Saturday, November 26, 2011

Miyoga 2012

The Miyoga 2012 Brochure is now available!!

Please visit to download your copy.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Yama & Niyama

Cathryn Booth-Jones

How often have we heard it suggested that we work with some posture at home and inwardly thought ‘where will I find the time’? In a busy lifestyle it can be difficult to make time for these things with so many other things clamouring for our attention.

We can however, incorporate yoga into our everyday life in another way - by working with the first two limbs of the eight-fold path of yoga, Yama & Niyama.

The eight limbs as written in Pantanjali’s yoga sutras are as follows :

1. Yama – abstinence

2. Niyama – observance

3. Asana – postures

4. Pranayama – breath control

5. Pratyahara – sense withdrawal

6. Dharana – concentration

7. Dhyana – meditation

8. Samadhi – contemplation.

These first two limbs are the prerequisite to hatha yoga. In a Miyoga class, we practice all three simultaneously. They form the ethical path of yoga and can be practised anywhere, anytime, without interfering in our daily activities but rather enhancing them.

Yamas are described as abstinences or healthy behaviours. They deal with our interaction with our environment, our relationships with others and society as a whole.

There are 5 Yama (abstentions) and they are:

Ahimsa – Non- violence/Kindness

Satya – Truth/Honesty

Asteya – Non-stealing/Responsibility

Brahmacarya – Moderation of Sexuality/Unity

Aparigraha – Non-greed/Simplicity

Niyamas are healthy practices, personal observances, that create an environment that is healthy and supports our growth. They allow us to experience deeper states of meditation because of their effect on our nervous system and our influence on our environment becomes more positive.

There are also 5 Niyama (observances) and they are:

Shaoca – Purity /Clarity

Santosa – Contentment/Acceptance

Tapah – Austerity/Sacrifice

Svadhyaya – Self Study/Understanding

Ishvara Pranidhara – Surrender/Spirituality

The Yamas & Niyamas are you could say a recipe for living well. All of us are born with these inherent qualities and over time and through experience we are pulled away from them. This means that we do not need to acquire or manufacture them, just simply rediscover them in ourselves. We do this through observing our whole life; thoughts, feelings, speech, action in light of each of the Yamas and Niyamas. By becoming more aware of them, we become aware of all that keeps us from experiencing wholeness. Awareness brings healing with it, as we discover our ability to make choices.

‘Yamas & Niyamas deal with the fundamental things which tend to cloud the mirror of personality which reflects the Self.’ - K & V Kingsland (Complete Hatha Yoga)

I encourage you to join me on this journey of discovery as in future issues we explore each Yama and Niyama in turn. You will be able to ponder the relevance of each to you personally and to our society and I will include things you can do to bring them into your day to day life and so be practising yoga wherever you go!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Maiti Nepal

I had the chance this week to attend the screening of CNN's launch of the Freedom Project which features Demi Moore in Nepal addressing the epidemic issue of human trafficing.

The panel discussed this issue closer to home in Australia. The arguments went around in circle - how do you modify this trend? Whose responsiblity is it? What are the avenues of communication? The core issue was gleamed - but not emphasised. The catalyst for human slavery is poverty. You can not stop slavery without removing the desperation of those forced or trapped into it. The Fair Trade brand was represented and it was this spokesperson who called a spade a spade. To stop global poverty we have to buy Australian Made. That means having less - and paying more. Needless to say if this became a reality he would be out of a job!

There is a silent collusion on the part of every consumer to turn a blind eye to that which we support through our purchasing. It is a cultural addiction. If we could kick it - we wouldn't recognise the world we live in. The CNN Freedom Project Maiti Nepal

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Situational Yoga

After returning from traveling around Australia for 4 months. I found that my traditional yoga practice was constantly interrupted either by the weather - being too hot, (even at 6 in the morning!) or we were on the move or some other very reasonable excuse! Rather than give up, I found that I could do ‘yoga’ wherever I was if I just remembered that that yoga is more than just the asanas(postures). Not that I’m suggesting that a regular practice isn’t important but that when it’s not possible, not to give up. Yoga can easily be a part of your every day life. Most often I did car yoga. Because of the part of Australia we were exploring, some of our days were spent solely in the car. And of course the body appreciated stretching and moving - I discovered you can do so much while sitting in such a confined space; neck stretches, facial exercises, shoulder rolls, stretches, rotations (while being mindful of not disturbing the driver!), spine flexing and twisting, ankle rotations, toe stretching and even some careful hip flexing; working through the whole body and feeling refreshed and less irritable. And of course, meditations were easy - so long as not driving! This then inspired me (and continues to) to practice some form of yoga whenever I think about it during the day. Waiting in the doctors surgery, surreptitiously rotating my ankles or simply being with my breath. In line at the checkout - any situation really. It’s become a challenge to see ‘what can I do here, now?!!

Practice of yoga involves many things, movements yes, meditation, pranayama, mantra but also the philosophies, the yamas and niyamas. So that even if you are just being content in the Dr’s waiting room, you can be practicing yoga! What yoga you do will depend on your situation. Yoga is union - between body and mind. Even just dropping down into the breath brings the awareness into the body. Quietening the mind. THAT you can do anywhere.....


Saturday, October 8, 2011

The Manganiyar seduction: a quesiton of devotion

The Manganiyar Seduction features this year at the Melbourne Festival and when I heard Roysten Abel interviewed on RRR this week I decided this was something I couldn't miss.

Roysten described how the musicians had seduced him, following him and serenading him while he was putting on a production in Segovia Spain. After several days of this treatment he began to notice the effects that the music was having on him. To the point when, once in Bonn, he rang the singers to again sing to him. That was when he realised he was seduced. Remember that these musicians originate from the same province of India as the Snake Charmers!

The show was nothing short of phenomenal. The You Tube clip does it little justice. I was very interested in how the audience was slowly charmed, like a collective snake, out of our individual experience, until we were all one - in absolute rapture.

During the performance and as I drove home - devotion was on my mind.

These songs are ancient Sufi Love Poems and devotional spirit was the power used by the musicians to bind them as one and consequently bind the audience in a shared state of rapture and ecstasy.

However, so quickly the lights come up and we scatter into our individual selves.

I could see why Rosten would feel compelled to ring the musicians. As the performance was coming to an end I was thinking - don't let it end just yet. So I pose myself this question. How can we live our lives with single focused devotion and to what do you devote your awareness to? Does it bring you happiness and a sense of belonging, or does it bring you loneliness and a sense of separation?

At the end of the performance Roysten Abel the director came on stage and read out a letter he had been given by Geoffery Rush who had seen the performance the previous night. In the letter Rush described his experience of universal one-ness, as though vibrating at the centre of an atom, on the outer edges of the cosmos. Immediately his portrayal of David Helfgott in Shine came to mind. Where the mind has no distraction - just absolute rapture in the music, in the vibration of life, giving us a sense that perhaps union is a state which we can know.

My challenge to myself is ... don't rely on the music, don't rely on the outer stimulation, how do you generate that for your Self and share it in union with others?

Friday, October 7, 2011

Distance Healing

For many years distance healing has been an important practice at the Miyoga Club. You will be familiar with the Distance Healing Book if you have been to the Miyoga Club, where you can write the names of people who you feel need some positive energy, support or prayer sent in their direction. We have decided to extent this pratice by placing the names into a bowl which will be placed on an altar at the front of the class room. After each class, during the metta practice we will collectively send positive prayer to these names. Each new moon the names from the previous month will be ritually burned and the names of the following month will be written and placed in the bowl. We will remind you when the cycle will change and this will also assist in connecting with the moon cycle. We have had such a great deal of success with distance healing and this is a very exciting new chapter for the practice.

If you would like to have a name written in the book and placed in the bowl please email


Saturday, October 1, 2011


Prayer formalises devotion and awareness of life beyond the perceived nature of reality.
The opening prayer 
Om Namo Bagavate 
is practiced at the Miyoga Club as a means to connect with your high Self and to allow that aspect of Self to guide you through the class. 
With practice and as this connection is strengthened you will find that throughout your day this aspect of Self is available to guide your thoughts, words and actions.
Vibration and language is a science in the Sanskrit tradition, which aims to connect the individual with the divine through sound. 
The ultimate aim of yogic practice is to be able to focus the mind on one point, fixing your awareness, heart and soul on that which is beneficial for you on all levels and for those around you. 
Mantra and Prayer assist in training the mind toward this focus.
There are no boundaries to the practice of prayer, it can be done in the car, at the dinner table, in the morning as you wake up, at night before you enter into sleep, before you cut a flower, as you pour water, or prepare meals, before a trip or an important event in your life or the life or another.
Over the years Mimi has introduced many prayers to the Miyoga Club and community. 
These prayers are ripe to be shared and will become available each month on the Miyoga Website. 
The first prayer featured at the website is the Prayer to Lady Quan Yin, the deity of Compassion.  
We hope you enjoy this new aspect of the website and look forward to bringing many more prayers into your practice and your life.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Alternate Nostril Breath

Why does the alternate nostril breath work?
Scientists have proven what yogis have always known... throughout the day we breath alternately from one nostril. That is one nostril will tend to be more open and that this will switch every 2-3hours.
Why does the body regulate the breath in this way? It is how we keep the left and right hemispheres of the brain in balance, by subtly stimulating one side and then the other. Rather than letting one dominate over the other. 
While breathing in the left nostril you are stimulating the right side of the brain, which governs creativity, lateral thinking and your intuition. This side is associated with the female energies in yoga, or the lunar cycle.
As you breath through the right nostril you are stimulating the left hemisphere of the brain which governs linear thinking, decision making, language and is associated with the male, solar energies. 
These two opposites are experienced in yoga and ida and pingala, the two opposing energies which run up the central cortex of the energetic body - at there meeting point is the shushumna. The aim of alternate nostril breath is to equalize the ida and pingala in order to activate and experience the energies of shushumna. 
1)Close your right nostril, and breath in through your left
2)Close your left nostril and breath out through your right
3)Still closing left, breath in through your right 
4)Close your right nostril and breath out through your left. Repeat
As your breath in take your awareness to the third eye. Begin to slow and lengthen the breath. Stay relaxed and continue for 5 minutes before silent meditation.


Friday, September 23, 2011

Ancient Yoga?

In Yoga Journal Mark Singleton shared his experience of discovering the lineage of prominent yoga asanas. 
He found how the modern movement, while seemingly referencing an ancient art form, actually advocates asanas which are far more modern and in fact inspired by Western physical health practices from the early 1900s. In fact, the movements of yoga were not easily found in the ancient texts.
He writes; Scoutring these primary texts, it was obvious to me that asana was rarely, if ever, the primary feature of the significant yoga traditions in India. Postures ... were not the dominant component. They were subordinate to other practices like pranayama (expansion of vital energy by means of breath), dharana (focus, or placement of the mental faculty), and nada (sound), and did not have health and fitness as their chief aim. (Yoga Journal May/June 2011 p 56).
This is a timely article, given the boom in asana practice without consideration or commitment to the more subtle and indeed more challenging components of yoga. Those which encourage your to encounter the Self and to create a relationship with the Soul through knowing your body and understanding the nature of your mind.
Miyoga Club has remained a small operation because it has never moved away from these core aims, aims which challenge and create deep change and in ways (that is disciplines) that society is craving.
The beauty of yoga is a private and inward journey. While sometimes sitting with the breath, making unusual sounds and holding focus on the mind may seem impossible - the rewards are immense.
It is nice to know that you have a choice!