Wednesday, December 11, 2013

love for 2013 and joy for 2014

As I am preparing to head off to India once more for some time of self-reflection and study, these will be my last words posted here for 2013.  This year has brought many blessings and I am truly grateful.  I have been again so lucky to be able to share my joy of yoga with so many and have had quite a few students now go through the Sivananda teacher training and become teachers themselves, so a huge congratulations to them and I am so proud of you all spreading this beautiful way of life to others and helping them to become more confident in themselves, overcome their obstacles and find peace.  Let us continue to breathe through our master of Swami Sivananda.  I read a beautiful quote from Swami Vishnudevanda the other day that said ‘If I have ever given you anything good then it has come from my Master Swami Sivananda.’  And with that I always say to my students when they thank me for this or that, that it has not come from me but it is Sivananda always at work through us, he was so full of love for all of humanity that I hope this love is reaching out to you all through us. 
I have had the great pleasure to meet so many different people from around the world from all different backgrounds and different ages, I have had students from 8 years old to 77 in my classes, workshops and retreats and it really has been a joy to meet you all and share OM, laughter and tears. 
I have always said that I am more of a yoga sharer than a teacher, your greatest teacher lies within your own heart but we need someone to share the knowledge to reach that guru, to give us some direction on the pathway.  A few days ago the great man Nelson Mandela passed away or his great spirit left this physical prison that we journey in, now Nelsons heart is truly free and he has left this plane of existence in the knowledge that he really did try to bring change to this world, that he really worked for humanity.  I remember being in South Africa maybe 10 years back and visiting his cell that he spent most of his imprisonment in on Robin Island.  The thing that I brought away with me the most from that visit were the words of the ex political prisoner that was showing us around.  We were in a small group and one of the couples there had a child with them of about 3 years old.  The child was taking much delight in rolling around on the mats that were the prisoners beds and making quite a noise and some of the people in the group were getting quite cross about it.  Then the ex political prisoner told us a story, he said that one day whilst out on hard labour with Mandela and others, whilst they were crushing stones with useless tools, they heard a sound that made them all stop, after a few moments they recognised that sound as laughter from small children and they all begin to feel the tears flow down their cheeks.  The sound of these children was coming from outside the prison but the sound of their laughter was being carried by the breeze to where the prisoners were working.  The prisoners had not heard children for so many years that they had forgotten what that sounded like and once they remembered they had shed tears for their loss of this sound.  Of course then nobody was cross any more at the sounds that this small boy was making on our trip and we were all humbled.
With this in mind I really want to encourage this sharing of yoga with the younger generations, to allow them to think differently and to find their own destiny in hope that we are creating more peaceful people with mindfulness over the planet and themselves, that they can breathe peace back to the Earth.  That we can all rejoice in each others company and accept each other without entanglement and labels, without borders and colour, that we indeed can find the harmony in our hearts and live in it, finding compassion for all living entities.  Finding the knowledge is a beautiful thing but then sharing it is even greater.  For this you don’t all need to go off to study to become a yoga instructor but for some simply sharing chanting OM with somebody can bring empowerment, joy and peace.  So think of how you can share what you learn and let us make this world an even more wonderful place.
“Serve, love, give, purify, meditate, realize.” Swami Sivananda
I will be back to my studies until mid February so I won’t be posting here until I return to Kathmandu.  Then I will be ready to give my full attention to share as much as I can.  Looking forward to connecting with you again then,
For now
I salute you Nelson Mandela and may your soul be truly free.
Om Lokha Somasta Sukhino Bhavantu
May all beings find balance and harmony
May you all find joy in 2014 Happy New Year!
Pranams – Love
Mangala - Nicky

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Natures Glow - home natural facials!

We all have a natural beauty than can shine from within and without.  It is not necessary to use expensive cosmetics to enhance that natural beauty and in fact those cosmetics can sometimes be more damaging.  So here are a few natural ways you can spend some time with yourself and glow!
Tomato Glow- cut a red tomato in half and place a towel under your head, rub the juice of half of the tomato all over your face and neck and allow it to dry.  Once it has dried rinse of with lukewarm water.  It removes the wrinkles of the face and gives the face a beautiful glow.
Potato shine- Apply the juice of a raw potato on the black rings under the eyes or slice a raw potato and rub it on the face especially to any darker areas, leave for 10 minutes then wash the face with water.  This reduces dark areas especially under the eyes.
Milk, honey and lemon pack- Rub the face with a little unboiled milk and leave to dry for a couple of minutes, then very gently rub some sea salt that has been grounded to be fine particles onto the face, this will remove any dirt and cleanse the skin also removing any dead skin cells.  Gently rinse off then apply a paste of lemon juice with honey over the entire face and leave it to dry.  Once dried wash with lukewarm water, this will really improve the complexion.
Cleansing mask- Mix 3 teaspoons of curd and 1 teaspoon of good honey making a paste, apply all over the face and leave for 10-15 minutes.  This is a deep pore cleanser, it opens the pores and removes the dead cells and dirt and leaves you completely revitalised!
So enjoy your home facials and shine even more than you do already!!
Om Om Shanti Om
May you all be in peace and harmony
Mangala  /  Nicky.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Vipareeta Karani a powerful healing posture.

If you are suffering from arthritis or rheumatism then Vipareeta Karani is the posture for you.  Actually this posture is restorative for the whole nervous system and has a multitude of benefits bringing balance back to your whole being, relieving mild back pain, anxiety, digestive problems, insomnia, depression, headaches, high or low blood pressure, respiratory problems, cramps and varicose veins in the legs, calms the mind and helps with the menopause. 
Vipareeta Karani in Sanskrit means ‘doing the reverse.’  For those of you suffering with arthritis it brings the blood flow to the parts of the body that need it and improves the healing process reducing pain. 
It is not unlike sarvangasana the shoulderstand but there are quite profound differences.  Here the neck is extended and not brought in to the chest, the blood flow to the head and face are unimpeded.  The nervous system is toned up and nervous energy is increased which reduces the arthritis, the sluggish circulation or stasis in the diseased joints is cured and the blood flow activated.  There are natural benefits to the heart as it encourages deep breathing slowing the heart down and bringing greater strength.
In this posture there is an arch to the lower back as the lumber region or the hips are resting on the hands and fingers, make sure the elbows are pushing down into the mat, the neck should be free here but always keep the head in line with the spine.  So as in shoulderstand where the weight is on the shoulders here the weight is to the elbows and upper arms and the legs are kept and 45 degrees instead of being pushed up straight. 
To begin lay on your mat on your back the arms next to your body and palms face down, breathe rhythmically into your abdomen.  Then keeping your back, head and neck on the mat inhale and raise your legs up to 90 degrees.  On the next inhalation gently lift your hips until you can place your hands and fingers flat against your hips or buttocks.  Then tilt your pelvis back toward the mat; arching the lower back the hands are like shelves for your hips, keeping the neck free and weight on the elbows, the legs straight at 45 degrees and breathe rhythmically and deeply.  To come down gently form a break on the mat with your hands and lower yourself carefully back down.
As well as all the benefits mentioned above it is written that this posture destroys old age and after 6 months practice reduces wrinkles and grey hair, so every reason to practice right!
Please do take care with this posture and it is always better to practice under the guidance of an experienced teacher.
Inverted postures should not be practiced by people suffering with serious eye problems such as detached retina or glaucoma or any serious neck or back injury.  Always seek advise before practising.
There are variations that you can use also if this posture is too strong for you with resting bolsters and pillows under the lower back and using the wall for support.
For now enjoy your practice
Om Om Shanti Om
Mangala – Nicky.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

How to work toward a happier more contented mind.

Whatever is happening in our life we tend to identify with it, i.e. when sorrow comes we become sorrow, when happiness comes we become happy, when confusion and ignorance come we become confused and ignorant.  We are all in this human body, which is a wonderful thing as it gives us the opportunity to dive into ourselves and to observe our minds.  We naturally want to be happy in fact we seemingly are never satisfied and are always wanting more, we don’t want to worry but we always worry.  We naturally want to make sure tomorrow will be safe but we are looking in the wrong places with the wrong methods to do so, it isn’t in having a flat in Paris and one in Holland.  It isn’t in having an expensive holiday or is it in having a highflying job or the friends that you work with.  What we really have to do to make sure tomorrow is happy and safe is to not think of tomorrow but think of the now and create a mind which is not going to be disturbed in any circumstances.  We need a method to not be affected by any physical or mental condition so in times when things seem more difficult; in times of loss or pain, actually they are easy because we don’t identify with them and remain unaffected. We can enjoy our experiences but try not to get attached to them, let them go as everything is always changing, nothing stays the same only the ultimate truth does so.  So when we have those times of exhilaration enjoy and move on, as they don’t last, there are always ups and downs, comings and goings.  Don’t let your expectations disturb you, try to accept things as they are.  The problem with us is that we expect everything to be perfect we want ourselves to be perfect.  This dream of perfection is going to cause nothing but worry and anxiousness or even disappointment, as nothing is perfect only in consciousness itself does this exist. 
We can help ourselves to overcome our delusions and rest safely and happily in the now by being grateful for all that we do have, for most of us we are exceptionally lucky sitting here looking at this computer screen with all 10 toes, the sense of sight, of touch, the ability to read and think.  For some these things are not a possibility.  A while ago I was coming back home from town in a taxi watching an old man with one leg having to wheel himself about in a make shift chair that he had to struggle to turn the leaver at the front with one hand to make the wheels go round, through the most busy and polluted streets in amongst all the noise and traffic, this man looked between 70-80 year old or even older.  All I could think of was struggle for this man to simply be able to move.  So for most of us we have so much to be grateful for right? 
Taking time for some meditation on this is a great help in getting us closer to gaining that mind that is going to remain contented and unaffected.
Here is how –
1.Sit in a calm place and sit comfortably, you can sit in a chair if it is not possible to sit on the floor for you.  However you are sitting be it in lotus pose or simple crossed legged, or with the legs out straight in front, make sure that the spine is held straight.
2.Close your eyes and observe your body for a few moments, try to relax your face, smoothing any lines across your brow, relax your eyes and your jaw.
Tense and release any muscles that are feeling tight or where you feel tension and try to relax your whole body.
Rest your hands gently in your lap and start to observe your breath, without changing anything just be witness to your tummy gently moving as you breathe.
3.After some time begin to imagine your toes and be grateful for them, for all the work they do for you each day.  Imagine your feet be glad you have them to carry you around, your legs, your hips.  Imagine your spine holding your whole body up straight, your lungs for enabling you to breath.  Your hands that allow you to write, cook, and all the things you do.  Imagine your skin allowing you to touch, your eyes allowing you to see, your nose allowing you to smell, your ears allowing you to hear and your tongue allowing you to taste.  Imagine your beautiful heart beating, what a wonder no?  You can work through your whole body and be grateful and happy with each part of it; even you can work through your internal organs and your wonderful mind.  You can even continue with thoughts of waking up in a bed in a room, that you have running water, a kettle to make tea with etc etc.
4.When you have finished going through all these things of which there are so many to be thankful for then just sit for a while in your own love and light, just breathe and be.
5.Before opening your eyes place your hands together in front of your heart centre and say thank you, then rub your hands together to create a heat and place them over your eyes.  Observe for a moment now how your mind is feeling - a little happier, a little lighter?  This will help you to take courage and continue on with the next time you practice your meditation.
6.When you are ready open your eyes and place your hands back to your lap.
Continue your day with a happier and more contented heart.
OM SHANTI SHANTI SHANTI
Thank you Frank for sharing this meditation.
Peace love and light
Mangala – Nicky.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Healing from Mother Earth

Some of the most powerful and safest therapies are found in nature.

Turmeric that lovely sun coloured bright yellow wonder spice has been used for centuries in Indian cooking and Ayurvedic practices.  The power of turning to nature to heal us can be immense, often we just need to trust Mother Nature herself and allow her to nurture us. 
Going backwards and forwards to surgeries and clinics sometimes can cause more stress than sitting back and simply breathing.  Taking time for you body to heal is really important and often knowing the best way to do that can be confusing especially when you hear different opinions from different people. 
Right now I am suffering with some sickness, there is an unbalance in my body, yes it comes even to us Yogi’s sometimes, and when it comes we have to accept that it is there, respect it and take time to heal.
All disease is caused by the body and mind becoming out of balance, or from a karmic dept that we have to pay, acceptance can sometimes be the most difficult thing, but giving ourselves time is so important, we think maybe the problem will go away if we ignore it, when we have so many others to take of sometimes our own being is put to the bottom of the list.  However all awareness begins at home, if we don’t take care of ourselves then how can we properly take care of anybody else?
Turmeric has amazing healing properties and is used in many different ways, in herbal teas and cooking and as pastes to be applied to the body.
It has a wonderful antioxidant effect that protects cells from the normal but damaging effect of oxidation and a great boosting of the immune system.
Turmeric being a natural anti-inflammatory and natural antibiotic gives great relief from achy joints and muscles when made into a paste and applied to the area in need.  Here is my recipe –
Mix together enough turmeric powder with a little water to make a paste and heat, add half a teaspoon of rock salt, a little pure honey, half a teaspoon of sesame seeds and squeeze the juice of half a lime into the paste. 
Before applying to the body rub a little oil into the effected area, then apply the warm paste, cover with an old cloth (turmeric has a staining effect from its bright colour) and place a hot water bottle over the top.  You might like to wrap a towel around the whole area to keep the hot water bottle in place.  Keep there for as long as you can, between half an hour to an hour.
Whilst you are applying the pack, you could practice a little yoga nidra or meditation to accompany the healing process. 
This is very good for anyone suffering from arthritic joints, sprains, twists and swellings where there is no infection (no red colour to the skin and hot temperature.)
Enjoy the soothing effect that this practice has on the body. 
For now may you all find peace and happiness.
Om shanti
Nicky – Mangala.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Overcoming the Obstacles on the path to meditation.

One of the main ways to overcome the many obstacles that cross our path to falling into a state of meditation is to actually know what those obstacles are.  Then we can understand, confront and overcome them.  The path of meditation is a rocky and difficult one, but overcoming those hindrances serves as a challenge and brings us to higher achievements. 
PAIN IN THE BODY can be overcome by practising our yogic postures regularly in order to make the body strong enough to sit for some time in stillness.  Much energy is wasted in fidgeting about whilst trying to sit still, so if the body is strong enough for it then this ceases to cause a problem.  Also sit in a position you can maintain for some time, we don’t all need to sit in a perfect lotus to be able to meditate, just be comfortable as long as the spine is straight for the energy to be able to flow without constriction.
DIET plays an important role in trying to reach a point of meditation, just as the food we eat becomes our body itself, the subtle parts of the food also form our mind and how we are thinking, so a yogi eats a very plain and simple diet, avoiding spicy and stimulating foods so as to keep the mind calm and still enabling themselves to be able to slip into meditation more easily.  Foods that stimulate – chillies, onions, garlic, and lemons are among the more obvious ones of caffeine, meat and alcohol.  Also avoid eating too much, if the stomach is overloaded meditation is impossible, eat as lightly as possible.
SLEEP is often coming during a meditation session or feelings of sleepiness and lethargy.  Try to have a break for a few moments if sleepiness is coming, or adjust the method of meditation to add variety.  If you are mentally repeating a mantra and you feel sleepy then repeat it aloud for a while, or do a few rounds of sun salutations and come back to the meditation, you will feel more alert again.  Another way is to chant OM aloud for a while then come back to your original method.
DOUBT in the practice is a huge obstacle, as one may have been practicing for some time without thinking they are gaining the results.  Firstly have realistic expectations of the practice, it is very difficult and for most of us takes a long time with patience and dedication, but remember often the results are hidden and you are receiving them by just doing the practice even though it may not seem obvious to you.  When doubt arises the student should seek the company of spiritually elevating people, by studying the scriptures and spending time in the right company of others who are dedicated to their practice.  Be inspired by them and gain the courage to continue, all the best things are worth waiting for!
ANGER AND THE LOWER EMOTIONS may arise blocking you from reaching that state of bliss and contentment, try to just acknowledge them as they are human emotions after all but try to combat them by considering all the disadvantages they have on you both physically and mentally and then in turn the negative effect they have on those that surround you.  Then think of the opposite emotion or feeling i.e if you are feeling anger contemplate it and then think of compassion and contemplate all the positive effects that compassion would have on you and all those that surround you.  This way you can start to turn all negatives into positives. 
Practicing meditation not only brings us so many benefits, we become calmer, stronger emotionally, able to deal with certain situations in a better way and brings us peace but this also vibrates out to all those that surround you, so in improving ourselves we are also improving our environment and the other living entities that surround us.  So get our your cushion, get comfortable, light a candle and sit in the love and light of your own silence.  Give yourself the opportunity to just be with yourself and breathe, nothing more than that and nothing less.
The path is long the greatest virtue is humility.
Let us make the world a more peaceful place both internally and externally.
OM OM SHANTI OM
May you all find peace, harmony and balance in your life.
Nicky / Mangala



Friday, October 25, 2013

The gift of Yoga

My journey to the heart began in my very first yoga class, although I didn’t know it then.  I knew that the class made me feel wonderful, but at the same time was unaware then of further discoveries, it was more a physical experience.  But I was aware after some time of some sort of connection going on somewhere but I couldn’t explain it.  It was only over time and practice that I knew that my journey was only just beginning and I had so much to develop and discover.  Throughout the history of man there have been the great explorers, those that have set sail across the seas, those that have ridden across the deserts on camels and those that have flapped their arms in search of flight.  There have always been people searching, but it is the discovery of the self that is the greatest journey of all and the biggest adventure you will ever have.  Full of light and darkness, pain and elation, full of surprises.  We can be the most amazing philosophers or speakers, but if we don’t feel it, why?  We can put our bodies into the most amazing yogic postures and look so pretty, but if we don’t feel it, why?  There is so much importance put on the physical body these days that we have forgotten our hearts, we need to develop our hearts.  When it comes to that point when our physical bodies die off, we will wonder what all that time working on it was for, when it is what is in our hearts that stays with us, this is what we need to work on.  In your heart lies the eternal truth, a blooming lotus, an everlasting light, all cognition of memory is in the heart, like a jewel waiting for you.  Through our effort with our practice we can start to remove the layers that hide this jewel to us, and dive deeply into an internal ocean.  Develop your hearts, remember your oneness and wholeness with the rest of humanity, with animals and birds, with plants and the oceans.  There is no separation so be compassionate to your brothers and sisters.  I would like to share this poem with you by Swami Sivananda- I have a message.
I have turned away
From the wealth of the world
I have a mission
A great task before me
In my heart there is a mighty flame
I dive into that flame
And find brotherhood, peace and love
I spread
Brotherhood, peace and love.

You too have mighty flames in your hearts, so let go of all this meaningful consumerism, let go of your attachments they only cause more pain to you at the end of the day, and find that ocean of deep peace that lies within you.  Develop your heart, open your heart and learn to love yourself and all those that surround you.
Om Shanti, I am so grateful to the beautiful lady called Mala that gave me my first ever yoga class, what a wonderful gift.  I hope you all find that gift too.
Mangala – Nicky.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Raise your heart to the Sun and receive a ray of light.



Suryia Namaskar; the sun salutation, is a vital technique of our yogic repertoire of practice and has been practiced ever since yoga was.  The sun rises and falls around us every day bringing light into lives; illuminating the world unconditionally.  Without light there is nothing.  The sun known as Suryia in Sanskrit allows us to grow, to nourish and to develop, it gives us the vital energy we need as human beings, all plants need to grow and in turn nurture us within the food we eat and allows us to lead a meaningful life.
Without the sun there is no creation, no seed can grow and no fruit can flourish.
Practicing Suryia namaskar should become part of our daily routine like brushing our teeth, and practiced with sincerity, effort and dedication will bring so many benefits to us completely recharging our batteries.
It should become a form of self-expression where you can feel creation itself not practiced just merely as an exercise to maintain physical health.  It allows you to tune into the rhythms of the 24 hours in the day, the 12 zodiac phases of the year, each posture representing one of these phases, and the rhythms of your own body. 
For me there are four forms to Suryia Namaskar
  1. A physical form; improving circulation, flexibility, providing lubrication for the joints and stimulating all the internal organs and ensuring their proper working condition.  It allows us to live dynamically and bring back physical balance, which is vital for mental balance.
  2. A mental form; improving focus and concentration, allows us to begin to let go of our stresses and anxieties, allows us to let go of irrelevant thoughts thus enabling us to live more joyfully.  Suryia Namaskar can be the most powerful tool for mental wellbeing, which is essential for spiritual growth.
  3. A spiritual form; allowing us to sublimate our ego and lower emotions and thoughts and turn to a higher level of thinking.  We can begin to slay the demons of greed, selfishness and anger and have time to be gracious, humble and thankful to this giver of life.
  4. A pranic form; allowing us to receive the solar energy itself and in turn become that energy; shinning like a ray of light both inwardly and outwardly.  The practice has a direct effect on the solar energies of the body bringing totally wellbeing and long life.
Practicing Suryia Namaskar can really make a huge difference to your life slaying all woes and worries and making you a more confident and happy person.  It doesn’t take long to finish a few rounds each day which I’m sure we can all find time for even in our busy lives, taking care of ourselves is imperative that we then can take care of the rest of our duties and commitments.  Without our own health and peace of mind we can’t make a good job of what else is going on around us.  So take time each day to honour yourself with Suryia Namaskar, feel stronger and more contented and give thanks to this beautiful shinning light in your life. 
Join me for 108 Sun Salutations on Saturday the 26th October at Pranamaya Yoga Studio, Moksh, Patan, Kathmandu, Nepal, @ 2.30-4.30pm.  Come and experience the sun in a collective energy, this is not a time to count how many rounds you complete or compete with others, this is a time of reflection and to come and join a physical meditation, know when to rest and when to energise yourself, feel refreshed and cleansed and float out of the studio ready for the rest of your day!  Learn about the which chakras are activated during the practice and why 108 is relevant.  Also enjoy the beautiful mantra of the Sun whilst you move.
wishing you all joyfull and peaceful days
Om shanti
Mangala  -  Nicky

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The Art of Complete Relaxation - Yoga Nidra

Yoga Nidra is the art of complete relaxation; it is a state of deep sleep for the body whilst keeping the mind aware and conscious.  In today’s world when we take time to relax, often we are creating more stimulation to the body and mind system, putting more pressure on this delicate system of ours instead of real rejuvenation.  Sitting in front of the TV or watching movies creates all kinds of vibrations depending on what you are watching but there are many reflections and lights keeping the eyes and ears stimulated.  Drinking a cup of coffee puts more stress on the body than any relaxation should do.  Going out for food and drinks creates all kinds of stimulations not only internally from what it is you are ingesting but also from noise of others, music etc etc.  Reading books creates all sorts of thought waves not what we want to do to allow the mind to have space.  These kinds of relaxations are just sensory diversions.
What Yoga Nidra gives to us is a place to really relax and allow the body and mind to re-balance and harmonise itself.  Often when we sleep at night, the body is still tense and never fully relaxes as it hasn’t been instructed to do so, the mind is still busy from the day or thoughts of what is necessary for the next day are coming and going.  But with the practice of Yoga Nidra we can leave all our stresses and anxieties behind and allow our cells and the whole body mind system to simply be and breathe.  It is a gift from the Universe to allow us to live gently again and in this busy world it is imperative for the health of our whole being.  Anxiety, stress and depression are our three main illnesses today and by practicing the art of relaxation we can start to relieve these symptoms.  The body and the mind cannot keep being pushed in all directions without something finally snapping, we have to take care of ourselves, then we can take care of all our other duties and the beings and environment around us.  At the end of the day, what is more important, a big fat pay cheque and sickness or having less but a happy heart?
The practice of Yoga Nidra is so simple; you don’t need any equipment or any special clothes, just a quiet place and the ability to turn your phone off for a while.  It will provide you with complete physical, mental and emotional rest, and within a short space of time of doing the practice you will begin to feel the benefits  You can find many CD’s and MP3’s of the practice and once you know it you don’t even need that, you can just mentally take yourself through the process, even whilst you are lying in your bed!
My CD Yoga Nidra with Nicky is a 17 minute long practice, not too short, and not too long so that you haven’t got time for it and is available and ready to go.  If you are living in Kathmandu please drop by to any of my classes to pick up a copy, the suggested donation is RPS150, and if you are outside of Nepal we will have to work out a way of getting a copy to you.
For now take time to relax and relax properly.
Om Lokha Somasta Sukhino Bhavantu
May you all find peace, balance and harmony
OM Shanti
Nicky / Mangala

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

15 minutes of practice for busy people!




For many a daily practice of an hour and a half or even longer sounds like a daunting prospect, and I hear thoughts of how am I ever meant to fit that in every day!  If you are one of those busy people but still want to maintain your balance and harmony then here is a short 15-minute practice that may make that a little bit more manageable. 
  1. Always start with a little relaxation in savasana, it is very easy to leave out the relaxation when there are time constraints, but this is the most important part of the practice, to tune into the nature that makes your very being, let go of other thoughts and give your body the essential time it needs to rejuvenate. 
  2. Chant Om even if it is only once, this will help you to focus your mind and uplift you.
  3. Suryia Namaskar- sun salutations 4-6 rounds depending on the speed you like to practice, however remember slowing yourself down may be more beneficial to your body and give yourself time to breathe within the postures and receive the benefits from each one.  Suryia Namaskar is a great boon for the whole body and mind, helps to improve flexibility and circulation, improves concentration levels and takes care of the spine your whole communication system for the body.
  4. Single leg raises, helps to relieve lower back pain, stretches the hamstrings and keeps the veins in the legs healthy.
  5. Sarvangasana – shoulder stand, this is a most important posture bringing a rich supply of blood to the thyroid gland keeping it healthy and regulating your metabolic system.  Brings the thyroid gland to a normal level of activity.  Slows down your heart rate and regulates any high or low blood pressure, feeds the spine abundantly with all the nutrients it needs, helps to relieve any problems with the veins in the legs and helps to maintain a youthful figure.  Also it calms the mind and helps to release any stresses or mental sluggishness.
  6. Matsyasana – fish pose, helps to remove any stiffness in the back and brings greater flexibility to the spine.  A natural massage is given to the shoulders and neck.  The chest is expanded and deep breathing encouraged bringing a greater potential of energy back to the system.  The pituitary gland located in the brain is massaged and in turn then takes care of all other glands, regulating your emotions.
  7. Paschimothanasana – seated forward bend, gives a complete stretch through the whole body and invigorates the internal organs.  Tones all the digestive organs and increases digestive fire, invigorates the entire nervous system and regulates energy flow.
  8. Ardha Matsyendrasana - half spinal twist, helping to keep the spine healthy and elastic.  All the ligaments around the spine receive many nutrients and the toxins held in the liver, kidneys and bowels are released.  This posture brings a real calmness to the mind.
  9. Savasana – your final relaxation.  Whatever your time restraints do not leave out your relaxation, it is imperative for the health of your whole body and mind system and after your asana’s you deserve it!  Give yourself some time to be still and enjoy your breath, listen to your inner sounds and find peace.
Enjoy your practice everyone; remember looking after your family, your job and the world around you starts with looking after yourself.  You start to shine and the rest of the world shines around you.
Om Om shanti Om
Nicky / Mangala

Thursday, September 19, 2013

How we Eat!

Food is our daily medicine, the quality and quantity of food we take each day largely affects how we think and feel, the whole body and mind system is governed by what we are putting into our bodies.  In fact it is the very food that we eat that makes our physical body, the seven Dhatu’s or body tissues are formed from what you have for breakfast, lunch and dinner and anything in between!  And they are constantly renewing, in fact it is written that our whole physical being renews itself every seven years, so maybe now is the time to start thinking more of what is making your plasma, lymph, blood cells, muscles and bones, nerves and everything else. 
It is imperative that we look after ourselves, all progress, and all awareness starts at home, if we look after ourselves then we can take care of others.  If we take care of others the Universe starts to feel better.  If we start to shine the Universe starts to shine.
Recently I have been made more aware of the Ayurvedic diet and ways of eating, which has been a bit of a revolution to me.  How we can balance ourselves through what we eat and heal ourselves.  All diseases no matter how big or small if they are physical or mental begin through our bodies and minds being out of balance, and through how and what we eat is a way of re-balancing.  Here are some points of the Ayurvedic ways of eating that might help you to be more mindful as to how you take care of that body car of yours

  1. All food should be freshly cooked, fresh produce and where possible organic.  Tinned, canned, frozen and foods in packets are dead foods, full of toxins that are only going to impair how your body and minds are working
  2. You should sit down and eat your meal with a calm and settled mind.  Avoid watching TV, being on the phone/ computer or walking down the road.  Sit peacefully with good posture and enjoy the food.
  3. Try not to eat too quickly or slowly this will lead to indigestion.
  4. The quantity of food taken is important, try not to overeat, the stomach should be ¾ water, ¾ food and ¾ space so as good digestion can take place.
  5. There should be a gap of 3-6 hours depending on your metabolism between eating.
  6. Try not to drink whilst eating as it impairs the digestion, have some water before your meal then wait at least half an hour after eating before again drinking.  Tea and coffee after a meal are disastrous for the digestion!
  7. A good Ayurvedic meal should contain a little of the 6 Rasa’s or tastes- sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter and astringent.
  8. Lunch should be the main meal of the day as it is when the digestive fire is highest, in the evening time the digestive fire is low and slow, so having a big meal can leave you lethargic the next day.
  9. Ice cold drinks and foods should be avoided as they impair the digestion greatly and reduce energy levels.
  10. After food sit quietly for a few minutes and then have a little walk to aid digestion, sitting in a chair will slow down the process and induce more toxins into the system.
  11. Don’t eat before going to bed, if you are hungry try drinking a little milk, or eat a small portion of fruit.
  12. Food should be tasty and be good to the eye; digestion actually starts here as we look at the food.
  13. Enjoy your food, it should be wholesome and satisfying and give good energy.

So enjoy your daily medicine and think about what it is you are doing to yourself, a happy body means a happy mind, a happy mind means a happy body, so eat well and look after yourself because you have a beautiful shinning heart and you deserve it.

Om Om shanti Om
Mangala/ Nicky

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Ayurveda and Yoga Weekend Retreat with Nicky

September 21 @ 7:00 am - September 22 @ 7:00 pm

 | 11500 rupees
Yoga and Ayurveda – learning to live in balance and harmony
Nicky: “We are the very nature of this universe, we contain the same elements as every bird, grain of sand, every river and mighty mountain.  We are space, we are air, we are fire, water and earth.  Through the ancient traditions of Yoga and Ayurveda we can bring our minds, bodies and souls back into harmony and awaken the memory of who we really are.”
During the weekend we will look at:
  • Discovery of your constitution. Each of us is made up of the 5 basic elements making the 3 dosha’s – Vata (space and air), Pita (fire and water) and Kapha (water and earth) discover your own constitution to what level of Vata, Pita, Kapha you are and how you personally connect with the universe.
  • General yoga for all 3 doshas and specific yoga practice for each dosha, what is most beneficial for Vata, Pita and Kapha.
  • Meditation techniques for each dosha.
  • Discussion on diet and how to keep the dosha’s balanced through dietry and daily routines.
  • Demonstration on how to use Ayurvedic hot water treatment for achy joints!
Nicky has just completed the Basics in Ayurveda with Dr Nuwan Gamage, Ayurvedic Physician in Tangalla, Sri Lanka and is ready with new inspiration and knowledge to share.
Cost for the weekend is 11500 per person and includes accommodation on twin sharing basis, all meals (vegetarian), transportation from and to Kathmandu, yoga instruction and Ayurveda lectures, use of yoga mats.
This weekend will be held at the beautiful Namo Buddha resort, for more details and to sign up please look at Pranamaya's website here: www.pranamaya-yoga.com
Om Om Shanti OM
Nicky / Mangala

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Meditation on AUM

In one of my very first blog posts or maybe even the very first one we looked at the meaning of Om or classically written Aum.  Today we had such a lovely meditation on AUM that I thought I would share it with you, so for those of you who missed it you can practice at home.
Om is the very breath of existence, it is the beginning of all beginnings, the creation of nature and soul.  The five elements cannot exist without OM and it is the five elements that make this universe and make your good selves.  AUM is everything, it represents all that is unreal and that which is ultimate truth; absolute existence, knowledge and bliss.  It is the waking state, the dream state and the deep sleep state and all that goes beyond, it covers the threefold experiences of man.  From OM this sense world has been projected, the world exists in OM and dissolves in OM. It is the basis of your life, thought and intelligence. 
Keeping that in mind and let us begin our meditation, chanting OM will drive away all worldly thoughts and prevent Vikshepa- the tossing of the mind.
Sit comfortably in a crossed legged pose with the spine straight.
Relax all the muscles in the body and feel the shoulders relax downward.
Close your eyes and put all your duties to one side.
Concentrate on your gentle breath without changing anything just be witness to the breath, feeling the flow of air in and out of the body.
When you feel ready begin to chant AUM with your exhalations.  On the inhalations be still.
Allow the vibration of OM to journey through your body and mind, healing and soothing.
Chant for as long as you feel comfortable, take rests if you need to and you may want to chant silently after some time.
Whilst you are chanting consider all that OM represents and its meanings.
Finish by sitting silently again and bring your awareness back to the breath.
Slowly bring your hands together in front of your heart centre and rub the palms to create a heat, cup the hands over the eyes and when you are ready gently open the eyes, then release your hands down.
Chant Shanti 3 times, once for yourself, once for all living entities and once for Mother Earth.
Hari OM Tat Sat
Have beautiful days
Mangala / nicky

www.yogamangala.blogspot.com

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Once Upon a Time.


Lord Krishna was the 8th reincarnation of Lord Visnu; the God of preservation.  He was Lord Vishnu in human form possessing both divine and human qualities blended in him.  In one sense he is the supreme reality and the highest truth to foster truth and annihailate evil, and on the other hand he is human being though endowed with extroidinary intelligence and power.  Today Wednesday 28th of August is his birthday and I celebrate it with this story of how he overcame the mighty serpant Kaliya.  For me he is intriguing this blue colour human God, he had so many glories in the feats he performed although he was non-phenomenal in nature.  For me I hold him most dear in his guiding of Arjuna through the great battle within the Bhagavad Gita, which teaches us about this life, our duties and addresses itself to all human problems.  The Bhagavad Gita opens with the statement from Krishna – there is no cause for grief Arjuna.  There is no need for us to feel inadequate or feel the inability to face a certain situation.  So like Krishna in this story let us all feel courage and the ability to deal with all the mighty snakes that rise in our lives and then face them with compassion.  Have a wonderful day.

“In the river Kalindi there was a pool which was the abode of the mighty serpent Kaliya, who polluted the water of the river by his venom causing great hardships and harm to the inhabitants of the area and their herds.  So powerful was his venom that even the birds who flew over the river fell dead on the ground.  In order to subdue the great serpent, Krishna climbed a Kadamba tree and placed his yellow garment, peacock crown and garland on its trunk and then jumped into the river and began to play in the water striking it with his arms.  Kaliya the mighty serpant was enraged and circled Krishna with his coils.  Krishna’s companions on the bank were all terror struck and fell senseless on the ground.  Krishna however through his determination freed himself from the great snake, he so enlarged his body that the great snake couldn’t take his weight and rapidly released him from his coils.  Krishna took this opportunity to then dance on the snake, this rendered the snake powerless and he surrendered to Krishna.  The wives of this great serpent saw that he had lost his power and were distressed at the plight of their lord and appealed to Krishna.  Krishna spared the snakes life but banished him forever from the river, however he granted him protection from the mighty eagle Guruda; the destroyer of all serpents, whom Kaliya this great snake had fled from and had taken refuge in this river.

Om Lokha Somasta Sukhino Bhavantu
May all beings find balance, harmony and peace
Om shanti.
mangala / nicky :-)

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

A beautiful daily affirmation.


Dear Great Spirit of Consciousness and Awareness
You are within my every breath
Within every tiny bird, drop of water and mighty mountain
Your sweet Touch reaches everything
I am well protected.
Thank you for this beautiful day in front of me
May Joy, love, peace and compassion
Be part of my life and those that surround me.
I am healing
I am Healed.
Om Shanti.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

As We Think So We Become.


Thought is an object, thought is an energy, it has shape, power and travels like a bullet.  Negative thought goes in a negative direction, positive in a positive direction.  How we use our thoughts is in our hands, whether we allow ourselves to go along with these thoughts or not.  All thoughts have a really powerful energy and they can come at us from all directions, so we think so we become.  If we believe we are sick then we get sick, if we believe we are healthy we stay healthy, thought power is incredible.  Observing your thoughts mindfully is so interesting, watching our reactions to situations and people and once you can learn how to watch your thoughts then you can start to control them and change the reactions from what may have been negative into a positive.  It is easy to become carried away by our thoughts and then situations can escalate from something that really was nothing into huge mountains, by watching our thoughts we can at least try to keep them as mole hills!
You also attract thoughts with your own thought waves, for example love attracts love, hate attracts hate, so what you are thinking is so important as to what you want to surround yourself with.  Become angels and not monsters, as we think so we become.
I will be off on my travels again for the next 6 or 7 weeks, some time for family, some time for introspection and time to watch my thoughts!  I will also be taking an Ayurvedic course which I'm very excited about and hope to share my learnings with you when I'm back and connected again.
For now I would like to thank you all for allowing me to share this wonderful thing called yoga with you and wish you all have wonderful summers full of peace and love.
Looking forward to connecting with you all again in mid August,
for now shine brightly like the lights that you are and keep up the practice,
Om Om Shanti Om
mangala / nicky :-)