The Meaning of Om, Summer Retreat, Practising Lotus and more in our February 2014 newsletter.

The Meaning of Om

Namaste Yogis & Yoginis

At a talk on his near death experience, Dr Eben Alexander said that at the very core of existence was a sound, and that sound was "OM". As he was a Christian scientist who had no exposure to the teachings of the East, this was a profound statement to make, and it made a lasting impression on me! "OM" is said to be the sound of all creation, the sound of the divine, of the universe itself. The vibration of "OM" both effects us profoundly, and is revealed within us, increasing our consciousness and health. “OM” is the sound, the name for the symbol representing Om is the “Pranava”.Technically the sound “om” although commonly written “om” is made from joining the dipthong “au” with “m” giving the sound its length and roundness. Otherwise it would be a very short sound. When we understand the formation of the sound, we can begin to understand the depth of meaning behind it. “A” is the most open, most unformed sound in human language, no restrictions or modifications at all. “U” is slightly modified, slightly restricted, it is a conditioned sound, and “m” is the most closed, most restricted sound of all. It also technically includes a fourth phase – the silence that naturally follows the sound (so don't be in to much of a hurry for the next Om!). So the sound “aum” (om) contains within it the most open, through modification to the most closed. This symbolises the journey from alpha to omega, the beginning to the end, from one polarity to the opposite, from the unformed, unmanifest from which we all come, includes all modifications that exist in the world, and the finite experience of the world. The sound “om” is said to be the sound of creation itself, the sound that is behind all of existence, and as we can see – it contains all aspects of existence within it. The sound “om” leads us to the Absolute state, which is the silence behind everything - the void, not empty, but full of unmanifest potential, ready to be brought into existence through the “om”. Chanting “om” to someone/something is a blessing, a gift, bestowing on them the energy of all of creation. Chanting “om” can bring healing as it re-aligns the energy of every cell to the divine/universal resonance. Every chant begins with “om” not only blessing the deity/endeavour we are chanting to/for, but also bringing with it the constant awareness of ultimate reality, and that we are all part of that. OM

With blessings,
Suzanne Gray

YOGA TIP - Practising Lotus (Padmasana)

People often just go straight for the pose. This is fine for a lot of poses, but with Padmasana, (unless you are one of those extremely lucky people born able to do it) you need a little more awareness as the posture is more complex than some, and effects the very sensitive knee-joint.
I use what I call the “spiral labyrinth approach” - which means you don't go directly for the pose, but the posture lies at the heart of your journey, and you wind your way in opening different parts of the body, and making your way to it circumspectly. There is a complex group of muscles involved in lotus – including the hamstrings, quads, gluts, psoas, adductors, abductors, the ITB and more! If any one of these muscle groups is tight, it will effect your ability to do lotus, and potentially strain or damage your knee.. so the aim is to make sure ALL of these muscles are flexible, strong and happy. Then Padmasana becomes easy, natural.. if it isn't you should be very careful practising it. Some safety precautions include making sure the ankle is straight and not bent – this will make the pose a little more difficult to achieve, but it will provide safety and stability for your KNEE which is a priority. Different teachers have recommended rotating the thigh inwards or outwards.. I have found it varies from body to body.. my body prefers the thigh rolled out, others the thigh rolled in.. you need to constantly test and measure to discover what allows you to access the pose safely and easily. Remember the physical structure of the pelvis is also involved, and the shaping of the BONES themselves will also determine accessibility to the lotus pose. Some people will have easy access due to the shape of their bones, others will not. Try not to be disheartened – if this pose is for you, then working your way into it will get you there, if it isn't for you – then you will have the greatest freedom you can have for your body, and you will still get the benefit of the posture in other sitting positions such as sukkhasana, or siddhasana.  Some poses to include in your “spiral” exploration include: paschimottanasan, modified pidgeon (rajakapotasana) variations, upavista konasana, baddha konasana, ardha matsyendrasana, wide legs up the wall (be aware if you stay too long – painful to get out), swastikasana (cross-legs), triang mukhaikapada paschimottanasana  uttanasana, hanumanasana, virasana,– and any hamstring lengthener, hip-opener you can think of – all practiced with patience, breath and awareness of course! It is even more important with advanced postures like Padmasana to remember the instruction in the Yoga Sutras:
“asanam sthiram sukkham” - the asana must be steady and easy.

GCYC teacher Danny Hill in lotus


Calendar Dates

Friday February 21-23rd– there are still a couple of spots left for our Springbrook Summer Retreat.  Let the distractions of daily life drop away and come back to your core self and who you truly are, in a stunning natural environment, fully catered with delicious vegetarian food, yoga and meditation, the company of fellow yogis & yoginis, a drumming session, didgeridoo relaxation and more. Drums, didge, yoga, yummy food, stunning environment – what more could you want, and all this for only $340 for the weekend if you mention this newsletter! Phone 5534 2883 or email to grab those last spots!!


New New New New

Both our new website and new app are up and running... not just beautiful, but hopefully this will  enhance our ability to keep connected and let you know all the latest news, events and specials..HUGE thanks to the lovely Claire Cottone for all the work she has put into these items!

Download our app for notifications, special offers exclusive to App users and to be kept up to the moment... Public holiday? No probs, you'll know exactly what classes are on! Change of teacher? You'll know that too and more!!!! We'll try not to bombard you but make it a really useful tool!

Frontdesk system.. I know I've been saying it for ages, but we really are nearly there.. Please make sure you have filled in a form and received your swipecard.. It will help us a lot once we make the complete transition!

Tuesdays 4pm – the GCYC is the place to be if you are a young yogi! Our new Parents & Kids class has taken off running! So much fun and great to see sparkly eyes and big smiles.. on the parents as well as the kids!! FREE all of February! So come and try a class with your young one.. approx ages 8-13 yo.. regularly $20 per parent/child and $8 per extra child..

Mother and daughter at our new Parents & Kids class Tuesday 4pm

5 Minutes with Christine

(Parents & kids teacher, Tuesdays 4pm) 

How long have you been practicing yoga?   Over 10 years
What benefits have you experienced? How has it changed your life? I have a scoliosis & it has helped bring stability into my body & helped with pain relief. It also makes me happy!
What do you love about the GCYC?
Oh gosh so many things. I love the yoga room & its awesome vibe but mainly I love the beautiful teachers & the authentic & dedicated students
What other things are priority in your life? /do you love?
Family & friends. studying Bachelor if Education. Living my life. Laughing.
If you could give one piece of life guidance - what would it be?
Surrender. Laugh a lot & breath into your belly.
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