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Sunday, 21 June 2015

International day of yoga, June 21

Today is Sunday, the day we normally get up late, spend it lying on the couch lazily watching telly and enjoy the delicacies that are served on the dining table if not visiting some weekend spots. The routine was more or less the same today too initially, until the TV was switched on. Live telecast was going on from the Rajpath in New Delhi, the capital of India where Mr Narendra Modi, our Prime Minister was leading the yoga session conducted as part of celebration on this auspicious day where more than 35,000 people participated. Similar events took place almost all over India with remote snow covered regions like Siachen and Kargil included where defense personnel performed yoga.

Busy with work and the inevitable pressures associated with it, I was totally detached with the buzz about it around these days, so much so, I almost missed this historic celebration. I felt guilty for not performing yoga for a long time, even though I have learned it perfectly well. Promptly got down from the couch, dusted the yoga mat and while watching the mega event performed the asanas.

Yoga needs no introduction. When I was in my twenties, being a voracious reader, I happened to read many things about yoga that made me interested in it and the only option available to learn it then was to buy a book and do it by myself. Remember this was the time when yoga was not at all popular and its benefits largely unknown. The popular belief was that yoga could do harm to the body. There were a few practitioners and teachers, but no one was sure who or what was right. I bought a book written by a journalist and started doing some of the asanas that invited considerable ridicule by parents, friends, and relatives. To be honest, I felt bored after some time and stopped doing it. Slowly yoga began to be popular in India mainly with the inflow of westerners who thronged the ashrams and other spiritual places in India seeking gurus and nirvana. I restarted the training soon after my graduation, this time attending classes conducted by a qualified yoga master. It was an awesome experience and I am thankful to him for guiding me through the wonderful world of yogic bliss and joy ! It was a total eye opener ! After almost two months into practice, I began experiencing a 'never felt before' well-being that I find it difficult to express in words. A friend of mine commented about the 'glow' that I have had, probably indicating the positive aura induced by the regular practice of this great philosophy gifted to us by our ancestors. Thereafter, I can only say that I am an on and off practitioner of yoga. But on this auspicious day of summer solstice, the International day of yoga, I made a resolution inspired by the spirit of millions from all over the world, I will practice it daily from now on, no matter what. Witnessing the enthusiasm shown by people from different walks of life and from each and every nook and corner of the world made me motivated once again and at the same time making me ashamed for ignoring such an awesome thing for a very long time even though I was fortunate to get to know and experience the magnificent world of yoga a long time ago!

Mr Narendra Modi, our Prime Minister appealed to the UN last year to mark June 21st as the International day of yoga. This was agreed upon immediately by the Assembly and the rest is history. Today we all witnessed the sheer enthusiasm with which world celebrated yogic way of life that is based on peace, inner joy and bliss. Yoga is not a set of postures or exercises, but a way of life, a philosophy based on living in tune with the self, others around us and Nature. Yoga shows the way to live in harmony with the vibes of the Universe. The speech by Prime Minister at a yoga conference in New Delhi was brilliant that made me wonder what more the delegates could discuss other than what he had said. A great orator and visionary !

Dear friends, please share your experiences about yoga. How did the celebrations go in your country?
  • Yoga is a gift to mankind by God. Of the many things showered upon us by Him this one needs special mention. It is something that one needs to experience because it shows the way to a beautiful and happy life.

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Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Laughter is the best medicine :), join an online laughter club...


Laughter is the best medicine :)
I am totally convinced about this saying; there in no doubt about it !

I recently joined online 'Skype laughter club'. Wow, what an experience...cool !

I was contemplating joining a laughter club ever since I began researching the amazing beneficial effects of laughter. There is a wonderful laughter club in my city but they meet early in the mornings and to reach there through heavy traffic will take almost an hour, so I found it difficult to join them. Moreover, it will take much more time after returning home to get prepared to go for work. I then googled about online laughter clubs that took me to the well known 'laughter yoga website' and also to the 'skype laughter club'. Every day at a scheduled time, a coordinator will come online via skype, start laughter along with whoever interested in laughing out loud. They will add you too if you follow the instructions on their website how to join, all for free ! It is so easy  and convenient :)

I am completely satisfied with skype laughter club. Here we are laughing, sitting at home, with cool people from different parts of the world and enjoying the amazing health benefits of laughing out loud, all free of cost ! The only investment probably would be our laptop, internet, and their respective establishment costs. Lie on a couch, sit relaxed in a chair or do whatever you want and LOL.

Select the timings convenient for us. Time conversion is made easy by a link provided over there. You will find detailed instructions how to join the club on the website. Download the latest Skype, check the headset speakers, microphone and test it all with the tool Skype has provided. Follow the instructions that you see on the 'skypelaughteryoga' site and start LOL. You can type text, send emoticons and crack jokes with the group while lol. If you are interested send and watch video too.

Laugh out really loud, let it become contagious, enjoy, stimulate others too to lol, and make the session lively and wonderful. If other family members are interested let them also join you.

Laughter has gained a lot of attention recently especially in the medical community. Lot of research is going on about it. Online you will find so many studies made by reputed centers agreeing to the age old saying ' laughter is the best medicine '. Some of the beneficial effects are:
  • It relaxes our body. Work pressures, emotions, stressful thoughts, the list is endless, that make muscles in our body to go into a state of tightness. The moment we start to laugh cool waves begin to sweep away all those aches and pains. It is said that this relaxation effect will last about 45 minutes or so. So laughter is a cool stress buster.
  • It boosts body immunity. With laughter, our body will start releasing endorphins that help in reducing levels of cortisol and adrenaline, the chemical substances that get accumulated with stress. This indirectly strengthens the immune system.
  • Pain is an unpleasant sensation. Physical therapy modalities actually operate upon stimulating the release of endorphins for relief of pain. Endorphins along with the betterment of mood play a great role in alleviating pain when we laugh.
Now, what are actually endorphins?
They are a group of chemical substances released in the body in response to stimuli like laughter, TENS application, soft tissue techniques like massage etc. Relaxing, cool thoughts in the brain trigger release of it while toxic thoughts produce bad substances damaging our system.

You are what you think of; not what you eat...:)

It doesn't matter if the laughter is fake; fake laughter turns into real laughter eventually. This is very infectious making everyone in the group also laugh. Try LOL all alone and you will start LOL with real feel in no time.

Laughter helps to improve social relationships by better bonding. It is quite natural we get attracted to people that make us LOL. With such people, conflicts will be rare. You will never feel isolated when you join laughter clubs. It is the best solution for lonely people. The sole business there is to LOL and nothing else. They take the business of laughing out loud seriously.

Laughter is a cool remedy for anxiety and fear. It improves mood. Lol brings a lot of joy to us, it improves optimism.

I need not elaborate upon how to bring more humor, laughter, joy and happiness in life. Comedy shows, funny clips, 'practical jokers', jokes, laughter yoga classes, joke apps, online resources, a cute pet etc. etc. the list is long.

Remember happiness is your right; LOL is your duty.

Let us thank Dr Madan Kataria, a physician from India who almost singlehandedly popularized the power of laughter. He started the movement called Laughter yoga years ago in India. He incorporated some body movements also while laughing and named it laughter yoga. Now as you all may be knowing, there are thousands of laughter clubs all over the world.

World laughter day is celebrated on the first Sunday of May every year.

Why do we become so tense and sensitive ?

Before allowing ourselves to succumb to worry, fear and stress...ask ourselves these questions...
  • Is the problem really serious?
  • Do I have to worry a lot about it?
  • Is it very important?
  • Are there no solutions or remedies? 
  • Can it be solved? 
  • Has it happened because of my fault?
  • From my experiences in the past does this problem at hand demand a lot of strenuous mental activity from my side?
  • Do I have to involve my friends and well wishers?
Always remember there are solutions to each and every problem in life; never, ever lose hope !

My skype id    hello005577

Finally who actually said first 'laughter is the best medicine' ? King Solomon? If so, how did he find out this secret?

www.skypelaughterclub.org
www.laughteryoga.org
http://www.cancercenter.com/treatments/laughter-therapy
http://umm.edu/news-and-events/news-releases/2009/laughter-is-the-best-medicine-for-your-heart

LOL...
  • Accept the fact that there is nothing to lose by laughing for some time daily but there are many positive effects to better our mental and physical health attached with laughter. Laugh out loud; stimulate others to laugh out louder.

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Saturday, 28 March 2015

Banishing the blues...will sweets help?


Jelly candies...! 
This is yummy, my all time favorite :) As they say in the advert this is something that makes children, as well as adults, crave for every now and then.

Wiki says Haribo founder Hans Riegel Sr. introduced this attractive delicacy for the very first time in Germany in 1920. Now we have countless shapes and flavors that make us spoilt for choice all over the world. Gummi bears, Gummi worms, berries in all shapes and sizes, sour, sweet, fruity, mixed...it is mind-boggling, indeed !

Well, anything in excess is poison. It is a well-known fact that we all reach for ice creams and sweet dishes when stress kicks in. It is not only the sweetness of these wonderful foods but the beautiful looks too that make us reach for such things almost always overpowering our willpower. Craving for such things is an unhealthy way to de-stress. If you have access to low-calorie sweeteners like Stevia or similar things like that it is acceptable to a certain level. But it is always better to deal with emotional issues by healthy, positive measures and there are numerous solutions available off / online now-a-days. Sometimes a hug is enough to feel comfy :). So next time before opening the Refrigerator door or emptying a packet full of jellies, just give it a try !

Well, jelly candies...a cool treat :), whatever...lol..:)
  • Beautiful things bring positive feelings. All sweet dishes look beautiful. No wonder these attractive cool delicacies help in banishing blues. But there are much cooler, healthy choices available that bring positive vibes. 

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Sunday, 15 March 2015

Exploring Nature...African / Mexican coriander


This exotic herb is known in different parts of the world in different names. Here it is known as "African coriander" ( African malli, in Malayalam, our mother tongue ). The popular names include Mexican coriander, Farang coriander, culantro, spirit weed, fit weed, saw-tooth coriander, saw-leaf coriander, bandhani yah, long coriander etc.

From what I read from the web this herb is widely used for culinary purposes in South America, Far east and Africa. It is popular in Assam and Manipur in India; in South India it is not very common. Hope my blogger friends will enlighten us about this beautiful herb's popularity in their countries.

This herb has a flavor similar to coriander / cilantro, the difference is this is stronger and intense. We may need only a small portion of it's leaf to garnish our dishes compared to the more common coriander leaves.

This has two types of leaves. The leaves that are at the lower portion of the plant are long and are about an inch in breadth. They have saw-tooth like spines at their edges. Not at all thorny, they are smooth :). The rosette-like leaves are also present in my plant, they are also palatable. Hope it will flower soon.

The above plant was small when brought from my ancestral home with my mom's permission. She has one more there. They use it regularly in dishes. This is grown in a purely organic way. The potting mix is the same I used to grow ladies finger; details of which you can get from my post about growing ladies finger - the organic way.
http://magicalpresent.blogspot.in/2015/03/organic-okra-ladys-finger-cultivation.html

She has grown well in her new place here with me. I guess she is happy to meet you all, my blogger friends :) She is no fussy plant; requires only little Sun and water.

This exotic herb has been claimed to be having many health benefits besides the culinary uses like garnishing, marinating and seasoning.

The claims include:
  • anti-diabetic
  • anti-convulsant
  • anti-cancerous
  • anti-bacterial
  • anti-inflammatory
  • analgesic
In traditional medicine, it is used for treating hypertension, fever, worm infestation, burns etc. Well, nothing has been proved by well-controlled double-blind studies nor there is uniform acceptance and agreement among the researchers, like in the case of many herbs said to be having medicinal value. So always get the advice of a qualified doctor.

It is actually fun in having a leisure time activity like gardening. Growing herbs, spices, and medicinal plants, as well as flowering plants are cool ways to bring positive energy. It has become a productive hobby as well in the present day world, considering the value of organically grown produce. Such cool stuffs are always in demand all over the world. There are many more exotic herbs still not very well known to people, having unique medicinal values. Besides they improve health in natural ways. The end result is we all feel better !

Enjoy exploring Nature...! Let this also be a cool method to reduce the skyrocketing stress levels. Help the needy, suffering fellow human beings. Identify such rare plants, spread awareness and push the scientific community to conduct research to validate medicinal value claims.

Such activities bring a lot of happiness to everyone. Remember, happiness is our right.

The botanical name of this herb is Eryngium foetidum.
  • There are many things still unknown to us in nature. Some things may seem so common, but they may be priceless. Nature still has many secrets and we have just begun unveiling those.
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Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Indoor garden, a cool way to de-stress


Greenery indoors is something that makes us relaxed. It is refreshingly cool to see live plants inside our house. Live plants are not difficult to grow indoors, give it some tender love and care, sure it will grow well.


Money plants are the easiest to grow, you may have to keep it once in while in warm Sunlight. It will thrive well even if there is only limited Sunlight inside. I am growing money plants in water-filled containers. All others I am growing in soil, cocopeat or a mixture of both.

In my experience, we can depend on green lucky bamboo plants with full confidence. As you can see these two plants are placed where no Sunlight falls. They are growing well, no problems whatsoever. Never kept them outside to get Sunlight ! I am growing these in a potting mix of only cocopeat and not in water-filled containers or soil.


NASA has released a list of plants that purify indoor air. The emissions from TV, fluorescent lamps, refrigerator etc. pollute indoor air and plants help in improving air quality.


Selection of plants, as I mentioned above, is very important. Even indirect Sunlight is enough for some plants to grow well. Self-watering containers limit the need for daily watering; it helps in keeping the plants hydrated when we go for vacation. I have already posted about making self-watering containers at home.
http://magnificentdewdrops.blogspot.in/2015/01/do-it-yourself-self-watering-plant-pot.html


Attractive containers, beautiful plants...well, let us make our interiors lively.

No doubt, greenery indoors bring positive energy. Such cool sights inside our houses send positive signals to the brain that eventually help in banishing the blues we may experience. A clean and lively environment is a sure way to better our mood level. Add some life to our environment inside buildings. Use this to be a better person; let it also be a personal development tool. Plants provide excellent vibes.

Let us make our indoors world too a better place to live.
  • Environment plays a lot in giving us positive energy. Adding a touch of greenery to our interiors is something that makes us relaxed and happy. 

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