Hail to the cucumber or kuchumber as it is known commonly in India, the country where it is known to originate from. The Cucumber is a gem of a vegetable and here is why.
I swear by cucumber. When I was a child, my mom would grate cucumber into a paste and apply it on my skin, leaving my skin soft, fresh and cool. Or she would place a plate of cucumbers, salted and spiced with cumin, to have as a snack. Many years later I love and use cucumber, and each time I cut up cucumber for a salad , I leave a couple of slices aside to use for my face and eyes.
Now, with summer creeping in, you won't find any food / beauty product which is more amazing than the cucumber.
Cucumber is a cooling food, hence perfect to keep your body cool both internally and externally, and keeps you a little more sane in the hot summer months. It's loaded with a gazillion health benefits, both as a food and beauty agent.
Here are 10 reasons why you should pick a cucumber each time you go to buy vegetables :
1 A compact source of trace minerals and vitamins : I This is one of the few vegetable that contain erepsin, an enzyme that aids in digesting protein. Cucumbers contain most of the vitamins you need every day, just one cucumber contains Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B3, Vitamin B5, Vitamin B6, Folic Acid, Vitamin C, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium and Zinc.
2 Great for lustrous strong hair : try adding the juice of carrot, lettuce and spinach. This is a wonderful beauty aid to promote growth of hair, since cucumber has high silicon and sulphur contents.
3 For beautiful teeth and nails : Juice of cucumber is wonderful for curing diseases of the gum and teeth, especially in cases of pyorrhea. The high mineral content in cucumber helps to prevent splitting of nails of the fingers and toes.
4 An excellent beauty aid for wonderful skin : cucumber is known to reducing heat and infalammtion in skin and body . Cucumber juice is most effective in curing skin eruptions. Add a little alfalfa juice to speed up the cure. Apply grated cucumber over your face, eyes and neck for fifteen to twenty minutes each day. Regular use of grated cucumber prevents pimples, blackheads, wrinkles and dryness of skin. Grated cucumbers can be used as a tonic on the face and neck, wherein it helps to reduce the overall appearance of freckles.
5 For reducing lines or puffiness around eyes : Cucumbers reduce the appearance of dark circles around eyes. The wealth of antioxidants and silica in cucumbers rejuvenate the skin, leaving it smooth and soft. The large amount of ascorbic acid in cucumbers can reduce water retention and thereby cure puffy eyes. Just cut 2 slices of cucumber, straight from the fridge and place it over your eyes for 10 minutes every night before sleeping or after waking up.
6 A natural laxative and for treatment of gastric disorder : Cucumber being a natural laxative, supplies bulk to bowel action. Consuming two cucumbers a day proves beneficial in curing symptoms of constipation. Likewise, juice of cucumber is highly beneficial in the treatment of hyper acidity, gastric and duodenal ulcers. Take two doses of four to six ounces of cucumber juice every two hours to cure acute conditions.
7 A natural coolant for the body and digestive system : During hot climes, a glass of cucumber and celery juice helps to cool body temperatures.
8 For treating both hypo-tention and hyper-tension : The potassium content in cucumber makes it an effective cure for conditions of both hyper tension and hypo tension, and keeps your body and mind in balance.
9 Effective in treating diseases of lung, kidney and stomach : Drink fresh cucumber juice to reduce heart burns and soothe an acidic stomach condition. Cucumber acts as a diuretic and also is highly efficacious in curing kidney and urinary bladder disease. This cucumber aids too in curing liver and pancreatic disease.
10 Eases off fatigue and exhaustion : If you feel tired in the afternoon, put down the caffeinated soda and pick up a cucumber. Cucumbers are a good source of B Vitamins and Carbohydrates that can provide that quick pick-me-up that can last for hours.
Cucumber eating and buying tips
To maximize the benefits of this wonderful cucumber, choose the ones that are dark green in color and firm to the touch.
Never Cook a cucumber, always eat it raw. Cooking destroys useful minerals like potassium and phosphorous.
To remove bitterness from the cucumber, slice off the ends and rub them against the cucumber for a few minutes.
A great addition to cucumber is alfalfa sprouts, since it speeds up the benefits of cucumber in the digestive system.
Cucumber is delicious with some yogurt and cumin, commonly had in India as Raita.
So next time you go to the vegetable shop, don't forget to by cucumbers, and if you don't know what it looks like, here it it for you !
And this time from Goa !
Yes, the next phase of Ziya Yoga is in Goa, teaching yoga at the beautiful boutique resort Amarya Shmiyana, on a 3 metre sea facing stage. Although I cannot but miss the energy at the first Ziya Yoga studio in Delhi, made entirely by you my students, this is indeed a beautiful introspective shift.
It's almost been a seasonal break, with much happening and radical life changes, mountains have moved since the last journal entry.
The end of a phase and the beginning of the rest of my life. True love found, puzzles solved, riddles answered, how every single thing in my life has led up to the point where two souls have found each other.
An old knee injury relapsed in an obnoxiously painful way left me bedridden for almost two months. It is still healing but I can teach. Through all this my students did not give up on me and I have kept teaching, using mostly just one side of my body during the class, I would personally like to thank Each One of You all from the bottom of my heart.
My students just before I left : Bandana Malhotra, Renu Garg, Malay Pal, Mithu Pal, Shahar Tamuz, Beatrice Tamuz, Yasmine M, Wendy E, Christian W, Silvia I, Zich Z, Shahla, Garima, Oliver and Marcelle all of you are GEMS. You have taught me so much just by being present in my class, and allowed me so much growth. Thank you for letting me share my knowledge with you, and teaching me so much in return.
You are all missed very much.
Also I would like to sincerely thank all the students I have taught since February 2010 until now, even those who have stepped in just for a trial class. These include in Alphabetical order : Amit Kapur, Amreen, Anand, Ashima, Gaurav, Gita, Henna, Ishani, Jabeen, Jacek, Jyoti, Karan, Karishma, Madhulika, Mala, Manisha, Manjula, Nakul, Nootan, Paridhi, Preeti, Rachita, Radhika, Reetu N, Renu Lal, Saroj, Shahana, Shannon, Shubhra, Sofia, Sophia, Stefano.
A huge special thanks goes out to Dillinet and the Dillinet crew for the support.
If I have missed out anyone, I apologize, your energies are all close to me.
All that having been said, please keep track of newsletters coming to your through facebook or into your inbox.
"Take the physical practice of yoga outside of the studio, into your daily life." Something I say to my yoga students often.
The physical practice of Yoga does not end at the confines of the studio space, it is something one can incorporate into daily life. 5 simple ways to start :
1 Take that tall and straight yoga standing posture out with you. Keep your head held high, face soft, a smile on your face and shoulders pushed slightly back. It will make you an inch taller and you will radiate confidence. You will breathe freely, attract good stuff towards yourself and exude positivity. Small changes in your body will make big changes in your life.
2 Every now and then switch off from the world around you and move your focus to your breath. During a chaotic moment in the day, or a moment of anger and distress towards someone you dislike, or a boring meeting, snap out of thoughts and distractions and feel and observe your breath flowing in and out through your nostrils. Try to listen hard to the sound of your natural breath. Just for a few moments. Trust me, the noises around you will fade. When you snap back to the world around you, things will be calmer and clearer, and you will be more aware.
3 Turn normal activities into yoga stretches and include the breath practice into it. It might sound funny, but for example when reaching out for something on a high shelf, breathe in deeply and make it a stretch, when you reach down to pick up something you've dropped on the floor, make it into a forward bend and breathe out into a stretch. It starts to come naturally and mundane tasks become yoga. Life becomes a dance.
4 Practice awareness and become and observer to your daily activities, just every now and then. Switch off from simply 'doing', and instead switch to 'being' the observer to the doing. For example, when you're rushing to make your morning cup of tea or coffee tomorrow tell yourself : "Now I am rushing to make my coffee. I'm pulling out a cup from the shelf. I've just switched on my water boiler. I'm pouring the coffee into my cup. I'd better slow down else I'm going to burn my tongue." Observe every step of what you do. It will slow you down a bit, and heighten your sense of awareness of the world. Try it out, it's fun.
5 If you lead a sedentary lifestyle, put your yoga knowledge into practice every now and then. Start by putting a reminder every hour for it. When the alarm goes off, stretch your arms up, correct your posture, make your back straight. Roll your shoulders back and forward, do a few neck exercises to release the stress. Crack your fingers, you've been typing and texting too much. Then close your eyes away from the computer screen for a few seconds and count upto 12 breaths before you open up your eyes. Reboot.
These are just a few things you can do. As you deepen your practice, you'll notice that you're incorporating a lot of these automatically into daily life. Yes, people may around you may laugh at you in the start, but when you begin to radiate brilliance, the same people may get a bit blinded by your light, and will want to follow suit.