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Karma : Indian point of view to western questions
 Surender Negi  
 18 March 2018  

Karma: Myth and Philosophical TheoryFew days ago, I read an article on Karma. I have enjoyed that Article. It is very rare when you get chance to read an article which force you to bend your mind for thinking beyond the boundaries of your bubble of thoughts. I would like to request with reader that if they want they can visit my friend website. He writes about various topics and ideas which are energetic and great.His Article raised many question about the concept of karma. I replied him in his comment box but that was short and unorganized reply. So, I thought that it should be create as blog where I would be able to explain my point more efficiently. There is five major question raised in that article. These questions are related to law of karma, implication and evidence of existence.The first question is about if there is some kind of karma (good and bad), than who will decide that what is good karma? According to whom it will indicate that Karma is good or bad?Before exploring this answer, we must understand that in western dictionary, karma is considered as Consequence of our action. But in Indian philosophy, the definition of karma is slightly different. Karma is not confined to mere consequence of an individual action or action of a society. The word "Karma" is defined as consequence of an individual action within fold of adharma and dharma. Here, Dharma is the natural properties define by Nature to an object and adharma is resistive nature towards someone natural properties. For example, Water has properties to cool material object and Fire can burn objects. These properties of fire and water have predetermine consequence by nature. This is how nature has been constructed and natural consequence is mechanically knot with infinite causality with others. So, human natural properties has been define into three nature- Good (Sattav), Bad (Tamas) and Gray (Rajas). No human can be extreme good or bad.In various ratios, our natural properties have been construct which is direct or indirect result of our location and the era we born.So, Karma is consequence of our action which is result of what we do against or in favour of our swadharma (A term defined for individual dharma because people have various properties). It is not plain consequence of our action.[caption id="attachment_8979" align="aligncenter" width="321"] Endless Knot of karma[/caption]Now, Question arise what is good karma and what is bad karma?As a man himself sows, so he himself reaps; no man inherits the good or evil act of another man. The fruit is of the same quality as the action.— Mahabharata, xii.291.2This verse of mahabharata explain an outline of Good and bad karma. Human life is mirror of his own action. Definition of Good karma is comes from your own perception about world. If a person want to be wealthy, he must do action which not hurt someone else financially. If a person want to be love by everyone, he must be kind to others. There is no God words and holy direction to achieve good karma. There is only one dharmic rule."Do the same action which you expect from others."So,good and bad karma according to whom? This can be answer with this dharmic rule that "according to you". According to our understanding of good and bad karma.Irrespective of this dharmic rule for karma, Human is social animal. In this world we are so strongly interlinked that sometime it is hard for us to even understand that what went wrong within our society. In that situation, Hindu philosophy introduces the concept of Guru or swami. a person who studied the society and spread word against any action or karma which is not in line with current need of society. They are like ancient social reformer. Because eastern religion, especially Hinduism has decentralised religious structure, so it is very hard to challenge any change proposed by Guru and swami.But the negative side of this decentralise religious structure is that it take long time for social reform.The second question raised by article is that the idea of karma concerns free will. The dividing line between what is free action and what is not free action is unclear. Accusation has that Indian school of thought says there is moral consequence to freely undertaken actions. This idea is really thought provoking that weather karma conflict with free will of human. But the bigger question is that do we have really a free will? Let's understand with an example.I was habitual drinker of Coca cola in my young age. Whenever I got chance to drink a cold drink, I always ordered to shopkeeper for coca cola. That was spontaneous to me because my brain was habitual for that. This thing happens with many people for various habits. Some people prefer orange juice over other fruit juice. Some people always prefer apple over other fruits. So, our action or we can say, our choice is construction and pattern of our habits, our patterns. Our will (which is spontaneous) has been drive through such repeated information in our sub conscious mind. Do we have free will? or it's just mechanical outcome of our sub consciousness[/caption] Sure!! We are conscious human being and when it comes to choose different action from our habits we chose with a will we think are free. But the question is that really an action depends on our free will.I think partially its depend on our free will but mostly it is depend on how we look that action or will. Our conscious brain always calculates the risk and tracks all information about that action before executing. Any bitter experience and memory can put that action on hold. But at final stage, it is required other natural properties like ratio of taking risk, our passion for that action (if it attach to a passion) or our current physical and financial condition.We simply do not wish and start implementing. It is complex.Well, now there is concern that some ideas are result of outside moral force which has power of judgement and of inflicting repercussions. As we understand that free will is almost result of our understanding about world and the natural properties which we inherit. So, any action which we do within social framework has social implication. Every society has primitive understanding of world. This infinite net of primitive understanding of world and our collective experience from past is reflect in our current culture, social norms, social ideologies and rituals. Primitive understanding of natural phenomenon has created social ideas.it has no direct relationship to do with original philosophy.These social ideas are rigid and the power of judgement to any different idea comes from these social rigid ideologies and experience. The moral implication has no direct link with original philosophy but social peer pressure which follows the law of social majoritarianism.Yes, there is moral consequence of free will. But this consequence is not result of conflict with karmic theory but these moral consequences are result of contradiction with social framework which based on rigid idea. This rigid idea is result of collective social experience and understanding. These ideas have been promote and protect by religious institute in western religion while in Hinduism there is no protection for such rigid ideas. But as stated, due to decentralize system of religious knowledge such idea still exist in various shape and form in Indian society. I do not think that there is any contradiction and parallel fight with karma and free will here. I often observed that western scholars approach to Indian philosophy with western social theories and analytical tools. For understanding of Indian core belief and philosophy. They should understand that Indian society, Indian point of view and Indian philosophy cannot be analyse with the social theories which is developed for western societies.There was another concern that whether in Indian philosophy there any clear distinction between free will and what is not free?I have to agree with this question that there is no clear distinction because we have failed to defined free will. Whether or not humans have free will is a question that philosophers have debated for centuries, and they will likely continue to do so. Psychology can provide some insights into how free will—or at least a belief in its existence—might work, but beyond that, we likely cannot verify or invalidate its existence.There is third problem was with theory of karma which said "if you do good karma, the consequence will be good. A bad karma result bad consequence".I think this the toughest question to answer. writer says in that article"It is hard to see how some kind of natural karmic law could understand good and bad which are subjective to moral ideas that depend on the perspective of a personal agent, whether that person be a human being or God."First mistake which I found that this is utterly misunderstood concept that the karmic laws is idea based on a perspective of a person or God. The theory of karma is result of long time observation by many sages and their early understanding about people various condition. Second thing which is being conveyed by Indian philosophy that Nature itself an automatic mechanism, Humans are just part of this large mechanism. Universe is materialistic result of this natural mechanism.[caption id="attachment_media-66" align="alignnone" width="3840"] Dalai Lama on Theory of kamra[/caption]Human lives within universe, so any small human action result effect on nature.  The question is that whether law of karma has any empirical evidence or not? I am doubtful that these evidence is like mystical experience. I have few experiencing evidence and many millions people have few but it is not as applicable for all others who haven't experience it. All natural laws like karma (Dharmic action), Dharma (Righteous way of life) , Gyana  (self-Enlightenment) & Maya (Materialistic illusion) is very personal in nature. In physical world, a scientist spend his all life and invent something which can be used by every other being which is not involve into the studies of that invention. While In Laws of nature, Only a person can experience the natural power, self-enlightenment , materialistic illusion when he do his part of tapas (natural enlightenment).The question rises how we can achieve that enlightenment. Many suggest Yoga, wondering within nature, social works, spending time with Gurus and Swami. But I find it partial practices. The real enlightenment can be attend by Four methods explain in Bhagwat Gita.Karma yoga (a life with righteous action)Gyan yoga (A life which spend to studies nature and natural activities)Bhakti yoga (a life which involve deep devotion for anyone, your life partner, kids, any kind of God, communities)Raja Yoga (A life which is indulged into your profession which you do)Hinduism makes sure that everyone attends Moksha at last. We can have very different blog about this topic.Well, Karma is myth or not is very different question. I think, I am unable to answer that question in this blog. But I would like to have a short note over this. Writer wrote that"If God decides for that to happen on any particular occasion. There are no absolute laws of cause and effect outside the will of god".I would disagree with this statement for two reasons.First reason is that in all Hinduism scripture it stated that god and avatar (incarnation of god on earth) can have consequence (bad) of their moral actions (which was suitable for that different era). Let's take example from the Indian epics of India "Ramayana" and "Mahabharata"In Ramayana, Ram had friendship with sugreev ( a exiled monkey king). His brother bali (another powerful monkey king) had stolen the kingdom and sugreev wife from him. So he decided to take help of Lord Rama. But Bali had a boon that anyone who comes in front of him loose his half power to him. So Rama decided to kill him by hidden passage of trees. But when Lord ram, reincarnated as lord Krishana than Bali killed Krishana. Bali had taken rebirth as archer on era of Mahabharat. Lord Ram had been to face consequence of his action in another birth.Second reason thatO son of Prtha, there is no Karma prescribed for me within all the three planetary systems. Nor am I in want of anything, nor have I need to obtain anything—and yet I am engaged in karma. Chapter 3, Verse 22 .Here Lord Krishana describes how he is also bounded with laws of karma. These two example clearly describe that even god is bounded to these laws of nature. Natural laws are most powerful and govern universe.#smblogcontest

Sanatana Dharma :Raise and Reason of Atheism
 Surender Negi  
 18 March 2018  

“Atheist” means rejecting the faith of God creation and its existence. There is thousand logic has been put before theist like “If God exist why we can not see it?”, “If God is exist then why can not we prove his existence by scientific evidence?” “If god exist, why can not god control and help during natural disaster?” “If God exist, why this whole world is suffer from disease, poverty, torture?” Many consider that God is reason for fight and war. Some says, following path of Dharma and God is addiction. Some say be dharmic is primitive act.But what is reality? what is reality about existence of God?  what atheist think is right?The Reason for Being AtheistThe concluded point by me that why people chose to be atheist:People ignorance towards the concept of God, Character, Concept of Karma and Natural law.In Name of religion, a narrow mindset which has been developed in last 2000 yrs with superstitious.Being egoistic and ignorant after having 700- 500 years progress of material or objective science.After seeing riots and fights in name of religion.War and Riots due to ReligionIn name of God atrocities, promoting illogical customs, forcing people to miracle, fixing god in places like temple, mosque, church etc., telling people that he lives in seven floors of sky, being Godmen and calling himself manifestation of God, adoption of multi-god, framing god to infinity to finite idols can force a neutral person that whether God really exists or not. or God is just an imagination of human being. for example, in Hindu society, stopping shudras to enter into the temple, if someone enters then punish them and acting to a pure temple. this all dangerous drama in name of God actually comes from human greed to power and position. the real reason behind this human desired to control things in society it has no relation to the existence of God. God itself many places declare that God is justice, charity, and humiliation, he doesn’t discriminate humans in any form. God by nature is omnipresent and without shape then why need to search them in temple, kailash, above seven sky etc. This is evidence that humanity has constructed a frame for God because they were ignorant towards the infinite concept of God. Then some human added to this with prophet, avatar, religious Guru etc. if a human can understand that God is within him as a manifestation of the divine. he does not need to do anything else except having dharma.Is religion increase superstitious?  In Name of God, people have spread more and more social evil for being in power, for highlighting themselves. No matter which religion it is, whether it is temple priest who forced to shudra out of temple or religious leader who instigate mugals to do everything inhuman to other faiths in name of religion. or may it's the pope who orders to burn people in name of the church in early centuries. Suppose, if this middleman would vanish all these atrocities wouldn’t happen. But the truth was that this problem of middlemen was not solved by early social reformer but they started to gang up against the religion not priest who dictated these authorities in name of God. These people increase volume against a philosophy not for the people who manipulate this philosophy. a common person who has used this philosophy to distinguish himself from social evil, now this gap between good and bad or right and wrong being narrowed by liberals in name of social reform. This leads to the throwing of moral values and the world almost getting agitated in even good point of theist.The biggest reason also superstition for atheism. The general public is fully blind by superstition in name of religion while atheist blame God for this behavior. Reality is that God gives enlighten of knowledge while superstitious religious customs are originated by Humans. Religious Godmen used this tricks for their living, position, and fame. Many Hindu saints who are not even aware of Sanskrit is now being the controller of dharma. Some give Guru Mantra, some said mugged my name every day, some give tabeez and few said be nonmaterialistic to be enlightened. Some become such blind and inhuman that kill another child for their own child wish. The irony is that intellectuals used this chance to spread atheism while the real reason for human lust and control in name of religion. they give reference to scientific evidence for that but forget that most superstition is men made. hence, can not be proven scientifically.Believing in Miracle is the root cause of superstition. Theist believes in prophet miracles, Jesus miracles of resurrection and water turned into wine. while Hindu Godmen running their shop by showing using miracle describe in Puranas that God can do everything. (Puranas are stories which were used for delivering Veda’s knowledge in form of stories, but with time its become part of truth in Indian consciousness- Ramayana and Mahabharata is the only History mentioned in Hindu scripture).Swami Dayanand has given a great example for this if God can do everything, then can he kill himself or can he create the god like him. The answer is NO. Then its clear God cannot do everything. The answer to this question is that: Some work has been done by God like creation, destruction, human death and life and controlling the wheel of karma. God doesn’t need anyone for these works. Theist should ask atheist whether you believe that universe is regular or irregular? The miracle is disrespect of natural law under regular condition. In real miracle is human imagination which he used in name of god for blackmailing innocent people to stay in power and higher post.Another reason for rising of theism in ego on scientific studies. Propagator of atheism has been egoistic on scientific development and they started to think that they are the highest power in this universe. Example before Newton, there was the Gravitational force, but the human was unaware of that fact. But human developed their capabilities to understand it by developing calculus this process known as discovery. The reality is that al discoveries were there before human origin only human framed it his own measurement for understanding purpose. while knowledge of the universe is infinite and the real known to that knowledge is nature itself. Newton itself written his thought about that.“I do not know what I may appear to the world, but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the sea-shore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.”Relationship of Dharma and ScienceThe question is that what is the relation between science and dharma. cause atheist thinks that they are born enemy to each other.  This ideology of atheism is transported and grown when European church was forcing humans to believe in biblical believe and anyone who confronts the challenge of biblical belief was killed by the church. Ex. Galileo killed because he challenges the church idea about the center of the universe. church punish him and many scientists. These atrocities turn into resistance and people of early Europe and now whole west considers that church is enemy of scientific knowledge. The crime had been done by officials of the church but blame moved to God and this is going on from last many decades that people who embrace atheism follow the blindly European idea of atheism without understanding that biblical and dharma were fundamentally different in nature.Now the question is remain same what is the difference between Science and dharma.Dharma and Science are not against each other but they are allies to each other.Science answer how this world is formed, dharma say why the world has been made. Science as saying how human born but dharma says why human born.Answering the philosophical question and religious thrust is not possible by science but that can be answered by Dharma. Hence Science and Dharma is the partner which can be described by words of Albert Einstein.“Science without religion is a lame and religion without science is blind.”This also asked by many atheists that if God exists then it should be proven by scientific methods. But the answer is that Mind, Intellect, Happiness, sadness, sorrow, summer, coldness, space all are without the size and can not be traced to human sense. Nationalism, Love, Lust is also similar in categories. But atheist believes in such things but reject God, This really questions their character of being neutral to things they believed. reality is that, cannot prove God is not mistaken of God but the inability of science. while in an ancient age which we called “Rishi” those were the ancient scientist has been discovered the truth of God by mediation and Yoga.Considering Riots and war is an act of god and responsible by God is foolishness. This is already clear that riots or war is the result of Human misunderstanding and race of supremacy within religions.  Example, the riots reason between Hindus and Muslims in 1947 was when Muslim objects Hindus that they can not do their festival in front of the mosque.  But the question is that if someone really doing worship of God how can a single noise disturbed him. That time Muslims made this is a reason of fight because of tension over Pakistan and Hindustan. All middlemen have given religious air to instigate the fire of riots that time.All the violence in name of religion is not related to God but human understanding of God, their thrust for power, gain , position. All the war is done under a narrow minded ideology while God has nothing to that ideology.For Original Blog Visit  Sanatana Dharma: Raise and Reason of Atheism (Series # 04)#smblogcontest

Book Review: For A Girl In A Star By Ratna Chandu
 Ayushi A Nair  
 13 June 2018  

For A Girl In A Star is written by Ratna Chandu.Book Title: For A Girl In A StarAuthor: Ratna ChanduFormat: Paper BackTotal Number of Pages: 224Language: EnglishPublisher: Srishti Publishers & DistributorsPublishing Date: 10 February 2018ISBN-10: 9387022153ISBN-13: 978-9387022157What do you do when your best friend – the one person who has stood byyou through thick and thin, knows you better than you know yourself, andliterally saved your life – falls in love with the same girl as you?Avinash and Sahas, two village boys, arrive in Bangalore in search of art andin pursuit of ambition. Sahas, hardworking and nervous, antonym to hisfriend, has emerged from a troubled past only to find that his future doesn’tcome without encumbrances. Their friendship is the one constant in thetwo boys’ lives, but that is tested when they each meet Aarti – a mysterious,compassionate, beautiful girl who captures both their imaginations andsets their hearts aflame.Will their passion for the same girl, and an untimely tragedy, sunder the twofriends forever?A compelling tale with twists and turns reminiscent of India’s melodramaticfilms, For a Girl in a Star deals with the age–old staples of young love, heartbreak, and what it means to be a true friend.Starting from the cover is eye catching. It’s not only the design work but also the substance of the Story as well. Just look at the design, there is a couple and a guy which is going away from the couple. The view is simply amazing. The title of the novel is thoughtful, and completely justifying the story. They complement each other well and also is according to the story, so it’s a perfect combination.The story revolves on love triangle with the lives main protagonist Avinash (Avi), Sahas and Aarti. Avi & Sahas, both belonged to the same village Agumbe. Since their early childhood, they were the best buddies of each other and the depth of their friendship was beyond of any imagination. Since the time Avi saved Sahas’s life from drowning in his childhood, Sahas devoted his unconditional friendship to him and soon with time, their bond became inseparable. Aarti was a girl, full of life, with a caring and sensible heart, mature thoughts and kind nature. Her beauty of heart got reflected in her outer appearance also.Aarti and Sahas are in the same college. With continuous interactions, and close encounters, even a shy personality like Sahas also had fallen head over hills for Aarti, but due to lack of courage, he could not get the chance to express his true feelings in front of Aarti. Aarti considered Sahas as a very good & genuine close friend, but she was unaware completely about the feelings of Sahas for her.Sleep felt like a faraway dream since he meet her…Destiny made Avi too crossed his path with Aarti suddenly in an awkward situation, and soon after the first sight, Avi noticed the actually inner beauty of that Aarti possessed and curiosity stuck him. Not one time, but frequently, and after a point, Avi got the chance to interact with Aarti directly. Though their initial interactions was one sided, but soon, after realizing the talent of Avi, and seeing the mesmerizing art of Avi, and his inner simplicity of heart, she started to admire him. With time, they got very close to each other and love blossomed inside the heart of both of them. Even their love for each other made them to take a step further.It is the destiny which turns out to be so cruel that it brings so much misunderstanding in the life of two childhood friends who fall in love with the same girl. It happens in movies that two boys of different worlds find one girl and fall in love with. Talk about coincidence but it happens with these childhood friends. And of course, this love-triangle drives a wedge between them. The story revolves around their struggles and the way they cope up with grief and situations.The story makes you smile in the first half and leaves you sobbing in the second half, the story is narrated in such a manner that everything you read can be visualized.Life sometimes throws you encounters only to leave you indelible memoriesLanguage is simple and lucid to read and connect with the story and being engaged throughout the story.  Characters are also clearly justified to their respective roles and all of the characters mentioned in the book have been portrayed in such a way, that any reader will be able to connect with the characters effortlessly and live the journey with them. It’s a combination of emotions, revenge, friendship, realization, redemption, love, true love, pain, joy, happiness, laughter, family, fate & many other elements infused together. However, the editing errors including spelling and grammatical errors are numerous.  I had learned the true meaning of friendship from the book.Recommended to all bibliophiles.Overall 5/5 StarsAbout the AuthorRatna Chandu was born and brought up in Hyderabad and did her engineering in mechanical. Having worked as a Personality Development Trainer for four years, she gave up her job to be a full-time writer. She’s a voracious reader, an artist and a yoga freak. When she isn’t reading or writing, she tries her hand at varied culinary, the activity that helps her unwind and works as a therapy. Currently, she’s residing in Pune with her husband and son.

Interview With Revathi Raj Iyer
 Ayushi A Nair  
 21 June 2018  

Revathi Raj Iyer is a freelance writer, book reviewer, company director, service volunteer and yoga/fitness enthusiast. Professionally qualified as Company Secretary (India & New Zealand) with legal background, she has worked in the corporate field for over a decade. Bombay is her hometown and Baroda her abode after marriage. When she moved to Fiji Islands, she bid adieu to a rewarding career with a multinational to become a full time mum and pursue her twin passions, yoga and writing. She worked as lecturer of Laws at the University of Fiji. Living between NZ and Fiji, she pursued writing and yoga training and continues her passion after moving to India. She lives in Ahmedabad, India and has completed her next book which is a collection of short stories. Her dream is to write books for children.A couple of easy questions to begin with…First off,  What inspired you to write “My Friendship with Yoga”?Physical activity was dominant in my life right from an early age, as a trained classical dancer, which continued until my late twenties. Thereafter it took a back seat, when I became engrossed with my career together with being hands-on mum to a lovely little daughter alongside other demands that needed my attention. However, things changed when we moved to Fiji Islands, and I got back into fitness with intense aerobics and strength training. As destiny would have it, a disciple of Yogacharya BKS Iyengar was deputed to Fiji to introduce this ancient tradition to the people of Fiji. Yoga was at my door step and I embraced it with heartfelt love. I started writing my yoga journal. One fine day, I decided to give a formal structure to my jottings to reach out to a wider audience. As I wrote the book I had no idea of the publishing process, but I was focussed on my goal. “My Friendship with Yoga” thus took shape and was launched on the 10th January, 2017 at the New Delhi World Book Fair. Thanks to Lifi Publications for making this happen!How do you see writing, as a hobby or a passion?I find writing very therapeutic and it also makes me happy. It is passion that drives me to enter that lonely space, which I beautify with words, plot and characters to create a story.Is yoga a way of life or a way to exercise and meditateYoga and meditation are a way of life for a holistic and healthy lifestyle. It is not instant therapy or about perfecting the postures. It is much more than that.  One has to go through a process of learning – patiently and persistently; and observe the changes it brings about in oneself.Please tell us some more about your debut novel?“My Friendship with Yoga” is about my progression from learning under an instructor to achieving confidence in self-practice and sharing my varied experiences with readers. I have presented the complicated aspects of yoga in a lucid style with practical hints so as to cater book lovers of all age groups and skill levels. The book is divided into three parts:Narrative which combines the physical, psychological and spiritual aspects of yoga, wherein a selection of topics along with interesting anecdotes have been coveredThe 2nd Part has more than 80 postures with steps to attain these, guidelines, tips, techniques and benefits; keeping in mind yoga enthusiasts, beginners as well as those who have been practising yoga.The 3rd Part consists of the much desired weekly practice schedule written sequentially with clear instructions to enhance one’s practice.What has yoga done for you as a person?Yoga has helped me to deal with a given situation in a pragmatic and dispassionate manner. It has enabled me to let go of the past and negative emotions, be more positive and result-oriented and direct my energies towards my creative pursuit and other commitments. Yoga has certainly helped in making me acknowledge and appreciate the choices I have made so far, and offered me a healthier and more content lifestyle.What sort of research did you do to write this book?I have been reading books on yoga, but “My Friendship with Yoga,” is the outcome of my entire learning process, from the disciple of BKS Iyengar and instructors from the West. My effort was to present the complicated aspects of yoga in simple language that would appeal to readers of all age groups and skill levels. Yoga is not about perfection as different bodies react in a certain way to a certain posture. To that end, my thought process kept evolving during the entire course of my writing. I made several drafts until I was fully satisfied that I had done justice to my work. For each and every asana which has been illustrated in the book, I consciously performed them and wrote down the steps. Every single breath, every movement, position, the sequence had to be accurate.How did you come up with the title of the book “My Friendship with yoga”?It came straight from the heart; in fact I did not falter or ponder over the title. I began writing this book with its title in place. The title was a reminder to simplify yoga and it guided me in writing a user and reader friendly book, which has been appreciated by the reviewers and readers. Fortunately, my publishers were also happy with the title and did not suggest any changes.Besides writing, what else do you do in your free time?Besides writing and reading books; I practice yoga, support my publisher in the promotion of my book, review books for Muse India, handle professional commitment as Director of a company, travel and spend time with my family. I love to bake and cook, and feel delighted when the outcome exceeds my expectations Do you recall the first ever book/novel you read?I don’t recall the title of the first book, but I started off with the Enid Blyton series, followed by Agatha Christie.Were your parents reading enthusiasts who gave you a push to be a reader as a kid?My mum read a lot and I would accompany her to the local lending library. She was not pushy but I gradually picked up the habit and enjoyed those evening walks to the library after school, with my best friend. She will get nostalgic when she reads this!What are your top three favorite books of all time?It is hard to pick just 3, as I have so many favorites. Hmmm….. The Little Prince, Kite Runner, Reluctant Fundamentalist, Namesake…As a new author, what is your favorite part of the writing/ publishing process? Least favorite.My favorite part is the writing itself and working hand-in-glove with the publishers; the book launch being the icing on the cake. My least favorite part is to face rejections without knowing the reason for it, after waiting for months to hear from publishers.What is the main thing you want readers to take away from your book?To understand the pure essence and simplicity of yoga, without feeling intimidated or inadequateAs mentioned in the book, “Yoga is not about perfection. It is a very enjoyable bonding with our body and mind that teaches us to be resilient and patient.”I would like you to share something about yourself with the readers. Something that does not go in the about the author section something that is the real you?I dream a lot and wish that all my dreams came true, hahaha…And finally, A message for aspiring writers?“Rejections are a part of the whole process of being ultimately accepted and acknowledged, as a writer. Please do not give up, no matter what, and pursue your passion, despite the road blocks. Think of the book lovers and connect with them. Write for them and the passion will always be with you.”Thank you. It was really a privilege interviewing you. Hope you enjoyed the interview. Links to buy the book- Amazon.in Amazon.com FlipkartWrite to her at chirminey@gmail.com

Interview With Revathi Raj Iyer
 Ayushi A Nair  
 21 June 2018  

Revathi Raj Iyer is a freelance writer, book reviewer, company director, service volunteer and yoga/fitness enthusiast. Professionally qualified as Company Secretary (India & New Zealand) with legal background, she has worked in the corporate field for over a decade. Bombay is her hometown and Baroda her abode after marriage. When she moved to Fiji Islands, she bid adieu to a rewarding career with a multinational to become a full time mum and pursue her twin passions, yoga and writing. She worked as lecturer of Laws at the University of Fiji. Living between NZ and Fiji, she pursued writing and yoga training and continues her passion after moving to India. She lives in Ahmedabad, India and has completed her next book which is a collection of short stories. Her dream is to write books for children.A couple of easy questions to begin with…First off,  What inspired you to write “My Friendship with Yoga”?Physical activity was dominant in my life right from an early age, as a trained classical dancer, which continued until my late twenties. Thereafter it took a back seat, when I became engrossed with my career together with being hands-on mum to a lovely little daughter alongside other demands that needed my attention. However, things changed when we moved to Fiji Islands, and I got back into fitness with intense aerobics and strength training. As destiny would have it, a disciple of Yogacharya BKS Iyengar was deputed to Fiji to introduce this ancient tradition to the people of Fiji. Yoga was at my door step and I embraced it with heartfelt love. I started writing my yoga journal. One fine day, I decided to give a formal structure to my jottings to reach out to a wider audience. As I wrote the book I had no idea of the publishing process, but I was focussed on my goal. “My Friendship with Yoga” thus took shape and was launched on the 10th January, 2017 at the New Delhi World Book Fair. Thanks to Lifi Publications for making this happen!How do you see writing, as a hobby or a passion?I find writing very therapeutic and it also makes me happy. It is passion that drives me to enter that lonely space, which I beautify with words, plot and characters to create a story.Is yoga a way of life or a way to exercise and meditateYoga and meditation are a way of life for a holistic and healthy lifestyle. It is not instant therapy or about perfecting the postures. It is much more than that.  One has to go through a process of learning – patiently and persistently; and observe the changes it brings about in oneself.Please tell us some more about your debut novel?“My Friendship with Yoga” is about my progression from learning under an instructor to achieving confidence in self-practice and sharing my varied experiences with readers. I have presented the complicated aspects of yoga in a lucid style with practical hints so as to cater book lovers of all age groups and skill levels. The book is divided into three parts:Narrative which combines the physical, psychological and spiritual aspects of yoga, wherein a selection of topics along with interesting anecdotes have been coveredThe 2nd Part has more than 80 postures with steps to attain these, guidelines, tips, techniques and benefits; keeping in mind yoga enthusiasts, beginners as well as those who have been practising yoga.The 3rd Part consists of the much desired weekly practice schedule written sequentially with clear instructions to enhance one’s practice.What has yoga done for you as a person?Yoga has helped me to deal with a given situation in a pragmatic and dispassionate manner. It has enabled me to let go of the past and negative emotions, be more positive and result-oriented and direct my energies towards my creative pursuit and other commitments. Yoga has certainly helped in making me acknowledge and appreciate the choices I have made so far, and offered me a healthier and more content lifestyle.What sort of research did you do to write this book?I have been reading books on yoga, but “My Friendship with Yoga,” is the outcome of my entire learning process, from the disciple of BKS Iyengar and instructors from the West. My effort was to present the complicated aspects of yoga in simple language that would appeal to readers of all age groups and skill levels. Yoga is not about perfection as different bodies react in a certain way to a certain posture. To that end, my thought process kept evolving during the entire course of my writing. I made several drafts until I was fully satisfied that I had done justice to my work. For each and every asana which has been illustrated in the book, I consciously performed them and wrote down the steps. Every single breath, every movement, position, the sequence had to be accurate.How did you come up with the title of the book “My Friendship with yoga”?It came straight from the heart; in fact I did not falter or ponder over the title. I began writing this book with its title in place. The title was a reminder to simplify yoga and it guided me in writing a user and reader friendly book, which has been appreciated by the reviewers and readers. Fortunately, my publishers were also happy with the title and did not suggest any changes.Besides writing, what else do you do in your free time?Besides writing and reading books; I practice yoga, support my publisher in the promotion of my book, review books for Muse India, handle professional commitment as Director of a company, travel and spend time with my family. I love to bake and cook, and feel delighted when the outcome exceeds my expectations Do you recall the first ever book/novel you read?I don’t recall the title of the first book, but I started off with the Enid Blyton series, followed by Agatha Christie.Were your parents reading enthusiasts who gave you a push to be a reader as a kid?My mum read a lot and I would accompany her to the local lending library. She was not pushy but I gradually picked up the habit and enjoyed those evening walks to the library after school, with my best friend. She will get nostalgic when she reads this!What are your top three favorite books of all time?It is hard to pick just 3, as I have so many favorites. Hmmm….. The Little Prince, Kite Runner, Reluctant Fundamentalist, Namesake…As a new author, what is your favorite part of the writing/ publishing process? Least favorite.My favorite part is the writing itself and working hand-in-glove with the publishers; the book launch being the icing on the cake. My least favorite part is to face rejections without knowing the reason for it, after waiting for months to hear from publishers.What is the main thing you want readers to take away from your book?To understand the pure essence and simplicity of yoga, without feeling intimidated or inadequateAs mentioned in the book, “Yoga is not about perfection. It is a very enjoyable bonding with our body and mind that teaches us to be resilient and patient.”I would like you to share something about yourself with the readers. Something that does not go in the about the author section something that is the real you?I dream a lot and wish that all my dreams came true, hahaha…And finally, A message for aspiring writers?“Rejections are a part of the whole process of being ultimately accepted and acknowledged, as a writer. Please do not give up, no matter what, and pursue your passion, despite the road blocks. Think of the book lovers and connect with them. Write for them and the passion will always be with you.”Thank you. It was really a privilege interviewing you. Hope you enjoyed the interview. Links to buy the book- Amazon.in Amazon.com FlipkartWrite to her at chirminey@gmail.com

YOGA INSTRUCTOR
 Preeti Tal  
 30 July 2018  

Yoga instructor

Book Review: A Turbulent Tale of Love by Shalu Thakur Dhillon
 Ayushi A Nair  
 1 September 2018  

Book Title:A Turbulent Tale of LoveAuthor: Shalu Thakur DhilonFormat: Paper BackTotal Number of Pages: 236Language: English Publisher: Invincible PublishersPublishing Date:  22 June 2018ISBN-10: 9387328775ISBN-13: 978-9387328778Life is a journey full of storms and turbulences. Love is the boat that two people can share and sail through the storm together. Preview Nihal, a pilot by profession, is used to turbulences in his day to day life. One incident.. And his personal life was sturm und drang. Rabani, an independent yet simple girl, whom he meets by a twist of fate, brings peace and harmony to Nihal’s tempestuous life. But what about the unrest that engulfs Rabani’s life? Does Nihal figure out what he actually wants from life? For Prof Nirmal, the heart has no wrinkles and love is all about accepting your loved ones the way they are. How does he manage to pull Neena, his wife, out of her pain and sorrow? Neil and Nihal are two friends who can understand even the unspoken things between them. What happens when the unrest in Nihal and Rabani’s life storms their friendship too? Does the turbulence settle finally? Does their journey have a happy landing?My TakeStarting from the cover is beautiful and apt according to the plot. The title A Turbulent Tale Of Love is captivating and intelligible that the book is a love story. The book is a bag of emotion, love, friendship, mystery, laugh, heartbreak, father and son bonding, faith, fear, nightmares, hate and family values.The story revolves around main protagonist Nihal, Rabani, Mannat, Neel ,Prof. Nirmal  and peoples around them. Nihal is a pilot by profession, who was having sleepless nights of his sister taking away his parents far away from him, falls in love with Rabani at first sight. Nihal’s best friend Neil gets engaged to Mannat who was none other than Rabani’s Sister but woefully Mannat has had a bad image about Nihal since she studied with him.The book have been portrayed in such a way, that any reader will be able to connect with the story and live the journey with them. The every scene is so well written than you can actually get images of them in your mind. Language is simple and lucid to read and connect with the story and being engaged throughout the story. The story flows like a movie and takes the reader on a journey of true love. The story is fast paced and predictable.The author has clearly crafted the Punjabi family and family bonding which are rare to find nowadays. The friendship between Neil and Nishal is also strong. The author has portrayed each and every character with utmost significance of their own and every one of them has done justice to their respective roles throughout the story. The characters are well developed and one can easily relate them.I recommend this book to the readers who are seeking for a quick read or a light-hearted romantic novel.Overall Ratings 4/5 StarsGrab the copy here- Amazon.in |Amazon.com|Amazon.co.ukAbout the AuthorShalu Thakur Dhillon was born in Patiala, India. She holds post graduation degrees in Mathematics and Education. Before taking up writing as a serious business she had been into teaching for many years.Wedded to an olive green got her the opportunity to live in various parts of India. Currently she lives in Goa with her husband and two sons.She loves reading, music, travelling and yoga.To know more about her visit her Facebook PageYou can mail her at thestoryteller918@gmail.com

How to Choose the Perfect Nepal Trekking Tour?
 Manmohan Singh  
 26 April 2019  
Art

Nepal is a beautiful country in the lap of the Himalayas. It is a multicultural nation with a rich yogic and spiritual heritage. One of the friendliest places to be in for traveling, Nepal has always been the favorite of travelers from all across the globe. The Himalayan nation is known for its dharmic society that welcomes everybody with both arms open. Since, Nepal is located in the Himalayan region there is a huge tourism potential. Over the last couple of decades, the population of globetrotters has increased enormously, showing the importance of the country as a traveling destination. Most of the people come to Nepal either for trekking and/or for Yoga.Amid all these, one needs to be wise enough while choosing the tour agency, especially when you’re coming for trekking. There are more than 1000 trekking tour companies in Nepal enticing trekkers with different offers. In order to help you choose the best Nepal trekking tours, we have come up with certain points to consider while making your selection.Credibility and licenseThe first and foremost thing to check is whether the tour agency is registered with the local government or not. It is the best way to know the credibility of the tour operator. You should be very smart to spot out many unlicensed tour companies operating in Nepal. You can find a number of local tour operators after landing in Nepal. It is recommended to people from other countries to opt for a travel company having a proper website and registration. Explore the websites of some tour agencies to know whether their claim of being registered with the government is correct or not.Facilities it offersWhat facilities they are providing is a major factor affecting your decision of choosing a tour & travel company. You should always consider the facilities while comparing the price. If you are an online person, check out the websites of many operators to go for the best price and advantages. Although the price may vary, do not compromise with facilities. Check out the complete details of the package and ask for everything that they have listed out on the website. Things to look out for are airport pick and drop facility, entry permit, meals, accommodation, certified guides, etc.Reviews and testimonialsWhile exploring the website of a tour company, visit the testimonial page with immense attention. Read more and more reviews of people, who have visited Nepal in the past. Their opinions will help you a lot in deciding the ideal trekking tour in Nepal. If you cannot find more testimonials on the tour company’s website, look for many trusted portals to know about the best trekking program. It is recommended that you check out portals like TripAdvisor, Lonely Planet, Wiki Travels, etc. for authentic reviews of clients.Guides and trekking expertsTrusted guides and porters are the backbones of good trekking experience. In a new country, a new place, you need someone, who helps you enjoy the best trekking experience. A good guide makes your journey a mesmerizing one while the experience will be ruined with an awful guide. Check out the previous record of the guides that the tour company provides you. If he/she is not helpful in the way, your trekking journey will be wrecked up. Always go with a NATHM licensed porter. Also, make sure he/she speaks or understands your language and have the proper knowledge of places in Nepal. Apart from all these factors, what matters is the name and fame of the trekking house. Experience should be the basis of choosing a travel company. Whether you want to explore the Annapurna massif with Annapurna base camp trekking or the Sagarmatha region with Everest base camp trekking, the past experience of the tour operator matters hugely and heavily.

5 Incredible Benefits of The Naukasana
 Manmohan Singh  
 29 April 2019  

There is a reason why yoga is a holistic approach; it is one of the best practices that encompasses all the three known realms that a living being exists in ….which are, the mind (mental functioning involving the brain), the body (the physical form that we inhabit) and the soul (the spiritual entity that resides in the shell). To start the Yogic journey, one must start enacting and performing some Asanas (body postures). These Asanas tend to the three realms in a person by healing and nurturing through different combinations of these postures. What it also does, is that Yoga unravels the rhythm which is the natural essence to your being because it aligns your energies.One such asana that works on the core area of your body is the Naukasana. The health benefits of performing Naukasana are plenty; it is known to benefit your breathing, circulation of blood, maintaining sugar levels, strengthening the spinal cord area along with strengthening the abdominal organs of the body.ConsA few things to keep in mind before practice; it is advised that you do not perform the Naukasana if you are experiencing any of the following:1. Do not perform the Naukasana if you have severe headaches, spinal cord disorders, migraines or low blood pressure. Also not advised if you are suffering with any chronic illnesses.2. Avoid performing the Naukasana if you’re pregnant and during the first two days of the menstrual cycle.3. Heart and asthma patients must avoid performing this pose.Step by step performing NaukasanaLie on your back with both your feet together and your arms resting near the body. Palms facing to the ground.Take a deep breath and as you exhale, lift your feet and upper body off the ground stretching your arms towards your feet, leaving your body resting on your hip area. The eyes, fingers and toes should be aligned when lifted in the air.Now you should feel a certain tension building in your navel area, as the abdominal muscles are contracting.Keep breathing deeply and easily while maintaining that pose.Hold that position for a few seconds.As you exhale, as you come back to the ground slowly.Do this for duration of 4-5 sets everyday but do not overdo this pose.NAUKA (boat) pose as the name suggests resembles a boat, Naukasana literally translates to boat pose. When you sit on the “sit” bones to make the pose, you resemble the alphabet “V”. This pose requires tremendous abdominal strength and great focus on the balance to get this pose right and to reap its varied benefits. It is often included in the flow yoga sequence, as it helps boost energy. Often activating, opening and balancing the Solar Plexus (Manipura chakra).Here are 5 easy benefits to the NaukasanaA great stress reliever-As it is, an asana involving control over breath, it lowers the stress level. The benefits of naukasana are reaped by the nervous and tensed muscles by providing them immediate relief.Good for our digestive and reproductive system- It aids both the upper abdominal organs (pancreas and liver) and the lower abdominal organs (kidney and intestines), thus helps in reducing digestive problems. Helping in the circulation of the blood and oxygen around the abdomen area faster, this pose also enhances the secretion power of the liver and pancreas. For men, it is essentially beneficial because it stimulates the prostate gland which good for the male reproductive system.For increased muscle strength- The pose involves, the stretching of arm and leg muscles and also the lower back, strengthening the muscles in this area. The stretching also alleviates and fixes issues in the spinal cord.Helps in reducing belly fat- As Naukasana directly impacts the abdominal muscles with contraction; it is very good for those who want to reduce obesity.It also reduces belly fat and strengthening the abdominal muscles.Very good for diabetic patient- The health benefits of the Naukasana pose are also reaped by diabetic patients as it essentially works on fixing the sugar levels of the body. These were a few health benefits of performing the Naukasanapose which is a fairly difficult pose to do. It has its repercussions and is not advised for everyone but the benefits of Naukasana for those who can exercise are plenty. When you do perform this at your home, be alert about all the goodness this pose brings while you are performing it and allow your body to give into the pain so that it receives the goodness as much as you open your body. As we all know yoga is a journey and like all journeys, it demands a certain level of focus and concentration, and the results are worth it. Do your yoga every day !

8 Yoga Steps to Keep You Active In Old Age
 Shwaasa Guru  
 29 April 2019  

Forty is the Old Age of youth, fifty the youth of Old Age ~ Victor HugoIt's the era of personal care whether your age is 10 or 60 because age is just a number after all! Yoga is the way towards a happy, healthy life and the earlier you start the better it is for you. Yoga is extremely beneficial for seniors as it helps them to maintain the balance which gets disrupted at old age.Here, we have summarized some uncomplicated Yoga poses which elders can easily perform.8 Yoga Poses to Remain Active at Old AgeMountain Pose (Tadasana)Stand straight, and still. Keep your feet together and toes should make you feel grounded. Suck your stomach in and place your hands naturally on both sides of your waist. Hold the position, and take deep breaths.BenefitsImprovement in body posture.Strengthens weak thighs and ankles.Improves Digestion, stimulates blood circulation.Helps with acidity problems.Tree Pose (Vrikshasana)Stand straight and lift one knee up by placing the foot on the inner thigh of the other leg. Place it on either above or below the knee. Now, stretch your arms up into a prayer position above your head, like a namaste.BenefitsAbdominal strength.Balance and concentration.Hip mobility.Triangle Pose (Trikonasana)Stand with your legs stretched apart from each other. Now, with arms wide open, bend to take your entire body towards the left. One hand should touch either your toe or the ground, while the other arm and your face will be facing up to the sky. Switch, and move your body to the right. Repeat.BenefitsReduces blood pressure, and stiffness.Decreases fat of stomach and thighs.Makes your legs strong.Bird Dog (Parsva Balasana)Kneel, and stretch one arm forward while the opposite leg to the back. One leg should be off the ground while the other leg will be in the kneeling position only. Your back should be flat and the body completely parallel to the surface. Hold and switch the opposite arms and legs.Benefits Active, and alert brain.Knee flexibility.Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)Stand on your hands, and feet only. Lift your hips, and back up so that you can form a triangle. Face downwards. BenefitsStrengthens your core muscles.Body flexibility.Wrist issues.Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)For this pose, you will have to lay down flat over your abdomen, against the floor. Keep your arms next to your body, with the palms facing downward. Now, lift your head up, close your eyes, and stretch with the help of your arm strength. Arch your back naturally as you get into the position of Cobra Pose. BenefitsGet rid of your back, shoulder, and neck pains.Activates your heart chakra.Loosens your stiffness, improved posture with no hunched-back.Strengthens the spine.Butterfly Pose (Baddha Konasana)Sit straight and bring the souls of the feet together so that they can face and touch each other. Knees will be drawn to the outer sides. Hold your feet from both the hands and flap your knees in motion like wings.BenefitsOpens up hip movement.Stimulates bladder and kidneys.Relieves menopause-related issues.Deals with fatigue and depression.Dead Corpse Pose (Savasana)After you finish practicing all your asanas, this easy pose is going to give you complete relaxation. All you have to do is lie down flat on your back over the ground. Keep your body still with the palms facing up. Let your muscles relax, and take a restorative trip to a meditative trance state.BenefitsBody awareness.Cures insomnia.Enhances the quality of life.Yoga Teaching training in India will be an interesting platform for a few ambitious and capable elders. Your retirement plans could be a 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training in Rishikesh as well, only if you are an enthusiast.

5 Reasons to Do Your Yoga Teacher Training In Thailand
 Manmohan Singh  
 1 May 2019  

Yoga teacher training is that important aspect of life that can make or break your career if you aren’t serious about it or didn’t do it from a certified place. Therefore, choosing a destination for a certified yoga course is more of a responsibility. If you are also planning for a certified yoga course but unsure of from where you should do your course, then this article is for you.The following article will shift your focus towards Thailand and will guide you to the reasons why you should do your yoga teacher training in Thailand:Renowned yoga teachers: While enrolling for yoga teacher training course you may check the list of experienced yoga teachers available for teaching. You will realize that yoga teachers involved in the particular yoga school of Thailand may turn out to be a globally renowned yoga teacher. This is because yoga schools want the students to learn and practice yoga in the most authentic and professional way. This is made sure by aligning yoga teachers that have expertise in the different styles of yoga. Perfect class size: Since yoga schools in Thailand focus on effective learning and want to make sure that every student receives personalized training during the session; they make sure the class size is average. The idea behind this is that if you have a number of students in a class it is difficult for the teacher to concentrate on every student. Moreover, the teaching doesn’t yield any result either for the student or the teacher.Spiritually active: Thailand is a secular country that has several religions living in a peaceful manner altogether which includes Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Sikhism, etc. The religions and culture of the country make the person spiritually active. You may pay visits to Buddhist temples that may help you in educating rituals in Buddhism; other places that you may visit including churches, mosques, etc. You may also plan a yoga session near a temple in order to grasp the calm and positive energy of the place.Comprehensive healing treatment: In Thailand, you may combine your yoga session along with some activities that have a healing effect on your body. You may learn Yoga Pilates, spa and ayurvedic therapies, Thai massages, kickboxing, Muay Thai, etc. If you have planned for yoga teacher training in Bangkok you may combine golf, bounce Inc. with yoga which are also one of the major as well as new attractions in the area.Cost effective: Being an Asian country, Thailand is cost-effective as compared to the prices of certified yoga courses in other countries. You may combine your airfares, training fee, accommodation at a much lesser budget as compared to countries like Canada, US or the UK. Moreover, accommodation and food are included by most of the yoga schools. So, you see, Thailand offers not only authentic and traditional yoga teacher training course but also offers the amazing experience of a relaxed and de-stressed holiday that helps you calm your mind, body, and soul. The above-mentioned reasons are just a brief part of the bigger picture of what you are going to experience. The best way to judge the reasons is to plan for yoga teacher training in Thailand.

7 Yoga Tips That Make You Refresh While Trekking in Annapurna Base Camp
 Manmohan Singh  
 3 May 2019  
Art

Summary: Experienced or amateur, everybody has to go through soreness, tension and tiredness in the body while trekking or post-trek. The following article has a few yoga tips that may help you refresh especially if you are going for Annapurna Base Camp trekking.Annapurna Base Camp trekking, Everest Base Camp trekking are some of the challenging trekking routes of the Himalayas that drains you physically and mentally. Breathing problem, soreness in the muscles, tiredness are some of the natural side-effects that one suffers from during these trekking trips. Though trekking is meant for fun, adventure and challenges but, soreness or tiredness may affect your trekking experience as well as your health. Of course, you train yourself before you go for trekking but that will not be enough. One can easily release the tension in the muscles by practicing yoga while trekking or after completing the trekking route. Practicing yoga not only refreshes you during the trek but also aids you in many ways such as:•    It deflates soreness in the muscles by releasing the tension•    It improves breathing system of the body to eliminate cramps•    Builds strength and stamina for longer trekking routes•    It helps in building muscles for the required area•    It also treats flat feet which enhances the balance and posture of the body•    It relieves body aches, back pain and even treats chronic diseases if anyYou will be surprised to know that there are 300+ yoga poses to benefit mankind. In the following article, we have prepared a list of poses you can perform to reduce soreness, cramps, enhance flexibility and strength, etc. during your Annapurna Base Camp trek. To release tension in the muscles and sorenessRevolve triangle pose:While standing straight move your legs hip-width apart. Make sure both the heels and arch are aligned. Inhale and lift your right hand. While stretching over the head, place it next to the left foot.Lift your left hand towards the sky and make sure it is in line with your shoulder. Keep breathing slowly and gaze in the same direction.Hold the pose for at least 30 seconds and release it.Repeat the pose for the other leg.Some other poses you may practice are bridge pose, downward facing dog, cat/cow pose, eagle pose, and cow-faced pose. These poses are best suited for pre or post-trek. Practicing these poses during the trek releases tension from the body, opens up your hips and hamstrings for a better trekking experience. Moreover, these poses will help you calm your body down once you have completed the trek.To improve breathingAlternate nostril breathing: Hold onto your right nostril with right thumb and breathe in deeply through the left nostril.Close left nostril with the third finger of the right hand and remove thumb from right nostril.Breathe out through right nostril while holding onto to left nostril. After this exhale, breathe in again with left nostril and repeat the procedure as above.The other breathing techniques are ocean breathing, a breath of fire, bellows breathing, bumble bee breathing. These breathing techniques act as a tranquilizer for your body. They regulate the respiratory and circulatory system and maintain body temperature especially during Annapurna Base Camp trekking or any other trekking in Nepal.To enhance flexibility and strengthLord of the dance pose: While in tadasana, breathe in and lift your left foot. Make sure the heel is aligned with your left buttock.Hold the left toe with your left hand and extend your right hand straight forward.Make sure your right foot and right hand are straight, chest parallel to the ground.Gaze in the direction of the right hand. Hold the pose for at least 15 seconds.Repeat it with the other leg.For enhancing strength and flexibility, you may try poses such as eagle pose, sun salutations, warrior poses, variations of plank etc. Practicing these poses will strengthen your ankles, calves, legs, in fact, the entire lower body. These poses will eventually enhance the flexibility of your bodyCombining these exercises in your daily routine will help you prepare for a better trekking experience whether you are trekking in Nepal or anywhere in the world.

How is Trekking Beneficial to Your Mind and Soul?
 Manmohan Singh  
 6 May 2019  

Much like yoga,Trekking is an exercise that brings you together the body and the mind And makes your spirits shine, With the nurturing and the taming of your mind, You better the feelings that are food for your soul.Like yoga; in its process and exercise, trekking has a lot to do with breath-work and breath-control leading to mind control. The process of trekking then, further goes on to healing and fixing the energy loopholes of your being.The exercise of trekking is getting popular everywhere in the world. India and Nepal, the areas that are close to the Himalayas are in the spotlight because wisdom comes down from the great Himalayas to these lands. There are a plenty of trekking destination in India, and even more difficult trekking destinations in Nepal. The Annapurna base camp trek in Khandruk, Nepal is a doable and yet difficult trek that I recommend people to participate in.I will go as far as to say that trekking is a meditation and that’s because as widely it is believed that meditation requires one to be still and calm and composed; that may not be the entirety of meditation. Meditation is a practice that we do to activate our minds that has been either focusing on certain things too much, or been too relaxed or out of focus in its functioning.Meditation is essentially a practice that makes your concentration power more and more flexible and stronger. By explanation, concentration is the power of being able to contract and expand your consciousness and hold it for as long as required.Our consciousness gets out of practice and things start to get monotonous. When we go for trekking, the mind is expected to achieve great levels of concentration because it demands the holding capacity of your concentration, which, if not present, will kill you on your trek. That’s why people who have a good hold of their concentration can take up more and more difficult treks. Hence trekking is a form of moving meditation. It can be justified that trekking is essentially yoga in consistent movement and a faster method of unraveling and opening up. If you trek for a living, your body will find itself in a perpetual state of movement, and the mind at rest and in control at all times.Trekking demands for you to be mentally present at all times, or else your reality will be altered very easily and you may lose consciousness, which is why you may find trekkers walking silently in concentration. So what happens when we calm our minds and trek silently? We make our minds more and more alert so that it helps channelize all the energy in the body to be utilized by the physical activity!When your mind is calm and focused and your body is in movement, you become the humblest version of yourself at that moment because you are focusing on the bare necessities to keep you alive and walking ahead. And when humans get what they need and not what they greed, people are humbler and in greater harmony with themselves and each other. It will not be surprising to say that people, who trek as a lifestyle choice, live longer and live life in its full essence because all they have to do is walk away and find another strange place to find comfort in. What happens when you are trekking is that you are meditating with each step, your mind is calm, your body is in movement and your spirits are enriched versions which is how things are supposed to be in life, where people are only caring for their necessities and not for their greed.But the city life has introduced a lot of greed and in times when we exist in satisfaction, we may encounter moments of greed which leads our body and soul in the direction to achieve that greed that we inculcated in us. What we are doing while trekking is focusing on the bare necessities of life.With trekking you will go the natural way, and the natural way always leads to more satisfaction than running madly after something that you don’t even need. The “time” that you buy, is the “age” you have bought for yourself to live.Trekking does have tremendous scope for spiritual growth as well. Wisdom comes with the patience that we are willing to give to the things that are necessary for us, after we have bought all that time from meditating in movement. We are free to spend it on what may be an essential knowledge to pass down to your next generation. Whatever knowledge that people gain from spending time on gaining it, internalizes in our body and down to our genes...So you decide what information and knowledge you want to pass on to the coming generation. Trekking is extremely beneficial for your mind body and soul because when you are on a trek, you are feeding your entire being with all the goodness it needs internally and externally’ with every step you take, the problems you face on this journey are different from not meeting a project deadline…. You see, you’re more worried about collecting enough firewood to grant yourselves a heart-warming bon-fire when you want to take rest.

Top 10 things to do in Uttarakhand
 Sakshi Kaushik  
 6 May 2019  
Art

Uttarakhand is a jewel for travelers with a plethora of activities and fun things to do which will create everlasting vacation memories. That’s what travelling is all about. Here in Devbhoomi you will be able to experience a wide ranging set of fun activities from pilgrimages, yoga and meditation to trekking, camping and other adventure sports activities. You will never get bored once you are in this charming hill station of India. Planning a visit? Here are the top 15 things to do in Uttarakhand:Mountain bikingGoing cycling on the hilly terrain amidst some of the most thriving natural beauty is one of the best ways of exploring the real beauty of Uttarakhand. This is also a great way of discovering the culture, traditions and the humble lifestyle of the people on the hills while paddling your way through the mountain routes. Some paths that you can take for cycling include – the border of Corbett national park passing through kaladhungi which will bring you in close contact to the raw beauty of nature; terai jungle is another option where you can also witness the beauty of the scenic himalayas surrounding you; bhowali and khairna are other options tat you can choose to undertake. No matter where you go on your cycle it will be an exhilarating experience. 2. Skiing Skiing is another one of the most unique sport that you can experience here on the hills. During the winter snowfall season the entire the undulating terrain of Auli gets covered in snow. These hills are then utilized as a skiing location where people go to indulge in skiing activities. Thisis also one of the most popular winter vacation destination. During the summer season these hills blossoms to life with lush greenery and is used for camping purposes as bugyals. No matter when you want to visit Auli you will be having a great time there. 3. Chardham yatraUttarakhand is called devbhoomi for a reason. The entire state is steep historical and religious significance dating back to the era of gods. The sacred twin towns of Haridwar and Rishikesh along with being the birthplace of the holy Ganga river makes it even more important. It is also the abode of the holy char dham sites of Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri which is visited by lakhs of devotees from all across the world to attain moksha. Visiting these char dham sites will not only be a holy time but will fill you with a great sense of spirituality which will be unmatched to anywhere else. 4. CampingCamping is one of the most sought after activities in Uttarachal region. What’s better than experiencing the beauty of nature than sleeping under the star lit sky and some deep peace. There are several rules and regulations regarding camping in the bugyals but it is all worth it. No matter which season you decide to go camping on the hills you will still have a lot of options to choose from, Shivpuri, dhanaulti, roopkund, dayarabugyal etc. it is also one of the finest ways of being a part of the serenity that the hills have to offer. The best part is that you can do this alone or with a group that organizes camping tours for Uttarakhand. 5. Visit to Valley of flowersSituated in the district of Chamoli is one of the most fascinating UNESCO world heritage site of valley of flowers. Ever since its discovery this charming place dotted with innumerable exotic flowers and plants has attracted tourists and travelers from all over the world to witness its charm. Your visit to Uttaranchal remains incomplete without your visit to this heaven on earth. Open for a couple of months this place displays a magnanimous collection of various plants species which only adds to the beauty. 6. Yoga Indulging in a rejuvenating yoga activity amongst the peaceful solitude of nature and by the softly flowing river is a great way of experiencing the true spirit of Uttarakhand. The state has been associated with being one of the most proactive destinations for yoga activities ever since the ancient era. Currently there are numerous places that have developed as the ideal place for yoga like – Rishikesh, Almora, Dehradun, Nainital, Haridwar etc. you will be surprised to see the number of foreigners who visit this place for Yoga. 7. Paragliding We all know the beauty of Uttarakhand is unmatched but with paragliding you will be able to witness this raw nature from a different perspective. Sail through the Himalayan airways and get the bird’s eye view of the lush greenery below and the snow capped mountain peaks around it. There will be trained experts who will take you on this thrilling adventure journey in the sky. Some of the most well known destinations for paragliding are – Ranikhet, Mukteshwar, Bhimtal, Pithoragarh. 8. TrekkingWalk your way through the undulating terrain of the hills and through the lush forest cover which will allow you to have one of most exciting times here. There are innumerable trekking trails for everyone interested in trekking from Beginners to experts. There is something for everyone looking to explore the hills in the most primeval forms. Get ready to witness some of the most breathtaking views of the Himalayas by going on the following trails – Gaumukh tapovan, Roopkund, Kedartal, Kuari paas, Pindari glacier, Auden col and so much more. 9. Tea estate tour Did you know that Uttarakhand is one of the places that produce some of the richest and finest qualities of tea in India. A visit to the famous Kausani tea estate will allow you to explore the soothing climate while sipping on some deliciously flavoured tea collection. Located on an elevation of 1800 metres above sea level this lush green cover is one of the most peaceful, serene and soothing destinations if you are looking to indulge in a unique holiday experience in Uttarakhand.10. Rafting Riding the Himalayan waters is a huge crowd puller for people looking to have a different and an adventurous experience during their vacation. River rafting will allow you to ride some of the most exciting rapids ranging from grade 1 to grade 4. Devbhoomi is a place that is well known all over india for its rafting activities especially in Shipuri near Rishikesh. People can choose for rafting on the various different tributaries of ganga like on alaknanda, Bhagirathi, tons etc. 

Best Yoga Practices To Prepare Your Body For Trekking
 Manmohan Singh  
 13 May 2019  

The article talks about some of the best Yoga exercises that are good for preparing the body for trekking.Trekking and Yoga are related in many ways. Both are highly fascinating to practice, filled with tons of beautiful memories. Rejuvenation of the mind, body, and soul is a common element of Yoga and trekking. All over the world, many trekkers enjoy the delight of the ancient science to boost their chance of succeeding on the trekking trails. Whether you are planning a trekking tour in Nepal or aspiring for a journey in the Alps, Yoga is the best way, to begin with. Even embracing Yoga during the tour can be extremely enjoying.Let’s talk about some of the most effective Yoga poses that help you prepare the body and mind for trekking.Ardha-UtkatasanaLet’s begin with the advanced version of Chair Pose. Ardha-Utkatasana is one of the finest ways to boost the strength of your legs and thighs muscles. Also known as the Standing Figure Four, the asana is practiced on one leg. While one foot is perfectly placed on the ground, the other leg finds itself on the knee. Although bending down in this position needs a lot of effort, it can be easily possible with regular practice. Balance is the key in both - the practice of Ardha-Utkatasana and Trekking.NatarajasanaThe vibrancy of Natarajasana can be understood by the fact that it is the cosmic dance form of Lord Shiva. Being a perfect practitioner of this asana means you are able to perform all kinds of physical activities. During the one-legged asana, the left toe is held by the left hand in the air while the right arm extends parallel to the ground. You should repeat the practice on the other side to complete the exercise. The practice tones almost all body parts and helps the body enjoy tremendous stability.ChakrasanaWelcome flexibility in your life to succeed as a trekker of the utmost level. Chakrasana is all about crossing the limits of the body and applying it to make a person internally strong. The whole body is in a circle-like position with the palms and toes balancing the body. The abdomen remains at the top during the asana. The asana is one of the finest ways to boost the flow of blood throughout the body. It also tones almost all muscles and bones of the body in the process.BakasanaBakasana is known as Crow pose, thanks to its imitation as a crow. The pair of palms holds the body weight while the body recoils in the air. Place your knees on the arms while making sure the buttocks are at the top. The exercise gives a lot of confidence to the practitioner, since it is not an easy task to hold the body on the palms. That mixture of power, confidence, and audacity can be the most important thing to have while trekking.Prasarita PadottanasanaPlace your feet wide apart (approx 2-3 ft) to indulge in a beautiful physical exercise that every avid trekker and hiker should practice. Bend in the forward direction to place the head on the mat. Make sure the knees don't bend in the process. Put your palms on the mat on either side of the head. It is an extremely amazing asana for getting prepared for a difficult level trek like Everest Base Camp Trek and GR 20.PadmasanaAt the end of a physical task, you need to relax. You want a moment or two of quietude in life to calm yourself down. Padmasana is probably the most astonishing way to relax and pacify your mind. The reason that makes Lotus Pose holds the upper hand over other restful exercises is that it comes with the additional benefit of stretching various body muscles. Just by sitting in Padmasana, one can feel complete silence as well as spinal strengthening. Chanting a few mantras helps you attain the state of soulfulness.

Yoga Poses To Overcome Fatigue While Trekking
 Manmohan Singh  
 14 June 2019  

Expert or beginner, everybody has to face difficulty in trekking. If you are planning to go on trekking in Nepal but often face soreness in the muscles, tiredness and breathing problems; no matter how expert you are, it may affect your trekking experience as well as your health. Practicing before going on a trekking tour is not enough; you can easily realize the tension by doing yoga.Mustang trekking toursare one of the most challenging trekking tours in the world; it makes you experience the hidden kingdom of Nepal. You should prepare well before going on this type of trek; only doing training is not enough. Here are some poses to help you during your trek and save you from the fatigue and anxiety.Bhujangasana (cobra pose): It opens the 4 Chakras in your body that reduces stress, fatigue, and tension. It strengthens your neck, shoulder, and upper back and helps in improving spinal mobility.Bhujangasana (cobra pose)How to:Lie on the floor on your stomach and make sure your toes touch each other.Move your hands at the front and make sure they are the same as the shoulder level.Gently lift your chest off the floor by placing your body weight on the palms.Look straight ahead and hold on for 30 seconds.Inhale as you elongate the sides of your body, then exhale, pressing your tailbone down. Press the lower tips of your shoulder downward while keeping the upper shoulder blades broad and open. You need to replicate cobra.Adho mukha svanasana (downward dog): It has very healing effects on the body, mind, and soul. This is a beginner level pose; it takes 1 to 3 minutes.Adho mukha svanasana (downward dog)How to:Stand on four limbs as your body looks like a table.Exhale and gently form a shape that looks like inverted ‘V’.Your hands should align with your shoulder, and your feet with your hips.Now, lift your tailbone skyward.Hold for a few seconds, then gently comes back in table position.Dhanurasana (bow pose): This pose gets its name from the archer’s bow. This pose is one of the 12 Hatha basic yoga poses. It improves your flexibility and highly beneficial for your back.Dhanurasana (bow pose)How to:Lie on the floor on your stomach. Keep your hips width apart and arm by your side.Bend your knees and bring them close to your hips. Grab your ankles from your hands.Inhale, and lift your chest off the ground. Pull your legs back.Concentrate on your breath and try to look stress-free a smile can help.Hold this pose nearly 20 to 30 seconds, release the ankle as exhale.Uttanasana (standing forward fold): Practicing Uttanasana could be very beneficial for you before going for trekking; it wakes up your hamstrings and makes your mind do work properly, because when you do this asana your head is near your heart that allows blood circulation to your brain instead of feet; cells rush and energize your body.Uttanasana (standing forward fold)How to:Stand straight keeping your hands rest on your hips and inhale.Soften your knees as you bend forward folding from your hips and exhale. Try to counterbalance your weight.Don’t forget to keep your knees soft, this will allow your hips to move forward into the upper thighs.Keep your feet parallel to each other and your hands rest on the ground. Touch your knees, feel the stretch, hold on to few seconds as you want to release, contract the core of abdomen muscles, place your hands on the hip, rise slowly while elongation your body. Slowly stand up.Savasana (corpse pose): Savasana may look simple, but it is the hardest because you need to be completely relaxed; it helps you relieve from stress and provides you complete relaxation. This is a basic yoga pose you can perform it for 10 to 12 minutes.Savasana (corpse pose)How to:Lie on the floor on your back and make sure you are comfortable without any disturbance.Close your eyesPlace your legs and arms comfortably apart. Make sure you are relaxed.Now place your attention on every part of the body starting from your toes. Concentrate on your breath.Take a few deep breaths and gain awareness of your surrounding before you open your eyes.

Bhagavad Gita Verse 1.39
 Dhwani Shah  
 20 June 2019  

Half Truth - In Gita Verse 1.39 With the destruction of the dynasty, the eternal family tradition is vanquished, and thus the rest of the family becomes involved in irreligion.Now Arjuna says that from Bhishma to everyone in the family will vanish in this war. After the war from our family no one will be alive and whosoever is alive will not live religiously. The statement is logical and appealing.Logical mind cannot see anything in totality, as whole. It can only see life as fragments. Mind is incapable of comprehending totality.Totality cannot be approached through logic. Totality can be approached only through subjectivity. Totality is not a syllogism; it is not a conclusion. But logic can give you a false notion. It simply says that when Arjuna says that the destruction of dynasty, Arjuna infers that this war is going to destruct my dynasty. He becomes unconscious of Universe and plan of Universe. By this logic he says that the rest of the family who will be alive will be involved in irreligion. The conclusion is not right; remember that you don’t know. That ignorance will be very, very helpful, because that ignorance will be sincere, authentic, true.Knowing that I don’t know will support Arjuna to come back to his subjectivity.Right now what Arjuna says is like this - he is breaking a seed and looking into it, there is no trace of any tree there. No matter how much he searches he will not find any trace of a tree. But the tree certainly comes from this small seed. Because he is right now unconscious, he cannot think that what is not found in the seed, where does it come from? And such a huge tree was hidden in such a small seed! And then, after giving birth to seeds, that tree dissolves. Exactly like this, the whole existence comes into being and then dissolves. Energy comes into existence and then merges into non-existence.It is very difficult to catch hold of non-existence. Existence is of course visible to us. Hence, according to yoga, those who accept only existence - those who believe that existence is all - are seeing only leela, the play of life. And to know only the play is illusion.Illusion does not mean that one does not know; illusion means that one knows only the play. Knowing as such is there; even if one knows that he does not know, then too the knowing is there. So knowing is in all of us. And illusion doesn’t mean “not knowing.” The most unaware of all beings also knows some things. According to yoga, the meaning of illusion is to know only half. And remember, the half-truth is worse than untruth - because it is possible to be free from untruth, but to be free from the half-truth is very difficult. It appears to be the truth and it is not. If it is wholly the untruth, purely the untruth, then it won’t take any time to be free from it. But if it is a half-truth it is very difficult to be free from it.There is one more reason that a thing like truth cannot be divided into halves - because in dividing it into halves, it dies. Can you divide your love in half? Can you say, “I half love you” to somebody? Either you love or you don’t love, but half-love is not possible. Can you say “I half steal”? Maybe you steal half a dollar, but the stealing of half a dollar is also full stealing, and the stealing of a million dollars is also full stealing so is the stealing of half a cent. Half-stealing cannot be done. Half of a thing can be stolen but the stealing itself cannot be half. The very meaning of “half” is that you are in illusion.Yoga says that those who see only existence are grasping only half. And he who grasps only the half lives in illusion. No, the other side is also there. A man who says, “I am born but I don’t want to die,” is clinging to the half. He will suffer; he will live in illusion. And no matter what he may do, death is bound to come - because the other half cannot be parted with. If you have accepted birth, death is the other half of it, it comes together with it. A man who says, “I will choose only the pleasures, not the pains,” is falling into a fallacy.Yoga says that the moment you choose only the half you fall into error. Suffering is only the other side of pleasure, it is half of it. Hence, one who wants to be peaceful will have to know restlessness also. There is no way out. Yoga says that to avoid one half is illusion. They are together. But we do not see the whole; what we see first we hold on to. And we go on denying the other side without understanding that when we have been holding on to one half, the other half is waiting behind it. It is just waiting for an opportunity; it will soon appear.Arjuna’s statement of this verse simply says that he is looking the circumstances only as half, which is not truth, it’s half truth. In his half truth he is seeing that everyone over here will be vanquished and leave a message for the next generation or whoever will survive is only irreligion memory and nothing else. For him his logical conclusion is truth. He forgets that when Universe gave him assignment to Fight Without Enmity is ultimate truth. Where your action is as non-doer is religious act and whoever will be left after the war they will be able to live religious life.

Bhagavad Gita Verse 1.43
 Dhwani Shah  
 24 June 2019  

Fear - In Gita Verse 1.43 O Kṛṣṇa, maintainer of the people, I have heard by disciplic succession that those whose family traditions are destroyed dwell always in hell.Arjuna is now in the grip of fear. More so he is becoming unconscious towards himself.Did you find any similarity between unconscious Arjuna and us, our prayers are also out of fear and not in gratitude.All your fears are by-products of identification.The fear that things may change tomorrow.... Somebody may die, you may go bankrupt, your job may be taken away. There are a thousand and one things which may change. You are burdened with more and more fears, and none of them are valid...because yesterday too you were full of these fears, unnecessarily. Things may have changed but you are still alive. And man has an immense capacity to adjust himself in any situation.The fear is part of the mind. The mind is a coward, and has to be a coward because it doesn’t have any substance. It is empty and hollow, and it is afraid of everything. And basically it is afraid that one day you may become aware. That will be really the end of the world!Mind is a prison. Awareness is getting out of the prison – or realizing it has never been in the prison; it was just thinking that it was in the prison. All fears disappear.The greatest discovery in life, the most precious treasure, is of awareness. Without it you are bound to be in darkness, full of fears. And you will go on creating new fears; there is no end to it. You will live in fear, you will die in fear, and you will never be able to taste something of freedom. And it was all the time your potential; any moment you could have claimed it, but you never claimed it.It is your responsibility.In fear Arjuna identified with it. With this identification he become unaware of the fact that the universal assignment given to them not only would liberate them but his family also. Because of the fear he thought hell was certain for his family and him. He became assertive.To be identified with something which you are not, is the formation of the ego. Ego means to be identified with something you are not.Identity is the basis of all slavery: Be identified and you will be in a prison.The very identity will become your prison. Be non-identified, remain totally yourself, and then there is freedom. So this is what bondage is: Ego is the bondage, and egolessness is freedom. And this ego is nothing but to be identified with something that you are not. For example, everyone is identified with his name; and everyone is born without any name. Then the name becomes so significant that one can die for his name’s sake.This identification is ego. If you are not identified with anything – with name or with form or anything – then where is the ego? Then you are, and still you are not. Then you are in your absolute purity, but with no ego. That’s why Buddha called the self, no-self; he called it anatta, anatma. He said, “There is no ego, so you cannot call yourself atma even. You cannot call yourself ‘I’; there is no ‘I.’ There is pure existence.” This pure existence is freedom.When the mind is projecting something which is not, it is avidya. When this mind destroys all projections, all identifications, remains without any projective activity, then this method of destroying all projections, all that is not, but appears to be – is called vidya. Vidya is not knowledge; again, vidya is a positive force to destroy all that which avidya creates. Vidya is untranslatable. Vidya means a positive force in you which can destroy ego formation. Both are positive: avidya creates that which is not, and vidya destroys that which is not. So vidya means yoga, vidya mean the science of religion.Arjuna in fear was trembling and creating hell for himself and his family members. Same Arjuna when he heard Bhishma’s conch shell first took position and then replied. There was aliveness in him, there was trust in him. As soon as he became unconscious towards self, immediately he lost the life in his living body, he was dead. He created hell for him and his family.