I.F. (Intermittent Fasting) seems to be all the rage right now. Fitness experts are expounding it and every one (and their moms) are trying it. At the risk of sounding trite, I’d say I.F. has changed people’s lives. It’s helped people shed oodles of weight. It’s reduced the oft present stress around ‘clean eating’, ‘balanced eating’, ‘right eating’ by eliminating eating all together! And in my experience, it’s done a lot that we’re not even talking about.
I’m not one for fitness fads, but I’m also experimental. I’ll always try something, unless it’s too ‘out there’ for me. (And, to be honest, few things really are.)
Intermittent fasting is a system of eating where there is a specified ‘ eating window’, and ‘fasting window’. There are many different styles of Intermittent Fasting depending on these windows. The most common is the 16/8 fast, where you fast for sixteen hours and eat for eight. You can also do a 12/12 fast, where you fast for twelve hours and then have an eating window of 12 hours. You can fast on alternate days, or once in two days…
And to my surprise I found that this system of eating ‘worked’ for me. Below are 5 things it did for me, and which have me now.
I.F. MADE ME A BETTER YOGI
I kid you not. I’ve practiced yoga almost daily for the past decade. In a world where distractions are many and time a rare commodity, the only way I can do this is by waking up at an ungodly hour to get some uninterrupted practice time before the rest of the world awakes. More often than not, I’m sluggish and slow in the morning, sore from the previous day.
Enter I.F. and my body feels clearer. I am experiencing a kind of energy I’ve never experienced before. The kind where your brain might say ‘no’ but your body will move into the first sun salutation with no complaints. By reducing the quantity of food I consume, energy that would otherwise be spent on metabolizing and digesting food is available for morning yoga practice. My asanas are sharper, my body seems to move with no resistance and I am fully present for my practice.
I.F. GOT RID OF MY BRAIN FOG
Yoga is not only a physical practice. However, even the physical practice of yoga (asana practice) is linked to your mind. If your mind isn’t awake, your body is unlikely to act. After practicing I.F. for almost a month now I’ve noticed that my brain doesn’t take too long to wake up. Prior to this I would dilly-dally and procrastinate before finally stepping on my mat. Now I’m on my mat faster, more inspired, energetic and creatively abundant.
I.F. MADE ME APPRECIATE COFFEE MORE
But not because I’m guzzling down any more of it than I was before. In fact, I’m drinking less of it! Part of my dilly-dallying used to include making a cup of strong coffee. The aroma used to wake up my senses and the caffeine used to wake up my groggy cells. Now I don’t need the coffee. An era of coffee enjoyment has started in my Life. I have coffee when I want to and not because I need to. I enjoy a single shot of espresso more than I’ve ever enjoyed it before.
I.F. CONTROLLED MY FOOD CRAVINGS
Along with a decrease in my coffee cravings, my snacking has also reduced. I don’t find the need to constantly munch something. So I’m not putting junk into my system…and that may be contributing to my high energy levels.
I.F. CLEANED ME UP!
I see my waistline more often than not now. I.F. proponents scream weight loss more than anything else. In fact, many say that they have lost weight in spite of eating all the junk in the world! Just to be clear, I haven’t lost any weight, but I still see my waistline because of a reduction in inflammation in the gut. Because I no longer ingest easy snacks, I’ve cut back on bloat-causing preservatives that I was invariably consuming.
Before I end I’d also like to point out that there are numerous different versions of intermittent fasting.
I’ve jumped on to the I.F. bandwagon, and I think everyone should give it a go. Would you try intermittent fasting? Have you tried it already? Share your thoughts!
I was a little late jumping on to the ‘Bohemain Rhapsody’ bandwagon, but when I did I was spellbound. The movie was well done, and the portrayal of the characters was spell binding.
Freddie Mercury was perhaps the greatest rockstar of all time, but he was also an unwitting yogi. While going through a bunch of his pictures on Pinterest I started to notice that a lot of his moves on stage looked like yogic postures. The more pictures I saw, the more yogasanas I recognized. So I put together a bunch of Freddie Mercury’s pictures and the corresponding asana.
And variations of the Tree pose…
Every yogi knows the agony of getting this one right.
This is a bit of a stretch of the imagination, but you have to admit there’s a twist there. Also, Freddie’s flat abs, his chiselled body, the energy – is this the real life?
My biggest challenge…but look at him.
Hope you enjoyed this blog. Leave me a comment and share if you did!
Every once in a while
wipe the makeup off
slough off the dead skin of
Climb out from
under the weight of
the shoulds and should-nots
Let the wind
unfurl your hair
a flag wild and free.
Let your skin
flower in the soft sunlight.
The lines around
The last day in Sri Lanka we thought we would check out city life. It was Poya day and we stumbled upon the preparations for the Perahera. Poya days are the full moon days every month and are holidays. This particular Poya day was also the Navam Perahera Festival. Preparations were underway for a massive parade that would include elephants, dancers, acrobats and the like. We were excited to see the crowds and the buzz. We had planned to see some of the famous Buddhist temples in Colombo, but they were all closed. Although we noticed that many foreigners with ‘special passes’ were being allowed in. Shady business.
We didn’t have the patience to wait for the procession to start, nor the energy to brave the crowds. So we decided to head to Keels, a local supermarket to see if we could do some last minute shopping. All of us picked up some tea, Sri Lankan pickles and some spices.
Finally we took an Uber back to our hotel to sit on the terrace for dinner, as the moonlit waves crashed against the shore.
The next day we took an Uber to the airport. As we were driving through Colombo, I was reminded of the city I call home. I penned my thoughts down and you can read them here.
Teaching in Tangalle was great. We stayed in a small beach hotel called Coppenrath House and I taught class as the sun came up.
Second Time Surfing.
From Tangalle the closest surfing beach was Hiriketiya beach. I’ve been surfing in Auroville so this would be my second time. We decided to do a class and have the instructor coach us. The waves here were larger and a bit more wilder than in Auroville. But it was fun. My surfboard was heavy, I had salt in my nose, but by the end of the lesson I had balanced a couple of time. I did fall hard on my butt once, and had a bruise for a couple of days, but it was great to hear the instructor nod and say approvingly – “You! Where you from? First time surfing? You’re better, you’re better.”
Udawalawe National Park
This was a last minute addition to the itinerary. My sister was interested in seeing the elephants but traveling all the way to Yala wasn’t something we wanted to do. Luckily I found Udawalawe. We hired a driver to take us to Udawalawe. He was quite resourceful. On the way he pointed out a tree full of bats, a snake slithering across the road and a monitor lizard. And when we finally reached the sanctuary, he even knew the jeep we could hire for the safari.
From Udawalawe we headed to Mirissa. Mirissa is slightly more commercialized as compared to Tangalle. So there are a lot more souvenir shops and vegan options on many menus. My sister and I actually bought matching elephant pendants from one of the jewellery stores in the road near our hotel.
Most people don’t know that the largest blue whale in the world is found off the coast of Sri Lanka. The Lankan government conducts standardized tours. These start out early morning. At the recommendation of one of our drivers we chose Eagle Eye Tours for our whale watching experience. They provide you with tea/coffee, breakfast and an anti-seasickness pill for the journey. It takes an hour or two to get deep into the ocean, after which the whale sightings start. We saw blue whale, fin whales and so many dolphins. It was amazing.
The next day we hired a taxi to take us along the coast down to Tangalle. On the way we had planned to stop at Galle.
Our driver, Mical, sauntered in 45 minutes late. Soon after we started, he asked, “Sir! Ravana – what do you think? Good man or bad?”
Unsure of the most politically correct answer, I decided to take the middle ground, “He’s a complex character, with good and bad shades so it’s difficult to say. And what do you think?” I asked him.
“Ma’am sir! We think he is very good, but only one problem. He abducted Sita Amman. Otherwise everything else very good.”
“Ma’am sir! We think he is very good, but only one problem. He abducted Sita Amman. Otherwise everything else very good.”
The Moonstone Mines
Sri Lanka is known for its gemstone mining. Mical, stopped a little short of Galle at a gem factory where we got to see the process of mining moonstones, the process of refining them and finally creating jewels out of them. Ana and I both got a matching moonstone pendant as a souvenir from the mines.
Marine Turtles Protecting Centre
This was an unplanned stop for us. None of us had any idea about the amazing work that this centre is doing in terms of rescuing and rehabilitating turtles. The tsunami of 2004 affected the marine life, displacing, maiming and killing much of it. The Marine Turtles
Protecting Centre works with turtles to enable them to one day return to their natural habitat.
Galle is one of the major cities of Sri Lanka. The Portuguese built it as a major port city and the Dutch later went on to use it as one of the major ports of the country. We spent a long time walking along the cobblestone streets, ducking into souvenir shops, taking photos and sampling the local food. The National Maritime History Museum is in Galle, but we only had a couple of hours and wanted to spend it walking around the city. I’d read about Galle Things Roti, a restaurant specializing in rotis and curry and we had some great lunch there. I was also keen on having tea at the Amangalla hotel, a historic heritage hotel. While their tea isn’t special, the hotel has a lot of antique furniture which makes the ambience and the experience unique.
We reached our destination a little late. Tangalle is a quaint beach town. I was to teach yoga classes here for the next two days.
The key to excellence is repetitive practice. In the ideal world we would all have an hour and a half every morning to devote to our asana practice. We would have eaten light dinners the night before, gotten the necessary hours of sleep, have the energy and the inspiration to practice the same asanas for the millionth time. But every single yoga practitioner knows that there are more bad than good asana practice days. And that’s the method of any spiritual practice. Will you commit with no hopes of a return on commitment?
Every year Iyengar practitioners from around the world make their way to Pune, India to immerse themselves in the practice. Every year I await eagerly for the 4 weeks where I will be able to ‘retreat’ from the rigors of my regular life and give undivided attention to my practice. I usually have a reading list, I introspect through journaling and blogging, and I learn from the experiences of other students.
Retreating is an important part of a spiritual practice. It is to introspect as much as it is to delve deeper into the practice of your choice.
Retreating is an important part of a spiritual practice. It is to introspect as much as it is to delve deeper into the practice of your choice. A learning curve happens after every retreat. I have experienced the greatest growth after every retreat and workshop I’ve attended.
Teaching a retreat is as exciting for the teachers as it is for the students. When the idea of this retreat was a mere spark of an idea, we wondered what we could do to make this retreat unique, fun and helpful for those giving us the privilege of teaching them. We came up with a rough outline of a schedule. We started to think of how we could bring life and relevance to the teachings and the days slowly took shape. Involved as we are in our own practices, the results of a collaboration between Suzanne and I will distinctive.
Our mornings will be spent studying the asanas, in which we will also discuss the Indian/Hindu mythology pertaining to yoga. Our evening sessions will be about winding down the mind and body. There will be walks through the town, swims in the creeks. Conversations over shared dinners and the occasional glass of wine!
It will be a special time for all of us, made more special by those who give us the opportunity to guide them. We hope you can make yourselves available from the 1st-8th of June to join us in Liguria, Italy for a retreat to remember.
Write in to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com for more details.
[This are article has also been published at https://yogaliguria2019.blogspot.com/2019/02/why-retreat.html. You can find more information about the upcoming retreat in this link.]
If you’ve read my previous post, or been following my Instagram and Facebook stories, you would know I’ve just returned from Sri Lanka. I’ve wanted to visit the island for a while. It’s a quick getaway from India and that makes it quite accessible.
Sri Lanka is a tear dropped shaped island-country in the Indian Ocean, surrounded by the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea. It was formerly a British colony and was called Ceylon. In 1948, it gained independence and in 1972 officially changed its name to Sri Lanka. Since then there have been many governments, much unrest and a Tusnami in 2004 that have challenged the nation. But the nation has slowly and steadily built itself up.
We landed at the Bandaranaike International Airport after a short flight. The airport is named after S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike, the fourth prime minister of Sri Lanka. We had arranged to be picked up at the airport and the same driver would be with us the next day. We had half a day in Colombo and we wanted to make the most of it.
This area is one of the oldest in Colombo. It contained the Dutch Hospital, which served the troops sailing in to the harbour. The Dutch Hospital building is the oldest building in Colombo. Now it houses some of the most famous restaurants and shops such as the Ministry of Crab and the Barefoot Café. You need reservations at the Ministry of Crab, so we decided to eat at the neighbouring The Dutch Pub. We tried Lion beer, which is Sri Lanka’s local brew. When in Sri Lanka, don’t miss the beer!
The House of Fashion is a large multi-storied department store that has everything under one roof. So you have gift packs of tea, sarongs, books, incense, spices and even clothes, all displayed beautifully for the tourist in you. Someone had recommended picking up souvenirs from here. In addition to everything else, they also have clothes at great prices, and sure enough, I bought a bunch of tees for myself. Go if you have the time, you may end up finding a good deal.
Since our lunch consisted of pub grub, we decided that dinner should be Sri Lankan. We googled and found Upali’s. My first experience with Sri Lankan food was super spicy. The Delhi Belly I’ve never experienced in Delhi gave me much grief here.
While on the trip we tried to have Sri Lankan food whenever and wherever we could. There are many commonalities between South Indian and Sri Lankan food. So while dal, steamed rice, kottu roti, and hoppers were all familiar, there was a distinct flavour which was foreign to our tongues.
Our first day ended with us crawling into bed tired but feeling eager to head south along the coast to see the rest more of the country.
Some tips for travellers:
which reminds me
of my own.
Where a monkey-God centuries ago
Leapt the distance I have flown.
Where I see
The crests and troughs
of my own face
In the lines and crevices
of the locals.
Where there exists
That does not break
Through the ravages of tsunamis
And the heartbreak of Insurgence.
For where I come from too
Cloudbursts and earthquakes
And tragedies that only humans can cause
And yet we rise
For in my country too
History is not forgotten
Like the smell of cinnamon.
It spices our food
And scents our skin.
which reminds me
of my own
It is my own.