Monday, 30 January 2017

Few Quick Tips on How to Become a Better Parent- Pri.



1. Love. Love more. Love no matter what.
2. Listen. Listen more. Listen even more.
3. Talk. Care. Observe. Thank. Apologize.
4. Empathize. Encourage. Embrace.
5. Appreciate & Acknowledge.
6. Reassure that you are always there.
7. Teach Responsibilities and Consequences. Reward.
8. Smile. Be calm. Bring in humor.
9. Accept. (Respect your child’s personality, as it is!)
10. Repeat

Friday, 27 January 2017

10 Effective Natural Winter Therapies - Aish

During winter, to breeze away the freeze, we take almost 10 minutes to cover ourselves with sweaters, jackets, socks and shoes while stepping out. Inside most of our homes, we use heaters and to control the dryness caused due to excess heat we utilize humidifiers. These are the electronic ways we undergo, why not go in a natural way to control the chillness around us inside.



We would be in a sorry state for the people who are living in the snow clad areas, while we live in a place freezing, even without a snow drop. In most of the countries, not all homes are connected with heaters or automated heat-processed faucets. Thus, to beat the extreme cold at our homes let us follow these effective natural therapies :

Classic Buzz 6 :

1. WASH, DRY AND MOISTURIZE




While cooking or after completion, making our hands wet cannot be avoided. Not all times we get to wash our hands from the water with room temperature during winter months. 

Keep a container with warm water beside the kitchen sink to have a dip / wash at times if the water from the faucet is too cold, then dry up the hands in a cloth. After completion of the work, apply olive / coconut oil to moisturize the hands.

2. PREVENT DEHYDRATION




During the chill climate when the temperatures drop down, the air becomes drier and our bodies receive less moisture than they do during warmer months. Due to this low level of moisture in our bodies, we tend to drink less  water during this season. 

So, to prevent from dehydration, drink plenty of warm water mixed with honey and lemon. Honey reduces ulcer and other gastrointestinal disorders while lemon is rich in Vitamin helping in eliminating congestion.

3. NAURAL WINTER FACE PACK



Winter not only takes away the sheen of the skin but also leaves one with depressing skin. Multani mitti popularly known as ‘bleaching clay’ or Fuller's Earth acts as a healing ingredient from acne and blemishes. This natural product is used as the best face pack with no side effects for all skin types.

Face pack mixtures during winter to prevent dryness and dullness in skin :
Multani Mitti + honey + curd for dry skin.
Multani Mitti + rose water for oily skin.

We are aware of some best natural facial tools and homespun titbits from, Home Dwelling Beauty Kits - Aish and DIY-essential-skincare-for-beginners-Pri, apply them to get wonderful results.

4. TOWEL SHOWER



Not all days are the same for kids and even grown ups. The dust, pollution and to top it all the cold weather, kids grow with might in such inconvenient circumstances too. 

A warm shower on all days is a must but sometimes when one's health is not cooperative due to the chill atmosphere, a dip in hot water with a dry towel and wipe on body would make one feel fresh and warm. Use luke warm water instead of very hot water for bathing as hot water steals away the natural body oils.

5. WARM ROOM TEMPERATURE 



To sustain a warm atmosphere, place an utensil with hot water in the middle of your room and then close the door for almost 10 to 15 minutes before heading to bed. The steam from the hot water utensil keeps the room warm.


6. MOISTURIZER



Before going to bed and after waking up in the morning apply Coconut oil on hands and legs. The best natural moisturizer at home. The high levels of antioxidants present in Virgin Coconut oil reduces inflammation and heals arthritis.

7. RESPIRATORY PROBLEM HEALERS



Adding a drop of Eucalyptus oil in the water before taking a shower prevents from flu aggravation. Using Eucalyptus for sinus, asthma and other respiratory disorders is a proven treatment that dilates the blood vessels and allows more oxygen into the lungs. Eucalyptus oil + Coconut oil + peppermint oil is used as one of the best vapor rubs in chest.

We also have in handy the five simple and quick remedies for preventing flu, congestion and other respiratory problems from Serene Home Remedies -Aish, by just being at home.

8. ALOE VERA WONDERS



Aloe vera or aloe vera-based products can be used in the winter as well as in the summer by people of all skin types. Dermatologists recommend Aloe vera as it treats the cells on the epithelial level of the skin to remove tan, treat sunburn and stretch marks, gives the skin its nourishing and anti-ageing qualities. 

Drinking aloe vera juice early in the morning on an empty stomach improves digestion and cures any kind of stomach trouble. Having an Aloe Vera plant at home does wonders!

9. BEST NATURAL CONDITIONER 



Soak few Methi (Fenugreek seeds) for half an hour and then blend it to a paste. Apply to hair for 10 minutes and then have a wash. The best natural conditioner readily available at home. 


Read on the 5-natural-remedies-to-prevent-premature Grey hairs - Aish.

To oil up the hair before a wash, we are familiar with the ingredients from Roots-from-folks-aish.

10. HAPPY FEET




Feet are the most affected parts during winter with cramps, cracks and dryness. We really feel to get a pedicure done at times due to extreme cold during winters or extreme heat during summer. Soak your feet in a bowl of warm water and immerse your feet on it, then wear socks before heading to bed.

Get to know more of Natural Pedicures and try them by sitting at home in 10 Best Home Cures for Pedicures-aish.html



These 10 Natural Winter remedies help in stabilizing the warmth at home, produce skin glow and act as healers. Why to purchase products or go places when we have amazing home therapies with natural ingredients?

Home is where our life begins. A happy soul dwells in a content home.









Sunday, 22 January 2017

Protest of Pride- A Mussette poem (Pri)


Despite
aggression we
unite,

To thrive;
Keep traditions 
alive!

Revered
Jallikattu;
now smeared?




Form: Mussette

The Musette, created by Emily Romano is a poem that consists of three verses of three lines each. The first lines have two syllables; the second lines have four syllables, and the third lines have two syllables. The rhyme scheme is a/b/a for the first verse; c/d/c for the second verse, and e/f/e for the third verse. The title should reflect the poem’s content.



Saturday, 21 January 2017

Jallikattu & Bullfighting : Differences - Aish

Generally, people associate Jallikattu to Bull Fighting, but the reality is these two vary a lot from each other. According to the sources, there are major differences between Jallikattu and Bullfighting. Let us leap through them in detail ;


1. WHAT

The term Jallikattu is obtained from the Tamil words - Salli (Coins) + Kattu (tied together), which describes how the participants attempt to attain the coins tied to the horns of the bull. Jallikattu symbolizes - "Yeru thazhuvuthal" which means "Bull Embracing" and "Manju Virattu" which means "Bull Chasing".
Bullfighting is popularly known as the Corrida de toros (the running of bulls) or La Fiesta (the festival) in Spanish.


2. WHERE

Jallikattu is a traditional practice by people of Tamil Nadu in South of India. It is mainly performed in rural places like Allanganallur of Madurai, Sivagangai, Pudukottai, Thanjavur, Salem and other Southern parts of Tamil Nadu in India where the bulls enters from closed gates called "Vadi Vasal".
Bullfighting can be found within Europe like Spain, France and Portugal. Bullfighting takes place in a large outdoor arena known as the Plaza de Toros in Spanish. In Latin America, bullfighting can be found in Mexico, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela. ‘Bloodless’ bullfights can also be found in the USA.


3. WHEN

Jallikattu is performed on Maatu Pongal, the third day of the Pongal Festival (the celebration for Sun God) during the month of January and sometimes lasts till June. Maatu Pongal refers to the festival mainly dedicated to the sacred cattle by expressing their gratitude and prayers.
Bullfighting season in Spain runs from March to October.


4. HOW

Jallikattu is performed in different styles

A. Vadi Manjuviraṭṭu : A bull is released from an enclosure known as the "Vadi Vasal". Only one bull tamer has to attempt this by holding the hump for a predetermined distance and try to retrieve the coins from the horn.
B. Vadam Manjuvirattu : In this method, the Bull is tied to a Rope (Vadam) and is free to move within the space, where all the spectators are outside the barricades. A team of participants attempt to subdue the bull within 30 minutes.
C. Vaeli Manjuviraṭṭu: In this method, the bull is released into an open ground without any restrictions of rope or predetermined distance. Most released bulls come neither to any human, but few bulls just stand in a place and depict the acts or "plays" not allowing humans to come near. They say it's a wonderful spectacle not to be missed.

According to the sources of Bullfighting, there are many types of bullfighting styles varied in different countries. Some of the popular Bullfighting styles used in many parts of the world are -


The Spanish version which is the most common across both Europe and Latin America includes three stages of Bullfighting :
A. Tercio de Varas (The Lancing Third)
As the bull is released into the ring it is tested for ferocity by the matador and banderilleros.
B. Tercio de Banderillas (The third of Banderillas)
In this, each of the three banderilleros attempts to plant two banderillas (sharp barbed sticks) into the bull's shoulders.
C. Tercio de Muerte (The third of Death)
In the final stage, the matador re-enters the ring alone with a small red cape, or muleta, and a sword and kills the Bull.

The Portuguese Bullfights involves two stages of Bullfighting :


A. The spectacle of the Cavaleiro (Spectacle of Gallant)
Here, a horseman fights the bull and stabs three or four bandeiras (small javelins) into the back of the bull seated on a Portuguese Lusitano horse (specially trained for the fights).
B. Pega (Holding)
In this stage a group of eight men (forcados), try to subdue the bull without any weapon for defence. But, the bull is later killed outside the arena by a butcher.

The French style, a bloodless spectacle yet a stressful act is sported in two ways


A. Course camarguaise / Course libre
The main objective in this type of Bullfighting is to snatch a rosette from the head of a bull.
B. Course landaise
In this type, Cows are used instead of bulls.


U.S.A also sports a bloodless Bullfighting which is popularly known as - Freestyle bullfighting. This is a 70-second competition in which the bullfighter (Rodeo clown) avoids the bull by means of dodging, jumping and use of a barrel.

5. BREEDS

In Jallikattu, farmers breed specific bulls known as Zebu or Humped Cattle one of the subspecies of domestic cattle orginated in South Asia, which is mainly used for this sport aiding them economically. In most parts of South Asia, Zebu are used as draught oxen, dairy cattle and are used for byproducts wherein their dung is used for fuel and manure.
For the Spanish Bullfighting, a special breed called the Iberian heterogeneous cattle population is primarily bred in Spain, Portugal and Latin American countries where bull fighting is organized.


6.OBJECTIVE

Bulls in Jallikattu are looked upon as a sacred animal. This sport being just "Bull taming" is performed without causing any harm or injury at the most to the animals with no usage of weapons too.
But in most of the Bullfighting, Bulls are brutally killed inside or outside the arena with weapons.

7. CULTURE AND TRADITION

According to the ancient Tamil Sangams, Jallikattu has been traditionally practised for taming the bull to breed and is raised by the farmers mainly to benefit them financially and economically deepening the roots of the Tamil culture.
Bullfighting is considered to be the cutural event in many countries but is a mere entertainment in most.

"Tradition does not mean to look after the ash, but to keep the flame alive." - Jean Jaures

Monday, 16 January 2017

10 Indian Kitchen Life Hacks- Pri.

Yummy recipes Aish! They are so tempting, I must try them soon…Thanks for sharing these wonderful traditional recipes.



Sometimes, cooking can be lots of multitasking that may consume a whole lot of your energy. It is quite natural to seek ideas to shorten the process, to make life easier and to save some time. These knowledgeable tips come from our esteemed-elders, some tips we get from our fellow friends, some expert advice we get from reading online, or you just come up with a few tips from your own experience and learning. Whatever the source may be, Kitchen Life Hacks are the most sought-out invaluable information for most of us!

I am sharing my favorite 10 Indian Kitchen Hacks that I use in my everyday-cooking, which are most effective!

1. Boiling/ Steaming Vegetables beforehand:



Vegetables like Beetroot and Plantain could be messy and could stain your hands when cutting raw. I learned this genius tip from my Mom; Cook these vegetables in cooker for a few whistles or steam them. Once they cool-off, you can easily peel the skin and cut/ grate them in minutes. As they are already cooked the knife would just slip through the veggies! And your hands won’t get stained. Bonus: You could steam well ahead, just cut and temper before serving.

2. Rubber does the Magic:


When you can’t seem to open a jar-lid, use a rubber band on the lid for added grip or just wear a rubber glove. This hack always works like a charm!


3. Substitute Wheat flour/ Multigrain Atta for Baking/ Pizza Crust and more:





These days, we all know the facts about the White Flour or Maida. Why use the harmful, processed and un-natural Maida (All-Purpose flour)? I have been successfully using wheat/ multigrain flour for all my baking recipes. Be it Raagi (Finger Millet) Flour for Banana Walnut Muffin/ Bread or Multigrain Atta for a healthy Chocolate Brownie/ Cookie, every time the substitute turns out to be a hit! Remember, the olden-days’ Paniyaram recipes that were made using Wheat and Jaggery? It is as simple as that, do not over-think and don’t get too much into the measurements. Simply substitute the white flour with any of the whole grain flours. That’s it!


4. Cashews to the Rescue:



If you do not have coconut for recipes like Kuruma that call for fresh coconut, substitute it with raw cashew nuts. They will turn even tastier!

5. Wondering what to do with the left-over rice?


When there is not enough for fried rice or lemon rice, we often tend to throw the left-over rice. Try transforming rice into steamy instant Rice Pakoras; Add a couple of spoons of Chickpea flour (Besan), green chilies, cut onions, curry leaves, red chili powder, pinch of turmeric powder and Hing (Asafoetida) and salt to the left-over rice and mix well in a kneading motion. Take small portions and deep fry them.

6. Wood saves the day!




Keep a wooden spoon on the vessel to prevent the liquid from boiling-over. For some weird reason this hack really works!

7. How about Green and Red Chapatis/ Rotis/ Pooris?


It is challenging to keep preparing variety dishes to make your kids enjoy every meal. Sometimes, it is just too tough to get them the essential-full-servings of vegetables daily. This is when Moms wear a Super-Mom hat to make any dish tasty, appealing and healthy all at the same time! Kids can be easily attracted to colorful food; try making colorful chapatis and Pooris for a change; Grind a cup of Greens (Spinach or any other Green leaves) along with some cumin seeds (Ajwain is even better) and a few spoons of water. Use this paste to knead the chapatti/ Poori dough. Similarly, peel, cut and grind a beetroot the same way and make a red dough. Voila!




8. Do you fear oil and greasy foods?


Next time, steam/ bake your Pakoras, they will taste as tasty as ever!

9. Coriander Cubes:


As healthy the Coriander leaves are, they are too time consuming to wash, cut and even store. It is a great idea to wash bunches of Coriander leaves and store on a weekend or when you are free. If you want to make it further easier; Grind bunches of coriander leaves in a mixer (Food Processor) with very little water and pour in ice cube trays. Freeze the trays for at least 12 hours, put the cubes in Ziploc bags and toss them in the freezer. Whenever you make any recipe, just throw two cubes in when boiling. Trust me, you will never go out of coriander when you have these back-up cubes!



10. Measure Honey like a Pro:


Before you pour Honey, coat the measuring spoon or the container with some cooking oil. It will be much easier and mess-free!





Happy Cooking!

Saturday, 14 January 2017

Festive Relishes : Sankranti - Aish

MAKARA SANKRANTI / PONGAL


On Sankranti, the Sun God as Surya Deva is worshipped and people wear new clothes, pray to God make offerings of traditional food.
They decorate their homes with flowers and by making beautiful Rangolis welcome the Supreme.
In the Tamil language, the word Pongal means "overflowing," signifying abundance and prosperity.



As per the Drik Panchang, Numerous rituals are followed during Sankranti. These rituals vary from state to state and within a state region to region.

• Ritualistic bonfire a day before Makar Sankranti.

• Worshipping Surya Deva, the Sun God.

• Holy dip in sacred water bodies.

• Making Pongal and distributing it as Prasad in Tamil Nadu.

• Performing charity by giving alms to the needy.

• Flying kites especially in Gujarat.

• Worshipping live stocks.

• Preparing sweets made of sesame and jaggery.

• Taking oil bath mostly in South India.

Talking about the Sweets, Pongal / Sankranti is mainly celebrated to cherish and relish the Sweet Pongal [(Sweetened Rice and Dal dish) "Chakkarai Pongal" in Tamil] with our dear ones. Let's taste this delicious dish :

Relishing Recipe 5 :

Chakkarai Pongal


Pongal mainly depicts "Pongu" (Overflow) in Tamil. People pray for Happiness, Prosperity, Good Health and peace to Overflow in abundance when the Sweet Pongal is made.




People make Sweet Pongal either by Cooker or by a Vessel. In Tamil Nadu, People use "Ponga Paanai" (Clay Pot or Brass Pot).

☆ Take 1/2 cup of Split Yellow Gram (Moong dal in Hindi ; Paasi Parupu in Tamil) and dry fry it.

☆ Then along with 1 cup of Rice, wash them and keep aside.

☆ In a Vessel, Boil 1/2 litre Milk, then add the rice along with moong dal in it. Keep it in low flame and stir it occasionally.

☆ Meanwhile, take 1 cup of jaggery, cut to small bits and boil with minimal water, then filter it and keep aside.

☆ Once the rice and dal are well cooked, add the filtered jaggery water and stir well.

☆ Top it with Elaichi, fried cashews, raisins and ghee.

Pongal's delicious customary Sweet Pongal is ready to taste. Yummy and lovable dish by all, this Sweet Pongal is made as any day sweet to relish!

Relishing Recipe 6 :

Avial


Our folks did follow the tradition in preparing this mouth watering dish "Avial", a delicious blend of mixed veggies in coconut and yogurt, on this auspicious day.

A very healthy South Indian dish which could be made on any day, as it contains varieties of vegetables rich in nutrition.



¤ Cut and boil any variety of Vegetables like Carrot, Beans, Potato, Pumpkin, Ash Gourd, Green Peas etc.

¤ Blend 3/4 cup of coconut, 1 tablespoon of Cumin (Jeera), 1 green chilly and 2 tablespoons of rice soaked in water for 30 minutes and make a paste.

¤ Add 2 tablespoons of sour curd to the paste and mix well. Let this be added to the boiling Veggies along with salt.

Tip : According to the spice required, you can add the green chilly while blending or add a green chilly split in the middle while boiling.

¤ Top it with 1 tablespoon of Coconut oil and here, the traditional mouth - watering Avial is ready.

MAATU PONGAL in Tamil Nadu / KANUMA in Andhra Pradesh and Telengana

Celebrated on the third day of Sankranti, Kanuma or Maatu Pongal is a pompous festival for farmers as it is the day for praying and expressing gratitude to their cattle.
This festival is dedicated to cows, bulls and other animals that are part of agrarian economy.



On this day, in most of the homes, people prepare Chitra Annam (Variety Rices) like Lemon Rice, Coconut Rice, Tamarind Rice and Curd Rice.

Traditionally folks say that these varieties of rices are made as it would be simple and quick to prepare after having enormous delicious feasts on the previous days.

Traditions adequate,
Culinaries we create,
Varieties on plates,
Delicious to taste!



Festive Relishes : Bhogi - Aish


Yoga and Dance relieve out one's stress and keep the mind and soul healthy. That was a good description about Yoga and Reiki Pri! 

Many do relieve their stress by celebrating the festivals sprouting each year with their family and friends and bring the true joy of life! Here, let's take a look at one of the important festivals that occur during the beginning of a new year and not to forget the feasts of it.



Makara Sankranti is celebrated in many parts of South Asia with some regional variations. It is known by different names and celebrated with different customs in different parts of the region.

In India it is known by different regional names.

In states Chhattisgarh, Goa, Odisha, Haryana, Bihar, Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Bihar, West Bengal and Jammu : Makar Sankranti
In Tamil Nadu : Thai Pongal, Uzhavar Thirunal
In Gujarat : Uttarayan
In states Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Punjab : Maghi
In Assam : Bhogali Bihu
In Kashmir Valley : Shishur Saenkraat
In states Uttar Pradesh and western Bihar : Khichdi
In West Bengal : Poush Sangkranti
In Karnataka : Makara Sankramana

In other countries too, the day is celebrated but under different names and in different ways.

In Bangladesh : Shakrain/ Poush Sangkranti
In Nepal : Maghe Sankranti or Maghi /Khichdi Sankranti



According to Drik Panchang, In Andhra Pradesh, Telengana and Tamil Nadu, Sankranti is celebrated for four days. The certain rituals are followed during each of the four days and those days are known as

Day 1 - Bhogi which is also known as Bhogi Pandigai.
Day 2 - Makara Sankranti which is known as Pedda Panduga in Andhra Pradesh and Pongal in Tamil Nadu.
Day 3 - Kanuma Panduga in Andhra Pradesh and Mattu Pongal in Tamil Nadu.
Day 4 - Mukkanuma in Andhra Pradesh and Kaanum Pongal in Tamil Nadu.

As each day is celebrated in its own unique way, each festive has different delicacies to relish on. Here let us know the simple, quick and tasty festive relishes.


BHOGI


Bhogi is a festival celebrated widely in South India especially Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. The disposal of derelict things, where all old habits, vices, attachment to relations and material things are sacrificed in the fire.

On Bhogi, most people relish both in sweet and spice. Let us have a look at the dishes in each of the varieties.

Relishing Recipe 3 :

Sweet Poli - A sweet flatened bread : Puran Poli (Marati) ; Boli (Tamil) ; Bobbatlu (Telugu)




To Make Puran
  • Take 1 cup of coconut and blend it. 
  • For 1 cup of coconut, take 3/4 cup of jaggery, according to the sweet one requires. Jaggery has rich iron and calcium content and is good for health. 
  • Cut the jaggery into small bits and boil with 1/4 water, then Filter it well. If excess water in the blended coconut, 1 tablespoon of Roasted Bengal gram (Bhuna Chana in Hindi ; Potukadalai in Tamil) to be added.
  • Add 2 tablespoon of ghee in a deep cooking - pot (kadai). 
  • While heating the jaggery water, add the blended coconut and keep it aside. 
  • Add fried Cashews and Elaichi to augment the taste.



Poli - In most of the homes, they take up the All purpose flour (Maida) for making the flatened bread like Roti but a healthy tip would be to use Wheat Flour (Atta). 

To make the dough
  • Mix a cup of flour with warm water. 
  • Then make small balls out of the flour and in each of these balls stuff the Puran. 
  • By rolling pins make them to a flat circles. This is Poli. 
  • On the frying pan, add a teaspoon of ghee and heat the poli on either sides.

Delicious Puran Poli on our plate! Most of the kids love sweets, this definitely is a healthy, sweet any day snack.

Relishing Recipe 4 :


Green peas Vada (Fried savory Fritter)



In most of the homes, they do Urud Dal Fritter (Ullanda Vadai / Medu Vadai) or Chana dal Fritter (Masala Vadai / Kadalai parupu Vadai). But let us try this Green Peas Vada, a mouth watering, yummy fritter loved by all.

  • Soak 1 bowl of green peas for 8 hrs, mostly the night before in water. 
  • Blend the green peas along with Aesafotida (Hing) + 4-5 Red chilly (according to the spice required) + pinch of salt and few curry leaves. 
  • Make it a paste not with much water added. Then make as flat small circles and deep fry them. 
A yummy, quick snack is ready!

Healthy Tip: Once in a while deep fry is lovable by all. But we can have it as Sundal (A South Indian Sprouts Boil). Boil the soaked green peas in a Boiling Cooking pot or Cooker and then add a pinch of salt to it.

An everyday yummy, healthy kids' snack is ready.

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

When Yoga meets Reiki…(Pri)



Rightly said, Aish! Art is a medium to attain the eternal bliss. Any kind of art for that matter, is an attempt to reach the almighty and discover one’s higher-self in the process. I still remember the day we attended your “Arangetram” in Cuddalore. It was a great day, we enjoyed your graceful dance and unbelievable expressions! The “Kali” facial expression was the ultimate one; You inspire me!
Since I had lots of time after moving to the US, I had done a few certification courses online and at centers near me. I am a certified Hatha Yoga instructor and a Reiki practitioner. Though I am not a very religious person (In the sense that I do not go to the temple every day or I do not follow all the rituals every time), I do believe in a higher/ supreme power that exists. Nevertheless, I do Pooja at home regularly as it is a part of our culture that brings in good energy to the house. I have always believed in the good/ bad vibrations that are around people, I have always been very sensitive in picking-up these vibrations when in a gathering. The old practices like “Dhristi” removal, where an elder-person uses red-chilies, coal and other stuff to remove the negative energies from a person (especially, Children) have always fascinated me.



Dance was something that I was inclined to, when I was in school; I was very interested to learn professional dance but was not able to pursue due to my dad’s transferable job. Later, Yoga was in my mind, I usually associate each Asana to a dance move. I feel, Yoga is just a meditative form of dance. I was thrilled when I learned Yoga, I have been practicing Yoga at home ever-since (despite some breaks here and there). The feeling of relaxation flows through when you finish a session of Yoga. It is the time one connects to the body and becomes more aware. I love the peaceful energy that radiates while doing a posture, it’s like bathing yourself in the flowing river of light. What a soul-renewal routine!


When I came across Reiki, I felt an instant connection and urge to learn more about the art. I knew that the Reiki energy is similar to the Yoga “Prana”, which is supposed to be the breath-flow or the life-force. The universe has these boundless energies already, it is just that you attune yourself to the flow and channel the energy through yourself. It is the same feeling of ecstasy that you experience when you are inside the temple-- near the idol offering Pooja amidst the divine magnetic field, tantalizing aroma of incense sticks/ flowers/ sandalwood, vibrations of the ringing bells and the chanting-slogas echoing around. A magical moment of amalgamation of senses! I am sure, this feeling is common to all, the only difference is that some experience it in temples, some in Churches or some experience while reading Quran or in any other respective place of their interest.



Reiki is an ancient Japanese technique of using the universal flow of energy to revive and heal. It is said that the energy is merely channeled to the necessary place/ person by the practitioner who is attuned to the universal energy by a teacher (I was attuned to Reiki by Dory Jolin, a wonderful person and teacher). This energy like “Prana”, heals body, mind and soul. I find Yoga and Reiki effectively work hand-in-hand, as both have meditation as the prime focus. Both have the concept of seven chakras of the body. Yoga detoxifies the body through the intricate stretches and asanas, while Reiki fills the body with positive energy that helps to heal. The combined cleansing practices help transform and nourish the inner-self. It is like spring-cleaning the house without damaging things and letting some fresh air into the house; gently removing all the negativity/ blockages of the body with ease while letting the fresh positive “Prana” flow in! In my opinion, when Yoga meets Reiki the sense of realization could be achieved faster, as one tries to unify body and spirit, by letting-go the material attachments and living that moment-of-peace, sinking in each breath that grounds you to the earth. After all, spirituality is finding your purpose of existence without losing your identity and simplicity.



“Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude.” ~  Denis Waitley

Sunday, 8 January 2017

Dance - A Classical Glance! - Aish

BHARATANATYAM - An Indian Classical dance!



What is Bharatanatyam

Bharatanatyam is the divine dance considered as the religious ceremony most pleasing to the God and dedication of all activity to the Divine was the highest form of worship.

Bharata + Natyam = The dramatical representation with facial expressions (Abhinaya), Gestures (Hastas) Music and Rhythmic Syllables. It is an artistic Yoga, for revealing the spiritual through the corporeal.

The tradition states that Bharata is construed of "bha"–"ra"–"ta". The bha stands for bhava (feelings, emotions), ra stands for raga (musical mode), and ta stands for tala (rhythm). Natyam is derived from the Sanskrit word Nata - dancers; the action or movement.

Thus, Bharatanatyam connotes a dance which harmoniously expresses "Bhava, Raga and Tala". It is the dance technique of Tamil Nadu, a place in the South of India.

Origin of Bharatanatyam

Natya Shastra was composed by Bharata Muni in the 2nd century B.C.  The Natya Shastra is a compendium on all apsects of  Indian drama and covers allied arts like music, instruments, stage craft, costume, make up, sculpture, painting - all inter related and integral parts of drama. The text in Sanskrit contains about 6000 verses and is spread over 36 chapters.

Natya Shastra is often refered to as the fifth veda - Bharata is said to have taken Words from Rigveda, Music from  Samaveda, Gestures from Yajurveda and Bhava/Rasa from Atharvaveda.

Natya Shastra is the foundation of all the Indian classical dance forms, but just like the water that flows from the top of a mountain and branches out into different rivers; similarly, Indian Classical Dance is divided into 8 dance forms according to language, geography and costumes. They are:

Bharatanatyam in Tamil Nadu
• Mohiniyattam in Kerala
• Kathakali  in Kerala
• Kuchipudi in Andhra Pradesh
• Odissi in Orissa
• Kathak in North India
• Manipuri in Manipur
• Sattriya in Assam


Evolution of Bharatanatyam

Bharatanatyam today springs from Sadir Natyam, also known by names like Dasi Attam, Chinna Melam, or simply, Sadir. The term Sadir began with the Maratha rulers of South India in the 17th century, who called the dance Sadir Nautch. This corresponds to the presentation of the dance in the courts. A more exalted role of the dance is evoked by the name Dasi Attam, the dance of the devadasis as a part of temple worship. A devadasi, whose name means Servant (Dasi) of Divinity (Deva), was an artist dedicated to the services of a temple. The dance of the devadasi was integral to the ritual worship. Devadasi families specialized in the arts of music and dance, and with the Nattuvanars (dance masters), they maintained these traditions from generation to generation, supported by royal patronage.

Revival of Bharatanatyam

For many centuries Bharata Natyam has been performed only by certain families in the district of Tanjore, these inheritors of the craft being known as 'Nattuvans'. The chief exponents of this dance were the Devadasis or temple dancers.

The modern form of Bharata Natyam presentation is the arrangement of four Nattuvans of Pandanallur. They were the brothers- Ponniah, Chinniah, Vadivelu and Sivanandam, who lived in the eighteenth century. The Vidwan, Meenakshi Sundaram Pillai of Pandanallur, the greatest teacher of Bharata Natyam is a direct descendant of the four brothers.

It was Rukmini Devi Arundale, the celebrated dancer and scholar who took this Dance form out of the temple and gave it a  new respectability. She started a school at Tiruvanmayur, Madras (now Chennai) named Kalakshetra. The age-old, 'Gurukulam' system of education is still followed and many classes are conducted in sylvan surroundings.


The Purpose of Bharatanatyam

According to the Notable Bharatanatyam dancer, T. Balasaraswati -

▪ Bharata Natyam is an art which consecrates the body.
▪ The dancer, who dissolves her identity in rhythm and music, makes her body an instrument, at least for the duration of the dance, for the experience and expression of the spirit.

Distinctive Aspects of Bharatanatyam

The cache of Bharatanatyam, like all major classical Indian dance forms, follows the three categories of performance in the Natya Shastra which are Nritta (Nirutham), Nritya (Niruthiyam) and Natya (Natyam).

Nritta

Nritta is an abstract form of pure movement in dance. It is the illustration of rhythm through graceful movements without expression of a theme or emotion. It emphasizes the beauty in motion, form, speed, range and pattern. Nritta consists of only rhythmic and graceful movements, or abstract dance, and has no poetic meaning to illustrate.

Nrithya

The Nritya is the interpretive dance used with facial expressions (Abhinaya), hand gestures and body movements to portray emotions and express themes. It is the expressive aspect of the dance that attempts to communicate feelings, storyline particularly with spiritual themes in dance traditions. It articulates the emotions and includes the expression of words through gestures and movement according to the musical notes.

Natyam

The Natyam is a dramatical representation or drama with speech, music and dancing. It implies a stage performance, including spoken dialogue and mime, to convey meaning and enact narrative. It is typically a team performance, but can be acted out by a solo performer where the dancer uses certain standardized body movements to indicate a new character in the underlying story. A Natya incorporates the elements of a Nritya.

Both Nritta and Nritya are achieved by a combination of movements and positions involving the feet, limbs, and body, along with hand gestures and facial expressions. Natya is achieved through portrayal of characters and themes, which are also described in scriptures. These elements are well defined, and constitute a vocabulary that characterizes Bharatanatyam.

Scriptures like the Natya Shastra by Bharati Muni and Abhinaya Darpana by Nandikeshwara classify the elements of dance in great detail and in large arrays. Let us have a deeper look about the structures and features of this remarkable dance in the upcoming articles.

Bharatanatyam has rich language and is vast as air.  In this modern generation, learners do grasp the Rhythmic syllables and perform the Natya with Abhinaya as instructed by their Gurus, but understanding the theoretical aspect of Bharatanatyam is predominant. 

Indeed it was fortunate for me to be blessed with wonderful Gurus, trained in the Tanjore style, completed Arangetram (On-stage performance by a dancer on the completion of formal training) and then tutoring the art form to the aspiring learners of the art.

Bharatanatyam is a flow of rich culture and values the traditions. Interest and deep trust in oneself will enable this flow of art to creativity and enhance the feel and satisfaction of inculcating eternal bliss.