Sunday, October 24, 2010

evening practices

Yesterday was mostly easy. I hid out for the majority of the day, except when I taught my class. I spent the day doing yin and meditating and just generally relaxing. All was going super until about 10 minutes before bed time when I felt so hungry. I didn't entertain it and just went to bed. The hunger was not there in the morning. Maybe it was boredom instead :)

In the afternoon during a cleanse, I try to do a seated practice daily for at least 20 minutes. Meditation is tough for me. I alternate practices between pranayama, chanting, and silent meditation. For pranayama, I practice the four purifications. For my chanting practice, I chant the first book of the yoga sutras (I'm trying to memorize it. I have one through 15 more or less memorized). Meditation is my weakest practice. I usually try to either focus on my breath or practice the Loving Kindness meditation.

Then I have my dinner (more kichari!). And then I practice Abyanga (self-massage). It's better to do this in the morning, I'm told, but I don't have the time. So, I tend to do it at night.

For Abyanga you need:

A body brush
Sesame oil (if too cloying, you can use something lighter like grapeseed oil)
Coconut oil for hair (if doing hair)

Start by using the dry body brush to exfoliate. I begin at the belly and go in circles with the brush, then I do the limbs using long strokes on the arms and legs and circles on the joints.

After I've brushed, I massage the sesame oil in the same order that I did the brushing. Coconut oil is massaged into the hair. I sometimes add tea tree oil to the sesame and coconut oils, sometimes I use them plain. Then I sit for a few minutes. On occasion, this is when I do my seated practice.

Afterward, I will shower if I'm short on time, or I'll soak in a salt bath. I have thick hair and usually have to spend a good amount of time rinsing the coconut oil from it. So, the coconut oil tends to be a weekend thing.

I stop eating at 6. Sometimes I'll do a short restorative practice just before bed.

Before bed I take Triphala tea. You can find it in a capsule form at Whole Foods, but I get the powdered from Banyan Botanicals . Triphala is a mix of herbs that help digestion.

In preparation for bed:
Rinse the face with cold water
Brush and floss teeth

To the extent that it's possible, I don't use any lotions (body or face) during this time. It doesn't make a ton of sense to slather all kinds of chemicals on the skin when you're trying to cleanse from the inside.


  1. Are you using books or cds to memorize the Sutras?
    I have been considering memorizing them myself as of late.

  2. How bad does Triphala tea taste?

  3. I use Iyengar's Light on the Yoga Sutras. As far as I know, it's not published in the U.S. I bought it on Amazon from someone who sent it from India. It felt like I was importing contraband! There are other books, of course, but his seems the most comprehensive (sanskrit, transliteration, breakdown of the sanskrit, etc.), and his analysis is really interesting.

    I also use a CD that I bought from Kate. For the life of me, I can't remember the woman's name. But it's very good. She chants pretty fast, so doing call and response with the CD isn't possible. I just like to listen to it for her pronunciation and rhythm.

    There are also a few websites with free recordings of the sutras.

  4. There's some optimism, Caroline! :) It's not bad. It's a little bit bitter but not awful. The texture takes some getting used to, because the "tea" doesn't really dissolve. I try to swirl it around in the cup as I'm drinking it so that I'm not left with a pile of gritty sludge at the bottom.

  5. what are the four purification breathing practices? I know they were in our packet from last year's cleanse with Kate, but I don't remember them?

  6. the first is alternate nostril breathing
    then bhastrika
    then udiyana bhanda (pumping the belly)
    then ashwini mudhra (contracting and realeasing the anus)

    My spelling is terrible. :)

  7. whoops! i meant kapalabati, not bhastrika. i mix those two up.



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