As I flowed through Surya Namaskars or Sun Salutations in yoga this week, I felt the force of the sun on my back and smiled with gratitude. This energising sequence links the body, breath, and mind. “It revitalises every aspect of your being, from physical to spiritual,” says Shiva Rea, creator of Prana Flow Yoga (read article here). And what better way to feel the life force than with the sun gleaming in full strength. I went for a walk in the park, watched the swans and ducks, and soaked in all that had come to life in the morning sunshine. Nothing could cheer the cold of January more than a bout of brightness.
On the more dreary days, or on brighter days when I did not feel entirely spirited by the sun and there was something else dragging me down, yoga had become my sunshine. I marveled, as I went through the surya namaskars and warriors and headstands, at the way yoga has changed my body – and more so, my life, in the last few years.
Building outer strength translates to inner strength, processes that are as impactful as they are gradual, and yoga creates or resets the very core of the body. Yoga has allowed me to realise the capacity to rebuild, to empower and feel empowered, to let the strength and flexibility flow with me through the day and through my life. Yoga quickly became my daily fix of happiness, a place where I had to focus and listen and do. Over time, each class has given me something different – energy and utter stillness, a spark of fire, yet a sense of absolute peace in the moment. And it can manifest a new mood or a new intention for the day or the week – sometimes it lingers, sometimes it floats away.
It dawned on me as I sat to make my Spice Bites for the coming week, that I’d forgotten about intention in cooking, about the power of thoughts when preparing a meal, when making the roti, when stirring the daal. My mother had taught me about the importance of good thoughts and positivity when cooking, and it was there somewhere in the back of my mind, but this week, I remembered it consciously. And so I set a new intention for myself – to take a deep breath and to actually set an intention, something as small and simple as feeling happy and sending out gratitude, but acknowledging this and being mindful of it, or a desire to feel more energetic. It really could be anything. Saying something in my mind or out loud gives me a chance me reflect, even momentarily, on the day, on how I’m feeling, on shifting my mood and bringing me back in the present, and on being mindful and sending healthful, healing and happy energies through the food.
Intentions are wonderful reminders of consciousness, gifted thoughts to your mind, and small mometos of memories.
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Mira Manek's desire for healthy cooking combines her love of traditional Indian cuisine with her mother and grandmother's recipes to create lighter, healthier dishes.