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March 28, 2017
Today is the start of a new moon, that falls in the “special variety” of new moons. For those of you not familiar with the Indian Lunar calendar, it is the traditional calendar by which yogi’s have observed holy days & festivals for thousands of years. This new moon, falls in the month of Chaitri and signifies the beginning of a 10 day period of time called Chaitri Navratri; a festival for honoring the various forms of the divine goddess.
My meditation teacher, Shri Anandi Ma has always recommended doing extra practices (meditation, japa, yoga, pranayama) during these days as the “flow of spiritual energy is strong” and very supportive for making progress spiritually. She’s always stressed that the amount of “extra practices” is always dependent on your schedule and what’s realistic for you.
Some years, my yogi friends and I take the ten days off from work and create a 10-day, self-retreat. And other years, I’ve fit in a few extra practices in the morning and replaced evening lounge time with time on my asan (meditation cushion). It’s really up to you, but ideally keeping the same time and same practice everyday is most beneficial.
Our self retreats include anywhere from 4-6 hours of japa (mantra recitation), 1-2 hours of pranayam (breathing techniques) + meditation, some hatha yoga (asanas), lots of spiritual reading, yogic fasting (don’t let the word fasting deceive you :)–yogic fasting is full of all sorts of deliciousness) and silence. Yes, silence….that means no phone, no emails, no talking… just a lot of retreating to your core, to water your roots so that your soul can flower :). It’s amazing how quiet and calm the mind can get when you turn off the outside and focus on the inside.
This year is obviously one of those years where I’m not able to do a self-retreat, but will definitely be fitting in extra practices in the morning/evenings and enjoying some yogic fasting foods. Whatever you end up doing, I hope you have a lovely Navratri filled with many glimpses of the divine.
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