Well, Friends! It's been a very long that I updated any post on this blog due to other obligations. Some of my readers began to write me to post something in natural ways of living. I thank them for reminding, though I haven't forgotten it.
Today's blog post is not against Dr. Mantena Satyanarayana Raju's teachings or a criticism on what he is teaching; but the tussle I had gone through my life by following it. I faced certain difficulties in following them but didn't strike off saying it's not working. Rather I adopted and adapted his teachings as per my requirements. And I think every intelligent man should do that. Let us go into details.
1. Drinking 6 liters of water a day:
Weather you follow Dr. Raju or not you are well aware that he recommends drinking 5 to 6 liters of water a day. 1 to 1.5 liter of water as soon as you wake up, 1 liter again after an hour or so and the rest of 4.5 liters of water throughout the day.
This has great advantages. Your bowels move pretty well, you won't get dehydrated, feels light and healthy due to ample water levels in the body. Initially it did manage well. I used to drink 1.5 liters of water as soon as I wake up, 1 liter water an hour later and cleanse my bowels in 2 to 3 installments as he says. It was really a pleasure to have free bowel movements as he used to call 'sukha virechanam' a pleasant bowel movement. Off course only water is not responsible for this. The amount of fiber food you consume throughout the day is mainly responsible.
So far so good. The issue began when I changed my job. I used to do a sedentary work sitting in office when I began this. Later I changed the job where I need to travel on a bike most part of the day. In the mean time my yoga teacher has assigned me a task to take classes in the morning.
I remember Dr. Raju saying, drink this much water; what are you going to lose? It is absolutely inexpensive, you just have to pass urine when it comes. That's it. That is not it. Driving a vehicle in a city like Hyderabad and to stop and pass urine anywhere is not possible. You can't just pass urine on road sides. By the time you find urinals, you are going through hell of a time. A small bump on the road will show you the stars in the day light as the bladder is full. So I have to reduce the over a day quota of 4.5 liters of water to 2 liters. When I started taking yoga classes early in the morning, the morning quota of drinking 1.5 liters of water began to take my life. I had to travel around 12 kilometers to take the class. Your stomach should be absolutely empty for the practice of asanas. Though the bowels were clean, the bladder used to be full. I can't rush to urinals leaving the class in between. Then I reduced my water intake from 1.5 liters to 0.5 liters. What a sigh of relief!
I want to remind another popular dialogue of Dr. Raju with regards to bowel movement. He used to say, "look at the cows and buffaloes; how effortlessly they pass on the dung? Your bowels should also move that free and therefore eat plenty of vegetables having fiber." So as a sincere follower, I did. I included plenty of fruits, vegetables and sprouts etc in my regular diet. It was great and had no issues related to my work or yoga classes. The bowels were so free, I used to go to the toilet as soon as I wake up and come out within few minutes completing the job. The problem occurred when I once travelled from Pune to Hyderabad in a Bus. At 4 A.M. I woke up and as I said, the bowels started moving immediately. I went to the driver and asked him to stop the bus. He said, wait! I will stop at the next dhaba that appears. I said, I can't wait, so stop somewhere here in the corner. And I had to argue with him for few minutes to stop. He did it with great irritation. It was really an embarrassing situation. Once we had been to one of the relatives. By the moment I woke up and got ready to the toilet, somebody was already in. I waited for sometime holding the bowels and was a hell of a moment. I finally had to knock the door to bring him out and he came out with a fierce look in his eyes. Another embarrassment. These things happened at home also but as they are my family members it was not much embarrassing as they could understand my problem.
Then I came to a conclusion that I am not going to let this to happen again. It is good to have good bowel movement but too good is also not so good. There should be distinction between humans and animals. Animals do not have social obligations as we do. We need to follow certain norms to live in the society. We can't pass on urination or stool anywhere we want. I realized eating fiber is good but eating more than required is not good as you are inducing it like a medicine. So I moderated fiber intake and water intake to bring normalcy in my life.
2. Eating food without Oil, ghee, Salt, Sugar, Tamarind, Red chili powder and Masalas:
I basically started following Dr. Raju to reduce my weight. In one year of following his diet, I tremendously reduced my weight. From 96 kilos to 65 kilos was a great transformation. I mentioned all this in my previous blog posts. Apart from losing weight I gained a good health which took me away from visiting the doctors at regular intervals. The most valuable thing I got from following his diet is the development of interest in yoga for the sake of improved health. In this process I came across Iyengar yoga and found Smt. Zarna Mohan an experienced Iyengar Yoga teacher who was a long term student of Guruji BKS Iyengar. I will still be thankful to Dr. Mantena Satyanarayana Raju for this. He inspired me to change the food habits and the lifestyle which lead me to yoga. Iyengar yoga has brought me a tremendous change in the way of perception. It has taught me the art of living. Art of living is not the way of breathing as some people teach my dear friends. It is really the way you live, enjoying every moment of life. It can only be experienced and can't be explained.
Coming to the food recommended by Dr. Raju, I managed to avoid Oil, Sugar, Tamarind, Red Chili Powder, Masalas and salt to great extent for about 5 years or so. The trouble began when I changed the job or when I started travelling. Since the food I consumed at home and outside are totally in contrast, I tried to avoid food cooked outside during my work and travels by consuming fruits and juices. This continued for few months and began to notice a hindrance in my yoga practice. The person who is to practice intensely for 3 hours a day was not able to practice even an hour. Moreover I began to practice restorative asanas most of the time.
Once I had to travel to Pune for my yoga classes for a month. We were living in an Ashram called Christ Prem Seva Ashram. We struggled terribly with the kind of food we used to eat there. It was full of Salt, Sugar, Oil, Masala and everything Dr. Raju calls 'harmful tastes'. Somehow, we survived one month. Coming back home continued to eat our regular Dr. Raju's kind of food. I realized a strange change after coming home. I was immensely active and was able to practice 3 hours a day and attend classes of 1 1/2 hours a day in Pune with the kind of so called unhealthy food served in the ashram. And the same old story of tiredness and fatigue here back home.
I once visited my parents and had some food for dinner. My tongue got bruises and tears from my eyes for the amount of salt and red chili they added in the food. I shouted at them for eating so much of salt and red chili. My father came to me and said, 'Son, we have been eating this food since childhood and nothing had happened to us. We haven't added any extra salt and red chili in food but you have stopped eating it and therefore it happened.' One should be sensitive but this much that you can't eat anything is not correct.
Next year again we happened to visit Pune for the yoga classes. This time we decided to hire an apartment and cook our own food. I, my wife and three others hired a 3BHK flat and lived for a month with a condition that each day the food is cooked by one. This was great learning experience for us. Since some of them were inexperienced in cooking they used to seek tips from my wife. Keeping their interests, taste and our health in view, she used to suggest things slightly moderating the food that we used to cook regularly. It worked well. Friends also felt happy as the food served taste (little less though) began to relieve some of their minor issues like gastritis, acidity, constipation etc.) It was a great success as none of us found difficulty in eating as well as the health.
Back home, eating sprouts in the morning has become a great issue as it consumed lot of time to eat. With yoga practice and yoga classes in the morning and the job in the day had no time for eating sprouts anymore.
I was fed up with bottle gourd, snake gourd, ridge gourd, cucumber etc. which are regularly recommended vegetables of Dr. Raju. I ate those vegetables that I hated all my life for 5 years for the sake of health. There came a time where I used to get a sickly feeling on seeing these vegetables.
In the due course of time, I got the opportunity to travel with my yoga teacher for some workshops. She is one of the top class yoga teachers that Hyderabad has today. One interesting observation came to my notice over a period of 7 years of association with her. She used to eat every kind of food that is served to her without saying no but she used to eat only a very limited quantity. I have neither seen her getting tempted to a specific kind of food nor disliking any food. Apart from animal food and garlic, onion she used to eat almost everything. I once asked her about her diet and she said, "I have no specific diet as such. As Guruji said, eat food that your body can digest and practice to nourish the food you digested. That's it. I told her, but you don't eat much. She replied, One should respect the body and provide what it needs. Food is a necessity and the body tells you what it wants and how much. I used to eat just like any other person when young. This is what my body can digest now. I am 60 you know? with a smile.
The experience in Pune and with my teacher taught me that I should not go into extreme of anything. Going to an extreme will make difficulty in creating a balance. What I learned is that don't follow anyone blindly. You have your own intelligence. Explore and use that intelligence. If something happens to you by following somebody who is to be blamed? The person you are following or yourself? You should be responsible to your actions whether good or bad and nobody else.
So readers, please understand some of you might coincide with some of these difficulties of following Dr. Raju and some might not. That doesn't mean he is wrong in any sense. He is teaching what he feels is right and you follow what you feel is right.
By reading this don't think that I am going against Dr. Mantena Satyanaraya Raju or his teachings. I still admire and adore him for the kind of work he is doing. He always remain as a mentor to me. Thank you.
Till then keep watching the space for more updates.