Wednesday, March 23, 2011

My Yoga Sanctuary

If you have always wanted to do yoga, check out the classes at My Yoga Sanctuary.  You will be learning from Azmi Samdjaga, one of the strong and well sought after teachers in the Yoga industry having taught in countries like Indonesia, Singapore and Japan.  You can read more about Azmi and My Yoga Sanctuary from his interview with Live and Inspire Magazine here.

My Yoga Sanctuary is having a limited time promotion in April at only RM188 per month when you register for a 3-months unlimited access membership package instead of the 1-month unlimited access package for RM228.

You can also take advantage of the free 7-day trial classes worth more than RM150.  Register at the website where u can also check out the class schedule and book your class or call 018-3553676 to claim the free trial classes.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

A Dynamic Class with Azmi Samdjaga

Last Friday, I attended Azmi’s Dynamic class at My Yoga Sanctuary for the first time.   I have always wanted to try the Dynamic class but due to the timing of the class, I had not been able to do so.   The class was recently rescheduled to earlier in the evening which was more convenient for me. 
Azmi had informed us that the Dynamic class which is an advanced class would be taught in the manner of a workshop where he would work with us on the techniques to go into the poses.

We started the class by doing poses to prepare us for the Handstand poses which included poses to strengthen the arms and open the shoulders such as holding in Plank to Chaturanga, back to Plank to Chaturanga and then to Upward Dog a few times and doing Gomukhasana (Cow Face pose).  We did Pincha Mayurasana (Forearm Handstand) as well as Sirsasana (Handstand).   Even though Azmi was holding my legs in Pincha Mayurasana, I could not maintain the pose as I ended up collapsing when my shoulders moved forward.  Azmi told us that it is very important to keep the shoulders fully engaged all the time which is the same for Sirsasana. 

We also worked on poses to prepare us for Hanumanasana  (Monkey Pose),  Eka Pada Rajakapotasana (One-Legged King Pigeon Pose),  Bakasana (Crow) and Parsva Bakasana (Side Crow).

For Urdhva Dhanurasana (Wheel Pose), Azmi asked us to place two blocks at the wall and then placed our hands onto the blocks with the fingers draped over the edge and the palms firmly on the block.   This helped to open the chest and shoulders and gave the extra height as we lifted up to the full pose.   We also did one round without the blocks but with the balls of our hands pressed firmly against the wall.    As UD has always been my nemesis pose with my tight shoulders, I could feel the difference doing the pose in these two ways.  I was able to straighten my arms more and lift higher in the pose. 

We ended the class with a  Salamba Sarvangasana (Shoulder stand) variations sequence before doing Shirshasana (Headstand) and resting in Savasana.

All in, it was a wonderful 90 minutes class with new techniques learned and I was also glad to be able to do Chakrasana without any problem from my right elbow which is still recovering.     

Saturday, March 12, 2011

At the Back of the Class

Why is it that most yoga practitioners will want to be at the back of the class?  I have noticed this since my time at YZ, then at Beyoga and even now at MYS.    The  practitioners who come in early will placed their mats at the back of the class leaving the front of the class for the late-comers.   When the class is not that full, the practitioners will be far away from the teacher who is at the front of the class.   This has prompted one teacher to make a joke that she has showered and it is ok to be near her.

If you are a beginner, it is actually not that good for you to be at the back of the class. Being at the back of class means that you might not be able to hear clearly the instructions given by the teacher. As you might not be familiar with the poses, there will be a tendency for you to copy what the practitioner in front of you is doing. This might result in you doing the poses wrongly.  Azmi always tell us it is better to trust our ears than our eyes.  This is because the practitioner in front of you could be doing the pose wrongly or is doing an advanced variation of the pose.

Being at the front of the class will enable the teacher to monitor you more easily and come and assist you if  you have difficulty doing the pose or  is doing the pose wrongly. Being able to listen clearly to the instructions will allow you to practice at your own level to have a safe and enjoyable practice. 

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Suiting the Class to Your Practice

As My Yoga Sanctuary is a new studio, there will be new students who are beginners who have not done any yoga before joining the class. Whenever this happens, the class becomes harder for us as Azmi has to slow down the pace of the class to cater to the newcomers. The slower pace of the class means longer holds in the poses and sometimes compromising our breathing to the pose as we wait for the cue for each movement.

Sometimes when you are in such a class, you will feel annoyed and frustrated ( feelings which you should not be having in a yoga class). So, what can you do when you find yourself in such a situation?

It is important to remember that the teacher is there only to lead the class by guiding and assisting you in the poses and how the practice turns out depends all on you. So, set your intention to suit the class to your practice. While listening to the instructions from the teacher, focus on coordinating your movements to your breathe instead of just following the teacher’s instructions with your movements. When the teacher asked the beginners to go down on their knees-chest-chin to cobra during the sun salutations sequence, it is alright for you to be doing chaturanga to upward dog.

As Azmi always gives us the options to do the variations for the poses, I don’t wait for his cue to do the advance version of the pose as I already know which poses I can go deeper. By suiting the class to my own practice, I learned to listen to my body and know what my body and mind need at any given moment to reap the benefits of the practice.

"Yoga is not an external expression. It is something we experience inside, deep within our being. Yoga is trying in every action to be as attentive as possible to everything we do."- TKV Desikachar

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Shanti Ashtangi

Ashtangi invocation to inspire your practice.  This chant is found in Madonna's Ray of Light album. 

Vunde gurunam caranaravinde
Sandarsita svatma sukhavabodhe
Nihsreyase jangalikayamane
Sansara halahala moha santyai
Hala hala
Ahahu purusakaram sankha cakrasi
Ahahu purusakaram sankha cakrasi
Dharinam dharinam sahasra hasra sirasam
Dharinam dharinam sahasra hasra sirasam

Om Shanti, Om Shanti
Shanti shanti
Shantay Om

English Translation            

I worship the gurus' lotus feet                        
Awakening the happiness of the self-revealed
Beyond comparison, working like the jungle physician
To pacify loss of consciousness from the poison of existence
In the form of a man up to the shoulders
Holding a conch, discus and sword
Thousand headed, white
I bow respectfully