Sleep…zzz

My brother said ‘if you can’t sleep, try and do something, like watch a film, read a book, listen to music etc..  as I have been terrified of waking up in the night I could NEVER really enjoy any of this. Heart pounding, head buzzing with worry and whole of next day..being a zombie. I have struggled with insomnia for ten years , may be more..and I know how bad it is! My worst nightmare was to lie awake, without my sleeping pills , which I had gotten so used to..(doctors in my family prescribed low dose of Ativan after doing a lot of effort in convincing because its highly addictive ) as a result I got hugely dependent on tabs to help me sleep…

I guess years of unskillful lifestyle bombarded with stress, erratic shooting hours in nights or staying up late in parties..could be the trigger. Health deteriorates if we don’t get 8 to 9 hrs of sleep daily, specially our immune system goes for a toss. Sleep is a very important aspect of healing as in this time our cells are getting regenerated and recharges too.

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lavender soap, bath oil and bath salts

My tried and tested methods are.

1) No caffeine in the evening.

2) Slow down the pace of activity as the night falls.

3) Take hot bath (l m a big fan of lavender oil,soaps,bath salts).

4) Soft music..relax.

5) meditate, do breath watch n meditate. I FIND THIS SPECIALLY EFFECTIVE FOR SLEEP.

6) NO TV and No comp (this one is my struggle as I get free in evening and would like to check my mails or catch up on news etc..hence I m mindful that I won’t switch on comp or tv after n if I do its only for 30 mins and thats all).

7) Read a book.

8) Fix a time to go to bed n wake up, this really works as body loves discipline. BUT  my freedom from it actually happened after a long stint in oneness university as the result of my intense prayers!! The day I could sleep without tab peacefully for 8 hrs, I celebrated with my teachers in oneness university!!

Interestingly I stumbled upon articles on plants that promotes sleep..wow, who could think of that?

Aloe vera is an excellent indoor plant. 

Lavender plant..You may have used lavender essential oil, but have you ever tried growing your own lavender plant? 

Jasmine plant.. Just smelling this plant may help to reduce anxiety and stress.

English ivy.. is classy and easy to grow and this affordable plant may help you to significantly improve the quality of sleep.  

Snake plant..are easy to keep alive and are great for interior decorating. Snake plants are believed to improve air quality by filtering the air and thus improving the overall atmosphere of a home.  

The purer the air the better sleep at night and more productivity during the day!  

I read anything under the sky about insomnia, talk about it passionately as I KNOW  the struggle. So I will suggest few good articles on insomnia and how to get rid of it.

AND  at the cost of sounding cliché i will say..”YOU CAN DO IT..IF I CAN SO CAN YOU”” 

Good reads..

Actor prepares..

My grand ma told me ‘even if you want to be a mali (gardener) you must aim to be the best in your profession’!!

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Looking back, this one sentence has driven me to do a lot of hardwork in the sense I have taken up long infact very long hours of rehearsals, the look test (which has hours of discussion with the stylist or designer about the costume, jewellery, hair n’ make up), understanding the psychology & thought process, the language (my weak point – hence even more effort) etc.. Though I must admit during my hay days of shoot, when I was running from one set to another and working on 12 films/yr, all 360 days and at times 18 hrs/day hence I never got chance to rehearse, but there were directors who insisted upon rehearsals back then too & it definitely shows in the final product. I feel a genius is a product of anxiety filled long hrs of hard work, and total focused effort to bring out that lil extra in the character, beyond what writer has written or director has imagined (if that is possible because I have seen good directors have thought about various aspects themselves 😉

So before we go on set, one is totally relaxed and let the intuition guide you. We train enough and not more, what I mean is we need to be a lot flexible because our sets, lighting, actors are all fluid. We need to have flexibility to be able to blend accordingly to the last minute changes. Ha, you might think its tough, it is! But artists are trained and this is what seperates a good peformace to an exceptional one. Who does this? An ARTIST!

When Vinod Chopra told me that I was a shit actress it was a turning point in my acting career as that drove me to put in relentless long hrs to understand why?

Since then I haven’t looked back..

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Love…actually!

It’s been an adventure of trial and error and learning through pain and heart-break with my personal experiences in relationships. I have often wondered  is there an easier way to find true love? And If love is something so fundamentally important to us, then why is it that we have so many issues and misunderstandings in the area of finding it?

I think the answer is simple, that most of us have never been educated on this or do not have clarity on what we TRULY want. The virtue of sacrifice and guilt of valuing ourselves eventually creates confusions and unhappiness… I discovered that once I started to truly love myself, focussing on my own inner peace and wellness (means when we prioritise our passions,purpose and our true self) then we are functioning from far more attractive place, and will more likely find mate who will honour us rather than getting us in a confused, lost, loss of self respect and zero confidence state.

Well, even though that perfect person we are looking for may not exist, the journey of self-exploration is an exercise to know ourselves and our deep values.  So let’s look into what we really want in a partner? Get clarity into details like physical attributes, values, lifestyle, financial views, spiritual beliefs, personality traits, hobbies, abilities, age, habits, profession, tastes, etc. We should also know what kind of person will honour our very being, will acknowledge us and fulfil our realistic expectations, while fitting in one common frame.

Deep down, we are all really good people. But this doesn’t mean that any combination of two good people will make a good partnership. We should focus on the celebration of love and partnership rather than focussing on our insecurities and ego games. At times, even when we realize that our relationship isn’t a good fit, we just stay in it for logical reasons or convenience. Or we may be afraid to be alone, so we simply settle by the default. Each time we are reminded of the bad fit, we brush it under the rug and distract ourselves with some other thought. We think that finding someone to love is more important than anything else but we may be wrong! Also we should consider that we may not actually need all of these qualities in a partner to be extraordinarily happy.

So this whole fancy portrait of being in love, essentially should begin with empowering and loving our own selves. Instead of “falling in love” let’s “grow in love”. Let us strive to find a person who will enhance our being and vice a versa so that we live happily with clarity and inner integrity. And let us focus on being self-sufficient and desirable in our own ways. Here’s the thing for Valentines this year, start the quest by becoming a rightful partner, instead of looking for a perfect partner!

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From wine testing to tea testing. ;)

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Pic courtesy – Zakia

Once I decided to stay clear of wine, I have hugged sipping tea with a delight!! Don’t you think drinking tea is thousand time more swanky then drinking wine? After two glasses of wine the conversation starts to get diluted but with tea one can continue endlesly.

Different types of tea possess various traits and are used traditionally to aid in one’s health, wellness and weight management.

Green Tea 

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Pic courtesy – organicchills.co.in

Green tea packs a powerful punch of antioxidants. Thought to encourage weight loss and overall health. It is also believed to aid in digestion and weight loss. 

White Tea 

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Pic courtesy – tea-store.co.uk

White tea contains many of the same polyphenols found in green tea, but with a higher content due to its preparation process.

Oolong Tea 

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Pic courtesy – healthfunda.com

Oolong, a Chinese name for “black dragon,” is a light, floral tea that, like green tea, is also packed with catechins, which help to promote weight loss by boosting your body’s ability to metabolise lipids (fat).

Matcha Green Tea 

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Pic courtesy – health4painrelief.com

Matcha takes green tea to the next level because you are ingesting the entire leaf. Matcha tea is traditionally known for increasing mental alertness and stimulating digestion.

 

Chamomile Tea

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Pic courtesy – devoncoffeecompany.com

Chamomile flowers have a naturally sweet taste with a hint of an apple flavor. Chamomile is a good herbal source of Magnesium, and is known as a soothing and relaxing herb. It makes an excellent in the evening or in times of stress because of its mildly sedative and soothing properties.

 

Mint Tea

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Pic courtesy – atlantisqueen.co

 

Peppermint tea soothes the digestive track and is helpful for heartburn, nausea and indigestion.

Lavender Tea

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Pic courtesy – healthline.co

Lavender is my favorite scent and essential oil but it is too strong to be used alone in a tea so mix it with mint tea.

 

Tulsi Tea

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Pic courtesy – voxnature.com

Holy basil teas are known for it medicinal properties..it gives vigour and energy.

To heal cold, cough and oral infections a kadha is prepared with mixing ginger, black pepper and honey.

 

Chai (TEA)

 

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Image courtesy – imgbuddy.com

Isn’t chai tea our favorite in our homes? We mostly make it with ginger and masala, but if you are a complete health nut then try raspberry leaf tea instead of black tea and instead of regular milk you can use coconut/almond milk. 

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Raspberry Leaf Tea | Pic courtesy – physicalgrafittea.com

To up your intake of healthy drinks throughout the day try replacing coffee or soda with green tea or other healing teas mentioned above!!

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Pic courtesy – Zakia

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Wellness Festival – a dream come true..

Isn’t hard to imagine my thoughts spilled across your screen to be read without having your brain and the sense of vision in sync? I am sure you used your little thought process imagining that funny yet annoying scenario.

Well, this is exactly what I will be talking about in this blog; the reality behind interconnection and interdependence of our existence. This is the reason why our health  needs to be looked upon holistically, considering not only body but connections of mind, body, spirit, for human beings are multi dimensional creatures. After my own experiences of illness, I have been looking for answers…

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Ayurveda explains this connection with a reference to 5 Koshas (sheaths or layers) that include the physical body (Annamayya), the layer of cosmic motion (Pranamaya), the emotional (Manamaya), the knowledgeable (Vijnanaamaya) and the last but not the least is the unconscious state of bliss (Anandamaya). All of these layers have to co-exist within us, in harmony, to maintain a good physical and mental condition. So you see being healthy was always essential!

Health and wellness festival was designed keeping this principal in mind. We saw a terrific amalgamation of Eastern wisdom and Western science and showcased a beautiful spectrum of celebration of health. The prominent scientists, yoga teachers, doctors and several spiritual gurus collaborated and shared their wisdom at the event (some of them had inspiring personal stories). And it all narrowed down to one essential idea of keeping your mind, body and soul in collaboration with each other so that we can enjoy a happy, healthy and fulfilled life.

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Motivation & Insipiration Mahatria Ra founder of Infinitheism.
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Shri S.M. Raju (IAS, Ayurveda Expert,  Sneha Routary (President Grameen Sneh Foundation), Dr. HR Nagendra (Yoga Guru & President – Vyasa), Dr. Meenu Walia (Director – Medical Oncology) and Darryl D’Souza (Secretary, The World United – Doctors’ United – Healers’ Association.

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Presence of Excellency Governor of Bihar, Chief justice of Patna, Padma Bivhusan Dr. Sonal Mansingh, Honorable MP Shatrughan Sinha, Dr. Ramesh Chouhan (World Academy of Medical Sciences) and Dr. Jagat Narula (Associate Dean for Global Affairs Professor Medicine, Cardiology Professor Radiology) at Health and Wellness Festival 2016, powered by Grameen Sneh Foundation.

On a healthy note, I would like my readers to start noticing how our breath and mind is connected. For instance, when we are angry our breath is shallow and fast and when we are relaxed, there’s deep breathing which is slow paced.

Leave your thoughts in the comments section, and as always I expect you to be well and in pink of health!

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Spiritual journey…the road less travelled

  • What is Spirituality?

Is it being religious or doing all the rituals mantras japas, kirtans or is it renouncing the world and going to the caves in the mountains or just sitting under tree and meditating? People have different definitions. Maybe spirituality is fusion of all of this things, but what resonates true to me is, a spiritual person is synonyms with being a person who’s highest priority is to be loving to oneself and others, as all are manifested from the same one source. We are interdependent and consciously honour this oneness. We know that everything and everybody is an extension of the divine. (As Quantum physics says that we are made of waves and particles of energy that makes up the grand universe).

  • How can it Benefit Us?

Better equipped to deal with challenges – Life is filled with unexpected challenges and we can never be fully prepared for them, but spirituality gives us a larger perspective of life. Because it gives us birds eye view  rather than worms eye view. So once we are trained, we are better equipped to deal with challenges and we don’t get easily consumed by them.

It gives clarity – Since we are following directions from our heart and our paths are clear, a spiritual person rightly knows which battle to choose and that, is thoughtfully done.

It gives us Peace – Cancer provided me with the gift which was surrender to the divine’s will, after I had exhausted the human possibilities. I let go of inner conflicts, which ultimately gifted me with peace. I use this tool every time, even now.

Celebration – Once we are in tune with life’s flow, we are living more from out heart (love, compassion and oneness) rather than from the mind (worry, fear and anxiety), this term is called flowering of the heart. Life becomes a celebration.

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morning meditation at Oneness University
  • When should it be practiced?

I am a firm believer that we should make our own rules. It must be aligned with your true nature, you must be mindful and commit to your own growth and ‘WHEN’ will automatically follow.

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At Oneness campus.

To Redefine Life, Simply Change Your Values

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I simply love Cynthia Occelli’s words: “For a seed to achieve its greatest expression, it must come completely undone. The shell cracks, its insides come out and everything changes. To someone who doesn’t understand growth, it would look like complete destruction.”

Inside that tiny seed lies the potential of  becoming a huge, sturdy, fruit –filled , flower laden, leaf-canopied  tree, which can provide a home to numerous birds and give shade to many travelers. But can the uninitiated see that?

Life is all about re-invention, re-alignment, re-defining oneself. It is in this challenge that growth lies. Those who miss this point, misunderstand the purpose of this beautiful journey called life.

Each decade of our lives gives us a chance to pause, reflect, refill our souls, drop dead chains that bind us and to joyously soar into the skies towards our ecstasy.

Having travelled through the hurly burly of my life, with all its myriad experiences: the good, the sad and the unforgettable, I feel as if I am now able to view everything in a sharper focus. All seems rain-drop washed, lime-fresh, wind-cleaned and crystal-clear. With this new-found maturity everything non-essential, non-interesting, non-valuable seems to be whittling away from my being, leaving me to focus on that shining Core inside that defines my essence and IS me!

At this beautiful juncture of my life in my fourth decade, I have hit upon my personal formula  for growth and happiness: To redefine life, simply change your values.

How have I done that?

I have consciously evolved from being shallow to deep, from being outward-looking to being inward-seeking and from being a limited human to becoming an unlimited, spiritual being. No longer for me the dead chains of my past’s value system. Today, I rejoice in the simple, the mundane, the ordinary…

Earlier, my life was all about “working hard and partying hard.” I loved rebelling against established norms, simply because I loved rebelling. Perhaps  the title of “rebel without a cause” suited me perfectly back then.

I was brash and outspoken and said whatever came to my mind, without thinking of any consequences. Today, I cringe when I re-read some of my earlier interviews. I wonder, ‘Who was I, back then?’

I used to spend a lot of time and money on shopping. The clothes had to be up-to-the-minute and the bags had to be  designer. Labels mattered.  In fact, in my girlie group, we all bought, displayed and bought some more, just for kicks. Shopping was mindless fun.

Then— Life happened….

With that, came a sharp change in perspective. I suddenly began looking at life from the other end of the telescope and was struck by its vastness and magnificence. Suddenly, all material things seemed to shrink before the majesty of Life itself. I was in awe.  At first, the shift happened in my heart…then in my mind and finally… in my entire being. I felt reborn, revamped and renewed. So how could such a new person carry old values?

Don’t get me wrong. I still love pretty clothes, bags and material comforts. The difference is I am not consumed by them.

I have hit upon the truth that life is Simple. It is we who make it Complex. Therefore, true joy lies in simplifying one’s value system. The new me is a Holistic person and am I enjoying it? You bet!

I now give value to things that make my everyday life better, healthier and  therefore, more fulfilled.

Here is a list of things that interest me now:-
1) The exciting decision to choose between a blender and a juicer. What is the value a good choice will give me? It will give me good quality green juices. And that will boost my health by keeping my body alkaline . i came across vitamix through my sister in law as she has always been a health freak .  vitamix

2) Choosing the right coordinated and comfortable gym clothes.

3) Membership in a good Health Club. I feel blessed that a good Health Club and a Spa has sprung up near my home. Members get private trainers and clean equipment. Besides, I love going to “The Club” for an occasional swim and my morning-evening strolls.  inch by inch

4) I have been super excited about my new bike. I have to thank my neighbor and old pal Shahid for initiating this! But I must admit that I am still a little wary about the traffic in my city. Yet, every time I whizz away, I think about what a great investment it has been!
5) My Yoga/ Pranayam classes with my brilliant teachers Shambhu ji and Abhay ji I love Pranayam and while breathing, never forget to send gratitude to the heavens for the magic of the breath. read more on..

6) Organic foods—I simply love them. I am a huge fan of Whole Foods. I also feel that if organic vegetables are expensive, they are certainly worth it! Farmers market Bandra

(Ah, how I ❤ my organic Farmers’ Market visits on Sundays, as also shopping at other stores like Nature’s Basket in Mumbai and Whole Food store in NYC.

7)A good Nutritionist– I accidentally found out that my ESR level was high, instead of my IGF-1 level. ..meaning I had high inflammation. I began looking desperately for a good Nutritionist and thankfully stumbled upon my very reliable Rachna Chachi.read more..

8) A good doctor/hospital I can rely on. After 30, I strongly recommend periodic check-ups.I love seven hills as its very clean and doesn’t  have the smell of a hospital 😉 seven hills Mumbai

9) Newer researches on Wellness. It’s s whole new world out there. Why not discover it  by being fit and healthy?

10) Good skin/face products. Especially after 40, one must make very informed choices. Nothing should harm  our precious bodies.

And has this switch to a healthier lifestyle made me a complacent, contented being who has finally found what she was looking for? No way! It has only spurred me on towards newer frontiers. It has turned me into an energy –filled, luminous being who is hungry for the latest research, breakthroughs and offers on health and wellness. I want to Be more… to Do more…

Here’s My Wish List:-
1. Attending and organizing Cooking classes on healthier options.

2.Going for Ayurvedic /Health Retreats in order to understand my body… to discover and customize what exactly works for me.

3.Increasing  my circle of friends who are into Wellness.

4.Reading and writing more on Wellness- on the blessings of life and living.

5. Contributing more.

6. Spending more time  with Nature.

7. Focusing on buying skin products that will make me look the best at my age rather than make me look younger than my age. I do want to look the best at my age without cosmetic surgery. I would rather be dignified, slim, fit and healthy than an artificially beautified clone.

8 .Becoming  more organised.

9. Doing only those films that give me joy while I am on the sets.

10. Being more positive, more happy and certainly laughing more!

11. Spend more time in self growth, I can’t stress more on how important Oneness University has been for me since its a topic which needs a lot of space to do justice,I would write more on this soon but for time being read on..Oneness University

Today, I no longer care about carrying the latest designer bag as my arm candy. I even don’t care about travelling in Economy Class. Life is all about finding the joy inside yourself, rather than seeking it outside–in things.

It is funny how a little shift in perspective can bring such a huge shift in values, is it not?

I am finally brimming with Life….

Joy Unlimited,

Manisha Koirala.

Gratitude

Some of us go through entire life complaining and not notice that life is a gift. We get so engrossed in our day to day activities that we fail to notice the magic that life gives us free of cost!!

How many times do we notice the early morning sky, the grandeur of sunset,the flock of birds passing by..the miraculous colours of a flower & leaves..

Lets take a deep breath and be thankful for this life. Our own body is a marvel of intelligence. The way its design, it knows exactly how to pump blood in the heart, how many times the heart needs to beat and how to digest. Our body has more intelligence then we can comprehend and do we ever wonder what have we done to deserve this? This life, this body and everything that comes with it.. It is a gift.

Whichever muscle works more, becomes stronger, we can either complain or be grateful, we decide.

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Whichever muscle works more, becomes stronger, we can either complain or be grateful, we decide. Picture Courtesy – Mike Baldwin.

 

Benefits of Gratitude

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Do’s & Don’ts

  • Notice your day to day world and keep a journal.
  • Constantly focus on positive things
  • Give compliments, and MEAN it!
  • Be genuinely interested  when listening to others..
  • Vow to not complain/ criticise for 7 days, as a practice..
  • During tough situations ask yourself “what lesson is here for me?

Self love

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Self love is a foundation everything is built on..it gives us clarity and direction..it is an empowering attitude of taking ownership of your life and not being a victim! When I faced death I realised I had not lead a mindful life, even though I was at the top of my career! I promised to do things differently if I got a second chance on life..rest is left on god..

It’s a lifelong journey to discover the self and its important..

What worked for me..?

  • Sit quietly, pay attention and get clarity – revaluate life, i.e on a scale 1 to 10 where are you now? your job, relationships, finance, health..and it’s important to be honest! (please be mindful that we tend to lie to ourselves much more then to others).
  • Have the courage to change..we know change is toughest yet most rewarding. To change any unhealthy habits we need to locate the thoughts or the values attached to it (this is broad topic but being aware about the thoughts itself is freedom).
  • Be kind..Be kind..Be kind..to your self – in my opinion discipline is over rated, for example 90% times new year resolutions gets broken and we beat ourselves for it. Juxtapose to it, it’s better being kind and gently putting ourselves on right track every time we divert.
  • Focus – on “what” rather than “how”. Be resilient, persistent and inspired till you achieve your goal.

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Once we are on alignment with our true nature and calling we can lead a fulfilled life and THEN we can also authentically love others.

 

Rediscovering my new me!

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Picture Courtesy – Zakia

My health challenged me to rethink and drove me to understand deep rooted (unconscious) issues as we are fairly well accustomed to our obvious.. Though change of habit is one of the biggest challenges of human beings..its necessary for growth!

There are few aspects of life that are important and I will share those with you.

Join me in this journey and rephrase our lives..