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Journal Post

  Good health and happiness are our birthright. Don’t trade it away.   According to Yoga sages, the three main causes of disease are stress, toxins, and bad eating habits.

Here are some good eating habits advised by the sages:
Let's be sensible about eating and fasting.
Samtosha is the Sanskrit term for contentment - it is one of the guidelines of a Yogi seeking union with God. On a daily basis, there are a million opportunities for me to practice this, (enough to eat, enough sleep, enough this, enough that, enough). But there are some bigger feeling events happening that challenge my ability to find contentment as easily as I do when I stop eating when I am full, (instead of cleaning the plate).
Yoga as Usual in the Oasis
I almost forgot to brush my teeth this morning. Dishes are piling up in my sink; and for the first time in a long while, I didn't make my bed today.
Clearly, despite my best attempts to stay grounded, the DNC frenzy is having its way with me.
While this week has been electrifying, intense, and deeply inspiring, I will be happy to return to real life tomorrow. Simple acts like eating breakfast at home and sitting on my own meditation cushion (rather than the seat of the BX bus) seem like long-lost friends at this point. A lot has happened in four days.
Your stomach is growling as you try to hold off from eating until yoga class is over - two hours from now. If you don't eat anything before class, you might keel over mid-Sun Salutation. If you do eat something, you'll wish you hadn't the moment you spring into Handstand. What's a hungry yogi to do?
We can all relate to eating from a paper bag in the car during rush-hour traffic or gobbling down a snack bar while running to catch the train. Nowadays, it is easy to neglect the sacredness of our food. But the quality of foods that you eat, and the attention that you give to the act of eating, deeply affect your health and consciousness.
To ensure both peace of mind and a strong immune system through the winter months, find ways to connect and harmonize with your surroundings now. One of the best ways to do this is by eating foods that are in season. Every single food that exists-from a coffee bean to an ear of corn-has a precise medicinal effect to assist the body's equilibrium as we pass from season to season.
Food is not who you are. It is a way you communicate with the world. You express things through food, through eating, like you do through any art form, but it nevertheless is not who you are at your deepest essence. Your eating habits are merely habits, not your life or your vitality, though they may seriously enhance your life, your energy levels and your overall health.
Asteya may be achieved through simple living. Steya (stealing) is the result of the inability to control desires for sense-pleasures. Desire is the root-cause for all stealing. When the mind and senses seek enjoyment, thoughts of theft arise as a means of obtaining and satisfying those desires. Desires lend an imaginary attractiveness to the object sought, slaying discrimination, and soon destroy the Yogi’s ethical foundation.
Stealing can occur on many levels. You may steal knowledge, without asking permission to use someone else’s ideas or forms of expression. Overeating or waste is stealing. Taking over a conversation or taking someone’s privacy is stealing.
From the Preface His Holiness Sri Yogi Dharma Mittra is a precious gem and a jewel among the highest and most exalted Yogis of time immemorial. For decades, seekers who wish to awaken to the Supreme Self through the Holy science of Yoga have turned to Dharma. In Sri Dharma, all aspirants find a remarkable simplicity and complete humility—a true friend to all and the most shining example of living Yoga.
Brahmacharya is not merely the life of celibacy and spiritual study, but the purification of all the senses. The practice of brahmacharya is the vow of abstinence for all sense objects, in particular mentally. Overeating, oversleeping, overtalking and dwelling on, or longing for sense objects are all breaks in brahmacharya. Purity and freedom from lust in thought, word and deed is an essential part of the vow, however. It is freedom from sexual thoughts and sexual urges.
For over 40 years, legendary and humble yoga Master Sri Dharma Mittra has been promoting a live food diet to students around the world. A Disciple of Sri Swami Kailashananda, Dharma Mittra has spent his life in service to humanity, and has been personally responsible for the advancement of healthy living through a live diet as taught to him by his own Guru, Yogi Gupta. From his days in the Ashram, preparing live food and juices for the Guru and Ashram residents, to his earliest days in the 1970’s as a celebrated teacher in NYC, sprouting almonds and juicing vegetables and fruits for his students, this saintly Yogi has been living and spreading the knowledge of a live diet long before it gained the popularity of today.
You can tell alot about a person through the food they eat. The choices we make about food begins to show what a person thinks about herself, her environment, her body, even her beliefs. For instance, Yoga Teacher = Vegetarian. Right?  It turns out, not as often as you'd think. I for one,  did not become a vegetarian for "yogic" reasons, nor because of PETA ads, nor did I harbor a particularly large sentiment for the animals we eat (that all came later).
Dear Family,
In the ancient Hindu epic The Ramayana, there's a passage where Rama, a young prince who is actually God born as a human being, is supposed to be made King the next day, and his people are the happiest people in the world because they love him so much. There's a classic line in this part of the story that I have remembered so many times in my life - "Many things can go wrong in the dark night before a King is made." How true!
Many of us complain about how hard it is to start doing daily meditation or yoga, or to quit smoking or lying or biting our nails or masturbating or any number of things connected to "turning over a new leaf." We may make solemn resolutions, but within a short time we often find everything is back to the way it was. Then we gradually become cynical and conclude that we may as well give up; that "we'll never change."
Vow practice is more formal than making verbal resolutions. Most of us at Human Kindness Foundation work with vow practice and we have found it extremely helpful for making real and lasting changes.
Learning to decipher what is important in life is a key ingredient in creating a life of happiness, balance, and joy, and yoga trains us how to do this. Students usually come to yoga first for the physical benefits, although it soon becomes apparent that yoga has profound effects on the psyche as well. Yoga teaches focus and concentration, and over time these skills have the effect of reducing mental clutter. In class, for instance, instructors draw students' attentionto the specific muscles and actions that are important in doing a particular pose. An
often overlooked benefit of a home practice is that students begin to make these choices for themselves.
Yoga offers us a fascinating lens through which to view our lives. Yoga philosophy tells us that the core of our being is conscious pulsating energy. This reality is hidden from us by five layers, or sheaths, called koshas, that are made up of increasingly finer grades of energy. The outer layer is the densest and is made up of matter. The other sheaths are energy states, invisible to the physical eye, although as we develop greater sensitivity we can become aware of their presence. To live a fully balanced and healthy life, yoga urges us to keep each layer strong and healthy through various yoga practices. From the yoga perspective the game of life is to penetrate these cloaks, so that our true nature can be revealed.
Most people know yoga as a physical exercise system that increases flexibility and teaches them how to relax. However, yoga is a comprehensive discipline that encompasses principles for living in the world and practices to deepen spiritual life, in addition to achieving physical well-being. Yoga is a nourishing practice on all levels!
Green Yoga
Today I am feeling hungover, even though I have not had an alcoholic drink for at least six months. This hangover is the result of my indulgence in cake and coffee after 10pm last night as part of my birthday celebration. Kathleen Maier, Director of Sacred Plant Traditions, purports that the medical traditions recognized hangovers long before the prevalence of alcohol over-consumption. These hangovers, while intensified by a heavy night of alcoholic drinking, can also take place when the liver is simply overtaxed with its job of detoxifying the body.
Typically when eliminating or cutting down on foods from your diet, cleansing will help get you to your ideal weight. Whether this is your intention or not, this is generally what occurs. After almost two weeks of cleansing, I noticed ( and so have others ) that I have become lighter. This can be attributed to being more careful about the amount of food as well as the type of food in the diet. In my cleanse, I have eliminated wheat, soy and dairy. These foods are "damp" in the Chinese Medical Philosophy. They are Kapha as described in the Indian Ayurvedic Philosophy, meaning they are heavy, cold and wet.
I spent a great deal of time cooking for my herbal medicine class this week and last night I just wanted to go out to dinner, but options are REALLY limited when not eating cheese or wheat. We also live out in the country where we are limited by our restaurant choices as well. This is fine because I generally prefer to eat my own food. Every once in a while it is pleasant to eat somewhere else, but I am reminded that it not the case when cleansing. During a cleanse it is encouraged to prepare your own food.
In looking for some inspiration for writing this newsletter, I did not have to do much more than walk outside. It is amazing how beautiful and wonderful the world is, especially in the springtime after a long cold winter. It was not that long ago when people depended on new shoots and leaves of spring as the first fresh food since at least the Winter Solstice. IMAGINE if you HAD TO wait until the middle of March to eat fresh greens!
From Vasant Lad's Yoga Journal Post: Unusual mental or physical exertion, stress, and lack of sleep can make people tired. Prevention in these cases simply requires self-observation. Sometimes it means not pushing the body and mind beyond its limits. Other times it means walking or doing some physical work to help increase the body's energy level.
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