Feeling at home on your yoga mat

Your yoga mat is a very personal place. Whether you practise by yourself, or in a group in a park or at a studio your mat is your space.

And that space goes through as much as you do wherever you are in the world, and in your life at that time. Some days you are on top of the world, and when you practise your yoga you feel unstoppable; sometimes you are in a lower place and you just don't have as much energy. Regardless of the emotion, you have, you feel that feeling whilst practising in on your mat, in that space and at that time.

And to be clear I am speaking both literally but also metaphorically. I personally love the yoga mat I use; the colour, the feeling and the comfort I find in the Yogamatters mat is something I enjoy practising with. And from a non-materialistic perspective, such as the different forms of emotions, thoughts, stages in my life, places I've practised and all other personal feelings that you go through in that space.

Like anything in life, when you have a ritual, at that moment you generally feel at home as space is familiar to you both mentally and physically, and I have found comfort knowing that no matter what I am going through. Good or bad my yoga practise, my yoga mat, and my yoga space provides me with the home to celebrate or be sad through that expression and feeling of how I feel at that moment.

Thank you for reading, and if you ever feel homesick; remember just practise your yoga and everything feel a whole lot homely.

Written by Suraj Ghumra

Positive Intention

The lesson

When I started practising yoga and meditation Tuwith dedication and seriousness, I did start with the intention to fix my knee, my badly broken, previously septic, intensely painful knee joint that was far more stubborn than a mule. I wanted to heal quickly but the knees take longer to heal than any other joints in the body.

During this time I was very confused, upset, emotional, filled with rage and anger at my situation and in many ways lost. I was lost because not only was I injured and helpless to walk, not expecting the outcome that I encountered post ACL reconstruction, but I learnt something about life at an age the 24, that nothing in this world is promised except death.

I went into an ACL reconstruction of my left knee; thinking that I would come out the same way I did when my right knee was reconstructed, but how that hope went right down the crapper. But the lesson I learnt was priceless, it was in fact, something that I decided to make into a positive lesson, and I didn't know until later I was doing that straight away. I knew that I was going to prove the doctors wrong about them saying I would always have difficulty walking, and never be able to use the full range of my knee, but I really had no idea to the extent of what I was going to gain as a yogi but learn as a human being.

Positive intention pays off

My mentality at the point of being in serious physical pain and being falling in and out of depression was very complex, and the first year was the hardest, I had to adapt physically, mentally, in friendships, relationships, not being able to see people as much, having to fight and try and make people understand close to me why I was extremely difficult to be around but I still kept a smile on my face (most the time). Not only that, I had certain people that did nothing to help me, and I was naive to think others would stop their lives to fit mine; something that took me a while to understand and accept that not all people think the same way you do.

During my yoga practise, I kept pushing through the pain, kept going back to yoga and I kept working at a craft that I knew would help me, because the way I felt after class was much better than I did before, and the logic and science behind yoga just felt right to me, and my body did start to change for the better, and even though it has taken 6 years for me to be where I am today, I wonder where I would be without the yoga.

And all the above came from pure positive intention, something I believe can help anyone going through a difficult time, whether it is yoga you use, or it's tai chi, or meditation, or reading or mathematics; regardless of what you want to achieve in your life if you start it with positive intention you can achieve even more.

And with that mentality, in the crazy world we live in, it can take you much further and to a place where you can understand yourself and others around you better.

I would like to leave you with a quote that I strongly believe in and even though I just wrote it down now, this has been with me internally for years.

"Intention is a powerful thing, and when used with positive affirmation we can achieve more than brilliance, we can achieve anything."

- Suraj Ghumra

I wish you the best of health and happiness with everything you do, and with positive intention, anything can be accomplished.

Thank you for reading.

Written by Suraj Ghumra.




Accepting downtime with your yoga

Accepting downtime; what is that right? Does that even exist in 2018? Do we just ignore all those signals telling us we need to rest and recuperate?

Accepting downtime with your yoga practise is something that for many of us is completely against the way we are wired, and sometimes seen as impossible due to lifestyle and life commitments but it is something that is essential that we must accept and act upon when required.

Downtime with your yoga can result or come from different situations or feelings, and the key is to just accept it once it does arise.

One example could be if you injure yourself, but you still want to go to class even though it's not just something you can shake off, it is that acceptance that is fine to be hurt and having that time off will allow you to heal properly and then use the yoga to heal further once you are ready.

Another example could be that you have been full on in your work life, personal life and even yoga life and you haven't given yourself time to relax, and suddenly you find yourself not wanting to do anything but force yourself. But this is not healthy nor is it going to benefit your mind and soul.

When I started taking my practise seriously I was not in the best place physically, which also led to mental health issues. During that time I really pushed myself and believed I had to just go to yoga all the time regardless of how I felt, but I started to realise being on all the time was not letting me progress how I thought I would, but it was only when I found the balance and reacting to each situation in the right way I found much more progression in my practise but I also found that in my life.

That teaching has taken me years to really put into practise and still there are times where I lose my balance and have to lock that knee again in order to get it back.

As you progress in yoga, fall in and out of love with your yoga and even yourself, there will be times when you need that downtime, and the most important thing you can do for yourself is to be at peace when that time is.

And as the great Dali Lama says; "We can never make peace with the outside world until we make peace with ourselves"

Thank you for reading.

Written by Suraj Ghumra.

The Importance of practising discipline in Yoga


Yoga and discipline go hand in hand, and this has been the case since the Indus-Sarasvati civilization started this wonderful yoga practise.

Throughout the evolution of Yoga, and its increased popularity in the western world the practise has lost a lot of its discipline, not to the fault of the practitioners but due to the watered-down teaching methods and teachers that do not take this part of the practise seriously enough.

Discipline by no means is something that should be acted upon as controlling, or “dictating”.  It is something that should be taught with empathy, kindness and firmness. When discipline is kept within a class you can see the vast difference between how the Yoga itself is practised.

Not only does it allow students to learn the yoga properly, it also pushes the students in the right way. Whether it is the Classic 26 & 2 method, vinyasa or any form of yoga, the student learns the practise correctly and with the correct mentality to take them on the life journey of the practise.

On a positive note, there are some fantastic teachers within London, that really teach the importance of discipline and hold that aspect strong throughout their classes.

First Timers

For somebody new to yoga (this goes more so for students that practise in urban cities such as my hometown – London), you get a wide range of different yoga teachers, studios, methods etc. And sometimes a new teacher or class can seem very strict and this can really put off a new practitioner, but I assure you for anybody that is new to yoga reading this – the intention is not to be controlling, it is to teach you (the student) the proper way, which may be harder, but it is the right way.

Discipline in the room = discipline outside the room

Once you start to get into your practise more and start to really enjoy the benefits of yoga; and one does start to naturally become more disciplined with their practise, which has a knock-on effect off the matt.

Having balance is something that can be difficult in this day and age. With the continuous onset of social media, digital media and continuous disappointment from changes and cancellations due to the easy accessibility of getting hold of someone; having the discipline of switching off and protecting your energy is something that I have learnt to do on and off the matt. And that discipline I have learnt on primarily on the matt helped me with these types of realisations.

When I started practising back in 2012, the discipline was much more apparent, and with teachers such as Paul Spencer Dobson who is one of my early yoga teachers that holds the discipline of his teaching practices from the start, right to the end of class.

Paul has been teaching yoga for almost …. years now, and even though some new practitioners may feel slightly scared and sometimes deterred from his methods, he is a teacher that ensures you learn the yoga the correct way and has not allowed times to water down the essence of his teachings, something that I have a lot of respect for and have teachers like this around still allow the essence of mainstream yoga types such as the hot yoga a method that still holds the core value of why it is such a powerful healing form of yoga.

You can learn more about Paul here.

Wax on | wax off

The need for discipline in our daily lives is a requirement, not just from ourselves, but from out bosses, our friends, our relationships and more. The discipline you learn in yoga with your practise can really help you in your life off the matt and find a way to create that discipline in all the different social and personal situations we find ourselves in this new age.

Once we understand the importance of staying still, not playing with our hair or outfit; focusing on our poses, postures and inner self; then we can start to use that practise to help protect our personal lives and help provide discipline and guidance for those that may not be as lucky as you to have found that yoga matt.

Written by Suraj Ghumra.

Form over depth

How many times have you heard that?

This is a common issue amongst all levels of practitioners and not just beginners. And the teacher isn't pointing this out to stunt one's progress in class (unless they are not a real teacher), but they are doing so because:

1. They care that you learn the yoga properly.

2. They care about your body.

3. They care about their teaching methods.

4. They are all in all a caring teacher.

Keeping your form is a very crucial part of your practise, and in order to learn the yoga you are practising properly you must first be able to keep your alignment, and you must also open the opportunity within your mind, for your body to learn the posture properly.

Once you get comfortable with a posture and you have the correct form and alignment then you should be pushing as much as possible to get as much depth as possible and your body will be ready, like a flower petal blooming to open, but until then be patient and be aware of what you are doing.

It is totally understandable that you would like to do a posture to it's optimum and aim to look to best in class, but yoga is not about looking the best, nor is it about incorrect posture. Posture is one of the most important practices in yoga, and without correct posture, the body will only pick up unnecessary bad habits.

If you are struggling with this always reach out to the teacher as they will be able to help and guide you in the right direction.

Thanks for reading.

Written by Suraj Ghumra.