be free, be happy, be peaceful

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

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Develop self yoga practice outside of yoga classes or yoga centres, beyond names and forms, time and space...

Real yoga practice starts in our own home, in our every moment living space. We should be able to develop self-practice at home, at work, at play, during holiday, being alone or being with somebody, when we are busy or when we are free, because yoga is not to be found only in yoga classes or yoga centres, but in our everyday living space, not separated from our everyday life experiences. Yoga practice is in our heart, in our living space, in our work place, in our playground, on the street, in the shopping malls, in the nature, in the world, wherever our awareness is, in this present moment...

Yoga practice is there when our eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body and mind come in contact with the objects of the senses, where the perception of names and forms and qualities begins, where judgment and comparison of good and bad begins, where craving and aversion towards what we like and dislike, agree and disagree, want and don't want begins, where impurities arising and passing away... Every moment purifying our mind, and letting go of the ego...

And yoga practice is not just limited in doing some yoga asana exercises... It's about dispassion, detachment, self-control and self-independence, which are found in our every moment of existence and awareness, unlimited by names and forms, time and space...

What stop us from having self asana practice at home, is self-discipline... It's not about limited space or having distractions from other people who live in the same house, or distractions from all sorts of comforts, enjoyments, interactions and inputs from TV, phones, Internet access, emails, facebook, neighbours and friends, and etc... Even in the tiny space in the kitchen or in the hallway can also be our practice ground... It is an excuse, if we say there is no space in our house for asana practice... If we are really determined, we can let go of the space for the TV or the couch, and make room for a space for our practice...

If everyday we can give ourselves a few moments to be away from Internet access (emailing or chatting or blogging or facebooking), not watching TV, not listening to radio or music, switch off the phone, not reading novels, magazines or newspapers, not talking, not socializing, not speculating or planning anything, not try to do something, just be in the present moment, whether sitting, or lying, or standing, or walking, observe our mind, our thoughts, observe our body and mind's reactions for being restricted, observe our natural breath, no need to perform any asana exercises, no need to have a specific space for any physical practice, letting go of what we think we cannot let go, letting go of all the identifications with what we think who we are, not try to be somebody, not try to be good or bad, not looking for peace and happiness, and those are the great moments of yoga practice...

There is nothing wrong with practicing yoga under a teacher's guidance and doing yoga practice under instructions in yoga classes provided by yoga centres and yoga schools... Especially for those who have no idea what is yoga and what are the practices...

If we think we cannot practice yoga at home, and need to be in a yoga class or yoga centre to practice "yoga", so that we can be temporary move away from our life and duties, so that we can do what we are told to do, depending or relying on the yoga teacher to give us instructions on what to do now and what to do next, then we still haven't connected with the real yoga practice yet, even though everyday, or a few times weekly or monthly we spend 1 or 2 hours in yoga classes in yoga centres, following the instructions of the yoga teacher, doing some "yoga practices"...

If we still need to depend or rely on yoga teachers to give us instructions to be practicing yoga, or rely on the teacher to tell us are we "good" or "not good", or depending on the space in a yoga studio to provide a suitable space for us to practice yoga, even though after years and years of going to yoga classes, then know that we are not getting any further than where we were from the start, even though physically and mentally we are getting some benefits from doing all the physical yoga exercises in the yoga classes, and our body and mind feels great after the yoga classes. We might be practicing yoga for many years but we are still not really peaceful, we are not free from being over-powered by low self-esteem, craving and aversion, anger and disappointment, fear and worries...

It's because we are still attached to the body and mind, still identifying with the body and mind looking for pleasant sensations and good feelings coming from the yoga exercises... There is nothing wrong with this idea of "in love with doing yoga exercises for getting good feelings and pleasant sensations", but know that this is also a form of attachment and craving... Once we don't get to do some yoga exercises, our body and mind feels bad and being agitated... We should learn to go beyond attachment towards the momentary conditional pleasantness coming from doing yoga exercises.


Anyone, after going for some yoga classes learning from yoga teachers, we should be able to develop self-practice already. It is about developing inner observation, self-awareness, self-discipline and non-attachment...

If after many years of learning and practicing "yoga" in yoga classes or yoga centres, and still cannot have self-practice without being in yoga classes or yoga studios, without getting instructions from yoga teachers, then obviously we didn't learn anything at all in those years of "learning" and "practicing" yoga...

No doubts that even there are many yoga teachers still have to go to other people's classes, continue in attending courses after courses, upgrading and improving themselves in all aspects, because we are not "free" yet, we are still learning and being humble, and want to improve in our own practice and our teaching skill... This is nothing wrong... But no matter how many classes and courses that we have attended, it all comes back to our own self-practice and self-realization that derived from self-discipline, self-control and self-awareness that will free us from ignorance, the cause of restlessness and unpeacefulness and be free...

Only in those who are
already free, all actions ceased... There's no "teaching", no "learning", no "practicing", even though the actions of teaching, learning and practicing are there... There's no more differences or separateness between actions and inactions...

If there is no "pain", do we still need to do something to remove "pain"?


If our sense of well-being or self-worth or confidence or happiness is coming from how successful we can perform the asana poses that we couldn't perform before, or how many yoga asana poses that we can perform, or how good we look and feel while performing the asana poses, or how good we look and feel after performing the asana poses, or how much we are benefited from the asana poses physically, mentally and emotionally, then we are still a great distance away from our true Self... It indicates that we are identified with the body and mind, and is identified as the doer and the enjoyer of the actions and inactions generated by the body and mind...

We are not the body, we are not the mind. The body is not us, the mind is not us. The thinking, the sensations, the feelings are not us. We are not the thinking, the sensations, the feelings...

We are neither the doer nor the enjoyer of all the actions and inactions... There is neither gain nor loss...

Om shanti.

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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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