Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Thoughts on World Yoga Day

June 21st was initiated by the Indian Prime Minister and then declared by the United Nations to be celebrated every year as an International world yoga day.  To me this is truly a wonderful thing and a great opportunity.
Yoga is an exploration, a journey, and a long and varied discovery into the very depths of our existence.  It gives us the means to know the very essence of what we are, what our limitations are and then enables us to rise above them.
Yoga to unite, to become one, to become contented and joyous, to be able to handle any situation in a peaceful manor, pre-dates all religions and when taught in its purest form – that in love – has opened up endless possibilities over centuries.  I believe it is the responsibility of this generation to keep it alive and available for all of humanity and all of living entities.
We are at a crucial time in history when science and technology have exceeded our very expectations, when everyone seems connected to an android, a chip, a wireless – you name it, it is there.  We can seemingly make or break the whole world with a touch or a button.  But there is so much restlessness, so much conflict, so much greed and an inability to communicate from the heart without some form of modem, moogle, google or what not!
Humanity in large has forgotten to connect to that which is real, it has forgotten the truth and in turn has become sick.
It is through the many practices and paths of yoga that we can again become well and continue our evolution.  We can strive to be more compassionate, less greedy and bothered with our own little discomforts.  It is through these practices that we can find the truth into who we are and this brings wealth in health and happiness.  Happiness is our true nature and our birthright; all knowledge is within us, al peace within us.
Yoga gives us the opportunity to increase and build upon our wisdom; we have no right to grieve, a wise man neither grieves for the living or the dead, everything is in its place.  Yoga gives us the knowledge of ‘Who am I.’ What we essentially are we can find in yoga and this knowledge brings us freedom from our suffering of our limited selves the fundamental problems of the human mind, so afraid of death, so afraid of sorrow and so afraid of ignorance.  There is no need to grieve of these things, just look within, practice with effort, determination, strength of a lion and dedication and our ignorance will depart and wisdom will fill our souls.
I am saddened as already I am hearing conflict about which day should this joyous day of yoga be held on, certain groups say we already hold a world yoga day, well why do we not know about it?  I am saddened as business are cashing in on this day making expensive yoga packages, that yoga has become branded and manipulated.  I hear of conflicts from religious groups that oppose the declaration from the Indian prime minister on making yoga a part of the national curriculum in their schools. 
Let us stop and put an end to this silliness, let us stop this pettiness and conflicts.  The 21st of June is a joyous day, a new beginning where we should start working for the world; working for peace for ourselves, for all living entities and for Mother Earth.  And infact who should care if it is 21st June or tomorrow or last week, every day, every breath even we should be working for this.
It is my dream that within the life time of this physical body that is with me now, I see all children in all schools around the world practicing yoga, that they will become so wise and continue the evolution of humanity and lead us to an eventual liberation for all.
Let us stop this cloning, this fear of moving on from what we are, we need to move forward and it is not technology and science that will do that.  It is my belief that it will come from the ability to open our eyes and look and journey within, to heal ourselves is to heal the world.  Wellness is within us we just need the beautiful light of yoga to show us.
From this day it is my intention to spread this wonder as much as possible, as much as I am able to, and I endeavour to start now with our children, no matter what their age, 3 years or 15 years, they are our future.  They may become our politicians, our world leaders and our ambassadors.  And what our leaders need is to know peace themselves, to know compassion themselves.  To know themselves is to know the world. 
Namaste – bring the palms of your hands together and bring two polarities together, black and white together, hot and cold together, all religions together, and simply breath.

World yoga day at Pranamaya yoga studio, Patan, Kathmandu. June 21st.
Kids 9-10am, everyone 10.30-12.30pm.
Let us unite.
Mangala / nicky 

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Two super foods for these hot summer days!

Now we are really into the summer days here in Kathmandu and temperatures are soaring our appetites can get depleted leaving us feeling a little low on energy, a little grumpy and irritable.  Here are two super foods that can give us a lift and fill us up without leaving us feeling heavy after eating, this is my summer mango and pomegranate shake and it is so easy! Just cut up one whole mango and one whole pomegranate and blend together with a little mint and bobs your uncle, chill it in the fridge for a little cooling and a little relief! 
Pomegranate is considered one of the fruits of paradise; a symbol of health and has been recommended by ayurvedic practitioners for centuries.  It is packed with antioxidants, packed with 45% of your daily need of fibre, helping digestion and keeping the colon healthy.  It is rich in anti-inflammatory properties, which boosts our immune system and best of all is a natural aphrodisiac, keeps us looking younger and releases our stress levels!  Much needed in a hot and dusty city!!
Mango is very rich in vitamin C which again provides antioxidants and boosts immunity, a great source of Vitamin A which can help with our vision and also contains a healthy pro-biotic fibre. 
You could add water if you wanted a more refreshing lift as a snack or have it for a meal in itself, great in the evening instead of a full dinner leaving you feeling lighter and more energized in the morning when you get up.
I love the mango season and as for pomegranates well a fruit of paradise lets say no more!
Om shanti shanti shanti
Mangala / nicky. 

Monday, June 1, 2015

Finding strength in our practice.

This is my first return to this blog after the 25th April earthquake that hit us here in Nepal reaching a magnitude of 7.8 followed by countless aftershocks, most noticeably the next day on the 26th reaching 6.7 and then again on the 12th May reaching 7.3.  We are still feeling these aftershocks all being in the 4 point something’s the most recent two days ago.  It is a funny thing that you are going about your normal day and within seconds everything is completely different.  More than 8800 people have lost their lives and more than 23000 people have been injured.  Villages have been lost, people have lost their homes all their belongings, beautiful world heritage sites have been lost.  And noticeably people have lost their confidence.  There have been reports made of future earthquakes that will come in the high numbers that have done nothing but further this fear, we could go on and on focusing on the negatives but what good is this and what does it achieve?  Fear breads fear, gossiping and rumours are so damaging, but largely what I have seen here is a nation of people trying to pick themselves up and simply carry on.  Neighbours that may not have even noticed each other before are now caring for each other, today the Nepali schools opened in whatever shape or form they could, people are cooking for each other.  Isn’t this how it should always be? 
This is the best time now for our practice of Yoga, to know the tools we need to heal ourselves and then continue on, to work selflessly as a community as with a spirit of oneness, to put into practice our karma yoga, to work in essence for all, even if this is a simple smile, an act of compassion or sharing a hug.  Everything that is positive is making a difference, to show our resilience and to again look into the true nature of ourselves, this is our yoga practice and this will bring us peace, to know what we truly are, and then we have the understanding that essentially there is nothing to grieve as Lord Krishna explained to Arjuna as he stood on the battle field in the teachings of the Bhagavad Gita.  Yes this life is a battlefield but our yoga practices give us the tools to fight on and eventually reach a place of all contentment, earthquakes and all!  Use the tools that we are so honoured to have received, now is the time not only for those of us here in Nepal but for all of humanity for the good of all living entities and Mother Earth herself.  I would like to share these words from Swami Dayananada on his explanations from the Bhagavad Gita –
“A person who commits himself to the pursuit of knowledge is generally supported by the society which values knowledge.  In modern society scientists are provided with grants and resources for research, being told, in effect, ‘You may discover anything, your hypothesis may prove wrong; it does not matter.  Continue your research – that is enough.’  Society will not disown a person who persues knowledge.  In this way Indian society supports those who dedicate their life to the pursuit of the knowledge of the self.
With the thought of taking a life of an aesthetic than that of a warrior, a new line of thinking was triggered in Arjuna’s mind.  We all experience such reversals in our patterns of thought.  For instance, an overwhelming event, like the death of a friend, may start a chain of inquiry.  ‘This man was alive yesterday.  He is dead now.  What happened to his life?  Was he just the body, or was there something different from the body which left the body and for which the body died?  Is there something more profound, more lasting, than the physical body of flesh and bones?  Am I also the same?  Are all my wants and achievements meaningless?  Should life be spent struggling if the outcome is death?  Can’t I resolve my struggles during my lifetime?’  These questions are fundamental and universal and arise out of ignorance about ourselves.” – Swami Dayananda.
All our pain is coming from our ignorance of what we truly are, all our pain is coming from the limitations of the human condition – the fear of being unhappy, the fear of being ignorant and the fear of death.  It is our sense of inadequacy that causes so many problems for us. 
Lord Krishna states to Arjuna – “ You are grieving over that which deserves no grief, although you may talk words of wisdom.  The wise grieve neither for the living nor for the dead.”
To gain knowledge of our true selves we must be taught, be put on the right path to a place where nothing more and nothing less than absolute consciousness resides.  To be fearless as there is nothing to fear. 
For this we need Yoga, and not just our asana postures that we love, we need all four of the major paths of yoga, Raja yoga – the mystical approach, Bhakti yoga- the devotional approach, Karma yoga – that of action and selfless service and Jnana yoga – that of knowing who am I. 
Let us use the tools that we have been so joyfully given, as a builder knows which hammer to use, an electrician which wires to use, we too as Yogis should know which tools we need at which times in our lives to remain calm and positive and keep our sense of commitment to those that surround us to create a balanced and harmonious world for ourselves and for all of living entities.
I wish and strive towards us all finding our strength no matter where you are or what your situation is, in the practice of yoga.  We are here, we have our breath, the sun rises and the sun falls, everything is in its place.
Om Lokha Somasta Sukhino bhavantu
May you all be happy, balanced and find your peace
Om shanti
Always Om
Mangala / nicky.