April Questions & Answers with Ravi Singh & Ana Brett

Keeping Up! Our experience has been that it’s best to do our practice when we can, because invariably life’s exigencies will make it harder some days to even think about yoga. Kundalini Yoga has a unique ability to bring us back to balance in our health and outlook. When we take time (to do it) we make time. It changes us quickly and the people around us often notice the difference even before we do. They may see us embodying more confidence, radiance, energy and joy. What Kundalini actually does is make us more us, which manifests as the health and focused creativity which is our birthright. What pulls us away from our practice is our previous conditioning, our mind’s habit of looking outward for fulfillment. People feel that before they can settle down and be true to themselves, they have to get that one thing first, a bigger house, fame, their soul mate, six pack abs etc. The irony is that when we look inside and stay true to who we are, blessings come to us.

Swami Satchidananda told a story, in a DVD presented at our event last weekend at Yogaville in Virginia, which illustrates this point: We spend our lives running after our shadows, which remain always, just out of our reach. When finally, out of frustration, we turn away from our shadows and towards the light, our shadows run after us. Kundalini Yoga is both a path and a process. As with all forms of self discipline, there is a dynamic tension created between where we’ve been and where we’re going. Remember, it’s darkest before the dawn. Keep your eyes on the prize! We hope you will be inspired to keep up and blossom.

Questions & Answers My granddaughter, who has just turned ten, will be visiting me soon and has expressed an interest in sharing my yoga practice with me while she is here. Which of your DVDs would you suggest as an introduction to Kundalini yoga for a child of her age? Are there any cautions that I should be aware of when practicing with her? I am excited to share yoga with her, and want it to be a positive experience for us both. Thank you. Thanks for writing. Before the age of 16, Breath of Fire is contraindicated. This is because Breath of Fire stimulates the pituitary and could conceivably stimulate the premature production of sex hormones. Breath of Fire can be done through puckered lips instead. The best DVD’s to do with your granddaughter would be Fat Free Yoga, and Kundalini Yoga for Beginners & Beyond. Our experience teaching 10 year olds is that it is best to have fun, not expect too much, and view their participation as pure plus. We wish you the best of luck with your yoga practice!

I am writing for a friend who is very concerned about shrinking as she ages. It seems to run in her family. Do you have any thoughts / recommendations regarding this phenomena? Thanks for writing. The most important things to do, to prevent shrinking as one ages, are weight bearing exercises. We recommend Yoga Bliss Hips and Kundalini Yoga for Beginners & Beyond, as well as keeping length in the spine throughout the exercises. Ultimate Stretch Workout would be especially helpful for this. Good nutrition is also a must. The soft tissues of the spine actually regenerate every few months, so it is good to augment the spine’s ability to do this. The fascia of the body constricts with age. It needs to stay hydrated. Every morning a person is shorter when they get up because of a condition which causes fluid loss from the spaces between the vertebrae. Over the long term this shrinkage can become a permanent condition. An alkaline diet is very good for keeping all our tissues hydrated. Coffee, alcohol and meat are acid and tend to dehydrate and constrict the body. Adding more raw/live foods (i.e., salad, fruits, etc.) to your diet will increase alkalinity. A good (nondairy) source of calcium can also be very helpful in keeping the bones strong. Sesame seeds and broccoli are good sources of calcium. Liquid silica (which aids in calcium absorption) and MSM are great supplements to take to stay standing tall!

I’ve been doing your yoga now for the past few weeks. I really love the exercises and really want to do my favorite tapes (Yoga Beauty Body, and Fat Free Yoga) everyday – but I am experiencing a very strong fatigue afterwards which is starting to make me dread my workouts! Help! What is going on? Thanks for writing. What we believe is happening, is that the yoga is making energy available for deep healing to take place. The fatigue you feel is your body wanting to be in rest mode so that healing can take place. Consider the maxim ‘You can pay now or pay later.’ By going through this inconvenience now it may be that you are circumventing a major healing crisis later. We are not doctors and can’t dispense medical advice, but what we have told you is based on what we have observed over many years. The emotional level, which is ultimately where healing needs to take place, is of course a key component in the healing equation. The technique So Darshan Chakra Kriya, which is at the end of our DVD Yoga Bliss Hips, is the best thing we have found to address the core issues of life, in a very unobtrusive way. We suggest you do that meditation for at least 31 minutes daily. If you do start practicing that let us know and we will give you some further insights into that technique. If the yoga feels good while you are doing it then keep doing it and know that the fatigue you are experiencing is a small price to pay for the long term benefits that Kundalini Yoga provides. We wish you the best of luck with your yoga practice! PS. We have a new DVD coming out called Yoga Quick Fixes which has a technique to fight fatigue.

PURE BLISS SPRING DETOX SHAKE Spring is the perfect time to implement a cleansing regimen and give our radiance and energy a boost! Our yoga practice goes a long way towards keeping us pure, but when we need some extra assistance, nature can be a powerful ally. We all need to detox at times! No matter how clean our lifestyle and diet, we need to help counteract cellular damage from less then ideal eating habits, over-acidity, environmental toxins, and free radicals. We recommend the following drink daily. It is not only a refreshing treat for a summer day, but it is also perfect to purify us and banish free radicals! The Pure Bliss Shake is based on a recipe from Pure Food & Living in NYC. We have modified the ingredients slightly to our own specifications. Please try to use only fresh organic produce. Enjoy! 1 Pink grapefruit 1 peeled cucumber 1 handful of fresh cilantro 1 cup pineapple 1 Tsp coconut butter or flax oil (optional) 1 lime (juice only) 2 Tbls agave 1 pinch of Celtic sea salt cinnamon (to taste) vanilla extract Options: (tocotreinals, hemp protein powder, green super foods, bee pollen, ). We especially recommend adding some nutrient dense green foods (i.e., spirulina, etc.) you won’t even taste them in this delicious mix! – get ready to feel your energy spike! Put all in a blender. Enjoy! We tend to crave pink grapefruit at this time of the year. The body seems naturally to want a good flush and the grapefruit and pineapple are gentle effective kidney flushers. Cilantro is the real powerhouse ingredient here: We normally think of herbs like cilantro as just flavorful additions to our meals but by modifying the quantity slightly this simple herb can become an amazingly effective healing tool. Through the research of Dr. Yoshiaki Omura, it has been revealed that cilantro has the ability to remove heavy metals from the body. Heavy metals compromise the nervous system and bodily tissues. This leaves us vulnerable to conditions such as Alzheimer’s, depression, compromised immune system, cancer, and more. Heavy metals also create an environment for various infections to flourish. This method of using cilantro has been called the ‘poor man’s chelation therapy.’ We wish you all a healthy, vital, beautiful, and bountiful spring! All Best to You, Ravi Singh & Ana Brett www.raviana.com/ 212.982.5518

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.