10 Reasons to Eat Raw During Your Yoga Teacher Training

Yoga teacher training is a life-changing experience that will require you to find focus, strength and energy if you want to learn, achieve, feel, experience and become your higher self. Being your true self means being devoid of the need to be egotistical, small-minded and petty. Remember that you are part of a much bigger picture that is inextricably connected to all life forms, including nature. Only then do you have the ability to share your knowledge through teaching.

Teaching is the absolute best way to continue this lifelong discovery at an extensive level of depth. It is a natural and likely consequence of a teacher training. In this way, sincere students learn yoga for the correct reasons and become great teachers for the correct reasons.

During a teacher training, help is needed from your teachers, fellow students, inner self, mind and body. One of the strongest tools for helping your body to function well, is eating the correct diet. Raw food has the nourishment and components that supply you with all the necessary energy, vitality and optimal cell reproduction. It helps you to keep going.

Good food has to be pure in order to keep your body healthy and alert, strong and light. Raw food helps your body and mind cope with the intense schedule and inner exploration that the best yoga teacher trainings provide. This also correlates with the first yama: Ahimsa (nonviolence in thought, word and action to yourself and others). This promise to yourself is taken from the Yoga Sutra’s (2.35), the definitive description of yoga recorded and inspired through experiential research. I look at ahimsa as an enlightened commandment.

How Raw Food Will Help You Keep Up With the High Demands of a Yoga Teacher Training

1. Raw food leads your body towards natural health. By eating raw you are on your way to a state of self-fixing. As the human body has the ability to regenerate cells continuously, having a raw food diet will enable your body to become pure and renewed through the intake of uncooked food.

2. Your body performs better when eating raw. Eating in this way allows your body to feel agile and manageable. Your digestion uses less energy therefore giving you more vitality for your yoga practice. When you only practice a few times a week this might not be so important for you, but during four or more weeks of intensive training you will need your body in order to keep up with this experience.2909-10-reasons-to-eat-raw-during-your-yoga-teacher-training

3. Your body needs vitamins and minerals. Raw food is rich in natural vitamins and minerals that are easily digested and absorbed by your body.

4. Raw food increases your awarenessmentally, physically and spiritually. This is important if you want to have the capacity to collect and process all the information given to you.

5. Raw food boosts your natural energy levels in abundance, so you can rely on it to function at a top level during this extended time.

6. During a life changing experience, changes need to happen in your body too. The body purifies itself from toxins with a raw food diet. Being clean and unpolluted allows you to reconnect with your true inner self.

7. Eating raw food puts you in a harmony with nature. Mens sana in corpore sano (“a healthy mind in a healthy body”). To become a more hale and hearty, happy and sensitive person you need to have a coherent, high functioning body.

8. According to the Bhagavad Gita (xsll.8), saatvic (pure) food promotes longevity, wellbeing, strength, goodness, happiness and pleasure. They are also rich, juicy, agreeable and nourishing.

9. Raw food prepared with an attitude of love increases our prana (life-force energy), which is essential if we want to sustain and utilize our maximum amount of effort wisely.

10. Raw food helps to turn your body into a temple for your mind and soul. According to Patanjali, who wrote the most classical text on yoga, “the purpose of yoga is to lead to a silence of the mind” (yoga sutra 1.2). Through yoga, commitment, patience and compassion for yourself, you can achieve the silence of the mind, the freedom of the soul and joyfulness in your life.

This article was published by and retrived from My Yoga Online on November 26, 2013. Find more interesting yoga articles here.

Ishvara Pranidhana

Ishvara Pranidhana means love and surrender to the divinity within the individual.

In Sanskrit Ishvara is the creative source, purusha, (the authentic self which is eternal) pure consciousness, God, Goddess or Supreme Guru. Pranidhana means “with sincerity, dedication and devotion, practicing the presence, surrendering to the fruits of practice.”

I like to interpret it as deep platonic love for the creative, source of pure consciousness that is bigger and more powerful than us. Why should we have a problem with surrendering to our own serene, innate, luminous force that lives inside us? Our true S.E.L.F.

For a western mind, caught up with these words that have become redundant for us. We feel that this is almost impossible. We can’t fully surrender to our loved ones or partners, how do we surrender to a higher, knowing, loving force?

Keely came to me in a state, at 45 she felt that she had gone through a mid-life crisis and was at a loss as to what to do. She had conducted a year, long affair with a man other than her husband, but it all had to come to an end once her spouse found out. Keely had been given an ultimatum and couldn’t break up with her partner especially after 15 years and initially, she selfishly wanted to keep the two relationships going. However presented with a fait accompli like this she was in a quandary.

I suggested the fifth niyama (observances for ourselves on the eight limbed–path of Patanjali’s yoga sutras, (Chapter II, verse 32) – Ishvara Pranidhana or I.P. as I would like to call it. The groundwork has to be done through the other four niyamas first of purification, contentment, burning through obstructions and cultivating self-study and study in order for I.P. to innately arise. Keely knew about the niyamas as a long time student of mine and this is why she was so upset that she had allowed herself to ignore them, as she knew she could not have carried on this affair if she had tried to observe them.

The Samkhya system of Indian Vedic philosophy defines the language of yoga. Patanjali accepts the theory that it is the clarification of advancement. How can we advance out of the ‘me’ syndrome into the wider and bigger picture of a life lived virtuously and well? I suggested to Keely to surrender to a better nature, a better life, a song of true and platonic love, to a soul, which has no boundaries, pride or stipulations, to a source/Goddess within her. Surrender yourself to a higher purpose. This was the only way to deal with the stress and tension she had unleashed on herself.

Fighting against feelings of despair and guilt and hatred of herself she felt that this was a last resort.  But Patanjali believes that this crisis response, can be an essential ongoing practice. As B. K. S. Iyengar wrote in Light on the Yoga Sutras, “Through surrender the aspirant’s ego is effaced, and . . . grace . . . pours down upon him like a torrential rain.”

How was Keely going to put I.P. into practice? A start is visualizing and bringing up an image of a specific goddess or god, representing powers, attributes, qualities and virtues of the Supreme Being, or the Divine nature within. Since I.P. focuses not on our ego but on the inviolable ground of being, it reunites us with our true Self – S.E.L.F.  Ishvara Pranidhana then is a pathway through the obstacles of our ego toward our divine nature, which is freedom, peace, grace, clarity and unconditional love.

As I live and teach in India, where worship of the divine is part of everyday life. I pointed out to her why I prostrate in front of my Devi (consecrated, living energy) before starting every class. Through this devotion to her qualities of absolute love, kindness, forgiveness, fortitude, grace and positivity, I am able to carry this through my teaching and use an asana class into transforming people’s lives off the mat. Anand an inspiring yoga philosophy teacher who works with me always asks western students to cultivate some form of bhakti (devotion) or surrender to the Divine. This is the way of the path to enlightenment – Samadhi.

There is no obstacle, emotion or inner state, which is beyond the influence of I.P. Even if you are a natural bhakti yogi or yogini or a complete cynic, whether you are performing a straightforward task like cleaning your house or a daunting task like a tough conversation, whether you feeling confused or guilty, the whole breadth of life is in the orbit of I.P. When we listen to our true intuition or heart and become aware how each action and emotion is a constant connection to our higher Selves, our hearts become aware of the divine in everything.

Sonja

This article was published in The Global Yogi magazine on the 9th of July, 2013.