Yoga is a set of practices – what are your practices?

 a rose three Raleigh Rose Garden Raleigh Little Theatre Hey Yoga Man a rose one Raleigh Rose Garden Raleigh Little Theatre Hey Yoga Man a rose two Raleigh Rose Garden Raleigh Little Theatre Hey Yoga Man
Yoga is a set of practices.  We have many practices.  Each practice has karmic ripples, effects on our lives.  I work at a theatre that is in a public park that includes a beautiful rose garden, the Raleigh Rose Garden.

This morning, I had errands to do related to the prison yoga practice and then got to work early.  I completed a rough draft of a resume for one of my prison class members to help him in his employment search.  I did some theatre business.  I returned some phone calls.  Then I walked outside.

I saw a rose that I had not noticed before in the upper level of the grounds and smelled it.  They say that each variety has a different aroma.  I thought that it would be interesting to find out how many different aromas there were.  I decided my practice would be to smell at least ten varieties.  Three of them that I met along the way are here, but there were many more and I sniffed more than ten varieties.  I wonder.  What karmic ripples will occur from this practice?  It was certainly pleasant.  It made me glad I work here.

What are your practices?

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Posted in Ahimsa, Buddhism, chakras, compassion, karma, non-local consciousness, practice, Raleigh Rose Garden, satvic, yoga | Leave a comment

The Quantum Activist – a movie study group

quantum activist Hey Yoga Man

Join the revolution going on in science.

A genuine paradigm shift. While mainstream science remains materialist, a substantial number of scientists are supporting and developing a paradigm based on the primacy of consciousness.
Dr. Amit Goswami, Ph.D, a pioneer of this revolutionary new perspective within science shares with us his vision of the unlimited potential of consciousness (rather than matter) as the ground of all being, and how this revelation can actually help us to live better.
The Quantum Activist tells the story of a man who challenges us to rethink our very notions of existence and reality, with a force and scope not felt since Einstein.
This film bridges the gap between God and Science. The work of Goswami, with stunning precision and without straying from the rigors of quantum mechanics, reveals the overarching unity inherent in the worlds major religions and mystical traditions.

If you meditate, practice yoga, study and practice law of attraction, or do any metaphysical practice, you will find the work of Goswami fascinating.  Amit says that we have now found convincing scientific proof not only of the existence of God but also of the nature of God as well.  He goes beyond this also to define a Quantum Activist as someone who is using this knowledge to help create a new world.

We will watch the movie and then work our way through the study guide as a group.  Scientific knowledge or study of physics is not necessary to understand the material.  This work pulls together science, meditation, yoga, karma, chakras, morphogenetic fields, manifestation, and other topics that have been part of our previous book studies.  Our intent is to have fun with this material as a group and enjoy it for a few meetings.

The workbook for our meetings is here: The Quantum Activist Workbook  Print this out and bring a copy along to the meetup.

Posted in Amit Goswami, chakras, karma, meditation, morphogenetic field, non-local consciousness, quantum field, quantum physics, yoga, Zen | 3 Comments

Gay Marriage, Green Smoothies, and Genetically Modified Organisms in the Food Supply

gay marriage hey yoga man

People upset about gay marriage ban

This morning the main headline in the local newspaper is “Amendment on ballot: opposition drive begins SENATE VOTES TO PUT SAME-SEX MARRIAGE BAN BEFORE VOTERS.” A smaller headline, beginning at the fold says “Poverty hits record high, Number now 46.2 million.”  So, at a time of huge problems in this country and this state, the legislature wants to address a subtle issue in a ham-fisted manner.

lilja mcgee protests gay marriage ban hey yoga man

Lilja McGee protests the gay marriage ban ammendment!

What’s subtle about gay marriage?  I think explaining to voters who want the ban on same-sex marriage the facts that there already is a ban, that a ban may well be unconstitutional because it defines a group of citizens and singles them out for a lower status of treatment, and that regardless of one’s personal prejudices, a new set of Jim Crow laws is a bad idea, is just a task that is too tough for our legislators.  I watched some of the speeches on Monday in the house and I don’t think that our legislators do “subtle” well.  So, sorry gay North Carolinians, you are the whipping boy of convenience this week.  You join a long line of groups that have had and some that continue to have this distinction.

This is in direct contradiction to yogic principles which would try to ensure security to all animals and plants, the guarantee of purchasing power to all people, and fundamental human rights, rights that include spiritual self-development.  Having one set of rights for one group and another set for another group is not just.  Explaining this is subtle.

green smoothie diet avoids gmo foods hey yoga man

Green smoothie diet avoids GMO foods

The green smoothie diet uses fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, and seeds.  Genetically modified organisms (GMO) are not included.  Why?  Over the past thirty years, GMOs have taken over much of the soybeans, corn, canola, sugar beets, and now alfalfa grown in this country and Canada and they are being pushed worldwide by the corporations that created and sell them.  Some of them have traits that make them immune to herbicides.  Some have genes that help them generate pesticides.  They are not tested for human safety and the companies that have made them have blocked such testing saying that they are “substantially the same” as conventional foods.  There is evidence that GMO foods contain new proteins that are not digestible, have less food value, have higher herbicide residues, and continue to generate pesticides in your gut.

The green smoothies avoid this by choosing real foods that have been available for some time and that our grandparents would recognize as food.  This does mean rejecting any processed food.  If it was fried, and put in a bag, then the cooking oil has a high probability of being GMO.  If it is in a can, bottle, or other package, it has a high probability of having some GMO additive such as high fructose corn syrup or other derivative from a GMO plant.  Processing this stuff turns the liver into a tired, fat, lazy organ that cannot keep up.  Who needs this?

GMO Frankenfood Hey Yoga Man

GMO Frankenfood - a subtle issue?

So what is to be done about it?  Do we, as yoga practitioners, simply restrict our diet to green smoothies forever and stop thinking about this?  What about our fellow human beings?  Should we try to encourage them to also restrict their diet, or can we also help to change the food supply?

A number of good people are working to get GMO foods labelled.  This is done in other countries and allows the consumer a choice of GMO or no.  It is not done here due to the money and influence of powerful corporations that feel like we would not buy their frankenfoods if they were labelled.  I find that this issue is subtle.  If I were to tell most people that I have no fear of walking into the middle of a grocery store away from the produce and into the processed foods, but I feel no need to because I am convinced that eating what is in those cans, boxes, bottles, and bags means a slow lingering death, I would need a while to explain and justify why this might be true.  This is subtle.

Fixing the food supply requires action by our legislature. We need their help.  And remember, they don’t do subtle.

The answer?  We need you.  We need each of you to be subtle.  We need you to meditate.  We need you to understand rights issues and stick up for equal treatment under the law for everyone.  We need you to eat food that nourishes you and push away GMO to the extent that you can.  We need you to show your subtlety to all until our legislators reflect that.  Whatever they are reflecting, that I saw on Monday, it has a streak of mean ugly right through the middle.  There were also speeches that were beautiful, invoking Martin Luther King and civil rights.  But the majority was mean ugly.  Become subtle and we can overcome mean ugly.

Posted in ban GMO, equal protection, fasting, food issues, frankenfood, gay marriage, GMO, green smoothies, health, high fructose corn syrup, human rights, meditation, overweight, Uncategorized, vegetarian | Leave a comment

Green Smoothies vs Yogic Diet vs USDA Food Plate

smoothie glass prison yoga practice

green smoothie

yogic diet hey yoga man

yogic diet









The green smoothie diet involves making drinks in the blender using primarily fresh fruits and vegetables. I add nuts and seeds as well. These ingredients are all parts of the yogic diet, so what is the difference between the two?The yogic diet includes some things that are left out in the green smoothie diet and you may perhaps include certain things in your green smoothies that yogis may leave out of their regimen.

Yogis include milk, yogurt, and butter in their diet.  They also include grains.  They include cooked foods.  Green smoothies are raw.  Raw fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds. There are vegetables that are generally left out of the yogic diet that you might choose to include in your green smoothies.  Yogis emphasize satvic ingredients so they will limit or not use garlic, onions, mushrooms, ginger and other rajasic and tamasic vegetables. If you choose to limit the rajasic and tamasic vegetables in your green smoothies, you will get an added benefit of a quieter mind and a better meditation.

Why leave out dairy? Yogis consider dairy products satvic. In the movie Forks Over Knives, Esselstyn and Campbell tell us that eating dairy products and oils injures the lining of our blood vessels, causing heart disease, heart attack, or stroke and cancer and other diseases skyrocket when eating meat and dairy is the norm – and plummet where a traditional plant-based diet is used. These guys have study results to back them up. Which way to go? One of the considerations that goes into my thinking on this for myself is the question of what is the quality and composition of the cheese, sour cream, and yogurt available to me? Is the feed of the animals organic and natural? Are animals grazed outside and allowed to walk around? Is the milk that these products are made from raw and containing all its complete ingredients. I think the answer for the products I buy in the stores and get at restaurants is no, probably not. This makes me lean toward trying things without dairy for a while to see the result. It is especially interesting that a very convincing case was made in the movie that dairy products can actually contribute to osteoporosis although many people are trying to use dairy to “build strong bones.”

USDA My Pyramid Hey Yoga Man

USDA My Pyramid

USDA My Plate Hey Yoga Man

USDA My Plate







So what is the difference between the new USDA My Plate and the green smoothie regimen? Well, basically, just saw off half of the plate and throw it away and throw away the glass shaped dairy and you have the green smoothie diet. Fruits and vegetables and that’s it. What are the advantages of eliminating these things? Well, first of all, don’t expect unbiased, scientific information from the USDA. They are one half regulatory and one half marketing. They are trying to make sure the food industry stays in business and that may color their recommendations. So protein to them means, “Eat the output of our beef, chicken, pork producers.” They do not recognize that protein is available from non animal sources as well.

Dairy is culturally ingrained and they are just not going to accept the results from Esselstyn and Campbell. They have their own experts. Besides, what would they do with all the milk, cheese, yogurt, etc.? I am not trying to get anyone to stop eating these foods and in fact, my last restaurant meal was a salad that was topped with sour cream and cheese among other things. I am looking ahead to a time when I reach my goal weight and move to more varied presentations of foods in my diet and considering how much dairy I may include and what sources they may come from. The work of Drs. Esselstyn and Campbell will certainly be input into the pool of thoughts my meditations in this area start from.

What about grains? Why eliminate them? Why would that be a benefit? They are included in the yogic diet and the USDA My Plate. As near as I can tell, the main thing is that with the green smoothies we are using raw ingredients with all the fiber. Our wheat and rice are stripped of the fiber before we get them. We could use sprouted grains raw and this would probably fit the bill of getting the additional vital energy that we get from the green smoothies. There is another consideration as well. Most of our wheat is now genetically modified. It is very likely that the body will find some things that are unrecognizable and difficult to process in genetically modified foods. This makes these foods similar to toxins in the way the body must work to process them and eliminate them from the body. The green smoothies are designed to reduce the intake of toxins and difficult to process food items and thus get an energetic boost that allows the body to increase in vitality. So sprouts, yes, cooked grains and GMOs, no!

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Green Smoothies – the daily routine – at the prison yoga practice

smoothie glass prison yoga practice
cooler bag prison yoga practice

 

 

 

 

 

 

This morning, I weighed myself and found that I have nine pounds to go to get to the “ideal” weight suggested by a doctor.  After feeding the hounds that will not be denied, our Golden Retriever (America’s favorite dog) and our Jack Russell (Cute as a button), I went to work on smoothies for breakfast and lunch for two.  First I produced a lettuce, spinach and fruit smoothie with seeds for Bela’s thermos to take for lunch.  Then a similar one for me for one of the bottles I take for lunch.  Then a blender full of Mean Green smoothie for our breakfast.  Then another blender full of Mean Green for my second bottle for my lunch.  The peels fit in a small stainless steel bowl that I schlep to the composter.  The stickers off the fruit and the plastic bags from the store go in the trash.  The stuff I buy at the Farmer’s Market has no trash, just compost waste.

Then it is off to the theatre.  On the way, I stop at a drugstore and take my blood pressure.  I stopped my BP meds due to the thirty pound weight loss and this morning the reading is 126/78.  I think this should be okay!  On to supermarket for peanuts and sunflower seeds to crunch on and to the coffee shop for a large green tea.  Twenty minutes of reading Amit Goswami “God Is Not Dead: What Quantum Physics Tells Us about Our Origins and How We Should Live” because it feels good.  Then on to the theatre where I can catch up on email and write this post before opening the box office.

The bottles I have prepared will be a nice cool lunch and I have the nuts and seeds to chew on if I like.  I can also make up a hot green tea if I get the urge.  Tonight’s meal will either be another smoothie, maybe gazpacho, or a salad with beans, homemade picante, avocado, and the works, or maybe a fruit smoothie like last night.

Here are my recipes:

Standard green smoothie with fruit and seeds

  • handful of spinach and/or romaine lettuce
  • apple – quartered
  • orange – peeled
  • banana – peeled
  • chia seeds and flax seeds
  • water and ice

Throw the ingredients in the blender in this order and process until smooth!  Variations include adding some avocado for more good fat, using hemp seed, peanuts, or almonds, or adding frozen berries or fresh ones in season.

Here is my version of “Mean Green” check out “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead”  and Joe Cross’s juice recipe for my inspiration for this smoothie.

  • two big handfuls of kale
  • 1/2 large cucumber or 2 pickling cukes
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 1 half lemon – peeled
  • 1 granny smith apple – quartered
  • 1 big chunk of ginger root
  • water and ice

Put it all in the blender and blend until smooth.  If it is too thick then add water.  The resulting juice is a bit tart.  It is super high in micronutrients and makes you more awake than caffeine!

Posted in fasting, food issues, GMO, green smoothies, health, high fructose corn syrup, satvic, vegetarian, yoga | 2 Comments

Green Smoothie Fasting at the Prison Yoga Practice – getting the hang of it

Mmmm drinking green smoothies - at the Prison Yoga Practice

Mmmmm green smoothies

At first, we tried our favorite juice recipes as smoothies, but some of them did not taste very good!  We experimented around and found a few favorites.  Then we started to feel like we could work the blender and get out something predictable and edible.

I had to learn some new habits.  I had to have a way to carry my smoothies to work to have some for lunch.  A couple of two-quart bottles and a cooler took care of that.  I also stopped drinking coffee and have been drinking green tea.

I started to notice former food habits that tried to sneak back in.  Driveup windows could no longer provide acceptable items other than green tea, iced or hot.  Other than the smoothies, acceptable snack items were nuts, seeds, fruits, or vegetables.  Raw.  French fries no longer counted as members of the vegetable kingdom.  I did not view this as a set of rules to follow to play a game or to be correct, but rather a group of conditions that would correctly execute the experiment.  Each day was an experiment and I was trying to use all of my awareness to understand what the results were.

I started to notice the things people said that were not helpful:

  • “You should be careful.  You may not get enough protein.”
  • “You need to chew things or your gums will recede and your teeth will fall out.”
  • “Aren’t you losing weight too fast?”
  • “You aren’t going to get enough calcium without dairy products.”
  • “I just couldn’t do that.  I couldn’t give up my . . .”
  • “You’re still not eating solid food?”
  • “What does your doctor say?”
  • “(after seeing me eating peanuts)  Ah, so you’re off the diet, huh?”

There seemed to be quite a bit of resistance to this way of doing things, even if it was me doing this and not them.

Bela and I talked about it and we both decided to do it for a month and then check back and discuss it.  At one month, we decided to keep going.  We had settled into a routine with two dominant smoothies with a variety of others and minor variations.  Once a week or so we would go to Chipotle Grill and eat a salad loaded up with most of the toppings, but still avoiding grains.  Mine was veggie and Bela had some chicken on hers.  If we did not go there, we would make a similar salad at home.  The sour cream or greek yogurt and shredded cheese on these salads were the only dairy we had.

I started to notice an improved energy level.  At my Sunday yoga class at the prison, I no longer dreaded moving the tables and chairs in the room.  I used to wait until one of my class arrived to help, but now I cleared the room in less than ten minutes without even breathing hard.  One day, a client at the theatre followed me from the front door down through the depths to our business office for something and then back to the front door.  There are a lot of steps involved and when we got to the top, I noticed that she was winded and I had to slow down to let her rest.  She was thirty years younger than me!

I started to notice a quieter mind.  I teach meditation and meditate daily.  I am also in the habit of various mindfulness practices, and from time to time during the day take a read on my mental state.  I noticed that there were less intrusive thoughts, less mind chatter, a more quiet mind.  In the discussions of rajasic and tamasic foods, we mentioned that they both cause problems for the mind that affect the meditation.  Eating all satvic foods was having the expected effect.

I started to notice more flexibility, in part due to the weight loss.  This was obvious when teaching the weekly yoga class and in my personal practice.

My clothes  started to hang on me and I had to search for the smallest things in the closet.  I ran out of holes in my belt and got a smaller one.

At two months, we took another checkpoint.  We decided to keep going!  I seem to be only ten pounds from an ideal weight.

Next time – recipes

Posted in fasting, food issues, green smoothies, health, high fructose corn syrup, rajasic, satvic, sugar, tamasic, vegetarian | Leave a comment

Green Smoothie Fasting at the Prison Yoga Practice – how we started

Green Smoothies at the Prison Yoga Practice

Green Smoothies are made with fresh fruits and vegetables

When you hear the word fasting, you might think of denying yourself, going without, or feeling hungry.  Green smoothie fasting means making drinks with fresh fruits and vegetables and making them your primary diet.  By doing this, you are eliminating meat, dairy, grains, processed foods, high fructose corn syrup, and other things that are difficult for the body to process.  Fresh fruits and vegetables are satvic.  You do not have to restrict the amount of food you take in.

In this series on food, I am giving you things to think about.  I will refer to other sources and use my yoga training but am not giving medical advice. You need to take responsibility for your own health.  I recommend consulting your family doctor and getting support for any existing treatments if you start changing your diet.

My green smoothie fast started out as a juice fast.  Bela and I watched the movie “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead” and we both felt inspired by the tremendous health improvements people in the movie experienced.  We looked at each other and said, “Let’s do it!”  I got out my juicer that I had received as a Christmas gift and we went to the market and bought lots of produce.  We got info off the movie “Join the Reboot” web site and started making juice.  We felt kind of hungry but very alert.  Juicing seemed to give you loads of micronutrients but not much bulk.  On the third day, as I demonstrated the juicing to Bela’s son, the juicer ground to a halt while attempting to chew up a beet.  The motor was burned out.

We started looking for an affordable replacement to keep on track but Bela had reservations.  “I’m too hungry.”  “We keep throwing all the fiber away!”  So we discussed things and decided to get an industrial strength blender.  The blender was secured by midday and we were on to blending smoothies rather than juicing.

 

Posted in fasting, food issues, health, overweight, satvic, vegetarian | Leave a comment