Monday, 19 March 2018

Woman Who Inspires Me by Latha Ramanan

(Photo courtesy: Internet)

Woman Who Inspires Me

One of the strong women, apart from my mother - the first role model, I admire and has influenced my career choices and way of living is Medha Patkar. An alumni of TISS (Tata Institute of Social Sciences),  a professional social-worker who left her comforts and scholastic life to the cause of slum dwellers, unorganized labourers, street hawkers, forest dwellers and thousands of villagers who live around river Narmada. She could have lived a carefree  family life with her doctorate in hand, instead she chose to live for and with the villagers, discontinuing her PhD studies. She used her studies to bring social justice to the unorganized masses. Many times when Medha Patkar fought for social and environmental causes she would be seen as an enemy by the government or the people with power and had risked her life to bring about changes in policies to accommodate rights of  the affected communities.  

Whenever I think of higher studies I would remember people like her and that unless it would offer skills to serve society I will not take up any study. Her life has been an inspiration for me to take up social causes and be the agent of social change while being content with a simple living.  When I worked in social projects where I had to reach out to rural communities  by walking miles through unknown places I would remember her months long walks through villages in her social justice campaigns. Somehow a new spirit of joy and motivation fills me up and a courage to engage in selfless work in the role of a social change agent.Over the years, I have mellowed to look within and to work silently as a social change agent, without any titles.  The spark kindled by strong personalities like her and from my own family still lives in me, as strong as ember - an ash covered red-hot charcoal that looks like put-out fire externally yet ready to ignite whenever it is required. A strong warrior fights  relentlessly and courageously for silent masses until justice is done to them!I dedicate this article to the warrior in Medha Patkar who is still  fighting for the rights of rural people for the last 30 years plus.


(Written for a voluntary agency for Woman's Day, on the same title,"Woman Who Inspires You")

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Surrender to Nature by Latha Ramanan

(Photo Courtesy:

Surrender to Nature 

by Latha Ramanan

Lying on lush green grass, with arms and legs spread out,

I allow the grasshoppers and bugs to run on my body,

Panorama of sky expands my paradigm.

My body sinks deeper on the lap of Mother Earth,

Muddy scent of breeze initiates relaxation in me.

Tiny shimmer of stars in the dusk attracts star particles in me.

Resting in silence I hear the parliament of my thoughts,

Huddled up babblers wearing me out,

Let me surrender the weight of my thoughts to Mother Nature,

There…. I feel light again,

I stay still enjoying darkness and solitude!

Saturday, 7 October 2017

Importance of Yogic Sleep (Yoga Nidra) By Latha Ramanan

Importance of Yoga Nidra (Yogic Sleep) By Latha Ramanan

                                                                     (Photo Courtesy: Carol Trevor)

Yoga Nidra (Yogic sleep) is a way to rejuvenate, repair, heal and balance energy, body and mind. It is sometimes compared to power nap; power nap is short sleep that rests body and mind that leaves the person refreshed afterwards, whereas yogic sleep is a deep state of rest that heals the body and mind.
Yogic sleep can be practised on its own or usually, at the end of a yoga session to gain maximum benefit. It has a meditative quality of rest where the person experiences a stage between awareness and sleep.
Duration of Yoga Nidra can be 5 minutes to as long as one hour depending on the need or choice. For example, during bodily weakness one may not be able to practice physical yoga (hatha yoga) and may have to stick to pranayama and or yoga nidra on the bed. At another instant, a 5 -10 minutes of yogic sleep is sufficient at the end of yoga class, after practising all the yoga asanas (poses).

Benefits of Yoga Nidra         
It improves sleep and other metabolic activities such as digestion, excretion, etc.
It helps in balance of energy through the system
It aids in speedy recovery from illness.         
It creates mental peace and refreshes the body to come out of lethargy.
It boosts immunity.
It removes mental blocks such as fears or traumas that were deep rooted or suppressed.
It relaxes the nervous system.

(Photo Courtesy:Zen Mountain Monastery)

How Yoga Nidra can be practised

Best practice would be to attend a yoga nidra session under a yoga teacher but if that is not possible the method can be studied from books or other audios by experienced yoga instructors. There are many techniques of yoga nidra practice.
Yogic sleep is usually practised by resting in savasana (relaxation by lying on the back) with a relaxed body and closed eyes. In yogic texts it is mentioned that we are made of pancha koshas(5 sheaths/ layers) that is,1. physical layer/annamaya kosha, 2. Pranamaya kosha/energy layer, 3.mental layer/manomaya kosha , 4. Intellectual or wisdom layer/vijnanamaya kosha and 5.divine layer/anandamaya kosha. Yogic sleep guides to rest the physical layer and sink deeper into consciousness of other sheaths, sometimes dip into all sheathes/layers or sometimes one or two of them and return to the awareness of physical body.
Practise starts with moving the awareness from toes to head, relaxing each part of the body, becoming aware of breath and consequently the mind, with an attitude of a witness- not getting involved in any process or judging anything, be it sensation or a thought or an outside sound. There is a possibility of slumping into sleep that is also all right if you have enough time on hand although the purpose of yoga nidra is to be in awareness state between wakefulness and sleep.
A positive affirmation or a sankalpa(a short resolve) can be said  silently in the mind, at the beginning and end of the yogic sleep so that it becomes a sub-conscious guide/ seed to give purpose to life and move towards life goals in an accelerated pace.
Coming out of yoga nidra is done as gently as possible, moving the toes and fingers and deepening breath to come back to body consciousness and if yoga nidra is practised in lying down posture, slowly turning to one side from lying down position to sit up with minimum movements.
Happiness, high energy, balance in energy and peace of mind felt after an effective yoga nidra is beyond words, it has to be experienced!

Saturday, 8 July 2017

TWIN FLAMES By Latha Ramanan

Twin Flames by Latha Ramanan

                                                                                                            (Photo courtesy 123rf)

Ancient souls we are,  lived many births yet we searched for each other,
To merge again into that oneness,  of two bodies with one soul.
We meet again at the end of the cycle of birth and death,
This time a bit wiser, loaded with maturity acquired from past births.

One deep look into the eyes we saw the familiarity of being twin flames,
Leading parallel lives elsewhere,  two bodies with same soul, bound by the divine invisible threads.
One touch of the fingers, brought the images of lives we crossed paths,
One deep breath gave the whiff of known body odour,
We whispered sweet nothings, naturally, in the first meeting itself,
Images of lives together surfaced in the mind,
Some well lived, some thrashed in the waves  of egos and worldly matters,
Forgetful of the source of origin and our soul connection.

Now that we met and found the soul connection,
Shall we live together till we shed the body?
Shall we live apart as before, cherishing the love till the last breath?
Letting go of the urge to build a nest,
Resisting the folly of slipping into vicious cycle in drama of  life?
Shall we break-away from artificial social duties and identities we think we have?
Shall we dig Earth, cut trees, spoil ground water in the name of building our home ?
Shall we produce more offsprings to the already over-populated world ?
Shall we explore each other's body in search of  peripheral  physical love? 

This time let us be wise,  avoiding the mistakes we made in many births?
Shall we, for a change, protect each other from 'falling' in love ?
Let us rise in the love rather than fall,  saving each other from pain and sacrifice of sincere love ?
Let us leave each other to one's  peace and freedom.

All said and done I want to be quite now,
My eyes are foggy, vision is blurred, tears are over-flowing,
They have by now smudge the words I wrote,
Although with heavy heart I let you go,
I am content that I saw myself in you and can wish you well where ever you live,
I have chopped half of me and offered to you as parting gift,
Let me gather myself in silence learning to live with what is left in me,
Ready to breathe my last, having seen my twin flame in the end of this birth cycle.

Saturday, 24 June 2017

THE DESCENT OF LORD by Latha Ramanan


24 June 2017


Childhood ensured to live in yearning of my Lord,
Youth reaffirmed that I was born for Him,
Later years showed the path to Him,
Recollecting merging in Him is the soul's sole purpose.

Somewhere along the rugged, unbeaten road of life,
I lost the confidence to ascend towards Him,
When the last hope of meeting Him died,
I cut off my golden wings of flight.

Pain of separation from the Lord exceeded,
The deliberate act of chopping off wings of freedom,
I replaced on the wounds boulders of duty
And sensors to see Him in all.

Blood oozed from the unhealed wounds every now and then,
When my Lord's memory enlivened in the heart,
Blood oozed from wings,  then from the heart and eyes,
Till the dripping blood formed trails wherever I went.

I took an oath not to search for Him anymore,
Each moment has been spent in Him, now it was His turn to find me.
Wingless and blocking my path to Him with rocks of altruism, I remained.
He would have to follow the bloodied imprints I left.

The Lord had to descent, He couldn't resisit the pull,
How could He ignore the austerities of His beloved?
How can he be indifferent to a soul waiting to merge in Him?
How can He turn a blind eye to the river of blood that flowed from the sacrificial life?

Have faith my friend, when you know your soul's purpose,
Each experience in your life leads you to your destination,
Your life is worth living, you have a right to be in your space,
Everything around you are blessings and guidance in disguise.