Karachi Yogini

Yoga for Life!

opening up to love January 2, 2012

means first to realize that pain is not love.  after a decade of all kinds of unhealthy relationships its starting to sink in.  i have been living in an illusion.

people meet me and are usually very happy to know me.  I have a million useful quotes at hand, I am loving and caring, empathic, and a joyful person.  But I have been involved in relationships with what Natalie (founder and writer of an amazing website about relationships http://www.baggagereclaim.co.uk) has named Mr. Unavailable and Assclowns.

When you’re 17 or even 21 and involved with such men it doesn’t seem like such a big deal.  You use this simple excuse for your behavior – i’m young.  But now when I look back none of my wonderful friends needed to date such assclowns.  In fact, the only time I have ended a relationship is when the other person has been a decent caring guy.  Somehow I only feel loved and special when i’m being treated like i’m not lovable and special and I need to work to prove it.

2012.  30.  Numbers that mean nothing except that at this point now i’m fed up.

“In Tibetan, there’s an interesting word: ye tang che…Altogether, ye tang che means totally tired out. We might say ‘totally fed up.’ It describes an experience of complete hopelessness, of completely giving up hope. This is an important point. This is the beginning of the beginning. Without giving up hope – that there’s somewhere better to be – we will never relax with where we are, or who we are.” – Pema Chodron

There is nowhere better to be than where I am.  As I find myself filling up with a sense of self worth that I’ve never had before I’m starting to watch my need for validation from the wrong places and question why I need to “feel” and only “feel” these strong things with people who are not invested in loving me and caring for me the way I say I want.

I cannot blame any man who has hurt me, because it is always me who drops my boundaries for some crumb of affection, validation, when in my fantasy I’m back to wanting this mr.unavailable assclown to change into someone he is not and will never be.

The choices I make in my love life reflect what I feel for myself.  And I’m finally starting to get it.  That the choices I’ve been making scream that I have some big gaping hole/void inside of me that attracts the same towards me.  Most of the time its an easy co-dependency but it is short lived because frankly I’m blessed like my friend said to me last night, the wrong man walks out of my life.

There is a lot of grey in pain.  I am attached to my pain. To my story.  But pain is not love.  I have lived in fantasies with dangerous consequences for too long.  Where my source of my pain also is the place I look for soothing.  My anger is here. It is asking me to lift out of these patterned behaviors that come from my emotional wounds.  My love for me is telling me, Aisha, you will only get hurt again.  My respect for me is telling me that love with another is meant to be sacred.  My heart is saying, don’t be afraid anymore to say what you feel. Don’t be afraid of what you’ll lose if you speak the truth, because what you lose will only open you up to what you are ready to gain.

 

Be Reiki, Reiki Flow August 29, 2011

my favorite flowers in bali

I arrived in Bali, sleepy and dazed. at immigration, the officer informs me I don’t have any pages left in my passport to put the visa in.  So he points to an office, says go in there and they’ll take care of it.  While waiting for about 20 minutes I am watching the people in the office.  everything seems normal.  then I’m asked to go in the office and suddenly I start to feel attacked.  We can’t put the visa in your passport, its breaking the “rules”, you need to go back to bangkok, why are you here, to teach, to make money.  I start to panic and get upset.  How can I go back, I’m just here for 5 days, my training starts tomorrow.  I keep on asking if I can call the US consulate and they don’t give me the number.  Then he gets up to leave to talk to his boss, and I suddenly realize:  he wants me to give him money.

Despite living in Karachi for most of my life, and traveling to all corners of the world, I have never had an experience like this.  The “bad” cop immigration officer leaves and the “good” one comes back in.  He says he doesn’t want me to have to go back and if there was anything I could do for him, then he could do this for me.  I ask, softly, “you want me to give you money?”

Yes, and gestures to his mouth, sealing his lips.  I start to really lose it now.  My body is full of emotion, hopelessness, confusion, and I start to cry.  How can I bribe someone?  Is this the right thing to do?  I felt like God’s eyes were on me.  And I realized how constantly we are confronted with the struggle to be present.  I told myself, don’t resist, accept this moment and notice your breathe.  Starting to calm down I realize that in that moment I have to give him money.  Ask for forgiveness and pray for him.  Find compassion and though its still hard to access it, at least I was able to step out of the airport, enter Bali, and treat myself to an avocado smoothie.

After that in Happy Bali, what the locals call it, turns out to be the perfect name.  A couple’s paradise, romance seeps from each nook and corner as we drove to the Shangrila (http://www.bali-shangrila.com).  I meet Shauna (also attending the training), an Ontarian Canadian, at the airport as we drive to our destination.  We end up driving to the top of a beautiful mountain and then down to the other side, feeling cool air, seeing beautiful views, and having easy conversation.

julie, allisone, and jill!

As I walk up the steps to my room, I see Julie sitting outside on the balcony.  Julie was in my teachers training program last year at Yandara, with the biggest most loving blue eyes.  I already feel home as I hug her and get ready to go for dinner.  Meet Allisone, my teacher from Yandara next and then Jill, another Mexico reunion.

Dinner starts with delicious pumpkin soup and ends with yummy coconut flan type dessert.   I breathe in the oceans sounds and quietly return to bed.  The next day I’m going to keep a roza and attend Level I reiki training.

I wake up to the sounds of roosters at 4 am.  Have my sehri ready to eat and walk towards the ocean before morning even begins.  Its so quiet.  So soothing.  7:30 I stroll in to yoga class.  just perfect.  the room set up in a circle, the energy of the class led me to a theta wave savasana.

At 9 am, I really start to feel the roza.  I avoid going to the restaurant during meal times, and spend breakfast just relaxing in bed.  10 am we begin our Reiki training and get our attunement.  I am so tired.  My back is hurting, my shoulders are killing, my neck wants to just droop down and I keep on jerking in and out of sleep.  I start to think of some recent memories.  Start to feel guilty and upset about decisions I have made. And after the attunement, one track plays in my mind: “swim in the ocean”.

At lunchtime I spend the afternoon trying to swim in the rocky coral ocean with little success and end up by the pool swimming, tanning and drooling as I nap.  The day floats into the next and I am ready for another roza, and another day of training.  I thought the second day would be easier than the first in terms of not eating and drinking, but it was so much harder.  My body was really feeling deprived of water and yet again somehow I survived as I watched the sunset, anxiously awaiting the moment I could eat my khajur and drink water.

Day 2 I felt the loving Reiki energy in my hands.  I couldn’t believe it.  It is real.  And its just about my intent.  Through that Reiki Flows.  We ended the day with a post dinner Yin Yoga class.  Just incredible.  And I started to feel an open channel of energy in my spine, touched, soothed, and free from pain.

yin yoga, mandala style.

I have no more Reiki rozas to keep I realize as I wake up the next morning.   I have maybe the best breakfast ever and we spend the day reviewing “add-ons” to Reiki, with my favorite being the use of crystals.  Crystals which have organically been part of my personal meditation and self reiki practice for the last year.  Whenever I receive reiki I am easily able to slip into a state of complete reception.  How much has changed in just a short few months. My intent to create the space within myself to receive love, though still a work in progress, has finally started to settle in.

We ended the night with a huge bonfire on the beach, burning away our fears, throwing into it all the things we need help letting go of:  and I released my fears of abandonment, rejection and that I will spend my life alone.  I came again to realize that I cannot know the future and I cannot control it.  I can just be where I am this moment, present, establishing and accomplishing my divine purpose on this earth.  and I know simply it is to heal.  to heal, to support, to encourage and find myself over and over again in the arms of loving embraces.

Hono Pono Pono – Hawaiian – Please forgive me.  I love you. Thank you.

Allisone told us that on our second day together and it kept on ringing in my mind.  I had so much to ask for forgiveness for with my roller coaster year.  And just the words, hono pono pono, so softly roll off the tongue.  Life can be so simple if we just choose to step into the grace of loving energy.  What stops us from healing ourselves?  What keeps us trapped in our patterns, our “samskaras”, our unconscious behavior?

I found comfort each night as I read Deepak Chopras, Life after Death, realizing the incredible unity behind the multi-verse, and the multitude of choices we have present to us in every moment.  I understood what energy it is that Reiki harnesses.  And I realized the potential we all have to be reborn, every moment, every breathe to be what we thought we could never be.  To live in a way that we never dreamed possible.  And mostly I felt how this life of mine is a continuation of something much greater than what I can comprehend.  Is part of a process that will unfold as my soul matures and my consciousness expands.  That what is ahead of me is not something to fear, that it is already written while it is being unwritten.

When I was born and saw the light

I was no stranger to this world.

Something inscrutable, shapeless, and without words

Appeared in the form of my mother.

So when I die, the same unknown will appear again

As ever known to me.

And because I love this life

I will love death as well.

– Rabindranath Tagore

 

“Perfect Love, Imperfect Relationships” (John Welwood) February 10, 2011

this week i spent time with a cousin of mine who i had only met for the first time 2 weeks a go.  I actually didn’t even know he existed until very recently and when our paths crossed because of all kinds of coincidences I found that he was someone with similar interests and a library that made me wake up again.

I’ve been reading Welwoods clear and easy description of understanding the reasons why we find relationships so difficult, especially those of the romantic nature.  In the past year I have spent a lot of time reading about the “heart” and practicing a heart centered yoga as well.  But in some ways this book has helped me to further clear the cobwebs of my wounded heart.

we can spend a lifetime alone and never be challenged by loving another and what that brings out in us.  but i’ve never been shy to express that I want love in my life or go after love when it came my way.  this time though I truly didn’t expect or want it.  and my wounded heart was determined to not let myself be caught up again in the prospect of pain from a relationship. but again as Welwood says “we never really have that much control over any of the most important things in life” so here i am again, on a mirror of love.

as my heart beats so does the feeling of openness and love.  this whole experience since my separation has in fact just been about opening my heart.  my heart that in fact had never been open before, it had glimpsed moments of openness, it had felt love on numerous occasions, but when it came to loving myself truly and deeply, it had never really embarked on that journey.

I don’t know why it is as Welwood says that as children we develop an inner critic, a constant presence of judgement towards ourselves and others as we grow, and why we let that all root deeply into our heart and then in our unconscious.

but i’m thankful that it seems i’m on a path which is  guiding me towards love, acceptance and gratitude.  to start to unpack the constant battle in my mind and body is to first accept how i feel. sometimes i feel stupid, petty, needy, insecure, unsure, unattractive, angry, righteous and on the other end sometimes i feel love, joy, compassion, empathy, desire, satisfaction…and even with this short list its easy for us all to categorize, the “good” me and the “bad” me.

this is what welwood challenges, that essentially there is no good or bad “me”, there is just what is happening in the moment inside of you, and instead of suppressing the “bad” other in yourself or trying to control the “bad” other in people in your life, just accept that these emotions rise from 1) wound in your heart 2) and your desire to be truly loved for who you are.  That somehow deeply planted in our unconscious is the belief that we are not worthy of unconditional love is what becomes our self fulfilling prophecy.  and most importantly welwood points that the only place to receive this unconditional love is in fact in the deep vast expansive space of our own hearts.  and only through that can we begin to let another person be who they are exactly as they want to be.

and i know what he means.  i am always judging myself and i was always looking to find perfection.  when i got my birth chart read, Das said, that I am obsessed with perfection and it will be my biggest obstacle to surpass in spiritual journey.  when i shared this with my friend, remarkably enough, a totally different sign and age, said who of us aren’t obsessed with perfection?

it makes me think where does this idea come from?  where does this image of “perfection” reside?  why do i desire so badly for others to perceive me in a certain way and why do i fear so much that no one will ever love me just as i am?

reading this book allowed me to accept that in fact in some way or the other this fear, this wound, is deep within all of us.  that what helps me on this path is the times I sit on my yoga mat, watch my thoughts, and accept unconditionally whatever feelings arise in me.  what helps me is that I can reflect on my reactions and communicate them in a way that is non threatening at most times, and in the moment.

i catch myself in my imagined conversation with another, thinking i’ll say this, this and this.  and then my higher self breaks in, stops the flow of chatter, and asks me to rest, and know that when the moment comes i will know exactly what to say.  I never used to pause before.  I never used to stop and notice what was happening inside of me before i spoke, or lashed out in anger, or visibly reacted.  at the same time, now though i pause in the moment to gather what is happening inside of me, i don’t become disingenuous, i actually become more genuine giving freedom to my core to express what i am feeling.

i am trying to not try (hah!), and at the same time accepting that being on this journey is not about gratifying my good self and shutting down my bad self, but in fact it is about accepting everything that comes out of me in any given moment as a transparent genuine reflection of my heart.  to not cover up my desire to want love and affection with a complaint, with anger or with mistrust.  but to keep myself engaged in the raw vulnerable space of love.  amen.

 

feel no pain & chakra cleanse November 17, 2010

Filed under: Chakra Love,Uncategorized,Yoga Class,Yoga In Karachi — yogini786 @ 10:32 pm

Its been an interesting few days…2 days a go I went in the morning to my usual yoga spot in the garden to find a dead crow…feathers everywhere, and other crows picking at the carcass…feeling overwhelmed by the scene I practiced yoga on the patio…and then the next day I finally felt like I could try out a new spot to practice yoga in.

I always remember something i read about how even in our yoga class we get used to a certain spot, and we like to always practice there…so much so sometimes if another student takes your spot unknowingly you even feel irritated…i had always been like that…i found myself attracted to a certain area in the yoga room and in my personal practice I had been cultivating a similar preoccupation about practicing yoga everyday in the same spot.  Because its outside my gardener had politely mentioned that I should sometimes shift around…so long story short yesterday the memory of the crow got me to do it.  I moved to another part of the garden and guess what, even changed the direction of my mat:)

while all this is going on I’ve been listening to the Power of Now by Ekhart Tolle and everyday before I sleep I listen to a little bit more of him.  and everyday I am inspired, and transformed by his words. Tolle says that there is no pain in the present moment…no pain in the now.  it is in the past or the future, and being stuck in this time bound consciousness collectively causes all our insanity.  and today, i woke up from deep slumber, the book had been playing in the background, and I was drifting in and out of snoozing, when I heard, make the intention to not create anymore pain for yourself…it sounds simple but it is quite a radical thought…and he’s right…never had i considered that I have the power to make an intention so transformative…no more pain…and he continued…that you will only get here when you are truly fed up of suffering, and the only route to no pain is presence…

so with that profound intention I want to take you through a chakra cleanse…feel your being in your body…bring your attention to the base of your spine. feel the moment.  ground your body in the earth and listen to your breath and while sitting cross-legged move your body in circles.  send the vast power of the moment to your root chakra.

let the energy travel up to your lower belly and allow yourself to feel the pulse of your life there, the sacral chakra.  I like to imagine a seed in the pit of my belly…feel its oneness with everything that is alive…the wind, the grass, the mat:)  I lie down on my back and do the reclined big toe poses.  feel the hips open and release emotion.  i keep vigilant with my thoughts, and return to watching myself, and feeling my body.

solar plexus chakra…i’ve been feeling this chakra a lot this week…i think it is because of the shift in temperature, the navel is where you can build internal heat.  I started first with holding some planks…allowing the body to start pulsing, breathing, and get the heart beat to move faster.  soon i shift into a modified boat and then a beautiful eagle legs (or twisted root) twist.  when i twist I can access the moment in a special way feeling the release of the spine, I’ve always loved twists…sigh…let out an audible one…and let that internal sun shine bright…

heart chakra…transitioning to my stomach through a brief childs pose…i decide  to do a series of mini cobras and then finally lift my heart into a full cobra…continuing to lengthen my lower back feeling

my legs pull back…making space…there is nothing like this intention to bring you in the moment during an asana…when in any pose…create space in your body…space that needs to be cultivated, understood, and breathed in to.  I move on to 2 bows, and then finish with a camel.  then i sit to feel the heart, and instinctively my fingers join in gyana mudra and I start to dance with my arms…my body is starting to feel surreal now…intuitively moving from the heart…

throat chakra…moving into a fish…and then shoulder stand…staying a while in both of these poses…feeling the jalabandha (chin lock) and the same seed from the pit of my belly somehow seems to be here.  I am starting to feel good.  I massage my spine after plow…and then roll up to do a crow…effortlessly lifting my feet off the ground and focusing on my third eye chakra

now my mind is not making stories, the thoughts have taken a vacation, and i’m just moving into the side crow, scissored legs and then dropping my head on the ground to practice a fallen angel…I feel like my legs are floating in the sky…and then i lift up to attempt a handstand, to finish with my forearm stand practice…

fallen angel (it's not me!)

crown centre…settle into a headstand…for a few minutes…i keep on creating space in the back by widening my shoulders and grounding into the earth…it feels like i have come full circle…

after resting in child’s pose…i sit up to finish the cleanse with floating my arms over my head and then back down…i can feel my aura now…its energy is tangible…its beautiful…bright and light…and fun:)  its been a while since I realized this simplicity, this presence that I have access to every moment I am in the now…thank you Ekhart Tolle…thank you mother earth..

 

my two hearts October 29, 2010

i sat today in peace, after only a day of not meditating, i felt immense gratitude for dragging my lazy body out of bed this morning to do what now it is accustomed and loves to do.

a poem inspired by today’s quiet:

there are 2 hearts within me,

a mother and a child

mother is like

a deep blue sea

an infinite horizon

the last few minutes of the sunset

the blanket of stars

the full moon beam

wise eyes

a warm smile

and

arms that hold peace

the child is like

a brave soldier with a tender heart

bold and timid

strong and gentle

adventurous and afraid

soft

naive

and full of innocent love

these two hearts within my heart play together.  sometimes mother holds the childs hand, walking it to the threshold of its fear, while other times the child strokes the mother’s hair, reminding her of the purity of the present moment. in the chakra system the heart is the middle stop in our energy path to the divine.  it is the first chakra where we begin to experience the spiritual and its colors are twofold.  Green and pink.  there are days where I meditate and I can feel the opening of this green web of love, uncovering this beautiful pink that feels so lovely, yet so vulnerable.  it is hard to bring myself here sometimes, but today when a memory arose of me walking out of the subway to my house in Toronto, and when with that memory came the baggage of my past, I decided to stay with it and showered that street corner with beautiful pink rose petals. my mother held my hand, as the child in me timidly began to accept that feeling bittersweet pain in my heart is ok, and part of the process of opening, blooming, and loving myself.

“and all i ask of you, is forever to remember me as loving you”

 

Cleansing your Chakras May 20, 2010

Filed under: Chakra Love,Yoga Class — yogini786 @ 5:19 pm

So what is a chakra?  All my life I had thought in terms of energy and I thought I was crazy so I kept it to myself.  Then one day last year I got my first introduction to this whole amazing way of looking at our body, our soul, and our mind.

Suddenly I had a vocabulary to go with my feelings!  Thanks to my cousin who got me an Iphone application called the Chakra deck and again to my guinea pig first students I started this journey of working through yoga to cleanse our chakras.

A chakra, very simply, is a wheel of energy . They begin from  the base of our spine and move on to the top of our head.  Most agree that there are 7 major chakras, which are now my most intimate friends. I know their colors, their sounds, their fears, and strengths.  I also know through the Anatomy of the Spirit, what lessons we need to learn from them. The goal is to have balance within and between our chakras.  Over time some become severely blocked, while others expand.  With our chakras out of balance we can’t really feel healthy, happy and alive and our ability to make decisions that are positive for us and those around us is greatly affected.

So today my lovely friend, L, came to my yoga class.  I think I’m due for my monthly period so my body was exhausted and negative emotions and thoughts were clouding over since the morning.  I was really not feeling up to teaching a class but in walked L and it seemed like it may be just the 2 of us today.  So she had been wanting to do a chakra cleanse and I hadn’t done a class like that in a long long while so I thought why not?

Another one of my advanced students walked in 10 minutes late.  So we got into the flow.  First going through 5 Surya Namaskar A’s then 3 B’s with a few balance poses we got all nice and sweaty.

Coming to the floor we started with the base of our spine the root chakra:

color – red.  feeling safe, grounded, and secure.

body rolls in a seated position, starting from our left side, imagine the red energy from the earth flowing into your body.  let go of all of your fears about your physical safety.  fears about money and the future.  accept everyone in your life just as they are.

(remember to take 2-3 breathes between each exercise either in comfortable seated position or child’s pose just observing how you feel and how that particular chakra feels)

sacral chakra:

color – orange.  feeling positive about our sexuality and creativity.

camel pose.  visualize the chakra 4 inches above the base of your spine.  let go of any negative feelings you have towards others and negative feelings about relationships.  let go of any shame.  honor everyone in your life.

navel chakra:

color – yellow.  our self-esteem, personality, our personal power and also where our core strength lies

boat pose.  feel like the sun lives in your stomach.  feel its rays flow through your body.  let go of any negative thoughts you have about yourself.  any insecurities replace them with positive thoughts, love and kindness.  be gentle with yourself.  feel that powerful energy move through you.  Honor yourself so you can learn to love.

heart chakra:

color – green.  love, forgiveness, selflessness, compassion

twist (while lying down is my favorite way).  feel your heart centre open up.  let the energy flow through to your finger tips.  imagine the colors of leaves and grass moving through your body.  let go of anyone or anything that has hurt you in the past.  send love to all the difficult things you have in life.  love is the only divine emotion we feel.

throat chakra:

color – blue. truth, honesty, communication, willpower

shoulder stand, the queen of all yoga poses.  focus your energy on your throat centre.  let go of anything you said or someone said to you that hurt you.  submit your will to the will of the universe.  let it be your source of faith.  feel your body balance.

third eye chakra:

color – indigo. intuition, instinct, knowing the unknown.

kneeling yoga mudra.  press your forehead into the mat.  feel the energy between your eyebrows.  trust yourself, your inner voice. always seek the truth.

crown chakra:

color – purple or white.  connection to the divine, spirituality, highest source of energy.

headstand.  the king of all yoga poses. feel all the energy collecting at the top of your head.  let go of any negative thoughts about religion, about faith, any anger towards God or the divine.  live in the present moment. feel bliss as soon as you connect to this centre.

aura: mix of all your beautiful colors.

there is an energy field around us that extends few feet beyond our bodies.  the best way for me to describe what an aura is how you feel when someone walks into a room.  a person who may have a large positive aura will make you feel good as soon as you meet them.  and a person who has a small constricted aura with dark areas will make you feel like, hmmm there’s something I don’t like about this person.  In fact auras are how we connect with others.  Its how we communicate who we are at an energetic level, and we all have the ability to read auras.  It is part of our instinctive behaviors.  And this instinct protects us.

So cleaning our chakras leads to an overall cleanse of our aura.  making it brighter, lighter, and depending on how you feel it may even feel like you are expanding your aura.

Aura Cleanse

I love this exercise where you sit down comfortably, stretch your arms to the side, lifting your arms to meet over your head and then bring them back down to the ground.  Repeat this for at least a minute and you start feeling this energy build up in your chest, shoulders and back.  Imagine this energy like electricity moving from out of your fingertips and energizing your aura.  when you’re done interlace your fingers and stretch them above your head.  then bring your hands down.  interlace your fingers behind your back and fold forward.

Now its time for Shavasana (Corpse’s Pose)! Lying down just relax your body and mind.  Revisit the chakra (s) that you felt low energy in  – send your breathe there to energize them and ask for help to balance and heal them. Spend at least 7 minutes just absorbing what your body and mind has done.

Waking yourself up gently come to a seated prayer position – thank yourself for your practice and believe in your power to heal yourself.  Slowly open your eyes.

Because this routine works at a deep level to cleanse your energy it may bring things out such as difficult memories, so make sure you are kind to yourself.  It’s a process so whatever is coming up is totally ok, in a way I think it is our way of letting go of whatever we were holding on to in the various chakras. Anytime it gets too overwhelming remember things change every moment – so this too will pass.

Love & Peace!