We recently released a journal that provided a very brief introduction on the philosophy of yoga. As a brand that utilises traditional Indian craftsmanship, we appreciate the philosophy that governs the energy our garments are made with. We feel this understanding compliments the joy we feel when wearing them.
While our previous journal piece was simply a short exploration of this subject, Myra Lewin of Hale Pule is an expert on the art of living this holistic philosophy. Myra Lewin is an Ayurveda and Yoga practitioner and teacher based in Bali. Grounded in the holism of being, honouring the breath, and connection to this moment, her teachings serve as a reminder to simplify life, slow it down, and enjoy.
When was Hale Pule established and why?
After closing the door on corporate life and healing from rheumatoid arthritis and digestive issues through Ayurveda and Yoga, I was living happily ever after with my dogs on my organic fig farm on Maui, Hawaii, USA.
I began to have students live on my property - people learning organic farming and Yoga teachers living Ayurveda and Yoga. At that time I taught Yoga in a traditional way, that is 1:1.
I was surprised by what I saw as the lack of understanding people had about their bodies and the effect of consumption. I was repeating the same basic concepts to people as I worked with them, over and over. And as they integrated simple changes I suggested for their diet and lifestyle they would experience powerful results.
One evening I was walking my dogs with Vanessa, a student who worked with me and is still with Hale Pule today. She said to me, “You can’t keep teaching this healing system to a handful of people at this level. There are so many people out there who would benefit from your knowledge and experience.”
My heart’s desire was to go and live in a cave like the himalayan Yogis and dedicate all of my time to spiritual practice. But I decided then and there to let this go and dedicate myself to teaching.
In 1999 I established Hale Pule. Shortly after Hale Pule began to offer in-person group training for Yoga Teachers, Ayurvedic Treatment Therapists and Ayurvedic Chefs. In 2008 I wrote the book “Freedom in Your Relationship with Food” followed by Simple Ayurvedic Recipes, Dine with Myra and Simple Ayurvedic Recipes 2: 108 Dhal Recipes. Today everything we offer is online. I had never planned on teaching Ayurveda and Yoga on this scale or online. It is a great gift to be given this opportunity.
What are the offerings provided through Hale Pule and the intentions behind these offerings?
The intention of everything Hale Pule does is to evoke sattva in people's lives and prompt people to get to know themselves inside. Sattva is the energy of peace, harmony, clarity and creativity.
Agni Therapy is a four week program that corrects digestive issues, hormone imbalances, anxiety, low energy and fluctuating weight. Students integrate the practical foundations of Ayurveda and Yoga in their lives, get to know themselves from the inside out and become their own healer.
The Yoga of Eating is a twelve week program designed to heal peoples relationship with food and their bodies. Hundreds of clients have come to me over the years with disordered eating. The Yoga of Eating offers personal guidance & community support on a spiritual, physical and emotional level. The Yoga of Eating takes place once or twice a year in an intimate setting.
Everyday Sadhana is Hale Pule’s Yoga membership. Students are supported to have their own home practice, be part of a like minded community and integrate the principles of Yoga into their daily lives.
We offer a free training every few months called Flow with the Feminine. It’s a way for women to better know themselves beyond the hustle and bustle of life.
Sometimes people say they don’t have time for the practices of Ayurveda and Yoga, although they like the idea of it. We ask them to consider their priorities and who it is they are rushing around for. And perhaps the rushing is just a sign of uncertainty? When we feel truly well we get out of our own way and the rest of life falls into place quite well.
What are some traditions of Mother India honoured through Hale Pule?
We’re grateful to the Sages and Rishis of India who transcribed the Vedas. Ayurveda and Yoga was not meant to be an intellectual endeavour, it is meant to be lived.
Hale Pule honours the wisdom of Ayurveda and Yoga by educating students in a way that can be applied practically to modern lives while maintaining the essence and purity as much as possible.
We have a core team who live here in Bali. We practice Agnihotra at sunrise and sunset, 5am Vedic chanting with fire offering. Hale Pule also supports a number of groups in India who are working with indigenous peoples in sustainable businesses in Maharashtra and Tamil nadu.
Tell us, what is dharma and why is it important?
Dharma comes from the Sanskrit word dhri meaning to hold or to preserve.
You might have heard the word drishti before, typically defined as the fixed gaze with your eyes in asana practice. Dharma comes from the same root and you could say we're really meant to keep a fixed gaze with our dharma.
From the Vedas, dharma is a cosmic principle that brought the universe from chaos to some degree of order. That sense of order in the universe and life is what Ayurveda brought to me when combined with Yoga.
The purpose of our dharma is to keep us from falling into chaos inside, because that leads to the downfall of society. And we're seeing some of that right now.
These days many people think of dharma as a career and therein lies the problem. A career may or may not be an expression of dharma. In a deeper sense dharma is our highest evolutionary calling. Dharma encompasses how we each provide support in the world. I connect with my dharma daily by sharing Ayurveda and Yoga, and mentoring students to discover their own unique path.
It’s important to connect with your dharma regularly so that whatever you are in service to, continues to move forward and transform. To be in service to something or someone, to fully express yourself creatively, to experience joy, a sense of satisfaction, fun and delight.
Balance is an intrinsic aspect of Ayurveda & Yoga. What are your suggestions for achieving balance?
Balance is an arena where one has no symptoms and is feeling well. It’s important not to become attached to a fixed idea or one exact place. This will only create attachment and expectation which pulls us away from balance. Consider balance as an arena, a condition at a particular point in time to enjoy in that moment.
The simplest things we do each day are what most profoundly impacts our vibrancy. A regular schedule of eating and sleeping. Arising and going to bed at the same time each day. Being consistent with morning practices. This consistency builds a strong foundation for living, while keeping an open mind and staying flexible. An evening practice of appreciation for the day and for all of our gifts in life.
Moderation in all areas of life is what brings balance. Including not taking anything too seriously. Staying connected to the God of your Heart and laughing often, especially at one’s self.
Why is our relationship with food important for our health & well-being?
Our ability to digest food and life is called Agni. This is the energy available within each of us that goes to the cellular level. When our relating with food is disturbed by our samakara, (impressions, memories, or habits of thinking) this has a negative effect on agni’s ability to process food and life. Our ability to digest food affects our ability to digest life and vice versa. Reflect on that for a moment.
If I eat whilst emotionally upset, even the highest quality food won’t be digested well, creating mental and physical toxins. Eating poor quality food, food that doesn't combine well, imbalanced food, over eat or under eat… This will inhibit my ability to digest life too.
Understanding that we are holistic beings and part of nature and that everything affects everything else is the basis of Ayurveda. This understanding allows us to determine the root cause of disease and implement holistic, natural solutions that are in alignment with our core essence.
Food is our nourishment for the body, mind and spirit.
How can Ayurveda and Yogic practices support our connection with ourselves?
The practices of Ayurveda and Yoga support us to clear the clutter that gets in the way of seeing, knowing and experiencing our true Self. The practices lift the veil that perpetuates delusion.
Connection to breath. Connection to this vessel. Connection to this moment. Sometimes people ask me what is the purpose of life. My response is: To live it fully in whatever way feels natural. Walking through life is the discovery of Self. I regard these vast teachings as our tools for living that have been given to us in the Vedas which are over 5000 years old.
How does connection with ourselves benefit the consciousness of all?
Consider that we are each vibration. That all matter in the universe is vibration on some level, this is how each of the elements express themselves. Each of the elements is vibrating at a different frequency. Think about water when it is still, and what happens when you pour it. There is splashing and flow, maybe a drip at the end. What about when you run your fingers through it and there are ripples. These are all vibrations.
Our thinking creates a vibration as well. If I am in appreciation this is a very different vibration than when I am angry, fearful or hateful. The vibration that I am generating is part of nature and everything affects everything else. That old saying, we are all connected, is right on. I used to feel so uncomfortable hearing that because I could only see the differences in people and myself. Over time and life experience we come to realize that we are all alike in so many ways inside and this is what creates the vibration that is our consciousness. If I have this conscious connection to myself I come to realize how everything has an impact in life.
At Daughters of India we practice slow fashion, meaning we produce garments ethically and sustainably with the health of our planet in mind. Why do you choose to support sustainable businesses?
As a young person I experienced pesticide poisoning from chemicals that were banned shortly thereafter. I realized at that point that as human beings we were not only poisoning the planet but ourselves. That was in 1976. I have attempted to live consciously and sustainably since that time. Living Yogic the principles of asteya means not stealing from the planet or from others. Sustainable business practices are life giving rather than life draining. We are here to experience a full life. The planet is one of our many gifts and not to be taken for granted. The same is with all of humanity and all of the creatures here. This is what we stand for at Hale Pule.
Which is your favourite Daughters of India garment and why?
My favourite dress is the Kyra mini dress in jade. It’s free flowing, comfortable, soft and feels like a part of me rather than just something I am wearing. It’s also nice to feel the sweet vibration of the people who made it.
Thank you Myra for sharing some of your invaluable wisdom. We are so grateful for your time and trust our readers learned as much as we have.
(Words by Ella Josephine Archer)
Photos by Jorge Atramiz @jorgeatramiz and Hale Pule @hale_pule