Wednesday, March 28, 2012
‘The only basis of true and lasting unity of all humanity is the religion of the heart. Religion of the heart is the religion of love.’ Sri Swami Sivananda
When I read this quote by our great Guru Swami Sivananda, it is thoughts of Swami Govindananda that immediately come to mind. Swami Ji has more than 23 years experience of teaching yoga and Vedanta philosophy, has graduated thousands of fledgling yoga teachers and has a heart full of love. I first met Swami Ji on my first teacher-training course to become a yoga teacher in Madurai, Tamil nadu, where he sparked a fire within me that certainly has continued to burn and grow. I had never been in an ashram before and was amazed by just how much love and knowledge were enveloping me. He shared with us all messages from his guru’s Swami Sivananda and Swami Vishnudevananda and turned my curiosity of yoga and Vedanta into a deep passion in my daily life. How can you thank someone enough for that? For giving so much joy and peace, isn’t that the highest thing you can give.
Swami Ji founded the Sivananda Yoga Vidya Peetham organisation and is working alongside Swami Tatwarupananda and Swami Nivedanananda to bring more teacher training, yoga camps and courses on Vedanta; planting seeds in the many who come to him and filling their hearts with love and contentment. You can find out more on the web site here: http://www.sivanandapeetham.org/
The next teacher training course level one starts Nov 4th until Dec 2nd 2012
You will have an amazing inner journey with Swami Govindananda that I can guarantee, waking up your inner potentials, rising to the challenge and shinning from within.
Om shanti shanti shanti
Thursday, March 22, 2012
Yoga Alliance Registry marks are globally-recognized symbols of standards-based knowledge in the field of yoga. Yoga Alliance ensures its teachers value the history and traditions of yoga and that the public can be confident of the quality and consistency of instruction. The standards are to strengthen the integrity of a registered yoga teacher or school knowing that they have been trained under a high standard of teacher training in experienced and dedicated schools; also registered to ensure quality and standards. That all learning has been undergone in a teacher training environment, rather than in classes intended for the general public. This would include teacher methodology, anatomy and physiology, yoga philosophy, lifestyle and ethics as well as personal practice.
I am proud to be registered with Yoga Alliance you can find me under the name: nicola zammit on their website; www.yogaalliance.org. And please do come and join me on the mat at my small yoga mangala shala, for yoga teaching from the heart, no fancy fittings and products or commercialization, just a lightness of being.
Om om shanti Om :-)
Thursday, March 15, 2012
Worship toward the sun was one of mans first and most natural forms of inner expression. In the Rig Veda, the first Veda, the sun is described as; “the remover of all weakness, healer of all illness. Lord of all the stands and goes. He slays the demons and guards the worshipers. We meditate in the adorable glory of the radiant sun. May he inspire our intelligence.”
Practicing Suryia Namaskar from a yogic point of view awakens the solar aspects of an individual’s nature and releases this vital energy for the purpose of a higher awareness. In ancient days, this exercise was a daily routine in daily spiritual practices, it should be practiced early morning preferably facing the sun, and at the beginning of every asana class. For a stiff person, the sun salutations are a boon to bring back lost flexibility. Most beginners will find the body is stiff because of muscle tension, tightness in the tendons and toxin deposits in the joints. There are 12 spinal positions combining many of the benefits of asana and pranayama, they bring movement to the whole spinal column and great flexibility to the limbs and can be practiced by everyone. The inner mood with which the sun salutations are done is of great importance, the mind must be quiet, calm and focused, being aware of every change that takes place in the body, with practice the awareness will grow and you will find a great beauty within the salutation.
On a physical level, during the exercise blood is distributed to all the organs, circulation increased and all lethargy expelled. Digestion is improved and the spinal nerves toned. The nervous system is regulated, eyes become bright and glowing appearance of good health is gained.
There is no age limit to practice suryia namaskar and the benefits can be profound, so get up in the morning, take a shower, roll out your mat in the direction of the sun and off you go.
Om Mitraya Namah – prostrations to him who is affectionate to all.
Enjoy Suryia Namaskar
Smiling from the heart
Thursday, March 8, 2012
At any beginning, of a class, a lecture or any personal Sadhana (spiritual practice) we chant the Dhyana Slokas to help to tune our minds to the Divine and its different aspects. It is said that a saints life is one long prayer, but we don't need to consider ourselves a saint to initiate anything toward a devotional practice. Chanting this prayer helps us become an instrument a channel for a higher purpose and helps to remove the ego. As in any practice we first invoke Lord Ganesha (Gajananam) to remove all the obstacles on our path, then we ask Subramanya to give us strength and destroy all negative forces both internally and externally that are surrounding us. We pray to Saraswati to bring us divine knowledge and creativity before we make the prayer to the Guru, all the guru's to guide us always, to be with us and bring light. Finally we invoke the Divine Mother Durga; Narayani to bring auspiciousness for everything we do, to make like the saint our life one long prayer.
You can listen to the Dhyana Slokas sometimes referred to as Gajananam here:
Om shanti shanti shanti
Thursday, March 1, 2012
The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali are the standard text on yoga; it is one of the six Darshanas or systems of philosophy in India. Sutra meaning a thread, they are given so we can remember what is in the scriptures more easily. Patanjali gives us the practice of Raja yoga meaning 8 limbs. The royal path to realization, that of complete mind control through the use of the Yamas (restraints), Niyamas (observances), Asanas, Pranayama, Pratyhara (withdrawal of the senses), Dharana (concentration), Dhyana (meditation) and Samadhi- complete bliss. He teaches us to remain in the present moment and to remove our suffering by clearing the ‘crowds’ in our mind, but we must feel a need for change to be ready for this. Patanjali was not the inventor of yoga; yoga has been there since the beginning of creation, it comes from God or Hiranyagarbha; the cosmic mind of cosmic intelligence, the sum total of all the subtle bodies, the highest created being through whom the supreme being projects the physical universe. Patanjali, as a realised sage, received the knowledge from Hiranyagarbha and wrote it down for the whole of humanity.
The first sutra in the first chapter reads; ‘Atha yoganushasanam.’
Atha; an auspicious beginning also we can say Om, atha yoganushasanam- all the instructions are in keeping with the scriptures. One who has discovered that there is no solution to suffering from the outside world and wants to turn their awareness inward, where all knowledge exists, they have felt a need for change, this person is ready for yoga.
We should be able to surrender realizing whatever is there or is happening to us is just an opportunity to learn and grow, we should learn to like everyone instead of waiting for them to like us. If we can change the way we think then we are ready for yoga, if something seems very difficult but we know that from that situation we can gain knowledge then it is not difficult at all.
Atha imparts a blessing for someone who has discovered the limitations of an outer existence, who knows there is no real or permanent happiness from worldly objects, whom has the maturity, empathy and compassion to turn inwards. Join me on the mat on our inward journey and discover your true self on the path to eternal bliss.
Smiling from the heart
Thank you Mario for the photo; me and SwamiJi whilst training on the ATTC.