Thursday, December 22, 2011
On this day it will be my last blog post of 2011, and I will leave you with two beautiful pieces of text. Wishing you all a wonderful festive season, congratulations to my practitioners here in Kathmandu for battling on with your practice through these cold days, I honor you all. And may the whole world find Peace and Harmony; Om Loka Somasta Sukhino Bhavantu
On This Day by Swami Chidananda
Mend a quarrel. Search our a forgotten friend. Dismiss suspicion, and replace it with trust. Write a love letter. Share some treasure. Give a soft answer. Encourage youth. Manifest your loyalty in a word or deed.
Keep a promise. Find the time. Forego a grudge. Forgive an enemy. Listen. Apologise if you were wrong. Try to understand. Flout envy. Examine your demand on others. Think first of someone else. Appreciate, be kind, be gentle. Laugh a little more.
Deserve confidence. Express your gratitude. Worship your God. Gladden the heart of a child. Take pleasure in the beauty and wonder of the Earth. Speak your love. Speak it again. Speak it still again, and speak it still once again.
The Importance of Yoga by Swami Sivananda
Life today is full of stress and strain, of tension and nervous irritability, of passion and hurry. To remove physical, mental and psychological tensions, our ancient seers of India, not of India merely, but of humanity as a whole, perfected the system known as 'Yoga'. Yoga is an exact science. It is a perfect, practical system of integral education, education not only of the body and the mind or the intellect, but also of the inner spirit. Yoga shows you the marvellous method of rising from badness to goodness, and from goodness to godliness, and then to eternal divine splendour. It is the art of right living. The Yogin or Yogini who has learnt the art of right living is happy, harmonious and peaceful. He or she is free from tension. Yoga is complete life. It is a method which overhauls all the sides of human personality. To live in God, to commune with God is Yoga.
Om Namah Sivaya
Seeing the divinity in each and every one of you
shanti shanti shanti
Saturday, December 17, 2011
A healthy and hearty meal for lunch or dinner.
Ingredients; (amounts depend on how many you are feeding!)
Dried fruit, apricots, raisins or both
Cracked black pepper
Mix the couscous with the cracked black pepper, ground coriander, chopped almonds and dried fruit, add about the same quantity of boiled water as the couscous and cover, leave for about 3-5 mins.
Gently stir-fry your broccoli; aubergine and green beans, just before finishing cooking add a good quantity of sesame seeds.
Uncover the couscous and add the vegetables and lastly some chopped pieces of tangerine and mix it all up.
Serve with a delicious crunchy apple!
Saying a mantra before food is important for us yogis, as it neutralises the food and makes it an offering to the divine that dwells within you, making eating a more nourishing and beneficial experience rather than just for satisfying the senses.
Also any angry or cross emotions that are felt by the cook during preparation of the food would have been induced into the food by vibrations. By saying the mantra it harmonizes and purifies the food again making it a more wholesome experience and helps us with our journeys to find our true nature. The mantra you should use is as below:
Brahmarpanam Brahmahavir Brahmagnau Brahmanahutam
Brahmaiva Tena Gantavyam Brahmakarma Samadhina.
(Brahman is the oblation, Brahman is the offering, and he who always sees Brahman in action shall reach Brahman.)
Enjoy your Shanti Couscous!
Smiling from the heart. :-)
Friday, December 9, 2011
Gurukulam means living with the teacher, Guru being teacher and Kula being home, this system belongs to a long line of guru's and disciples. From ancient time Guru's gave knowledge from word of mouth the great saints are part of this GuruKulam system, it is an unbroken chain, where the tradition keeps the teachings alive. Gods, saints, sages, masters and swamis are like rivers of knowledge with so many tributaries, through initiation there is a transfer of energy; the spark is given and then the knowledge of the student can grow through spiritual practice. To light a candle you need another candle so to speak. I have this system in my mind now, as I am preparing to journey back to India to my Guru; Swami Govindanada, to begin my advanced practice and teacher training on the 15th of Jan. It was a hard feat this evening as I said goodbye to my husband to go off on his Christmas dinner party with friends, knowing that the indulgence would be no good for my preparations even though there was a vegetarian option, staying home and lightly cooking my broccoli! But to go and embark on this course in its full glory of tradition, knowing everything that can be potentially gained from it, is a real privilege and I have to keep that in mind this festive season. Having recently been in touch with SwamiJI and him asking if I am preparing accordingly, I have to be strong, in fact as I told him I feel like I have been preparing for this since completing my first round of teaching training. Being a yoga teacher means living as a yogi, this means daily practice, asana and pranayama, daily meditation, daily Bagavad Gita reading and of course the yogi diet, as well as trying to keep up studies. How can I teach yoga properly and transfer that spark of knowledge if I am not living as yogi? So sometimes being a yoga teacher as much as it really is a wonderful and beautiful thing, it can also be a hard and lonely path, but it is my duty and one that I relish in.
I am so looking forward to being back with SwamiJi, receiving more purification and to follow his teachings implicitly as I know the benefits they will bring. However it is not good to just follow blindly, but from the practice there are sparks of light, awakenings, signs on the path that we are going in the right direction, knowledge is not all obtained all at once and yoga goes so deep the knowledge is a never ending fountain, so how can we expect to gain it all at once. No we have to keep on learning, it is said that a quarter of knowledge comes from the teacher, a quarter from fellow students, a quarter from oneself and the last quarter from time itself. So here I am my heart is open, my mind is open, with the Guru’s grace I hope for a very exciting learning experience that I can share with all of you, lets pass on the light.
With seasons wishes to you all,
Om Loka Somasta Sukhino Bhavanto
May all beings find peace and harmony
Om shanti shanti shanti
You can find Swami Govindanada at this site for courses and yoga vacations
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Saraswati is the Goddess of knowledge, wisdom and the arts, she is the active energy of Brahma: the Lord of creation. Without her dynamic energy there is no creation. She wears white clothes a white garland and is represented by the moon, she is purity itself and worshiped by other Gods. She is the remover of ignorance and laziness, she carries no weapons to destroy lower natures as other Gods do as she is beyond that.
Invoking her name bestows creativity, intelligence, a pure intellect, self control and success in scholarly and creative projects.
I sit in Padmasana (lotus pose) on my mat and repeat
Jaya Saraswati jaya Saraswati jaya Saraswati Pahimam
Sri Saraswati sri Saraswati sri Saraswati Rakshamam
and I am thinking
Dear Saraswati please save me and protect me, come to the garden in my heart, be with me in my practice, let me find creativity as I move from one asana to another. Let me find the self control and the discipline that I need and the intelligence to understand this body, this mind and find the truth of the pure soul that resides within.
Pahimam meaning save me, Rakshimam meaning protect me.
The Sanskrit language comes from within, and by chanting the prayers with the correct pronunciation you are activating your inner knowledge. It creates a specific vibration which activates a specific chakra (psychic energy centre.) Chanting this mantra activates the Swadhisthana chakra, (we will go into the chakra system at a later date) and by this activation we are beginning to eliminate ignorance and all impure qualities. These vibrations in turn echo out into the universe giving positive and peaceful energy to Mother Earth and all living beings. Quite clearly at this time when the Earth is suffering from the effects of mankind, and human and animal suffering is heightened, we need to chant more!
Thank you to all of you who attended Satsang on Sunday, it was a wonderful morning.
Om shanti shanti shanti
smiling from the heart.
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
I'm holding my first Satsang at the Yoga Mangala studio; Kathmandu this Sunday the 27th November at 6.45am. Satsang meaning truth in company is a beautiful and meaningful experience. The session will begin by candlelight in silent meditation, a short explanation on why we should meditate will be given. Then as we emerge from our journey inward, we will begin chanting a mantra dedicated to Lord Ganeshe; the elephant headed God who helps us overcome the many obstacles on our paths. Moving on to a very beautiful sun and moon healing mantra, and finishing with Om Namo Narayanaya- Prostrations to Lord Vishnu, the preserver of the world. Chanting this mantra will bring more harmony and peace into the world. Those of you in Kathmandu please come and share a joyful experience and after we share breakfast together. Those of you in other places in the world, join with me in spirit at this time, sending out our peaceful and joyful vibrations around the world.
"Without the help of meditation, you cannot attain knowledge of the self. Without its aid, you cannot grow into the divine state. Without it, you cannot liberate yourself from the trammels of the mind and attain immortality.
Meditation is the only royal road to freedom. It is a mysterious ladder which reaches from earth to heaven, from error to truth, from darkness to light, from pain to bliss, from restlessness to abiding peace, from ignorance to knowledge. From mortality to immortality." Sri Swami Sivananda
The image of the meditation cave above was made at Pashupatinath, one of Nepal's most important Hindu Temples. The simplicity of such places always touches my heart and remembrance of the great feelings of peace I felt in Swami Vishnu-Devananda's cave on the banks of Mother Ganga, come flooding back to me. I honor those sadhus and holy men dedicating this human life to the practice, spreading peace in a vibrational form. I honor anyone who takes the courage to start their journey inward to find their true selves, a journey full of obstacles, highs and lows. Meditation is no easy practice, the mind is a wild tiger we are trying to tame, but there is no reason to give up- the meditator can make two vital mistakes; giving up before the end, or not starting at all! So join me, take courage, sit cross legged, spine straight, close your eyes, regulate your breath and begin your journey, and I honor you in your practice.
Om shanti shanti shanti
smiling from the heart :-)
Thursday, November 17, 2011
“Adapt, Adjust, Accommodate, if you can do that everything will be ok.” The words of Swami Sivananda. I have really been thinking about this over the past few weeks, especially being a yoga teacher, watching your student’s progress into the practice and over coming their difficulties as they are physically adapting, adjusting into the posture and accommodating within it, or accepting it. I feel a sense of wonder when I see a student really accepting and surrendering, especially when they may be having difficulty and once they have done this, the progress starts, they are an inspiration to me. We can’t fight the postures, we improve in yoga by that acceptance and relaxing into the asnas, both physically and mentally, not by pushing or forcing the muscles and joints when they aren’t ready, learning to use the breath to control the mind into adjusting correctly, accepting where we are on a daily basis and accommodating to what is going on around us. Then the magic starts to happen. As I think about Swami Sivananda’s words, he didn’t just mean from a yoga asna point of view, but from a whole life point of view. So many times when we would like something to happen and we try and force it, it just goes against us, but when we accept the position we are in and try to adjust to that instead of the other way around, things seem to go much more smoothly. We are bound by karma to our life situations here on this planet, but by tuning into those 3 little words from Swami Sivananda we can make what might seem like not such a good situation, into one where maybe we will end up blossoming, as he said if you can do that then everything will be ok!
A Winter Warmer, Almond Milk
1 cup of fresh warm milk or Soya milk
1 teaspoon honey
Pinch of cardamom powder
Pinch of fresh ground black pepper
Soak the almonds overnight, remove the skins after soaking, put all ingredients in a blender, blend on high speed and drink right away. If you don’t have a blender the almonds can be bashed quite easily with a pestle and mortar, and this is better for the environment- no electricity needed!!
This is a really tasty drink that is great in the mornings after meditation and before practice; it improves general energy and ojas (spiritual force or life energy.)
Om shanti shanti shanti :-)
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
Swami Vishnu-Devananda was born in Kerala, South India on December 31, 1927. He is recognised as a world authority on Hatha and Raja yoga, author of many books including the all time best selling, The Complete Illustrated Book of Yoga, and Meditation and Mantras, dedicated to the teaching of yoga and the Sivananda yoga teacher training courses, and dedicated to spreading the message of peace, I feel as if I owe this man so much, although I never met him in the flesh, but through my practice, I feel him with me. Feeling his heart beat as he gave the greatest gift of opening my heart deep and wide to this wonderful gift of yoga. This enigmatic man left his physical body on this day, November 9th, 1963. Reading the stories of how he was known as the “flying Swami,” as he flew over the troubled areas of the world, in a small plane one of his disciples gave to him, dropping flower petals and messages of peace, inspired me so much. He was a very close disciple of Swami Sivananda whom he called his Master, he would say; ‘My master touched me and opened my eye of intuition, and all this knowledge returned to me from past lives.’ In 1953 Swami Sivananda sent Swami Vishnu to the West with the words ‘People are waiting,’ to spread the word of yoga, here he taught so many students, setting up Sivananda Centres in Canada, USA and the Bahamas. His dream was also to revive the ancient teachings of yoga in his homeland, India, where he inaugurated the Ashrams in kerala and up in the Himalaya on the banks of Mother Ganga, which became the place of SwamiJi’s Jala Samadhi.
He worked tirelessly to instil a strong and practical understanding of yoga and Vedanta into the people who came to him, and after a very strong vision he began The True World Order, which aims at promoting Peace and understanding.
Please join me in spirit tonight when I honour and give thanks to SwamiJi for all that he has done for the world and for me personally, when at 7.30pm Kathmandu time I will light many candles in his honor and repeat for 1 hour his personal mantra, OM NAMO NARAYANAYA; prostrations to Lord Vishnu, the preserver of the world.
Om Namah Sivaya Swamiji
Thank you so much for all that you have given us
Om shanti shanti shanti.
Wednesday, November 2, 2011
Savasana, the posture we always begin and end the class with. After my class at The British School, Kathmandu on Tuesday, a new practitioner came to me at the end and said how much they needed 'that' and how relaxed they now felt or 'spaced out' in their words, and it made me think again on how important Savasana really is, maybe in todays society it is the most important asana of all, and one that we all can do. I focus a lot on teaching shcool teachers, for one reason they have a very stressful job, but also with the thought in mind that if I can share peace with them, if I can bring more peace to them, it will vibrate out through them to the students and children they are teaching, in hope of a more peaceful world. Today there are so many different types of Yoga, but we really musn't forget the root of why the ancient sages of India developed the practice in the first place, to reduce or prevent suffering both physical and mental to the human existence, not to create more stress to the body and mind trying to reach impossible goals due to social pressure and pride. We simply must relax.
When the body and mind are constantly overworked and over stimulated the natural efficiency of the body to rejuvenate is diminished, today it is very hard for people to relax properly when there are many stresses and stimulations from all angles forced upon us, especially for those of us living in a city. Proper relaxation is natures way of recharging one's energy, it rejuvenates our cells, skin, hair etc and allows our mind to find peace. Even while trying to rest the average person expands a lot of energy both physical and mental through tension, in fact we don't realize how much tension we are holding until we are properly relaxed. In a day so much energy may be consumed in just a few minutes by frustrations, anger, bad moods or irritation, this has a disastrous effect on both the body and mind. During Savasana we mentally work through the body starting with the toes up towards the head mentally relaxing each part, then messages are sent to every internal organ which in turn relax, and to the mind which becomes calm. Then we can begin to let go of any problems one has been experiencing. Savasana also allows the prana, (vital energy) to flow freely within the body, which is very important after asana class when you have produced this energy, it heals every part of us. So lie back in Savasana, turn your mind inward and relax...... relax........ relaaaaaaaax
1. the body should be straight making sure the head is not twisted to the side.
2. the back is flat on the ground or on your mat.
3. legs straight but not tense about 1/2 a meter apart.
4. toes relaxed and falling out to the side.
5. arms about 45 degrees angle from the body.
6. hands relaxed and palms face upward.
7. try to relax the entire body no tension held.
8. focus the mind on your breath.
9. try not to dwell on external activities.
10. breathing is quiet and always through the nose.
11. never strain the breath.
12. try to stay in the exact present moment and enjoy!
take this time for this ancient special practice in savasana, recharge yourself, take this time just for yourself, it wont be long until you really do feel the benefits I can promise you that, and I really can't stress enough how important it is.
Om shanti shanti shanti
smiling from the heart
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Thursday, October 20, 2011
I take this opportunity to offer my respectful and humble gratitude to Swami Vishnu-Devananda, direct disciple of Swami Sivananda, who personally designed the Sadhana Intensive course I have just returned from; to introduce serious practitioners and teachers to the intensive techniques of Hatha Yoga Sadhana. I take this opportunity to offer my thanks to all the Guru's, Sat Guru Swami Sivananda, Swami Govindananda who put me on the path, and the many people who have appeared in the form of Guru's to me, including other great yogi's be them teachers of students, whom I have learnt from and will continue learning from. I was born in the darkness of ignorance and my spiritual masters are opening my eyes lighting the lamps on the path.
Sadhana Intensive undertakes the daily life that ancient works describe that a yogi is expected to live. We should rise at 4am having his or her Guru in mind and chosen diety in heart. We should perform our abolutions and cleansing practices, then seated in padmasana, our meditative pose, mentally salute our Guru, then make our sankalpa; a prayer to help us with our daily practice and our daily resolve to the practice. We should offer salutations to all the great yogi's and to Sesa- the king of serpants,so we can successfully go through our asanas. After completing our meditation we can begin. The practice takes us through our suryia namaskar and our 12 postures, then we begin with intense pranayama (breathing techniques) of 2 hour sessions, 3 times a day. 10 pranayamas have to be completed increasing by 5 everyday, until reaching 80. Bandhas (energy locks) and Mudras (energy seals) are used to lock and direct the energy within the body. After completing each session one should sit in padmasana and concentrate on the inner sounds (the nada) and at the end of the days practice at 9 or 10pm one should offer it all to Iswara, (God.)
Om Namah Sivaya Guruve Satchidananda Murtaye
It is hard to put in a simple little blog post exactly what happened in those 15 days of intense practice, getting up at 4.20am, beginning practice at 5, and going through the whole day either in asana practice, pranayama, meditation or kirtan, with two breaks to eat. What happened to the body, and more importantly to the mind. What was it that changed in me, or became illuminated to me. It was a time to journey deeply within, and to try to overcome the darkness filling our hearts with divine virtues, still the mind waves and find peace.
Yoga meaning unification, unification with what? With the universal consciousness , or we can say God. Maybe in society today we have forgotton our eternal relationship with this universal consciousness, every one of us is full of anxieties because of this material existence. Our activities have to be purified, and practice brings purification. The Bhagavad Gita teaches that we have to purify this materially contaminated consciousness, one must become free and one who wants to become free has to practice with sincerity and an open heart.
"The action of a person, who has abandoned all desires is freed from desire. Indifferent to ownership or sense of possession and free from any sense of ego, he attains peace." 2:71 Bhagavad Gita
I asked Mother Ganga, of which we were sitting right beside, take my ego, wash it away, burn it in the fire, let me find peace. I asked Mother Ganga to help me, I asked Lord Siva and Saraswati to guide me, be with me. During those 15 days I felt Joy, my mantra become very strong, the moon came to me. My hearing became so acute to even hear things that weren't there. I was able to observe the different emotions I was going through and the realization came that often when we have a problem of some sort or irritation, the problem is not external as we see it, but lies within us, within our own minds, and only by changing the way we think can we overcome the problem.
It is a blessing to be a Yogi, and I feel incredibly grateful. I have found more peace, more bliss, and feel that I am coming closer to that universal consciousness. Yoga can mean to walk in the path of God, to feel light, feeling a change in ones attitude to life, more healthy, more happy, more focused and more content. Yoga can bring you to be like the shinning sun and it is for all humanity no matter who you are, where you come from, and if you have faith what faith that comes from. And oh how we need this yoga now in todays world, I feel truly blessed I can teach yoga in hope of making people feel better and to bring more and more peace back into the world.
Now I am back from Sadhana, back to the life of noise and traffic, what now? The hard part is coming out of the practice, one has to be in the right place with an experienced Guru to practice so intensely, but it doesn't stop, the peace is still there, it is deep in my heart and I continue with my practices as I was before, meditation, asna and pranayama, keep up my studies and keep teaching, hoping that the vibrations are spreading. And lets see where the next part of the journey takes me and when the next lamp on the path is going to be lit. From a small seed, great things can grow.
Shanti- peace for your eternal self
Shanti- peace to all living beings and entities
Shanti- peace to Mother Earth
love and light and OM
please feel free to contact me regarding course details, however you need to have taken the Sivananda teachers training course before embarking with Sadhana Intensive. Images above are of the Sivananda Netala Ashram, Utterkashi, India where the course was held. Om.
Wednesday, August 31, 2011
I am very excited as my rucksack comes out of the cupboard, my Sivananda teacher training uniform gets a fresh iron and I start packing a few things ready for my departure to Delhi on 5th of September. I am embarking on a journey, and not one merely of geographical matter but a deeper journey within. I am heading to the Sivananda Ashram, Netala, Utterkashi up in the Himalaya in India, to join the Sadhana Intensive, (intense spiritual practice) for 16 days. As described in the Hatha Yoga Pradipika; from watering the plant, eventually you will get flowers and fruits, well I am hoping to go and water myself so to speak, and maybe through intense practice my flower will bloom! There is no fast or easy method on the journey that this yoga takes us on, to find the absolute, to find bliss absolute, we all have to find our own pace, this is the first time I will be undertaking this course and I am very excited and slightly nervous of the prospect. We will be rising at 4am and engaging in practice until 10pm for the duration of the course. I feel privileged and honoured that I am able to go and experience this exquisite practise of intense pranayama, (breathing techniques,) meditation and advanced asana’s (yoga postures) in the place where Swami Sivananda found his enlightenment. At the moment I’m not quite sure what is in store for me, I have experienced the Ashram life before during my teacher training down in Tamil Nadu at the Meenakshi Sivananda Ashram, which was a wonderful, beautiful, testing and life changing, I am hoping from this next experience that my practice and understandings will deepen still, and therefore enable me to become a better yoga teacher and share this beautiful thing on a deeper level. No more blog posts for the next month, as I am aloud no contact during the course time, so looking forward to sharing with you all once I return. Classes have started in Kathmandu already in my living room which my husband so graciously aloud me to turn into a little studio and at The British School Kathmandu, but I will post a substantial time table once I am back.
Sadhana Intensive is open to all graduates of the Sivananda teacher training course, you can find course dates as well as yoga vacations and locations on the official Sivananda site; www.sivananda.org
For now to my practitioners keep your mats out and keep up the practice, and I will see you all soon,
Om shanti shanti shanti
Smiling from the heart
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
“We are constantly being bombarded with stimuli, and these make up the diet of our lifestyle. From the food we eat, the air we breathe, the things we see, feel, hear and touch, our environment is formed and this in turn profoundly influences and shapes our internal environment. We are what we eat literally, for the mind is constructed out of the subtlest parts of our diet and the body from the rest. To achieve the goal of life, to find contentment and perfection requires a peaceful and focused mind. To control the mind is difficult since it is in reality very much under the control of our physical body. It is therefore suggested that we first discipline and control the physical body and the mind may be easily controlled. Diet plays an important part of the process.” Swami Visnu-Devananda.
The yogi diet is traditionally a vegetarian and lacto one, mainly consisting of grains, pulses, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds and dairy products. It follows a simple, natural and wholesome ethos bearing in mind the subtle effects food has on the mind and the prana (vital energy.) There are many health reasons to become vegetarian, as well as psychological, spiritual, moral and macro-economic.
In my own experience and coming from a big meat eating family, I thought it was going to be a difficult task, however cutting down gradually and then eliminating all meat products wasn’t hard at all, and I can truly say that I have never felt so healthy in my life, this is definitely due to diet and all the asana’s, pranayama and meditation practice combined that I do each day. My body feels clean, and now after two years of following this diet I could never go back. One thing I noticed after some time of being vegetarian, maybe after 3-6 months that my flexibility increased and certain asana’s (yoga postures) were becoming easier than I had found them before.
There are so many benefits of following the yogi diet, just from a health point of view, we can reduce the risks of high blood pressure, heart attacks, hardening of the arteries, arthritis, gout, constipation, cancer, kidney diseases and osteoporosis to name but a few! The American Medical Journal states that a vegetarian diet can prevent 90% of our thromboembolic disease and 97% of our coronary occlusions.
As a Yogi, we take a lot of our prana (vital energy) from the sun, hence in our diet we like to eat foods that have taken maximum energy from the sun and nutrients from the earth, the closer our food is to the source the more potent the energy. Therefore eating plants that create protein and avoid undesirable elements, i.e. large amounts of antibiotics, pesticides and residue of tranquillisers that are found in meat, is best for the yogi.
In yoga philosophy the mind is formed from the subtlest portion or essence of food, if the food is pure, the mind has proper building materials for the development of a strong and subtle intellect and a good memory. A yogi diet is one that brings inner peace to the body and mind, pure foods that increase vitality, energy, vigour, health and joy, that are delicious and wholesome are best. Foods should be fresh and natural as possible, organic, not processed and eaten in the most natural state as possible, raw, steamed or lightly cooked.
You should include, grains, wholegrain breads, which supply the carbohydrates needed, pulses, nuts and seeds provide the proteins. Fruits have the foremost importance in the yogi diet; the curative effects of fresh juicy fruits are astonishing. They fill the body with vitalising life-giving minerals, vitamins and fibre. Leafy vegetables, squashes, cucumbers eaten raw or as lightly cooked as possible are wonderful yogic food. We also have to think about what veggies we are taking in, some are quite stimulating and therefore not good for the quiet and calm mind, such as chilli, onions and garlic, so try to omit these as much as possible.
My lunch today, apple, melon, cucumber, cashew nuts, carrot and some rye crackers, with a fresh watermelon juice, yum yum!
Om shanti shanti shanti
Smiling from the heart.
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
The full moon on the 14th of this month brought about the festival of Janai Pernima, this is when all high caste men must change their ‘Janai,’ their sacred thread, which they wear looped around their left shoulder, until the next year. This tied in with my ritual of 108 sun salutations which I normally perform at full moon time with my fellow yogis in Kuala Lumpur; we would meet around 7am at sun yoga KL, and reach that meditative state during 108 salutations, feeding energy from one another and sharing our practice. Well this full moon brought much change, no longer in KL and practicing alone on my mat in my little shala on the roof. Imagining the mighty Himalaya surrounding me (they are still blanketed in cloud at the moment) certainly helped me through, as I reached Tadasana after every salutation I felt elated, rooted in the earth and lifted at the same time. So why 108? 108 is a sacred number in Sanskrit; 1 representing overcoming our ignorance and new beginnings, 0; emptiness and 8; infinite energy. I find doing this practice a way of cleansing, its not easy to complete, especially I found this at a higher altitude to what I’m used to, but the feeling of humbleness and thanks one receives on completion is well worth the effort. Then after a hearty breakfast of bean soup, a Nepali favourite at this time of year, my husband and myself headed down to the Kumbeshwar Temple in Patan to join in the celebrations. It was so colourful, so joyous and we were welcomed warmly to join in, receiving blessings from the priest, joining with worship to Lord Shiva, hands painted with henna and watching the boys energetically jumping and diving into the two ponds where a silver and gold lingam is set up for devotes to take a ritual bath in the water that is said to come from the holy lake at Gosainkund. It was a wonderful day listening to the tiny bells tinkling in prayer around this enigmatic time. This 108, I dedicated to my friends and family for their happiness and to Raymond and Dhemeri who were celebrating their birthdays close to this day.
Om Namah Sivayah
Smiling from the heart OM.
Monday, August 8, 2011
Sri Ganeshaya Namaha
Jaya Ganesha Jaya Ganesha Jaya Ganesha Pahe mam
Sri Ganesha Sri Ganesha Sri Ganesha Raksa mam
Homage to Lord Ganesha, oh Lord Ganesha save me, Lord Ganesha protect me.
Lord Ganesha the elephant headed God, son of Siva and Parvati, the remover of all obstacles and granter of success, the bestower of wisdom and fulfiller of all desires, he rides on or is attended by the rat and he loves to eat modak, which is a sweetened rice dumpling filled with coconut and jaggery.
He is the first God worshiped before any other God, an ancient deity elicited for his immense strength and wisdom, he is worshiped to enable our path to be clear of obstacles, his trunk sometimes turning to the left sometimes to the right, corresponding to the two ways obstacles can be got round and the supreme goal reached. He is endowed with a gentle and affectionate nature, protecting his devotees and it turn he is revered and loved by them.
You are Language
You are consciousness
You are supreme bliss
You embody knowledge
Both earthly and divine.
This morning from the rooftop of my new flat in Kathmandu I saw a glimpse of the snow capped Himalaya before the cloud fell and kept them covered whilst we are in monsoon season still. What a wonderful sight before I entered my little shala on the roof for my morning meditation, as I repeat my mantra to Lord Ganesha the image of those mountains formed at my third eye centre and I felt an energy resonate through me. Moving to a new place, meeting new people creates mixed emotions, being here only two weeks there have been many obstacles to get around, a leaking ceiling, where to find basic things one needs and learning a new map of a new city, but I take refuge in the fact that Lord Ganesha will help me overcome those obstacles and will help me find the knowledge and learn all the new things that are all around me here. As a yogi, we are meant to be able to be happy and content in every situation knowing we are here due to our karma, knowing that it is what the divine wants for us, and this morning I smiled at the prospect of the huge learning curve I have in front of me. My wonderful GuruJi in India says the best teacher is the best student, well a student that is absolutely what I am, I have so much all around me to learn from, so bring on the journey and lets do yoga!
Sri Ganeshaya Sri Ganeshaya Sri Ganeshaya Namaha
Om shanti shanti shanti smiling from the heart.
Peace to all Love to all
Om and Prem.
Monday, July 18, 2011
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
Well the winds of change came again and only having two weeks left here as a residence in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia, I thought I would take this time to make a post about my move.
Mostly I would just like to take this opportunity to give thanks to all my fellow Yogi's and students here, who have enriched my life no end. I have learned so much from you all, you have all reached the depths of my heart where I will keep you. I hope you have gained from the sweaty times on the mat and the laughter times, in giving me the honor of sharing Om with you and this beautiful thing called Yoga. I salute you all and wish you all the very best in your journey's, please do keep in touch, now we are connected with the vital energy; prana, which I hope I can continue to share with you even across the miles.
Moving away is a time of happiness, of excitement of what may lay ahead, but also a time of sadness when one has to leave all those smiling faces that have meant so much.
Moving to Kathmandu, well lets see what happens, I hope that yoga mangala will continue to grow, to share with more and more people, and I will continue to learn. Nepal itself has so much to offer, the birth place of Lord Buddah, the energy of the Himalaya, those enigmatic eyes baring down from the stupa's, but it will be what it will be, and it is important to remember that home is in the journey.
I will certainly be back in KL in the future to give workshops and classes and hopefully you will all be over to Kathmandu for yoga classes, workshops, yoga vacations and maybe even yoga trecks through the mountains, so keep an eye on this blog to keep updated on what is happening, or even just pop over to come and say hi and share some Nepali vegetarian food!
For now I truly wish you every happiness in your own journeys, that you find the pure light that resides within you and take refuge in your own true self.
I will miss you all, but you will be forever in my hearts
Om Om shanti Om
Hari Om Tat Sat
love and light always
Sunday, July 3, 2011
The Yogi sees life as a triangle; the physical body undergoes birth, growth, change, decay and death. Yogi's say however that we are not born merely to be subject to pain and suffering, disease and death. There is a far greater purpose to life. For this reason the ancient sages of India developed an integral system to ward of the decaying process and to keep the physical and mental faculties strong. This is the system of yoga; a simple and natural programme involving 5 main principles.
1. Proper Exercise
The yoga asana's (postures) act as a lubricating routine to the joints, muscles, ligaments, tendons and all the internal organs. They increase the circulation and flexibility, massaging and stimulating all internal organs and glands. This form of exercise can be compared to no other.
2. Proper Breathing
Pranayama or breathing exercises aid the body in connecting to the solar plexus where tremendous potential energy is stored, which can be released for physical and mental rejuvenation. These exercises also clean and refresh the whole respiratory system and can increase lung capacity.
3. Proper Relaxation
Lying in the relaxation pose, cools down the body, when the body and mind are continually overworked their efficiency diminishes. Relaxation is nature’s way of recharging the body and mind.
4. Proper Diet
The yogi diet is strictly vegetarian including dairy products such as milk and yoghurt. We need the correct fuel for the body and mind, to give the correct energy and keep the mind calm. This diet gives optimum utilization of food, air, water and sunlight.
5. Positive thinking and meditation
This puts you in control; through meditation and positive thinking we can start to purify the intellect, bringing the lower nature under conscious control, through steadiness and concentration of the mind.
Consider these five points within your practice for a healthy and happy daily life, Om Om shanti :-)
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
“Swami Sivananda’s life was a radiant example of service to humanity, both during his years as a doctor and later as a world-renowned sage and jivanmukta (enlightened being.) To serve all, to love all, to mix with all and to see God in all beings were the ideals that he taught and lived by.
Although fun loving and mischievous, he was loving and generous with a natural flair for a life devoted to the study and practice of Vedanta (the school of thought based primarily on the Upanishads; the philosophy of oneness.) He had an innate feeling of unity with all and an eagerness to serve.
Firstly becoming a doctor and moving to Malaysia to serve the poor there, editing a health journal and wrote extensively on many health issues. However he felt a spiritual calling returning to India and finding his Guru Swami Vishwananda, in Rishikesh within the Himalayas in 1924. Here he practiced intense austerities and spent largely the next 7 years in meditation. Slowly disciples started to gather around him, he started to travel to Sri Lanka and around India stirring the hearts and souls of thousands. He delivered lectures, chanting and meditation lessons, teaching people how to keep strong and healthy by practising yoga asanas, pranayama and kriyas. In Rishikesh an increasing amount of followers congregated and the first Sivananda ashram grew up around him. Swami Sivananda’s teaching crystallised the basic tenets of all religions, combining all yoga paths into one, summed up as ‘serve, love, give, purify, meditate, realise.’ His own life was a shinning example of the ideal of selfless service, of karma yoga, to him all work was sacred and no task was too menial. He searched tirelessly for opportunities to serve and to help others, never postponing what needed to be done. Swami Sivananda entered MahaSamadhi (left his physical body) on July 14th, 1963.”
Text taken from the Sivananda Teacher Training Manual.
Om shanti :-)
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Om is the supreme mantra. Actually there is no translation for Om, but we can say if we need to explain this mystic sound, that it is the sound of creation, or it is the vibration of the manifestation of creation. First there was Om, and then the Universe came. Any vibration at the end will lead back to Om.
Om is the activation of the 3rd eye centre, the point between the eyebrows; this place is the Ajna chakra, a chakra being an energy centre. Thus when the Ajna chakra is activated it in turn activates all the other charkas in the body; the cells become activated and rejuvenated.
By chanting Om it is said we can heal the whole body.
Om is a combination of sounds –
A U M
Each sound representing the different states of consciousness that we go through each day, the waking state, dream state and deep sleep state. After this there is silence, silence cannot be written.
Om is all sounds, all vibrations, all languages and all mantras.
The sound should begin from the navel, with a deep, harmonious vibration, which gradually manifests itself at the upper part of the nostrils.
The universe has come from Om, rests in Om and dissolves in it.
With that I say Om.
Sunday, May 29, 2011
Om Namah Sivaya, also a greeting used in the same manor as Namaste, the hands are brought to prayer position in front of the heart centre, like forming a lotus bud, a sign of complete balanced energy, the left and right in harmony. So Om Namah Sivaya, namah meaning to salute, Siva being the all auspicious being. So we salute Lord Siva the all auspicious being, however as in Namaste, it is also recognizing that divine being within you, so also it could be said that the meaning is I salute you the all auspicious being.
Yoga Mangala follows the teachings of Swami Sivananda and Swami Vishnu-Devananda, in the time tested ancient techniques and philosophy of classical Hatha yoga.
I pray you will attain, health, happiness and eternal peace. May the long time sun shine upon you, and all love surround you.
Om shanti :-)
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Namaste, the greeting when we put our hands together in the prayer position in front of our heart centre, but what does it mean?
Simply, I salute you, but who are we saluting? The body is considered illusionary, something that comes and goes, it is a temporary abode. We salute beyond the body and beyond the mind also, Namaste; I salute the divinity within you, the light within you, or I salute the God which you are, you are the eternal being.
Yoga Mangala, well let this be a place we can share anything yogi, anything pure and light, Mangala meaning the bringer of light, all things good, let this be a happy meeting place; a bridge from the darkness to light, so to you all I hold my hands in prayer the form of a lotus bud about to open, bow my head in humility and greet you all with Namaste.
Om Om shanti - nicky