Have you ever been to the Jivamuktea Cafe in NYC?…. if you had you would remember….mouth watering and energy packed savoury meals, scrumptious deserts and more than juicy juices. Jeanine and I love remembering the pleasure of savouring the dishes of the cafe and try to replicate them but a “je ne sais quoi” is sometimes lacking. YAY!!! It sounds like some of their famous recipes will be in Sharon Gannon’s new cookbook, we can’t wait to lay our hands on it.
Peace, love and green beans,
Despite all our religions, all of our twelve-step programs, all of our self-help books, our technology—I find it interesting that there is moral consideration given to some expressions of life and not for others…. And it reminds me of a quote from Leo Tolstoy, who said something to that effect: he said that as long as there are slaughterhouses, there will be battlefields. And I think that’s what he meant: as long as there’s an attitude of apathy toward a certain group, it will mirror itself in humanity – Shaun Monson
We are not going to change the whole world, but we can change ourselves and feel free as birds. We can be serene even in the midst of calamities and, by our serenity, make others more tranquil. Serenity is contagious. If we smile at someone, he or she will smile back. And a smile costs nothing. We should plague everyone with joy. If we are to die in a minute, why not die happily, laughing? ~ Swami Satchidananda
… it is the most important co-product of the meat industry » – Stella McCartney
More information about leather tanning, which is highly toxic to humans, to groundwater and to the environment
« If we are buying and eating meat and dairy products, then the slaughterhouse workers, meat packers, and factory farm workers are all working for us. To live by violence and then to deny that you do is to live a lie. Living a lie causes a deep fissure in the human psyche. Yoga seeks to heal that fissure » – Sharon Gannon
We don’t have to contribute to this brutal industry.
In a coming blog post, I’ll share my tips on where to find fashionable and cruelty-free shoes & bags (of course, at affordable prices) … Stay tuned!
Thank you for daring to care,
YAY! It is SUMMER!
Swinging practices on wooden decks by the river, swimming in the river, no more tones of clothes to wash and dry, eating plenty of juicy local fruits and hanging out-doors with friends…. what more can you wish for?
I hope you are all enjoying lovely weather wherever you are.
Summer is a time for light food, popsicles, salads, raw food and more. I am sure you all have lovely recipes… what is your favourite summer dish?
Always searching for new ideas, I stumbled across The Green Kitchen Stories, it is such an inviting and inspiring blog. David and Luise even made really attractive short videos with their recipes. Though the blog is vegetarian but not all vegan, it is really easy to replace the ingredients with plant based ones, they also advise you for alternative and seem to avoid altogether gluten, BRILLIANT!
It is much, much more simple than one can imagine to replace all animal based products by plant based ones. I remember before being fully vegan over 20 years ago and struggling with finding good green recipes in Switzerland (nope, no internet at that time), buying regular cook books and just using tofu, tempeh or seitan to substitute the animal products. I do the same today with my old vegetarian cook books and just use soy yogurt, nut creams or egg replacer depending on what I have to exchange. Why not try out your favourite dish and turn it into a mindful plate….. be creative!
Ok, I have to dash….. I just watched this video, I have all the ingredients in the house and I cannot resist one minute more the temptation of this mousse…. Yes, that is my favourite dessert.
Love and sunshine to all*
Un petit billet en français… pour un vrai coup de coeur!
Hier soir, je lisais mon Elle (oui je lis Elle) et voilà qu’Elle suggère une liste de « green blogs » dont celui de Marie Laforêt (que je ne connaissais pas… shame on me)
La cerise sur le gâteau est son livre, VEGAN, tout juste sorti.
Les photos vont vous faire saliver.
Et le blog… 100% vegetal est fait pour le bonheur des yeux et des papilles.
Peace, love and vegan treats!
Jeanine ( qui sautille de bonheur)
I am nut for nuts ( all sorts of them) and I keep wondering how my life was before the vitamix.
I make daily smoothies, vegetal milks and this delicious cashew cream. The original recipe is from one of my favorite websites http://www.onegreenplanet.org/vegan-food/cashew-cream/ – I make it almost every week.
- 1 cup raw cashews ( I soak them overnight, the original recipe says 4 hours)
- One organic lemon ( for a sour twist)
- Optional: himalayan salt, spices i.e. curry and cayenne pepper
Sometimes Angels take their life to put their children on a Spiritual path
Excerpt from the lyrics of the song « Sometimes Angels »
I met Jeffrey Rama Cohen for the first time at the Jivamukti Tribe Gathering in London, in 2010. It was then that I totally fell in mad love with the jivamukti yoga method.
Jeffrey-ji taught a wonderful class. He told us the story of a mythical phoenix and we closed in circle, in a powerful forgiveness ritual. There were tears and sweat. Laughter and joy. There was music. It was magical and mystical.
Ever since then, every year, I’ve had the good fortune to take classes with Jeffrey-ji; either when he tours Europe or at a Jivamukti Tribe Gathering or more recently at the Wild Woodstock Ashram. Jeffrey-ji is a truly rare human being… and now that I know more about him, through « sometimes angels », I am at loss with words. …But, unlike Joanna, I’ve never attended his signature rock’asana class!
This is what his website says about « Sometimes Angels » :
At age 12, Jeffrey Rama’s mother committed suicide. Before her passing, they shared an indelible bond that was filled with music, mysticism, complexity, but mostly love. “Every time I pick up a guitar I still feel like I am playing for her.”
And play guitar he did. Cutting his teeth in the 1990’s NYC East Village punk scene, rama went by a different moniker, coco, with the well-known band Clowns For Progress, making albums and getting to tour, playing every s@#t hole in America. During this time he began practicing yoga at fabled Jivamukti Yoga on 2nd Avenue.
Subsequent break-downs later, rama found dharma in the practice of yoga and became a teacher of some note, opening two Jivamukti Yoga Schools in Charleston, SC with his wife Andrea Boyd.
The rocker heart never sleeps as The Jais were formed featuring rama, churning out their own brand of rocking kirtan (call and response chanting), releasing the album, “Blow Horn”.
“Sometimes Angels” marks the first single release of a collection of songs to be released in late summer 2014. It is the album he was destined to make, drawing together the teachings of yoga and spirituality with the drive and fervor of timeless rock n’ roll.
As the venerable Swami Satchindanda has said, “with sound, we can make—and at the same time, break”. With this single, rama reached out and ask other suicide survivors if they would like to share a photo of them holding a picture of the one(s) they lost. The response was overwhelming and the video features of over 40 suicide survivors. The Sometimes Angels Project will continue to allow more suicide survivors to share their story of resilience and promise. A documentary is in the works.
The Bodies of the Self
“shravanadibhiruddhiptajñana gniparitapitah jivassarvamalammuktah svarnavad dyotate svayam”
“By hearing, thinking, and meditating, the light of the Self is kindled.
Once this light of Self is kindled, the individual “I” becomes free from all impurities and begins to shine forth as the universal “I,” in the same way as gold shines when it is purified by fire.”
It’s often said that “You are what you eat.” According to yoga philosophy the material substance of our physical body is made of the food that we eat, derived from the five elements of earth, water, fire, air and ether. In Sanskrit our material physical body is referred to as theannamayakosha. The word anna means “food.” But yoga reveals that we have four additional bodies: an energetic body (pranamayakosha), a body comprised of emotions and feelings (manomayakosha), an intellectual body (vijñanamaykosha) and an innermost subtle body comprised of bliss (anandamayakosha).
But even though we have five bodies, or koshas, they are still not who we really are; they are coverings that together make up our subjective experience of being alive. Our true Self is theatman, the eternal soul, and it lies hidden within these bodies. The five bodies form a vehicle for the soul and provide us with our unique individual identities, allowing us to share existence with other beings and to evolve our consciousness. All of our interactions with others affect all five of our bodies. Those interactions or relationships either hinder or support the revealing of the atman, the true Self.
Satchidananda—existence, knowledge and bliss—is the nature of the true Self, and it is this truth that underlies all manifestation. Through our karmas, by how we treat others as well as ourselves, we can cause that truth to be obscured. The yoga practices aim at purifying our perception of ourselves, others and ultimately God, by purifying the bodies that cover the Self, so that we will be able to see through the illusion of separateness. What separates our physical body from our spiritual essence is illusionary. The truth is that our spiritual self is more real than our physical self. We are spiritual beings having a physical experience, not the other way around. The life span of our physical bodies is short compared to the eternity of our true soul, which is immortal. Often people mistake physical existence for reality and refer to the spiritual as unreal. Actually that is upside down thinking. The spiritual reality is real and eternal, whereas physical reality is unreal and temporary.
The physical reality cannot exist without its underlying causes, which come from the more subtle realms of being. Every action that we take leaves an impression on our bodies. When those actions (karmas) are self-centered, we reinforce the sense of separation from the spiritual realm and can appear to ourselves as comprised only of dense, physical matter. When our actions come from a place of love and true other-centeredness, our physical bodies become lighter and more transparent, and awareness of our true nature shines through and illuminates all of our bodies.
When the dirt of ignorance (avidya) is removed from the bodies of the self the atman shines through. Yoga practices purify or cleanse the five bodies of avidya in particular ways. The annamayakosha, or physical body, is purified by a vegan diet, asanas, nadam and bhakti. The pranamayakosha, or energy body, is purified by kriyas, pranayama, asana, mudra, bandhas, nadam and bhakti. The manomayakosha, or emotional/feeling body, is purified by satsang, chanting, yamas, compassion, nadam and bhakti. The vijñanamayakosha, the intellectual body, is purified by satsang, chanting, niyamas, meditation, nadam and bhakti. The anandamayakosha, or bliss body, is purified by samadhi, joy, nadam and bhakti. In order to embark on this path of purification we have to intensely desire the knowledge of the Self, have a passionate yearning to know God and be willing to let go of what we think we know about reality.
I hope you all enjoying your Sunday? I am fully, since on Sundays I have desert after breakfast…. It feels like you are doing something naughty and I love it! To be honest, I have also had sweets straight for breakfast and before practice the other day… which wasn’t the best idea but I couldn’t resist the goodness of a pie sight in my fridge at dawn.
So I borrowed a couple of books from Jeanine the other day and one of them is “The Everyday Vegan”, it really is every day cooking, many receipes can be done with what is in a vegan pantry and nothing is too fancy. A few recipes caught my attention, more particularly this one with coconut, something I am hooked on presently. Well, you know, the kind of after travelling in a Southern Tropical place effect…..
Having invited my friend and travel agent David for dinner, who always gets me out of sticky situations with flight dates and non-changeable or non-refundle fares that I often screw up for various reasons, I felt inclined to treat him accordingly to his kindness, which was making him a special three course meal. Perfect time for coconut pie! He isn’t vegan, but loved it to bits.
The crust is just prefect, wholesome and sweet and the toping is as creamy as you can desire, plus it really isn’t too heavy. The only modification I would bring to the recipe, since the base gets too wet and soggy after a night in the fridge, I would bake little individual shells and fill them up as you wish to eat it if you are not planning to devour in one go or serve it a big dinner party.
So this is how it goes:
- 2 cups of oats (grind in the blender till it is like a corse flour)
- 3 tbsp of agave syrup
- 2 tbsp of maple syrup
- 1,5 tbsp of canola oil
- few good pinches of sea salt
Preheat the oven to 350F.
In a bowl combine all ingredients, mixing them with your fingers until a crumbly texture that somewhat sticks together when you press it. Press mixture into a 9″ pie pan or in little individual molds (if so reduce baking time!). Bake for 10-13 minutes until a golden brown colour. Set aside to cool.
- 300 gr. silken tofu
- 1 cup of coconut milk (recipe says low fat… I like full)
- 1/4 cup of unrefined sugar (I used raw palm sugar)
- 2 tbsp pure maple syrup
- 3 tbsp of arrowroot flour (I feel like a little more could have been added)
- a couple of pinches of salt
- 3/4 of a cup of shredded unsweetened coconut (I put a whole cup in)
- 1/2 tsp of pure vanilla extract (optional, I din’t have any)
- 1/4-1/2 tsp of coconut extract (optional, neither I had any of this)
In the blender, combine all ingredients except from the essence extracts. Transfer to a saucepan and over medium heat slowly bring the mixture to a thick slow boil stirring constantly. Remove from heat (add essence extract if you wish). Let it cool uncovered and stir occasionally. Now cover and let it cool completely, at least an hour. Pour mixture on to the crust and put in the fridge to set, this will take at least a couple of hours.
Thank you Dreena! This pie is so good I will for sure bake it again!
Have a lovely Sunday and don’t be too heavy handed on the breakfast servings….
Love and more,
PS: All gone!
A video by my friend Alessandro Sigismondi
Jivamukti Yoga and Ashtanga yoga are the two loves of my life!
So if you wish to share my passion for these practices, join Jeanine and I Friday 18th of April for a Jivamukti Yoga workshop (scroll down for details) followed by a conscious dinner at l’o13tôt.
Monday 21st will be a Mysore class at the usual Babayoga location (rue Pré-Jérôme 6). From 10:00 am till 11:30 am I will happily and lovingly adjust you during a traditional Mysore Style Class.
For this class a minimum of participants is requested, so please do sign up latest Sunday 20th of April 7pm at the following address:
I will email you back with the door code and confirmation if the class is taking place.
Have a smashing Easter!
Greetings to you all!
As you may have read the title, yes, this workshop is going to emphasise on putting your feet above your head. No need to know how to do it!!! You will take it at your own pace to your own limits, but we will happily help you out of your comfort zone, BECAUSE THAT IS WHERE MAGIC THINGS HAPPEN!
In India, headstand and shoulder stand, just to mention two main inversions, are called the King and the Queen of postures. The benefits are just so numerous and very encouraging. Seriously, if we had more time in our daily practice (it often takes us about 2 hours just to mention asana) we would Jeanine and I most likely spend an hour inverted. Well, maybe not, but we could stay much longer then our regular 25 breaths.
Turning yourself self upside down doesn’t just increase self-confidence, it tones the muscular body, it slows down the aging proces, it reduces stress as well as anxiety, is good for the immune system, gives you a complete different perspectives of things… and the list is so much longer.
So come and join us for a workshop packed with inversions, don’t fear the practice, we will be two teachers lovingly assisting you through all the class.
It will take place at Soluna, Rue du Môle 14, 1201 Geneva. Easter Friday the 18th of April. The workshop will start at 18:00 and go on for two hours, please arrive 15 minutes early. We have plenty of mats and props, just bring your lovely self and enough change….. we usually lack that!
You may also join us for “one of a kind of dinner” that will be a three course vegan meal cooked by our loving and conscious sister Imane. The restaurant is an institution and Imane has been cooking for all for over 20 years. The food is entirely local, organic and seasonal. Don’t miss the best conscious Easter Dinner! Ilôt 13 – Rue des Gares at 20:30.
The workshop is 50 CHF (35 CHF for students with cards and unemployed, dreamers, drifters 40 CHF)
Three course vegan meal 27 CHF
So do send us an email if you are attending the workshop, the dinner or both. The earlier we know the best! We will email you back with the door code for the Yoga hall. You may also invite friends or your partner and family to join you at the dinner table later.
That’s it, I have returned to base camp a couple of weeks ago. I am happy to be back, I am happy where ever I go. I am grateful for where the wind has blown me and will continue to be wherever that will be next. This journey, my tenth, eleventh or twelfth trip (I don’t know) to India, has been one of a kind this year. I feel young, I am young, but a “je ne sais quoi” of “life experience” has kicked in….. I went deep into my practice, had extensive philosophical conversations, sleepless nights thinking matter over, sound sleep with enchanting dreams, chanted till I was in trans, read a huge pile of books….. My soul has been fed and I am now chewing on it all. It is still unfolding and it will take me further more time to understand what I have been through.
I want to take the opportunity of this post to thank life for its generosity, for the offerings life grants you with constantly, just open your eyes, everyday is a gift. For the souls I met when on the road, Alyx, Adam, Priya, Sarah, Marta, LadyRuth, Tomo, Pete, Louise, David, Pippa, the Tiagos, Arun, Mark, Clive, Christiane….. I am delighted to have shared these precious times with you or connected with you again. Thank you, thank you for the laughter, thank you being yourself, thank for having been so kind and generous to me, thank you for sharing your food, your wisdom, your knowledge, your house and heart.
Thank you Sarath for you kind and loving way of conveying the teachings of Ashtanga Yoga, thank you Shiva Dev for being so patient with me trying to learn to play the harmonium, thank you Jayeshree for year after year chanting with all the Sutras of Patanjali and shedding light on them. Thank you Lakshmi for putting up with chuckling throughout Sankrit classes and interpreting the Hatha Yoga Pradipika in such an authentic way.
You all have been part of my journey and for so responsible for shaping me in a slightly better person. I wish that life continues to help me grow into being a better teacher, to be of service to whoever is in need, to act without expecting result of my actions, to be non judgemental, to develop equanimity, to be kinder and more loving. To be…. free.
“I shall pass this way but once; any good therefore, that I can do or any kindness that I can show to any human being, let me do it now. Let me not defer nor neglect it, for I shall pass this way but once” – Stephen Grellet
I also want thank all my friends and family that put up with my crap when I leave, deal with my flat rental, post and non attended matters… you are all a key for these journeys to come true. Thanks to all the staff of Soluna, Babayoga and Insens for letting me go and take me back on when I return. I cannot express my gratitude to all the teachers that subbed all my classes in order for me to have plenty of work when I returned, BIG UP! Thank you Larisa for taking care of my nest so lovingly. And I thank ALL MY STUDENTS coming back to me as I return, it fills my heart with joy when I start teaching again to see you dedicated to the practice.
Last but no least, I am overjoyed to be with my sister Jeanine again… WE ARE COMING UP WITH A DATE FOR OUR NEXT WORKSHOP AND DINNER THIS WEEK! I can’t wait to work in our loving messy way to get our monthly Jivamukti Open Class together for you.
For ever grateful,
Chloé, my niece, is fascinated by the harmonium….
Bhakti Trumps All
The Lord does not reside in the heart of one who is always focused
on worldly affairs, …and is falsely attached to the path of action.
A practitioner must be careful not to lose sight of the ultimate goal of yoga, which is God realization. Remembering God and being able to serve God should be foremost in our minds and hearts and should permeate all of our actions. When we ask, “Make me an instrument for Thy Will, not mine but Thine be done, free me from anger, jealousy and fear, fill my heart with joy and compassion,” we are asking God to reside in our hearts and to use us as His instruments. That plea invokes the arising of humility within our hearts and diminishes pride and with it the tendency to identify ourselves as the doer of actions and instead acknowledges God as the ultimate doer.
The simplest definition of Jivamukti Yoga is “a path to enlightenment through compassion for all beings.” Even though bhakti and ahimsa are both tenets of Jivamukti Yoga, there could arise a tendency to forget bhakti, devotion to God, and become overly consumed with promoting animal rights, veganism and environmentalism—or you could say saving the world—as a way to practice ahimsa and develop compassion in one’s daily life. We must be careful not to allow our activism to take priority over our devotion to God. If we do we will undoubtedly be bound by avidya and asmita—ignorance and ego identification and all the debilitating vices that come with those hindrances, like pride, anger, revenge and impatience, for example.
It is understandable that when a person becomes vegan and experiences the truth that has been kept from them for their whole life it can be a huge, cathartic awakening. Realizing how caught they had been, how indoctrinated into a cultural system founded on unquestioned prejudice against other animals, on enslaving, exploiting and eating them, as well on consumption of the Earth’s resources and the quest for money, it is not surprising that that awakening would come with a certain amount of zeal and a full on commitment to activism. After all, to have your world turned upside down, to see that what you previously thought of as “normal” is in fact a lie, could certainly motivate a person to a life of action. Passion for compassion is a good thing and should be fostered and honored. But if you become too obsessed with thinking that it is up to you to save the world, you could easily become prideful and identify yourself alone as the one that must accomplish great goals.
Remember that karma yoga is the yoga of selfless service. As described in the Bhagavad Gita it can only be truly practiced by someone who is willing to relinquish the fruits of their actions. A karma yogi is one who acts selflessly for the greater good, is humble and does not expect any reward, not even acknowledgement or appreciation from others for their good actions.
I am not saying that we should be apathetic and not aspire to live a committed life that focuses on uplifting the lives of others and making this world a better place. On the contrary, we should aspire to living in a way that enhances the lives of others and strive to abolish all forms of animal and Earth cruelty and selfish exploitation. I am only pointing out that if we neglect to remember God in our whirlwind of compassionate activism we will lose sight of our ultimate goal and mire ourselves in undeserved fame, trapping us deeper into the grips of ignorance and ego identification. The solution is to devotionally offer every thought, word and deed to God—striving to align with and love God more. Be humble and remember that the cause of everything is God. Don’t try to do everything all by yourself. Let go and let God be the doer; be His instrument, His conduit. When you can become a conduit for God’s grace then you “can-do-it.” Allow God to work through you and give God credit for any accomplishments you may appear to have achieved. When others congratulate you, immediately defer to the real doer who is behind every action and proclaim, “All glories to Shri Krishna!” If invoking Krishna is too religious for you, that’s fine, but at least be humble enough to defer to a power higher than your own limited, mortal self.
~ Sharon Gannon
“I knew you were in here, I recognised your Havaianas” -Ajay
“I knew I got the day wrong when I didn’t recognised any of the shoes outside the Shala” -Jo
“I can’t find my shoes” -All of us
It is 3:30 am Sunday morning, I am sat on the floor in front of the gate of the Jois’s Shala. I am fully awake, though I had only slept very few hours. I am from far not the first one out this morning, others yogis were there some time before me.
The opening led class on Sundays is at 4:30, but you do want to be here about an hour before your class schedule to make sure you are not practicing in the lobby or the changing room. Though there is nothing wrong about that and some people are happy to be in those spots, I’d rather be in the main hall.
I actually used to fear those times, before I had one of those allotted slots, my mischievous mind was looking for some kind of excuse to tell Sharath so I could be part of the next batch…. I obviously didn’t come up with a white lie, though I felt very inclined too. So here I am, in the middle of the night, pulling my Bhagavad Gita out of my bag with a sigh……might as well make good use of all that waiting time.
I picked up my reading from where I left the day before and I couldn’t believe what I was reading.
“What is night for all beings is the time of awakening for the self-controlled; and the time of awakening for all beings is night for the introspective sage.” B.G. 2.69
My mouth dropped. Well, well, I thought, I guess it is meant to be. So I read further and once the gates opened, dealt with the hectic rush into the Shala and rolled out my mat on the ground as fast as I could before I am left stranded with no space. The practice I swung felt amazing.
A couple of months down the road, those “middle of the night wake up” and “very early mornings practices” are my favourite. Of course if I give it the slightest thought, when the alarm clock goes off at 3am, I would rather stay in bed. The trick is not to let your mind trick you, get up and do your duty.
So at not even 6am, we are out, it is still pitch black and we are queuing up for a coconut to rehydrate after sweating so much. I start reflecting on how many things I dreaded in the past but presently love… about how ironic is life. Or is it that things are not what we think they are, how many pre-conceived ideas I have had are actually erroneous?…. does the sense of pleasure inhibit our real sense of freedom? Mmmm, I will get back to you on that one!
Anyway, I walked home that day, with an immense sense of joy in my heart, as well as lightness and freedom. A star, only one single star was still high up in the sky. Because since I was a kid I believed souls would linger in stars until they would come back to earth, I greeted my late grandmother and made a wish…. GOOD NIGHT*
I met this beautiful couple in Bali this past August,where they teach. Prem and Radha have helped me with my practice more than I could have hoped for. Their dedication to yoga and their practice is beyond average, the generosity of their teachings incomparable. They always come up with hilarious analogies to make you realise which patterns you are in by observing how you act on your mat. The quotes they refer too are inspiring. One Prem spoke about, is how average people set their priorities and how backwards it is…. he mentioned these few lines, it couldn’t have been said any clearer:
« In life we prioritise»
« Whilst it should be »
What are your priorities? Let us know.
Sri Tirumalai Krishnamacharya was the teacher of
“For ever grateful”
Whether you practice the dynamic series of Pattabhi Jois, the refined alignments of B.K.S. Iyengar, the classical postures of Indra Devi, or the customized vinyasa of Viniyoga, your practice stems from one source: a five-foot, two-inch Brahmin born more than one hundred years ago in a small South Indian village.
He never crossed an ocean, but Krishnamacharya’s yoga has spread through Europe, Asia, and the Americas. Today it’s difficult to find an asana tradition he hasn’t influenced. Even if you learned from a yogi now outside the traditions associated with Krishnamacharya, there’s a good chance your teacher trained in the Iyengar, Ashtanga, or Viniyoga lineages before developing another style. Rodney Yee, for instance, who appears in many popular videos, studied with Iyengar. Richard Hittleman, a well-known TV yogi of the 1970s, trained with Devi. Other teachers have borrowed from several Krishnamacharya-based styles, creating unique approaches such as Ganga White’s White Lotus Yoga and Manny Finger’s ISHTA Yoga. Most teachers, even from styles not directly linked to Krishnamacharya—Sivananda Yoga and Bikram Yoga, for example—have been influenced by some aspect of Krishnamacharya’s teachings.
So I have shared a flat in Mysore for a month with the lovely and messy Marta, who left a couple of weeks ago and the house felt really empty for a while until I ran into Sarah. I was thrilled about the idea of sharing a home with her as soon as I saw her.
I like to meet different people because they have so much to teach me and when it comes to living with them, I can reassess my limitations and see where I am stuck with intolerance. “The problem usually comes from inside and it isn’t what we believe is the object, that upsets us”… remember, when you are pointing a finger at someone three fingers are pointing back at you.
The teachings do remind us that what we see in others what we have in our self, otherwise we would see it not.
But when it comes to sharing with a person you are very much alike, it is a nice smooth ride. Because of a similar sense of humour, laughing tones, yes, you can laugh about everything but not with everybody! Having a close to same diet makes the cohabitation in the kitchen so pleasant, dancing to the same music really elevates your spirits, conversations are constant and stimulating…. in other words I am having a ball with Sarah.
So last night when I was busy with my duties, my flatmate put together an amazing pudding. A chia seed pudding! Yumm… gathering all the ingredients in India wasn’t the easiest, some of them were generously donated to her from fellow yogis that bought a lot gear with them, but she rocked it!
I had to go to bed with empty stomach because I getting up at 4am for a led class, the pudding was my breakfast and I will surely do this one again so good it was!
Sarah got the recipe from the “coconutandquinoa” blog, worth checking by the way. And here is what she smartly got together for making this healthy pudding happen:
Put a hat on.
Choose a rickshaw wallah.
Pile into the rickshaw with some friends.
Set off for the day!
Choose an offering.
Bow to Ganesha.
Enter the sacred space…
Enjoy every detail.
Joke with the wise.
Give your offering.
Observe the elder…
Respect the elder.
Reason with the youth.
Appreciate the ordinary.
See the beauty in the common.
Look behind doors.
Meditate a little.
Then stretch a bit.
End the day with a pleasant sight.
Happiness is for sure a decision. No discussion here about it. Up to you to get up and decide if you ‘re going to go through your day with a smile or pulling a long face despite the mess. It is as easy as that, full stop.
Since I made that decision, a few years ago there was no way back into misery. So the days when exciting things happen, I am just over the moon. Today, is one of those days, a friend from Geneva is visiting me in Mysore. I felt ecstatic ridding a rickshaw through the city to go and pick the lady up. Nearly surreal to have a feeling of home in this chaos.
So from happy as a standard, it can only get better!…. SMILE*
Have you ever asked yourself why you dress? What is the intention behind the apparel?
I do, very often and according to where I stand in my mind my dress code is impacted. I have gone through a few different phases in life, but must admit am quite consistent in my style. Not completely out there, but I am known for having my own ways. To me, dressing our bodies is an extension of our expression.
I will never forget the book I read of Paco Rabanne (I am not a particular fan but its one of those weird books I picked up) at the age of 12 that took the expression “Clothes don’t make a man” to another level. He added to the quote “but it is not our bodies that we dress yet our minds”. Pretty smart no?
To a certain extend, clothing is clearly a way of conveying a state of mind, a religious belonging or social rank. It can also be an armour or a façade… clothes today take definitely a lot of space in our daily life, too much maybe. “Hipsters” are a good example, I do like the look except that what was at one time unusual or original, seems to have invaded the concrete jungle worldwide. Has a subculture become mainstream or the looks just mimicked, therefore some of the outsiders are no other than fashion victims?
That said, even looks can reveal if they are genuine or not, one cannot pull off something too “fabricated”, some disgrace, inconsistency usually gives it away.
When one is not in a good space, clothes seem to not fit, they can become as uncomfortable as the skin shell you are in. Have you ever worn something outrageously loud and not bear the looks drawn upon you? To the contrary when one is confident and clear about where one stands, clothe is a second skin and choosing what suits you isn’t a big deal, it is instinctive and it shows.
Did you also notice maturing is knowing what suits you? You downsize on your wardrobe and do not make hideous mistakes buying those items you will never wear. You know what works for you with time.
What I love about yoga by the way, in a studio hall or Shala, dress codes or social ranks hardly exists, everybody is in there, sweating or dripping, red hot, pulling a face and huffing and puffing for some. In other words, you are not at your advantage. You are bare. Your mimics and body language is the talk you talk, the transition in between postures the walk you walk. No more hiding, fanciness and style can’t save you here.
Even if you are one of those who is fitted in a fancy branded complete outfit, your practice will be no greater or smoother.
Comfort and quality are honourable choices, because the gear will last longer and your class be less troublesome without embarrassing costume issues. But beyond style and all above mentioned, I believe as yogis one should take responsibility in their choice of apparel. Buying attire can also be taking a political or shall I say moral stand. One often criticises items made in China but doesn’t take it any further. By the way, are really all factories politically incorrect in the land of dragons and emperors? I personally haven’t investigated….. Yet do you know in which conditions are those fancy pants you wear produced? Some companies publicise about how great they are at putting to work poor third world villagers and generating for the neediest an income to them to survive, omitting to decently take care of their local employees…. isn’t sustainable another great marketing tool?
So be a yogi, forget the tight pants that will illusionary give you a small ass, yes, that is covering up again and check your gear. Even better, accept to sweat and that you can be wet, ecological cotton is pretty comfy versus those super synthetic tights or one other way of doing it is going second hand. Get real, get used!
So chew on this and take your stand.
It is a scorcher here in Mysore… and the sun is beaming, reason for which the fruits and vegetables are so juicy as well as luscious. What astounds me the most, is that hardly no salt or spices are required to make a tasty meal, just fling in the pan a couple of veggies, heat and stir them up…. there you go, a yummy dish! So healthier.
Today I have committed to getting back to what is my usual diet. Here, everything is so unalike what I have back home, you can easily fall in the trap of over eating or being tempted by trying everything. Food is dirt cheap so one would develop the bad habit of ordering half a dozen of dishes just to satisfy their taste buds. I know, far from Aparigraha.
I feel very greedy as well as I sweat buckets during my morning practice. That’s it! Enough is enough. Smoothies only in the morning, main meal at lunch and a light bite before seven in the evening. I know Jeanine, I hadn’t until this precise moment opened your mail on the five contemplations from Thich Nath Hanh…. it is now done as well as I am done with my bad habit!
Here is what I contented myself with today for breakfast and felt very satisfied:
- Fresh coconut meat and water (you can use shredded coconut and carton water)
- Half a dozen of strawberries, yes they are in season here
- Half an avocado
- A quarter of a pineapple
- 2 dates, these are so sweet
To me, strawberries, pineapple and coconut is a perfect tropical blend. The avocado will give the creamy touch without the bad fats, it is also known to help weight loss. The coconut is a great source of fibre, vitamins, mineral, it’s water is an important source of potassium and electrolytes. Strawberries alike all berries are packed with antioxidants just to name one of its health benefits and did you know that pineapple isn’t just loaded with vitamin c but is a anti-inflammatory because it contains bromelain? And dates… iron, fibre, potassium as well as adds the sweetness you need avoiding processed sugar.
tyaktva karma-phala-asangam / nitya-trpto nirasrayah
karmany abhipravrtto’ pi / na-eva kimcit karoti sah
He who has let go of the results of his actions is content and free of dependency, knowing that it is not he who acts even when performing actions.
An aim that guides an action is an intention. To do something intentionally is to act on purpose. To act on purpose means that you act consciously. To pay attention is to act consciously, to act deliberately—to aim towards a goal. It is said that those who believe in coincidence aren’t paying attention. Practicing yoga with a high intention is very important because what determines the outcome of any action is the underlying intention. Practicing asana with an elevated intention could make the difference between achieving mere gymnastic strength and flexibility or enlightenment.
I was just reading an online article about the growing popularity of yoga in America. It stated that 22 million people are practicing yoga! The top six reasons why people practice yoga according to the statistics are: to gain flexibility, to lose weight, to increase muscle tone, to relieve back pain, to look younger and to reduce stress. In all the millions of statistics gathered, no spiritual intention seems to have emerged. People weren’t citing as their reason to practice yoga the goal to become enlightened or to get closer to God or to better contribute to the happiness and freedom of others.
Yoga certainly doesn’t care why you are practicing. Yoga will give you any result you intend, if you do it long enough. What you are thinking about when you perform an action will determine the result of that action. You become what you contemplate. If you want yoga (the practice) to bring you to Yoga (the goal—enlightenment), then the intention underlying your practice must be Yoga. You are not going to achieve Yoga as your goal accidentally—you must desire it with your whole being.
Yoga means enlightenment, or to link to the higher Self. Just as each person must find their own way to relate to God, each of us must find his or her own way to articulate an elevated intention. Offering your practice to God is one way of establishing a high intention. For many that is a tall order. Offering your practice to your teacher is another. Wanting your teacher’s enlightenment, you dedicate the efforts of your practice to that aim. That will give you a break from thinking about yourself. Offering your practice to a person you know is another way to establish a high intention, because other-centeredness takes us out of our egoic self-centeredness and awakens compassion, which is the cause of enlightenment. What is realized in the enlightened state is the Oneness of being—where otherness disappears. So if you can find a way to set an intention for your practice that helps you to get past your preoccupation with your small personality self then you are on the path which will lead to Yoga. In the Jivamukti Yoga tradition we often set the intention for a class by chanting Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantuand then we add the translation: “May all beings everywhere be happy and free, and may the thoughts words and actions of my own life contribute in some way to that happiness and to that freedom for all.” The Bhagavad Gita teaches that one who desires Yoga must renounce the fruits of their actions. This does not mean that you don’t do things on purpose or set enlightenment as your goal. The wise practitioner has faith in God and knows that their main duty is to act with the utmost integrity, with the highest selfless intention, and at the same time to not be concerned with the outcome of their actions, but to leave that to God.