mon ami.

my soulmate

Photo: Malaysia, the mossy forest of Cameron Highlands with my Nikon SLR: Sept. 2011

Dear soulmate,

I’m celebrating you today, as are all the people you have helped, changed, touched, given to, inspired and loved.

You see, I have known you for a long time now.

“Play fighting under covers and all…”

I may not know details about the candy tantrum as a child, (except what I heard from your sis), or the Krishna play, (except the old photograph I kept from your mom), but I know of a boy who had big dreams.

Who got lost in Shaolin, whose knees played hard on the b-ball court, who made a teacher or two cry.

We shared secrets. More than you ever told anyone, even your family, you said. [Read more…]

my birthday: 30 reasons I love my 30’s


When I turned 30 two years ago, I remember feeling like it didn’t “feel” old. I didn’t really notice any thing different, I didn’t find any new wrinkles or extra white hair…but I was also in pregnancy bliss and loved every minute of getting over morning sickness the week before my birthday.

Then last year rolled around and I reflected on it more, as a new mom and as I starting thinking about my goals, and where I wanted to be “after 30”. Parts of me felt confused about it, but I was immersed in motherhood…I was just figuring it all out.

Now, at 32, I am starting to realize that I really do love my “30s”, (as I did my 20s and will I believe, hopefully find in my 40s).

I am embracing what it is to be post 20s emerging grad student/shifting style. In my late 20s, I remember the feeling of letting go when I donated many of those Guess jeans, sheer “going out” black tops for a more sophisticated drapey sweater and fair trade yoga pants. It felt like my “entering my 30s” look.

And not only in clothes. I started appreciating quality family time, reducing social obligations and carving out more time for myself.

(Yes, I love bubble baths with soulful music and reading my latest fiction book evenings…But I guess that wasn’t anything new- I have been doing that since my teens).

In the last year or so, I have found myself deeper in my own introspection, understanding my actions and thoughts more, feeling more connected to those around me and at a deeper seed of my intuition.

I can say that I love it here and now…so…well, happy birthday to me:)

Here are 30 reasons I love being in my 30s:

[Read more…]

a dosha’s balance.

you are what you eat

Photo taken with my Canon SLR: vegetable market in Malaysia, September 2011

Recently, my husband and I went through Panchakarma, an Ayurvedic therapy of eliminating toxins where after a strict diet and 5 different treatments (panch=five in Sanskrit), we were “cleansed”. While we did a shorter version, (the diet for 3 weeks and therapies for 1 week), I can feel the shift within my body. My treatments included abhyanga massage, shirodhara, navarikhizi, (all heavenly), and 2 types of oil enemas, basti, (not so heavenly).  I will say there were moments we got bored with the same spices or same vegetables, (it’s very strict). But it definitely felt good to my gut.

I was always pretty in tune with my body and ate healthy since youth, (my sister recalls how I never wanted soda with my pizza as a little kid, opting for tall glasses of water  instead and my husband jokes about how when he ordered a Jamaican beef patty at my college dining hall, I was ordering a large salad with extra kidney beans and broccoli on top). We have both of course evolved from our college days, but I attribute my most recent heightened awareness of flavors and energy lifting foods to this body purifying process we just underwent and also having a deeper understanding of my dosha, (vata). The dosha refers to the energies or life forces that combine the 5 basic elements each of us is born with, (space, air, fire, water, earth). There is Vata-space and air, Pitta-water and fire, and Kapha-water and earth. We all have all three, but your body type will always have one dominant one which controls how your body works.

What I loved about this specific cleanse was that Ayurveda is so in tune with the external environment. It’s about creating harmony between naure and delicate internal structure of our cells. Ayurveda believes that everything in the universe is connected, and good health is when your mind, body and spirit are in tune with the universe. I learned that it isn’t about just meditating, doing yoga, being raw more that not, juicing all the time, taking random superfood supplements every day or cutting out gluten and dairy. All those things are great to do, but I am learning to modify some of my old “healthy” patterns to fit in my new Ayurvedic lifestyle.

[Read more…]

colors of fall.

in the fall i miss you Photo taken with my Canon: Las Vegas, NV

With fall here, new winds have starting to feel cool to my body and refreshing to my soul. In my New York days, the change was apparent… from humid, moist air to a dry, crisp leaf. Being in Southern California, there are pockets of places where the leaves change color, yet keeping the tropical feel of palm trees who remain to sway in the sun. Here, the change is subtle, allowing my awareness to rise at nature’s secret happenings. The flowers bloom differently, the stars in the sky change patterns and the farmer’s market attests to the new climate as I pick apples and broccoli over blueberries and okra. I wrote this haiku in honor of this beautiful season.

“in the fall, i miss you.” 

By: Puja Shah

New wind blows gently with scents of you

Leaves change colors

Refreshing heart, soul, mind

let’s dance.


Photo taken with my Canon: Palm Springs, CA in April 2011


In the busy moments of our every day, as night falls and the moon dances in the sky, I was reminded that life’s moments and the presence of love, are what keep this song alive. A quote I once heard by the author Barbara D’Angelis, came to mind:

“The journey in between what you once were and who you are now becoming is where the dance of life takes place.”  

 I wrote this poem before falling asleep last night. Remember to stop to dance today.

Let’s Dance

By: Puja Shah

[Read more…]


Kids For Peace

Photo taken with my iPhone in my home, (I edited).

An organization I support called Kids For Peace is in New York, my old stomping grounds this week. As they enter subways, turn avenues and stop at food carts, I will be thinking of how special it will be for my fellow New Yorkers to see these vibrant, inspirational children handing out paper hearts with words of peace, and on such perfect timing…only a week after the day that changed NYC those years ago.

The kids will present their peace pledge, in pic above, to the United Nations and I wrote and recited this poem just for them-our future peace heroes… (click to play poem below):

Kids for Peace: a poem by Puja Shah

summer solstice haiku.

Photo taken with my iPhone (I edited): La Jolla Shores, CA
Summer Solstice was today- the relationship of our planet to our beloved sun. It was one of the two solstices, when the rays of the sun directly strike one of the two tropical latitude lines. June 21st marks the beginning of summer in the northern hemisphere and simultaneously heralds the beginning of winter in the southern hemisphere. It’s a day of shifting energy, of opening and warmth. I taught a yoga class this morning to six 2 year old kids- all beaming with open hearts and dancing eyes. It was so sweet and inspired me to write this little haiku.
sun dance,
heart brings rays of truth,
shine pure.

blooming patience.

Photo taken with my iPhone, (I edited): Small local farm in Southern California during a private fundraiser with Jason Mraz

Recently, my daughter has been teething and going through a growth spurt so has decided that 11 pm , instead of 8 pm, is her new bedtime. While my husband and I have had a “good sleeper” on our hands for most her months, with this new bedtime behavior, she just wants to play and laugh the whole time, and has truly tested our patience. It seems that suddenly now, dishes don’t always get done after dinner, the work I had saved to type up or get done that night after she went to bed is waiting for me and when she gets up at her normal 5-6 am wake up call, I am not always at my peppiest, especially if I worked hours into the night.

Along with this new behavior, she has adopted a few other things, though…

[Read more…]

momma earth.

Photo taken with my Digital Canon: My favorite look-out in La Jolla, CA

The other day, the most beautiful thing happened. Laila and I were sitting outside and there was a slight breeze swaying the tall Eucalpytus trees we have lining our backyard and she looked up at them and started talking. Then she stopped and started laughing.

She was talking to the trees.

It was so natural, in this profoundly poignant yet simple way. Like, no biggie, just being one with nature mommy.

Recently, I worked on a lesson plan for kids for the Next Generation Yoga Lesson Plan Club we launched…and the topic: Earth Day is Every Day.

So it was no wonder then, with spring here, with this past week’s celebration of Earth Day, that I keep feeling nature all around me, and decided to listen to her, to momma earth, like Laila does, to hear what she has to tell me. Here’s what flowed through my heart: [Read more…]


Photo taken by my Nikon SLR: in Bali

It seemed like today was the perfect day for this quote to find itself beside me…

“This is my simple religion:

There is no need for temples.

No need for complicated philosophies.

My brain and my heart are my temples.

My philosophy is kindness.”

-Dalai Lama-