Megan Mulrine is a yoga teacher who is living on the so-called Island of the Gods: Bali, Indonesia. It makes total sense that she’s living there as she spends most of her time studying and teaching about the Hindu gods and goddesses. I was very excited to speak to Megan on the YAY!YOGA podcast as she was one of the lead teachers in my first teacher training and she told me how the yoga poses that we practice are named after Hindu gods and their stories. In this episode, we talk about Buddhism, Hinduism, how to teach about Hindu gods to students from different cultural backgrounds and the importance of non-attachment when it comes to your self-practice.
Shownotes: stuff & people we talked about
- Bule – the Indonesian word for foreigners.
- Yoga is often defined as ‘chitta vritti nirodha’ – Sanskrit for ‘quieting the fluctuations of the mind’.
- Karma yoga is an ancient yogic term that means selfless action: acting without expecting anything in return.
- Book that tells the Hindu stories behind the yoga poses: The Myths of the Asanas by Alanna Kaivalya
- Mahabharata is one of the most important books that tell the ancient Hindu stories of the gods.
- Ramayana is the other most important book that explains the epic stories about India and Rama in particular.
- Bhakti Yoga is often translated as devotion and it can be practiced by offering with an open heart and full attention to the spirits, gods or a higher self/consciousness.
- Agni Hotra is a Vedic fire ceremony. Agni means fire and Hotra is healing. This ceremony is a purification ritual for the people and the environment.
- Siddhartha Gautama was a spiritual leader and is also known as the Buddha and founder of Buddhism as we know it today.
- Koundinya was the sage who came to visit the palace when the Buddha was just born and he predicted the Buddhas future. He and the Buddha later found the middle path between suffering. Koundinyasana is the yoga asana pose that was named after him – it’s the one where you fly into a split.
- Hanuman was the monkey that – as the story goes – brought Sita back to Rama. He took a leap of faith from India to Sri Lanka (a very big step) and that’s where Hanumanasana – the front split pose – was named after. Virasana (hero pose) and Anjaneyasana (low lunge) are two other poses that tell the rest of this tale.
- Japa Mala is a string of 108 prayer beads often used to chant mantras 108 times.
- Saraswati is the Hindu goddess of arts, wisdom and knowledge.
- Kirtan is the singing/chanting of mantra’s.
- Svadyaya – one of the 8 limbs in Patanjali’s sutras that is translated as ‘self-study’.
- Krishnamacharya is often seen as the founder of modern yoga as he was the one we started to create yoga sequences that are similar to what we practice today in most studios as Hatha and Vinyasa yoga. His most popular principle is to ‘teach the individual’.
- Teachers that inspire Megan: Mark Whitwell & Swamini Shraddananda Saraswati (founder of Kula Kamala Foundation & Yoga Ashram)
- Book recommendation: The Heart of Yoga by T.K.V. Desikachar
Connect with Megan Mulrine
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Photo by Harmonice Photography