Sunday, December 16, 2012

Yoga To Me

1) What has been the main concern in your yoga practice? 
My main concern would be how I sometimes let my ego takeover especially when I want to let the teacher see that I can do the pose and risk myself getting injured.

2) What are the demands in your view that the students today are looking for? 
I believe students who really want to learn yoga would look for a teacher who can give clear instructions on the execution of the poses and one who listens and know how not push them beyond their limit until they are ready. 

3) How do you measure your progress in a yoga practice?
I measure my progress by the little achievements such as being able to hold my breath longer in the pose, twisting deeper, lifting higher and being able to still my mind and focus on my breathing. 

4) What do you look for when practicing Yoga?
I look for ways in which I can integrate the techniques that I learned from my own research which can help me to execute the pose better and safer. I also look forward to the high energy level of a practice where the breath and the poses are in sync.

5) How long do you think one needs to practice to see a shift or change in oneself?
I don't think there is a specific time frame to see a shift or change in oneself.  It depends on the individual as there are many reasons why someone took up yoga in the first place.  I think someone who has a regular yoga practice will see a shift in oneself faster than someone who treats yoga as an exercise.  

6) What are the myths you hear about yoga? 
That you must be very flexible to do the yoga poses in order for you to contort your body into the poses and learning yoga can make you deviate from your religion.

7) How do you convince someone to take up yoga? 
I think my friends noticed the change in me after I started taking up yoga and when they asked me about it, I will tell them the benefits and suggest that they go for a trial class. 

8) What is more important? Strength or Flexibility?
Strength.  Although flexibility is also important, strength will help to keep the body safe.   People who are flexible sometimes rely on their flexibility to get into poses without utilizing those muscles to help them keep the integrity of the pose.

9) What is your greatest achievement in yoga?
Learning to let go on matters that are beyond my control and to have compassion for others and knowing that I will always have my practice to fall back on whenever I need solace.

10) What inspires you?
Learning from teachers who are passionate about their practice and who share their experience by writing blog posts which bring insights on how to bring the yoga teachings off the mat.  

11) What is Yoga to you?
Yoga to me is a journey of personal transformation as I find my inner self through acceptance and awareness.  

"Sometimes in the practice of yoga, you can get frustrated and wonder "Am I getting anywhere?  But even when you think nothing is happening, something is happening.  Practice isn't always easy.  But the practice leads to deeper things, one by one" - Ruth Lauer-Manenti

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Elbow Pain and Vinyasa Yoga

If you have been following my blog, you would know that I had an elbow injury last year and had to stop going for yoga classes for one month while I was being treated. My injury has healed but sometimes I would still feel some pain in the elbow.

Recently I came across a blog post on Yoga Anatomy for The Perplexed about elbow pain and Vinyasa Yoga and after seeking permission from the author, Niki Vetten, I am reproducing the article here for your reading. 

Elbow Pain and Vinyasa Yoga 
by Niki Vetten 

Regular Ashtanga or Vinyasa yoga practice can cause elbow pain at one or both sides of elbows or clicking sounds as the elbow is straightened, or locking of the joint. Some pain is caused by damage to ligaments or joints but elbow pain can be caused by unbalanced muscle function of the shoulder at the Glenohumeral* and the Scapulothoracic** joints and sometimes improves with corrective exercise that balances the muscles at these joints. 

Yoga doesn’t have pulling movements so it’s difficult to balance the relative strengths of the shoulder-girdle muscles of the upper back and the chest. The chest often becomes the stronger of the two, causing internal rotation of the arms and protraction of the scapulae – they draw up and outwards on the upper back. Protraction of the shoulder blades also occurs from poor body-posture, especially if the pelvis tilts forward: the upper back is round. 

This is because Chaturanga strengthens Pectoral and Latissimus Dorsi muscles, which are responsible for internal rotation of the upper arm. As the arm is straightened while pushing up with the hands, a twisting force is applied to the elbow, stressing the joint and causing unnatural tension in the forearm muscles which balance rotary forces. 

Elbow joint structures can become damaged and inflamed over time if elbow pain isn’t treated. Wrist pain and rotator cuff problems, as well as neck tension and pain are common side effects of an imbalance between internal and external rotation at the shoulder and incorrect positioning of the Scapulae.  Elbow pain is felt whether the elbow is turned inwards or outwards and often doesn’t improve with forearm stretching exercises prescribed for inflammation at the elbow. 

These kinds of imbalances tend to occur in flow or vinyasa classes if

  • the focus is on Chaturanga – held for long periods – and arm-balances without Sirsasana, Pincha Mayurasana, Tolasana, Lolasana and jumping the legs back or through in Vinyasa to strengthen the shoulders in different ways.
  • arm binds and Purvottanasana are not practised regularly to open the chest.
  • abdominal crunching exercise causes rounding of the upper back and incorrect scapular positions.

With Ashtanga yoga sequences the large number of Vinyasa performed can make the chest stronger than the shoulders, especially if

  • Chaturanga is held longer than other asanas in the vinyasa (some teachers use this method).
  • practising vinyasa when fatigued can cause weakness in the Serratus anterior and Rhomboid muscles. The scapulae will lift off the chest wall when holding plank positions, looking like wings. The scapula moves up towards the head and can cause pain under the collar-bone and clicking at the Sternoclavicular*** joint. Abnormal scapular positioning also alters the function of the Glenohumeral joint and is a cause of rotator cuff pain and impingement

Elbow pain often improves if the external rotator cuff muscles of the arm are strengthened but it is wiser to consult a physical therapist who can prescribe a range of rehabilitation exercises to rebalance the arm, chest and shoulder girdle muscles. Sometimes pelvic tilt and body posture also need assessment and correction.

Although yoga students are constantly instructed to draw the shoulder blades back and down, this doesn’t counter-balance the active strengthening of the chest by Chaturanga and arm balances, or the shortening of the Biceps and Pectoralis Minor caused by bent elbow positions especially when yogis practising vinyasa are not strong enough to jump back and through and bear their weight on their hands with bent elbows all the time. Tight Biceps muscles cause clicking at the elbows when the arm is straightened. If the shoulders and elbows are not painful, then stretching the Biceps is will stop the joint from clicking or locking up.

Muscle imbalance at the Scapulothoracic joint and Deltoid muscle weakness can also create tension in the Biceps. Deltoids are often weaker than they should be if handstands are not practiced regularly. Makrasana must be practised by people who aren’t strong enough to do inversions but are practicing vinyasa. Vasistasana is an important asana for balancing chest and shoulder muscles and should be practiced regularly.

Painful, inflamed elbows need rest, but arm and shoulder rehabilitation is necessary to avoid damaging the elbow joint and this is a good time to stop and consider whether vinyasa yoga is good for your body in the long term. A vinyasa teacher who creates their own sequences needs to teach a variety of asanas using the upper body in many planes in every class to avoid causing shoulder and elbow pain in students.

* the Glenohumeral joint is where the Humerus (upper arm) attaches to the Scapula (shoulder-blade)
** the Scapulothoracic joint is the joint that attaches the scapula to the chest wall. It is not a true bony joint because the shoulder-blade is attached to the chest wall by muscles only and imbalances between the Serratus Anterior, Rhomboid and Trapezius muscles are common
*** the Sternoclavicular joint is at the front of the chest where the Clavicle (collar bone) attaches to the Sternum (breastbone)

Reading Sources:
Kendall, McCreary, Provance, 1993, Muscles, Testing and Function
Ellenbecker, De Carlo, DeRosa, 2009, Effective Functional Progressions in Sports Rehabilitation Brunstrom’s Clinical Kinesiology 5th Edition 1996

I find the above article very informative and is taking precautions to look after my elbow joint in my practice to ensure that there would not be a recurrent injury to my elbow.

Btw, do pay a visit to Niki’s blog as she has posted a lot of articles which provides advice on yoga injuries. 

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Breathing in Sun Salutation

If you have just started practicing and is not sure whether to inhale or exhale for each pose for the Sun Salutations sequence, the pictures below provide a good reference on the breathing for each asana in Surya Namaskara A and B in Ashtanga.   And if you intend to start a Mysore practice, the pictures also depict the counting in Sanskrit. 

pictures taken from here.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Be Free Yoga

I have been going to the Be Free Yoga classes for the past three months and would like to share my experience here.    The Be Free Yoga class uses a fabric hammock to do the yoga poses and it is also known as Fly Yoga or Anti-Gravity Yoga.

The hammock provides support as we stretch our body, joints and hamstrings in the poses.  I find it most helpful in stretching my shoulders as I am able to go deeper using the hammock.  

When I first started I find it quite difficulty to use the hammock as it would swing around while I do the poses and I was also quite apprehensive whether it would break.  After being assured by my teacher that the hammock can carry a load of 1,000 kg, I have become more confident in using the hammock to invert and hang suspended in the air.    

The Be Free Yoga class provides a workout that allows me to stretch and strengthen my body and at the same time the hammock makes it possible for me to achieve some of the challenging and difficult poses which I am not able to do on my own.

Below are some of the poses that we do in the Be Free Yoga class. 

The Be Free Yoga Class is taught by Delphine who is a wonderful teacher and the classes are on Tuesday at 6.30 p.m. and Thursday at 8.00 a.m. at Chi-Fitness, Bangsar Shopping Complex. 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

My Morning Practice

Although I am going to yoga classes four to five times per week, I intend to do a 30-min morning self-practice to complement my practice.     I started my morning practice this week and managed to get up and do the practice on Monday, Tuesday and today.   I skipped Wednesday as I had a late night and could not get myself out of bed when my alarm went off at 5.10 am.    I am finding that an early night makes it easier for me to keep my intention in the morning. 

My morning practice starts off with sitting in meditation for a few minutes to quiet my mind before going into some stretching poses to wake up my body.   I find that my body is quite stiff in the morning, especially my hamstrings. 

I decide what are the poses to practice as I move along, giving my body what it needs for the day.  Some of the poses I do include hip and shoulder openers and some core work.   I am doing the poses from Kino’s video below as I find it is great way to warm up the core while keeping me centered as I co-ordinate the movements with my breath.

I also try to do some of the poses that I know I need to work on such as my bunny hop to handstand and doing a headstand which should be practiced everyday as recommended in this post.

I end my morning practice with a 5-min savasana so that my body can soak up all the benefits from my practice.

I find that the morning self-practice is a wonderful soothing and energizing way to start off my day and helps to clear off the sleepiness from my system.   I am calm and less stressful in facing the morning traffic when I drive to work.

I hope that I would be able to keep up with my morning practice as I know it will bring a significant difference to my practice; honing my svadhyaya (self-awareness) as well as cultivating tapas (self-discipline) which are two of the five niyamas in the eight limbs of yoga.

"For me, yoga is not just a workout, it's about working on yourself." - Mary Glover

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Animals Doing Yoga

Adho Muka Svanasana 
Uttihita Chaturanga Dandasana 
Upavishtha Konasana B

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Yoga for Life in the Malaysian Book of Records

Last Sunday, Yoga for Life with Great Eastern went into the Malaysian Book of Records with 2,220 people doing yoga for 45 minutes.  The event also managed to raised RM44,400/- for the Breast Welfare Cancer Association Malaysia.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Why We Practice

This is taken from David Garrigues' article on Great Doubt = Great Faith on Elephant Journal. 

How soon do you forget what you just learned in practice? Almost immediately.
How soon does doubt replace faith? Almost immediately.
How soon is meditation replaced by distraction and scatteredness? Almost immediately.
How soon is the bright fire you kindled during practice diminished to a faint glow in the hearth? Almost immediately.
How soon is the wisdom you gain, even the deep wisdom covered by ignorance? Almost immediately.
There it is, 
But I and you begin again. Almost Immediately.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Yoga for Life with Great Eastern

I have signed up as a volunteer Yoga Facilitator for the Yoga for Life with Great Eastern which will be held as follows:

Date:  Sunday, 15 July 2012
Venue:  The Strand, Kota Damansara, Petaling Jaya

The event is to have the largest yoga gathering in Malaysia with a minimum of 2,000 participants doing yoga together for a minimum of 45 minutes to enter the Malaysian Book of Records. 

You can join the event as a volunteer Yoga Facilitator (they need 100 Yoga Facilitators) if you have been practicing yoga for a least one year.  Or join as a participant by paying a participant fee of RM20.  All proceeds from the participant fee will be channelled to the Breast Cancer Welfare Association of Malaysia.

Check the event website for more details and to register online.  Hope to see you guys there!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Inspiring Yoga Teacher

Teachings from Marc Bauchet that I learned from his Acro Yoga classes for the past four weeks.
  • From being a Base - when things go wrong, don't just blame other people, check with yourself and see where you could have done better to save the situation.  
  • From being a Flyer - when you need help, don't hesitate to ask.  You will get the support you need.
  • From being a Spotter - if too much support is given, people will feel restricted.  You are only there to lend a helping hand whenever they need it.
The above teachings are not only applicable in Acro Yoga but also in our daily life.   Namaste, Marc. 

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Your Reactions Become You

Your beliefs become your thoughts,
Your thoughts become your words,
Your words become your actions,
Your actions become your habits,
Your habits become your values,
Your values become your destiny.
― Mahatma Gandhi

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

AcroYoga with Marc Bauchet

I attended my first AcroYoga class tonight with Marc Bauchet and it was such a fun and wonderful class.    

After reading about AcroYoga which blends the spiritual wisdom of yoga, the dynamic power of acrobatics and the loving kindness of healing arts, I was interested to join the class although the part about acrobatics was a bit scary for me but I was game to give it a try.

As I was the first one to arrive for the class and while waiting for the rest of the practitioners, I got to be a Flyer with Marc as the Base which was an exhilarating experience and a preview of what the class would be like.

Marc started the class by asking us to place our mats in a circle and we did some poses which helped to build core balance as well as strengthening our wrists.   Next, we were asked to partner up and this was where we learned to trust our partner as we leaned into each other to reap the benefits from the stretches. 

After that, it was into the acrobatic part of AcroYoga where each one of us took turn to be the Base, Flyer and Spotter.   The Base is the person lying on the floor and creates the foundation for the acrobatics, the Flyer is the person being elevated off the ground by the Base while the Spotter is the person who provides the support to assist both the Base and Flyer by ensuring their safety as well as giving cues to improve their form.    After each turn, we get to give each other some restorative stretches and massages.

Learning from Marc is so much fun as he is so passionate to share the joy and benefits from the practice and I am looking forward to going to his next classes. 

Marc will be teaching in Chi Fitness at Bangsar Shopping Centre every Tuesday, from today until 26 June 2012.  The classes are at 11.30 am and 6.30 pm.  Check out his event page at FB.   

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Tripsichore Yoga

I got a taste of Tripsichore Yoga when I attended Matthew Kemp's workshop on Thursday and in today's class with Daniela.  Being an Ashtanga practitioner, I might not have attended the workshop if I had known that the teacher would be teaching Tripsichore Yoga.  I always thought of Tripsichore Yoga as an acrobatic form of dance yoga with lots of impossible poses after watching this video.   

It was an eye-opener for me as I learned how to  incorporate the techniques from Tripsichore Yoga into my practice.     Both classes started with the Sun Salutations (Tripsichore-style) where emphasis is on the breath with movement.   The teachers reminded us to keep our abdomen lengthen, not round our back and keep our shoulders rolled back and down.  

It was an amazing workshop as Matthew showed us how we could attain the difficult poses such as inversions and backbends by working our breath and bandhas as shown in the video below. 

And it was another amazing class with Daniela today as she got us to hop into handstands on our own at the wall.   When one of the practitioners said that she needed to be assisted into the handstand, Daniela asked us to place a bolster at the wall and placed our head on the bolster as we hopped into our handstand.    The bolster managed to take off some of my fear of banging my head on the wall as I tried to hop up to a handstand on my own.  Although I did not managed to hop over to place my legs on the wall; using the breath, engaging my bandhas and keeping my legs working all the time helped me to go higher in my hops which I had never been able to do so before.    

The two Tripsichore classes gave me an insight on the importance of knowing how to work the breath and the bandhas and when we are able to apply this to our practice constantly, it will help to transform our practice.   

"When you open your mind to the impossible, you find the possible."

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Trial Classes

I have started looking for a new studio to practice and managed to get free passes for classes at Chi Fitness.

The first trial class was an Ashtanga class with Daniela Somasundram-Agnoletti last Tuesday.   Daniela led us through the sun salutations and pointed out that as we look up from the forward bend, to press our palms flat on the mat before we jumped back instead of touching our fingertips on the ground.  By keeping our palms flat, it helped to keep the core muscles activated before we crouched to bend our knees and kept the lift in the hips as we jumped back to Chaturanga Dandasana. 

We also practiced hopping forward in downward dog, bending our knees before straightening the legs and keeping our hips lifted high in the air as we jumped forward to land gracefully on our feet. 

I found the class tough as I had not been practicing for more than a week and my hamstrings had gotten tight and had to adjust myself to the different style of teaching of the poses. 

The second trial class yesterday morning was supposed to be a Hatha class but turned into an Ashtanga class as Ganesh, who is a traditionalist Ashtangi told us he only teaches Ashtanga.  It turned out to be an amazing class with the assists and adjustments I received from Ganesh. 

Ganesh led us through the sun salutations and standing poses and kept reminding us to stay active and not comprised the integrity of the poses. His counting and reminders of sound breathing kept me focused on my poses.   

When it came to the sitting poses, Ganesh let those of us who could do the poses carry on on our own while he teaches the rest of the class the poses.   When I reached Marichyasana D,   he came over and helped me to bind my hands and also adjusted my hips so that I could twist deeper in the pose.  

And in Supta Kurmasana, I received my deepest assist ever with my hands coming together high behind my back as he crossed my legs behind my neck although I lost the clasp of the hands just before he helped me to my feet which ended with me losing the pose to go into Titibasana. 

I managed to continue to do some of the poses in the Primary Series up to Prasarita Padottana (Wide Leg Forward Bend before Ganesh asked all of us to lie down to do the wheel pose followed by the closing sequence.  

I found both classes to be great as I received so many pointers to improve my practice and I will be going to my third trial class at Chi Fitness this afternoon; an Ashtanga class again but this time with another teacher, Kunal.

Update:  As I was the only one who turned up for the Ashtanga class, Kunal asked me to do a Mysore class instead.   As I went through the poses in the Primary series, he counted softly which kept me focused on my breathing and he came over to adjust some of my poses and helped me go deeper in some of them.  I had another great assist in Marichyasana D and for Supta Kurmasana, Kunal placed a towel between my hands which helped to keep the bind as he helped me to lift up to Tittibasana before jumping back.    He instructed me to stop at Supta K and asked me to finish the practice with the backbends (I could only do two wheel pose) followed by the closing sequence. 

After the class, Kunal gave me some encouraging and positive feedback on my practice and told me to continue with my Ashtanga practice as a continuous practice will help me to progress in the poses. 

Saturday, March 31, 2012

A Testimonial for Azmi Samdjaga

Last Sunday’s Flow class ended up being my last class with Azmi Samdjaga before he goes on a two-month backpacking journey with the possibility of leaving Malaysia which will depend on him getting a permanent teaching job here when he returns.     
I am posting here a testimonial for Azmi Samdjaga with the hope that one of the studios in Malaysia will offer him a permanent job with a valid working permit so that he can continue to teach here.  It would be such a great loss for the Malaysian yoga community if he leaves as he is such a wonderful and good teacher and has a group of dedicated yoga kakis who have been following him for a number of years.   

"Azmi Samdjaga has been my yoga teacher for the past five years.  He has influenced my practice which has grown stronger day by day as he has given me a lot of confidence and guidance. He teaches us to be mindful and focused in our practice.  Azmi’s continuous search and sharing of new techniques to go into the poses has helped to bring new insights into my practice with focus on anatomy as well as the use of the breath and bandhas.    His assists and adjustments have always helped me to go deeper into the poses with the confidence to go beyond my comfort zone. 

Azmi always ensure that we practice in a safe manner by constantly reminding us to pay attention when coming out of the poses where injuries often happen due to lack of awareness.   He always asked us if we are having any injuries before the start of class.  As I had an elbow injury and I sometimes feel pain in the elbow when doing a certain pose, Azmi would let me do a variation of the pose so as not to aggravate the injury.   

Azmi is a great Ashtanga teacher and his Led and Mysore classes are very popular with the students. His counting in the Led classes helps to keep us focused on the breath and the present moment while his assists in the Mysore classes helped us to go deeper into the poses. 

I  believe Azmi would be a great asset to any yoga studio as he would be able to impart to the students his knowledge on yoga as well as provide them insights on how to incorporate the yoga philosophy into their daily lives. "

"Be kind, be present, just BE..." - Azmi Samdjaga 

Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Promise of Yoga

I had been having some thoughts about the future which had been affecting me but was determined to push them aside when I went into the Hatha 1.5 class last Friday.  However, when the class started, my mind was still wandering and I almost stumbled when I jumped into Tadasana from Downward Dog during the first Sun Salutation.  

As the class progressed, my mind started to calm down as I focused on my breathing.  And I was able to concentrate and pay attention to Azmi’s instructions to go into the poses which helped me to go deeper.  The chest opening and twisting poses and backbends were just what I needed as it cultivated into awareness of being opened in my relationships and staying in the present moment.  The poses also reminded me that whatever will be will be and to accept that there will be things I need to let go.

As I laid down in savasana, a wave of feelings flooded through me and tears were rolling down my face which I couldn’t control.   When Azmi gave the instructions for us to come out from Savasana, the tears had stopped and I felt so light hearted and relieved.  It was as if a heavy load has been lifted from my chest and I am ready to face whatever changes that may come.

This has always been the promise of yoga for me when I commit myself to the practice; bringing me relieve in times of stress and anxiety and helping me to grow and find inner peace.


Friday, February 17, 2012

Kino MacGregor's Workshops in Singapore

After hearing from Azmi that Kino MacGregor was coming to Singapore (my neighbouring country), I went to Kino’s website to check on her schedule and what she would be teaching.   

When I found out that she would be doing three workshops which would be held during the last weekend of April and on 1st May which is a public holiday for Labour Day, I posted on my Facebook status  asking if any of my yoga buddies were interested to go to the workshops with me.  

One of my yoga buddies responded and we have both registered for the workshops and have made our flight and hotel bookings.   

I am really looking forward to learning from Kino in person the techniques that she has been posting in her Youtube channel

"Regardless of your intention when you plants the first seeds of your lotus flower the transformative power of this ancient spiritual science works on a deep level of your being.  Many people start yoga for fitness only to find that yoga changes their lives in ways far beyond the physical." - Kino MacGregor (quote from her interview with MindBodyGreen

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Learning from Teacher's Assists and Falling in Headstand

This recent article from Kino MacGregor in Elephant Journal touched on how we should learn to let go of the need to “get” something from the teacher or the class. She wrote that if we rely on getting adjustments and attention from our teachers in order to have a good practice, then we will always be focused on an external source for our own development.

I totally agree with her on this but being adjusted or having the teacher assist us in the poses will help us in our learning process. When you are being assisted by the teacher, you should always pay attention to the teacher’s cues to help you move deeper in the pose.

By remembering my teacher, Azmi’s instructions on the breathing during his assists; inhaling to stretch into the pose and exhaling to move deeper into the pose and how leaning against his knees I am able to open the chest more, I found that I am able to go deeper on my own the next time I do the pose.

Kino also wrote about learning to fall in order to develop the kind of self-confidence that it takes to master the posture on our own. I can relate to this as I have fallen many times in headstand before I managed to master the pose.

When I started doing headstand, I would go to the wall and would end up placing my legs on the wall to keep myself in the pose. I found that I would rely on the wall and had difficulty lifting my legs from the wall once I am in the pose.

So, I decided to do the pose in the middle of the room instead. I would be able to go into the pose but would need my teacher to hold my legs up and when he takes his hand off, I would start to waver and start crashing down like a falling tree. After falling a few times, I learned to find my balance and managed to keep myself up for a few breaths.

The teacher is there to guide us and assist in the pose but it is up to us to keep finding our own center and our awareness on how we feel in the pose.

On a side note, this was posted by Peg Mulqueen and it would be nice to fill up one of this each time we go to class.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Yoga Version of the 12 Chinese Zodiac Animals

Gong Xi Fa Cai! Happy Chinese New Year! Wishing all of you a year of blessings filled with abundance joy and happiness, good health and great fortune. And may the year of the Dragon stretches you to your limit and brings you peace and love.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

HEADSTAND - Up Close and Personal with the KING

Come and explore what you have been curious about. It is said to be the KING of postures in a Yoga Practice. Find out why in this 2-part workshop by Principal Teacher Azmi Samdjaga.



Date: Saturday, 11 February 2012

Part I - 14.00hrs to 15.15hrs
- Myths and Facts about the posture
- Why is it important in Yoga
- Benefits and Contraindications
- Its significance to other Inversions like the Shoulder Stand
- Identify with the correct feel of headstand
- A safe and practical approach
- Mental preparation before you start

Part II - 15.30hrs to 16.45hrs
- Cautions/Restrictions
- Preparation Asanas
- Basic alignment checkpoints
- Finding balance to stay longer
- Using simple balance techniques
- Flexibility and Strength NOT required

The workshop is open to both Members of MYS and Non-Members. Rates as below. Early bird price is before 28 January 2012.

PART I - RM120, PART II - RM180, PART I&II - RM250
Early Bird Prices - RM100, RM150, RM200 Respectively

For reservations please contact My Yoga Sanctuary at:
Phone : +6012-331 9332
Email :
Website :

Sunday, January 1, 2012

108 Surya Namaskar on New Year's Day

I decided to sign up for the New Year Special Yoga: 108 Surya Namaskar organized by Breazy Yoga with a fellow yoga practitioner to welcome the first sunrise of 2012 and this is the first time I am taking part in such an event.

It was still dark when we reached the venue, Taman Tasik Cempaka, Bangi at 6.10 am this morning.   The organizer asked us to place our mats to face the east where the sun would be rising.  Before the start of the event, we were shown half a round of the sun salutations that we would be doing which consists of:

Stand in Tadasana with hands in namaste.
Inhale and raise the arms up and above the head.
Exhale and fold forward.
Inhale and step the right foot back followed by the left foot.
Exhale, knees down followed by chest and chin.
Inhale to cobra.
Exhale to downward dog.
Inhale and step the right foot forwarded followed by the left foot.
Exhale and fold forward.
Inhale and rise up with hands sweeping upwards.
Exhale and bring the hands in namaste in Tadasana.
The other half round would be the same sequence with the left foot first.

We were told to take it easy and rest in child’s pose when we feel tired or sick. 

At 6.30 am, the count started and we will led through the sequence by a leader.  At the start, there were some awkward movements of which leg to step backward and forward first and bringing my hands to namaste after rising with the hands upwards as normally, in my Ashtanga practice, I would bring my hands to each side of the body.

However, after a few rounds, I managed to co-ordinate my movements and it was a smooth transition with the breath being the main energizing force in flowing through the asanas.   After reaching the 70th round, I decided to skip a few rounds and take a rest in child’s pose to conserve some energy and joined back after the short rest.   

When the leader shouted that we have reached the last ten rounds, there was an air of excitement and all those who had stopped joined back for the last few rounds.    When we hit the 108th round, the leader told us to jump forward instead of stepping forward and all of us cheered and clapped as we finished the final asana.  

As I sat in easy pose after laying down in savasana, I made a silent prayer of hope that I would be able to face all the challenges in my life as I had courageously this morning.

It was an awesome experience and watching the sky being lit up by the sun as we were doing the sun salutations brought forth the significance of the practice of paying homage to the Sun-god and enjoying his blessings.

I stretch back up to the sky
Oh Surya Namaskar
To give many thanks for blessing me with your light

I say many prayers to you
Oh Surya Namaskar
For sharing with me your light

(part of Prayer to the Sun from The Pagan Library)