Mid-week Affirmations! 


What you seek is seeking you, said Rumi. So let it go, and let it be and watch as everything falls into place!

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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 overshadows our very existence.

Life feels hard when we don’t have any control over our days; and its definitely harder letting the inanimate weather take control of our lives. It is kinda 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.

But this depressing weather got me thinking today. Winter is harsh but it also preserves. Food labels always 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.

 

Things we talk about!

We talk about everything, don’t we! At least we want to.

We talk about things. Mundane, everyday things, and of their nothingness. We talk about people we met, and about people we wish we didn’t. People who left and those who stayed. The goodbyes we said, and the ones we didn’t. The summer that burns, and the wind that bellows. The winter that is coming, the journeys ahead, the ones already completed!

Chaotic, insignificant details of our pseudo-busy lives. Isn’t it fun, you telling me and me telling you, about the crazy, but also inconsequential details sprinkled throughout our days. You, on the highway. Me on the treadmill. My obsession with my phone, and Milan Kundera. You with your worldly lectures on finances. This small world, with little things that brighten our days. Imaginary lives, trips of nostalgia. We talk about forest fires, and falling rain. Places we have been, and the ones we are yet to visit. People-watching, name-calling, gossiping, weaving stories – long, banal, useless stories. How much I love wine, and you your crown royal. Childhood memories, those anecdotes, these conversations. You feel like an ally now. Not a friend, but an ally. Listening to me go on and on about Pablo Neruda and that vague fragrance, the way a new book smells, or an old one. The romance of a train journey, the beauty of fall. This snow globe we live in, and the falling snow!

We never talk about hopes though. Never about how I want to cling to that hope. We never acknowledge our half-fictional lives and the meaning we are trying to find; keeping appearances and fake smiles. The rules you make, and the ones I want to break. We talk about dreamy poetry, dissecting what the poet means. Never about dreams though. This is not a complaint, or a rant. This is a wish. I want these conversations to go on forever. Talk to me about whatever you want, but do talk!

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. 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. Go see 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 routine. 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

Let the world be your oyster!

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Hard to believe that 2016 is almost over. It has been an incredible year when it comes to sports. Serena Williams touched that holy grail of sports, when she was named the best sportsperson ( not sportswoman, but person ) of all time last year. And this year she went even further and won her 22nd Grand Slam in Tennis. How awe-inspiring is that!

Portugal registered that stylish mid-year win over France, their first ever win in the Euro Cup. Portugal’s win had extra swag as they did it without their superstar captain Ronaldo who retired hurt and super emotional; and they defeated France in Stade de France in Paris. Amazing, right!

We also saw that amazing and  magnificent ( though controversy ridden ) sports spectacle of Olympics, in August this year in Rio, Brazil. There was a lot of cynicism and criticism around the event but there was nothing new in it though. Major sporting events and controversy are almost always interlinked. India faced the same criticism over project completion, safety issues and various other things when New Delhi hosted the Commonwealth Games in 2010. The competing athletes are always aware of these hurdles and yet look forward to these events and so do we.

Over the weeks when Olympics was on,  we witnessed young athletes, some pros and mostly first timers, demonstrate amazing skills; skills which they had spent a lifetime to perfect. Athletes who worked hard all their lives with that one event in focus; who  honed and polished their skill in anticipation of what unfolded in the next few weeks in those newly constructed sports arenas in Rio.

Unknown people, whose names we had never heard competed and won medals in some of the hardest athletic competitions in the world; represented their countries, performed at that level and won, won sweet victories for which they sacrificed simple pleasures of life, and the luxury of doing nothing almost their entire lives. By the time the Olympics ended, they became famous all over the world, and they had worked very very hard to deserve that.

Here in Toronto, we go crazy when the Blue Jays are playing and crazier when they are winning. If you ever watch the game live in the stadium, the energy is so real, palpable that you can almost touch it. That rush of adrenaline when our team wins is what us fans live for. And all that is because we are putting all we have into that one game, the team and the fans both.

A sportsperson’s commitment to their game, their physical investment in their skill, their raw desire to win, and win every time overwhelms me. And motivates me. And warms my heart. And I can’t help but think that this world is going to be our oyster if we try and put that same effort in our work. This world is going to be our oyster if we try and be the Serena Williams and Christiano Ronaldos and Olympians of what we do in our daily lives. What all are we capable of achieving if we commit to our work, and our life like a sportsperson?

XO, the yoga cookie!

PS: For good measure, watch this recitation of Maya Angelou’s “I Rise” by Serena Williams and be inspired. *Goosebumps*

A Love Letter to Yoga!

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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, its 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, oh 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 eight 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 its not as rare as we all think. You told me to forget about the heartbreak and concentrate on the lessons; and I did and later on I realised 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 not to be flexible only in the body, but also flexible 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 mountain 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 uplifted. Chin 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 to. Thank you for that. Thank you for everything. Thank you for making my prana flow. I love you.

Xo, the yoga cookie