Dr. Alaknanda Puri: What Kind of Yogi Are You?

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This is a direct quote by Dr. Alaknanda Puri. Dr. Puri is an Ayurvedic Doctor that lives in her family ashram, the Santosh Puri Ashram in Haridwar. I really liked her talk “How Can Ayurveda  Support The Yog?” at the 10th Berlin Yoga Festival in Berlin 2014.

Yoga Asanas, Sattvic Food, Sun Salutations and Self-Massage

Dr. Alaknanda was talking about Ayurvedic principles and routines that benefit a yogic lifestyle. She recommended yoga asanas, fresh, sattvic food, a morning routine including sun salutations and a sesame oil self-massage of at least 4 body spots (ears, crown of head, navel, feet).

The Nostril Check

In the morning, we should also check through which nostril we can breathe easier. If it is the right nostril, then Pitta is higher and we can easily do yoga asanas. If we feel too tired to do asanas, we can go for a walk or run first and practise later. There would be no point in forcing any regime upon us. Rather, we needed to get back into balance with nature, re-learn to listen to our bodies to understand what kind of nutrition, exercise and lifestyle choices we need at a particular time.

Brahma Muhurta, the Best Time for Yoga

To this end it would be of special benefit to live close to nature, to awake and rise with the animals and the sun. Dr. Alaknanda told us about her home, the Santosh Puri Ashram, where different birds make different noises at different times in the morning, so you always know what time it is without needing a clock or an alarm. What I personally struggle with is getting up during Brahma Muhurta, the “divine time”, and best time for sadhana, starting 90 minutes before sunrise. Now, in the summer, the sun in Berlin rises around 5 am; so 90 minutes earlier would be 3:30 am!

Saluting the Sun, Saluting Your Guru

“If you are doing sun salutations, you are saluting the sun. The sun is your guru,” Alaknanda pointed out. “You salute the sun when it rises, not in the afternoon or evening when it goes down. The same way you salute your guru when he comes, not just when you feel like it. “What kind of yogi are you, when you cannot salute your guru in the proper way?”. I  think she has a point. The time around sunrise has a special, magic quality about it. I still don’t manage to get up that early, especially when I am in Germany. What do you think about Brahma Muhurta? Good idea, self-flagellation – or both?

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