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True Essence of Yoga

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Yoga

The literal meaning of this word is – Union.

The marketed meaning of this word has become – Breathing and Stretching Exercises.

We celebrated International Yoga Day Yesterday on 21st June 2019. Something which originated in India centuries ago has now widespread on an International level. Its popularity has gained a stronghold, especially in western countries. By declaring 21st June as International Yoga Day, we are now celebrating this rich heritage of India worldwide. The most profound thing here is that Yoga is accepted everywhere by all age groups and ethnicities. Despite the fact that some people confuse it with Hindu Religion and try to deter non-Hindus in accepting this healthy way of living; its positive life-altering experiences has credited in its success and popularity among masses.

But, my question over here is -The Yoga that we are celebrating and promoting, is this the true Yoga in its complete form?

If you google yoga types, you will find Hot Yoga, Yin Yoga, Hybrid Yoga, Power Yoga, etc… I couldn’t comprehend how did we reach here from a simple word which meant – Union.

person meditating
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Yoga is as simple as the word Union, its literal meaning. 

It is a union of you with your higher self. You may call it God, Universe, Existence, Non -Existence, Nothingness, Everlastingness, or just a union with your true self. Once you will understand the Union aspect of it, then you will also realize that you are never apart. So, why the Union? How can we unite with something from which we were never apart? This union is not physical. This is spiritual and psychological. This is more like a realization through self-discovery.

What we see today everywhere is more of Aasans and Pranaayam; which on a broad level can be categorized as body exercises/postures and breathing techniques to attain a healthy physical body for a healthy mind and in turn, they help you in progressing towards spiritual union(the true Yoga). We certainly need to go step by step and thus this is the most important step to lay the foundation upon which you can climb higher in your spiritual growth. It is as important as a baby’s first step. But, we also need to keep that in mind that purpose of teaching a baby how to walk is not limited to him taking a walk but also teaching him a way of life where he knows what he should be walking towards to.

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There are various paths given to achieve this self-realization from Raaj Yoga to Karma Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, and Hath Yoga, etc. There are ‘Yama’ and ‘Niyams’ to be followed like Ahimsa, Asteya, Aparigraha, Santosha, etc. The intent is not to just clean your body of toxins but also your mind, your actions, and your thoughts. We need to integrate it into our behavior and our actions if we want to call it Yoga; otherwise what most of us are doing are just aasans and pranaayaam. This should be the role and responsibility of Yoga teachers who when opening up Yoga Studios and Yoga Workshop teach their disciple that Yoga is done by integrating a way of life where not only our physical body but we also take care of our psychological and Spiritual well being.

In Yoga, we talk about harmony. We talk about our connection with each other. We talk about how we are connected to nature. We talk about how we are one with everything around us. How we are one with The One. It is much much much larger than what we have shown to the world so far. I know with time, we will teach our young generation that how they can start with Aasans and Pranayams and progress through Meditation and a Yoga Path to reach to their full potential and live a life which is filled with joy and compassion.

Happy Yoga Day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Does your food taste better than…?

Does your food taste better than…?

How Good are your cooking skills?

I am not that sort of person to ask such question, but just for my curiosity can you answer this question. When you are answering it, you must be going through all the compliments that you have received for your food so far. Compliments on how delicious that particular dish was, how mouth-watering your gravy was on that day, how yummy that cake looked which you made on your kid’s birthday…. Did any of compliments mentioned, how great you cook in comparison to a restaurant/hotel?

A guy in my office, who basically is of  European origin, asked me in a very serious tone, “Can I ask you a question about what an Indian guy said to me one time?

Me: yeah, sure.

We were at the lunch table, eating and talking about various cultures when suddenly he asked me this question. By the way, he is a great cook, at least that’s what he claims. I have yet to find proof of his claim.

He: Once I had an Indian friend over at my place for dinner, and about my food, he said to me, “It tastes just like restaurant food”.

He: why did he say such a thing? I just don’t understand, was he trying to insult my food?

That was the time I laugh so hard that I almost choked on my food. All of us present on the table were laughing, except my European friend.

He: and, while he was insulting my food, he was smiling and nodding his head, like it was an acceptable thing to say.

Me: (still laughing) don’t worry, treat it as the highest compliment for your food. He was complimenting your food, not insulting it.

He: but, who compares home-cooked meal to a hotel food. Home cooked is special. I put so much effort into it. It was not at all comparable with a hotel food.

Before our laugh riot could go further, I felt the need to explain.

We(Indians) usually eat homemade food, daily. Occasionally we go to restaurants and order something special. Unlike, most of the people here, who eat outside food daily, and cook at home seldom.

For you, cooking at home is special, as you do it rarely, with family. When you are cooking, your whole family is cooking with you in the kitchen. It is a family celebration. It is special. For us, when we cook, we (woman) cook alone in our kitchen; and most of the time, it is a mundane daily activity for us. But, when we go outside to eat; our whole family goes together to eat and enjoy. That is special for us.

Does your food taste better than…?

When you are doing something daily, even when it is an important work; with time it loses its importance. We take the breath every second of our life, but we value it when we have to struggle to take it. Food that we are cooking and eating daily loses its charm after a while, but we realize love and effort put into it, once we don’t have that luxury of eating a home-cooked meal. We appreciate only those things which are hard to get.

After talking to him, I realized how important that food is which I am making with my own hands. It has care and love in it. It is special. It can never be like a hotel food.

Now, my husband needs to find a better compliment than saying, “oh, this tastes so good, just like a restaurant.”

Get Married, Everything Will Be Fine

Shaadi Kardo, sab theek ho jayega

Shaadi Kardo, sab theek ho jayega (Get Married, Everything Will Be Fine), if you have heard this from your parents; I could say with almost certainty that you are the kid of an Indian parent.

Marriage is the ultimate solution to every problem in the eyes of your parent. It doesn’t even matter if you have reached an age of maturity, as long as legally you can be married; they will marry you, or threaten to marry you, if you have misbehaved in any way. So, if you are above 20 years of age, and still unmarried… chances are every bad thing that you will do, will result in your parent screaming in agony – beta/beti haath se nikal gaya.

Shaadi Kardo, sab theek ho jayega

God save you, if your relatives came to know of it. Then you will for sure get marriage advises pouring like rain in thunderstorm. They will not only bombard you pictures of suitable partner for you but also gladly take part in discussing the pitiful circumstances of your parents. Bechare Maa Baap.

It doesn’t even matter what kind of problem you have fallen trap to.

You are smoking – Get married.

Drinking – Get married.

Fallen in love – Get married, preferably not to your love interest.

Not respectful towards your parents – Get married.

Spend too much time out of home – Get married.

Problem is, do parents ask themselves, how this problem is going to get solved after marriage?

Shaadi Kardo, sab theek ho jayega

So, if you are smoking, or drinking, and your parents decided to marry you to get rid of this bad habit. Aren’t they trying to say that we have failed in our 20+ long years of parenting, so we are expecting a new person, possibly your new bride, to not only adjust to a new home, new husband, new family, but also to work on your addiction to improve you. :O

A girl who is same as your age, or younger, is now put in charge of making you a decent human being.  A girl, who has just had the most life changing experience of her life by getting married and moving to a new home, is now expected to work not only on her problems but yours too. Was that part of the deal when she said yes to this marriage?

Or, what if she fails?

What if she is not able to get these bad habits out of you, then what? Are you going to support her, or your son?

Is it really her fault, or is it yours?

Shaadi Kardo, sab theek ho jayega

When you expect a well-educated, well-behaved, cook, beauty queen, cleaning lady, out of a newlywed girl, did you offer her a well-behaved, loving, decent, caring husband too?

If you are marrying your kid, because he/she love someone, who is not your choice; then aren’t you trying to destroy 4 lives, and in turn 4 families by this decision. Life of the boy and girl in love, and those who they will get married to.

Shaadi Kardo, sab theek ho jayega

Again, if you married your daughter/son to someone else other than their preferred one; aren’t you saying that we have failed at parenting and let their life partner now deal with this issue.

 

If your kid is spending too much time out of home, and you are not aware of the whys, then why are you risking ruining their life partner life?

If your kid is not respecting you, why do you think he/she will respect their life partner? What will you do if he/she will abuse their life partner? What will be your plan then?

Shaadi Kardo, sab theek ho jayega

Marriage is not a solution to this, your Parenting is. Be a good parent and please do not ruin life of someone else. Your son/daughter is your own responsibility. By marrying them you cannot transfer your responsibility to someone else’s son/daughter.

Marriage is not a solution, and please do not make it a Problem.

 

 

Be a (Wow)Man

 

Be a (Wow)Man

We celebrated International Women’s Day yesterday, and instead of writing about women I wrote this article on men. Something is terribly wrong with me. 😛

It was not intentional though. As I started to write about what does being a woman feel like, how hard it is to be a woman; I just asked myself; is it easy being a man?

When I look at men around me, it feels like they are living a life of stereotype too. They are also not free. Not free to be what they really want to be. As soon as they step from boyhood to manhood, they are told to man up.

“Be a Man. Man up.”

Just imagine that you are saying these words to someone. What does these words mean to you? What is the message they convey?

Be a (Wow)Man

For me, the immediate thought was to tell someone to ‘be brave’, ‘be strong’, ‘be without any weakness’. In short, do not tell me what your problems are, face them yourself. You are a man. Do not cry. Do not show me your weakness. Do not let me see your pain. Do not show your emotions.

Absurd, right?

I am conditioned to think this way about what being a man means. Most of us are. Now for me, ‘Be a Man’, means nothing else than a stupid patriarchal statement.

Why stupid? Well, I don’t think that men are stronger than women. I know few women who are much stronger than most of the men. Being strong, physically or emotionally has nothing to do with gender.

Brave? You are not going to war anymore. You may go to war-room to confront your boss, but so are the women. In-fact when you were using a weapon to prove your bravery in wars, some of the women were bravely handling both house and outside work to feed their family. Bravery is measured by the size of enemy in front of you. you were fighting with another man; while women have always fought against whole world.

Be a (Wow)Man

Be a man, what does it even mean then?

Come to think of it, have you ever heard someone say, ‘Be a Woman’. I have never-ever heard anyone say it to me, and believe me I have heard so many suggestions…. Be a well-mannered daughter, to sanskari-bahu, be a loving wife, to a good sister, even a good cook… but never have I heard – ‘Be a Woman’.

I wonder if I say, ‘Be a Woman’ to my female friends, how will they react to it?

Women don’t have to be told ‘to be a woman’, unlike men, who may need constant reminders. Lol.

Be a (Wow)Man

Well, considering everything I can say that the only thing that can remotely sum up being a man is not to show your true emotions. Boys don’t cry, right?

Why and when did we put these criteria for being a man, that you cannot show your human emotions? Why would anyone want to be like this? Isn’t it hard to be such a man? Why to be a man when all it means is to be emotionless? Is it worth it? Worth being such a man?

Be a (Wow)Man

Be a woman, or be a wow-man. If all of this is confusing, then just be a kind and compassionate person.

That’s enough.

 

New Year, Old Me (Mostly)

New Year, Old Me (Mostly)

Welcome 2017. Happy New Year to you.

2016 was an eventful year. It was bad for some, worse for some and few lucky ones enjoyed it too… but one thing that I am sure of is that 2016 didn’t had any dull moment. It was a year of ups and downs; unpredictable and unimaginable things becoming reality, and some insanity coming into existence. This may or may not be a little pointy finger towards Trump’s win.

2016 was the year of Hermit, and it turns out to be true to its nature. A true Hermit it was, especially for me on a personal and professional level. A lot of introspection. A lot of things which were deep down and buried inside in me, surfaced out and were slapped on my face again and again, until I dealt with them. Insane, right?

New Year, Old Me (Mostly)

It was a year of awakening and realization.

If you went through some self-realization or some major upheaval last year, then you could be among the few lucky ones. Your life most probably is changing for the better. 2017 being year belonging to Wheel of Fortune; your destiny may have something better for you this year. Take it as a reward for all the crap you dealt with last year. Or, if you are like me, enjoy every moment; be it sorrow or joy.

If you think that I am going to unload whole Tarot or spirituality stuff all over you… no-no, no such intention. Although I may try that in some other post… well, I love to scare people.

New Year, Old Me (Mostly)
New Year, Old Me (Mostly)

For me, it was a year of observation. I was just a witness and observing, as all who were/are around me went through some major life S#@t last year. Every person I connected with last year went through such major life crisis; it was horrible to even think of the pain they must have gone through. It was hard for me too. Especially when you see your loved ones, your relatives, your friends, and some strangers who turned friends; go through painful life moments, and you are just standing there trying to think of saying something which will help soothe their pain, or give them a right direction. I tried my best, but kind words are not enough sometimes. I wish I could have a magic wand…. Coming to think of it, even if I will have a magic wand, I may not change anything. One thing that I have understood in past 2 years is that each person must go through his own s#!t in order to grow. No one else can do it for you. we can just share some kind words and be there when you need someone to talk to. You must do it on your own. One promise from me is that you won’t be alone.

New Year, Old Me (Mostly)
New Year, Old Me (Mostly)

Another promise, I will not change. Well, I will improve, but I will not change myself. I have reached a point where I am happy with the way I am, with everything in me. So, in 2017 too, my focus will be only on learning new things and improving myself, not to change anything in me. If you are not happy with the way I am now… well good luck waiting for me to change.

Happy 2017. Love you. ❤