Day 14 – Yoga Challenge


The Guru Sessions Mind Mapping 2015  – by Terese Mcleod

In Ali’s Guru Sessions at the start of 2015 we mind mapped our ways to what we wanted our 2015 to look like.  I used the solar system to map the different goals I wanted to achieve this year, so each planet became a specific goal.  I’ve landed on one planet and hovering close to some others, and, some are still in the distance! One distant planet I want to land on at the end this year is Iron Māori A quarter marathon in Napier.

The Tool Kit (Kete) – The 40 Day Yoga Challenge

My map in place, I now went looking for tools to get to my destination planets.  Not long after The Guru Sessions, Ali created The 40 Day Yoga Challenge.  The challenge has many elements, the foundations of which are to eat sattvicly, practice yoga daily and keep a daily diary of food/fluid intake, daily rituals and participate in weekly challenge classes, etc. What I’ve noticed is that the huge benefit from these elements is that they are keeping me actively conscious, mindful and aware of my actions and choices.  Some other tools I’ve found are websites with information, finding sattvic food recipes and food outlets.  Some websites like Toi Tangata and Tri Poneke have been interesting tools as I head toward Planet Iron Māori.

Pure (a ritual incantation)

The practice of opening and closing a day with an incantation or karakia was normal when Māori lived traditionally.  Today it’s practiced when we stay at marae but doesn’t often get practiced in our day to day home life.  I’m learning a very complex one which sounds beautiful and has the rhythm of a gently moving river.  This is a morning pure to be recited as the dawn breaks, I’ve done it some days and it really does anchor my day ahead.

Meditation and the Moon

A challenge requirement is to spend 2 hours weekly in silent meditation.  My first meditation I decided to do at night under the full moon on Seatoun Wharf wrapped in a sleeping bag on a deck chair.  The Moon light felt like a Moon bath, soothing, cleansing and refreshing.  I tuned into the soundscape of Tawhirimatea (the wind) and Tangaroa (the sea) with my beloved islands, Matiu Somes, Mokopuna and Makaro Ward in silhouette.  I also naturally found myself tuning into the smell-scape, seaweed and salt being carried on the wind.  It was amazing how productive and restorative this silent space was.

Daily Yoga Practice

I attend three classes at Sadhana Yoga a week (Saturday, Sunday and Monday) and the rest of the week I use and at home yoga programme chart Ali created for me, throw on a yoga DVD or attend the Victoria University Rec Centre yoga classes.  It’s not ideal, I would prefer to take Sadhana Yoga classes daily!


Te Herenga Waka @ Victoria University

Te Herenga Waka Marae at Victoria University is probably one of the most ascetically beautiful marae I have seen in New Zealand.  It hosts an enormous amount of events.  Core business are lectures, tutorials and seminars in the wharenui (pictured above).  Classes from across the university may hold overnight experiences there, graduations, tangihanga (funerals), international guests are hosted there, including the family of Mahatma Gandhi.

Part of the complex includes a wharekai (dining room) which caters for all marae events and also provides a cooked lunch every day for $5 to students and staff. My sattvic eating plan has been embraced by the marae cooking staff who have been catering my lunches, they also cater for halal, vegan, paleo, vegetarian and many other dietary requests.  The food is more than, what everyone else is having, with the meat taken off, but a considered meal plan.  I’ve had a range of salads, coleslaws, couscous, lentil and chickpea recipes.  My favourite has been Farali Pattice, a fasting food of the Gujarati’s. Faral means ‘fast’.  The patties are made with an outer covering of mashed potatoes and filled inside with spiced dry fruits mixture, coconut and peanuts and are baked.


Making Meals a Ritual with beautiful eating vessels

I love beautiful things and love ritual.  I love using things like these pretty eating sets to give a bit of flair to my meal rituals and I typically like eating with my right hand Indian styles.


The Lab @ Victoria University

The Lab specializes in cold pressed fresh juices and smoothies.  It’s amazing to have food retail on campus with fresh food options!  My favourite juice is Red Aide, a blend of apple, beetroot, carrot and ginger, this juice reminds me of the one we had in Haridwar, India.  Here is the stunning Himalayan fresh juice recipe jam packed with flavour and vitamins.



1 large carrot + Handful of grapes +1 apple + piece of fresh pineapple +handful of fresh mint +

1 small beetroot + ½ orange + chunk of fresh ginger (not too much!).

My favourite smoothie from The Lab is The Avocado:

The Avocado

Avocado, banana, kale, cinnamon, vanilla with soy milk.

Closing remarks – a few weeks in

What’s struck me is how bright my eyes are and my body is reacting so positively to the challenge.  As a person who grew up and loved meat, chicken, fish and pretty much everything non sattvic, after two weeks of ruling them out of my diet and I don’t really miss any of it at all, in fact, I have been wondering if I will ever go back to that food!  I find that I am never hungry and my energy levels have improved remarkably.  The sattvic food is so interesting and can be full of flavour, I’ve started treating eating like a ritual rather than mindlessly and speedily eating rubbish kai.  The challenge is providing me with so many tools and we are learning how to use them within our 40 days and beyond.

Ngā mihi mahana

Terese Mcleod

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