Duality in Parenting – Is It Regressing?

Duality in Parenting – Is It Regressing?

by Dr Sumathi

I cannot be who you want me to be, because you and I think me to be two very different people.

– C.J. Peterson

As parents, there’s no denying we want only the very best for our children. In order to ensure they get, as well as become that, we do our very best to make that happen. Our best intentions then turn into a burden, creating pressure, anxiety and fear just to name a few things.

Where does this intention stem from? What does it mean for us and for our children?  It stems from our childhood. A transgenerational blueprint has been handed down to us from our parents. A blueprint that unambiguously states we have to be good parents and nothing short of that and our duty is to make our children happy and successful. We buy into this belief leaving the poor child no choice but to be happy and successful as dictated by us (the parents), and in due course, relatives, teachers and society.

We fail to realise that our quest to be a ‘good’ parent is fueled by fear – the fear of not fitting in, the fear of not being good enough. The ultimate illusion which has been passed down is we have to be someone in order to be worthy – we have to do more, accomplish more and be perfect, nothing less. For as long as we fail to see through this illusion, we are in danger of mass production, fitting into molds, cloning whatever that has been dictated by societal standards.

When we fail to question what is, what always has been – i.e. children are to be seen and not heard, don’t talk back, don’t question – when we fall prey to duality where everything is labelled and judged – good or bad, right or wrong, – when we fail to see things as they really are, we will never awaken. We will continue to build on our expectations of perfection in our children – oppressing their sense of self with criticism and control because we fear ‘bad’ and ‘wrong’. Where is the space for the child to experience, know and trust the ‘self’? Duality is an illusion. There is no good or bad, right or wrong – everything is relative when examined closely. The rain that wets the clothes hung out to dry, feeds and nourishes the plants in the same garden.

By uncompromisingly imposing our standards and expectations on our children, we leave a lasting and painful struggle that carries into adulthood – filling them with guilt and shame while they grapple with their sense of self as they have been conditioned to be whoever they are expected to be and not their true selves. Do you recognise this struggle within yourself or someone dear to you? Have you ever wrestled with such kind of feelings and the crushing guilt of not having met your parent’s expectations?

As parents, we are in a position of extreme power by default. Children are completely and helplessly dependent on us. When we parent ‘unconsciously’, blissfully unaware of our conditioning, we do so much damage.

Some of the common expectations (just to name a few) we may have as parents include:

“Study hard and get good results.” I have yet to meet a parent who feels otherwise. “I expect you to get straight ‘A’s in the coming exam. If you don’t, you will not get (insert object of interest, holiday etc.).” There’s even a veiled threat in there. What about the child who has been struggling to pass all this while and has now managed to come up with ‘B’s – that’s an amazing progress. However, in an attempt to encourage them, we say – “Well done, I’m sure the next time you’ll get ‘A’s.” – Anyone else hear ‘Not Enough’?

“Behave yourself. Don’t talk back.” I’m sure all of us have said it at one time or another. I’ve said it enough times myself. Children learn this lesson well; they stop questioning and stop telling and when they are in trouble they will silently ‘endure’ their suffering because we ‘expect’ them to be quiet. How many pedophiles and abusers have gotten away scot free because first, we taught our children to behave and be quiet and second, because we don’t ‘listen’ to them?

“I want my child to become a (insert profession of choice).” Often a child is pushed into following the path of their parent or at least the choice of the parent. “I never got to study medicine and become a doctor. You have to become a doctor.” All’s well if that’s the child’s ambition – but what if the child has no interest in the field and wants to become a musician or an interior designer?

To be fair to us parents – we come from a place of love and affection for our children. However, we fail to realise that our communication with our children is not based on love and respect. Instead of gently guiding them into discovering what’s best for them – we tend to impose on them in the guise of advice and assistance. When our expectations are unreasonable, we set our children up for feeling like a failure.

We often convey ‘outcome expectations’ to our children – like in the first example – I’m sure you’ll be the top child in your class, or the best athlete at the sports meet. Setting outcome expectations sends them the message that we value results over everything else, including the child. It sends the message that we only love you if you live up to our expectations. Children become nervous before a test, recital, sporting event because they’re afraid of the outcome – specifically failure. Anxiety leads to poor performance or not trying at all, to avoid failing. As a consequence, learning and progress cannot take place. Clearly outcome expectations hinder progress and a growth mindset.

“Can’t I expect my child to get good grades, do well in sports and other activities, or behave well?” “ NO WAY! What kind of parenting is this?”

Well, allow me to share with you what I’ve learnt. Realistic expectations aren’t about settling, it’s about truly understanding and respecting our child for who they are and helping them grow in their own unique way.

In my quest to deepen my yoga practice and understand the yogic philosophies and way of life better, I often find that the guiding principles founded in the eight limbs of yoga serve as a potent reminder of how this interaction can be set up for better success.

Start with mindful awareness: It helps ensure we are truly parenting consciously from a place of love and respect. Notice and understand our children’s character and nature and accept them for who they are. Be aware of the expectations we impose on our children and when we do it. “Why is winning that competition so important?”

Practise Ahimsa – nonviolence, compassion. Remember that not only beating and yelling but even the silent treatment and rejection are controlling behaviours on our part that will increase distance and disconnect us from our children.

Exercise Satya – truthfulness.  When we answer the above questions with absolute honesty to ourselves – we often learn that the ‘issue’ usually has nothing to with the child, but has a lot to do with ourselves.

Observe Asteya – non-stealing. Allow children to exercise their childhood. Hold space for them to play, explore, experience and discover and connect to their ‘self’ – and infinite source of wisdom and love.

Practise Aparigaraha – letting go. We need to let go of our expectations to be perfect parents and for our offspring to be ‘perfect children’. If we don’t, our conditioning and limiting beliefs will hold us back from being our authentic selves.

Heed Brahmacharya – moderation. Instead of outcome expectations, focus on goals. By focusing on goals and progress i.e. the process, children are more likely to perform better and achieve the outcome anyway. Discuss with them the necessary efforts to reach their goals. Support, acknowledge and encourage them every time you witness them making efforts – acknowledge a positive attitude, perseverance, patience, focus, or discipline.

Perform Svadhyaya – self-study. Turn inwards and understand ourselves in order to liberate ourselves from that conditioning that no longer serves us. Our children will not do as we say, but they never fail to do as we do. When we self-study, we encourage our children to do the same too.

Observe Tapas – discipline. This is a difficult part. Like I said before, the blueprint is transgenerational – undoubtedly then there’s a whole lot of undoing to work on. That aside, interaction with children is extremely rewarding, but it can also be taxing when they try to find their place in the world. It’s not always easy to remain calm, centered and loving in our interactions as much as we would all love. Remember to have compassion for ourselves. Every change that we make needs to be constant and consistent in order for it to come to fruition – and for that, self-discipline and self-mastery are vital.

Until and unless we are ready to let go of our belief systems of what is good or bad, right or wrong, we cannot awaken – to see things as they are.  We will only continue to allow fear to perpetuate our expectations of how to be and inflict it on our younger generations.

This article was featured in YogaMail Jan-Jun 2024 issue.

Coping and Being During Covid-19 Pandemic

Coping and Being During Covid-19 Pandemic

by Dr Sumathi

I still remember clearly the evening I sat at the dining table with my husband, discussing whether we should keep our boys home from school amid all the Covid-19 reports. It was a difficult discussion and we ended it without any conclusion – to be continued, we decided. It was to my immense relief that the government announced the Movement Control Order (MCO) the next day, because I didn’t have to shoulder the responsibility of keeping my children out of school. Now, I could gratefully keep my family at home, away from the looming threat, without doubting I had made the right decision.

Then came the planning, I was going to make this the best, most productive time of our lives – yes, I was going to plan for absolutely everyone in the family and ensure maximum productivity and growth. The plan looked like this:

7:00 am – Everybody wakes up

7:30 am – Yoga and meditation with the family

8:00 am – Breakfast followed by lessons (for the children) / work (for the adults)

The day then continues with a healthy, wholesome lunch in which instant noodles play no part ever, followed by creative activity and active time for the whole family. You get the idea?

I, personally had great visions of signing up for numerous online courses and coming out of MCO with a wealth of new knowledge and certificates, catching up on all the paintings that are yearning for my attention, finally reading the books patiently waiting on my overflowing bookshelves and watching the movies I keep promising myself!

How have my plans panned out over the past 2 months you ask? Well, all we’ve managed to do regularly and on schedule to date is have our meals together – something that I’m very grateful for because fascinating stories get exchanged at the dining table. We seem to have settled into a new normal – and it doesn’t involve any of my well-laid plans of 2 months ago. No certificates of achievements for me and ‘Maggi Kari’ is a family favourite that provides much-needed respite from kitchen duties every now and then. This new schedule seems to be working well for us in these times.

Yoga and meditation are my interest – so I go it alone. Some days it happens and some days it doesn’t. Some days little hands and feet join me on the mat of their own accord. Over time, I’ve become okay with this. Breakfast is followed by time for school work. Teachers have been amazingly resourceful in providing the boys with material to continue learning from home – YouTube videos and quizzes that hold their attention and make the learning experience fun. I am tremendously in awe of these amazing beings who despite having challenges of their own are dedicated to keep doing what they can for our children in these trying times.

After lunch, the boys spend time playing or watching television. And the astounding and futuristic entities that come out of a few hours with a box full of Legos and a child’s imagination are absolutely mind-blowing.  In the evenings, if the weather permits, we play outside and if it doesn’t, we pull out board games. Every interaction has been and continues to be an opportunity for heartfelt sharing and uncontrolled outbursts of laughter – these are no doubt my favourite and will remain etched in my memory forever.

And while this new routine has quietly fallen into place and is helping give all of us a sense of structure, we are also learning that not everyone feels up to the routine at all times – and that’s ok. We’re learning that everyone needs “me time” in different quantities and in varying styles and to ask for it is okay. We respectfully and gracefully allow the other to recharge in the way that suits them best. We learn to manoeuvre around the wants and needs of members of the family – someone doesn’t like loud music, let’s use earphones, someone needs to jump around all the time – there you go, use the trampoline.

We are learning how to accept and make allowances for each other. We take each other’s needs and wants into consideration and we cooperate and collaborate. We are acquiring skills in conflict resolution. Apologies are much quicker and more heartfelt in these times. We are all learning new skills. The boys spend more time in the kitchen with me:  “Can I cut this? Can I stir this? This goes in next right?” My husband is making efforts to cook up new dishes too, much to the family’s delight.

I feel we have really excelled in the creativity department as well. From spending time creating art, to reviving games from our childhood – anyone for a game of ‘Win, Lose or Draw’?  – to creating a ‘Jungle Safari’ to celebrate a little one’s birthday. Both boys speak with shining eyes and enthusiastic voices about that birthday. We have celebrated two birthdays with another just around the corner – just the four of us. It has been as fabulous as if we had invited the whole huge family over.

As I look at my own personal growth over these two months – I’ve come to know and understand myself so much more than I ever have in the past. The efforts I make to treat myself with kindness and compassion is notable – I feel like I’m finally walking the talk. The amount of reading and learning I’ve been doing in order to support my family emotionally through these difficult times is substantial. And It warms my heart when I watch interactions that would previously go south, turn into opportunities for repair, healing and connection now, simply because there is no rush to be anywhere else in this moment and we have spent time on refining the skills that support the process.

When I was asked if I had any thoughts about the soon to be eight weeks of being at home with family – I answered that I really hadn’t given it much thought – we are just coping and being. And now as I reflect, I realise we are doing so much more than that – we are growing and thriving – and wonderfully so!

Personally, I am learning to let go of expectations and the need for perfection. I am learning to accept myself without judgement, understanding my limitations and embracing my strengths. These are exactly the qualities I want to role model for my growing children.

As a family, we are learning how to accept each other without judgement, we are extending support to each other in the warmest and apt way we can think of and we are learning to communicate our needs clearly to each other. We are learning to take responsibility and apologise for our part in conflicts while reaching out to each other to resolve the underlying issues. We are being present and enjoying the here and now alone and with each other. If this is not laying down strong roots, I really don’t know what is. I’m not saying any of this is a done deal, or that this is the ideal for every family. I’m saying these are the values that are important for my family and this is a process – as I said, we are learning. No one is looking for perfection, only progress.

We are most definitely growing and thriving… and I am infinitely grateful that we are…

I would like to add that I am aware my family is one of the extremely privileged ones who get to stay home and together during this global pandemic. We get to work, study and continue to learn and grow without really worrying where our food for the day is coming from. This is something that I remind myself of every single day and I am eternally thankful for. I am intensely aware that not everyone in the world is so privileged. We help out in any way we can within our means, and hope that help and care reaches those who are in need of it. Namaskar.

This article was featured in YogaMail Oct-Dec 2020 issue.

Living Life Naturally

Living Life Naturally

by Zu Anjalika Kamis Gunnulfsen

Everyone talks about the nature of life, but what is it truly? We all know that life is always changing and ever evolving, hence the theory of evolution. Evolution talks about the process of heritable change in populations of organisms over multiple generations and this is true of the entire universe, which is an enormous, pulsating container of energy.

Essentially, all living things go through changes as they grow and develop. The nature of life dictates that when one living thing dies, a new one replaces them, which ensures the survival of the species. During its life, a living thing goes through physical changes that allows it to reach adulthood and produce new beings. This is what we call a Life Cycle and it applies to plants, animals and humans.

Let’s us look at human life and human nature. While human life is the generic term used to talk about birth, life and death, human nature depicts ways of thinking, feeling and acting – which has been said to be inherited naturally. This term is often regarded as capturing what is it to be human or the essence of humanity.

When we are born, we are all likened to a clean white slate – awaiting life’s experiences to be engraved onto it. As life goes on from a toddler to a child, teenager and right into adulthood, the clean white slate transforms into a different colour. Its colour depends on what is being imparted and nurtured, and later on, the life we all choose to live. In the next stage, where stress and fusses of daily living take control of our lives, the natural process of life is interrupted.

In the yogic context, upholding the ethical guidelines of the Yamas specifically ahimsa (i.e. non-harming) and satya (i.e. truthfulness) can be pretty much a challenge these days especially with the existence of social media. Distraction is a major setback albeit having  technology at the fingertips. All these, along with poor nutrition and lack of rest block the flow of energy and focus which in turn leads to poor health. Hence, young children need be taught hatha yoga, mindfulness practices, deep breathing and effective relaxation to strengthen their building blocks. Nevertheless, it does not end here. When yoga is coupled with its sister science, Ayurveda, children will experience a boost in their health.

More than 5,000 years ago, way before the emergence of technology, the yogis took a leap in maintaining health, vitality and peace of mind. They developed the wisdom of Ayurveda. Translated directly, ‘Ayurveda’ means knowledge of life – which is all about living life in balance with our own nature. Ayurveda is about incorporating a daily routine, exercise, diet and herbal therapies for balance. It also speaks of the importance of massage and touch for building a stronger physique as well as for detoxification – an imperative part of living life naturally. Ayurveda tells us that optimal health and full human potential are dependent on a lifestyle that is in sync with the cycles of nature. It also tells us that living out of sync with these cycles will deplete vitality, cause stress, create excessive desires and ultimately cause dis-ease.

The paragraph below explains a basic daily routine, taken from the concept of Ayurveda that one can practise. It is recommended that this is started at a young age.

One should wake up early in the morning, preferably before sunrise. Once up, drink a large glass of warm water to cleanse the system. The next thing to do is to splash water on the face, scrape the tongue and brush the teeth. Even though tongue-scraping is so underrated, the benefits it offers are abundant. Subsequently, the bowels and bladder are emptied. It is favourable if it is done within the first hour of waking. Unreleased toxins cause so much problems to our body. Make sure they are excreted at least once a day.

The importance of exercise cannot be ignored; hence, one should do at least 10 to 15 minutes of morning yoga. Brisk walking or other cardio workouts may also be incorporated.

Sitting in silence allows one to look from within. It also sharpens the intellect and helps tremendously with focus. One may wish to sit in silence preferably in the nature for 5 to 15 minutes daily.

Finally, I am sure we have all heard of the adage, “eat to live; not live to eat.” The Yogis have long been adhering to this wisdom; so should we. Eat healthy meals in moderate amounts throughout the day. Let’s embrace a healthy lifestyle together!

This article was featured in YogaMail Jan-Mar 2020 issue.

Incorporating the Five Elements in Our Yoga Practices

Incorporating the Five Elements in Our Yoga Practices

by Zu Anjalika Kamis Gunnulfsen


I recalled the time when I was introduced to the Five Elements in the yogic context; it is so basic and simple yet it plays a very important role in our day to day living. The logic behind the Five Elements is truly mind-blowing and that is why I incorporate them in every yoga session I do.

Ayurveda is always said to be based on the concept of Five Elements; these elements are namely water, fire, air, earth and space or ether. Let’s look at the significance of each element, their interrelationship with each other and how they assist in balancing the body and mind:


Heavy, hard, immobile, and stable solids are some of the qualities of earth. They are related to our dense components like bones, muscles, joints, fat tissues, tendons and ligaments. Constant travelling or fast-paced lifestyle, especially now when studies and extra-curricular activities have become the centre of our lives. Hence, whenever you feel disconnected, disorganised, fatigued or burnt-out, go back and surrender to your earth element.  Undoubtedly, this will also balance the vata dosha which governs flow and motion in the body. The easiest way to connect to the earth element is to visualise yourself like a mountain while standing tall. As you are consciously breathing, go deep and release every ache or dis-ease you feel in the body.


Water is known to be fluid, cool, nourishing, refreshing, fulfilling, lubricating and purifying. Circulation, the way nutrients move from one part of the body to the other, and the regulation of hormones, blood and cells depend on water. Water also nourishes the bones, joints and muscles. Connect to the water element anytime you feel stuck or rigid in the body or mind.  You could soak yourself in the tub, drink a tall glass of water, go for a swim or practise a slow, fluid yoga movement like Setu Bandhasana (Bridge Pose).

Fiery FIRE

Fire is known to be hot, sharp, erratic, radiant and fiery; it is often associated with energy, illumination and transformation. In terms of fire in our body, think of it as the heat for digestion. If the water element helps bring nutrients through the body, its fire counterpart helps to assimilate those nutrients.  Hence, both these elements are co-dependent on each other. Fire is also the source of concentration or focus for all the desires we seek in life. It offers the power of transformation to digest life experiences.  Connect to the fire element by visualising a flame at the navel centre. You may practise Trataka (gazing at a candle flame) to boost your concentration and focus. You may also practise yoga poses like Utkatasana (Chair Pose) which helps create heat in the body.

Invisible AIR

Air is invisible, so in that sense, it is different from the rest of the elements. The air element can be sensed through its effects on the world; think tornado, hurricane, a light breeze or even a cold wind on your face. As air is light and formless, it is always associated with freedom, positivity and openness. Too much of the air element causes the mind to become restless and overactive. Too little of it causes one to be dull and lethargic.  For an overactive mind, it can be quite a challenge to concentrate on studying. Hence, the individual can try visualising themselves as a mountain to bring in some grounding.  However, if one feels a tad dull, they could dance and flow with the beat of music. They could also practise the Downward Facing Dog and Plank while breathing deeply.

Space or ETHER

The qualities of ether amongst others are vast, spacious, expansive, subtle and limitless. It is the element that encompasses all the other elements.  In relation to the body, think of the space in between the organs such as the stomach, intestines and lungs. Create space in our minds around the limiting and negative thoughts so we can see various perspectives, have different vantage points and see our limitless potential. To connect to the ether elements, I like doing backbends or the Half Moon Pose. The practise of breathing is also appropriate in connecting to the ether element; it opens up the mind for easy grasp of the learning process.

Understanding the elements and their qualities helps a great deal in the balance of body and mind – a vastly important factor particularly for students be it at the primary, secondary or tertiary level. You will feel a sense of empowerment within yourself which goes a long way in creating the life that you seek.

This article was featured in YogaMail Oct-Dec 2019 issue.

Yoga and Super Learning

Yoga and Super Learning

by Dr Sumathi Raju


We live in a fast-paced world where everyone is chasing the elusive something or other, where research and development are happening at lightning speed and making it almost impossible to stay up to date, and people often forget to breathe.

In all this hustle and bustle we have handed over our independence, memory and to some extent our thought capacity to gadgets that help us plan, remember and in some instances even think for us –  to the magnitude the thought of losing the gadget sends us into a panicked frenzy.

Go on, try it! Close your eyes, relax your body, take a deep breath in and out. Go ahead and think of a loved one you haven’t spoken to in a while and decide to make that call now. Slowly reach into your bag or back pocket and try to grasp your phone. Wait a minute!! It’s NOT there!! Dig deeper, dump all the contents out – STILL NOT THERE!!! Can you feel your heart racing, thumping strongly in your chest, your breath coming out in short ragged puffs, your skin flushed and your head feeling light… Oh dear, is it really all as hopeless as this? Is there help for ourselves and our future generations?

Enter super learning – a fast, effective way to learn vast amounts of new data. It helps to:

  • Improve memory – imagine being able to remember lists, names, numbers, recipes, techniques, birth dates – who doesn’t want to be able to do that, and help children study and prepare for exams
  • Learn a new skill
  • Improve creativity
  • Boost confidence

Are we not duty bound to provide our children with such a gift? And if you’re convinced and raring to go while wondering how Yoga fits in the equation, I’d like to share that the pieces of the puzzle fit nicely when family nurtures the practice of Asanas (physical postures), Pranayama (breathing techniques) and mind-training techniques in a conducive environment.

Let’s Begin with Some Movements!

Surya Namaskar, or sun salutation, is an ancient practice of expressing gratitude to and connecting with the life-sustaining sun while balancing the body’s energy system at both mental and physical levels through a sequence of 24 asanas that flow gracefully into each other. It is performed in a calm deliberate manner – giving one (child and adult alike) an opportunity to foster body awareness as well as practice synchronising the breath with movements, consequently improving concentration and making the practice meditative in nature. The slow, controlled movements improve circulation of blood, heat and prana while building and strengthening muscles and loosening up joints, hence improving flexibility. The asanas also help stretch and massage the internal organs while activating the endocrine glands.

All these collectively create a strong and flexible child who is keenly aware of himself and his surroundings. Having healthier emotional regulation skills, the child has a greater capacity for expression of empathy and kindness, in addition to increased self-confidence and an enhanced positive sense of self. The practice helps him manage stress through healthy movement, synchronised breathing, awareness and meditation whilst providing him with a much needed and a more wholesome alternative to zoning out through constantly being engrossed with electronic devices.

Then, We Focus on the Breath….

Once we have taken the necessary steps to address the physical body, we move our focus to the breath and life force through the practice of “Pranayama”. Pranayama is a Sanskrit word made up of two halves, ‘prana’ and ‘ayama’ and is most often translated to mean ‘expansion of life force’. The practice of pranayama trains purposeful, conscious breathing techniques, which are important lifelong skills for children to learn.

Pranayama practice improves respiratory function by improving oxygenation right down to the cellular level. This helps to increase the child’s energy levels, thereby improving performance in studies and sports leading to an improvement in levels of confidence. Pranayama practice also quickly balances energy, controls stress and stabilises mood by stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system, which regulates the body and brings about the relaxation response. Yogic Pranayama (abdominal breathing), Nadi Shodhana (alternate nostril breathing) and Brahmari Pranayama (Humming-Bee breath) are examples of pranayama techniques that can be easily taught to children for achieving efficiency in respiration as well as balance the two hemispheres of the brain, resulting in a calm and focused state.

More and more research reveals that children who regularly practice yoga asanas, pranayama and mindfulness activities are more likely to engage in healthy physical activities, are better equipped to regulate their emotions and manage their stress, and are therefore, much calmer. Children who are healthy, calm and focused, who are fuelled by curiosity and creativity, are much happier and learn more readily and easily.

Parents, We Gotta Walk the Talk!

As parents we can do so much to support our children in developing a well-balanced personality. First and foremost, it is vital that we lead by example. Do you have your own yoga practice plan? You don’t have to be an advanced yogi (although that would no doubt be awesome). Do you take a few minutes each day to practice mindful awareness maybe? Or do you have a ritual that calms and centres you, preparing you for the day ahead? Children learn a lot more from our non-verbal cues than from what we say to them (probably because what we’re saying is often contrary to what we’re doing).

When the adults in the family have our own practice scheme, we will be more aware and available for our children. And being available helps us see clearly each child’s own unique personality and nurture it.  Something else that we can teach by role modelling and through discussions are the yogic principles: the  Yamas (restraints) and Niyamas (practices), which teach kindness, compassion, truth, self-restraint, generosity and contentment, among others.

Watching us approach our own practice with dedication and enjoying it, will no doubt pique the children’s interest and inspire them to give it a go themselves. So, when they do, welcome them with open arms and have light-hearted fun with them. Allow them the freedom to explore and give them a safe space they feel comfortable in so that they are compelled to return each time, for a little more.

Crate a clear and consistent routine around the practice. Children (and many adults) thrive on routines. Try to maintain similar timings – in the morning before breakfast or at night before bed for example, or any other time that will work consistently for your family. And once we’ve started with a sequence of practice – try to maintain the similar sequence until everyone is familiar and comfortable with it; in fact, comfortable enough to lead the rest of the family in the practice. Children love familiarity as it gives them a sense of security, and leading the practice develops confidence and leadership skills.

….and Make it Fun!

Remember to have fun! Break some rules, make some noise! Nothing is set in stone! Compromising alignment initially in exchange for participation and engagement is not a crime. Afterall, there is no perfect pose. As the child becomes comfortable and secure, and willing to consistently participate, the alignment can be addressed. A child’s first language, after all, is play. Most of us have forgotten or chosen to ignore the child within in the rush to get through the day as efficiently and productively as possible. There’s no time for anything frivolous and fun is a definite no-no! Children don’t get all that “seriousness”. They are managing just fine with their sense of curiosity, fun and adventure. For the time that we are with our children, try to reconnect with that “fun loving child” within and reach out from that space and watch the magic unfold – not only for our children but also for ourselves.

Communicate clearly and creatively – yes, it will seem like quite a chore in the beginning if it’s not something we are used to, which is why our own practice becomes so important. And as we stick with our routine, connect to our fun-loving inner child and keep at it (children will gladly help us out on this one if we allow them the space, trust me), it becomes effortless and we wouldn’t want it any other way. Understand and recognise that our children may experience frustrations – from the lack of understanding, perfection, and the perceived lack of support and many other things. These are ideal moments to reach out to them and help them understand their emotions and behaviours while sending the strong message that they are valued and loved just as they are. We want to use every opportunity we have to reinforce behaviours that will raise a well-balanced, resilient, self-motivated child.

Remember to praise the effort and not the result. Results are variables and quite often not within anyone’s control. However, the attitude of the child while taking on or seeing a task through is more consistent. We would all love our children to be curious, creative, confident and responsible with strong decision-making skills. The path to that is by recognising the physical mental and emotional effort the child has put into the task and acknowledging it – showing our children: “Hey, can you see you are capable and did all this?” Making the child visible to him or herself and fostering a strong and positive sense of self.

A Healthy Family is One that Learns Together!

The easiest way to engage children in practice other than through play is through practising partner poses. Children always, always want a connection with us. Immaterial of what behaviour shows up, the plea is always the same: See me! Hear me! Love me! And as parents, isn’t that what we want more than anything else in the world as well?

Partner poses help in maintaining consistency. They tell our children: “Hey, I’m on the mat with you and this is my sacred time with you, for you, because you matter to me and you are valuable, and I love you. I’m not ordering you to practice, I’m in this with you, as I am every step in your life.”

It strengthens communication, trust and the sense of support as we guide our little ones from simple asanas to more advanced ones. It sets the blueprint for the journey called life where our little ones know we will navigate it with them and they are not alone. Knowing that parents and family members are available and are the most reliable and stable support does wonders for a child’s sense of security. On a lighter note, practising together makes for great memories and stories in the future!

Of course, all of the above sounds great in theory (and it is very attainable, as overwhelming as it might sound in the beginning), but what if we’re struggling to maintain a routine or don’t feel confident in guiding our children or just don’t know how to? Enrol in a class. Enrol the child in a class and find out from the teacher how we can best support them or even better if there is a family yoga class near you enrol the whole family. Investing some quality time with the family will do wonders in strengthening the family’s bond while making our little ones feel loved and secure and receptive to all the wonderful learning experiences in life.

This article was featured in YogaMail Jul-Sep 2019 issue.

The Yogic Journey Towards Betterment

The Yogic Journey Towards Betterment

by Zu Anjalika Kamis Gunnulfsen


Evolution – it’s such a simple word, yet it has been discussed and debated over and over. Hence, what is evolution?

Scientifically, evolution refers to the gradual development of humanity. Human beings are believed to be the direct descendants of the ape, given fact that they have similar traits as the latter.

The yogic world, however, begs to differ. Evolution in the yogic context is the journey towards betterment – never perfection and definitely non-ending.  Evolution is the process of constantly moving from diversity to unity. It has been said that instead of understanding the meaning of the word ‘evolution’, it may be better to focus on the concept instead.

Let us try and understand the concept of evolution from the yogic point of view. In the ancient yogic text, evolution consists of three components, satyam, shivam and sundaram. Directly translated, satyam means truth while shivam is auspiciousness and sundaram refers to beauty. With these three intact, we are thought to be ready to complete our journey. Only then, will we attain nirvana or completeness in life.

Attaining satyam, sivam and sundaram requires lots of conscious effort; it is the one that transforms a person out of their nature. It is not something that is embraced or attained overnight. One has to be continuously conscious and be in the NOW, the very present moment consistently. In fact, the entire process of yoga revolves around the principles of consciousness.

How does a person raise their level of awareness? You may ask. Try seeing yourself from a different level; once you do this, your perspective changes and at the same time, your perception, awareness and consciousness take a shift as well. This shift is also what we call the maturity of the mind; the process of moving from the present environment to a place where one can observe diversity and from there, they begin to experience unity.

The yogic mantra speaks of two concepts; the masculine and feminine. The masculine talks about auspiciousness, while the feminine is all about energy.  These two factors are the motivational pull that governs the entire life of an individual – the inspirational guide, if you will.

While the yogic concept has been around for thousands of years, science is a growing and developing subject. Now, let us talk a little about the science of evolution.  First and foremost, we all know that science has two components; the major one is based on rational findings, and there is also a part which is intuitive.  As of now, many of the findings on evolution has been mostly rational, for example, the study of hormones, DNA, and measurement of brainwaves.

While yoga is seen as the father figure who has seen it all, science is the young adult, growing and experimenting. They are in actual fact, complimentary to each other and this is truly a blessing. Only when there is complimentary effort, will there be a full understanding how the individual and universe integrate.

As we go forward in our journey of evolution, we will come to four areas of attainment in life. The first is the attainment of security – whether personal, social or financial. The second is attainment of desires; it is the effort put in to obtain material/objects that we long for. Next, comes the attainment of the quality of consciousness where we become responsible for ourselves. Finally, we move towards the attainment of that inner freedom.

There are four stages in life. The first is studentship – this is when we develop our skills, enhance our understanding of the subject matter and work towards our aspirations for the future. Next, comes a new pattern of family and social life, where we become responsible for other people around us who are part of our family.  After which, we enter the third stage, which is retirement. Finally, in the fourth stage of life, we dedicate the virtuous qualities towards the growth of humankind and inspire others to attain inner freedom and greater wisdom. The fourth stage, however, is not the end of evolution. It is on-going and developing all the time until the cessation of our existence.  It takes lots of dedication and discipline – after all, we are inspiring others towards attaining peace of mind and growth of humankind.

Dedication of growth can take place in many forms; an example will be better awareness and a deeper understanding of yoga. The yoga instructor is the conveyor, passing on his knowledge to the students. Subsequently, the students will carry on the yoga legacy to family and friends. Similarly, this can also be observed in a family unit. While the parents’ role is to nurture and bring out the best in their offspring, the children, on the other hand, emulate positive behaviour of parents and of course, of those in the society. In such an environment, the future generation can only flourish.

These four stages have been defined as ideal life. It is up to us as to how much we wish to attain in this lifetime. Many reach the second or the third attainment and they remain there believing that it is not possible to go further.  Each one of these stages is made for us and we have to strive to get as far as can. Only then will we make a difference in our life and in the lives of others.

Here are some lifestyle tweaks that can be incorporated to attain a higher quality of life. Harmonise your body by keeping it strong and healthy. This can be achieved by practising yoga and eating a healthy diet. Harmonise your mind by practising conscious breathing, meditating and thinking good thoughts.

Experiencing good health, peace and evolution requires effort. It is not easy but living with awareness and being mindful of your daily actions will take you there.

This article was featured in YogaMail Apr-Jun 2019 issue.

Motivating the Family

Motivating the Family

by Zu Anjalika Kamis Gunnulfsen


A chanced encounter with a family of five in Sri Lanka a couple of months ago set me thinking; what is the fundamental basis for a family to motivate each other in the pursuit of health, happiness, positivity and success?

A little background of the family; they are in the Land of Serendipity to seek answers for leading a much happier, fulfilling, organic life, away from the current stresses that often faze us.  From Australia, they feel the way to do it is to visit a place where life is not so consumed with “outside” influences.

We live in a world where everything is constantly evolving and changing. These changes are happening at a rapid speed. Most of the time we get lost in the midst of it all.  When that happens, our lives get affected considerably, making it hard to focus, regroup and recharge, let alone be motivated.

As a mother of two, I can totally relate to this epidemic. I constantly have to juggle between being a mom and a friend, setting boundaries and motivating the kids to lead healthy and successful lives.

The time I had with myself to address this led me to a few pointers, which I know will help to be a source of motivation in leading a healthier, happier and successful life.

In everything we do, ask the question WHY.

In this instance, why is motivating the family to lead healthier and more successful life important? I’m sure we all have the answers; but different ones. For some, perhaps family history in certain ailments is a huge motivator. For others perhaps it’s knowing that leading a healthy lifestyle could easily translate to a successful one.  Afterall, it has always been said that a healthy body leads to a healthy mind; and the opposite is also true.

As parents, we know that in order to relay anything to the kids is to do it ourselves first. When you’re being a healthier, happier and successful parent, chances are your kids will follow suit. Emotions are contagious, if you are unhappy chances are your kids will be too. So make sure you are happy, successful in your own way and motivated most of the time.

I have always believed that doing chores builds character in my children. It is still an ongoing journey for me. I might sound petty, but telling kids to contribute in every little way is actually preparing them for what is to come in life.  Doing chores is not just that, it teaches kids to be gritty and responsible. Kids will also learn the value of hard work and the art of working together as a team. Collaboration happens a lot these days – at work, in sports – and what better way than to let it start from home?

Praising is a fantastic way to build self-esteem in children. However, if done incorrectly, it can also have a reverse effect. Children might feel the pressure to always score the highest or always want to be the best without immersing themselves in the whole process. What they should be praised on are their efforts throughout the journey of whatever projects they are embarking on.

Empower kids and do away with parental dictatorship. Children do better when they are part of the decision-making or even have a say in the process.

My family loves rituals; we create our own. The evening walks after dinner, the little chats we have in the afternoons after school, making food together, and sometimes just watching a good movie or just curling up on the sofa on a random day. These are the things that build “bonding” in families.

Building meaningful relationships is essential to growth and psychological wellbeing.  Make sure the family takes part in get-togethers, play dates, lunches or breakfast meet-ups.

The internet and many gadgets available these days are definitely magnificent inventions, however, they are also known as the catalyst for many problems – less focus, anxiety, hyperactivity and other social problems. Use gadgets to your advantage, not the other way around.

In conclusion, have chats from time to time with the children on ways to be healthier, happier and more successful.  Reiterate to them the importance of having a good amount of sleep. Tell them what could happen if their bodies don’t get proper rest.  Food is fuel for the body; teach them the benefits of certain foods and the dangers of others, if taken excessively.

Come up with rules that work for your own family; children actually thrive on rules; use it to your advantage, parents.

Create the importance of working out a couple of times in a week.  It does not mean joining an expensive club or calling in a personal trainer; a run in the park, a half-hour kick-ball session or cycling around the neighbourhood is sufficient.  The bottom line is to keep the body moving and sweating a little.

Teach kids about grooming; and I do not mean the primping-for-hours-in-front-of-the-mirror sort.  Grooming in this context simply means being tip-top in hygiene matters; taking care of your cleanliness, body scents, hair and nails could totally change the way you feel and see yourself. If you look presentable, you feel good about yourself and of course, when you feel good, you just want to give the best in whatever you do.

Parents, you have to walk the talk. Whatever you tell the children, you have to do the same. Kids usually learn by example; so you have to eat healthily, think positively and behave amicably – if that is what you desire your kids to be.


This article was featured in YogaMail Jan-Mar 2019 issue.

Positive Vibes Only

Positive Vibes Only

by Zu Anjalika Kamis Gunnulfsen


As life is too short to be bogged down with negativities and things that do not serve a purpose, I thrive on positive vibes. Feeling good and being positive does not come easy. While it is natural to be suspicious, jealous, angry and resentful, it is also within our capacity to be fully conscious of our feelings, thwart the negative and implement the positive. Living life happily and positively is my birthright; and I will not in any way jeopardise that.

I have always been asked how I keep happy all the time. Well, there is no shortcut to happiness but we can strive and make small changes in our daily lives to ensure we live a meaningful life. Happiness does not mean having that new shiny branded school bag or incredibly popular shoes or travelling to far away exotic destinations; it is more than that. It is really an inside job; no matter how much one has. If one is unhappy at the core, he/she will still not find any satisfaction in life.

In pursuit of positive living, let us look at ways to live life euphorically, celebrating each and every moment of our time on planet Earth. Most of the time, it does not even take a penny to realise that dream. Janet Jackson used to say in one of her songs, ‘the best things in life are free’ and she cannot be more right.

Gratitude is the key to everything. There is an expression; happiness does not make one grateful, but gratitude makes one happy. This should be the key to living. Gratitude opens doors, endows one with endless energy and hope and keeps one grounded. In short, being grateful gives a purpose to living. One way to keep gratitude in check is to start a journal.  Every night before turning in, write down ten things that made you happy that day. It can be as small as doing the laundry or picking and throwing out a branch that might cause a mishap to cyclists. Being grateful for big and little things in life helps flow positivity into our daily lives. Gratitude begets gratitude, so let’s start being grateful now.

We often overlook the single one most amazing gift of life; the BREATH. Breathing is a fundamental factor for the living; breathing can also be a wonderful tool for a positive happy living.  In yoga science, pranayama means the regulation of breath through certain techniques and exercises.  Positive breathing is a favourite amongst yogis. Most pranayama techniques consist of three parts and Positive Breathing is no different. There is inhalation (puraka), retention (kumbhaka) and exhalation (rechaka). Firstly, place your left hand on your lap. On the right hand, fold index and middle fingers in towards the palm and leave the thumb, ring finger, and pinky finger extended. Only the right nostril is used in positive breathing.  Now, bring your right hand to the left nostril; press your pinky and ring fingers against it, leaving only the thumb free. With your left nostril blocked, inhale through the right nostril for 8 counts. After the count, use your thumb to block the right nostril while the left one is still blocked and hold your breath for 6 counts. Then release your thumb (the left nostril is still blocked with the ring and pinky fingers), exhale through the right nostril for 8 more counts. This is one round of Positive Breathing. In yoga, the right nostril is associated with the masculine, active energy of the body. We stimulate these energies by breathing only through the right nostril which increases positive feelings, improves digestion and generates heat. I once read this – 20 minutes of Positive Breathing, and you are ready to face a firing squad.  Says a lot, doesn’t it?

Sadly, material possession is seen as a necessity today; they are thought to be the bridge to happiness. This is not at all true. Staying detached from worldly possessions require some work; however, the shift felt within is remarkable. Make efforts to buy less or only when necessary. When we are not in competition with anyone, we see life in a much better light. A positive living will emerge, leaving behind those remnants of the past where worldly possessions once took control.

Practice the art of giving no matter how small.  You can give your time, help the underprivileged with tuition that they cannot afford. You can also give away used clothes to the shelter or give a lift to someone waiting for public transport. You may also want to donate blood – the list is endless and most times it does not even involve money. Those who give from the heart have immense happiness. They believe they have enough to share. Givers usually walk around with a sparkle in their eyes because they know the art of giving certainly defeats that of receiving at any given time.

We are what we eat; I am sure we all have heard of that before. What we eat have a direct effect on the way we think and the way we move about our day. A healthy diet is essential to our wellbeing. Cut down on sodas, candies and processed food. Consume fresh foods, greens and don’t forget to drink more water.  Water ensure distribution of oxygen throughout the body for optimum breathing which in turn, gives an energy boost.  When you eat and drink healthily – your mind and body will thank you for that.

Transform your thoughts with meditation.  Contrary to belief, meditation does not need to be long.  A brief ten minutes daily will do heaps of good. Find a quiet spot, you may sit on the floor or chair, but sit up straight. Set your alarm next to you for ten minutes. Then close your eyes and take control of your breathing. Breathe in deep and breathe out the air as much as you comfortably can while keeping your mind clear and free from thoughts. Just concentrate on the breaths. Repeat until the alarm goes off. Meditation clears the clutter in the mind, promotes mental wellbeing, makes one sharper and of course, promotes a positive mindset.

Last but not least, the art of yoga stimulates positive thoughts. Yoga is a spiritual and ascetic discipline which uses breath control, simple meditation and implementation of specific physical postures. The first principle of yoga is the asanas. In layman’s term, asanas are postures. These postures stimulate your mind, and strengthen and stretch the muscles in the body. These actions unblocks the chakras in our bodies and help diminish negative thoughts while igniting positive ones. My favourite postures are the cow pose (bitilasana), warrior II pose (Virabhadasana) and of course, Utkata Konasana (goddess pose)!


This article was featured in YogaMail Oct-Dec 2018 issue.

What Has Money Got To Do With It

What Has Money Got To Do With It

by Zu Anjalika Kamis Gunnulfsen


Our life experience is a combination of thoughts, actions and choices.  Life sometimes can be a tad challenging than what we expect it to be.  When that happens, scaling down will be necessary to make room for only the issues that matter while keeping our sanity intact.

Improving our life means committing ourselves to living simply and in harmony; physically, emotionally and mentally.  Living at peace with others and making a pact with our environment for a more sustainable living is another part that needs to be looked into. It is also imperative to know our purpose on earth.  When that has been established, we can live according to it and get rid of all distractions that hinder us from living the life that we desire.

When it comes to living simply, a couple of things need to be re-assessed and money has got nothing to do with it.  What better time than to share these insights with your children.

Getting rid of all the stuff you do not need is a first good step towards simplicity.  Physical clutter is the by-product of mind clutter and vice-versa.  Hence, in order to lead a happier and clutter-free life, declutter.

Our physical well-being is so attached to our emotions.  Let go of all emotions that have been weighing us down.  In this way, we will be able to have clarity of mind to go about in our new pursuit of living simply and consciously.  Soon the quality of health will also improve. The expression, ‘healthy mind, healthy body’ is so apt.

No matter what denomination one practises, I have always been an advocate for speaking to the higher power.  We are so tiny in this vast universe and most of the time in need of some sort of justification for our existence. This outlet can be both calming and therapeutic.

Meditation is one of the best ways to seek internal peace and tranquillity. There is something magical about sitting in a quiet place, concentrating on your breath, and focusing on the present.

Check your day-to-day schedule and make sure it is not overloaded with appointments.  Scale down if need be; little breathers in between your hectic schedule go a long way.

To give is to live; an important message for our youths. Exhibit compassion to others; only then will our journey towards simplicity and wholesomeness come to light.

Our life in this 21st century is filled with distractions.  As parents, it will definitely be great if we can all work together to reduce as much distraction as possible; put that phone on silent mode, cut down television time and unplug that computer.  Take your children for walks or have some quiet time in the garden or at the park.  The idea is to minimise all distractions so that our brain can function better and at its maximum capacity.

Most of our feelings are ruled by subjective thoughts; seek to have objective ones.  Most of the time not having our own thoughts and perspective embroiled in certain matters lead to a higher level of thinking; that in turn, will open up the minds and make the transition to this new mode of living smoother.

Forgiving others and yourself is one of the most important steps in order to move on totally in life.  Forgiveness clears up the path of self-healing which in turn helps absorb in all the goodness that presents itself while in transition.

Spending time with those you love and value will never go out of style; it’s actually more rewarding.  So pick up that phone and make plans for playdates, dinner, lunch or coffee with those who mean heaps to you.  This life is for living so make sure it’s lived and valued mindfully every moment.

Unfortunately, in today’s world, we are all being sucked into the concept of the more things you own, the better you feel.  Attaining happiness through the pursuit of things is not sustainable and definitely untrue.  One thing is for certain, that’s the more things you own, the more emotions you hold onto.  The more the emotions, the harder to manage those feelings. The pursuit and acquiring of things should never be a benchmark for happiness.  The euphoria is definitely temporary and should not in any way be mistaken for real happiness.

When worldly possessions and feelings become imbalanced with the internal harmony, the focus is usually lost.  Ample time will be spent thinking and doing things which are not relevant to internal growth; which in turn makes life out of balance and complicated.

In this current world, everyone has thoughts that life has got to be big in order to be perceived as successful.  Sadly, that is not true at all.  Life needs to touch all the important aspects of quality living to make it even worth the journey.

It is so easy to be so overwhelmed with all the thoughts, technology and consumerism-based lifestyle we have now.  When that feeling hits us, it will be good to sit down, breathe and reflect.  Relax the mind because when it is at ease, we are able to see things in a different perspective and find the path to the great, wholesome life we have always imagined. We will be able to re-evaluate what is important, or what is just there as a distraction.

Look within ourselves and determine the areas we want to improve; all changes start with self.  Let go of all that do not serve us any purpose.  This action might have some retaliation; so being honest is the best way to go.

Parents may want to implement these simple steps for the betterment of themselves and their children:

  • Spend 10 minutes a day, practising mindfulness.
  • Unplug all gadgets when spending private time with the family; make it a habit of at least one hour daily.
  • Take a walk in the nature; do it at least once weekly.
  • Make giving a habit; once a month, drop off some food items at a charity home of your choice.
  • Stop buying things that are not needed.

Living a good life does not need to be expensive nor does it have to be huge; live simply, give ample love, show lots of empathy and connect with the higher being.  All these are available within ourselves; no money is involved, so why not start now?


This article was featured in YogaMail Jul-Sep 2018 issue.

Our Joy, Our State of Being

Our Joy, Our State of Being

by Zu Anjalika Kamis Gunnulfsen


How many times have we heard someone say, “Joy is within you; go seek it”?  I have heard it plenty of times and used to have the same questions going over in my head repeatedly. If it is indeed inside of me, how can I reveal it? How come there had been times, being or staying happy was quite a struggle? What does that even mean, that statement: Joy is within me?

We live in an era where we have been made to believe time and again that happiness depends so much on what we own or achieve.  The social and mass media, print and digital advertisements, and also the people around us create a sense of false happiness that connects us directly with physical things and emotional attachments.  That new branded school bag, expensive holidays and the cool gadgets are but a few examples.  Truth of the matter is, if we cannot be happy from within, regardless of what we own or achieve, we can never be truly joyful.

Yoga preaches and teaches the art of being joyful from within, with what is already existential from inside each and every one of us.  Finding it requires some time, not to mention with clear heart and mind.  Once it has been revealed, joy and happiness will be yours to stay, whatever the physical or outside circumstance is.

In Sanskrit, there are three words to describe levels of happiness and one or more of these levels pretty much exist in all of us.  Some are fleeting or temporary joy, while others are more substantial.

Sukha is temporary pleasure that comes when you attain something that is of fleeting nature.  It can only be felt when you are completely in your comfort zone and when things are going your way, for example, acing a test.  As easy as it comes, the feeling goes away rather quickly too when the novelty wears off, or after the next test results, which might not be as impressive as the previous one.

Santosha is contentment: the kind of feeling that you and everything you own are enough without the need to have anything extra. Those who practice Santosha are able to get back their peace of mind in a jiffy when irritation or agitation happens; all because they are contented.

Happiness that comes from the core, Mudita is the kind that sees beauty in everything, be in good or bad.  This type of happiness is sometimes referred to as spiritual joy.

So having explained the different types of joy, let’s look at ways to attain Santosha and Mudita.

Many times, we have heard the adage gratitude begets abundance.  By seeing the good in every little thing that surrounds us, we automatically get into the gratitude mode, which in turn switches on the happy feel.  It has been said gratitude heightens quality of life and it’s not at all a wonder.

One birthright bestowed to us, which has often been overlooked, is regulation of breathing, or pranayama, as it is known in yogic context.  Proper breathing is stress relieving, anxiety diminishing and also known to result in the feeling of immense happiness.  There are a couple of breathing exercises that have been used in the yoga practices. Correct breathing techniques induce muscular relaxation, mental peacefulness and encourages the free flow of prana or living force, also known as “chi”.  Two of these are Sheetali Pranayama, which is also known as cooling breath, and Sheetkari Pranayama, or hissing breath.  In Sheetali Pranayama, cool breath is drawn into the body by rolling the tongue out to form a tube and inhaling air through it.  Cool breath is known to affect brain centres associated with biological drives and temperature regulation.

On the other hand, Sheetkari Pranayama is done by hissing through the teeth.  It has the same benefits as Sheetkali, with an additional perk of keeping teeth and gums healthy.  Coincidentally, science has pretty recently put a connection between mental happiness and oral health.

Meditation has been around since antiquity in various religion and beliefs.  However, of late, science has also encouraged the use of mediation to aid in certain physical and emotional discrepancies.  In theory, meditation is a practice whereby an individual focuses her mind on a thought, object or activity to encourage the free flow of mental calm and happiness.  So, get on that comfortable chair or mat, close your eyes, breathe deeply and meditate to happiness.

In any traditional religion, chanting is used to encourage clarity in the way we view our world, those on the outside and the one within us. Chanting transmits certain frequencies, which makes us vibrate from the inside out.  When this happens, we are automatically tuned in to our own joyful feel from within.

Having mentioned all of the above, we now come to the core factor of bringing true joy into our lives.  Yoga has been around for thousands of years.  Originating from ancient India, yoga brings together a group of physical, spiritual and mental practices which aid in the total wellbeing of a person.  Yoga helps reverse the fight-or-flight tendencies into rest-and-digest mode.  When your body is relaxed, rested and free of anxiety, what is there not to be happy?

Contrary to what we hear on day-to-day basis from all around, true happiness is indeed attainable.  Fact of the matter is, no one ever needs anything to be happy.  Joy and happiness are imbedded in each and every one of us. It’s just a matter of sieving and looking deep into ourselves.

Let’s go back to how we were when we first got here – let us all remind ourselves over and over – our joy is indeed our state of being.


This article was featured in YogaMail Apr-Jun 2018 issue.

The Journey to the Path of Enlightenment for the Young Minds

The Journey to the Path of Enlightenment for the Young Minds

by Zu Anjalika Kamis Gunnulfsen

There are different paths and disciplines of yoga to help us realise our higher nature.

Since the beginning of time, we have always looked for fast fixes and easy ways to journey on the spiritual paths —  hoping for one without struggle; a path free of challenges that will bring us to the end quickly with no sacrifices or efforts.

What more in the current climate we live in, the young have all the information at their fingertips.  Life seems to take them to different levels where access to many teachings is vastly possible, wherever they are in the world.  However, these might cause lots of confusion and drama in their young minds.  I call it the “unorganic teachings in the paths of enlightenment.”

Young people are so involved in reaching out and being educated via the World Wide Web for what’s in and what’s not that they forget the fundamentals of the path.  A teacher should always be present for teachings as deep as this.  Without one, it is so easy for teachings to be misunderstood or misrepresented.

Traditionally, these paths were written as a guide for much meaningful living.  Having said that, let us look at the three fundamentals of the path of enlightenment.

My personal favourite is this first one: detachment from worldly things.  This is certainly not an easy feat, especially for the young – detaching oneself from material possessions.  After all, we live in a multimedia and fast-moving world where things are part of our social standings.  Kids go to school with the latest sneakers, new models of mobile phones and the list goes on.  So, how can we incorporate this “worldly-possession detachment” into our daily lives?  Truthfully, we cannot give them up altogether, however we can minimise; seek to have only what is necessary, without the need to splurge financially and ethically.

Secondly, performing good deeds, which should come naturally to all of us.  After all kindness begets kindness.  Teach our children to do a little kindness every day; something that satisfies their soul and nourishes their being.  Give a stray some water; help their exhausted parents after a whole day of work by making dinner or cleaning up afterwards.  All these constitute good deeds.  Simple as it may seem, these tiny bits of kindness each time do add meaning to your day.

It is our role as human beings to evolve and get better with time.  Provide guidance so our children can get to know themselves better.  What works and does not, within themselves; things that make them tick every single day.  Know their likes and dislikes and definitely know their strengths and weaknesses.  Be wise in their knowledge of self.  This third component of the path is imperative for all human beings.  Without getting to that level of knowledge of oneself, it is so easy to be strayed.  Living life with no purpose or intention is so similar like being in a boat without oars; hardly any destination.  Not good, especially for growing minds.

Moving forward, imagine combining the three elements we just covered with the eight limbs of yoga.  Firstly, what are the eight limbs of yoga? In short, they are the eight aspects of yoga: Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi.

Each aspect is indeed a guidance on how to live a meaningful and purposeful life.  Let’s understand these eight components and explore it with our children.

For a start, yama and niyama are compulsory qualities a person should adopt for spiritual development.  It is said no other components are beneficial if not performed alongside yama and niyama.  So, let us explore the all-important yama and niyama.

Well, yama is self-restraint; the control or continence of one’s actions.  In this modern world, it is so easy to be swayed, hence yama will keep one in check.  There are altogether five branches that constitute yama:  Ahimsa (non-violence), Satya (truthfulness), Asteya (non-stealing), Brahmacharya (moderation of the senses) and Aparigraha (non-possesiveness).

Niyama is observances and there are also 5 components: Saucha (purity or cleanliness), Santosha (contentment), Tapas (self-discipline), Svadhyaya (self-study) and Ishvara Pranidhana (surrender).

With such a comprehensive list from yama and niyama, it’s no wonder they are an integral part of the eight limbs of yoga.

Moving along, the third component of the eight limbs is postures or practices, also known as asanas.  In the yogic context, our body is a temple.  Through the practice of asana, we develop a habit of concentration and discipline.

Pranayama, or breathing practices, play an important part in our mental, physical and spiritual wellbeing.

Weaning away or disconnecting the mind from our ten sensory organs is also known as pratyahara.  Let us look at these ten sensory organs; they are broken down into two branches: the active expressions consist of eliminating, reproducing, moving, grasping and speaking. And then come our five cognitive senses and they include smelling, tasting, seeing, touching and hearing.  Imagine yourself disconnecting from these expressions and senses.  Hard? Yes.  Fulfilling and enlightening?  Most definitely!

Concentration, or dharana, is the sixth component.  So, what do we mean by concentration?  It is a fixture of the mind on something which in turn helps us in concentrating better.  Dharana is only possible if your mind is free from distractions.  Oh my, I wish I would have known this sooner.  Definitely, it would have been so helpful during my days as a student!

Meditation is known to be good for our spiritual and physical wellbeing; even more so when exposed at a tender age.  This has even been proven from the scientific standpoint.  It is known as dhyana.

The last component of the eight limbs is known as samadhi, which also means the state of superconciousness.  In samadhi, the mind becomes still and in total awareness of the present moment; in a constant state of euphoria.  I cannot think of anyone who does not want to be happy all the time.

With all these explanation of moving towards the path of enlightenment, we can all fully grasp the amazing benefits they have in our lives when practised diligently.  Take full advantage of a young age.  If started earlier, imagine all the goodness one will reap.

This amazing journey is not going to be a walk in the park, but that walk will definitely bring you to, if not closer, to the path of enlightenment.

This article was featured in YogaMail Jan-Mar 2018 issue.

Different Strokes for Yoga Folks

Different Strokes for Yoga Folks

by Zu Anjalika Kamis Gunnulfsen

“Yikes, I’ve been doing yoga for the past one year now, Anjalika. Why don’t I still get the lithe, limber body of Tara Stiles?” quipped one of my students, Rita. She is eighteen years old and an ardent fan of yoga — having discovered this ancient art while vacationing in India nearly 2 years ago.

Anyway, this is not the first time I’m faced with such questions and I very well know it is not going to be the last.

I have always had the same answer for students, friends and acquaintances with somewhat similar concerns, and usually my explanation would be at length.

Whether they are aiming for a calmer mind or eyeing the flexibility of a ballerina, yoga has a whole smorgasbord of benefits — for kids and adults alike.

At the physical level, yoga has been shown to improve one’s posture, balance and flexibility.  It also helps to strengthen the bones and increase the muscle strength; and this is truly imperative, especially in the growing years of a child.

On the health front, yoga offers tonnes of perks like decreased inflammation and improved symptoms associated with chronic health conditions, and much more —   that is also the reason one can achieve one’s fullest health potential when yoga is practised from a young age.

Of course, my personal favourite would be the mental benefits of yoga, which do wonders for our total well-being.  After all, there is indeed a saying: “to be healthy as a whole, mental wellness plays a role”. Yoga helps eliminate stress, anxiety, and also depression. In the current world situation, where stress has become part and parcel of life, yoga is indeed something that needs to be incorporated into our daily lives.

With all these being said, it is not a wonder why yoga is an essential part of many people’s lives.  The number of people taking up this beautiful art is rising from year to year and growing from strength to strength.  MAYI Yoga Academy’s Super Yoga Kids has gained so much recognition for the last 5 years, with an increased number of kids every year.  Parents everywhere have started to understand the benefits of holistic living and importance of starting young.

However, there is something all yoga enthusiasts should be aware of — yoga affects people in different ways most often than not. No two persons will have similar results from practising yoga.

Let us take the case of six-year-old twins, Felie and Felix. Both have been practising yoga for the last 8 months. When I first knew them, I could not figure out who was who.  They were very similar in many ways — active, friendly and bright. They could could not be ‘twin-ier’ than what they already were. However, these days, there is something about these two boys that sets them apart in more ways than one.  While Felix develops an amazing new flexibility, Felie develops other skills like a mental capacity that is becoming so amazing.  Previously, he had problems memorising his two times table, but now Felie breezes through it with no problem whatsoever — and he is into his five times table now!

Another example would be Trisha and Mylie, who are friends.  Both started doing yoga with the hope of having tight and taut bodies.  They both attend classes three times a week.  While Trisha is tall and lanky, Mylie is petite and voluptuous.  Two years down the road, while Trisha manages to be what she wanted, Mylie still remains the same physically, but of course with an amazing new energy and flexibility.

In terms of benefits, yoga does not have a one-size-fits-all solution. Individuals will see a variety of benefits within themselves. It is truly important to never compare ourselves with others.  We are all different in sizes, shapes, energies, and of course, as we go deeper,… genetic levels. While yoga does help to elongate and tone the muscles, a person of a round physical make should not expect to achieve a lean and lithe body in no time; or if she should even at all.

Personally, I love all the mental benefits I have reaped from yoga. Learning and memorising has become a lot easier. My mind is calmer and clearer, especially when making decisions.

Physically, I am much more flexible and my arms are way more toned than what they used to be. Many have sworn that yoga helps in the tightening of their tummy. In all honesty, my tummy is still somewhat jiggly, however, I can testify to the added core strength. These days, my posture is way better and have long said goodbye to backaches and back sores.

Just last week, I met up with a couple whom I have not met for about two years.  They picked up yoga together before getting married, for more holistic living.  They have been practising for the last 5 years. Upon meeting up, she excitedly told me about a new lease of energy she discovered within herself.  She now sleeps eight hours a day, runs a successful bakery, manages two kids under five years old, runs her home and on top of all that, sneaks in an hour of yoga routine daily — seven days a week.   He, on the other hand, enjoys his calmer mind and clearer thoughts, of which he is extremely grateful for, which is necessary when you are running an internationally-acclaimed advertising agency. Well, theirs is definitely yoga-matrimony made in heaven. Can’t ask for a better complement.

Even between my two sons, Magnus and Eirik, I can see that both benefit from yoga differently.  While my younger one, Eirik, five, becomes lots more flexible than his already-pretty-flexible self, six-year-old Magnus’ memory and mental capacity seems to be increasing well.  They both do yoga three times a week — a combination of both hatha and mind yoga.

I can go on and on about how yoga affects people differently, but my point is really not to go around comparing. Just concentrate on your own little and big evolvements.  Go deeper and seek what has indeed shifted in your emotional and physical being.

The next time you catch yourself comparing, just quietly tell yourself: “Different Strokes for Yoga Folks!”

This article was featured in YogaMail Oct-Dec 2017 issue.

The Mindful Being

The Mindful Being

by Zu Anjalika Kamis Gunnulfsen

“Mamma let’s do the flame-gazing exercise again” said my six-year-old.  He loves this ‘flame-gazing’ activity or Trataka, a technique I introduced to him two months ago.  In a nutshell, it involves staring into the flame of a candle, which in turn helps with concentration and memory.

When we think about boosting memory power for adults, eating the herb gingko biloba comes to mind.  Afterall, this herbal supplement has been around for many centuries.  For most, supplement is not an option for their children.

So while we work on ensuring our kids are equipped with good mental power, why is boosting memory ability all that important and how do we help our kids achieve this?

From birth, a child’s growing memory is the crucial part of his cognitive growth.  Parents will continue to find ways to help their kids boost their memory power.  The amazing role memory plays in our lives becomes apparent as we are who we are, mainly because of what we remember.

As a child gets older, his memory power will get stronger while the capacity increases.  If you can determine what children remember – why and when, you can certainly encourage that developmental growth.

What’s important to note is that while mind-training is good, mind relaxation is also needed for balance.  One without the other will not perform to it maximum ability.

Mind-training combined with mind relaxation has been ever present since the inception of yoga itself, couple of thousand years ago.

In this 21st century our lives are pretty much being taken over by technology.  For most of us, every waking hour is spent amongst smart phones, computers and noise that over-stimulate the minds.  We hardly find time or opportunity to relax, unwind and quieten our minds.  What is worse is that we let that same lifestyle control our children.

For the young especially, stimulating their minds positively is imperative.   It is also necessary to provide variety in order to promote constant stimulation.  Another factor to consider when arranging mind-training activities is age appropriateness.

Super memory is not a myth; it’s definitely attainable.  With all that said, let us now look into the fundamentals of the following two variations of mind-training and relaxation practices, and how the practices can help attain the best possible mental calmness and wellness capacity in our children.


Trataka or flame-gazing is one of the most popular mind training activities in yoga.  Trataka develops concentration and memory.  Directly translated, it means concentrated gazing and that is exactly what Trataka does.

During the Trataka practice, a candle is placed about a meter away, on the eye level.  Keep focus on the flame and continue gazing at it without blinking.  It is also important to breathe normally. Gaze onto the flame until tears start running down the cheeks.  Then slowly close the eyes and relax.  Then with a slight pressure, place palms over the eyes and hold for about 30 seconds.  This cycle may be repeated few times.

Trataka is certainly a very good exercise for the eyes; known to help considerably with many eye issues. Conjunctivitis happens lots with the young; Trataka is known to keep it at bay.  Ward off and reduce astigmatism wholesomely; try Trataka!

Without a doubt, Trataka calms and relaxes the mind.  Definitely a plus for children as it presents the ability to focus more and concentrate longer without getting distracted.  With all these perks, daily stress and fatigue, eliminated.  Better sleep and peaceful nervous system will be introduced.

Manas Dharana

What is Manas Dharana?  Simply put, Manas Dharana means concentrating the mind onto one place or object. This technique calms and promotes mind receptiveness, and has a positive impact on the brains.

This exercise can be held indoors or outdoors.  With eyes closed, children are led to listen to one external sound each time; birds chirp, the rustling of paper or even footsteps outside the window.  They will also be required to breathe normally and steadily.   Focus and concentration is needed.  They will follow the direction to where the sound is heading.  Then questions relating to the sounds will be asked; example will be where the sound comes from, where it is travelling to.

In Manas Dharana, the mind is trained to concentrate on just one thing each given time; meaning focus plays a big part in this exercise.  With focus, the mind quietens down and calmness is induced; helpful for everyone especially the young.

With Manas Dharana as part of their lifestyle, children will be able to automatically switch on to this mode whenever studying or memorizing work is needed.  Concentration and focus; two words synonymous with students, can be achieved with this simple exercise.

Do also note that breath and breathing plays a vital role in these two exercises.  Breath controls the mind; oxygen will be amply supplied with each breathing, making concentration and focus lots easier.

So there you go, the two mind-training techniques in yoga.  Such simple steps, with no costs, yet resulting in huge perks.

Emphasis should really be given to Trataka and Manas Dharana as support for developing minds.

Understanding how focus and concentration can be elevated; also ways in which memories are encoded in childhood and later retrieved and used has important relations in many areas during a child’s developing years.

Afterall, Thomas Edison did say, ‘the greatest invention in the world is the mind of a child’ and he cannot be more apt!

This article was featured in YogaMail Jul-Sep 2017 issue.

Whole Me Up, Super Yoga Kids!

Whole Me Up, Super Yoga Kids!

by Zu Anjalika Kamis Gunnulfsen


When my boys dragged out the yoga mats, spread them out and mimicked my downward facing dog, I was elated.  So elated that I decided to look further into yoga for kids. I knew then I had read somewhere what yoga can do for growing minds.  That was 2013.

My boys were then two and three years old.  We were living in Oslo, Norway where authentic yoga is a pretty rare commodity, what more, yoga for kids.

Fast forward a year later, relocation to Kuala Lumpur and brief conversation with a friend led to many online researches to seek more information on kids’ yoga.  It was then that I found MAYI’s Super Yoga Kids Instructors certification course.

I have never looked back since.

You see, Super Yoga Kids is a total depiction of what adults’ yoga is, and more.

Let’s talk.

Super Yoga Kids (SYK) is the name given for MAYI’s yoga classes for children.

The term Super Yoga is coined from the fact that it is believed a child will emerge awe-inspiring in more aspects than one after picking up yoga at a young age.  The age we are talking about is four – yes a child can start taking up yoga at the tender age of four; even though there are remote cases of even younger kids practicing this beautiful ancient Indian art.

Now, what exactly is Super Yoga Kids?

Like (adults) yoga, children are guided through tailored asanas (poses) to safely develop balance, strength and suppleness.  At the same time, establish a better sense of physical, emotional and mental ability. Specialised teaching techniques are used to stimulate young minds while nurturing their physical and mental development. I cannot reiterate enough how positive yoga is to anyone; and for a child, it will definitely be the greatest gift ever.

The best part, in my opinion is that Super Yoga Kids helps to instill values in the young.  The current state of chaos in this world makes it an even better time to expose our young children to the right rules of conduct and standards of behaviour.

First and foremost, let’s take a look at the physical aspects of SYK; how the kids are guided in this art and what they can expect in terms of physical development.

To put it simply to a child, SYK is just a way of moving their tiny bodies gently and without much effort to improve and maintain their physicality and keep them in tip-top condition. Of course, as the young child gets older, he might be keen to know the deeper meaning of yoga and they are very much welcome to research more into this art.

With the heavy load school-going kids carry on their shoulders each day, the countless hours they spent hunched in the classroom; not to mention mental alertness that is required to follow through lessons, I can only think of one activity, a saving grace, if you will, that should be incorporated into their daily lives – YOGA.  SYK will see that their lopsided shoulders get eased-up, rectify their hunched back to a better posture and most definitely calm and sharpen their minds for better attention and absorption of what is taught in class.

To put things in perspective, let’s take a look at a typical SYK session.

In SYK, sessions usually start with awareness and energisation. It is SYK’s philosophy that children must be taught to be aware of their being and existence. This exercise reiterates the beautiful and miraculous part of themselves; their bodies.

Joint exercises or pawanmuktasana, as we call it in yoga, comes next.  In this session kids are guided through stretching, bending and rotating sequences of their joints in every part of their body; better still the places which are often neglected like the hip and toe joints.

After working and easing on the joints, they children will then go on to do Surya Namaskar or Sun Salutation. Surya Namaskar is a chain of choreographed asanas or poses to help in the clarity of mind, regulation of breaths and total body well-being.

Asanas comes right after Surya Namaskar. Asanas or poses in SYK, most often than not, are conducted in fun and interactive manner. Most asanas are given animal names so kids can act-out and mimic the given animal for each of the asanas. This creates a lot of imaginative play and teamwork; not to mention the improvement of vocabulary and word-grasps.

Since we are dealing with young, active minds and bodies, creativity plays a huge part.  Thematic asanas is big with children of SYK.  They just love to wonder their minds in fantasy, depending on what theme that day holds, while their tiny bodies move fluidly, from each asana to the next.

Yoga Nidra is a very powerful form of relaxation. It is a combination of awareness of the physical body and creative visualisation through rotation of consciousness. Children are guided through simple and short visualizations.

Breathing plays a vital role in SYK. Deep and proper breathing ensures oxygen is taken to right places so that inner cells are well oxygenized and energized to function properly.  Oxygenized cells also mean improved nervous system, better mental alertness, improved digestive system, which also acts as an immunity booster.  So common coughs and colds will be at bay; good news for parents! With all these in mind, it’s not a wonder breathing takes the center stage in yoga.

SYK’s signature Mind Training is a definite boost for children.  It works on internal factors like left-right brain hemispheres which helps in creativity and being calm, amongst others.

So, with the physical aspects of SYK explained, let us take a look as to what constitutes instilling values in SYK.

There are two parts to this; Yama and Niyama.

Yama is regaining balance in life; while Niyama is the practices that lead to wisdom and self-knowledge.  Together, they have the power to help to implement and regain values that most certainly are depleting, unfortunately, with the rise of technology and use of gadgets.

With all these conveyed to a child at a very young age, it will be amazing to see him or her develop and function as a wholesome and well-rounded individual later on in life.

Super Yoga Kids, as we call it, will not turn a child into Superman but it will definitely make the child a super human; body, mind, soul.


This article was featured in YogaMail Apr-Jun 2017 issue.

Developing Mindfulness in Students with Yoga

Developing Mindfulness in Students with Yoga

by Kavi Vitya


Yoga often brings to the mind the image of someone twisted in the shape of a pretzel. Yoga is usually associated with ‘asana’ (posture) and therefore in many of the fitness centres and gyms where yoga is being taught, emphasis to given to its physical aspect. However, deeper practice of yoga is beyond that. Patanjali’s definition of yoga is “Yoga Chitta Vritti Nirodhah”, which means “yoga is the removal of the fluctuations of the mind”. Chitta is mind, vritti is thought impulses and nirodhah is removal. Yoga practices can lead to mindfulness. Mindfulness means living in the moment. When you are mindful, you observe your thoughts and feelings from a distance, without judging them good or bad. Mindfulness is observing the thoughts without criticism and being compassionate to own self. Mindfulness brings long term happiness as it focuses less on unhappy thoughts and more practice on living in the present moment. It will positively affect the brain pattern to face daily life challenges without stress and anxiety. It is a simple mental training and it can be achieved with the awareness of breathing which is widely practiced in yoga.

Students encounter many issues pertaining to the mind and emotions. This often leads to them taking emotional and sometimes adverse decisions in life. Yoga classes are thus being conducted to observe the students behavioural, physical and mind changes. Through this study, I expect the students to have improved focus, reduced stress levels and enhanced decision-making ability in life by living in the present moment. Practicing Yoga would help them to be calmer and healthier not just physically but also mentally.

Yoga is well known to reduce stress and anxiety. This is due to the practice itself focusing on concentration and mindfulness which helps to keep the mind calm and centred. According to Patanjali Yoga Sutras chapter 1, the Samadhi Pada, which is the chapter on concentration shows there are five states of mind. The five states are Kshipta/disturbed, Mudha/dull, Vikshipta/distracted, Ekagra/mindfulness and Nirodhah/mastered. The ksihipta/disturbed mind is disturbed, restless, troubled, wandering. This is the least desirable of the states of mind, in which the mind is troubled. The mudha/dull mind is dull, heavy, and forgetful. It is a dull or sleepy state, somewhat like one experiences when depressed, though we are not here intending to mean only clinical depression. Then the Vikshipta/distracted mind is distracted, occasionally steady or focused. This mind can concentrate for short periods of time, and is then distracted into some attraction or aversion. Then, the mind is brought back, only to again be distracted. However, the Ekagra/mindfulness, focused, concentrated. When the mind has attained the ability to be mindfulness, the real practice of Yoga begins. It means that one can focus on tasks at hand in daily life, practicing karma yoga (the yoga of action) by being mindful of the mental process and consciously serving others. The person with a mindfulness mind just carries on with the matters at hand, undisturbed, unaffected, and uninvolved with those other stimuli. It is important to note that this is meant in a positive way, not the negative way of not attending to other people or other internal priorities. The mindfulness mind is fully present in the moment and able to attend to people, thoughts, and emotions at will. The final state of mind Nirodhah/mastered mind is highly mastered, controlled, regulated, and restrained. It is very difficult for one to capture the meaning of the Nirodhah state of mind by reading written descriptions. The real understanding of this state of mind comes only through practices of meditation and pranayama. Basically, the practice of mindfulness is based on the ancient teaching in the Patanjali sutras.


The methodology used for this research was very simple. Research was carried out for 15 weeks where the students attended yoga classes for an hour per week. In the research I used use a qualitative method to analyse and derive data from a test beforehand to understand their level of mindfulness and an interview after the sessions completed. Every class had the following flow:

  • 5 minutes of awareness practices
  • 10 minutes of Pawanamuktasana (Joint exercises)
  • 10 minutes Sun Salutation
  • 20 minutes Yoga Asanas (poses)
  • 15 Minutes of Pranayama (Breathing)
  • Total: 1 hour practice

Result and Discussion

In total the study involved 27 students, 59.3% female and 40.7% male.  The students that did not have yoga experience is 84.6 % of the total sample. Thus majority of the research participants did not have any yoga experiences.

1 =Least stress

10=Extremely stressed

The stress level of students when I ask them to scale their stress level before and after yoga you could observe the statistics that before yoga the total percentage level 5 and above is 73% and after yoga it has reduced to 29.6%. This shows Yoga could help them to manage their stresses of life better.


The Results of Mindfulness Test

I prepared 2 sets of mindfulness test. One set before yoga and another one after yoga samples of questions and results are as below.

Observe the differences in the both chart before yoga mostly moderate mindfulness and after yoga they have improved.


Yoga did improve the students’ state of mind to be more mindful, to be aware of their thoughts and improve their decision making ability. Fifteen weeks is not sufficient to achieve mindfulness completely and to train all students but I believe it’s a good start for the students to discover about mindfulness and yoga. One of the question in the questionnaire after 15 weeks was, “Share your opinion and overall experience throughout the 15 weeks of yoga practice.” Below are some of the feedback from students:

“Yoga has really helped me with my over thinking problem and made me an active person. I’ve learned to deal with problems in a steady state of mind.”

“I’m more conscious and aware of what I’m doing after the practice of yoga.”

“It was awesome as it helps to strengthen my mind when dealing with difficulties and control my emotions.”

“It was fun and beneficial. We learn new things every week and as we practice along the weeks, we get better and better at it. Yoga is definitely helpful in relaxing and dealing with stressful situations.”

“Yoga is a good exercise to practice anytime, anywhere, especially the breathing technique and the eye exercise. Yoga is a friendly exercise. It never forces you to do more than what you are able to do. There will always be an exception I the yoga pose. Yoga made me more aware of my own body, feelings, and thoughts. Throughout the 15 weeks of yoga practice, my yoga teacher showed me and others the good values of life. I feel motivated each time she gives us advices before the class dismissed.”

“It was truly an amazing experience. It was my first time trying out yoga and I’ve never thought it could be this fun and relaxing! Our yoga instructor was amazing. She helped us with the poses and praised us when we did a good job. I’ve never in my life thought I could actually do a handstand, but I now can (well, kind of)! The breathing techniques she taught and the advice she gave on being aware of our surroundings and ourselves were really helpful too. It was a wonderful 15 weeks and I will definitely be incorporating a bit of yoga into my everyday schedule.”

“I wish to start yoga classes again as yoga is a very helpful practice that improves my daily life. Difficult moments don’t seem so stressful anymore and happiness can be obtained easily!”

“I had a great time, bonded well with my friends in yoga and I feel fresher and I don’t get cramps anymore while playing football.”

“It’s a beneficial activity to fill in your time with and it’s interesting to learn something new each session. You gain experience and new skills.”

“Overall the yoga experience is very relaxing and helps me to enhance my mindfulness.”


It was an amazing experience to explore and do research about yoga and mindfulness. Yoga is a beautiful practice that can help not only the students but also the teacher to learn and progress. It was a great experience for me to guide and learn at the same time. Yoga brings mindfulness and Yoga is a universal healer. OM



Swami Veda Bharathi (2001). Yoga Sutras of Patanjali: Samadhi pada. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidas

James Houghton Woods (2003). The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. United States of America, USA: Dover publications Inc.

David Dapeng Chen, Linda Pauwels (2014). Perceived Benefits of Incorporating Yoga into Classroom Teaching: Assessment of the Effects of “Yoga Tools for Teachers” (4), 138-148

Mark William, Danny penman (2011). Mindfulness: An Eight Week Plan for Finding Peace in Frantic World. United States of America, USA: Rodale Inc.

This article was featured in YogaMail Jan-Mar 2017 issue.

Of Pregnancy and Yoga

Of Pregnancy and Yoga

by Sumi

“Pregnancy is not a miracle, it can be endured as naturally as possible without any medical intervention or supplements”, this is what I always convey to my Pregnancy Yoga Instructor Course students.

How is this possible? Will this affect the babies and the mothers’ well-being?  These are questions frequently asked by my students.

The answer is: Natural pregnancy includes creating an environment of healthy, positive elements like healthy eating, appropriate exercise, positivity, relaxation and a good massage. A woman’s body is uniquely designed to become pregnant and to give birth.  Her body is prepared with the ability to have a safe, natural pregnancy and childbirth. Women have the stamina and strength to bring a child to this world naturally. It’s a common and natural life experience.

Healthy Eating

Healthy eating should start from pregnancy planning stages.  A proper diet rich with all types of nutrients will help in the formation of foetus from day one. Each molecule, cell, organ, bone and skin will form well with the help of nutrients from the food mothers consume. By eating healthy food, the mothers are helping the foetus grow efficiently in a natural way. Since most medicines or vitamins are made from plant-derived ingredients, why not consume them directly from the source itself?

Mothers need to eat even if they are having severe nausea during early stages of pregnancy. The reason is, the nutrients are absorbed by the foetus before the mothers throw them out. Sometimes women are exposed to a number of complications during pregnancy, like high blood pressure, high sugar level and excessive weight gain. These are caused by poor eating habits or unbalanced diet.  Eating well can keep blood pressure, blood sugar levels and weight at healthy levels.

The lack of key nutrients such as folic acid has been linked to higher rates of birth defects. It is important to eat natural, unprocessed foods as much as possible during pregnancy to avoid harmful substances. Nowadays, “chemically prepared” dietary supplements are assumed sufficient in the diet for pregnant mothers. They are claimed to be wholesome food for mothers and their babies. However, a balanced whole-food diet can more than make up for these chemical diets. Supplements can have unwanted or harmful effects. Exposure to certain chemicals in some nutrients can lead to birth defects in the baby.

Appropriate Exercise

The most suitable and recommended exercise would be yoga. Yoga asanas help wonderfully during pregnancy, labour and beyond. Yoga can help women get through their pregnancy with minimal discomfort. Yoga helps to prepare for the process of giving birth – it encourages breath and body awareness, reduces worry and teaches women to adapt to new situations. In times of pregnancy, some mothers may experience mood swings, fatigue, sickness, painful leg cramps and breathing problems.  Yoga exercises, techniques and postures can ease such conditions – ensuring a period of relief during pregnancy, followed by easier labour and smooth delivery. Attending an hour of yoga class gives a woman special time to turn her attention inwards – learning to listen to and connect with her baby. It is proven that everything the pregnant mother feels and thinks is communicated through neuro hormones to her unborn child. These gently work on the reproductive organs and pelvic floor muscles to ensure smooth pregnancy and a relatively easy childbirth. At the subtle level, these ensure optimum supply of blood and nutrients to the developing foetus. Studies have shown that women who do yoga during pregnancy are less likely to develop high blood pressure or go into premature labour.

Breathing (Pranayama)

Pranayama is beneficial because women learn how to breathe deeply and consciously relax, which will be helpful as she will face the physical demands of labour, birth and new motherhood. Learning to breathe fully is one of the first things they learn. In the ujjayi, air is slowly breathed in through the nostrils, filling the lungs as the belly is expanded, and exhaled completely until the stomach compresses. Another technique is called “Viloma”. These would help during contraction and labour. Bramhari, or humming bee breath, reduces anxiety during pregnancy and labour, bringing down the stress level.

Being Positive

Positive affirmations are statements that build a powerful internal spirit and replay throughout life as they are incorporated into the subconscious mind. Each time positive affirmations are thought, spoken or read, they reinforce positive images of the mother, the pregnancy and the baby inside. Mothers experience a lot of changes during pregnancy, many of which understandably cause stress. Prayer and meditation are all helpful.  Therefore, to have a stress- free and a smooth pregnancy, positive thinking is ideal.


To be able to relax is an ART”. Woman need to master this art to improve their feelings of well-being. Relaxation reduces anxiety, the effects of fatigue and tiredness, which are caused by stress. The baby will gain a more relaxed Mum and enjoy the benefits of less physical tension within the body during pregnancy. During labour, relaxation can help to reduce pain and the intensity of contractions. It will help to save energy so that women have more to use during labour. Yoga Nidra (Yogic sleep) is particularly effective during pregnancy for physical and mental relaxation as well as for childbirth preparation.


Massage helps to improve blood flow and relaxes the muscles. This can be particularly useful around the neck and shoulders, or a full-body massage when you are able to have one. This should help you to really relax. Some people enjoy foot massages during pregnancy, and even during labour. Others enjoy their back being massaged during or between contractions to help with the pain of labour. Babies in breach position can be easily assisted to normal birthing position by a proper massage.

Pregnancy is associated with nature. So it’s best if we believe in nature to plan and bring a human being into this world. Relaxation, positive thinking and deep connection to nature will nurture a healthier and happier child during pregnancy. Many women find the experience, despite the pain, extremely empowering and rewarding. But many women choose natural childbirth to feel more in touch with the birth experience and to deal with labour in a proactive manner.


*This article is written with references from Health Ananda, Fittamama, Natural Birth and Baby Care, and Fit Pregnancy.

This article was featured in YogaMail Oct-Dec 2016 issue.

Braving Shyness

Braving Shyness

Take a quick scan around any households or classrooms and we are bound to spot some children and youths who are shy and timid. Shyness is often used to describe a person who is reserved, nervous and uncomfortable around others. The display of shyness and timidity are often associated with introversion, nervousness and even fearfulness. However, this perception is often far from the truth. Although they are intelligent and aware, and often compassionate and caring, they prefer not to voice out or take action because they simply do not want to bother anyone or cause   inconvenience to others.

In some cases, shy or timid children often have a history of being punished or criticised for their thoughts, ideas and actions. The shyness escalates if these comments come from people whose opinions matter to them: e.g. parents, mentors and peers. As a result, they resort to “clamming up”, preferring to remain quiet and follow other people’s lead.

In the early years of development, timidity in toddlers can easily be spotted. Timid toddlers are usually slow to warm up to new people and situations, tend to avoid group activities due to nervousness, fear, etc. When faced with such situations, the timid child would often cling to parents for security, preferring to observe before deciding to join in. Hence, other children who are sociable in nature may mistake this child as being unfriendly or snobbish. And this may lead to an adverse repercussion if other children take less interest in befriending the timid child.

Shyness in teenagers, however, could be due to one being overly self-conscious, particularly in social situations, and/or having a negative perception of the self. This takes place typically during puberty when the body is undergoing changes and they become increasingly concerned of their self-image.

While shyness can be managed, the act of being treated and ‘labelled’ as shy and timid can discourage the child or teenager from actively getting involved in group activities. If this becomes a routine, it could lead to a low rate of accomplishment and subsequently a loss of self-confidence and self-esteem. In extreme cases, it could lead to Social Anxiety Disorder, the third largest mental healthcare problem in the world.

Shy children need positive guidance, constant support, reassurance and encouragement. Parents and mentors of shy children need to create ample opportunities for these children to participate in activities that build self-confidence. Having said that, this should be done progressively so that children feel comfortable of the process and will be receptive in participating in future attempts.

Efforts need to be made to minimise solitary activities which do not promote social skills, such as watching television and playing computer games alone. These activities are best replaced with a trip to the playground, joining group classes or activities which present opportunities for them to interact with others.

Whenever faced with nervousness, children can be guided through the practice of deep breathing and relaxation. Relaxation is one of the important tools in combating nervousness and the practice of deep breathing is one of the fastest ways to induce relaxation. Deep breathing can be done by breathing in and out slowly. Older children can practise by breathing in slowly to the count of three and then breathing out slowly to the count of six. This can be repeated five times with the eyes closed, followed by an affirmation, e.g. “I am comfortable when interacting and participating in group activities.”

Yoga asanas which are beneficial to children with a timid personality:

Simhagarjanasana (Roaring Lion Pose) – an excellent pose to release pent-up emotions and to shake off nervousness.

Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon Pose) – helps to open up the chest and throat region, encouraging a brave stance.

Ushtrasana (Camel Pose) – the backward bend position in this asana helps in managing rounded back and drooping shoulders, thus giving the practitioner a more confident-looking posture.

Trikonasana (Triangle Pose) – the variations of the Trikonasana series regulate the nervous system and help to alleviate nervous depression.

Surya Namaskar – this energetic sequence will help to increase dynamism in the practitioner.

This article was featured in YogaMail Jul-Sep 2016 issue.

Reaching Heights with Yoga!

Reaching Heights with Yoga!

“I’m not small! I’m fun-size!” Throughout our daily life, whether we intentionally acknowledge it or not, there are always constant reminders about our height – our placement in a queue at school, reaching for something placed in a high cabinet or shelf, buying long pants and skirts which seem to cascade to the floor (and could potentially double up as a mop!), and for those who drives, adjustment of the seat in the car when needed to drive.

Many parents are concerned about their children’s height (mainly the lack of) and have been trying all sorts of remedies, mostly old wives’ remedies, to help their children ‘grow’. In fact, some parents may have discreetly or indiscreetly suggest to their children to hang on the monkey bars in hope that gravity will work its magic and bestow them with added height of a couple more inches.

Although our biological built-up and physical attributes are gifts from our parents and ancestors, a research in Britain suggests that attaining a good height is not only about genes. Our lifestyle – the food we eat, the way we live and the way we think are also important factors to our growth as well. Other than exercises, the state of our minds is also important. Heard of the word ‘psychosomatic’? The Oxford Dictionary defined it as ‘a physical illness (or other conditions) caused or made worse by a mental factor such as stress’.

A relaxed and stress-free mind allows the body to produce the Human Growth Hormone (HGH), also known as somatotropin, easily. The growth hormone is secreted by the pituitary gland which is also the master of all glands as it controls the functioning of the other endocrine glands. This hormone stimulates growth, cell reproduction and cell regeneration in human. Hence, it is important in human development.

As we would already know, the word ‘Yoga’ is instantaneously associated with its therapeutic effects, particularly for personal physical, mental and emotional health. It integrates the psycho-physiological systems. Through the various practices of Yoga such as asana, pranayama and meditation, Yoga strengthens the body, calms the mind and nurtures the emotions these are the essentials for healthy growth. A consistent yoga routine can help to revitalise the body system, allowing it to grow healthily and make the mind calmer and balanced.

Yoga asanas which can help in promoting height are mainly poses which allow your spine to become upright and those of lengthening movement, such as:

Tadasana (Palm Tree Pose) – an ideal pose to lengthen and straighten the spine to improve posture and increase height by stretching the muscles and ligaments, enabling bones to grow longer. Tadasana also helps to develop physical and mental balance.

Chakrasana (Wheel Pose) – while increasing the elasticity of the spinal cord, this pose influences all hormonal secretions.

Trikonasana (Triangle Pose) – when performing the Trikonasana, the torso is being lengthened, giving it a refined posture.

Majari-asana (Cat Stretch Pose) – in this pose, the spine receives complete extension in both forward and backward directions, enabling the expansion of the cartilage discs in the spinal column.

Surya Namaskar – important routine for a whole body workout. Various parts of the body including the abdominal organs are stretched and compressed, warranting optimum functioning of the organs, while the spine is alternately flexed and stretched resulting in better spinal flexibility.

As mentioned earlier, being relaxed and stress-free are the best conditions for the production of HGH, and two of the most effective ways of arriving to a relaxed and stress-free mind is through the practices of deep breathing and meditation. Breathing releases the built-up stress and tensions which clouds the mind and tenses up the muscles. Deep abdominal breathing is the best to rejuvenate the whole body with oxygen, and the gentle pace throughout the breathing practice allow the body and mind to ease into a calm and relaxed state.

The physical, mental and emotional systems are interconnected, and each aspect nourishes the other. Our emotional state and mental faculty prominently influence our health and growth. A healthy mind is the key to a healthy growth. Meditation calms the mind and promotes mindfulness. Above that, the practices of meditation further integrate the body and mind to achieve goals set by the individual, and keeping the mind positive and clear of its direction leading to success.

While Yoga can help in healthy growth, the rate of growth differs from one individual to another. Other than Yoga practices, another apparent contributor of healthy growth is nutrition. Always remember to eat well and eat food which nourishes the body and mind, and be mindful when eating – put away all gadgets and switch off the television during meal times. Replace artificial flavouring with spices and herbs which are natural in origin. Natural herbs are known to nourish and nurture the body, giving it a strong and healthy foundation in which to grow.

Yoga addresses the whole person as an integrated unit. It incorporates all aspects of the person through the various practices and grants long lasting effects to the practitioners. So, practice often and with full awareness. While children are highly recommended to adopt a Yoga routine, teenagers and parents are also encouraged to include Yoga in their schedules. In fact, it will be most beneficial for the whole family to practice Yoga together. A family who practices Yoga together, grow healthily together.

This article was featured in YogaMail Apr-Jun 2016 issue.

Mindful Parenting

Mindful Parenting

Breathe in deeply. Lengthen your spine. Bend your knee. Twist to the left. Relax your muscles.

Aaahh, the common instructions which echo through every yoga studio and continue to ring in our ears till the moment we roll up our mats and return to our respective “roles” – off the mat and out of the studio, all of us are a son or daughter, a sibling, a friend, or a parent to someone.

When we were in school, there were school rules to abide by. Now, in the work field, there are work guidelines and protocols to adhere to. Yet those who embark on the amazing journey of parenthood are bravely stepping into the world where no manuals will be provided. There are no teachers to assure us that we are on the right track, no managers to remind us of deadlines, and no yoga instructors to remind us to take a deep breath in, and certainly there is no one to provide us with the to-dos when managing a household. And the most exciting part of a household is that each member has a unique and individual personality, filled with unique characters and unique needs. We are one of them too!

Being parents, how do we mind all the needs of our family members while minding ourselves too, when the bottomless list of to-dos often leaves us baffled and turns us into scatter brains?

The answer is One-pointedness.

The ancient and wise yogic text speaks extensively about one-pointedness. It stresses on the importance of being aware and mindful by concentrating on our tasks as this is one of the ingredients in the recipe for success. Now, how, you may ask?

First and foremost we need to practice mindfulness. Being mindful and aware simply means calming our thoughts enough to be aware of the present moment and of what we are doing, or rather, what we are required to do right here, right now. It is crucial to understand the most important moment is “now” – “just now” has passed, and “later” hasn’t arrived yet. So, it is essential that we focus on “now”. This awareness is then magnified when teamed with attention and positive intentions. Having said that, practicing mindfulness in this current fast-paced society can appear to be more challenging that it sounds.

Being a parent often requires one to be observant and tactful – observant to the family members’ needs and tactful when providing necessary intervention or guidance. This speaks volumes for both the working parents and the stay-at-home parents. The amount of attention garnering tasks which parents have to juggle on a daily basis deserves a standing ovation.

Now, let’s look at some of the ways which can help us to be more aware and mindful when caring for the household.

Be Consistent

In order to achieve our goals, we need to persevere and work towards continuation. Practice makes perfect. We might make mistakes or get diverted along the way. But these trials and errors are means to show us clarity. Once we learn the way it’s best we maintain consistency. This includes consistency in communication with the members of the family, especially when responding to children. Children often compare themselves with their siblings and if they notice parents providing inconsistent response to them, it may be perceived as parents having special preference for another sibling and this may cause confusion and discontentment.

Maintain Your Calm

Some would compare managing a household and raising children to entering a minefield of emotions. Truth be told, there is bound to be conflict of opinions and this needs to be met with a calm mind. Outbursts will only be met with similar outbursts and there’s no point in participating in a relay of outbursts as it will not bring any solution. When you are faced with challenging tasks or confrontations, take a moment to take a deep breath in and allow yourself some time to relax before responding. This technique allows us time to think and respond with clarity rather than impulsively.


Adults make mistakes too. The important thing is to acknowledge that we’ve made a mistake, followed by efforts to correct them accordingly and learn from (the mistakes), and strive to be better. This applies to our communication with the children as well. Be a brave parent who is not afraid to apologise if a mistake is made. By doing this, we are in fact showing the children that admitting to our mistake and apologising do not make us a weakling, but someone who is strong and honest in rectifying mistakes.

Rejoice with Gratitude

Being grateful for our current situation is a gratifying feeling through and through. People who experience and express gratitude will find themselves perpetually radiating inner joy. As a family, spending time pointing out things which we are grateful for allows us to have a glimpse of each individual’s point of view and priorities. It builds understanding and respect. These qualities, when shown to children will nurture their hearts.

Be In Tune

Just as we always talk about working on balancing the mind and body so they can work in sync, the formula for a harmonious family is just the same. When parents open up their eyes and ears to genuinely observe and listen to the voices of their children, they will most definitely be able to fine-tune their understanding with each other. This positive communication will undoubtedly open up each other’s hearts as well. The key is to be open to communication without judgement. Answers met with judgement and/or sarcasm will only lead to turning off of interest to communicate any further.

If ever we are unsure if we are on the right track, take a moment and have a heart to heart communication with our wise little “consultants” – our children. Only when we listen with an open heart, will we be enlightened by their purity, honesty and sincerity.

Below are ten questions which we can ask our children, and their answers will help us understand their perspective better and enable us to look deeper into ourselves, and the projection of our characters.

1. Which three words do you think best describe you?

2. Which three words do you think best describe daddy/mommy?

3. What does daddy/mommy look like when he/she is happy?

4. What does daddy/mommy look like when he/she is angry or upset?

5. When do you feel the happiest?

6. What is the most important thing to you?

7. What is the hardest thing to do as a child?

8. What is the most amazing thing that your mommy and daddy ever say to you?

9. What is the most amazing thing that your mommy and daddy ever did for you?

10. What makes your family special?

This article was featured in YogaMail Jan-Mac 2016 issue.

Encouraging Teens to Embrace Their Core Values

Encouraging Teens to Embrace Their Core Values

Growing up experiences mean different things to different people. Parents wish their children will be happy, joyful and healthy always while teachers wish their students will succeed in studies and all other undertakings. How about children? Children wish for things which are largely influenced by their lifestyle, environment and ideas projected by society and peers.

Most teens (and tweens) now live under pressure, especially with regards to their physical appearance.  The strings of picture perfect models making headlines in publications of all sorts have caused a lot of misconceptions on the idea of perfection – size zero girls, boys with washboard abs, flawless faces of perfect symmetry, etc. These are just a few examples which have already sent many youngsters to go (or considering to go) under the knife for nips and tucks. And it doesn’t help that girls are introduced to dolls with outrageously-proportionate bodies since young.

For some teens, physical appearance takes centre stage most of the time. Apart from managing their academic performances, they are often concerned about other people’s opinion about them and hence they take a lot of effort in putting the best foot forward. Yes, it is indeed an admirable trait for children to want to be better… yet the driving reasons, aims and processes need adults’ supervision.

Acceptance without Judgement

Adults, especially parents, mentors and educators have direct influence on teens and are in the position to mould them. Although teens are more likely to associate with peers, it is the mentors who play the biggest role in their lives. Teens confide in their mentors and look up to them for advice and guidance. Being ‘accepted’ as their confidant shows that there are elements of respect involved. And this respect should not be breached.

One of the tell-tale signs of a breach of respect is if/when adults start to compare their teens with others and judge their behaviours or achievements (or rather the lack of it). This is highly damaging to bonding, even between adults. How to prevent this? If ever you have the urge to compare your child with others, take three deep and calm breaths to allow time to put your thoughts together for positive communication to take place.

Activities to do together: Note at least three positive things about your child/student for the day. It could be something as simple as tidying his own room, being a good team player, etc. Have your child do the same and study the answers together. With this, you can see what the child perceives as his/her good qualities.

Understanding with Compassion

Teens may appear rash and radical at times. This is when adults need to understand that the brain goes through a massive “remodelling” during teenage years. It assimilates and interprets learning and controls the body’s movements and activities, hence its growth should not be overlooked. Being able to understand and be aware of the mind and thoughts of teens involve patience and compassion, and would often yield amazing discoveries about their ideologies.

How can adults help? Take time to listen to their ideas and thoughts, especially their views about themselves and the society. Do your best to understand the rationale behind their perspectives and brainstorm for better solutions if needed. You might just be surprised by the results!

Activities to do together: Pick a topic of mutual interest and list out your understanding about the subject. Have your child do the same. Discuss your answers so both of you can have better understanding of each other.

Advocate Self-Love and Self-Worth

Other than expressing love to others, we need to extend it to ourselves as well. Now, this is not to be mistaken with narcissism, vanity or egotism. It is within the context of minimising self-destructive thoughts or actions and being confident and comfortable in our own skin. There will be a period when teens will experience bodily changes during puberty such as facial hair growth, the change of voice, acne breakouts, etc. Though they are inevitable and are signs of hormonal development, which are in every aspect healthy and normal, teens may feel the most self-conscious during this period.

How can adults help? Be ready to offer guidance when teens come to you for advice, yet allow time and space for them to come to terms with the changes they are experiencing and not breathe down their necks.

Activities to do together: Family members can list out what they mean to each other. This way they can have an insight into what matters most for each person in the family and your teen can see what he/she means to other people.

Note: All the suggested activities are to be done without judgement when answers are revealed. Take it as an opportunity for the family members to understand each other and utilise it to strengthen the bond within the family.

Most importantly, adults will need to lead by example! Minimise (and eventually stop) comparing yourself with others either about material or immaterial things (eg: who and who has a bigger car, house, etc). Children often pick up these subtle behaviours for good or for worse. The way to live is to be happy, confident and contented with even the smallest things in life. Express your appreciation for each other and maintain positive communication!

Yoga practices:

Deep breathing exercises to provide vitality to the body and to calm surging emotions.

Meditation and visualisation practices for a healthy and confident self.

Yoga asana:

Lion Roaring Pose

Camel Pose

Warrior Pose

Bow and Arrow Pose

This article was featured in YogaMail Oct-Dec 2015 issue.