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A Good Life – Diwali Musings

October 26, 2019

As many of you know, a friend of mine from my Infy days (2005-2007) visited me last weekend.  We were sitting at The Thirteenth Floor, gazing out at the Bangalore skyline when she asked me, “Do you have a good life here?  Are you happy?”  Ever the optimist, I promptly said yes.

And later, I thought about my ‘good life’.

I live in a country where poverty, lack of basic human rights, illiteracy, unemployment, lack of healthcare and proper hygiene and much more is a reality for many.  I have to only look out of the window of my air-conditioned car to see that reality plainly and starkly.

Maybe it’s because I didn’t grow up here, or because as an empath I can feel deeply, but this reality always tinges my gratitude.  Being a ‘have’ or a ‘have-not’ is simply an accident of birth.  And our lives will be shaped by what we do with the cards we’ve been dealt.

The holidays are when I get a breather.  Maybe that’s why my mind starts to automatically take stock.  Below are a few things I’ve been thinking of lately.

In a country where making ends meet can be a constant source of worry for most, I’ve been able to create a niche for myself in a place of my choosing because I’ve had the luxury of not having to worry about rent, utilities, organic veggies and well-fitted yoga pants.

At 37 and single, I rent an apartment in a nice neighborhood with no problems.  I don’t have to contend with nosy neighbors interested in why I’m single or when I’m going to get married.  No one cocks an eyebrow when I come home late and I don’t get long ‘settle down now’ lectures from aunties in my building.  In a space dominated by the 9-5-vers, my largely bohemian lifestyle is accepted.  A decade ago this would’ve been impossible.

I’m living  in a country in which people are fueling the growth.  We are demanding more from our leaders and our bosses, from our parents and our friends.  We are choosing to get married later or not at all, and it is being accepted.  We are choosing to use are expensive technical degrees to start  small entrepreneurial ventures which we hope will make big impacts, and we are finding support.  We are trading in the old definition of stability and finding purpose in new definitions.

These are pretty much the thoughts in my mind during this Diwali.

For those of you living in India, do you also find yourself thinking along these lines?  Or am I an over thinker?

Books Poetry

It’s Not That Time of the Year Without…

October 6, 2019

A surprised glance at the months gone by,

for just like last year

this year has also passed softly, lightly.

The perfect accompaniment for these deliciously nippy evenings.

Books left untouched on shelves

which, not too long ago, I swore ardently ‘to read’

A year older, a year wiser?

Change has crept up on me

Calmly

For I may yet live

more expansively

in the days to come

I will not let these months pass

Without ridding

myself of heavy clutter

Without bonding

over cards

in houses twinkling with laughter and goodwill

Without looking

at an old space

and breathing new life.

Without affirming that

though I may seem the same,

my life the same,

my spaces the same

I have ridden the waves of Time

for even as I write this

I am not the same

my life is not the same

my spaces are not the same.

[WORDS DO MATTER! This post is written for the 3rd edition of #WordsMatter linkup hosted by Corinne, Parul and Shalini. The prompt for this edition of #WordsMatter linkup is ‘It’s not that time of the year without…’]

I received this tag from Anamika at https://thebespectacledmother.com/. It’s my pleasure to pass on this tag to Shinjini at https://moderngypsy.in/. There were 38 of us on this Blog Hop and it was spread over 3 days – 4, 5, 6 October 2019. Do follow the #WordsMatter Blog Hop, you’ll love our musings!

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Crack Open to Heal – Day 9

August 9, 2018

Yoga helps.  It heals.  It gets rid of emotional blockages and psychological pain.  It brings peace.  It brings clarity.  We’ve all heard this at one point or another.  And I’m sure we all wonder – how?

Yoga helps by teaching us how to create space.  Our demons reside in our joints.  Achy, stiff joints are permanent residences for the demons of our past.  To get rid of these demons we must lengthen our joints.  Create space so that the joints can breathe and release the demons holding them tightly together.  Once these demons are gone your joints will be free to move easily and pain free.

The same applies to backbends.  Bending backward is so difficult for many of us because it requires (amongst other things) flexible back and shoulder muscles as well as a flexible hip joint.  For a long time I wrestled with a stiff upper back.  After years of practice I’ve managed to overcome this challenge….only to realize that I’m unable to access and push the hip joint up.  And this will take a few more years to overcome.  The point is that the only way to let go of years of deep rooted fears and blockages is to spend years creating space between the bones and muscles so that the tightly held demons are let go.

To overcome past samskaras it is important to crack yourself in two.  For instance, when doing the Urdhvadhanurasana I’m almost trying to split myself into two, body below the sternum and above the sternum.  For the next couple of years it will be focusing on body below the hip joint and above the hip joint.  The practice of reaching within yourself to access an area which has been ‘sleeping’ automatically infuses this place with new life…and also enables you to release the ghosts of lives past.

 

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The Use of Props

July 28, 2017

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Blocks and ropes have become a permanent fixture in most yoga classes.  If you are into this practice for the long term it might be helpful to invest in a few props right now.  For me props are indispensable and I use them daily.  Some I use more than others.

Mat – There are many different kinds of mats I use depending on what I’m practicing.  I have a thick mat for when I need to practice the Halasana or any other pose where I feel I need some cushioning.

Most Iyengar teachers call your regular yoga mat the ‘sticky mat’.  I own two sticky mats and I’ve had them forever.  One stays in my car and the other one I use for my personal practice.  And I’ve had these mats for over 5 years now.  I think the best thing to do for your yoga mat is to wash it regularly and hang it out to dry.  The stickiness somehow gets replenished and they are as good as new. Someone gave me this tip during my teacher’s training and I’ve recommended this to others.  I haven’t heard any complaints from anyone (yet).

Floor – I think it was in a Manouso Manos workshop that I heard that the floor is your first prop.  It gives you a solid foundation.  It stays strong during your standing, seated, prone or inverted asanas.  A clean, uncluttered surface looks inviting.  In my teacher’s class it’s a clay floor.  When it’s really hot I sometimes practice on the cool bare floor.  In my house I get the floor cleaned every day so that I have a fresh palette to play on daily.

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Wall – I started practicing the Adhomukha Vrikshasana in Pune last year.  I continued to practice it at home and have steadily moved away from the wall.  When it comes to some asanas – like handstand or the headstand – you need to determine when you are ready to move away from the wall.  In this way, the wall helps you in exploring yourself and taking risks, but at the same time staying available for you always, should you need it.

Blocks – My first blocks were foam ones that I got as part of a ‘yoga set’.  Foam blocks work well when you’re just using them for minimal support.  However, when I’m working on chest opening or the Setubandhasana, I prefer the sturdier wooden variety.

Chair – during my last retreat I shared a personal story about the Viprita Dandasana.  Basically, I would have a horrible reaction to this pose.  I would feel queasy, my heart would start racing and I would start sweating profusely in only 20 seconds.  When I went to RIMYI last year the dreaded asanas was part of a the women’s only class.  I resigned myself to 2 minutes of queasiness.  But I was pleasantly surprised.  The way Gulnaz explained the asana was so clear and concise and it opened up the asana for me.  It was one of my biggest takeaways from my time there last year.  An asana (or a problem) can seem unsurmountable until someone guides you correctly.

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Blanket – When I think of blankets I think of softness.  I use my blanket under me when I do forward folds.

Ropes – I use these daily.  Because I do traction for my back daily.  Because you should do traction for your back daily.  Because everyone should do traction for their back daily.

Belt – I use belts mainly when I need to work on shoulder opening in various asanas.  In fact, watch this video  illustrating an easy shoulder opening trick using the belt.  Also, as most of my students know, I almost always use belts in the final relaxation.

Props ALWAYS enhance your practice.  I know a lot of people think that they don’t ‘need’ props.  I used to think so too, but I now feel that if you utilize your props well then you uncover nuances of the asanas that you wouldn’t otherwise.

Leave me a question if you have one!

 

 

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Hello Wonderful World!

June 13, 2017

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“And suddenly you know…It’s time to start something new and trust the magic of new beginnings.”

Life is continuously changing, evolving and growing.  And if you’re a yoga practitioner who is also an entrepreneur then change truly is the only constant.  To be honest, I’m not very comfortable with the term ‘entrepreneur’ because I see myself only as a practitioner and a teacher.  I don’t consider myself a part of the energetic and pulsating Bangalore start-up/entrepreneur scene.  Teaching yoga came organically to me, as it has to many who decided to make it their life’s work…but who also have to pay the rent.  The philosophy and practice of yoga is ancient, mystical and vast.  I would need lifetimes of study before I can bring in innovation which can be turned into a business opportunity.  However, I do realize that I have been able to make a significant contribution to the lives of many individuals who have trusted me and have had faith in me to guide them through their own journeys towards holistic health.

In our closely connected world,  it was inevitable that word about my work would get out and many people separated geographically from me would evince an interest in working with me to give direction to their practice.  With that came the conceptualization and later the implementation of The Yoga Practice.  The process unfolded at its own pace.  Today this online module is a combination of what my students need and the best way for me to provide it to them.

Seeing my work and perhaps identifying with it, an old friend decided to come on board and help me structure and organize my work.  Once I recognized the need and accepted the help, the floodgates opened.  Mentors appeared with helpful guidance, supporters came in droves, constructive advice started pouring in…and the result is greater clarity and sharper focus.

For many years I have been designing and leading workshops and retreats, conducting group and private classes, helping people far away through online sessions, making videos etc…and now we are organizing all of these under one roof so that the message has more impact.  Most importantly, our work is accessible to everyone everywhere who wants to improve their quality of life.

This website is all of my work under one roof.  Here you can read my blogs, access my YouTube videos, take a look at my upcoming classes & events, see what others are saying about my work and even send me a few lines!  As we get busy planning our activities for the rest of the year, we hope you will subscribe to our blog and share it with your friends too.

I sincerely hope our work adds meaning to your life.