be free, be happy, be peaceful

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

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Craving and aversion - The source of restlessness, unhappiness and suffering...

Suffering, unhappiness, anger, hatred, greed, jealousy, hurts, dissatisfaction, disappointment, frustration, pride, arrogance, fear and worry are all derived from craving and aversion.

Without craving and aversion, there is no unhappiness and suffering.

When there's an identification with the egoistic mind as who we think we are, or "I", and the mind is being over-powered by craving and aversion, we'll crave for the things that we agree with, that we like and want, and we'll reject the things that we don't agree with, that we don't like and don't want.

Before we come in contact with anything that we don't like and don't want, but we are already full of aversion, tension, negativity, fear and worries that we might come in contact with the things that we don't like and don't want. So restless and have no peace.

When we come in contact with the things that we don't agree with, that we don't like and don't want, we'll get so irritated, unhappy, frustrated, angry, dissatisfied and disappointed. Even after we get rid of the things that we don't like and don't want, we are still not peaceful, because we attach onto the past unhappy and unpleasant experience that generates a strong aversion that we don't want to come in contact with the same experiences or objects again. Full of tension of fear and worry that come from strong aversion.

Before we get the things that we like and want, we are restless and have no peace. We are full of dissatisfaction, greed and craving for the things that we don't have which we like and want to have.

When we don't get the things that we like and want, we'll get so unhappy, frustrated, angry, dissatisfied, disappointed, and jealous towards others who have the things that we like and want.

When we finally get the things that we like and want, we'll attach to these impermanent objects of names and forms, generate craving and clinging onto them. We have no peace even though we get the things that we like and want, because we'll be over-powered by pride and arrogance that derived from the achievement of the things that we like and want, but at the same time, we also have fear and worry that these things that we like and want will change and disappear, and this will cause us losing the fantastic sensation of being proud and arrogant that derived from achieving the things that we like and want. We have strong rejection or aversion that we don't want these things to change and disappear. We don't allow them to change and refuse to let them go when impermanence strikes. This is impossible under the law of nature - the Truth of things - Impermanence. We'll be so disappointed and dissatisfied when the pleasant sensations disappeared due losing the things that we like and want because of impermanence.

And so, no matter we get the things that we like and want, or not, and whether we don't get the things that we don't like and don't want, we will always be dissatisfied, not peaceful, restless, anxious, and have fear and worry.

If we can let go craving and aversion, we can fully enjoy what we have in the present moment now, without fear and worry of losing it or it will change. We can appreciate and enjoy everything as it is, not necessary the way that we want it to be, but we are able to accept everything to be the way as it is, from moment to moment. Without craving for the things that we don't have in the present moment now, and without clinging onto the things that we have in the present moment now. We also won't have rejection or aversion towards the things that we don't like and don't want. We allow everything to be here existing temporary in this same space of the universe of where we are, whether it is something that we like or don't like, want or don't want, agree or disagree with. We allow impermanence to be happening from moment to moment. We accept the changes of the conditions and qualities of names and forms of everything as it is.

This is true freedom. Real liberation. Being free from anger, hatred, jealousy, greed, hurts, dissatisfaction, disappointment, frustration, anxiety, pride, arrogance, fear and worry.

We can have likes and dislikes, agreements and disagreements. We don't have to like the things that we don't like, and we don't have to agree with the things that we don't agree with. But, without the attachment towards the things that we like and don't like, agree and disagree with. Without craving and aversion towards all the names and forms that we like and don't like, agree and disagree with. And thus, we will be free from all the impurities that arise due to craving and aversion.

When we don't have the things that we like and want, but we are free from greed, disappointment, dissatisfaction or craving for these things that we like and want. We are fine, and still peaceful and happy.

If we are not coming in contact with the things that we don't like and don't want, there's no fear and worry that we will come in contact with these things that we don't like and don't want. We are fine, and still peaceful and happy.

When we come in contact with the things that we don't like and don't agree with, we don't have disappointment, anger and hatred towards these things that we don't like and don't agree with. We are fine, and still peaceful and happy.

When we get the things that we like and want, we don't have fear and worry that these things will change and disappear. We will appreciate and enjoy all these things that we like and want while it is here, but we allow impermanence to be happening and able to let them go in peace when they change and disappear.

When we know the Truth of things as it is, that everything is impermanent, we won't have strong attachment towards all these names and forms. When we know what is non-duality, namelessness, formlessness and attributeless, there is no attachment towards all the qualities of names and forms, whether we think they are good or bad. When there is no attachment, there is no need of "letting go". There is no craving for something "good" and there is no aversion towards something "bad". There is neither "good" nor "bad".

Changes, impermanence, being with the things that we don't like, separation from the things that we like and love, old age, sickness, discomfort, pain, injuries, weakness, decay, death or decomposition of this physical body are not something "bad" or "horrible". When we stopped judging or labeling all these things as something "bad" and "horrible", there won't be craving for something "good", and there's no aversion towards something "bad" and "horrible". And thus there is no fear, no worry. There's no anxiety or restlessness that come from craving for the things that are being labelled as "good" and aversion towards the things that are being labelled as "not good".

Without craving and aversion, there's no fear and worry. Absence of fear and worry is peace.

We accept ourselves and other beings in this present moment now as we are, as they are. We are contented and peaceful. At the same time, we can perform actions for the well-beings of ourselves and other beings out of selflessness and compassion, and allow the result of our actions to be what it is and allow improvement or changes to happen naturally. Without attachment towards our actions and the result of the actions. Without selfish desires or intentions, judgment, comparison and expectation. Without the influence of likes and dislikes, agreements and disagreements that come from the impure egoistic mind.


We don't need to depend or rely on doing something "good" or not doing something "not good", to have peace. We don't need to be in specific "good" place or "nice" environment, to have peace. Peace is here, when there's no craving and aversion, fear and worry. Wherever we are, whatever we do and don't do, peace is always here in us.

When we realize the real peace in our true nature free from ignorance, egoism and impurities, we don't need to do something or go somewhere to be in peace. We don't need to depend on doing the things that we like to do to have peace. Whatever we do or don't do, wherever we go or don't go, we are always peaceful as we are.


This real peace never increase or decrease, never change or disappear. This real peace is unconditional and unlimited by the impermanent condition and ability of this physical body, the state of the mind, the energy fields and elements, the actions and inactions of this body and mind. Neither does it be conditioned or limited by the qualities of names and forms that we come in contact with, or by the condition of the environment. It is beyond all the perception of names and forms and the qualities of good and bad, positive and negative.

Nothing can make us happy. Nothing can make us suffer. Nothing can give us peace. Nothing can take away the peace in us.

Letting go of attachments, craving and aversion in our everyday life whenever the mind comes in contact with the objects of the senses, is our yoga and meditation practice to realize eternal unconditional peace. This is nothing to do with whether our body is strong and flexible, or not, or in good health, or not, or whether we can perform the yoga asana poses perfectly, or not, or we can chant the Sanskrit prayers in perfect pronunciation, or not, or we know all the asana poses and their names, or not, or know about all the bones and muscle tissues in the physical body or not, or whether we can speak, read and write perfectly, or not, or whether there are people like us and agree with us, or not, or whether we have been through many courses, retreats and workshops, or not, or whether we have one or many "International yoga affiliation" recognized certification, or not.

There is no need a piece of paper to qualified and certified us to realize the peace in us and to share this peace and wisdom with all other beings. There is no need one or many pieces of papers to show anyone that we are peaceful and we want to show loving kindness to other beings, when we realized selflessness and compassion.

There are people who have never come in contact with yoga asana practice or meditation practice or yoga philosophy, but it doesn't stop them from realizing the peace in them and be selfless and compassionate, if they know what is non-attachment and be free from the ego, craving and aversion. Peace, love and compassion doesn't belong to particular religion or practice or belief. Peace, compassion and wisdom exists in everyone, disregards what are the differences of conditions, qualities, names and forms. A very weak and sick or paralyzed person can also have peace and be free from "suffering".

Even if we practice yoga asana and meditation everyday, and name ourselves as "yogis", it's not necessarily that we will be peaceful and be free from anger, hatred, jealousy, hurts, fear and worry, if we do not know what is non-attachment and be free from the ego, craving and aversion.

Realize this real peace and be free. Be truly content and happy, unconditionally.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

The practice of unconditional forgiveness and letting go - The essential practice to attain peace...

Real forgiveness is unconditional. When something happened and we felt hurt, angry and unhappy, but we don’t want to be unhappy, and want to be free from anger and being hurt, we need to be able to forgive and let go… In unconditional forgiveness, we do not expect other people to be sincere to ask for forgiveness from us, or be regretful for what they had did, but, we forgive everyone including ourselves for being imperfect, and let go of any anger and hatred that arised and accumulated due to we cannot forgive and let go of what had happened…

Practicing unconditional forgiveness or to forgive and let go unconditionally, is initially about being kind to ourselves, and then it's about being compassionate towards other beings who had intentionally or unintentionally inflicted the anger, pain or unhappiness in us.

Usually when someone intentionally inflicts unhappiness or generates tensions onto somebody else, it is because he or she is very unhappy and is suffering from anger, hatred and dissatisfaction. We should be compassionate towards them, show them peace and loving kindness, share love and happiness with them, and not being angry with them.

If somebody unintentionally inflicts unhappiness or generates tensions onto somebody else, then why do we still want to be angry and unhappy about it, since it is just an intention-less act comes from beings without the awareness that their action might cause somebody else discomforts… We should be compassionate towards them and show them peace and loving kindness, share love and happiness with them, and not being angry with them as well.

And so, whether anybody had intentionally or unintentionally inflicted any unhappiness or tensions onto somebody else, we should be compassionate towards them, and show them peace and loving kindness to ease their painful suffering that had caused them doing such ignorant action, and not being angry and hating towards anybody at all…

If we are being angry and unhappy about somebody or some undesirable happenings, we are the first one who is getting hurt and will bring harmful effects into our body and the mind. And if we extend this anger or unhappiness onto some other people, we will be hurting other people too. If we don’t know how to forgive and let go, we are actually hurting our own self, and bringing painful suffering to ourselves and others as well.

If we can forgive other people’s imperfections and wrong doings, we actually prevent ourselves and other people from getting further harms into the body and the mind. But first of all, we need to be able to forgive ourselves for our own imperfections and mistakes, then only we can forgive other people’s imperfections and mistakes.

In order to be able to forgive ourselves for being imperfect and accept ourselves as we are, we need to know how to accept ourselves as we are for what we can do and cannot do; for what we had did and haven’t done yet; be able to let go of the past instantly without any judgments, comparisons, criticisms and expectations. We also need to know how to not attach to all the names and forms, and know what is renounce from the fruit of our actions; not identify with the thoughts, feelings and sensations; know how to observe all the thoughts, feelings and sensations without associate with them or react to them, and let them go. We need to be able to accept ourselves as we are, without judgment and expectation, then only we can accept other people as they are, without judgment and expectation… Not expecting other people will be the way that we want them to be.

In order to be able to accept ourselves as we are and accept other people as they are, we need to know how to accept everything in the world as it is; not trying to interfere with the law of nature; not trying to control anything to be the way that we want them to be. At the same time, we also need to allow both “good” and “not good” things to be exist in this same space of the universe. We don’t possess the universe. Everyone and everything has the rights to be exist in this space of the universe just like ourselves being here.

And to start with, we practice observing the natural breath. Just be aware of the natural breath. Be aware of the air coming in and going out from the nostrils during the inhalation and exhalation. Accept the breath as it is. Not trying to interfere, or to control, or to change the pattern or the rhythm of the breath. Let go of any judgments, comparisons and expectations towards the breath and the result of observing the breath.

After inhalation, we have to exhale. After exhalation, we need to inhale. If we try to just inhale and not exhale, we will be in suffering. If we try to just exhale and not inhale, we will be in suffering too. If we try to not inhale nor exhale, we will be in great suffering. What we can do is, allow the breath to be what it is, allowing the inhalation to happen and allowing the exhalation to happen naturally. This is the law of impermanence. Having birth, we need to allow growth, old age, decaying, illness and death to happen, and accept all the different changes in our body and in the mind as it is, from moment to moment. Sometimes we feel good, sometimes we feel bad. Sometimes we have negative thoughts, sometimes we have positive thoughts. Sometimes we experience comfortable sensations, sometimes we experience uncomfortable sensations. Sometimes we act and speak selfishly, but sometimes we act and speak unselfishly. Sometimes we are wise and clear minded, but sometimes we are ignorant and confused in the mind.

Know that we are not the body, we are not the mind. We do not identify with them, and not generate reaction towards what the mind and body is experiencing from moment to moment, nor associate with them. We stand as a witness towards all the changes that is happening in our body and in the mind. We let all these phenomena manifest themselves; stay for a while; they will change and disappear – unceasingly arising and passing away. And then we extend this practice of being an observer, observing all the happenings out there in the world. Everything happens for a reason. If there is no such cause, there will be no such effect. If there is such effect, it is because there is such cause. We all are responsible for all the happenings in our lives and in the world.

Once we understand this, and are able to accept everything as it is, then we can accept ourselves as we are and accept other people as they are without any strong attachment towards all the conflicts and unhappiness that is happening among us and other people, or in any relationships. We are able to forgive and let go. The past is already gone, we can’t go back to the past to change or undo what had happened. Let them be and let them go. The future has not arrived yet, it doesn’t exist in the reality of this present moment. The present moment now is constantly changing from moment to moment.

If earlier I felt very bad, it doesn’t mean that I will continue to feel bad forever. If I was very angry earlier, it doesn’t mean that I will be angry forever. Either I will become more angry or less angry, and sooner or later this feeling of anger will disappear. Especially if we divert our attention onto something else. We can try and experience the truth of impermanence. Try to stay sad and angry for a long time. It will be so tiring and the intensity will becoming less and less. It doesn’t stay constantly the same unchanged. It’s the same for any happy feelings and excitement. They all don’t last long, and will change and disappear. Even the state of calmness is impermanent. If we know how to transcend these three states of the mind (agitation, depression and calmness), we will be free and be at peace all the time.

If we know the truth of impermanence, and able to accept the law of impermanence as it is, we will not have any attachment towards any names and forms, including both happy and unhappy events. We also won’t have any judgments, comparisons, criticisms and expectations towards ourselves and other people.

Once we let go of judgments and expectations towards ourselves and other people, we will be free from anger, irritation, frustration, dissatisfaction and disappointment. And thus we don’t even need to forgive anybody for any unhappy events, or against-our-wish happenings. If we know how to accept the reality of everything as it is, we don’t need to forgive anyone or anything. Because there is nothing there that we need to forgive or need to be letting go. It is only when we cannot accept the truth of thing as it is, because it is not the way that we want it to be, we will be angry, upset, dissatisfied and unhappy.

But if we still be disturbed, affected and determined by all the qualities of names and forms, and still have anger, unhappiness, disappointment and getting upset about someone or something, then we need to cultivate forgiveness to heal ourselves, to be kind to ourselves, and be compassionate towards all beings including those who had inflicted pain and suffering onto us, intentionally or unintentionally…

What is the meaning of being so upset or unhappy about some other people doing something wrong and bad, and make ourselves be in misery due to other people’s ignorance? We don’t have to. Let other people’s wrong doings and ignorance be with their respective owner, and not carry other people’s unhappiness and ignorance into our hearts. Be happy and let go. Life is too precious to waste our time and energy in conflicts, unhappiness, anger and hatred.

Whether other people sincerely ask for our forgiveness or not, we should forgive all and everything that had hurt us intentionally or unintentionally. This is actually being kind and compassionate towards ourselves and other beings. Wish all beings (including ourselves) be free from anger, hatred and guilt, and be at peace…

If we cannot forgive and cannot let go, we will never be in peace… Why do we want to hurt ourselves by being unforgiving and refuse to let go? Free ourselves from anger and hatred is true liberation… Whether other people want to forgive us for our imperfections, and free themselves from anger and hatred or not, even after we asked for forgiveness from them sincerely, that is their own freedom and choices, if they want to continue to be angry and unhappy, and don’t want to forgive and let go… We should respect their freedom to be angry and unhappy, and allow them to be angry and unhappy. We don’t have to feel unhappy and guilty if other people cannot forgive us and cannot let go of their anger and hatred towards us… Let them be what they want to be… When we ourselves are free from anger and hatred, then only we can share love and peace with other people…

If we ourselves cannot forgive and let go, how can we expect other people to forgive and let go? And if we can forgive and let go, then we won’t be bother about what other people did and didn’t do, and whether other people can forgive and let go or not. We can’t be angry with other people who are angry with us for what we have done and cannot forgive us… They have the rights to be angry and unforgiving, and be unhappy and not peaceful… It is their own responsibility to cultivate compassion and be compassionate towards themselves, and practice compassion towards other people, and to forgive and let go, and be in peace…

It is our own responsibility to be compassionate towards ourselves and other beings, to forgive and let go, and be in peace…

Be happy.

Self-realization is knowing our true nature as it is, without being contaminated nor conditioned by all the qualities of names and forms...

There are contradictions or confusions about whether there is "something" to be realized or there is nothing to be "realized" in the spiritual path towards self-realization...

There is, and there's not...

When "we" are deluded by ignorance in our mind and are identifying with the impermanent qualities of names and forms of this body and this mind, then "we" need to "realize" who "we" really are...

When the mind is free from ignorance, and "we" are not being determined by all the qualities of names and forms of this body and this mind, then there is nothing to be "realized"... We are what we are... We are not something else that we are not... We are not becoming, or turning, or changing into something else that we are not...

The space is always the same space, colourless... Whether there are some colourful substances spread into the space and make the space appears to be colourful, or when all the colourful substances are abstracted and what left is just the colourless space... But it is still the same space... Never increase nor decrease... Never became colourful nor colourless... It never changed, even though from the appearance it changes colour depending on what type of colours fills up the space at that moment...

The space is always the same space, odourless... Whether there are different fragrances or smells exist in the space, and through the sense of smell we smell different types of fragrances or smells in the space, but the space itself has no fragrances or smells, it does not smell of any fragrances or smells... It will not be contaminated, nor conditioned, nor changed into something else by whatever types of odour that passing by...

The only "hindrance" that "hinders" us from knowing our true nature is ignorance...

When ignorance presents in the mind, "we" think "we" are the mind, "we" think "we" are the body... "We" think "we" are the one who is doing the thinking, feeling, sensing, recognizing, analyzing, asserting, choosing, deciding, like and dislike, want and don't want, believing and disbelieving, agreeing and disagreeing, happy and suffering... "We" think "we" are the one who is the doer of the actions and inactions that comes from the body and the mind... "We" think "we" are the one who is enjoying the fruit of all the actions and inactions... We are ignorant of our true nature which is not contaminated nor determined by all the actions and inactions of this body and this mind...

When the mind is absent of ignorance, all the qualities of names and forms including the impermanent conditions of this body and this mind, they are just being what they are... They are not something "good". They are not something "bad"... They are not something "positive". They are not something "negative"... They are not something "happy". They are not something "suffering"...

And thus, if "someone" who is still being conditioned and affected by all the qualities of names and forms that are being perceived in the mind through the body and the function of the senses, and is identifying with the actions and inactions of the body and the mind, and is associating with all the reactions of the body and mind towards what they perceive or come in contact with, and is experiencing happiness and unhappiness in all these experiences that arising and passing away from moment to moment, then this being needs to "realize" his or her true nature, of who he or she really is... And be free. Free from restlessness that derives from being ignorant of not knowing who we really are... That's all.

Om shanti.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Swami Sivananda's words of wisdom - Conquest of Mind (1)

What is "perfection"? Peace and perfection is synonymous terms. There's no peace to the imperfect. Perfection doesn't consist in the physical strength or beauty, nor does it consist in studying a car-load of books. Perfection is not physical, mental or intellectual, but it is a spiritual knowledge of one's Atomic nature, born not through mere study of books, but through purification of one's heart: hearing, reflection, deep meditation and actual experience of one's essential Nature alone can make one perfect...

Swami Sivananda - Conquest of Mind

Friday, January 13, 2012

Teaching yoga asana class - Put ourselves into the student's physical condition and abilities...

There are different people with different physical fitness levels and physical limitations that come to a yoga asana class. Some of them might be very flexible and some of them are not so flexible. Some of them might be very physically fit and have no physical limitation, and some of them are not so physically fit and might have some physical limitations. It doesn't matter what are their fitness level, strength, flexibility, stamina, ability, and physical limitation, everyone has to perform the asana exercises according to their own physical conditions and abilities.

Even though everyone is doing the same exercises, but, not necessarily that everyone will be looking the same in the exercises. Some might need to adjust a little with the feet slightly point out or the hands slightly turn out. Some might need to keep their legs slightly apart, while some might need to keep their legs together. Some might not be able to keep their body and head at the exact “angle” like what the teacher demonstrates. Some might not be able to extend their leg completely straight. Some might not be able to sit up right, maintaining the spine as straight as what the teacher usually ask them to be. And it’s okay.

Yoga, or in another terms – peace, is nothing to do with whether our body can perform the yoga exercises “perfectly” or not. So called “perfect” asana poses cannot determine or guarantee a person will be free from ignorance and suffering or not, or will be peaceful or not. If a person can be free from ignorance and suffering and attain self-realization by being very strong and flexible physically, and is able to put the body in many different types of complicated positions, then all the world class athletes, gymnasts and contortionists would already be free from ignorance and suffering and are peaceful, and be free from impurities, anger, hatred, jealousy, greed, pride, arrogance, animosity, ill-will, fear, worry, or suffering. Maybe some of them are liberated from suffering and are peaceful, but it isn’t coming from their physical conditions and abilities. Because if the peacefulness is coming from certain conditions and abilities of their physical body, then this peacefulness will change according to the impermanent changes of the condition and ability of the physical body. It is not the real peace that is unconditional.

We don’t have to be physically “perfect”, or healthy, or fit, or strong, or flexible, to have peace. Peace can be realized by anyone under any conditions as long as they know what is non-attachment, selflessness and compassion, when they know how to go beyond their own body and mind, not identifying with the body and the mind as ‘I’, and be free from craving and aversion and all sorts of impurities and ignorance. Real peace is being free from anger, hatred, greed, dissatisfaction, disappointment, animosity, envy, jealousy, pride, arrogance, ill-will, ill-thinking, feelings of hurt, guilt, regret, doubt, offensiveness, defensiveness, agitation, depression, fear and worry.

Whether we can stand on our head or not, we all can have peace.

Whether we can touch our toes with our hands or not, we all can have peace.

Whether we can put our heels down on the floor completely or not, when we perform the downward dog, we all can have peace.

Whether we can bend our body forward with our body and face completely resting on the legs or not, we all can have peace.

Whether we speak the same language or not, have the same cultural practice and religious belief or not, we all can have peace.

Whether we live a simple lifestyle or a luxurious lifestyle, we all can have peace.

As long as we know what is non-attachment.

Whether we are thin or fat, looking good or not looking good, smart or not smart, fit or unfit, flexible or not flexible, strong or not strong, healthy or not healthy, rich or poor, educated or uneducated, success or failure, young or old, men or women, single or not single, being alone or with many people around us, have an easy life or a difficult life, being here or there, doing something or not doing anything, being able to see, or hear, or smell, or taste, or touch, or think, or read, or write, or walk, or sing, or dance or not, and so on, we all can have peace.

Real peace is nothing to do with all these impermanent qualities of names and forms. Peace is already there in everyone, unconditioned and unlimited by all the qualities of names and forms. Ignorance is what makes the mind thinks it is suffering or not peaceful. We just need to free the mind from ignorance and all sorts of impurities, and go beyond the ego, the intellect, the conditional worldly thinking and belief, and be free and be at peace, resting in the one selfless, attributeless, nameless and formless nature of all the names and forms.

People who cannot sit up right due to certain physical limitations, or who cannot move their body or their limbs to perform any yoga asana poses, also can have peace if they want to, and know how to be in peace. And if a person can sit up right and perform many yoga asana poses, but doesn’t know anything about non-attachment, he or she cannot “find” peace even though he or she is “looking” for peace.

While teaching yoga asana classes, naturally I will put myself into the student’s physical conditions and limitations. I demonstrate the positions and movements in the way to suit the condition of the students physical body and their physical limitations. Such like some of them might have back problems, or knee problems, or neck injury, or muscle tightness or soreness, or flu, or nose blocked, or headache, or any physical discomforts and limitations, or just simply being unfit, lack of stamina, strength or flexibility, or have fear, I will guide them to perform the poses or movements according to their physical conditions and abilities.

The physical condition and ability in this present moment now is impermanent, it will change from moment to moment. Sometimes the body is more energetic, more strong and flexible, and sometimes the body is less energetic, less strong and flexible. We need to perform the exercises according to the condition of the body at that present moment and according to the needs of the body and the mind in the present moment.

Maybe the body needs to do more forward bending to calm down the energy field. Maybe the body needs to do more backward bending to stimulate and energize the energy level. Maybe the body is recovering from certain injuries, and we need to make some adjustment to adapt the poses or to modify some of the asana exercises. Maybe we were able to perform certain poses easily and comfortably in the past, but in the present moment, our body cannot do it comfortably. Maybe certain exercises that we didn’t feel comfortable doing in the past, but in this moment, our body can do it easily and comfortably. We let go of all the pre-judgment about what our body can do and cannot do from the past experience, and be very open-minded for what the body can do and cannot do in the present moment.

We can’t be teaching the same variations of yoga asana exercises to all the students and ask them and expecting them to be able to perform all the same asana exercises according to the “standard” of what is called “perfect asana poses or sequence”. There is no “perfect asana poses or sequence”. Everyone is “perfect” in their own way of doing it and is “perfect” being able to accept themselves as they are, and respect their body as it is, and be comfortable and relaxed in all the asana exercises, being in the present moment, be free from the past and the future, be free from judgment, comparison, expectation, craving and aversion, and be in peace.

Performing all the asana exercises or poses without judgments, comparisons and expectations, no matter what types of conditions of the physical body is, in the present moment. And from moment to moment, the conditions of the physical body is constantly changing, impermanent. We are able to observe and be aware of the present condition of the body, and are able to accept the condition of the body as it is, that in this present moment now, this is what the body can do and cannot do. Knowing that this is impermanent, without attachment towards the physical condition and ability in the present moment, we allow all the impermanent changes to be there as they are. Not comparing ourselves with anybody, not even with our own self in the past experiences.

Everyone performs the exercises or the yoga asana practice according to each individual’s present condition of the physical body, out of selflessness and compassion, without any intentions or expectations to gain any benefits from doing the practice, but allow the benefits to be there as they are, not because “I” want to gain some sorts of benefits, or want to become more healthy, or more strong, or more flexible, or more peaceful, or more happy. Not even longing to become more wise and compassionate. Wisdom and compassion is not “something” that we can gain or learn from the outside, but it’s through realization of the truth, when all the impurities and the ego is annihilated. Merely by performing the asana poses “perfectly”, or “precisely”, or in “perfect alignments”, cannot guarantee nor determine that we will be free from impurities or the ego, and be free from suffering.

Most of the time, I won’t be demonstrating the asana poses as what I usually do in my own personal practice. I will put myself into their position. I will demonstrate and perform the exercises according to what their body are capable to do and be comfortable at, allowing them to be able to relax into all the exercises without trying to imitate or compare with the teacher who are more strong and flexible than them physically. And allow them to gradually develop courage, faith, physical stamina, strength and flexibility as they practice from time to time. By showing them that even if I “cannot” extend my legs completely straight or even if I “cannot” reach forward “properly” in a forward bend, it is okay, and it doesn’t mean that we are not good at yoga, or we are not suitable to practice yoga asana exercises. We still can be in peace even though we cannot perform the yoga asana exercises or poses “nicely” or “perfectly”.

When the students are able to accept their body as it is, and be comfortable with themselves in doing the yoga asana exercises without judging themselves or comparing with anybody, and they are able to relax into the asana poses without forcing or struggling to go beyond their physical limitations, I will then show them that as they practice, the physical strength and flexibility will be improving, and they will be able to stretch their body and limbs further, and slowly they will be able to come into the asana poses which require certain degree of strength, flexibility, stamina, faith and courage.

As yoga teachers, we are there to guide the students for what their body can do in the present moment, and it changes from moment to moment. It’s not about showing them what we (our body) can do.

We cannot set a goal for the students, telling them that they have to be able to do this and that after a specific time. Everyone takes their own time to develop the fitness level of the physical body and the skills to perform the exercises. Everyone takes their own time to let go of fear and worry. Yoga asana practice is not some fitness training that everyone sets a goal for themselves, that they want to be able to achieve “such and such results” in a certain period of time. Realization won’t “happen” even though if we set ourselves 3 months, or 3 years, or 30 years time to attain realization, if we didn’t practice with the correct understanding, attitude and mentality. If we perform the practice with the right understanding and attitude, realization of the truth will happen naturally even though we didn’t have the intention or expectation to attain self-realization.

Just like when we do the yoga exercises, even though if we don’t know anything about the benefits of the exercises, the benefits will still be there. The benefits won’t change, or become more when we have expectation for the benefits. The benefits won’t disappear or become less, even if we don’t know what are the benefits of doing the exercises and without any expectation for the benefits. It will still be there.

I’ll explain to the students before they start learning and performing the yoga poses and exercises, about the pose or the exercise itself, is not something “easy” or “difficult”. It is subject to our own each individual physical condition and ability. When our body can do it and feel comfortable, our mind will judge “this is easy”. And when our body cannot do it and feel uncomfortable, our mind will judge “this is difficult”. But, the same exercise everyone is doing, some will say it’s “easy” and some will say it’s “difficult”. But, the exercise itself has no intentions or qualities to be easy or to be difficult. It is all coming from the subjective judgment in our own mind upon how our body and mind react towards the exercises. By understanding this, we learn to let go of any judgments towards everyone and everything in the world. That they are not something “bad”, and they are not something “good”. Everyone and everything is just being what it is.

After the class finished, there is no “good class” or “bad class”, as all our experiences in the class is different in each individual. Some might say its a “good class”, but, some might say its a “bad class”. Again that is nothing to do with the class itself. It is coming from each individual state of their mind. Positive mind projects everything positively. Negative mind projects everything negatively. Those who know how to go beyond positive and negative, they project everything neither positively nor negatively.

Whether it is a “good class” or a “bad class”, it is not coming from the teacher or the class. Even if the teacher taught a “great” or “awful” class.

There are many conditions that will “influence” each individual whether they will think or “judge” it is a “good class” or not. For example, maybe some people still don’t know how to let go of the ego yet, having judgment, comparison and expectation while doing the exercises, and forcing themselves to go beyond their physical limitations, and struggling in performing the exercises without respecting the conditions of their own body. They get discomfort, pain and soreness, and building up more tensions during the practice, instead of letting go of tensions and be relaxed and peaceful during and after the practice. Some people might have some physical and mental purification process going on, and they experience so much discomforts or resistance during the practice, instead of being in peace and harmony with the practice.

If we experienced a “good class” and “gain” some mental peace or physical relaxation from the practice in the class, we appreciate that present moment of how the body and mind feels, but without attachment, without craving or clinging. Know that even that peaceful moment and good feeling is momentary, it’s impermanent. It will change, be disturbed and disappear.

If we experienced a “bad class” and not “gaining” any mental peace or physical relaxation from the practice in the class, we don’t have to force ourselves to appreciate that unpleasant experience, but, just be aware of it without attachment, without generate aversion towards that “bad” experience, and let it go. Know that no matter how unpleasant it is, all are impermanent. It will change and disappear.

This understanding will lead us to be undisturbed, or unaffected, or uninfluenced, or undetermined by what we see, hear, smell, taste, touch and think. Because all the names and forms are not something “good” or something “bad”. “Good” and “bad” is coming from our own mind, it’s not coming from the objects.

This will lead us to true happiness and real peace that is unconditioned and unlimited by any qualities of names and forms or impermanence.

With this unmovable peaceful state of consciousness or awareness, we are able to perform lots of selfless compassionate actions in the world to help ourselves and the world to evolve, but, without being disturbed, or affected, or influenced, or determined by the world and the law of impermanence, and all the conditional qualities of names and forms.

Out of compassion, we perform selfless actions, and let go. Without attaching to our actions and the fruit of the actions. Without attaching to our yoga practice and the result of the yoga practice. Allow the fruit of actions and the result of the yoga practice to be there as it is. Without judgment, comparison or expectation. And be free.

Om shanti.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Neither "vegetarian" nor "non-vegetarian"...

I came across many times hearing some “yoga practitioners” who have became vegetarian after taking up yoga practice, criticizing other people who are not vegetarian. They think that they are better human beings and they are good yogi after they have changed from meat eating “non-vegetarians” to become “vegetarians”, and boast about being "vegetarian"…

In yoga practice, the observation of not eating any meat or fish and eat fresh fruit and vegetables is to help us to calm down the mind and to practice love, peace and compassion…

The point is, if we are still being affected very much by what we eat and drink, we need to choose what we want to eat and drink to feed this body and mind. For example, if eating meat and fish and drinking coffee will increase the impurities in our mind, and we don't have self-control over our own thoughts, actions and speech, and are identified with the impurities in our mind, then by not eating meat and fish and not drinking coffee will help us in the path of yoga and meditation for self-inquiry and attaining real peace... But, it loses its meaning for not eating meat when we are being "vegetarian" but we are still being over-powered by lots of impurities in the mind, which do not just derive from meat eating but also derive from some other elements. There's no meanings when we are over-powered by egoism, attachment, anger, hatred, jealousy, greed, pride, arrogance, dissatisfaction, disappointment, fear, worry, craving and aversion, even though we don't eat meat products at all... (Such like wanting everything to be the way that we want it to be, and having fear of losing the "good" thing or separation from things and people that we love, and fear of getting the "bad" thing, old age, sickness, injury, pain, discomfort, and death...)

There are some “vegetarian yogis” are getting frustrated by what they want to eat, and being disturbed by what other people eat and don’t eat, and getting so frustrated when they couldn’t get the so called “healthy”, “loving”, “pure”, “environmental friendly”, “organic” types of vegetarian food to feed their body…

I didn’t eat meat products for quite a few years before, during my first few years of yoga practice to help me in my practice, but I never called myself a “vegetarian”, and I never criticized other people who eat meat products. Merely being a "vegetarian" doesn't make me a better person than those who are not "vegetarian". And now, I don’t just eat fruit and vegetables, I also eat some meat and fish. I don’t mind eating meat and fish as I never categorize “meat and fish products” as “bad” and "disgusting" food, nor do I judge anyone by “eating meat” will make someone a “bad” person.

I do not complain when “meat and fish” are not available or when “vegetarian food” are not available. I don’t complain if fresh fruit and vegetables are not available when I want to eat some fresh fruit and meat-less meal. I don’t complain if only meat are available for maintaining this body. I appreciate and be grateful for everything that I eat even though some of the food that I eat might be categorized as “unhealthy” and “inappropriate” by many “health conscious people", “yoga practitioners”, “rich people who can afford imported organic food” or “environmental friendly people".

Merely by eating vegetarian doesn’t give me liberation nor true happiness. Some people might be naming themselves as “vegetarian” and being “vegetarian” for many years, but it is not necessarily that they are peaceful and happy, and be free from ignorance, greed, anger and hatred. It is by controlling my own mind and eliminate the anger, hatred, jealousy, pride, lustful desire, fear, worry, craving and aversion that gave me the true freedom for being who I am, and be truly content, peaceful and happy… It is the practice of non-attachment that free myself from unhappiness and “suffering”.

Slandering, vandalism, gossiping, anger, hatred, jealousy, greed, lustful desire, attachments, pride, arrogance, craving and aversion are worst than meat eating.

It is not only non-meat eaters are good and kind human beings, nor do people who are not vegetarian are bad people. There are many good and kind people who eat meat and non-meat products, who don't call themselves “vegetarian” for certain days when they don't eat meat, nor call themselves "non-vegetarian" for certain days when they do eat meat.

It is not that only vegetarian will be peaceful, being loving and compassionate, and it's not necessary that there is no loving kindness and compassion in those people who are not vegetarian. It is not by eating fruit and vegetables without meat products that will guarantee us enlightenment and be free from suffering. It is not by eating vegetarian food, we’ll become happy and peaceful...

It’s because there are people who named themselves as “vegetarians” are being so angry, unhappy and frustrated by other people who eat meat products… I don’t see any calmness, peace and happiness in these people who don’t eat meat and only like to eat fruit and vegetables, and being so “proud” of what they eat and don’t eat.

Do the people who are “vegetarian” do not kill any insects, like mosquitoes, cockroaches, spiders, ants, worms, bugs and etc? Aren’t all these little lives also living beings who need to breathe and eat, just like us?

Some people even said that "Cows are so cute, I don't eat them..." But, they love to eat fish... (Well, maybe fish is not as cute as cow to them...)

Do all the vegetarians are completely be free from greed, anger, hatred, jealousy, fear and worry, craving and aversion? Not necessarily as what we can see around us...

I know some people who don’t like to eat meat or fish, and love to eat fruit and vegetables only, but they will be so angry and frustrated when somebody in the kitchen accidentally put some meat or fish products into their food. Where is peace, calmness, tolerance, patience, forgiveness and compassion in these people who are “vegetarian” shouting at the waiter, “I’m a vegetarian! I want my vegetarian meal to be served without fish or meat! You are stupid idiot!”

Some “vegetarians” are full of hatred towards meat products and towards people who eat meat… “Vegetarians” are “supposed” to be very calm, peaceful and cheerful according to the yoga practice. Even Buddha never told people that to practice Buddhism, we have to be “vegetarian” and to hate eating meat… There are many Buddhist wandering monks are not “vegetarian” nor “non-vegetarian”. Whether it is non-vegetarian food or vegetarian food that is being given to them when they go out to beg for food for the day in the village, they eat with gratefulness and thankfulness. And they do not choose what they want or like to eat. They eat without the craving and aversion towards the taste of the food, or the choices of food.

When we eat without craving and aversion, then food is just food, it is not something "vegetarian" nor "non-vegetarian". It is beyond names and forms, beyond "vegetarian" and "non-vegetarian", beyond "tasty" and "not tasty", beyond "healthy" and "not healthy".

I am grateful and thankful for all the meals that are being served on the table whether it is vegetarian or not... As there are so many people out there who are starving and dying from hunger every day. There are homeless people who just eat whatever they found in the rubbish bin. There are many people who don't have a choice for what they will eat everyday, and struggling to survive day by day...

Being a “vegetarian” or being a "non-vegetarian" does not guarantee a person to be humble, to be enlightened, and to be peaceful, compassionate and happy, and be free from pride and arrogance, anger and hatred, craving and aversion…

Of course we have the freedom of choice to eat "healthily" or not... That is up to us. Sometimes the so called "healthy food" are not necessarily good for our body... And at the same time we also respect other people for what they want to eat... Be happy.

There was a famous human race mass murderer in the history who liked to eat vegetarian food, and he loved animals especially dogs… Even so, I don’t need to “hate” this person either… Whatever he did was nothing to do with whether he was a vegetarian or not, or whether he liked animals or not…

I never condemned those who eat meat when I didn’t eat meat. I respect those who don’t eat meat when I eat food that is being categorized as “non-vegetarian”. I respect everyone has their choices and freedom to choose what they prefer to eat and to put into their body.

I enjoy eating fruit and vegetables, and I eat a lot of fruit and vegetables but I’m not a “vegetarian”...

I don’t need to name myself as “vegetarian” when I don’t eat meat, and I don’t need to name myself as “non-vegetarian” when I eat meat products. I am neither a “vegetarian” nor a “non-vegetarian”. I am who I am.

I’m happy and contented with what I eat no matter it is being categorized as “healthy” or “unhealthy” food. And I respect those who don’t like or “hate” to eat meat and fish or so called “unhealthy” food. Be happy.

It loses the meaning of being a vegetarian to attain peace and to be compassionate, when we want to be “vegetarian” and eat only “vegetarian” food but, we are not really peaceful and happy, constantly being affected and disturbed by the craving and aversion towards what we see, hear, smell, taste, touch and think, and we don’t have self-control over our own mind and being over-powered by impurities like anger, hatred, jealousy, greed, dissatisfaction, pride, arrogance, fear, worry, and attachments in the mind.

Where is peace and compassion when we eat only vegetarian food but, we do things and say things that are hurting other people feelings, and have anger and hatred toward things that we don't like and don't agree with?

Where is peace and calmness that supposed to be the result of eating "healthy" vegetarian food and not eating "unhealthy" meat products, when we are so frustrated and unhappy about what we want to eat and don't eat, and what other people eat?

When we practice namelessness and formlessness, what is “vegetarian” and what is “non-vegetarian”? What is “healthy food” and what is “unhealthy food”?

When we practice non-identification with the body and the mind, what is good condition and bad condition of this physical body?

Even Buddha taught us about the Dharma of impermanence by showing us that this body is impermanent. He taught us about namelessness and formlessness by showing us that our true nature is beyond the condition of this impermanent body. He taught us about there is no "I", there's nobody there to experience good or bad experiences, it is just the body and mind experiencing some conditions that are impermanent. Even after his enlightenment, his body still had to go through impermanence, changes, discomforts, old age, weakness, sickness, and death... But, he was not affected nor determined by the changing condition of this body... He was fearless and worry-less. He was beyond "good" and "bad", "birth" and "death"... There's no fear of old age, sickness and death...

Sunday, January 1, 2012

5 day 4 night Beginners Yoga Retreat with Yoga Now Malaysia in Langkawi

Good news for complete beginners who want to learn about yoga and its practice.

Come for a 5 days / 4 nights yoga retreat just for beginners only in Langkawi, Malaysia.

The 5 days / 4 nights beginners yoga retreat will cover the basic asana practice, basic pranayama practice, relaxation, yoga philosophy, jala neti, meditation, chanting (optional) and additional coaching session in this yoga retreat for new yoga practitioners.

We will only receive maximum 4 people in this retreat to ensure maximum individual attention for all our participants.

Beginners Yoga Retreat Outline

Day 1

* 5.00 pm Fruit & juice – Briefing for the course
* 5.30 pm Basic asana practice & meditation
* 7.30 pm Dinner

Day 2

* 6.30 am Jala neti
* 6.45 am Pranayama & Meditation
* 7.45 am Break
* 8.15 am Basic asana practice & yoga philosophy
* 10.15 am Brunch & Free time
* 5.30 pm Basic asana practice & meditation
* 7.30 pm Dinner

Day 3

* 6.30 am Jala neti
* 6.45 am Pranayama & Meditation
* 7.45 am Break
* 8.15 am Basic asana practice & yoga philosophy
* 10.15 am Brunch & Free time
* 4.00 pm Coaching (mastering the technique of the basic asana)
* 5.00 pm Break
* 5.30 pm Basic asana practice & meditation
* 7.30 pm Dinner

Day 4

* 6.30 am Jala neti
* 6.45 am Pranayama & Meditation
* 7.45 am Break
* 8.15 am Basic asana practice & yoga philosophy
* 10.15 am Brunch & Trip to waterfall *subject to the weather
* 5.30 pm Yoga class & meditation
* 7.30 pm Dinner

Day 5

* 6.30 am Jala neti
* 6.45 am Pranayama & Meditation
* 7.45 am Break
* 8.15 am Basic asana practice & yoga philosophy
* 10.15 am Brunch
* 12.00 pm Check out

Retreat fees -

Rm 2800 per person for single room

Rm 2500 per person for twin sharing


All meals (vegetarian meals, fruit and juice) and accommodation at Senari Bay Resort (air-conditioning, hot & cold shower, fridge, tea-making facility etc…) are included with a free Yoga Now T-shirt, neti pot and free airport pick-up and drop-off.

Yoga mat & small towels will be provided.

Please arrive before 3.00 pm to check in into the resort before the start of the retreat.

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

Please contact us to arrange a date that is suitable for you to participate in a personalized beginners yoga retreat – yoganow@hotmail.com

Looking forward to seeing you in Langkawi.

Om Shanti,

Meng Foong

For more details and reservation please contact us at :-

Yoga Now Malaysia

yoganow@hotmail.com

Reviews of Yoga Now Malaysia on Trip Advisor

Followers

About Yoga

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

Om shanti

About Me

My photo
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.

Link to Yoga Now Malaysia website

Link to Yoga Now Malaysia website
Yoga retreats and yoga workshops in Malaysia

Blog Archive

whos.amung.us

visitor maps