As I bit into the creamy, chocolate ice cream, I stopped in my tracks, my eyes moved heavenward and I had an overall sense of well being. There is definitely good in a world that can make such delicious ice cream! My mind became calm and peaceful - I realized that it was neither in the past nor future, but in the present - enjoying the first bite of the ice cream. Yoga, like ice cream, is refreshing. Luckily, the body can take more Yoga than ice- cream! Yoga practices keep me calm, peaceful, and dynamic through the day. Here’s the perfect yoga sundae to kick-start your day.
Start with a base of light stretches. The Butterfly Pose , Chair Pose (or Sofa Posture if you want to feel more comfortable), and other light body stretches remove the restlessness from my body. “Sthiram Sukham Asanam,” instructs my Art of Living Yoga instructor. These light stretches help me maintain my posture and sets the base for the real thing
Add generous scoops of my favorite yoga flavor - Padmasadhana. This powerful sequence of asanas, gears me up for the day. I can walk 4 miles, trek, or face any situation with a calm mind when I do Padmasadhana. My instructor taught us to use the breath as a tool to help us stretch more while relaxing in the asanas. While most people think that asanas are twisting the body into different shapes, I have learnt in The Art of Living that yoga is about accepting each asana as it is, smiling and moving into it, and relaxing in it. Although, I have succeeded in relaxing in Natraja asana (Lord of the dance pose) and Pawanmuktasana (knee to chin press), I am yet to learn to relax in Naukasana (boat pose).
Add a scoop of pranayam. Pranayam means regulating the prana (life force energy). With my attention on the breath during Padmasadhna, my mind forgets to oscillate in the past or future and remains on the current intake of breath. Remember I said we use the breath as a tool to stretch and relax in the asanas? With the Naadi Shodhan Pranayam, my mind becomes really calm and peaceful. Just as my best friends know when it isn’t the right time to call me, my thoughts know that this is not the right time to disturb me.
This yoga sundae keeps me in the present moment and gears me up for another day of juggling workplace pressure and family responsibilities. If you enjoy large sundaes, you can add a scoop of Sudarshan Kriya too! I love sharing this yoga recipe with my friends and family; it strengthens our relationship and improves my yoga practice.
The lessons I learn on the yoga mat, work off the yoga mat too. It is the perfect beginning to a perfectly yummilicious day.
By Sylaja Kannan
(Sylaja Kannan loves life, chocolates and is a teacher of The Art of Living. A yoga enthusiast, Sylaja was struck by inspiration while eating an ice cream.)