Yoga Mail

By Harvey

Hari Ini Dalam Sejarah meaning ‘Today in History’ was a short infomercial on TV back in the 80s that revealed bits of Malaysian history, usually just before the evening news. Matured Malaysian readers will know this.

The 12th Nov 2017 was MAYI Graduation Day and for MAYI graduates, it truly was a “Hari ini Dalam Sejarah” and literally too because the graduation ceremony was held at Wisma Sejarah.

It was truly a historical day on many counts:

  1. I graduated, Yay!
  2. Over 260 MAYI students graduated, Yay x 260 ☺ ☺
  3. Along with a few others, I got to share my insights on yoga to almost 300 people – definitely a first for me.
  4. It was held for the 1st time outside MAYI premises.
  5. It was held at Wisma Sejarah for the 1st time
  6. Those who accompanied the graduates witnessed the power of yoga, perhaps for the 1st time too.

The event was wonderful. There was not only great food, but also an inspiring Ted X- like speech from Master Mani. We got to mingle with like-minded people. But that’s all history now. As I write, I wonder about time – how time flies, does it? In the ancient texts, modern philosophers will have their say, but what does time really mean to us? Our views may be personal, but we can all agree that we cannot recover the moments lost.

History, people say, is what makes us. In our journey into yoga, we are taught that the most important time is now, not the past neither the future. What we do now is what counts. The now ‘creates’ the past and also the future. Therefore, history and future is all in the ‘now’ and cannot be at any other time. Sounds confusing? Perhaps we should take time to ponder or meditate as the yogis do.☺

Here’s a snippet of my sharing on that historical day:

About 15 years ago, I knew a person who used to suffer from severe migraine. Even though she took medication and herbs for this, it did not help. One day, her son stumbled upon an article about Nadi Shodhana (a type of Pranayama) in the newspaper. The article highlighted that one of the benefits of this Pranayama is in relieving migraine. Without even practicing it himself, her son explained to her how to do it. One day, she felt the attack coming, but had no medication on her. She remembered the breathing technique and tried it. To her and her son’s amazement, the migraine episode reduced… and in no time it disappeared. But, of course this lady was diligent in her pranayama practice; she even did it on her way to work and while watching television.

The lady in this story is none other than my mother. That was my first insight into yoga. You would probably think that this scenario would have convinced me to sign up for yoga classes immediately, but it didn’t. It took me 13 years to embark on the journey to yoga.

I only joined MAYI in 2015 and re-discovered the word ‘prana’. Soon thereafter, I began my journey into the practices of Pranayama and Prana Vidya.

Let me give you an insight into what prana is, how it works and its effectiveness. Prana, or also known as ‘Chi’ in some cultures, is no ordinary energy. It is the universal energy that is around us and most importantly, it is within us. It is our life force. We all have prana, even before the day we were born.

Imagine that you are able to glide or flow through the day and at the same time you are able to complete all the daily tasks such as meeting deadlines, picking up children from school and so on. All these are done effortlessly without affecting the emotional balance. Imagine that you hardly lose your temper, get frustrated or feel overwhelmed. It’s like you have obstacles all around you but on the inside, there are no obstacles at all. You are focused and hence you are able to act quickly and decisively. For those who are into movies, imagine you are Keanu Reeves (of Matrix) calmly fending off the baddies….or Rajnikanth – both have the same look ☺

With that kind of feeling or inner strength, life becomes easy and effortless and we are able to prioritise and have ‘extra’ time on the things that truly matter to us such as health, wealth, relationships and perhaps helping others. This is just a tiny glimpse of what prana is all about.

Hence, if we all have prana, why don’t we all feel great all the time? This is because as time passes, prana depletes through various channels such as the food we eat, the water we drink and the air we breathe. More importantly, prana reduces through negative thinking, selfish actions and negative speech. The good news is that we are able to ‘enhance’ prana within us but before we are able to do that, we must first understand how prana functions. Through specific yogic techniques like Pranayama and Prana Vidya, we are able to harness or increase the prana within us.

Pranayama does this by way of special breathing techniques that promote deeper breathing to allow more oxygen into the blood. It also detoxifies by eliminating the impurities within the body. In the earlier example of my mother’s migraine attacks, Pranayama was used to manage her attacks at first and finally heal her forever. There are many documented benefits of Pranayama such as relieving stress, managing anxiety attacks, overcoming breathing issues such as asthma, increasing vitality and managing weight loss.

Prana Vidya which means knowledge of prana uses a series of simple but effective visual techniques to regulate and rectify the prana within us and thereby enhancing it in the process. In my experience, I find Prana Vidya to be a powerful healer. Both techniques regulate or rectify the flow of prana which means one can heal oneself physically and emotionally and in the process live to their fullest potential and perhaps find true meaning to life.

I am happy to state that my life has changed significantly for the better and I am excited about what the future holds for me as I earnestly continue to practice. My humble thanks to Master Mani, the fantastic people at MAYI and everyone here for allowing me to share this remarkable journey of mine. Gambatte! (means never give up in Japanese)