Category Archives: From the Sadhaka’s Mat

Get to your big goals using meditation

Bon voyage message in chocolate
All the best…

For the past few months, I have been feeling on top of the world. Life’s great and nothing can get in the way of its greatness! I mentioned that I was leaving and friends and those from my practice circle have been really sweet, sending me all their well wishes. And today, I am sitting here in my sunny room looking out at the Manhattan skyline, thinking, wow, if you want it, you can really get it.

Manhattan skyline
New York – a trip of a lifetime, just a subway ride away.

I have chosen to be here, and I am here, in New York – the mecca for ongoing innovation in yoga. One of the agencies was running a lovely campaign with the tagline: “For most people, it’s the trip of a lifetime. For you, it’s just a ride away.” I do feel privileged to be here, where mindfulness is hot with executives in Wall Street boardrooms and there is so much yoga happening in every street and in every park. I have been spending a lot of my time either practising with my favourite teachers or offering classes, building training curricula, and getting the privilege of being invited to co-lead the Sattva Retreats immersion to Kerala, India in 2016. Drop me a note if you’re interested to join me!

It has not been easy running all these while trying to put together a new life in a new city. But life is boring when it is easy. And how activity energizes and drives you, especially when it is your chosen activity. You set yourself free when you choose to do what you want, rather than what you think you have to want, because you have to be somebody in society, or because there is a mortgage to pay off or because you led yourself to believe that you need a certain level of comfort. These fall away and you know that you can live differently, and that once in a while, you can take a long-distance coach instead of a flight to keep within your new budget; and maybe you figure you need to downsize your possessions and finally get rid of the car, which you barely use, or move out of the full-serviced condominium that has given you a lot of borrowed joy in the past.

Meditation can get you there
Meditation can get you there

We don’t need that much to launch into freedom. Freedom itself is energizing. Just look at all our start-up friends sandboxing, brainstorming, and pitching away to investors in co-working spaces; it seems that at all that is keeping them going is mugs and mugs of coffee. Of course, it is the dream, and the belief in the realisation of it, that drives us all. So many of you who practise or have practised yoga with me also have such amazing stories to share, giving up a corporate job to follow your passion, be it farming, or starting a trendy restaurant, or travel writing, or working with underserved communities, or finally going for that Yoga Teacher Training that you have been eyeing for a while. Sure, many learn after a while that they are not making money from their new endeavours, but they are generating a lot of authentic joy from pursuing that which gives them meaning every day.

Back bend on yoga block
Open up and let possibilities enter your life.

To a large extent, we are the ones holding ourselves back from our own happiness. You know that expansive feeling of joy that wells up when you practise a back bend? When you open up, you let space in; when you stop constraining your options with your preconceived notions of the good life, you let in new possibilities and a tangible connection with the abundance that surrounds you. When you align all your energy and efforts with the ultimate goal of life, you have the foundation for enduring happiness.

In concentration meditation, we practise gazing at a fixed point until everything else just melts away. The same thing happens when you set your gaze on your goal and retain that connection, unbroken, for a long time; everything else just melts away.

I hope you never give up that dream; if you have shelved it for a while, take it off the shelf, dust it and start meditating on it. Quite literally! Write it down and meditate on it every morning and evening. Start with 15 minutes and work it up from there. Notice how it changes the way you go about your week, how it resets what you prioritize in the day.

Be relentless, and when the result manifests itself, I want to hear your story!

May you be happy and free,


Kundalini Rising

Is kundalini for you?Tree Pose at Sunset

Yoga philosophy believes that Man’s essential nature is blissful, and that the ultimate goal of practice is to remove ignorance and attachment to our egos, shedding the belief that happiness can be obtained from external sources. To be happy, we simply have to reconnect with the divine, blissful essence which is within each of us.

What is kundalini? A kundalini class aims to push the practitioner beyond deep-held beliefs and pre-conceived boundaries, to tap more latent potential of the self. The sanskrit term, kundalini, refers to a coiled pit deep at the root chakra. Yoga practice can unleash this latent power. One could look at kundalini yoga as similar to life coaching, where the client is guided to go beyond perceived limitations to attain the limitless.

Kundalini practice can be physically and mentally demanding. High repetitions and long-held poses and breath control send the neurons firing away, the body vibrating with subtle energy, opening access to an expansive, transcendental experience. Deep meditation coupled with sound therapy is also another way to awaken the inner energy fields. Through regular practice, one can tame the fluctuations of the mind and enter into greater consciousness of the self, and perhaps catch a glimpse of that internal, imperishable bliss.

— Spice Sadhaka

Image courtesy: arztsamui/FreeDigitalPhotos

Healing from the Root

Yoga for Managing Psychosomatic Disorders


When people experience symptoms and display signs that cannot be easily linked to any specific disease, the underlying issue can often be psychological or social stress. Acute sadness can lead to loss of appetite and libido, or a socially isolated person can develop chronic pain in multiple parts of the body, develop irritable bowel syndrome and more. Sometimes these symptoms almost become a barrier to healing, as the mind builds on them more and more over time.

To heal the body, we can start from healing the mind. Yoga, through the practice of holding uncomfortable poses, and maintaining full alertness and breath awareness throughout difficult moments, can train the mind to handle anxiety and duress better. Meditative yoga also shows us that there is no need for a fight or flight response all the time, that we do not need to over-dramatize the little mole-hills of our lives. A regular practice of yoga and meditation encourages the production of anxiety-reducing neurotransmitters, and helps dissolve chronic signs and symptoms suffered by patients over time. Increasingly, yoga therapy is ordered as complementary treatment for patients with depression, panic disorders, cancer, diabetes and other conditions, to help the mind to cope better, and the body to heal faster. Yoga Health Foundation has more.

A 15-minute meditation practice is built into our extended YinYang class every Wednesday (7:30 – 8:45pm). Do take advantage of it!

At home, get your daily dose from these lovely guided meditation practice sets.

— Spice Sadhaka


We may not all aspire towards the divine, but yoga has enough lessons to share too with those who want to continue to live happily in this life and dimension. One of the things yoga has taught me is to move from conditional to unconditional love, and with that, moving from dependency to fearlessness and freedom. Often, relationships are imbalanced, and even become a form of emotional crutch, when we allow ourselves to be dependent on others, when we demand that we be acknowledged, and loved back, to be happy. If a love relationship moves off course slightly, we become uncertain, we fear, and we hold back on investing further into it. This creates a lot of unease, and even unhappiness and missed opportunities when a partner second guesses another.

I believe I have understood fearless and unconditional love through a headstand. Much like a new love, most of us attempt the headstand with care the first few times, unsure if we would actually like it. However, it is only when we persist, and when we go forth unwaveringly do we finally make a complete lift-off one day. What sweet success in the break-through moment! But only in continuing beyond the first euphoric wave of success, coming back to labour on the asana over and over again, can we draw the full comparisons with love and understand what unconditional love means. It is uni-directional, giving, and not expecting anything in return; it is steadfast, even when things get boring; it is constant, even when circumstances vary. This love can be for a person, or it can be for an object, or a career. In all of these, we need to love and believe in what we are doing, and keep at it, before we approach the first milestone appearance of success. After that milestone, we need to continue on, even if further recognition and assurance of success is not forthcoming. It is the only way to be happy in any moment, when we keep going on, driven only by fearless confidence. There is no final happy-ever-after. This very moment is the moment of our dreams.

Yoga guides and builds our capacity to be completely and perfectly happy and to be equanimous at any moment, drawing joy from the fact that we are true and one with our breath. And we have to be willing to be confident in our commitments, not letting fear and doubt get in the way. Freedom and happiness comes when we can love the people around us and what we do with an open heart, with a fearless dedication, and with no conditions attached. At the studio, we are not on the mats to prove a point, or to ask for recognition or for something back. We keep doing our yoga, and we feel good. When we truly love, without fear or need of external assurance, we feel good from deep inside too.


This post first appeared in Intheloop

Lessons from Popular Yoga Styles

Just do the wild thing

The constant, mindful practice of yoga helps keep one aware of the power and potential of each moment, and not to waste it. All the classes branded as “Power Yoga” in the gyms should really be about this transformative power, rather than just a strong aerobic training. At any moment, we can choose to be happy, or sad, or to continue in status quo, or completely change the course of things. Yet, so many people waste the present moment, concerned or fearful about the future, or having lingering haunting thoughts from the past, stopping them from blossoming into their full potential. If we live and breathe yoga, we would eventually internalise the transformative power of yoga, learning to effect change where we can, within the window of opportunity of each moment.

Similarly, classes branded as “Vinyasa Flow” should really impart more on flowing through life, from one moment to another. In yoga, nothing is stationary, including one’s flexibility and strength. One can be very flexible this year, and lose all that in a few months once the regular practice is dropped; one can also start off relatively weak, but grow stronger in body and mind, with devotion to practice. There is no beginning and no end; yoga is a way of being; it is a lens through which we can view life as well, as life’s trials never end and changes always come our way. Let’s all flow through life, mindfully.