Happy New Year!

I wish you a very Happy 2016!

May the New Year bring you more joy and fulfilment!

May you enter the New Year with fresh look toward yourself, others, and life! Only then it can be a Happy New Year.

With best wishes, gratitude, and love,


My yoga journey: my mother

JGD my dear KrishanJI
Thank you for the precious sharing on ur blog of ur personal journey. The simplicity of it touches me to a point of tears ….
Looking forward to reading more whenever you are ready to share.
love & pranaams


Mata ji

My Mother

My mother, Shrimati Gian Devi,  and I had a loving companionship of 60  years,  for most of which we lived together. We were very close to each other. We loved each other, and took care of each other. She always protected me. I could never do anything wrong in her eyes, and when I did something wrong, her actions spoke even louder that she loved me. Her love for me was supreme. It was so real that I could almost see, touch, and taste it. I still can.

What made our relationship even more special was that, from my early childhood, I liked taking care of her. It made me happy.  I would massage her feet when she was tired, and if she had a headache, I would massage her head with oil and make her a cup of tea. I would help her with cooking, cleaning, or anything else that needed to be done. She was very proud of me.

Her life story was remarkable.  Throughout her life, she faced  many challenges, but she overcame them with courage. She was very wise, religious, and spiritual. She was gifted with many talents. She was very generous and kind. She had hundreds of friends, of all ages.  She made all of them feel that each one was her best friend. Her family was most important to her, but she was loving and friendly toward all.

Her whole life has influenced and shaped me in so many ways. I will share some of her life and our stories with you in these posts, though some of the stories, like the one below, are not related to yoga. But they are very sweet memories for me.

Once, when I was in grade 8, I had won an  inter-school Public Speaking competition, for which I had received a cash prize of 20 Rupees, which was quite a big amount back then. I wad so happy , and just couldn’t wait to share the news with my mother. As soon as the competition was over, I ran home as fast as I could, but she wasn’t there. She had gone to visit her best friend, who was also her spiritual mentor, Bhabho Ji, who lived about 2 miles away from our house. Instead of waiting for my mother to return home, I rode my bike to Bhabho ji’s house, and shared the news with both of them. They both felt very proud of me. I gave  the money to my mother and told her that I wanted her to buy a sari with it. She was so moved. With tears in her eyes, she hugged me.

When we were returning home, normally, she would have walked home, as she liked walking, but that day I insisted that she took a rickshaw and I would pay for it, which she did. She rode in a rickshaw, and  I rode my bike ahead of the rickshaw. I was felling very rich, and proud of myself. I had won, and  I was taking care of my mother.

I have so many memories and stories  from our time together that, though I miss my mother immensely , I feel very full with her. My mother lives in my heart.

If granted a wish, you might think,

I would  want moksha, or God.

No, I am not a yogi,

I would want my mother back.


Happy Diwali

I wish you all a Happy Diwali 

It is the day when Lord Rama returned home after completing 14 years of exile, and killing the demon Ravana. We celebrate this special and auspicious day by, listening to Lord Rama’s stories, singing His glories, worshipping Goddess Laxmi (Goddess of Wealth), lighting diyas and candles, exchanging gifts & sweets with friends and relatives, eating many different kinds kinds of sweets, and reflecting on rights and wrongs in our own lives and how we can move from the wrong to the right.  Diwali

Saint Valmiki wrote the story of Lord Rama, called Ramayana, during Lord Rama’s lifetime, over 10000 years ago. It is a beautiful poem written in Sanskrit.

However, it was the Saint Tulsidas’ version of Ramayana, which he wrote just over 500 years ago, that became very popular with Hindus. It is written in Hindi, also a poem, and is highly devotional. In addition to Ramayna, Saint Tulsidas wrote hundreds of other poems, all very devotional, and mostly dedicated to Lord Rama.

His writings have been a great influence on my life. They make my devotion towards Lord Rama very alive. A couplet from one of his songs is my most favourite, in which he says to Lord Rama.” There are many different types of relationships between You and me, and I am happy with whichever relationship You  choose, but please always keep me close to You, at Your Lotus Feet.”

Lord Rama, though present in every heart, is felt and realized only by a devotee. Though the Diwali is about Lord Rama’s  returning home, but in fact, a greater Diwali happens when a devotee returns home, and finds that Lord Rama was always there. He never left. He never leaves.


Happy Diwali!

May your life be filled with sweetness!

AOL Therapeutic Yoga Retreat in Langkawi Malaysia, and SAHC

Malaysia 7


Last month I conducted the Art of Living Therapeutic Yoga Retreat in beautiful Langkawi, Malaysia. In this picture, it is Lay Hwa on my left, and Zok Lim on my right, both with the help of many others made the Yoga Retreat a great success. Zok Lim’s sankalpa was to get 150 people for the retreat, and she managed to get 201. She was always one step ahead of me. Whenever I wrote to her about something that needed to be done. She replied immediately ‘already done’:)

Langkawi -Group


During the past fifteen years I have been fortunate to meet many such beautiful people who have helped me in taking yoga to their countries and around the globe. All these yogis are  filled with amazing enthusiasm, energy, determination, organizing skills, and passion for yoga.  I am so grateful to them all. With their help I have experienced different dimensions of yoga, and  oneness in diversity.




SAHC (Strengthening and Healing Contractions): Pronounced as ‘Saahsee’

It is a technique we teach in AOL Yoga Level 2  course and Therapeutic Yoga Retreat. It is a very powerful technique with amazing benefits that people have reported. People often ask me how this technique was developed.

I believe it was in 2010, when I was teaching the 1st AOL Yoga Level 2 course in Gujarat ashram and was having some issues with my right knee. One evening as I was doing knee exercises, I discovered that contracting and relaxing my hamstrings and quadriceps several times was very helpful in reducing the knee pain. That was the basis for developing SAHC.  Next day I introduced SAHC in Level 2 course in Gujarat, and fully developed it as a physical and spiritual practice during the next Level 2 course in Kerala.

Of course, all good things happen with the Divine grace. For me, there is no difference between Guru, God and mySelf. They all reside in me as One. My yoga comes from this One Consciousness.

In gratitude,



The 10th Obstacle, plus, Wellness Tips

The 10th Obstacle!

Internet is amazing. I love it for its obvious usefulness. But it also has many negatives.

According to Sage Patanjali there are nine obstacles on the path of yoga. I think if he were to re-write the ‘Yoga Sutras ’ today, he would include another obstacle….the Internet.

Excessive or wrong use of Internet can affect you in some of the following ways:

It can make your life sedentary, resulting in over weight, weaker and misaligned body, increased physical pain, and many other illnesses.

It can keep your mind engaged outwards to a much greater degree. There is so much stuff on the Internet, both good and bad, which attracts and engages the mind outward, contrary to what we strive for on the path of yoga.

It can be addictive. You can become so internet-dependent that you feel lost without it.

It can be a big time-waster. You can spend hours doing nothing but feeling that you are very busy. It creates an illusion that you are learning something but, in fact, over feeding the mind with excessive information can increase confusion, conflicts, anxiety, worries and fears etc.

Though the Internet connects you to the whole world but it can also lead you to isolation and loneliness.

It can disrupt your life style……..and much more

So, use it wisely!



A few body-mind wellness tips:

  1. Make time to exercise and meditate regularly. Give your well-being a priority. The state of your body and mind affects your energy level and productivity. If you are well, everything else feels and looks so much better and brighter. If you are happy, you make others happy. So never feel guilty for taking time for your own care.
  2. Exercise daily, twice if you can, especially if you are trying to lose weight. Keep your exercise program simple. With difficult programs you will get discouraged and give up. Add variety to your program, it’s good for the body. There are so many exercise programs on the Internet. Make a play list of the programs that look easy and appeal to you, and each week use a different program. An exercise program can be easy, but still intense. For example, walking is easy, but you can increase the intensity by walking faster. Increase the intensity slowly. Don’t struggle or overdo it.
  3. Keep your weight under control. Remaining over-weight for a considerable length of time can cause many health problems, and it can become a life long issue. NOW is the time to take control of your weight and wellness. In addition to exercising daily, remain active throughout the day. Move your body as often as you can. Monitor your weight regularly and stay on the downward trend, doesn’t matter how small or slow it is. Don’t try to lose weight by starving yourself or by using crazy diet plans. Loose it sensibly. Proper exercise, proper diet, proper rest, and proper attitude lead to proper wellness.
  4.  Improve your posture by sitting and standing straight up and    balancing equally on both sides of the body. Proper posture improves strength symmetry, balance, blood circulation, and metabolic rate.
  5. Reduce sugar, butter, oil, caffeine, and alcohol intake. Substitute water and herbal teas for soft drinks. Substitute fruits for fruit juices. Don’t over eat. Overeating healthy foods is also not healthy. Cook your own meals as often as you can, so that you know what you are eating.
  6.  Educate yourself in terms of your nutritional requirements; what and how much you should eat. Make a detailed list of what you eat, and their nutritional value. The findings may surprise you.
  7. After exercising your mind may justify eating more or eating wrong foods may be tempted to overeat or eat wrong foods. Don’t do it. A small cone of ice cream can negate the effect of one hour of exercise.
  8. Pick up a new hobby. Learn something new. Sing. Play an instrument. Dance. Learn a new language, or whatever else interests you. It will make you feel good about yourself, improve your confidence, and keep your interest in life fresh and alive.
  9. Spend more time with family and friends, the people you care for. Don’t hesitate to share your feelings and difficulties with someone you trust. It will make you feel that you are not alone. Feeling alone and lonely can lead to sadness and depression.
  10. Don’t give so much importance to the past. Each day is a new day and an opportunity to start fresh.
  11. Learn to breathe properly. Breath is life. It is a free source of energy. Body, breath and mind affect each other.
  12. Don’t label yourself such as you are a night person, or you get angry easily, or you are lazy etc. Break the wrong habits and take full responsibility for your wellness. Be committed and steady.
  13. Believe in yourself. YOU CAN DO IT!  


My new toy!Flute

I am learning to play the Western flute. I will play it for you when I see you. I use Internet to learn some of my favorite songs 🙂

Your yoga friend,


Season’s Greetings !

 I wish you a Merry Christmas  


A Very Happy and Healthy New Year!

But to be healthy and happy you will need to work at it:)

Proper exercise, Proper diet, and Proper rest contribute to better health.

Gratefulness, Seva, and not questioning and judging so much contribute to Happiness.

With love,

Jai Guru Dev!

The 2nd Principle of Yoga…. Satya!

I consider the 5 Yamas and 5 Niyamas to be the two most important limbs among the Patanjali’s eight limbs of yoga. The Yamas and Niyamas, a mix of ethics and restraints, are the needed foundation for one’s yoga journey. They are the pillars of yoga. But unfortunately their importance is not emphasized in most yoga classes, and many yoga students have not even heard of them.

The 5 Yamas are: Ahimsa (Non-violence), Satya (Truthfulness), Asteya (non-stealing), Brahmacharya (abiding in Self, moderation in sensual pleasures), Aparigraha (non-accumulation).

The 5 Niyamas are: Saucha (Cleanliness and purity), Santosha (Contentment), Tapas ( Self-discipline that includes service and sacrifice), Svadhyaya (study of the Self), Ishvara Pranidhana (Honoring the Divine with gratefulness and surrender)

For a clear understanding of Yamas and Niyamas, I highly recommend listening to my spiritual master Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s commentary on Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras (www.artofliving.org)

Today I have been contemplating on Satya, wondering how truthful I have been and how I can become better!

Truth is not in the words, instead it lies in the intention behind your words and actions. You may be speaking truth by words, but if your intention is to hurt someone or to obtain a selfish gain, then you are not being truthful. Only you know your intentions. A yogi is very mindful of his intentions.

I know, at times, it can be quite challenging to follow Ahimsa, Satya or other principles of yoga . Some situations may demand an action that is against the principles of yoga. In such situations, according to Bhagvad Gita, as long as your intentions are clean, you must take the needed action, but not let the action and its fruit affect you.

You need a master who can teach you this skill by example. I feel blessed to have one. I have learnt so much just by observing Him. He is so active in the world and yet His mind is so still. His intentions are clean. Only a still and truthful mind can be so compassionate.

During Navaratri I encourgae you to contemplate on Yamas and Niyamas and see where you need to improve.

Without feeling discouraged, happily continue…. 🙂

I will do the same.