Going Yinside

Practice for the sheer joy
of being free. Practice
to be empty of “me, me me”.
Silent, open, and infinitely vast,
practice to remember what is real.

Practice to give yourself up
and receive the wordless truth.
What you get will be useless –
not the coin of any realm –
but oh, the glory of
those moments – being whole.

– Danna Faulds

Did you notice the pink and violet skies, and how overgrown wild flowers are abuzz with bees and butterflies? At where I live, lockdown measures begin to ease today. There is a sense of anticipation with a hefty dose of trepidation. Soon, we will convene in our new-normal selves. When it is business as usual, when you can breathe freely, mask free, what stories of change, loss and triumph will you tell? Will you continue into growth or retreat into familiar safety?

I begin the second half of 2020 offering Yin yoga sessions as a more sensory approach to the process of introspection and self-inquiry. It appears my yoga journey has come full circle, a destined homecoming of sorts. Yet I am stepping into a new world, one that is rebalancing and changing.

Outside, Piscean Age belief systems are crumbling, albeit not without a fight. Humanity is facing a new dawn. Mother Earth matters. Every voice matters. The soul is colorless, genderless and oh so free. It is time to let go of archaic beliefs that keep us in a state of separation. As a human race bound by collective suffering and opportunity for growth, we are asked to step forward to make new choices to experience wholeness.

Inside, I have been feeling my way into practicing and teaching Kundalini yoga differently since allegations of misconduct against Yogi Bhajan surfaced a few months ago. This necessary soul searching has been sobering and heartbreaking. It remains to be seen how I will eventually teach the practice so it is aligned with values I hold dear. I still bookend my day with a meditation in this tradition. There is a space in between my profound love for this powerful practice and equally deep disappointment with the fall from grace of a figure widely regarded as a guru. This is the space I am resting, between my breaths, awaiting the unfolding and eventual answer.

If there is one thing my spiritual practice has taught me, it is this: It is okay to feel the enormity of my feelings. It is okay to feel grief, rage and despair. It is okay not to be okay and positive all the time. This is why we practice. So nothing stays stuck and morph into a cancerous mass. We practice not just for peace of mind. We practice to have a life. A life we want to live. A life filled with freedom, clarity and strength to honor our authenticity and truth.

The more I pour myself into the physical practice of yoga, the more its subtleties permeate into other areas of my life. The deeper my energy medicine practice, the more I appreciate a multidimensional approach to dissolve the programing and conditioning in our system. Yin yoga to me is more than an antidote to our masculine, task-oriented lifestyle, or prescription for release of issues in our tissues. The slow practice is the perfect meditation tool to tune into the intricacies [Y]inside.

I see Yin yoga as an art in deep listening. How do we navigate sensations on the mat so we can listen to the stories inside that are longing to be heard. How do we sit through that hamstring tension so we can tend to strong emotions outside of the calm of the studio. How can we cultivate this sensitivity on the mat so the refined awareness connects us to our inner observer and our greatest teacher, the guru residing in our hearts.

Yoga is not nailing that deep back bend, or attaining the perfect symmetry. With this beautifully complex gift of a human body, can you touch your core to find your way h[om]e, to your unique you?

Reset

Dear Hearts,

Wherever you are, how are you keeping up? How is your heart, mind and body? How are you managing your energy level?

Four weeks in self-isolation flew by. At where I live, in Singapore, we have another four weeks to go. We are not alone in this mandatory stay-at-home order. Globally we are staying inside. There are those blessed with a privileged retreat. Many are struggling with necessary familial duties, work demands and self-care in truncated environs. Some are simply facing extraordinary hardship.

I did not think I would live to see a pandemic. Who could foresee toilet paper would be precious commodity. Who knew a previously taken for granted grocery run would be a chance for fresh air and a breather. I certainly appreciate the joy-walks and loving messages from above when I venture out to replenish fresh produce.

It is hard to fathom the magnitude of housecleaning that is required on a personal and collective level. A world painstakingly built to stay safe and cozy is crumbling. Debris that has been swept under the rug, stubbornly held old ways, parts that have been starved and repressed, everything has morphed into monstrous proportions because life is being examined at a microscopic level.

I like to believe humanity is at the threshold of a new way of being. They say you either have the intuition to change or you are forced to change. The Big C, Change, is unimaginable for most people even during the best of times.

For me transcending my resistant to technology was one such change. As a highly sensitive empath who feels everything so deeply, I wondered how I could be of service. With loving support from tech-savvy soul sisters, I took the great tech plunge, to teach online. I, or rather we were called to serve during this incredible time of introspection.

The last few weeks saw me teaching meditation to a whole new community across different time zones. I was very grateful to share the practice that has allowed me to meet my authentic self in this unending journey to find true liberation. It was a free offering from my heart. Your lovely notes saw me through the sense of disconnection I felt in a Zoom room.

You wrote:

“It was a powerful and invigorating session!”

“Was really good. Didn’t realize there were so many meditation techniques. It really helped to feel calmer and more focused.”

You had so many questions after our meditation sessions. Some of you were inspired to keep up with a self-practice. The Work works if you are willing to do the work. What is important you rise, show up and do your best every day. Every new day is an opportunity to listen deeper, trust more, live a little truer, one day, one breath at a time.

It is amazing there is so much grace and silver lining to this crisis. This reluctant pause is profound time not to be wasted. Our suffering cannot be in vain. Mother Nature thrives again. The plight of migrant workers, the marginalized and vulnerable is under scrutiny. Children are realizing being able to go to school is a privilege. There is newfound appreciation for personal and environmental wellness. All around me, people are breaking habits, patterns and cycles and finding change is not so daunting after all. Pursuits in the external world we once counted on for happiness appear to be trivial compared to the richness and sheer freedom a peaceful inner world can offer.

What if staying in and finding our true h[om]e is the deepest journey we will ever make this lifetime? What if this exploration brings us to uncharted territories where a breathtaking horizon is closer than we think. It is beautiful to witness this rousing from a slumber, shifting from paralysis to full-on engagement. Perhaps this is the long overdue reset planet earth needs.

How are you using the gift of this moment to transform yourself, to be the version of yourself you always wanted to be?

What and who will you be when you step out and walk on earth again?

How will you sustain and settle into the new you?

How else can we collectively stay awake for as long as possible?

There are more questions than answers and it is okay. Some days at home are better than the others and this is okay, too.

Soon enough I’ll be back in the mountains. My self-healing retreats will return next year. This is all I know and it is fine. The daily spiritual practice that saw me through change and loss is now preparing me for an unknown future. In this present moment, I am at my most prolific, creating healing music on the harmonium and writing a book. For now, my partner and I are rescheduling our journaling and yoga workshop Trust & Let Go. Come if you are called.

Till we connect in person again, please reach out if there are ways I can support you. There is more than enough space in Zoom room.

May you be unafraid

May you be free

May you live your best life from now on

Freedom

Satnam soulful ones,

The second quarter of 2020 is upon us.

Freedom has been on my mind lately. Do you feel the same?

With external borders shut and movement curtailed, I am journeying deep to find inner liberation. The path inward promises certainty when outside circumstances are beyond control.

It is human to want answers, to want to know what to expect and how things will work out. We are following the news, understanding what is happening and still at the mercy of the unknown and invisible. The truth is, we simply don’t know all the time.

The truth is also a dedicated spiritual practice can be your precious oars when you feel like a boat lost at sea. Where do you find ground when there is none?

There is so much wisdom intense times can teach us. We can learn to rest the thinking mind that wants surety and control of the maze. Life simply shows us where we need to go when the time is right. As yogis, we use the mat to practice relaxing and surrendering into the unfolding at the present moment. We listen to the language of the body. We find infinity in the finite.

Undoubtedly the physical suffering is real. Apocalyptic news have become so unsettling boundary setting is necessary to maintain sanity. I have never found a better time to take all that yoga has taught me on the mat to dark wobbly places outside of the mat. More than ever, the growing sense of connectedness and peace root even more profoundly in me so I can be the rock for those near and dear. More than ever, we are being called to return to the natural state of balance innate in us.

There is now nowhere else to go except the room in our hearts. Our best teacher resides in this vast boundless space, compass-ready for an inner odyssey. With no map for navigation, anything is possible. This is the time to reinvent and re-imagine all that is possible. Maybe being confined within four walls is redefining what Home means. Perhaps what is excessive or irreplaceable is showing up with surprising clarity. This crisis offers such fertile ground to investigate and re-evaluate our internal and external landscape. There is no more escaping. This is time to arrive in the temple that is the body and confer it deep healing.

The crack is after all where the light comes in. This could be Ground Zero for true liberation if you are willing to consider.

I keep singing, chanting, praying, playing music, practicing yoga. They help me find my inner freedom so I keep going. I want to let you know I am here practicing with you. I am here to share with you the practices that saw me through grief, loss and are now seeing me through a pandemic. Your tools are within you and I can show you how to access them. Reach out if you want to know how I can support you through these exceptional times. Sending you so much love. May you tend to yourself gently when the seas are rough and the storms look like they may never pass.

Trust and let go

I will always remember that September afternoon at Sri Guru Ram Das Jee International Airport. Our first words to each other were, what brought you here? CazArt and I laughed at this recollection of us chatting in the line at Immigration.

What brought us to India indeed. It appeared to be completely random. Or not. We both received a clear message from Up There to be in South Asia. I listened, refrained from asking a zillion questions and responded to guidance.

I trust what is meant for me. And what is possible.

That was all we knew at that moment in time. There we connected with each other, nearly 5,000 kilometers away from Singapore where we both called home.

Superficially, sitting in the audience of His Holiness The Dalai Lama was the thread that bound us. Really, it was time. It was simply time.

Somewhere out there, there is another heart-centered soul, who just like me, navigates her way home with poetry, song and art. Somewhere in this vast universe, there is another honest, feeling human who consciously chooses courageous expansive living aligned with her true essence.

Two years ago, CazArt had a brain surgery and near death experience that rewired her entire being and existence. In that same year, my dance with death through a sobering Death Meditation reset my most important relationships.

We weren’t looking but destiny found us.

Just like this, we birth our first workshop.

Trust and let go.

We did. And there we were, in the mountains of Dharamshala, knee-deep in cool waters from the gushing waterfall, tending to our full beating hearts in silence and reverence. We have chosen to hold hands, walk with each other and walk each other home.

Trust & Let Go

Our workshop is named after the first book CazArt published after her craniotomy.

In this intimate three-hour session, we dive into the art of trusting the wisdom of the heart with journaling and yoga.

We will soften the body with breath and conscious movement, dissect and slice the fear of letting go, journey deep into our hearts to drop the finely crafted mask we put on every morning, practice deep listening and journal away.

We journal and move, to trust and let go.

CazArt a seasoned journal writer will have your ink flowing like butter. I will be by her side leading with meditation and movement to get you into the flow. We will both share the practice that nourishes, restores and fortifies us when our hearts are weary and bones too heavy. Together we will guide you into your inner cosmos so you can flourish in your outer world.

Trust that you are here in this time

and space for a reason.

So just let go and allow

the glorious moment to happen.

It will take you wherever

you are meant to be.

– CazArt

This is our story. What is yours?

Now is a good time to begin a practice that will nourish, clarify and fortify you many weeks ahead. Trust and let go with us.

Dying to live

Death is a stripping away of all that is not you. The secret of life is to die before you die – and find that there is no death. – Eckhart Tolle

The year began with a bereavement and a debilitating viral outbreak that brought travel to its knees and life to a near standstill. I have not felt this sense of urgency about mortality.

We can roll out the best laid plans, consult all the planets and galaxies, think we are doing it as sensibly as we know how. But who knows for certainty if the choices and decisions we make are the best ones for us and those we care about. We may never know if the new job, birthing another child, walking away from a relationship that no longer works is the right thing.

Are there right or wrong choices, or are they a matter of opinion and judgment, ours and others. The self-sabotaging beliefs and stories we spin in our heads can keep us stuck in a victim mode.

There have never been wrong decisions. Every single pain and loss expanded, changed and grew me. Part of the practice is to pause, self-observe and purify.

I can only rise every morning before the sun does, rise above my patterns and show up the best I can with a grateful heart. In the quiet of the pre-dawn morning, I say a prayer and listen in. It is an intimate and honest moment with spirit. What needs nurturing. What I ache for. What comes alive for me. The answers that come through at this godly hour are real and true.

A Death meditation I did almost two years ago was a redefining moment. It brought me to the last few minutes where I breathed my last and looked back at a life that went by in a flash. I saw unspoken words that were left hanging in the air, half-carved dreams and too many regrets.

There is really nothing quite like death to clarify, rekindle the courage to step into the journey to deeply drink from the cup of life, and “allow the flow of life as God wants us to flow with it” so to quote Yogi Bhajan.

It is never too late to begin again.

I don’t take anything for granted now. I love the people I love fully and make sure they know it. There is no room in my body to contain unexpressed words and emotions. I share my tender heart openly because the soul knows no division. The knowing that I have danced with life with all my heart and soul brings an incredible sense of liberation and fearlessness.

With yoga, a man can be a goddess and a woman can be a warrior. Our souls are divine; only our bodies have a gender. – Martin Richtsfeld.

Want to know more about the yoga practice that keeps my heart wide open and resilient and my senses sensitive so I can listen to my inner light? I’ll be teaching the highly accessible tools of Kundalini Yoga Saturday mornings in central Singapore in rotation with Joti Akal and Saharra. Together we will move, sweat, chant, sing and pray. It is never too late to begin again. Join us, will you? Get in touch here.

May you rise and shine, make decisions aligned with what is true to you and always remember your divine soul is longing to live your highest you.