Noble Quality – Forgiveness

~:~ To err is human; to forgive, divine ~:~ by Alexander Pope


As we come towards the end of the year, it is our chance to reflect on 2015 and what happened within our sphere. Usually we tend to gloss on the nice things and quickly brush off the memories of the not so nice things. But these memories do come back and prick us when we least expect or want. And so perhaps it is better to deal with these unhappy memories now rather than let them simmer and brew within the sub-conscious self and carry the pain, hurt, anger and misery not only on our shoulders but into the New Year as well.

The noble quality of Forgiveness is a unique way of drawing a line on the past. To the extent that people have spoken harshly to us, caused us anger and pain, take this opportunity to forgive them. By the same token, where we have caused unhappiness to others (which incidentally also made us miserable), then we should gather the strength and ask them to forgive us.

Where possible one should try to go physically to the person to seek forgiveness and/or to forgive. However, if this is not possible, then forgiveness can be sought and given in the mind.

Practice of Asanas & Mudras

IMG_0270The twisting postures in our Asana practice are not only wonderful for massaging the digestive system, liver and spleen and so helping remove any undigested material from the body but emotional cleansers too – but they also wring out the negative emotions stored within.  Taking a bind with the hands deepens the twists.

Here the bound Ardha Matsyendrasana (half Lord of the Fish) which energises the spine and stimulates the digestive fire is shown.


Mudras are mainly hand gestures which are used to stimulate different parts of the body involved with breathing and to affect the flow of Prana (the life-force) in the body.  In performance of Varada Mudra, the right hand is pointed downward and the palm is turned to the front. The left hand is placed on the lap or thigh. The palm of both the hands should be completely exposed to the onlooker – the palms are open and empty. The five extended fingers in this mudra symbolize generosity, morality, patience, effort and meditative concentration.budhha in varada mudra

Benefits of Varada Mudra

  • Varada Mudra is beneficially linked to the virtue of forgiveness, the open right palm signifies our generousness to forgive the world
  • This Mudra also helps one to control mind
  • It enables one to practice meditation with complete focus
  • It enhances one’s mental state of serenity and harmony
  • This Mudra is capable of reducing anxiety and tension from an individual’s mind when it is practiced regularly


And so as we approach Christmas, we end with these beautiful words of forgiveness from the Lord’s Prayer, “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.”


Noble Qualities – Being Disciplined; Accompanied by Patience and Perseverance

PNS and Pattabhi Jois Photo


~:~ practice, practice, and all is coming ~:~ so often softly spoken by our beloved Guruji Sri K. Pattabhi Jois (1915 – 2009)



Chaturanga Dandasana

Chaturanga Dandasana (or Chaturanga for short) – the four limbed staff pose – embodies in physical form the noble quality of Discipline. It is a challenging pose that requires the co-ordination of many muscles and direct focus to do it correctly.

Therefore, during the Asana practice, there is a strikingly unusual tendency to rush through it leading to the creation of for example the half chaturanga- half up-dog posture; the mat belly flop; etc. Not doing Chaturanga correctly can lead the head of the shoulder rounding forward and stress in the shoulder joint; strain in the lower back; etc.

Hence, it is very important to follow the right technique to get into Chaturanga.

blog36-1Start from plank:

  • Hands under elbows
  • Elbows under shoulders
  • Abdominals and low ribs pulled in; core engaged
  • Thighs pushing up
  • Heels pushing back
  • Neck long
  • Hug all your muscles into the midline of the body
  • Roll way forward on your toes – even more than you think you should. (This ensures you will lower down with your arms in a 90° angle.)
  • Now begin to lower down until your arms form a 90° angle and stop just at that point. Your hands will be near your lower ribs (not under the shoulders). Do not go any lower.
  • Use a block to help you become aware of how low to go

Do this while keeping the following in mind:

  • Keep your core engaged just as in plank—abdominals and ribs really pulled in
  • Hug your elbows into the sides of your body
  • Keep the tops of your shoulders pulled back away from your ears and pointing straight forward, not drooping forwards and down.
  • Keep the chest broad and open up the collar bones to make a big smile

Indeed it does take regular and consistent practice to perfect the Chaturanga but once the technique is set in the memory of the cells, it stays with you.


So it is with life experiences.

In this era of having everything available on tap, it may seem old-fashioned to wait for success, reward, dreams to be fulfilled. And it may sound even more ludicrous that you would have to go through difficulties, challenges and pain to get it. And yet this remains the case. So learning from our Chaturanga experience, by persevering patiently in a disciplined fashion, this should also lead us to achieving our objectives in life.


As John Quincy Adams – the sixth President of the USA is attributed to have said – “Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish.”

Noble Qualities – Being Truthful, Being Sincere

~:~ The ultimate truth of who you are is not I am This or I am That, it is I am ~:~ by Eckhart Tolle

In our frenetic hectic daily pace of life, we are constantly trying to multi-task and so we land ourselves into situations where we may be thinking one thing, saying yet something else and then carrying out a totally different action. Our thoughts, speech and actions are misaligned. Besides wasting of precious energy, this leads to unhappiness and misery.

The Sanskrit word sat literally translates as ‘true essence’ or ‘true nature’ and also means ‘unchangeable’, ‘that which has no distortion’, ‘that which is beyond distinctions of time, space and person’ and ‘reality’. Many Sanskrit words use the prefix sat such as satsang – true company, sattva – pure, etc and thus sat really means more than truth, ie something that is unchanged and pure.

Peeping out from our small worlds and looking at the word ‘truth’ from this perspective, it is easy to then understand how so much of our time is spent not actually seeing the truth or reality in any of our life situations. Our actions, thoughts, emotions and words are extremely interchangeable and yet these are the things that create our own truth!

So if we are to be truthful and sincere, then we need to pay particular attention to those things which are / are capable of constantly changing – ie our thoughts, emotions and speech.

Sat on the Mat

Our yoga practice requires that we remain fully aware of what we are doing as we get into different postures – we are thinking and doing the posture that is required and in silence.

Another way to observe truth on the mat is by paying closer attention to the breath.  If the breath is strained or shallow, then it is likely that the body is not comfortable with what it is being asked to do. So even though it may hurt our ego a little bit, honesty requires listening to the breath and easing off the posture.


As yoga works at the deeper subconscious levels, working on yoga postures targeting the head, neck and shoulder areas also assists in cultivating true speech, true thoughts and true deeds so thatIMG_3411 off the mat too “what we think is what we say is what we do” and all the permutations of thought, speech and action are aligned.


Sat off the Mat

One of the keys to having a fulfilling life is to be true to yourself and to others. This is a very high bar to set and live by. Act as if your every word, thought and action was to become universal law. When in doubt always do the right thing.

An important quality related to truth is sincerity. Not only be honest in everything you do and in every transaction and activity you undertake but do it from the heart. And remember the age old idiom “my word is my bond”.


We typically close our practice with the Sanskrit chant Om Tat Sat – this is translated as ‘Supreme Absolute Truth’ or more literally ‘all that is’.


Noble Qualities – Being Generous

~:~ You make a living by what you get; you make a life by what you give ~:~

attributed to Sir Winston Churchill

But whenever we give – be it our time, effort or money – there remains that nagging calculating voice at the back of the head which unconsciously or consciously is asking what and when will you get something back in return.  So how can we be truly generous – able to give without the expectation of receipt so as to be able to practice the highest form of generosity – unconditional love?

Why are we not able to give freely without the expectation of getting back?

It is a loaded question and perhaps inherently unanswerable.

So many writers have focused on how to make us give freely. Often, they have turned to two particular Yamas – ethical rules to be observed – as coded by Patanjali:

Asteya – non-stealing of another’s belongings, time, money, energy, attention, etc. This Yama reminds us to take only what is freely given and to be generous in our giving

Aparigraha – non-acquisitiveness.  This Yama reminds us of letting go of what we don’t need eg excess belongings, food, etc, becoming non-attached.  Importantly it is about letting go, even of expectations of what should or will be ‘given in return’.

We can also answer this question by taking guidance from our Asana practice. In order to be able to be truly generous we need to give from the heart. In order to give from the heart, you need to “be” the posture.

Traingle MeeraFor example, practicing Triangle posture – we become not only one but at least three triangles – refer to the illustration.  So we are with the body, mind and spirit in that moment – doing, feeling and being triangles – rather than analyzing what should a triangle be, why not a square, etc etc.  Thus, by being truly (from the body, mind and spirit) generous we are able to contain the nagging voice searching for that return receipt.


Practice from the heart

Abiding by Asteya and Aparigraha and being in and becoming heart-opening Asanas, it becomes easier to lose attachment to things.  Instead sharing and being generous become progressively positive practices.