Take wrong turns, talk to strangers!

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Take wrong turns. Talk to strangers. Put the phone in your pocket. Take a long walk. Feel the cool breeze on your face. Look at the kids play. Hear them laugh. Laugh with them. Go out. Discover your own neighborhood. Go see how much it has changed. Meet a friend. From your childhood. Have a heart to heart.

Read a poem, not from google, but from a book. An old, musty, dog-eared book. See how gorgeous it feels in your hands. Savour that smell. Scribble a note. Write a letter. To that one friend, who was not in touch. Talk about old times. The nostalgia. Bond.

Lose your phone. Get a map. Lose yourself in a new city. Appreciate the beauty around you. Learn love, learn to love. Give it away freely. Understand. Be sensitive. Be vulnerable. Be open. Be kind. Be free. Flow. Like the wind that blows through your hair.

Go see the moon. And the stars. Contemplate. Look at the vastness of the dark night sky. Go take that road. The one you never do. Step out of familiarity. Step out of your comfort zone. Get a reason to live. Go chase that reason.

Go search for a story. Your story. Your purpose. Go away, far far away. And come back, for the simple pleasure of that walk back home!

love, the yoga cookie xo

A Love Letter to Yoga…

Dear Yoga,

The relationship I have with you is the only one that deserves a heartfelt love letter. The first time I met you, you made me take a deep breath and stretch up and it felt like I had just pulled my whole life together. Just like that. Of course, you know that I got attracted to you because of the Sun Salutations, but I stayed for the Shavasana – the corpse pose.  I was hooked the moment you said, it’s ok to lie down on your mat, get into Shavasana and let it all go. Focus on the chirping of the birds and the light at the end of the tunnel. Yes, please.

It was a special day when you showed me the pleasure of one deep breath, and the power in ten. You might not remember it, but I do. Hard to believe it was more than ten years ago. I still remember, only vaguely though, how easy it was for you to convince me to be myself in this photo-shopped world. You said it was ok to live with a broken heart, and I believed you. You said that everyone has it and it’s not as rare as we all think. Forget about the heartbreak and concentrate on the lessons, you said. I realised later on that it was some really good advice. You taught me to slow down, see and feel the beauty of stillness, and stop glorifying the ‘busy.’

You changed my outlook on everything, bit by bit. You made my life dance – with the yin of love, the yang of struggle. You made me understand gratitude and acceptance, made me see the people to be grateful for, and also gave me the courage to be vocal about it. You gave me just a little bit of clarity, added to it day after day and here I am, a little more sorted than yesterday, a little happier than yesterday.

Anyone who dedicates their time to you eventually understands that you are more than just a physical exercise and the real yoga practice starts when you step off the mat and into life. You teach us to be be flexible not only in the body, but also in the mind. Making us stand on our heads in the headstand is not the goal, getting a fresh perspective is; getting the body in shape is not what you strive for, shaping lives is your aim.

In Tadasana – the tree pose, you teach us to ground our feet, balance ourselves and raise our consciousness up into the sky as we raise our arms; and be still, be upliftedChin up, head held high, look forward and concentrate within, Virbhadrasana – the warrior pose, teaches us that. That challenging and incredibly satisfying stretch in Kapotasana – the pigeon pose is life affirming in a lot of ways and thank you for that.

The power you hold over me is not in this or that, in the easy poses or in the difficult ones. It is in the fact that you bring the polarities of my body together, balancing it and activating it at the same time. I know I am yet to earn the right to call myself a yogini on and off the mat but I am getting there, as you are teaching me how. Thank you for that. Thank you for everything. Thank you for making my prana flow. I love you.

Xo, the yoga cookie

O Winter, you and your vagaries!

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It’s one of those days, or should I say nights – dark windows, darker outside the windows. Pitch dark, and biting cold. The sky is grey, freezing drops of rain are falling. The wind is sighing, showing ominous signs of oncoming large snowflakes. The winter weather is upon us – stubborn, moody, heartless and unforgiving. That time of the year when the landscape takes control of our lives, the negative temperature on the weather app overshadowing our very existence.

Life feels hard when we don’t have any control over our days; and it’s definitely harder letting the inanimate weather take control of our lives. It is depressing listening to the sighs of the wind – the sad, loud, chilly sighs of this cold arctic wind which is going to be around for some time now. It is hard to look up at the vast, unrelenting grey skies day after day, every day! Hard to hand over the control of our lives to something that looks so calm and harmless from the windows of our living rooms.

This depressing weather got me thinking today. Winter is harsh, but it also preserves. Food labels tell us to store foods in a cold, dark place so that they last longer. Winter has this quality of preserving life, like it preserves a seed – so that it blooms in the best possible way when the spring arrives. So let’s take this season to pause and reflect and see within, nourish our bodies with healthy foods and our souls with some self-reflection, so that when the spring arrives we are ready for it for all our worth. Winter is a friend in disguise; and this wintry night sky with all its glory and vastness will open into a new horizon as soon as the spring comes.