To commemorate turning 30 I held a small get together for some of the lovely ladies I know. Age is just a number, yet I was turning 30, considered a milestone by many. I decided that since I had started the New Year by deepening my yoga practice, and have endeavored to live mindfully ever since, that I should have a gettogether to reflect this. So I brainstormed and came up with an Ayurvedic/Sattvic menu. I decided that instead of serving colas I would serve Watermelon juice (Watermelons are in season). Along with this juice I decided to serve lassi. For snacks I decided to have a salad comprised of cucumbers, tomatoes, corn, broccoli, pomegranate seeds, flaxseeds, masala and a dash of lemon. Another sald had boiled beans and paneer. Another comprised of sprouts and kalle channe. Multigrain sandwiches were also served along with a fruit salad. And to finish all of this there was Green Tea. This took care of our physical well being. For entertainment I decided that instead of sitting around and chatting we should play a game to relax. The game I chose was ‘Taboo’ and I’m glad everyone took to it and participated enthusiastically. For a few hours yetserday all of us nourished our bodies and minds with good clean fun.
Once in a week its a good idea to catch up with friends and do something we enjoy. Friends keep us rooted. They remind us of who we are and what we have the potential to be. They let us know that things might go from bad to worse but they will always be there to egg us on. It’s a good idea to make room for friends in your life. Pick up the phone and connect with one you haven’t connected with in a long time TODAY!
A transformation happened within me during the month I spent at the ashram getting my teacher’s certification. My system and tastebuds have become super sensitive. While at the ashram I ate mild sattvic food. And now I’m unable to have any alcohol or meat. The smell assails my nostrils and I’m unable to eat it. Perhaps the food at the ashram was mild and therefore did not smell very strong, and that is why my senses are trying to adjust to the strong smell of alcohol and meat.
Yesterday at a friend’s house I decided to break into wine after a long period of abstinence. The wine tasted fine and I thought I’ll stop at one glass. However, one glass soon turned into two and that’s when I finally stopped. (Note: could not bring myself to eat the chicken that my friend had prepared. However the rest of the food was finger licking good.) I walked home and slept and thought that perhaps my tolerance to alcohol was still intact, ashram or no ashram. However, it was in the morning when I woke up, listened to my morning stotras and then went into my practice that I realized that my tolerance might be intact, but my body wasn’t happy. When you drink your metabolism slows down because your body tries to metabolize the alcohol first. Call it a mental block or some wierd phobia developed in the past month, but I could still feel the lingering effects of alcohol on my system. The suryanamaskars went smoothly, but when I went into the asana practice my head felt heavy and all I felt like doing was lying down and breathing deeply. Then came the onslaught of queasiness. I tried to breath deeply and fight the feeling. I tried the Adhomukha Swastikasana. But that sluggishness and nausea just wouldn’t go away. I finally decided to just tolerate the feeling and observe what was happening.
However, I’m wondering at this change in my body and mind. 2 glasses of wine induced some kind of hangover in me. This was not something I had aimed for and it caught me by surprise. Initially I was uncomfortable with this change as well because I had no say in it. But my lesson from this morning was that I will not force my body either to eat meat or to eschew it. To drink or not to drink. Let your body be your guide and you will know what it needs at different stages of life and at different times. Don’t deprive your body and it will not deprive you.
Nature is cyclical. Night goes to day and back again. Winter goes to summer and back. Life is cyclical as well. The cycle of birth and death. Years begin and end. At the beginning of every year we make resolutions. But it’s a good practice to endeavor to make resolutions all year round and keep them. Small resolutions to push the limits of your willpower. To strengthen you form the inside and center you. At the beginning of the month you can start with, I will cut down the number of mugs of coffee. Or I will practice every day without fail. Even things like, I will wake up 15 minutes earlier than usual. All these resolutions serve to keep the feeling of goodwill and positivity going in our lives. Through these resolutions we are constantly endeavoring to make our lives better, we live better and are making an impact on the universe in our own unique way. My resolution today is to be more tolerant and compassionate with those who are different from me. Often we forget that people are the way they are because of the lives they’ve lead and the circumstances they have dealt with. So the dour policeman, the irritated shopkeeper, the rude waiter – they’ve all lived through pretty nasty circumstances which have made them blind to the joys of life. It’s sad and unfortunate and the best we can do is to just take in a deep breath and take care not to send out a negative thought into the world. Better yet, send out a prayer to these people hoping that soon the blessings of happiness and contentment find them and make their lives easier. Yogis on the other hand are forever collecting blessings and positivity. Regular cleansing practices purify our minds and souls and this in turn purifies the environment around us. We are blessed to have found the gift of yoga. It’s time we started sharing the gift with others. Shalom.
In the freezing temperatures of New Delhi, one of the best things you can do for yourself is go out and get those nutrition packed, 100%-healthy and 100%-yummy vegetable juices available in just about every street corner in the city. I went out for a walk with my little sister yesterday and we had huge glasses of this wonderful and natural goodness. Carots, beetroot, mint, ginger and then a dash of lime to spice it all up and you have provided your body with a disease fighting mechanism and your skin with a reason to glow…and all of it for as little as Rs. 40! Haven’t tried it yet? Go out and get a glass right now and ensure you’re healthy and glowing all winter long. And to top this off my sister and I had corn on the cob while walking back. Nothing beats the feeling of a great walk, healthy food and a person you love for conversation! Love does make the world go round and good health helps us bask in the glory of that love. During this Season of Love think of your husband, you mom, your dad, your teacher, your dog – anyone who brings a smile to your heart and a twinkle in your eye and share a glass of vegetable juice with them :). I did with my lovely little sister – vote for her at: http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=319356268103583&set=a.318034891569054.73075.110568648982347&type=3&theater – click on the ‘Like’ button!
I would say that perhaps the best thing you can do for your body and your mind, and something that helps your practice is waking up a bit early, preferably at day break. I’ve met a lot of people who exclaim – “But that’s midnight!” However, I’ve found that waking up early, when its still a bit dark outside, when it’s quiet and still and when the morning traffic hasn’t started, energizes me for the day like nothing else can. (Yes, not even snuggling deeper into the warm quilt on those chilly January mornings for a few extra moments of sleep.) It’s at this time that the stillness and calm outside can penetrate deeper into your mind and help you balance yourself. What helps perhaps is that there are no distractions. Family members are still asleep, the maids won’t turn up for a while, and your to-do list doens’t have to begin until the sun is up. At this time it’s nice to listen to some peaceful music, perhaps some vedic chanting or just some other music that I find relaxing. Better yet, sit in sukhasana breathing deeply and listen to the delicious silence….
Ujyate anena iti yogah (Joining the individual soul to the universal soul.) – Classical definition.
Tam yogam iti manyante stiram inndriya dharanam (Yoga is holding the senses steady.) – Upanishad
Manh prasamano payah yogah (A technique to make the mind quiet is yoga.) – Yoga Vasista
Yogah chitta vritti nirodhah (Yoga is controlling the disturbances of the mind.) – Patanjali Yoga Sutra.
Samatvam yoga ucchyate (Yoga is a state of equanimity.) – Bhagvad-Gita.