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iyengar yoga teacher

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Year End Musings

December 28, 2017

 

Hello Friends/Subscribers/Yoga Enthusiasts/Family (virtual & otherwise)/Students!!!!

The year started with my hair dark, long and straight.  As the months went on I got bored and decided I wanted to add depth to otherwise staid hair.  I got some streaks put in.  After a couple of weeks I decided the streaks needed something more and I added fuschia (Manic Panic Hot Pink).  This is the perfect analogy for the year.  What started as another year of classes turned into much much more.

This year has been about immense growth both on and off the mat.  Two months in Pune were challenging and difficult.  The teachers remembered me from last year but that didn’t stop them from literally swatting me into correct alignment.  It’s true, there’s no success without a bit of hardship.

The Dengue fever which followed soon after was my first experience with illness.  The weeks after that recovering was a time full of experimentation, a bit of fear and slowly getting back on track.

My website went live and brought all my interests under one roof.  So if you want to read what I have to say you’ve only got to click on a link.  If you want information about classes, you can just scroll to that page and if you want to drop me a line, you can do that very conveniently too.  From blogging/vlogging with no clear plan, I started to look for a clear structure.  The task became easier with a friend of mine coming on board and encouraging me to use my grey cells to focus on growth.  All the new content on Instagram, Facebook and YouTube (which I hope you’re enjoying) is a result of that.

As students we’ve seen excess weight shed, clocking more running miles, making long term diet changes, instinctively making better food choices, taking ownership of your fitness, introspection, more meditation minutes.  Together we’ve done runs, 108 Suryanamaskars on chilly mornings, post class breakfasts.  We’ve done an amazing and one of a kind retreat away from the rigmarole of life deep in the heart of nature. We have inspired each other and been inspired by each other.  We have watched each other collapse on our mats and then also watched as we pushed ourselves up to move ahead.

This is my last blog for the year and I’m so grateful that we’ve made a connection/continued being in touch this year.  This past week has been about reviewing the year and making plans for the next year.  I hope 2018 brings lots of good health, positivity and abundance into your life.

See you next year!

 

 

 

Travel

Dengue Fever – My Story

October 15, 2017

Baddhakonasana.

I was supposed to come to Delhi on the 18th of this month and leave on the 21st. Since I took two months off from teaching to study in Pune, I felt I should get back as soon as possible.  With this in mind I messaged my students  that classes would start on the 2nd of Oct.


 

 

 

 

 

But on the 28th of September I started feeling a bit tired and my appetite disappeared.  I found out from some other students that it was a 24 hour virus that was going around.  I managed to drag myself to class on Friday and Saturday, but collapsed in bed post class on both days. My sister was slated to visit me for a day on Saturday and I willed myself to get better. I popped a few Crocins on Thursday and Friday and hoped the fever would sweat out of my body. On Saturday the sis arrived and I was still a little shaky.  But I was tired of laying in bed all day, infirm.   We set out for the Osho park and I hoped that being out and about would make me feel better. I returned that night as tired as ever.

Kakuli & I in the Osho Gardens.

With Sneha in the Osho Gardens.

The next day was the 1st of Oct. I got to Bangalore and once again collapsed in bed.  The virus was supposed to be only a 24 hour virus and I was sure that I would be better in the next couple of hours.

I took classes on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. It was great to see my students again, but I still didn’t feel 100% myself. I didn’t have the energy to do my own practice and I couldn’t figure out why. I felt that if I was able to drive myself to classes then I should be able to practice too. At the same time I started to question the meaning of life and dwell on its futility.

I pinged my sisters that someone had given me the evil eye because what else could be wrong? I had no appetite and I was listless. I asked a friend of mine how to get rid of the evil eye and went out and even went out to buy a packet of red chillies.

Upon my mom’s insistence I went to the doc.  I’d never had to go to the doctor and so actually had to ask some people in my building for the closest reliable and trusted doctor. The doc asked me to get a platelet count done and also to check for Typhoid and Dengue.  The results showed my platelet count was 80000 (below normal range but not life threatening) and I tested positive for Dengue. The doc and my mom gave me an ultimatum. The doctor hooked me up to an IV and pumped glucose and Paracetamol into my system. My friend booked a ticket for me to Delhi. I went home and threw some stuff into a suitcase. Then I collapsed until another friend arrived to drop me to the airport.

No one in my family has ever had Dengue fever, but because this disease reaches epidemic like proportions every year in Delhi, everyone knew what to do. Since I fell sick I’ve heard of so many other people who’ve fallen sick during or after their time at RIMYI. Usually Dengue fever lasts anywhere between 5-7 days and it takes a person almost 2 weeks to completely recover. Because of my regular yoga practice I feel I was able to fight the infection relatively quickly. I had fever for about 2 days and was able to attend and conduct classes soon after.

This was the first time I fell sick (thanks to the yogi lifestyle) and my recovery was remarkably quick too.

Here are a few things I learned from getting this disease. Hopefully this will help you in combating the disease.

  1. Use your mosquito repellent.   I’ve heard Citronella oil,  Eucalyptus oil and Neem oil also keep the mosquitos away.
  2. Don’t fight the idea that you might be infected despite taking all sorts precautions.  I was almost in denial as I told the doc that I was going about my normal active life and didn’t understand how I could be infected.
  3. Take care of yourself – as yogis we sometimes put self-care on the backburner.  Cancel your classes and try and sleep.  Allow the fever to do what it will and focus on resting.
  4. Allow someone else to take care of you. You’ll have someone to tell you that life isn’t over.  I can’t remember the last time I spent so much time at home, but it made my recovery that much faster and more pleasant.
  5. When I had a fever all I felt like eating was apples and drinking cold water.  Looking at even a slice of toast made me want to throw up.  Before I found out it was Dengue I felt I should force myself to eat a little bit or I would fall sick.  Now I know that loss of appetite is a symptom of Dengue and my body craved hydration.
  6. Monitor your platelets count daily!
  7. Papaya leaf juice works like a charm.  Take some papaya leaf juice and water and grind them in your mixer.  Strain and drink.
  8. Sleep!
  9. Catch up on your reading.  I renewed my Kindle Unlimited subscription and my Goodreads saw a lot of activity too.
  10. Don’t worry about your practice/classes/work.  Once your mind and body are well rested, you’ll be back with a bang.

 

I hope to never ever be sick again.  This illness has reinforced my belief in making healthy choices every day without fail or excuses.  Sometimes getting an infection can’t be prevented but being in good health ensures you fight the infection like a boss.  This illness has also made me grateful for all the wonderful people in my life.  People who wake up early to drop you to the airport, people who check up on you in the middle of the night, those who ping you from around the world to make sure you’re OK.  I was lucky to be able to fly home at a moment’s notice and my mom was ready.  I’m grateful to my mother’s maids who knew where to get papaya and giloy leaves and promptly brought them home.  Even my tattoo artist reached out to me!

Any disease takes a toll on you physically, but if you have people around you who love you and care about you, you win the battle sooner.  I had loads of people who were there for me, and for that I can never be thankful enough.

 

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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

welcome

“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.