Supplied by Anahata Yoga Retreat
Anahata Yoga Retreat, just outside of Nelson, warmly welcomes Kalikamurti Suich from Alice Springs, Australia over the Labour Day Weekend to share with us her experience, insights and knowledge.
She is leading “Life of Choice”, a retreat offering a fusion of traditional yoga and modern psychology aimed at helping participants choose their lives. We asked her a few questions to gain a deeper understanding of what she offers and how it can benefit us.
This wonderful weekend retreat runs concurrently with the Navaratri (9 nights) celebrations. So not only can you take an active role in creating your own present and future, but you will also have the option to join us in transformational chanting and ancient fire ceremonies during a very beneficial time astrologically.
Kalikamurti will also be in Wellington on the weekend of 12th – 14th October offering a workshop on “Beyond Chronic Pain”
Kalikamurti is a Sannyasin in the Satyananda Yoga tradition, which means she has dedicated her life to spiritual growth and being of benefit and service to the enhancement of life wherever possible.
The workshop is an opportunity for Kalikamurti to share with you a combination of yoga knowledge and strategies plus modern internal control psychology that she has used both in her own life and within her counseling consultancy practice over the last 28 years. The combination of both practices and knowledge assists us to evolve to our highest potential in our everyday life, and to be able to share this with the world around us.
The Navaratri retreat will run from 15th – 24th October and “A Life of Choice” is from Fri 19th – Mon 22nd October.
Come enjoy your Labour Day weekend with us!
For more information please contact email Anahata Yoga Retreat or call on (03)525-9887.
1. Tell us about yourself
In my early 20s I was introduced to yoga and it was my saving grace. My childhood was challenging, and throughout my life I have been faced with more than one opportunity to transcend mental, emotional or physical challenges. For example, I was injured in a car accident in my 20s and told I would never walk properly or work again.
After I finished my training as a social worker I decided I didn’t want to do that and instead focused on training as a counselor and human services consultant, providing services such as independent facilitation, conflict resolution, strategic planning, management and restructuring.
Throughout this time I continued to use and practice yoga in both my personal and professional life and also attended other trainings. I moved to Alice Springs with my partner as we both wanted a complete change of direction. I loved it and still live in Alice Springs.
Something I have to offer clients as a professional is my life experience. I have lived through and healed my own depression, I have had and healed a chronic pain injury, and I have used yoga and all my other resources to challenge my own limitations and to take charge of my life. I have chosen a life of service and work that I find immensely satisfying and of value to the wider community.
In Alice Springs, I have been a volunteer for the last seven years, on the board of both the Alice Desert Festival and the Regional Arts Board, combining my love of the aesthetics with service. I love singing gospel, blues and kirtan, I am a passionate amateur photographer, a happy crocheter and a dedicated gardener.
2. What will people get out of attending your workshops?
You will develop a deeper understanding of yourself, your goals and ambitions, your relationships and passions. You will develop more awareness of how these drive your behaviour. Secondly, you will have time to focus on yourself in a safe and supportive environment, and you will be provided with non-judgmental tools to do this. Thirdly, you’ll have fun and enjoy yourself!
We will explore yoga psychology and internal control psychology, which helps you make great choices about meeting your own needs.
In the chronic pain workshop we’ll look at the dynamics of chronic pain and the enormous effects it has on people – sometimes completely destroying the life they knew. You’ll learn strategies and tools for managing and, hopefully, healing pain, which includes quality living while the pain is still persistent.
Both workshops will provide space for you to self-nurture, self evaluate and, where needed, plan more needs satisfying behaviour.
3. What is internal control psychology and how does it fit with yoga?
Internal control theory, or Choice Theory is an explanation of why, and how, all living creatures behave. Choice Theory says we’re all driven by five genetic needs – survival, love, power, fun and freedom – and these dictate how we attempt to live our lives.
All our behaviour is an attempt to satisfy one or more of these five needs, and all our conscious behaviours are chosen.
If we can learn to choose effective, responsible behaviours, which in practice means learning to control our actions and thoughts in a way that we satisfy our needs and do not deprive someone else of a chance to satisfy theirs, we will usually be happy, healthy and in effective control of our lives.
4. Have you used both yoga and Choice Theory in your own life?
I use Choice Theory and yoga in my life every moment of my day personally, and professionally whenever possible I combine the two.
For example, we can learn to understand our mind by simply observing our breathing. With practice we can become conscious of our breath at the background of our awareness all of the time. My breath tells me if I am tensing, tightening, frightened, or worried.
Through Choice Theory, I am also constantly aware of my own behaviour and running my own needs analysis. For example, if I want to feel competent and able, no matter what the task, I have tools for self-assessment to evaluate whether what I am doing is helping with that need, or is hindering it.
When I work professionally with people, my clients often comment to me how liberating it is to have tools for understanding their own behaviour. They say it’s liberating to have their own personal needs analysis and tools to evaluate their behaviour, so they can stay on track as to how they want to be in the world, no matter what.
5. If people are really struggling and have tried lots of things how will this be any different?
One of the most important things when you are really struggling is to never give up, and to have professionals or friendships that also never give up.
Never give up on yourself!
It is also vital to recognize that when we are struggling we revert to old behaviour, such as stressing, or depressing or being angry. While this is natural and normal, we cannot do what we don’t know how to do, so we need new information to change.
Understanding your own needs analysis is liberating, because we’re all different. The skills and tools don’t box you in – instead they work with your personality, your goals, your cultures and your values to assist you to be the best of who you are without judgment or criticism.
6. What is your interest in coming to New Zealand?
I love coming to New Zealand. My first overseas trip when I was 14 was to New Zealand – I saved up to go and stay with a friend in Auckland.
I have since returned to visit another friend and fell in love with the country. I also want to travel and share my skills and knowledge with people and New Zealand people, particularly the yoga communities, have been very welcoming. It is my honour to visit again.
7. Can you give us an example of someone you have worked with who has used these skills to change their life?
I work with children as a counselor and a yoga teacher. In the yoga classes I also teach Choice Theory.
Recently the kids were all over the shop and one of them said to me;
“You should have a sin bin.”
“What is that?” I said.
They described it as somewhere you were sent when you were naughty.
“Who would say you were naughty?” I asked,
“You” they said.
“Ahh”, I said;
“Well here is the deal. I cannot make you do anything you don’t want. Yoga is about having the skills and understanding to drive your own personality. You all know whether you are being naughty. You can choose whether to participate or not, so if you think you are naughty you can choose to sit on the step until you are ready to participate.”
The kids found it fascinating and used the step when they thought they needed to. I kept asking the questions such as;
“What will you choose?”, and “How is your behaviour helping you to participate and learn new things?”
Here is an adult example. Someone came to see me for deep-seated, long-term anxiety. When we looked at how she wanted to be, it wasn’t anxious. After she came to know that a lot of her behaviour was about trying to feel in control we could look at what she was doing to get what she wanted.
As most of her behaviour was about trying to control others so she could be happy, we could address how that was actually working to help her to feel less in control. Instead she learned to focus on the things she was doing. She practiced being clearer about what she wanted, and learned to ask and negotiate in a non-aggressive way. As a result, she was much happier and less anxious.
8. Sometimes people go off track, attend courses, get motivated and go off track again in a constant cycle. How do people sustain change?
Swami Niranjanananda said we must choose yoga in harmony with our personality. So we need to choose a sadhana that we love, rather than force ourselves to do things we hate, but think are good for us.
Sustained change is incremental and made up of lots of little steps, just like toddlers learning to walk. We also encourage children when they are learning to walk, saying things like, “up you get”.
There seems to be some unwritten rule that we use force and criticism with ourselves once we become adults. Imagine if we said to a toddler who fell over, “get up you loser“ and laughed at them every time they fell over. There is no positive reward in this, so there may be resistance from the child to try walking again. It’s the same with adults.
Be the coach for yourself – one that you like, that is caring and compassionate, and who remains focused.
Radical or large changes are much less sustainable. Change is making small shifts and developing new behaviours or habits that support this. Change-plans need to be SMART – small, measurable, attractive, realistic and timed.
9. How can yoga be compatible with any lifestyle and/or religion or spiritual beliefs?
Yoga is compatible with any lifestyle as it assists you to be a better you, and to have more awareness of yourself and the people around you. It assists you to have less judgment and criticism, and to be less governed by the subconscious mind, or the chitta, and more governed by the bhuddhi, or higher part of your mind.
The word yoga means union and so yoga teaches us to be in union with ourselves no matter where and no matter what. We become less reactive and more respond-able.
10. This all sounds like it could be very intense, hard work. Tell us about your style of teaching and what people can expect from you?
It is true that being in charge of your life is not for the faint-hearted, as we need to give up blame and shame. We need to accept that if we want to meet our needs and live a fulfilling engaged life it is our job to make it so.
I have spent years distilling a lot of information and training into easy-to-access information and focus on providing practical present tense assistance. It is vital to walk the talk and so I never ask people challenge themselves more than I would challenge myself.
What I bring to any workshop is a vast experience of life – my own and others. I teach with a sense of fun, and some would say mischievousness, combined with love and compassion. I offer a safe and nurturing environment and don’t expect people to go beyond what they believe is possible in the moment. I run these workshops as vehicle for the teachings of my inspirer.
I believe that the strongest energy is love and the more you love, the safer you are.
It is my honour to work with people in dispelling their own maya or delusions, and assist them to create a life of choice, and to live a more peaceful, engaged, passionate and productive life. I believe it is my grace to share my journey and the skills I have learned along the way and I really look forward to meeting you all.
11. Who can come to these workshops?
Anybody who wants to!
As a yoga teacher and counselor, it is my job to be flexible to the needs of the group. I will adapt and we will spend time being clear about what people want to achieve so that the workshops satisfy those who take part. It will be the participant’s job to participate and take away what is useful or resonates, and leave out what is not right for them.
Find out more about A Life of Choice workshop here.