The meditative process requires engagement and reflection, fine tuning insight which results in heightened discernment. This one essential key to aiding balance in life now occupies your thoughts. What is understanding? How to develop it? Understand what?
Our conditioning runs deep. Both from the prior influences on a life and the processed experiences throughout a life. Whether you term that genetic and epigenetic factors with social inputs on various scales or you prefer to see past life karma present in the current life with the addition of how you respond to the various inputs. What happens when you are presented with choices, questions of what to do now or next in life, dreams you’d like to convert to actualities? What do you do? How do you respond? What is the initial trigger?
Get Your Assana Back to Samahita
Message from Paul about our upcoming December 2021 reopening.
The mind left to its own devices is lazy, fickle and follows the path of least resistance. Buddhi, genuine and sincere effort, intelligent, and understanding, requires a degree of effort where there is no room for a lazy mind.
When you say you’ll do something then do it. When you express a sentiment then mean it. When you promise faithfulness and loyalty then be it.
There are many perspectives and opinions to answer such a question. But how many of them truly satisfy our deep yearn to understand? We can also ask it in a few different ways: what’s life about? why was I born? is this all it is? am I supposed to be doing something here?
a greater understanding of how people behave, the nature of this world as out of balance, its place as a tricky learning ground of a variety of experiences can strengthen, not replace, your empathy.
In many South and Southeast Asian countries, such as India and Thailand, a handshake is considered crude and instead the prayer hand pose acknowledgement to the other party, often associated with the Hindi greeting of Namaste and the Thai Sawasdeeka, is both an extremely polite and non-contact greeting.
Paul talks about the importance of having personal space, practice and making the most of challenging times for growth.
Yoga, Breath and COVID-19: lifestyle behavioral support mechanisms Approaches to manage the physical and psychological burden of stress from living through and after the current global pandemic
Yoga, Breath and COVID-19: lifestyle behavioral support mechanisms Approaches to manage the physical and psychological burden of stress from living through and after the current global pandemic
Yoga, Breath and Covid-19: lifestyle behavioral support mechanisms Approaches to manage the physical and psychological burden of stress from living through and after the current global pandemic
Life as we know it has been on what may feel like an endless pause. For many of us this has been cause to reflect on how, like it or not, we’ve landed in this exact point in time through every choice, habit, action and reaction we’ve taken so far in life. We may wonder what the greater meaning in all of this is. Does Mother Earth have a message for humanity? Have we been far too distracted from what really matters in life? Are we being given the chance to take a good look at ourselves?
Beyond the economics of the global crisis, what is the psychological and emotional burden of these events now, a year from now, and even a generation from now, and how can they be addressed from the point-of-view of the living individual?
Anatomical physical improvements to your respiratory, neuroendocrine, cardiovascular and digestive systems: Improve the capacity and functioning of your diaphragm, your primary muscle of breathing which in turn leads to easier and deeper breaths.
9 Benefits of Correct Breathing and Doing Breathing Exercises Part Two of Breathing Exercises and Physical Health – Challenges & Benefits
Breath is with us from the moment of birth, a fact of life that we allow to go on as we take it for granted. Yet at any moment of compromise, such as being out-of-breath, we immediately suffer. This suffering may result from a malfunction in the body because of low oxygen (hypoxia) or an upsurge of fear as we feel the connection to life is threatened. Breath is that important, that powerful. It influences every metabolic function, meaning your level of energy and subsequently how you feel.
Correctly learned and practiced breathing exercises not only will improve your immune system but increase the robustness of your respiratory system, essential elements against any type of respiratory tract virus or illness. In addition expect gains in your levels of physical activity and cognitive ability, meaning how you currently use, and can continue to use, both your body and brain.
In recent years it has become normal to see exercise as a great regulator of health and even an aid, if not improver, to cognition, how well your brain works. There are numerous studies that now quite conclusively show this. (1) This is great news. Only 100-150 years ago physical activity was considered to leave one dull-minded and it was actually a raised objection by the educated groups, at least in India, to not engage in activities like yoga asanas and other physical force.
Paul Answers questions on Yoga, Pranayama and Life Originally streamed live from Samahita on 17 April 2020
Interview with Paul Dallaghan: What to do if You're stressed out and on edge. recorded at Samahita Retreat during Covid 19 lockdown
Expert advice might be harder to find in an online jungle today. So, first qualification, I’m “at-home” (obvious one ;). Second, a rare combo of advanced practitioner-teacher with stress scientist-researcher on the practices of yoga, breathwork, meditation (quick tip – those three are all actually yoga but I am a victim of modern reduced vernacular of yogic terms) training. The simple and humble hope is to be able to offer some help as April might be our most intense month yet.
Stuck at home without much to do? Or too much to do but it’s all stressful? Or bored? Or just not interested that much in what has to be done or what could be done? Thinking more about “what if’s”?
Have you noticed ……. people are suddenly taking their time? How interconnected we are. And how interdependent. It cannot be avoided …… It may come as no surprise for me to say that the current situation is giving us all the opportunity to just slow down, take time, find space. Is that happening for you? Or do you undermine this opportunity by worrying about different outcomes, outcomes that no one could figure out now and are beyond any individual’s to even government’s control?
How do you ground yourself as nervousness and uncertainty rises around you, both tangibly and digitally, in response the global spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19)? Survival mode, in nature, means taking extra measures to move slowly and carefully against your natural tendency of “fight or flight”, to instead head the warnings from this systematic response and flip into a calmer parasympathetic mode. It’s often more advantageous to conserve your energy
Many people wish for a long and healthy life and for those who make an effort to achieve it would probably begin with getting more exercise and eating a healthier diet. That will definitely make a difference but the question remains, what works and why?
What does it take to motivate and inspire ourselves to exercise regularly? The desire to be fit and strong, to lose weight, to be fitter and healthier? Is it the buzz of a long intense workout or simply to have a happier and fulfilling life?
It’s that time of year again and we often feel pressured into making some new goals, new habits, new years resolutions. We can feel motivated and inspired, but how long does it last and why? I gave up making NYR years ago, because I never stuck to them. I had good intentions but as I got to know myself better and what drives me. Read more
Most people really suffer from jet lag after travelling long distances. The good news is that suffering IS avoidable -- you just have to be willing to change some flying habits i.e. not do what most people are doing on long flights. It’s worth it!
Samahita Retreat embodies the quality of a home more so than a commercial resort, emphasizing not just a personal healthy approach but one that cares for the planet with their sustainable practices and commitments:
Fear shows up for me a lot, as I believe it does for many of us. It can show up in yoga practice (scared of being upside down, anyone?!), when you have to make big decisions, take action, speak up for yourself, or ask for help. The difference for me now is that I’ve simply got better at acting despite fear. Because at some point I recognized that fear was the biggest blocker between where I was and who I wanted to be, living the life I wanted.
Men are overcoming their reluctance to step into the "feminine" world of a yoga class. In the US 28% of yoga practitioners are guys and this is increasing year on year. Many gyms and studios are introducing special classes and some guys are realising how a body-mind practice opens them up to a new experience of life. We have asked three guys to discuss taking the plunge into yoga and enjoying the all-embracing environment of Samahita.
We can eat all the healthy, nourishing food but if we are in a job that we don’t like, no amount of organic kale will bring wholeness to our wellbeing. If we are in a job we love, and then go home to a toxic relationship, our wellbeing is compromised and affects all areas of our life. I invite you to take a look at these 5 pillars and see what may need some attention, change or perhaps reinventing.
The entire earth and the depths of the oceans are full of plastic. It enters the food chain. Shrimp found in the deepest ocean trenches have been found to contain microplastics. This is both a local and global problem. Small decisions we make such as refusing a plastic bag or bottle has the potential to reduce waste by millions of items
Go device-free during your stay at Samahita Retreat – the perfect opportunity for a “digital detox”.
I recently shared with friends the spiritual and life practices that enhance my and their lives. This conversation sparked from the term, Biohacking, a techie term used to describe the practices of Biohackers, such as Dave Asprey
A healthy brain is a sharp mental function and graceful aging with an ever-clear mind. You do so much to take care of your body, which does help your brain, but now target the brain itself. We have developed a program that focuses directly on the energy performance, electrical waves and feedback of your brain to help target it. A better brain means a nicer, happier and healthier life. Join us on your next visit and book in our Brain Health Upgrade program.
Mitochondria (Cellular Energy Batteries) Enhancement with Red Light and Near-Infrared (NIR) Light Therapy
Light therapy is as old as the sun. Unfortunately today we limit our time in the sun so we are not overexposed to ultraviolet rays and their damaging effects. As a therapy away from the sun modern technology has learned to harness visible red light and invisible near-infrared light to penetrate the skin’s surface and enact healing to both organs and skin, including the brain.
Looking for inspiration and motivation? Sarah will give you 5 positive steps to follow before embarking on a new project or looking for that spark to get yourself going
According to Ayurveda, sattva is the quality of nature that contains balance, peace, harmony, purity and clarity. It is one of the three subtle qualities or ‘gunas’ that exist in all of nature. Anthea's blog gives 5 tips on how to cultivate a satvic state for a healthier, happier and balanced life.
Dave was there, always present: dinners shared, music, stories, laughter, precious full moon fires on the beach…slowly rebuilding my trust in the goodness of the human heart. It's interesting to look back and reflect on the defining part that some people subtly and naturally play in our lives.
Sri O. P. Tiwari explains how it is not a matter of saying one food is bad and another good but how we differentiate between food that supports practice and food that does not support it as described in the Hatha Pradipika.
Nowadays it is increasingly common to hear about people being vegan or vegetarian. What is the fuss about? It can be a way of life, especially in the yogic tradition, but its popularity is increasing, especially in Europe and the USA. Is it a passing trend or does it really have an impact on your health?
You’re committed, ambitious and competitive. Dedicated to your practice, getting up every morning without fail or taking those 3 classes in a row at the studio. All is well and your friends comment on how much improvement you’ve made until one day you’ve hurt your knee, wrist, lower back and shoulder! Maybe its time to calm things down and reflect on the true motive behind your effort.
The research on sleep and understanding coming from it is increasing every year. Poor quality sleep first and foremost, and then duration of sleep, are considered main culprits behind several disease states. This blog does not plan to write a synopsis of all this wonderful information. Rather, it is a help to address a question recently asked in class, and common everywhere, “I can’t fall asleep … is there a way to breathe and sleep and calm down?”
Sri O. P. Tiwari explains the difference between attachment and dependency and the differences between friendship and compassion.
It’s one thing to be alone in the woods, to travel by oneself according to your needs and desires, somewhat easier in many regards, and quite another to learn how to take of others through an expedition.
Watch all that Samahita has to offer. This incredible video by the very talented Gray Bashew imbues the full meaning and feeling of the Samahita experience. We invite you to take another look to remind yourselves, and share with others, just what it is that keeps us all coming back.
Suffering from Tech Neck? Spending too long sitting at work or with your phone? Get a friend to help now with these easy to follow techniques. The spine, shoulders, neck and sub-occipital muscles will all get the attention they deserve. Techniques include pinching, thumb pressing, forearm rolling, stretching and more.
Neck pain is extremely common especially in today's world of phones and screens. Well, help is at hand. We caught up with Ara and Gill by the pool to learn some great techniques to help relive neck tension. Watch now and try with a friend. The spine, shoulders, neck and sub-occipital muscles will all get the attention they deserve. Techniques include effleurage, pinching, thumb pressing, forearm rolling, stretching and more.
Whether opening up the cycle room in the quiet light of the early morning sunrise, teaching breath and movement in our open-air beach shala, with the sound of the waves in the background, or taking a moment in between teaching a core or cycle class to watch large, jungle green leaves move around in a cool breeze, the same two words surface - nature and space.
Our 15th Anniversary was celebrated with a fantastic party including live performance from Jack Harrison, Nabs and Gill. An awesome show from our delightful Thai staff not to mention a live fire show on the beach.
"Congratulations Samahita - 15 years of excellence is a superb record. Paul Dallaghan's cutting edge teaching is delivered with compassion and humor, ably supported by a team of fine teachers who enable the student to overcome hurdles with skill and gentle care. No doubt Sri Tiwari will also be a great experience. Here like minded students from around the globe share experiences around the dinner table and create a bonding atmosphere so each retreat is memorable. Importantly whether 30 yrs. or 80 yrs. of age or somewhere in between the student leaves inspired to continue along their yoga path. There is no greater compliment."
Back in 2006 when I was 26 years old traveling in India and thinking about where life would take me next I had a conversation with a yoga teacher (of whom there were plenty). He recommended traveling to Thailand to take Paul Dallaghan’s one month Training course. Paul who? At that point I had no plans to become a yoga teacher but the thought of spending a couple of months in Thailand learning even more about yoga was appealing. So I applied for the course whilst still in India and received an acceptance email shortly thereafter.
Life is constantly changing. This was something as a child I found really difficult to accept or understand. Fortunately years of teaching in primary schools taught me the value of this constant change, spending a year or two guiding, inspiring and instructing young children and then setting them free and watching them fly. I am constantly blown away by stories of where life has led them and feel so privileged to have been a part of their journey.
The reality is we are in a continuously oppressive, destructive environment. That doesn’t mean to set a negative tone or context; it just means there are numerous forces we have to deal with: environmentally, and through physics and so on. To put yourself in the savasana position requires a complete release of bodily tension, which is not what we allow to happen very much in other moments of our lives whether sitting or standing for example.
When we talk about managing injury, in one sense, just for daily wellbeing, we want to manage this on a body-health-stress level. But the other sense is that the state of mind or personal spiritual progress – in other words your attitude and how you understand things and look at them – is a key component in all of this. It’s not enough to just do it; we need to do it, understand it, and absorb into it.
Death, disease, old age, friends leaving, jobs lost. People change, situations change. ALL the time. Everything is temporary. Everything, including life itself. Which can be really hard to accept. Some struggle to handle even the smallest changes in life. Why is that? Because the mind is a bit tricky and has a way of controlling us, if we let it. If allowed, the mind will happily spin out on thoughts of fear and worry about life and all that could happen. Poor me, life is so hard, what if, why me etc. etc.
Having kids doesn’t necessarily mean losing your yoga practice especially if you’re prepared to make a few adjustments to your routine (you’ll have no choice anyway). Each stage of your Childs development has its own challenges and opportunities for example newborn babies wake up at night but they also nap during the day so that gives you extra time to relax and connect with yourself. Whatever the situation it’s important to find balance of your commitments and your own personal needs. Here are 5 tips to help you cope.
Diets that promote inflammation tend to be high in refined starches, sugar, dairy, saturated and trans-fats. Choosing foods which are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, fiber from vegetables, and many natural antioxidants and polyphenols actively lower inflammation in the body
Paul was interviewed for Yoga Journal China about injuries and yoga practice. As he explains, it is not as straight forward as addressing a body-tissue injury. That is merely one factor. You need to look at injuries brought from outside class and unfortunate injuries occurring in a pose, but also how you approach practice, where your focus is, how the breath fits in with injury prevention, the vital place of the lower abdomen in managing the body and thus any possibility of avoiding injury, and intelligent ways to modify that help you heal and grow instead of worsening the issue or staying stuck. This interview transcript is from the spoken word, so slightly different than when written, and is brought to you in three parts.
Though Samahita may be physically closed (for now) we are virtually with you. We are still committed to deliver good information and turn into action in your life. Part of that is to share the profound benefit of great practices I have experienced and been taught over the years. As you can see from the image below, we believe in and encourage you to tap into key ways that increase your energy level, quite literally. Hence the cold shower challenge.
I believe a lot of the time our cravings are from a lack of balance in our lifestyle. Given how busy everyone is these days, trying to fit everything in, we often lose sight of the important things and plough into mundane, energy draining tasks, and forget about our relationships, our health (exercise), our careers (staying in a job we dread going to every day) and no connection to our spirituality.
A couple of things should happen when you practice asana. You should enjoy it, as it can both challenge and reward you, and it should support you, and not wear you down. Depending where you are at in practice, it can help cultivate an overall integrated experience on the level of breath and mind.
If you have ever asked why do yoga and fitness? Isn’t my yoga my fitness anyway? What kind of workout goes well with yoga? How to do yoga to fit a workout? Or still don’t know why a longterm yoga practitioner would also embrace other workouts, then please read all, or part, of the following to get an understanding as to the genesis of YogaCoreCycle and how the bigger picture of yoga requires such activity, within moderation.
Yoga, though also physically challenging at times, has a focus to balance nervous activity, teach integrity of posture, to encourage this through stamina development and holding of positions. Some positions are just too complex for the average person or too intricate to be added to a fitness routine, which current yoga approaches try to do.
Consider yoga as just a word, or term, for the process of being internally connected, a light to look at oneself, separate to outside study. One might ask, “what supports such a process?” Hence the many approaches within yoga and spiritual paths in general. My point is that yoga is a term for that, “internal focus and connection”, just as gravity is a term for a certain exerted external force.
Personally I think life is beautiful and great. An underlying understanding from many philosophies is that life is full of suffering. Which it is, especially if you really look at all we go through. However, how do you approach this? I realize the temporariness of life. I am personally going through the difficulties and challenges of life. Yet somehow, everyday, I feel great and very upbeat, from deep within.
What I would like to say though may seem contrary to the usual advice but please take it on, as I have to myself: if you’re feeling challenged, down or overwhelmed, though the practice is of benefit, and do take time to clear the mind, but even more immediate is to get the things done in your life that need to be done. It is said our suffering (“dukkha”) comes from not taking care of things in our life that need to be done. If you are thinking, ‘I am out of balance and off-center’, then do what has to be done.
This is the beauty of the yoga method and why it is still available today to those interested in looking within. On the surface it goes through popular shifts but at its core it answers the perennial question still haunting mankind: to know thyself. So let practice evolve and change but aim to understand the teachings. Don’t be attached to the techniques nor the teacher, but connect with the teachings.
There is a big difference between something that is clean and something that is pure. If you were to hold out both hands and have a flower placed in each hand, one being plastic and totally clean, the other being real but with some dirt still on it, could you tell the difference? You can tell just by feeling. Automatically you know which is artificial and which is natural. You know instinctively because it is your essential nature.
Since the dawn of time the refined mind has understood that one’s behaviour, actions, speak loudest about the character of an individual. We are taught growing up that “talk is cheap” and “actions speak louder than words”. It is the actualization of this through our systems where satya lies for us.
Pratyahara is taught and discussed in many texts on yoga and related philosophies. A thorough presentation of the topic would require much reference, a lot more than is necessary for this article. So without getting too academic and caught up in all the texts let me attempt to offer a simple and workable understanding of it.
“I will not hurt you.” Is this a promise you are willing to keep or at least try? Could you extend it beyond your family and friends to all members of society? To all animals and insects? Not just in action but through what you say? To totally taking care of your actions so that even a seemingly non-hurtful one is done mindfully so there is no indirect hurt? To watching all thoughts that bring up negative and hurtful images and feelings within?
One of the more discussed and misunderstood topics in yoga, the common belief is that it is celibacy, a complete abstinence from sexual activity. But this is only part of the picture. “Brahma” is the Ultimate Reality, the Creator. “Char” is to move. Literally then the move to the ultimate reality or more practically put, ways or methodology to be used for self realization.
The essence of it is a lack of, or at least a reduction in, selfish behavior. The mental attitude is not one of “what am I going to get, what can I get or I really want that”, but rather no interest to acquire and keep. There is a stronger urge to give and share, use things as needed and be willing to let them go when done.