Revolution starts from the dinner table

revolutionRussell Brand calls for revolution. I agree, it is high time, and hopefully not too late for us to take action. But, the question is in the air: how and where do we start a revolution, especially if you don’t have time to go and march in the streets? You can do your own little bit but what effect does that have on a large scale? Unfortunately, most of us don’t have the luxury of a world wide influence like our Mr Brand, and we are easily left feeling helpless in front of a world full of inequalities and injustice.

The matter of fact is that if we do take action, even if it feels insignificant in front of the large scale problems, we take part in the process and it is exactly what a positive revolution should try to achieve: increasing the awareness of individual women, men and children to make wise choices about the health of the planet, it’s economy and their own peace of mind.

So where do we start increasing awareness? This task sounds almost mysterious. As if we’d need to go and find other realms of consciousness within our normal daily life. Not at all. It only means paying attention on what we do and the choices we make. And, you can start from the most basic activities of your day: choosing the right kind of food for your meals and eating it with full concentration.

  • Eat in a peaceful state of mind
  • Avoid media and intense conversation whilst eating
  • Chew properly
  • Don’t drink during meals
  • Eat one meal a day with eyes closed

The beauty of this practice of increasing awareness in eating is that the awareness starts expanding to other areas of life. Once you start and notice the results you won’t be able to stop it to influence all the activities. You just need to start from somewhere and I can’t find anything better than eating.

Eating with full awareness not only makes us more conscious of the quality of food we consume. That drives us to make wiser decisions when shopping. Focused eating also helps our digestive systems to process the food better thus enhancing the overall functioning of the GI-tract. Once our gut works well it has a beneficial effect on our minds. The gut health is directly related to our state of mind. Good gut health means better cognitive functions. Once we have achieved a positive and enthusiastic mind we are more inspired to make the small changes which eventually result in big changes.

It all comes to making right choices. Wise choices are made by a clear mind. A clear mind is devoid of mental mucous which develops if our digestive systems are not working properly. Clear digestive systems are at the basis of proper functioning of our bodies and minds. When we nourish them with proper food we are already taking part in the change the planet needs us to make. Therefore

  • Eat with awareness
  • Choose organic
  • Reduce meat eating to two times a week or become a vegetarian
  • Cook from scratch
  • Eat seasonal food
  • Avoid anything processed (even organic food can be highly processed)
  • Avoid wrapped food as much as possible
  • Avoid multinational brands
  • Shop locally
  • Use social media to spread the word

Spread the word through social media. Often considered a necessary bad but I think now it is time to harness this resource to its fullest capacity. Social media gives us a chance to communicate and not feel alone with our big and small attempts to create a better world. Social media can bind a large crowd together to stand against the disproportionate forces of economy that rule the world. It makes you feel that you are contributing to a common cause.

Start the revolution from your dinner table. Make choices that will encourage your local environment and businesses to thrive. Together they can form close nit communities where people can help each other to be more self sufficient and less dependent on corporations and the forces of economy directed from far and away. All you need to do is start taking care of the quality of your food and how you consume it.

 

Cruelty Free Milk soon in our shop – call for pre-orders

Greetings cruelty-free dairy friends! HappyCow

I am writing to you as we are creating a highly exciting collaboration with Ahimsa Dairy Foundation (ADF). Supported by celebrities like Brian May and Chrissie Hynde, they are a company that has made the solemn vow of not committing violence towards any of their cows that produce milk. These beautiful animals living in Kent are producing the purest dairy products we can have in UK and the wonderful news for us is that we will be selling them directly from our shop! You can come and buy or pre-order the dairy products that serve your purpose from the following selection (subject to availability):

  • Milk
  • Ghee
  • Plain Yoghurt
  • Halloumi
  • Paneer
  • Soft cheese
  • Hard cheese

This milk is the most animal-friendly that you can get. It has been pasteurized but not homogenized and, because in ayurveda tradition milk should always be boiled and not consumed raw, we find no contradiction in this kind of processing. Without being homogenised (when cream sets on the surface) the milk still conserves its natural state and molecular structure, and this really is the true milk of nature.

Because of the high level of care and love these cows receive, Ahimsa milk vibrates at a higher energetic level and comes closer to what in yoga we call sattvic milk – the milk that has the capacity to elevate your state of mind. If you are a dairy lover, your taste buds will be satisfied because of the great taste, but you will also feel happier because you know the dairy was obtained without violence, addition of hormones, antibiotics, bleach or any other additives.

So, all of you conscious dairy consumers, do get in touch and make your orders by contacting us on email at info@jivitaaurveda.com. The delivery day to the shop will be Saturday mornings and if you want to ensure you can collect products by Wednesday 28th May.

P.S. The Ahimsa Dairy Foundation collaborates with a farm in Kent. However, ADF have recently found a farm in Leicester to raise the cows using even more traditional ways than at the organic dairy farm of Commonwork.  If you feel this cause is close to your heart, please sponsor their endeavours by making a donation or sponsor a single cow which you can choose from their website.

 

Nature vs Nurture

Nature-vs-NurtureNature vs nurture

What is it that makes us behave in a certain way? Why do certain things keep repeating in our lives that we feel we don’t have any control of? Does it sometimes seem like you want to say, “I am like this, just accept me as I am”? Or do you stop, think and intuitively feel that there is something you can do about it yourself?

Everyone is born with a make up that allows their bodies and minds to express themselves and to behave in their own unique way. This will never change. Some tend to be creative, some achieving and some caring. And all these features mix as well. You can be creative and caring or you could be achieving and creative. The important thing is to recognise what is your own personal nature and what are your special features.

When we are born – in fact, even when we are in the womb – we are exposed to a myriad of sensory stimuli, teachings and attractions. We start creating a world of patterns of behaviour, ways to react to situations and ultimately, are conditioned by what we are exposed to. Subconsciously our brains will learn ways of acting and reacting. Sometimes these reactive patterns can be so damaging that they interfere with our health. For example, IBS or backaches are often caused by a learned response to stress by the mind.

Our health is greatly dependent on our understanding of how we have developed between these two ends of a spectrum – nature and nurture. That said, these two do not have to be mutually exclusive, but something that evolves in synchrony and creates conditions for optimal physical wellbeing and mental happiness.

The most important thing is to understand what we are truly like. Sometimes you just have to accept you are not going to have arms like Madonna, because your body has a tendency to build up fat in the arms and upper body. Or, you have to cut down on chilli and coffee because your nervous system can’t cope with it and your hormones are all over the place.

Nurturing our bodies in line with our nature is the key to health and wellbeing; nature has an incredible urge to repair and rejuvenate. The very existence of everything is determined by an innate impulse to create life, longevity and enjoyment of the journey through the different stages of our existence. All we need to do is tune in. Aligning ourselves with the rhythms of nature, mainly the cycles of the day and seasons, has tremendous effects on how our bodies behave. By tuning in we gain self-awareness and re-educate our bodies to cope with stress, whether it is physical, mental or emotional.

 

Everyday yamas and niyamas – Tapas

kedgeree

Kedgeree – the detox food par excellence

I’m on my umpteenth detox. It is obviously an ayurvedic detox as during the years of my own experience and observation of my clients it has proved its efficacy.

Detox for me is an excellent way of reminding me to practice tapas, “self-discipline”. God knows how I fail in this on a daily basis. Caught up between different jobs and my child it is easy to slip, look for an easy solution for relaxation (Wine… me…? Yes, please) or giving that morning yoga practice a miss (the warm and soft bed in the morning is just a hint more attractive than my yoga mat).

Tapas, self-discipline, is a way of kindling internal fire to burn away negativities. An ayurvedic detox is a way to burn away toxins form the body that have a negative impact both on the body and the mind. Committing to a detox program really is tapas. I could say detox is a kind of practice in my yoga path as well. To practice yoga you need to have discipline and commitment. It all ties up together well.

The important part of going on something you need more power of mind than usual is to have a right attitude towards it. If renouncing on, say, your holy trinity (mine is blue cheese, walnuts and onion chutney) is going to be a too much of a struggle you will find yourself craving, stressing and failing. A correct mindset will help in the moments of temptation and make them even less frequent.

I remember when I tried to lose weight for all the wrong reasons all I could do is obsess about food. The stress I created made it even harder to lose fat and of course I failed. Failure lead to lower self-esteem and that to binge eating. Once self-loathing became overpowering I had to start on another diet. And here the circle completed itself.

Once you set your mind to it, do it for the right reasons, have faith, patience and confidence you will have good results. Discipline becomes a way of self-development, a great challenge to reach a higher state of consciousness.

That damn ahimsa…

mosquito1

It must be two o’clock in the morning. Jet lagging, I have now tossed and turned in my bed for hours. I just can’t get to sleep. I’ve done my deep relaxation exercises but they haven’t helped. Usually they work within a few minutes but now I seem to have too much on my mind. I decided to let the thoughts come and stay with them. Finally, dream like images take over in my mind and I welcome the long awaited sleep.

A faint noise comes closer becoming louder and louder. It resembles a small circular saw and it penetrates my consciousness like that sting this little mosquito is keen on making. Fully awake, ready for my counter attack, I wait until the insect is right next to my ear. I slap myself in the ear full force and the mosquito is dead. The pleasure of the kill lasts for a second. Then I remember that damn ahimsa…

Again, fully awake I start thinking if the principle of non-violence, or ahimsa in Sanskrit, is possible at all, especially when I think about mosquitos. I’m not feeling any better by understanding that I used premeditated violence and cold bloodedly killed an innocent living being right in my ear.  The date with the sandman is finished.

The degree of development of the human mind can be determined by the way we react to external stimuli in an unexpected situation. On one end of the line we have instinctive reactions and on the other the ones made with reason. An aggressive instinct is an example of the former. A negative relationship with anything in our environment is due to a primordial feeling of fear in our minds, which can make us consider things, beings or events threatening. Even mosquitos.

Bees, ants, worms, gekkos and all kinds of beetles (maybe excluding cockroaches) do no longer cause a shock like waving of hands and screams of help in me. I let them crawl and wonder around my little cottage here in the rainforest. At least the gekkos eat cockroaches. The fear of mosquitos is the one that lingers on. These little beasts usually leave me alone but there is always one, braving the way, ready to spoil my sleep. At every occurrence the following happens: Thought 1: Kill it. Though 2: Wait for the right moment. Though 3: Attack even if it hurts. At some rare occasions I manage to start reasoning before going to bed, turn the lights off and pull net early enough over my bed. But more often, after having tossed and turned in the sweaty sheets in the Caribbean night the role of the killer takes over.

I feel like Brad Pitt in “Seven”. Provoked enough I become a killer.

Ahimsa, non-violence, is not limited to physical violence. It also touches our thoughts. When we think badly about others, we fall prey of violating ahimsa. When we think badly about ourselves, we make the same mistake. With the guilty feeling (thinking badly about myself) of a mosquito murderer (hating the mosquito), I am afraid ahimsa is not possible for me.

Remembering that the road of spiritual development is winding appeases me. Sometimes we move forwards, sometimes backwards, or we just stay put. Yoga helps to move forward and the chance for a positive change is always there. Once I keep this in mind and keep on practicing mindfulness, acting out of reason, not out of instinct, there is a chance for me of not being a mosquito killer any more.

Work with the universe and the universe works with you

JA-grace

One of the most emotionally charged moments of my life was in a Himalayan ashram after I had just completed my degree. We, a random take of foreigners and Indians alike, must have been confined in this remote place already for three weeks when, as if by magic, during our evening satsang, we found the “Amazing Grace” in our book of chants. After having familiarised most of the devotional Indian songs of the book, the sudden discovery of a song so familiar from our pasts (and indeed, at that point, it all felt like it was from a very far distant past) created a beautiful godly moment where everything felt unified in the melody of this graceful song.

I met someone in the ashram who actually was from my neighbourhood in London. We became good friends and often have looked back at that time as the happiest in our lives. The fact that I met someone so far from home from so near and the fact that we could experience such carefree happiness were, as I see it now, acts of grace.

Grace could be referred to what some call luck. “Happy go lucky” indeed has a deep meaning. True happiness comes when you align yourself with the rhythms of the universe and follow the purpose you are here for i.e. your dharma. Once this is done you’ll notice how the universe helps you along the way and you find yourself in a graceful existence. You can’t force yourself feel it but it will most certainly come once you relax, take a moment by moment and just let the universe unfold itself in your way to higher states of consciousness.