Spiralling up, not down


Yoga is all about raising your energy. Kundalini Yoga’s aim is to spark the inherent life force in the lowest chakra and guide it up into the higher ones. Feeling down is another aphorism of having “low energy”.

A great way to turn around the downward spiral is to ask a “what does it take” question (incidentally this type of posing a question I have learnt from my counselor Monika Wyss). What does it take to feel healthy, happy and full of vitality?

It really works! The moment I tune into the question, which opens me to a child-like expectation, I feel better already. It feels a little like standing in front of a gift I was given and wondering what is inside, being joyful just for the fact that I was given a gift…

By the way, a few times when I was somewhere in my life, where I needed advice, counseling or an objective view to make some important decisions in my life, Monika Wyss was an invaluable source that has propelled me to improve on so many areas that I can only warmly recommend her to anyone in need.

About forgiveness

I did something that I am not very proud about. I went back on my word on someone and this resulted in repercussions for that person. Despite being initially defensive, the feeling of guilt slowly eroded any argument that I had for making that decision.15_forgive

My pride and that persons pride kept us apart for quite some time. When I finally decided to ask for forgiveness, that person wasn’t able to give it to me for some time. Every time I saw her, I felt bitterness in her heart. I so regretted my action.

Much has been written about forgiveness. True forgiveness helps everyone to move on. Studies that have been done on “forgiveness” show a strong correlation of improved health and well-being and forgiveness. http://stress.about.com/od/relationships/a/forgiveness.htm

Personally I can only tell of my experience, that when finally that person turned to me with a smile and said, it is ok and that she is sorry too for holding on so long, it brought a load of healing and relieve to me as well as to her.

To be or not to be – or to be and not to do

William Shakespeare’s famous sentence in the play „Hamlet“ is timeless. However I have to ask myself, whether I can fit any “to be” time into my busy schedule as mostly I am in a mode of “doing”. Modern society doesn’t treasure “being” anymore. Being is made synonymous with laziness and has a negative connotation to it.

11_to-be-or-not-to-beThe most treasured memories I behold show me how important it is to “be”: watching my babies sleeping, lying in the green warm summer grass in Switzerland, watching clouds pass by; being present at an early morning sunrise in the desert of Rajasthan, drinking in the view of the majestic range of Himalayan mountains trekking in Darjeeling. These are a few of my most precious memories.

We all have wonderful memories and I bet when they happened “time practically stood still”. Whether we “are” by watching a beautiful sunset over the ocean or meditate to find that inner tranquility, at the end of the day it is important to “take time out” of the busy world. It is those moments where we truly are at one with ourselves and the world and time ceases to exist just for a moment.

Words have power

We all have heard these words before and probably thought ya, ya, could be true, but weren’t too convinced. So all the swearing and cursing on the road (I shamefully admit, this is what I do too…) has no effect except letting off some steam. However when it comes to encouragement and praise, we all are willing to admit that it certainly 03_water-crystalhas an effect.

Just how much power words have, has been made visible through water-research by Japanese scientists please watch one of the many videos: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k1-0ulKgmio.

Being mindful about what we say has been stressed on in ancient teachings and is certainly not a new discovery. However in the scientific world we live today, proof of these teachings help us to once again consolidate that practice. I will start today by making the best effort not to use hurtful words, whether it be silent or outspoken and I will make sure to express positive thoughts, so the water crystals in my and the other person’s body can take beautiful shapes and vibrate with joy.

The skills to relax

Being able to relax is a precious tool. Practicing Yoga in a balanced manner, i.e. a mixture between asanas, breathing and relaxation teaches the important skill to relax 01_swirl2not only while lying in Savasana (corpse pose) but also in the midst of activity while we move towards and stay in an Asana (posture). As we become more skilled in our practice, we are able to maintain a pose while mentally relaxing, even though it might be quite a challenging posture.

The practice to relax in the midst of a Yoga posture will help us to transfer this skill into daily life. During each day we are confronted with challenging situations and that is where we test our ability to relax the most. Learning to relax can be a life-saving choice.

Studies done on the effect of Yoga on hypertension (high blood pressure) have shown that practicing Yoga can be an effective tool to lower high blood pressure. Logically a tensed body has also tensed blood vessels. As we consider the body and mind as one unit, it makes sense, that a relaxed mind creates a relaxed body. http://jnci.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2010/12/17/jnci.djq536.full

Perception of time

I have more or less the same routine every morning after I get up at 5:15 am. However sometimes somehow wickedly I run out of time and am running (and driving) like a mad woman to be at work on time.07_traffic-light-orange-red1

I thought about it and came to the conclusion that what makes the difference to “have enough time or not” is my attitude. Perhaps many of you have had that experience of being in traffic jams and having little time to get to the destination. So I am all tensed up trying to overtake, run the yellow traffic light (sorry… ), my fellow-driver swerves in in front of me without indicating (remember I live in Malaysia…) and every traffic light I drive to seems to turn red.

Just before getting all worked up I decide to take a deep breath and surrender to the fact that I am going to be late, in other words I relax. And alas suddenly traffic moves smoothly, traffic lights turn green and I am where I need to be just ON TIME!

The morale of the story: whether I have too little or too much time is in my mind and I have the power to choose to relax or get all tensed up. And of course, there is a practical thing called “time-management”, which helps too…


Happiness is a decision

This has been said before, but I just remembered it because I was in a state of intoleran02_happy-smiley-w-glassesce, not happiness. Whenever there was a trigger, it would throw me into discontent, such as that person who cannot appreciate the work I am doing but focuses instead on my shortcomings. It is her loss really, because that is how she is tuned into the world. She will only see the mistakes although they make up the minority of the whole work done. Seeing the glass half empty or half full is a decision.

I can choose to look for the positive, encourage others, praise where it is due. It starts with my children. Every day is important as it could be the last one. I don’t usually live this way and take life for granted. Once in a while I get shaken up by someone I know who falls gravely ill or dies. I am so caught up in my activities in life that I fail to experience the moment. When the moment catches up with me I am assaulted with thoughts of the past and future.

Buddhist philosophy teaches us to live mindfully, i.e. experience every moment being fully aware. I am alert, when I focus on my breath and let thoughts of what happened and projections of the future pass by. It is possible to be mindful even in the midst of work. Coming over and over back to being aware of my breath, I also can others let be and allow them to find their own peace in their own time. Having decided, I also know I will stumble and falter at times. Then I will pick myself up and continue on the path of being happy regardless…

My own practice

imgp2179-copyIt has become my increasing pleasure to practice Yoga early morning. No class can compare to this. I feel like a microcosm attuning to the macrocosm around me. Without my practice my day feels bland. It is not only my body I attune but also my mind. It makes me feel wonderful, energized and ready to face the challenges of the day.

Simultaneously this offering of Yoga to me is a practice to live any moment with awareness and purpose, even as I execute my other duties in my job and as a mother. As I become more vigilant of my own thought patterns I recognize my own capacity to change them, if they do not empower me. In Yoga terminology this is called tantric sadhana. “The tantric believes that every act, however mundane, if offered to the higher force within oneself, becomes meaningful and a medium through which he can transform awareness.” (Swami Satyasanganandan Saraswati, Tattwa Shuddhi, 1992).

What I feel during my own practice I aim to experience throughout the day.  It is within my mind I decide to make this work, setting aside likes and dislikes. My practice helps me to remind me of how I am supposed to feel throughout the day, full of energy and acutely conscious.

Cycle of Life

circle-of-lifeAnother lot of students are moving on to new countries, new jobs, and new adventures. It is I who remains here. I find Malaysia a very transient country. There is a lot of movement to and fro.  I am trying to remember some of my Yoga students who have moved on from long ago. Faces and countries appear.  It is a constant letting go.

As an “immigrant” I had my share of good-byes. I thought it might get easier over the time. However the process of letting go is over and over to be learnt anew. A few years back when the good-byes became too painful I decided not to get involved with “people on the move” anymore. But then I realized that I would miss out on real amazing friendships. Life is ever transient and besides there is no guarantee of anyone staying more than a life-time anyways.

I feel very fortunate that with each student who comes to my classes, with each person that enters my realm of life, I learn something new about myself. As I share what I love doing, I get enriched in so many different ways, thus the cycle of life is completed.


A little time to be

ocean-with-meditating-man1Rushing from one place to another; traffic woes. Sit still instead. Opt for a massage.

I am coming to terms with the death of my dear friend Vincent. A cast away body, ready for a new adventure in another realm. It is painful only to us, who stay back; struggling to find balance, to find absolution, to be at peace. So much time we take to tend to this body, only to cast it away at the end.

Where do we go? Where is our last breath taking us?

Heavy rain washes away my thoughts. I am happy to be alive, to be with my loved ones. There is only now. Now I am grateful, now I am content, now I am at peace. Now I watch my cats play, with eager eyes and ears, sensing every change, completely focused on each other.

They just are. Can I just be?