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April 2013

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And the Last Class is Over….

April 16, 2013

A while ago I took my last yoga class in Wellington.  For the last class I thought I should focus on a few guidelines for yoga that might come in handy going forward.  Here’s a recap of what we discussed (in-between Surya namaskars, bandhas and pranayama).

1.  Do yoga everyday.  40 surya namaskars in 10 minutes + any pranayama exercise + 3 bandhas.

2.  When it comes to a teachers remember that only your comfort level matters.  A teacher might come with a fancy certification and years of experience, but if you just don’t feel right in their presence, then they are not for you.

3.  Eat a banana before yoga class and something post the class.

4.  ALWAYS be suitably dressed for yoga.  You don’t want to be worried about wardrobe malfunctions while in your inversions.

5.  Never laugh at anyone.  Also, never compare yourself to anyone.  Also, don’t forget to switch your cell phones off.  Nothing is more irritating than having your shavasana interrupted by an annoying ring tone.

6.  Meditate for 5 minutes every day.  5 minutes might not sound like much, but you’d be surprised how little time you spend on yourself every day.

7.  The power of positive thought can never be underestimated.  Once a week practice turning all your negative thoughts into positive statements.  Eventually this will become second nature.

8.  Always give ‘guru dakshina’.  In a consumerist society, many people forget to/don’t want to compensate their yoga teachers for the time and effort they have spent.  A particular teacher might not suit you, but if you’ve taken up space in their studio, then you need to compensate them.  A lot of studios offer a free trial class, but I’ve also come across students who’ve attended 5 days and have disappeared.

9.  When at home don’t try new asanas.  Do new asanas only around a teacher.  A teacher can give you guidelines about your asanas and that minimizes risk of injury.

10.  Keep your practice true and honest.  Everyone seems to have ‘done’ yoga.  Again, yoga is not a chore.  It is a lifestyle.  Have an honest look at your yoga practice now and then.  More specifically, ask yourself: am I making enough time to practice?

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What’s With the Organic?

April 4, 2013

Some time ago a yoga student of mine told me about Orga Foods in Coimbatore, a store that sells organic products and produce.  I got a chance to check out Orga Foods on the way back from Munnar.  While shopping for organic dals and veggies, I came upon the cosmetics aisle.  Although I’ve always been aware of the existence of organic products and cosmetics, my knowledge of organic/natural brands have been confined to The Body Shop (which I have since discovered is neither natural nor organic).

I went on to do more research about ‘natural’ and ‘organic’ products and found that organic products are those that are made without any pesticides.  So if raspberrys are an ingredient in your organic soap, then those raspberries would have been grown without the use of pesticides.  A ‘natural’ soap containing raspberries, however, may have raspberries grown with the help of pesticides.  Some dermatologists believe that our skin absorbs 60% of all the products that we use on it, so if you’re using cosmetics laden with chemicals then you’re actually ingesting those chemicals as well.  And if you suffer from allergies and are frequently ill, then you might want to take a look at what you’re putting into your body via your skin, the largest organ of the body.

Because I’ve become more conscious of the environment and the necessity to live in harmony with nature ever since I’ve started living in the Nilgris, I decided to go into my bathroom and kitchen cupboards to see if I owned any natural or organic products.  Here are my finds:

1. Orange Spice Body Scrub. This smells awesome. Although the kernels are kind of harsh, I still like how my skin feels after using this. It’s valid for only a year.
Orange_Scrub

2.  Handmade soap!  Almost all of us have used this at one point or other.  This one smells heavenly and the ingredients list has only essential oils.  I’m sure they use a few chemicals, but I think this product would still be listed as a ‘natural’ product.

handmade_soap

3.  This one is not only handmade but organic as well.

organic_algae_soap

4.  Coconut oil.  Good for skin, hair and food!  This one is food grade and from the Andamans.  It’s fabulous for skin.

coconut_oil

5.  Lip balm.  This one actually tastes of honey.  Shelf life of 2 years.

lip balm

6.  Organic food.  I bought the moong dal from Orga Foods.  The tea I’ve been having for ages (although there’s better green tea out there).

orga food

And finally – recycled paper jewelry!!!!

paper braceletspaper rings

A few days ago I went to a party and got the other side of this issue from a lady who writes about makeup for various magazines.  She told me (and she began with the disclaimer that she was just going to be the devil’s advocate) that not enough research has been done to prove with certainty that natural products are better than organic products.  She said that some people believe that no chemicals seep into your skin, so it’s safe to apply chemical makeup and products on the skin.

To go organic or not – do your research and then decide.