Day 1- 29/9: Nayapul to Ulleri (12.21 kms)

Wabi-sabi

The Japanese have a marvellous word, wabi-sabi which celebrates the humble, hidden beauty of incomplete and imperfect things.

In nature we see Wabi-Sabi all the time: a jagged cliff’s edge, eroded rocks jutting out of a mountain face or gnarled branches in an untamed forest. As I walked from Nayapul to Ulleri, (See my blog entitled Nayapul to Ulleri for a traveller’s point of view of this leg of our journey), I realised just how many examples of imperfection we find in nature that we deem to be beautiful.

Everywhere nature’s imperfections were being ‘Ohhhed’ and ‘Ahhhed’ over and the best travel pictures always highlight the way the light hits the tangle of the trees or the asymmetry of the mountains.

Nature, as is life, is imperfect. And so are we.

“Wabi-sabi reminds us that we are all transient beings on this planet- that our bodies, as well as the material world around us, are in the process of returning to dust. Nature’s cycles of growth, decay, and erosion are embodied in frayed edges, rust, liver spots. Through wabi-sabi, we learn to embrace both the glory and the melancholy found in these marks of passing time.” (Source: http://www.utne.com/mind-and-body/wabi-sabi).

So, my advice to you is stop and enjoy the imperfections in nature, try not to take yourself too seriously, look beyond what’s on the outside and try to see the beauty (or the wabi-sabi-ness) in everyone and everything.

With that been said, today I’d like to introduce you to a fun and a little kooky pose called Alternative Cactus Pose. Despite looking imperfect, asymmetrical and TBH a little strange, this pose is guaranteed to make you smile, and to love that imperfection that your body is creating. It is a good pose to practise after the traditional Tree pose, which is a more graceful, symmetrical standing balance. 

Disclaimer: While I am a certified yoga teacher, if you have any issues or concerns, please check with your doctor before performing the pose below. As always, listen to your body and modify as necessary.

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Alternative Cactus Pose

Alternative Cactus Pose (above):

  1. Come out of Tree Pose [optional].
  2. Stand tall, raising and bending the right leg and taking hold of it just below the knee with the right hand.
  3. Balancing on the strong, left leg, use the right hand to open the right leg out to the right side slightly.
  4. Bend the left arm and raise it slightly, opening out the left palm and fingers.
  5. Breathe into the balance.
  6. Then repeat on the opposite side.
  7. Finish with traditional Cactus Pose (below) [optional].
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Cactus Pose

 

Namaste,

Natalie

 

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Kathmandu to Pokhara via White Water Rafting

As I floated down the river in the raft during our white-water rafting trip in Nepal (See Kathmandu to Pokhara via White Water Rafting if you are interested in reading my travel blog in Nepal), I thought of a quote that I re-read recently:

“Rivers know this, there is no hurry. We shall get there someday.” –AA Milne

And that made me think of Winnie the Pooh peacefully floating down the river with me with one paw in a pot of honey. For a bear with nothing but fluff inside his head, he sure thinks and says some amazingly insightful Buddhist-sounding things. While I am pretty sure Pooh has never studied Buddhism, I did wonder if he (and Buddhists) had the right idea in regards to time and hurrying and I have often wondered if we (‘Western’ countries) could learn something from them.

So, now some life philosophy from our smallest to our mightiest rivers. Even our smallest rivers don’t suggest you stand there and take what life has to give you without fighting back. You just have to look at how a river forges its way through rocks, over trees and through tight spaces with ease and grace to know this is true.

Nor does it suggest that you should stand and watch life go by without you. What is does suggest is there is an art to moving forward. It takes patience and time; flowing instead of rushing. If you flow instead of rush, you will get there someday and maybe do it with some beauty and grace.

Speaking of beauty and grace, makes me think of one of my favourite poses, Dancer’s Pose. This pose makes me feel weightless, limitless, graceful, confident, and perfect in the body I have. I hope it does the same for you!

 

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Dancer’s Pose at Lake Phewa, Pokhara

Disclaimer: While I am a certified yoga teacher, if you have any issues or concerns, please check with your doctor before performing the pose below. As always, listen to your body and modify as necessary.

Dancer’s Pose:

  1. Shift your weight to your right foot and send your breath down to that leg to help you balance.
  2. Bend the knee of your left leg and grab the left foot with the left hand.
  3. Hold your right arm out front to help balance.
  4. Start to lean your upper body forward, balancing on just the right leg. If you are comfortable in the balance, start to press the left foot against the left hand holding it, and move the foot away from the body slightly.
  5. Feel the grace and lightness as you inhale and exhale in this pose and remember to be like the river and not rush getting into or out of the pose!
  6. Come out of the pose gracefully and repeat on the other side of the body.

 

Namaste,

Natalie