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Drsti Yoga

I am trained from a traditional yoga teacher training provided by Himalaya Yoga Valley based in Goa, India and Cork, Ireland. We follow Ashtanga style of asana practice and a glimpse of Iyengar. Therefore, we use props and variations during the classes to make it accessible for everyone. During the course I learned not only how to practise yoga asanas safely but also Ayurveda, Philosophy, Anatomy, Pranayama & Mediation, Asana and Teaching Methodologies. 

Before embarking on the training, I had already established my home practice (asana, pranayama and mediation) since 2016 with the thirst to become a better meditator. After I realised how asanas and pranayama allowed me to find ease in my body and mind, I decided to have the training and to practise safely at home. However, after I completed my practicum, I felt so comfortable teaching yoga and fell in love with spreading the joy of being at ease in your body and with your mind. It’s the simplest form of happiness. You just need yourself and a yoga mat. I have studied online and in-person with yoga teachers including Judith Hanson Lasater & Mary Richards, Tias Little, Carrie Owerko, Shari Freriedrichsen, Joan Hyman and Jeanne Heileman.

My yoga journey started on and off since I was in my 20s becuase of chronic lower back pain- it wasn’t meditative. In fact what drew me to yoga asana or awareness of the postures was meditation. I wanted to become a better meditator by becoming aware of bodily sensations and being at ease with my thoughts more deeply. I noticed yoga asana also allows me to drop into the less anxious state of mind with less effort. Therefore, like the majority of youga teachers, my teaching will be always focused on connecting your movements – breaths – mind together.

Since 2016, I have been studying Since 2016 I study meditation and Buddhist philosophy with Alistair Appleton and have learned a meditative asana with my yoga teacher Sevanti Attwood. This has helped me to realise that meditation and asana are my principal toos for me to live my life more fully and with courage. I am most grateful to two beloved teachers of mine; Alistair for inspiring me to establish a daily meditation practice and to Sevanti who makes yoga appeal to me and encouraged me to become a teacher. Both teach by example.

I recently hold a certificate in Yoga and Ayurveda from the School of Yoga.

Currently, I am studying ‘Experimental Anatomy’ with Judith Hanson Later, the author ‘Living Your Yoga’ and Mary Richards, yoga teacher who’s specialised in anatomy.

My core values

🤍 Yoga should be available to EVERYONE.
💙 The practice of Yoga (and Buddhism for lay people) focuses on Ahimsa – non -violence or tenderness towards yourself.

💛 You don’t need to wear particular clothes to practise asanas.
🧡 Yoga is a specifically designed practice to use your body to shape your mind and use your mind to shape your body. This will increase strength and coordination, relaxation, and symmetry both in your body and mind. Choose a yoga style that suits your body and use props so that your asana becomes a place where you can rest in the pose not fighting against it. This makes yoga is a very powerful method of healing.
❤️ No one can feel your pain and you cannot feel anyone’s pain. Do look after yourself and pay attention to your body when you practise yoga.


If this resonates with what you want to approach your yoga practice, come and practise together.

Learning about Change

Leraning About Change from a cup of coffee

On page 104 paragraph 7 in “Bringing Yoga To Live’ by Donna Farhi, she writes ‘…when we drink a cup of tea it is noe the same as the beginning as at the end. The aroma is strongest when the tea is first poured. We can appreciate that moment. The first sip is the hottest. We appreciate that moment. As we go to the bottom of the cup the tea is now cool. We appreciate that moment.’

Donna Farhi

The other day I went to a cafe for breakfast with a close friend. When the coffe was served, it wasn’t hot enough making my really annoyed. Instead of asking a staff to make it hotter, I drank it up within 5 minutes, thinking that I would never come back here again.

The analogy of tea and my relationship between me and my coffee may sound irrelevant. The point here is that I failed to notice the fixed identity of my perfect coffee and the reality of temperature. In my mind the perfect coffee can stay hot from the first sip to the last one. As a result, I felt a bit grumpy and I was holding grudges toward the staff.

In the same chapter in that book Farhi suggests that we can disciplie ourselves to notice that our reality is changing ALL THE TIME. We don’t have to manipulate our perceptions to make them better or to control them. THERE’S NO FIXED SENSE of THINGS. This also applies to the changing senses of comfort and disconfort in our body and the situation in our day-to-day life.

In my case I was fantasising of the perfect cup of Americano. When the real coffee was not the same as in the thinking mind, it ruined my morning coffee experince.

At the same time while I was draining the coffee down my throat before it got cold, my friend was calmly sipping capucino and holding a conversation. Her face lit up, her fingers warpped around her coffe cup as if it was the most precious thing in the world at that moment. Seeing her being at ease and content while I failed to pay attention to what she was saying, I realised the cup of coffee alone couldn’t just make her happy and serene. She enjoyed her coffee, the senses of being served, our conversations and possibly my company.

After that morning, I began to enjoy the coffee we make at home more than ever. I can make it as strong as I like and as hot as I like.

Moreover, I can use what Farhi reminds us about the physical changes to reflect on my ageing body. Each time on the mat I began to accecpt that there are certain poses that make my body ache and may not be able to do it in this life time; there are also some poses I can hold with ease and leaving me the residue of contenment. Off the mat, I began to ask myself what foof nourishes my body and how can I adjust to food that is more beneficial to my body.

Most importantly, if this incident of not-hot-enough coffee should happen again, I’ll notice that abd would politely ask the staff to make it hotter.

Let’s Talk About Greed on the Mat

One of my role models in yoga, Judith Lasater, talks about greed. She states that greed can come in two ways. One is a tendency grasp material possessions and physical comfort; the other is grasping for success. Any acquisitiveness of more than we need including big houses, cars, clothes, belongings even advanced yoga poses. This can reflect our sense of insecurity and lack of self-esteem, I believe. Whatever it is there are two things for sure, she reminds, one is that ‘All will be lost’ and ‘it will never be enough’ to fill the sense of emptiness inside your heart.

As a buddhist born and bred I am aware of greed as it is one of the three poisons. When there’re options for donations I would go for the minimum amount to donate even though I could give me. I have more yoga gears and expensive mats more than I need and I still look for more. I have enough yoga poses to get me to the sense of peace or to ground myself as a preparation to meditation, I still want to achieve the more advanced poses and search for the best teachers to learn from.

Obviously, it’s easy for me to fall into the trap as it has been embedded in the habitual mind for so long – always wanting more , always wanting to be better……

Wanting to be better at what you do is good as long as you do that with kindness. Despite the fact that I am aware at that I can still push myself too hard to achieve advanced poses when my body says no. She also says that be aware of your mind, don’t use yoga asanas to punish yourself. Funny enough I once confined to my lovely yoga teacher friend that I used asanas to punish myself. That was the biggest insight I ever had.

I’ve known many yoga teachers who need new hips, new knees in their 50s. I don’t want that. So I tell me that Ahimsa is always the way. Love your body as it is and patience is a virtue.‘Wait until your body open & come out of the pose if I feel any pain’ has become my mantra. Still ….. I could somehow forgotten that.

The good news is that this is a life-long journey and I have may more opportunities to practise whenever I need more than I want.

Regarding to yoga asanas or yoga poses, my students asked how do they know if they’re not ready to do certain poses. I say observe your breath- it should be long, smooth and continuous while holding a pose. If not, back off or use a a prop and or a variation. There shouldn’t be any sharp, shooting pain. Holding a pose with some discomfort is good and it will lead you to the more open place in your body but your breath has the final say. Practising Ujjayii breathing can also bring you to a comfortable and still position. In Iyengar, however, your teacher may guide you to use a quiet breathing. I presume (as I’m not Iyengar trained.) that if your breaths are ragged, uneven (meaning the inbreaths are louder then the outbreaths as if youre gasping for air), you’re experiencing not-helpful discomfort.

As Patanjali's yoga sutra 'Sthira sukham asanam” (2:46), meaning that in every asana you should be aware of 'every particle of body' and asanas should be 'performed without any expressions of physical ego'. 1 That’s what I would do in my practice and I’m sure most yoga enthusiasts do that too.

In life we can know all analogies or hold certificates and have all the latest gadgets and all, and still be miserable.

If you are fully aware of every movement in even a simple side- twist, that is enough.

References:

BKS Iyengar, Core of Yoga Sutras – the Definitive Guide to the Philosophy of Yoga, Harper Thorsons, London, 2012 (p 148).

How to make yoga bolster

When you practise yoga asanas with me, I will encourage you to use props. Using props is one of the many acts of self-compassion. This does not mean that you are being unkind to your body if you don’t use a prop. For most of us, our body is undergoing changes al the time. By using a strap, a block or a bolster as an extension to your limbs or hamstrings allows you to get into the pose more deeply. As I often say ‘the intention here is to keep our spine long’ for example. More importantly props can be used to prevent possible injuries such as hyper-extension in your knees etc.

Making a bolster from blankets and a scarf is one of the first things I’ve taught even before the actually training started. This shows how important a prop is. Therefore next time when you get on your mat, don’t be shy to use props or variations during your practice if you ever needed to.

Bolster is great for beginners to use in Meditation, Pranayama, Hatha, Ashtanga, Yin classes. It’s an essential tool for Restorative classes or when you need rest. Here’s a quick video showing you how to DIY a yoga bolster.

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