I had no idea what motherhood and yoga would look like. I thought I would have a house and a husband but life had other plans. I could resist life and grasp to what is not, or open with curiosity to what is.
As sacred land is violated in North Dakota, I wonder how often we violate the sacred land that is our bodies. I feel a call to honor our bodies as well as Mother Earth. May we remember how sacred the land of our bodies is, how precious and sacred intimacy is and make sure the people we let in respect our sacred land.
Spirit does not recognize color, class, nationality or gender. Spirit sees the heart and the energy that each individual radiates to the Whole which includes the self and all of life; plants, animals, nature, people.
The spirit indeed is deathless as the yogis have always said. We are immortal. We are the ones with one thousand arms, like the heroes in many world mythologies. No matter what our circumstance, we each are capable. How will your spirit live on?
My lineage goes back to the rishis, the earliest yogis who were "seers." In silence, they connected to the earth, water, fire, wind and the cosmic order. Their exploration was how to live in harmony with the cosmos in order to ensure the health of their family, clan, tribe and humanity at large.
As I tried to figure out next steps, I finally decided to "Let Go and Let God." Surrender. I made a resolve to become receptive to what the universe has in store for me rather than try to figure it out. I prayed, "Lord, make me an instrument of your peace."
This past year was the most challenging one so far for me. Slowly, over the past few weeks, I have come to the other side of painful times. I bow down to the darkness I have felt this year. I bow down to the pain and the thoughts laced with anger, sadness, anxiety and fear – for I may label them as “negative,” but what they are is a gift…if I let them be.
When you don't know how to make the changes in your life that you sincerely pray for, forces higher than yourself step in to help you. It took months, but, I can see this now. I can appreciate this now. This is the beginning of getting my spirit back.
After having a child, I kept wondering when I would go back to feeling like my “normal” self again…the Reema that I was before having a baby. I waited and wondered. I felt nostalgic and frustrated. Then one day I realized that that Reema is gone.
My work is not to try and retrieve who I was before having a baby but to be receptive to who I am now. Instead of this being depressing, it is exciting! Instead of holding on to what no longer exists, I feel like a child discovering who I am.
Yesterday I learned that we are made of our maternal Grandmothers. When our mothers are six months gestated in the womb, they receive all the eggs they will ever have. Our beginning of this physical life takes place there and then. Perhaps that is why I feel close to my mother’s mother.
About ten days ago my landlords told me that they will not renew my lease. As soon as I move out they said they will raise the rent by several hundreds of dollars. My mind quickly turned to judgement and labels. Negativity and darkness easily came through my heart and mind.
These are lyrics to a beautiful, indigenous song of South America. Such lyrics are found in the Yoga traditions of South Asia as well. When singing mantra in the yoga tradition, it is understood and stated clearly in the scriptures: "We sing to the deity to awaken the deity within. If you think the deity is one and you another, you do not know.
My spiritual practice aims to cultivate a mind and heart that can find compassion for all beings. After the 2012 rape and murder of Jyoti Singh in India, I was feeling lost and defeated. I emailed a dear friend, “I can’t find compassion for the men who raped and killed her,” I wrote. “My heart is just not capable of doing that.”
“How do you make a moment sacred?” I was asked recently. I have wondered this many times myself. A couple of months ago I attended a powerful poetry reading with Coleman Barks and Michael Meade. Meade was reciting some lines of Hafiz, one of which was, "Everything is sacred."
"Don't hide behind your compassion," says Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita, a classic book of timeless wisdom. The Gita emphasizes that we each have a very specific purpose. In Sanskrit, the work we were created to do is called our, Svadharma. Deep down, we know what we are meant to do. Krishna warns us: "Where there is personal attachment, sentimentality arises and we may fail to follow through with our purpose."
A spiritual warrior refuses to die to his/her true self.
From the very beginning of my pregnancy, I was clear that I wanted to do a home birth. My parents were extremely upset and worried. How could I risk the life of my unborn child and that of my own? I don't blame them for being scared. I was scared of giving birth too. Yet, my vision and desire were strong to birth at home.
As soon as you sit down and take five slow, deep breaths letting the mind rest on the present moment, you know that it is possible to slow down time. Try this once a day for a week, then twice a day for two weeks and then thrice a day for three weeks. Then try to breathe slow and deep all day. In the midst of your day notice when the breath becomes shallow and slow it down no matter what you are doing.
We are all pulled in so many directions. At least, I can say that I surely am. Before having my daughter, Mila, I spent years traveling and teaching yoga in beautiful places. It was exciting and wonderful to meet many amazing souls and to share my passions in this way. I learned an immense amount and I also sacrificed having a daily rhythm.
I never realized that a meal so decadent and delicious can be prepared this fast. The best part? The curry is made in a blender! For a small family, the below recipe will give you leftovers as it serves 8 people:
I notice that when people tell me that I am strong and capable, I step up, inspired to explore my potential more. When people believe in me, I remember to believe in myself. As I notice that people have this power over me, I realize that we all have this power over each other. "Who did you make feel significant today...?
I don't often tell people details of the story of when I first found out I was pregnant. But, here I am writing this blog and practicing transparency... ;) I was meditating; my body relaxed and seated in a classic meditation posture. With my eyes closed, I saw...
I have been aware over the past year or so that it has been hard for me to stay connected to my heart and body and my power as I have been focused so much on giving. If I had not gone on this trip, I would not have noticed just how much I have distanced myself from who I am beyond the roles of mother and partner.
Seeing a child move with freedom can inspire us to look at our own lives. The timeless wisdom of the Bhagavad Gita encourages us to ask ourselves: is our outer life (svadharma) a refection of our inner world (svabhaga)? Are we living with integrity? The Gita teaches us that submission to external authority can move us away from self-integrity. The yoga teachings encourage us to develop our inner nature, relate to the world in ever new ways and thus grow into freedom where the integrity of the self is never compromised.