Kula Yin Yoga Masterclass

On Sunday the 18th of August, Kula held it’s first ever Master Class and after such amazing success we can all be sure it will not be the last.
My Mum and I were of course the last ones to show up and were running around like crazy people trying to organise ourselves, but as soon as we got into the packed room there was this sort of relaxing but eager buzz about everyone.
The incredible Mysan Sidbo lead us through two hours of Yin Yoga, a practice that a lot of people in the room had never tried. It was an eye (and hip) opener as it is of course very different from the Yang practices that many of us yogis are used to.
We were all assured by Mysan that it is normal sometimes when you come out of holding a long Yin stretch to feel like a 102 year old woman, and that it helps you to sympathise when you do see elderly ladies walking extremely slowly down the street. Most importantly this means that you have worked into your fascia and ligaments- something many of us forget to do.
You realise the importance of working deep into the joints in Yin yoga, as it is hard to understand how much emotion and pressure is held in them until you try to release it.

Walking out of the studio at the end of the class- after almost falling asleep to Mysan’s soothing voice in relaxation, I was sure that I was going to be struggling to walk the next day, however I was not sore in the slightest and felt more open than I ever have before.
Through the laughs, the pain, the long poses, the bolsters and blankets, everyone learnt a lot about not only Mysan’s Yin Yoga but also about their own bodies.
Kula will be starting regular Yin Yoga classes at 8.30am on a Sunday morning and I can’t think of a better way to release and compliment other activities at the end of the week.

An Ever-Changing Story

When I think of a story that changes it’s shape every time you read it, I think of a city; in particularly a city that one does not visit too often.

My example could be Christchurch, New Zealand, somewhere I frequent once or twice every couple of years. Each time I visit Christchurch, it’s story is evolving, whether it be through my grandparents moving house, or through the earthquake that devastated the city centre.

Each time it tells me something different about itself and this is the example I come to when I think of an ever-evolving story. It could be telling the story of the banding together and strength of the community in rebuilding the city, even using shipping crates as restaurants (a pretty cool idea if you ask me). It could be telling me the story of the brisk winter that is just ending and the warm summer ahead.

I would be intrigued by a story that changed its shape each time I looked at it, as it would mean that it was an active entity that you could never get sick of. It would be fascinating to be able to explore different outcomes like in those movies where you can choose your own ending.

An ever-evolving story would be full of life, and in fact could be a metaphor for life and therefore I would be intrigued to see it happen.


Are Schools Killing Creativity?

I am going to be completely honest in saying I have never really considered this question. School is school, and education is education and education is hardly creative.

I remember my year 12 media teacher showing us a video that some of the year 10s had put together that was just so unbelievably wacky and out there. She showed us this before we began working on our assignments and said: “The younger ones just have no shame! They come up with the strangest ideas.”

This really relates to what Sir Ken Robinson talks about in the video Do Schools Kill Creativity, in that students seem to get less flexible with their ideas and less creative as they get older. We all struggled to come up with ideas that we were willing to share or act out, whereas I remember in year 10 putting together a media film with a group of three girls and running around the school dressed in a black sheet as a Dementor.

I also remember in high school referring to art and music as ‘bludge’ subjects, or subjects of little importance that I didn’t need to put any effort into.

I do agree with Sir Robinson as we should be fostering the growth of creative ideas and encouraging children to pursue creative outlets, not telling them to give up as they will never find a job in more creative areas.



RSS, The History

Never heard of RSS? Neither had I before we were given it as our first Niki topic. It turns out that the RSS icon can be found on most newspaper website pages and I have definitely seen it before, I just never thought to question its function.

RSS was created in 1999 by Netscape, and was initially called RDF Site Summary. In response to user’s comments and suggestions, Dan Libby created a prototype called RSS.091.

In 2002, The New York Times began offering its readers the ability to subscribe to RSS news feeds.

Mozilla Firefox was the first to produce an RSS Icon (see below), and it was adopted by Microsoft and Outlook in 2005.

One of the easiest ways to envisage RSS is that it is like a living bookmark file, however your RSS is an active entity that is constantly updating itself with new content from the saved source. It allows information to be pushed out in a ‘feed’, somewhat like a Facebook feed and notifications.


“As We May Think”

What interested me most about Vannevar Bush’s article “As We May Think”, was his speculations on where the camera will go in the future; what it will become.

As this article was written in 1945 it is fascinating to see how far along the camera has come in terms of his speculations. He imagined that we would have cameras the size of walnuts in/on our heads that would take full colour images that we could then project afterwards.

Ok, so we haven’t actually come that far yet, however people do walk around with Go Pros strapped to their foreheads. They may be a bit bigger than a walnut, but commercial cameras are gradually getting smaller and more practical (although easier to lose).

In this image I found accompanying an article about Bush, the camera is portrayed somewhat like a Go Pro, only smaller.



The Eight Limbs of Yoga

Not knowing anything about the eight limbs of yoga, the first things I thought of when I heard the phrase were my arms and legs. However upon typing it into Google I found that I wasn’t quite correct and that the eight limbs of yoga have a much more spiritual meaning than my literal translation.

The eight limbs of yoga represent a metaphorical eight-limbed path that basically forms the framework for yoga. Upon exploring each limb of the path, one will find that no one path is more important than another. There is no hierarchy controlling the order in which to say that one is more important than another; they rely on each other.

To summarise the eight limbs we have:

  1. Yama – universal morality
  2. Niyama- personal observances
  3. Asanas- body postures
  4. Pranayama- control of breathing
  5. Pratyahara- control of senses
  6. Dharana- concentration and cultivating inner perceptual awareness
  7. Dhyana- devotion, meditation on the divine
  8. Samadhi- union with the divine

The first limb of the path deals with integrity and ethics in everyday life. It relates on a level to the rule we all know as ‘do only to others what you would have them do to you’, and includes the likes of being truthful, non-violent and non-stealing.

The second limb, Niyama, relates to self-discipline and spiritual observances. It is about developing your own personal meditation process- whatever works for you. It could be going to church or making a habit of taking long thoughtful walks.

Asanas are the postures practiced in yoga. The body is a temple of spirit and by practicing the yoga postures (asanas) we allow ourselves to become more meditative and concentrative.

Pranayama is a word that you may have heard during your practices as we often partake in ‘Pranayama breathing’ at the beginning of a hot class. Pranayama generally translates to breath control and so implies mastering the respiratory system and the ability to recognize the connection between breath, the mind and emotions.

The fifth limb, Pratyahara means withdrawal or sensory transcendence. In this fifth limb we make a conscious effort to draw our awareness away from external stimuli, and focus internally. It gives us an opportunity to step back and take a look at ourselves.

Dharana, the sixth limb, is prepared for in Pratyahara and involves the element of concentration. Focusing inside, without the distractions of the external world, we can now deal with the distractions of the mind itself. I am sure I am not the only one who has often formulated a ‘to do list’ for the day in a morning yoga class, or debriefed myself on what I have achieved that day during a night class. This is where we need to slow down the thinking process and concentrate on a single point. If this can be achieved for extended periods of time, then a meditative state can be reached.

The seventh stage is Dhyana, which refers to meditation, or the uninterrupted flow of concentration. The distinction between concentration and Dhyana is that Dharana practices one-pointed attention, whereas Dhyana involves being keenly aware without focus. Who knew meditation, something that we all associate with relaxation and peace, could be such a difficult state to reach?

The final stage is a stage of happiness; sounds like something I can work with! Samadhi allows the meditator to realize a profound connection to the Divine and interconnectedness with all living things. It is apparently an experience of bliss at being at one with the Universe. It can even be described as a feeling of ecstasy. I cannot say I have ever managed to reach Samadhi, but after hearing that it is the ultimate stage of enlightenment, let’s just say I might be concentrating a little harder and harnessing a keener focus in order to get there.

Notes On the Un-Lecture

What I found most interesting during this week’s symposium was surprisingly not a key idea at all but a passing comment that has just stuck with me. Employees of Google (Googlers) get one day a week to speculate, think, do whatever they want to come up with new ideas. SO LOGICAL.Thinking about a workplace like Google is fascinating because the world’s brightest and most creative would be there and so giving them a day for themselves to come up with their own designs or speculations is going to be the best way for Google to advance.

This then took me to speculate what it would be like to work at Google. I have only heard good things.

The film The Internship portrays the Google headquarters as workplace heaven, with slides, segways, free food and coffee on all levels, even futuristic style capsule beds so employees can sleep at work.

This then also lead me to speculate on what it could be like to work at Google in the future. It can only really get better until the eventual demise of Google. I can’t imagine how it could possibly get any better.

What If…

Another thing I took away from the un-lecture in week three, alongside the readings on design fiction, was the idea of “What if” questions speculating on the future. This excites me because really the possibilities are endless. When you place ‘what if’ in front of an idea you can really venture into new unseen spaces.

I found this video, which explores Design Fiction in the way of a microchip which people place on the back of their necks and are then able to connect with others and play a game in a virtual video game. I thought this was a really cool idea, especially when in the end they take it so far as to wonder what the consequences of these chips could be…


The Benefits of Hot Yoga

The Benefits of Hot Yoga

Hot yoga does not only feel like its good for you, it has so many benefits that its no wonder that you feel so revitalised once you walk out of the studio. So lets go into a bit of detail about why hot yoga is as uplifting as it is.

  1. As is mentioned above it increases vitality. Doing a morning hot yoga class will put a spring in your step for the rest of the day. In exploring deeper breathing, you will find that you have more energy and regular hot yoga practice is guaranteed to make you feel a whole lot younger.
  2. Yoga of course increases your flexibility, but by practicing yoga in a hot room you are able to stretch deeper than if you were practicing in a cool room. And who doesn’t want to be able to put their head on their knees?
  3. Hot yoga also aids in weight loss. Having stronger flexibility in the muscles actually helps you to lose weight, as it burns fat. More muscles, less fat. In doing hot yoga your metabolism and digestive system will improve and your appetite will be normalised. It seems crazy that yoga can make you go for a piece of fruit over a piece of chocolate but its true! The mind-body connection is sharpened in yoga and therefore you feel the need to look after your body.
  4. We all know that we sweat a lot during a hot yoga class, and in the process are detoxifying our body. You lose a heap of sweat, which contains salts, oils and water during a class, which is beneficial in many ways including giving you super clean skin.
  5. The more you practice hot yoga, the clearer your mind becomes. Focusing on your breathing and movements rather than the chaos of the outside world improves mental clarity.
  6. The improvement of mental clarity could also be linked to the fact that hot yoga practice reduces stress. The chatter of the mind fades away as the inner connectivity increases.
  7. Interestingly enough, your cardio fitness is also improved during hot yoga, as your heart works in the same way doing yoga in a heated room as it does running a mile.


From this week’s un-lecture, I found interesting Adrian’s comment on how some of us will find that our strengths are challenged in this course, minus the “scaffolding” of VCE. I find this to be 100% true for myself.

I am good at studying and exams and essays, this is what I am used to, however I think that being forced to step out of my comfort zone is a good thing as it replicates experiences that we will have outside the education world.

At the moment I have been looking for a new job and this requires me doing some things that are uncomfortable such as answering difficult questions in interviews and proving my skills. This I find is a step outside of what I am used to.

I find that in high school, especially attending a private school, we are very sheltered and almost spoon-fed in a sense, and in contrast university is a very independent place. From the first lecture at university, I knew I was going to have to alter my preconceptions of how learning should be undertaken. I have found that this subject has forced me to do so once again.