Monday, November 26, 2018

How I described Seva Yoga to Julie Owens our MP

I had the opportunity to meet with Julie Owens (member of parliament) a couple of weeks ago and you might be wondering why, so I'll tell you quickly.

photographed by: Balzinder Balz
I simply needed guidance from someone that had their finger on Parramatta's pulse and were deeply invested in the community's greater well being. I had met Julie Owens a few times at the local festivals and always found her to be interested in promoting multiculturalism. I found that she saw things from a broader perspective and was highly appreciative of the diversity in Parramatta. So I wanted to reach out to her for some guidance for how I could connect better with this community with the services we offer at Seva.

Our name Seva itself means self-less action and the tag line Compassionate Action is a mindset to serve from a place of having felt our own pain to offer connection to others in a meaningful way. Yoga and Ayurveda have always supported me to care for myself compassionately and I personally think that with the rise of the digital age there is a huge shift toward the laptop lifestyle. This is where its more convenient to do things via a screen than in person which is why there has also been a bigger demand for yoga and alternative self-care education. The education needs to be made available to everyone so they become empowered and know how to support their personal lifestyle with skills and awareness which keep them connected to their body and emotions at all cost.

Even though Julie recognized me, she needed some clarification on how Seva Yoga is different to other studios and alternative arts in the area. She said she had recently met with "Traditional" yoga and "Hot" yoga studio owners from the area and that they were indeed very different from each other, and while I felt sad she had not yet come to visit us, I knew it was my fault for not having advertised our studio better. So I gave her a brief run down on what we are doing differently to respond to the need for better education in mental health and self-care in the community:

1) I explained to her that Seva Yoga is an independent brand of yoga. It is offering mentored training programs that teach students how to integrate yoga into daily life, which goes beyond just the physical practice. Its a brand that promotes an individualized and holistic approach to mental health; an issue our generation is uncomfortable talking about until it goes out of hand. What we mean by individual branding means is that while there is a lineage we borrow our practices from, we follow a person centered protocol to teach ways to adopt individualized practices through mentoring and developing relationships.

2) We offer Ayurveda and Yoga in our curriculum both as regular practice and therapeutically. This means it is a full circle practice and pathway for holistic health care. It considers that to be able to practice and benefit fully from Yoga, we don't practice harder poses without the right preparations. To meditate we don't just keep sitting through pain and distractions. But we begin to take the practice beyond the yoga mat. There has to be an awareness to diet, mindset and lifestyle that prepares and keeps the body in a state to practice yoga and meditation. This is what makes any or all the difference to the person in the long run. Traditionally Yoga is taught 1 on 1 and this is the reason for it. Otherwise we are all like hamsters on a wheel, running the same wheel day in and out.

3) Lastly, it's always been about connection and community at Seva. Whenever possible and successfully throughout the years we host events, completely free to the public and our members. We believe in inclusivity, family, collaboration and involving the community in celebrating life, health and spirituality. Diversity is a big part of the scene at Seva and we appreciate that everyone's culture has so much color and richness that we each can learn from.

During our conversation about the attention to diet and lifestyle, Julie shared about her own morning routine, and tips on how to peel a boiled egg without getting the shell stuck. She mentioned that she mentors other busy people to embrace being inconsistent and okay with self-care (which I will write about on another article) and on the topic of self-care I got to share with Julie how to make gas free lentil curry  :) :) she loved the science of it (aka Ayurveda).

She said she will come and visit us but told me to focus a little more on connecting with the right audience in the area.

So it was helpful to meet her in that I came away knowing just how different we are to other studios in the neighborhood. So in 2019 I will focus on raising more awareness of our studio in this way  while continuing to run the holistic self-care programs we already run for Corporations and Individuals from Beginners to Masters.

So, I was wondering if you've been reflecting on your yoga journey at Seva at all? Do you feel that you could support yourself better by improving your knowledge on self-care? My only advice is don't put your health at number 2 of your priorities list. If you have any questions, I have some time this year during the week days to chat with you. So feel free to book in a free 30 minute discovery call to know more about our programs or just what you can do right away to support your well being journey.

Our Programs in 2019 to help Personalize Self-care are:
*Private Ayurveda & Yoga Consultations - 2 hour
*200 Hour Practice & Health Mentorship
*500 Hour Certified Integrative Yoga Teacher Training

Supriya Roy (Ayurveda Practitioner and Founder of Seva Yoga)

Hey, if there is something you think we do differently to other studios, and its not mentioned here, let us know HERE

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

3 Easy Practices for Better Eyes - Yoga & Ayurveda

I remember the first time I received a Netra Basti - an Ayurvedic treatment for tired eyes. After the treatment the muscles around my eyes immediately felt rejuvenated. It was only after receiving the treatment I realized how dry and malnourished my eyes really were. Don't laugh but it felt like someone sprayed WD40 into the squeakiest part of my eyes. Another profound effect was a gentler gaze on the world and enjoying a deeper night's sleep which followed for at least a week. I noticed an improvement of upto 3 times in functionality, from just a 30 minute treatment. I was amazed!

Since 2016, as I opened a yoga studio, it was a sudden shift in gear into the entrepreneurial world, studying a full time load, with regular travelling- it was Christmas Eve of 2016 when I handed my assignment in I realised that something had to change. I was either going to have to drop one ball or move forward with a sustainability plan, especially with my personal practices. I made a conscious effort to plan my self-care in such a way that I could sustain it long term, so my body didn't feel cared for one day and ignored the next.

A few years down the track, my daily routine is all maintenance style practices of quarterly regimes. It's been very sustainable and feels really practical for me. I am able to stay aligned to the seasonal changes and that way I feel less reactive to change in seasons. It's given me a feeling of self-confidence and emotional stability along the way.

In the pre-ayurveda (2015) days I used to find it really difficult to stay consistent with my self-care routine. For me, being healthy was an all or nothing kinda' thing. And everything I did felt intense, not to mention not sustainable.

Overwhelm is an attribute of the Fire element in us all that gives us our fire to do better, but if un-managed can also lead to burnouts. The Fire element in Ayurveda makes a part of a combination named Pitta. The Pitta Dosha's qualities are very sharp, intense, light, penetrating and hot and is present in everything like our bodies, organs, systems, personalities and even the way we think. One of the seats of this dosha / element is in our eyes, our sense organ for the sharpness we can perceive the world with.

The sub-type name of Pitta dosha that generates eye sight and gives it's power is called Alochaka Pitta. To maintain Alochaka Pitta's balance we have to live a sustainable lifestyle.

Our eyes are one of our major sense organs of SIGHT, and a source of CONNECTION and LEARNING. They are constantly in use for the Vision. Vision is the way in which we are inspired and experience beauty. The eyes are major gateways for us to engage with and experience life to its fullest.

So a very sustainable way to care for the eyes would be to look at ways in which to give them support EVERY DAY. Why? Because as with anything in life, the more we use it, the better we need to care for it, so it can be kept useful.

When I did a search for the Top 3 causes of eye strain for us urban people, I found and article released in September 2018 by The Eye Practice, which shared:
1) Computer Overuse - Overuse of all digital devices cause eye strain and their patients over time develop Computer Vision Syndrome.
2) Underlying Vision Problems - Uncorrected vision or muscle imbalances from using the eyes for intense tasks like overusing computers or prolonged periods of driving.
3) Poor environmental factors - the brightly lit work spaces, air-conditioned offices and poor ergonomics causing poor posture affect the eyes because our bodies and eyes have not yet evolved to keep up with the digital age.

So while at work or the home office, why not try these 3 tips to reduce daily exposures to risk:

1) Improve your hydration to avoid dehydration from the air conditioned environment.

2) Blink more and set a timer on the computer / phone to look away from the screen every 30 minutes. You can practice some neck movements while looking away.

3) For all digital screens use a blue light filter app like flux.com 

4) Check the ergonomics of the desk, chair and keyboard that they are positioned well to support best posture for the 8 to 10 hour days ahead.

When I'm not at the studio, just like everyone else I'm at my office, where I spend as long as 8 hours or so on a desk. I have personally found these systems helpful but I also have other practices in place, of which I wanted to share my Top 3 potent and easy to do practices with you.

I recommend starting with 1 daily and then building up to all 3 for the daily maintenance of your Eye Health:

1) ROSE WATER wash: This is especially great on a hot day and for Pitta dosha people. Daily use a dropper and apply 2-3 drops of organic rose water and use in each eye. Rose water is excellent for soothing dryness, prevents cell damage due to its anti-oxidants, removes dust particles. You can do this for your children that suffer from allergies or dryness too.

2) YOGA for better Eye-sight: You can start with simple circling of the eyes. Starting with your gaze on the nose, make 5 slow, perfect circles in each direction keeping your lips, jaws and mouth relaxed.

3) NUTRITION Ensure you have a good intake of Milk or Vitamin A, dark green leafy vegetables / spinach, Indian Gooseberry, Citrus foods like oranges and lemons and foods rich in B12 and vitamin C, Vitamin E like almonds. These will keep your eyes strong.

Now with all said and done, you or someone you know, might be experiencing regular headaches, have dark circles around your eyes, your sleep might be disturbed, you have tech neck, jaw pain and are having difficulty regenerating the eyes through the daily practices. Consider a deeper treatment to get you back on track.

Book in an Ayurvedic consultation and once we have a good idea about your dosha and your tendencies, you can receive a Netra Basti treatment that will aid with all of the signs you are noticing and put you back on track for new balanced quarter ahead. Click to read what is Netra Basti

I hope this article was helpful and inspired an easy start to daily care for one of your major sense organs.

As my teachers and mentors would tell me - Never underestimate the power of simplicity. The practices might seem easy and simple but with mindfulness and regularity we can regenerate health, naturally.

If you liked this article, please press like, share it with someone that spends a lot of time in front of screens or with weak eyes and lastly, let me know below which self-care practices you will put into place straight away.

Supriya Roy (Ayurvedic Practitioner, Integrative Yoga Teacher Trainer at Seva Yoga)

If you would like to learn more on self-care for specific problems including Yoga for Better Eye care  - Reply with your email address + name here..