Sakti Sadhana – The Woman’s Path

At some point in July last year or the year before (due to corona times I have lost the track of time), I felt the urge to start sharing THAT, what I have practiced and found useful for keeping or restoring 🙂 my own balance as a wife of an Indian guru, mother, yogīnī, cow caretaker, since 1 year a home schooler for both Indian and Czech schools, occasional cook of the South Indian cuisine, ashram administrator and occasional member of the ashram police squad. 🙂 No really, sometimes it goes overboard and the more I longed for a practice tailored to my needs mainly as a WOMAN juggling between Indian present and European samskāras. Read more

Today is Sivaratri!

You can dance, sing, pray or chant om namah śivāya. Connect with the energy of śiva, who is the compassionate destroyer of old and dysfunctional.🔥
Śiva represents the male linear energy which exists in us women also. We need this energy to reach goals and to clearly set our limits.

This is what Sadhguru  of  Isha Foundation  says about Sivaratri:
In the Indian culture, at one time, there used to be 365 festivals in a year. In other words, they just needed an excuse to celebrate every day of the year. These 365 festivals were ascribed to different reasons, and for different purposes of life. They were to celebrate various historical events, victories, or certain situations in life like sowing, planting, and harvesting. For every situation there was a festival. But Mahashivratri is of a different significance. Read more

Newspaper Tradition

Morning rāga alias newspaper reading. 📄

When I moved to Kerala, a small state in South India in 2009 – due to a huge cultural and religious diversity in India 🇮🇳 I feel entitled to write only about this state ( not mentioning the religious and caste differences) – I was amazed by the fact that even small children were encouraged to read the daily newspaper. No wonder that Kerala, unlike other Indian states, achieved 100% literacy. Read more

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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India, My Love!

Today, I am a proud foreigner residing in India.

WHY?

💫Because human values still prevail over materialism.
💫Because children are loved.
💫Because nature is worshipped as sacred.
💫Because you will be fed in every household when you are hungry.
💫Because as a guest you will be given the host’s bed to sleep in.
💫Because old age means respect and not uselessness.
💫Because Mother is God.
💫Because a prayer will be chanted before the supermarket opens for customers (including the customers).
💫Because rules are all about exceptions.
💫Because teacher profession is respected due to the responsibility for further generations.
💫Because cow is considered a member of a household.
💫Because as foreigner people try to help rather than put you down.
💫And….

because India is giving away Covid vaccines free to other countries, while other pharmaceutical companies are stuffing their pockets and claiming not to have enough.

Photo credit:

Petra Schüssler

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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