How yoga can help arthritis and other auto-immune condition patients with pain management and healing
Meditation was first acknowledged 1500 years ago but it has only become popular in the western world over the last decade.
It is a practice which is independent of any religious belief and an integral part of daily life for many practitioners.
Our lives are dictated by material pursuits and we are on a treadmill of financial fulfilment. We are so busy with our digital lives and social media that we have neglected the need to be spiritually abundant. Financial comfort and personal pleasure are important, however, in themselves, without a spiritual anchor they are empty and meaningless.
I have been asked countless times what meditation consists of and how to go about doing it. In itself, meditation is such an expansive subject that it is not possible to go into great detail in a short post.
What I can say is that regular practice will profoundly change your life.
How can it do this?
Well, it changes the chemicals in the brain and how the brain functions. Meditation helps to shift negative emotions like anger, fear and self doubt into more positive and stable ones. It increases self worth and confidence and promotes a more compassionate nature. It calms the mind and helps you connect with your higher self. Whilst it may not change your immediate challenges, it certainly changes your attitude to them. Surely that, in itself, is a miracle.
Meditation not only enriches our emotional and spiritual wellbeing but it has a significant impact on our physical health. Mainstream universities, Harvard included, and the health system in many countries have shown a great interest in meditation and conducted research into the changes meditation can bring.
They have shown that meditation can:
It is important to clarify there is no single way to meditate. There are many forms of meditation.
For the sake of simplicity and to assist beginners, I have created an easy 3-minute guided meditation which is suitable for children and adults. It requires no fancy tools, just a personal promise to practice it on a daily basis for the best and long lasting results.
In order to experience the benefits mentioned above, it is important to calm and relax the mind. If your mind is flooded with thoughts, let them pass and know that with practice the thoughts will occur less. Try to bring your focus back to your breath if your mind wanders.
I welcome you to commit to an 11 day meditation challenge starting on 3rd February. Once you have successfully completed the 11 days please try to make it a part of your daily routine and build up the time from 3 minutes to 11 minutes.
Trust the Universe.
If your prayer is answered, be grateful for the blessing. If your prayer is not answered, have faith and know that there is a higher purpose behind it. Don't be disappointed if things don't work out your way because it's happening in God's way.
Trust the Universe.
It's easy to express gratitude when our prayers are answered but our true test of faith is when things don't work out the way we want it to and STILL accept it gracefully with gratitude. That is true faith.
How much do YOU trust the universe? I would love to hear your thoughts or experiences.
Happy New Year to everyone!
A successful year is made by many successful days.
With each sunrise we are given the opportunity to choose how we live that day.
Every morning, take slow, deep and calming breaths.
Imagine a golden light entering and cleansing every cell in your body. With every inhalation feel a stream of love, light and peace entering you. Embrace this feeling.
If you are going through a stressful patch in life, acknowledge it, be aware that you have the choice to break any unhealthy patterns.
As you breathe out feel all the negativity in your body, any aching pains or emotional blockages from ego, fear or anger melt away. Feel the negativity leave your body and allow it to be transformed into golden light.
Continue to do this for as long or as short as you wish. It is a wonderful and effective visualisation technique.
You are more powerful than you think. Be the master of your mind, be the master of your destiny. Thoughts are powerful seeds; whatever we sow, we will reap.
I have just returned from an exciting trip to Mumbai.
I had some much needed quality time with my parents and extended family. Late night chats, early morning family yoga sessions, serendipitous encounters on the plane and teaching under privileged children some important yoga tools were some of my activities during this trip.
I also conducted 2 wonderful interviews with some globally renowned yoga masters (I shall elaborate on this soon).
This adventure was a beautiful mix of gratitude, excitement and hope.
I have returned home with cherished memories. With the Christmas season coming up I saw many people at the airport, some brimming with energy, travelling to be with family and others who looked plain exhausted, pardon the pun!
This is known as the season of goodwill and I feel it is important to remind ourselves that it should be a season of humility, togetherness and grounding ourselves. In the weeks leading up to Christmas many of us find ourselves in a frenzy of trying to “get ready for Christmas.” The beauty is in finding stillness amidst this feverish pace.
I have two simple exercises to share with you which I hope you will find helpful. One, that will help to calm you down and the other to provide you energy and vitality to move forward.
Have you ever wondered why you have two nostrils instead of one big one?
Our body is a finely tuned machine operating on positive and negative electrical currents.
In the ancient science of Kundalini Yoga, we are taught that there are two energies called Ida and Pingala that intertwine up the sides of the spine and that unite to form the Sushmana or the central channel.
The Ida energy, on the left, is the moon energy: reflective, calming, cooling and female.
The right is Pingala and has the energy of the sun: bright, fiery, awakening and male.
Watch the video for a demonstration of right nostril and left nostril breathing.
Please do try these exercises and I can promise, when done on a regular basis they will give you the energy or calmness that you are looking for.
Doing is believing.... Yogi Bhajan
It is so easy to forget one of the most important expressions of life.
A simple thank you for the blessings we have.
I’d like to share a true story of how gratitude changed a woman from a state of miserable unhappiness to realisation with one short conversation.
At the hospital where my daughter was being treated, a woman walked into the ward and I noticed the sudden whisperings and sly glances amongst the nurses. Curious, I enquired why the staff seemed so excited.
“She is the lady who came by yesterday and spoke to the patient in room 21!”
Mrs. Anderson was the patient in room 21 and had been suffering with a long bout of depression. She had been receiving treatment for this with little success. However, a single conversation with this remarkable guest seemed to have cured her and she happily discharged herself from the hospital.
“What did you say to Mrs. Anderson?” the nurses asked this anonymous lady.
"All the medical treatment and consultations we gave her did nothing and yet you had such a profound effect on her that she felt ready to leave the hospital.”
The lady smiled and calmly replied, “I simply asked her to list all the things she was grateful for in her life. At first, Mrs. Anderson was cynical and refused to budge. She was determined to focus on her problems."
“Me and grateful? My life is a dark cloud, I am burdened with worries and depression has kept me here for a month!”
"I reminded her of all the simple things we take for granted. A kind smile from a stranger, a hot cup of tea, a warm hug, our body that helps us to perform every little task, eyes that we can see with, ears that help us connect with the sound of nature, fresh air and most importantly our breath which is in fact, something we never acknowledge. The truth is that we exist because of our breath.”
The anonymous lady was an angel that day, reminding us that gratitude is a powerful prayer; a potent medicine to help with our troubles.
We need to express gratitude and count our blessings however small we deem them to be. Focus on abundance rather than the sorrows and obstacles we face.
When we are thankful we are happy. When we are happy our body and spirit transforms and we are more aligned, grounded and in a position to shift the difficult situations we may be in.
Lets join our hands and start walking the path of gratitude. This is a path that leads to a beautiful journey.
Time is one of the most precious commodities we have today and yet it poses the biggest hurdle in accomplishing our dreams and maintaining a balanced and purposeful life.
I spoke to friend recently, a naturally talented writer, a doctor, wife and mum of two very young boys. She has amazing dreams and my instinct tells me she has the power and vision to accomplish them …. but she keeps putting things off.
“Priya, I know in my soul that I can do this and that I will, but for some reason my goal post changes because I really struggle to find time."
Whilst I empathise with her, I also want to see her succeed because I know she has so much to offer. So I have set her a daily absolute practice.
Imagine if you had a telephone connection with god, your higher self or any guiding force you feel aligned with.
What would you ask for? What problems would you need answers to, what guidance and comfort would you desire?
When you commit to spending time every day in silence and connecting with your inner self, you open up a golden channel where you receive the support you need and the energy and calmness to see things through.
It’s almost like a spa ritual for the mind, body and soul.
Try this simple exercise to connect within.
Start your day by sitting in a quiet place; consciously take long deep breaths for 3 minutes, building up the time each day.
Stay present in the moment, observe the way you feel with every new inhale and exhale. If your mind wanders gently bring it back and keep your focus on your breath. You will start to feel very calm and centred.
Now visualise strong fertile roots which anchor you to the centre of mother earth and a divine golden light within and around you, protecting you. Spread your hands out as if greeting the universe and imagine a peaceful universal light weaving itself with your divine light until it becomes completely united.
Feel pulsations of delicate energy re-fuelling you. Take a couple of long, deep breaths and feel yourself being filled with an abundance of love, light and courage. Breathe that feeling into every cell in your body and visualise your body glowing more. Imagine this light extending out into the world.
If you have a concern you need guidance with, bring forth that question to your mind and say, “I know I will be guided to the truth, I have the answers within me.”
Express gratitude for all that you are blessed with.
After this, you can peacefully start your day, there are additional ways you can do this or support it further. Journaling is a great tool. Personally, I find journaling an excellent way to clear the clutter from my mind. Doing this before or after your meditation is a personal choice.
I have found that when I stay connected to my true self, I feel aligned, calm and at peace. I am clear about my goals and encouraged to take steps to realise them.
Even if I am tired I have a burst of energy and although the mind can get really busy I still feel calm and centred within.
I have the clarity to reflect on any issues that I need to work on, allowing suppressed emotions to surface so that I can deal with them with a raised consciousness.
This commitment you make to be in touch with the divine will be an immensely powerful force assisting you to live an abundant life.
I encourage you all to start today, practicing this every day for 11 days for a minimum of 11 minutes a day.
I’d love to hear of any changes that you have noticed.
Are you ready to join?
Stay connected, stay blessed!
‘to enter your rose garden, your soul first needs to make peace with the thorns”-Rumi
One of the most persistent questions I have been asked is “how did yoga help with the loss of my child?”.
Loss of a loved one is one of the most heartbreaking tragedies we will ever endure and yet, every one of us will have to at some point. Happiness and grief go hand in hand and will alternately crisscross our lives. We do not have to feel abandoned in moments of grief.
On an average day, our minds are a whirling tornado of thoughts worries and dreams.
How many of us sit in silence when eating a meal, acknowledging every bite without our minds drifting off? Multitasking is ingrained into our DNA. Moments of peaceful solitude are treated as a luxury for most.
When we sit in silence or allow the mind to be still, we allow space for our dreams,fears and suppressed memories to surface. We start to tune into ourselves. Our fears are our demons, our unfinished dreams cause pain. We need to face these.
When we do, the fear melts, we hold up a mirror to ourselves. We begin a conversation with our truest and highest self and then allow the aspiring dreams to take fruition.
It is an experience thats serves us, because when we embrace our fears and dreams as equally serving friends, we grow immensely.
To do this, we must learn to be still.
Yoga and meditation are powerful philosophies that help us recenter, to enable our highest self to guide us and connect with the divine. Our body and mind feel healed and at peace.
Every problem by its definition will have a solution. In these moments we can find the solutions.
Above all there is a shift.
A shift within ourselves which makes our understanding of the world clearer and more aligned with the truth.
When we do this we have the capacity and the courage to accept and honourably deal with the lessons that are placed in our path.
I could continue to elaborate further, but you must try it first to understand — as they say, to understand the depths of love, you must first experience it.
We all have a rose garden within us.
Have you done yoga or meditation? Did you feel the stillness? Did you feel calm? I would be delighted to hear your thoughts.
Downward facing dog otherwise known, as Adho Mukha Svanasana is one of the most popular yoga poses for children. In fact, it is one of the most natural poses for babies, especially when they are just starting to sit up, stand up and start walking.
Practicing this pose regularly brings with it a number of benefits for adults and children including:
Energising and rejuvenating the body - B.S.K. Iyengar, the 94-year-old founder of Iyengar yoga, says that Downward Dog is one of the best poses you can do when you’re fatigued. He recommends at least a minute in the pose. Its great for children after a long day at school, runners to bring back lost energy after a hard race and for those who are tired from a long day at the office.
Lengthening the spine, strengthening the muscles of the chest and increasing lung capacity. It’s great for people suffering from stiffness, shoulder pain and back pain. With proper alignment it can make your upper back more flexible and less likely to store so much tension.
Strengthening the body especially the arms, shoulders, legs, feet and toning the muscles. Postures like Downward Dog (as well as more difficult arm balances) that place weight on the arms and shoulders are great for building upper body strength and preserving bone density, especially important for women as we age and become more at risk for osteoporosis.
Increasing circulation to the brain. Any pose where the heart is above the head is a good one for the circulatory system, because it encourages blood flow throughout the body. An active circulatory system helps flush toxins from our body, keep our immune system in tip-top shape, and helps regulate blood pressure.
Calming the mind and helping to relive headache, insomnia and fatigue. As it in an inverted pose, it allows greater blood flow to the brain thus relieving tension and releasing pressure in the brain.
Here’s how it’s done:
Start out on all fours. Spread your fingers and press your palms flat onto the floor. Lift your buttocks, straighten your legs, and make an upside-down V shape. Press your heels gently to the ground, push your bottom up and back. Relax your head and neck and look down between your legs. Hold for 1 minute. Inhale deeply and bend your one knee on the mat followed by the other, drop your bottom on your heels and relax your head down. Relax for 30 seconds and come up gently.
Warning: Please avoid doing this asana if you suffer from high blood pressure, Carpel tunnel syndrome, detached eye retina, weak eye capillaries, dislocated shoulder / shoulder injury or diarrhoea.
There are many days that give me joy, but one day in particular every year brings with it a smile of happiness, a sense of achievement and a feeling of inspiration.
It is the day we do the 10-mile walk to raise money for Teenage Cancer Trust and Cancer Research for the incredible care, help & support they gave Amreen during her stay at the teenage cancer trust. This year on the 13th of September, a day that was predicted to be rainy and gloomy, we basked in bright sunshine and clear skies reinforcing our faith in the divine and our daughter Amreen’s motto “Live in Faith and Positive Attitude. ”
The most rewarding moments in our lives are when we make a positive difference to another life. In this particular instance, this walk and what it represents touches many lives and benefits millions. We have been doing our fundraising walk for the last 3 years and have collectively raised around £55,000 with the help of friends and family in loving memory of our dearest Amreen.
Our beautiful walk began from Regents Park, through canals to Greenford with over 110 participants from all ages and abilities encouraging and cheering each other on. The youngest participant was a 3-month old baby, with the children as young as 8yrs being some of the earliest to complete the 10 mile walk. They were truly inspirational. The energy, buzz and adrenalin created was uplifting and motivated us to push ourselves. The experience of oneness and everyone coming together for a single cause created an atmosphere of fun and camaraderie and brought about a great sense of joy.
Charities such as Teenage Cancer trust rely on public contributions and donations and need as much support and patronage they can get. We feel a deep sense of gratitude towards them as they were there, supporting us every step of the way during a difficult time. It is with this sense of deep gratitude that we do this walk every year in loving memory of Amreen.
Amreen often mentioned that everyone working there seemed to be angels helping her make her journey easier. She lived her life with faith and a positive attitude and we all wore tshirts with her message.
We collectively raised £20,000 this year to make a difference to all who are going through Cancer, patients and their families. The page is still open so if you have missed out, it is still not too late just click on the link below:
It feels good to be part of this noble cause and to be able to give back.
Feel grateful for the blessings you have and make a difference where ever you can.
God bless all.
Simar, an 18 year olds perspective…
“Participating in the annual charity walk for Teenage Cancer Trust is something I look forward to. There is always positive energy and walking for 10 miles gives me the opportunity to catch up with family friends. Not only do you feel a great sense of achievement once completed; but it is lovely knowing that so many generations, from grandmas to baby's in prams are participating in order to raise money for such a worthy cause.”