20 July 2014

For the students whom we open and close the practice with Chants:)

I decided to introduce opening & closing mantra to a group of students fairly new to the Ashtanga practice yesterday. However tongue- twisting it may be presented at our tongues, I was glad that they were very open to give it a try and sing along with me.

Mantra, is one aspect that draws me into the practice, i love how the vibration we created can really  centre my mind, and the resonant after gives an amazing feeling of calmness. 

The concept of singing the opening chant is a great to platform to withdraw any external distractions and get drawn into our centre-- before starting the practice.

Personally, though i may not understand completely the real meaning of each verse

due to the language barrier of Sanskrit--- English translation however only offers a very surface explanation of the mantra;

I take upon the chance to thank the many previous teachers along the lineage who relentlessly passing down the knowledge for over the centuries till today---

Patanajli ( the sage name that appear in the opening mantra, is believed to the the first person who created the yogic knowledge that makes applicable throughout the years of generations--- on the book of Yoga Sutra)  so that we get the chance to learn and be in touch with the practice for our well-being. 
While after the physical practice, the closing mantra plays a good role as the closure of all those self- exploration, emotions roller- coaster and self- confrontation that happens during that 1.5hr to 2hrs hard work. 

It sets as a gentle reminder and appreciation for ourselves of making the time, space and effort to be in the practice, and for the craves of the self-knowledge. Always be grateful for the opportunity to be on the mat. 

The very first year when i started attending yoga classes in a big yoga studio in Singapore, the teacher would lead us into an "Aum" before starting the class. Which i loved it how it sets us in the right attitude after all those hectic rush and stress from work. 

Thereafter, the teachers stopped this practice instructed by the management, as some members were not comfortable with it. I felt a little disappointed of course and ridiculed by the discomfort. 

For those who were not comfortable could choose not to join in the "Aum" and wait for the rest; respecting the ancient practice, instead of stopping everyone from it just because of personal mental imbalance. 

It was a little saddening to me personally, because then the idea of yoga practice becomes so physical and concept of exercises ( which is definitely not)--- the contortion of the underlying purpose of the practice continues as the whole system was broken down into pieces. 

Soon after, i was drifting away from commercialize classes, because they no longer able to feed me answers for my questions other than on a very physical level. 

Now, as being a yoga teacher myself, that gave me a motivation to bring the connection of the physical ( asana)  practice and the more philosophical part of the practice to my students--- along with asana, we need to go beyond and understand the intention of the yogic system. 

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