Karachi Yogini

Yoga for Life!

Search the Darkness (Rumi) August 2, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — yogini786 @ 2:28 am

Aug 2, 2016

On the eve of ending a 7 year cycle. This thought pushed me out of bed and on to this page to write and share.  It has been another 7 years.  A good friend had recommended a book for me to read and in January 2015 I read Michael Brown’s Presence Process.  His exploration of the inner life is unique and insightful, and one of the most interesting claims he makes is that we experience life in 7 year cycles.  Whatever emotional currents we experienced in the first 7 years of our life are being repeated until we do the inner work required to integrate the charged emotions from our childhood.

I won’t get into his book further, but for anyone interested it is widely available and I did receive a lot of benefit from reading it and going through its practical part.  But far from integrating my emotional charge, I seem to have become deeply stuck in trauma in a way that I have never known.  Maybe because before these cycles were so underground.  Maybe it is because i’m more connected now.  Maybe its because I’m more ready now.  But being ready or more connected doesn’t change how difficult this work is.  A woman’s account in her recovery of childhood pain shares that staying with the feelings is like moving through broken glass.

Its another night, and I am restless.  I have been fighting with my husband about so many things and yet just one thing for so long.  I cannot break free from this cycle.  But tonight, as we moved another step forward in my many steps backward my mind suddenly went into the 7 times table.  I realized I’m 8 days away from a cycle ending, and a new one beginning.


At 28 I officially was divorced from ex-husband.  I moved back from Canada to Pakistan.  I quit my career as a researcher/academic and social worker and started to study yoga.  I became a part time teacher at a university and I pursued body work.  I became a believer.  I remembered what I had forgotten.  What I still keep forgetting but only because the game is getting more difficult, the levels more intricate, and so the remembrance is a dance with forgetfulness.  I started traveling and loving nature in a way that someone like me was never groomed to but the spirit in me had never forgotten how to.

In the last 2 years I met my heaven sent husband, had a child (the most precious and beautiful gift I can ever know), and am pregnant with our second.  I have gone from a life that moved at the speed of a cruise ship with all the illusion of protection and security, to drowning in the rapids of abandonment, despair and hopelessness to now a river of endless twists and turns.

Ship-wrecked in the embrace of grace, I have met myself over and over again in this dark dark place of emotional pain. It has lived so long in my body that as the sensations begin coming to the surface not only are my wounds  raw, I can feel that I’ve got an infection or two.  Maybe more.

Maybe more.  And I know, this is contagious.  This state of mind of ingratitude, this constant chatter, this incessant mistrust is pushing me into a deep abyss of forgetfulness.  Yet tonight, in this brief respite of a realization,  I can witness that a pathway of sincere inner work is being established despite the onslaught of trauma rising to the surface.

For every time I succumb to the conditions of my nature, I am also for the briefest of moments able to hold with presence, hand on my heart, and say, I am sorry you are suffering.  It’s going to be ok.

If when I was falling into the abyss of the unknown 7 years ago someone from the future had given me a video of my baby, and my wedding photo, I would have been shocked into submission.  Yet somehow its a lesson that needs so much repeating.  We cannot know the design of our lives.  We can only trust and surrender.  Submit to what is, and always believe that what is coming to us is from a design so benevolent that no science can ever explain it, and no mind can ever truly understand it.  But the heart can hold it, it can hold the loving awareness that is Us, and remind us of what we really are.  Human, and complete with our acceptance of it.

“Search the Darkness,” from The Pocket Rumi, ed. by Kabir Helminski

(also recently referred to by Tara Brach in her talk, Night Travelers)

Search the Darkness

Sit with your friends; don’t go back to sleep
Don’t sink like a fish to the bottom of the sea.

Life’s water flows from darkness.
Search the darkness don’t run from it.

Night travelers are full of light,
and you are, too; don’t leave this companionship.

Be a wakeful candle in a golden dish,
don’t slip into the dirt like quick silver.

The moon appears for the night travelers,
be watchful when the moon is full.


Like wind, Life moves. July 16, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — yogini786 @ 5:49 am

July 16, 2014

Like wind life moves,
what was once simply
drops away
into its own space.

Inspired to sing some of my poetry (after years of wanting to) something deep inside unlocked and I found myself able.  to catch the inspiration before it disappeared.  to tune into the music that belonged to these words and maybe because finally, I understood the nature of impermanence in a deeper, more intimate way.  Life continues to reel away, one scene after the next, and still there remains a deep desire to grasp to pleasure, to project my expectations on the outside world, but finally there is a space from pain & suffering.  and often I can spend some time there.

and what is now
becomes Real
in a moment
of Grace.

For years now I have trudged on a path, that I didn’t even know would ever form into anything coherent, I just knew that I had to keep walking on it.  And as I kept walking, sometimes forwards, other times backwards, and yes a lot of times in spiraling circles upwards to the sky and down into the earth I found the practice of presence.  I would do my usual, get caught up in the movement of life’s particular story, drama and when the anxiety would open up the floor underneath me I somehow found myself able to practice.  Aisha.  You are here.  Now.  Can you feel your breath?  Can you check in with something like the sky? the moon? perhaps a friend with loving eyes?  Can you be ok with all this that you’re feeling?

Yes.  Finally the resistance has started to melt.  Pema Chodron’s words somehow deeply implanted into my consciousness would return.  Start Where You Are.  Soften.  Lighten up.  I understood now what it meant, how aggression became a part of my desire to improve myself, and for just today I wanted to not be so hard on myself anymore.

To long for Freedom
from desire
I step onto a blank canvas
with all these colors
and my simple touch.

It is so tricky being human.  So very complex, and yet so simple.  One paradox after the other unveils itself, until everything disappears and melts away into nothingness.  And that also becomes its own craving.  To let my stories die. To escape from my me-ness, to stop the incessant thoughts, so conditioned, so deeply ingrained that it feels so often as if nothing could ever change.  And yet the longing for this freedom, this desire of no desire, became a truth.  And life, which had for so long seemed so limited, bleak and small inside my head, was suddenly expansive and vast in my heart.  I carried in it mountains, the endless sea, the rushing river, the sounds of dawn, sunset, and the music of prayer.  Somewhere in this vastness, somewhere, I started to feel a clearing where I could spend a little bit of time.  Where there was no rush to get anywhere, or to be anyone, or to try anything, or to say something.

What may be, what may not
What may come, and what may leave
I’ll never know.

And so the circle returned into itself.  I realized that it had always been about impermanence.  of not being able to accept this natural flow of life.  of not knowing it, being able to predict it, protect myself from loss or gain.  I thought somehow if I fixed myself that it would mean I would stop experiencing loss.  But this project of fixing it was exhausting.  it was inauthentic, moving fast, working from the surface, erasing flaws as if they weren’t meaningful lessons towards deeper awareness.

Yet in that in-between
freedom breathes.

So the practice shifted from the outside, to the inside.  I held myself and truthfully examined.  Oh what a long way there is to go if I keep trying to fix whats broken.  And if I take charge of this process then I am just forgetting, forgetting, forgetting all the time whats Real.  Life is in charge of me.  It needs to flow through me, and I need to create the space for it to breathe.  Otherwise my inhale will always feel sharp, like a thorn in my ribs, and my exhale will always feel shallow, like a race to the end.

You can plant your feet.
And dance,
to the beat.

And if that inner space is cultivated, nourished, with love and kindness, patience and gratitude that’s when this light starts to come to life.  your feet.  they want to move.  your mind, it wants to be a friend, but for so long it has been lost to its own mis-perception of being in charge.  and your heart, it has a rhythm and it wants to be free to love, to dance, to smile, to experience joy in its beautifully wild, impermanent, fullness.


dedicated to 2013 December 18, 2013

the soft whispers of 2013 started sometime around last year at this time, in the lead up to the winter equinox of 2012, the end of the Mayan Calendar, directing me towards a new understanding of an oft chewed up word:  unity.   I danced barefoot deep in the jungle of Sri Lanka with people I barely knew on the 31st evening.  A fire broke out on the first day of the new year, and then i stepped into a year of transformation, purification.  except, at first, it didn’t feel so different.

I had a blazing early part of the year, caught up in the same hamster wheel of my bottomless self loathing and I ended up in an opportunity of my lifetime.  leading a yoga retreat in the beautiful hindu kush mountains.  After 12 days of juggling myself from teacher to friend,  I returned to a Karachi that was quiet in its summer solstice.  i prepared for what has become my most favorite time of the year, a month of fasting, and solitude with loved ones, and absolute clarity of what is Real.  And i tip-toed my way out of the wheel, and on to the edge of the circle.  whole.  and unified in myself (briefly yet so powerfully).  i started to drop my self for longer periods of time, and embraced the comfort and protection of some simple ground rules.

and as the earth finishes its orbit around the sun, in my 32nd year, a new simple sense of being opens itself, a gift of gratitude towards all that is, and all that is not.

so for all that can’t be put into words, and for all the moments that can never be captured, i dedicate this year to the spirit that moves forward, through obstacle after obstacle, with faith and love.  with generosity towards others, and towards oneself.  i dedicate it to my friends, spread across this beautiful living earth, whose hearts give me nourishment.  to the spaces, so rich in themselves, where I dissolve as a speck against its magnificent landscape, realizing how small and yet how expansive life is. to the ethereal breath that has dissolved and resolved my darkness over and over again.

and here’s to another year, in submission and surrender, to what is and what is not.  may we all carry forward our truth as best as we can.

For those who have come to know God, the whole world is a prayer mat.
— Bawa Muhaiyaddeen


rilke in the mountains September 28, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — yogini786 @ 8:01 pm

in the weeks leading up to the second yoga holiday at hindu kush heights in mastuj, northern pakistan, things started to reach their usual frantic pitch of city life.  deadlines, meetings, classes, driving, moving from one breathless moment to the next, free time seemed like a dreamy mystery.

and yet somehow with God’s grace we all arrived in Islamabad, on time, and then again the following morning, to catch our flight to Chitral.

Maha Chitral 2013 180

The trip still fresh in the mind, I want to detail all the events, the days, the special moments, but it would be impossible and also the words would feel hollow…empty of themselves, unable to fill the vast spaces we encountered.

and while i lay my body to rest every night, the letters rainer maria rilke wrote over a century ago to a young poet, whispered through to me as I mixed with the mountains and valleys of upper chitral.


“Why don’t you think of him as the one who is coming, who has been approaching from all eternity, the one who will someday arrive, the ultimate fruit of a tree whose leaves we are? What keeps you from projecting his birth into the ages that are coming into existence, and living your life as a painful and lovely day in the history of the great pregnancy?  Don’t you see how everything that happens is again and again a beginning and couldn’t it be His beginning, since, in itself, starting is always so beautiful? If he is the most perfect one, must not what is less perfect precede him, so that he can choose himself out of fullness and superabundance? — Must not he be the last one, so that he can include everything in himself, and what meaning would we have if he whom we are longing for has already existed?”
Maha Chitral 2013 104copy

Living in the presence of incredible beauty, in the most perfect painting you’ve ever seen, the grand mountains of Hindu Kush, reflect the incredible diversity of creation within us.  And life is quite simple, without its usual rush, we walked without destination, and returned to hot tea, fresh food, and sang to the open valley on the edge of a bonfire.  How blessed we were, as the full moon, bathed us in her glory, rising up beyond the highest point into the midnight sky.


“As bees gather honey, so we collect what is sweetest out of all things and build Him. Even with the trivial, with the insignificant (as long as it is done out of love) we begin, with work and with the repose that comes afterward, with a silence or with a small solitary joy, with everything that we do alone, without anyone to join us, help us, we start Him who we will not live to see, just as our ancestors could not live to see us.  And yet they, who passed away long ago, still exist in us, as predisposition, as burden upon our fate, as murmuring blood, and as gesture that rises up from the depths of time.” 

Maha Chitral 2013 228

In the quiet footsteps of the sun setting behind Tirich Mir, somehow the ancient longings deep in the spirit, received a direct fulfillment of Light.  And as the clouds turned from golden, to orange, to gray, a silent poetry filled my heart.  And it spread towards every direction, so that each escaping ray was full of Love, and Awe.

“Is there anything that can deprive you of the hope that in this way you will someday exist in Him, who is the farthest, the outermost limit?”

And now that I’ve made my way back to this laptop, Maha Chitral 2013 066copy copy and my tired body yet rested spirit, comes back to its familiar space, I breathe in a sigh of relief at the center of my being.  In one hand I hold the experience of cold mornings, sunlit days, and rolling laughter and in the other hand I hold the experience of letting go, of saying yes to what is now, knowing that the vast space that I was in has settled somewhere deep in me and you.  




renewal July 5, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — yogini786 @ 4:25 pm

July in Karachi is a misty cloudy breeze that leaves your body sweating and your eyes soft. full of mercy the gray.white clouds painted over the sun allow us to return to days that are full of anticipated release.

In this past month, I have actually done close to nothing in terms of my usual external responsibilities.  Back in May I had longed for this time, and I had no idea what I would do but the solitude and the practice of being with myself has led to a deep sense of renewal. as if i’m starting again on a new journey from the inside out.

everyday for months my body has ached.  the lower back, the hips, pelvic pain, and I have struggled and struggled to find the medicine to cure this pain.  I knew it was part body, part mind, part feeling, and part spirit.  And all these dislocated parts of me were coming up, everyday, as uninvited guests into my body.  Asking to be heard, asking for attention.

View from Hubble Telescope

With sleepless summer nights, late mornings reminding me of my early 20’s, I have had a month of re learning how to move. and this morning I realized, that I am relearning how to move from the inside.out.  That moment of recognition came from a simple yet profound insight shared with me last night by Shaykh Ebrahim about attention.  Our attention, which has the capacity to have the space to hold the entire universe (or multi-verse) inside. And when our attention is in the here, than we are faced with the what we truly are, and the veil of our separation from the rest of creation just turns to dust.

As my spine transforms, as my body moves and learns new languages within ancient ones, pain has again been my greatest teacher and an unbelievable blessing.   to be exposed within, to be vulnerable as we move from one foot to another, and yet to know we are guided by a deeply rooted core of love.  One that is physical, emotional, mental and most incredibly divine.

What happens when your soul
Begins to awaken
Your eyes
And your heart
And the cells of your body
To the great Journey of Love?

First there is wonderful laughter
And probably precious tears

And a hundred sweet promises
And those heroic vows
No one can ever keep.

But still God is delighted and amused
You once tried to be a saint.

What happens when your soul
Begins to awake in this world

To our deep need to love
And serve the Friend?

O the Beloved
Will send you
One of His wonderful, wild companions ~
Like Hafiz.


this, in-between. April 1, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — yogini786 @ 12:16 am

the wave builds.


the darkness sounds through the music.  again and again the cycle of my endless inner dialogue.  sometimes its 28 days, other times its 24 seconds.  finding and seeking the spaces


in between.


the days, the nights, i awake at the break of light and the setting of the blue sky. into a midnight blue where I find myself, alone, again.



again the rush of those thorn filled thoughts, the blood to the face, the wetness in the eyes, as the sounds of music speak within me.


and i want to dance, run away and break free.  and yet I know I am bound.  the views bleak and boundless, broken and whole, the fragments dissolve, then reappear


when the focus is sharp. the mood is tormented.


the wave builds, waiting for the surf to break.


true.love March 17, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — yogini786 @ 5:36 pm

i know a lot less, and I have lost a lot in this past year.

I have been losing it seems for a long time.


and yet everyday I’ve been able to show up to be with myself.  and yet everyday Divine energy has touched me, soothed me, understood me and filled my being with an unconditional acceptance of what is.


that has to be the greatest gift of being there for myself as I am.

and one year a go i made the intention to show up, using a yoga book  (meditations off the mat) as my guide through these 365 days, along with the sufi book of life. the roller coaster surreal movie like life I have.  so many rushes, so many slows, so many days lost in a haze and yet not so much anymore.

the season is changing again. my separation continues to dissolve with the natural rhythm of life.  and as spring comes, the heat brings with it the shedding of the winter skin.  the body, mind and soul constantly in flow, in conversation with everything.