3 Part Question – Modification/Release/Diet I love your DVD’s and look forward to your monthly newsletters. I have also appreciated that the couple of times I have asked questions or about modifications, you have been extremely helpful. Thank you for your excellent instruction and your transformative introduction to this wonderful holistic system. I have a couple of questions that I am hoping you can answer. (1) In one of your DVD’s (I have all your DVD’s, I can’t’ remember which one), you take us from sitting on our heels to laying back while still sitting on our heels. You say that it is a radical pose and just don’t lean back as far if it bothers you; however, since I cannot sit on my heels at all due to a failed knee surgery and severe osteoarthritis in that knee, what alternative pose should I do? The exercise you cite (laying back on the heels) is from Yoga Beauty Body. The modification would be to lie on your back with the soles of the feet together, knees bent. (2) I love Fat Free Yoga: Lose Weight, Feel Great, but after doing the emotional cleansing meditation at the end, I find myself rather depressed and easy to come to tears for the rest of the day. I know we are supposed to release and feel happy, and apparently, I am doing alright at bringing up the emotion, but not releasing it, although I think I am until I see how depressed I am later in the day. I am starting not to want to do that segment, although I know there it must be valuable. Could you address this issue? What you are experiencing is an emotional clearing. We suggest that you do that meditation for a longer period of time than presented on the DVD. Also, the Sa-Ta-Na-Ma Meditation which is on both of our new DVD’s: Dr. Yoga House Call and Yoga Quick Fixes is a very important technique for you to practice. The process of meditation is like beating a rug to clean it. Sometimes a lot of dust is stirred up, but the end result is that you can see and enjoy the colors and design. In other words, the process of meditation can be somewhat cathartic, but that leads to a state of meditation in one’s life, which translates as true happiness. (3) I am an avid reader of nutritional books and magazines and am learning more about the raw foods movement and can certainly see the excitement it generates and many good points it makes. However, some of its message seems to be counter to Ayurvedic Nutrition, which, at least for some doshas/imbalances, suggests that it is crucial for one to cook one’s food for optimum digestion. Since you two are obviously incredible scholars as well as teachers of yoga, I am wondering what made you choose to eat raw rather than following Ayurvedic principles, as I understand they go hand in hand with much of the development of yoga? I am trying to make sense of what is best for my body. You are right. There seem to be many contradictory concepts among the various schools of nutritional thought but if you delve into them they become more complimentary. A yoga practice will tune us into our bodies to help us follow our own inner guidelines. Not everyone is suited to adopt a totally raw diet. We eat about 85% raw but also include cooked food in our diets. We do eat 100% organic. It is possible to adopt a totally raw diet and still follow the Auryvedic principles, using herbs or spices for warming, etc. We feel that each individual needs to experiment to find the best combination of foods for balance and health. A raw food diet, and an Auryvedic diet, etc. are guidelines, and not meant to be the final say. Thank you for any help you can give in these areas, and keep those DVD’s coming! They brighten my day. RADIANCE A DVD that focuses on exercises to be more charismatic and radiant would be cool. In the mean time, is there any 2 or 3 exercises I could focus on for this. Love your DVD’s. Thanks Thanks for writing and for your suggestion. It is a good one and one we are sure many people could benefit from. In the meantime, the morning wake-up series with continuous breath of fire from AM/PM Yoga is one of the best things you can do for radiance and charisma. We wish you continued success with your yoga practice! MENOPAUSE I am a long-time fan with all of your DVDs. Daily yoga with your programs has changed my life. So thanks! Here is my suggestion for a new program: Yoga is fantastic for building bone density in women past menopause. But it’s really, really hard to find any information about that aspect. Hard to find it on the Internet, in books — anywhere. It’s just not accessible. Most older women know that weight-bearing exercise can increase bone density, but they think that means working out with weights. They take calcium and Fosomax and nasty hormone replacement stuff, and some do weight-training, but they don’t know that yoga is more beneficial than all of it. And waaaaay more beautiful and fun. What about a DVD for women past menopause that includes lots of weight-bearing yoga? It would be a great service and would make you lots of money. And please don’t wait until Ana is past menopause, because I will be dead by then! Blessings, Thanks for writing and for your suggestion. It’s a great idea we feel many people will benefit from. We will consider it for a future project. Meanwhile, please note that our new DVD Dr. Yoga House Call, has a section titled Strong Bones and Muscle Tone. Also, the Positive PMS section on the title Yoga Quick FIxes has excellent content for women at every stage of life. We wish you best of luck with your yoga practice. MANTRA QUESTION Hi, I love the mantra meditation at the end of Ultimate Stretch. Is this mantra to be done specifically for this session only? To me it seems like the mantra at the end is the completing of the message to my body, but, I would love to possibly do it by itself more often or in place of another mantra at the end of other sessions. I often end up singing it to myself for a day or two after Ultimate Stretch. Also, is it okay to sway with the music? I just can’t sit still during it. I also get a very warm feeling in my hands and chest, which is great since I normally have cold hands. Please advise if you have the time. Thank you. The mantra at the end of Ultimate Stretch can be done in any context. It is a very sacred mantra in the Sikh tradition, for miracles of healing and grace and world peace. Normally we advise that people stay still when they meditate, so the energy can move, but in the case of mantras, swaying is okay, because there is a devotional / emotional component which adds to the power of the chant. We wish you continuing good luck with your yoga practice. BREAST IMPLANTS I know this is very un-yogic of me but I find myself obsessing over the size of my breasts. They’re very small and our culture is so breast obsessed. I’ve seen fitness / yoga instructors with implants! This seems like a contradiction, but I feel so much pressure to look like everyone on TV. I want you to know that Ana is my small breast hero! Nevertheless, I’ve already gone to plastic surgeon to discuss implants, but I’m very active so I’m conflicted. Any feedback you can offer me would be greatly appreciated. Also, I love your two new DVD’s. They are proving to be amazingly helpful. We feel that breast implants are not a good option for most women and here are our reasons. We know several people with them and what doctors allow for recovery time is not what really happens. It’s a very long recovery process, very painful. For someone like you who loves to be doing yoga and working out a lot, your activities will be greatly decreased. We have been told that one loses feeling in one’s breasts for about a year or more. Many women get sizes that are too big for their frames, and are unhappy. Despite claims that this is a safe procedure, it’s important to remember that implants are a foreign object in one’s body and it stands to reason that this would have a compromising effect on the immune system. It is true that we are social animals and the need for acceptance often takes precedence over other considerations. As Yoga Teachers, it is part of our job description to remind people of eternal truths to help people deal with circumstantial pressure. The truth is that unless we are able to find inner peace in our present circumstances, then it will always elude us. Nothing will ever be enough. So many people think that the “answer” is right around the corner, and that all they need to do is find that perfect relationship, seal a big deal, or change the way their bodies look, etc. This constant inability to be settled in one’s self, is, according to the sages of old, a prime cause for human suffering. Also, practically speaking, implants are very popular at the moment but tides turn and already it seems flat is in again! We don’t mean to sound flippant and we certainly don’t mean to alienate anyone who has made the decision to have the procedure. For all of you out there who are conflicted about your body, often a mental adjustment can help you see things in a whole new way. Ultimately, this is a personal decision with many factors involved. Please do your research and take your time to process all the information before going forward. PEPPERMINT TEA CHALLENGE FEEDBACK* We just called Tom, our intrepid sound guy / composer for an update. “I’m drinking it right now,” he said. “Most people say it energizes them, but it really calms my nerves, It is so relaxing!” He tells us he is still having a hard time keeping up with his own demand! Here is more feedback from a reader who took the challenge: Wonderful! Thanks! I tried a peppermint tea with a little bit of German Chamomile flowers “mix” yesterday. YUM! I have told al of my yoga students about the challenge. Our health store is sold out of peppermint tea! They were baffled until I told them why. 🙂 Bless you! *For those of you who missed last month’s newsletter We first learned of the Peppermint Tea Challenge in Brooklyn, NY from our incredible music talent – Tom Carden. He and his roommates decided to keep a pitcher of Peppermint Tea chilling in the refrigerator from which they fill mugs to sip all day long. This is an excellent alternative to less healthy beverages (like say … beer) to stay hydrated through the summer months. The only side effects they have experienced is a relaxation response (from the peppermint) as well as an incredible energy buzz (we guess from staying hydrated and maybe the peppermint as well)! “The challenge” is to simply keep the pitcher filled the entire summer and never run out!!!!! We recommend the loose leaf organic type of teas. Simply bring water almost to a boil, toss in the tea leaves, let them steep for at least a few minutes, and then pour the tea through a strainer into a pitcher. You can sweeten this with honey or agave syrup. If you do not care for Peppermint Tea then substitute your favorite! We wish you all an amazing, productive, happy August! All Best to You, Ravi Singh & Ana Brett www.raviana.com / 212.982.5518 / firstname.lastname@example.org Disclaimer: The advice we give is in no way intended as a substitute for medical counseling. Please consult your physician before beginning any exercise program or nutritional protocol.
by Ravi SIngh & Ana Brett
Ravi and Ana been featured presenters at the Midwest Yoga Conference, The Toronto Yoga Show, and the Six Days on Freedom Retreat. Their clients have included Olympic Athletes and celebrities such as Gwyneth Paltrow, Madonna, Lou Reed, Carrie-Anne Moss, Donna Karan, and The Red Hot Chile Peppers. They’ve taught in many diverse contexts: from Iceland to Maui, Canada to Costa Rica, from boardrooms and Park Avenue Penthouses, to scientists at Bell Labs, from Opera Singers at the Aspen Music Festival and street kids in Los Angeles to backstage at Broadway plays. They are Authors of the Fat Free Yoga DVD series and the forthcoming book Fat Free Yoga.