Five to favorite.

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THE SHIVA TRILOGY.

These books swept me away for an entire month! All month, just a month, what a lovely month! Destroying evil with the great Shiva, Sati, Ganesh, Karthik, Kali. Trekking through the Indus Valley civilization with the Suryavanshis, Chandravanshis, Vasudevs, and Vayuputras. Adventure dreams every night. Truly sad that these some 1,400 pages have flown by. Very dear to my heart. Recommend them.

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SURYA/CHANDRA EARRINGS. The merry couple who owned the silver shop were both amused and delighted when I decided to take the mismatching pair, one surya sun and one chandra moon. I just thought it was more fitting than the matching pairs. The balance. The Suryavanshis and the Chandravanshis.

 

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LEMONGRASS CHAI. Lemongrass is an herb, native to India and South Asia, with a subtle citrus flavor. Subtle, yet amazingly worth it. People use it in soups, curries, teas, and even as an insect repellent. It gives the tea this slightly slightly deliciously citrusy tang. Mmmm. Try it sometime. Pairs great with a Shiva book.

 FOUR.
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URDHVA DHANURASANA  Upward Bow Pose.

I love the backbends. They are hands down, hips up, my favorite.

I used to do this pose completely wrong for years, relying on my flexible back to lift me up and make the right shape. Shocked was I, when I came to India and got beat over the head about my flexibility. Humbled and still learning, I love this pose even more.

Why you should try it…Not only does this posture make you nice and strong, it improves your mood. Backbends are notorious for zapping away all of that negative energy and replacing your mind with refreshing happiness.

How you do it…FIRST, make sure your back muscles along the spine are warm. 6-12 rounds of Surya Namaskar will do the trick. This pose is big and deep and full of expression that only a warm body can handle.

  1. Lay on your back, knees bent and feet flat on the floor, hips width distance apart, heels as close to your buttocks as you can get them.
  2. Place your hands besides your ears, elbows bent, fingers facing toward your feet.
  3. Inhale and press your hands and feet firmly into the ground as you lift your hips up towards the ceiling and straighten your elbows. Lift your tailbone up towards the ceiling by pressing your inner feet firmly into the ground. Lift your sternum bone up to the ceiling by pressing your inner palms firmly down.
  4. Keep your toes, knees, thighs straight, hips width distance. This is challenging, as our body wants to let our legs splay out. I like to turn my toes slightly inward before even beginning the pose to prevent this from happening.
  5. Stay in the pose for about 3 breaths. Slowly lower your dorsal spine (upper-middle back) first, and then the rest of your body. Recover for a few breaths and try again!

*IN this posture, of course the back is being stretched, but actually, the effort comes from your palms and biceps pushing the ground away, as well as the soles of your feet and quadriceps lifting you up. Your back feels nothing but length – what a revelation!

**If you are rather new to yoga or have back injury, first try some baby back bends here, here, and here, and work your way up to the big guys.

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FOAM ROLLER. The best twelve dollars I’ve ever spent. A true friend. The only guy who can successful crack my tight upper back. My dad stowed him away in his suitcase when he came to visit me in August. You can’t believe how glad I was to see him.

Why you might want to get one…

  1. Instant massage. All the stress stored in your muscles is released. Feels amazing on your back, gluts, thighs, calves, everything!
  2. Prevents injury to your muscles. Rolling on the foam loosens your muscles away from the bone and breaks up your fascia, preventing any tearing or catching when doing exercise or activity. Fascia is connective tissue that forms over our muscles and bones when we are motionless. This is why when waking up in the morning, we feel stiff, and after a big yawny stretch, we feel better. We have broken up the fascia.
  3. Knee-saver and runner’s best friend. I used to train for big races, running 4-12 miles everyday.  After some time, I started getting knee pain, due to IT band syndrome. Rolling out my thighs and hamstrings before and after every run saved me from injury.
  4. Cracks your back like no one can.
  5. Makes the worst pillow you’ve ever had.

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Gooooodnight.

Much love,

More later,

SONIA

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