Interview • Malaysian Yoga Magazine
Q Why did you choose yoga as your career?
Yoga is my very breath. It has been with me since birth. As early as my memories go back, I was experiencing various yoga disciplines from within. These direct experiences bring students to learn yoga. Therefore, the thought of yoga as a career never entered my mind. It has been a natural evolution to share yoga daily. It is not a career to me but a lifestyle that I am sharing through the vehicle of Tri Yoga.
Q In your opinion, what are the benefits of yoga?
Laughter and more laughter. Where do I start in listing the benefits of yoga? From the sublime to the physical, the benefits are abundant. On a physical level, the body is infused with increased life-force; thus, all functions improve. The five pranas (udana, prana, samana, vyana, apana) that regulate the physical body are brought into greater harmony. The body is dependant on these energies working together. Ultimately, the body becomes free from excess tension; thus, relaxed. In a relaxed state, the health will profoundly improve. In addition, a pure vegetarian diet will substantially add to the benefits. Mentally the mind develops consistent mental clarity. Taking right action becomes natural. A fountain of positive qualities emerge. The mind attains peace. Spiritually, one’s faith, devotion, and discipline is of a high standard. A blissful nature is felt. In higher level of yoga, it is called Samadhi, expanded awareness. It is truly endless.
Q Who is suitable to learn yoga?
Everyone. If you can breathe, you can learn yoga. If you can think, you can learn yoga. If you can move, you can learn yoga. It is our very birth purpose. Expand the definition of the word YOGA. It is not merely physical exercises. It is the journey of personal transformation. Yoga is vast. It is the ageless truth that speaks to all.
Q Where do you get the idea in creating yoga postures?
I never had the thought to create anything new in hatha yoga. Due to the yoga siddhi, kriyavati spontaneous hatha yoga began to flow through my body/mind. Since it began in 1980 while sitting in meditation, prana has moved my body from within through yogasana, pranayama, and mudra. I remain the witness of hatha yoga emerging from within. These experiences occur regularly. It has resulted in the systematization of Tri Yoga’s hatha yoga method from Basics to Level 7. Over 1000 hand gestures have appeared through my hands. The flow of prana has systematically revealed these ancient techniques for the benefit of others.
Q How did yoga change your life?
Yoga is my life and my life is yoga. For a yogi, every aspect of life is uplifted. Yoga affects every aspect of a person’s life. When one begins with hatha yoga, the thought is about stretching the muscles. Later one tunes into stretching the breath as it connects with prana. Eventually one realizes that yoga stretches the mind into higher awareness. My life is devoted entirely to helping others learn yoga. This is the significant change since my childhood.
Q What are the difficulties in learning yoga?
Not wanting to face what is inside from body tension to mental stress. What is behind the stress? What desires and attachments create the mind to be stressful? Another is the lack of concentration. There is no yoga without concentration. The yoga practice allows the mirror of the mind to be polished so that self enquiry develops. As one reaches greater mental clarity with the sincere desire to progress in yoga, then the difficulties fade away.
Q What are the tips you can provide to the learner?
Practice, practice, practice. A door of opportunity has opened for you. Keep it open and widen the entrance with regular practice. Yoga should be practiced systematically. Merely saying it is systematic doesn’t make it so. A master yogi understands the necessary steps, the order of the steps, as he/she has traveled that journey ahead of you. The main thing is to begin a short, simple yoga series. Be regular with the practice. Have the mind focused so the practice is internalized. Learn from a teacher who lives yoga as a lifestyle. When the student is ready, the guru will appear.
Q As a yoga master, are there any areas which you think you need to overcome?
Expanding into the ocean of consciousness is eternal. Every moment is a learning opportunity. But the feeling of sat (truth) cit (knowledge) ananda (bliss) is the fabric. This should be felt at all times. In the legend of Sage Dattatreya, He had 24 gurus. He was the first guru so he learned from everyone and from all experiences. Like this story, knowledge is eternal. We continually dive deeper into the ocean of knowledge. With knowledge, everything is overcome.
Q What kind of challenges do you face when teaching yoga to the celebrities?
Once one learns a discipline in one area of life, they can apply this skill to another aspect of life. In this way, the great actors also applied discipline to learn their art. This takes focus, concentration, absorption… all the qualities required for meditation. They only need to internalize this skill they have achieved. There are no challenges in teaching them. Their discipline level is an advantage in yoga practice.
Q Do you have anything to share with us during the teaching?
Know your aim for practicing yoga. Systematically progress the ladder of yoga. Develop a regular practice. When you practice, be present. Make the most of it. Perfect concentration. The yoga tradition is based on transcendental awareness. To realize the atman joined with the paramatman ~ the inner Self as sat-cit-ananda. This is the essence of yoga sadhana. To prepare for this spiritual realization, the body/mind must be disciplined. In the process, health and peace reign in the body/mind for longer intervals. Be well rounded in your yoga practice with yogasana, pranayama, meditation, yoga philosophy, sangita (yoga music). Yoga is more than a class. It is a lifestyle. It is the very essence of Divinity…