Interview with Sanna

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Meet Sanna. This beautiful flower has traveled all the way from Finland through Singapore, France and Germany. Her blossom continues transmitting knowledge from 20 years of practice and 10 years of teaching. Sanna has been infinitely inspired by Sri K Pattabhi Jois and authorized by Lama Marut to teach Tibetan Heart Yoga. Here’s more about her beautiful story! 


1. How long have you been in Bali and what brought you here?

My family and I have been here just over 2 years now. With our love towards Asia and yoga, Bali was the logical choice. Our family wanted to be situated close to Singapore, which was our previous beloved home town. My partner and I also wanted to have good yoga practicing options and allow for me to continue working as a yoga teacher. So Ubud was the perfect fit. 


2. Can you tell us a little bit about your yoga journey?

This is challenging to put into a short explanation.  


Already at quite a young age, I was questioning things and was a curious being. Especially I felt this special pull towards the Eastern Philosophies and Religions. 


At the tender age of 15, I stumbled across a Hare Krishna Temple in Helsinki, Finland. They were advertising ‘a free vegetarian Sunday meal and service’.  I went in and found myself repeating this Sunday tradition for a few years. 


I was working as an aerobics instructor in the early 90’s. Around that time I was also doing modeling and partying a great deal. I had my heavy exercise regime to counter balance the addiction to drinking and a wild lifestyle.


One time, when I was jogging together with a good friend, who was a fitness professional and a great source of inspiration at the time, she shared with me how she had tried something really awesome and I should go and try it too. She told me it was better than any other exercise regime she had tried before. She explained how she had got this sense of a both physical and mental satisfaction like never before. I was really excited. I wanted to hear more. It was ashtanga yoga she was talking about.


One weekend, I joined an introduction course and there was no turning back. We were the first ‘ashtanga pioneers’ in Finland at the time since there wasn’t even an ashtanga studio founded yet. My teachers Petri Raisanen and Juha Javanainen rented a room from a dance studio and we got together every morning to practice ashtanga yoga. 


So.......after founding ashtanga yoga, I started to practice more yoga and teach less aerobics and the partying was still there however it decreased heavily. Later, after starting with Tibetan Buddhism & Tibetan Heart yoga I found the final peace which I had been looking for. 


It was a slow yet steady step-by-step process. My addiction to partying shifted to yoga, both inner and outer practices.


Our big name teacher at the time was Lino Miele, who paid frequent visits to Finland and I joined every single workshop he gave. It ended up being many! I was a very dedicated student of Lino for many years before I started to switch to other big ashtanga names. Suddenly, I was travelling everywhere to follow all these inspirational teachers. In the midst of it all, after circa 13 years of practicing, I joined my first teacher training just to ‘deepen my practice’. My intention was never to start teaching. I was too happy to be a student and just every day to do my best on my own mat. 


It was only from the firm advice from my teacher trainer, Elizabeth Connolly, that I started to teach. She wouldn’t take any of my excuses. She kind of forced me and I’m ever grateful to her for that. She was a very powerful woman and I learned a lot from her. 

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The definite highlight of my ashtanga path was to practice with Sri K. Pattabhi Jois. One of the sessions with him, which I will never forget and I certainly learned a lot from, was to practice the intermediate as a led class with him. As Guruji ordered me to go to the front row, he was standing most of the time right in front of me. It was a very powerful and truly humbling experience. I felt how in ashtanga there can be power yet lightness at the same time and the practice becomes like a dance where the practitioner goes into a form of trance and reaches a meditative state of mind. Guruji had this very special presence. It was just magical to practice in the same room with him.   


Later on I was fortunate to meet other great teachers of the other yoga styles too. One workshop particularly, which I always remember with certain level of warmness was with David Life (co-founder of Jivamukti) in Berlin, Germany. We had a very interesting Q&A after the practice. I had so many thoughts and things I was wondering about. David kept on patiently answering and I apologized for having so many questions to which he warmly said: “Your questions are everyone’s questions. Keep on asking”. I remember something shifting there and then. 


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3. What is your favorite book and why?

“How Yoga Works” by Geshe Michael Roach. After reading this book my life took a whole new direction. I found Tibetan Buddhism and started to study with Geshe Michael Roach. I was really lucky to be one of the very first members of the Asian Classics Institute – sangha in Singapore. We took our studies really seriously. I felt I suddenly was on a fast track into something I had been searching for so many years. I learned and understood the importance of forgiveness. I let go of holding onto old painful grudges. After some time I found my heart Teacher and Mentor Lama Marut. 


I started to follow him to his various talks and retreats. He totally empowered me and my partner too. Thanks to Lama Marut we finally ‘jumped out of the wheel’. We got totally sickened with consumer capitalism. Started to give away heaps of stuff. We chose voluntary simplicity. Hence the final drop being the move to Bali.


So for me “How Yoga Works” was way more than just another book I’ve read. Shall I say, “it saved my life”. 


4. Coffee or tea?

Green tea, a good espresso and when in Singapore definitely “thee c koso”. In that order!


5. How did teaching Tibetan Heart Yoga transpire for you?

First see the reply to no 3. After being a devoted student of my Lama he authorized me to teach this very special ‘heart opening’ form of inner practices. 


6. What is your favorite dinner spot in Ubud?


Since my son Axel is a mixed diet eater and enjoys meat as a treat every now and then, I gotta say Café Des Artists since it works for the whole family. If it was only for me and my partner my answer might be different 

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7. Sanna, you have been known to have an awesomely radiant personality. Where do you get your energy and what keeps you inspired and lively? 


Erm, thank you. I get inspired by my partner, who’s constantly designing new sustainable houses and I get a kick out of his kick  He sees beauty everywhere and is a highly positive and grounding person.


I get inspired by our studio founder Daniel Aaron. He is my true inspiration when it comes to Radiantly Alive Vinyasa and I love how he implemented the complaint free challenge, not only to the studio staff, but also for the students and the whole community! His Radiantly Alive Teacher Trainings are the highest quality I have ever seen anywhere in this world. I feel he has so much to give and I’m privileged to be working for him and RA.

Lastly and most importantly, I owe everything to my Lama Venerable Sumati Marut and my Tibetan Buddhist Teacher Cindy Lee. The very pure and highest form of inspiration comes from them. I had Cindy Lee’s Mother participating my Tibetan Heart Yoga class recently. It was a huge honor! I feel I’m living a truly blessed life and my mission is to help the others to feel happy too.










Q&A With Mesi Toth



Meet Mesi, Radiantly Alive's resident Tibetan Singing Bowl Therapist & Yoga Teacher. She joins us from Hungary with extensive continued studies with Donna Farhi and Tara Judelle. Mesi has taken a few moments to answer some questions about what’s inspiring her this season.



What brought you to Bali?
My partner and I came to Bali in search of an alternative lifestyle to the one we were leading back in Budapest for the previous year. We liked the city living, our small community and teaching yoga was also a blast but we got to the point where nothing was keeping us there, we felt comfortable, but we knew we needed different impulses in order to keep growing. If you’re a yogi you’ve heard about Ubud and we were just thinking it’s going to be now or never scenario, even though neither of us had been here before. Somehow it just felt like we needed to put this fantasy into life and fully explore the beauty and freedom of living on an island that is very special in many ways. When we arrived to Ubud we knew it was going to be the place where we would settle for the next phase in our life. Everything about this place was mesmerizing, it felt like we were drawn into this magical dimension where time totally loses its grip on people, and values that had kept us bound for most of our lives effortlessly fell to the side. We ended up staying and renting a place for a year. Shortly after I got this gig with Radiantly Alive, meanwhile my partner gets to carry on his work long distance and it feels like we have truly entered the flow of life. Being here has inspired us to celebrate our union in this very place, which is coming up in a few days, so we’re way excited ☺

What books are you reading now and what books have had a lasting impact on your life?
Right now I’m reading Donna Fahri’s Yoga Mind, Body & Spirit which is great, it encourages us to bring our practice into life and make it organic and authentic instead of following recipes and imposing them onto ourselves. I’m realizing more and more how important it is feeling into the body and exploring the limitless inner world. This way we’re more attuned to what we need in that present moment and are more enabled to act skillfully. If I had to name a book that was a game changer for me, it has to be “A New Earth” by Eckhart Tolle. I read it once and I didn’t really get it, and then read it again a couple of years later and it propelled me to change the course of my life, go to India for a long time to study yoga and Buddhism. I’m sure if I read it again I’d get the feeling I’d peel another layer off.

What is your favorite song that just makes you want to move?
Oh! Follow the Sun by Xavier Rudd! Hands down.

How did you find Tibetan singing bowl as a healing therapy and why do you want to share that experience with others?
When I was travelling in India I kept encountering singing bowls and became super fascinated with them. Eventually, I attended a workshop in Rishikesh, bought a couple of bowls and ended up experimenting with them on myself and willing friends. Then I came back home to Hungary and on that day, my friend suggested we go to a singing bowl meditation session. It really touched something deep in me and I decided there and then, that I have to start studying how to work with them. I needed to find a teacher, so I followed some leads to someone who lived right around the corner from me! I had travelled the whole world and ended up finding my master in my own backyard - it was such a powerful teaching. I wanted to share the experience with others because this calling was so strong. When I started actually undergoing treatments frequently I felt I was integrating a lot of unprocessed material on all levels of my being. I offer the sessions from this genuine place.

What is your favorite Ubud breakfast spot?
During the week I love going to Atman Kafe for a yummy chai, coconut pancakes and their brekkie burrito!!! On the weekends sometimes we treat ourselves to a brunch at Elephant, I’m a huge fan of the place, that’s where will be holding our wedding reception ;)



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When to bend and when to walk away



Radiantly Alive founder and YTT Leader, Daniel, recently received a thought-provoking question. The dilemma is one that many of us, as teachers, or employees, have most likely faced or will at some point face in our lives. Here’s his take. The name has been changed.  


Daniel,

I was wondering if you could offer me some advice. I was approached to teach yoga from a studio nearby, the only real and convenient studio in town.

I'm ready to resume teaching as I move towards the end of my Bachelor's course and teaching at that studio, which is just around the corner from Uni, would be a perfect fit.

However - here's my dilemma - I've heard not so great things about the studio's ethics. While I have not been personally involved, there have been several instances at the studio as well as various social media comments from management that has been very offensive.

I'm so immensely grateful for all I've learned at Radiantly Alive from you and all the wonderful teachers you invited, and I'm especially thankful for how you conveyed the sacredness that is yoga teaching and the responsibility that comes with people trusting you to take care of their body.

So, here's my question: Do I say “No” because I strongly disagree with many decisions the studio owner and manager have made, or do I say “Yes” because I love to teach and if there's even just one student that I can ignite a spark in… then it's worth it, right?

I really would love some wisdom and guidance in this, if you're up for it.

Thank you so much.

Anonymous Alumni



Dear Teacher,

I love you and love your earnest desire to be real, honest, caring and continue growing. You are rocking. 

While it’s so normal to think of it as either or, yes or no, what about the more challenging and real in between? Like Ahimsa AND Satya. 

There are many ways it could play out, though one might be speaking to whomever invited you, or the owner directly, and saying you appreciate the invitation, would love to teach, and it’s a dilemma for you as you feel badly about some of what you’ve seen and experienced.

Maybe there are explanations for those things you’re not aware of.

Maybe it’s just exactly your feedback they need to hear. 

Whether they want to hire you or not, then you will have spoken up in a powerful, brave way. You are more respectable for that. And, very likely, they will respect you more. You may change their climate. They may say ‘piss off,’ in which case you’ll know for sure that it’s not the place for you. Either way, you’ll have been real and generous (you could just say nothing and either take the job or not). 

If you go forward with something like that, an important challenge will then be the artfulness (even if it feels clumsy) of speaking with them in a way that’s both ahimsic and satyic too. You can do that. You are that!

I hope that helps.

Daniel


In short, when perplexed by an ethical choice to make, perhaps the answer lies in asking more questions. What is underneath the surface? Dig a little deeper to find the grey area and see what gels and what doesn’t.



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A Complaint Free Studio


The Complaint Free Challenge feels like a divine gift that popped into our laps at just the right time. My partner, Lianne, had taken this challenge on years ago, and when she first told me about it, I thought ‘no problem… easy.’  

I’ve been aware of the negative aspect of complaining for years, and have even taught about it. Once I dove into the challenge, though, I was amazed at how deep was my complaint habit. You can read more about my personal journey with it on my Facebook page if you like, and I’ve posted some on our blog.

It’s a life changer, which is why we’ve now created Radiantly Alive to be a Complaint Free Organization.   Of course anyone on our team is welcome to complain in their free time, though now our studio is completely complaint free.

Even better, most of our staff, including the Indonesian team, have taken on the 21 day challenge. I won’t go into detail on how it works here - and highly recommend reading Will Bowen’s book, A Complaint Free world - though this blog post gives the very short version.   We invite you to join us! I hope you find some inspiration below, as a few of our teachers and therapists have shared a tiny bit of their experience so far. If you get into it, let us know how it goes.    

James
Day 45 and Day 1. It used to frustrate me each time I had to switch the bracelet. I wanted to get to the end of the 21 one days (and ideally be the first in my group to do so!), so I saw time I had to ‘reset’ as a hindrance. As the program progress, my thoughts evolved. I started to realise the huge benefit it was bringing to my my life and my relationships. The frustration each time I switched hands became less and less  - this is no longer a practice to get to the 21 day mark - this is a practice I want in my life, for the rest of my life.    

Erica
I started the 10th of March and I’m on day 2. Maximum reached so far: day 5, twice! The number of my complaints dropped seriously and I’m very happy about this. I realized I was wasting a lot of time with a useless and boring-for-everybody activity. Last time I went back to day 1 I realized how crazy it is sometimes: I received good news, and I complained! I complained because the person who told me the good news didn’t think to tell me a bit earlier!  

Jose
Ok. Well, the complaint free challenge has been present to me from the first moment Daniel introduced it to us. Is it true that with the absence of an object, like the bracelet, it heads towards inertia and gets left aside. There have been moments when I was suffering because things were not going the way I liked when I realised I was complaining again. It happened in Spain when I went to visit my family. I was disappointed basically because my expectations where different than the truth. I realised I was complaining again and creating suffering to my self and towards those close to me. Did not start the challenge at that moment, but the fact I saw my self not accepting the situation it helped to break through. At the moment I accepted things as they were, and decided what I wanted was to enjoy my time with my family rather than create conflict, make them have also a nice time with me and enjoy my company, everything went beautifully smooth. What are they going to remember? Distance is bitter enough.   Decided to start challenge as I came back to Bali after a crazy trip with flights cancellations. A friend asked me about the trip and all that came out of my mouth were complaints! I also realised my friend was complaining a lot, so both decided to start the complaint free challenge few days ago…. Still on day one though.    

Peter Caughey
8 weeks I’m on day one - I haven’t gotten to day two yet.   It has been a very useful and rewarding experience and has brought to my attention old behavioural and critical patterns, this challenge is great and I encourage all others to participate in it.   If all the people of the world did this it would be a very different place.   The tough one for me is the stories I have and complaints about how I think the people in Bali should drive their cars and scooters. Ha!    

Noga
It's my 2nd week with the Complaint Free Challenge. I'm not even counting days yet, just trying to understand and face the fact that even though I love my life, adore my family and mad about my job, I regularly express so much internal dissatisfaction. Right now, the Challenge reminds me if a line from a Taylor Swift song: 'it's a nightmare dressed like a daydream'. I know it's an amazing thing. My whole being knows that down the road, this will be one if the best things I'll ever do for my self and for the people around me. But right now, it sucks. It's heartbreaking. It's frustrating. And I don't want to let it go or give up. I want to get better at this. So, step one- acceptance. Do it without the judgment, the expectations, to decrease the hardships along the way. Like yoga asana- just do it, just stick to it, the rest will come on it's own.  

Rafael
Every time I complain, gossip or use sarcasm in my way of communication, I just feed more the negative aspects of my experience  and instead of things getting better they get worst.   I believe that words are energy and hold a powerful vibration that can either create transform and even destroy. I believe that complaints, gossip, sarcasm etc, hold a very low frequency vibration, that damage the quality of my experience in every level and I truly believe that this is an amazing practice that Im officially starting right now. Day one!  

Sam
I began the challenge at the beginning of March and I’m on Day 1 and it’s been on and off since then. For the first few weeks I went through periods of being super movitated and on the ball followed by “down days” where all I did was come up with reasons why this challenge was going to be totally impossible (My partner isn’t doing the challenge, I have so much stress, etc etc). By the beginning of June, I started to realize how much I dislike the complaints that come out of my mouth. The realization that none of them are productive or contribute ANYTHING to the situations I find myself in was huge.   I’ve discovered that I haven’t been communicating the way I want to, I am starting to learn the difference between humourous sarcasm and sarcasm that serves no purpose. I’ve slowed down and am finally starting to actually think about what I say before I say it.   Has it been tough? Yes. Have there been countless moments where I gave in to complaining? Absolutely! Am I going to give up? No way. Those things pale in comparison to the benefits that I’ve received, and I haven’t even made it past day 3! Wether it takes me 6 months or 6 years to reach 21 days, it doesn’t matter – at this point, I’ve stopped counting the days, I’m focusing more on the quality of my life and my life is 100 times better when it is complaint-free!


Image Credit: http://weheartit.com/entry/115071958



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Real communications - beyond swallowing it down or belching it out



Many of us are currently engaged in the complaint free challenge, and at the stage where - in his book Will Bowen talks about being at the conscious competence stage being the one where we can resist the impulse or habit to complain, though it takes conscious effort.

We’re already seeing a lot of value of simply moving through unconscious incompetence to conscious incompetence: a process of first becoming aware of how much we have tended to complain without even realizing that’s what we are doing, and then secondly realizing how challenging it can be to stop complaining.

Now, though, a question is naturally arising, which relates to the very basics of psychology as we’ve seen it evolve in the last 100 years. Put very simplistically, we’ve tended to do one of two things when we encounter something that is difficult, uncomfortable or painful. Either we swallow it down (aka push it down, deny it, suppress it), or we belch it out (aka cathart, vent or throw it out at others). We’ve all experienced something of the challenges and pseudo-relief of these methods, and as that’s a larger discussion beyond the scope of this post, we’ll leave it at that.

Putting it lightly, we already know some of the ineffectiveness of these approaches. A question that arises for many naturally at this stage in the complaint-free challenge is ‘how do I talk about things that are challenging for me without complaining?’ Indeed there’s an understandable fear that if I don’t talk about what’s happening out of fear of it coming out as a complaint, it’ll simply be a ‘pushing down,’ which we know does not work well.

It’s a good problem (problem can be defined as ‘throwing forth a question to which we know there is a solution’). This particular aspect of the challenge lends itself to teaching us how to 1) be self-responsible in our speech and life, and 2) proactive in creating solutions with others. That means that we: Speak about what we feel. As often as most of us have heard that communications go better when we use ‘I’ statements, most of us can benefit from the reminder and further dedication to it. “I feel weak.” “I feel strong.” “I feel hurt, when you…” “I feel excited, when you…” Etc.

Speak directly to the person or people with whom we have some challenge. It is only they who can provide a solution. If I want my partner to help with taking care of the house more, talking with other people about that is simply gossip (a form of complaint), whereas speaking responsibly with her lends toward the possibility of either getting what I want or us creating a shared solution.

What about when we’re triggered or confused and not ready to talk directly to the person? Bowen calls this processing. That’s when we talk with a friend or a therapist about what we are having a difficulty with. Perhaps the issue is raw. Perhaps we’re so activated or emotional we are not yet clear about it. This is when it’s great to ‘process’ by sharing with someone else, whether we get any input from them or not. What’s key in this, however, is that we are doing it from the perspective of seeing what is going on for us, in our own emotions. We are processing in order to be more responsible and see what we need to change in ourselves, as opposed to complaining about someone else and saying how we think they should change.

As always we distinguish a complaint from a report not so much by the words themselves and much more by the energy behind the words. Complaints are expressions some kind of internal dissatisfaction. Processing is pointing back toward ourselves as the causal agents who have the power to affect the relationship or situation by shifting what’s happening inside us. If we are bitching or blaming another, it’s not processing. If we are expressing some outrage at what another has done, or saying what another should do, it’s not processing. If we are getting more clarity about ourselves, the part we’ve been playing in a scenario and realizing that we are empowered to shift it because we are part of the eco system, then it’s not only processing, it’s productive and contributing to uplifting our world.

I’m 16 days into the challenge, and gratefully again on day 1. While my peak of continuity so far has been getting once to day 2, I am committed, know I will reach the full 21 days and delighted with what I’ve experienced already.

You can do it!



Image Credit: https://instagram.com/p/wWMwrFRp4q/



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The complaint free challenge


One of my favorite parts of the complaint-free challenge so far is that people are coming up to those of us who are in the midst of it and excitedly asking what it is, what we’re doing and how can they get into it too. That happiness is contagious is actually research documented now.   I’ll hereby explain it briefly. It’s also well worth it, highly recommended and perhaps close to necessary to read Will Bowen’s book A Complaint Free World.  

We have committed to going 21 consecutive days without complaining. Anytime we complain, we start again with day 1.   Complaints are defined as any statement (out loud, no just thoughts) that express dissatisfaction or somehow say that things are not good, right or acceptable. They include criticism, sarcasm and gossip. More important than the actual words, it’s the energy behind the words that differentiate a complaint from a report.  

When we find ourselves complaining, we move a bracelet from one wrist to the other. Or a rubber band. Or move a coin from one pocket to the other.   I love this part. It takes it from being a thought process, which might be interesting and potentially even valuable, and brings it into a tangible, physical exercise and thereby facilitates a completely different level of awareness. I’ve known for years about the downside of complaining. To the point that I’ve taught others about it. I’ve done complaint fasts, even felt the benefit of them. And yet, somehow I allowed myself to continue to regularly complain.

The minor difference of the bracelet switching makes a massive shift in my level of awareness. I cannot allow myself to continue this self-destructive behavior anymore.   While the 21 consecutive days may be a challenge, and take considerably longer than 21 days for most of us, the process yields striking results well before the ‘goal’ is reached.   I’ll keep it short and simple here - do read the book - though here are a couple more tips:  
  • Deal only with things you say out loud. Of course our thoughts are important, though if we start by changing what we say, it’ll lead to changing our thoughts.
  • Take care of yourself, your own complaints, and let others take care of theirs. A simple guideline on this is that if we point out some else’s complaint, best we change our own bracelet at the same time.
  • Be committed to the 21 day goal, though know it’s okay to have a lot of day ones. Anything worth doing is worth doing badly at first. And repeatedly. Stick with it and be honest and humble about the stumbles on the way to learning to walk a new path. We’re all learning.

  I hope that is enough info to both inspire and get you going. If you’d like to join us and you’re in Bali, stop by Radiantly Alive Yoga Studio for a gift of a bracelet from us.  

Let’s all invest ourselves in creating the world of love and harmony we know is possible.


Image Credit: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/205195326748764465/



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When the heart breaks open


 In a recent letter to one of his students, Daniel writes about the universal pain of heartbreak and how, in such a tender and vulnerable place, pain opens the doorway to one of the biggest transformations one may have. We hope you get as much out of his letter as we have.  


My heart opens and bleeds for you in hearing your journey here. Not only do you convey it well in words, giving me access to something of what you’ve experienced, I’ve also had something similar in my life. I suppose you know already - it’s the one of the hardest and most beautiful things you could ever experience in life. 

Your marriage ending is a huge transformation: a death of part of you. Which gave birth to other aspects of you, a new life. That you met someone not long after and experienced such a powerful connection is both not surprising and amazing. A gift. 

I can well imagine that your classes are popular as your heart has been blasted open. To love as you are describing is astounding and rare, and in some ways the fact of it not being met the way you wish now provides the possibility to keep it open and even more vulnerable. There is huge power in vulnerability, and yet it’s something that is less than condoned socially. We are taught to protect ourselves, to close if we sense that we may be hurt. You are learning and experiencing that true love does not expect, does not actually need something back - it’s in the giving. 

I can imagine all of this will sound pollyanna like. At the moment, her not meeting you back in that love is excruciating. I understand that. And yet the fact that you are there, that you feel as you do, and that she’s showing up as she is - in some way that’s confirmation that you can be where you are. You can continue to love as fully as possible even in these circumstances. 

A bit from my life: I had a ‘blow my mind, life rocking, transformational period 19 years ago. It related to meeting a woman whom I would have described in some ways like you describe the woman you’re in love with now. The connection was unimaginably strong to me. And to her. And then, out of the blue, she did the same thing and said that we cannot continue. Not even as friends. I was devastated and went into a depression from it. Compounding the loss was the fact that it didn’t make sense to me. I knew that she loved me as I loved her. Yet I was powerless. 

That experience - both the loving her and the forced letting go - was part of my first real opening into love, life, service, the divine. I know and trust that these gifts, even with the torture they contain, are also the sweetest that life has for us. 

I’m sure you know this one:   

On Pain by Kahlil Gibran

Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.

Even as the stone of the fruit must break, that its heart may stand in the sun, so must you know pain.

And could you keep your heart in wonder at the daily miracles of your life, your pain would not seem less wondrous than your joy;

And you would accept the seasons of your heart, even as you have always accepted the seasons that pass over your fields.

And you would watch with serenity through the winters of your grief.

Much of your pain is self-chosen.

It is the bitter potion by which the physician within you heals your sick self.

Therefore trust the physician, and drink his remedy in silence and tranquillity:

For his hand, though heavy and hard, is guided by the tender hand of the Unseen,

And the cup he brings, though it burn your lips, has been fashioned of the clay which the Potter has moistened with His own sacred tears.  


I hope there is something helpful in here for you. I feel the challenge and beauty of where you are in this moment. I suspect there is no way of knowing the purpose and scope of this experience right now. I do know that it’s a huge time of transformation on the planet, and you’re right at the heart of it.

Your ability to be present, to keep your heart open regardless of what life (or that woman) brings back to you is a huge gift to the world (and to you). 
 



Image Credit: https://instagram.com/p/jOlFE-tkkp/

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Energy Healing in Ubud, Bali

At Radiantly Alive, we are interested in the most powerful and direct way to restore and improve our Radiance. We’ve brought together an incredible team of therapists from various modalities that deliver palpable and powerful results. From modern to traditional, our guideline is what works, offering you the same treatments that we have tried, tested, and now swear by. This article is the second in a series featuring our therapists, chronicling their journeys towards becoming a healer. The holistic therapist recognizes that mind, body and spirit are interlinked to create overall health. We hope that in these stories, you recognize and see that the healer exists in us all, and become inspired to live more radiantly. For our full range of therapies, check out this link: http://radiantlyalive.com/index.php/holistic-therapies.   

Uta is our resident energy healer who has done a rigorous four-year program in the Barbara Brennan School of Healing, the world’s premier institute of hands-on healing and personal transformation. Something that strikes one when first meeting Uta is her soft, compassionate gaze and empathetic nature, which instantly puts one at ease. There is no ‘fluff’ about her though, as she is scientific and thorough in both her healing approach as well as her concise explanations of what goes on in a session. Uta works with an individual’s energy consciousness system to create physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health and helps people learn their unique life purpose, and strengthen their ability to accomplish life goals. We sit down to chat with Uta about her journey as a healer.  

How were you drawn to the world of healing arts?
When my father died very suddenly when I was 15, it was a shock. Nobody back then could answer my questions on life after death. Nobody. It was a complete taboo. That was when I started to study about spirituality, life after death and reincarnation. Over the years I started with yoga, I did meditation courses. I went to India to travel for six months. I got little ideas and glimpses everywhere. I always wanted to know what lies beyond and what lies behind. I wanted to find out how to heal this big pain that I see in different cultures in different forms. I was working as a flight attendant at 25 when I found out about Brennan Healing Science. When I saw that there was a school opening in Austria, I quit my job and immediately enrolled.

What was your period of training like?
It was a major transformation in my life. I never missed a single day of school even while I was pregnant with my daughter at 27. I graduated in 2007 after completing the four year course. I realized having worked through my own issues with family and releasing all the stuff that I was carrying from my own parents, grandparents and lineage, that it had freed me to step forward to my spiritual path where I could live life as it happens and interweave that with a spiritual path.

What were your other influences as a healer?
Life taught me how to use the tools and skills which I learned to support others. The biggest teachings were the birth of my children. When my Mother was dying, I brought her to my house. With everything that I learned and know, I was kind of accompanying her soul to make sure it was in the right place. That was the final initiation where I finally understood that now is the time for me to work as a healer. You cannot force the healing onto some people. Healing doesn’t mean the body gets well. It goes much deeper. It goes to the soul. Sometimes, as hard as that sounds, it’s the dying process that brings the healing. And it was like that in my mother’s case. Changing was too much for her. She had a lot of criticism for my work at the beginning, but when she was really weak she felt totally safe and she could totally surrender to my work. There’s a moment when you know there’s no return – the illness has progressed too much. You’ve got to work with what’s there now. And she did that really well, I must say.

What is a typical day in the life of a healer?
I’m a totally normal person. I get up in the morning; get my children ready, we have arguments about things like teeth brushing. I have normal relationship issues. The misperception is that people think healers have a better life. I do, in some ways, but only because I’m aware of my shit but that doesn’t mean there’s no shit. It’s only that I’m aware and I’m willing to work on it. I’ve got better days and I’ve got some days that are not so good. I take life as it is. The advantage of a healer is that we take whatever happens, and we look at it and we work with it in order to make this a good outcome. I’m a totally normal being. I cannot emphasize that enough.

 What is the Brennan Healing Science® Difference?
Brennan Healing Science (BHS) is recognized by many as the most advanced of any healing modality that works through the human energy field or aura. The laying on of hands is an age-old process. People of all cultures have employed it for centuries, and today it is the foundation of many popular—but often imprecise—ways of healing. Brennan Healing Science propels the methods of the ancients into a whole new and sophisticated dimension—in fact, several dimensions. The human energy field is a deep and fascinating place, familiar to some of us but unknown to most, and waiting patiently to be explored. Each person's field consists of numerous levels, each holding great volumes of information on health, behavioral patterns, personal issues, past histories, and much, much more. BHS gives its practitioners not just the keys to the door, but to all the rooms. This ability that we call High Sense Perception—the tools of exploration—is learned relatively swiftly, because it has simply lain dormant. Students are taught not only how to read the field, but also to discern why it is damaged or distorted, and to utilize the appropriate healing technique from among a whole array developed by Dr. Brennan. With BHS, the healer's personal wisdom and Divine Intelligence operate hand in hand, unlike other energy healing systems where you are primarily in "allow" and more or less working blind.


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Acupuncture in Ubud, Bali

At Radiantly Alive, we are interested in the most powerful and direct way to restore and improve our Radiance. We've brought together an incredible team of therapists from various modalities who deliver palpable and powerful results. From modern to traditional, our guideline is what works, offering you the same treatments that we have tried, tested, and now swear by. This article is the first in a series featuring our therapists, chronicling their journeys in becoming a healer. The holistic therapist recognises that mind, body and spirit are interlinked to create overall health. We hope that in these stories, you recognise and see that the healer exists in us all, and become inspired to live more radiantly. For our full range of therapies, check out this link: http://radiantlyalive.com/index.php/holistic-therapies.


  "My mission is to help people break free from limiting beliefs and stories that stop them from living their true potential as a human being. I believe that it is these stories that stop us from living happy, healthy and abundant lives.  My gift as a Healer and Teacher is to help people discover the true essence of who they are and to live with unbounded freedom.”
- Peter Caughey, residential acupuncturist and Qigong teacher at Radiantly Alive         


How I became an Acupuncturist by Peter Caughey

Before my first acupuncture session as a patient, I was skeptical. I was brought up to believe that you go to the doctor when you were sick, so how could sticking needles into you possibly do anything to help? When I visited my first acupuncturist, there was something different about him. I felt like I was visiting a person who saw the world through different eyes – an enlightened person. It was like he knew more about me than I knew about myself. I had one treatment and it fixed my problem. I walked out of his clinic like I was floating on air. I wondered to myself, what does he know that other doctors don’t? Since that day, I haven’t been back to a doctor for any general health issues and that was thirty years ago. Ever since my first visit to that acupuncturist, I have been fascinated by the effectiveness and efficiency of Traditional Chinese Medicine. I was ready for a career change, so I decided to go to school and to do a four year degree in acupuncture.

MY STORY: Why I started practicing Taiji and Qigong

I had been in the NZ Special Forces, the NZSAS, for seven years and served in the New Zealand Army for a total of 16 years and as much as it was incredible and ultimately challenging and the hardest thing that I’d ever done, both physically and mentally, I knew in my heart that there was something missing in my life. This emptiness seemed to always need filling. I spent my days doing stuff like parachuting, abseiling of high buildings, and explosive entries. But at night, I would lie in bed feeling that there was something missing and that there must be more to life than this. I would go to sleep feeling a sense of accomplishment for the day, but when I awoke, a feeling of emptiness was there. I would then spend the rest of the day filling it up with excitement, trying to take the emptiness away. I also used alcohol, food, cigarettes and sex to fill up this emptiness. They worked, but then I’d wake each morning feeling empty again. I started seeing the acupuncturist I mentioned earlier when I was twenty. He always seemed to be able to answer any questions I asked him. I always felt incredibly content and happy after my session. Twelve years later, when I was having difficulty with a relationship, I went to see him to see if he could help me. He suggested that I come along to one of his Taiji classes. Before I went to the first physical Taiji class, he gave me an introduction to the philosophy of Taiji. There was something in the philosophy class that resonated with me. I felt that this was what I had been looking for my whole life. It touched my heart and unbeknownst to me, it would change my life forever. I then went to my first physical class. The following morning when I awoke, I didn’t feel empty and I have been doing Taiji everyday ever since. In my twenty seven years of practicing Taiji and Qigong, fifteen years of practicing Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture and twenty years of teaching Taiji and Qigong, I have found inner contentment, peace, loving relationships, community, family and a sense of purpose. I have decided in my life to help other people so that they too can experience the same level of health, freedom, passion, peace and contentment that I have found.     

Peter Caughey, Registered Acupuncturist BHSc Acupuncture, NDA(NZ) Dip Chb, Dip Tuina, Dip Taiji, Qigong Member NZRA Council member of the World Academic Society of Medical Qigong

Peter is a Registered Acupuncturist and a Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner. He was a Member of NZRA and practised Acupuncturist in Auckland for over ten years. He practices Acupuncture, Tuina (Chinese massage), Chinese herbal medicine, Qigong medical healing, spinal adjustments, manipulations and energy balancing. He specialises in sleep disturbances, insomnia, infertility and mental and emotional disturbances.

He is the Senior Teacher and Founder of the Forest Rock Taiji & Qigong Monastery School. He teaches Taiji Philosophy and Principles and the Traditions of the Monastery based schools. The philosophy of the Forest Rock School is about 'Rightful place'. Aspects of this philosophy are; Medicine, Diet, Service to others, Music, Arts and Exercise. Some of the principles are; Loyalty, Honesty, Truthfulness and Contentment.

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Our Word – a Way Home

- by Daniel Aaron “Originally published in Kula Magazine, January 2015” It seems like she’s avoiding looking me in the eye. Usually she’s so present, assured, and right now she seems uncomfortable with me. I wonder if she’s nervous because I’m the studio owner, her employer, and she’s concerned that I might be evaluating her performance. By now the tube is in and I’m on my back. Water has begun to flow. I look at her. “I hope you can feel relaxed and easy with me, I trust you and am happy to be in your care.” The more relaxed she is, the more relaxed I’ll be - and the better this will go. “I just keep thinking about missing that meeting.” She’d already sincerely and thoroughly apologized to me. In the Bhagavad Gita, yoga is defined as skill in action. It’s one of my favorite definitions as it makes the idea of yoga so accessible, so practical. In Patanjali Yoga Sutra, the structure makes it clear that Patanjali’s suggestions have nothing to do with morality or ethics. From the beginning, Patanjali clarifies that we are already divine creatures, already awakened. So of course no amount of asana or pranayama is going to make us better. We’re already perfect. Yet there is plenty of technique, plenty that Patanjali tells us we can do. Again, practical. In our lives, in our society, everyone lies. From little white lies to big dark ones. Whether it’s to make someone feel better about themselves or to make us appear better to someone else, whether it’s for material gain or simply to keep the flow of a conversation rolling, we all lie a lot more often than we’re likely to admit. Yep, that’s another lie. This is not a moral article. It’s not wrong to lie. We’re not bad if we lie. Sometimes lying might actually be the best thing to do. That said - every lie we tell carries a consequence with it. One of the biggest, and most important for yogis, is that we fracture ourselves. We create an incongruence, a division, which not only creates a twinge of ‘I don’t feel quite right, not quite like myself,’ it also leads to lowered intimacy and depth in our relationships. Why is that especially important for us as yogis? Another definition we know well: yoga is union. Every spiritual tradition reminds us that we are complete and whole, that all that could be missing is our awareness of that. Whether the message comes as ‘be here now’ or ‘love what is,’ they are reminders that yoga is simply (though not necessarily easily) a matter of remembering who we are. Thus, incongruence, a rent in the fabric of our inherent oneness, is a movement away from yoga. This is why one of Patanjali’s first tips on the yoga path is Satya, truth. Alas though, as soon as that word comes up, we tend to hear it as a moral imperative, as something we ‘should’ do. Nearly everyone would agree that honesty is the best policy, though everyone lies. That honesty is not a moral issue - that our worth has nothing to do with it, is a liberating and powerful discovery. Even more freeing, and perhaps even radically exciting, is that telling the truth has a direct impact on our happiness and ease - whether one believes in God, Allah, Buddha or Santa Claus is irrelevant. Everyone wants to feel better. When I’m getting a colonic I take myself out of the role of ‘boss’ and become client. Like everyone, I know that I am full of shit, and this is one powerful opportunity for lightening my load. And while I also take myself firmly out of the role of teacher when I’m not in front of a class or directly asked by someone, I offer something in hopes that it might be helpful. “In case it’s useful, I can tell you what I do in those moments when I lose integrity.” She looks at me and nods. We all lose integrity sometimes. We say we’re going to be somewhere at a certain time and we’re late. We say we’re going to do something and we don’t. We say we won’t say or do something, and we do. In other words, we occasionally fracture ourselves. Integrity means wholeness. Just like a bicycle tire, comprised of many spokes, will eventually lose its functionality if spokes get bent or taken out, we too lose integrity, lose our ability to function optimally when we are dishonest. I love that the process of tuning a bicycle tire to return it to optimal functioning is called truing; it’s a process of coming back to it’s original form. While asana is an amazing tool for helping us - body, mind, emotions - return to our original form, for healing, it’s even better news that something as simple (again not necessarily easy) as honesty, which we can practice all the time without the body needing rest. Practice. Right, and that reminds us that even with incredible dedication, we are unlikely to do it all the time. We will sometimes break our word. We’ll lose integrity. What we do, I tell her, is a simple three-step process. When we lose integrity, when we’re fractured, we don’t feel right, we lose presence, we’re less available for those around us. 1. Admit we lost integrity. I tell my partner ‘I said I was going to be home at 5 and I wasn’t. There is a great liberation possible here: simply stating the fact of it (apologizing is optional) can be a reminder that who we really are, our innate perfection, can never be compromised, even though our experience of who we are, our daily awareness of it can. 2. Tell the impact of that break of integrity. “You might have then been wondering if you should get dinner ready for the children on your own, if something had happened to me. I can imagine that you would have felt annoyed or disappointed, maybe even have felt like you can’t trust me.” The act of showing the other person or people that we understand the impact of our actions and our lack of integrity can go a long way toward them feeling better, forgiving us and moving on 3. Commit to integrity, to a new possibility. Say what we will do (differently) in the future. “In the future I will keep to my word and be home when I say.” To work best this step is phrased in the positive, rather than saying what we won’t do or say in the future. We all know how the unconscious mind works, or doesn’t work, with negatives, so the creation of a new possibility is best served in our own consciousness, as well as in the relationships’ field, through saying what will happen. I suspect that living in a body means that we’ll always have shit to deal with. I’m happy to say that my colonic went well, and was equally happy to go out and chew up some more life experiences right afterwards. We can celebrate that we’re here in this material world, that our spiritual practices will forever yield insights and discoveries, and that some of them will come through blundering. And while none of the blunders can ever truly detract from our essential divinity, our ability to experience that divinity, our happiness and joy in life and the health of our relationships are powerfully enhanced by our ability to clean up after the blunders. May we return to wholeness as often and as many times as we need to - may it lead us all the way home. * Part of my understanding of integrity and the restoration of it has evolved (gratefully) through Landmark Education http://www.landmarkworldwide.com Also, for more on this topic, check out: http://landmarkinsights.com/landmark-forum-leader-article/navigating-our-lives-what-really-matters/

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