Tuesday, 29 May 2012


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Please check it out and spread the love!

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Some Thoughts

I can't believe half a year has flown by... Where does the time go? From Yoga Teacher Training, to making time for friends, job, relationship and personal dramas, it does seem that it gets harder to stay on top of things. Suddenly it's time to head back home for Christmas and herald in the end of yet another year!

For my first post in six months, I thought I would share a quote from the poet and mystic Rumi. His profound words of love and spirituality I feel best express the conclusion I have reached for 2011. Within and without my practice on the mat, love is the true yoga.

' Lovers don't finally
meet somewhere.
They're in each other all along'

In many ways, 2011 has brought with it a few hard knocks emotionally speaking.  In this year I lost a few loves; a dear friend of mine passed away and a long relationship I had came to an end. All of a sudden I felt the weight of despair on my mind and heart. It was not an easy way out of the dark well of fear and grief. However, it was in the words shared by poets, teachers and through self- inquisition that I have slowly come to discover the nature of love that is yoga. I have since learned, love is infinite and it cannot be lost, only metamorphosed into something different but no less wonderful. It is easy to forget this, as I have on a few occasions, but when I read the poetry of Rumi, books, or do what I love, I am reminded of its omnipresence.

' It doesn't matter that you've broken your vow
a thousand times. Still come,
and yet again, come.'

A Christmas Thought

This morning I stumbled upon a journal I kept earlier this year. In my days of sadness, I started a journal documenting everything I was grateful for. When I felt a sense of profound loss, I willed myself to recognise the positive things I possessed and the blessings that filled my life with joy and love. I kept ticket stubs, cards and small trinkets that I picked up along the way that reminded me of wonderful times. Sadly in the whirlwind of all the exciting and crazy things that happened in the following months, that practice came to a grinding halt. Looking back at these entries however, I am suddenly overwhelmed with a profound sense of gratitude and love. Those entries were written at a time when love was lost but yet were filled with the deepest most compasssionate love. They were a manifestation of the most important type of meditation.

So in conclusion, as a lovely practice for christmas, OmLaLa would like to celebrate this season of love and giving with a gratitude practice. The practice is simple.

What you need:
  • a pretty/ inspiring journal
What you do:
  • Find a time in the day where you can be alone and undisturbed.
  • Write down what you are happy/ grateful for.

Thanks for reading and I look forward to getting back in touch with you and my faithful blog.


Thursday, 19 May 2011

Om Shanti blablabla

However obvious this might sound to the many wonderful yoga teachers out there,  ' teaching yoga is HaRD?! ' has become one of the many revelations I have had on my journey to becoming a legit yoga teacher

I have taken for granted the ease and simplicity with which my teachers past and present have delivered many a rejuvenating and inspiring practice to me. I have been unaware that in the 1-1.5 hours I am sweating it out on the mat, yoga has been handed to me on a silver platter lightly garnished with pearls of wisdom, physiological corrections and spiritual goodness. Oh how I naive I was in thinking teaching yoga would be a piece of cake!

Let's begin in Tadasana. Theoretically speaking, it's just feet together, standing tall...or is it? Here I am talking myself through a class and already I'm seeing stars trying to explain what needs to be working, tucked, felt, engaged, experienced! It ain't Samadhi I tell you! And then there's the rest of the sun salutes... cold sweats, awkward pauses, pseudo- spiritual nonsense and we're only in Chatturanga. By the end of 3 rounds of Sun Salutes A I'm wondering where I am going with this.  Then we reach the standing poses and I'm feeling like Mussolini commanding his troops, barking orders and hearing panic inflect my voice. This was not what I signed up for.

' Just get into Warrior I! No! With your right, I mean left leg.. and your hip, I mean arm..gah!!' 

Say three things or less in a pose. That was one of the tips imparted to us by our lovely teacher Rebecca. Three things, make them count. If I say the words ' breathe' or 'draw attention to your breath' or 'inhale, exhale' one more time I might just explode. Saying any of those variations already counts as an instruction, so technically it's 2 things or less in a pose. Even then, I throw alignment jargon at my 'student' and the whole practice just ends up boring, repetitive and thoroughly uninspiring. I know how I want my student to feel at the end of the class, but navigating the tricky entrances/ exits/ principles of each asana is a tactical nightmare in its own right.

Get thee to Samadhi!

This leaves me to my conclusion. I have no idea how to teach Yoga. I can do it, but I ain't Moses and if I were, my people would not be ending up in the promise land. They'll probably end up in some recycling dump sorting out plastic bottles from egg shells and having the odd bird crap on their head.

Om Shanti. Lol.

Monday, 18 April 2011

Putting the Ass in Asana

One of the many tasks we were set this weekend at Yoga Teacher Training involved finding teachers and asking for permission to sit in their classes and observe. Having had some free time on my hands I decided to google around for teachers in my neighbourhood whose style I felt might resonate really strongly with me. Going onto the website of my favourite yoga studio, I couldn't believe how the number of teachers seemed to have trebled since the last time I logged on ( which was about a year ago). One link led to the next, to the next, one website to another, and suddenly I was stuck in the complex labyrinth of yoga teacher websites and all of them seemed to merge into one entangled mess of 'arty' yoga photos, numbers and the recurring phrases 'heart', 'soul', 'journey' all mushed in one.

Amidst this Theseus maze of teacher details and writeups one website in particular stood out. It featured a teacher dressed provocatively in skin-tight lycra, super tiny hot shorts with long toned, well-oiled, tanned limbs seductively arranged into a stunning handstand-split. In another, the same teacher with her hot tiny shorts and barely-there flaming red-hot camisole,  got herself into a side plank with the lower leg hooked round behind her head. It might just be me, but it kind of bordered on the obscene. It didn't help that the colours in the picture had been modified to increase the vibrancy of her flaming shorts and film-thin camisole. To me it just looked like a greasy, sleazy snapshot whose sexual innuendo was as subtle as a club to the head.

It seems in this day and age where yoga teachers are dime a dozen, the phrase 'sex sells' seems to have found its way into a tradition rooted in discernment and purification. The other old adage of 'when you got it, flaunt it' also seems to ring true when it comes to teacher self-promotion. How else is one teacher going to stand out from the next when you can't throw a rock without hitting a yogi/yoga teacher/ yoga enthusiast of some kind. The most obvious method of promotion would be to use what yo' momma/ yoga gave ya'. Some yoga teachers believe that what their substance and quality of teaching speaks for itself, but in a society where everyone is screaming to be heard, it seems the rules of the game have been changed. With yoga becoming a mainstream sport, it seems to has its value. It has become a commodity to be sold, packaged, branded and sexed up to appeal to the masses. Even the more established teachers are not immune from the odd no-bra, plunging neckline, super mini -skinny-short-split shots, or this...

Nudity and 'sex' has  suddenly become okay in the Yoga world because it is afterall, all in the name of a deeply holistic and honoured practice...right? Yoga nudity is different, it is body 'art'  because everything has a soft, warm glow and shows the beauty of the female body in all its well-honed glory. It is different from say this...

with all its sweaty thrusting and occasional 'hey baby' thrown in. Yoga photos are still, calm and evocative of meditation. Set in a separate world of idyllic beaches or empty, glossy space the sexy Yoga body has suddenly become justified in our sub conscious as not only acceptable but desirable.

As I go through my Yoga Teacher Training, I begin to reflect what this will mean for me as a fledgling yoga teacher. What kind of visual vocabulary will I be drawing on to attract clients and promote teaching services? Would I be going down the whole basic html website, fuss-free approach or choosing the whole 'arty' sexy look, or maybe throwing in loads of psychedelic buddhabrot images because I think they're cool? What kind of style will you be using or have used to promote yourself as a yoga teacher?

Needless to say, whether proactive self- promotion or shameless exploitation, the teacher with the hot hot shorts will be stuck in my head for some time, or at least until the next one comes along.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Heeeere's Johnny!

Me testing out the self-portrait photo capabilities on my phone

Hi everyone!

I have returned from a pretty long hiatus from all this technological gadgetry as I've been moving house recently. Everything has been a mad chaos with loads of drama sprinkled along the way to keep me on my toes! Finally, I have managed to purchase some pay-as-you-go internet so god-willing I'll have enough data on my dongle to publish a post or two before my real internet gets set up.

Unfortunately it's not only my posting that's been put on hold. I rolled out my mat yesterday and I'm sure I saw several ghosts and skeletons rise up from its fibers. With my YTT coming up this weekend I'm so terribly nervous, I'm afraid my creaking joints and stiff muscles are gonna cause a racket at the studio. *yikes*.  That said though, I've started on my reading and just for the heck of it and for your future amusement I will be adding a new page to my blog that will track my Teacher Training progress with all the good,bad and ugly moments lovingly documented for me (and you) to laugh and share tips/tricks learned along the way.

On another note, I will be starting an OmLaLa Film Club just because it brings together 2 of great loves of mine. So watch this space for more information... It will also be a fun opportunity for all us film/tv/ yoga geek hybrids to chat about great films!

As most of you might already be aware of and already actively participating in, April marks the beginning of YIOM ( Yogis Inspiring Oneness Month) initiated by the lovely Vegan Asana. The goal of which is to post three or more posts a week throughout April to inspire and fire up the online Yogi community. My favourite yogi bloggers at Living in the K(now), Vogue Yogini, Lissa Bliss, Flying Yogini  , and many many more have already contributed incisive, funny and thought provoking pieces that have really made this month a great month for Yoga Blogging everywhere. Due to my internet situation I've been lagging a little behind but I will be dusting off the cobwebs on my laptop keys and get cracking soon. I must confess I feel a little tinge of shame when I say that I can't live without the internet!

It's great to be back online again and connecting with all my lovely Yogi bloggers out there! I hope April has been a smooth ride all and I look forward to posting soon!



Monday, 21 March 2011

Yoga Block

Ahh... the Yoga block... the Yogis best friend. As most yogis out there will be familiar with, the yoga block is a rectangular prop made from firm foam, cork or sometimes wood,  often measuring 3" x 6" x 9". The block has become an almost indispensible feature in the practice of yoga, and is often utilised to provide added support or to assist in the effective postural alignment for a pose. I love the block, and I often regard it as the best buddy/ wingman to my yoga practice. When a pose is getting too tough or I feel I'm throwing my body alignment all out of whack just to get into a pose, I reach for a block and I find my oasis of calm. Yep... the Yoga block, the best thing for Yoga practice since non-slip yoga mats ( god I love my mat, but that's for another post).

But whilst we can all compose odes counting the many ways various yoga props have changed our lives for the better, this post is not about Yoga blocks. This post is about hitting a yogi wall... the proverbial 'yoga block' one might say.  

When no matter how many times you chant 'om' or shakti kick your asana off, you just can't get your groove on.  You've lost your yogi mojo and you schlump to class feeling less than yogi like.

However, when encountering the Yoga block, I find it particularly helpful to take a step back and reflect on the causes or reasons WHY you are experiencing a plateau in your practice. Is it not challenging enough? Are you bored? Do you just want to sit on the couch all day? Is it all of the above? Because yes, I do get periods of general 'meh' towards it all. 

Rad Dudes
To yoga or not to yoga...

If you too are suffering from Yoga Block right now or have just come out of it, *hi-five* . It's not easy knowing you should Yoga when you'd rather sit at home and watch the Frasier box set or surf random websites of cats wearing melons on their heads or something.

I have to confess,  I have often found myself to be a victim of Yoga block. This is probably partially brought on by the fact that none of my close girlfriends practice Yoga so I am often alone in my enthusiasm for the sport so I skive off when I feel I can. And yes, you read right, I said the word 'sport'. This might be perceived by some to be a filthy word that undermines the integrity of a practice that is about spiritual enlightenment and awakening, but I personally believe it to be just as much about  physical performance and athleticism as it is about ecstatic chanting and soul searching  . Take for example, the amount of concentration, muscular strength, stamina and perseverance employed in an average Yoga vinyasa class. The fact that the average vinyasa class burns about 300-445 calories an hour is no coincidence either. 

Sports houses themselves have cashed in on the athletic side to yoga

 Yoga is a sport and like any sport for the serious practitioner, it can result in physical wear and tear. I remember constantly living with muscular aches and pains after a bout of committed, intensive physical practice. I hated living in pain so much that I told myself I'd lay off the exercise till all the burns and aches went away. I ended laying off for 2 weeks... so much so that all the endurance I had painstakingly worked on in the weeks prior was all undone and I was nearly back where I started. Like any other sport, the maintenance of a regular, regimented practice is hard work, and eventually we all hit walls. My dad often uses the phrase 'mind over matter' alot and in this case, a mind inclined towards instant self-gratification and too much 'self-love' does affect the development of a practice.

Problem: If you suffer from physical tiredness, aches and pains in areas you never knew you had and you want to do what I did and put your practice on ice for a couple of days and cool off...

Solution: Take the first step. 
When an aunt of mine returned from a climb up Mount Kilimanjaro, she reported that her  guide had mapped out specific stages on their route. Before they ascended, their guide told them by the xth day of their climb, they will camp at a cabin. In the cabin, they will believe they cannot go any further and every fiber of their being would tell them to turn around and go home. It is at this point, the guide said, they would have to stand up and just take one step forward. Just one step, and they will feel absolutely fine. It would only take one step for their body to regulate and acclimatize to their conditions. In the case of Yoga, a daily intensive practice might not be recommended for early beginners, but even taking a slow Hatha 1 class or class for beginners in between intensive sessions, might just be what your body needs to adjust and adapt to help you soldier on with your practice.

In our current social climate where things are developing and changing before we can even blink (who would have expected THAT to have happened to Charlie Sheen?!) Sustaining a consistent yoga practice in one particular style can lead to boredom or malaise. 

Problem: You feel a general boredom or malaise with your practice you just can't shake.

Solution: Try a style of yoga you are not familiar with or try a new studio, you never know what new yoga love might come from it! For me, often getting myself out of a funk can be as simple as getting a new yoga outfit that would get me really excited to get on my mat. Yes, how awfully superficial when the old yogis of the bygone era practiced in nowt but loin cloths but I can make my mat my catwalk if it makes me happy - so there! Having moved from being a real country bum over this past two weeks to the city, I have sniffed out some new yoga studios near me to try out and I am excited!

When it comes down to it, noone can force you onto your mat and make you enjoy it. Like all other sports, it always boils down to one unchanging constant- you. The constant inner struggle between what we want to do/ should do/ must do is something we as humans, and yogis cannot run away from. However, unlike most sports, Yoga is something that is always in practice. Like Sharon Gannon once said, the physical mat work of Yoga is just a mere exercise to enhance this internal, emotional state of Yoga. Whether it is an hour of vinyasa or half an hour of Yoga Nidra, it is keeping the lines of communication open between you and your practice that is in the end, the most important key we can possess to unlock our true potential . 

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Meat Free

"God sleeps in stone, breathes in plants, dreams in animals and awakens in man." — Hindu proverb

I was first introduced to the Yoga principle of 'ahimsa' ( non-harming) almost purely by accident at the end of a very beautiful and intense Jivamukti session with Sharon Gannon and David Life. To bring the three hour long practice to a close, Sharon proceeded to whip out her Kirtan and chant the beautiful words : 'Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu' followed by its english translation : ' May all beings everywhere be happy and free, and may the thoughts, words, and actions of my own life contribute in some way to that happiness and to that freedom for all'. This being my first Jivamukti class, I was completely swept away by the peaceful hum of the Kirtan and the positive energy that seemed to vibrate between one yogi to the next as a whole roomful of people began singing energetically in unison. I had never experienced music live in this way before, certainly not in a Yoga class and I was immersed in the ecstatic chorus of chanting.

Then, amidst the singing, Sharon began to add in her quiet, milky voice, that chanting along to this prayer was to take a solemn vow against the harming of another and causing pain and suffering to another living being. 

'So far so good', I thought, 'I would never dream of inflicting pain on another living creature if I could help it..Lokah Samastah...' 

Cue Sharon's voice: ' That is why, when we have meat, we are causing hurt to another living creature and we consume that hurt and pain... To those of you who are new here, please sing along only if you are ready to commit to the cause of not eating any animal meat or product and are willing to commit to a life of veganism...'


Animated Gifs

Not eat meat? Ever? 

Being an omnivore all my life, I had never considered the option of not indulging in the odd roast now and again. Since young, all my favourite dishes I associate with home, family and love all contained some sort of meat in them be it chicken soup, steamed fish or meat balls. However, struggling for some recognition contrary to this nostalgic sentimentality was the sudden jolt of ethical awakening triggered by the seemingly most innocuous of chants. Of course, there was also the question of preserving the integrity of Yoga.  How could one reconcile committing a practice to love and peace, if upon rolling up the mat, you reach for some chicken meat which was obtained from some poor battery hen then pumped full of water to lend the illusion of succulent, tender flesh? Compounded onto all this ethical pressure mounting inside me was also the deluge of ethical political correctness pervading popular media documentaries (e.g. Food Inc). It is enough to make an omnivore yogi feel like she had just committed first degree murder everytime she sat down to share a homemade roast or partake in some party hamburgers.

One for the Family Album: Johnny carving up the Sunday Roast

The horror.

However, after several failed attempts at Veganism/ Vegetarianism, I always felt that whatever label I adopted, be it Omnivore or Vegetarian,  there was always something missing. When I came back home I would always look forward to my mother's double-boiled chicken soup and whatever prior flirtation I had with vegetarianism would be quickly forgotten in lieu of all this home-cooked love in a bowl. Paradoxically, when I cooked for myself, the thought of slicing up a poor pork chop on the slab or removing two sad looking chicken breasts from the packet always made me feel guilty and unhappy. It seemed like I was playing a constant game of tug of war with love and guilt with total contentment always eluding me. Living with all these self imposed or even socially imposed dogmas was like trying to do sun salutations in a straightjacket. I did not feel free to be myself, I felt strictly regulated, not self aware but self conscious.

Om Shanti!

After several brief flirtations with various diets be it green or not, I have decided to quit beating up on myself about whether eating meat or not will earn me extra karma points or affect my energy vibrations, make me less yogic or whatever. Stripping Yoga down to its pure essence, it is about moving in Love, Grace and Gratitude. It is not a question of meat or no meat, but that with whatever you have before you, you accept it with love and appreciation for the fact that it was once a life that has now given itself up for you and you embrace it with full awareness and grace. Returning back to the prayer 'Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu', I am now becoming more comfortable with accepting that I have always strived to love and care for other living beings around me and adopting an omnivores lifestyle does not make me any less of a yogi. I am also thankful for that poignant moment where Shannon Gannon awoke my awareness of the yogic consciousness and our duty as yogic practitioners and human beings, to help each other along the path to a more joyous life.

Animated Gifs
One Gif at a time...

Ultimately, I still am working slowly towards carving out a more vegetarian and ethical existence for myself but like the practice of Yoga itself, I am constantly learning and it won't happen overnight. However, to help me along my journey and perhaps you too, here are some new vegetarian related things I have gotten into recently and I hope you will join me as well in the journey towards being the best version of yourself you can be:


By giving up meat for one day each week you can save money, reduce your environmental impact and live a healthier life. Do your bit to help the planet! Click Here for more information!


A great read by Sharon Gannon that will appeal to your ethical and health consciousness surrounding the topic of Vegetarianism.

The bible of vegetarian raw food eating. This book comes highly recommended by many, a must read!

Another bible in the ethical eating world. I have tried making their black bean 'meatball' spaghetti and I must say, despite its apprehensive appearance, it was pretty delicious!