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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:
Life is good. As free, joyful, and creative expressions of the One, we are blessed to be embodied in this life. Life is a magnificent gift of the Divine, not some sort of karmic punishment, nor something we need to transcend. Indeed, it is through our limited physical form that we are able to experience our Unlimited Being.
India! How can one begin to describe the experience of two weeks in this challenging, energetic and sacred land? Eight adventurous students, plus my husband, John, daughter Kate and I, embarked on our second Yoga Pilgrimage to the foothills of the Himalayas in December 2007.
Landing in the New Delhi airport after a 16-hour flight, we were immediately confronted with new and strange sights, sounds and smells. With our large bags stuffed into and on top of the small taxis, we were driven to a Delhi hotel for our first night in India.
Warm your heart with the softness of a loving thought for billions of years of peace, prosperity and bliss for our children's children. Praise and bless them as peaceful, loving and evolved beings who live in an enlightened and sustainable society. This loving thought will make it so!
If you've been following the news, you know last week's massive, peaceful demonstrations protesting the Burma/Myanmar dictatorship have been followed by severe repression and brutality. Reports of possibly 200 monks being killed in retaliation cannot be verified or confirmed, because of the media blackout and military crackdown. They were heard by a Burmese army major, Major Win, who defected because he did not want to be part of killing civilians and monks. But certainly the death count is higher than the official government count of 9 people.
During the time I write this, it is Thanksgiving, a time of thankfulness. I don't think we stop enough to remember how blessed we are. We (assuming this email goes out to residents of the US) are so privileged, it is really amazing. We have access to clean water, food anytime anywhere, I cannot remember ever knowing someone who truly was hungry, ever! From a yogic standpoint, perhaps we are all souls who chose this time (20th century) and this place (good ole USA) to grow closer to God. How can we remember to do that when abundance is shoved down our throats? We can make small changes in our purchases, our choices, our words.
OK, everyday is mother's day, please don't get so affected by Hallmark's marketing and propaganda, and if you do cave in and buy something, try to make it a sustainable, conscious, earth-friendly purchase (hint: massage gift certificate! yoga workshop!).
A good friend of mine (and revered yoga master) recently suggested that we adjust our students like they were our mothers, (not friends, siblings, or lovers). This was to encourage a neutrality and gentleness to the hands-on adjustment, so it is never done without awareness.
Introduction
Being optimists, it important to look into our lives and our history with a clear and balanced view. This means seriously considering what is happening around us and what those elements are, that have brought us to the dire consequences that we face today as an entire species. Why are we in the mess we are in? How do we get past this global dilemma?
The word individual means undividable. Therefore we are all in this together, yet, each of us is responsible for our place in the circle of life. It's a wonderful thing to know that we are all contributors to the whole, simply by way of discovering and enlivening our humane values.
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.
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?
Greetings from Denver, where life is hot, busy, and good. The city is teeming with visitors from all over the world; and if there is anywhere that needs yoga right now, this is certainly it!
I just finished my third raw chocolate and superfoods truffle here at the Huffington Post Oasis at Denver's National Convention.
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.
Here's a delicious and refreshing summer treat. While it's dairy and sugarfree, it's certainly high in the yum factor.
Peel and freeze very ripe bananas in a plastic freezer bag. (Very ripe banana skins have no green, they have black or brown marks all over, and the stem is brown or snaps back effortessly.) Freeze a minimum of 8 hours. Depending upon your freezer, it may take at least 12 hours.
Place in a food processor, Champion Juicer or Green Star Juicer, using the blank plate. 1 to 2 bananas is a normal serving. If you using a blender or processor, use a little fruit or berry juice.
The summer after I graduated from college I headed off to fulfill a dream -- I traveled solo through Europe for two months. Sauntering on Parisian streets; sipping vino in Italy; snuggling under down comforters in Switzerland and Austria; and noshing on pastries in Belgium, and Prague -- I was finally free of all the obligations that my schooling had entailed and was embarking on the path of my adult life.
At least that's how things seemed on the outside.
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.
The last time we checked in we were in India in the last quarter of the 18th century, with the British East India Company (EIC) serving as much of the country's governing body. Unfortunately for India, like most businesses-except Piedmont Yoga of course-the EIC was in business to make money, and when that aim conflicted with good government-surprise!-making money won out. When a severe drought hit India and food shortages threatened, despite plenty of early warnings the EIC sat on its collective hands and did nothing...nothing that is except allow merchants to RAISE the price of foodstuffs, thereby exacerbating an already catastrophic situation. The result was predictable: uncounted millions of Indians died of starvation.
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.
Is each individual on Earth responsible for their own life experience? Or are other people to blame when they are angry, tired, tedious, envious, rude, selfish and just down right mean? How do you make space for other people's roll through the rollercoaster ride of life when it bumps right up against your happy day at the park?
The days are steadily growing longer and warmer, and the      nights are gradually losing their chill.  Coming out of a long,  cold winter, many of us are finding our energy levels rising  and our calendars growing busier.  It seems that every week  there is a different festival or other opportunity to get outside  and enjoy the spring breezes and birdsong.  There are so  many exciting events and projects happening that it can be a  challenge to find enough energy for it all.
Last week, Southern Baptist Minister Albert Mohler made headlines when he charged that yoga is incompatible with the Christian faith.  At first my reaction was, perhaps, predictably cynical.  Being from the South, I'm not surprised that a literalist view of the Bible would preclude the teachings of yoga.
After reading his full essay, I think there's definitely food for thought for anyone practicing yoga and especially for anyone teaching yoga. The question is:  do you know what you're doing and why you're doing it when you step onto your mat?
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.
Tapas is the individual process of intense, self imposed purification. Tapas is a burning desire for spiritual development—an intense faith that cultivates endurance, willpower and fortitude.
One of the literal translations of tapas is heat or fire. There is no greater purifier than fire. Fire removes the impurities and allows the golden radiance of what is true to remain, unclouded and unmasked.
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.
Saucha is perfect purity in body, thought and action—internal and external cleanliness. Internally, saucha allows the mind and body to be free of all impurities so that they may reflect the highest spiritual truth.
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).
Transcribed & edited from a talk given by Bo Lozoff in Costa Mesa CA, in March, 2006
This idea of being at home wherever we are, like virtually every other part of our spiritual journey, has a lot to do with faith. It's easy to say "I'm a person of faith." But what does it mean to us in a practical way? How does it affect our experiences and our state of mind all through the day? Are we just using empty words when we talk about faith? Do we put any time into it? We may believe in food, but we still have to take the time to eat!
Dear Family,
There are times in our lives when our problems seem so overwhelming we don't have any idea what to do next in any significant way - how to change our lives, how to address the biggest problems, how to heal the damage between us and our loved ones, how to motivate ourselves to even get out of bed to tackle each new day. Our prayers may be sincere but we may not be hearing any answers. We don't understand the Big Plan a loving God may have for why our lives are so hard, and we just don't have a clue as to what to do next.
On June 17th, 1744, the commissioners from Maryland and Virginia negotiated a treaty with the Indians of the Six Nations at Lancaster, Pennsylvania. The Indians were invited to send their boys to William and Mary College. The next day they declined the offer as follows:
In the past several months as I've been speaking across the country, many people have approached me and asked with some degree of excitement in their voices, "Bo, have you seen The Secret yet? Oh, you'll love it! It will change the world! Let people know about this!"
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.
Green Yoga
I have mentioned before that I lost my mother at an young age. It was a devastating time to lose her, but from my perspective, any time is devastating. In an ideal world, your mother is the one who is there to pick you up when you fall and tell you that everything is going to be all right. She is your biggest fan and she is always looking out for what is best for you. I know this is the ideal and even those of you whose mother is alive and well, did not have this experience. But what if we could turn this around and treat each other with the kindness of the archetypal mother?
It's not too late to start over! Did you rise on January 1, 2012! with the best of intentions and then life just started to take over and you lost some steam? This is just a reminder that you can start your new year over anytime you want! In fact, it may feel more authentic to you to take this time now between the full moon and the upcoming new moon to reset your intentions. This is when the Chinese New Year is celebrated on the first new moon of the year.
After a very powerful ceremony a few days ago, I woke up thinking of this blessing for Thanksgiving. Hold Hands. Close your Eyes. Take a couple of deep breaths and drop the weight down into your feet. Feel your place on the ground. Give Thanks for the solid foundation on the earth and for this physical structure surrounding you; This beautiful home; a place for families to gather.
We have FOUR events to attend over the next 36 hours! This is how my very social new married family rolls, but it is important for me to have a plan in place so I can enjoy myself physically and emotionally during this busy time.�Â�  So what is my plan of attack to survive this holiday with grace? 1. Exercise - Our families live just blocks from the Atlantic Ocean and I can never keep myself away while I am home. I plan to take several walks on the beach over the next 3 days. (And there are several little furry friends who can join me.) I will walk tomorrow morning and since I can walk to my parents house from my in-laws house I will walk to and from Thanksgiving Dinner. How cool!
"Good things come to those who wait, but often as a result of those who hustle."
~ A Taste of China Fortune Cookie
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.
As I mentioned before, I have fasted for 7 - 14 days with NO food or even fruit juice at all. So cleansing and eliminating while still being able to eat some of my favorite foods makes me grateful. During the fasts at the Samui Dharma Healing Center we spent most of our days in classes and we talked a great deal about food and food combining. We even spend a day in the kitchen learning how to make delicious raw vegan treats. It is a bit tortuous to talk about food so often while you know you cannot have any of it.
Yesterday turned out to be a relatively difficult day for me. And as difficult as it may have been it made complete sense, because we use food and drugs, like sugar, caffeine, and alcohol to escape from many of the feelings we feel. Organic Whole Food is a medicine. It nourishes, cleanses and heals. If you eat a bag of grapes, it may give you a bit of a sugar rush, but overall it will have a cleansing effect. Processed Food acts as a way to numb you out. When you are cleansing you are confronted with the real you. You can no longer use food as an excuse to socialize and "Do something". I realized that I often use food to get out of my daily routine and have fun.
Nature's Sunshine Herbal Products is a company I have grown to know and trust. It is important to find companies that make sense to you and that you wish to support. ( For Bulk Herbs, I love Mountain Rose Herbs ). After my first cleanse, I came across a small herb shop in Charlottesville, Virginia run by Terry Saunders. She offers free classes on cleansing and after attending one of her classes I purchased Clean Start for my next cleanse. It is a combination of herbal capsules and an herbal detox drink. It is an all in one 2 week cleanse which I have used since that fateful day in 2002.
My first cleanse was dogmatic, rigid and spartan. I appreciated learning this way because it gave me a reference point. What is the most strict way to cleanse and still survive? I was prepared for it, however. I was expecting it to be strict and I wanted it to be strict. I think it is important to learn the purist view before experimenting with what works for you on an individual basis. The first fast I experienced was under the care and tutelage of Hillary Adrian, Director of the Samui Dharma Healing Center. I traveled to study with her 4 times to cleanse for 8, 7, 10 and 14 days respectively.
Tomorrow I enter what I consider to the be the second half of my life. I will be halfway to seventy. Not that I think I will die at the young age of 70, but I might, and I want to feel like I have accomplished everything by 70. I hope to be able to enjoy my senior years with my family, students and sangha. I am thankful that I have found yoga and nutrition so early in life. I know this relationship to health has been integral in my life for the past 10 years and will continue to be ingrained in my soul for the rest of my days.
Like many Sanskrit words in the Yoga lexicon, the word guru has both a literal and symbolic meaning. Literally it means "heavy, weighty; heavy in the stomach (as food), difficult to digest; excessive, difficult, hard; important, serious, momentous; valuable, highly prized; venerable, respectable." The guru is the venerable "weighty one," heavy with wisdom, that's both highly prized but at times difficult to digest, often because teaching seems to contradict everything we hold true, or because we're told things about ourselves we don't especially want to hear.
I always heard that people start to get allergies as they age and I all but prided myself on being such a picture of health that I "did not have allergies". But a young healthy woman in her teens and twenties SHOULD be healthy and free from allergies, right? This is the prime of your life. Honestly, if you want better health as you age, you must claim it for Yourself. Health is not something that is handed out to anyone on a Silver Platter.
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!

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