How do you eat?

Are you a person who is a bookworm and doesn’t like the feeling of being away from the book you are reading even during meal times?
Are you a person who is glued to Netflix and/or other soaps/movies and continues your meal times in front of the screen?
Are you a person who needs to know the News constantly and enjoys watching the debates in the political arena?
Are you a person who is constantly scrolling Instagram even while eating?
Are you a person who talks a lot while eating and considers meal times a time to chit-chat?

I would suggest you disengage from any of the above said distractions while eating and focus only on the job on hand – to eat a meal that is the source of nourishment for the body. Take your time to taste the dish. Observe the different tastes (salt, sweet, tangy, bitter, sour) in the meal you eat. Observe the texture of the food you eat – the crunchiness, the softness, the chewy texture – take some time to observe how much time you need to chew each and every texture. Remember to chew with your mouth closed, as much as possible to provide a porridge version of your food to your stomach for digestion. That doesn’t mean you can make the porridge in a blender and just drink it. It is very important to use the teeth. As you keep chewing more and more, the body understands the need for better teeth structures and can bring in the change. Chewing every morsel of food well before swallowing helps us to slow down the process of eating. This slowing down is important for the stomach to send a signal to the brain to stop eating. Our stomach is the size of our fist – of course, it can expand but imagine fitting huge quantities of food in a small bag – it can overflow in the form of reflux! Please take some time to understand how the stomach digests the food – as always check Google, please! There needs to be some space in the stomach after we have eaten for the food to be churned along with the digestive juices. If the stomach is filled to its capacity with food, how can the churning happen? Imagine running a blender filled to its capacity – the contents may not be blended well or there may be spillage.

According to what I have understood, the body considers the time we eat to be the rest/digest mode. It is a time to focus on the food we eat and that alone. There is saliva secretion when we are in this relaxed state of mind during mealtime. Watching -news/movies/soaps/sports – on the screen while eating shifts us away from rest/digest mode. The body’s energies shift away from digestion to those things that keep our attraction stronger – like a nail-biting last over in cricket – heated debates about current issues in politics – a mystery movie or a novel! When we aid in shifting the energies away from digestion, how can we expect the food to be digested fully well?

And to top it all, we tend to lie down immediately after eating. There is also the big issue of feeling guilty over excessive eating or eating all the forbidden foods. So, how we feel about our food is also very important. Do we feel happy to eat this food today? Do we feel guilty about eating rice or fruits? What is our attitude towards food?

The ideal thing would be to cook food with the intention of providing nutrition to the body and to loved ones and not as a task to complete before running to the next one. Enjoy the process of chopping vegetables and cooking too, without complaining or sulking about the tediousness of the chore. Even a simple meal gains value when done with joy and love to feed the family.

Sit peacefully in a place with the intention of enjoying your food. You can sit together as a family and enjoy the meal together. Make an intention to be aware during the process of eating or a prayer for the food in front of you. Just remember to be aware of what you eat, how does it feel in the mouth, what is the taste, and how much are you chewing and swallowing consciously. Slow down the process of eating as this is the most important time in your day. Every other work you do gains energy from this food. Eating is not the last priority of things to do. And stop eating when you are feeling half-full. Lastly, feel good about the food you ate. Feeling guilty about it will only worsen any existing situation.

This might seem like some Gyaan post – yeah, I agree! I have been through almost all of the situations mentioned above in the post and I have slowly come out of it. I try to bring consciousness to whatever I cook and eat. I try to do a gratitude prayer for the food before I eat. And I consciously chew more than before, making time for taste and texture. I try my best to avoid eating in front of the TV. All this is showing up as a mark of the health in my physical and emotional body. So, this is a post where I share my joy of eating.
Can you make time to enjoy your food?


In search of solitude

I have written so much about my meditation journey. Actually, my teacher initiated this practice when I told her about how I struggled to sleep during the night. I found so much peace inside when I slept well and woke up fresh. I dedicated my sleep to my meditation practice.

Then I moved on to practice meditation by myself. I was perplexed when I started by myself. I was so dependent on a guide. Taking help from youtube videos, I started my meditation journey. Every morning I used to sit and ask youtube to guide me to meditation videos which helped to deal with whatever I was going through at that time. I went back to certain youtube channels as I felt a deep connection with the person’s voice. Some videos had the right wording that appealed to me. Slowly I started to make a playlist of videos that I liked and chose one from them. There were a few personal favorites that I listen to even today.

One morning, I was so confused to choose a video for meditation guidance. After spending nearly 20 minutes going through every video, I decided to sit quietly by myself. And that 10 minutes by myself set a beautiful start to the day. The first time I did this was by chance and I never connected the dots.

Another day, I woke up late and felt that I was going to be late for the class I teach. But thankfully logged in 5 minutes early and sat there, eyes closed and I was present with myself. Those 5 minutes changed many things for me inside. The joy I derived from that 5 minutes gently reached out to every minute of my day and it felt like a blessing. I felt the Universe was looking at me with interesting eyes and helping things happen in my path.

The search for solitude ended there. It is not only a place where I am all alone and enjoying my company. It is also those moments where I (my SELF) am completely present with my body and my breath. On some days, this solitude can be a fleeting moment – even before I could feel its presence, it would have moved on. There are days when I can feel it deeply and joyfully.

Sleep / rest mode

In my final year Engineering, there was a project to submit. And I was lucky enough to be selected to do the project in a Company that manufactured Microprocessor based kits.

I got to partner with a lovely person who is a dear friend even now. We both got to design a kit based on a Motorola microprocessor. We studied the processor language and started to write the start up code for the kit.

We wrote a lot of routines as part of the software design. Each routine was meant for different input systems. One routine handled inputs from the keyboard while another one handled inputs from an external device and there were output routines that helped to communicate with displays and external devices like the printer.

Looking back at this project and the routines we wrote, one thing becomes clear – the routines are activated only when there is an input – an external trigger. This input can retrigger other routines or devices. Without any input or trigger, the system / microprocessor kit is idle or in sleep mode.

Now look at the human body. There are 5 sensory organs which have specific job profiles of receiving inputs from the external environment. Here the body is not waiting for inputs rather the inputs are constantly streamed into the body. The body is constantly processing all the inputs from these sensory organs thinking that they might be very crucial for survival. And this involves using a lot of the body’s energy. When energy is spent on just processing inputs, how can the body divert the energy toward healing and well-being?

Now please seat yourself in a safe place – at your home – in the comfort of a couch or bed! Here is a safe place where the body can learn to relax the processing of the inputs from the sensory organs for sometime. So gently shift your body to a comfortable posture and go with the flow of the breath in your body. Slowly disengage from the sensory inputs, if possible and try disengaging for brief moments. This process helps the body to understand how it can relax from the processing of constant inputs from sensory organs.

We can try to understand the inputs we are receiving – what are we seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling and feeling on skin. When there is mo great change in these inputs, we can suggest to our body to accept these inputs and help to relax the sensory organs.

This gentle suggestions helps shift the body to a relaxed state, the para sympathetic state. There might be expressions of this relaxed state through yawns or deep sighs or an exhalation that can be felt strongly!

This is idle mode for body – something like sleep mode in laptop – where we are resting and saving the energy of the body. We can begin by staying in this mode for 2 minutes and then slowly increase this time spent in rest mode. We learn to be with our body without doing any physical or mental activity. We teach ourselves the art of saving our body’s energy. Here we can observe small natural movements happening in our body – blinking of eyes, the flaring of nostrils as we breathe, movement at the toes, change in spine position – or any discomfort in the body.

To conserve body’s energy levels mean better healing and repair work of cells and tissues. If you are a hustler, take some time to stop hustling. If you are a multitasker, stay put with one task which is to be with your body. Challenge yourself to ignore sensory inputs. Or if your body understands soft talk, urge / cajole / suggest that you would like to do only one task which is to just be with the body and may be watch the flow of breath as you inhale and exhale. The more we practice this, we enable the body to heal well.

I remember this from my Bhagavad Gita class:

indriyāṇāṁ hi charatāṁ yan mano ’nuvidhīyate
tadasya harati prajñāṁ vāyur nāvam ivāmbhasi

BG 2.67: Just as a strong wind sweeps a boat off its chartered course on the water, even one of the senses on which the mind focuses can lead the intellect astray.

Unparenting by Reema Ahmad – Book Review

I was excited to receive this book as part of the Penguin books giveaway. And I thought to myself that I have something to read everyday for the next 2 weeks.
I surprised myself and finished reading in 3 days, trying my best to minimise housework so that I can spend more time reading.
The book is unputdownable!

While reading Reema’s journey as a mother with all its challenges, I felt the camaraderie with her even though all our interactions have been online. There is this feeling of comfort as I read her words; the feeling that both of us are sitting in a couch, drinking tea and she is telling me all these experiences from her life and her learnings! That is precisely why I couldn’t keep the book down.

I like the way the chapters are organised, the topics covered, the incidents and examples helping us to understand it from a deeper level. Very delicate topics like sex have been dealt in a way that can help younger parents. For me, it was a journey to the past. I remember writing all those articles for Parenting website by Blogadda. I have done many things intuitively with my daughters – be it talking to them about safe touch, sex and a lot on dirty slang words. I have sat with them as they ranted and let the anger out against teachers, friends and any others. I have shown them how to stand up for themselves as I stood with them. And reading all the suggestions by Reema made me super happy that I have indeed done what the coach suggests! It warms my heart to know that I have been on the right track. And maybe I still am – for there is nothing more important than the happiness of our children.

I love the sections with conversations with Imaad – very brave attempt by Reema to share those with us. I hope Imaad is OK with it! And I love the gentle nudges, easy solutions and the stark reality which she states as a matter of fact! Parenting is no joke in today’s world and finally we have some sort of suggestions and guide to help the young mothers through the journey!

One of the concepts suggested by Patanjali in his Yogasutra is that we need to look at problems by standing out of it and looking at it with a different perspective. He terms it as Pratipaksha bhavanam. Bhavanam is the attitude towards any problem. Pratipaksha is looking at it from a different point of view. And throughout the book, Reema has done just that. To every problem she faced, she had applied Pratipaksha bhavanam. Be it her divorce or the everyday struggles of single parenting, I appreciate the way she has handled every situation with kindness and compassion.

The writing doesn’t hide her gentleness. Even when she is pushed to the corner during her divorce, she holds on to that gentleness within. I feel like hugging her in those moments.

Her poems hold my heart captive.

One thing is for sure – I am going to recommend this book to the many young mothers out there, who are looking for some support on which way to go when they have to deal with their children, especially in areas which are forbidden to be discussed openly.

Reema…am so happy and proud to know you!

Reema is a NLP life coach and works in the area of healing from trauma, abuse, violence and relationship issues. Feel free to reach out to Reema at


For the past one week, I had a lots of travel to do, within the city. Breakfast and lunch was planned and packed if need be. One of the days, there was a function to attend, which involved wearing a sari.

To the person I was 10 years back, all these were not jobs at all. I was excited and thrilled with the travel. I loved the idea of packing food and eating from the dabba. I loved attending functions and dressing up for it. So all these “jobs” were a breeze!

The person I am now is different and evolved (I think so 😉) The above mentioned are jobs which needed extensive planning both physical and emotional. I needed to prepare myself for every job or work. I needed time to process what is in store for me.

The past few years of going through perimenopause, then menopause have had its effects on the physical body and the emotional one too! The loss of dear ones added to the emotional toll!

To deal with all these things felt like a challenge for me, initially! I didn’t feel like cooking most of the days. I didn’t have the josh to do anything on many days.

And later I realised one thing while going through this all – this is no challenge – this is not me against my body or emotions! I don’t need to challenge it all!

I found an easier way – supporting my body. Whenever I felt the challenge coming through me, I paused. I sat quietly and listened to my body. And I simply offered Support to my body. I talked to my body about the upcoming travel or meet with another person, prepared it and asked my body for Support during this time. I sat through those emotions, understood where it came from and held myself, gave my emotions the Support it needed.

I felt a huge relief as I supported my feelings, my body. I have never felt this good in my life!

Hexagonal Mandala

Gently gaze at the mandala! What pattern do you see first?

Now zoom the mandala and keep gazing. What pattern do you see now?

Turn the phone and try again. Observe what pattern speaks to you! Please tell all that you observed in the comments.

It is amazing, right?

This was an absolute joy to draw. Like a kid who is head over heels in love with geometry, I began drawing this hexagonal mandala.

Then circles happened inside the hexagon and outside of it too. It became very exciting when I drew the 12 pointed star. Sometimes it feels this whole mandala is about this star. Sometimes it is the hexagon. It all depends on my perspective and how I hold the art book.

So, to complement the star, I drew the night sky background and felt how all the patterns, my thoughts were all contained inside one mandala – one Universe!

My dear teacher Elsa,
You have done a beautiful job of planting a seed – the seed for the love of patterns, geometry. Gratitude for your presence🙏

The beginning of the journey – 4

The bloom

This journey of mine in the path of yoga was no easy task for me. Every new concept or idea I studied nudged me to get out of my shell – the kind of perfectionist fort that I had built around me. It started to show in my writing too. My very old posts were trying to convey something that happened to me but through the eyes of a story. The acceptance of the situation did not happen then. There were writings that dealt with everything in the third person.

Now I write from my heart – thankful to a lightweaver’s amazing writing workshop. It helped me to write the stories as they happened to me. I was able to articulate this is how I changed or this is how I healed. And I feel the sigh of relief when the words escape me and get latched on to the document.

I was a proper “to-do list” person. I generally have a plan for the day, for the week, the month, and the year too. And when things happen differently from my plan I was not very accepting towards it. I used to resist it. I didn’t want things to happen differently than what I had envisioned. It was difficult for me. And when I was forced to do those things, I did them but internally I sulked. I carried it in my heart. I was constantly on the complaint mode – talking about someone or something that didn’t go my way!

Now that I think of it, I see those moments were the triggers that I could have grasped with open hands and enabled the change to happen inside me. But then, it is ok. I learned this very important lesson in my life at the right time, for me.

And the lesson that I learned and keep embracing even now is – “Go with the flow”

I had made some progress with changes in the to-do list and started accepting the fact that certain things are not in my control. That was a huge one to take in, digest, and live with on a day-to-day basis. But I survived that part.

I want to share this story in this context. One night, as I was about to sleep, I saw an Instagram story of a dear friend. Looking at her story on some iconic picture of Chennai, I messaged her and asked if she was in the city. She said yes. And then came another message from her – “Can you travel to Auroville with me?” That message came as a big surprise – this was the first one. I read aloud the message to my husband. He was like “Do what you want” – this was the second one. This was a huge thing considering the fact that I have to cancel my classes suddenly to make a trip. I have never traveled with friends before. Before I got married, I had traveled with friends for attending a wedding. It was a big group. After getting married, it was always with the family. This kind of opportunity never happened (or maybe I didn’t see such opportunities). It was not that I was looking for some approval from the husband. But once he said those words, it hit me – Was I the one seeking approval all the time?

I just closed my eyes, placed one hand over my heart, repeated that question from my friend, and asked myself “What do I feel right now?”

I felt little butterflies in my stomach. I felt the excitement inside me. I felt the urge to go along with my friend. And I said yes to myself and to my friend.

That trip changed so many things inside me. I had moments all by myself – to be my childish self in the pool, to be my enlightened self as I introspected, to be my curious self as I went along unknown paths! I was thrilled to bits and at the same time felt a deep connection to my own self.

That beautiful bond of friendship strengthened further.

All these amazing self-realizations were made possible only when I went with the flow of the Universe! I learned that when something is placed in the path of my life, it is placed for a reason – for some change, for some understanding, for something better – here is a nudge to something! And when I looked at it with child-like curiosity I was able to feel the nudge changing me subtly so that I learn to enjoy this moment, as it comes, as it presents itself.

The frame called time

Mandala art representation of the sun and stars!

I am going to state some facts here:

The sun is a big star. Because of its proximity to our planet, we receive the light and warmth from this star. At its average distance, light travels from the Sun’s horizon to Earth’s horizon in about 8 minutes and 20 seconds.

The stars that fill up the night sky are some billion light years away from us and for us to see stars on a particular night, that light should have left the star billion light years back. Phew! I cannot even imagine that time frame!

And then I look at myself, trying to bring focus to that breath. Even before I bring in the attention to one breath, it is already done with.

This frame of time in which we see things like the sun and stars is sometimes mind boggling to feel everytime I look up at the sky. And it is so very difficult to keep the attention on that breath as it is happening.

What are we bringing our awareness to?

For the brief stay of 70 to 80 years on this planet, what are we doing to it?

What are you doing in your timeframe?

The beginning of the journey – 3

I can actually draw a line in my thought process and name it like – Before Yoga (before 2018) and After Yoga (after Aug 2018). They are so different like the Earth and the Sky. Each one had its reasons and place in my memory bank. The person I am now is embracing all these thoughts that happened because those thoughts paved the way for what I am today!

I used to think that Yoga refers only to the practice of asanas. It was only after the study of Yogasutras that I understood that Yoga is actually a way of life. The ashtanga yoga as proposed in Yogasutra is a great way to live life. It encourages changes from the inside, in our thoughts, actions and slowly we see a change in our perceptions. And suddenly we see that everything around us has changed. It started within us first.

There was a comment by my dear friend for my previous blog post and I had replied that I look forward to her comment! As I typed that, I realized that I have come a long way from who I was Before Yoga. For every action of mine, I felt that there was a tight ball filled with expectations, and when it didn’t happen, I shrunk inside and judged people.

Life was trying desperately to teach me this lesson on letting go of expectations from others and situations too. The lessons came in many forms through many people. But I was a tough nut to crack probably.

When I trained to be a Yoga teacher, I was so keen on learning about the human body and what happens when we do particular postures. A person with physical discomfort in any part of the body will not be able to do those postures which increase the discomfort. And if I continue with my expectations that a student of mine will – has to – do all the postures I teach, I would have been in for a shock. That particular learning about the human body and how to teach postures differently to different people, without expecting a perfect posture was a great lesson for me.

This led me to a better understanding of the people around me and I slowly stopped expecting people to do something or behave in a certain way. I learned the hard way to be ok with however they did it. It was not at all an easy path. It took so much time for me to understand that what others are doing is their own journey of life and that I need not wrack my brain for people doing things differently than what I had thought.

So, to put it across shortly – As a yoga teacher, I observe my students’ postures and breath. I suggest improvements based on their body’s capability. The suggestions are given because they have come to learn from me.

In real life too, I can only observe what other people do and behave. I draw boundaries to protect my space and suggest only when asked for.

I hope you were able to make sense of this rambling…

The beginning of the journey -2

The most important lesson in the Krishnamacharya tradition of yoga is that the asanas cannot be generalized. The asanas need to be adapted or modified to suit the person, their body, and their requirement at that time. For example, a person who has lower back pain or stiffness cannot be made to do all types of forward-bends on their first day of practice.

This lesson might sound very practical and many of us can also go like “oh yeah! Why do you even think otherwise?” But for a person who I was in 2018, this was something very valuable to learn.

I was illusioned by the fact that there are only 2 categories under which things fall – one is right and the other wrong. I was under the impression that I did everything the right way. And whoever did anything different from that, I considered them all as wrong. If someone took the effort to explain their way of doing it differently then maybe I agreed to a little extent. But this idea inside my head that I am right and all others are wrong was so deep-rooted. I also never voiced it to them. I held them all inside. So, when things didn’t go the way I had envisioned in my mind, I sulked and ranted sometimes to a chosen few. This was not a healthy way of living or dealing with people and situations but I was gloating in the fact that “I am a perfectionist and the others are not”

Sigh! I feel sad for that illusion which clouded my thoughts and actions.

Studying to be a yoga teacher was putting myself on the path to a “better me”. The Yogasutras have so much wisdom in them that understanding them, incorporating them into my life, led me to feel and think better.

Just like how asanas cannot be generalized for everyone, their physical body, thoughts, actions also cannot be generalized. Each one performs certain actions, believes in certain things based on their experience and perception of things.

So the circumstances that led me to do things in a certain way were not the same as others and hence they do things differently.

Actually, I was amazed by the functioning of the human brain and how it processes information, how it learns from experiences that happen during our childhood. It was such an eye-opening time for me.

I felt the change happening deep inside me. I became more accepting of others and the way they did things instead of being critical about their words and actions.

One thing led to the other. When the acceptance set in, I started accepting myself too, as I am. I didn’t expect myself to be a perfectionist like before. I learned to laugh at my mistakes. I started loving myself more. I loved the way I was changing.

I started creating art. I connected more with nature. And here I am, documenting them all!

To be continued…