If you would have told me just a couple years ago that my life would revolve around Spirituality, Yoga and Meditation, I would totally unfriend you because no one I knew in my age group ( late twenties ) was into it including my family and friends. I thought it was for people who were above 50 and had a lot of time. I never stepped on a Yoga mat until I was 26 and then I never looked back. Even if I miss a day it seems that I spent my day poorly.
I had heard about Vippaasana vaguely in the US, but brushed it off since we did not have family where we could trust keeping our son away for 10 long days. Now, Since we moved for a while to India, This was in my bucket list to do it along with my husband because god knows he needed time away from it all.
Even before registering for the course, I knew it would one the most emotionally taxing experiences of my life since I talk a lot due to the nature of my work and also move a lot because it is therapy for my mind. So, when I told my husband there is absolutely no physical or metal or any external stimulation of any sort, He was quite happy as he had planned to write and journal a lot during the tenure of the course.
Like Imagine, NO Talking even through gestures, NO phones whatsoever, NO killing. No touching, No exercise, No reading or writing, No lying, and NO wasting food. I think I may have missed a couple other NO-NO's. But that was a lot of NO-NO'S for me.
But I had a self pep talk and told myself that I can do it plus I have my husband with me and I have been meditating for a while already so I tried to keep an open mind and registered at the Dhammagiri location near Nashik, Maharashtra, India. Me and husband were thankfully accepted for the January course and we worked around our schedules to take out 10 FULL days of basically doing nothing at all. It was huge decision for both of us since we have so many day to day big decisions to make in our business and life so we had informed everyone that for 10 days, We would be unavailable and we kind of received mixed responses, But I had made my mind and there was NO stopping me.
Alright, The day we came, I felt that the location was beautiful and very calming. Mind you, I have been to ashrams from Kerala, Madurai, Andhra to California and I crave the ashram vibes. We were asked to go our separate ways as females could not go near the male area and there was a strict line of demarcation between both the sexes and my husband was infact asked to move away from me as we were walking towards the main office.
We reached in the morning, So, we filled our forms and were allotted our rooms and yes, we were asked what kind of bathroom we would like and we opted for the western as usual. Then, we had our lunch in our separate mess which was very delicious simple Indian vegetarian food and also I guess we were very hungry by the noon.
After that, I wanted to spend last few minutes with my husband before we parted for the next 10 days together, So, we quickly walked outside the center to grab coconut water and talked a little to basically calm my anxiety of being totally cut off from rest of the world. We bid each other goodbye and walked away.
Then, All the meditators gathered before the course actually started and we were explained all the rules and the NO-NO's. I exchanged a few smiles and greetings with a couple other females and found that a lot of them were doing it for the 2nd time!
I was looking forward towards spending time with myself, consciously analyzing how I would like to spend my time and days on this planet in deep contemplation. I walked towards my room with my luggage and was lucky enough to share with a beautiful girl who by the end of the course realized that she had cleared her MBBS and is now a doctor. You will catch a glimpse of her in my youtube video here.
As, The Day 1 began, A big sound of gong interrupted my deep slumber at 4.30am, I got up reluctantly, freshened up and headed for meditation. I almost wanted to burst out laughing when I heard guruji's nasal voice for the first time which was a recording...But resisted. You can hear his voice here :-
It started off well but towards the end of Day 1, My back started to hurt and I couldn't believe I had been sitting tossing all along and being constantly distracted for about 8-10 hours! I was looking at everyone to see if I am the one way not being able to sit peacefully and enjoy the process of meditating for so long. Damn, I am a Yogi, I could be better. So, I gave myself another pep talk at night and looked forward on what Day 2 had in store.
All we had to do was focus on our breath around the nose and upper lips for the next 3-4 days. The procedure which is also called as Aana-Pana.
Day 2 was equally frustrating mostly because I wasn't able to exercise or move my body and my daily lifestyle had come to a silent halt and I had NO ONE to share my feelings with, But how could I, I was wondering if my husband was loving the course and if I back out, He would also quit and come back, NO, NO, NO, I could not do that....In my mind, There was a wedding of a close friend in the same week plus a big conference that my husband was asked to be part of but he had to decline because we had decided to be here.
So, I came up with a GRAND plan, I decided to write a letter to my husband. I went up the counsellor and told her that this course was not my cup of tea and my husband wasn't too willing to begin with, So if he is also not "enjoying" the course, We could go back and happily enjoy the wedding and do what we were doing before coming here. She said, Weddings come and go, If he has come, It is for his greater good. Let him be. Do not bother him. I showed her the chit I had written for my husband and asked if someone could give it to him, She asked me tear it throw it away as it would disturb me and I would not able to give my 100% to the course.
Reluctantly, I did what she said and cried internally and felt guilty of what I had put my poor husband through.
The same location that appeared peaceful and calm now seemed depressing and eerie. The counsellor asked me to stick around till day 5 and 6 and see if I still feel the same way. I used to look at the clock and the hours just would not go by. I was STUCK.. Big time. The only time I enjoyed was the recorded discourse given by S.N Goenka which were very enlightening and he somehow seemed to know exactly what I was feeling.
The real test of my perseverance began from Day 3 when I caught cold and was feeling terribly ill.
I rarely get ill, But I guess I wasn't getting my daily dose of Vitamin C so what started as a sneeze quickly escalated into headaches and runny nose. It was terrible. I just wasn't able to wake myself up at 4.30am anymore so I slept in till 6.30am , went for breakfast and then meditated reluctantly. I was also starting to feel very cold so I used to wrap myself in blankets during all the hours I was sitting. Simultaneously, a couple girls seemed depressed as well and one actually started to cry and I guess she left on Day 4. A couple others also left midway by Day 5.
On Day 5, My teacher had to actually ask me to stay in my room to meditate because I was being distraction because of my coughing. I felt a sigh of relief. I slept almost all day long. I really needed and had to take medications that I like to avoid as far as possible. I started to feel slightly better by the end of Day 6 and actually started to feel grateful for this time in my life!
During this time, We were asked to increase the area of concentration to the entire body and feel sensations that may be arising. I could not feel any and asked the counsellor if there was something wrong. She told me since I practice Yoga, My body has opened up hence there is no pain and not too many sensations. I was convinced,
I also have to admit that I used to look over the bushes to catch a glimpse of my husband somehow. It was as if I was in high school again and reprimanded for dating my crush. I only saw him a couple times and later was told on the last day by some male meditators who had become friends by then that he used to do the same and kept looking out for me over the bushes...Hahahaha...
A rush of gratitude to able to take time off away for so long away from my other everyday responsibilities. Not everybody is fortunate enough. I was here. It was meant to be. I looked forward towards the evening discourses by Goenka ji and enjoyed my walks each evening in our free time. I also remember smiling at a few other meditators who did not smile back making me realize that even gestures were not allowed.
Also another note worthy incident that makes me smile and cringe at the same time is when a few ladies would actually eat 3 bananas in one go and tuck 3 bananas in their sarees for eating at some point. It actually got so bad that the authorities actually had to put up a sign that said "Take only 1 banana" Lolz at that.
As, I got better at focussing on my breath and sitting at the pagoda ( A small cell ), Memories that were lying deep within came to the surface. Memories of my late grandparents, my school, my life as a teenager, everything that was hidden deep within started to come up bringing a lot of pleasant and unpleasant sensations. I wept a lot. I am glad I did.
I also started making all the plans for the business ideas floating in my head and how I would execute them as soon as I got back. The decision to host Couple's Yoga workshop was born during one of my meditation sessions. Also, rearranging my living room and redecorating my bedroom was all the distractions that plagued my mind till I was able to identify them as distractions and bring my focus back to my breath.
I thought of my husband a lot and missed him deeply although he was just next door but so felt so grateful for him and how deeply grateful I was to have him in my life. I longed to see my son and hear his voice and sometimes would worry if he was well emotionally and physically while I was away. Thankfully, I later realized that he did not miss us because our family took great care of him.
As, the Day 9 approached, We practiced Metta bhavana which is having no ill-will towards anybody and spreading love and kindness in form of a guided meditation.
We were allowed to talk after that finally but I almost couldn't talk and I sounded so mellow which is totally unlike the before me.
I was so eager to see my husband that I almost did not sleep. At one point I thought my voice had become so gentle and calming and my language was so shuddh (pure). No talking for 10 days for the first time in my life was huge deal for me since I was always known to be a talker. But, I still managed to talk to my husband and we shared our individual experiences. I also chatted up finally with my roommate and what a wonderful hardworking girl she is! We laughed and talked all night and slept for a couple hours before it was time to bid adieu to the Ashram life.
The next morning, I quickly packed my bags, took a video to share it with you of the premises and had a Sumptous breakfast consisting of Vada pav which was like the treat we had all been salivating for. I shared my experience with others and it really gave me perspective that I wasn't the only one feeling frustrated at the beginning of the course. I felt more at peace. Makes me realize as humans how badly we need validation. It makes sense now that we weren't allowed to talk at all.
We headed to catch our train and exchanged numbers and had a rollicking time chatting and cracking jokes and sharing our experiences of the course with the other participants in the train journey.
So, It's been more than 2 weeks since the course is over and I am still in the afterglow of it. It took me some time to reflect and process everything organically to share it with you authentically.
So, How did it improve my everyday life.
We are asked to give Gurudakshina in form of practicing Vippasana daily for 2 hours so that we can respond towards situations of life calmly and empathically.
But, I don't think practicing for that much time apart from my rigorous Ashtanga Yoga practice for doable for me. So, I have currently started reading discourses written by him each night and meditate before sleeping. It helps release all the negative sensations and offers a deeper insight into the human life.
It was like a surgery of the mind in Goenka ji's words. We take care of our bodies, our homes, our investments and our beauty. What about our minds ? How do we nourish our mind and keep it clean of the toxicity and impurities. By simply observing and not suppressing it. When we observe, The negativity loses it's strength to overpower our mind. We learn to face challenges head on and not run away from it.
It takes time to master this technique but with regular practice , I feel like in situations where one would have reacted with anger, Now, He shall remain balanced and even if he reacts with anger, The reactions will not be as prolonged. Few moments of self observation will act as a shock observer. One learns to look inwards and observe body sensations to liberate and heal oneself by the simple act of observation.
Every single human has different experiences to share and I am only sharing what I felt. I have done Yoga retreats but never a silent retreat like this one. It is Intense to say the least.
But the best part is I did not miss my phone one bit and almost did not switch it on a couple days after. Felt so free like when I was little girl growing up in the 90's.
It bought me closer to who I am and my connection to nature, the animals and the planet. I feel like probably I was sleepwalking until then especially when it came to my nutritional choices growing up, especially on the food philosophy we are made to believe by the food and pharma industry over the years. I believe you can feel whole and happy only if you are feeling whole and awakened inside out!
10 surefire ways
1. Think of abundance and think of what you can eat versus what you can't!
There is SO much variety of food available to you once you discover the Whole Foods Plant Based World!
2. A vegan diet is probably the single biggest way to reduce your impact on planet Earth, not just greenhouse gases, but global acidification, eutrophication, land use and water use. Even if you’re not enthusiastic about cutting meat and animal products out entirely, eating just one or two less meaty meals per week could make a significant difference. It’s estimated that a meat-based diet creates seven times more greenhouse gas emissions than one that’s plant based, so embracing Meatless Mondays could mean a lot to Mother Earth.
3. I simply cannot wrap my head around the fact that we love our pets like family and don't bat an eye lid while consuming others. All animals have equal emotions. Cows and pigs included.
4. Consuming a rainbow of colors has brought me closer to nature, it's offerings and made me conscious of my choices everyday. It is honoring the interconnectivity of all things. A plant based diet is a an effective aid for purity and clarity of consciousness
5. It helps increase your stamina and endurance. Top endurance athletes like Rich Roll, Brenden Brazeir, Venus Williams, Pop Stars like Lady Gaga, Ariana Grande, Celebs like Ellen Degeneres, Alicia Silverstone have all adopted the Whole foods plant based diet and are performing at the top of their game! What's stopping you ?!
6. A well balanced whole food plant based diet can provide all the nutrients for every stage of your life! Whether you are lactating, adolescent or in your autumn years.
7. With food chains like Chipotle offering Sofritas, TGI Friday's offering options like Beyond Burger and almost every restaurant offering atleast one vegan option in their menu, We are no longer considered as humans who eat rabbit food aka grass. There are plenty of vegan restaurants all across the world which are proving the world that eating plants can not only be delectable to your tastebuds but it is the only sustainable way of thriving on this planet!
8. Being naturally free of cholesterol and animal fats, Plant based nutrition is being revered worldwide to aid in weight loss, bring your blood pressure and sugar levels down and aid in overall well being at holistic healing and rehab centers. There is truly nothing to loose, but lots to gain.
9. I wish people cared for the planet more than they cared about the person who created it and fighting over it. Fighting over land, religion and everything else under the sun but leaving all the filth for Mother Earth to bear.
Instead, if we mindfully nourish our bodies with positive emotions and pick up our mess, We would contribute towards a more cleaner, greener planet.
10. Eating death, creates death, Eating life, creates life! What you do want to create ? Be the change you wish to see in the world.
Leave me your thoughts, comments and feedback. I welcome it all.
LIFE is meant to be lived with abundance of Joy brimming with Health & Vitality! But in today's fast paced world, where being "BUSY" is the in word, People are truly loosing the value of what's really important in the end. People everywhere I see are plagued with "Lifestyle diseases" like Obesity, Blood Pressure, Diabetes, chronic stress, hypertension etc.
On the check out page please enter the amount as $24.99 or above to ensure you are accepted in the program. If in India, select a perk that says ₹1499 or enter ₹1499
This Program is the result in my attempt to bring sanity in this world with a practical holistic approach.
This Program is NOT another DIET. In fact it is diametrically opposite of it. I associate the word diet to deprivation. For me, TRUE HEALTH means abundance of whole foods, nature, walking barefoot over grass, breathing deeply and many more.
This Program is for EVERYONE who is committed to feeling their absolute best! It is about prioritizing YOURSELF FIRST. When you prioritize yourself first, You bring that positive aura to every facet of your life!
The Program combines my knowledge and experiments in the kitchen over the years to bring you healing and nourishing plant food recipes from around the globe!
Always, remember FITNESS & HEALTH mean totally different things. You can be visibly fit and strong but if you're a emotional wreck or and suffer from sleeping disorders and frequent anxiety attacks, I am sorry to break the news that you aren't as healthy as you might appear to be.
On the check out page please enter the amount as $24.99 or above to ensure you are accepted in the program. If in India, select a perk that says ₹1499 or enter ₹1499
22 Days of Nutrition is a Health Reset program is a commitment to yourself to see Sustainable Transformation in your life.
It's been such a long time since I wrote my last blog! Between these years, I have grown and learnt, traveled that I now feel like I am ready to share 2.0 version of me now! I think I needed this time heal, grow and learn more about myself.
I lost my grandmother in December 2017 which was the most heartbreaking thing I have experienced till date. She was my anchor and a true confidante all throughout my life! Sharing one of our "moments below. Thankfully, I was in India and reached within a few hours to bid her my final adieu
So, You also might wonder what happened in the past couple years while I was away.... I took Yoga teacher training inan Ashram,Practiced meditation,Taught Yoga to young and old alike in the Bay Area, Moved to India for a year where I am currently writing this post from! Also, Healed myself from a fatal knee injury and several emotional roller coasters in between & finally got my Cosmetology License after H4-EAD law was passed and I could give my state board! I am going to be vulnerable in my posts as I share pieces of my life that has helped me steer my life towards being better than what it was yesterday in hopes of adding value to your life!
In this particular post, I am sharing "My Home". The Home where I have made several memories before we moved to India on a sabbatical.
This is the place where I made many memories with my boys! It was a small patio and everything here was mainly bought off Craigslist and DIY'd except the swing that I picked from Hayneedle. It was my happy place during spring and summer and even on winter nights where I decorated the Christmas tree and relished melted chocolate and smores!
Here's a better overview of the space! A place to wind down with a cup of relaxing tea with your spouse. The twinkle lights lit across the space enlivens the space even further at night! I have had neighbors/passerby ask me if they can peep into my patio and get similar ideas to bring similar warmth to their home! As,always happy to share.
Moving on to the Living area!
One of my most cherished pieces of furniture is my uber comfy colorful couch from Crate & Barrel! It's is not only a statement piece that totally brightens up my living space but also bring rest of the family to laze around on a lazy weekend watching Netflix! Accessorized with sunflower pillows from TJmaxx and Ikea! Pretty minimalistic according to my standards.
Last, but not the least is my Beloved Bedroom that is my oasis of Peace and Calm!
Piece by Piece everything pictured in this room came together! I needed a space to work and relax and I did not have a special "home office" like I do in India right now... So I used a clear chair from World Market to make it appear more seamless and clutter free. Adding a couple more pictures of the room below.
Feel free to ask me any questions in the comments below.
Already, feeling nostalgic, But I know I needed to upgrade my current bedroom in India and bring it to a similar level ( Future blog post perhaps ? ) Also, the other the side has my little woman cave where I unleash my creativity in Makeup artistry!
I feel that whenever in Life, If I am uninspired, I look around my sorroundings, If it is clean and orderly, My mind immediately becomes much more at ease and restores a sense of calm. I feel like our physical space have a lot to do with our inner state. I encourage you to take care of both of them.
Let me know what topics would you like to write on pertaining to Beauty, Health and Lifestyle ? Would appreciate constructive suggestions. Thank you for taking the time to read.
See YOU very soon this time around!
It's that time of the year again! Crisp air, Busier than ever back to school for the mommas out there. It is so important to indulge in self care as it is best time to cleanse and detoxify as you would not want the illnesses that follows whenever there is a change in the season.
I was always very interested in natural ways of healing our bodies and finally got certified as a Ayurvedic Beauty Therapist in 2014. Since, then I have been incorporating the following practices depending on the Doshas we are born with like Vata, Pitta or Kapha.
Fall is a tough time for vata imbalances and believe it or not most of the disease begins in our digestive tract, If we know how to heal our gut, We can prevent a majority of causes of falling ill during this transitional period.
Most of run a full schedule juggling a variety of roles on a daily basis hardly stopping for a breather, In such cases, you are very much prone to Vata imbalances as weather turns drier.
Okie dokie! I am totally obsessed with body shop products and whenever they have some kinda sale, I just have to go, Don't blame me, there products are friggin awesome! I feel like I have tried every single product on their shelves but I could be totally wrong!
So, my latest haul was in December! I was looking for a moisturizer for my combination skin for the winter after my Clinique moisturizer dint quite seemed to hydrate my skin enough, I had bought the lighter formula for late summer.
I looked over at the store while strolling at the mall and found my match! Vitamin E infused skin moisturizer/illuminator! I LOVE it! Been using for over a month now! And also ended up buying the eye serum which is ok in my opinion.
Alongside, I went slightly overboard and bought the lemon body butter(divine)and blue corn cleansing masque and Vitamin e sinkin masque too(Love, makes my skin glow ) did I tell you I never had facial ever, and I am pretty proud of taking care of my skin:) On a side note, The men's face wash that I bought for my husband is his fav now and he takes it everywhere with him !
And last but not the least the squeaky clean scrub is the only thing that actually din't live up to my expectations! but it's all good! Let me know what are your fav products from Body Shop. Would totally love to know!
Virtual hugs till then!
And yes, I posted this in my break while munching almonds at school! Talk about Multitasking..lol
Ok, I have been thinking of posting this forever, But something always comes up and I totally need prioritization when it comes to blogging, Busy mommy/wife and full time student is EASY said nobody everrrr! Life is all about Choices! Isn't ?
Anyway,I love the feeling of feeling good of feeding your body with the best of foods that's available to you on a daily basis and reaping the tremendous benefits of optimum health and vitality!
Here, I have made a comprehensive list of the meal plan that i follow and tweak it sometimes especially weekends when i am out and about. Feel free to adjust it with what's available where you live and your personal lifestyle.
No, I am not a nutritionist yet, but I have studied several books and articles and obtained most of my knowledge through my personal research. I hope you all benefit from this and if you have any questions leave them below and I will definitely get to them. You will see below that I list 'protein drink' as a meal coz I drink that after my workout, feel free to substitute it after you exercise during the course of your day.
Here is my 7 Day Meal Plan
So, I hope this Meal Plan helps you guys the way it has helped me. Since I eat almost 7 times a day in smaller portions I feel fuller and crave less and never actually feel super hungry. Exercising even for 15 min in things that you enjoy be it spinning,kick boxing, yoga,jogging,pilates..whatever will have amazing results Mentally, Physically and Spiritually!
Please leave me feedback or requests and I cannot tell you how many things I want to share here! Its my creative spot! See you in my next post!
P.S.: If you get hungry later in the night, I personally love lighter low sodium satisfying soups or a glass of warm turmeric milk sprinkled with nutmeg! ahhh....
Wishing you all the best of health and spirit!