be free, be happy, be peaceful

May all find the teacher within to guide oneself towards unconditional love and peace

Monday, March 29, 2010

Enjoy The World But Free From Clinging And Craving

The world is not a bad thing nor a good thing. It is not a happy place nor a suffering place. It is just being what it is. The world is subject to impermanence. If we have resistance towards impermanence, if we are not happy with what is happening in the world, we will be very uncomfortable and unpeaceful being in the world. The world is manifested from the mind. When the mind stops, the world vanishes.

We are being in the world. We want to be able to be at peace while being in the world. Running away from the world won’t stop the mind. And thus we will still be unpeaceful due to the restlessness and dissatisfaction of the mind even though we are away from the world, away from everything. We can close our eyes and ears, not seeing anything and not hearing anything, we can sit still not moving the body, not doing anything, not going anywhere, but the mind is still unceasingly moving, constructing, scheming, imagining and acting. We can runaway from the world but we cannot runaway from our mind. It is the mind giving us all the dissatisfaction, irritation, frustration, disappointment, fear, worry, restlessness, disturbance, affliction, depression, aggression, greed, jealousy, anger, hatred, arrogance and all types of experiences. It is not the world causing us unhappiness or make us suffer. It is our own mind. The problem is not with the world but it is with our mind.

In order to be free from all these affliction, we need to know how to purify our mind and not attach to the mind. By not attaching to the mind, naturally we will not be attaching to the world even though we are in the world and are enjoying the world.

We can enjoy the world but not attaching to what we enjoy. That is without clinging and craving. Nor do we rejecting or resisting the things that we don’t enjoy.

Purification is very important for us to transcend the world. Having all the impurities in the mind, we are being affected and influenced by all these impurities unwittingly. We act and react according to these impurities – irritation, frustration, disappointment, fear, worry, anger, hatred, jealousy, greed, arrogance, depression, aggression etc…

These are the places where we practice non-attachment and letting go. Through non-attachment and letting go, we are purifying the impurities eventually. The impurities will become lesser and weaker, and will have no power to influence us anymore when we stop react towards all these impurities.

We remain equanomous undisturbed by the impurities that sprung up in the mind. The mind will be calm and clear. With a calm and clear mind, we will have no problem even though we are in the mist of disturbance in the world.

We need to know how to give up all the clingings and cravings before we can really enjoy the world. If we enjoy the world with our clinging and craving to the enjoyments, it is not really “enjoyment” anymore because it will be mixed with fear, worry, expectation, greed, envy or jealousy, lustful desire, dissatisfaction and disappointment.

There is nothing wrong with enjoyment. It is the clinging and craving that is causing the affliction. If we don’t know how to stay detached from it, we will be in unhappiness and suffering, that’s all. It will be so meaningless and depressing if we cannot enjoy our lives while being in the world for our entire lifetime. If everything is colour-less, sound-less, smell-less, taste-less, feel-less, it will be so dulled. Imagine if we cannot enjoy the taste of the food anymore, or if we have extreme pain in the mouth or in the throat or in the stomach everytime when we eat, or we have pain in the lungs when we breathe, or if we have difficulties to pee or shit. If we cannot enjoy comfortably all these basic things that we have to do everyday for the maintainence of life, then what is the meaning of enjoying other things that are not essential to the survival of our physical body.

And so we should be grateful while we still can enjoy looking, hearing, smelling, tasting, feeling, moving, breathing, digesting, peeing, shitting, walking, running, jumping and etc. As well as be thankful for the incredible function of the mind. But let us enjoy the world without the greed, clingings and cravings. Enjoy everything with gratitude, appreciation, gratefulness and contentment. And not harming ourselves or other beings while we enjoy the world.

We don’t need to look for the enjoyment or chase after any enjoyments, but we enjoy what is already in front of us at this present moment now. Enjoying our breath, our heartbeat. Enjoying what we eat, what we see, what we smell, what we hear, what we feel at this present moment now. Not longing for what we don’t see, don’t eat, don’t smell, don’t hear, don’t feel at this present moment now. This is real enjoyment without attachment and expectation. This is enjoyment without suffering.

There is nothing evil when the mind is pure. It is a beautiful mind when it is pure. A beautiful mind manifests a beautiful world. A peaceful mind manifests a peaceful world. A dissatisfy and lustful mind manifests a dissatisfy and lustful world. Without the function of the mind, there is no perception of the senses. It is like there is no electricity to light up the light bulbs, there will be no lights. Having the organs of eyes, ears, nose, tongue and skin, but without the mind, they are not useful for us at all.

The mind wants to do evil actions and evil speech but “I” don’t give in nor react, not moving my body and my organ of speech, and thus the mind cannot act at all. We become the master of our mind, and not the mind mastering us. Be free from our own mischievous impure mind is the real practice in yoga. Watch the mind and not let the mind controlling us. When we are free from the impure mind, we will be free from all the affliction that exist in the world.

It is this mind that gives us delusion and ignorance. It is also the same mind that gives us freedom and enlightenment. Through this mind, we are experiencing the world. Without the mind, there is no world, no experience, no sight, no sound, no smell, no taste, no touch, no thoughts. Beyond the mind is complete silence, stillness, oneness. No more separateness, no birth, no death, no happiness, no unhappiness, no positive, no negative, no good, no evil.

May all be free while enjoying our lives in the world when we are still being with this decaying body with the function of the hands and feet, the organs, the senses and the mind. Make good use of this lifetime. Be kind to ourselves and to all beings.

Throw away the meaningless egoism. Free ourselves from the likes and dislikes that are generated by the ego.

Be happy.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Why Do We Practice Yoga?

Many people practice yoga now in the world. Maybe different people have different reasons why we want to practice yoga. The greatest goal of yoga practice is for us to realize the Self, to attain wisdom and to transcend suffering, be free. In order to achieve that, we need to purify our mind and still the mind, and yoga practice can help us to achieve that.

There is nothing wrong with people just want to do some physical exercise using the asana poses, or people want to destress by using the methods as prescribed in yoga practice, or just want to achieve good health and a strong body. Somehow yoga is available for everyone by manifesting itself in many ways in different names and forms.

In the tradition of yoga practice, we are doing some practices for purifying and strengthening the body and the mind to prepare ourselves to meditate upon the Truth or the Self, in order to transcend all the names and forms, and to attain wisdom to free ourselves from ignorance which is the cause of all suffering.

Non-attachment or non-identification with the body and mind is the basic practice. The body and the mind act as an instrument for us to attain self-realization. We need to appreciate and be grateful for the body and mind allowing us to know the wisdom and to transform ourselves.

Challenging our body to perform a lot of difficult and extra ordinary yoga poses does not bring us extra wisdom nor remove ignorance and unhappiness in us, if we don’t know the real meaning of yoga practice behind all the physical appearances, abilities and actions. Whether a person can perform any asanas or not, does not determine the person is free from suffering or not. It doesn’t guarantee that if we can perform such difficult asanas, our suffering will automatically be less or be completely gone. It doesn’t mean that if we can only perform simple asanas, we will not be free from suffering.

Transcending suffering or attaining wisdom has got nothing to do with the abilities of the physical body to do this and that. The asana practice and pranayama practice are there to help us to influence the prana in our body which is for calming the mind. It also will unblock certain energy blockage in us which will help us to release lots of physical and mental tensions which is part of the impurities in us that preventing us from realizing the Self. As well as it can bring us to the deeper level of our subtle consciousness. But all these can be achieved just by performing some basic asanas and regular pranayama practice.

It is not necessary that we need to perform complicated asanas which require super flexibility and strength. There are many people who can perform complicated amazing physical poses with they strong and flexible body, and there are many people can only perform simple physical poses due to inflexibility and physically weak, but that really doesn’t determine a person is free from suffering or not, is wise or not, is happy or not. Nor can it determine a person can “do” yoga or not. It is all happening in the mind beyond the physical level.

In fact, sometimes when our body can perform such complicated asanas can be empowering our ego and generate pride and arrogance in us. While if our body cannot perform those complicated asanas might upset our ego and generate frustration, disappointment and low self-confidence in us. This is due to attachment and wrong identification with our body and mind. This is lack of wisdom.

In tradition, yoga asana practice is to make our body flexible and strong (especially the spine for us to sit up straight), in order for us to be able to sit still for meditation comfortably, unmoved or undisturbed by the surrounding and to go beyond the bodily sensations. So that we can have full concentration, calmness and stillness of the mind to “see” our true nature – the Self.

It is the non-attachment towards the body and the mind, non-attachment towards whatever the mind perceives through the senses, the level of self-control over the thoughts, actions and speech, as well as the cultivation of compassion and wisdom, selflessness, dispassion and discrimination of the real and unreal, detaching from all the dualities of names and forms, thinning out the ego and eradicating all the impurties in our mind which are the real factors that indicate whether we will transcend suffering or not.

All the moral restraints and observances, asana practice, pranayama practice, withdrawal of the senses, concentration practice and meditation practice (yoga practice), and all types of different paths of yoga (Raja yoga, Karma yoga, Jnana yoga, Bhakti yoga, Kundalini yoga, Hatha yoga, Laya yoga, Nada yoga, Kriya yoga…) are there to purify the body and the mind, to free ourselves from evil thoughts and evil doings, and be free from all negativity, developing divine qualities, in order to render our mind pure and calm, stilling the thought waves, so that wisdom can arise in us. The dawn of wisdom, is the disappearing of ignorance. Without ignorance, there is no more suffering.

And this is the main purpose of all yoga practice – to allow wisdom to arise in us.

May all be free from suffering through yoga practice.

PS: This doesn't mean that people who are not practicing yoga or Buddhism will not attain self-realization or wisdom and be free. Wisdom doesn't belong to any cultures, philosophies or religion beliefs. Everyone, whether they are practicing yoga or not, are all having the same wisdom in the heart waiting to be realized and are entitled to be free as long as they know selflessness, non-attachment and letting go... Yoga and Buddhism is just one of the ways to realize the wisdom in us. Peace to all.

About Vichara - Self-inquiry

Self-inquiry is the main study in the path of Yoga. All the other yoga practices are there to help us in the inquiry of the Self. And this self-inquiry will lead us to self-realization. Self-realization is knowing our true Self. It can only be realized through a pure mind and pure intellect. By knowing our true Self, all the wisdom is unleashed. We will be full, content and at peace. It removes all the dissatisfaction, incompleteness and restlessness.

And thus all the yoga practices are there to purify our mind and the intellect to render our mind and the intellect pure and fit for self-realization. While all the divine qualities that we need to develop in our hearts is the fuel and light that keep us going and will lead us to the right direction towards self-realization.

There are many methods in the pursue of self-inquiry. But without a pure mind and tranquility, all the methods will not be effective.

The basic way is to purify ourselves first. Remove the impurities in us, such like anger, hatred, jealousy, greed, pride and arrogance, judgment, comparison, competition and expectation. Eliminate the ego. Develop non-identification with the body and mind. Letting go of the past and the future. Practice concentration and be at the present moment. Have control over our thoughts, action and speech. Letting go of all the doubts, fear and worry.

Develop strong faith, non-attachment, dispassion and right discrimination. Develop patience, forbearance, perseverance, determination, courage, cheerfulness, positive thinking, humility, simplicity, gratitude, contentment, acceptance, adjustment, accommodation, forgiveness, loving kindness, selflessness, compassion and wisdom. Renounce from the fruit of actions.

Abstain from gossiping, slandering, mocking, back bitting, meaningless conversation, telling lies, empty promises, lustful activities and immoral activities. Cultivate equality, sameness, oneness, non-separateness, non-duality.

Detach from the thoughts, feelings and sensations. Detach from likes and dislikes. Detach from craving and aversion. Detach from what we see, hear, smell, taste, touch and think.

Practice asana and pranayama to purify our mind and calming the mind. This is to render the body and the mind under controlled and strong enough to prepare ourselves for further self-contemplation.

Slowly develop strong habit in meditation, contemplating on the Truth. Engage in wholesome activities that will bring peace and harmony to oneself and other beings. Abstain from unwholesome activities that will bring disharmony and unpeacefulness for oneself and other beings.

Expand our minds. Expand our hearts. Develop unlimited and unconditioned compassion towards oneself and other beings.

Perform selfless service. Serve God and serve all without attaching to the action and the fruit of action.

Eventually we will know how to go beyond our body and the mind. We will go beyond all the phenomena in the world. We will be undisturbed, unaffected, uninfluenced by what is happening within and without our body. We will know that without this mind, the world doesn’t exist at all. Without this mind (our life existence in the world), who is this body? Where is my family? Who is my friend? What do I like and don’t like? What do I want and don’t want? What is good and not good? What is happiness and unhappiness?

Everything sprung from my mind. Without the mind, nothing exists, nothing matters, nothing to be perceived.

All the above practices are to purify our minds.

Once the mind is purified, everything will come into places for us naturally. We don’t have to go to anywhere to look for a teacher. The teacher is just right here within us. There is no use of reading many books, but not knowing the nameless, formless, eternal book of wisdom within us.

At the end, what is the purpose or reason for us to perform various types of yoga practices and wanting to attain self-realization? It is to acquire wisdom. And why do we want to acquire wisdom? So that we will have the knowledge to know the truth, remove all the doubts, ignorance and discontentment in us. Why do we want to remove doubts, ignorance and discontentment? So that we will be at peace, and attain true and lasting meaningful happiness. Why do we want to be at peace? It’s because we don’t want to have unhappiness and suffering. Why do we have unhappiness and suffering? It’s because we are ignorant, not knowing the truth, having painful sorrow, doubts, fears and worries. And why are we not knowing the truth and are ignorant? It’s because we don’t have wisdom, the pure knowledge. And why do we don’t have wisdom? It’s because of the veil of ignorance (impurities).

And So, everything that we do in the path of yoga is aiming at purifying our mind, remove all the impurities for us to attain wisdom. With wisdom, all our doubts, problems, unhappiness and suffering will be solved, disappeared.

This wisdom has got nothing to do with what our body can do and cannot do, nor it has anything to do with how many books that we have read in the world. Because all the knowledge that we can get through reading books cannot guarantee us true happiness and peace of mind. It cannot remove ignorance (not knowing what is real and unreal), anger, hatred, jealousy, greed, discontentment, pride and arrogance, irritation, frustration, disappointment, unhappiness and suffering from us. But the knowledge that we get from reading books can act as a subject for us to contemplate whether it is true or not true. This can help us to purify our intellect to develop discrimination of the real and unreal.

While wisdom that we all are having in us all the time, is the removal of all these afflictions and suffering. Because it teaches us and allows us to know the truth of everything, and to accept the reality as it is, and to let go. Wisdom is not something that we keep in the mind but it is what we live in. We live in wisdom and wisdom is reflected in our everyday lives, and keep us away from unhappiness, fear and worry.

May we all be endowed with all the qualities for us to move towards the state of no qualities.

May all attain self-realization (wisdom) through self-inquiry – Vichara.

Friday, March 26, 2010

April 8th – 12th 5 Days / 4 Nights Relaxed Yoga Retreat In Langkawi

Come and join us for a 5 days / 4 nights relaxed yoga retreat in Langkawi, Malaysia.

This retreat starts on April 8th at 2:30pm and will finish on April 12th at 12 noon.

All levels are welcome.

Retreat fee is Rm 1,960 per person for single room and Rm 1,760 per person for twin sharing.

The retreat programme includes daily twice 2 hours yoga asana sessions and morning & evening meditation sessions everyday, jala neti kriya, and trips to the waterfalls and some other fantastic destinations in Langkawi.

Food (vegetarian meals, fruit and snacks) and accommodation (air-conditioning, hot & cold shower, fridge etc...) are included with a free Yoga Now T-shirt, neti pot and free airport or ferryport pick-up and drop-off.

Our yoga retreats are for anyone who wants to practice yoga and meditation while having some free time visiting to some nature attractions on the island.

Please contact us at yoganow@hotmail.com for more details and reservation.

Looking forward to seeing you in Langkawi.

Om Shanti,

Meng Foong

Thursday, March 25, 2010

About Pride And Arrogance

In real, yoga is not separated from us. Every being is endowed with Yoga since the beginning of existence. For any of us who can’t perceive this non-separateness and still see the separation of Yoga from ourselves, then we can say that Yoga is open to all and everyone deserves it and everyone is free to practice yoga and attain Yoga (freedom, Moksha, transcend suffering, true happiness, eternal bliss…).

For anyone who wants to go deeper into the real practice of yoga, and not just brushing at the surface of the door of yoga, there are a few fundamental inner qualities that will shine as the “light” in the path for us to find or to see our true Self where the wisdom for liberation is “stored”.

Basically anyone also can open the “door” of yoga (the “door” is never locked) and walk into the realm of yoga on the path of self-realization. But without the help of the “light”, we will be encountering many obstacles on the way or might be lost on the path because we can’t see the path under the absent of “light”. That’s why in the traditional lineage of yoga, the person who wants to look for a teacher and wants to be initiated into the path of yoga, needs to have certain fundamental inner qualities to enable him or her to walk on this path of self-realization.

The first one is Viveka – discrimination of the real and the unreal (basic wisdom). The second one is Vairagya – dispassion (free from clingings, attachments, craving and aversion). The third one is Mumukshutva – intense yearning for liberation (the one goal that we are attached to before self-realization happens). The fourth one is Shatsampat – the six virtues (Sama – tranquility of mind, Dama – self-restraint or control of the senses, Uparati – cessation or renounce from worldly activities, Sraddha – faith in God, Guru, Scriptures and the Self, Titiksha – forbearance or power of endurance to withstand difficult situations and discomfortable conditions, Samadhana – concentration or one-pointedness of mind).

But even before anybody is endowed with these four qualities, the aspirant should possess one very basic virtue, which is humility – free from pride and arrogance. Anyone who desires to learn and to attain higher wisdom, must be humble and surrender the ego – the pride and arrogance.

Pride and arrogance is the reflection of the strong ego. Without humility, without letting go of the pride and arrogance, we cannot receive more than what we knew even though the teacher is there to guide us and the scriptures are there to teach us. It is a big hindrance in the path of acquiring wisdom.

Without humility, success in the path of self-realization is impossible. Because it is the opposite direction of self-realization. It is our own mind with the ego and the intellect which can only perceive things with certain names and forms that is obstructing us to know the Self. Since the Self is nameless, formless, beginningless, endless, causeless, timeless and attributeless, and so, it cannot be perceived by the mind and the limited intellect, and it is indescribable with human languages and words.

Many yoga practitioners who are on this path of self-realization, will come to a stage that we feel “stuck”. We will have doubts and will want to give up. We cannot comprehend the meanings of the ancient teachings and cannot accept the teachings at all. Because we are still trapped within our own minds and couldn’t go beyond our minds. We are still attached strongly to our individual character and personality, our way of thinking, believes and cultures. We are still attached strongly to our minds which is functioning under the influences of the ego, the intellect and the sub-consciousness. And the mind cannot see itself nor can it perceives what is beyond itself. The only way is to disidentify with the mind, stand as a witness watching the mind and observe whatever the mind perceives through the senses. And this requires great humility by letting go of the ego, pride and arrogance, as well as the previous knowledge that we think what we know about the world of dualities with all the names and forms, good and bad, positive and negative.

Look at the ancient teachings, it is all about eliminating the ego, surrender the lower self, serve God (since everything is God, it also means serve all), non-attachment and keep going (perseverance and determination).

A man need to know how to be a “proper” man before he can go beyond “man” or “himself” to attain a higher realm. A being need to be at peace before he can go beyond this peacefulness.

Pride and arrogance need to attach to certain things to express itself. Such like the family name and status, the wealth and health, the fame, the knowledge, the educational level, the job title, the physical body, the appearance, the thinking, the talents and abilities, the culture, the religion, the social status, the achievement, the success, the possession, the relationships and etc… This is due to we are not confident about ourselves, the ego need things from the outside to give us the sense of self-worth and to fill up the emptiness in our hearts.

It is only when we are not truly confident about ourselves, we will have pride and arrogance when we have achieved some accomplishment to feel good about ourselves and thinking that we are better than other people, and wanting to show off and prove to other people that we are somebody with such and such accomplishment.

If we are truly confident about ourselves, there is no need for us to show off to other people about our pride and we don’t need to be arrogant about anything at all nor there is a need to feel more superior than anyone else.

Pride and arrogance is a play of the ego. But if we do not know how to not attached to the ego, we will be controlled by the ego without us being aware of it.

If we are not attached to the ego, we will not have reacted towards the sense of insecurity coming from the ego, and will not need to be proud and arrogant about ourselves and our accomplishment.

When we realize that we are the Self, which is full and content, we won’t need pride and arrogance to protect ourselves or avoid from being looked down or humiliated by somebody. There is no such thing as “humiliation” when we are identified with the Self and are not attached to any names and forms. When we are not attached to names and forms, what is “pride and arrogance”? What is “low self-esteem and humiliation”?

May we all be free from pride and arrogance, and be truly confident by attaining the highest knowledge of the Self.

Happiness

Happiness is myself. I am happiness. It is within me all the time. It is not something that I attained from outside. It’s not something to be gained or learned from the outside. It’s not something that I do or don’t do, like or don’t like, can do or cannot do. It is beyond happiness and unhappiness. It is beyond my mind, my intellect, my ego, my senses, my thoughts, my feelings, my sensations, my body and beyond all the names and forms that I can perceive with this mind. It is beyond like and dislike, comfort and discomfort, good and not good. I am content with wherever I am, not longing to be somewhere else and not attached to be here either. I can be here or there. I am content with what I am, not longing to be what’s not me and not attached to be me either. I am not lack of anything. Not in search for anything. The void or emptiness is filled up with unlimited love and peace. I don’t feel happy, but I am happiness. I am one with happiness. It is not separated from me.

Before I realized this, I was still having some unhappiness that I couldn’t let go completely. I was still looking for happiness. I had tasted both happiness and unhappiness. But true happiness is beyond all these momentary happy and unhappy feelings. It is peaceful contentment in me that is undisturbed by all the happenings in my life and in the world. It is beyond any judgments and expectations. It is nothing to do with what my body and mind is experiencing all the time. It is nothing to do with all the good feelings, bad feelings, positive thoughts, negative thoughts, comfortable sensations or discomfortable sensations. Once I am beyond all these momentary impermanent phenomena, peacefulness is there. Love and peace filled up my entire consciousness. Everything is fine.

This happiness is unlimited and unconditioned by all the names and forms that are being given with all the good and bad qualities by our own mind. I am free not being determined by my body or my mind. I am free not being determined by what I do and don’t do. I am free not being determined by what I can do and cannot do. I am free not being determined by where I am and where I’m not. I am free not being determined by what I like and don’t like.

This is my happiness. I am free.

May you’ll be free too.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

About Karma Yoga

Karma Yoga Basically means yoga of actions. It is a very important path that can purify ourselves internally and externally. Once we are purified, wisdom will arise in us naturally.

Karma yoga is also being explained as selfless service. It is a very efficient way to eliminate our ego. It is performing any actions for ourselves and other beings to evolve spiritually and becoming happy, selfless, compassionate and wise beings without any selfish intentions and without any expectations of the results and rewards.

It is renouncing from the fruit of actions. All the actions are not different from inaction (without any karma being generated – free from the bondage of karma) if all the actions were being perform without the selfish ego attached to the actions nor there is any identifications with the doer of actions.

All actions are being done as a selfless service for serving God. We all are just an instrument for God to act in this transitory world of names and forms, including the act of eating and drinking, as well as taking care of its good health to maintain the life of this mortal physical body that is composed of ether, fire, water, air and earth, for us to serve God.

It is not only limited to perform selfless service of helping other beings and caring for the nature without asking any rewards in return. It is also performing all kinds of actions that are necessary and beneficial for oneself to evolve spiritually.

Such like Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi are beneficial actions that will lead one to the ultimate goal of liberation by attaining the wisdom from self-realization.

Before one attain the wisdom within ourselves, we all have to perform all actions that will bring us to the wisdom in us. Once we have seen the wisdom due to the serenity that derives from all the actions of yogic practices, then we can renounce any actions but we still can continue to perform any actions that are necessary and beneficiary but without the identification as the doer of actions and are not attaching to the fruit of actions.

By performing Karma Yoga, we will be free from fear, worry, selfishness, depression, ill will, greed, anger, hatred, jealousy, pride and arrogance. We will be endowed with loving kindness, patience, forbearance, generosity, cheerfulness, gratefulness, appreciation, humility, fearlessness, compassion and wisdom.

Karma Yoga is being perform with great enthusiasm of giving and sharing. It is without frustration and disappointment. It is non-attachment and letting go. It is nameless and formless. It is beyond the duality of good and bad, success and failure, give and take. All actions are being done with full effort and being let go during the act and after the act.

It is free from discrimination of good beings and bad beings, all beings are being respected and being treated same and equal under the practice of Karma Yoga. It is free from judgment, comparison, competition and expectation. It is freedom while being in the world doing a lots of actions.

If it is being practice with the right attitude and correct understanding, it will bring us joy, happiness and peace.

All actions are being done with a balanced state of mind without attachment to the results of success and failure. There is nothing to be gained or loosed in all actions of selfless service but the invisible merits are so great without us expecting to get any merits.

Be kind to all. Perform or carry out all our duties and responsibilities in a positive and cheerful attitude without attaching to the fruit of actions towards ourselves, towards our family, towards our friends, teachers, students, and the society, are the basic Karma Yoga.

Beside all these responsibilities, there are many other actions that are not obligation for us but we still can give and share with others. These are the higher Karma Yoga that we perform out of pure compassionate heart, not because we have a responsibility to carry out.

If we perform all our duties or responsibilities and any selfless service charity acts without the attachment and are renounced from the fruit of actions, then it is considered pure Karma Yoga. But if we are attached to all our duties or responsibilities with a little or great expectation of rewards and are affected by the result of success and failure, then it is not Karma Yoga anymore but it’s merely some actions that will bring us karma to be reaped in the future.

It’s the same as when we do any charity works to help others. If we do everything with the selfish intention of getting good karma or merits, and are attached to the fruit of actions and are being affected by the results of our actions, then all these are not Karma Yoga.

If we truly understand this, then when we sit for meditation observing the breath without performing any movements of physical actions, it’s also an action of Karma Yoga for attaining liberation from karma. It is a nameless and formless action in inaction in a beneficial way. It is a pure action that will bring us the “fruit” of self-realization. At this point “self-realization” is still a name and form. There is still something that we attached to. Until we attain self-realization, then we can go beyond self-realization. At this point, self-realization has become nameless and formless. There is nothing called “self-realization” but just being what it is.

If we are sitting there doing nothing but the mind is busy planning for this and that, scheming and indulging in random lustful thoughts, then it is an action in inaction in a non-beneficial way which we are actually producing lots of subtle karma that will become fruitful karma that need to be reaped in the future even though we didn’t perform any movements of physical actions.

May we all be free by performing Karma Yoga.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Desperation Brings Out The Yearning For Liberation

Usually When our lives are smooth and days are good, we will say, “I am happy with what I have now. I am happy. I do not need anyone to teach me any philosophies to be happy. I am fine.”

And when impermanence strikes, we lost the things that we liked and cherished, then we will say, “Can anyone please tell me why is life so miserable and please tell me where can I find happiness that doesn’t change and disappear?”

When someone tells us about non-attachment and letting go, we will say, “I knew already. I don’t need someone to teach me how to let go. I am not attaching to anything.”

And when the things that we love has changed and disappeared, we will be in tears and are so angry. Then we will say, “Can somebody please teach me how to let go?”

Anyway that’s part of the learnings in life. We won’t like to hear about wise words when we think that we are happy and fine, but we will be longing for wise words when we are not happy and are not fine.

Desperation brings out the yearning for liberation.

We won't learn to be wise until we went through deep suffering.

Suffering is not a bad thing at all...

Full Day Full On Intensive Yoga Workshop In Langkawi – Saturday April 3rd

This workshop is an intensive full day (7.30am - 10.30pm) which includes Asana, Pranayama, Meditation, Kriyas and a strength and flexibility session. Simple vegetarian meals, snacks and beverages are included.


Yoga workshop outline

* 7.00 Registration
* 7.30 Jala Neti
* 7.45 Pranayama & Guided Meditation
* 8.45 Break
* 9.00 Yoga class
* 11.45 Brunch and free time
* 13.45 Strength and flexibility workshop
* 15.30 Tea and light snacks
* 16.00 Yoga class
* 19.00 Dinner
* 21.00 Yoga philosophy
* 22.00 Guided meditation
* 22.30 End of workshop

This one day intensive yoga workshop is suitable for anyone who is not free for a longer retreat but would like to know more about yoga and to learn the technique for improving one's strength and flexibility to perform all the basic asanas.

Workshop fee - 450 rm including simple vegetarian meals, snacks, beverages, water refill and neti pot. No deposit is required. Full payment can be paid in cash upon registration.

Accommodation is not included but can be arranged on your behalf.

Please booked early as places are limited to 4 participants only to ensure personal attention for all the students.

Looking forward to seeing you in Langkawi.

Om Shanti,

Meng Foong

Yoga Now Malaysia

yoganow@hotmail.com

+6016 2715 082

+604 9559 082

Saturday, March 20, 2010

11 Days / 10 nights Intensive Yoga Retreat April 15th - 25th 2010 Langkawi

Welcome to Langkawi!

Come and join us for an intensive yoga retreat in the peaceful beautiful tropical island of Langkawi. This might be the yoga retreat that you are looking for to deepen your practice and to acquire understanding in the traditional yoga practice and its philosophy.

We will be having a 11 days / 10 nights Intensive Yoga Retreat in Langkawi starting from April 15th (Thursday) to 25th (Sunday) 2010.

This intensive yoga retreat is inclusive of neti kriya, pranayama and guided meditation, yoga asana practice, yoga philosophy discussion, strength and flexibility workshops and advanced practice workshops.

Simple nutritious vegetarian meals and fresh fruit will be provided throughtout the entire retreat.

Beside improving the physical side of your yoga practice, the intensive programme of the entire course will effectively improve your inner strength and flexibility which is the main practice in yoga. The wisdom of inner strength and flexibility will help you to let go of certain attachments and free yourself from mental and physical tensions. It is physically and mentally challenging while experiencing spiritual transformation.

All the yoga sessions, workshops and meditation will be held at our Yoga Now studio in Pantai Cenang.

We will only receive a maximum of 6 participants in the course to ensure personal attention to all the students.


11 days / 10 nights Intensive Yoga Retreat Outline

    Day 1

  • 14.00 - 15.00 Registration
  • 14.30 Tea and light snacks
  • 16.00 Yoga class
  • 18.30 Free time or optional massage session (additional charges apply)
  • 19.30 Dinner
  • 21.00 Guided meditation
  • Day 2, 5, 8

  • 7.30 Jala Neti
  • 7.45 Pranayama & Guided Meditation
  • 8.45 Break
  • 9.00 Yoga class
  • 11.30 Breakfast
  • 12.30 Free time
  • 13.30 Strength and flexibility workshop
  • 15.15 Tea and light snacks
  • 16.00 Yoga class
  • 18.30 Free time or optional massage session (additional charges apply)
  • 19.30 Dinner
  • 21.00 Guided meditation
  • Day 3, 6, 9

  • 7.30 Jala Neti
  • 7.45 Pranayama & Guided Meditation
  • 8.45 Break
  • 9.00 Yoga class
  • 11.30 Breakfast
  • 12.30 Free time
  • 13.30 Advanced practice workshop
  • 15.15 Tea and light snacks
  • 16.00 Yoga class
  • 18.30 Free time or optional massage session (additional charges apply)
  • 19.30 Dinner
  • 21.00 Guided meditation
Day 4, 7, 10
  • 7.30 Jala Neti
  • 7.45 Pranayama & Guided Meditation
  • 8.45 Break
  • 9.00 Yoga class
  • 11.30 Breakfast
  • 12.30 Free time or trips
  • 15.15 Tea and light snacks
  • 16.00 Yoga class
  • 18.30 Free time or optional massage session (additional charges apply)
  • 19.30 Dinner
  • 21.00 Guided meditation
Day 11
  • 7.30 Jala Neti
  • 7.45 Pranayama & Guided Meditation
  • 8.45 Break
  • 9.00 Yoga class
  • 11.30 Breakfast
  • 12.00 Check out

The course fee is Rm 5,400 per person for single room and Rm 4,900 per person for twin sharing.

Fee includes teaching, meals, snacks, beverages, trips, simple accommodation (with air-conditioning, hot shower, fridge, tea making facilities...), a Yoga Now T-shirt and yoga mat bag, neti pot and free airport or ferry port pick up. Meals and snacks will be simple nutritious vegetarian food.

A non-refundable deposit of Rm 300 is requested upon reservation.

Looking forward to seeing you in Langkawi.


Om Shanti,

Meng Foong

Yoga Now Malaysia

yoganow@hotmail.com

+6016 2715 082

+604 9559 082

Upcoming Long Intensive Yoga Retreats In Langkawi

* December 15th to 19th (5 days / 4 nights Intensive Yoga Retreat)

* December 22nd to 26th (5 days / 4 nights Intensive Yoga Retreat)

* December 27th to January 2nd (7 days / 6 nights Intensive Yoga Retreat)

* January 9th – 16th (8 days / 7 nights Intensive Yoga Retreat)

* January 26th – February 5th (11 days / 10 nights Intensive Yoga Retreat)

* February 6th – 10th (5 days / 4 nights Intensive Yoga Retreat)

* February 16th – 23rd (8 days / 7 nights Intensive Yoga Retreat)

* March 17th – 22nd (6 days / 5 nights Intensive Yoga Retreat)

* March 25th – April 1st (8 days / 7 nights Intensive Yoga Retreat)

* April 3rd – 13th (11 days / 10 nights Intensive Yoga Retreat)


* Please book early as places are limited to 6 participants only.

Please contact us if you would like to have a long yoga retreat (up to 14 days) with us here in Langkawi on the dates that suit you best. We will be happy to arrange a retreat for you on the dates that you prefer.

* For more details please contact us at yoganow@hotmail.com or call us at +6016 2715 082 or +604 9559 082

Friday, March 19, 2010

Beyond Action & Inaction - Nameless & Formless - Real Detachment

Real detachment is nameless and formless. It is beyond action and inaction. It is free from “this” and “that”, it is not about “yes” or “no”, nor “neither yes, neither no”. It can be “yes” and can be “no”. It is because everything has no certainty, all are impermanent and changing. Everything is just arising and passing away. Including all the dualities of positive and negative, good and bad, they all are impermanent names and forms that keep arising and passing away. When we understand this, we are actually detaching from “attachment” and “non-attachment”.

It is not by standing on the head, nor the feet can touch the head from behind, nor standing on one foot, nor by doing charity, nor by eating vegetarian food or non-vegetarian food, nor by not doing any so called prohibited acts will make a person enlighten. It is neither by letting go of all the previously mentioned practices and not performing any practices, nor by allowing the ego with its likes and dislikes, craving and aversion leads our lives, nor by not having any self-control or without the observances of morality, nor by allowing our desires run free will make us free from suffering.

But note that all these practices are very useful and important tools or steps for us to move forward towards self-realization and to regain our wisdom. When there is wisdom, there will be no ignorance. When wisdom is absent, ignorance is there. And because of this ignorance, we don’t know what is real and what is unreal. Not knowing the truth, we are in fear and worries. Having fear and worries, we have no peacefulness. Without peacefulness, we are discontented and unhappy. Due to this discontentment, We are searching for something to fill up the emptiness in our heart and are looking for some happiness or excitement trying to chase away the unhappiness or discontentment in us.

During this process of looking for happiness and satisfaction, we mistakenly identify ourselves with our body and the mind with the ego and the intellect. We attach to the body image and the characteristic and personality of this body and the mind. We have lots of likes and dislikes. We have lots of wants and don’t wants. We attach strongly to all the names and forms out there, giving them different values and meanings of “good” and “bad”. And this generates more reactions of likes and dislikes, craving and aversion. Having likes and dislikes, craving and aversion, we are constantly being disturbed or affected by what we see, hear, smell, taste, touch and think. We have lots of wants and don’t wants. But seems like nothing can give us true satisfaction or true happiness. All the things that we want and don’t want can only give us momentary satisfaction and happiness. The body and the mind keep chasing after this momentary fleeting feeling of satisfaction and happiness. The mind becomes restless. The body is restless too. This is creating more tensions into the body and the mind. The state of mind is constantly imbalanced. And thus more irritation, frustration, disappointment, unhappiness and suffering occur in us.

This is due to incorrect understanding, incorrect identification, incorrect effort, incorrect actions and incorrect thinking.

All the yoga practice of restraint, observance, asana, pranayama, withdrawal of the senses, concentration and meditation, including Karma yoga, Bhakti yoga and Jnana yoga are here to help us to purify all the impurities in our mind and to develop the qualities of right understanding, right view, right conducts, right thinking, right actions, right speech, right livinghood and right effort.

All these exercises or practice are to help us to develop willpower, determination, perseverance, courage, fearlessness, faith, confidence, independence, self-discipline, serenity, one-pointedness, patience, tolerance, acceptance, adjustment, accommodation, adaptation, forgiveness, letting go, generosity, humility, appreciation, gratitude, cheerfulness, truthfulness, non-attachment, loving kindness, compassion, wisdom and selflessness. And it is all these qualities that are leading us towards self-realization, by eliminating the ego and controlling of the mind.

Therefore, it is not merely by performing all the complicated or so called “advanced” asana poses that will make us enlighten. But by performing all these asanas, whether they are easy or complicated, whether our bodies can do this asana or cannot do that asana, we can accept the condition and limitation of our body, being comfortable with ourselves in the present condition, accepting the reality as it is, and thus we are developing all these important qualities in us that will eventually lead us to self-realization. Practicing all the asanas for many years without developing these inner qualities is merely a physical exercise that will give us a strong and flexible body, and maybe we will live longer and enjoying this world a little bit more, but it doesn’t remove the ignorance in us if we still attach strongly to our body and the mind, and are attach strongly to all the dualities of names and forms. Having strong ignorance, we cannot understand or see the truth in everything as it is. We superimpose everything with certain values, ideas and images. We cannot accept the law of impermanence that the body is eventually decaying and dying. We want to stop aging, stop decaying, stop weakening and stop the “death” of this body if it’s possible. We wish we could have supernatural power that can prevent this body from illness, pain, decaying, weakening and dying. We still have judgment, comparison, competition and expectation towards ourselves and other people.

Take a look at all the saints and sages in the past, even the strongest and most flexible yogis who can perform such complicated and perfect asanas, as well as the enlightened Buddha also must abandoned their bodies at one point. They were teaching us the most important truth of life existence of names and forms, which is impermanence. Who can escape impermanence? Not our physical body, not our mind, not our prana, not our feelings, not our ability, not our life existence, not our name and fame, health and wealth, happiness and unhappiness, not anything… except our true Self, the pure consciousness which is not affected by impermanence at all. Pure existence, pure knowledge and pure bliss. Eternal peace and forever exist.

Having the strong attachment towards our body and mind, we will try to perform all kinds of asana and pranayama to maintain the youth and strength of this body and reluctant of losing the youth and strength of this body. We want to be able to perform this asana and that asana, and yearning for perfection in the practice. We want to be stronger and more flexible, and challenging ourselves to do more complicated asanas. At the same time, we are still having impurities in us like anger, hatred, jealousy, greed, arrogance, disturbance, fear, worry, attachment, superiority, inferiority, good and bad, likes and dislikes, craving and aversion. We are not moving towards self-realization anymore but are attach to this body for keeping the ability of the body to perform all the asanas and to prolong this life existence. There is nothing wrong about this but we are still experiencing dissatisfaction, incompleteness and suffering.

Actually we just need to perform sufficient of asana practice and moderate pranayama practice for us to purify and calming our body and the mind, and to maintain a strong and healthy body for us to move on in the path of self-realization. We don’t have to challenge the limitation of our body. Cannot perform headstand or cannot touch the head with the feet from behind doesn’t stop a person attaining self-realization. Nor by not doing any pranayama practice will stop a person become enlightened. Nor by sitting not moving in a cave for a long time will guarantee us self-realization. Without hands and legs to perform so called asana and pranayama practice cannot stop a person experiences what is happening in the mind and will not stop him from realizing the Self. Having a weak and sick body doesn’t stop a person from self-realization and be at peace.

When we have developed firm detachment, everything will come naturally without us expecting anything. Pranayama happens naturally when our mind is calm and concentrated. As well as performing pranayama can help us to calm the mind and to have concentration.

No doubt that all the asana practice and pranayama if being practice in a correct manner and with right attitude can stimulate and purify the energy centers and energy channels in our body. This can help us to unleash and develop all the divine qualities that we need to move on towards self-realization. At the end, in this path of self-realization, there is no “goal” to be attained, there is no success or failure, there is no better or worst, but it is the present moment now that matter most. Because “now”, is the only reality. The past and the future doesn’t exist. Now is heaven, now is hell. Now is happiness, now is unhappiness. Now is ignorance, now is wisdom.

Again, by gaining the supernatural state of consciousness in yoga practice and meditation with certain names and forms but without real detachment in us, is not leading us towards self-realization but it can become an obstacle that we may caught up in the trap of playing with the energy fields and supernatural power, and it’s empowering our ego and arrogance. We are moving away from self-realization actually.

Until we have developed all these divine qualities in us, we are firmed and unmoved by whatever our mind and the senses come in contact with, and then we can let go of the practice with certain names and forms, and our practice is becoming nameless and formless naturally. Without any qualities, names and forms, there is not any identifications of anything. Just be. There is no differences between birth and death, happiness and unhappiness. Birth is death, death is birth. Happiness is unhappiness, unhappiness is happiness. Emptiness is form, form is emptiness. Our true Self is untouched by birth and death. There is no birth, there is no death. There is no beginning, there is no ending. Where is the “goal”? What is the “goal”?

When we have a lot of impurities, we do need to perform a lot of practice with certain names and forms to help us to purify our body and the mind. This is for us to have self-control and to achieve a balanced state of mind, where the wisdom will arise within us for us to have the pure knowledge to understand the truth of everything. It will remove ignorance in us and allow us to be able to accept the truth as it is. By accepting the truth as it is will allow us to be able to let go of all the identifications and attachment towards all the names and forms that we perceive through the senses in our mind. So that we can go back to our original state of pure consciousness which is nameless and formless, without any intentions or qualities. It is attributeless, beyond good and bad, beyond positive and negative, beyond birth and death, beyond happiness and unhappiness, beyond suffering and non-suffering, beyond existence and non-existence, beyond permanence and impermanence.

Most of us need to attach to certain practices that will eventually lead us to non-attachment towards all the practices. This might take a short time or a long time depending on our development in our practice and the level of purity. There are also minority people that are endowed with all the divine qualities from past lives, and don’t need any practices for developing what they already have.

All the practices and divine qualities are here to allow us to have a balanced state of mind, so that we can develop insight from within. Wisdom will arise when the mind is calm. Some people practice for many years but still haven’t develop a strong firmness and are still being disturbed and affected by the thoughts, feelings and sensations. When the mind is disturbed, concentration or meditation is impossible. Without concentration and meditation, wisdom cannot be seen. And thus we need to continue all our practices as being told by our ancient gurus. Some people evolve very quickly and develop concentration and one-pointedness within a short time. While some people are already “there” without any practices or extra effort.

With wisdom, everything will become clear to us. All doubts, confusion, fear and worry will be gone. Peacefulness is here. And hence, what is “attachment”? What is “non-attachment”?

Being a member of a “religion” doesn’t make us better beings or are happier than other people. Being a “Buddhist” doesn’t make us enlighten. Being a “yogi” doesn’t remove our ignorance and suffering. Not being “anything” doesn’t make us less compassion or less wise than other beings. Nor being “somebody” will make us more compassion and more wise than other people. Nor by not having any “religion” will give us freedom.

It is all about non-attachment and go beyond all the qualities of names and forms. It is practicing detachment in our heart from moment to moment, being at the present moment.

What is “religion”? What is a “buddhist”? What is a “yogi”?

Om Shanti.

Reviews On Yoga Retreats With Yoga Now Malaysia



Thanks a lot for these four days. It was a very good experience, hopefully a start of a new practice. I would recommend it to anybody!

Kaisa Rouvinen - Finland

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Reviews On Yoga Classes With Yoga Now Malaysia



I'm very glad I saw the Yoga Now sign and took the 10 minute walk! Although I have done yoga before I learned more from just two classes here - it was wonderful. Thank you.

Gillian Boyle - England

Reviews On Yoga Retreats With Yoga Now Malaysia



Now sitting in front of my laptop I feel I still can hear you say "stretch, stretch....and relax...." :) I really had a great time in Langkawi - probably the best time in my life.

It was a dream come true - my ideal lifestyle - daily yoga practice, simple nutritious vegetarian food... the warm sunny weather, clear sky, fresh air, wooden house, green plants, refresh natural environment (the beach, mountain, waterfall....)..... I just want this dream to last for the rest of my life. Wonderful teachers! Great retreat! What I learned on this 10 day retreat will benefit me for the rest of my life.

Jane Lu Zhen Hui - Guangzhou - 10 days intensive yoga retreat.

About Suffering & How To Be Free From Suffering

Many people know what is suffering by personally experiencing the suffering that is happening in our body and in the mind. But not many people know why are they suffering nor know how to be free from suffering, that’s why we are experiencing suffering. Or else, there won’t be any suffering.

And to know why do we have suffering and how to be free from suffering is the path of wisdom, the path of self-realization.

Usually it is when we are not satisfied with certain things that are happening in our body and the mind, as well as not satisfied with the happenings in the world, we will be experiencing unhappiness or suffering. We will try to avoid unhappiness and are constantly looking for happiness. When we couldn’t avoid unhappiness and couldn’t attain happiness, we will be in suffering. We suffer when we have fears and worries. We suffer when we have anger, hatred, jealousy, greed, arrogance and ungratified desires. We suffer when we don’t understand the truth, when we couldn’t let go our attachment towards all the things (names and forms), when we couldn’t accept the truth as it is and when we are lost in ignorance (not knowing who we really are, what is real and unreal, what is the meanings of life and what is true happiness).

But the basic suffering that everybody has is the suffering of having this impermanent body and mind that is solely depending on the elements, food and energy to be exist in this world of names and forms. This physical body and the mind (the functions of thoughts, feelings and sensations, discrimination of good and bad, positive and negative, comfortable and not comfortable, likes and dislikes, craving and aversion) is constantly experiencing impermanence (birth, growth, changes, decay, illness and death). The physical body also has to go through hunger, thirst, heat, cold, pain and discomforts.

We suffer because we are not free being bound by the cause and effect of the past good and bad karma that derived from our thoughts, actions and speech. We suffer when we couldn’t satisfy our cravings and desires. We suffer when our mind is restless and its desires are never ending. We suffer when we are being controlled or over-powered by our own selfish ego, our limited intellect, our desires, our likes and dislikes, our craving and aversion, and our distracted random thoughts. We suffer because we are not free being bound by the phenomena of birth and death, form and deforming, togetherness and separation, disturbance and loneliness, restlessness and boredom, happiness and unhappiness, have and don’t have, want and don’t want, meaninglessness and emptiness, frustration and disappointment, and all the impurities in the mind that are disturbing our hearts unceasingly. Due to all these phenomena, we couldn’t be at peace and at rest even for a few moments. We repeatedly swaying back and forth from feeling good, positive and energetic to feeling bad, negative and exhausted. We are lost in confusion, doubt and indecision.

We thought that it is the things and happenings out there that are causing us unhappiness and suffering. But the truth is, it is our own perception of the mind that is causing all the unhappiness and suffering in us. All the things and happenings out there have no intentions or qualities to make us happy or unhappy, to be good or not good, to make us suffering or not suffering.

Until we know what is going on in our own mind, then we will know what causes all these restlessness, unpeacefulness, unhappiness – suffering. If we know the cause of suffering, we will know how to free ourselves from the bondage of suffering.

When we know what is suffering, the cause of suffering and the path of free from suffering, we need to practice sincerely in our heart the knowledge or wisdom that can free us from suffering. Then we can be free from suffering. Just having the knowledge but without exercising it practically will not free us from suffering.

Start from now, at this present moment.

Let go of the past and the future.

Accept the truth as it is.

See the impermanence in everything inside and outside of us.

Practice acceptance, letting go and non-attachment, from moment to moment.

Detach from what we see, what we hear, what we smell, what we taste, what we feel, and what we think. Letting go all the thoughts, feelings and sensations. Stop labelling them as good and bad, comfortable and discomfortable. Stop generating reactions of like and dislike, craving and aversion towards all these impermanent names and forms, colours, shapes, sounds, smells, tastes, touches and thinking.

Detach from all the dualities of names and forms.

Go beyond all the positive and negative, good and bad, comforts and discomforts, likes and dislikes, craving and aversion.

Stop identify ourselves with the body and the mind. We are not this body and this mind. This body and this mind are not ours and they are not us. But identify ourselves as the awareness that is witnessing all the phenomena that is happening within and without our body and the mind. It doesn’t matter if these phenomena are something “good” or something “not good”, learn not to attach to them and not being disturbed, influenced or affected by them.

Very soon, our minds will calm down and be at peace. When our minds are calmed and at peace, we will see our true Self and reconnect with the ancient eternal wisdom that is already in us all the time.

This is the practice of meditation every moment in our lives whether we are in action or inaction. Constantly detaching from the past, the thoughts, the feelings and the sensations. Be at the present moment, from moment to moment.

There is no meanings if we did a lot of practice of “meditation”, or “cleansing exercises”, or “chanting”, or “charity”, or “vegetarianism”, or “non-harming”, or “studying the scriptures” or “renounce from everything”, but when come to our everyday lives, we are lost and confused, being disturbed and affected by our own ego and all the phenomena that is happening within and without our body, and having lots of anger, hatred, greed, jealousy, arrogance, ignorance, frustration and unhappiness.

Stop looking out for happiness. Look within ourselves. It is always there.

It is not happiness nor unhappiness. It is free from happiness and unhappiness.

May we all be free from suffering.

Reviews On Yoga Retreats With Yoga Now Malaysia



My wife, Michelle and I were traveling in Malaysia and attended Marc and Meng Foongʼs Cameron Highlands Yoga Retreat. The experience was nothing short of outstanding. Meng Foong and Marc are both extremely well versed yoga teachers with a wonderful mix of compassion, flexibility, humor, passion and patience. The retreatʼs format allows for plentiful practice, relaxation and exploration of the beautiful countryside. We would both enthusiastically recommend this retreat to anyone, regardless of your yoga experience, looking to deepen their yoga practice in a focused and supportive environment.

Pete & Michelle Meyers

Reviews On Yoga Retreats With Yoga Now Malaysia



Before I left Ireland to travel for 8 weeks I decided that as part of my trip I’d build a yoga retreat into it. Partly because I knew I’d be missing my weekly classes and partly because I wanted to treat myself. So when I was in Vietnam I decided to do the retreat in Langkawi and just did the usual googling. Luckily for me Yoga Now came up on the search engine and I sent off a mail looking for information ( I saw it as a good sign that Marc was Irish). In the vein of treating myself I decided to go for the option of staying in Sunset Valley and I wasn’t disappointed. The Malay House was lovely, super comfy and cute. Having the frog that was living outside the house chatting to me at various times during the day was a nice touch too :-) The views in the valley were amazing and changed constantly throughout the day. Having the pool to take a dip in whenever I felt like it was a nice touch too.

From the moment Marc and Meng Foong picked me up from the airport they made me feel welcome and that it was their objective to ensure that I enjoyed the retreat from start to finish. As with anything new I was a bit anxious at first as I didn’t know what to expect but from the first class I felt at ease as they made me realise that during the practice I would be encouraged to take my practice as far as I could ,it would be no further than I was comfortable with.

Speaking of being anxious I was really dubious about doing Neti, I am not a person who deals very well with snot but once I got the knack it was grand I could feel the benefits of doing it.

I had never really done any meditation before the retreat but now that I’ve been introduced to it by Marc it's something I want to explore in more detail and I’ve made a commitment to myself to do a few mins every day. Thanks to Marc I now also have an interest in exploring chanting, there is something very soothing about repeating those words over and over. For the most part this retreat has reaffirmed for me that I love doing yoga. Before the retreat if someone was asking me about my practice I would have said that I enjoyed doing yoga but I wasn’t “very good” but Meng Foong has showed me that it's not about being good or bad, it's just about being in each pose in that particular moment, concentrating and trying your best. Once we let go of our fears we can achieve anything, this is something I have to work on but at least now I recognize that fact can make some steps to over come mine.

As well as the classes I thoroughly enjoyed the chats over tea and dinner. Marc is a great cook and the food was YUMMY! Finishing the retreat at the waterfall was great with the monkeys and all.

I would recommend doing a retreat or just one class with this lovely friendly couple for whom teaching yoga isn’t a job its just a way of life. Whether you spend four days or just 2 hours with them your bound to go away from the experience taking away something positive.

Brenda Lawlor

Reviews On Yoga Retreats With Yoga Now Malaysia



We are very happy to have met both of you. We really learned a lot about yoga during our four days three nights yoga retreat, not just about asana but also the reflective and philosophical side of yoga. Yoga is not just about being healthy and strong, but teaches people how to relax and find our paths in life and gives us more courage to face the challenges of life. Thank you both very much and hopefully we will meet again. We will always remember your teaching in our hearts.

Shinny Wong & Alice Ooi - Yoga Teachers

Reviews On Yoga Retreats With Yoga Now Malaysia



It was a great retreat. Nothing to expect but yet that is where the surprises come from. It opens up my little big eyes and my heart as well.

My intension of going to Langkawi was merely to visit my teacher. Just a simple visit to see with my own little big eyes how are they doing there and to see whether is it true that their house is facinating as what I saw in the picture? It is true enough. It makes me feel so ‘HOMELY’.

It seemed that this 10 days retreat was planned less than a week, which was after i have booked my flight. It seemed that I have not much choice back there except by joining the retreat and I am glad that I did. Even though it was a short 3 days intensive retreat for me, but it was a fruitful one.

It brought back the memory of being a student again and it helped me to understand more about yoga as a student, as a teacher as well as a person. This is the important element in yoga that I might have forgotten and it is also the reason why I teach yoga.

The love and passion towards yoga that I have absorbed throughout the 3 days intensive yoga retreat have touched my heart the most. I can’t stop doing what I am doing and never will. I am grateful that I am also part of this and what else I can ask for.

We should be grateful that we are part of this pathway. Sometimes we may doubt, sometimes we may lost, but when we think about what we have and that we are part of this, I will always start my day with a smile. What else I can ask for. I have everything and more than what I could ask for.

Ohm Shanti.

Kee Boi Jing - Yoga Teacher

Reviews On Yoga Classes With Yoga Now Malaysia



Thanks for the class last week. It was a great lesson for my yoga practice, as well as my daily life. Will always remember your teaching. All the best in yoga and in life :)

This article below is taken from Janice’s review on her blog.


Yoga Now is 15 mins walk from the Cenang main beach road (quite far, should have drove in), behind the Rasa Restaurant. There’re signboards at the junctions so it can’t be missed.
At the end of the road, we saw a small traditional malay house, with a big blue banner. The temperature outside was killing, but practicing inside the house was peaceful. It was a traditional Hatha class. The class started and ended with 3 OMs and chanting, I couldn’t understand the sanskrit chanting but it sounded different from the Invocation chants I heard in other classes. We rested in Shavasana for a few minutes in between each pose/series. During the class, we listened to the sound of the wind chimes hanging outside the house, and felt the breeze through the windows. I love the Sun Salutations the most – the flow was graceful like a dance. I forgotten how many we had done, but it wasn’t as tiring as I thought it would be. A combination of abdominal exercise, inversions, arms & standing balancing, forward & back bends, seated twisting and a full 10-minutes Shavasana refreshed my body and mind. It was a great lesson for my asana practice, as well as my daily life.

View the original article at MangOnet.blogspot.com.

Janice Tan

Reviews On Yoga Retreats With Yoga Now Malaysia



Without knowing what to expect and with little experience before, it is fair to say that we found the “Intensive Yoga Retreat” had an impact on us on many levels. It was a delight to have spent the days with Marc and Meng Foong and during our stay both our bodies have been stretched, pulled and pushed into many different places.

But our minds have been stretched as well! We will be carrying this new knowledge and new experiences with us where we go and will carry a smile inside our hearts. (and also on our faces, when the soreness has receded!)

Good luck and best wishes.

David & Marieke

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Reviews On Yoga Retreats With Yoga Now Malaysia



Upon my return to HK, my friends asked me how was our yoga retreat in Langkawi ? It is so strange an expressive person like me found myself stuck with words. I always said it was beyond words and dumped some photo and video in our company server so our colleagues can have a look. Their response? Amazed and jealous.

I’m still overwhelmed with the trip, your passion and hospitality, scenery, morning smell at Sunset Valley, waterfalls: sounds from the waterfall, the walk, food, me & marco hiding in the water curtain, and Meng Foong’s moves…and the cable car ride? I’m so glad we went up – the air was so fresh!

I was expecting it is a yoga retreat so there will be yoga classes and meditation, get up early and eat healthy, getaway from our busy city life. It turned out to be all of the above and much much more, in a spiritual way. I forgot about “myself” hiding in the waterfalls, nothing matters anymore, sound of the universe is right there; of course the snacks did some tricks to recharge my body after I cleansed my soul. You two have taken good care of us, good planning of activities. Waking up every morning seeing the moon still in the sky, birds hoovering on the paddy fields… these are beyond words. Now I close my eyes, I can see them vividly, with colours. Waterfalls, it made a huge difference, make sure you include it every time, I’m sure you won’t be bored by them.

You people are fun to play with and easy to learn with. I’m still amazed that Marco did kakasana and headstand like he’s been practising for a while, and I’m the one who goes to yoga class every Sunday!

Seriously I’m thankful to you guys for bringing such a memorable trip to me. And I’m happy Marco has made a lifetime change – decided to do yoga to correct his spinal posture, thanks Marc & Meng Foong!

I shall not forget I’m a learner everyday, wish you two enjoy every moment in life.

Lydia Ho & Marco Li

Reviews On Yoga Retreats With Yoga Now Malaysia



The retreat has been one of the most calming and soothing experiences of my life. For the first time, after many attempts, I feel “able” to do yoga – able to accept myself as I am. Thanks.

I am a person who has never been comfortable or confident with my body, which seems to stubbornly refuse to stretch, balance and be strong. In other words I am not a likely candidate for yoga. However, from time to time I have tried yoga to improve my body and mind. Usually this has ended in me feeling overwhelmed by a sense of failure, of being the worst in the class, of not being able to “do yoga” at all. A few weeks ago I decided to try again at Yoga Now’s retreat at Langkawi. I found the retreat to be a completely different experience to what I’d had before. There was lots of focus on mediation and the mind, I was able to go at my own pace and importantly, the principles of yoga were discussed at length. The key thing for me was the way Meng Foong and Marc taught me to accept my body, with its strengths and weaknesses, and affirmed for me that I was “doing yoga” after all. While at the end of the retreat I wasn’t yet able to balance on one foot perfectly or touch my toes (that would have required a miracle!) in those few days I made significant psychological – much needed inner quiet and self acceptance – as well as physical gains. I highly recommend yoga now, whether you are extremely skilled at yoga or are the opposite like me.

Kirrallee

Reviews On Yoga Retreats With Yoga Now Malaysia



Marc and Meng Foong, thank you for taking me into your yoga studio and opening my mind and body to yoga! I have done a little yoga over the years but never have I experienced such an amazing feeling. Your inspirational words took me away each morning to an amazing place, I could listen to them everyday and never tired. Hopefully I can take a part of that within me.

The yoga practice has stretched every part of my body into pure relaxation. I only hope everyone gets to experience yoga and meditation with you both once in their lives.

I look forward to returning to your little place of paradise in Langkawi.

Take care and please keep in touch.

Samantha Newell

Reviews On Yoga Classes With Yoga Now Malaysia



I arrived in Langkawi in December expecting a rather hellish week. I was not visiting the touristy island to enjoy the beaches and sunny weather. I was there to complete a long list of major projects on our sailing vessel ‘Discovery’ which was on the hard at a local facility. I would consider myself a life-long sport enthusiast and in very good physical condition and have enjoyed yoga intensely though sporadically for years. My sister is a yoga instructor in Seattle, Washington. When I saw the Yoga Now sign in Cenang I knew I should force myself to go to the class. Spending a bit of time each day working on breathing and quieting my mind would really help me get through the busy week.

But what I found at Yoga Now was a lot more than breathing, a lot more than quieting the mind. My instructor, Meng Foong Lai met me smiling at she and her husband’s (Marc, who is also a Yoga instructor) simple yet elegant and comfortable house. I would be the only student. The signboard announcing the daily classes from 9-11 am and from 4-6 pm I learned that first day were guidelines only. Our class lasted nearly 3 and a half hours. And every minute of it was pure bliss. By the end of the class I was both exhausted and exhilarated. My mind rejuvenated and as calm as a Japanese garden. My yoga practice has always leaned towards the ‘power yoga’ end. Meng Foong’s was a more complete mix of spirituality, meditation, and incredibly physical yoga that was tied together in perfect harmony. Her voice seemed like a bird’s singsong, her confidence extended far beyond her physical body and encompassed not just me but what felt like the entire community. Simply put, Meng Foong’s presence is powerful, like a practiced and skilled yoga position that only the strongest Yogi’s can master.

At the end of the class I immediately signed up for her discounted 5 session package and considered it incredible value. I had Meng Foong to myself for every one of the classes, all of which lasted over 3 hours, which she granted graciously. For some this may sound like an investment in time that you cannot afford. I promise you not only can, but you should. Meng Foong’s confidence, kindness, ability, and love of yoga will grab you like the wind on a hot summer’s day. Comforting and inescapable. Your body and mind will thank you and you will find yourself growing as a person more and more after each class. After each session I found myself starving for clean water and only the best vegetarian food. My mind would be at peace for the remainder of the day, no matter the endless hassles of work would present. At night I slept like a baby, something I haven’t experienced in years. In just those 5 classes I was able to get into positions I didn’t even knew existed. I’d leave in a ball of sweat with a smile no one could erase.

If you are passing through Langkawi, or if you will even be passing through Malaysia, do not miss the best offering on the island. There is nothing you can take away from your travels that bests even one session at Yoga Now.

Gavin McClurg


Long Yoga Retreats

Join us for a personalized long intensive yoga retreat on the beautiful tropical paradise island of Langkawi, Malaysia.

No matter what your level a longer retreat with Yoga Now will help you deepen your practice by fully immersing yourself in a peaceful and nurturing yoga environment.

You can start your yoga retreat on any date you choose, with a minimum of 5 days / 4 nights and a maximum of 14 days / 13 nights. If you only have a short holiday you can also join one of our regular 4 days / 3 nights yoga retreats.

Feel free to visit our website at www.yoganowmalaysia.com or contact us for more details at yoganow@hotmail.com

Om Shanti,

Meng Foong


Upcoming Long Intensive Yoga Retreat In Langkawi

* July 18th – 25th 2011 (8 days / 7 nights Intensive Yoga Retreat)

* August 18th – 28th 2011 (11 days / 10 nights Intensive Yoga Retreat)


* Please book early as places are limited to 6 participants only

A Note On The Fatwa On Yoga In Malaysia

The door of Yoga is always open for everybody. It welcomes anybody and receives everybody with equality, compassion and wisdom.

But sadly, due to the Fatwa on Yoga in Malaysia, there is much confusion, fear and worry created among many Malaysians who are directly or indirectly involved in yoga, whether as a yoga teacher, a yoga student, a yoga center owner, or even the officers who work in the business licensing department of the Malaysian government. They need to consult the Religion Department and to get their approval whether they can issue a business license to a yoga center which solely owned by non-Muslim and is not having any Muslim clients.

Everyone is confused about whether Yoga is banned in Malaysia or not. Will there be no more yoga practice or yoga classes or yoga centers in Malaysia in the future? People are confused about whether this Fatwa on Yoga only applies to Malaysian Muslims or does it apply to all Muslims of other nationalities living in, or visiting Malaysia. Will the yoga teacher or the yoga center get into trouble with the authorities if there are any Muslims in the yoga class?

Many yoga teachers and yoga center owners are in doubt as to whether they can receive or accept any Muslims who want to come for yoga classes just as a physical exercise for health and fitness, even if the classes do not include philosophy, chanting, prayers or any aspects related to Hinduism. And if we, non-Muslims, want to follow the traditional yoga practices with all the philosophy, chanting and prayers, but without any Muslims in the class, will this be okay for the Religion Department? Because we had just being questioned by the business licensing department about whether we do chanting and prayers in our yoga classes or not, even though we told them that we are NOT Muslims and we DON'T have any Muslims in our classes.

We know that Malaysian Muslims are not allowed to read any other non-Islamic books or practice anything that contains any religious aspects other than Islamic. We want to respect this issue and respect the fact that different religions have different points of view and teachings. But isn't it true that all religions are supposed to promote respect, love, peace, compassion and wisdom? Some of us might want to clarify that Yoga is not a religion. It is like Buddhism, it has been misundertood as a religion. In fact it's a life philosophy and practice that can guide us to peace and harmony.

We would like to be very open minded and receive anyone who are sincerely want to learn and practice Yoga with us in Malaysia, but we also want to respect the local religious teachings and their authorities, even though sometimes we find it a bit difficult to accept that some religions are having very restrictive rules and regulations for the well-being of their followers. And Malaysia is supposed to be a free country with the constitution of rights, that allows everyone (non-Muslims) to be free to have their own beliefs and religion practices, of course except for the Malays, who are borned to be Muslims. We need to respect this Muslim law too even though some of us might not be happy or not agree with this issue. So please forgive us if any Muslims come to us in Malaysia for yoga classes, but we have to tell them that we are not allowed to receive them. Or else, we might lose our business license and can't even teach and share authentic Yoga practices with many others who are non-Muslim in Malaysia, but we can have a business license if we only teach something which is not yoga's "yoga".

All these times, for all Malaysian who are non-malays, we are free to practice Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity, Taoism, and some other traditional cultural beliefs and non-religious practices in Malaysia. And everyone are respecting each other and live in harmony with everybody. How come Yoga (originates from India and is no doubt a part of Indian culture) has now become a big religious problem in Malaysia just because some nice people (Malays Muslims) are amazed with this ancient Indian wisdom and are interested in doing some exercises using yoga poses without the need of respecting or applying the original teachings and practices of yoga, like the philosophy, chanting and prayers?

Yoga practice and its teaching is to promote respect, loving kindness and peaceful harmony in everyday lives among all people who have different believes and cultures.

And this Fatwa on Yoga issue had pushed the pure authentic traditional yoga practice into something "not so good" to be mentioned or to be taught in a yoga class, that people try to avoid many important yoga practices into their so called "yoga" practice due to the sensitive issue about Fatwa on Yoga in Malaysia.

Anyway there are many yoga centers and yoga teachers in Malaysia that are not really into Traditional Yoga that emphasizes on ancient philosophy and spiritual part of yoga practices, but they are more towards fitness industries that use some of the yoga poses to make it into a fitness exercise routine and they only emphasize on physical fitness level, physical ability, strength and flexibility. There is nothing wrong about it. While Traditional Yoga is not so much about all these physical aspects at all. It is more about the internal cultivation of selflessness, purity, non-attachment, compassion, wisdom, peacefulness and self-realization.

This is maybe because there are many people who are doing "yoga business" in Malaysia want to avoid getting problems with the authorities. Some people even clarified that their "yoga classes" are non-religious and non-spiritual (Yoga might not be a religion but it is definitely spiritual), and it is just a physical exercise and that their "yoga" classes are strictly without chanting of "Om" and "prayers", which is "safe" for any Muslims to join in, because "spiritual" means religious for many people who don't understand the real meaning of "spiritual". In truth, spirituality has got nothing to do with religion. A person who doesn't has any religions can be very spiritual. While a person who has a religion is not necessary spiritual.

I could respect that anyone who wants to use yoga poses and make it into something fitness only and "not really yoga" anymore, but please respect other people who are really practicing yoga genuinely. There is nothing wrong or bad about "not really yoga", at least many people are exposed to yoga exercises which can promote good health and peacefulness. It is something good and beneficial for everybody even though it is not authentic anymore.

All these are just some appearances with names and forms. We should be beyond all these names and forms. But if we try to protect this "not real yoga" in Malaysia and start to attack the authentic pure yoga practices as something "not right", "not allowed" and "illegal", this is really sad and ignorant. May everyone practices yoga in peace and harmony whether it is pure or not pure.

May we all be blessed with wisdom and be free from ignorance.

Om Shanti.

Reviews of Yoga Now Malaysia on Trip Advisor

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About Yoga

Know thyself. There is no existence of 'I'. Everything is impermanent. Be free, be peaceful, be happy.

Om shanti

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Pantai Cenang, Langkawi, Kedah, Malaysia
My husband and I run ongoing yoga retreats in Langkawi Malaysia. We teach traditional Hatha Yoga - a combination of Asanas (postures) and Pranayama (breathing techniques) and relaxation, that has given benefit to millions of practitioners over thousands of years. Our yoga studio is situated in Langkawi. We also run yoga retreats in Europe and India.

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Yoga retreats and yoga workshops in Malaysia

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