Thursday, May 18, 2017

Dealing with Obesity through Yoga.

In todays world there are many reasons why throughout all continents more and more people are suffering from obesity.  What is fundamental is that we look at what is the root cause of this, we are living in the most comfortable of times, but people are at their most unhealthy, why are people resulting in such unhealthy ways of eating and living?  There are many choices out there it is not necessary to live this way.
We know the effects physically that obesity can bring – heart diseases, diabetes, circulation and joint issues etc.  Mental side effects can be depression, loss of enthusiasm and vitality and a feeling of being in a rut that you simply can’t see anyway out of.  People are not feeling good about themselves, which leads to more unhealthy choices and deepening into the rut.
What causes obesity?  Simply the wrong choices on how we are eating and what we are eating.  Why do we make those wrong choices, because we are turning to food to replace something that we feel is missing from our lives, love or being needed by someone or the community, feelings of anxiousness or nervous energy, these can all direct us to food. 
Ultimately any emotional and mental instability is the root cause and it is this that we need to address.
Yoga can give the inspiration to direct these negativities into a positive attitude and allows the ladder to be put into place to start the climb out of the rut of bad habits and wrong thinking.  Here is how to make a start –
Find a teacher that inspires you, gives you confidence and develops your will power.
Learn some relaxation techniques especially if you are the nervous eater type, and use these before you eat.  Eating in a tense way can lead to wolfing down your food and eating far too much which is impairing the digestion.  Learn to relax before you eat, say a prayer or mantra for the food you are taking and respect that food, take what you need and not more.  Enjoy the process of eating, tasting the food and chewing well.
Those that eat out of boredom need to direct themselves toward some positive activities, and away from home or the place where there is so much temptation of food around.  Get out into the community and get involved, go for walks out in nature, meet some new people, see how you can help out and be a benefit to your local community.  We all have something that we can offer even if it is just listening to others.  Get involved with some gardening projects and see if you can grow your own vegies or fruits.
Practice yoga – Surya Namaskar is a wonderful boon for the whole system.  Practice slowly to begin with and slowly build up your stamina.  At first practice for a shorter amount of time and have more relaxation afterwards, notice how you feel, how your body feels after practice and slowly increase the practice over time.   Practice such poses as pawanmuktanasana, pachimotinasana and padahastasana.  Practice breathing techniques such as alternate nostril breathing which will calm and soothe your system and start to bring the endocrine system back into balance, and help to soothe the mental activity.  Practice Yoga Nidra for complete relaxation.
Start to turn your diet around slowly, don’t make any harsh changes; this will result in a mental revolt in what you are doing and likely that you will make many steps backward and not forward.  Gently start to make healthier choices and begin to eat more natural foods, fresh vegetables, fruits and grains.  Over time your body will naturally start to want these types of foods than the unhealthier options.  Cut down on your sugar, replace with a natural sweetener like honey, maple syrup or jagery.  Don’t switch to artificial sweeteners these are equally as bad for you, be as natural as you can.
Practice Yoga and raise yourself out of your condition finding harmony once again through the mental and physical self, you will find the feelings that are missing or you think you are missing from your life through the practice.  Your heart is full of love, compassion, joy and peace and yoga will show you the way to finding them again.  Yoga can show you the way back to being a complete happy, healthy and joyful being.
Take the courage and dive in!
It is advisable to find a class that is suitable for you, not too demanding, a gentle Hatha class would be advisable, and remember to relax once you become tired within the class.   Slowly over time your fitness levels will increase and your body will start to change.  Do it with love for yourself and patience.  Ask the teacher for a few asana’s (postures) you can practice at home to help the process.   Find the fresh energy that you need and a new positive you through yoga.
Have beautiful days and love yourself, your body, your energy and your mind, because you are beautiful.
Om Namah Sivaya
Mangala / Nicky.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

All things are difficult before they become easy - Peacock Pose.

“Have patience, all things are difficult before they become easy.” Hafiz

I love this quote from Hafiz and it is so true, we forget that once we couldn’t even crawl and that had to be learned, we couldn’t walk or run, or feed ourselves, all had to be learned.  Sometimes the world throws things at us that seem overwhelming or incredibly challenging that we may want to hide under that cozy blanket and hope the situation will disappear.  But as Hafiz says, all is difficult before it becomes easy, then after that we wonder what we were worried about.  Or what we were worried about has become forgotten – we shift forward.  I love the fact that yoga asana or postures teach us to shift forward, no matter how long it takes us – poses can be incredibly challenging, but they are supposed to be, this helps us deal with those things that are challenging in our daily lives.  What we learn on the mat we can apply off the mat.  They teach us to be braver, to be able to move with ease through different situations knowing we will get to our goal in the end.  The amount of times I have fallen on my face with this peacock pose, but all it came down to was finding my own way on how to come up, this took a little playfulness and a lot of patience.  Sometimes a little play with the body will take us a long way toward knowing how to handle something.  As well as all the physical benefits, it was a case of determination, concentration and focus that got me there in the end.  And importantly a sense of trust that I could make it, tell yourself you can do something and it really works, so we think - so we become, tell yourself you can’t do it and it will seem impossible before you even try.  So have a go, have confidence in yourself and try, you never know you just might make it, I have faith in you, so try why not, and if we fall we learn.  One person told me, we don’t fail, sometimes we have success and sometimes we learn!  And that is so true.

Benefits of Mayurasana –
This asana stimulates the metabolic processes which increase secretions from the glands.  It stimulates the elimination of toxins from the blood assisting in healthy skin.  The digestive organs are massaged and it is great for managing any digestive disorders, diabetes and sluggishness of the liver and kidney.  There is development of mental and physical balance and helps with muscular control.  Toxins are eliminated, lethargy reduced and an awakening to the kundalini Shakti can occur.  
“The peacock posture destroys the effects of unwholesome food: it produces heat in the stomach and destroys the effects of poisons, it cures fever and is a very useful posture.” The Gerunda Samhita.

Never practice or try to practice if you are pregnant, have high blood pressure, have any hernia, peptic or duodenal ulcer, or have physical weakness.  ALWAYS practice under the guidance of a suitably qualified teacher, and take care if you don’t want a bruised nose!!  

Enjoy showing your glorious tail feathers Peacock style in everything you do!
Have beautiful days Om Shanti Shanti Shanti

Mangala / nicky

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Words of Encouragement.

Anything you fear is teaching you courage to overcome it.
Anything that annoys you is teaching you patience.
Anything that angers you is teaching you forgiveness and compassion.
Anyone that leaves you is teaching you to stand on your own two feet.
Anything that has power over you is teaching you to take that power back.
Anything you can’t control is teaching you to be able to let go.

Sometimes it is helpful to be reminded of these things, every feeling can be a lesson, we are human, we feel, and how wonderful that is, listen to yourself and watch, see what you have to learn and how far you have already come.  Celebrate the wonders of feeling and when the lower or negative emotions come try to observe them, know about them and then move away from them and spend your time like a sunflower, raising its head to the sun and not noticing the shadows below.  Everything can be beautiful with immense wonder if you choose to see it that way.  You are the master of your own destiny Swami Sivananda repeatedly tells us, so make a choice, that is something that all of humanity has, choice, do you want to live joyfully?  Of course you do, and this is essentially what you truly are, joy, but when the thought waves (vrittis) are there, you cannot see yourself.  So sit comfortably, and listen, listen, listen.  When there is a sorrow vritti, you identify with it, but you are not sorrow, when there is a fearful vritti you identify with it, but you are not fear.  Try to put some distance between yourself and your thoughts, look into your mind without identifying with it, when the vrittis change, your opinion also changes.  Sit and watch and let the mud settle, then you will begin to see clearly what you truly are, that of pure love and joy.  When you drive a car you have to have it under control to reach your destination, the same as you have to get your monkey mind under control, what you think so you become, if you think that you are sick, then you will become sick, if you think that you are depressed, then you will become depressed, learn to meditate making one thought positive and then the next thought positive and so on.  Then you can start to bring the mind and the intellect together.  Practice Japa meditation, discipline the monkey mind and rest in your own true nature.  Don’t live sadly, with fear and jealousy, live joyfully and rest in joy, peace and love.

Be beautiful, have beautiful days,
Shanti shanti shanti
Mangala / nicky.

Community Kids Yoga Teacher Training starts in May 2017.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Super Delicious carrot cake Oats!

For those of us who like a little sweet sometimes, this is an easy, wholesome and delicious treat, leave in the fridge all day and have for dinner, or overnight for those of you who have breakfast, or on days when breakfast is calling!!

Add to a jam jar or some kind of jar or glass – leave about 6 hours in the fridge.

½ cup of old fashioned oats
½ cup of unsweetened almond milk (see recipe below)
1 grated carrot
2 tablespoons of unsweetened natural organic yoghurt
1 tablespoon or raisons
1 tablespoon of maple syrup or good organic honey
¼ teaspoon of vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon of cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon of nutmeg
1 tablespoon of chopped pecans, or other nuts or fruits
Almond Milk –  Blend all together and sieve out any pulp
140g organic almonds (without skins and chopped)
1 tsp ground cardamom
4 tsp organic good honey or maple syrup
16fl oz water

Benefits of Almonds -  They are rich in good fats, Vitamin E, calcium, magnesium, zinc and iron.  Almonds can be beneficial for those suffering with anemia, constipation, high blood pressure or diabetes and can help benefit the skin and hair.  I love my almonds!!  Every morning whilst practicing intense practices during Sadhana Intensive, we drank almond milk every morning not only is it delicious and with many benefits it was so comforting too!
Oats are incredibly nutritious and rich in antioxidants and are said to be one of the healthiest grains on earth. They contain good sources of iron, magnesium, folates are rich in carbs and B1 and B5, although rich in carbs they are low in fat.  Hmmmm yum,  I’m off to make my overnight, carrot cake oats!!  Although being mostly vegan I leave out the yoghurt and add more almond milk. 
Enjoy yours and chant Hari Rama Hari Rama Rama Rama Hari Hari, whilst you are making it for even more auspiciousness and deliciousness to be added!
Have beautiful days
Om shanti Om
Mangala / Nicky