Thursday, November 29, 2012

Foods that Heal.

Our world is a treasure trove of herbs with therapeutic properties.  Ayurveda came from the sages of beginning less time, the seers, the wanderers and tribals, who through intuition and observation discovered the many properties of plants and their products.  So often it is the case today that when one has a problem from a headache to something more dramatic such as depression, we are reaching for the packet of little pills with a ‘quick fix’ solution, without giving thought to what Mother Nature can do for us.  These boxes of little multicoloured sweeties can in fact be doing us more harm than good, being completely manufactured.  As Yogis we like to stay as close to nature as we can, keeping a pure diet as much as possible turning to the fruits of the Earth to nurture us.  Auryveda holds these secrets of health, that in knowing allow us to still the pattern of the chattering mind and see our true nature, bringing the up most bliss and ecstasy.  Because we may be feeling sad, reaching for that bar of chocolate or box of popcorn is no solution, in fact it is making matters worse.  Once the chocolate has gone, then what?  We feel sad because it has gone and also we have filled our bodies with pollutants that effect those mind waves in a disturbing way and also can bring pain to the body, bringing further sorrow.  So what to do?  Stay as natural as you can, eat organic produce and enjoy the food your are eating by taking time over it.  We can have wonderful treats too that are perfectly natural and good for us at the same time.  Here are a few ideas for common ailments and a tasty treats too! So enjoy.

The common cold:  mix ½ teaspoon of turmeric with fresh ginger, lemongrass, ground black pepper and fresh basil leaves, in boiling water and drink like tea without straining.

Soar Throat: mix fennel greek seeds with salt water and gargle.

Headache: drink 1 teaspoon of honey in warm water daily in the morning time.

Cough: drink fresh apple juice mixed with a ½ teaspoon of jaggery (natural sugar)  eating grapes also provides strength to the lungs but avoid drinking water straight after.  Sucking on a piece of cinnamon helps to control a cough.

Insomnia:  massaging the soles of the feet with mustard oil provides calmness and a good sleep.

No Chocolate but Yoghurt!  For a sweet treat tries not reaching for those chocolate bars and cakes etc and go for organic natural yoghurt mixed with natural honey with some fruit or muesli, it’s delicious.

Alternative to Hot Chocolate: mix ½ teaspoon of cinnamon powder with a teaspoon of honey, into boiling water.  A bit of ground black pepper goes down a treat too!

Stay healthy and happy everyone, just breath and let the universe take care of everything else!
Om Om Shanti Om
mangala / nicky

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Breath of God.

We all are suffering with the three afflictions; fear of being ignorant, we all want knowledge, fear of death, and fear of sorrow, we all want to be happy.  So how do we work toward this so-called happiness or limitlessness, how do we transcend ourselves?  We can transcend this suffering by learning our true nature by understanding the reality about ourselves, to become free from our limitations and by following one of the four main paths of yoga; Jnana yoga, we need to look at and study the philosophy of Vedanta.  Vedanta teaches us how to be completely content with ourselves.  Veda is the scriptures or knowledge and anta means highest, so from the Veda’s comes the highest knowledge, the truth.  We are all coming and going continually in our births, death and rebirths, but the truth never undergoes any change, Vedanta teaches us to recognise that I am that.  That the divine is within us, our individuality is false it is just the ego that is this ‘I’ and ‘mine,’ but ultimately we are all one.  Vedanta also teaches truth about the Universe, stars, planets and the milky ways and that we are just visiting in these temporary vehicles called our bodies.  It teaches us the relationship between God, the Universe and ourselves and that out of these three only one is real.  So what is the benefit of the study of Vedanta, well to lesson the misery in the Universe, not just for us but for all living entities.  When we become happy the world around us becomes happier. 
Vedanta comes from the Veda’s of which there are four; Rik Veda which is more like poetry, Yajur Veda more like prose, Sama Veda covers music, the kirtan we chant and Atharva looks at the rituals like puja’s etc.  Each Veda contains the Upanishads, the ultimate truth, like a summery of the whole.  They weren’t written as such; they have always been, with no beginning and no end, like gravity has always been Einstein didn’t invent it.  Sages in meditation received the mantras because of their purity of mind; they saw the knowledge that was already there.  The medium was in Sanskrit and was passed down verbally through generation to generation and people are still chanting today in the same way as of 1000’s of years ago.  In the beginning there was only one Veda but a sage called Badarayana thought it would be too difficult to preserve like this so split it into four.  They all exhaust themselves in teaching us about our true nature, that we are happiness, we are truth, existence and bliss, that all the happiness that we are searching for is actually within us already. 
As Yogis there are three main scriptures we should look at, the Upanishads; the breath of God, the Bagavad Gita from the mind, and the Brahma Sutra’s, which thread the two together and clear the contradictions between the two.  When all these are looked into with humility and patience, then the knowledge will come, when we shed our ignorance like an onion skin, you will find the knowledge and well of happiness is already there within you. 
So dive into the breath of God, dive into yourself.
Hari Om Tat Sat
mangala / nicky

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Happy Deepavali

"I love my friends neither with my heart
nor with my mind
Just in case my heart might stop
mind can forget
I love them with my soul
Soul never stops or forgets"

Be the beautiful light that you are
Hari Om Tat Sat

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

A dedication to our dear SwamiJi

Our dear Swami Visnudevananda left his physical body on November 9th 1993.  He dedicated the majority of his life to tirelessly giving teachings on the vast science of yoga and working toward world peace.  I dedicate this blog post to him, although I have never met him in the flesh, he has had a vast impact on my life.  It was Swami Sivananda that sent him off ‘to the West’ with ten rupees in his pocket, telling him that people were waiting.  Swami Visnu or SwamiJi as he was lovingly known arrived eventually in America and finally founded the Sivananda schools of yoga through Canada, America and back in India, where he began the teacher training courses, without which I wouldn’t be sitting here in the same place as I am now.  He had a great sense of humour and was loved so much by his students.  He offers solace, hope and guidance and above all joy and love to all who listen to him and stays with us always in our hearts and within the many books and recordings he made. 
After class at Pranamaya yoga centre Kathmandu, Friday 9th Nov 2012, we will have half an hour silent meditation session to honour him, finishing with a chant for peace.  Class begins at 6.00pm until 7.15pm, meditation will start at 7.30-8pm, please come and join me.  For now I will leave you with an extract from the book Vishnudevananda Upadesa, teachings of Swami Vishnudevanda, available from the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre.  Om Shanti.

“Yoga means union.  It shows us how to unite all our life-forces by directing them inward.  The goal is happiness and happiness lies within.  You can go anywhere in the world, to nightclubs and restaurants, to London or Paris and still not find happiness.  If happiness were to be found in Paris, then all Parisians would be happy.  If happiness is at home with the family, then you must all be happy – but are you?  Happiness does not exist outwardly, even here.  Happiness, the kingdom of heaven, lies within.”  Swami Visnudevanda

“Whatever we see, whatever we hear, whatever we smell and taste we accept as real, not illusion.  In daily life, we think that what we perceive is real.  Only when you begin to discriminate do you understand that perception is not real.  You can have televisions, video games and all the modern conveniences.  But really there is nothing there.  It is all empty like a shadow, it is a mirage.  Most people today behave like a man running after a mirage in the desert – he thinks he will find water but instead he dies of dehydration.  So don’t run after a mirage.  God is the only reality, the only true thing is God.”  Swami Visnudevananda.

Have a blessed day and hope to see you on the mat,
Mangala / nicky