Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Body, Breath, Mind = Bliss @ Sri Aurobindo Ashram

This coming Sat the 29th September marks our second visit to Sri AuroBindo Yoga Mandir Ashram; about 40 minutes driving from Kathmandu.  This event I have called Body, Breath, Mind = Bliss as through our day of kriyas, pranayama and asana's we aim to reach that blissful state.  At least the last time we visited several months ago, certainly we all left with big smiles on our faces, maybe that was due to such delicious food!
The program for Saturday is as follows:
8.30am  dept from Pranamaya yoga studio, Moksh, Patan
9.15am  Arrive at Ashram
9.30am  Practice of Kriyas: cleansing techniques; Udiyana Bandha and Agni Sara.  Pranayama: breathing techniques; Abdominal breath, full yogi breath, Kapala Bati, Anoloma Viloma, Sitali and sikali.  Asana class, covering relaxation, Suryia Namaskar, learn step by step Sirshasana; headstand, and the 12 basic postures of the Sivananda open class.
12.00pm Fully organic vegetarian lunch, grown at the Ashram
1.00pm  Free time to relax in the Ashram grounds, visit the shop and order any organic vegetables, yoghurt, milk, and any other products the Ashram is producing.
1.45pm  Performance of Bharatnatym dance, classical Indian dance originating from the Southern state of Tamil Nadu
2.45pm  Herbal tea break
3.00pm  Guided Meditation and healing mantra RA MA DA SA
4.00pm  pay and collect vegetables etc
4.30pm  Dept for Kathmandu

Anyone wishing to sign up for the day please do so at info@pranamaya-yoga.com
Have a blessed day om shanti shanti shanti
Mangala / nicky

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Spaces That Heal.

Often when people visit my simple and small shala they often comment on how lovely the space is and how it’s a place where they can relax and feel happy.  So how do we create a healing space?  When we visit a temple the whole space has been created to represent the body and our chakras, which are energy centres within the body.  That is why the footprints are outside; we start with the feet and work through to the inner sanctum which is representing the Sahasrara chakra our highest energy centre located at the crown of the head.  All three qualities of nature are in balance and we gain a sense of harmony by just being there, the temple space contains a shakti; an energy that uplifts us, and as we walk around the sanctum in a clockwise direction we can tap into that energy.
We are all familiar with the Chinese idea of Feng Shui of balancing spaces to create harmony, there is also the amazing tradition from India of Vaastu Shastra which comes from the great Rishi Brahmarishi Mayan, it deals with the cosmic science of energy and matter, light and sound, time and space and the manifestations of subtle energy into gross forms.  In his 892 sutras he enlightens us on the workings and intricacies of making a divine space.  Vaastu Shastra is an advanced science, too complicated for this little brain to handle!  It is rendered in technological language for God forms, temple structures, residential buildings, village and town planning and all are based on a science governed by a mathematical order and not according to whims and fancies.  But reading the sutras written on the subject or the most sacred literature is complicated and not enough to get close to the truth and build a living being – a Vastu house.  We need to find a Guru and we need to meditate, because only through the practice of yoga, of purification and raising inner awareness, can we find the balance needed to create that healing space.  But here are some tips to make a start;
  1. Try to ensure the centre point of your home or space is unobstructed because it is the most sacred place, it is the lungs of the space, without lungs we cannot breath, without the breath there is no life.
  2. A pond or fountain at the North East corner will strengthen peace in your space as this is the water zone.
  3. Having your main door or entrance at the corner of the building will loose a lot of energy.
  4. Skylights are very healthy as they help cosmic energy to enter the space.

For me the space I live and teach in are very important in the respect that I have to be able to feel them, all spaces have an energy and all spaces can be transformed through the energy you put into them.  I like to spend some time just breathing within the space before knowing what to do with it.  Maybe some knowledge from the past is coming, maybe this small brain has a little Vaastu knowledge deep in its depths somewhere, trying to make head and tail of the explanations is overwhelming but sometimes a little bit of intuition goes a long way.
For now have fun re-organising your spaces the Vaastu way!
Om Om shanti Om
Mangala / nicky :-)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


Making offerings can take many shapes and forms, from making a mental offering to placing elaborately made objects at the feet of Dieties.  For me the simpler the offering the more sincerity and feeling of devotion there is.  For me to make an offering is to acknowledge there is a greater force, an awareness of an absolute and to show pure love for that absolute.  It is an acknowledgment of an existence on a higher level, a higher plane to find residence in peace.  It is an endeavour working on a spiritual plane to work towards everlasting peace for all living entities.  Which is something that any endeavour connected to the material plane alone such as democracy, capitalism, socialism and communism will not bring.  I make mental offerings on a daily basis; before I begin my meditation I bring Lord Ganesha to my mind, to help me overcome the obstacles, Saraswati to help bring divine knowledge, Lord Siva to destroy my lower existence and help raise my awareness, Lord Visnu to bring balance and peace, and Swami Sivananda and Swami visnudevananda for their blessings.  I mentally offer them flowers everyday.  I light incense and candles at my humble shrines and to me this brings more meaning into my daily life.  Offerings are best made with little, sincere and humble intentions instead of being flamboyant shows made with selfish intentions.
For Swami Sivananda's birthday last saturday, I wrote quotes he had made and hung them up on the rooftop with colourful materials to blow into the wind for the whole of humanity and universe.  I visited 3 temples in my local area and meditated, and at night chanted kirtan on the roof looking at the stars, paying homage to him.  Swami Ji how can I ever thank you for bringing so much happiness into my life, for that there are not enough words.
I will leave you with some words from Swami Sivananda's book 'Way to peace and bliss.'
'That person who has developed universal love is nearer and dearer to God.  They will never hate, abuse or show contempt towards anybody.  That sort of love alone is the end and aim or goal of life.  Lord Buddha was an ocean of love.  Your highest duty is to develop universal love to a maximum degree.  If you want to attain perfection, if you wish to enjoy infinite peace and bliss, if you want to become immortal and develop pure divine love, cultivate universal love by serving and loving all, for love alone will take you to your goal, love alone can purify your heart, love alone will bring you liberation, and love alone can carry you to the other shore of bliss and immortality, the shore which is beyond grief, pain, fear, and darkness.  Purify your thought, speech and action in the fire of love.  Bathe and plunge deep in the sacred waters of love.  Taste the honey of love.  Become an embodiment of love.'
Have a wonderful week full of prem; love, om om shanti om

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Wonder Tonic

As the monsoon continues here in Kathmandu, I'm starting to hear a few sniffles here and there and complaints of some body aches.  I myself woke up yesterday feeling a wee bit feaverish so looked up an Ayurvedic recipe to keep away the gremlins!  I had one of these drinks in the morning and one in the evening, and today woke up feeling fantastic and full of energy again.  So here's how to make it-
Ground black pepper, 
Fresh ginger cut into small pieces,
Fresh basil leaves
Half a teaspoon of tumeric

Place all the ingredients into a cup and add boiling water like making a cup of tea and let it brew for a few minutes before drinking.  If you are in need of a tonic no matter where you are this is your ticket to a rejuvenated you!
Tumeric has so many health benefits it is a natural antibiotic, natural anti-inflamitory and antiseptic.  Speeds up the healing of wounds, helps to prevent gas/bloating, helps stomach ulcers, is a great tonic for the skin.  It improves asthma and digestion, helps to prevent cancer or to reduce the side effects of chemotherapy, is a blood purifier, aids in fat metabloism and weight managment and aids in preventing alzheimers.  I have to admit this tonic drink didn't tickle my taste buds so much but the effects of it are well worth it, so hold your nose and down in one so to speak!  You could always add a little fresh lemon juice to improve the taste.
Saturday 8th of September marks Sri Swami Sivananda's birthday, so join me wherever you are in an hour of meditation in honor of this day.  I have decided this year to go to a lovely Siva Temple out at a place called Dhulikhel, about an hour from Kathmandu to embark on some private meditation and Bhakti yoga, but do join me in spirit to mark the occasion and spread peace back into the world.
Om Lokha Somasta Sukhino Bhavantu
may all beings find harmony and peace
om shanti shanti shanti
smiling from the heart.