Monday, March 20, 2017

Super Delicious carrot cake Oats!

For those of us who like a little sweet sometimes, this is an easy, wholesome and delicious treat, leave in the fridge all day and have for dinner, or overnight for those of you who have breakfast, or on days when breakfast is calling!!

Add to a jam jar or some kind of jar or glass – leave about 6 hours in the fridge.

½ cup of old fashioned oats
½ cup of unsweetened almond milk (see recipe below)
1 grated carrot
2 tablespoons of unsweetened natural organic yoghurt
1 tablespoon or raisons
1 tablespoon of maple syrup or good organic honey
¼ teaspoon of vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon of cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon of nutmeg
1 tablespoon of chopped pecans, or other nuts or fruits
Almond Milk –  Blend all together and sieve out any pulp
140g organic almonds (without skins and chopped)
1 tsp ground cardamom
4 tsp organic good honey or maple syrup
16fl oz water

Benefits of Almonds -  They are rich in good fats, Vitamin E, calcium, magnesium, zinc and iron.  Almonds can be beneficial for those suffering with anemia, constipation, high blood pressure or diabetes and can help benefit the skin and hair.  I love my almonds!!  Every morning whilst practicing intense practices during Sadhana Intensive, we drank almond milk every morning not only is it delicious and with many benefits it was so comforting too!
Oats are incredibly nutritious and rich in antioxidants and are said to be one of the healthiest grains on earth. They contain good sources of iron, magnesium, folates are rich in carbs and B1 and B5, although rich in carbs they are low in fat.  Hmmmm yum,  I’m off to make my overnight, carrot cake oats!!  Although being mostly vegan I leave out the yoghurt and add more almond milk. 
Enjoy yours and chant Hari Rama Hari Rama Rama Rama Hari Hari, whilst you are making it for even more auspiciousness and deliciousness to be added!
Have beautiful days
Om shanti Om
Mangala / Nicky

Thursday, March 9, 2017

The Guru

Guru: (Gou-rou) Teacher or preceptor, one who removes the darkness.

This word Guru we hear a lot these days, even in pop music and mainstream cinema.  But what really is a Guru and why should one need one?  I am often mentioning to my students about their own inner Guru, to listen to their bodies, to listen to their hearts and find the Guru within themselves.  During an asana class the teacher may be instructing do this do that, but it is the body that should be King and listened to, this is also hard for people as the mind often takes over and shouts over quiet whispers of the body.  Hence why people can often push themselves too much.  But in truth we all have the Divine knowledge within us, a beautiful light within us, but it is covered and veiled time and again, so although truth lies within it is also far away.  Our life experience gets in the way, past life experience gets in the way, our connection to the outer world through our senses gets in the way of that inner light, so therefore we need a guide, a teacher, a Guru to help us find that inner knowledge, to find the absolute within, it is there in every being, but the path is difficult and with many obstacles, slowly over time and with the correct guidance however the light can be lit and it gets brighter and brighter.  Swami Sivananda says –
“The Guru is God himself manifesting in a personal form to guide the aspirant.  Grace of God takes the form of the Guru.  To see the Guru is to see God.  The Guru is united with God, he or she inspires devotion in others, his or her presence purifies all.
The Guru is a link between the individual and the immortal.  They are a being who has raised themselves from this into that, and thus has free and unhampered access into both realms. Bending down they raise the struggling individual up with one hand and the other lifts them into everlasting joy and infinite truth-consciousness.”
To teach, one must be so dedicated to the origins of truth and have sincere experience that has been passed to them through their own Guru and they must be dedicating their life to the teachings.  Today now the word YOGA seems to be on everybody’s lips without understanding every Tom, Dick and Harry seem to be teaching this and that, lessons in mindfulness etc, you need to really search for a genuine teacher, one that teaches from the heart has been through the appropriate training and continues to purify themselves, how do you know – they tend to shine!
“To be a Guru one must have a command from God.  Mere study of books cannot make one a Guru, one who has direct knowledge of the true self through experience can alone be enrolled as a Guru.”  Swami Sivananda.
“For a beginner on the spiritual path, a Guru is necessary, to light a candle you need a burning candle.  The mind is tricky and it will mislead you and often the Guru will be able to remove obstacles and pitfalls, and put you on the right path towards Moksha – liberation.” Swami Sivananda
So the Guru will put you on the right path, without that help you may want to go to Kathmandu but end up in Timbucktoo.  A sincere Guru will help you from making the wrong turns, if you find a good, truthful teacher, that teaches with dedication and experience they will keep you safe.
So how do we find a teacher of such, there are now so many hundreds and thousands?  Look for one that is selfless, free from greed, anger and lust.  If they are selfless, loving and free of the big I and Me, then this is your teacher.  One that you feel elevated by being in their presence, then God will guide you through them.  Go slowly, maybe you have to try out many, but recognize those that have experience, the correct training and have put long term dedication into not only teaching but into their own practice.  In fact their own practice should be so important for them, as if they are not feeling it, how can they share that with others?
When you find that one that shines for you, then stay with them, Swami Sivananda says –
“Do not dig shallow pits here and there for getting water, the pits will dry up soon enough – dig a deep pit in one place and centralize all your efforts here.”
You may find a teacher that is honest, compassionate and has the qualities but experience is not so great, but they will then lead you to the greater Guru and so on.
Find the one that shines, and shine with them making one gigantic beam for the rest of the world.
Have beautiful days,
I wish you peace peace perfect peace always
Mangala / Nicky.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Devi Devi Devi

The glory of the Goddess, chanting the mantra to the Divne Mother invokes her essence to open and heal our shattered hearts.  Chant to Divine Mother and feel her presence, allow her to joyfully lift us, elevate us, allow her to nurture us, bring the child back to our hearts and again feel loved and lighter.
When the world shows us pain again and again it is hard not to become effected by it.  Pray to Divine Mother, to Maa, to the feminine, to the moon to lift us back into her light.  To be like a sunflower that raises her head to the sun and refuses to see the shadows.
Chant Maa Maa Maa, chant Maa Maa Maa, chant Maa Maa Maa
Chant from your heart, feel the vibration, feel her energy flow through you like an electric current.
Vibrate with Maa and allow yourself to dissolve into pure love, only love, just love.  Melt and listen, listen, listen.
Amme narayana devi narayana
Lakshi narayana bhadre narayana

Image above is taken on the night of the Devi Puja at Sivananda Yoga Vidya Peetham with Swami Govindananda.  www.sivanandapeetham.org

"A puja is a devotional ritual or temple ceremony that conveys the deep essence of spirituality.  Devotional rituals elevate the mind, soothe the nervous system and generate harmony.  The chants bring much joy and have a very positive effect on the physical and mental wellbeing.  A Yantra is a sacred geometrical design that represents the Universe.  Yantras are made of coloured powders and are used to gain mental focus."  Sivananda Center, London.

Love and light and beautiful days
mangala / nicky.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Theraputic Sequence to live Joyfully.

Many Many thanks goes out to those who supported the printing costs of 200 copies of a four page document highlighting a simple theraputic sequence to enhance joyful living, bringing fresh confidence, positivity, courage, strength and peace to the whole system.  This sequence requires no need for a yoga mat or to wear any specific clothing, anyone can follow in any place and situation.  These copies are going out to those that I have been working with at Butabika Mental Health Hospital and recovery college, Kampala, Uganda, many many hours of work went into them and I am overjoyed that now they are going to reach out to those who now are being discharged and can continue their own healing process by themselves.  "Health is wealth, peace of mind is happiness, yoga shows the way."  Swami Vishnudevananda.    Anyone who would like a soft copy of these files sent to them in low resolution you can kindly email me on nickymangala@gmail.com    I will be out of reach though from January 17th until the end of February as I am in retreat in India.
Wishing you all love and light always from the heart
Om Shanti Shanti Shanti
Mangala / Nicky.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

10 reasons to grow your own Turmeric.


I am always talking about turmeric and have always bought it in its powdered form.  But after a visit to an organic market and finding a plant I decided to grow it myself and am loving a richer smell, flavor and texture from it in its original form.  Turmeric is one of the most effective nutritional supplements, one that Indians have know about for centuries and is used widely in ayruvedic cooking, curries and rice.  It has a beautiful green leaf that looks great in the garden, and when its ready for harvest just dig down and bring up the root, this is what you then grate into your stews, curries and rice dishes and here are 9 reasons why to include this golden magic into your food.
1.    It has powerful medicinal qualities.
2.    It is a natural anti-inflammatory.
3.    It is a natural antibiotic.
4.    A very strong antioxidant and helps in preventing cancers.
5.    It lowers the risk of brain disease and improves on brain function.
6.    It lowers the risk of heart disease.
7.    It can delay the aging effect.
8.    It is a great help in combating arthritis.
9.    It can help with overcoming depression.
1. Growing it gets you out into nature.

I love it for improving my brain function and delaying the aging effect, haha I obviously need to grow more!!!  You can grate the root after washing straight into your cooking, or make a warming drink with either soya milk or milk with a little ginger and cardamom, yum just before bed.
Enjoy growing your turmeric and getting out in the garden more and watching nature’s magic.  Gardening improves our moods and can connect us back to the universal energy and stimulate the blissful layer (anandamaya kosha) of our being.  Something we all deserve as living entities is to live joyfully and peacefully with nature.  And then you know that your herbs and veggies are truly organic.
For now wishing you a wonderful bright day full of turmeric!
Om shanti shanti shanti
Mangala / Nicky.


Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Surya Namaskar 108

Surya Namaskar; the sun salutation is a vital technique within the repertoire of yogic practice and has been practiced for thousands of years.  The sun rises and falls around us every day, is friend to all, brings light to all and has existed since before any human existence.  The sun never says to us, unless you give me something I will not shine today.  The sun never says to the earth, hey you owe me!  The sun you see is friend to all, we should learn from the sun that allows us to grow, to nourish ourselves and to develop.  Without the sun there is no life, no vital energy, no way to live a meaningful life. 
By practicing Surya Namaskar we honor that force that brings our existence and when practiced with sincerity, effort and dedication, it brings a multitude of benefits into our lives.
This is a practice of self-expression, it is not merely an exercise to stretch our bodies, but is a way of connecting to the rhythms whole universe.  To the 24 hours in a day, the 12 zodiac phases of the year and the rhythms of your own body which is part of the universe and the universe part of the body.
For me there are four forms to the sun salutation, that of the physical, the mental, the spiritual and the pranic.  The physical aspect enables us to live dynamically; it improves circulation and flexibility, releases tensions in the body, provides lubrication around the joints and brings stimulation to every internal organ improving its function.  It brings balance back to the body without which there would be no mental balance.  Mentally it improves our focus and concentration levels, allows us to let go of mental stress, anxiety and irrelevant thoughts and enables us to live more joyfully.  Surya Namaskar is a most powerful tool for the benefit of mental health, well being and allows us then to grow spiritually.  Spiritually it allows us to sublimate our lower thoughts and emotions and turn to a higher level of thinking and awareness.  To be able to unblock the blockages from within that no longer serve us, such as anger, fear, greed and selfishness and turn them to joy, love and peace.  It enables us to connect with the Divine energy, to feel a greater sense of presence and be a part of that presence.  In its Pranic form, it allows us to receive solar energy and in turn become that energy, becoming a ray of light; it has a direct vitalizing effect on the solar energies of the body.  We can shine both inwardly and outwardly.
Through this beautiful practice we can awaken, unblock and stimulate our energy centers, but why practice 108?  Actually we only practice this many rounds for certain occasions and a good time for this is around the time of the full moon.  At this time sensitivities can be heightened, our emotions can be exaggerated, there is a greater field of energy around this time and it can enhance how we are feeling.  This could mean a time of great joy and ecstasy, or on the other hand it could be a time where anger is increased, or depression etc.  So we practice 108, to uplift the energy to a positive, to eradicate any lower feelings or release a build up of too much energy.  108 is a sacred number in Sanskrit and represents the number of Upanishads written, also representing the amount of beads on a string of Malas used for meditation.  It represents all past, all present and all future. The number 1 can mean new beginnings, an eagerness to make new changes, to be ready to start to overcome our ignorance.  0 can represent emptying ourselves of what is unnecessary and concentrating on only what is true and necessary.  8 is that of infinite energy, that which never ends and never begins, that of the soul.
At the end of the day, actually it really doesn’t matter on how many salutations you complete, but it is your intention behind it that counts.  It is a wonderful practice to refresh and detox the whole system, I personally love it, I love the sense of release I have after it and always it is a good time to make a new start or dedicate the positivity to somebody or a place that really needs it.
We will be practicing this coming Friday the 16th December @ 8.30am at Butabika Recovery College, Butabika, Kampala, Uganda, a place approaching the issues of mental health.  The session will be followed by a beautiful Yoga Nidra relaxation and a releasing meditation.  All are welcome.

Learning from the Sun, being a friend to all.
AUM Shanti shanti shanti
Mangala / Nicky.