The Holy month of Ramadan is just a few days away. It is a month of introspection, devotion, self-discipline and fasting.

The Arabic word for “fasting” (sawm) literally means “to refrain” – and it means not only refraining from food and drink, but from evil actions, thoughts, and words. Fasting reminds us of how fortunate we are to have an abundance of food and shelter, and helps us cultivate empathy and compassion for those less fortunate. By sacrificing the comforts on which we may rely on for superficial happiness, fasting strengthens our commitment to spiritual values and inspires us to devote our lives to a greater purpose.

While our Muslim brothers and sisters take an entire month out of their lives to observe this strict fast and rededicate themselves to worship and faith, it is a great time for us to observe “Brahmacharya” which translates to non-excess.

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May Focus: Karma I’ve always been a firm believer in the saying “What goes around comes around” and that life is a continuous flow of energy that we send out and receive back. To put it simply, I believe in sort of Karma; not in a religious sense but in the context of our actions toward others affect our own lives. Those of you who have seen the movie “Pay it Forward” may understand the concept I am referring to.

Living in Dubai where “excess” seem to be part of our everyday lives, we sometimes miss out on opportunities to cultivate good karma. We at Inspire would like to dedicate the month of May as a reminder that we can always incorporate personal awareness and small acts of kindness in our everyday lives to encourage an environment of “Good Karma”.

What is Karma?

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“Between Effort and Surrender is where Strength Resides”
– Anthony Gary Lopedota

The recent passing of my father made me reflect on how I’ve been living my yoga and everyday life. Finding the balance between effort and surrender is a continuous challenge to me and I’m sure to many. When do we push and when do we accept and surrender? Your yoga practice is like life… Each circumstance in which we find ourselves is like a pose; some poses are challenging, others are easy. It is how we apply ourselves to mastering the pose that determines whether or not we will suffer or grow. With both life and yoga, we can choose to listen to the drama of the ego or the wisdom of the spirit.

Balancing Effort and Surrender on our Mats

Mastering an asana requires finding the balance between effort (sthira) and surrender or ease (sukham).

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Recently one of our newer members asked me “What does Namaste mean?”.

I told him that it means, the divine light shines within me and it recognizes that the same divine light shines within you. When we both recognize this within each other, we are one.

“Whoa,” he said. “I don’t know if I am ready for all that.”

Fair enough. I understand; but let’s take a look at “Namaste”.

The literal translation varies depending on your language; however, they are all pretty much saying the same thing. In Sanskrit, the word ‘namah’ means bow, ‘as’ means I, and ‘te’ means you, translating into “I bow to you.” Actually it implies ‘I bow to the divine in you”.

The most common meanings of Namaste are:

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