This is real life, people. I have students of all levels, of different strengths and weaknesses. Each and every person has their own body, their own life, their own story to tell on their mat. This isn’t your beautifully crafted insanely perfect looking bodies of insanely instagram addicted yogis. Tell perfection to suck it. Life is messy, conplicated, unpredictable (as a fart in class) and it’s blood, sweat and tears. My students grow from the soil of their own effort and no two flowers are the same . Ever.
This is your life and your path to walk alone, let it be messy, let it be a disappointment, let it be whatever it is, let it be, let be. Be.
Sheryl and Nima from Sunny So-Cal, that’s California for those of you who don’t know. They dropped in for a private class with me today. Such lovely energy and dedication to their practice. Thanks for coming to check out Nirmaya Yoga! Come back soon!
Some people prefer to imagine that they are unicorns and /or mermaids. To be something special, unique, totally out of the ordinary. Sorry, I've got news for you. You are not special. I don't know about you, but Google seems to think that I need to buy that Ariel inspired blanket or buy those unicorn inspired makeup brushes. I see hashtags, clothing, shoes, phone covers, inflatables in shapes of mermaids and unicorns. Oh my god, I don't understand this. Is life so horrible that you want to be someone/something else? And media is totally crushing the self esteem of young adults everywhere that they need to be this sea god/goddess or mythical creature to be special. To be important. There was a young man who said to me, I want to be a unicorn, it allows me to feel my pain of not being able to connect with anyone worthy of me. Perhaps it was his way of feeling special.
Can you see how much unhappiness there is in being someone/something you are not? IF you like to wallow in pain by masking it with mermaid scales and unicorn inspired lipstick, I guess go ahead then. If you're one of those people who use mythical masks to cover how you truly feel, then I suggest you see a therapist this instant. You could say the latest generation wear their emotions on their sleeves, with tonnes of emojis out there, what's not to feel, right? Wrong. People are losing the ability to connect with each other, let alone to know how one feels or even communicate how you feel to another person. I worry for the future of the people.
Yoga allows you to get in touch with you you really are. And that is really god damn scary. Maybe that's why I don't have a lot of young people come in to my classes. Maybe they want to be someone completely different from themselves. I fear the future of these youngsters who don't want to know themselves better. Not just their future but the future of our country and such. Excuse me if I start to sound like an old hag, but seriously, can someone please explain to me why it's so appealing to be something other than you are? You could say my teachings and values are old school, but I think these values are evergreen. Only when one starts to know oneself, only can one start to love oneself. Youngsters who only believe they are special by pretending they have mermaid lives, are also severely entitled, no thanks to their parents doing well, having no time to communicate what self love is to their children. There is so much self hate going on these days, and it manifests as a desire to be something/someone completely different from who they really are.
What has happened to the respect of oneself and love for oneself, no matter the circumstances? I do not disagree that self improvement is great, but changing your true nature and true self is murder. The media is lapping it up, and the young adults love it! Sales skyrocket the moment you mention mermaid or unicorn. But it's murder of thyself. IF you take it too seriously.
When my students come to class, I allow them to be themselves on the mat, and no one else. Egos are checked at the door. Insecurities come apart as unconditional love and acceptance flows within the practice. There is no need to hide or feel a lack of anything. You are enough. I celebrate when my students are awful, I celebrate when my students are great. There is no such thing as 'you suck at this'. MY message to yogis and further yogis out there is that, come to know yourself, and let the love flow. I know my students on a personal level, and I teach better when I know where they are in their life, and I think it's a dying art of communication. When was the last time you had a real conversation with a friend? When was the last time you were honest with a family member?
So if you're thinking of unmasking yourself, I dare you to come take a class at my studio. OR just be a secretly unhappy mermaid/unicorn.
To my students, all my love and hold on to that hope of shedding your skins as you continue to practice with me.
I was facing a rough patch in my life in 2004, I had a broken relationship and was lost. I happened to stumble upon some yoga classes at the gym, and I threw myself completely into it. I haven't been away from yoga ever since.
How did you get into teaching? (can you include details of your training and the style of yoga that you teach).
I trained with Sun Yoga KL in 2005. My training lasted 4 months, full time learning, and I taught classes in KL as part of my training. It was per-requisite of my school's modules to graduate. I was trained in Hatha by Dr. Jacqueline Koay and Ashtanga inspired Flow by the late Vincent Tam. Currently, my style of teaching is an eclectic mix of styles, pulling from sources like Anusara, Ashtanga, Iyengar, Yin and Vinyasa. But I particularly enjoy the Anusara style of yoga.
Do you specialise in any particular areas, e.g. pregnancy, retreats etc.
I specialize in combining yoga and psychology, being a psychology major. Using specific psychology methods of overcoming fear, addressing issues and mental blocks is what I do best while combining it with the physical yoga practice for better understanding of one's body and breath.
What do you love most about teaching yoga?
I love that people always surprise me when they're on their mats and in turn they teach me about being a better person and teacher for them. I love the way I get to inspire others and touch other people's lives. When I cease to exist anymore, I will know that people will still remember me in their hearts. What, in your opinion, are the primary benefits of practising yoga? Its a great form of anger management and soothes mild depression, in other words, it brings joy to the practitioner and joy in the practice itself
What advice would you give for people who have never tried yoga?
"How do you explain the sweetness of honey if one has never tasted it before?"
What is your favourite asana?
Its a toss up between Downward facing dog and Chaturanga
To teach is to serve. I became a yoga instructor with the sole purpose of serving my students. They entrust me with their bodies, mind and breath and in turn I give them all I have to offer, and all I know, if not more. Along with that, comes a responsibility of seeing that your students grow, learn and to be able to see themselves in a different way, to make their own lives better, to bring forth the feeling of hope and joy. My students come to class looking for answers in life, even if they don't know it. I don't have the answers for them ready at hand, neither do I claim to have all the answers to all their questions but I do have the passion to show them ways to understand themselves more on and off the mat, which also sometimes leads to the answers they have been searching for.
A great philosopher Osho once said, when the student is ready, the master will appear. I like to think that I took this to heart when I approached my student Evan(name has been altered to protect my student's identity) at the end of class. I felt like it went a little like this, when a student offers himself up to a higher power, a path will appear. I took my chances with Evan, because earlier in the month before, he had disclosed to me he had sleeping problems and the inability to shut his mind off at bedtime. For me, what I had experienced with Evan in the same room as I, sent frightening chills down my spine. I guess I was detecting his subconscious energy which is released during a physical practice. When students entrust me with their bodies, this is what happens... I sense things. I pick up on the finer details, unseen. Its an energy I feel so intense that I know what my student is feeling at that point. And with Evan, it was anger, searing anger, if not hatred or worse contempt. It really scared me. I knew the anger was not directed at me. It was pent up in him and it was "screaming" in my face. It was Evan's tumultuous silent cry for help, and perhaps he didn't even realize it.
Then I reminded myself, I'm there to serve my students. And for me, what better way to serve my students in offering my effort towards a higher power. I love the fact that I can combine what I know from psychology study and being a yoga teacher for the past 9 years or so. I feel that I'm in a position to help others find their path, regardless of whatever answers they are looking for. So I asked Evan, "How do you manage conflict, do you get angry, if so, how often in a day?" He looked surprised and stunned for a moment. Like he was found out like a school boy who had been caught playing truant. What ensued confirmed my suspicion that he was indeed having issues dealing with anger at work, and perhaps that anger spilling over at home too.
We talked for a good 20 minutes after. He too agreed that he was getting angry and annoyed over the work phone calls, and surprisingly enough, inducing a Pavlov-like conditioned fear of answering his phone at work or after. Anger and fear had tied in. Did him in at night resulting in disrupted sleep, with not much of quality resting time for the mind and body. Hence, leading him to see the world at a slightly more pessimistic angle. The brain cannot function properly with lack of sleep, or without quality rest. Hormone levels decrease, putting the body in a state of high acidity causing depression, obstructed circulation and weight gain among other unpleasant side effects. It really broke my heart to speak to him about his pent up anger, as I think it broke his heart too to acknowledge it, as I could have sworn I saw him tear up(but he held it in like he felt was needed) as we spoke. My whole heart went out to him, and I truly wanted to help him, however way I could.
I told him, when we get angry, we lose ourselves. But if we watch our anger, it disappears just like that. No magic or sorcery involved. As a teacher, we have got to truly want to serve our students, as long as it does not damage ourselves. And I knew, Evan needed help. Everyone needs help from time to time. I find nowadays people don't take the time to care about others, as we are too busy taking care of ourselves. Where is the universal love in that? Where is the OM in our day? Who are we if we do not reach out to our fellow men, seeing that they need help? Do we turn a blind eye? I have come across many a time yoga teachers so called teaching yoga but treating it like a perfunctory cardio class and no more. I am appalled at how the gall some people have to call themselves yoga teachers. Especially remains true for fresh out the mill yoga teachers, who only think about how they perform(what super yogi advanced poses they can hold and how fancy it looks) instead of the welfare of their students. That's what teaching means to me. To give yourself to students, as a stepping stone along the path they are looking for, or to keep them on the right track, to reassure them that they are doing well, or could use to reflection time upon their quality of life. If one is to be called a yoga teacher, you have to be ready, available and truly want to give to your students, its not about the teacher, and never will be. That is what I call a teacher indeed, someone who inspires, gives people hope, teaches students to love themselves, and to accept or change whatever comes their way, knowing that they will be only given what they can handle by the big guy up there.
I could see by the end of our little heart to heart talk with Evan, I could see a part of him had softened and melted knowing that someone out there cared and wanted him to experience a better quality of life, and was able to give him hope that things could be turned around, if, and only if he decided to make the change, by watching how he responded to life, instead of reacting. He told me that he would feel his blood boil to his face, and he would mouth off to his colleagues or anyone who would listen to his rant. I said to him, now you are reacting. Its time to respond, to watch your anger as it rises, as quickly as it does, it will disappear. But Evan has to do the work. I can't do it for him. He has to become the watcher, not the person who does. Only to watch. He can still go about his work, but he has to be aware. With awareness comes relaxation.
We left the room, knowing that he had also indirectly taught me a lesson in forgiveness in my own life, and letting go of anger is crucial to one's spiritual growth and health. Whereas I hope Evan went home knowing that he has the ability to respond in life, instead of his bursting reactions, so that in turn he may be fully present to experience his life and moments as a loving father, supportive husband and a happy worker at his company.
Clever use of Daft Punk's album title for my blog post isn't it. No, I'm not a fan of their music. But my blog today has something to do with memory. I'm always a huge fan of word play, it makes my day more interesting. And so that you don't fall asleep reading this, assuming you do read this blog.
I have been absent from writing, only due to me gathering my thoughts as I have embarked on the journey of self discovery and introspection. Yoga would call it turning your focus inwards also known in Sanskirt as Pratyahara. But today's post is a more personal side of me.
As a student of psychology, I have learnt that people have creative thoughts or inspirations in 3 places. In the context of the 3 Bs, Bath, Bed and Bus. I had mine in the bath. I was using my Perlier Lily of the Valley shower gel which I adore and already had John Frieda conditioner sitting in my hair as a treatment. And I think the combination of the two smells triggered a long forgotten memory. A random memory at that too. But we never forget smells. The amygdala in the seat of the brain is responsible for memories, smells and emotions. It was awakened. The lemony fizzy smell had evoked a memory from my childhood. The memory I had was when I was about 2 or 3 maybe, in Tokyo in our apartment bathroom. I could see my chubby legs and toes, and I know I was butt naked watching the fizz in my bathtub fizzle and emit the lemony carbonated scent as it made the water cloudy and I was fascinated by this sight, always have been. There was even a tinge of orange scent too. Japanese are so great making such simple things a novelty. Bear in mind it's around the year 1987. I would dip my fingers in the tub to swirl the cloudy water before getting into the hot tub. What fascinates me as I relive the memory is that I can remember the very comforting heat coming from the hot water in the tub and the temperature of the bathroom obviously, combined with this fizzy lemony scent.
I feel like my subconscious opened up another gateway to me, to reveal itself. To teach me something from my past experience. But I wondered as I stepped out of the bath all cleaned, what did it mean? Why did my inner self choose to reveal it now? I always feel like when the body or mind shows us something, its a sign for us to work on a part of us which has been hidden for whatever reasons. The trick is to not be afraid to uncover the truth or the deeper message of the memory. If we are prepared to do that, then I think half the work is done. I find a deep calm and contentment from just letting the memory float across my minds eye and then allowing myself to unravel the gift embedded within this memory. Yoga has given me the tools to access(not a typo here) myself courageously and to be fully aware of the moments in my life.
My question to you is, are you pushing away precious memories(pleasant and unpleasant) which are poised to help you transform and transcend?
I'm bringing in Lululemon Athletica, which makes excellent yoga and exercise wear. I will be the pioneer in Penang to do so. I am offering it to my students first, as I myself am a huge fan of Lululmeon yoga wear, I wear it everyday to teach classes, so you can say it is instructor tested. My favourites are the deep breathe tank and Groove signature pants. These apparel run higher than Nike or even Adidas, but offers up to 20 times more performance than you'll ever get out of them. I have worn my Lululemon pants for the past 3 years and they still look new, I love these pants because they lift my butt, makes my thighs look toned, holds in tummy without constricting breathing and makes me feel like superwoman. And I teach the least 14 classes a week in Lululemon. My deep breathe tank keeps my girls up and the Luon fabric keeps me cool, hides bulges and smooths down to give me a sleeker look, it is also made of anti-stink/anti-odour material. I swear by Lululemon, trust me once you've tried Lululemon, you'll wonder why you bothered with Nike or Adidas.
I thought you might want to have a look at it, http://www.lululemon.com
(Tops will run about 250- 280, pants will run you up from 370-400, depending on design after shipping charges and tax, will quote upon placing of order) The pants will last you about 5 years easy, so do the tops while still looking new.
I even wear my Lululemons out and about after class to do groceries or meet friends for coffee without having to bother if I stink from class, IT IS performance wear at it's finest. I cannot say enough good things about Lululemon.
FEEL FREE TO BROWSE THROUGH THE WIDE RANGE OF APPARELS AND if you'd like to order , let me know which colour and size(if not sure on sizing, I can help). I'm putting through my compiled orders soon, to save on shipping costs. SO IF THERE'S ANYTHING THAT INTERESTS YOU OR ANY ITEMS WHICH YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE, Please let me know within these 3 days.
Dear Nirmayans and new yogis from I Love Discounts,
I would like to again encourage all of you to have your own mats, due to hygiene issues. For a limited time, I'm have 4 new mats for sale at Nirmaya for a special price of RM65. It's a standard mat, non waxy with good enough traction, boasting 6mm thickness, just nice for Nirmaya Yoga practice. It comes in a few shades of green and one grey.
Otherwise if sold out, you would need to get a standard mat from Fitness Concept(the grey colour one is a very good one) from either Gurney or Queensbay's outlet. That retails for RM69.
Please message me if you'd like to reserve to buy one of the mats from Nirmaya and this applies to a first come, first serve basis.
Acroyoga is a form of yoga which combines yoga, thai massage, and acrobatics. It cultivates trust, connection and playfulness among friends, family, lovers, best friend and even complete strangers. Acroyoga celebrates mutual support of and from others and realization of the divine.
Who can practice Acroyoga?
Anyone who is generally fit, if you have some form of yoga background will be great, but if you don't, all you need is an open heart and mind to begin the flying and healing benefits welcome you to a whole new perspective of yourself and of others.
When is the Acroyoga jam session?
10th Sept 2011, Saturday 8am-10.30am, a minimal fee of RM50 is incurred for this jam session.
Where will the Acroyoga jam session be?
Nirmaya Yoga, 8 Kennedy Road, 11600 Penang. My contact is 016 4911 685, drop me a line if you need directions.
What do I need to know before joining in the Acroyoga jam session?
Not much, actually. Just bring your sense of adventure, fun and surrender to the new experience of Acroyoga. :)
Who is leading the Acroyoga jam session?
Marc Bauchet, from France who is certified Acroyoga instructor who is in Malaysia for a limited time.
Why do Acroyoga?
Because it will change your life. If you are a regular yoga practitioner, it will enrich and enhance your personal and individual practice.
How to get to know more Acroyogis in Penang?
Come for our pot luck at Nirmaya Yoga, 8 Kennedy Road on Friday, 9th Sept 2011 at 7pm, there will be a pre-acroyoga jam session to kick start the weekend. So bring food, and dress in yoga wear. Don't worry, we have a good mix of total beginners and regular Acroyogis.
Please let me know what you'd like to bring for the pot luck if interested. I encourage all to attend.
Where do I get more info and photos to understand Acroyoga?
Dear newly joined Nirmayans, or those interested in joining, pls feel free to buy your own mats from Fitness Concept which retails about RM70 for one. Try not to be tempted to buy mats from Tesco or Guardian as they are not as good and do not suit our usage of yoga here in Nirmaya. Hope this little tip helps. Also if you have just purchased your new mat, please wipe it down with a wet cloth and set to dry, this takes of the layer or wax, which only slips when you sweat on your mat. We wouldn't want people skidding off our mats, would we? It is a one time only wax wipe off. To upkeep and clean your mat, you can purchase dettol wipes or dettol hand sanitizer to clean your mats and keep it clean and fresh.
As you all know, parking is first come first serve basis, and is limited to about 8- 9 cars maximum which come in first. So I would encourage the most of you to carpool or even take turns to carpool.
However, in the event that the parking in the compound is full already, please proceed to the corner house along Cheeseman Road, which is 2 Cheeseman Road, also Nirmaya yoga property, and park on the grass, or in front of the gate also is fine, so no worries. It's the house with 2 brown gates. The other option is to drive a little further down Kennedy Road, take a first left turn into Phillips road, where there is a roundabout playground open grassy area, feel free to park there, and walk a little to Nirmaya Yoga, a little pre-warm up before class. Try to refrain against parking along Kennedy Road, as this might provoke complaints from the neighbours, and cause unnecessary friction. Thank you for your understanding. :)
Lastly, do try your best to come on time for the classes. I am willing to wait about 5-8mins for late comers, however if any later, it would be slightly unfair to others already there, we all want maximum practice time, don't we? :)