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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

You Are What You Eat.....

Recently, in India 23 impoverished children in a school lunch program died. They died from the very food that was served to them. Tragic, preventable, waste of young people that perhaps had the potential to change the world. But in some way, perhaps their passing still can. You see, the deaths of these children, and that of others, many indigenous farmers that have been sold into crop slavery through Monsanto and big agriculture and their poisons is a WAKE UP call to us all. In two instances a week apart, the first group of  23 died and 25 more  were sickened in Bihar, and 23 sickened in Goa at school lunch program. The suspect....Organophospate, an "agricultural" fertilizer. Guess what my friends? This commonly used compound is akin to sarin gas, a neurological toxin. Monsanto, has a favorite in their arsenal of biological warfare that they are waging on us- it  is their "herbicide" Roundup ( Glyphosphate); guess what is classified as  an organophosphate!. Hmmmm- the dots are connecting. Poor farmers are given GMO seeds, and the "fertilizer" to kill weeds so they can produce more. Soon they become dependent on this process, their own heirloom plants are eliminated. Working with these products poor indigenous farmers in many countries that produce common crops of such as soy and corn are poisoned and die. This toxin gets into the soil, water, and air. If animals eat these crops it becomes part of them. If we consume these plants, or animals, it becomes part of us. From the time something is put in the mouth, it takes forty days to work its way through the bodily systems and creates tissue, the food sheath, or physical body called the Annamaya Kosha.  The last tissue it reaches is the reproductive tissue "shukra", the sperm and eggs. So now it is shared with our progeny. We literally are made up of  what we eat. But, not only us, the plants, the animals, and that forgotten hard worker that we cannot live without... the honeybee. Bees are disappearing at alarming rates, colonies are dying off. These bees come in contact with the poison sprayed on their food source and guess what? You got more bees. No more bees, no more us. We got a big problem here in River City my friends, you think? In the philosophies of Yoga, Saucha, or purity is an observation. Being pure in thoughts and deeds. Being pure with what we take into our bodies. Because again, repeat the mantra after me ....WE ARE WHAT WE EAT.  This effects not only the body, but the mind. If we take in poison, we become just that. The body accumulates toxins and their ill effects manifest as disease. The mind clouds. We decay. Sorry to be a downer, but is the inconvenient truth. I don't know about you, but I don't want to glow in the dark! We have a choice here, and we can call attention to what is going on around the globe. Europe doesn't tolerate GMO crops and the insidious industry that comes with them. We vote with our dollar my friends, cast yours. Be aware, support small farmers, get involved and educate yourself about where your food comes from . NO one is perfect, but do and try to be your best.   I want my food to be like me....real.

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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Blinded By the Light

It's dark. So dark you can't see the hand in front of your face. Scary, right? Certainly. Objects in the distance are just blurry outlines. We are like this in life with many situations that we are too close to...we can't see. We  are in the dark.  Try it-take your hand and literally bring it so close to your face it touches your nose. Can't really distinguish what you see, correct? Now slowly bring the hand away from your face and it begins to come into sharper focus. You would think it the opposite, but truth of the object is not what you may perceive. In the tenants of hatha yoga, we call this viveka and vairagya-discrimination and detachment. You need to step away so you can see. It leads to vidya-true knowledge. It reminds me of a story....There where seven blind mice that lived quite happily by a pond. One day, the red mouse goes to the pond and bangs right into a something. Alarmed, she runs back to the rest and tells them there is a big stone something by their pond! The orange mouse proceeds to check it out and comes back and says it's a snake!  The yellow mouse, feistiest of the bunch,  explores and argues no, no, no! It is a spear! I'm right, I know it! Green mouse takes his turn and says it's a fan, I can feel the air moving, it is lovely. Blue mouse says you are all not telling the truth-it is a rope! Purple mouse explores and says you are all silly, it is just a mountain blocking our path to the pond. Listening to all the arguing, the wise white mouse now steps up and says   ENOUGH! I will get to the bottom of this, I will find the truth. She proceeds to the pond and explores the object in her way. She returns to the others and tells them how they were all right, but when you "see" the whole, the object is an elephant! The mice represent our journey through the chakras, the elephant the removal of obstacles that block us on the road to enlightenment, our path to seek realization.  We are very good at being blind mice. It takes standing back and really seeing the object, situation, person ( fill in your own blank if you are so inclined dear reader) to understand reality. In the darkness,  we need to be blinded by the light, open our eyes, and see truth.

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Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Perfect Timing

Today a judge in Encinitas California ruled that, despite objection from some parents in the school district, the practice of yoga for the districts children can continue. I am pleased and jumping with joy! Thank you your Honor, ten fold. You see,  I teach yoga to children, as well as adults, and they both benefit from the practice. The suit in Encinitas claims that yoga is a religious practice. A little background.....The word "yoga" means to yoke, or to unite. To bring together. In the practice of this ancient science, the mind, body, and spirit are united through movement, breath, and focus. This creates a psycho physiological response-it calms the mind, energizes the body, and connects to the spirit. So insidious, isn't it?  Really? Are they kidding? Who doesn't want to see a child with a calm, positive outlook and a healthy body. In these times, when specials are being taken out of schools, there is no outlet for these children. You see,  I taught in a classroom for many years, and over the almost twenty years in that setting I have seen children and their needs change radically.  These kids are stressed!  In the beginning of class, I start out with a sharing circle, based on the theme of the week , and  the things my students tell me about the things that push their buttons,  feelings they struggle with , and  the pressure they feel, is profound for those so young. They are plugged into the internet, I phones and video games, and their focus is taken away from the natural world-they are disconnected. They run from activity to activity, spend hours in school, hours doing homework, and after school and weekend  sports. There is competition. Their parents are under duress with work, the economy, and keeping food on the table. Many don't have time for themselves, much less their kids. Our children need down time, a time that brings them back in touch with peace. These kids need a safe, nurturing space where they can let go, be themselves, and for 30 or more minutes lose themselves, in this case, to the practice of yoga. The benefits of the practice are beginning to be recognized therapeutically. Different breath techniques are shown in studies to relieve anxiety. In ADHD, autism, and other ASD spectrum disorders, connection to the body and focus are some of the benefits. Special needs children improve cognition and motor function. The benefits  are myriad, and most of all, it feels good to kids! The deep self connection has put me in connection with myself, and my own inner muse,  I am in the process of "giving birth". You see, I am writing  a book on yoga for classrooms, so  I am thankful to this case for  bringing awareness to yoga, the benefits, the truth, and the joy that it can bring when mind, body and spirit connect through the practice of this ancient healing science. In our post modern society, the time could not be more perfect.