Borrowed from my sister’s blog this is one of my favorite photos from my sister’s wedding last month. For more beautiful wedding photos by the talented Heidi Myllyviita see Nina’s blog.
Anybody who’s doing yoga knows how important the issue of good food is for a yogi. What you eat, how much you eat, when you eat… Ashtanga yogis tend to eat a lot due to the physically demanding nature of the practice. What one eats tends to change as one get more immersed in the practice as a result of the cleansing effects of the practice, usually resulting in a healthier and mostly vegetarian of vegan diet, prepared preferably from ecologically produced products. A vegetarian/vegan diet feels much lighter and is easier for the body to digest than various meats. But a vegetarian/vegan diet is also part of ahimsa (non-violence, inflicting no injury or harm to others or even to one’s own self), the first of the yama’s (restraints, ethical guide lines or how we relate to the external world), yama being the first of the eight limbs of Ashtanga yoga.
After so many years of practice one would think that I would have mastered the issue of eating correctly before practice. If you practice in the morning (which is considered the best time to practice) one would make sure to eat enough on the evening before the practice as you wouldn’t have any breakfast before the practice. If you practice in the forenoon maybe a small breakfast is needed a few hours before the practice. And if you practice in the afternoon you would maybe have a light lunch and a snack, avoiding to eat, i.e. to have a too full stomach, too close to the practice. Today I failed big time eating correctly. Half-way through my afternoon practice I started feeling that my blood sugar was getting too low. After my first drop-back I thought I would throw up. What went wrong? Well, I did have a lunch that was a bit on the light side but usually that doesn’t matter. But my sometimes so stupid brain totally forgot to take in to consideration the 450 ml of blood donated yesterday (Hb 143!, not bad on a vegetarian diet without any extra iron intake) and the fact the body is of course compensating for that while producing new blood cells. A big plate of pasta and pesto later and I feel fine again but for a while there I was wondering if I would make it home at all without ordering in food to the shala. Now that would have been a sight.
I hope all of you are donating blood regularly. By donating blood you can be the one saving someone else’s life. The need for blood can change rapidly and right now the blood situation in Finland is pretty bad. Check out Veripalvelu‘s web site for where you can donate.
I also hope that you are all making your own pesto instead of using store-bought ones. For the pesto I usually throw in what I happen to have at home, which today was cilantro (koriander), basil, some arugula (rucola), pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, garlic, black pepper, pecorino and olive oil. Other times I might use sun-dried tomatoes, a little chili, parmesan, parsley, pine seeds, olives, capers etc. And make a little extra, it’s perfect for using on bread or crisp bread instead of butter or cheese later, especially if you leave out the garlic.
The World Gymnaestrada 2015 is taking place in Helsinki next summer. It’s a huge event of gymnastics and dance, expecting around 5000 participants. And as one who grew up dancing and doing gymnastics I would of course love to be part of it. There has not been much dancing in my life since I left my hometown to study at the university in Turku. Even less after I found yoga. But still there’s always a yearning in me to dance, although my self-esteem regarding what I can do these days is quite low. The way of movement and the ability to remember a choreography takes practice. Yesterday I had the opportunity to take part in the practice for one of the programs to be shown next summer. It wasn’t easy but I think I held up quite well. And it was so much fun! I do want to do this. The two months in India this fall are a little problem but maybe I just have to belive in myself enough to trust that I will learn the program well enough during the spring. And as always, after doing something else but yoga my body is sore, but not too much and it’s mostly my back muscles that feel like they’ve done something different from they’re used to.
September is here and with it comes fall. After a few weeks of not much else but rain in August the unusual warmth of this time of year is most welcome. Today I even had a few hours in the sun in just my bikini on our balcony.
The trees are not yet clad in yellow, orange and red but still, fall is clearly here and oh how I love this time of year; the beautiful light of the sun that stands a bit lower over the horizon each day, the crispiness of the air and the smell of both nature’s decay and the last bloomings of the year. But however much I love fall it will be a short one for me again this year. With the strangeness of something you both love and hate I feel Mysore calling again, calling me to spend money I don’t really have to get on an airplane I always dread is going to fall out of the sky to subject myself to the rawness of both the practice and of Mother India. How I love it. How I dread it. The circumstances of life has, however, once again given me this opportunity to pack my bags to go see what more I can learn, mostly about myself. So I will go. With a lot of gratitude and some fear and anxiousness I will embark upon this journey. Because who knows what next year will bring? Who knows if I’ll ever get this opportunity again. And although I’m cutting fall short once again this time of year just seems to be the best time to go in so many different ways. And there will of course be another fall next year. So, in exactly three weeks I will hopefully just have arrived in Mysore. What challenges will you present to me this year India?