Thursday, December 31, 2009

Saying good bye to 2009

Arriving to this space after a long gap. The last post of this year. Days just keep crawling but years fly by. Time to reflect on the past year.

It has been a year since I became a"yoga teacher". Taught a private class for over 7 months.Started teaching at the town's activity center twice a week. That is a very good experience.I am not sure where it will be going after a month. The attendance has been not very encouraging. I have 1-3 students on an average but at times had 10 people in the class. Have not heard a negative feedback yet or no one has left the class half way through. but same is the case with classes taught by veteran teachers and I had been warned about it. But, when you are a new teacher it is hard not to take it personally. The classes may get cancelled as soon as February of 2010.
But surprisingly enough,I am pretty calm about it. I am feeling a certain peace and confidence that comes from a knowing deep within that everything is PERFECT just the way it is and it always will be. I am ready for whatever is in store for me.

On the job front, things were slightly shaky since August. There wasn't enough money to pay us all on time and in full.But, I am really fortunate to be working for a wonderful human being who instead of letting us all go one fine day,actually let us in on the situation. This is kind of place and people you feel like sticking with. I kept my resume updated and was browsing the job sites but never actually applied to any job. For some odd reason, I just could not get myself to do it. That little voice in my head was stopping me. The scene now is much better. we are getting paid in full and I see new exciting things happening. Hope 2010 brings all the good fortune to our little company.

I have stopped making any resolutions long back but like every year I hope I can De-clutter my mind and make space for new beginnings. I recall something I read somewhere that if you harbor negativity,anger and hatred then bliss and happiness will dock somewhere else. And I am not going to let that happen.
My arms are open and so is my heart for the joy, health and peace that 2010 will bring in.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Yoga Saga Continues....

Here is the email that I received from Yoga Alliance just a few minutes ago. Need I say more?
Just sit back, relax and watch the drama unfold..

Yoga Alliance

Dear Dhanashri,

It has come to our attention that a Mr. Govinda Vishnu from Pasadena, Texas, is contacting yoga studios and schools throughout the country, both YA registered and unregistered, implying that he represents or acts on behalf of Yoga Alliance. We understand that persons contacted by Mr. Vishnu are told that the type of yoga they teach is not a pure form of yoga, is a violation of YA'sCode of Conduct and that YA will be bringing a lawsuit to close their studio or school.

Yoga Alliance has also been advised that Mr. Vishnu claims to represent an organization named Gitanjali International, which he claims is the supreme authority of yoga and the only official yoga registry in the United States, Canada, South America and Europe. He further asserts that if those he contacts do not comply with his demands he will bring legal action against them.

Mr. Vishnu is not affiliated with Yoga Alliance in any manner. His unwelcome and misleading communications are of deep concern to us. We are exploring our options with law enforcement authorities in Texas and at the Federal level regarding Mr. Vishnu's statements and threats.

Should Mr. Vishnu make contact with you please contact me on our toll free number 888-921-YOGA (9642) to report the incident, and should you feel threatened by him please contact your local police department.


R. Mark Davis
President & CEO

Friday, October 16, 2009

I have been following Linda's yoga blog for a few months and have been reading a few other yoga blogs(American) along the way.

I see a lot of things written about the yoga in the west . There are arguments and counter arguments. There is actually a debate going on about American yoga, the branding of yoga in different styles.

I could not stop laughing after reading a comment on Brenda's blog post . The commentator mentioned that during a discussion after a yoga class a gentleman(who is from India but living the USA for over 20 years)said that

“You Americans make everything so dramatic! It’s only stretching.” I really agree with that comment, about dramatizing things. Sure YOGA is much more than stretching, as you go deeper in your practice, you move from just the asana practice towards more meditative aspects of YOGA. But the key is, as a teacher, one should be able to dilute the YOGA dose at the level of one's students. Giving students the knowledge they are ready for, gradually.

If a YOGA class does not involve pranayam or meditation session it is still YOGA. Just like explaining kids about an apple falling from a tree is physics and teaching astrophysics/ nuclear physics to Ph D students is still physics.

I grew up in India, attended YOGA classes taught by my Aunt, by Iyengar teachers too. I came across couple of different styles of YOGA but never ever witnessed any such arguments/discussions/debates about YOGA not being YOGA just because teachers do not give a dose of spirituality. There wasn't any kind of one-upmanship. There were no lulu lemon yoga clothes(now this may be a case of sour grapes, since I simply can't afford those :), but on a serious note, even if I had disposable income I would not feel comfortable wearing those things ).Forget the fancy YOGA clothes, I had not even seen a yoga mat back home.

When I voiced my opinion on Linda's blog post, she said that because in India, yoga is just yoga, there is no need to make it sexy. SO, all this debate/discussions/style/formats/philosophy of yoga just to make it sexy? Who would have thought! Can't really argue with that one. Let the saga continue…To each its own!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Wish I had no regrets

Last week had been quite busy at home. It was the last week of my parents visit. My younger sister also was visiting along with her husband. We had a full house. Lot of talking(even snapping at each other), lot of cooking, lots of eating out, lot of shopping.

The last few days of parents or in-laws visit are always hard on many levels. I wish I could say that their trip was really nice and very memorable in every respect. They really had a wonderful time and they are looking forward to the next trip already. It would be really nice not to have any regrets about my own behavior with them in past 7 weeks. Sadly, it is not so. Sure they enjoyed their visit. Sure I enjoyed getting a break from cooking, cleaning, bathing and dressing up kids etc. But, in my heart I know that they were not exactly happy. I used to snap at them for seemingly insignificant reasons. It must be really trivial things because I do not even remember any particulars of the various incidents. They are my parents and I know they will easily forgive me and wont hold any grudge whatsoever. But that does not take the guilt away.

I keep on analyzing my behavior and in theory I completely agree with my husband that our parents are not getting any younger and we have to let go of the little annoying things that they do or say. It is not possible for them to change themselves at that age. We have to adjust and accommodate . I think I know all the theory of it but just have a hard time putting it in practice. When I try to adjust and accommodate and try not to snap and yell, I tend to go in my own shell and become aloof. So, when will that time come when I can HAPPILY, CHEERFULLY adapt to my surroundings?

I want my family to get the BEST of me and not the worst. I DESPARATELY need to learn to put others need before my own needs. I need to learn to let go of all the sarcasm, bitter and hurtful comments , self centered attitude and practice LOVING KINDNESS.

I am at the starting point right now and hope I never ever come back to the square one.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Blame Game

I ( very  enthusiastically ) enrolled my dear daughter(will be referred to as DD here after) for the dance class. She started going without much complaining.  I had to go with her  of course and sit there for an hour and watch the class , keeping my younger one's activities and noise level down while the class was in session.  In just a couple of weeks my enthusiasm level was considerably low.  Its just pain to take the kids to different activities and sometimes push them to do all those things.  I had to nag my DD to get ready in time for the class, nag some more to practice dance at home. She did not even practice once. Pretty soon I started dreading Thursdays. Then I thought of giving up the dance class. I asked my DD if she would like to continue and she did not show any interest. I made up my mind and called the teacher and pulled her out of the class.

One of my close friends got extremely upset at my decision. She is of the opinion that I should just push her a little and continue with the class. She also said that I am pulling her out just because I hate to drive every week to the class. I agree in part that I really do not like that chore. But at the same time I also know that had my DD shown even slight amount of interest and enthusiasm then I would have taken her to the class every week.

DD is happy about not going to the class anymore even though her 2 close friends are going(YEY she is not giving into the peer pressure, might be a nice thing in teens). For her the best part of the class was taking the "ghoongroos" off! I still do not feel at peace with my own decision. Should I really push her a little more and make her go? I don’t know what I am worried about. I certainly not the fact that my friends may judge me based on this.  I have been giving it some thought. It took me to my childhood in Pune.

Me and my sister used to go for "bharatnatyam" dance class. We may have gone for a few months before calling it quits. My sister said that she did not like to do the steps that teacher taught and wanted to do her own steps.(That's EXACTLY what my DD told me, talk  about history repeating itself).  A few years ago, I was talking to my mother about our childhood and hobbies etc.  I do not have a single recreational activity or talent like singing, dancing, playing any instrument or any other arts or crafts thing. During our conversation I blamed my mother about it and told her that she should have pushed us a little harder and made us go to the class even against our will back then. That way, today I would know some art form. My mother did not defend herself and just took the blame.

That brings me to the conclusion that I must be afraid of my DD growing up and blaming me for not knowing "kathak" dance.

I have  come a full circle  indeed!

But where do I go from here? May be I can enroll her again after a couple of years if she shows any interest again. For now, I just enrolled her for swimming lessons. That should take the guilt away for a while I guess!

And most importantly, I have to say this out loud, "I am so sorry Aai(mom) for blaming you".

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Enjoying Food

Wishing all mothers a very happy mother’s day, like a friend says, that means mothers  of babies, toddlers,  teens, adults, cats, dogs, squirrels,  and any other domestic animals you can think of. Hope you all enjoyed the special treatment and attention showered by your kids and their fathers incase kids are very young.

I was promised a breakfast in bed for which I waited patiently in bed until 9 this morning but there was no sign whatsoever of any one waking up to make that happen. So, I made my own tea and enjoyed it in complete peace and quiet.

Last couple of months my yogasana practice was very little. But, I think I am back on track now.  I attended a class led by Ricky this afternoon. He always asks for special requests. A lady suggested to include poses which help in detoxifying, as many people must have had heavy mother’s day lunches/brunches.  It was great class with sun salutations along with many twisting postures and backbends on popular demand.  We all practiced a couple of pranayam breathing techniques as well.

I kept on thinking about that ladies request for specific poses and all such requests in the past during holiday season.  We all celebrate festivals and special occasions by enjoying delicacies and indulging in our favorite foods. But why do most of us not just enjoy it without feeling guilty. Why do we feel the need to work it off the next day?  When we enjoy our food with all our senses I feel that we get satisfied by eating even a little amount. You look at the way your favorite dish is served, how nicely it is presented. Smell the aroma of food. Touch your food with your fingers(don’t the little kids look blissful while playing with their food and making a big mess. In India we eat our food with hands; I believe it must have some such reason behind it). Savor the taste, chew slowly enjoying every bite. If we eat with complete attention and by involving all 5 senses then we are unlikely to overindulge. Our bodies will let us know when to stop. We all work hard, take up multiple jobs basically to satisfy the basic need for food. But we have forgotten to enjoy it.

We need to work out to keep our bodies fit and healthy. No arguments there, but it should be done for that reason alone, not to work off extra calories. When we practice yogasanas our focus should not be burning calories but staying with the breath.  When we eat, our focus should be on enjoying food and nourishing our bodies and not thinking about whether to include pushups during sun salutation to lose the extra pounds. It just brings us back to being in the moment and witnessing. As we become observers more and more the extreme behavior fades and we slowly reach the golden median.

I am not there yet but I plan to stay on the path. I have taken another step in the right direction. I cooked a nice dinner of rajma(red kidney beans), paneer makhani(cottage cheese cooked in creamy sauce and spices) to celebrate mother’s day. Enjoyed each and every bite to the fullest, absolutely guilt free.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Yesterday I went to the hindu temple to listen to "Parmahamsa Nithyananda" talk about Patanjali's yoga sutras. he spoke about 16th sutra and everything related to "Vairagya" . "Vairagya" is not detachment but transcending from both attachment and detachment.Another concept he tried to hammer in was that there is no logical connection between the object/person/thing experienced, the person who experiences it and the experience itself. All  these 3 are independent of each other. In other word, if I eat a sweet and get a certain joyous feeling, it is not going to be consistant. I keep on eating 10 sweets and the experience of joy may turn into something not so joyous anymore. Same thing holds tru for person. When we are in love, we like everything about the person we love but the experience changes over time inspite of the fact that 2 people involved in a relationship are the same. We all need to understand this fact and try not to hold on to any specific kind of experience which make us happy or try not to run away from things that cause negative feelings. It was an inspirational discourse. 

Afterwards there was a BIG line for energy darshan(I am not sure what one is supposed to feel or say at those since it was my first. They told the audience to ask for any healing if needed.) I did not ask for any healing(since it was very crowded and everyone got about 3-4 seconds with swamiji) but my heart was praying for my father to be healed from rhumatiod arthritis and my mother-in-law from her knee problems.  I did not want any healing for myself since there is nothing to be repaired with me at this time. But oh boy, I came back home feeling sick! I called in sick today and did not go to work. My throat is hurting and so are my ears. So much for healing :)

May be just that my mind was not open and receptive. Who knows. But I remember the joy and excitement I was feeling while driving to the event. I expected to be feeling even more elated returning and I guess it was the opposite of my expectations. I guess it all boils down to practicing no expectations and no judgment. 

I shared this account with Sue Chadwick(I attended the meditation workshop led by her last month). She told me not to view this as a negative result of that evening. I will quote her word below which really brought tears to my eyes.

"Some times after these spiritual gatherings, we release "stuck" energy or karmic seeds that must be released so we can reach Higher states of consciousness...."

May be I am over analyzing everything. It could be jsut that somethign is going around and I caught it from the crowded temple that evening.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Just in the last posting I mentioned the blog that I came across about past life regression. It talks about life, death and what happens after death.  Irrespective of whether one believes in the things mentioned it does make you think about the life you are leading. The reason I like the blog and in particular the posting titled “Pre birth choices”( is that it helps put things in perspective.  Shubha wrote in that posting

Whatever happens to us in our life, happens because we chose it as a challenge with the confidence that we will overcome it and grow and evolve from that experience.

We NEVER choose impossible targets for us, just tough ones.


When unpleasant things happen  then the thought that this is happening to me simply because I wanted it to happen to me for some reason, gives strength to get out of that situation. It helps you to analyze and figure out what lessons you are meant to learn from it all. It is a powerful idea and concept which truly can help us evolve spiritually and become a better person.

I went to see the “King Tutankhamen and the Golden age of Pharaohs” exhibit this afternoon with my husband and kids. The exhibit was amazing. It was fascinating to see the artifacts preserved in such good condition. It was hard to believe that those exhibits are over 3000 years old. It was very interesting to see what kind of things were put in with the mummies for their comfort(?)  in life after death. Jewelry, ointment jars and even board games were stored in the tombs.  There are and have been so many different cultures and beliefs in our world.  I grew up in culture where people believe that all the material possessions cease to be of any use after death.  We are soul and we just have the body. Our wealth and precious belongings don’t really count then. The only thing that counts is if we are learning our lessons from this life. 

Friday, April 3, 2009

Power Of Positivity

After a long silence here is an attempt to revive the blog.
My yoga practice suffered quite a bit last month. There were plenty of excuses but I know that they were excuses. The one thing that keeps me going is my one private class that I teach. I put my heart and soul in teaching that class and really look forward to that day every week. I got another student for a couple of weeks but after attending first 2 classes she decided to part ways. I am actually feeling quite alright about it. It was getting a bit challenging to teach a 14 year old and a 78 year old in the same session. Suggesting modifications to each and every pose was not a problem for me but I think when the levels of participants is so different in a semi-private class none of them feel that they are getting the personal attention. I am learning about the challenges of teaching as I progress in my path.
Why would I want to teach a 78 year lady plank pose or head stand? I would rather have her practice a different PRANAYAM every time along with a few stretches, meditation and SHAVASAN. So now I am back to my one and only yoga student. No complaints though. I am happy about this opportunity.
I also got hired by the local community activity center and currently on their sub list. I have to sub for a friend in next week. That was on the teaching front.
I had the opportunity to attend a wonderful meditation work shop at the studio where I practice. It was “Ananda, Dallas” Sue Chadwick conducted the workshop. She was very warm and approachable. In the first session we talked a lot and she taught us all “Hung-Sau” technique of meditation. Meditating with so many likeminded people is beautiful experience. In the next session Sue spoke about accessing our calm energy at will. It is so important to use affirmations. Replacing each and every negative thought with a string positive thought can change our lives around. The power of one’s own will is truly beyond imagination. I wish to someday learn the “Kriya yoga”. When the time is right it will happen for sure.
I also stumbled upon the book “Heal your life” by Louise Hay when we visited my cousin during the spring break. Though I could not finish the book during our stay, whatever little bit I read reiterated the power of positive thinking and affirmations. I was very amused with the section in her book which charts the probable cause of illness/disease and which affirmations help in curing them. The woman has cured her cancer without surgery. I am not a big fan of self help books but reading the author’s own life story made a big impact on me and I had to pay close attention to what she is trying to say.
I have started reading “Autobiography of a Yogi” once again. It is one of those books to which you can go back time and again and find something valuable each time. I also came across a very interesting blog a few weeks ago, a very amazing, amusing, intriguing and puzzling at times too. It is spiritual in nature and talks about life after death, past life regression. If you are interested please visit the link below.
That will keep you occupied until next time.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Silence Please...?

I have not felt like sharing much lately. (Noticed that this blog post started with negative sentence…not good, hum).No specific reason really. I have been reading, doing yoga, meditating (not every day though), doing chores, cooking, doing pretty much regular day to day mundane stuff but not feeling like communicating much. I was analyzing it in my mind but did not really discuss it with anyone until it was brought to my attention by none other than dear husband.(Aah! how I can always count on him to point out things which are just not right.).He seemed to think that I have become less communicative, more angry and depressed because of perhaps yoga and/or meditation. I plead guilty of being less communicative for sure but do not necessarily agree with the other two. Nonetheless, it made me think long and hard about it and at least ask myself some questions.
I am no longer the happy cheerful person that I once used to be. It is not as easy for me to make new friends as it once used to be. I find myself craving for peace and quiet all the time. I know peace is not being in a calm and quiet place with no noise or sound of any kind but on the contrary it is being amidst of all the chaos, noise and hustle and bustle and still be perfectly calm within. A person practicing yoga and meditation should be or ought to be oozing with energy and enthusiasm, happy and cheerful isn’t it? The person should be full of love and compassion.
I am not saying that I am cruel, hateful or other negative extremes but I am not a picture of tranquility either. I should be putting a lot of effort in trying to understand the other people’s point of view and have an open dialog instead of avoiding to deal with them at any level. Make it a point to open up and talk about my feelings and what I have been thinking about with people who I know truly care. When having a conversation with friend or relative, pay close attention and really LISTEN to what they are saying instead of just nodding and appearing to be attentive while being completely in a different inner world of my own. Get more involved in life and spread joy around which will give me joy in return and make me that person I once used to be.
Practicing yoga and meditation to find the inner bliss does not mean that cutting yourself from the world and living on an island but actually making your world blissful by spreading the joy around.
“Give to the world the best you have and the best will come back to you!”

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Out in the YOGA world

The New Year is already 3 weeks old. The initial excitement of completing the teacher training has died down. The next logical step is to teach yoga. It is not as easy as it sounds. Newbie teachers like me are dime a dozen. Everyone is trying to find their niche. Yoga studios want to hire more experienced teachers. It is completely understandable considering the amount of money the studios charge their members. The members need to get their money’s worth. I also heard from a few teachers how teaching in studios is more stressful for the same reason as compared to teaching in a health club or community fitness center. Health clubs are the most suitable (in my opinion) for Newbie teachers like me to get their feet into. I also thought about teaching yoga to kids in Montessori schools in the area. I approached only one school and the first thing they asked me was if I had any special certification to teach kids. I thought teaching kids though it will be hard in terms of having patience but considerably easy as it will be mostly a play time and sort of a fun physical activity. I and my cousins were doing yoga growing up in India with my mother, my aunt and nobody thought if it was “safe”. Even in the yoga class where I learnt from my Iyengar teacher, there were lots of kids in the class having a blast. I guess I am now in a different culture where people need the seal of approval from some authority, there is fear of being sued and hence the lucrative business of insurance. Getting any kind of certification in yoga is SO expensive. I think I am going off the track here…that could be a topic for another blog.
Another hurdle is learning to market yourself. In India we say that there are 64 art forms, I guess we have to add marketing as the 65th. We live in the internet era so a web presence is of utmost importance. Creating a website, deciding on the domain name, shopping around for web hosting, there is no end to it. Even if you care about teaching yoga and nothing else, you still have to do it all and play the game.
All I have done so far is creating a flyer for yoga class. I did give my first audition the other day at the community activity center of flower mound. It was a small class with 5 ladies. I enjoyed teaching them. I am grateful to my teacher Jasmin who helped me get that audition. I don’t want to aggressively start teaching. I would rather focus on the one student I have right now and give her my best and most importantly dedicate to my own practice. I believe that existence will take care of the rest when the time is right.