Self-love and Nudity

Perhaps I am growing older and more free and unbound… I am not sure. I have reached a level of comfort in the Indian culture, where I am ready to expose my “sinful parts” like shoulders, ankles and oh, dear! my calfs… 🙂 I am absolutely not trying to revolutionise the traditional Indian culture. I simply feel a deep rooted need. And what is my need? Let me tell you the truth. I just enjoy being naked.

The more I connect to my body as a woman, I feel the need for nudity. I feel it is the most pure, sacred and natural state of being. I see my body as a temple. And let me tell you, living in India, naked moments are not easy to get. Security check: all curtains closed, doors locked, lights off… Yes, sometimes I am having a lot of fun.

In India, nudity is something people are not used to. Even girls or women among themselves, while changing their dress, they will always cover their breasts, not to mention our beautiful YONI. But it was not always the case. During a conversation with my husband the other day, he told me that the perception of the female body as an object of desire/sin/lust and the resulting segregation of gender in India was due to increasing influence of semitic religions. This makes so much sense!

During my inquisitive days, I used to ask why would Indian women wear sometimes double layer clothes when it is 36 degrees outside with high humidity? Isn’t it so, that each culture develops in compliance with its climate?

I researched and I found that in the southern state of Kerala, where I have been living for the past 10 years, the traditional dress for women only 100 years back was a simple cotton piece wrapped around the waist and a cotton shawl casually covering the breasts and shoulders. Some would even not wear the top shawl. “How practical in this climate!” I thought.

Blindly followed rigid traditions sometimes stand in contradiction to our natural state of being. Why don’t we question them and create the New Earth.

with LOVE

from Meera (thinking hard about how to revive the 100 years old dress code tradition of Kerala) 🙂

Nevertheless, I kept going…

Under normal circumstances, we have a cook at our ashram. When the lockdown in India started in March, from one day to another, our staff was not allowed to come including our cook. My worst nightmare came true. I had to cook local Kerala food which involves cooking from a scratch, cooking on fire and gas, warm breakfasts… sounds yummy? It it, but then it is a full time job – hours in the kitchen and piles of dishes. Homeschooling, garden work and taking care of cow and hen were meant for relaxation. Many days I felt despair and helplessness. Many days I blamed India and Indian cooking: “I am not a housewife! I am not a servant! I am from the West! I am a yoga teacher!” Nevertheless, I kept going…

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Power of Mantra

For many, mantra sounds like a hex from Harry Potter. However, mantra is a scientific tool to literally cleanse our mind. How and from what?
The Sanskrit word Mantra मन्त्र is a composition of two words: manas (mind) and trai (cleanse, liberate). Therefore, mantra is a tool to calm down the thoughts in our mind. Now what is mind?
Generally the śāstra (yogic science) says, that mind consists of pranic body (prānamaya kośa), emotional body (manomaya kośa) and wisdom or intellectual body (vijñānamaya kośa). I don’t go into much detail on these, as it would take many pages of writing. The important thing to know is, that mind consists of different parts. As prāna, our vital energy, is the bridge between body and mind and all “bodies” remain in constant interaction, mantra also influences our physical body through prana in the form of sound vibration of our bodily functions.
Mantras were originally “composed” or expressed in Sanskrit. It is believed that Sanskrit is not man-made but was revealed to the ṛṣis (wisemen) during their transcendental meditations. Those of you, who are using mantra regularly for your own yoga practice can surely affirm this. Just like other ancient wisdom based disciplines, also yoga is experience based, even though, today, the neuro-linguistic effect of mantras is widely known and could be measured and proven through scientific experiments.
According to the Indian tradition, mantras are chanted to the dying as it is believed that the last thing you hear or think about will influence your future birth. Makes sense to me.
I personally like the approach of blending science and philosophy, however, I didn’t need any scientific proof on this one. Some of my life experiences were the best proof to me.
First time I started to work more intensely with mantras was during my pregnancy, when I used to chant Lalita Sahasranāma (thousand names of Mother Goddess) everyday. I was struck by the power of this 40 minutes chant as I approached birth with 0 worries and also 0 information. 🙂 That time my mantra was sufficient.
Later I used mantras to bring Gayatri and other babies 🙂 to sleep or chant when she was angry. It used to help not only the child but also the mother. 🙂
Second milestone in my life experience was when Gayatri was 4 years old and was admitted to ICU during our travels through Bhutan with acute pneumonia and her chance of survival was only 50%. When she stopped responding, I started chanting mantras. I don’t know how long I sat there that night beside her bed. But one thing I knew: the mantra gave me faith and strength and I think Gayatri’s subconscious mind reconnected with the vibrations chanted in the womb and next day she sat up on her hospital bed and asked for food. That time I knew the worst was over.
This is my personal experience with mantra.
Hari Om Tat Sat
🙏🕉🙏

IQ vs EQ

For years now, I have been moving between and living with two completely different cultures such as the traditional Indian and the modern Western. This made me think and rethink my own values, education and upbringing from many different perspectives. It becomes clearer to me, that the modern way of education and way of thinking is based on the model “either or” and strengthens mainly the IQ (Information based). In traditional societies the way of thinking is based on “it depends” and the education aims to strengthen the EQ (wisdom based). How often we encounter somebody bearing many academic titles, but who is unable to manage his own life and emotions? Somebody with a low IQ and a higher EQ can live a happy life, but not vice versa. The secret lies in the right blend of both depending on a person’s need and living conditions.

Sometimes it’s all about food

One of the reason, why the minds of Indians haven’t been much inflicted by the corona crisis, apart from their immense capacity of acceptance, is direct access to clean food – food being one of the basic human commodities, apart from shelter, medical care and education.
Let me give you an example…
When was the last time you or your children saw a grain of wheat? Do you know where the grains in your bread come from and how they were processed? Read more

Real life stories told by women themselves..

The other day, when I visited my husband’s ancestral home, I forgot my mobile at home. Luckily!
Instead of checking emails and scrolling on Facebook, I helped my 86 year old mother-in-law (Amma as everybody calls her meaning mother in Malayalam) to hang up her washed saris on the laundry line. Meanwhile we could engage in a conversation and I could once again listen to her life story. It goes like this…
She was principal of a primary school for 30 years Read more

YOGA is YOU

Today morning, after a few days of heavy rainfall due to the cyclone on the other coast of India, I ventured out to the beach in front of our house for a walk. After a short walk and some free movement on the beach I sat down to attempt meditation.  With deep conscious breathing my thoughts gradually started sorting out from the usual thoughts about duties, responsibilities, judgements etc. to the more reflecting ones.
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Awareness through his “corona art”

Arsha Yoga GurukulamOne local artist from Chennai spreads awareness through his “corona art”. This proves again that India stands for “Unity in Diversity”. In crisis, religion or caste step aside for the sake of joint effort, whereas Europe mostly worries about losing personal freedom. Read more

Intro or Extro – Which One Are You?

For many years, my husband was talking about extroverted vs. introverted people. For many years, my understanding of his talk was a complete opposite of what he meant…

Have I understood it now? Probably not completely, but some improvement is detectable. 🙂
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When One Night Seems Longer Than Your Whole Life

WARNING: This article is long, even I needed the patience to write down my whole experience, but there is an urge inside of me to process these events of the last days now from the comfort of my seafront garden.

April 5 – day 1

This day we set off on our long-awaited journey to Bhutan, a Himalayan country, where there is no GDP (gross domestic product) but just a GHP (gross happiness product). Read more