I would like to share with you the story of an inspiring and loving woman, Sri Anandamayi Ma.
I had the pleasure of visiting her temple on one of my trips to India and I went back many times ever since.
The first time I set in meditation in her temple, with no expectations, I receive a special message from her.
I was really sceptic about "hearing staff " so I thought that I was just a bit overwhelmed by my India experience and started imagining things. However, I than spoke to and heard of many people which reported speaking to her in meditation, as her presence is very strong and " she likes to chat:))) " as they say.
Here below is an extract on her life from her organisation website and link to her website if you would like to read more about her:
" Sri Ma Anandamayi today is widely recognized as a personality of great spiritual eminence. She was born a hundred years ago and she took samadhi at the age of 86 ; these limitations, however, cannot said to have conditioned her utter freedom to be just herself under all circumstances. She was the embodiment of a joyous self-sufficiency, which enraptured the hearts of all who came near her.
The mysterious aloofness of her personality was totally beyond human understanding and yet it was so
tempered by her compassionate love for all living creatures that she seemed closer than the most indulgent friend ever could be. She was the Teacher whose guidance was sought by the learned as well as the simple, the old and also children, people from alien cultures or from traditional backgrounds.
Although she travelled incessantly, it was seen that she was at home everywhere and no one was a stranger to her. Throughout the length and breadth of India and also beyond its shores people found her to be, as if the personification of their own inner vision of the Adored one who is most dear to their hearts.
If you are around Rishikesh you can take a short drive to
Tehri Garhwal , about 40 min away and visit one of the most beautiful holistic resorts in the area, Ananda in the Himalayas.
Ananda is a stunning palace and used to be the residence of the Maharaja many years ago, but also to my great surprise I found out that Anandmayi Ma ( a spiritual guide and saint) visited and lived there for many years , in a small room on the palace terrace.
This place is the perfect blend of luxury and holistic. The suggestive settings on the top of a mountain overlooking the Holy town of Rishikesh and the precisely looked after gardens in the resort grounds accompany you into a journey of holistic bliss.
At Ananda you can experiment a full range of holistic treatments in the Spa (one of the biggest spa I have ever seen), but also you can take part to a great range of classes to get a deeper understanding of the Indian culture and the yogic lifestyle. They have fully ayurvedic menus , but also the option of indian specialties if you feel like indulging yourself..
My ideal day when there was:
Meditation classes to start the day, yoga and a ayurvedic breakfast. Than join the Vedanta class for some philosphy discussions. Relax in the spa for some tailor made massage treatments for the rest of the morning reading a book and sipping herbal tea.
In the afternoon more yoga followed by a class of choice: they often run special classes from specialized guest teachers , while I was there they had the Art Therapy course.
For the early evening more vedanta and meditation or you can also join one of the cooking classes which runs every couple of days.
In the evening there is usually some entertainment which sees local artists performing.
Here for you couple of my favourite recipes I have learnt while there :
LEMON AND CORIANDER SOUP
40g button mushrooms
40g pock Choy
5g sea salt
5ml lemon juice
1g white pepper
30g corn flour
10g spring onions chopped
1 bunch of spinach
1 bunch of coriander finely chopped
800ml vegetable stock
In a pot put together the vegetable stock and all the veggies.
Bring it to boil and while boiling make sure that you clean the scum from the top.
When veggies are cooked add the seasoning and the lemon juice and serve with a little coriander sprinkled on top.
STEEL CUT OAT UPMA
300 g oats
150g sliced onions
10g chopped green chilli
5g curry leaves
25g finely diced carrots
25g finely diced French beans
40ml oil (freshly pressed sunflower is better)
10g mix lentils
3g mustard seeds
175ml fresh milk
I a large pan heat the oil in and add the mustard seeds, when they finish popping add the dal (lentils) the cashew nuts and let them sauté' until golden.
Add the onions, ginger , curry leaves and chillies and let sauté' until the onions are ready.
Add the oats and let them cook until they are turning lightly brown.
Start adding the milk by whisking it through to avoid creating lumps. You can use hot water instead if you prefer.
When all the milk is absorbed the Upma is ready.
This is a great option for breakfast , you can serve it with different chutneys.
Enjoy it :)
When I was India at the Anand Prakash Ashram in Rishikesh, where I studied, I was introduced to the children sponsor program that they have set up in order to support the local and nearby community.
What they do: they match children with appropriate sponsors and provide a communication link between the child and sponsor. Children are supported through their school education and sponsors are provided with school reports and regular updates of the child’s progress. Also children and sponsors are encouraged to stay in touch by writing letters to each others. They also support the family of the child as they are a great part in the success of their child's education.
You can make a huge impact on a child future and life with a very small contribution.
Here are 3 different ways you can sponsor (the amounts are quoted in Canadian Dollars ):
If you want to get involved please follow the link below
When I was in India in November , I was lucky enough to happen to be, as they say , in the right place at the right time for the 11/11/11 celebration . In Rishikesh , were I was , they organized a big Kunadlini Festival with many international guests and a fantastic week long program. I. At the festival they served an amazing buffet with a great variety of food , and there I came across this great organization called Navadanya, which was the one supplying the buffet.
Since 1987 , when Navdanya started as a program of the Research Foundation for Science, Technology
and Ecology (RFSTE), founded by Dr. Vandana Shiva, they have been actively involved to provide direction and support to environmental activism.
The main aim of the Navdanya biodiversity conservation programme is to support local farmers, rescue and conserve crops and plants on way to extinction and make them available through direct marketing. They have their own seed bank and organic farm.
This strike me as an amazing project, especially in a Country like India where love for food and Mother Earth is part of the culture and yet there is a great need to safeguard and nourish them both.
Furthermore, I acknowledged a reality, which is often left unspoken: in India, as a consequence to rising costs in the agricultural production system (because of the introduction of chemical agriculture and genetic engineering and chemical irrigation) matched with the falling prices of agricultural products due to an unjust and unfair trade system; a serious burden and debts have started shadowing the life of the poor Indian farmers.
Since 1997 , more than 250,000 farmers only in four regions of India , have taken their lives because of this.
Navdanya promotes Fair Trade and knowledge in chemical free and organic agriculture.
It is now present in many different regions of India and hopefully will be saving more farmers' lives but it will also affect ours as nowadays the EU imports a great amount of food from India and we are what we eat.
Here in Montenegro, just before I left for India, I had the pleasure of meeting the person responsible for the agricultural development in the rural regions of Montenegro.
Great project which is helping farmers and supporting organic farming.
Find here below the link to their project and website.
Today I connected to my guruji which now is in Canada and soon will go back to India to run a teacher training.
So I thought to share with you the link to his website as he is amazing and I wish for anyone to be able to attend his course.
The amount of knowledge that he shares with you is behond words , is a way of being .
I was in India with him on another training just couple of months ago and every time, to my surprise still, I undertake an amazing transformational experience.
Thank you Guruji!
If you are interested in expanding your knowledge in yoga related anatomy and can't go to attend a course abroad or have limited time to study, I have just the right course for you.
I took this course early last year and it was fantastic!
The Australia based teacher Simon Borg, runs Yoga Synergy school since 1984. Yoga Synergy is based on the deep use of the anatomical knowledge to deepen and evolve asanas and your practice, SimonBorg-Olivier and Bianca Machliss being physiotherapists and yoga practitioners themselves developed this over 30 yrs, also based on the teachings of Professor T. Krishnamacharya.
You need a good internet connection, as the lectures are all online and at times they run for more than an hr , it is well explained and illustrated with asanas and demos. You also access a great community and info sharing with all the other poeple that are or have been on the course.
For more info follow the link below:
If you are looking into gathering some great knowledge on yoga and its history and philosophy this is an amazing DVD.
Not easy to get as you need to either order it online or, for example, I found it at the Jivamukti studio in New York; possibly some well stocked yoga studios might have it.
Is a little pricy but it is totally worth the money , it will give you a great insight on yoga through the testimonials of some amazing yogis spread throughout 2 DVDs of 3hr15.
You can sit back and relax and learn a lot:)
A Passionate Yoga Teacher, Appreciating Joy within each and everyone's Smile. Grateful for her Yoga Life, Experimenting and Searching for Innovative Healthy Food, Music Soul, Interested in all New/Alternative Therapies, Seeking for any Dance & Art & Cultural Stimulation, Hopeless Travel Addict and Animal Lover, especially 4 her gorgeous border collie Joy;)