namaskar A VOICE FOR THE YOGA COMMUNITY OF ASIA
YOGA, BALI STYLE Gorgeous photo essay about yoga practice in Ubud, Bali................................................................p14
HEAD ON INTO NATURE Confronted by mighty Mother Nature, going with the flow was her only option .................................p16
CP Yogaraj as the Pandyan king, Kochadaiyan Ranadhiran. Photo by Oliver Deniston.
January 2014 YOGIC DIET What is the role of food in a yoga practice and lifestyle? .................................................................p24
NAMASKAR - JANUARY 2014
LETTER FROM THE EDITOR
What should we eat & what should we avoid? On the cover, Hong Kong-based teacher CP Yogaraj has been
Welcome to the first issue of 2014, the year of the wooden horse in the Chinese zodiac. US astrologist Susan Levitt predicts: “The Wood Horse year is a time of fast victories, unexpected adventure, and surprising romance. It is an excellent year for travel, and the more far away and off the beaten path the better. Energy is high and production is rewarded. Decisive action, not procrastination, brings victory. But you have to act fast in a Horse year. If you are not 100% secure about a decision, then don’t do it. Events move so quickly in a Horse year that you don’t want to gallop off in the wrong direction.” Seems the direction or dristi for this issue was spot on, as we received a record number of contributions. Yogic diet is a subject dear to our hearts and stomachs, it can also be a matter of great confusion for yoga practitioners. Starting with Assaf’s “Diet and the Spiritual Path,” there are nine articles offering various viewpoints on what, when, why and how we should eat to support our practice and life. We were so impressed by this enthusiastic response, we decided to dedicate the issue to food. You’ll see most other sections also relate to nutrition and eating, from our book review from Inna, meditation from Janet, Ayurveda from Vinod and others. We even have a diet-related giveaway – four copies of a lovely little recipe book called Yogi Yum Yums, compiled by Namaskar friend and contributor Yogiuday. More about it on page 22. There are a couple of non-diet related articles, Rebecca shares her brush with death in India, while Francoise guides women preparing for birth and after. As well we present two new sections: “I Heard it Off the Mat,” in which Sue-Yen Wan excerpts research in the news which may be of interest to yoga students and teachers and; “In Brief,” where Krishnaa introduces some little, but important things about yoga. For the past few years we have published our summer issue in June so it could be distributed at Asia Yoga Conference. While this meant more readers for that issue, it’s always been a struggle to get it out just two months after the April issue. Then there’s a long four-month gap till the October issue. So in an effort to even out our publication schedule, this year’s summer issue will come out in July instead of June. As a result Namaskar will, unfortunately, no longer be distributed at the Asia Yoga Conference. We will continue to support this important event (6 - 9 June 2014, Hong Kong Covention & Exhibition Centre) in any way we can and hope you will too by attending some of the paid or free events. And finally, for anyone interested in reading our current and back issues on-line, Namaskar is available at www.issuu.com/caroladams
ABOUT NAMASKAR ADMINISTRATION Carol Adams, email@example.com NEWS EDITOR Wai-Ling Tse, firstname.lastname@example.org CIRCULATION Angela Sun, email@example.com
Namaskar provides a voice for the yoga community in Asia and around the world. The publication is an opportunity for practitioners on a yogic path to selflessly offer their knowledge, learnings and experiences with others. We welcome unsolicited submissions, therefore the opinions expressed within these pages are not necessarily those of Namaskar or its volunteers.
EDITOR & PUBLISHER Frances Gairns, firstname.lastname@example.org
in India recently shooting his annual calendar “Avatar.”
In This Issue DRISTI - YOGIC DIET DIET & THE SPIRITUAL PATH Is food important? FOOD FOR THOUGHT Taking advice from the yogic texts CONSCIOUS EATING Kundalini approach to the process of eating MEDICINE FOR THE MIND Food can affect our mind as well as body VEGETARIANS EAT VEGETABLES To eat meat or not? MEAT AT TRAININGS? YES, YOGIS EAT Diet starts with who you want to become INTEGRATIVE NUTRITION FASTING
24 27 28 31 33 35 36 39 40
SPECIAL FEATURES YOGA, BALI STYLE 14 In the fields or at the fruit stall, yoga seems to blend seamlessly into life here in Ubud SURRENDER TO NATURE 16 Escaping the floods with a new lease on life HEART TO WOMB 21 Lessons from the Birthlight method Q&A - HILARY HITT 47 REGULAR CONTRIBUTIONS KULA UPDATES, WORKSHOPS, RETREATS, TEACHER TRAININGS I HEARD OFF THE MAT TEACHER FEATURE AYURVEDA SSRF ASK THE TEACHER MEDITATION IN BRIEF RETREAT REVIEW TEACHER TRAINING REVIEW BOOK REVIEW RECIPE DIRECTORY
6 18 22 43 44 45 48 48 50 50 51 52 56
Articles and photographs in Namaskar are contributed at no charge. Advertising income covers production, distribution, administrative costs and discretionary contributions to selected charities and causes. Namaskar, is published quarterly in January, April, July and October. About 5,000 copies per issue are printed and distributed for free to yoga studios, teachers, fitness centres, retail outlets, restaurants & cafes and other yoga-friendly outlets. Mostly distributed in Hong Kong, with 1,500 copies mailed to readers in 25 other countries. A further 1,000 soft copies are distributed by email.
CONTRIBUTORS chocolatier, and human potential coach, Daniel shares his passion for yoga, raw food nutrition and spiritual insight - and how to use them as potent tools to evoke our highest potential. www.radiantlyalive.com
ANDY WILNER Andy is a yoga practitioner and teacher. As a student of Tantric philosophy, he looks to incorporate Tantric roots of yoga into the asana practice to give context to the postures. email@example.com
CHAN CUDENNEC Chan, the founder of SOL Wellness was a stressed-out banker and management consultant in her former life. Today she is a multidisciplinary holistic practitioner and Kundalini yoga teacher. firstname.lastname@example.org DONA TUMACDER-ESTEBAN Dona is a Manila-based energy management consultant, a Yoga Therapist and an Integrative Wellbeing and Nutrition Counsellor at St. Luke’s Medical Center , and the Yin Yoga teacher. Dona’s work centers on helping people achieve balance and harmony by staying in the middle and learning to embrace and navigate the yin and yang. www.donaesteban.com
ANU PURSRAM Anu has been a volunteer member of the Spiritual Science Research Foundation for 17 years. Anu@ spiritualscienceresearchfoundation.org
ASSAF PELEG Assaf began teaching with Agama Yoga in 2008, and is a senior yoga teacher and Tantra teacher at its centers in Thailand, India and North America. He is also a certified Ayurvedic practitioner, health coach and nutrition consultant, and a certified teacher of Therapeutic Yoga. www.agamayoga.com / email@example.com. 4
CLARE WENER Clare has taught yoga in London and Hertfordshire in the UK for the past four years. She completed her 500 hour training with Michel Besnard in Thailand and specialises in teaching Yin yoga. As well as teaching, she is a regular contributor to yoga magazines and you can read her blog at www.shantayoga.co.uk/blog/
DANIEL AARON Daniel is the founder of Radiantly Alive Yoga Studio and Teacher Trainings in Ubud, Bali. Yogi, writer,
HEATHER BONKER Heather is both a freelance yoga photographer and also runs 200/ 500 RYS trainings with Radiantly Alive in Ubud, Bali. firstname.lastname@example.org / www.heatherbonker.com
INNA CONSTANTINI Inna is a yoga teacher and freelance writer currently based in London. With a background in media and public relations, she experimented with various yoga paths before deciding to trade her desk for a yoga mat. email@example.com FRANÇOISE FREEDMAN The Founder and Director of Birthlight, Françoise is a medical anthropologist at the University of Cambridge, where she does research and teaches as an affiliated lecturer in the Department of Social Anthropology. In 1998, ten years after the first informal Cambridge classes, Birthlight was set up as a registered charity with an adjunct company Birthlight Training Limited. Françoise is a Board member and adviser to the European Yoga Federation Council. www.birthlight.com
IRENE THONG Irene lives and practices in Hong Kong.
JANET LAU Janet teaches at The Yoga Room in Hong Kong, and leads workshops, retreats and teacher trainings around Asia. firstname.lastname@example.org
KIM ROBERTS Kim is on staff at New Life Foundation in Chiang Rai, Thailand, teaching and counseling. email@example.com , www.toolsofevolution.org
KIRBY KOO Kirby is an Absolute Yoga Academy certified yoga teacher and a virtual instructor for YOGABODY Naturals, the manufacturer and creator of, The Yoga Trapeze. http:/ /www.absoluteyogaacademy.com/
KRISHNAA KINKARIDAS Krishnaa lives in London. Her yoga and philosophy interest began in the 1960s in India. She had the privilege to study with B.K.S. Iyengar over several years in Mumbai and Pune. She runs classes in London and teaches ‘Sanskrit and Mudras for Yoga’ for Yoga Alliance and British wheel of Yoga trainee teachers. She is the author of nine books on Bhakti Yoga. firstname.lastname@example.org
MOOSA AL-ISSA Moosa is Executive Director of Life Café and Director of Just Green Organic Convenience Stores in HK. Moosaalissa@gmail.com
RAND HERZ Rand is a wellness coach, business developer, and meditateur living and working in Hong Kong. email@example.com MOISES MEHL Moy is a yoga teacher and advocate of the raw vegan food lifestyle. The head chef of Nood Food, he was inspired by his grandmother who was an agro-ecologist, vegetarian, soy and raw food pioneer, yogi and writer in their home, Mexico City. He qualified as a certified Raw Vegan Chef is currently studying for a Master’s Degree in Raw Vegan Spiritual Nutrition at the University of Integrated Science California and The Culture of Life Institute. Chefmoy@allnood.com
REBECCA CLAYTON Rebecca was born in England and studied English at Oxford University before coming to Hong Kong to teach in 2006. She has since spent her time between the UK and HK, studying and teaching English literature and practicing yoga. She is now in the UK studying her PhD in Renaissance Literature. firstname.lastname@example.org
SUE YEN WAN Ying is a freelance Yoga instructor since 1998. Striving to honour, the mind body and spirit provoking self awareness to be in the present moment. email@example.com www.sueyenwan.com
VALERIE FANECO Valerie from Being in Yoga, Singapore is a senior yoga teacher and teacher trainer certified in the tradition of Krishnamacharya and his son TKV Desikachar. www.beinginyoga.com
VINOD SHARMA Vinod has been a Ayurvedic practitioner for over 20 years. firstname.lastname@example.org
Changes at Lululemon The BBC News reported in December that Chip Wilson, the billionaire founder of Yoga clothing retailer Lululemon, has resigned as chairman over controversial statements about body size. Mr. Wilson told Bloomberg TV in November that complaints over “see-through pants” were due to overweight women. He said some women’s bodies “just don’t actually work’’ for Lululemon trousers. In March, Lululemon had to withdraw one of its yoga trousers from shops after complaints about the sheer fabric. The company blamed the problems on style changes and production issues, but the complaints continued. Mr. Wilson founded Lululemon in 1998, served as chief executive officer until 2005, and has served as nonexecutive chairman. Lululemon’s board has announced Laurent Potdevin, the former head of Toms Shoes, will take over as the next chief executive in January. CHINA
New Guinness Record for Pregnant Yoga CCTV and CNN reported recently that a Guinness World Record has been set for the most pregnant women doing Yoga together. 500 mothers-to-be practiced yoga together in Shenzhen. To mark the event and make it more interesting, many of them drew cartoon characters on their baby bumps, such as Angry Birds and the Chinese cartoon Pleasant Goat. According to the rules, all the participants were required to complete all the yoga exercises 6
that last about half an hour without leaving halfway. In the end, 423 out of the 500 participants made it, creating a new Guinness record. Many participants said they think yoga exercises are conducive to natural childbirth which, they believe, has a lower risk than other childbirth models with medical interventions, such as caesarian section. According to statistics from the World Health Organization (WHO), China has the world’s highest rate of caesarian section, about 47 percent. The rate is threefold of the WHO’s standard. HONG KONG
Yoga in the Park with Ling This is a free Yoga community event organized by LING, Yoga and Wellbeing, to connect people, yoga and nature in Hong Kong. yoga classes will be held in various outdoor open areas such as public parks, beaches, playgrounds in order to practice Yoga with nature and with the community. Held every two weeks on a Saturday. Suitable for all levels including beginners, just BYOM (Bring Your Own Mat)! The next free event will be held on 18 January in Maple Street Playground, Kowloon. For more information www.meetup.com/yogainthepark; www.facebook.com/yogawithling / email@example.com / (852) 9465 6461
Topics of study range from the history and doctrines of different Buddhist traditions to contemporary Buddhism. Plus Buddhism as applied in counselling, palliative care and psychotherapy, with particular reference to current scholarly research. Application deadline 17 March. For more information www.buddhism.hku.hk / (852) 3917-2847 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Daily Pre and Post Natal Yoga Classes at Shakti Healing Circle Gecko Yoga is now offering daily pre & post-natal yoga classes at Shakti Healing Circle. They have an international RYT teaching team with classes that can be supplemented in French, Japanese and Cantonese. For more information www.geckoyoga.com
Gecko Yoga Baby, Toddler & Kids Yoga at FunZone Starting in January Gecko Yoga will offer Baby, Toddler and Kids Yoga at FunZone, Kennedy Town. Thursdays – Submarine Celebration Room 2.00 – 2.45pm - Toddler yoga 1–2 year olds (adult participation requested) 3.00 – 3.45pm Baby yoga 6 weeks – active crawlers (adult participation requested) 4.00 – 4.45pm Kids yoga 3+ years
HKU Master of Buddhist Studies 2014-15
Admission to the Gecko Yoga class includes play time in FunZone afterwards.
Now inviting applications for the new intake in September 2014.
For more information www.geckoyoga.com
Aumnie Launches Boutique Studio Aum Yoga was created to share intimate community and personal attention in a minimalized space. Classes offered will include a range of essential and popular yoga disciplines, including some new yoga practices, with the aim to create a balanced and fun curriculum for members. The studio will open in March in Mongkok. Free weekly community classes and charity classes by donation will also be offered. For more information email@example.com / www.aumnie.com
Footprints Retreat to the Peak Starts 7 March Wai-Ling Tse of LING, Yoga and Wellbeing and Footprints will lead unique retreats blending mindfulness, meditation and yoga with the serenity of natural wonder in Hong Kong. Focused on renewing and developing your flow of yin and yang, qi and prana; these one-night retreats which include hikes into nature with yoga are the perfect remedy for the stressful work week. For more information firstname.lastname@example.org / footprintshk.wix.com/ footprintshk/ www.facebook.com/yogawithling
Flex welcomes Dr Abhishek Agrawal With a combination of yoga and Pilates certifications, Dr Abhishek Agrawal comes to Flex with over 10 years of yoga teaching experience and is also a Naturopath and STOTT Pilates instructor. Dr Abhishek teaches a unique
more styles and colours to come in the coming months. The line has been designed by Suki Tang and the retail director of the brand is Darren Chan. For more information www.bepure.com
IMI opens in Discovery Bay
Dr Abhishek Agrawal joins the team at Flex
synthesis of ancient yogic wisdom with modern medical science, focusing on alignment, suppleness, stability and strength. He is also experienced in rehabilitation techniques. Available for private Pilates and yoga sessions, Dr Abhishek also leads a new Power Flow Yoga class on Friday mornings and Detox Flow on Mondays. For more information www.flexhk.com
New yoga clothing launched by Pure New Jivamukti The Pure Group has launched a line of yoga clothing which is Yoga Class at The available at Pure Yoga studios and Yoga Room Pure Fitness at IFC in Hong Kong. The debut collection comprised basic styles and colours, with
Jivamukti Yoga classes every Monday at 5:30pm and every Sunday at 10:15am with their
For more information www.yogaroomhk.com / (852) 25448398 INDONESIA
The Integrated Medicine Institute (IMI), Hong Kong and Asia’s largest natural and integrated medicine practice will open its second clinic in Discovery Bay this January. Aiming to serve the growing number of families on the island and provide greater convenience for the many Discovery Bay-based families who are currently clients of IMI’s practice in Central. The new clinic at Discovery Bay North Plaza Office Block Two, will offer integrated health solutions for adults, children and infants through natural medicine in Homeopathy and Naturopathy, Osteopathy and Cranial-Sacral Therapy, Chiropractic and Sports Therapy, Psychotherapy and Counselling. For more information www.imi.com.hk/dbclinic / www.facebook.com/IMIHK
certified Jivamukti Yoga teachers, Nora and Joy.
19 - 23 March, Ubud, Bali Join this event of yoga, dance & music. Yoga teachers of note this year include Ashtangi Danny Paradise, Forrest Yogi Pete Guinosso and Yin/Yang teacher Simon Low from the UK. For more information www.balispiritfestival.com
COMO Shambhala introduces wellness juice menu globally The signature COMO Shambhala line of wellness juices is to roll out globally at all COMO Hotels and Resorts in 2014. COMO Shambhala Estate in Bali is a wellness retreat, managed in partnership with COMO’s sister brand in wellness, COMO Shambhala. Their new menu was developed by COMO Shambhala dietician and nutritionist Eve Persak. For more information (852) 2804 8155, email@example.com / (852) 2804 8153, firstname.lastname@example.org
Labanya Hosts Yoga Competition Guptipara, Burdwan, West Bengal Labanya Yoga Training Center and Saraswati Sangha coorganised a competition in October. Debraj Das was crowned inter-club champion, with Payel Swarnakar and Atish Bhattacharya taking first and second runner-up, respectively. Sathi Mondal was awarded the title ‘Little Miss’ and Rafikul Monadal was named ‘Little Master’. Anusha Karmakar obtained Champion of the Outsider competition with Bibhas Shaw as first runner-up and Nabamita Dasgupta as second runner-up. Organized by notable yoga instructors Soumen Das and Swapna Paul, the event was attended by nearly 600 competitors. There were also Lifetime awards handed out to Susmita Das and Best Performer of the Year to Dipannita Patra. According to the best performance during the competition, Sanat Paramanik, was selected as the new master, and he will be working and teaching in Vietnam. TAIWAN
New Class at SPACE WELLNESS Taipei Space Wellness is offering a new personal yoga class specifically designed for mood management and positive mental health. Taught by Ann Lu, LifeForce Yoga Level I practitioner, this class is adapted to the individual student depending on their mental state or mood. As Ann provides a safe and compassionate environment, students will learn yogic tools to clear their own inner space of whatever is preventing them from realizing and sustaining their positive mental health. For more information www.wellness.withinspace.com
The winners and judges from the recent yoga competition organised by Labanya Yoga Training Centre, India.
Strength & Intelligence with Patrick Creelman 18-19 January – Pure Yoga, Shanghai Empower yourself for strength and intelligence. For more information www.pureyoga.com / email@example.com
The Healing Power of Yoga with Charat Singh 25-26 January – Pure Yoga, Shanghai Learn to wield the power of asana for physical well-being, pranayama for energetic wellbeing, application of yogic literature for mental well-being. For more information www.pureyoga.com / firstname.lastname@example.org HONG KONG
Yoga Inside Out with Rajeev Kahn 10-12 January – Pure Yoga Topics include: Good Morning Good Backbend; Going Deeper: a Full-Spectrum workshop; The Fundamentals of Inversions and Hand-balancing; Chanting into Silence and Moving into Stillness. For more information www.pureyoga.com / email@example.com
Full Moon in Cancer Kundalini Yoga workshop with Neil Irwin 11 January 8
Shakti Healing Circle Flowing with the Lunar Tide: an in-depth exploration of the energy of the 2nd chakra. For more information firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information www.yogacentral.com.hk
Mastering Headstand with Michelle Ricaille
Hatha Yoga – from Anatomy to Spirituality
25 January Develop strength and alignment to confidently find balance in this inversion.
11-12 January Salesian Retreat House, Cheung Chau A retreat with Master Naveen of Ananda Yoga, to understand how to use the muscles, joints, ligaments and tendons according to the anatomical structure and how to generate energy and focus on chakras during the yoga practice so the pose become easier, stable and meditative.
For more information www.flexhk.com
For more information www.anandayoga.hk / email@example.com / (852) 3563 9371
Elemental Circle with Neil Irwin 16 January (starts) Shakti Healing Circle A five-week Kundalini Yoga journey through the five elements of earth, water, fire, air, and ether, cross referencing with Indian, Taoist, Kabbalistic, Celtic and western magical traditions. For more information firstname.lastname@example.org
Restorative workshops for Hong Kong Cancer Fund members Yoga Central 18 January & 28 February
Active Birth Workshop with Jenny Smith 25 January Topics: relaxation techniques, releasing fears, optimal foetal positioning, visualisation and breathing in labour, active birth positions and partnered birthing positions. Taught by Jenny, in partnership with Annerley, Hong Kong’s maternity and early childhood professionals. For more information www.geckoyoga.com
Yoga & Ayurveda: Detox, Wisdom & Healing with Mas Vidal 7-11 February – Pure Yoga The union of Yoga and Ayurveda is founded on the scientific principles of Tri-dosha. For more information www.pureyoga.com / email@example.com
Ride the Year of the Horse with Gahl Eden Sasson 14-16 February – Pure Yoga Special Valentines Workshops: The Alchemy of Relationships: NAMASKAR
Using Mystical Traditions to Attract & Harmonise Partnership and Discover and balance our feminine and masculine sides to harmonise our relationships. For more information www.pureyoga.com / firstname.lastname@example.org
Full Moon in Leo Kundalini with Neil Irwin 15 February Shakti Healing Circle, Central Yoga for strength and radiance: core energy of the Nhabi Chakra. For more information email@example.com
Peter Scott at Yoga Central 19-23 February Level 3/4 Classes, Teacher Development Workshops and Weekend Intensives. For more information www.yogacentral.com.hk
Find Your Centre with Abhishek Agrawal 22 February Flex Participants will learn more complex balance asanas through sequencing, alignment and strength building techniques. For more information www.flexhk.com
Emergency Paediatric First Aid 22 February Trains individuals to provide immediate first aid care for infants and children and is ideal
for those teaching or working with babies or children. Taught by Katia Geiger, a Certified First Aid International Instructor. For more information www.geckoyoga.com
Helping parents-to-be and parents of babies up to toddler age, to understand their baby’s development. You will be guided through baby massage techniques and development milestones from new-born to toddler age.
Yin Yoga & Fascial Meridians with 101-Asana Victor Chng 22-23 February Adjustments with Wanchai The fundamentals of Yin Yoga and Amarjit Kumar For more information www.geckoyoga.com
how to work the spine to increase mobility of the body. Opening the main gateways to the energy channels in the body and a Yin Yoga meridian series for detoxing. For more information firstname.lastname@example.org / Wah email@example.com
CranioSacral Foundations with Joyce Thom 22-23 February – Pure Yoga For anyone interested in CranioSacral Therapy, experiencing how it works, understanding more about the body-mind-spirit connection, and exploring how attention, intention, and presence affect our health and our ability to serve our communities. For more information www.pureyoga.com / firstname.lastname@example.org
22-23 February Ananda Yoga Suitable for anyone with an interest to understand how the body, mind and energy operate in yoga poses. For more information www.anandayoga.hk / email@example.com / (852) 3563 9371
Know your Body & Pose with Janet Lau 23 February The Yoga Room If you want to learn more about your body, or if you have ever wondered why certain poses are always a challenge for you, this is the workshop for you. For more information www.yogaroomhk.com / (852) 2544 8398
As part of the Holistic Healing Off the Mat series, Caroline will lead participants through a series of dry brush techniques designed to stimulate sluggish lymph flow, thus leading to better health. For more information www.flexhk.com
Full Moon in Virgo Kundalini with Neil Irwin 15 March Shakti Healing Circle Back to Basics: Yoga for staying grounded in present moment awareness. For more information firstname.lastname@example.org
Ayurveda & Yoga with Dario Calvaruso 15 March: Ayurveda 16 March: Yoga 22 March: Matter: the basic building blocks of Body and Mind 23 March: The Self 29 March: Purification and Rejuvenation 30 March: The secrets of Tailormade Diet and Personalised Lifestyle For more information email@example.com
Marla Apt Nurturing Baby Dry Brushing with Workshops at Development with Caroline Rhodes Yoga Central 26 February Jenny Smith 25-27 March Flex
Sequencing/Adjustment and evening classes. For more information www.yogacentral.com.hk
Women’s Health with Dona TumacderEsteban March 15, 2014 Echo Yoga Shala Begins with a discussion of the different phases of a woman’s cycle based on Traditional Chinese Medicine followed by a Yin Yoga sequence to harmonize the body and mind at different phases of the monthly cycle. For more information firstname.lastname@example.org
Yin Yoga Intensives with Victor Chng 5-11 May St. Luke’s Medical Center; Yoga + White Space; Echo Yoga Shala Join Victor in exploring Yin Yoga and its applications on our wellbeing, our fascial system, and our digestive health based on his in-depth knowledge of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Taoism, Buddhism, and Yoga. For more information email@example.com SINGAPORE
Yoga Inside Out with Rajeev Kahn 17-19 January – Pure Yoga Topics include: Good Morning Good Backbend; Going Deeper: a Full-Spectrum workshop; The Fundamentals of Inversions and Hand-balancing; Chanting into Silence and Moving into Stillness.
For more information www.pureyoga.com / firstname.lastname@example.org
Ashtanga Intensive with Lori Brungard
Detox, Wisdom & Healing with Mas Vidal
4-9 January Radiantly Alive Yoga Studio, Ubud, Bali
12-16 February – Pure Yoga The union of Yoga and Ayurveda is founded on the principles of Tri-dosha.
For more information email@example.com / www.radiantlyalive.com Victor Chng will be teaching at several studios around Asia.
For more information www.pureyoga.com / firstname.lastname@example.org 9
The Inner, Outer & Centre with Rachel Tsai Space Yoga, Taipei 18-20 April This intensive weaves together the internal purification of Hatha yoga, the harmonious interaction with the outer world of Ayurvedic medicine and the centering practice of Samadhi.
Ride the Year of the Horse with Gahl Eden Sasson 21-23 February – Pure Yoga The Alchemy of Relationships: using mystical traditions to attract & harmonise partnership and discover and balance our feminine and masculine sides to harmonise our relationships. For more information www.pureyoga.com / email@example.com
9-day Awaken to Your Power with Tryphena Chia 15-23 March – Pure Yoga A quick and simple detox programme based on Baron Baptiste’s book “Journey Into Power”, to help us reconnect with ourselves physically and mentally. For more information www.pureyoga.com / firstname.lastname@example.org
Space Yoga, Taipei 8-9 March Weekend Workshop 10-14 March 5-day Immersion Delve into the art of union, the heart of Yoga, with Richard as he guides you into an exploration from the asana perspective, and draw from the Yoga Sutra and other classical texts, of how to join together oppositions to create a smooth, graceful, integrated – intelligent – vinayasa in our practice and in life.
Yogic Mama Weekend Workshop with Ann Lu Space Yoga, Taipei 21-23 March Learn to modify your yoga practice to keep yourself and your students safe and happy. Learn how to feel confident and comfortable with yoga during pregnancy, childbirth and early motherhood.
The Union of Opposites with Richard Freeman 10
For more information www.withinspace.com
Mystical Dance 27 January-1 February Explore the world of Mystical Dance with Monika Nataraj. For more information www.agamayoga.com / email@example.com / (66) 892 330 217
Pranayama Intensive with Sri O.P. Tiwari
Astrology in Tantric Yoga
For more information www.withinspace.com THAILAND
Tantra 2 13-18 January; 5-10 May; 7-12 September Koh Phangan Follow-up to their Tantra 1 workshop. For more information www.agamayoga.com / firstname.lastname@example.org / (66) 892 330 217
For more information www.withinspace.com
For more information www.agamayoga.com / email@example.com / (66) 892 330 217
For more information www.withinspace.com
Space Yoga, Taipei 31 May-4 June As the head of The Kaivalyadham Yogic Research Institute for over four decades, Tiwariji has lifelong practical experience and scientific understanding to guide you through this powerful science and subtle art.
Ashtangi Matthew Sweeney will be in Bangkok in April at Lullaby Yoga
mysterious Tibetan Yoga.
101-Asana Adjustments with Master Amarjit Kumar 18-19 January Suitable for anyone with an interest to understand how the body, mind and energy operate in yoga poses. For more information www.anandayoga.hk / firstname.lastname@example.org / (852) 3563 9371
Tibetan Yoga 27-31 January An amazing exploration into the NAMASKAR
18-22 February Discover the world of Astrology from a Tantric perspective. For more information www.agamayoga.com / email@example.com / (66) 892 330 217
Naturopathic & Yogic Healing 24-28 March An in-depth study into naturopathic and Yogic healing methods. For more information www.agamayoga.com / firstname.lastname@example.org / (66) 892 330 217
Ashtanga & Vinyasa with Matthew Sweeney 4-6 April Lullaby Yoga, Bangkok 4 April: Chandra Krama: The Moon Sequence 5 April: Jumping Through and Jumping Back; Back Bending and Mula Bandha 6 April: Simha Krama: The Lion Sequence; Inversions and Beyond. For more information (662) 2525824-5 / email@example.com
Tantra 1 7-12 April; 10-15 August Explore your sexuality from a Tantric perspective. For more information www.agamayoga.com / firstname.lastname@example.org / (66) 892 330 217
with brunch and dinner are included.
Bali Spirit Festival For more information Retreat with ashtangayoga108.com / email@example.com Byron Yoga Centre Karma Yoga 17-24 March Retreat with Green Field Hotel, Ubud, Bali Join John Ogilvie and his Byron Clayton Horton Yoga Centre team for a beautiful yoga retreat centered around the world-renowned Bali Spirit Festival in Ubud. 8-nights accommodation and Bali Spirit Festival VIP Gold Pass to all day and evening events are included.
For more information www.byronyoga.com/bali-spiritfestival-retreat
Clayton Horton & Sayuri Tanaka 24-31 March Villa Gaia Retreat Center, Ubud, Bali Join Sayuri Tanaka for delicious raw food and Ashtanga Yoga sessions with Clayton. Besides access to the sauna and hot tub, enjoy massage, Kirtan, breathwork and more. For more information ashtangayoga108.com / firstname.lastname@example.org PHILLIPINES
Boracay Retreat with Clayton Horton 21 February-9 March Mandala Spa and Villas, Boracay Island Join Clayton for a 1 or 2 week retreat with white sand beaches and crystal clear blue water. Morning and afternoon sessions
1-15 June Puerto Princessa to Batug Village Helping others to rebuild their community after the Hainan Typhoon, Clayton will lead Ashtanga Yoga practice and workshops. For more information ashtangayoga108.com / email@example.com THAILAND
Crown Chakra Retreat 9-16 February Koh Phangan A silent meditation retreat that explores Sahasrara, the Crown Chakra.
Business Yoga with Raw Food with Siri Dharma & Chan Cudennec
Transformational Retreat with Kim Roberts at Jungle Yoga
14-21 March Rasayana resort, Pattaya Suitable for yoga practitioners who wish to expand their work into the corporate environment. Enrich your experience with Kundalini yoga that is deeply transformative and a perfect balance of physical and mental exercise to rebalance the body, mind and spirit. At the same time, learn how to use yoga and meditation to improve communication, increase motivation and creativity to create a better work environment and work-life balance. Includes a gentle detox with Chan using delicious raw and living food.
16-30 March Khao Sok National Forest, Surat Thani Province An intimate retreat in one of the most gorgeous wilderness parks, and oldest rainforest in the world.
For more information www.solwellness.com / Chan@solwellness.com / (852) 2581 9699
Third Eye Retreat 14-21 April; 12-19 May Koh Phangan A silent meditation retreat that explores Ajna Chakra, the Third Eye. For more information www.agamayoga.com / firstname.lastname@example.org / (66) 892 330 217
Contemplative Practice & Wellness Retreat with Kim Roberts
For more information www.agamayoga.com / email@example.com / (66) 892 330 217
1-8 May Amanpuri Villas, Phuket
Soul to Spirit 9-16 March Koh Phangan Silent meditation retreat exploring the mystical connection between Anahata and Sahasrara Chakras.
For more information www.jungleyoga.com / firstname.lastname@example.org
Joost van Dijk (Siridharma) will be teaching about business yoga in Thailand with SOL Wellnessâ€™ Chan Cudennec
For more information www.agamayoga.com / email@example.com / (66) 892 330 217
Equips yoga teachers with the skills to work with emotions that can arise in the teaching situation. Program includes: training and certificate, daily yoga and meditation practices, day of silence, lodging at an exclusive 5+ star resort, organic healthy gourmet meals prepared by a private chef, and tours. For more information www.mindbodypassport.com / firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com 11
Fit Flow Yoga Advanced TT & Workshop Immersion with Briohny & Dice 26-30 March – Pure Yoga Shanghai This 45-hour course provides training in the advanced teachings of the Fit Flow style of yoga. A certificate in Bryce Yoga and Yoga Alliance CET hours will be available upon completion. For more information www.pureyoga.com / firstname.lastname@example.org
The Foundation 200hr TT with Patrick Creelman 23 June-19 July – Pure Yoga Shanghai Patrick will host this annual Pure Yoga Foundation TT in China for the first time in 2014. For more information www.pureyoga.com / email@example.com HONG KONG
Forrest Yoga Mentorship Programme with Sinhee McCabe 8-12 January & 11-15 June – Pure Yoga This is for graduates who have completed the Forrest Yoga Foundation TT. Mentees will need to attend both programmes for eight days offered in January and June 2014 for completion. 12
For more information www.pureyoga.com / firstname.lastname@example.org
EMBRACE – A Part-time Hot Yoga TT with Frances Gairns 14 February-13 June – Pure Yoga ( For students who are ready to embrace all aspects of a hot practice, looking to broaden their general knowledge of Yoga and are curious about teaching Hot Yoga. For more information www.pureyoga.com / email@example.com
200-Hour Beginners Hatha Yoga TT with Michelle Ricaille 22 February-15 June Shakti Healing Centre Hosted by Gecko Yoga and based on the teachings of Yoga Vidya Gurukul Ashram, Nasik, India (www.yogapoint.com). Certification from Yoga Vidya Gurukul University and Avani Asia Yoga Academy accredited with Yoga Alliance. Includes 200-hour training and 30-hours of Karma Yoga (selfless service to the community). For more information firstname.lastname@example.org / www.geckoyoga.com
This training is designed to bring peace, creativity and joy into children¼s lives through the ancient practice of Yoga and suitable for anyone who is interested in teaching Yoga to children. For more information email@example.com / www.geckoyoga.com
200-hour Yoga TT Certificate Course 10 March-31 May Anahata Yoga, Central This gives yoga practitioners, enthusiasts, and aspiring instructors the chance to deepen their self-knowledge of Yoga philosophy and improve on various aspects of their practice. For more information www.anahatayoga.com.hk / (852) 2905 1822/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Advanced Hatha TT Level 1 & 2 14 March-6 April - Level 1 11 April-18 May - Level 2 Anahata Yoga, Central This is for yoga practitioners interested in growing their knowledge of Hatha yoga and developing their techniques in executing various Hatha yoga poses. The aim is to challenge practitioners to advance in their practice by exploring the limits of their body and overcoming them, and develop their knowledge of the body.
more information Radiant Child Kids For www.anahatayoga.com.hk / (852) 2905 1822/ Yoga TT - Levels email@example.com 1&2 with Jenny Smith Perinatal & Baby 7-9 March Yoga TT NAMASKAR
Baby Yoga – Part 1 28-30 April; Part 2 1-2 May Perinatal Yoga – Part 1 3-6 May; Part 2 7-8 May Taught by Sally Lomas from Birthlight (UK) and hosted by Gecko Yoga. Birthlight is the first and only training provider in Baby Yoga in the UK. Perinatal Yoga provides training for yoga teachers who hold a recognised teaching yoga qualification. For more information firstname.lastname@example.org / www.geckoyoga.com
200-hour Power Vinyasa TT with Janet Lau at The Yoga Room Module 1: 28 April-18 May; Module 2: 6-26 July This certified course is not just about being able to teach effectively and authentically but is a doorway for us to have a deeper connection with ourselves so that we embark on our life-long spiritual journey. For more information www.yogaroomhk.com / (852) 2544 8398 INDONESIA
95-hour Yoga for Kids TT with Beta Lisboa 29 March- 9 April Green School, Bali This Yoga Alliance registered training will help Yoga teachers, educators and practicing yogin parents to skillfully teach children of all ages. Based on the “Multiple Intelligences” theory of Howard Gardner and Maria Montessori’s, “Learning by Doing”, to experi-
ence the multiple unique ways that a child can learn in a fun and playful way. Understand the use of props, storytelling, music, art and age-appropriate themes. For more information yogaswahakids.com/ traininginbali/kids-yoga-teachertraining-2014/
200-hour Level I Yoga TT 13 April-14 May Radiantly Alive Yoga Studio, Ubud, Bali For more information YTT@radiantlyalive.com / www.radiantlyalive.com SINGAPORE
TT with Leah Kim 7-27 February Full time training course with Nike’s global Yoga ambassador, Leah Kim, certified by the Yoga Alliance. For more information training.homyoga.sg
teachings of the Fit Flow style of yoga. A certificate in Bryce Yoga and Yoga Alliance CET hours will be available upon completion. For more information www.pureyoga.com / email@example.com TAIWAN
300-hour Iyengar Yoga TT with Peter Scott 4 April (starts) 2014-2016 three-year program, Space Yoga, Taipei Study with one of Australia’s preeminent senior Iyengar Yoga teachers, Peter Scott, in this comprehensive and rigorous 300hour course, conducted over three years. It will cover the Iyengar “Introductory Certificate I and II” syllabus, with a basis of cultivating a strong personal practice and practical teaching methods and experience. For more information www.withinspace.com
For more information www.pureyoga.com / firstname.lastname@example.org
Fit Flow Yoga Advanced TT & Workshop Immersion with Briohny & Dice 1-5 April – Pure Yoga Singapore This 45-hour course provides training in the advanced
For more information ashtangayoga108.com / email@example.com THAILAND
500-hrs-Agama Yoga TT
Centered Yoga Beginners Hatha 200+ Hour TT Yoga TT with Hee with Paul Boon Dallaghan 15 March-29 June – Pure Yoga Singapore An in-depth study of the teachings from the Yoga Vidya Dham Ashram in India, which has its lineage from Swami Satyananda - the founder of the Bihar School of Yoga. It is a parttime course of intense practical training in asanas, pranayama, mudras, yogic philosophy, bandhas, cleansing processes, meditation, chanting, teaching skills, anatomy and physiology.
Leah Kim will lead at TT in Singapore
Session I: 23-30 May; Session II: 23 June-1 July; Session III: 27 July-2 August Space Yoga, Taipei Asia’s most respected and longest running Yoga Alliance Registered program is offering a bilingual training with study material and classes in English and Chinese. For more information www.withinspace.com PHILLIPINES
Greenpath Yoga 200-hr TT with Clayton Horton 2-30 May Boracay Island Take the next step in your development with one of Greenpath Yoga’s comprehensive and well-rounded training programs. Developed for those who want to teach, are already teaching, or simply wishing to deepen their personal practice.
6 January-29 March; 26 May-16 August Koh Phangan Learn how to teach Yoga in this very intensive,500 hrs.+ training on a tropical island paradise. For more information www.agamayoga.com / firstname.lastname@example.org / (66) 892 330 217
Lullaby Yoga TT 25 January-10 May Taught by Mark Scodellaro with Cerissa Nyen and Minyoung Kim. You will learn yoga philosophy and its application to daily life, yoga anatomy and its application to asana, asanas (alignment, contraindications, how to get into each pose and teach them safely), sequencing and Thai massage. For more information (66) 81 9342897 / email@example.com
Jivani Yoga TT Level 1 Foundation Course
16 February-30 March Koh Phangan A comprehensive, integrative and transformational journey onto the dharmic path of teaching yoga. Trainees will receive 300 hours of intensive training with practical teaching experience beginning in week one. For more information www.jivaniyoga.com/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Mystical Dance TT 27 January-8 March Koh Phangan Become a teacher of Mystical Dance classes in this 6-week long, immersive training with Monika Nataraj. For more information www.agamayoga.com / email@example.com / (66) 892 330 217
Agama Tantra Instructor TT 31 March-24 May Koh Phangan An intensive instructor training that empowers you to teach the very popular Tantra 1+2 workshops of Agama Yoga. For more information www.agamayoga.com / firstname.lastname@example.org / (66) 892 330 217
Whether visiting or living in this tropical paradise, yogis soak up its unique energy. BY HEATHER BONKER
The spiritual richness of the land and culture, combined with the lush beauty, warm climate and smiling locals of Bali (particularly to Ubud) continues to draw a plethora of sojourning yoga students and teachers alike. Yogis and “seekers” have been travelling to Bali for years searching for respite, transformation and a haven to connect to something on a deeper level. The yoga community here continues to grow by leaps and bounds, from committed practitioners on holiday, long-term stays and those who still haven’t managed to leave. The rapid yoga expansion continues to draw in world-renowned teachers yearround as well as seeing additional increases in holistic related festivals, yoga studios, teacher trainings, retreats and more. 14
YOGA OFF THE MAT
SURRENDING TO NATURE
What started as peaceful visit to an Indian ashram, took one woman head on into the worst floods to hit Uttarkashi in 8o years. BY REBECCA CLAYTON
In June 2013, as I was preparing to go to India for my yoga teacher training, I was given the following piece of advice: “Leave all expectations at the door. Plan only on surrender.” Nothing could have been more true. With my time in Hong Kong drawing to an end, I was looking to be taken out of my comfort zone, seeking an adventure. “But what if you get sick, mugged, or worse?” my boyfriend cries. I’m going to one of the holiest places on earth where every year thousands of people go to meet with God. What can possibly happen? Yet my boyfriend, Jonny, comes with me, along with his burden of worries and stash of medication ‘just in case.’ Perhaps it is just as well. What with Wacky Racing rickshaws, children playing barefoot in the road and the unwanted attention my whiter than white skin is attracting, I am finding it hard to stay cool, calm and trusting in India. The Uttarkashi floods of 2013, killed more than 5,000 people and forced 100,000 to be evacuated in the Himalayas
Travelling north, however, my fears are allayed. In the holy city of Haridwar, where old men in orange turbans lounge on the banks of the Ganges, we sip masala chai and watch the sunset. I make a prayer, that my heart may always be open, loving and true. It is not long before the power of prayer, and my faith in it, is tested. Meeting up with the other yogis for a first and final supper in Rishikesh, word is there’s been a landslide on the road and we should leave early to avoid getting stuck - hardly news to inspire confidence when visiting a remote mountain area but, never having seen a landslide before and keen for our yoga course to commence, ignorance is bliss. But it’s long and winding road with a twohour wait while the road is cleared and another two crawling along in pouring rain before we reach the ashram. Cold, dark and spiritless, I have half a mind to get back in the taxi and go home, but this is only Saturday. So,
we say our prayers and retreat to bed and a troubled sleep while the Ganga rages only feet away. The next day, things are no better: half the students have failed to arrive, the rain is still lashing down and as I go shivering back to bed, I can’t help wishing I’d never come, that I was somewhere warm, safe and dry. By dinnertime, I am burning up with a fever, but now we have bigger worries. With the ground shaking from the tides surging down the Ganga, we are at risk of being flooded or, worse, swept away in the night and must move to higher ground. I get up and come around to find myself on the floor, barely making it to the toilet in time. With no electricity, hot water or doctor, my fellow yogis are panic-stricken to find me collapsing in the bathroom in the middle of the night. I am stuffed with as much Immodium as I can swallow as we evacuate to the nearest village. With over a hundred other January 2014
stranded pilgrims, we face the sobering fact: there is no way out. The road is gone, washed away in the floodwaters. We can abandon the training if we like, but there is nowhere to go. The next day we return to the ashram and attempt to get on with the course. Sivananda Yoga is quite different from my dynamic vinyasa practice in Hong Kong and if I had the energy I would find coming to rest in Savasana between every pose tedious, but I do not. Weak, dizzy and hot with fever, I lie on my mat, massaging the raging pulse in my abdomen. I have not eaten for three days. I lie back wishing I could flag down one of the rescue helicopters flying overhead and get the hell out. But with thousands of pilgrims lost in these mountains, they have other priorities. So on Thursday, I do what I have been putting off doing: I send Jonny an SOS. Frantic with worry, he gives me the number of the British Consulate in India. I have no signal, hardly any battery, but finally make it 17
through. The woman on the phone is kind and I listen as she gives me messages from my family, but she knows no more than I do and can offer no help. A lump rises in my throat: I have to get back to them if I can, and if I don’t do it no one else will. So when a local in the village says he can guide me over the mountains, that vague hope is enough for me to try. I avoid dinner that night, knowing that the food is making me worse, and when I feel the first pangs of hunger and start to dream of all the things I want to eat, I know I will be all right. I haven’t eaten properly in over five days, I’m running to the toilet with diarrhoea and popping pills till I choke, but I am hungry - hungry to survive, hungry to live and I know that this, as well as the thought of my family wishing for my safe return, will sustain me. I rise early to meet my guide and ride on the back of his motorcycle until, about 3km down the road, we come to an abrupt stop. The road is no more – just a cliff of cracked and broken tarmac and a frightening view of a raging Ganga. All the houses, shops and hotels that lined that route a week ago have been washed away and we have no choice but to pick our way up the sheer mountain face. My thighs, spindle thin and weak are straining, my breathing quickening and within minutes I am parched with thirst but I tell myself I have to stay strong. Not letting myself look up to see how far we have to go or back down, I put one foot in front of the other and keep going. It’s the toughest yoga I will ever do, but I am grateful for my guide. I know I wouldn’t stand a chance alone. When we reach the town of Uttarkashi it dawns on me how huge this disaster is. The army is requisitioning buses, crowds of evacuees are waiting helplessly on the roadside and, as I squeeze into a jeep crammed to the rafters, my neighbour tells me he’s hiked over 180km to rescue his inlaws. But the journey isn’t over yet.
I HEARD IT OFF THE MAT
RESEARCH IN THE NEWS COMPILED BY SUE-YEN WAN
‘Late starters’ still have much to gain by exercising Bloomberg Sustainability, reported on 26 November 2013 that taking up exercise in your 60s will still help stave off major ill health and dementia. The study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine followed 3,500 healthy people at or around retirement age. Those who took up exercise were three times more likely to remain healthy over the next eight years than their sedentary peers. Exercise cut the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease and depression. Doing regular exercise throughout your life is ideal, say the researchers, but there are health benefits to be had even if you are a late starter. People who took up exercise in their 60s were also less likely to struggle with day-to-day activities such as washing and dressing.
Depression makes us older A study published in Molecular Psychiatry shows the cells of severely depressed people and those who’d been severely depressed in the past looked biologically older. The difference was in their telomere length, which couldn’t be explained by factors like diet or smoking.
Washed by so much rain, the mountain crumbles into the road, the road into the mountain and every few kilometres falls away to a single track. It’s nine hours before I arrive back at Rishikesh, looking every inch the disaster zone victim. Dirty, gaunt and dizzy, I barely recognise myself, but they knew where I was going and have been worried. They are my second - third, fourth? I am losing count good angels that day. To say I am relieved would be an understatement. I am incredulous, exhausted, almost delirious with hunger but flooded with gratitude. I take the first hot shower I’ve had all week, sip tea and eat as much as I can before falling straight to sleep.
an Ayurvedic healer, I only have to say the word “Uttarkashi” to be instantly understood. Every day the headlines here report on the disaster: the man who survived a night of torrential flooding by standing on the bodies of the dead; the helicopter crash that killed all 8 passengers and pilot. The healer tells me not to think of these things, but I feel a commitment to the rescue operation, to knowing that other people too are making it out alive: a way of salving my own guilt - guilt for having survived.
The following few days, however, I remain in a precarious state of health as food, so desperately desired, is rejected as a foreign body by my fragile system. Seeking help from
But I have survived and make it back home. Home, where there has been no disaster, where my weight loss and anxiety are a mystery and where I am left to ponder the
At the end of our chromosomes, telomeres stop the loss of DNA. As our cells divide, the telomeres get shorter and so measuring them is a way to determine cellular age. The study of 2,407 people was conducted by Josine Verhoeven from the VU University Medical Centre in the Netherlands, along with colleagues from the US.
Scientists close to proving yoga and meditation can ward off stress and disease John Denninger, a psychiatrist at Harvard Medical School, is leading a five-year study on how the ancient practices affect genes and brain activity in the chronically stressed, it was reported on 22 November 2013 in BBC News, Health. The current study, to conclude in 2015 with about $3.3 million in funding from the National Institutes of Health, tracks 210 healthy subjects with high levels of reported chronic stress for six months. They are divided in three groups. One group with 70 participants perform a form of yoga known as Kundalini, another 70 meditate and the rest listen to stress education audiobooks, all for 20 minutes a day at home.
numerous lessons India has taught me: the gratitude in the smile of a little begging boy; the love and kindness of the many strangers who helped me along the way; and the true surrender that not only opens you up to forces beyond your control - flooding, earthquakes, illness - but to your own inner faith, intuition, strength and grace. It may have taken the rest of the summer to get back to my previous weight, but I am still blessed with the two most precious gifts I possess - my body and my mind. Both proved stronger than even I could have guessed and with it my desire to share the gift of yoga.
HEART TO WOMB NUTURING
Yoga breathing & meditation bonds mother & child before & after birth. BY FRANÇOISE BARBIRA FREEDMAN
During pregnancy yoga is the perfect way of connecting with your growing baby and laying out the foundations for bonding and intimate communication. By the time your baby is born, he is not a stranger: you have already created a team. If fathers are willing they can also place a hand on the mother’s womb hand. From four months, fetuses are receptive to touch and respond to changes in their mother’s breathing. Calm, slow and gently extended exhalations are at the core of yoga, affecting the nervous and endocrine systems together. In a world of action and achievement, yoga has become our best route to the nurturing that all world traditions consider so important. Yoga breathing ‘mothers the mother’ so she can mother her baby easily.
their backs close to your body before taking a breath and pressing on both feet to stand up. In both these Baby Yoga pick-ups, babies feel less heavy… back muscles, abdominal muscles and leg muscles are toned in what can become the base of Warrior yoga postures with your baby or toddler on board. CARER UP TO STANDING WITH BABY IN ARMS Using pelvic floor lift and reverse breathing on the lift. This inner strength helps to lift the baby. Lift the baby before you lift yourself. Keep your front foot flat, knee bent (directly over ankle). Maintain sufficient with between foot and knee to allow balance, Keep the toes of your back foot tucked under to give you something to push against. tone. The basic stretches are easy, even if you are new to yoga, yet they are effective for all new mothers. You can integrate them with other exercises if you have already started a different programme, and start them at any time regardless of the type of birth you had. The more regularly you exercise together with your baby, the more natural this will seem to her. You will be surprised at how much she picks up long before she can move. Knowing that you can do yoga with your baby rather than excluding her from your practice also provides a useful foundation for retaining your identify without physical separation.
PICK UP YOUR BABY THE YOGA WAY Each time you pick up your baby, it can be a positive yoga stretch that strengthens rather than strains your lower back. In a classic yoga kneeling position, pick your baby from the floor. Turn the toes of your back foot under, breathe in and press equally on both feet to come up to a standing position with your baby in your arms. For young babies, you can use the “Tiger in the tree” relaxed hold, which is soothing and ideal for walking relaxation around your home. For older babies and toddlers, sit them on your front thigh with
TIGER IN THE TREE Hold your baby with their head nestled in the crook of your arm. Baby face down, legs at the hand end of your arm. Your arm comes over the top of the baby’s shoulder, diagonally across the baby’s body. Hold baby’s opposite thigh gently. POSTNATAL YOGA WITH YOUR BABY Exercising with your baby is challenging at first but worth doing for both of you. The postnatal Yoga practices here act directly upon your abdominal and lower back muscles, using breath and spinal moves to create deep January 2014
TONE YOUR PELVIC MUSCLES Lie down on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat at a comfortable distance from your body, not too close or too far – this is important for this exercise. Place your baby with her back on your thighs, facing you, and hold her wrists. If she is already sitting, this is fine too. There are several progressive practices you can do. As you become familiar with each of them, you will soon fit them easily in a daily round. 1. Take a breath and press your lower back toward the mat as you exhale. You are toning 21
your abdominal muscles in this classic Yoga exercise. For more intensity, press your feet down on the mat. Raise your head to look at your baby on your relaxation for even stronger abdominal toning. Release your neck fully, dropping your head on the mat and lifting your tailbone slightly for your next inhalation. With an even breathing rhythm, repeat 6 times, if your baby allows, then take a rest. 2. Once you have found a steady breathing rhythm, draw your pelvic-floor muscles inward as you inhale and continue holding them, or draw them in more, as you exhale. Release your pelvic floor at the very end of your exhalation. If you feel out of breath, inhale and exhale before starting again on the following inhalation. Feet pressure and head
YOYO YU Yogic body, Vedic mind.
lower back. Tuck in your buttock muscles and draw in your pelvic floor as you exhale. Release, lower your back to the floor and look at your baby on the next breath. With practice you can combine these exercises.
lift make this practice stronger. Now keep your head up through your exhalation, releasing it only at the end while you relax your pelvic floor. 3. In this practice, you tone your lower back and buttock muscles as well as your pelvic floor. Starting with your back and head flat on the floor, inhale and push your feet to lift your
WHAT IS YOUR PERSONAL PHILOSOPHY TOWARD NUTRITION? To maintain harmony in my physical body which is important for the subtle bodies, like mental body, life force body, bliss body. I am a vegetarian, which feels very natural for me, especially as my consciousness grows and I feel more connected with others. I feel so sad if I see animals being hurt. When animals are killed they experience fear, anger and other negative emotions, which releases toxins in their bodies. If we ingest them, we are taking in these harmful toxins.
Hong Kong-based yoga teacher, YoYo Yu has been studying and practising yoga for 8 years. Under the guidance of Shri
I also practise a free-food yogic science called Nirahara Samyama from my Master Parmahamsa Nithyananda a consciousness teacher who leads enlightenment for humanity. WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE POSTPRACTICE SNACK OR MEAL? I don’t usually snack after practice. DO YOU BUY ORGANIC FOOD? Yes.
YOGI YUM YUMS Four free recipe books for Namaskar readers
science to the physical, mental and emotional needs of modern peoples.
HOW MUCH WATER DO YOU DRINK A DAY ON AVERAGE? 1 litre WHICH IS YOUR FAVOURITE RESTAURANT? In Sai Kung where I live and teach, many restaurants asupport my vegetarian diet, even the liquid diet for the nirahara samyama. I like Bistro33, Italiano, Firenze, Classified, La Gondona, Together Café and Okapi.
Yogi Yum Yums are sweets and treats made by Namaskar contributor and friend, Yogiuday, in Rishikish, India. They are currently sold at Anand Prakash Yoga Ashram. The delicious recipes do not use any white sugar or white flour. All profits from the enterprise support the continued education of children in India. Currently Yogi Yum Yums sponsors five students in year 10 and 11 to go to school and is building a scholarship fund for their and others’ post-secondary studies. Recently he has compiled the most popular recipes into a book which is now available. Namaskar has four copies to give away to the first four correct answers to the following question sent by email to email@example.com “What are the three doshas in Ayurveda?”
Prasad Rangnekar, she adapts this ancient transformative
If you are not sucessful or would like to order additional books, they are available at: 1. In Rishikesh at Anand Prakash Yoga Ashram, Tapovan 2. In North America, by mail by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org 3. www.amazon.co.uk 4. www.anandi.co.uk/yogi-yum-yums
DRISTI - YOGIC DIET
DIET & THE SPIRITUAL PATH Balancing our koshas reveals our spark BY ASSAF PELEG
For some, diet is like a religion, with one’s entire spiritual life or agenda revolving around it
For many who practice yoga, a healthy diet correlates with a certain level of spirituality. In many spiritual circles people consider themselves conscious eaters, often vegetarians or vegans, maybe even raw foodists or fruitarians. For some, diet is like a religion, with one’s entire spiritual life or agenda revolving around it, while others consider anyone who doesn’t fall under one of the above definitions is an “unconscious” or even non-spiritual person. But is there actually any importance to your diet as it pertains to your spiritual path? This can be a complex matter which faces debate in many different traditions. The first thing common to all traditions is food does matter! While many traditions don’t speak about a strict diet, almost all mention the importance of certain food restrictions. In India, where the concept of ahimsa (or nonviolence, non-harming) has been a major component of all the spiritual systems that arose from the subcontinent, the avoidance of killing, and therefore meateating, is a very important facet of spiritual life. The Brahmins, the priests considered highest within India’s caste system, had to strictly guard their own purity to maintain their ability to serve in temples. Pure vegetarianism was a must for them and remains so today. The Jains in India took it one step further, avoiding root vegetables (onions, potatoes, etc.) as pulling them from the ground would most likely kill some insects, and therefore the consumption of such vegetables would violate ahimsa. Buddha also spoke about the importance of refraining from killing, thus promoting a vegetarian lifestyle. However, in honoring the spirit of renunciation and their monastic vows, Buddhist monks aren’t supposed to decline any food offered to them. In fact today, few Buddhists are completely vegetarian, with the exemption of minor sects such as the Santi Asoke Buddhist community of North Thailand, for example. In Western religions we find other food restrictions. The Jewish religion probably
includes more food restrictions and rules of conduct than any other tradition. While vegetarianism isn’t spoken of, only certain animals are considered pure enough for eating. If an animal may be eaten, its slaughter is dictated very specifically to include prayer and a process that renders it as painless as possible. The Muslim tradition, which may have been influenced by Judaism, has its own system of diet, the Halal, which allows consumption of certain animals only (pork is considered extremely impure among both religions) and its own system of slaughter. The main point is food matters, according to these religions – in fact, quite a lot! The yogic tradition sheds light on the issue of food. Yoga speaks of the five bodies of man, the five layers that constitute our being. The first of which, the physical body, is named in Sanskrit anamayakosha – literally, the “body made of food.” Yoga traditionally realized we are, at least physically speaking, a direct derivative of our food. When we eat healthy, nourishing, and wholesome food, we become healthy and wholesome. And, of course, the opposite applies. Even when we analyze this view in the Western scientific approach, we can see it fits our understanding how food is digested and assimilated in our bodies. We eat something, and through the process of digestion it is disassembled into proteins, carbohydrates, fats and other vitamins and minerals – the elemental bricks that build our bodies. Yes, our physical body is literally made out of food! As yogis we also have to look at the effects of food at the level of the second body, pranamayakosha, our pranic (energy) body. Prana, the life force, is the essential energy for maintaining life. In a deeper sense, to live and thrive, we need the physical aspects of the food we eat and the prana it contains. Therefore, foods that contain more “life” will provide more prana when consumed. Raw fruits and vegetables as well as simply cooked or steamed foods contain more prana than January 2014
processed, overly cooked or fried foods. But, we also have to consider the life force of different foods has a different effect upon our being. By consuming the meat of animals, we also ingest some of their unique pranic fields. Animal-derived food may contribute to animalistic tendencies in behavior, and for a yogi trying to transcend some of the lower human traits, these can present major obstacles on the spiritual path. It’s interesting to note Ayurveda doesn’t preach strict vegetarianism. In Charaka Samhita, one of the main Ayurvedic texts, mamsa (meat) is cited as an important healing food for certain ailments. In fact, certain Ayurvedic remedies contain meat or other animal products. The emphasis here is on healing the physical body for a certain period of time. Afterwards one would want to minimize such intake, as Ayurveda agrees with yoga, the over-consumption of animal foods clouds the mind and disturbs the spirit. A person seeking to become more aware, happier and healthier in life – whether adhering to spiritual practices or not – is bound to pay more attention to what he eats. Awareness is actually the most important factor when we want to determine the way we eat. Especially today, with so many different approaches to diet and contradictory scientific studies, anyone trying to find his own optimal diet is bound to be confused. Our own awareness will be our guide. All spiritual traditions aim to lead us to more awareness either through rigorous rules of conduct or as a byproduct of spiritual practice itself. When we look at the modern diet, it’s apparent the average consumer lacks dietary awareness. People choose what to eat according to their cravings, moral dogmas, fashion and cost. When an Ayurvedic doctor examines a patient, he will ask that person a question about his appetite: “Do you feel hungry?” Usually, the response is, “Yes, of course.” But when going deeper, we realize we are hardly aware of our own cycles of hunger and thirst. Most people eat just because it’s noon and time for lunch, whether they are hungry or not. Many people would take a 25
painkiller for a headache, completely unaware of the fact it may be caused by thirst and dehydration! Only when pain hits us do we finally become aware of our own bodies. And then the traditions ask you a lot more, to become aware not only of yourself but also of the quality and nature of the food you eat. What is the source of this food? How did it get to your plate? Was it via a clean, healthy and wholesome process? Or was this food processed in a completely industrialized way, without care, bringing great suffering to other living beings in the process? The impurity bound up in the process is part of the food you consume, and soon it becomes part of you. When we have awareness and a developed sense of conscience, we learn how to choose our own diet wisely, how to become more aware of our bodies’ needs, our own cycles of appetite and digestion. We learn to become more thankful for the food we receive, understanding everything we eat, whether fruit, vegetables or meat, is a sacrifice of the universe for our own life and evolution. Awareness brings gratitude, and this manifests in health and balance. When you want to eat meat, you can. In Western traditions, some great saints ate meat. Vegetarianism doesn’t guarantee a spiritual life; in fact, some even claim that Hitler was a vegetarian. But you will have to discern for yourself whether you agree to consume food that brings with it a heavy burden of suffering. The Jewish and Muslim traditions say when an animal is properly slaughtered and eaten with gratitude and prayer, its soul can be liberated and evolve. Even if this is true, one would still have to consider the moral applications of the meat industry and the way animals are treated today. I’ve noticed many people who have strong cravings for meat try to avoid as much as possible the origin of their plastic-wrapped frozen steaks. I’ve met people who loved chicken breasts, but couldn’t eat wings, because the bone horrified them, reminding them their food used to be a living creature. I’d like to suggest those who enjoy consuming meat visit a slaughterhouse and watch the slaughtering procedure. If you’re brave enough I’d even suggest you slaughter an animal yourself! If you want to eat meat, you need to be aware of its origins. If you can slaughter it, and feel this is consciously and spiritually okay, then by all means continue. But, if you’d like to remain blind to such killing, hiding behind cravings and justifications, then this lack of awareness may ultimately harm you physically, mentally and spiritually. Awareness is everything in spiritual life, a life that aims for true happiness. What we eat is such an important part of our lives, consuming so much of our time and resources, we need to ask ourselves: Can we truly live without bringing this awareness to it?
DRISTI - YOGIC DIET
FOOD FOR THOUGHT Adapting advice of the ancients for modern yogis. BY VALERIE FANECO
In the era of fad diets and the relentless pursuit of weight loss, there is perhaps a risk we may consider the yogic diet as another trend. But the yoga system is several thousand years old so there must be good reasons why it has endured the test of time. In this regard it is a good idea to consult the agamas (classical texts) to reflect on the views of the original teachers. According to the Hathayogapradipika and other classical texts of Hatha Yoga, food is not only what nourishes our physical body. It can also be understood as the company of people around us, certain activities, and even travelling: significantly, a few such aspects are mentioned in verse 61 in the first chapter of the Hathayogapradipika , amongst other verses defining appropriate and inappropriate food. ANNA IS FOOD But let us just consider food as what we absorb into our body. Yoga texts tell us it becomes prana (life force) inside us. As the Taittiriya Upanishad says in the third chapter (bhrguvalli III.2.2), annaddhyeva khalvimani bhutani jayante: “indeed all beings are created from food”. Food is anna-maya, the first dimension in the panca-maya system. It is what gives form to the body as a “gross” physical entity. Hatha Yoga is often defined as a system of yoga postures and physical exercises. But the Hathayogapradipika (composed in Sanskrit verses or slokas around the 15th century AD by Svatmarama) describes Hatha Yoga as a complete system in four parts: asana (postures), pranayama (control of the life force through breathing techniques), mudras (special positions in which “seals” or energetic locks are practiced), and meditation on nada (the internal sound). January 2014
Before we examine what the Hathayogapradipika says about the yogic diet, we should remember to read it in the context of 15th century India. According to TKV Desikachar the Hathayogapradipika is not a detailed manual describing how to do the techniques, but a checklist for experienced yogis living under the same roof as their master. In this traditional setting the teacher would have supervised students closely to see how the techniques affected them, which would have enabled him to make adjustments whenever necessary. HOW TO EAT Verse 57 (in chapter 1) mentions a yogi who is also a mitahari: “one who eats a moderate diet that is adequate for him”. What he eats is suitable for him (hita), and moderate in quantity (mita). TKV Desikachar comments hita and mita may not mean the same thing for each person. Food appropriate for one may not suit another, based on each person’s constitution, health condition, the season, and many other things. Likewise the quantity of food one should consume varies depending on the occupation, energy level, metabolism. These two principles are essential in the Ayurvedic approach to health and healing, which works hand in hand with yoga. In the next sloka (I.58), mitahara is defined as food that is “smooth, pleasant (susnigdha), sweet (madhura), and leaving one quarter of the stomach empty to please Shiva.” Susnigdha refers to food that is at once pleasant and smooth. To make this relevant we should understand eating is an experience that must be enjoyed, and we should certainly not shun food that is sweet. Svatmarama insists on this in verse 63 (sumadhuram bhojanam: “very sweet foods”), and in verse 62 he specifically recommends the consumption of honey (madhuni) and crystallised sugar (khanda). Perhaps this is because in yoga and Ayurveda, the sweet taste is connected with kapha energy, which is associated with the quality of holding. We can surmise for those engaged on a path of yoga an adequate amount of this holding energy was necessary to take in and assimilate the practices given to them. Of course we should be very careful not to interpret these verses literally, otherwise there is a risk all yoga practitioners would become diabetic! In ancient times sugar came from natural sources; it was not refined and added to many types of food as it is today. Furthermore, Svâtmârâma says in verse 63 food should be consumed to nourish the dhatus (the seven bodily constituents) and it should be suitable and appropriate (yogyam). Coming back to sloka 58, another interesting point is the fact we should leave “one quarter of the stomach empty”. This makes sense: if we fill ourselves up there is no space left for prana (energy or life force) to circulate and facilitate the digestive process. Besides, the 27
feeling of fullness is not very conducive to the mental clarity we cultivate in yoga practice, or at least the sustained effort that we try to apply in that direction. Much energy is used by the digestive process and diverted from higher pursuits. “Eating to please Shiva” implies we should not be greedy or hurried when consuming food. We may let eating become an action we perform as an offering to the Divine. It does not necessarily mean Shiva has to be uppermost in our mind while we eat. It could mean a moment of reflection is taken before eating, a transition from the previous activity to focus on the present moment and avoid rushing. TO EAT OR NOT TO EAT (MEAT)? Svatmarama clearly states “the flesh of goats and other animals” (âjâ-adi-mâmsa) as well as fish (matsya), are not appropriate for someone practising yoga (verse I.59). Other items to avoid include certain combinations of vegetables (saka-uktakam, verse I.60), as well as onion, garlic, sesame, certain types of oils and berries, a few types of vegetables, intoxicating drinks (madya, to be understood as alcohol), and some preparations such as sour gruel (sauvira). Why? The likelihood is yogis simply became aware through experience and careful observation that some foods made one bloated and sluggish, produced excessive malas (toxins) and could even bring diseases due to the lack of hygiene. In ancient India there was no way to preserve meat and fish, so yogis sought to avoid them for hygienic reasons, aside from the fact it takes longer for the digestive tract to process them. Another type of food to ban (verse 60) is “food that has been heated (usnikrtam) and is heated again (punar)”. This was also sensible advice in ancient times for the same obvious hygienic reasons, but also because reheated food was regarded as dead since its essence and qualities are no longer there, and thus no nourishment can be obtained from it. It is still sensible to avoid it today despite the convenience of fridges and microwave ovens. Equally, fasting (upavasa) is to be avoided, as Svatmarama specifically says in verse I.61. This brings to mind a famous line by Krishnamacharya, the legendary yogi and father of TKV Desikachar: one should “eat three times a day and fast between meals”. This is an interesting point to reflect upon in a time when some people go to extremes with fasting techniques and detox diets. If one eats regularly, consumes an appropriate diet in moderate quantity and with the correct attitude, there is generally no need to fast. According to yoga a specific energy called apana-vayu is located in the lower abdominal region; the function of elimination is there. This area is very important because it is 28
where the malas or toxins accumulate, in a physical sense but in subtle ways as well. Some emotional and psychological problems are connected with the region of apana and with blockages there. A sense of heaviness in this part of the body often goes hand in hand with heaviness in other domains, so it is very important for yogis to maintain proper circulation of energy (prana) there in order to avoid diseases. Hence many foods that bring heaviness in this area are best left out of the yogic diet.
DRISTI - YOGIC DIET
Much of Svatmarama’s advice is extremely sensible, but a close look at it shows not everything is clear or to be interpreted literally. Throughout my studies in the yoga tradition of Krishnamacharya I have learnt vegetarianism is not a pre-requisite to practising yoga. It may even be harmful to some students for reasons to do with constitution, age, climate and many other personal circumstances. Having said that, it may also be a good choice for certain students.
A Kundalini approach to meals & preparation.
But what seems to matter as much as what we eat is the way we eat. Taking food may be regarded as a part of our daily yoga practice just like every other action we perform in our life. Mindfulness in this domain is as important as mindfulness in all our actions, speeches, attitudes and relationships with others. We modern day yogis are “part time yogis”; we live hurried lives, have jobs and responsibilities, unlike the “full time yogis” in Svatmarama’s time. How many yoga practitioners rush back from a lunchtime class to eat a sandwich at their desk before running to a meeting? How can we eat the “yogic way” if we do not live a “yogic life”? TKV Desikachar once said one could not advance on a path of yoga without paying attention to diet. While it is interesting to read Svatmarama and to reflect on what he says about food, it is also important for each of us to examine what we need to do in a way that suits our lifestyle. The way we eat and the food we choose have to do with a combination of many samskaras and vasanas (habits and deeply ingrained patterns). They have a profound influence on our personal taste and psycho-emotional associations. For some people the relation to food is complicated while for others it is simple. I believe there can be no standard “yogic diet” that suits every yoga student, just like there can be no standard yoga practice that fits everyone. In addition it cannot be right to shift abruptly from one diet to another, as it may cause a shock to the body and the mind. Our inherent nature is such that it is important to allow it to express itself in the choices we make, including the food we eat. But this requires some degree of connection with our inner self, and that is another subject.
NUTRITION &TIPS FOR CONSCIOUS EATING
BY CHAN CUDENNAC
Kundalini yoga students are encouraged to embrace a healthy, yogic lifestyle. The yogic diet is vegetarian consisting of whole, simple, fresh, nutritious food such as fruits, nuts, vegetables, grains, legumes and dairy products. Whole, real and unprocessed nutritious foods sustain us and give us energy and strength. The Ayurvedic science recognizes health is a state of balance between the body, mind, and consciousness. In ancient times, food was considered medicine. Those who practice demanding disciplines like Kundalini yoga or martial arts, need to eat Rajasic foods which comprise of stimulating herbs and spices and many earth foods, providing us with will-power and strength. We also need to combine it with Sattvic food, which helps us to have clarity and lightness. They are most fruit, vegetables, sun foods, and ground foods. Tamasic food is to be avoided as they tend to make one more impulsive, easy to anger, and confused. They include meat. Fish, eggs, alcohol and intoxicating drugs. Yogi Bhajan the founder of 3HO, the governing body of Kundalini yoga emphasized the importance of Conscious Eating for good health: • Eating small bites, chewing consciously, mixing the food with saliva, so that we taste the sweetness of the food. Yogi Bhajan said “If you do not mix saliva in every morsel of your
Food must be prepared with love & care. The vibration we put in enhances the nourishment & healing power of the food. food, you are eating poison.” Often we unconsciously gulp our food and that action “swallows your strength, your life. Then nothing is left of you. Slow eating is one of the best meditations in the world”. The first step in digestion begins in the mouth as the saliva with amylase secreted by the parotid glands break down starch into simple sugars. • Eat in a relaxing, pleasant environment. This helps with the digestion and assimilation of the food. • Serve food to others first. The act of serving others instils a consciousness and sacredness to the eating experience. • Be grateful and bless the food before we eat as it adds prana. A simple prayer suffices and it is also important to bless others who are less fortunate than us. OTHER TIPS FOR BETTER DIGESTION AND ELIMINATION • If you can’t digest it, don’t eat it. • Eat only what you can eliminate within 18-24 hours. • Stop eating before you feel full. • Rest after meals: nap after lunch, walk
after dinner. • Don’t eat after sunset. • Chew more than you think you need to. The stomach has no teeth. • Have regular eating times, and eat only when you are hungry. Food preparation is just as important as the quality of the food. Food must be prepared with love and care. The vibration we put into the food enhances the nourishment and healing power of the food. It is known that people get sick from eating food prepared by angry chefs or sad helpers. Chanting mantras, singing and projecting positive thoughts during food preparation are excellent ways to improve the nutritional value of food KUNDALINI YOGA FOR DIGESTION If you over-eat sit in Rock Pose (Vajrasana) on the heels for a few minutes after the meal. It is said one can digest rocks in this posture. Kneel and sit on heels (tops of feet on the ground) so that they press the nerves in the center of the buttocks.
DRISTI - YOGIC DIET
MEDICINE FOR THE MIND Food affects how we feel physically & mentally. BY KIM ROBERTS Cashew nuts are harvested from the fruit of the cashew tree. The actual nut is contained in the small kidney-shaped part which hangs below the larger Cashew apple, which can also be eaten. Nigeria is the world’s largest producer of cashew nuts.
Years ago, while I was studying in Mysore, I had a troubling phase with my pranayama practice. After months of deep and steady breathing during my thrice-daily routine, I was suddenly unable to settle into it, so my meditation was wobbly. I went to discuss the issue with one of my teachers, Dr. Shankaranarayana Jois. He looked at me with a sly smile, and said, somewhat accusingly, “You’ve been eating a lot of cashews, am I right?” I jolted slightly at being found out. Having recently developed a cashew nut habit, I looked back at him sheepishly and replied in the affirmative. How could he have known this? The skill required to tune in to such detail is beyond the scope of this article, but suffice it to say his observation quickly helped me get to the root of my problem. I cut out the salty culprits and my practice shifted overnight. FOOD NOT ONLY NOURISHES THE BODY, IT AFFECTS THE MIND AS WELL. There are people trained to tell you why this is true; I am no nutritionist. But I am an expert in what my experience tells me (and so are you by the way.) No one can tell you how you feel; only you know that. Our bodies speak to us; they let us know how different foods affect us. So part of yoga practice is learning to nourish the body to create the right environment for practice to flourish. Since we all have different physical constitutions, we each need to learn how to balance our own system.
There are maps to help you learn how to do this. Ayurveda looks at three basic energies in the body, Vata, Pitta, and Kapha, each with their own characteristics. Different experiences of body and mind arise depending on how these three patterns are configured. My yoga teacher informed me salted and roasted cashews are rajasic, and this is why my breath was getting blocked on the right side. People tout the benefits of raw food, paleo regime, veganism, a ton of diets designed to help you achieve health and well-being. But the most efficient system I’ve discovered? Ready for this radical piece of advice? LISTEN TO YOUR BODY. It’s that simple. But in order to hear what your body tells you, you have to be present enough to listen. I had learned this lesson years ago. Just before I started practicing yoga, I ate a lot of Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream. The first few years I practiced yoga, I was still indulging my after-dinner sweet tooth on a regular basis. One day I realized when I didn’t have ice cream the night before, my yoga practice felt different: lighter, more flexible, more energized, stronger. I had more enthusiasm for it. It may sound silly, but his realization was transformational. I think it’s also worth mentioning the environment is as important as the food. Once a year my father spends all day trying to create the perfect roasted turkey, and it makes him happy when I appreciate his efforts. So on Christmas, I eat turkey with my January 2014
father. It’s a different kind of nourishment. I think it’s important not to be too rigid about these things. IDEAL NOURISHMENT DEPENDS ON YOUR CIRCUMSTANCES. What works best for me these days is a mostly plant-based, mostly raw diet. I live in a tropical climate where the heat can be overwhelming, so I need cooling, light foods. When I spend time at my home in the mountains of Colorado, at 8,000 feet altitude, I need warming foods to nourish and ground me. I need soup and oatmeal, and heavier cooked foods. One element that remains in all circumstances though is my daily green (see recipe next page). A green juice a day keeps the doctor away. If you do nothing else to change your diet except this one simple addition, you will notice huge changes. It’s like downing a living vitamin tablet each day, except that, unlike most vitamin supplements, the nutrients actually get absorbed immediately into the system. When I drink my green smoothies on a regular basis, my skin is noticeably more radiant, my mind is clear and bright, my body energized and responsive. But there is something beyond this observation of how food affects the body. There is a more subtle effect of this process. My pranayama issue was my first insight into how food affects not only the body, but the mind as well. Developing sensitivity to the foods you eat helps you develop an intimate relationship with your mind. In Mysore, while I had all day to practice, I 31
started noticing my meditation was more or less agitated depending on what I had eaten the day before. Food becomes form, which influences thought. Thought becomes speech which manifests as form. Body, speech and mind are integrally related. So what you put into your body becomes your experience.
If we only look at diet to create a healthy body, we may miss a diet designed to settle the mind
We typically think of eating well as a support to our physical health. This is well and good, but the nature of life is for the body to decay. No matter how many green smoothies we consume in this life, the body will eventually age and die. If we only look at diet to create a healthy body, we may miss out on the more lasting benefits of a diet designed to settle the mind and uncover our inherent, radiant well being and a connection to deeper wisdom. Yoga practice encourages us to be present with our experience in increasingly subtle ways. In order to observe this process more precisely, it helps to have clarity and calm. Finding the right food combinations for your situation can help create this environment. If you treat your diet as an awareness practice, you will learn what works for you. Experience is the best teacher. When you allow yourself to experiment with food intake, you learn for yourself what works best for you. Anyone who tells you they know better than you what is right for you is lying. What works best for you will probably be different than
what works for me, and it will change with the season. So when people ask me what the best diet is for a thriving yoga practice, my answer is: who’s asking? GREEN GODDESS SUPERPOWER NECTAR 1/2 pineapple juice from 1 fresh lime (or 1/2 lemon) optional: 1 handful of fresh berries or other seasonal fruit 8 large leaves of lettuce 2-3 leaves of kale 1 handful spinach (or other greens) optional: a shot of wheatgrass juice 1 celery stalk 1-2 broccoli stalks, peeled 1/2 carrot or beet 1 teaspoon spirulina powder, optional bonus boost: 1tsp moringa powder or maca powder Fill blender half full with water (or fresh carrot juice and skip the carrot) and a few ice cubes (to prevent it from heating up too much in the blender.) I recommend using a Vitamix, because it pulverizes everything to a liquid. If it’s too thick simply add more water. This is a good basic recipe, but it depends on what you have in the fridge. I like my green juice quite tart so I add lots of lemon. Experiment and you’ll find out what you like.
DRISIT - YOGIC DIET
IF VEGETARIANS EAT VEGETABLES, WHAT DO HUMANITARIANS EAT? Delving into the biological & philosophical imperative to eat meat, or not. BY ANDREW WILLNER
Ahimsa does not mean non- violence or nonkilling - Swami Mungalmurti Saraswati of Bihar School So into the hornets’ nest I go, offering musings on the vegetarian, pescatarian or omnivore for the modern day yogi. Firstly, let us consider whether we humans (let alone yogis) are anatomically designed to eat meat. Humans have teeth that are capable of ripping through meat (the canines) as well as teeth designed to munch on vegetables, hence why we are considered to be omnivores. However, that in itself doesn’t mean we need to eat meat. Indeed some primates have large canines and prefer a vegetarian diet e.g. gorillas. Furthermore, carnivorous animals tend to have short intestines, whereas herbivores tend to have very long ones…humans also have long intestines and so digestion of meat is more challenging but nevertheless possible. In addition humans absorb water and vitamins in the intestine and need fiber to assist in cleansing (as do herbivores) whereas carnivores absorb fats and salt but not fiber from their diet of meat. So on balance we are probably closer to herbivores than carnivores in terms of our anatomical and physiological structure. On the topic of diet and what nutrition we need, I am not even going to begin to tackle this subject as there are so many differing views even from the supposed experts, e.g. whether animal proteins are important for our wellbeing or can we be just as healthy by only injesting vegetable proteins. What is worth stating is the ‘conventional wisdom’ promulgated by the American government back in the 80’s and supported by its release of the “Food Pyramid” in the early 90’s. The low fat, high carb/protein diet is now being challenged by more recent research, which indicates most Americans eat far more protein than their bodies need, and some simple carbohydrates such as refined sugars
are responsible in particular for the rapid increase in obesity and diabetes in America. Indeed certain fats are actually highly beneficial as anti-inflammatory agents, as most scientists now agree arterial inflammation, not cholesterol level, is the main culprit behind heart attacks and is aggravated severely by high blood sugar (caused by those evil refined sugars like soda, candies, processed bread, white rice and pasta)! Now let me delve into the ancient scriptures for some words of wisdom on food types. It would appear the limited references to food in the ancient texts (pre-Tantra to which I shall revert back shortly) prescribed a vegetarian diet. In the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna discusses food in terms of the gunas (qualities of nature) in Chapter 17 (verses 8-10), where he states certain foods are beneficial to attain a sattvic state “foods which promote life, vitality, strength, health, happiness and satisfaction; which are succulent, juicy, nourishing and pleasing to the heart are dear to one in goodness”, whereas other foods are unhealthy and encourage a rajasic or tamasic state. Whilst most commentaries I have seen include meat and fish within the unhealthy categories due to their “unpure” nature, they even go further to include vegetables such as chillies, garlic, mushrooms as unhealthy due to their rajasic or tamasic qualities! At the time Tantra came into the foreground from around 5 C.E., it seems the majority of Indians were vegetarians, other than the lowest castes in society. The people of the time were heavily influenced by the idea of ahimsa, which was deemed to extend to all sentient beings not just humans and was a central tenet both in the writings of the Upanishads and also in the philosophy of Advaita Vedanta, as well as being identified as the first yama in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. However, let us spend a moment considering what is truly meant by ahimsa. Typically it is translated as non-violence or non-killing, January 2014
however, I should like to introduce a different interpretation of the word ahimsa as stated by Swami Mungalmurti Saraswati of the Bihar School of Yoga: “The crux of the matter, however, is that ahimsa does not mean ‘non-violence or ‘nonkilling’. A means ‘not’ and himsa more truly means ‘hatred’ or ‘revengeful attitude’. Ahimsa has long been misunderstood and misinterpreted. It does not mean one should never kill, but that one should do what one must do free from the attitude of vengeance, without spite or vindictiveness.” Hence if one kills an animal for food without an attitude of vengeance but with an attitude of appreciation for the animal’s sacrifice to feed and maybe clothe a person then maybe it is not a breach of the yama of ahimsa.. So back to Tantra. With the rising influence of Tantric philosophy between 5 C.E. and the end of the first millennium, some ‘left handed’ practitioners (i.e. the most transgressive ones) decided to become fully self realized required them to break the norms of brahminical conservative society at the time. One tantric practice called “panca makara” (and translated into English usually as the 5 “Ms” as each practice began with the letter ‘m’) involved eating mamsa (meat) and matsya (fish) as two of the five elements ; for completion’s sake the other three were: madya (wine), mudra (parched grain i.e. drugs) and maithuna (ritual sex outside of marriage). By contrast the right-handed Tantrics (or more moderate conservative ones) also believed in the panca makara but argued it was supposed to be practiced as a purely mental exercise and not actually performed physically. So some might argue given modern day Hatha yoga clearly has its roots in Tantra, then it might be acceptable to breach the historic norms of pre-Tantric society. This argument loses some authority when one reflects on why these Tantrics were undertaking these 33
rituals, namely to escape from the very stringent and conservative bonds of society at that time with the purpose of attaining true freedom and liberation, not hedonism. Given that in modern day secular society, none of the five “Ms” are typically forbidden and are often more of the societal norm, then to be truly transgressive we would need to find very different practices!
DRISTI - YOGIC DIET
So what can we draw from the above? It seems the decision whether to eat a vegetarian diet is a very personal one and cannot really be prescribed by others. As yogis we are supposed to follow the yama of ahimsa which in my mind includes acting non-judgmentally towards others, including other meat eating yogis. So leaping on the evangelical soap box of vegetarianism and trying to give every other yogi a hard time about their diet seems rather incongruous with true yogic attitude. Maybe what comes out one’s mouth is more important than what goes in?
Does ahimsa mean you must be vegetarian?
I had the opportunity to have lunch a few months ago with a Vajrayana Buddhist monk from Bhutan, who was visiting Hong Kong. I was surprised to learn he ate meat, and when I enquired about this, his simple answer was he blessed the animal for the sacrifice of its life and absorbed the animal’s karma when he ate the meal. So maybe as yogis, if we are going to include meat in our diet, we could consider the way in which the animal was reared, and as best as we can, only consume those animals that led a more natural life and ate a natural healthy diet before their life came to an end. At least we will not be absorbing the karma of an animal who was abused and maltreated throughout its time on earth. Also we could try to support both dairy and non- dairy local farmers, whom we know to be ethical in their farming practices and humane towards their livestock. It may encourage others to follow their example if it is successful. As for me, I shall lay my cards out on the table: I avoided eating meat for three years but did continue to eat fish. I then restarted around one year ago having never lost my desire for meat. Personally I feel stronger if I incorporate a small amount of meat occasionally into my diet, although I do avoid veal and foie gras on the grounds of extreme cruelty. But that is just my own personal journey. Deep down my gut tells me to be a vegetarian, but my stomach tells me to order Peking duck, roast suckling pig and very crispy bacon! Such is the dilemma in my life. As a yogi, being a humanitarian is more important to me than being a vegetarian…so I shall continue to avoid eating humans! Off I go now for my daily green juice, cheers!
SHOULD MEAT BE ON THE MENU AT YOGA TEACHER TRAININGS? BY KIRBY KOO
As a certified yoga instructor, one of the questions I am often asked is: “Are you a vegetarian?” The general stereotype is all yoga teachers are vegetarians, but the reality is that we’re all different. As a group, yoga teachers certainly tend to be health-conscious and intune with the earth , but that doesn’t necessarily mean we eat a certain way. One of the eight limbs of yoga as outlined in Patanjali’s, The Yoga Sutras, is the concept of, ahimsa, which is most-often translated as “non-violence.” Yoga students commonly interpret this as an ethical call to abstain from eating animals, but others have a different interpretation altogether. So who is right? Maybe everyone is.
Nuts & raisins are an energy-dense snack. Half a cup of dryroasted mixed nuts & raisins contains 319 calories, 7 gm of protein, 17.7 gm of fat, 27.5 gm of carbohydrates and 4.3 gm of fiber & 21.5 gm sugar.
If there’s one thing we can say for sure about nutrition, it’s no one can agree. These days, it’s more complex than ever with gluten-free, dairy-free, kosher, vegan—if you can name it, it probably exists. So which diet is best for whom? And do you have to be vegetarian to be serious about yoga or to teach yoga?
Only you can decide what’s best for you. The yoga community is certainly divided on this issue, but as yoga becomes bigger and attracts a broader range of students, it seems responsible and respectful not force your beliefs or lifestyle choices on others, but try to embrace diversity and difference.
From my experience, the answer is, “no.” At my yoga teachers training course, for example, there were both veggie and nonveggie options, and we were told this was because the training school wanted to honor people’s individual choices, personal health needs, and dietary preferences. At some other courses, students are served only vegetarian food, and I know of one course that only serves raw-vegan food!
Personally, I believe students should be able to find their own path and be able to respect their individual preferences or cultural choices. Since many training programs require a high level of time commitment, it might not be possible or even healthy for some students to make massive shifts in their diet and lifestyle all at once. We need to recognize our own bio-individuality.
SO SHOULD A YOGA TEACHER TRAINING COURSES SERVE MEAT? It depends on the course and on what you’re looking for. Depending on the training course, there may be an expectation for students to join the existing norms or practices of that lineage, and that might include a meat-free diet. Other programs want to cultivate an environment where students will develop their own ideals and habits. January 2014
In speaking with older yoga teachers, I’ve also come to learn that our bodies are constantly evolving. This means that the chapattis and dahl that make you feel great in your 20’s might make you feel sick and bloated in your 50’s. On a more basic level, what your body craves this winter may not be what your body needs next summer. The most essential takeaway is that we should be instinctive with our diets. It’s best not to be stuck in dietary dogma, but rather be in tune with your body and your own personal beliefs. 35
DRISTI - YOGIC DIET
YES, YOGIS EAT And the food we eat, becomes us. BY DANIEL AARON
Fruits are more nutritious when eaten raw.
Unless the yogi has gone so far into the radical spiritual realm they have dropped the whole food thing and become breatharian, yogis eat. So the questions then: What? How? And what difference does it make? Of all the over-the-top healing adventures I’ve experienced (therapy, fasting, sweat lodges, rolfing, psychics, catharsis, silence, meditation, hypnosis, laughter yoga, and that’s the short list), what’s been most important to me on this journey? Three lessons: 1. Stand up straight. This can be a massive metaphor. Or just the simple thing my mother nagged me with as a kid: posture. And, on some level, this is the central point of yoga.
What food serves me to become who I want to be?
2. Breathe. Breath is so obvious it’s easily hidden from awareness. Also a key aspect of yoga teaching (pranayama and all that), though breathing and breath-therapy (breathwork) goes far beyond that. Breathing is not ‘the measure of life’ for nothing. 3. How and what to eat. Wow, again it’s so fundamental we’d think it was obvious, though my education in this arena came late, and it only came when I went out of my way to find it. Viktoras Kulvinskas, co-founder of Hippocrates Health Institute and author of “Survival Into the Twenty First Century,” said we have 21 opportunities a day to choose what we put in our mouth (speaking just of food or drink). Each time it’s a choice. A vote. An opportunity to invest in one direction or another. Each of those votes counts, and each opportunity adds up in a cumulative way to who we become. Like in yoga, posture (asana) deals with the physical body to affect the mental, emotional and spiritual parts of ourselves, choosing what we put into ourselves (food and drink) also affects us on various levels. The creation of our life largely comes down to the question “who do we want to be?” And then, moment by moment, choice by choice,
word, action, thought - they add up to the answer. Yogis do things consciously. That’s our aim. Including food. There is no right or wrong about food. Eating french fries from McDonalds is no more or less spiritual than drinking a shot of wheat grass: they simply have different effects. The real question around food, the one that underlies all the others? What food serves me to become who I want to be? What (and how, when, why) do I eat to feel how I would like to feel. Or, perhaps, which food choices help me to be of the greatest service to others. There is so much great info out there about nutrition, and, unfortunately, a lot of bunk too. We are all different, and we all have different food proclivities and challenges (the fancy name is Biochemical Diversity). Info is great and helpful. And trial and success is equally important. It’s worth finding out and trying out. Vegetarianism is often associated with yoga for various reasons. One is that a plant-based diet tends to make the body more supple, cleaner, lighter, and more flexible. A more fundamental reason though, gleaned from Patanjali, creator of the Yoga Sutras, has to do with how we treat others. Patanjali’s first real action-oriented advice to those who wish to feel good (reach Samadhi) is ahimsa. Do as little harm as possible. Or, create as much kindness as possible. Ahimsa relates to how we treat other beings. Patanjali’s suggests the kinder we are to others, the more we avoid doing harm, the more likely we are to reach liberation. Ahimsa elicits respect for life, allowing all beings the chance to live as well as possible and even prioritizing that over our own sensual, gustatory pleasure, choosing ways of satisfying our own nutritional needs without killing animals. While the other being - the one that gets to live and pursue happiness themself - surely benefits from our ahimsa practice, the primary benefit of ahimsa is for the one who practices it.
What we eat tends to affect how we feel. From micronutrients to subtle energetics, yogis know that God is in the details, and the choices we make matter. I grew up on the SAD (Standard American Diet). I was sad, fat, depressed and far from flexible. For two years I was the worst yogi in every class. Tight, sweating buckets, awkward and in pain. It wasn’t until years later, after I’d waddled my way through the toughest parts of the early asana practice, after I’d gotten obsessed with attempting to learn and master poses, the physical side of yoga, that I realized Yoga (with the capital Y) - the state of being (it could be called happiness, bliss, ecstasy, liberation) - is something that includes yet is not limited to asana. I realized yoga really began for me the day I stopped eating meat. When I did (another story), I went for years as a vegetarian junkfoodist. I had not the least clue about nutrition. As years went by though, and as I learned more and more about what I put into my body and its effects, gradually my diet grew more refined, and my body became lighter. Eating became a slow elimination of foods that no longer served me. Yoga can be defined as the sequential elimination of thought that are not resourceful. Yogic nutrition is much the same. Having evolved over years to a raw, vegan diet, often the question comes: why? Sometimes with curiosity, sometimes with incredulity.
It makes sense to me. The majority of the world population eats raw. The vast majority of disease and sickness that we deal with in today’s world began after we started cooking food. Eating foods that are alive creates more aliveness. As Dharma Mitra, one of my favorite yoga teachers, says in his beautiful accent and tenor “if we eat cooked food, we are cooked; if we eat fried food, we are fried.”
In other words, if we simply add in a bit of what we trust feels good for us - green juice three times per week, have some salad each day, play around with super food smoothies the things that no longer serve us will simply be crowded out by the golden bites that make us feel fully alive. For most of us, too radical a transition will rubber-band us right back to where we were before, or worse.
Of course there is more nutritional science related to enzyme destruction with the heating foods. Enzymes are largely responsible for the movement and digestion of food and information through the body system. And leukocytosis, the body’s immune/alarm response to cooked food, is startling.
Another key to how to make it work is simply asking “how am I going to make it work?” Right away we’re presuming we can make it work and begin mobilizing unconscious and magical resources to help us learn how. Take advantage of the pleasure pain principle. Make the food we eat always enjoyable, and the process guilt-free. The pleasure pain principle tells us if we pay attention to our choices, eventually we learn what foods really produce long term pleasure compared to quick pleasure followed by hours, days or years of pain. Our bodies know - if we listen. Our taste buds change if we pay attention to the foods’ effects.
The main reason though, is I feel best when I eat vegan, raw. Aside from the ethical issues there’s the simple effect of the food we eat on our own mental, emotional and physical state of being. I confess, I like feeling good and so choose the foods that contribute to that. Another frequent question, usually from someone who already has some motivation, some desire to feel better and believes that eating raw can help that: how? Slow and steady. Gentle transitions. Add rather than subtract. If we are walking down the road and our pockets are filled with rocks, and then we happen upon gold, we will empty the rocks and pick up the gold.
Naturally our play and inquiry will lead us to learn about raw vegan protein items, super foods, fasting and detox. We’ll learn about the yogic value of alkaline foods and supplements like MSM and how they benefit flexibility. We’ll learn what assists us to become the superyogis we naturally are. May the questions inspire us higher and higher.
DRISTI - YOGIC DIET
TOWARDS AN INTEGRATIVE APPROACH TO NUTRITION
Understanding why we eat helps us figure out what to eat. BY DONA TUMACDER-ESTEBAN
Most discussions about nutrition jump straight into what to eat and what to avoid, without placing much emphasis on this fundamental question: why eat? This inquiry is essential to those who are seeking longterm, sustainable eating habits to support health and wellbeing. Integrative Medicine pioneer Dr. Andrew Weil explains food provides us with more than our caloric and nutritional needs. It also promotes health and longevity, provides pleasure, promotes social interaction, and establishes our personal cultural identity. Dr. Weil suggests general guidelines for optimum health, and a personalised approach to nutrition. Today, we are bombarded with dietary theories, each with its own often conflicting do’s and don’ts. Diets ranging from vegetarianism to eating like hunter-gatherers, from raw food to consuming only cooked food, from food combinations to mono-diets, all offer sound advice to people seeking to change their wellbeing through food. However, we often do not think enough about long-term sustainability and effects of these specific and rigid diets on an individual level before jumping on the bandwagon. As a result, we substitute dietary theories for actual observation of how certain foods and their preparation affect our bodies given our current context and life phase. We miss the very important connection and communication with our body and, consequently, our mind, energy, and spirit. We end up solely relying on proof from external sources rather than simply abiding in our knowledge of our Self. As yoga practitioners, we are blessed with a means of cultivating this mind-body connection and a deep awareness of the body which then allows us to examine how food truly affects our body. BOUNDLESS ENERGY In a pranayama workshop in the Philippines, A.G. Mohan hinted food is pranayama. This idea sparked a contemplation on food and how it affects us beyond calories and
Cooked carrots, spinach, asparagus and some other vegies, supply more antioxidants, such as carotenoids and ferulic acid, than raw. Boiling and steaming preserves antioxidants better than frying.
nutrition content. It all boils down to managing our vital energy – prana - so we can harness and free the vitality that is in us. Because the quality of this energy determines how we live our lives, how we relate to others, even how we embody our practices, the consequence of not paying attention to how we either support or sabotage our prana is significant. For example, while having tea is often supports digestive health, an afterdinner cup of tea brewed from herbs and roots that produce heat in the body may be too stimulating for a good sleep and in turn affect our vitality the following day. Food itself has energy. In the absence of nutritional guidelines, measurements and calorie counts, people in the past relied on the energetics and the characteristics of food as a guide for what to eat. A good example is having chicken soup when we are sick. While there may be nutritional and chemical reasons for why chicken soup brings comfort, this age-old remedy comes from the concept of imbibing the energy and the qualities of chicken - quick, springy and lively – when we are sick. Root crops are grounding to the January 2014
mind and emotions while fruits and leafy vegetables are more uplifting. Timing is also very important. Food which is in season contains what we need, nutritionally and energetically, to prevent seasonal disturbances. Eating food high in prana at the right time is one of the most tangible steps towards a more integrative approach to nutrition. CHANNEL CLEARING Aside from food itself, it is equally important to examine the quality of the body that digests the food and transforms it into vital energy or what the Chinese call Chi. In his workshops on digestive health, Yin Yoga teacher Victor Chng emphasizes the importance of unblocking the energy meridian channels of the body for the efficient integration of the vital life force of food into our bodies. This essence then becomes the building blocks of the material aspects of the body from our cells, to our blood, and to the more subtle Chi. Even the most nutritious food is wasted if the channels are not clear and working well. To manage the meridians, Victor recommends simple lifestyle modifications.
The first change is eating and sleeping according to the meridian clock. For the Chinese, timing is everything. Eating our heaviest meal during the dragon hours 7am9am when the stomach channel is the strongest and sleeping before 11pm before the detoxification channels become more active are two of the most immediate changes modern people have to make for good health. Secondly, he encourages a regular physical practice. Freeing the meridians from disturbances and blockages can be done through a daily asana practice such as the longer held, relaxed poses in Yin Yoga. Yin Yoga can open up the deep fascia of the body and gives us access to clearing the meridian channels from within. Asanas like Saddle, Dragon, and Frog help bring openness and energy flow into the stomach and spleen meridians which are in charge of digestion, transformation and absorption. (Visit www.donaesteban.com for a short sequence for the stomach and spleen channels). INTEGRATIVE NUTRITION There is no doubt our food choices affect our lives. The reverse is also true. Joshua Rosenthal, founder of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, takes it a step further by stating what we consider food – carbs, proteins, fats, produce, meats and the like – are actually secondary foods. In Integrative Nutrition, the concept of food becomes secondary to the other things in our lives that nourish us. He considers healthy relationships, fulfilling careers, regular physical activity and spiritual practices as the primary foods that truly feed our hunger for life itself. Our relationship to what and when we eat are affected by how balanced and satiated we are with these primary sources of nourishment. When there are imbalances in the primary foods, we begin to develop cravings and habits (good and bad) that temporarily fill the gaps. Notice how we sweeten our lives and literally sugar coat our situation when what we really crave are loving relationships, meaningful work, adequate amounts of movement and rest, and perhaps a deeper connection with something bigger than us. Integrative Nutrition gives us a framework to work with that takes away the focus from do’s and don’ts, extreme food preferences, and calorie counting. Instead, we are challenged to channel our attention to what really counts. Understanding why we eat is fundamental to long term, sustainable changes in how and what we eat. Contemplating how the prana of the food we take in affects our own prana, ensuring the efficiency of our physical and energetic body through lifestyle changes and asana, and examining our primary foods lead us towards a more integrative approach to nutrition. Just as we set our intention in the beginning of our asana practice, perhaps we can set an intention towards better understanding the next time we sit down to eat. 40
DRISTI - YOGIC DIET
Is it the diet of the true masters? BY RAND HERZ
The second reality is the reality of fasting. Major religions and spiritual traditions around the world encourage their followers to pursue a schedule that includes a fast, usually one month. If you’ve ever fasted, you’ll know the effect. Fasting is enlightening in the most literal sense of the word. You lose weight and experience a feeling of profound lightness. The body is cleansed. The brain is cleansed. Since the mind is generated by the brain, this process has a cleansing and clarifying effect on the mind as well. Most fasting traditions allow for drinking water or tea, i.e. dew of Gingko. Some also allow for meals before sunrise and after sunset. Living for some time without food is not only possible, but widely practiced and accepted as healthy and essential to wellbeing by many. Following our initial proclamation, some layers of its absurdity may be peeled back as we discern the truths of food.
The true master, it is said, can exist on the dew of a single Gingko leaf and the energy of the universe. I’ve said this to some people and the usual response is a scoffing glance or a derisive snort. But while there are some realities about the human body we should look before choosing to limit our diet to dew and universe juice, we also realize the plausibility of such a statement in attaining a high level of yogic practice and understanding. The first reality is the fact our bodies are constantly in a cycle of birth and death. Every minute countless cells die, while simultaneously hundreds of thousands are born. We are constantly in a state of flux where we shed our skins and grow anew. At the same time, so many people spend enormous amounts of time and energy to keep things in the material world the way they are. Change, generally, is uncomfortable. Change is a founding concept of life as we know it. Some of the wisest men to have walked the planet assert that life is change; and change is life. It has been said the true yogi lives in communion with this fundamental truth – that nothing stays the same. We also know the food we put into our bodies becomes our bodies. The body we had yesterday is not the same as the body we have today. To cultivate and nurture a strong, healthy body, it is important to eat food that is strong and healthy. Therefore, while subsisting on dew and universe juice is, of course, an excellent way to live simply and within one’s means; such a diet would result in reducing one’s physical form to skin and bones. It’s simply not enough to maintain the normal physical demands of the active urban dweller. A balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, grains and, potentially, meat, is required to fuel a normally active yogi. NAMASKAR
The third reality is the energy of the universe. Sometimes this is referred to as cosmic or life force, and has various names across languages including prana and qi. In the West, this idea featured in the Star Wars trilogy as the Force. Masters and students of the Force were shown to have incredible abilities to read minds, perform telekinesis and shoot lightning from their fingertips. While some of these powers are written in some famous old Pali texts, any claims to them today are usually disproven fairly quickly. Despite the reduction to absurdity that these ideas have faced in the West, in the East they continue strongly in certain traditions. The art of qigong is literally “working with life force”, and is widely practiced although typically among the aged. Aikido is a Japanese martial art that translates literally as “the way of the force of love and harmony”. It’s taught often in Japanese primary and secondary schools as an athletic discipline and its teachers have established centers in many cities around the world. Taoism, or Daoism, is literally the study of the way. The idea of Tao has been translated as the energy of the universe. For Taoists, qi is an integral concept of the workings of the world. So we are left with some options for gathering the energy of the universe and using it. Here is not the place to expound on them further. But at least these scribblings may serve as bread crumbs for the truly interested disciples. So, while most people would likely scoff at the opening remark concerning the True Master, after a bit of reflection it seems the comment is not far from the mark. With some practice and study, you, too, may one day be able to exist solely off of morning mist and prana.
EAT RIGHT, LIVE RIGHT
Ayurveda ask five key questions about eating. BY VINOD SHARMA
According to Ayurveda, there are three main pillars namely Vata, Pitta and Kapha, and three sub pillars, namely food, sleep and celibacy. We all know food plays a vital role in creating and preserving radiant health. Ayurveda goes further to say besides eating fresh, healthy food, one should consider five other points with regard to consuming food. 1) WHY TO EAT? Everyone will agree we do not need medicine to maintain good health but we need a balanced diet to remain healthy. According to Ayurveda, we get seven Dhatus (sustainers) from the food we eat, namely: Rasa (Plasma), Rakta (Blood), Mamsa (Muscles), Medh (Fat), Asthi (Bones), Majja (Bone marrow) and Shukra (Reproductive tissue - for men it is called semen/sperm and in women it is ovam). These seven tissues sustain our body’s structure and help to maintain good health. If we eat according to our constitution, the food will be well digested, and only well digested food can be transformed into these seven sustainers. That’s why in Ayurveda it is said, “we are what we digest”, and not “we are what we eat”, as is more commonly known. 2) WHAT TO EAT? According to Ayurveda, we should eat according to our constitution (Prakruti), in order to derive maximum benefit from the food we consume. If we do not eat according to our Prakruti, then that same food will cause imbalance (Vikruti) in our system, giving rise to many health problems. The famous Ayurvedic physician and philosopher, Charaka, said the main reason we fall sick is because we do not know our true identity, at the physical level nor at the subtle/spiritual level. Due to not knowing what our constitution is, most of the time, we end up eating food that does not suit our constitution, which in turn causes imbalance of doshas in our system, resulting in us falling sick. At the subtle level, we do not realise we are not this body, but a spirit soul residing within this body - this ignorance induces us to perform activities which are binding and which create negative karma/reactions,
bringing with it miseries at the mental, emotional and psychological level. 3) WHEN TO EAT? According to Ayurveda, specific doshas are strong at a particular time during the day, so we should choose our food based on the dosha predominant at that particular time. For example, Pitta dosha is strong in the environment/nature between 10 am and 2 pm. Therefore, our main meal should be around noon, as the food consumed then will then be digested easily and absorption of nutrients can be maximised. From 6 to 10 am, Kapha dosha is predominant in the environment. The slow, sluggish qualities of Kapha influence our digestion accordingly, especially after several hours of rest/winding down during the night. Therefore, breakfast - although it should not be skipped - should be light and easy to digest. Similarly, from 2 – 6 pm, Vata dosha is strong in the environment. One should avoid eating heavy foodstuffs during this period. Also, to pacify and balance the unstable and restless qualities of the air element predominant in Vata dosha, one should regularly sip a warm/ hot drink during this period. This will help one feel grounded and facilitate better focus/ concentration. 4) HOW MUCH TO EAT? According to Ayurveda, when eating, only ½
of the stomach should be filled with solid food, ¼ of it should be filled with liquid and ¼ of the stomach should be left empty for easy air circulation. Unfortunately, most of us eat until our stomach is completely full (sometimes even when we are already full), especially if the food is tasty. This causes a burden on the digestive system – as a result the food will not be properly digested, even if the food is healthy, organic and well prepared. Undigested food in turn will cause formation of gas and ama (toxic matter) within the system. 5) HOW TO EAT? Ayurveda says it in one sentence: “Drink your solids and eat your liquids.” This instruction means we should chew our food so well it becomes liquid in our mouth when it is mixed properly with the saliva. Then we should swallow it. This action will allow the food to be well digested and the nutrients from that food will be absorbed in our body to the fullest extent. Also, we should sip our liquids gradually, instead of gulping it down quickly. Gulping liquids very quickly puts a further burden on our digestive system and can also dilute the digestive juices in our stomach, therefore slowing down the digestion. When we drink liquids sip by sip, our saliva also gets mixed with the liquid and therefore facilitates easier digestion.
when eating ½ the stomach should be filled with solid food, ¼ should be filled with liquid and ¼ should be left empty for easy air circulation
SPIRITUAL SCIENCE RESEARCH FOUNDATION
ASK THE TEACHER
BECOME A VEGETARIAN
WHAT IS YOUR FOOD PHILOSOPHY?
For your body, health, soul, wallet & environment. BY ANU PURSRAM
Vegetarian foods are a major source of nutrition for most people in the world. They are rich in vitamins, minerals, fibre and phytochemicals. Let’s consider the effects of vegetarianism. There is a lower risk of developing heart disorders, cancer, diabetes, obesity or high blood pressure. On the other hand, meat has high amounts of saturated fats and cholesterol. It can putrefy in the intestines and create toxins which could lead to colon cancer, constipation or piles. It is quite possible the diseases of mankind come from eating diseased animals. Besides antibiotics, steroids and growth hormones are often injected into animals so people who eat meat absorb these drugs into their bodies. Food from plants is a more direct source of nutrition. Fruit, vegetables and grains are reservoirs of pure basic life energies which are easily assimilated into our bodies. ECOLOGY AND ENVIRONMENT According to UN reports, livestock production generates one-fifth of the world’s green house gases. It increases other pollutants like pesticides, uses large amounts of oil, water and land. It leads to rain forest destruction, global warming, water scarcity and world hunger. ANIMAL SUFFERING Vegetarianism expresses peoples’ ethical, religious or spiritual convictions, especially beliefs about reverence for life. A visit to a slaughter house would make anyone a vegetarian for life! When animals are killed they are scared, stricken with resentment, fear and agony. An animal feels as much pain as humans do when killed. This causes production of toxins that stays in the meat and harms those who eat it.
more conducive for optimum functioning of the body, mind and intellect. Everything in the universe is made up of three subtle components of sattva, ( purity and knowledge); raja, (passion/action); tama,(ignorance/inertia). The proportion of these subtle elements vary depending on the type of food one eats. Nonvegetarian food like rare, red meat is tamasic because of the suffering of the animal when it is killed. At a psychological level , a nonvegetarian diet increases unwanted thoughts, desires, greed, anger etc. whereas vegetarian food, like a banana is sattvic (pure). When a fruit or vegetable is plucked there is relatively less pain as a plant’s comprehension of pain is minimal, because of its rudimentary mind and intellect. The sattva component in a vegetarian diet is conducive to spiritual growth. As one’s spiritual level grows, one becomes more sattvic and therefore more sensitive which often leads to an aversion for non-vegetarian (tamasic) food. The question that begs to be asked is does a vegetarian diet facilitate one’s spiritual growth and the growth of one’s consciousness? The answer is ‘yes’ because it helps one develop inner discipline, a requirement for spiritual enlightenment. People should realise they incur a karmic debt when they kill to satisfy their taste buds. A living being doesn’t have to die each time one eats a meal!
SPIRITUAL EFFECTS OF VEGETARIANISM The effects of vegetarianism go beyond one’s own physical health. It affects the emotional, intellectual and spiritual development of a person. Our bodies will reflect the character of the food we have eaten. In a sense we are what we eat. When the energies within us are positive they produce harmonious states of mind and behaviour. Eating vegetarian food is
Namaskar posed this question to several yoga teachers.
NASCI LOBO My food philosophy is based on the fact there are too many people wanting too much of everything too quickly. Given that, I’d call myself a flexitarian. I’m not a complete vegetarian; I’ll eat chicken, lamb, salmon, shrimp, some fish and some pork, but only occasionally, and most importantly, depending on what else I have eaten in the last few days. I tend to have meats only every few days or a couple of times per week rather than daily. My mainstay is vegetables and fruit, tofu, quinoa/couscous/amaranth/kasha/ bulgar/millet/some rice and nuts.
Nasci teaches yoga freelance and at a Hong Kong international school. He practices at Anahata Yoga.
HEATHER SHERIDAN I grew up in an Italian-American household where Sunday dinners were sacred. The menu: homemade pasta and gravy, green salad with olive oil and balsamic, and everything fresh and locally grown or raised. Given the importance of these meals, it was the foundation for my love of food. Today, I continue to eat very Mediterranean. I don’t eat meat, but I will have fish once or twice a week and chicken or turkey a few times each year. I try to buy organic whenever possible, and I try to instill a love of all kinds of food in my three daughters. I want them to have a healthy and loving relationship with food and themselves, so it’s crucial I model positive eating habits—habits that include balance, moderation and variety.
ANA FORREST Your belief might be in order to be Holy or Spiritual, you need to be a vegetarian. But actually that’s not true. Ask any Medicine person (Native American, Wisdom Keeper, Shaman, Ceremony Leader). I am a Medicine Woman. There are very few of us who are vegetarians. At one time, I also thought in order to be a good person, I had to be vegetarian.
Heather teaches Yoga for Relaxation and Teen Yoga at the Club at The Repulse Bay in Hong Kong.
What I realized, after years of being a fanatical vegetarian, was I was allergic to all of the foods in the vegetarian diet that comprise complete protein. I was so in love with the idea of this philosophy, of being a vegetarian and it meaning non-violence to the Animals. The hard truth I discovered was with this diet I was doing great damage to myself. I was poisoning myself. As vegetarian I became fat, stupid and constipated. I began questioning my loyalties to this philosophy. I choose to be loyal to the truth of what works. The discovery process is more challenging than following somebody else’s philosophy. That’s what I teach my Forrest Yoga teachers and students. Find the truth of what works for your body. Care enough to nourish yourself with good, fresh, unprocessed, real food, whether it’s vegetables, or meat, or beans, or whatever…
When I eat, I have a ceremony that I do. I put my hands around the outside of my plate and run energy from one hand, through the food, to the other hand. I pray for this food to align with me for my highest good, while I am energetically aligning with the food. I respect my food, whether a broccoli or deer has died so that I can live. I cherish the life-force that I am using to build my own life-force.
Ana Forrest is a Medicine Woman, Creatrix of Forrest Yoga and the Author of Fierce Medicine. www.forrestyoga.com
Food is our medicine & medicine is our food.
Other factors to consider are how toxic a person is. For example people who have cancer, or who are in remission after being treated with chemotherapy are likely to be very toxic. It can be dangerous for them to do a fast of any length, or if they choose to do so all reactions must be strictly monitored by a health practitioner. I have fasted many people in remission and they can have very severe nausea from the medications metabolizing. I always give them the option to break their fast if they can’t handle it or continue day to day with minerals, hugs and homeopathics.
For 18 years, Hillary Hitt has been conducting the Dharma Healing International Fasting Course (www.dharmahealingintl.com) on Koh Samui, Thailand, where she lives. Her work emphasises transformative inner child healing and rebirthing through the fasting cleansing process. She uses Buddhist psychology and philosophy to guide students into their inherent ability to heal themselves. She has a Masters in Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She is a presenter at this year’s BaliSpirit Festival (www.balispiritfestival.com) HOW MUCH IS TOO MUCH FASTING OR JUICING? There are different protocols to follow for each person to determine this. For example, a person on a 21 or more day water only fast with colonic irrigation can get depleted of minerals. Without enough minerals they are likely to get quite weak. Either they should stop their fast or start taking minerals. If they still feel weak after that first dose then they need more significant nutrition and should break their fast. There are some people who fast for 5 weeks, who have enough fat on them to burn for energy that all they need are minerals and small amounts of Vitamin C to maintain their energy. Other people can get very thin in just a few days of fasting on herbs or water or juice, due to having a very fast metabolism. Giving them ionic liquid minerals might give them energy to go on a few days, maybe to day 6. But that is enough for them.
The most important way to determine the answer to this question is to observe how a person feels from day to day. This is especially relevant to people with compromised health conditions. For the generally healthy person I find most people can fast for 7 days. Some can do 10 days, others 14 and there are others who can go weeks and feel no need or sign that they need to stop. WHAT IS YOUR PERSONAL PHILOSOPHY TOWARDS FOOD? I believe all life is energy of a particular frequency vibration. We are here to eat for nutrition and no other reason. “Food is our medicine and medicine our food” said Hippocrates, the father of medicine. When our body, mind and spirit are clean, our vibration is at an equal level to the high vibrations of the organic, raw foods that we can take in. If our body, mind and spirit are not clean and are at a vibration that is low and negative we can never get the full benefit from the healthy foods. We need to eat as close to nature as we can. But when we are sick with a low frequency we may need to eat cooked food until we are cleaned out. WHAT DO YOU SUGGEST TO PEOPLE CONSIDERING A VEGETARIAN DIET? I would start slowly; first do several cleanses and fasts to eliminate the old fecal and mucoid material and bile packed within the digestive organs. Drink more water; start drinking a fresh juice everyday; eat less meat, add more vegetables; each several pieces of fruit a day; and follow proper food combining. January 2014
WHAT ARE THE MOST COMMON MISTAKES VEGETARIANS MAKE? They eat way to much processed carbohydrates like bread and pasta, possibly cakes and cookies, not enough protein. They will often try to find meat substitutes that are not healthy like Texturised Vegetable Protein and Tofu. They will often try to create very complex meals to take the place of a meat based diet. They can eat too much cheese and yoghurt, again to give them more protein. HOW IMPORTANT IS IT TO BUY ORGANIC AND/OR NON-GM? WHAT ARE YOU TOP 5 FOOD ITEMS TO BUY ORGANIC IF MONEY IS AN ISSUE? To be as healthy as we can we owe it to ourselves to shop at farmers markets or supermarkets that offer us a selection of organic, non-GMO fresh produce, nuts, seeds, grains, beans, poultry, beef, fish. Pesticides are oil-based and are stored in the thin skins and seeds of especially small fruits and green leaves. All berries, grapes, tomatoes, peaches and nectarines are often times sprayed. We should be careful of eating these foods if they are sprayed. All types of lettuces, kale, spinach and herbs can hold the pesticide in the oil of the leaf. Coffee, which has a tremendous amount of oil, should always be organic as well as teas like black tea, green tea, Roibois tea and white tea, and also herbal teas. Wine should always be organic. Stimulants and suppressants can go past the blood-brain barrier and cause tremendous toxic effects on the brain, nerves and blood vessels. Foods that have thick skins and can be peeled in most cases are okay to eat sprayed. But that totally depends on how much pesticide is used and what types and how sensitive you are to them. I myself can always feel them soon after ingesting them. And last of all meat and dairy products should always be organic as they often are very high in fat— the pesticide is stored the fatty tissue, along with the hormones and antibiotics.
BY JANET LAU
The asana of the nervous system.
From Thich Nhat Hanh
BY KRISHNAA KINKARIDAS
When it comes to meditation, many of us imagine we have to be sitting on our meditation cushion, palms on our laps, our eyes closed, with a peaceful look on our face. If you think of the amount of time you spend on your yoga and your meditation practice, it is still a relatively small fragment of time compared to the rest of the day. Meditation is actually a state of mind in which we bring our focus on the present moment with a total receptive and non-judgmental mind. With enough practice, it will give us some peace and various insights about life.
see for yourself that it contains the sunshine, the rain, the love and a lot of hard work by many others. Once you can see the interconnectiveness of the carrot, then you can slowly place it into your month, chew it and taste it with mindfulness. Take your time to eat, just taking one bite at a time, put down your utensils so that you can be fully present to the food that is inside your mouth. Chew until the food becomes liquefied, which takes about 20-30 times of chewing, and this practice can lessen the workload for our digestive system.
You can apply the mindfulness practice to the time when you eat and below are three gathas provided by Thich Nhat Hanh in which you can contemplate and practice when:
Please be mindful to only chew the carrot, not your projects or your worries. Your carrot is present for you and you can also be present for your carrot. If you are occupied with your worries or your sadness, you can practice mindful breathing for a while until you can be present to your food. Spend time with your food, every minute of your meal can be a happy and joyful moment. Not many people have the time and opportunity to sit down and enjoy a meal like that, let our food reminds us how fortunate we are.
LOOKING AT YOUR EMPTY BOWL My bowl, empty now, will soon be filled with precious food. Beings all over the Earth are struggling to live. How fortunate we are to have enough to eat. Many of us feel for the people in Africa and around the world who suffer from hunger everyday. This gatha is to remind us to be grateful for the food we have, and we vow to search for ways to help others who suffer from hunger. SERVING FOOD In this food I see clearly the presence of the entire universe supporting my existence If you look at a piece of broccoli deep enough, it contains the whole universe. Without the sun, the broccoli would not be on our plate; without the cloud, there would be no water to nourish this plant; without the earth, there would not be a place for the broccoli to grow from; without the farmer, the plant would not be so beautifully harvested; without the driver, we would not have the plant with such convenience; without the chef, we would not be able to enjoy such wonderful tasty food. So the broccoli contains everything inside it. Before you start eating your meal, pick up one piece of carrot without putting into your month right away. Look into the carrot and 48
FINISHING YOUR MEAL The meal is finished. My hunger is satisfied. I vow to live for the benefit of all being. A lot of times we rush to the next agenda as soon as we finish our food. Instead, spend a few minutes to be grateful for the food that nourished you just now. Also, remember everything that came to be that gives you such moment of contentment. We can practice not to only show our gratitude before we eat but the entire process of eating and after. The more we practice this way, our peace can shine upon everyone around us and this spreads the peace and joy to others who have yet to learn about peace and joy. At last, make this practice adaptable and it should be enjoyable, not stressful. For beginners, you can invite your friends and family to practice mindful eating with you once a week to start. Slowly, as your mindfulness practice become more deeply rooted, you can start to expand your practice.
Mudras serve to unite the soul to the Supersoul through the simple process of combining the fingers and hands in various positions. Each of the five fingers embody one of the five tattvas (elements): Thumb = fire Forefinger = air Middle finger = ether Ring finger = earth Little finger = water Mudras can be done in any type of meditative position, sitting, standing, lying, supported. They can be called asanas of the nervous system and bring the mind towards peace.
Taking the example the most widely used letâ€™s look at Chin Mudra also known as Gyana Mudra or Tarka Mudra. Touch the tips of the thumb and forefinger together, letting the other three fingers spread gently. The back of the hands rest on knees if sitting, or the floor in Savasana. Here the fire of the thumb stimulates the air of the forefinger to rise when heated and the ether, earth and water are in neutral mode.The energy of the body is encouraged to rise and the consciousness of the heart rather than the analytical frantic mind, is accessed.
MY JOURNEY INTO TANTRA & THE YOGA OF INITIMACY Facing my fears and finding my lost heart. BY IRENE THONG When you hear the words Tantra or Intimacy, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Sex, wild postures, or even the Karma Sutra? There are lots of myths and misconceptions about both words, especially in our Asian cultures. I came across those two words when my cousin in London mentioned to me about Tantric Yoga. One only has to Google those words to be even more confused. So when I came across a retreat in Bali called “Tantra & Yoga of Intimacy: Sensual Awakening, Healing & Enlivening with Blue and Caroline Muir” (www.wholelovingretreatsbali.com) I was intrigued. Thus curiously I emailed Blue, a spirituality and yoga of intimacy teacher to ask about the retreat.
flow of life inside and around you. Sensuality is natural.” My interest peaked; I threw caution to the wind and enrolled. What a journey Bali has been for me, meeting Caroline (www.divine-feminine.com), Blue and connecting with a wonderful group of people - so powerful and authentic! Words cannot express how grateful I am to have made this choice and now embark on to this road. I am very thankful to Caroline and Blue for the chance to walk this unknown road to face my fear, to find my lost heart and love. From these two wonderful, warm and gorgeous people, I’ve learned the art of Tantra and the world of intimacy in a respective, loving, nurturing and warm way. Vulnerability and trust are two things we guard most in ourselves. We don’t want to let go or be let down. I constantly reminded myself throughout my seven days there, “I’m here for good reason: to learn to be open to the learning and receive the healing that will come my way”. It was totally amazing to be in the presence of people our trusted with open hearts. There was so much openness, vulnerability and love among us there, that all of us still are very much affected from our retreat even after several, weeks past. Towards the end of my week, I learnt to develop a deeper connection with my partner that fed our hearts as well as my body and life with aliveness. The course helped me unlock my full potential as a partner and lover, to release the energies that had blocked my capacity for feeling beautiful, love and to receive love in a truly loving and intimate way. We learnt the art of giving and receiving and towards the end of each session, we felt our chakras opening, growing and shining brighter than normal. Like Caroline said, “We raise the bar on life experiences. We expand into the vast heart of love and intimacy called Tantra, the power of creating sacred space, alignment with yoga and union with the divine”. Thanks to them I am still walking around with a glow in my face and heart every day!
TEACHER TRAINING REVIEW
This was his reply: “Intimacy is love infused with connection, generosity, attentiveness, presence, trust, surrender and the courage to be seen and be vulnerable. Intimacy is a choice. Sensuality is an excitement or enlivening of the primary senses of the human body. When enlivened, sensuality becomes a 50
500 HOURS OF ABSOLUTE MICHEL BESNARD A personalised approach. BY CLAIRE WENER
I was sitting at my desk one grey winter’s day in London within earshot of Big Ben but my mind was elsewhere. A friend had just emailed me a link to the Absolute Yoga website and I was engrossed in reading about the 500-hour teacher training with Michel Besnard at Absolute Sanctuary, Koh Samui. “Are you ready to take your teaching to the next level?” asked the website. I knew I was. I’d been teaching part time for two years but I felt I needed more confidence to make the transition to teaching full time. The promise of crystal clear turquoise sea and soft white
Michel assists Claire with baddha konasana
sand lured me too. Fast- forward six months and I’ve now graduated from the training. It’s been an amazing journey. My 13 fellow students came from across the globe - from California to Japan - and Michel Besnard was there for us along the way. The five-week course was intense and varied. Every day started with a two-hour pranayama and Ashtanga Mysore self practice. Some of us had an established Ashtanga practice whereas others - like me - came from different schools and so Michel spent the first week getting us all up to speed. As the weeks progressed, our morning practices became more personalised. What I particularly appreciated was Michel’s knowledge of both Ashtanga and Iyengar he’s spent years in India training with both Mr Iyengar and Sri Pattabhi Jois. We used props and he emphasised us doing the asanas in a way that suited our own bodies. He also believes all students should practice elements of the second series. With the primary series focusing on forward bends, back bends such as salsabhasana and urdva dhanurasana from the second series provide balance in our practice. Over the weeks, the morning practice continually pushed me. Through plenty of sweat and occasional tears, Michel was there to offer support - and not just by providing physical adjustments. The rest of the day we learnt about a range of
topics. Michelle Lam, a Hong Kong physiotherapist, spent five days teaching us advanced yoga anatomy, we covered Acroyoga and Yin Yoga and we had Carlos Pomeda show us the wonderful world of yoga philosophy. Lucas Rockwood provided many useful insights into the business of yoga and we honed our presentation skills with Akash Akaria, a public speaking expert based in Hong Kong. Suffice to say, the teaching faculty were excellent. Absolute Sanctuary was a great venue. The infinity pool and steam room were popular for soothing our stretched bodies and we enjoyed watching the stars overhead. For me, Michel and his teaching assistant Roslyn made the experience truly special. Their good humour and passion for yoga was ever-present during the course. With his favourite phrase being “who cares” he taught us the lesson of acceptance: accepting our bodies and our practice. And where we are today is exactly where we’re meant to be. Having graduated a few days ago, many of us have flown home to our studios and students, eager to share our new knowledge. I too am looking forward to heading back to London and starting my life as a full time teacher but memories of my 500-hour training will stay with me forever. For more information about Absolute Yoga visit: www.absoluteyogasamui.com To find out where Michel is next teaching, visit: www.yogasana.com.hk
COOKED A natural history of transformation By Michael Pollan REVIEWED BY INNA COSTANTINI A New York Times bestseller, Michael Pollan’s latest book is a passionate call for the return to authenticity in food preparation. Although not a book on ‘yogi food’ per se, Pollan delves into so many food related themes that are closely connected with the eternal questions of what and how we eat. Making food can be a magical activity, whether it is linked to a spiritual practice, a ritual or simply a daily routine, the process is inevitably one that defines us as humans. This is precisely what Pollan explains in this book: the activity of cooking is unique to humans. It resides at the heart of each culture, shapes family life and is -generallypleasant. Here, he looks at the most basic principles of cooking- with fire, water, air and earth. Each chapter goes into the different processes of creating food, and looks into the
namaskar history, cultural background and connections we have with food preparation. He highlights: “Today, the typical American spends a mere 27 minutes a day on food preparation and another four minutes cleaning up.” That’s less than half the time spent in 1965 cooking and cleaning. This is an interesting point, when, on a global level there are serious concerns about health and nutrition. “As soon as we have choices about how to spend our time, time is suddenly in much shorter supply, and it becomes so much harder to be in the kitchen, in either the literal or Buddhist sense. Shortcuts suddenly seem more attractive. Because you could be doing something else, something more attractive or simply more fun.” So there is always that sense, he argues we are always looking for something else, an interesting concept that applies to every aspect of human life. Whether it is cooking, eating, working or doing yoga, our minds seem to desire other things. More. Or variety. Or shortcuts. In any case, that connection we have with food reflects our approach to life. Food as the most basic act we are involved with, directly reflects our state of mind , and of course our approach to life.
current & past issues are at: www.issuu.com/ caroladams
April’s dristi: CONFLICT Has your work or personal life ever brought you into conflict with your yogic philosophy? What have you learned from your teachers, study of yogic texts or trial and error to deal with this internal struggle? If you would like to contribute an article on this subject, or others, to Namaskar, please email Frances at email@example.com with your idea first. Final articles are welcome before March 10.
Although Pollan’s book is very much a deep, sometimes academic, reflection on the different layers of cooking, the links between spirituality and food are clear. The food prepared by oneself is better on both physical and mental levels. Not only is the process satisfying, it could be a way to express love and gratitude, whilst connecting us with nature and beyond. This book breaks down all the facts, looks at the history of food, and provides us with further understanding on the relationships between humans and food.
NESTED-WATERCRESS SALAD Massage your greens. BY MOISES MEHL
To make this lovely, eye-catching, and nutritious salad, you will only need to use your hands. No heavy machinery required! As you will see, this delicious gourmet dish only takes a few minutes to make and requires only a few very fresh ingredients. This salad can be served as a side dish to almost any meal, or as a tantalizing appetizer salad to introduce any lunch or supper. For best results, make sure to use only the freshest ingredients you can find!
evenly distributed, you are also making it a little easier for your body to absorb the nutrients from the watercress.) 2. Using your hands, place the seasoned watercress on a plate and shape it into the form of a round nest. Leave an empty space about the size of your fist in the center of your nest.
TO MAKE THE NEST 2 handfuls of fresh watercress Juice from 1/2 of a lime 1/4 tsp of sea salt
TO MAKE THE FILLING 1 cup of chopped fresh spinach 1 cup of chopped fresh kale Juice from 1/2 of a lime 1 ripe avocado, medium diced 1 tbsp of chickpea miso (soy free) 1 tbsp of hemp seeds 1/8 tsp of sea salt
1. Place the watercress in a mixing bowl, together with the lime juice and the sea salt. Massage the greens with your hands until they become tender. (By massaging the watercress, you are not only ensuring that the seasonings are
1. Place the spinach and the kale into a mixing bowl, together with the lime juice and the salt, and massage the greens with your hands until they are tender. 2. Mash the avocado with your hands and massage the avocado into the
greens. Follow this up with the miso, until the spinach and kale are entirely covered with avocado and miso. 3. Add the hemp seeds to the mixing bowl. Using a spatula, mix the hemp seeds into the filling. TO SERVE THE SALAD Fresh sprouts Cold pressed extra-virgin olive oil Paprika 1. Take a handful of filling and shape it into a ball. 2. Place this ball of seasoned spinach and kale onto the top of the watercress, in the empty space in the middle of the watercress nest. 3. Drizzle a small amount of olive oil around the plate and sprinkle paprika on top of the salad to add color. 4. Top with fresh sprouts and enjoy!
Light, easy and healthy dessert. BY MOOSA AL-ISSA
These are sweet, delicious and 100% healthy! If you want them a bit more decadent, melt chocolate and drizzle it on top of the squares before cutting and serving. INGREDIENTS 7 cups puffed millet 3/4 cup organic brown rice syrup 1 1/3 cups organic almond butter 1 tablespoon vanilla extract 1/2 cup organic pumpkin seeds 1 cup organic goji berries 1 cup organic dried apricots chopped METHOD 1. In a small saucepan heat the brown rice syrup, almond butter and vanilla extract on medium low heat. Stir with a spatula until the ingredients are fully melted and combined. 2. In a large bowl combine the millet, goji berries, apricots and pumpkin seeds. Toss to combine. Add the liquid ingredients from the saucepan to the bowl and very quickly combine the wet and dry ingredients with a spatula or by hand. 3. Transfer the mixture to a lightly greased rectangular baking dish and evenly press the mixture into the dish. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for one hour to set before cutting and serving.
CRANBERRY, CORN & PEAR CHUTNEY
Little things make the difference. BY MOOSA AL-ISSA Sweet, sour and spicy, works great with French toast, on your favorite sandwich, or as a compliment to turkey, fish or tofu. INGREDIENTS 2 cups fresh cranberries 1 cup organic cane sugar 1/2 cup orange juice 1 cup fresh, frozen or canned corn 1 cup cores peeled and diced pear 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger 2 tablespoons chopped coriander 1 small red chili minced 1 onion medium dice 1 tablespoon chopped garlic 2 tablespoons olive oil 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary January 2014
Juice and zest of one lime METHOD 1. In a small saucepan heat cranberries, orange juice and sugar to a boil, cover, lower heat and cook the cranberries for 10 minutes. Remove from heat to cool. 2. While the cranberries cook, heat frying pan to medium high, add oil and fry the onions for 3-4 minutes, add ginger, garlic, chili, rosemary, pear & corn and fry for additional 3 minutes. Transfer to bowl to cool. 4. Add cranberries to fried ingredients, add lime juice and zest, coriander and salt to taste. Mix till fully combined. 5. Refridgerate covered till ready to serve. 53
Guide to yoga studios & teachers
AGAMA YOGA SCHOOL 42/4 moo 8, Koh Phangan, Suratthani 84280, Thailand s: Tantra Yoga, Kundalini Yoga, Workshops, Retreats, Meditation, Yogic Healing l: English t: +66(0)892 330 217 e: firstname.lastname@example.org w: www.agamayoga.com ANAHATA VILLAS & SPA RESORT Ubud, Bali, Indonesia s: group retreats, yoga for private & corporates. Yoga studio available for rent. l: Indonesian & English t: +62 361 8987 991/ 8987 992 / +62 21 70743366 f: (62) 361 8987 804 e: email@example.com / firstname.lastname@example.org w: www.anahataresort.com ANAHATA YOGA 18/F Lyndhurst Tower, 1 Lyndhurst Terrace, Central, Hong Kong s: Hatha, Ashtanga, Yoga therapy, Yin and more. Groups & privates t: +852 2905 1922 e: email@example.com w: www.anahatayoga.com.hk ANANDA YOGA 33 & 34/F, 69 Jervois Street Sheung Wan, Hong Kong s: Private and Group Classes : Yoga Therapy (neck, shoulder, back, hip, knee and joints), Hatha, Power, Ashtanga, Vinyasa, Detox, Yin Yang, Kundalini, Chakra Balancing, Pranayama, Meditation l: English t: (825)35639371 e: firstname.lastname@example.org w: www.anandayoga.hk
Anna Ng Privates d: Hong Kong s: Hatha yoga l: Cantonese t: (852) 9483 1167 e: email@example.com AUMNIE YOGA WEAR Hong Kong - Room 1601, 99 Wellington Street, Central t: + 852 3188 0973 Shanghai - 60 Xinle Road, 3/F Xuhui District t: +86 21 5404 3135 Korea - 533-16 Sinsa-Dong Gangham-Gu, Seoul t: +82 26959 2558 Retail, Wholesale, Shop Online Free Shipping Worldwide Yoga Clothing and Accessories e: firstname.lastname@example.org w: www.aumnie.com B.K.S. IYENGAR YOGA ASSOCIATION OF MACAU 174, Rua de Pequim, Edif Centro Com. Kong Fat, 7A, Macau s: Iyengar t:(853)2882 3210/6662 0386 e:email@example.com w:www.iyengar-yoga-macauchina.com BEING IN YOGA 2 Turf Club Rd # 02-01(Turf Ciy, Singapore s: Yoga therapy (customized personal practice), teacher training (Yoga Alliance RYS 500 hours+), in-depth yoga studies, small group classes for children and adults, pre & post natal yoga, sound meditation, Vedic chanting, evening sanga, community programs. t: +65 9830 3808 e firstname.lastname@example.org w: wwwbeinginyoga.com
BRAIN & BODY YOGA 1503 Keen Hung Commercial Building, 80 - 86 Queen’s Road East, Wanchai, Hong Kong (next to LUXHOME) s: boutique yoga studio for holistic healing and mind body practice t: +852 3104 1156 f: +852 3104 1157 e: email@example.com w: www.brainyoga.com.hk FLEX STUDIO 308 - 310 One Island South, 2 Heung Yip Street, Aberdeen, Hong Kong s: Vinyasa, Power, Detox, Hatha, Therapy, Kids Yoga t: +852 2813 2212 f: +852 2813 2281 e: firstname.lastname@example.org w: www.flexhk.com Kathy Cook Retreats, workshops, privates d: Hong Kong, Bali & Thailand s: Iyengar (Junior Intermediate 2) l: English t: +852 6292 5440 / +62 811 387781 e:email@example.com w: www.yogawithkathy.com KUNDALINI AT SHAKTI 7/F Glenealy Tower, 1 Glenealy, Central, Hong Kong. s: Kundalini Yoga, Guided Kundalini Meditation, Reiki Healing, Angel Cards. Studio rental by day or hour t: +852 2521 5099 e: firstname.lastname@example.org w: www.shaktihealingcircle.com KUNDALINI @ SOL 16/F Tin On Sing Commercial Building, 41-43 Graham St. Central, Hong Kong s: Kundalini, Yin-Yang, Hatha yoga, meditation, holographic healing, healing foods, detox, Kinesiology. Cancer coaching Complete Mind-Body-Soul services
t: +852 2581 9699 e: email@example.com w: www.sol-wellness.com Ling Yoga and Wellbeing Private Yoga Teacher Privates, Groups, Corporates, Free Yoga Community Event: Yoga in the Park with Ling www.meetup.com/ yogaintheparkhk d: Hong Kong, China s: Yoga Therapy, Sivananda, Hatha, Svastha, Mindfulness, Yin, Breathing (Pranayama), Guided Meditation, Total Relaxation (Yoga Nidra) l: English, Cantonese, Mandarin t: +852 9465 6461 e: firstname.lastname@example.org w: www.facebook.com/ yogawithling PURE YOGA Hong Kong 16/F The Centrium, 60 Wyndham Street, Central t: +852 2971 0055 25/F Soundwill Plaza, 38 Russell St, Causeway Bay t: +852 2970 2299 14/F Peninsula Office Tower, 18 Middle Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon t: +852 8129 8800 9/F Langham Place Office Tower, 8 Argyle Street, Kowloon t: +852 3691 3691 4/F Lincoln House, TaiKoo Place, 979 King’s Rd, Quarry Bay t: +852 8129 1188 2/F Asia Standard Tower, 59 Queen’s Road, Central t: + 852 3524 7108 Singapore 391A Orchard Road, #18-00 Ngee Ann City Tower A t: +65 6733 8863
30 Raffles Place, 04-00 Chevron House t: +65 6304 2257
10 Collyer Quay, Level 4, Ocean Financial Centre 049315 t: +65 6536 3390
Taiwan 151 Chung Hsiao East Road, Sec 4, Taipei t: +886 02 8161 7888
Taiwan 563 Chung Hsiao East Road, Section 4, 1st & 2nd floor Taipei t :+886 22764 8888
4/f Urban One, 1 Qingcheng St, Taipei t: +886 02 8161 7868 SADHANA SANCTUARY YOGA STUDIO 103 Penang Road Visioncrest Commercial, #05-01 / 03 Singapore 238467 t: +65 6238 9320 e: email@example.com w: www.sadhanasanctuary.com Facebook.com/ SadhanaSanctuaryYogaStudio/ SOULMADE YOGA & TEAROOM 40, Soi Chareonjai (Ekamai 12), Klongton-Nua, Wattana Bangkok 10110, Thailand s. Kripalu, Hatha, Prenatal, Workshops, Healing Arts (AuraSoma, Bodytalk, EFT) l. English, Thai, French t. +66 2 3814645 e. firstname.lastname@example.org w: www.facebook.com/soulmade SPACE YOGA s: Hatha, Ashtanga, Advanced, Flow, Yin, Yin Yang, Restorative, Hot, Yin/Meditation, Pranayama, Mat Pilates, Jivamukti, Universal, Myo-fascial Release Yoga and Yoga Nidra l: English, Mandarin w: www.withinspace.com An-Ho Studio 16 /f, 27 An-Ho Road, Section 1 Taipei, Taiwan t: +886 2 2773 8108 Tien-Mu Studio 5 Lane 43, Tian-Mu E. Road, Taipei, Taiwan t: +886 2 2877 2108 THE YOGA ROOM 3, 4, 6/F (Studios) & 15/F (Office) Xiu Ping Commercial Bldg, 104 Jervois St, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong s: Hatha, Ashtanga, Vinyasa, Candlelight Yin, Yoga Therapy, Baptist Inspired, Mindfulness Yoga, Detox Flow, Pre-natal Yoga, Pre-natal Pilates, Mat Pilates and Kids yoga t: +852 25448398 e: email@example.com w: www.yogaroomhk.com TRUE YOGA Singapore 9 Scotts Road, Level 4, Pacific Plaza 228210 t: +65 6733 9555
337 Nanking East Road Section 3, 9 & 10/F, Taipei t: +886 22716 1234 68 Gongyi Road, West District 12 & 13 /F, Taichung t: +886 43700 0000 s: Hatha, Power, Ashtanga, Vinyasa, Yin, Gentle, Flow, Yoga Dance, Pre-natal e: firstname.lastname@example.org w: www.trueyoga.com.sg / www.trueyoga.com.tw Ursula Moser The Iyengar Yoga Centre of Hong Kong d: Central s: Iyengar Certified (Junior Intermediate III) l: English t: +852 2918 1798 / 9456 2149 e: email@example.com WISE LIVING YOGA ACADEMY 198 Moo 2, Luang Nuea, Doi Saket, Chiang Mai, Thailand s: Classical Yoga, Hatha Yoga, Yoga Therapy t: +66 8254 67995 e: firstname.lastname@example.org w: www.wiselivingyoga.com YOGA CENTRAL 2C Welley Bldg. 97 Wellington St. Central, Hong kong s: Hatha/Iyengar clases, yoga teacher training workshops, private group classes, corporate health programs. t: +852 2982 4308 e: email@example.com w: www.yogacentral.com.hk Yoga with YoYo Yoga Alliance ERYT200 and RYT200. Asana, pranayama, meditation and scripture study d: Sai Kung / San Po Kong s: small group and privates adapted to students with knowledges of YogaPrasad institute, Paramahamsa Nithyananda, Sivananda, Yoga limbs and more l: English, Cantonese t: +852 9302 3931 e: firstname.lastname@example.org w: www.yoyoyoga.net
reaches 6,000 yoga practitioners, across 26 countries, 4 times a year.
DISPLAY ADVERTISING RATES & SIZES Outside back cover HK$21,800 210 mm x 297 mm Inside front cover HK$3,000 210 mm x 297 mm Inside back cover HK$2,400 210 mm x 297 mm Full page HK$1,900 210 mm x 297 mm 1/2 page (horizontal)HK$1,200 180 mm x 133.5 mm 1/2 page (vertical) HK$1,200 88 mm x 275 mm 1/4 page HK$620 88 mm X 133.5 mm 1/8 page HK$390 88 mm x 66 mm
LISTINGS Can include name, address, telephone, email, website, style and certification, language of instruction. Approx. 35 words Individual listing HK$550 for full or partial year Studio listing HK$1,100 for full or partial year
PUBLICATION DATES, BOOKING & MATERIAL DEADLINES Publication date Booking Deadline Material Deadline January December 1 December 10 April March 1 March 10 July June 1 June 10 October September 1 September 10
NOTES Advertising materials should in black & white and submitted as 300 dpi high resolution .tif files (no pdf or ai files please) Listings should be submitted as text only (35 words or less)
PAYMENT Payments should be made in Hong Kong dollars to Namaskar c/o Carol Adams, 1/F 46 Leung Fai Ting Lower Road, Clearwater Bay, Sai Kung, Hong Kong
INFORMATION Carol (852) 9137 9992 / email@example.com Frances (852) 9460 1967 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Free yoga magazine with news and event from Asia and worldwide