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Monday, 15 February 2016

Guru - Where are you?

Guru is one of the most significant, you can say the most significant existence in the Yoga practice. As go dwell into the deeper dimensions of Yoga practice, you find an immense amount of importance attached to Guru. Your Yoga teacher guides you to some subtle concepts and might say "only a Guru can guide you in this path".

Guru is someone who removes the darkness, brings me closer to my own light. Guru exposes me to the reality, pushing me out of my comfort zone and makes me aware of immense possibilities of my life. To put it precisely, he is the one who makes me aware of who am I!

There were questions about the concept of "Guru" during the Ashtanga Yoga Teacher Training today and the wonderful discussion that we had with great group of Yogis is shared here -

Guru - Where are you? 
How to find the Guru? Where are these Gurus live? Do they live in the caves of the Himalayas? Do they love out of the society? Even if I find one, often I see many around me, no wonder, how to judge and conclude that this is the Guru I am looking for?

Guru can not be compared to the idea of a teacher. A teacher is someone who has some knowledge and knows how to teach. There is an action called "teaching" involved in it. An action always requires someone to perform, the doer. But Guru does not have to involve in action.

Guru is existence oriented. His mere existence can do the miracles. Sometimes it is his/her physical existence. But more often, you do not need their physical existence too. The place where Gowthama has transformed into "Buddha" can still have the aura, an intense energy form which still will be a Guru, has the ability to take you towards your Buddha inside!

The places wherein the Yogis lived can bring me closer to my Guru inside. An unpolluted, undisturbed (by human beings) existence of nature bring that stillness and lead you towards Guru. You can find the Guru in the Sun rise, in the wheel, in the innocence of a kid, in the life experience of a grand mother. All these and a lot more situations, lessons and inspirations lead to the Guru who is inside.

Guru manifests everywhere, if a Shishya (Disciple) in you is evolved. When you start seeking knowledge, you will find the Guru in earth, water, plants, animals, and even in non-living beings.

Guru is everywhere. You need to become a Shishya (Seeker) to find him in!!!

Thursday, 19 March 2015

India - more than just a nation

India is one society that can’t be understood with normal sense and lens. If you are visiting Indian subcontinent and see the beauty of nature on the beaches of Goa, Cultural flavors and complexities in Rishikesh, Haridwar etc you might conclude that India is one of the most beautiful countries. If you are carrying the first world mentality, arriving to change the world for better, to serve the thirdworld countries then poverty, illiteracy, slums, filth and an indication for your need to change this country is what you will see. 

Samyak Yoga Ashram, India

India is neither fully systematic, Software-hub nor filthy society. India is not a physical entity. Unlike any other country in the world, India or Bharata (the name of this land) is more than a place. India is a search, a quest and an eternal journey of the humanity. 

Every nation is measured by the way it handles the poverty, the material growth of individuals and the society in large, the wealth acquired by the nation in order to provide enough facilities to the citizens of that particular nation. 

India is one such nation, perhaps the only nation in which billions of people since thousands of years have completely sacrificed every material happiness for the sake of eternal consciousness, for the sake of Samadhi, for the sake of complete happiness. It is not that we did not have the ability to have enough wealth. We had so much wealth that the popularity of our wealth had been attracting the invaders from every corner of the world since centuries. But we never worried of losing the wealth. This exists in the blood and veins of the minds in this society. 

India never worshipped the physical power, the strength to dominate others or the richness that can differentiate people. We worshipped Ashoka, the king who transformed as Monk, Vishwamitra the king of all to be the Yogi of all, the Buddha, Patanjali and so on. 

India is light. India is an effort of every heart to enlighten the light. India is not a space outside but inside. India with all the difficulties and complexities is the hope to have refined actions with sublime emotions. 

Be mindful when you are in India. Try to be more open. India has its own problems, struggles, errors in systems and so on. These superficial layers might hide the essence of what this nation has been offering. Make sure that you touch the depth of India. If you get the soul of India, you get the soul of yourself as India is the expression of a blossoming flower. 

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Being a Yoga Teacher : what should I teach?

Being a Yoga Teacher obviously I will be teaching Yoga right? Yes, but as a Yoga teacher I am not just teaching the asanas, Pranayama and Meditation but I am required to teach the Life. Teaching life is a subtle way of transformation which can't be taught through lectures but by living the life filled with light. 

The beauty of being a yoga teacher is primarily is this. You will never just pass the information of how to practice Yoga asanas. Once you decide to be a yoga teacher you're bound to live a life filled with light, positive perspective. You will start imbibing the qualities of a Yogi, having the balance in every act leading to the stability of the mind. Purification of all the layers of the human system will start taking place with regular practice while it reflects through your actions. 

The students do not just receive the information regarding the alignments of asanas but how to be alligned in the life. We strive to teach life through asanas. Being inspired by the light within we are the ambassadors of Love and Light. 

After every yoga class the students follow, they are carrying the inspiration to lead a better life, a life of warmthness, of love, of light and of positivity. We teach the philosophy of Yoga through practice. 

Monday, 5 January 2015

Yogi Ganesha - Tips to be a Successful Yoga Teacher and Leader

Lord Ganesha is an interesting, perhaps the most interesting idols ever created in the history of mankind. Generally, It would be hard to imagine a God, an idol of God with a big belly and elephant face. A funny God! Nobody, apart from the Yogis / Spiritual practitioners would have dared to create, visualize a God that looks funny. You can't make a joke on the Gods in general and here you have a God whose appearance too looks funny. 

This is why, the wise men always say that you see based on the lens you have. You see what you want to see. We need a complete different lens to understand the world of Spirituality. 

Coming back, what's special about Ganesha? Why is he designed the way he is? 

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Yogi Ganesha - The Teacher to Future Leaders!

Ganesha  is the combination of two words in Sanskrit. GANA & ISHA, where inGana means the group and Isha is the leader. Ganesha, therefore is the leader of the group. The image (or Idol) shows symbolically the qualities of a successful leader. 

The big head of Ganesha is symbolically telling us to think big, dream big in order to become a legendary leader. A leader can foresee something which other can't. Your vision about your future is one of the deciding factors of your success. 
As a Yoga Teacher, have a vision of something that might look crazy now for every one, but a dream that can drive your everyday, your passion and make your life purposeful. 

Be attentive towards every member of your group. A leader, contrary to the popular belief that he should talk, should listen more to understand the pros and cons, situations and suggestions from the team members. 
As a Yoga Teacher be attentive to every student. Listen to them and listen to fellow Yoga teacher and your teacher too. 

Be sharp in finding out the problems. Your concentration should stay longer than that of others. Be focused even at times the members of your team might be distracted. 

You might be popular, getting rich by teaching Yoga or becoming flexible every day. But nothing will distract you from the passion that you possess i.e. your teaching, spreading yoga so beautifully that every student in the Shala should leave feeling filled. 

As a leader, you should have the ability to digest the good and bad experiences of the team, of its members and yours too. You are not supposed to get high on success and low on failures. Practice of Contentment is one of the most significant factors a leader should always keep in mind. 

As a Yoga teacher, for example, you might be appreciated by someone taking your class. But when he/she appreciates, its his/her opinion about your class. They might not have taken a lot of Yoga classes before or they had bad yoga teachers. The same is applicable to criticisms too. If some one criticizes your class after the class, its their opinion about your class. It can't be a judgment. They are bound to have their opinion and you can take or leave the opinions which is dependent on you. Therefore, you should be able to digest different opinions and shouldn't let those opinions of others influence your pattern of thinking. 

The trunk of Ganesha represents flexibility. A leader should adapt flexibility in his approach. Your plan designed to face a particular situation might not be handy at times. You might have to look at the situation with a new approach or change your understanding. A leader should be prepare to get changed to the situations without distracting from the principles. 

A yoga teacher too should be flexible physical as well as psychologically too. Physical flexibility helps you in demonstrating the postures while the psychological and intellectual flexibility will enable you to understand the life integrally and yields success. 

Mouse is one of the most ignored animals if not the least. Perhaps, there is no civilization that has given a better place to the mice. Hence, taking mouse as a symbol of least, small, weak animal, Ganesha has made him the vehicle. A leader is the one who can see the strength in the weakest too in the group. Every team member will have his own strengths and weakness. A leader should be able to use the strong sides of every member to the most to bring on the best. 

If you're looking forward to create your own yoga studio for example, this quality is something that is a must for you. Instead of looking for a best team for your yoga studio, think on bringing the best out of the team that you already have. Look at the best sides of every one you have and find the ways to get them refined. 

The most decisive factor of a leader is bringing the concept of "Team first." Every body in the group will have their own ideas and want to implement often. As they do not get the priorities, the ego of individuality arises and decreases the growth rate. We might differ in our ideologies, but united for the sake of the team and when it comes to bring the best of the team, individuality will not have its place. This is the idea behind keeping snake and mouse together working for one leader, Ganesha. 

As a Yoga teacher you will prioritize the things and the your students come first in your list of priorities and all the conflicts, personal or professional problems (you will have a few at any given point of time) do not come into the picture when you enter the class. The students, yoga class stand first and everything else next. When you want to inspire your students and spread happiness around you can not carry a baggage to the class and expect a fantastic class.

Click here to see "What should my students carry after my Yoga Class?

Every time we worship Ganesha, we are supposed to meditate on the qualities that he teaches by being Ganesha and inculcate the qualities every day. This is the real worship of any God leading to the realization of Universal Consciousness. 

Thursday, 1 January 2015

Happy New Yoga Year 2015 - The Journey gets accelerated now

My master in Gurukulam (Yogic Monastery) used to say on the day of new year celebrations that every time we step into new year, it should remind us how stupid we were and how matured we would have become. It should not go other way around. He has always stressed about "INTROSPECTION" during the new year celebrations. 

Here are a few steps I was told by my master and hope helps you too. 

Meditate an hour the least after your celebrations and just think about the whole year that has passed. The best incidents, the turning points, happy moments, the lessons learnt and so on. Just a deep "look-back" helps a lot to get the clarity over your own thoughts. 

I am not asking you to set your goals and work on to get it every day just like every life coach asks you to do it.  I am just asking you to think briefly about how would you like to see this year in terms of bringing life to your dreams. This helps you in setting the day to day life clearly. 

Let's be sure this year. You will not do something that doesn't interest you, something to make others happy. If you do it, do it passionately. Be passionate about your work. If you are already into something which isn't your passion, but you can't turn back (your profession, most often) work on finding the ways to make it interesting. I know its harder, but you don't want to live any more for the sake of anything but of you. 

Be attentive to others around you, listen to them and love them. Find the crazy, creative ways to tell them how much you love them. Yes, its important to tell them that you love them. Spend some time and most often this is what they need. It might be your kids, parents or friends. 

Find ways to follow what you love. Do something that drives you crazy, something that makes you forget everything in the world. Laugh so loudly that you tear your chest apart and cheeks get painful. Find ways to get excited for tomorrow and beware, nobody except you can find out this for you. 

Honour yourself, shed some sweat and keep your physical body fit and sit silently (or meditate) for at least five minutes to keep the mind fit. Honour the body-mind fir helping you everyday. 

Yesterday and tomorrow are merely the conceptual existence. Everything comes in the form of present moment. The best present in the world is present moment. ENJOY every moment as if this is the last moment. 

If you are a good person, its your responsibility to get rich and use it in a proper way. Money is energy and you need it in different forms. Earn enough money so that you can live your life fully and can extend the helping hand to the people who need it. Earn Maturity by reading good, fascinating books and approaching wise people. Maturity doesn't depend on the age, but the wisdom. Go to wiser people and try to learn to get wise. 

Be grateful for the beautiful life, for things you have, for people around you, for nature and for everything. When you look at the things to be grateful, life appears to be exciting and makes every second happier. 

Be happy with what you have. Be grateful for the life. But this should not stop you in the path of getting better. Contentment shouldn't be the reason for stagnation. Be dis-satisfied with what you are to get better everyday. There is a thin line between both of them. Be happy with who you are and dis-satisfied to get better. Happily dissatisfied. 

Wish you all a beautiful Year ahead...

Friday, 26 December 2014

Modi gets United Nations support and June 21 is International Yoga Day

Its a great news for all the Yoga Practitioners around the world that June 21st has been officially announced as International Yoga Day by the United Nations.

On 11 December, 2014, Thursday, with 177 nations backing the initiative, the United Nations declared that the world will be observing International Yoga Day on the 21st of June, around the time of the summer solstice, when a lot of us are already celebrating by saluting the sun at least 108 times.

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World Supports International Yoga Day

The day received support from 177 countries, which is pretty impressive. Not surprising are the countries who did not back the idea, Pakistan and Malaysia, where fatwas (which, on the very basic level, are cease and desists) have been issued against yoga since 2008. (We should note there are 193 United Nations member states.)

Modi, Narendra Modi, Modi Yoga, Modi in Padmasana, Modi performing Yoga, Modi on Yoga
Modi, The PM of India in Padmasana

This was a big win for Indian Prime Minister Modi who had pushed for the day in his speech at the U.N. General Assembly in September when he said, “Yoga should not be just an exercise for us, but it should be a means to get connected with the world and with nature,” declaring yoga “India’s gift.”

In an effort to reclaim India’s yoga history and lineage, the Govt of India has appointed a special minister for Dept. AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy) and has plans to dive into the estimated $100 billion global market for alternative medicine.

Modi as usual, took twitter to administer his response and share his joy about the decision.

I have been a practicer of Yoga for years & you can’t believe the positive difference it has made in my life. Yoga is the anchor of my life. — Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) December 12, 2014

The fact that 177 nations across all continents came together & co-sponsored the resolution shows the integrative power of Yoga. — Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) December 12, 2014


I profusely thank all 177 Nations across the world who co-sponsored the resolution to declare 21st June as ‘International Day of Yoga.’ — Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) December 11, 2014

The Prime Minister, Narendra Modi has been a regular practitioner of Yoga since childhood. He has been having a habit of getting up early in the morning before the sun rise and practice Yoga. The officials are allowed to meet him only after his daily practice of Yoga is completed. He has mentioned quite a few times that it is due to this regular habit, he has been able to work so hard every single day without getting tired. 

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International Yoga Day

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Do I need a religion? Is Yoga a religion?

Let us first understand what is religion? Religion you can name any one, is a set beliefs, principles and concepts created so that by following them, a society with people in it can live their life better. All religions have this basic underlying principle inside them. Religions are not meant to make you free. Religions can not afford to be individual as they are crafted for the masses. Religions will have rules and regulations to follow and there will be many questions unanswered or improperly answered as the driving force of religions isn't a quest of truth, but a constitution under which people can lead a better life. 

All religions, therefore, have the basic moral and ethical codes of conduct which are beautiful and precisely same compared to each other. The general framework of all the religions such as non-violence, honesty, cleanliness, absence of greed, controlling the anger etc. are narrated in all the religions and they do not differ. No religion tells you to be angry as it is good for you. But there will be other differences in the customs, rituals and traditions. As religions are crafted based on the society they lived at that time (or now), these constitutions are crafted for the people at that time of that society. Hence, there can be some rules which you won't necessarily accept even if it comes from your so-called religion. 

In classical Sanskrit texts, in the ancient Indian tradition, these are called "SMRITIS". Smritis are written, crafted by different Yogis, scholarly authors time to time. YAJNAVALKYA SMRITI, PARASHARA SMRITI, MANU SMRITI are just to note a few here. There will be many concepts or rituals you will see in these texts which you might completely disagree as they are not amended for the present society. 

This whole perspective is applicable for all the religions present now. There is no hell-heaven concept in the reality. This infinite cosmos couldn't be that simple. But the religions when put forth the idea of heaven-hell, they do not intend to present the truth but it was a concept to keep the masses on track. One needs a moral fear to to be a human being, to furnish the human characteristics. The purpose of the concept is different. 

Then, what is the truth? As you evolve, you will understand that you do not need a fear of God, a fear of Hell, an attraction of heaven, but your actions will be motivated by your conscience. You will not be a good human being due to the fear of God, but your kindness, honesty and love are due to the inner conscience. Your inner journey of being better human takes the first giant step and THIS IS YOGA. Yoga is not a religion, but beyond any religion. You are good, honest and light because you can't afford to be otherwise. It has become your personality to be kind. There is no fear, no police in the sky observing your actions to decide your future life after death. But you will select, prioritize the present by living it fully and decide your future. Now, you understand from the heart that the God is nowhere in the galaxies, on the heaven, but inside. Your God, the Light is inside and you do not need to take any journey, any prayers, any rituals, follow any one but to listen to your heart. You do not need any teaching as your heart knows it all. You just need to listen to it properly. 

Yet, we need the concept of religions as there will be no change significant in the mass-conscience. As a society, a set of people, we need to have these moral rules and codes of conduct to create a social structure. All these religions are true at a layer, but start to appear weak and superficial as you explore the light inside. 

As it is becoming a lengthy article, I sum up with points.

1. Religions ask you to follow, But Yoga or its Masters do not.
2. The idea of Following anything/anyone is against the practice of Yoga.
3. Religions will have rules, Yoga does not. 
4. Practice any technique, continue to practice if it works, leave it if it doesn't. 
5. Religions claim to take you towards the God, Yoga does not.
6. Yoga does not ask you to take any journey as the God is inside, in fact, you are THAT. 
7. There will be teacher, preacher, texts, rituals in religions, not in Yoga. 
8. Your experience is the only thing matters in Yoga practice. 
9. Follow religions if you don't know how to listen to conscience. 
10. Follow your heart, be present, live every second fully as your present moment is eternal and momentary. This is Yoga. 

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Follow Your Heart

P.S. Your comments inspire me the most. Do not hesitate to put forth your thoughts and let me know if I have to expand, illustrate anything in these articles. -Namaste-

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Ashtanga Yoga Teacher Training in Bali - Reflections

I have always believed that the reflections on the past be it actions or incidents give you a briefing on lessons of self improvements. We at Samyak Yoga after every teacher training sit for REFLECTIONS so that we can find ways to improve the quality in everything that we do. Here are my reflections about the course we completed in Bali. Perhaps, Bali training and the group took a long time to allow me for objective reflections. Finally I am ready and here are my thoughts.

Ashtanga Yoga Teacher Training in Bali

We have completed Ashtanga Yoga Teacher Training Course in Bali in October 2014. The whole month was an amazing experience in many aspects. 

It was a first time experience for us in Bali. The entire crew led by Marlinda and Steve was just amazing. Often, you will be in uncomfortable if your food and accommodation are not up to the mark. From the very first day, we just had to focus on teaching and everything else was in place every single day without a miss. 

Yoga Teachers from India

We, the Yoga Teachers from India are guided in a Gurukula system of education (Indian system, which influenced the Buddhist Monasteries) which does not just teach you, but gives you an insight, asks you to analyze, allows you to practice and find the need of it and finally, you will practice what you preach. Hence, this Yoga Philosophy bears a lot of weight, put forth out of passion and supported by perosnal practice of the teacher. In Bali, the entire team of students and teachers had a beautiful time with philosophical discussions. 

Traditional Ashtanga Vinyasa Primary Series Practice

We practiced Asanas twice a day which was intensive. Besides, there was group classes, preparation for the classes every day. The morning ashtanga practice with its Mysore style, every one was fascinated by their own potentialities which weren't explored. Mysore style brings the meditation within and tell you "you can do more than what you think you can do"

Meditation leading to Light within

The entire training was transformational. I give credits to every one who played roles in different ways. The major credit goes to the students who were always supportive to each other. It is one thing that fascinates me that we always get the best students.. :) They were always there to care, to love, to help, to assist, to listen as if they knew each other for a very long time. The group never took the discussions or the practice just as they are. They tried to practice, explore and implemented them in their hearts. That's where a teacher feels fulfilled!

Teach not only Asanas but Pranayama too!

Ashtanga Yoga Teacher Training also gives an opportunity to teach EVERY DAY. Students unlike in most of the schools, here get the opportunity to teach Pranayama too. By the end of the course, the Prana was back in the mainstream of their every day practice of Yoga. It was no more just a breathing technique.

Meditation on Universal Consciousness
Throughout the course, we all consciously and unconsciously worked on universal energy, the cosmic web which connects every one, the divine light within. The students were able to get the sparks of their divinity, their own light and their own master inside. This is the goal of Yoga, the union within. And we were happy, connected and rejuvenated. Once again, I fell in love with what I do and thanked God for giving this opportunity to be a part of many spiritual energies.

Monday, 1 December 2014

I am Responsible of My Universe Inside Out

Our generation has been tremendously successful in understanding some of the most subtle secrets of nature and have benefited out of them. In the journey, often we might have thought that we are so independent, capable of achieving so many things that our ancestors have never thought off. 

But often, the chaos in life, helplessness at different situations have led us to feel more dependent and weak. Often in the race of achieving and being independent, we have achieved less and become more dependent. Hence, what is the secret of nature? who and how are we? are we independent and can make our own choices in the life or is it just an illusion of freedom? Does fate decide everything?

In the context of Karma, a beautiful metaphor of cow is often used to explain the subject we are discussing now. A cow is tied to a tree with a long rope and allowed to eat the beautiful grass that is grown near by the tree. The Cow can make all the choices on how and what to eat and the way to enjoy. But it has to be within the specified boundary of tied rope. It can roam everywhere within the radius and can't go out of the radius. 

No! Absolutely not. The idea of complete independence in the way we most often understand is an illusion. We are not independent at all. A simple example shows it clear. I bought a new phone and it's beautiful and I own it. But the bitter reality is "It is not mine". The payment I made is to use the phone forever. I own the phone I bought can be explained that I have the right to use it forever. 

The idea of using the waves to talk to each other was an imagination of a mind which was the foundation of the phones. Then comes the transformation in mettlurgy science which has contributed in the creation of different metals. Then, the network towers, so on and so forth. My few bucks can't really pay for all these ideas, efforts and dreams. Hence, I do not own my phone in a literal way, but I own it to use it, of course forever. 

This too is a an illusion. Nobody is dependent on others. We are born to be free and absolute freedom finds it hard to be dependent on anything. 

blog on Yoga, Yoga Blog India, article on being humble, Yoga article on Karma.
I am Responsible of My Universe


Friday, 21 November 2014

My search for Spiritual Guru in India

The human mind is in quest of finding the real purpose of being here on the planet earth. It has always been our endeavor, be it in any civilization to know the root, the source of happiness, the reason behind all the miseries and to make the lives better every day. In this journey, India being one of the oldest civilizations has been pioneer in finding answers which seem to be more closer to the reality. With its different perspectives, popularly known as "schools of Philosophies" India has been trying to explore the reality behind the fabric of the world in deeper ways. 

All the explorations, the religious or spiritual texts when they are trying to put forth the fabric of the universe, the understanding does not seem to be easier. Hence, the journey of finding "the Guru" begins. A guru, the master who might have known, experienced better than the us would explain, show and guide us in the path. The position of a "Guru" in the path of spirituality plays a larger role than anything else. 

Hence, the path of spirituality or otherwise can be termed as "path of inner journey" needs a Guru. 

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Follow your heart to find your Light - Samyak Yoga

But, here comes the thin line and the danger of losing the whole essence of the practice.