Healthy Sleep through Ayurveda and Yoga

“Happiness and unhappiness, nourishment and emaciation, strength and debility, sexual prowess and impotence, knowledge and ignorance, life and death—all are dependent on sleep.” – Ashtanga Hrydayam – verse 53, Sutra Staana

Sleep (nidra) is one of the three pillars of health in Ayurveda along with Brahmacharya (lifestyle), and Ahara (nutrition). Good quality sleep during the optimum time and of optimum duration is essential to maintaining sound health.

What is healthy sleep? According to Ayurveda, healthy sleep is one that occurs during the proper time, for a proper duration, and most importantly that one feels rested, refreshed, clear and with balanced energy upon waking. Sleep has primarily two stages: deep sleep and sleep with dreams. Deep sleep is needed for the body to feel refreshed and nourished. Dreams are also important for the processing of impressions and memory and for the subconscious mind to express itself. Dreams may also give us insight into what is going on, emotionally, and spiritually which is usually under the surface of our conscious mind, but it is in deep sleep that we truly let go. Deep sleep has been likened to the state of samadhi in which the subject and object are merged into one, except for in deep sleep there is a lack of consciousness of this state.

Common Sense + Viveka + Compassion: A Zen Yogi’s Response to a Diseased Planet

Climate crisis, gun violence, racism, sexism, nuclear weapons, deep corruption in the leaders of our world, selfishness, shortsightedness, greed, ignorance. How can a yogi or any person respond? One way is by waking up and by developing common sense and viveka — to see clearly. The Buddha taught that that there is no “sin” as it is taught in some religions, “the root of all evil is ignorance (avidya) and false views” (What the Buddha taught, Walpola Rahula p.3).

Reflections on Samadhi

  “Meditation is to bring the complex consciousness to simplicity and innocence without pride and arrogance.” B.K.S. Iyengar, The Tree of Yoga “Veil upon veil shall lift, but still veil upon veil will be found behind.” -Lord Buddha quoted in The Science of Yoga, I.K. Taimni p. 446 “Realization is not acquisition of anything newContinue reading “Reflections on Samadhi”

Insights from Prashant-ji and Geeta-ji, Reflections from the Centenary Teachings

“In Iyengar yoga you are drawn beyond your limits. This is its signature condition.” -Prashant Iyengar 

By facing and transcending limitations, physical and mental, I am brought into a fuller sense of what it is to be human. The pain doesn’t kill you. You don’t die. But you do realize that one day you will die and you begin to imagine how you would like to face that moment and every moment of your life.

Centennial Celebration, Day 1 & 2

We arrived to Balewadi Stadium on December 3rd to a very well organized event with over 1200 participants. We were given a badge and a group, coded by letters and colors which determines where in the hall we will sit for the day – the groups rotate positions in the hall each day. Abhijati openedContinue reading “Centennial Celebration, Day 1 & 2”

Liberating Source: Navigating Darkness to Reveal the Light

Practicing and understanding yoga is about practicing and understanding key principles. From these fundamental principles or sources, flows the plurality of technique, expression, systemization and method.  If the technique follows from the source, there can be alignment, systematic intelligence, and authenticity. Yoga comes from the source and takes us back to the source. The journey toContinue reading “Liberating Source: Navigating Darkness to Reveal the Light”

Plastic Waste and Aparigraha

      Two topics that have been on my mind: the harmful effects of plastic and aparigraha (freedom from greed, non possessiveness, non hoarding, without surplus). Over the past couple of months, we have seen in the media photos of plastic covering the oceans four times the size of California, statistics such as byContinue reading “Plastic Waste and Aparigraha”

Dynamic Extension

Some insights on the practice of asana and “Dynamic Extension” from Light on Life by BKS Iyengar: “Extension and expansion always stay firmly rooted in one’s center. They originate in the core of one’s being. When most people stretch, they simply stretch to the point they are trying to reach, but the forget to extendContinue reading “Dynamic Extension”

My Actions are My Only True Belongings

Facing death, illness, aging, loss and separation often bring about a fundamental shift in priorities. Situations which bring to light our mortality and interdependence can be catalyst for deep transformation. The understanding that the time of death is unknown, and that there is nothing material that we can take with us, can arouse a fundamentalContinue reading “My Actions are My Only True Belongings”