Thursday, 15 October 2020
Early start for me this morning. I woke up at 5:30am and was up by 6am. After the usual morning routine and 2 glasses of warm water it was down to the living room and onto my yoga mat. I teach a yoga class at 9:30am so my asana practice included the class sequence and I worked on asana modifications I need to make for the new students. I practiced agni sara kriya and kapalabhati pranayama today. I intend to continue with these practices for the next 3 weeks as part of the cleansing programme.
I am on day 25 of the 40 day mantra sadhana and I am managing to chant every morning. However, Navarantri, the Hindu festival is starting in two days. Navaratri literally means ‘Nine Nights’. It is celebrated every year all over India and elsewhere in the world among Hindus as well as many yoga practitioners. It is a celebration of the Goddess, the cosmic energy (known as Durga, Kali, Lakshmi, Saraswati, amongst others). This energy creates, sustains and destroys the universe, including everyone and everything in it.
I am planning on chanting the Durgādvātrimśatnāmamālā or the 32 Names of Durga mantra for the duration of the festival. The intention is to chant my daily mantras in the mornings and the Durga mantra in the evenings. This mantra is believed to be very powerful - after all, it is chanted in celebration of one of the most powerful Goddesses, and it helps remove fear, danger and threat. It is also chanted for protection and strength. This mantra will be chanted all over the world at this time, multiplying its potency. Unfortunately, the powerful effects of sound vibration on our psyche and general well-being are rarely talked about in the West. Unless you have an interest in the Eastern philosophies, or yoga and spirituality, it is unlikely that you will come across opportunities to experience the therapeutic effects of sound or, indeed, chant. I have written a blog on the significance of the mantra Om, I start and end every yoga class with this mantra, and you can read it here if interested.
Back to my day, and I have my breakfast just after 8am. This morning I prepare semolina porridge with home made almond milk and water (50/50 ratio), to which I add a 1/4 tsp cardamom, a pinch of nutmeg, a handful of raisins and some toasted cashew nuts. I sweetened my porridge with a teaspoon of organic maple syrup. It's super delicious and intensely satisfying! I feel that we often overlook and forget about semolina, but it has so many benefits.
I leave for my class at 9am to get to the studio early. I love the new studio and very grateful that I can teach yoga face to face at this challenging time! The morning class is 75 minutes but I stay to chat to staff and to finalise my upcoming workshop bookings. By the time I get home it is already 11:30am and I am feeling hungry. My mid day snack today is a banana. I sit down to do some work on my laptop for an hour before lunch, but I am feeling tired. This tiredness creeped up out of nowhere on me today - I have been feeling energetic all week. Perhaps it is the earlier start to my day that is having an effect on me but I am struggling to work. Despite this, I manage to put together a marketing poster, with the help of my son. Satisfied with our achievement, I head to the kitchen to prepare lunch.
Lunch today is different. No mung beans or chappatis. Instead, I prepare a vegetarian paella with barley instead of rice and a mixture of vegetables including beetroot, carrots, leeks and chard. I use cumin, mustard and coriander seeds as well as some chipotle chilli and turmeric to spice it up and also add some organic tomato paste and vegetable stock to it. The result is super delicious, especially with a squeeze of lemon juice! I feel like barley is another grain that is often overlooked and yet it provides so many benefits for our health.
After my filling lunch and a short break I am feeling more alive and ready to do more work. I have an apple for snack at around 5pm and work until 6:45pm. I then head out for a walk with a friend at 7pm. We go for a nice, brisk walk for 30 minutes, I aim to walk every day, and it is great! It is so amazing to be able to catch up in person!