Monday, February 25, 2013

Photo reportage on World Yoga Day in Athens 2013

Fight Hunger! image taken from here

World Yoga Day 2013 become a day that marked the hearts of Athenian citizens & yoga practitioners.
A day beyond of yoga traditions, beyond of different concepts of minds, beyond of discrimination of any kind. Just be all together, and making happen this project, an inspiring soul behind Tina Zymarakis who motivate so many people to offer and made to  organize in so little time the fundraising event FIAN   on the World Yoga Day.

5 Teachers :

Surana Mojca Morya,
 Tina Zymarakis, 
Bouchelos Ioannis
Yota Tsotra

Where ? 
@ Art Factory Peiraos 178 str & Lamias 4 

1 hour 15 people use their hands, literally their feet 
and their imagination to bring this place into a clean and purified one, and ready to host the people who were waiting outside!

 the floor is shining !!! :)

well one more detail , our small altar ready to give us the opening bless made by Tina.

ok 3, 2, 1 doors open ! first mats on the floor, become more and more and finally all in one breath connected!!!

The welcome/info desk

 Sophia while waiting to take the confirmation and take off her yoga mat from the waiting list :) 

The event took its own way...
Gong bath @ savasana 

Detail from the flowers that were spread everywhere in the art factory

 Lokah Samastha Sukhino Bhavantu

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Honoring the cycles of the moon part 1.

August Full moon at Acropolis
Full moon tomorrow and yogis and yoginis with regular practice should take the opportunity to take a rest on that day, to eat well and healthy, to breath with awareness and observe what is taking place within body, the mind & the heart. 
During a full Moon, the Sun is in opposition to the Moon and planet Earth is found in between them. As we are more of 70% of water is it very logical to be affected by this energy. 
The prana vayu that is dominant, governs the area of chest and head. That is why the feeling has an upward movement that make us more energetic but at the same time more sentimental and not so well "earthy" rooted - grounding - and thus we have over stimulated tendency  to be pertinacious and more stubborn. I guess this is more highly possibly to give us an injury - the mind tendency - rather by the fact that the fluids and the blood within our body are affected by the moon.
On the other hand the day of full moon is a great time for meditation and always a good way to open the door of perception towards the Truth and the Wisdom that lies in everybody's heart.
So just give yourself a nice nourish and even tomorrow is a week start, you can started with an inner softness! 
Tonight enjoy yourself with friends or a movie. If you haven't seen it already you can make yourself comfortable and watch "Sita Sings the Blues". Is a movie based on the Hindu epic "The Ramayana" by Nina Paley. Very clever way of narration of the story and love the "blues" parts. Enjoy ! ! !

Saturday, February 23, 2013

The Surya God turned his face to Athens

Monastiraki-Thision  in the back you can see the Acropolis

After a" monsoon " Friday, today the Sun was up again and radiant to the Athenian faces..I couldn't resist of a walk downtown Athens, walking under the rock of Acropolis and seeing all these people that despite of the anxiety of a non secure future they are still smiling back to the sun. Me also among them.
The Sun always has been a great symbol throughout cultures and myths.
The Greek alphabet as it is recite is a cosmogony pray to the Sun! I didn't know it and i only discover this 2 years ago.  

* is the sixth missing letter of the Greek alphabet , that we dont use it anymore.

the decode of the alphabet is giving this :












a very quick free translation from ancient Greek  to English the above is

Al, the light come to Earth!
and you
El, shed your lights to the material that is burning.
May become an alloy ,
so all Self can live, be and stand to this throbbing Earth.
Don't let the night to conquer, that is the micron and endangering  this alloy to be lost into the turmoil of material, 
let the Soul to be developed that is the great and the most gracious of all! 
This is a pray in ancient Greek that creates in the same way like Sanskrit Vedic Mantras a tremendous  vibrant effect. It is like a mystic ringing of a bell right to the heart of our Souls...

Surya Namaskars from Apollon the God of light
Diagram from Astanga Yoga Greece school 
copyright yoga practice - London
 A wonderful video with a poem about the Sun, by a Greek poet GEORGE LATHYRIS - ASTRAPOSIGMA: A PRAYER with Thracian music by 100 guitars- Evangelos Boudounis.

The Vedic mantra known as Aditya Hridayam is a very powerful mantra associated with Aditya or Surya the Sun God.

The Aditya Hridayam begins with the war between Lord Rama and King Ravana. The Rishi Agastya teaches Lord Rama, who seems perplexed as well as worried at the time, how to recite this mysterious ancient Vedic mantra and describes the procedure of invoking the Cosmic strength of Suryanarayan Deva the illustrious Sun God in order to vanquish any forms of negative forces that may surround him in order to achieve victory over the enemies on the battlefield. Lord Rama was advised to chant this sacred mantra thrice and through the power and energy of this mantra, he was able to vanquish Ravana on the battlefield.

 1.Tato yuddha pari srantam samare cintayasthitam
Ravanam Cagrato drustva yuddhaya Samupasthitam

2.Daiva taisca Samagamya drastu mabhyaga toranam
Upagamyabra Veedrama magastyo Bhagavan Rshih

3.Rama Rama Mahabaho Srunu guhyam Sanatanam
Yeno Sarva nareenvatsai Samare Vijayisyasi

4.Aditya hrudam punyam Sarva Satru Vinasanam
Jaya vaham japetnityam Akshayam paramam Sivam

5.Sarva mangala mangalyam sarva papa pranasanam
Cintasoka prasamanam Ayurvardhana muttamam

6.Rasmi mantam Samudyantam Devasura namaskrutam
Pujayasva vivasvantam Bhaskaram Bhuvanesvaram

7.Sarva devatmako hyesa Tejasvi, rasmi bhavanah
Esa devasura ganan lokan pati gabhasthibhih

8.Esa Brahmaca Visnusca sivah skandah prajapatih
Mahendro dhanadah Kaloyamah somo pampatih

9.Pitaro vasavah sadhyahya svino maruto manuh
Vayurvahnih praja pranah rutukarta prabhakarah

10.Adityah savita Suryah khagah pusa gabhastiman
Suvarna Sadruso bhanuh hiranya reta divakarah

11. Haridasvah saha sracih saptasapti mareeciman
Timironmadhana Sambhusvasta martanda Amsuman

12.Hiranya garbhah sisirastapano bhaskaro Ravih
Agni garbho diteh putrah Sankha sisira na sanah

13.Vyomanatha stamo bhedi Rigyajuhsama paragah
Ghana vrusti rapam mitro Vindhya Vidhiplavangamah

14.Atapi mandali mrutyuh pingalah sarva tapanah
Kavirvisvo mahateja raktah sarva bhavodbhavah

15.Nakshatra grahatarana madhipo Visvabhavanah
Tejasamapi Tejasvi dvadasatman Namo stute

16.Namah poorvaya giraye pascimayaye namah
Jyotir gananam pataye dinadhipataye Namah

17.Jayaya Jaya bhadraya haryasvaya Namo Namah
Namo namah sahasramso Adityaya Namo Namah

18.Nama ugraya Viraya Sarangaya Namo Namah
Namah padma prabodhaya martandaya Namo Namah

19.Brahme sanacyute saya Suryayaditya Varcase
Bhasvate sarva bhakshaya roudraya Vapusenamah

20.Tamoghnaya himaghnaya satru ghnaya mitatmine
Krutaghna ghnaya devaya Jyotisam pataye Namah

21.Tapta Cami Kara bhaya vanaye Visva Karmane
Namastamo bhinighnaya rucaye Loka sakshine

22.Nasayatyesa Vai bhutam tadeva Srujati prabhuh
Payastyesa tapatyesa varsatyesa gabha stibhih

23.Esa Suptesu jagarti bhutesu parinistitah
Esa Evagni hotramca phalam caivagni hotrinam

24.Vedasca Kratavascaiva Kratunam phalamevaca
Yanikrutyani lokesu sarva Esa Ravih prabhuh

25.Ena mapatsu kruesehresu kantaresu bhayesu ca
Keertiyan purusah kascinna vaseedati Raghava

26.Pujayasaina mekagro deva devam jagatpatim
Etat gunitam Japatva yuddhesu vijayisyati

27.Asmin kshane maha baho Ravanam Tvam Vadhisyasi
Eva muktva tadagastyo Jagamaca yathagatam

28.Eta chrutva mahateja nastaso Ko bhavattada
Dharaya masa supreeto Raghavah prayatatmavan

29.Adityam prekshaya japtvatu param harsa mavapta van
Triracamya Sucirbhutva dhanuradaya Veeryavan

30.Ravanam prekshya hrustatma yuddhaya samupagamat
Sarva yatnena mahata Vadhetasya dhruto bhavet

31.Atha Ravi rava dannireekshya Ramam
Mudita manah paramam prahrusya manah
Nisicara pati Samkshayam Viditva
Suragana madhya gato vacastvareti

By the repetition of this holy Mantra daily, one attains imperishableness, the highest good, all blissfulness, the end of all sins, troubles and sorrows, and a long life. 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Lost in Greek translation and other thoughts

This image was taken from here
Some days ago i was asked from Androniki Nisira-Louka - a friend and a healer - to write a note as a guest post in her page. 
The post was about how Yoga helps the mind and the body and how it is connected this practice with the energy itself. I don't know if there was an outcome eventually of what i post, but i do know how long it took me to write such a small note in my native language, which is the Greek. 
I was thinking - and maybe viewers of non-English countries can contribute their experience in this post - why is it so difficult to express in my own language thoughts about spirituality, mindfulness, yoga , and do not mention how even harder is to translate a Yoga Sutra in Greek.! 
My personal library about Yoga is mainly in English titles. Because whenever i tried to read something in Greek automatically a gap between me and what i' m reading is created and it is logical as yoga titles translated into Greek, by people who mainly have no personal experiences to the subject. 
Greek Yoga Community is very small, yet the need of " Yoke " is so big. And you can see it specially now, at the time of Greek financial crisis, people start turn inwardly because it is mainly what is left, and thus lost of actions are taking place were yoga is more and more accessible, more free and more giving.
And it is because of a bunch of people out there who really saw that the art of serving others how liberate can be..they have vision and do things that matters small or big and transcend the essence of living your life ! These people either Teachers  or simple practitioners are the one who asked - for themselves primary - to deepen their own practice, not only in physical study but also in psychological and mysticism way and work in an horizontal line the 8 limbs of yoga  instead of a vertical obsession towards the branches of the Tree of Yoga. Because working like this they know it can give you a tool to use toward duhkha [ unsatisfaction ], where the mind knows so well to function, in the "areas" of anxiety and trouble.
I deeply thank all these people out there for their inspiring work to make things happen and bring yoga in social action where it should be. Hopefully i can also contribute a bit to their vision by letting my heart open and become the action itself. 

Join the Yoga World Day   
at 24 February 2013

Do your practice and Fight hunger with human rights!

For Athens all info for participate in the fundraising 2h yoga practice 
you can find it here 

Dedicate this post to such a sweet and inspiring soul 
Tina Zymarakis      

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

I bow to the lotus feet of the Guru - but who is that?

Patanjali's form has not verified historically. This imagine has been taken from here.

When i first introduced to the invocation chanting that opens an Ashtanga Yoga class i almost got my tongue binding with itself!
Of course no mention that my only focus was more to un-bind my tongue rather to learn of what is all about this invocation.
But, and this is the interesting point, the Vedic mantras  have such an incredible power in its vibrations that are created once someone utters them, that even a total beginner can feel the healing, the protection, the energy and the recharging power that emerge by the chanting.
Today i was inspired from a very early phone call that i made (lately i don't talk to much in general). I talked with a beautiful soul, a very sharpen and intelligent mind  who is really showing his own way, the middle way towards his hard path he is walking (even if he is experiencing it us the ultimate gift) with a tumor in his head. 
He reminds me the meaning of a Guru. And once the Invocation is about the Universal Guru , will start from that and saying that for now my Guru is this man, Aristotle for whom i bow to his lotus feet...

Om Vande gurunaam chaaranara vinde / 
Sandar shita swaatma sukhava bhode / 
Nishrey yase jaangalika yamane /
Samsara haala hala moha shantye // 

Abahu purusha karam / 
Shankha chakraasi dharinam / 
Sahasra shirasam shvetam / 
Pranamaami patanjalim / 

“I worship the Guru’s lotus feet, awakening the happiness of the Self revealed. Beyond comparison, acting like the jungle physician to pacify delusion from the poison of existence.

To Patanjali, an incarnation of Adisesa, white in color with 1000 radiant heads, human in form below the shoulders holding a sword, a wheel of fire and a conch  – to him, I prostrate.” 


Guru consist of " gu " the meaning is darkness and  " ru " meaning is its removal. 

Guru stands for the Teacher who is taking from us the darkness of ignorance (Avidya)

In a life time i think many presences of life can be Guru of ourselves, and it is also liberating this thought in its core.

first part 

We worship these "lotus" feet -  the feet of a Guru is not simple feet is lotus one - meaning there are miraculous..


because these feet belongs to the One who is teaching us the right knowledge, he awakens the ultimate happiness in us by pointing the way to our true and pure Self.  

He is a the jungle  physician meaning he is a healer of nature. Again with one word,   remind us not to forget to honor the nature that is the Great Healer.

and like   the jungle  physician that eliminates all  poisons from  toxic herbs , He eliminates the delusions of the toxic herb of Samsara  .

So the first part of the invocation is for all the teachers and the gurus that have been existed as also for those are still exists and for the Guru of the gurus.
Is an apply in a more universal level and the meaning is so strong that you immediately place this Universal Guru right in the center of your Heart.

second part

I bow to the sage Patanjali, his divine form has one thousand radiant white heads of the serpent. Symbolize the Kundalini energy as also the  sage Patanjali considered to be an incarnation of the divine Serpent, Ananta.
His human form , from shoulders and down is holding
a discus of light - symbolize what else ? the infinitive Sun
a conch cell - symbolize the eternal pure inner sound that we can find when go closer to our core , to the Self
a sword - symbolize the discrimination of what is real and what is illusion.

In the second part we visualize the energetic form of Patanjali and we prostrate to his divine and human form who brought  us to the Practice of Yoga.


Next time when you stand on top of your yoga mat, give a momentum of what is really taking place before a practice starts. Through this invocation there is a kind of consolidation  between the student and the teacher's relationship. This relationship is blessed by the divine vibrant sounds of the words of this mantra..
Well who am i to say all these? I'm just a 32 years old woman from Greece, who knows nothing about all this ancient wisdom of the Science of Yoga. I Just keep searching and hoping one day to throw away all the books that i have and experience Yoga in its very core.
 Please be free to commend or to add any information on this post. 




The invocation chant from Manju Jois recorded at the Ashtanga Yoga Shala in Rethymno.
in 2010 Teacher Training.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Trapped in the waiting list & the 5 Kleshas.

The Pancha Kleshas  all revealed in one morning.

OK there is not such a thing as the suffering of one's being in a waiting list. Have you ever really wonder about the nature of a waiting list?
Normally when we are on a waiting list, is for something that we desire to have or to be , but for various reasons is not available at the time. Next stage comes an acceptance of this fact and right after comes the feeling of suffering. How does this happening ? 
So you need to be patient, but the fact that your minds says to you to be patient it turns the coin from the other side and give rise to your impatient and anxiety..and you suffer because the present moment it disappears.
No Santosha [ Contentment ] as the life comes. 
The last 5 months i'm exactly in that position, as i am waiting for a new chapter in my life to begin, but how ignorant am i that i let myself trapped in this waiting list...
it comes one morning that the inner light is a little bit stronger and helps you to have a glimpse of what is really taking place. Right here, right now.

And like this i saw clear the 5 causes of my suffering 

Avidya [ ignorance ] 

All these days of waiting i  forget my inner quest " who am i ? " - By applying this quest every moment, reminds me that im trying to investigate the Self, and the Self can only be beyond of  what i'm  identified with.  

Asmita [ egoism ]

Because of my ignorance i pushed away all of my beloved ones, as i though that my kind of suffering is the greatest and no one can understand. And how selfish is that? - To drop the expectations of my ' Uncertain I ' maybe will let me unhooked of my Ego.

Raga [ attachment ]

Because of this selfishness, i attached more to what was making me feel stronger. Meaning my practices, but in that way that i cling too much on them and lost the feeling of spaciousness within the limits, the limits become my barriers and eventually my cause of last weeks injury. - To Let go of my self-center response to reality, right here, right now.

Dvesa [ aversion ]

Because of my attachment, i get disappointed of myself because did not coming to the way i wanted  and  eventually trapped in a meaningless fighting with myself. -  To cultivate new patterns in my mind and body and get rid of the old ones, maybe is a way out there. 

Abhinivesah [ the fear of death ]

Because of all the 4 previous facts, i cannot set me free. I fear more of coming to the state of Yoga. And that is a small death i let happen to me day by day.
-  To embrace the realm of uncertainty and allow myself to be all right of what i don't know how is gonna the freedom (?) 

[ Ignorance, egoism, attachement, aversion, and fear of death are the five obstacles in life ]
Patanjali's yoga sutras

Dedicate this post to Cibin, from Kerala


Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Letting go, it will be ok

Today i was looking some photos from the time that i was first  introduced  to this yogic path..
Doing a small evaluation from that time till nowdays i was thinking what is the biggest change that i have noticed in my life, and the answer was very simple and very clear : the "art of letting go".
I remember the time that i was thinking that having a degree of a university, or a right job, a right partner in my life it will really help me to live fully my life, but at the end of the day i felt tired and trapped in those ideas and instead of feeling more free i was feeling more and more conditioned by my own ideas about life! 
When you start practicing a traditional system in Yoga, you start getting immediately benefits from it. If you give more time then more deeper changes taking place and that is the grounding in a ethical life which allows you to open the door of "Letting go". That is why the ethical self disciplines Yamas & Niyamas are the first 2 rungs in the eigh-fold path that Patanjali left us in the Yoga Sutras.  To know better yourself in an individual, collectively & universal level, allows you to let go of what is not nourishes you anymore, allows you to say stop in a way of life that your don't really like, allows you to be content with what you already have and live far more simply than you did in the past. And that is the  "art of letting go" a practice that comes naturally and become one with your daily life. 

The 10 vows or ethical codes of Patanjali's: 

  1. Ahiṃsā : non-violence
  2. Satya : truthfulness 
  3. Asteya : non-stealing
  4. Bramacharya : the wise use of the sexual energy
  5. Aparigraha : non-possessiveness
  6. Saucha : purity
  7. Santosha : Contentment, satisfaction.
  8. Tapas  : discipline practice, the "heat of change"
  9. Svādhyāya  : self-study
  10. Isvara Pranidhana :Letting go into your spiritual source

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Svadhyaya, the study of the Scriptures

Svadhyaya is the 4th practice of the second limb in the eightfold path of Patanjali's. 
The second limb called Niyama and contains 5 internal practices (observances) or i can rephrase it as 5 vows of the self discipline of a yogi. The practice of them cherishes the individual and make the yogi or the yogini strong towards the way of  the Self study and realization. These are :

  1. Saucha : purification, cleanliness
  2. Santosha : contentment, peacefulness
  3. Tapas : austerity, practical spiritual discipline
  4. Svadhyaya : self - study 
  5. Ishvara Pranidhana : devotion , surrender to the higher power

The name of my blog is inspired from Niyamas 4th practice. Svadhyaya involves the study of sacred and spiritual texts and teachings , and the recitation of sacred words or mantras.
During the last years that i dedicate my self to the yogi way of living i felt very strong that along with my practices of asana and pranayama i need it another practice that can give me a tool of a self-guided inquire.
With Manju P. Jois , who is one of my 2 main teachers in my path, i was introduced to Vedic chanting. The daily recitation of the Shanti mantras of Krishna Yajur vedas started having a strong effect in my brain and day after day i started feeling the purification and the clarity in mind that was taking place.
With a strong and a vibrant mind, you have one more tool for the self enquire and for a better understanding of the ancient wisdom that lies inside the sacred texts.
The last months before i leave Greece for India and Nepal i was studying the texts of Indian Philosophy and Yoga and now after my travel is expand this study in Buddhism philosophy as well and so this blog i want to link any kind of understanding from the texts in relation to matters of the modern life that we are all part of.


Bhandarkar Library in Pune
Is one of the places i want to go to explore during my time  to India, next months 

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Practice and all is coming

Since i started practicing the system of Traditional Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga, a quotation start pumping out  like the mushrooms in the lawns between the pages i linked, the articles i red and videos i watched.
A quotation very famous, especially in Ashtanga yoga community is not other than 
" Practice and all is coming "
Back then i couldn't understand the depth of the meaning but slowly slowly i become to understand. Shri. K. Pattabhi Jois was a scholar of Indian philosophy & yoga ancient scriptures as  well of the Sanskrit literature. I believe this background helped him to come with this simple sentence contained by 5 words.
As far as i can understand, " Practice and all is coming " has a non definition of  a time period (is a whole life process) and then (suddenly) the understanding is finally there (maybe never left us at all , it was all there from the very beginning) 
Like if you are digging in a well, is an action and a process that you apply and don't stop until you dig enough where the water is. In this process, the action is the digging ( this is the practice ), as far down you go the well becomes more and more dark (these are the doubt moments and fears that you face ) , you continue to dig even you never know what is really your progress ( that is when you have gain control of the modification of the mind ) 
and suddenly in one hit, the water start to spurt, and you can feel all over you. You are There , and just one hit before you where Nowhere! Oh what a joy...

The last nights before i sleep i read one or two of Patanajali's Sutras. 
The Yoga Sutras are divided into 4 chapters of divine spiritual wisdom. 
In the first chapter, that is called Samadhi Pada , there on the 13 and 14 Sutra lies  a link to the famous quotation. So here they are with a small commentary  :

" tatra sthitau yatno'bhyāsaḥ "

There, Abhyasa (practice) is the effort to remain steady and calm in mind (in the state of nirodha)

Shri. K Pattabhi Jois  in his famous sentence is giving the absolute simplicity of a great wisdom...
A continue practice is taking place when we become eternally watchful, mindful and like this we can control our thoughts, our words & actions.
 " sa tu dīrghakāla nairantarya satkāra-ādara-āsevito dṛḍhabhūmiḥ "

That (cessation), being served for a long time, without interruption, and with earnestness, becomes firmly grounded. 

Why is so difficult we, the people of modern times to apply it in our daily routine?
If we just think, with what intensity of an effort and without interruptions we apply to catch our "deadlines" at work.
Or how focused and faithful we can be to our goals of ' having a new apartment or a new car '. We can find a tremendous power that lies within. If we can apply this energy to a spiritual practice, just one practice from the thousands that exists, maybe we can enter really to our life.  
Sri. K. Pattabhi Jois