Behind the game of colours, pichkaris, laughing faces and joyful moments lies a deeper meaning for this festival. Indian culture is filled with stories that give messages on how we can conduct our life to make it positive and fulfilling.
Holi is one such festival where triumph of good over evil is depicted through the story of Holika. King Hiranyakashipu—a demon king, who could neither be killed by a man or an animal, grew arrogant and demanded that everybody should worship him as god. The king's son, Prahlada, disagreed and chose to remain devoted to Lord Vishnu. Hiranyakashipu was infuriated and subjected his son to cruel punishments. Finally, Holika, the king's sister, tricked him into sitting on a pyre with her. While Holika protected herself with a cloak, Prahlada remained exposed. As the fire blazed, the cloak flew from Holika's body and encased Prahlada, thus saving his life. Later, Vishnu appeared in the avatar of Narsimha, half man and half lion, and killed the king. This is why Holi begins with the Holika bonfire, which marks the end of evil.
Holi marks the day where we celebrate the destruction of all evils - including our own inner demons that can sometimes harm us. Even in contemporary times, the message emanating from this bright & colourful festival holds true for us. The only thing that has changed is the demons we face in our day to day lives. Whether it is overindulging in sweets or spending too much time in front of the screen, our habits are slowly becoming an embodiment of negativity that we need to get rid of.
This year, celebrate the festival of Holi by destroying some negative habits. Let’s take a look at some ways in which we can use Holi as a time for cleanse of mind, body and soul.
Start of mindful habits: Since we are naturally inclined towards emotional, mental and physical cleansing during Holi, it might be a good time to eliminate our bad habits and inculcate mindful habits. Here are 3 habits we can start with:
- Morning routine: Breathing, meditation, journaling and hydration is what we can focus on to get our mental clarity, clear our head and hydrate our body for energy.
- Eating routine: It is important to start eating right if you aren’t already. Make sure wholesome food such as grains, vegetables, dal and yogurt are star features in all of your meals. Embrace natural foods that provide nourishments for the body as opposed to quick fixes. Eat in a quiet place, chew your food and do not forget to thank universe for this nourishment.
- Night routine: Continue forgiveness practice every day for some or the other situation that happens in the day. It helps clear the subconscious and I like the end the night with deep breathing, essential oils used through a diffuser and gratitude to relax the nervous system. I also think a perfect night drink is hot water with pinch of turmeric and black pepper to heal our body. Black pepper increases the absorption of turmeric and adds to the goodness that we receive.
- Cleansing with Full Moon: During Holi, one also comes across a full moon - that gives us an opportunity to cleanse our system. This period sees varied emotions and feelings in the body come to the fore - with a sense of fullness! This is time for catharsis and one of the best things to do is fasting – it can be anything from 1 day to 3 days. You can start your fast on the eve of full moon or couple of days prior – purely of water and detox juices can do wonders! People have experienced up to 3-4 kgs of weight loss in this phase - the effect of the full moon (that has a gravitational pull over our body because of our water content) and the elimination being the main reason. It is also good with or without the fast to keep away from milk, caffeine, alcohol and sugary drinks as it disturbs with the elimination process. Letting go all unnecessary emotions also helps during this phase.
- Forgiveness: Our inner voices can sometimes harm others and us. We tend to hold grudges of past experiences and even hurtful emotions. It blocks us from feeling light and allowing new things and people to come in our life. In a way, we do disservice to ourselves by holding these grudges. Practicing forgiveness is important. As we surround ourselves around the bonfire, let us take each of the experience and let it go – forgive others and ourselves. Make this a new beginning from the future.
Celebrate Holi with colors but also take time to practice and inculcate these cleansing and mindful habits.
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