Monday, 24 September 2012


One of my favourite practice is reciting mantra's (preferably with a group of people) or singing kirtan. Whilst I have sung at school choirs and plays, singing is not my forte. For this reason, I never ever thought I would enjoy kirtan but after my first experience, I was hooked! 

I grew up reciting sutra's. As a kid, I never questioned them. It was like a competition of who could remember more and recite it faster. One of the punishments my brother and I often received when we have been disobedient was reciting the mantra Om Mane Padme Hum. We would have to sit infront of the alter and finish a round of the mala beads if not more. Mala beads remind me of those days (fondly) 

Why are mantra's "powerful" or special? The vibration of these words and these composition of words is the reason. It is like 'AUM'. If you chant AUM in class, you know that "feeling" and that is one (but very special) vibration. Everything vibrates - including all of our cells. All these sounds, they just enliven our vibration! 

Here are some of the (yoga) one's I have collected.  

Peace Mantra's

OM sahana vavatu sahana bhunattu
saha viryam karawavahai
maa vidvishavahai
om shanti shanti shanti

together may we be protected together may we be nourished
together may we work with great energy
may our journey together be brilliant and effective
may there be no bad feelings between us

sarveshaam svastir bhavatu,
sarveshaam shaantir bhavatu

sarveshaam poornam bhavatu,
sarveshaam mangalam bhavatu

sarve bhavantu sukhinah,
sarve santu niraamayaah

sarve bhadraani pashyantu,
maa kashchidh dukh bhaag-bhavet

om shanti shanti shanti

Let it be so ordained (bhavatu), that all the people (sarveshaam), experience well-being (svastir) ; let all the people experience peace or tranquility (shaantir). Let all the people experience wholeness and completeness (poornam) ; let them experience prosperity and auspiciousness (mangalam).
May it so happen (bhavantu) that everyone (sarve) receives happiness (sukhinah) ; let them all be saint-like (-santu) and be without disease and in good health (niraamayaah). Let them see with their own eyes (-pashyantu) the goodness of life (bhadaraani) ; And let them not (maa) contemplate in their conscious mind (kashchidh) any sorrow inducing (dukh) thoughts while they remain beneficiaries (bhavet) of good fortune (bhaag).

Lokah samastha sukhino bhavanthu

May all beings everywhere be happy and free and may my thoughts, words and actions, contribute in some way to that happiness and freedom for all

Other Mantra's mostly for learning 

Guru Satyam
Guru Jnanam
Guru Anandam
Guru Shanti

My or the teacher is truth
My teaher is knowledge
My teacher is bliss
My teacher is peace

Guru Brahma
Guru Vishnu
Guru Devo Maheshwarah
Guru Saakshaat Para-Brahma
Tasmai Shri Guruve Namah

Brahma = Supreme cosmic spirit. God of creation
Vishnu – Creator & destoyer of all existence. God of Sustenance
Eshwara – Lord of the heart
(brahma-vishnu-eshwara trinity- the 3 guna’- satva, rajas, tamas)
Guru is Shiva, Guru is the absolute Brahman incarnate.
My salutation to such a Guru who is verily the supreme one


Asatoma Sadgamaya Tamasoma jyothir gamaya
Mrutyorma amruthan gamaya            

Lead me from falsehood to truth
Lead me from darkness to light
Lead me from death to immortality

Saha Naavavatu, Saha Nau Bhunaktu
Saha Viryam Karawavahai 
Maa Vidvishaavahai
Om snati shanti shanti

May that protect us, both teacher & pupil
Together may we be nourished
Together may we work with great energy to find the truth
May we never quarrel 

OM Namah Shivāya Gurave
Satchidānanda Mūrtaye
Nishprapanchāya Shāntaya
Nirālambāya Tejase

I offer myself to the Light, the Auspicious One,
who is the True Teacher within and without,
Who assumes the forms of Reality, Consciousness, and Bliss,
Who is never absent and full of peace
Independent in existence, the vital essence of illumination

Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra
great death-conquering mantra

Om Tryambakam Yajamahe
Sugandhim Pushtivardhanam
Urvarukamiva Bandhanam
Mrityor Mukshiya Mamritat

We meditate on you, third eyed one (Shiva) who is full of sweet fragrance and who nourishes human beings. Free us from disease, bondage and death

I once found this translation that made us all giggle:
May he liberate me from bondage, even as the cucumber is severed from the vine.

Surya Mantra’s

These are the 12 salutations to the sun 
If i remember right, this interpretation is from Shiva Rea

Om mitraya namah                     Salutation to the friend of all
Om ravave namah                      Salutation to the shining one
Om suryaya namah                    Salutation to he who induces activity
Om bhabave namah                  Salutation to he who illumines
Om khagaya namah                  Salutation to the one who moves through the sky
Om pusne namah                      Salutation to the giver of strength and nourishment
Om hirayagarbhaya namah      Salutation to the golden cosmic self
Om marichaye namah              Salutation to the rays of the sun
Om adityaya namah                 Salutation to the cosmic mother
Om savitre namah                    Salutation to the stimulating power of the sun
Om arkaya namah                    Salutation to he who is fit to be praised
Om bhaskaraya namah           Salutation to the illuminator

Ashtanga Mantra

Vande Gurunam Charanavinde
Sandarashita Svatma Sukhava Bodhe
Nishrayasa Jamgalikaya Mane
Samsara Halahala Mohasantiye
Abahu Purusharkaram
Sanka Chakrasi Darinam
Sahasra Shirasam Swetnam
Paranamani Patanjalim

I bow to the two lotus feet of the Guru's
which awaken insight into the happiness of pure being
which are the complete absoorption into joym the jungle pjysician
eliminating  the delusion caused by the poison of conditioned existence

I prostrate before the sage Patajali, who has thousands of radiant white heads
who has, as far as his arms, assumed a human form
holding a conch shell, a wheel and a sword
to him, i prostrate

Swasti Praja Bhyaha Pari Pala Yantam
Nya Yena Margena Mahi Mahishala
Go Brahmanebehyaha Shubhamastu Nityam
Lokhaa Samatha Sukhino Bhavanthu

May prosperity be glorified
May the world be ruled with law and justice
May divinity and knowledge be protected
May all beings everywhere be happy and free 


The spelling of the sanskrit words often vary. Translations vary a lot due to the beauty and complexity of the language (ie: it can seldom be translated directly, if at all) It is helpful as well to understand some philosophy, in order to understand some of the mantra's. I am not yet the person to translate these and may never be, as I am not well learned in the subject so these translations here have been from various sources accumulated over the years <3

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Zen Mouse

Last week, amidst my fuzzy head, a small teaching related "issue" came up. It was not something uncomfortable but it occupied my mind all day because in a recent survey I had conducted, a similar comment was raised. At the end of the day, I began to write something to address everyone and consulted with a friend who teaches in a similar capacity. Let's refer to my friend as the zen mouse. I am sure there will be many teachings from him in the future on my blog. He is so wise but so humble, I thought of the symbolic story of the mouse that Ganesh sits on; hence, the zen mouse...

He reminded me...

"....we teach with ourselves as a tool. We open up and let it just be there, so in some ways it is personal. The teaching and the meeting is personal- but it is not the same as being close personal friends with everyone"

This is especially true when it is a small shala and a small town / city where we actually have the opportunity to get to know each other. I am really grateful for this, because I am not so sure I would be so deeply engaged in a large studio or city where I am unfamiliar with most of the people who walk in. It is not that I will share any less, but the conversations would not be the same. Over the years, some of my clients have also gone on to become my friends, regardless of whether they are still in class or not.

However, the challenge arises when there is some degree of familiarity, because expectation starts to grow. We become a little more sensitive - just like we are with family members, because we are comfortable with it. And in a way, this is quite sweet.

I hope you all know that when you stop coming to class, it does not go unnoticed. I notice all of you. But I am very aware that nothing is permanent and do not expect you to be in class forever. I am comfortable with change and welcome it. I will seldom contact you to check on you unless I know you have been ill and want to know if things are o.k. The space is there for you to come and go as you please and you never have to explain anything (unless you wish to) and please, never feel obliged to, and never feel awkward about something like that. 

However, if I have hurt you in any way, by doing or not doing something that was expected or unexpected, then I sincerely offer my apologies. I try give my time and space as fairly as possible but at times, just as with life, what I want does not equate what happens or what translates. I live another day to learn :-) Namaste

Wednesday, 19 September 2012


it has been such a struggle to keep my head together the last twO weeks!! i am not sure what it is busying itself with. i have been trying really hard to keep up with it but all i have been getting is white noise neeeeeeeeneneneneeeezzzz... as a result of this, i have lost the plot slightly- forgetting facts; i could not remember for the life of me if it was the parasympathetic or sympathetic nervous system that was stress related- dOh...
i forgot a client, almost forgot another. almost fell down the stairs and have lost time being somewhere else... blehhh

times like these are for more asana practice :-)

when my mind struggles to be still (or make any sense) i take my focus completely into the physical, and there...the mind stills - magic! 

i cannot deny that i am an asana junkie! 

i love asana practice
i love yoga philosophy
i love yoga yoga yoga
bit mad really... but i love it!


Tuesday, 11 September 2012

London 2012

There was something so incredibly powerful about the Paralympics experience. I guess partly because we did not know what to expect. When we booked our tickets to the events, we did it because we really wanted to see the aquatic centre and the stadium. We had managed to get some tickets via some friends to the Olympics and had such an amazing time we wanted more and managed to get ourselves some Paralympics tickets.

It was quite a different experience...

The great thing about it was that you were not just witnessing a sporting event. There was so much happening around the event itself. You got to see the relationship between the guides, minders, coaches and the athletes and how they managed themselves. For example, when athletes without arms came out to swim - how they took off their outer layers, how they got out of the pool. Things we take for granted. Or how minders lifted paralysed athletes in and out of the pool. Minders are ready with wheelchairs and prosthetic legs at the poolside. It was a real eye opener.  One thing that stuck me the most was how in one moment, these athletes have to be the great person with all that believe in themselves to go for gold, and in the next moment, how they have to let someone help them. You just have to let your ego go and trust and accept the help of the support around you. It was all very dignified and the relationships around them was a beautiful thing to see.

The crowds were also AMAZING. The stadium was completely packed and so we know it is around 80,000 people. The energy - I cannot describe. It fills every atom in the body. The cheer at the Paralympics was also different. It felt like a cheer for the human spirit. For hope. For grace. It touches you to tears!


And when it had sunk in, it occurred to me that actually, we all have (or think we have) "limitations" on some level. When you see these guys, you realize where your limitations really are and how much easier it is to manage it. It is really about how much of it you are willing to embrace so that you may shine your brightest light. 

This Olympics has left me a legacy for sure!