Monday, December 7, 2009

Yogic recreation or VIHAR: Growing your own vegetables.

The purpose of all yoga techniques (asana, pranayama, kriyas, etc.) is to control the fluctuations / movement/ vrittis of the mind. These vrittis can be painful or non- painful. Since completely stilling the mind is a very difficult goal to aim for; the next best thing would be reduce the painful fluctuations / vrittis. Yoga asana and pranayama create positive, happy, quiet and peaceful states of mind.

A yogic life style involves 4 aspects: AHAR (healthy food), ACHARA (a routine which provides enough time for yourself, family, freinds, work, eating, sleeping, exercising, playing and resting at the appropriate time), VIHARA (recreational activity) and VICHAR (thoughts)

I am going to focus on Vihara. Hansaji of The Yoga Institute says, VIHARA or a recreational activity is a very essential means of having a creative outlet for your disturbed emotions. It needs to be a part of your daily routine. Choose an activity which you enjoy, that you can remain with for sometime forgetting all your tensions and worries.

The recreational activity you choose should create happy, quiet and peaceful states of mind. In terms of being a wholesome recreational activity that not only brings joy but is also productive; gardening scores a 100% in my mind!

I have always been fond of gardening. I have an open air terrace attached to my 2nd floor flat and my mother has a green thumb. She would buy a plant, admiring its small delicate leaves. After a week in my mother's care, the leaves would have grown into giants! :)

I spent 3 months with my parents in the UK and my mum has been growing her own vegetables there. After 3 months of walking into the garden to pick salad leaves, capsicum, cabbage and tomatoes, I came back to Bombay inspired!

Despite the absence of my mum's green thumb, as a first time experiment I planted seeds of tomatoes, lettuce and capsicum. Soon I had saplings and found my sweet little plants were being eaten up! They were moved to a corner of the garden and covered with a sheet. As the saplings grew it was time for re-potting. Now the saplings have been separated into pots of their own with lots of khad/ manure in each pot! They are growing happily under a mosquito net. They are still too small to bear fruit; lots of patience and love is required while I wait for the fruit of my labour! :) []

Taking this one step further I decided to try composting. I came across these very informative sites on growing vegetables and using your organic kitchen waste. I am trying the bag method. Tightly pack the bottom of a goni or sack with sugarcane baggase. Add some compost and a layer of soil. Plant seeds or a sapling, allow them to grow a little and then start adding your raw kitchen waste. For complete details visit or

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