Practicing Aparigraha

 

 

The explanation of this Sutra means that, a yogi/yogini see things clearly as they do not accumulate unnecessary material possessions. There is less clutter in their thoughts thus leading them to have a good clarity.

Aparigraha is one of the five ethical principles under ‘Yama’ written in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. It simply means leading a life of simplicity, consuming only daily basic necessities instead of being extravagant. Desires are addictive and endless. If we take time to reflect on what we intend to buy, we will know if it is really necessary or not.

When I grew up, my family belonged to a middle class family with inherited landed property with all the income on a monthly basis was enough for food and our education. There was no luxury of buying any things at all. But ironically we were very content and joyful. We did gardening. There were many yielding trees and plants at my home like coconut, guava, lemon, gooseberry, mango, pumpkin, bottle guard, tomatoes, green chillies, moringa, spinach etc. There is a sense of satisfaction with very little things around because they are so valuable. The more choices we have, their value becomes unclear.

Fast-forward to present, even today I lead a very simple life in terms of materialistic possessions. Initially, when I earned my own money, I did purchase a few little things. There has been a desire in childhood days that if I had my own money, I can buy things I wanted. But then soon after the purchase, I regretted because I really did not need them. All the sufferings come with the attachment that we hold whether it is with material possessions or with a person. For now, when I turn around the house, there are only art materials here and there. They are necessary for my profession. If we were to evacuate the place we live in, we should be able to leave without any second thought. The less we own materials, the more free we feel.

 

 

That is my living room and also my art studio. There are no cushions and extra furniture, thus easy to clean up the space. Aparigraha not only means getting rid of unwanted possessions, it also means having simple diet and having non-attachment with the people we meet and the outcome of our profession. We feel free when we let go of the end results we would get out of our work. My meal has been very simple throughout my life. Every morning, I either eat idli or ghee dosa for all the 365 days in a year and every afternoon, I have curd rice with some vegetables or pickle. For the dinner it is anything simple like upma, vegetable pulao or tomato rice etc. Weekly one meal, I buy outside from subway to take a break from the kitchen.

 

I have influenced many of my friends to keep their home simple and buy only necessities. We can preach to others only when we ourselves follow those. Just by consuming less we feel lighter and free of chaos. In my professional field, I used to get attached to my students. Recently, I feel that I have grown in that part too by letting go and going with the flow. All that we know are not permanent in nature. Even the academic knowledge keeps changing time to time.

Currently, there are many aspects that I am aspiring to achieve and pushing myself too hard. I need to differentiate aspirations and greediness to achieve certain goals. I need to relax and let go. Ask myself if they are really what I need to do. Everything falls into its place when we take things easily.

 

Benefits of Aloe Vera (Internal & External)

Well, we all know that Aloe Vera is widely used in skin care products. It has therapeutic qualities and has been used for many centuries by Greeks, Egyptians, Romans, Chinese, Indians. Aloe Vera does not belong to cactus family because of its fleshy long leaves have thorns. They belong to the family of Lilies. There are around 250 species of Aloe Vera. They grow almost anywhere in the world as they do not require special conditions to be cultivated. They can even absorb moisture from the air to survive.

Aloe Vera is called ‘Kumari‘ in Sanskrit, which means ‘young girl‘. The name is given because it is believed that the properties of this plant gives the woman their youth. Despite of its name, even men will benefit from this plant’s medicinal properties. 🙂

 

         

 

How many of us consume them at least once in a while?

Not many of us consume them on a regular basis because of its bland taste. Soft drinks uses pulp of Aloe Vera leaves.

                   

 

Originally, it has pure bitter taste and the Ayurvedic medicine places this plant under Sattvic foods. This plant is suitable for all dosha types – Vata, Pitta and Kapha. When it is used for intake, it is has tremendous and beneficial effect on our digestive system. It can be consumed in the form of juice or pulp.

 

SOME OF THE MEDICINAL PROPERTIES OF ALOE VERA:

  • Has antibacterial and antifungal properties
  • Benefits and improves the function of the digestive system
  • Heals skin problems
  • Detoxifies our digestive system and improves function of our kidneys, liver and gallbladder
  • Stimulates the white blood cells production in our body
  • Strengthens our immune system
  • It is a very useful nutritional supplement for patients before and after surgery
  • It maintains good pH of our stomach
  • Hydrates and strengthens our hair and scalp
  • Reduces cholesterol level
  • Improves heart function

and it is capable of having many more healing properties.

They play a wide role in Ayurvedic medicine treating skin allergies and also Leprosy. The leaves of this plant contains phytoconstituents that aids antiallergic actions.

 

RECIPE:

  • Aloe Vera
  • Buttermilk
  • Salt (to taste) / Sugar

I would recommend that we take some time to cut the leaves fresh from the plant, cut the pulp into cubes and eat with buttermilk immediately after washing the pulp thoroughly many times. We do not have to consume the latex which is the very bitter part of the leaves. They can be used for the skin and hair. Aloe Vera leaves can be cut fresh as shown in the picture below for consumption in the early morning. It would benefit us immensely if we intake once in a week.

 

                             

 

IMPORTANCE OF CONSUMING THEM FRESH:

We know that some items we find in supermarkets today might have been prepared a few weeks or months ago. During this process, nutrients are lost to a certain level. If we straight away bring the food from soil to our plate, the nutrients lost are much lesser.

It is a very good indoor plant that can be air purifier and also used for decoration purpose. Aloe Vera’s specialty is that these plants release oxygen at night while absorbing carbon dioxide thus purifying the quality of air. The plant does not need pampering and regular watering which results in easy maintenance.

Yoganidrasana

Yoganidrasana is different from Yoganidra (Savasana). The word ‘Nidra’ means ‘sleep’ in Sanskrit and Telugu (my mother tongue) as well.

 

This pose is a advanced level done by the practitioners to induce sleep and relax our body. The posture looks like our whole body is put into a knot. There are so many benefits if this pose is done properly. It stabilises our nervous system and improves blood circulation in our whole body. As our abdomen muscles are pressed during this practice, all the stomach organs like adrenal glands, pancreas and kidney functions are regulated and improved.

 

 

By practicing this pose, there is lengthening of these muscles:

 

Hamstrings

Gluteus Maximus

Quadratus Lumborum

Erector Spinae

Arm muscles

 

There is a good stretch in lumber extensors which results in relaxation of our back muscles at the end of all the yoga asana practice.

 

                                              

 

This pose benefits physically head to toe relaxing our bigger muscles in the body and at the same time activating our internal organs because of compression.

 

 

 

We all want to sleep deep with no mental stress. All that a Yogi needs is a 4 or 5 hours sleep by regular yoga asana practice and intake of Sattvic diet. Let us take baby steps in the process of becoming a Yogi.

Meditation and its importance in 21st century

Most of us have heard about the history of evolution. Charles Darwin had proposed the theory of biological evolution by natural selection. According to his theory, only the species fit physically for the environment had survived. This was true a few centuries ago.

In this modern day with all these advancements in medicine, do you think humans are evolving physically? Maybe very slow mutation in physical aspect is happening. In actual, there is no need for natural selection anymore to survive because human has made modern day living very easy with innovative technologies at least in urban cities.

As long as human species exist, there will be evolution in certain ways. Maybe mental evolution! We can see that in Singapore education system. GEP (Gifted Education Programme) and students are being banded based on their academic results are a few examples of how weightage is based on IQ (Intelligent Quotient). This is the point where there is a survival of the intelligent beings would be the fittest in the society. Intellectual growth is given more importance than ever before. It is growing exponentially.

Life in cities is not about hunting for prey but instead hunting for good jobs that makes us keep going. Studies have shown that there is more and more increase in intelligent and creative people. But the available jobs are not enough to recruit all those people, instead it leads to fierce competition to be the best. This has led to an evolutionary pressure in our mental well-being.

Having higher IQ (Intelligence Quotient) alone is not enough because EQ (Emotional Quotient) is equally important for a person to be sane. There are a number of successful people like Oprah Winfrey practices meditation. Meditation can be practiced by everyone that will have only good side effects. There are a number of drugs that will give us bliss states but those substances affect our nervous system and important organs in our body in a bad way.

There are a number of evidences that has shown that meditation has proved to have health benefits mentally and physically as well. It would be great if people especially who are living in urban cities take meditation practice as everyday norm just like we scroll our social media without fail. Some of the benefits we get by practicing meditation are:

 

  1. Increase in sense of self-worth (which can be received by internal force instead of weighing our self-worth based on the likes and comments given by external force).
  2. We become non-judgemental to the extent that we forgive the people who has done wrong to us.
  3. Fear will slowly disappear and we set ourselves to go with the flow instead of trying to change the circumstances that we have no control on.
  4. We pay attention and be alert with increased memory.
  5. Keep our stress levels on check and increases our immune system.
  6. We get control over impulsive behaviour and instead make decisions calmly.
  7. We become one with universe and attain a sense of meaning in our daily life.
  8. We understand other people’s patterns and become sensitive to our surroundings.
  9. It helps us to restore our sense of wonder just like a toddler would have.
  10. We can recognise our addictive behaviour and get a control over it.

Well, these are only a few benefits that research has shown so far by practicing meditation on a regular basis. We need not complicate ourselves by thinking we should do meditation for one hour every day. Just by practicing 20 mins meditation, we do get enough benefits to start with.

 

 

Meditation is for everyone regardless of gender, ethnicity, age, occupation and location. There are a number of techniques to do meditation. We can try and see which way suits us the best. Happy meditating to all!