we have to study ourselves as a scientific experiment. We must be the scientist, the laboratory, and at the same time, the subject of our own enquiry.

Then when we get glimpses of these answers, which are absolute truths in their own natures, the process of Yoga releases great physical and emotional tensions. Some of which are accumulated throughout life, some through previous lives of incarnations.

The journey of discovering that these deep desires and tensions which reside in your much deeper personality, is Yoga as a scientific process.

What to do under extreme releases-

  1. If you know what is showing up, commit yourself to observing it without judgement. Do not resist, avoid, fight or be fearful of it. The key word is to observe with a neutral eye as much as possible.
  2. Keep breathing long deep continuous breaths. Don’t let there be any breaks or pauses in the breaths. Try to smooth out the jerks.
  3. Keep the mind focussed as much as you can on the pain – both body and emotional. The mind may temporarily go into comatose to avoid facing the trauma; try to gently bring the mind back to the moment.
  4. If you need to cry or make noises, scream etc, do it with love, compassion and kindness. Look at yourself with kindness; look at the situation, the memory or whatever it is, with as much softness as you can.
  5. Aim to practice consistently with the same teachers – besides leading you through a safe yoga healing process, your teacher is like a ‘space holder’. It makes a huge difference to practice with a teacher who knows you and whom you trust.

(C) Linda Loo

inner light nature

Pranayama Power! – Applications in Daily Life

Dear cherished reader, have you experienced pranayama practices before?

Pranayama Yoga refers to the practice of applying various breathing techniques to expand the Prana / Breath body – or the Aura / Presence / Energy Field of a person.

There are several ways you can use Pranayama to up sports performance and enhance daily life.

(*Disclaimer – the suggestions below are applicable for those who are athletically very active and generally fit people. Do not attempt the strenuous sports unless you already are doing so, or as advised by your health guru.) 

1. Swimming
In between the laps while resting, instead of just breathing normally to catch our breath, the Nadi Shodan can slow down the heart rate much faster. As you progressively make the laps, you will feel a renewed energy for powerful strokes.

Just 10 Nadi Shodans in between say 3-4 laps, can accelerate exercise stamina incredibly.

Normally it takes a few minutes before heart rate normalize; with Nadi Shodan, it gets significantly faster.

2. Interval Training for Stamina
This can be applied to both running, or strength training. One of the most effective ways to increase stamina for distance running is to engage in interval training. This means that we work our heart rate up fast, and then take a break to allow heart rate to drop. Just before the heart rate reaches below a certain cardio zone, we make the next dash.

Now, if we apply Ujayi (deep throat breathing) during the breaks, we recover faster (meaning we can cover more circuits in the same time), and there is more energy when we make the next sprint or interval.

When performing the Ujayi in between workouts, there is a natural tendency to rush because the lungs is calling out for oxygen. Make an effort to slow down the breathing, employing Ujayi technique, deep into the diaphragm, and then out through the nose. This method strengthens respiratory and lungs capacity, giving an edge to your interval training.

If you don’t believe this, experiment! Perform conscious Ujayis in between your next workouts, and watch how your heart calms down faster than before. Don’t forget to measure your running speed so you know how much your stamina progresses. 

3. Insomnia No More
A rarely used, but powerful way of breathing – called the Bhramari Breath, or the Bumble Bee / Humming Bee breath, works wonders to relief insomnia.

Inhale through the nose, and then exhale in a humming sound with the mouth closed. If you are to place your finger right below your nostrils, you will feel a soft gradual gust of breath flow out gently. You are using sound vibration to tone and massage the upper body organs.

To relief insomnia, just stick your forefingers into each side of your ears to close up the outer world sounds. Close your eyes, inhale and exhale in a nice long hum. Until you are totally out of breath, repeat again.

Perform this preferably in a private space, for 10 rounds, and then feel the deep sense of calm descend.

Yoga is an Art and Science so deep that would take more than one lifetime to master! The more we learn the more we realise there is more to discover. However, one thing that is proven which we already know for sure – it works wonders for the human body.

(C) Linda Loo

“Yoga is the dance between the light and the dark within you. The light is what brings you back to the mat, and the darkness is what you uncover there. Don’t be afraid of this darkness; these are only shadows and though you’ll have to walk down some pretty dark alleys, remember you are grounded in the light, and that light will set you free.”
– Amy Jirsa

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Why is Transformational Yoga Different?

Dear cherished readers, Transformational Yoga is based on the work of Sri Aurobindo, and created by Sri Swamiji Vidyananda. It has been used by practitioners and Yoga Masters all over the world for physical and spiritual progress. A single practice can be short, but if carefully designed, can bring about quick tangible results.

There are 3 fundamental reasons why our Yoga sessions leave practioners refreshed, light and happy without fail each time. 

1. Our Yoga sequence is planned in ascending order of Chakras. (The simplest explanation of Chakras is that they are vibrating wheels of energy, located along the nerve endings of the human spine.) We always begin with the lower Chakras and then work our way up. This is important because building a strong practice requires a strong foundation.

2. We see only our physical bodies – but there is more than meets the eye. We have subtle energy bodies too. Including emotional, mental and psychic bodies. A basic Transformational Yoga sessions work on all the above 4 bodies. That is why after each session, you feel happy, calm and a feeling of lightness.

3. Our teachers have the full picture. We don’t only teach Asana; we don’t only teach Pranayama; or Mantra or Meditation. We are well versed in all the 8 limbs and we are experienced with integrating them into a single practice. In other words, our Yoga students get the real deals when they practice with us. 

JOIN US for a session today to personally experience the power of authentic Yoga!

Yoga Wisdom to meditate on for the week:

“Yoga is like music: the rhythm of the body, the melody of the mind, and the harmony of the soul create the symphony of life.” – B.K.S. Iyengar

(C) Linda Loo

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What is Transformational Yoga?

Transformational Yoga is a revolutionary type of Integral Yoga. A simultaneous engagement of Asanas, Pranayamas, Sound Vibrations and One point focus to achieve transformation.

These 4 fundamental practices are used with varying intensity at different intervals. They help a practioner achieve specific objectives – ranging from health/weight maintenance, healing, increased concentration and inner peace.

Transformational Yoga is based on the work of Sri Aurobindo, and created by Sri Swamiji Vidyananda. It has used by practitioners and Yoga Masters all over the world for physical and spiritual progress. A single practice can be short, but if carefully designed, can bring about quick tangible results.

On the physical dimension, Transformational Yoga can cleanse a person of food and environment toxins, achieve fat loss, increase metabolism and reverse ageing. On spiritual dimensions, Transformational Yoga can bring about a Kundalini awakening. Various Transformational Yoga Teachers from different parts of the world experienced deepened spiritual progress and heightened self practice. Many have also had their Kundalini energy awakened from practicing it.

A Basic Transformational Session involves integrating the 4 fundamental practices in a specific sequence to achieve rapid cleaning of the 7 main Chakras. Accumulated toxins (physical, emotional and mental) are released in just 1 single workout. As the major elimination systems gets unplugged, our metabolic rate gets a boost, digestive fire is restarted and the whole body is rejuvenated.

JOIN US for a session today to personally experience the power of authentic Yoga.

http://lightlovelaughteracademy.com/programmes/yoga/weekly-yoga-micro-coaching-detail

Soul Food Wisdom of the Day: “Look for the answer inside your question.”

God wants you well. This world exists for you to break free, and the resources of this world is given by Divine for your cultivation of the inner journey. It is not Divine’s plan for us to suffer, be in debt or broke, or be miserable prolongedly. Of course things happen, maybe they could be unpleasant. The focal point is not for us to conclude that we are victims; but to know that whenever we are in great pain, God is sending us a huge message, and God wants us to find our way out.

(C) Linda Loo

Rumi Quote

Let your Kundalini be your very own UpaGuru!

Today, in this busy material world, we find our inner-selves searching for something, perhaps we have not figured out what this is as yet or perhaps we have questions. We have found that all the solutions lie within us, inside us, and we only require the consciousness to explore it.

This is the path of the spirit. Now is the time to embark on the inner journey and let your Kundalini be your very own UpaGuru!

Kundalini as you probably know by now, describes the latent energy stored in every human’s root chakra. Yogis and spiritual practitioners across cultures trained for years, sometimes lifetimes to pursue a Kundalini Awakening. Why is it so highly sought after?

The immediate benefit you will feel is a heightened sense of awareness, your internal bodily functions and energy levels. You will also feel a deep sense of inner calm and approach life with a peaceful strength.

JOIN US for this one-of-its-kind Kundalini Awakening Workshop this December!

More Details Here: http://lightlovelaughteracademy.com/programmes/yoga/kundalini-awakening-workshop-detail | https://www.facebook.com/events/386269878205152/

EMAIL US : contact@lightlovelaughteracademy.com or CALL : +65 6650 6028 to REGISTER or for further enquiries!