- Eat three regular meals a day – “Breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, dinner like a pauper”
- Leave enough space in the stomach for the stomach juices to do their work – If you think you can have one more portion, then it is time to stop!
- Have colourful food on your plate – You start salivating as soon as you see the food which is the start of the digestion process
- Focus on your meal only, each meal takes only 15 minutes – Try not to watch TV/iPad/Blackberry, do work, etc at the same time so as to let your body focus on the act of digestion
- Avoid white refined foods such as food made with white flour; iodised salt; sugar; etc
- Have fresh sun ripened vegetables and fruits and freshly prepared food
- Chew each mouthful thirty-two times
- Keep a positive outlook while eating
- Drink plenty of water throughout the day – perhaps try adding a teaspoon of fresh lime juice to warm water
- To help the body maintain the optimal alkali pH, 80% of food intake should be alkali type foods (more on this next time…)
~.~ The practices of Yoga will help you maintain equanimity in all situations by teaching you to become transparent, able to allow both joy and sorrow to flow through you without destroying your peace of mind ~.~ Sharon Gannon & David Life, 2002
What is equanimity?
The aim of yoga asanas (postures) is to develop the noble quality of equanimity in us. Equanimity refers to maintaining a calm composure with poise, irrespective of what the external situation is. In simple terms, whether we have won a million pound lottery or our business has failed, our inner state remains calm – neither do we become overexcited and leaping with joy and hysterics in the former situation nor are we dejected and dispirited in the latter situation. Of course, we celebrate our win and take positive steps to salvage our business, but do so remaining in the state of equanimity within. Hence, the peace of mind is not disturbed by either external situation.
Achieving such equanimity and balanced mind requires practice as the usual tendency is for emotions to overwhelm us so we lose ourselves in the situation and are not able to see further than that. Instead with a calm mind, various situations can be clearly defined, analysed and solutions worked out.
The balancing asanas at the physical level lead on to cultivate such equanimity in the mind. Whether it is standing on one leg as in tree pose or using the arms to hold your body weight in head stand, strengthening the legs and arms provides a strong foundation for setting up our balancing postures.
Focusing on the legs as the foundation for balancing poses, a New York yoga teacher Nikki Costello recommends setting the intention of creating a firm, grounded base from your feet up into your legs and hips. “The legs hold you up. They take you where you want to go,” Costello says. “When you focus on the legs, you go back to the source of your power and strength.”
Let’s take the example of the tree pose. You come into tree pose by bending your right knee and holding your ankle with the right hand. Turn the knee to the right and place the sole of the right foot high against the inner left thigh. The standing left leg takes the weight of the body. Keep it as straight as possible by lifting the knee cap and activating the quadriceps. Press the right heel strongly into the inner left thigh, thus securing the legs and firming your foundation. Keep the gaze focused on a fixed point a metre or so in front of the left foot. Reach the arms up and open the palms, lengthen the trunk, dropping the shoulders down. Keep the breath flowing.
The longer we can stay in the tree pose balance – without falling over – shows that the mind is becoming quieter, disciplined and calmer; going on to then be in that state of equanimity even when we are not holding tree pose.
Let us practice our balancing postures so that we can always be in a calm and peaceful state of mind as elaborated by Sri Sathya Sai Baba “Let the wave of memory, the storm of desire, the fire of emotion pass through without affecting your equanimity”.
Happy New Year! Please check our Yoga and Pilates class schedule for 2015 and see you on the mat soon!
|2 cups wholemeal flour (sifted)
1 can (379g) condensed milk, sweetened
½ – ¾ cup sunflower oil
¾ cup warm water
|½ cup mixed nuts, chopped
½ cup mixed dry fruit
¼ cup fresh fruit (eg cherries or blueberries) small pieces (optional)
|1 tsp ginger powder
1 tsp cinnamon powder
2 tsp vanilla powder
1 tsp bi-carbonate soda
3 tsp baking powder
Mixture of 3 tbsp yoghurt, 3 tbsp milk, 3 tbsp cornflower
Mix all ingredients to a dropping consistency cake mixture.
Line with baking parchment or greaseproof paper a 23cm round cake tin. Grease the lining with sunflower oil.
Pour the mixture into the cake tin.
Pre-heat oven and bake at 180⁰ C for 1 hour.
Cool cake on wire rack.
Apply DiClemente’s Stages of Change Model, as illustrated below, to assess where you are in your Yoga journey.
If you’re at Stages 1, 2 or 7, contact Three Jewels Yoga to find out which classes would give you a taste of yoga.
If you’re at Stage 3, then you’re ready to join in the current Three Jewels Yoga classes.
And of course, Three Jewels Yoga definitely loves seeing you on the mat if you are at Stages 4 and 5!
This May 2014 interview with Guruji running through his life experience with Yoga is enlightening. Indeed Guruji’s liveliness and alertness at 96 are infectious. Also catch his explanation on how props became an essential part of the eponymous Iyengar yoga practice.
It’s often thought that yoga is a few stretches to make us feel good. But to a regular practitioner yoga offers that and much more. Yoga consists of certain spiritual, mental and physical disciplines which originated from ancient India. Yoga has become very popular in the West and London is no exception. Three Jewels Yoga teach yoga in London and their classes provide a modern yet authentic experience of this ancient science.
The season of spring is traditionally the season of revitalisation and growth. As the life-giving power of the sun strengthens in spring, animals and birds wake up from hibernation, trees fill up with leaves and flowers blossom. As spring unfolds, the days get longer and the winter’s chill is replaced with warmer fresher air.
The life-giving power of the sun is greatly respected in yoga. In yoga class, gratitude is shown to the sun by practising the sun salutation (sūryanamaskār). Many yoga postures are named after the shapes of things that they resemble, including plants and animals for example the tree posture (vṛkṣanasa) and lotus posture (padmāsana). Getting into these yoga postures is a reminder of the natural world and we develop awareness of our relationship with other life forms. Similarly, focusing on the breath during the yoga practice teaches us of our connection to each other through the breath.
The yoga postures also have more subtle significance. For instance, the tree posture teaches us to find balance even on windy days. So when we are faced with challenges in life we can remain calm and balanced yet flexible, just like a tree, and not get blown away by the challenges. Practising yoga regularly helps us to become calmer, happier and more alive.
As we enter the spring season and watch nature coming to life, come to experience a fresh, revitalising outlook to life and leave with a spring in your step! See you in class.
*** New classes coming soon – Hot Yoga at Fitness First Islington and evening yoga at Harrow Leisure Centre ***
At Harrow Council’s invitation, Three Jewels Yoga participated in the Harrow Active week-end on 22 April 2014 at St Ann’s shopping centre. Meera led a street yoga class with audience participation. Read more in the Harrow Observer article.