Los Gatos y el Samadhi

Samadhi : Un estado de intensa concentración alcanzada a travez de la meditación. En yoga este se encuentra en su estado mas alto de iluminación cuando la union con lo divino es alcanzado (antes o al momento de la muerte)

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ilustración por Terry Runyan

Hoy en mi practica privada matutina, tuve el honor de ser acompañada por Nanny, una gata persa que aunque un poco antipática, peca por ser extremadamente bella. Se cruzo de patas al frente de mi tapete, ocasionalmente abría los ojos para asegurarse de que yo seguía ahi. La paz y tranquilidad que esta gata emanaba mientras estaba recostada en el sillón me llegó a dar hasta un poco de celos. Ya quisiera uno llegar a ese punto de silencio absoluto, era casi parecido a llegar a Samadhi!.

Lo cual me hizo preguntarme; Será que los gatos son una de las ultimas encarnaciones antes de encontrar la iluminación?. Porque esa facilidad en la que un gato se queda quieto, duerme y se vuelve a despertar es envidiable!, traten ustedes de hacer lo mismo en una practica de meditación; cierren los ojos, quédense quietos y traten de encontrar la quietud en sus pensamientos. Para mi 1 de cada 5 pasa con facilidad, o me toma mas de 5 minutos llegar a ese punto o simplemente tengo una practica de tratar de concentrarme en la respiración mientras los otros 3 millones de pensamientos vagan por mi cabeza como lo hacen normalmente.

Cuando uno ve estos documentales de la vida de los Gurus y padres del yoga, uno siente un tipo de paz y tranquilidad en la forma en que se comunican, sus pasos son lentos y precisos, hablan poco y conciso, y cuando los grababan mientras meditaban y llegaban a esa paz infinita, su expresión corporal es casi idéntica a cuando un gato esta recostado con los ojos cerrados. Personalmente pienso que eso es mas que suficiente para dar a valer mi punto. Posiblemente Nanny ha viajado ya por varias vidas, ha aprendido y conocido lo suficiente, y ahora en su estado de madurez como gato esta disfrutando de la paz interior.

Posiblemente mi teoría es una simple idea loca que se me ocurrió ahora que me la paso rodeada de gatos y he estado interesada en entender un poco mas sobre la iluminación, al fin de cuentas en mis ratos libres me gusta pensar en explicaciones a cosas que no entiendo, y aunque esta teoría carezca de bases solidas y explicaciones cuerdas, es una simple forma creativa de entender el mundo (cosa que últimamente hago más que nunca para no hundirme en la depresiva y fría realidad que trae la vida adulta).

img_0241.jpgEspero no haber insultado a nadie con mi teoría, yo se que para muchas personas encontrar el Samadhi es un tema espiritual y muy personal, y puede ser la realización mas grande que alguien puede tener. Creo que todos buscamos llegar a ese punto, solo que lo llamamos de diferentes formas. Por ahora me dedicare a seguir buscando mi propio nirvana comportandome más como Nanny y tomarme las cosas con más calma.

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illustration by Gemma Correll

Gucci and Beyond

Me prometí no publicar nada de moda porque era mi blog de yoga y bienestar. Pero yo me prometo muchas cosas que nunca cumplo.

El pasado siempre fue mejor, y más cuando mezclas la nostalgia de los 50’s y 60’s con la ciencia ficción. Dirigida por Glen Luchford esta campaña para Gucci viene con criaturas intergalacticas vistiendo FW17, buscando ese futuro mitológico de los años 50’s que mas de uno añoraría tener este momento. Y si, llegamos a ese punto en el futuro que hasta un robot de lata se viste mejor que yo en este momento.

Married too young

Its been 7 months since we got married . And of course, I’ve heard all kind of thoughts and opinions about it, and something I hear a lot its the idea of “having everything figured out” before taking this big step. Well I didn’t have anything figured out, I still don’t. Did I rushed my decision? did I marry too young?.

As you know, Im against all of this “should have done by a certain age ” kind of life: ”you are supposed to finish high school, go to college, work for some years, travel a little bit, meet someone, get married, buy a house, have children, (there’s a weird space of time here because you are raising little humans so it might take a couple of years), then you retire and live happily until you are done”. I stopped at having a degree and I started to do things as I felt I should have done them, not the easiest choice but as it is for now, I can’t complain

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For every person, life works in a very different way, and its fine, as long as they are happy, enjoying each moment. What it questions me is the fact that many people think that because I got married, life won’t be as flexible and liberating as before, and I’ll have to start to think different about how I do my things.

We had a long relationship before getting married, living in different Countries for some years and having our brakes, but at the end we felt like it was time to start something together. we thought of it as way of creating a society, where both of them have similar responsibilities and we promised to be there for each other for the rest of our lives (I know that last part is a little bit dramatic). We didn’t have a steady job, nor a house, or a secure future, we just felt like having each other would make things better, and it did!. We still have to figure so many things out, now we have someone on the side, supporting and helping, its the best society I could ever thought of.

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The first of many honeymoons, wearing matching shoes

My advice here is simple, don’t wait until you have everything figured out to take a new step, if you feel more than love (don’t get married just because you are in love, it goes deeper than that) go for it, believe in your gut if you feel that that’s the next step on your list, even if you feel like you are jumping over some other things. There are many times in life when you need to take the risk, and jump into a big step. Maybe on the contrary you are stuck in a relationship that doesn’t take you anywhere but you are afraid of ending up alone. Well, don’t be, loneliness is not a bad thing if you know how to take advantage of it. Don’t be in a place where you don’t want to be just because “you are supposed to”.

This is the perfect time to give a huge shout to all of those who are figuring how to live their own lives, I know it might be frightening and a little bit upsetting (believe me, Ive made very weird choices in life and I’m still trying to figure out half of it). Be proud of your choices in life, some times you might be taking bad decisions, eventually you will know what to do (or someone will make you see it, thanks to that people too). Listen to advices but don’t take them too seriously, live life at your own pace, at the end we are all here learning something.

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Leaving our first Place while wearing matching shoes

El perro que no pudo ser Policía

Ayer mientras rodaba por las redes sociales, encontré una noticia que mas que enternecedora se me hizo bastante alarmante. “Un perro muy amigable para ser policía”: Un pobre animal que por su entusiasmo haya sido descartado para ser una figura de orden y justicia. Y lo que mas alarma de la noticia, no es pensar que al perro le vale tres pepinos ser o no policía sino como este tipo de frustración son el reflejo de nuestros días. Cuantas veces hemos sido rechazado por ser como somos y buscamos maneras infinitas de transformarnos para ser aceptados.

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Ilustración de Saskia Keultjes

Hace un par de años, después de haber vuelto de NY ( una de mis tantas veces en la que me despedí de esa ciudad para siempre, para saber que meses después iba a regresar) empece a buscar trabajo como diseñadora de modas. Colombia es un país que se caracteriza por un estable sector textil, entonces era de esperarse que mi alegría por volver a poner en practica lo aprendido iba a ser de gran ayuda para encontrar un buen trabajo. Pero después de un año que casi no se acaba; de entrevista en entrevista, saludos, portafolios, y soportando una que otra dolorosa conversación entre amigos y familia de como me estaba yendo, la cosa no pintaba muy bien. El momento cúspide ocurrió un día que me dijeron que estaba “sobre-calificada para el puesto”. Como carajos pasan estas cosas?!, en que momento pase a tener “mucha sabiduría”? .Porque la excusa de la “poca experiencia” la entiendo, pero que sea muy buena para algo me lleva a ser no apta para un trabajo?!.

En ese momento paré y empece a hacer cosas por mi lado y a mi gusto, deje de sufrir porque era “desempleada” y busque de mi propia manera practicar mi oficio y de pagar mis cuentas, muchas veces tuve que dejar al lado mi carrera para hacer otras cosas, porque al fin y al cabo “las cuentas no se pagan solas” . Necesite escuchar de otra persona que “era muy buena para poder trabajar”, para entender que el tratar de complacer al resto no me va a llevar a ningún lugar en este mundo. Y no me mal interpreten, les ruego que todo lo que hagan, entreguen todo lo que tienen, sean perfeccionistas en su causa y amen cada segundo el oficio que tienen en sus manos, así no sea lo que tenían planeado hacer. Pero si les pido que lo hagan sin esperar nada a cambio. 

Pretendemos estar felices para agradarle a la gente, en vez de para sentirnos bien. Nos ejercitamos para vernos bien y no para sentirnos bien. Tenemos el trabajo y la vida que todos tienen porque “es lo que deberíamos estar haciendo” pero no nos convence. En que momento llegamos a ser esclavos de las expectativas sí ni siquiera sabemos lo que el mundo esta esperando de nosotros?.

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Ilustración de Marc Johns

En fin, este pensamiento que me dio tantas vueltas me lleva a la conclusion que ser el perro alegre solo para tener un cargo, no nos va a llevar a ningún lado. Esta bien estar asustado, no saber las cosas, o estar completamente enamorado de tus éxitos y tus resultados, pero esos sentimientos no te pueden definir, ni tampoco pueden afectar lo que estas haciendo. Cada uno es parte de su propio proceso que siempre esta cambiando. Los invito a que esta semana dediquen un tiempo a reflexionar en donde están y que están haciendo. Hasta que punto estoy haciendo algo por gusto y donde empiezan las cosas que hago para complacer a los demás.

Al final al perro le ofrecieron un mejor trabajo, en vez de estar oliendo carros y revisando maletas, es parte del equipo de eventos sociales del gobernador donde puede ser tan alegre y amigable como el quiera. Las cosas fluyen de maneras extrañas, solo hay que aprender a fluir con ellas. 

 

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The good Neighbor

Now that I live in a pretty sweet place in Bogota, I’ve had the chance to enjoy a beautiful morning view while I practice in the morning. The only thing that bothers me is a deep gray smokey cloud covering the whole city, its unsettling to think that we breathe that air every day. 

Then when I walk around and I see those low, almost dry rivers that cross over the city and the crazy weather that makes us wear rain coats and light shirts just to be ready for high temperatures in the morning and extremely cold rainy afternoons. 

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Those are things happening that seem very imposible to fix, we are tiny humans in this big universe, how can I fix something that is so big and other people are making it worse?. 

Well the first step is to stop thinking that we are “no-one” and that the government and big companies are the only ones responsible for our future. Of course they might make things better or worse in a greater scale, but we need to remember that we are tools of change.

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Think about the “good neighbor”, the guy who waters your plants even if you don’t ask to, or the one who helps you without waiting anything on return. We need to start to think of “we” a whole instead of “me” as a unit. Think of all those little things you can change in your routine that might make a big difference. Maybe we won’t see the difference for now, but the future will thank you for it.

We can start thinking of all the garbage a single person produces a day and if you want to know exactly how much waste is made in your area, go to this link and find out: https://www.saveonenergy.com/land-of-waste/ .It also has information about what its going on and what can you do to help. 

Other things to keep in mind:

Untitled-1-01Take a look around, look what you really need and just stay with the essential, the rest can be recycled or given away.

2-01Yes, refuse to use disposable items.  Imagine using an item for 5 minutes and then waiting hundreds of years for it to discompose.

3-01Carry your own water bottle, mug and bags. In Bogota they have this things of “bag free day” at the super markets or extra charge if you take their plastic bags, and I just love it, ( I must stay that it took me a while to get used to carry shopping bags with me, but is just matter of time and it doesn’t cost you anything).

4-01Find ways to make your meals with unprocessed and unpackaged foods, I know this might be complicated for those who have busy days, but maybe try to change your snacks, look for fruits and vegetables and use reusable packing to take them with you.

5-01It is a good way to start by recycling, but you want to go to a minimal waste solution. Try to select very well things that doesn’t produce much waste as others.

6-01With kindness, we can share all our thoughts about sustainability with every person we know, talk to companies and business and tell them how can they help us by reducing waste. Do you have a favorite restaurant that you go very often ? do they use too many straws? There’s always something you can work on.

7-01Support your local business, take a walk, use your bike, ride a bus if you are going alone. Do you really need the car? ask your neighbors, there is someone who might work close to you too and you can share the ride.

We are the ones who will make this world worth living. The universe might put us with some obstacles in the way (like presidents who couldn’t care less about the environment, and companies that will do what ever it takes to make all the money they want). But the minimal change you start doing in your daily routine is already a revolution.

So, who’s with me?

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5 Mantras to embrace Change

Oh change, so inevitable, so sporadic . This year started with many last minute change of plans, and I must say, it hasn’t been easy. I keep telling to myself that change is good, and new doors might open, but lets be real, we hate when things doesn’t come as planned.

That’s why I came up with a list of 5 mantras to embrace those moments when we are not ready to face change. They might seem mellow and hyper positive, but in moments when everything seems blue, we need to put extra sprinkles on it. 

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1. I have what I need to get through this.

Remember all those moments when you felt defeated, and you thought “I can’t do this” but at the end you did it?. If theres a will there will always be a way, you only need to use those skills, tools and resources that you already have to make things work.

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2. Om Namah Shivaya

My personal favorite. It translates to: “I bow to Shiva, the supreme deity of transformation who represent the truest highest self.” I learned this mantra from one teacher in my teacher training, and I usually use it when I feel overwhelmed, this is my way of reminding myself that we are made up of divine energy and we should treat ourselves accordingly.

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3. Om Gum Ganapatayei Namah

Other divine mantra, this time praying to Ganesh, it translates to : “I bow to the elephant-faced deity who is capable to remove all obstacles. I pray for blessings and protection”. In hinduism is Ganesh is known as the god of wisdom and success, and destroyer of obstacles. So for those moments when you feel that change is going to destroy you, just chant to Ganesh and ask for wisdom and strength, so you can face any challenge.

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4. When we stop feeling sorry for ourselves, we start feeling stronger.

I promised myself to stop using the “why me” expression, its too sad. Or feeling bad because “unfair” things are happening to me. There are worse things going on to other people right now, we are just facing the hacks of being alive, we need to embrace ourselves and start believing we are capable of going through hard times. 

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5. OM

The ultimate mantra, that fits any situation. The first original vibration, represents birth, death and rebirth, and thats what happens at any difficult moment of change. Something is born, it dies but it will rebirth again. And the sound and vibration of OM will automatically help you to chill out. 

I recommend to repeat a mantra at least for 5 minutes, while sitting down in easy pose (with your legs crossed) palms up to be receptive or down to the knees for grounding. Be aware of your breathing, repeat the mantra to yourself or chant it out loud. And if 5 minutes is not enough, stay there as much as you need to, or if you don’t have those 5 minutes ( but believe me you need them!) take just a second to repeat the mantra along the day when you feel like doing it. 

It has helped me a lot this past couple of months that have been very challenging, and I don’t expect that things are going to get easier at any moment. We just need to take deep breathes and flow with it, right? 

Stretch

The time of the year when we get super active and we want to burn everything from the past months has come! .

Most of us are planning in advance to feel better for summer, I wont call it a summer body because we have the same body the whole year long, but we do start to exercise around this time of the year more often than usual, and that usually makes us feel good about ourselves.

Saying this so, we also tend to get injured more than usual. We expect to run 10 miles out of nowhere and feel the bliss and fire afterward with no side effect, you know, like those Nike commercials, the truth is,t without proper after workout stretches, our muscles and ligaments are going to feel the damage, we might not feel it the first couple of times, but theres going to be a moment when your body wont resist it anymore and you will end up injured.

That’s why I came up with this sequence to stretch and release the tension after any workout. It also applies for those who feel the soreness from a long day at work and need a good stretch before bed. Feel free to use this sequence whenever you feel the need to stretch and release.

 

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  1. Forward fold variation / Uttanasana : with your hands interlacing behind your back, bend the knees and bring the tailbone back and up. Rest the torso over the thighs and slowly start to straighten your legs keeping the back straight. Your head is hanging and your hands are trying to reach forward. Hold for 5 breathes.

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  1. Twisted forward fold: From uttanasana, bend one knee and straighten the other one, twist the torso towards the straight leg and bring the arm from the same side up. Arms are in T, the twist comes from the waist, and the chest and face are facing up, hold and change to the other side.

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  1. High lunge with hands on the floor: Bring one feet in between your hands, your arms are strong like in the top of a push up, the other leg is straight back, the heel is pulling back and the muscles are engaged. The spine is long, belly in, looking forward. The front knee is bent at a 90 degrees and the knee is aligned with the foot. Hold for 5 and change to the other side.

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  1. Low lunge / Anjaneyasana : From high lunge, drop the back knee to the floor, keeping the muscles contracted, lift the torso and interlace the fingers on top of the knee, shoulders away from the ears, chest is up, belly in. Let the hips hang a little bit without loosing control of it. Hold for 5, change to the other side

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  1. Half Split / Ardha Hanumanasana: From low lunge, bring the hips back to the heel, straighten the opposite leg and leave the hands at the side of the front leg, you will feel a deep stretch on your straight hamstring, use blocks or books to take more space if necessary. Hold for 5, change to the other side.

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  1. Big toe Pose / Padangusthasana: With feet hip width distance grab the two big toes with the first two fingers, bend the knees if necessary to keep a straight spine. Start to pull your head towards your feet , bend the elbows to the side and keep the shoulders away from the ears. Hold for 5

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  1. Upside Down Pigeon: Lying on your back, bend one knee and leave the foot grounded, then place the opposite ankle on top of the knee, making a shape 4 with the legs, push the knee away from the torso to feel a deep hip stretch, you can grab the thigh behind and lift the leg, in order to create more tension and a deeper stretch in both legs.

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  1. Twist with eagle legs: with the back laying on the floor, cross one leg over the other one, then bring the knee to the opposite side of the floor while the chest and face turn to the opposite side, this is a deep stretch, be careful if you have any back injury. Hold for 5 and change side.

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  1. Seated Forward bend / Paschimottanasana : Seated with the legs straight in front of you bring the chest forward, grabbing the side of the feet or any part of the legs to find a deeper fold. You can bend the knees in order to keep the back straight. Once you find a good stretch you can rest the head on your legs, only if theres no hunch on the back!.

The ideal is to hold each pose for 5 breathes, feel how each inhale will give you space to lengthen , and each exhale will allow you to go deeper.

I hope you find this helpful, I learned the hard way to stretch after practice and now it has become the most important part of it, enjoy!

The Store is Open!

It all began a couple years ago, when I was living in Bogota and I didn’t have many things to do (some people call it unemployment but I’m not quite fond of that word) I decided to start a small collection of hand painted wallets and bags. It was a completely success not only because I sold them all, but because I found something that helps me to get lost in moments when I don’t want to be around, lets say that its my way out of stress and madness. Every time I start to paint, a part of me stays in that painting, my thoughts, feelings and emotions are reflected on each one, and every single one represents different parts of me.

In this new collection, I decided to put together things that are moving me very much right now. One of them is Mantras, all those different words, sounds, chants and quotes that define a moment, or we use it to meditate, or simply help us to heal, and keep on going. The other thing is the nostalgia of home, and all those details that make me feel in a save place, mostly those places are hidden in nature,that is why there are so many plants hanging around here.

If you want something special, please write me. I’ll be more than happy to work something out for you.

Everything is on my Etsy Store, go and take a look, the are one of a kind and I will be updating the page constantly, hopefully I will fill it with beautiful things for you to use.