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Green Tara ~ Om tāre tuttāre ture sohā

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The 21 Taras painted by Salga according to the Nyingma terma tradition 
When people ask me where do you feel at home the most, which part of the country, my mind first goes to the mountains in northern India and then eastwards to the lands of buddhism. It was during my trip to Nepal, that buddhism resonated in me, more Vajrayana buddhism that it's Mahayana sister. I felt a connection to imagery and the buddhist texts of Tantra - the same buddhism that is found in the Tibetan valley. I glanced at the sculptures and pictures of the Boddhisatvas and Taras and felt an immediate connection. Of course it helped immensely that my teacher with whom I was travelling in Nepal,  was a deep believer herself and I used her energy to guide me to this ancient mystical world. 
Since then, a mantra that settled deep within my body is a mantra dedicated to the Green Tara - Om Tare Tutare Ture Soha, here's a gorgeous version by Deva Premal. In Tibetan Buddhism, Taras are the mother Goddesses - the…

Bismillah

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I believe in God, i really do. Maybe not God as in Jesus, or Allah or the millions of Hindu Gods and Goddesses. But a higher power that is guiding us and that also rests within us. Which is why when in our most desperate moments, we kneel down and pray to God and ask for a sign or ask for courage, we tend to find it, in ourselves and in things around us - which too are a part of the magnificence of this power, of the Universe. That Universe which is itself a manifested version of the unknowable and indescribable God.  I share this Universe, or God, and his/her religion with all the beings - human and others.

Some days, when i find it difficult to find God within me, and I feel far away from love and hope and faith, I somehow find it in music. One such day as I stopped everything I was doing and just sat, feeling all sorts of things in my head and heart, so overwhelmed that I could break into tears if someone asked me to speak or spoke to me, I shut my eyes and took a couple of deep b…

Looking up at the stars, i know quite well....

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I have had the idea for this post for a while now. It came to me when I was practicing in my terrace late one evening - it was a full moon night, I think somewhere around the first week of March. as I lifted up into an Ardha Chandrasana, I found myself shaky. In spite of doing the exact same thing, and balancing the exact same way and using the exact same muscles to remain in that balance and stretch, I was swaying, back and forth. Trying my best to get a grip with my standing leg, I asked myself what was happening today - why was this asana that I had gotten into a million times before and was quote confident of holding for long periods of time, was suddenly a challenge. A part of me was shocked, but a part of me was also quite pleased that I could work on simple asanas again. As beautiful as it is to advance in your asana practice, it takes away the magic of your initial years of getting into a consistent yoga asana practice. The thrill of working through simple asanas and cracking…

Staying Still or Moving Along ~ Downward Facing Dog & Life

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There is nothing, i say nothing, as gorgeous as your first downdog of the day. I often delay that rush of energy. I'll start with very gentle neck stretches and spinal movements that are a little bit more fluid than downward dog - cat-cow being my (and everyone else's favourite). When I eventually make my way towards adho mukha svanasana, I have arrived. To my practice, on my mat and in my body. Now different teachers teach this specific instance of arriving into this asana differently. I've had teachers tell me, go ahead and move your body, do whatever it needs to feel ready for further practice. But i have also had teachers tell me to be calm and stay still and for once not to give into the vagaries of the body, of it's need to move - work on disciplining it, work on having the body follow the mind and not the other way around.

The thing about being on a journey of any sorts -yoga, life, love, relationships, career, parenting - is that you live and learn, you make m…

Sleep XIV

For me the most important bits of the book were in the last section because they really convince you to make a lifestyle change mostly by scaring you with the effects of sleep deprivation. But that doesn't mean the rest of it isn't important. They are. They are also fun to read and are mostly non-scary, because Matthew is hoping you'd be super convinced by now to sleep at least 8 hours! The section is titled Why and How we Dream.

We usually dream in the REM state, but it's not the only state of sleep we dream in. As we are falling asleep or exiting sleep, the dream like experiences you have tend to be visually or movement based. But dreams as most of us think of them - those hallucinogenic, motoric, emotional, and bizarre experiences with a rich narrative - come from REM Sleep.
MRI scanner help effectively measure localized activity of the brain in three dimensions covering upper, middle and upper brain. Scientist have placed individuals inside brain scanning machines…

Sleep XIII

Sleep fights infection and sickness by deploying all manner of weaponry within your immune arsenal. When you do fall ill, the immune system actively stimulates the sleep system, demanding more bed rest to help reinforce the war effort.

Less sleep and less of that magic!


My mother has been telling me that my immunity is dropping in the last couple of weeks. This might be true - because I have been falling sick too often and too easily. The weather in Bangalore has been a bit crazy off-late, but  i should be stronger than that - especially with all the yoga I do and the nutritious food i eat, I also sleep 8 hours at least in the night, with an hour (or to) of afternoon naps thrown in on holidays and weekends. So i need to dig deeper about my weakened immunity. But one thing is for certain - it's definitely not because of lack of sleep. How does sleep affect immunity? Now, if you have been on this sleep journey with me - you should know better than that!

A couple of weeks back I fell …

Sleep XII

In the French classes I attend most folks are in the 20-25 age range. So often to tease them I say things like "oh the young, how naive they are" - much to their chagrin. I of course don't mean it most of the time, because I've learnt myself age is no barometer of one's intelligence or depth of a human being. However, all things said there are some things only age can teach you. I learnt much later in life to value my sleep - and even today sometimes when there is a kickass movie playing on TV, I find myself struggling with the need to watch it by sacrificing an hour or two of sleep. I regret it a LOT the next morning when I show up in class groggy eyed and heavy bodied! A couple of days back, my young friends from class were lamenting on the fact that they don't get enough, they were visibly tired and it showed not just physically but also in their aura and overall demeanour - they needed to rest. I asked them a very simple question "how much sleep do …