Monthly Archives: May 2012

Belief, makes things true

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I got into my first crow pose in Ninie’s class last Thursday. It was also the same day that I knew how it felt like to get into a full, proper plough pose. Two new poses in one single class, and definitely a big step forward for me considering I had (temporarily) overcome my fear of accidentally breaking my neck in my yoga class, even if it was for a mere 5 minutes.

The Plough

Now I can imagine some may be thinking .. but urm what’s so hard about swinging your leg backwards like that?

..Because to me, the floor always seems like it’s so far away and my entire top half body’s weight is resting on my neck. And the view from there does not seem all that pretty either.

So when the lovely yogi teacher of mine instructed us to go into a plough, I did what I have always done all these while. Lay on my back, prop my torso up, and hover my legs straight upwards, as far as I had always been comfortable in. And wondering when I will ever get over this fear that nothing really will happen to my neck.

And then she came to me, while I was trying to balance myself in a shoulder stand pose and hoping it will somehow come off looking like half a plough pose, and she pushed my hovering legs down towards the floor. Instinctively, I grabbed on to her wrists and held on to dear life while she kept saying “Don’t worry, I won’t let go”

I thought that phrase could only be best heard if your other half utters that in a spur of the moment in your relationship. But clearly I was wrong.

And my feet eventually touched the floor above my head, and I thought to myself, hey! the floor is not all that far after all. And as I stayed in that pose, trying hard not to lose my balance with my bum up in the air like that, I waited for some crazy bone breaking sound … and you know what? My neck is as fine as it was before it. Woohoo!

You reach a certain milestone in your practice when you attempt a new pose, or overcome an old fear through an asana. And that milestone is made better when there is a trusted teacher to guide you along to it.

The Crow

I learnt in that evening, a lot of our perceived limitations, the things we claim we can’t do, is a result of some fear that we may have. I learnt that a lot of people fall back too fast and give up before they get into a full Crow pose because they are afraid they will ┬ámove forward too much and fall flat on their faces. And I learnt that if you look up and straight ahead, instead of looking down (where the floor will look dangerously close to you in that position), place your knees as close to your armpits as possible and lift your feet slowly off the floor, you will eventually get into it. Even if you stay there for 2 seconds, it IS still 2 seconds of Crow pose, and lots to be proud of ­čÖé

There’s a million destinations and this is one

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This video was blogged about by a fellow yogi-blogger whom I had been following recently. And I have to say, watching it was not only a joy but it became a true highlight of my very long, and very challenging Monday. This was such a breath of fresh air at the end of a long 14 hour day at work. And what a relief it is too.

Tell me that you did not tear up as you watch the transformation in this man, and his sheer determination to walk and run again, all through yoga. I would have to say though, there were parts which I wasn’t sure I would be capable of doing myself had I been in his shoes – those headstands that ended up crashing into the cupboards behind him didn’t look too fun, neither did it looked anything too safe. But he defied all that and found himself capable of walking unassisted and running at the end of 10 months.

What an inspiration this guy must have been to so many others, but to me this video spoke volumes on a number of things the obvious one being the many benefits that one can experience from consistent practice of yoga. Then there is persistence, and absolute faith in yourself that no amount of toppling over from an inverted triangle, crashing over backwards from a supported headstand gone wrong, or even losing balance from the various warrior positions could deter you from trying again, and getting better with it over time.

The message here is crystal clear, ┬áwhen you believe in yourself, magic happens. It happens not because of some cosmic blessing, but simply because there is complete and absolute belief that you can achieve whatever you set your mind to. There are a million destinations you can arrive at in life. And a million more made possible if only we see past our own doubts and fears. A quote by Ambrose Redmoon that was repeatedly used throughout Srinivasan Pillay in his book on fear and its function in molding the human brain quickly became one of my favorites too – “Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgement that something else is more important than fear”

I have been practicing yoga irregularly for the last 5 years or so, of which time I have never gone past the fear of breaking my neck (then again who does?). Which really means any poses that require me to be in an inverted position is something that I have been able to avoid with much success. I know this won’t be possible when I begin my teacher’s training course in September. I know most definitely lots of handstands and headstands and ploughs will be in the horizon. Watching this guy crash over backwards while he is upside down taught me that..heck, if he can eventually manage an unsupported headstand, who is to say that I can’t too?

There’s a million constellations and this is one
There’s a million destinations and this is one
There’s a million ways to show your hand
There’s a million ways to prove yourself –
Kaiser Chiefs (Listen to Your Head)

Freedom is…

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Amnesty International turned 50 recently and as part of this celebration, 50 artistes collaborated to produce “A Toast To Freedom”. Even Ewan McGregor was part of this effort, although I was watching intently while the video was playing and wondering at which part exactly he sang his solo.

This song got me thinking. What is freedom? Does it simply mean to roam the world as you wish, and be as you wish? Or is it something more complex beyond that?

Politics is one subject that I try to avoid as best as I can when it comes to this blog. Mostly because I do not know enough to provide an educated opinion on it, and it would not be fair to portray an opinion based on half-baked facts. Last weekend however, saw the gathering of thousands of Malaysian in Kuala Lumpur to stage a peaceful rally demanding a clean, and fair elections.

What began as a peaceful showcase of a group of people trying to get their message across, escalated into a mass violence.

Freedom comes in many forms and shapes, and surely demanding a clean and fair election through a peaceful rally would qualify as one. But at what price does one have to pay in order to obtain it?

So what does freedom mean to you?