Browsing Tag

wellness

Travel

My Overnight Yoga Retreat

November 19, 2018

When I plan a yoga retreat location is the first thing I home in on.  To find a place that resonates with you and the experience you want to create is challenging. So I’m always on the lookout for interesting places to conduct retreats.

A few weeks ago I drove a little out of Bangalore to a farm called Hollas Halla.  You can check out their Instagram profile here.  I’d already spoken to Manali Holla and we had decided to meet to see the property and see what kind of experience we could create there.

10 years ago Suresh Holla, chanced upon some acreage of absolutely barren land and a lake.  An MTech from IISc, no one really expected him to buy 5 acres with the dream of bringing this land to life.  Everyone dismissed it as madness.  There were no proper roads, no electricity, nothing.

 

 

When I went there a couple of weeks ago I saw the fruits of Suresh Holla’s labor.  The lake is still there, but now there is a lush jungle around it.  The Holla family conducts camps, retreats and treks at Holla’s Halla.

Initially I planned the usual yoga retreat with a morning yoga session followed by lunch etc.  But as we looked at the lake I thought it would be a dream to practice yoga next to it.  I spoke to Swetha, my co-teacher, and we decided to modify the plan so that we can practice yoga as the sun sets and rises.  An experience that few yoga retreats can offer.

The itinerary for this exciting is below:

Day 1 (Sat 8th Dec):

3-4 pm: Arrive at the farm.  Receive the grand tour.  Check-in to your tents.

4-6 pm: Tea/Coffee/Relax

6-7 pm: Sunset yoga session.

7-8.30 pm: Dinner

9 pm onwards: Bonfire

Day 2 (Sun 9th Dec):

5 am: Wake up

6-7 am: Sunrise yoga session.

7.30-8.30 am: breakfast

9 am: Trek to the nearby hills/enjoy the lake/get a water massage!

12 noon: Lunch

 

This retreat is priced at Rs. 5000/- all inclusive.

Call 9686233003 or 9886062268 to register.

You can check out Hollas Halla’s facebook page here.

 

Food

Carrots – Eat Clean and Green

January 31, 2018

Most days between classes you’ll find me writing.  Always on the lookout for calm, quiet and interesting places, nothing works better for me than a cafe where I can have some delicious tea, and some lunch.  Last week a friend of mine and I decided to go to Carrots in Koramangala to get ahead on a bit of work.  Note to writers: Change your location.  I find it kills writer’s block instantly.

Eating at a vegan restaurant ensures that most of the stuff available is also ‘clean’.  We ordered a Greek salad and a pizza, and as I write this I’m hungry again!  The salad and pizza are to die for.  The vegetables are fresh and smell of healthy goodness.  Those who know a bit about veganism will know that vegans don’t eat cheese.  I’ve met many a pizza lover who won’t believe that it’s possible to have extremely yummy pizza sans the cheese.  Go to Carrots and taste just how delicious a vegan pizza can be.

Luckily Susmitha, one of the owners and a vegan for the last 15 years, dropped by our table for an informal (and informative!) chat.

We spoke about how Operation Flood (White Revolution) completely changed the way we consume dairy.  We concurred that cases of childhood obesity, various gut diseases, skin problems etc can be directly linked to the consumption of milk and other dairy products.  As an aside I have to mention that I love the fact that I can eat/drink anything at Carrots and not worry that it contains dairy.

Interestingly, there are several products manufactured by Amul which are vegan by accident.  Such as their dark chocolate.  Amul, the biggest participant in Operation Flood, ‘accidentally’ manufactures several vegan chocolates too!  This called out another assumption I had – vegan and healthy aren’t necessarily the same thing.  As a vegan I might eat the Amul Dark Chocolate, but as me (yogini trying to eat clean), I wont touch that stuff. (#nosugar)

Honey is also not vegan nor whole.  Susmitha had the explanation.  From a technical standpoint honey is basically bee vomit.  Bees collect pollen and then regurgitate what we know as honey.  She also told us that it takes forty thousand bee flying miles to make 1 tsp of honey!  Which is why commercially available honey is so suspect (for those of you who use honey as replacement for sugar).  Also, many farms clip the wings of the Queen Bee so that she doesn’t fly away.  That way, the worker bees are tricked into staying (and therefore making honey) in the same place.  The natural behavior of bees is to fly from place to place building their hives and doing their work.  By clipping the Queen Bee’s wings you ensure that the worker bees stay in the farm and work only for you.

As it often happens, those of us who are seriously into wellness have compelling personal narratives.  Susmitha and I share the same reason – both had gained unhealthy weight!  I asked Susmitha if she had experienced any internal changes; such as on the emotional and mental front; after she started living the vegan life.  And she said yes!  Her fear of stray dogs has evaporated and her Reiki and meditation practices have improved.  And all of us who practice wellness will agree that your physical and your mental health are connected.  If compassion drives your actions, it’s not long before compassion infuses your entire being.

Carrots has actually become a hub for holistic health.  All kinds of events related to health, lifestyle and wellness happen here and its actually become a meeting place for like minded individuals.  We can certainly vouch for that.  We met like minded individuals and had the most delicious and healthy food.  Looking forward to returning for some more healthy food and nourishing conversation.

Do check them out on their Facebook page and drop in for some vegan latte :).

 

P.S. I’m honored to say that I will be holding a talk on Valentine’s Day at Carrots.  On the day when we celebrate relationships I thought it would be great to talk about the relationship we have with ourselves.  Promises to be an awesome session and it is absolutely free, so do drop in!  You can book your spot here: http://bit.ly/2Fb5dy8

Uncategorized

It Starts With You

January 22, 2018

A few days ago a friend of mine showed me a video clip that she found inspiring.  It was about being interested in your goals vs. being committed to your goals.  The video was a montage of footage of a man talking about the pursuit of his goals and a people busy in physical pursuits.  As this man speaks about commitment we see a boxer practicing.  As he speaks of doing whatever it takes to achieve your goals, we see someone surveying the terrain, presumably to run through it.  As he talks about upgrading your knowledge, we see a someone running through the snow.

When the video finished I said that it’s quite interesting that they’ve used fitness to illustrate the main idea of the video.  There are many ways to depict smashing and achieving goals.  We can show people in a boardroom bagging a successful deal.  We can show an actor executing a scene perfectly.  We can also show a student getting an acceptance to a prestigious university.  So why is fitness the preferred approach to depict motivation and dedication?

Associating fitness with achievements in other aspects of life is not a coincidence.  Think about it, when you think of that friend of yours who works out regularly, is on track with the diet and exudes a sense of wellness, don’t you get a sense of awe?  If you’re not on the path yourself don’t you feel a tinge of jealousy or pride (depending on your relationship with said friend and the kind of person you are)?

A healthier lifestyle, a fitter body, a cleaner diet, more strength, more stamina, more flexibility, glowing skin, luscious hair, clear eyes – all these are more than skin deep.  These don’t translate only to a physically well-proportioned human being.  These translate to a human with a confident gait and an easy smile.  A person who wears their clothes and skin well.  A person who is involved daily in self improvement more than in passing judgment on others.

A person who works out daily depicts the wholesome personality that we all aspire to.  A person who is dedicated to making things happen.  A person who creates life, rather than one who responds to it.  A person who doesn’t sit in a corner crying about a missed opportunity, but someone who moves confidently towards the next challenge.  After all, you win some and you lose some.  Someone who lives rather than exists.

And taking care of your physical and mental health is the first step to demonstrating that you care.  That you can commit to changing yourself before you change an empire.  That you can first bring a revolution within yourself, before you revolutionize the world.  If you can commit to yourself, then you can commit to anything.  If you can change yourself, then you can change anything.

It starts with you.

And below is the video that got me thinking.

Uncategorized

Think Women Think Sheroes

January 15, 2018

It’s the middle of January and by now it would be pretty clear to you whether you are on track with your fitness goals or not.  Face it, if you haven’t started working out already, then you aren’t on track.  Staying on track, smashing your fitness goals, sticking to your New Year’s resolutions is easier said than done, and I do understand that.  But I’m also a huge fan of staying on your game with some help.  I find that what helps me is my own personal fitness group.  A group of like-minded people with whom I can discuss fitness related news and ideas and who can answer my queries and give me new insight into my interest.  I feel it’s a great idea to cultivate a group of like-minded individuals because it helps you stay motivated.

I recently came across sheroes.com, a platform specifically for women.  I browsed through the site and through its various communities and realized that it’s a great platform for women from all walks of life.  There are communities dedicated to writing, for career advice and even for relationship advice!  It’s definitely a useful platform where women will feel supported and empowered.  The community that I promptly clicked in to was the ‘Health Tips’ community and below is what it looks like.

What I really appreciated was the fact that the community was dealing with real questions from real people.  Just like you and me.  You can get advice from your peers about any health problems you are facing, and even tips of what other women have tried and tested.

In addition to this, sheroes.com also has qualified doctors who are on call to respond to medical queries.  This ensures that you’re not getting inaccurate or half-baked information.  You have access to expert advice from doctors for a wide range of medical issues.

A more valuable use for this platform is to address personal issues that we sometimes don’t have anyone to speak to about.  This is a platform through which you can get answers for intimate queries private and anonymously.  For instance:

image (1)

Intrigued?  Check out their health community here.

You can also download the SHEROES App here.

SHEROES has really done a good job of coming up with a portal valuable for all women.  It’s a one stop destination for any query or advice a woman might need.  They’ve really proven their words “THINK WOMEN THINK SHEROES” true!

Do check it out and let me know what you think.

Uncategorized

Getting My Asanas Back

October 29, 2017

The Lake as the sun comes up. Notice the little boat in the water.

I think just a little bit of effort towards health can ensure that we prevent most ailments.  But what do you do if you get attacked by a virus in those rare moments of low immunity?  I’ve already done a blog on what to do if you have Dengue fever.

My only concern after I started to feel better was my yoga practice.  I spoke to a few friends who had experience with Dengue and realized that it will take me some more time to get my strength back.  Until then I had to work with where I was and do what I could.

So I practiced a lot of patience.  I took it easy and experimented in equal measure and made some progress.  Here’s a snapshot of the week.  I’m writing this after a delicious lunch of rice and kala channa; satisfied with how this week has been for my practice.

I started Tabata workouts on Monday.  I didn’t expect myself to be able to do it, and I didn’t.  I had to take breaks, but I didn’t give up.  I wanted to focus on stretching my lower body so I did the Janu Sirsasana and Paschimottanasana.  The Adhomukha Svanasana had my legs shaking and I decided to stick to the seated postures.  Interesting enough, the Hanumanasana came to me!!!  I took classes on Monday but rested for the rest of the day.

It’s difficult to get out of bed, but this view makes it worth it.

On Tuesday my legs and shoulders ached like never before.  From the Ashtangis and the Kalari practitioners I learned the benefits of massaging sesame oil on achy muscles and creaky joints.  Before I went to sleep I tried to rub the aches away, knowing full well that they would still be there tomorrow.  I tried to do as much Tabata as I could and focused only on seated asanas.  I ended with the Hanumanasana again.  Any kind of inversion was out of the question.

Things started to improve on Wednesday.  I felt stronger and decided to practice a few standing asanas.  I did the Tadasana, Uttanasana, Trikonasana, Parsvakonasana, Virbhadra 2 and felt my energy levels flagging.  I tried the Downward Dog and sure enough, my legs started shaking.  I closed the practice.

However, by Friday I felt markedly stronger.  I did standing poses and the seated ones after Tabata and felt energized instead of drained.  I registered for the Go Heritage Run Srirangapatnam run and decided I would test my stamina over the weekend.

Saturday – did Tabata and headed to the lake to do a 5 km walk.  Legs were a bit shaky, but overall I felt good.  I also felt encouraged to head out for a 5km run at Cubbon Park with a friend.

Sunday(Today) – Tabata is becoming easier and the aches are almost gone.  Did the 5 km with no problem.  Very thrilled and determined to get all my strength, flexibility and asanas back!

Next week is to build strength for the Go Heritage Run and to experiment carefully with handstands.  I’m also focusing on good wholesome meals since I have a tendency to be a bit lax about that.  All in all, a great weak.

Hope you guys are having a great day too!

Waking up early isn’t just about the exercise, it’s about the serenity and beauty that you can see in nature.

 

Uncategorized

Hybrid Yoga

June 29, 2017

yoga_practice

Yoga teachers are frequently asked about their journey.  What drew us to yoga?  When and how did we know.  Much like their personalities, every teacher’s journey to teaching is also unique.

chakrasana_before_after

The Urdhvadhanurasana has come a long way…

The more time I spent practicing yoga, the more I felt there wasn’t enough time!  I registered for a yoga teachers’ training course and started thinking realistically about the profession.  I knew that I was teaching to become a better student, and not the other way around.

Over the years, as demand for my teaching grew, I realized that I was constrained by IMG-20160731-WA0044time and geography.  There are many who express an interest in my classes, but are unable to travel from, say, Bannerghatta Road.  Just making YouTube videos, or creating a generic module wouldn’t work.  Live interaction is essential when it comes to movement-based practices.

The idea for the ‘The Yoga Practice‘, came to me while discussing ‘what more’ with a student during a break in class.  Why not create a hybrid module of customized videos and face to face interaction.  All students will get videos customized for them, and they will be able to practice yoga at their convenience AND in the comfort of their own homes.  Plus, once a week we schedule a catch up call where I observe students’ asanas, answer questions, clarify doubts and plan the next week.  Below is an example of a video we shot for a student.  It’s one of the prettiest videos we’ve done and I watch it all the time.

 

So, if you or someone you know wants to incorporate yoga into their lives but dIMG_20170610_172540_411on’t have access to a good teacher, or has time constraints, then you might want to take a look at this module.  It’s helped many people steadily improve their health and increase their wellness quotient.  Leave us a query on the blog with any questions you have.

Keep an eye out for the video about this module.  If you haven’t subscribed to the YouTube channel yet, do so asap!!!

IMG-20160403-WA0042

Lifestyle Uncategorized Yoga

We’re Working Hard And…

June 18, 2017

moving

“The secret of change is to focus all your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new,” -Socrates.

The last couple of months have been crazy busy for me.  I’ve been meaning to do this post for many many weeks now, but was only able to get to it today.  I’ve been teaching my regular classes, have a couple of retreats and workshops under my belt, have designed new classes and modules (including The Yoga Practice, which I’m so incredibly excited about) and have found time to travel as well!

The year is far from over, and I have my annual trip (study retreat?) to Pune coming up in August and September.  We’re also working on refining The Yoga Practice and getting the word out there as much as we can about it.  My practice is going well, and I see improvement in my students almost daily!  The first half of this year has been very rewarding.

I’ve also been working on consolidating everything I do under one platform.  As my practice gets more focused, so does my vision for ‘Yoga With Pragya’.  At the beginning of this year I had an idea of where I was headed and over the past couple of months the vision has became clearer.  Our new website is a step towards a more organised initiative.  As my practice deepens, my teaching becomes more refined and I’m getting very creative with how I can help people across the board.

We’re building something useful, helpful and, most of all, accessible to all those who are interested in yoga, holistic health and a wholesome lifestyle.  Most of you have been following this blog for many years.  I hope you will stay with me as I grow, expand and evolve further.  Subscribe to our new blog here: http://yogawithpragya.in/blog/.  While you’re there, please browse the site and leave us constructive feedback.  We’re really excited about the great things we have in store for you.  Please share with all your friends and subscribe to our other platforms as well (Facebook, YouTube & Instagram).