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Month: August 2016

Yoga and Me

Yoga and Me

“Yoga is the journey of the self, through the self, to the self.” ~ The Bhagavad Gita

I am fortunate to have had an inclination towards Yoga from early days. For when I look back at my most difficult and challenging periods, one significant thing that helped keep my sanity was my regular yoga practice. This morning routine was the only thing I looked forward to when there was nothing really going for me during the difficult days.

Yoga is aptly known as a union of mind, body and soul. It brings together physical and mental disciplines to achieve a healthy body and a peaceful mind. The yoga practice is a holistic combination of specific postures(asanas), breathing (pranayama), meditation(dhyana) and relaxation (dharna). What began as a fitness drill to tone my body, gradually evolved with time to becoming a channel connecting me with the mind and spirit. This ancient Indian science of exercise and healing has now become a way of life.

Yoga and its many rewards
The benefits of doing yoga are immense and renowned the world over. However, I believe each one of us can have a unique experience with this marvellous practice. For me, it is a communion with the self that continues to nurture me in all three realms:

On the physical front, yoga has always had a rejuvenating effect on my body. It recharges every inch of the body like no other workout. The energy that is emanated during the session feels cosmic, almost divine. To an uninterested onlooker, yoga may seem like a slow and boring stretching routine. But it does a lot more than what meets the eye. It plays a vital role in removing the toxins and releasing the tension from every part of the body. It enhances respiration and results in improved vitality. I feel increased flexibility and agility in my body, with significant muscle strength and body tone as the apparent results of dedicated yoga practice.

Mentally, yoga has empowered me to take control of my mind. With augmented self-awareness, it has tremendously helped in keeping my stress and anxiety at bay. I have learned to maintain a balance in my thoughts and emotions. It has taught me composure, especially during times when it is imminent to become reactive and flare up. It is the most natural way to attain perfect harmony and equilibrium. It has boosted my self-confidence.

On the spiritual front, it is positively about my individual consciousness being in unison with the universal consciousness. Having a deeper understanding of my body and mind, I feel ready to connect with the higher spirit. Yoga brought to me a sense of victory by calming an agitated mind and helping me rise above the negative accumulations of my life. I feel joy and contentment at a deeper level during and after the practice. I recognise new levels of inner strength that prevent me from crumbling, when everything around me is falling apart.

I recall a game we had played amongst friends, wherein we had to designate the first adjective that comes to mind for everyone and write it discreetly on a paper. All of us wrote down the words that best described our friends in one word. During revelation, the word that was most commonly used to label me turned out to be ‘calm’. And this, at the time when I was already in the gruelling separation period in the midst of my acrimonious divorce.

Did Yoga do that to me? I wonder….

Face-to-Face with FEAR

Face-to-Face with FEAR

Clouds

“The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear. And the oldest and strongest kind of fear is the fear of the unknown.” H.P.Lovecraft

Every time I used to hear of real-life divorce tales, I would feel sorry for the couple in question and my heart would reach out for the kids in the messy situation. I used to think how hard is life for them, so sad and so not fair. And then I would instantly thank my stars for blessing me with a wonderful family – a loving husband and two adorable kids. After all, divorce is something that only happens to others. It can surely not happen to me.

Alas! How often we take our precious possessions for granted! How often do we take ‘life’ for granted!!

When it was time to face the fact that ‘Divorce’ was indeed happening to me, I was in complete disbelief. There I was, so beautifully entrenched in my so-called ‘settled’ domestic abode. A wonderful world that I had selflessly built over the years and tended to with all my energy. And now life was throwing me in front of a completely new situation, compelling me to leave all that belonged to me in my comfort zone. Catching me totally unarmed with a new set of fears to face a brutal reality.

As I stepped into the mental state of being ‘unsettled’, a plethora of dreadful questions quickly raced my mind-

‘Is my marriage really ending?’
‘Isn’t there a better way out?’
‘What will happen to my kids?’
‘Will they be depressed?’
‘We will be a broken family!’
‘My parents would be heart-broken.’
‘How will we break the news?’
‘I will be the first one in my family.’
‘How will I support us financially?’
‘Is this really happening to us?’
‘I never thought I would be here some day’
‘Why do my kids have to go through this pain?’
‘What have I done to deserve this?’
‘Why us?’
..and they continued to cloud my thoughts.

From living on a firm ground of certainty, I was suddenly thrown into a dark abyss of the unknown. From having a sense of what tomorrow may bring, I was now facing every day with indefinite possibilities. For there could be good outcomes or bad, isn’t it? Who knows? I surely did not.

The days and months leading up to this instant were agonising and the moment of truth itself was excruciatingly painful. It was time to brace myself for what lay ahead!

What I was gradually to learn about Fear:

1. Fear takes on many forms – anxiety, insecurity, misery, jealousy, anger, inaction, anticipation, etc.
2. Fear can hold us back from healing and letting go of the pain
3. Fear can be felt with certain signals our body sends
4. Fear can reinstate our weaknesses and what we cannot do
5. Fear deprives us of strong self-esteem and self-confidence
6. Fear can keep us stuck in ways we do not recognize
7. Fear can keep us oscillating between the past and the future
8. Fear is a state of mind and not a fact
9. Fear can lead you out of your comfort zone
10. Fear can be overcome

The practice of ‘Quiet Time’

The practice of ‘Quiet Time’

Quiet Time

“Often the best gift you can give yourself is time alone- time to ask your questions and listen quietly for answers.” ~ Katrina Mayer.

As a child, I was privileged to have been introduced to an organisation called Moral Re-Armament (MRA), currently known as Initiatives of Change (IofC). Talking about this worldwide movement, its philosophy and the people behind it deserve a separate blog post. But for now, I want to highlight the one thing (out of many) that I learnt here – the practice of Quiet Time.

There is a little tiny voice within each of us that is always available to talk to us. Some call it God, some call it the spirit; some prefer calling it an angel guide and some call it our inner conscience or inner voice. It’s not so important how you label it, as long as we care to listen to it. The practice of Quiet time is to consciously dedicate certain time of our day to sit down without any distraction and listen intently to our inner voice. It is an effective exercise to seek inner guidance and clarity.

When there is darkness all around us and we tend to lose it all, this little voice shines like our beacon of hope. When you are flustered with the many questions that face you and you know not what to do, it is this divine time that helps you seek the answers from within. It gives your mind a chance to restore itself and bring order. So listen. Just listen.

This practice of Quiet Time has been my rock solid anchor in troubled waters. Amidst the chaos of many voices that surrounded me during turbulent times, the soothing sound that came from inside of me acted like a balm to all my wounds. Being in Quiet Time brings clarity when the mind is confused and stuck. Listening intently just puts things in perspective. Anytime a problem arises, I find it very helpful to become quiet and turn inward. And the voice that comes from within is aligned with your true self!

Recommended Practice Tips:

The early morning hours as soon as we rise is the best time of the day to be in silence. But that’s only a preference and should not restrict you to not do it at all. You must set aside at least 15 minutes (ideal is 30 minutes) in your daily schedule. It would be nice to practice this outdoor in a place close to nature. Maybe a quiet spot in a park close to your home, or by the seaside or on your terrace. Any place which is peaceful and non-crowded. It’s perfectly okay to even observe quiet time in your peaceful corner at home, be it in a balcony or your bedroom. As long as it’s quiet enough for you to be by yourself, undisturbed, to enable you to listen.

Be away from the cell phones, tablets and electronic gadgets that keep shouting for attention all day. Switch off from everything and everyone completely during this time. Write down your thoughts if you desire. Stay away from all voices so you can hear your very own from within.

Enjoy every moment of silence in your Quiet Time!

Why the blog name soulmom.in?

Why the blog name soulmom.in?

SoulMom

What’s in a name? Well, a lot of thoughts goes into arriving at a blog name. These are few of mine:

The ‘soul’ in soulmom.in – the essence of my tryst with spirituality and its constant pursuit. It is a seeking of the higher consciousness through various spiritual channels. Soul is the curiosity to decipher the mysterious ways in which the universe functions. It is a commitment to spiritual growth. Soul is the recognition that each of us is a unique spiritual being and our life’s purpose is to be true to our uniqueness. It is the discovery that ‘soul’ and ‘sole’ go beyond being merely homophones, into being an exclusive entity!

The ‘mom’ in soulmom.in – my experiences of learning and growing in the role of a mother. It is a determination to overcome the various challenges in raising my kids without a spouse. Mom is a resolve to grow from a survival mode to a thriving mode. It is an ongoing relationship with myself as much as with my kids. Mom is the spirit to be self-empowered as it is to empower my kids. It is breaking free from the ‘victimisation’ of being a divorcee to finding my true power.

The ‘.in’ of soulmom.in – the journey inward. Of going into the depth of self-awareness in search of the soul’s highest calling. Of inspirations that has shaped my inner being. Of influences that continue to help me heal. Of building a strong sense of mindfulness in all life situations. Quite importantly, .in is quintessentially belonging to India. The unwavering spirit of the Indian woman.

SoulMom is an effort to reach out to as many souls that can resonate with what I write here.

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