An invitation to wellness…

ImageMy teacher and friend, Jonathan Cagas is in town for a very short while.  He is sharing with us his precious time on Thursday, July 19, 2012, 530 pm Room 202. Do not miss the chance to meet and learn yoga from him.

Bring a yoga mat, a small towel to wipe off sweat and a bottled water.  Wear comfortable exercise clothes, wear slippers and have a change of clothes (you will definitely sweat!). 


Gratitude, Compassion, Surrender




Karma, my worldview

Karma, according to Wikipedia, is the concept of “action” or “deed” in the Indian religions. 

It is understood to be the reason that causes the entire cycle of cause and effect.

As a young girl, I thought this word to be “bad” or negative.  I thought it was like a curse, when doing something negative or “wrong”, playmates would say, “You will get karma if you do that!”. It seems like a warning to veer away from wrongdoing.

At this point of in my life, I had learned to take the word and its meaning to steer me towards better thoughts, deeds and words.

It starts with being good to one’s self, to myself.  I learned how to value health and wellness.  I take time to build my strength and stamina through asana and pranayama practice.  Aside from the physiological outcome I get from this, it also gives me focus, clarity and steadiness of mind.  When I feel physically well, I feel happy and healthy.  It makes me want to share the good feelings to others.

I believe that it  reflects in my work; when discussing and dealing with others, preparing lectures and papers, treating patients and teaching students.  When I practice yoga, significant people in my life don’t worry about me getting sick — my hubby, my parents, my siblings and closest friends.  

Karma reminds you to always treat others well.  When you exude the energy of giving and openness when meeting and greeting people, they respond to you in the same manner.  In the past, I tend to be aloof (to cover my shyness) and closed to people, the responses I got were in the same manner.  And this applies to each person you talk to; the president of the University, the Dean of the College, the student, mother of patient, the shrimp vendor, the lobby guard…it applies to ALL!

Karma, helps me make choices.  Aside from the usual parameters in making decisions such as, “do I have the time?” or “am I capable of doing this?”, I usually think, “how can this help others?”, “how many will benefit, if i do this?”.  When I get the answer to the last two questions, deciding to do something becomes more meaningful and less stressful.  It also takes away from my mind of what will I get out of doing this activity.  The decision then is more of giving than receiving.  

Moral choices also become easier if one keeps in mind karma.  It reminds you of your childhood and your parents and always choosing to do what is right, even when no one is looking.  Karma reminds you that there is a higher being who “checks” on what you are doing.  

I am not a “saint” nor a perfect human being always doing good…I have met others who are at a higher plane in that aspect than I am.  I still do, say and think “things” that scares me of getting on the ‘negative’ side of that karmic cycle.  But I am trying each day.  And what helps me to shove me back to my senses or pinch me until it hurts, is the thought  of karma.  

Take each day to one at a time…to think, say and do good deeds…you don’t know what tomorrow might bring you.



Instrospection before urdhva dhanurasana (bow pose)


Introspection always happen during urdhva dhanurasana! I do several preparatory asanas and stretches before I get to do this pose. BTW, that is NOT me in the photo, I just took it! Anyway, as I go through the preps, the following thoughts linger in my mind…

what is weak? what needs strengthening? why can’t i get to do this asana?

why is it painful? why is it always painful? why is the pain lingering?

why do i want to do this asana anyway?

Weirdly, though I also answer the questions…(while working on the pose)

1.  I really need to work on the strength of my quadriceps and psoas.

2.  It is painful because I am not doing it right and my spine is not neutral; I need to open my chest more and stabilize by legs more.

3.  When teachers help me do this pose well, the feeling is liberating and exhilirating…that’s why I want to learn this asana.

If there is one thing I learned from ashtanga yoga, is that nothing is impossible with practice!


Hello my dear MIND…

I afforded myself a session (half a day) of this weekend’s seminar with A.G. Mohan and Indra Mohan.  They are students of Shri Krishnamacharya who is said to be the father of modern yoga (he was teacher to Sri K. Patthabi Jois and B.S.K. Iyengar).

1.  Yoga is a means to make our mind steady. One certainty in life is change.  Change can be brought about by external events, which we cannot control . Change can be brought about internally, through our minds…this we can have control over.

2.  What are the three most important things in life? Mr. Mohan asked Krisnamacharya this question. His answer: HEALTH which can be achieved through the practice of asanas; LONGEVITY which can achieved through pranayama; and TRANQUILITY, attained through meditation.

3.  The mind is our inner television.   I need to “watch” what I think.  Thinking is more powerful than action. If we think things through, then our actions (including speech) will be more meaningful and/or less hurtful.

4.  Happiness is simply letting go. Letting go of thought processes that causes anxiety, fear and worry.  Freedom is in our own hands.  If we do things that will make us happy, we become free; if we don’t do them, we become bound.

According to Mr. Mohan, happiness is within our reach and can be a constant in our lives.  We can do this by having a focused mind; being aware of our thoughts and subsequent actions and consciously free ourselves from those that make us “unhappy”.

These are just a few lessons of that half-day and introductory evening that I attended.  There are practical applications that I had started using in my practice this morning.  Mr. Mohan was funny with his “stories” and is very sincere and humble in spreading happiness through the teachings of Sri. T. Krishnamacharya.

Grateful for this experience…

To the leaders of our land…

The spirit of the 1987 Constitution is truth, honesty and transparency.  Its intent is to avoid graft and corruption that was the way of governing during the Marcos era.  If the highest magistrate of our land believes that an older law such as the Foreign Currency Deposits Law can be used by public officials like him, and overlook the intent of the SALN for full disclosure of assets and liabilities; then our country will never move forward.

nyayena margena mahim mahisah                                                                                         Let rulers rule the world with law and justice….


An inviting practice


Today, before I could start my asanas, I found myself in a fix — a flat tire! I had to make arrangements so that someone can come and replace it for me.  I was not it the mood anymore to continue my practice but insightful and experienced yoga friends egged me to go on and I’m glad I did!

I think usually, when I get on the mat I tell myself, “Yoga show me what you can do for me, give me focus, give me strength.”

Today it felt different…it was as if the practice was telling me “I can give you comfort, I can calm you, I can center you.”

Instead of me asking (or even demanding), it was the practice that was inviting me.  My practice was light and easy.  It was a shortened practice but each asana seemed effortless, undemanding and even painless!

Just like  in life, you need to have a give & take relationship with yoga.  If you nurture and care for it to grow, it will someday give back and care for you as well…


He had me at “Sarve…”

In the midst of my current busy and chaotic life, I am comforted by the memory of this man and the chants that he taught us.  My favorite and one that I chant all the time…

Sarve bhavantu sukhinah, sarve santu niramayah, sarve bhadrani pasyantu, ma kascit dukha bahgbhavet…

May we all be happy.  may we all be healthy. May all experience what is good, and let no one suffer…