Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Free Stuff - Some wisdom is free - Wayne Dyer

Lately, I've been feeling a bit stuck in a certain area of my life. So, I asked God/Spirit/Universal Consciousness (what ever you'd like to call it) to send me a teacher. The next day I awoke and realized that I had a number of books by Dr. Wayne Dyer that have been left only partially read. He's a wise fellow, and I admire him greatly. I picked one of his books and began to re-read it from the beginning. The next day there were 3 consecutive emails in my Inbox from various sources (none of them Wayne Dyer) advocating his new book, Change Your Thoughts - Change Your Life. I clicked on one of the links provided in these emails:

and felt an inner urge to buy this book. So, I did.
I had seen the book in the past, but it sounded like just another translation of the Tao Te Ching. I've already read a couple translations and didn't really want another. But somehow the timing and "coincidence" of it all, made me re-think things.

The link above offers some free stuff along with the purchase of the book. Supposedly, the offer runs out early August, so check it out if you're interested.

Best of luck to you and whatever you may ask for,

Monday, July 30, 2007

Ahimsa - Vegetarian

Basil: The smell, the smooth leaves, the taste, what's not to love? This wonderful herb is one of my favorites, with cinnamon coming in a close second.

Basil is one of joys of a Wisconsin summer and the recipes are endless. You can put basil on your scrambles eggs, in a salad, on a pizza, and, of course, the heavenly pesto sauce!

Over the weekend, my kids were thrilled to learn that Basil got it's name from the believe that this magical herb could protect you from the Basilisk, a fire-breathing dragon. Also, did you know that Basil was originally from India--not Italy?

In following with the first Yama in the Yoga Sutras, Ahimsa or Non-Violence, here is a vegetarian recipe using this fabulous spice. Use organic ingredients to stay even more with the idea of Ahimsa. This recipe is derived from my favorite cook book, Quick Vegetarian Pleasures, but with my own modifications.

Tortellini Tomato Pesto
1/3 c Toasted Pine Nuts
6 oz Tomato Paste (I love Muir Glen products)
1 c or more (I do love my basil) finely chopped basil
1/2 c Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 c Romano or other sharp hard cheese
2, or more if you're daring, cloves of Garlic
Salt to taste (optional)
Fresh ground Black Pepper
1 pound frozen Tortellinis

Boil the Tortellinis. While boiling, mix remaining ingredients in a bowl. Add a few tablespoons of the boiling pasta water to the mixture and stir. Drain tort's when done (after all of them are floating) and combine with sauce. Eat and enjoy!

Love Much,


Today is the first day of the rest of your life!

Friday, July 27, 2007

Women in India - Women Rights

Pratibha Patil was voted in last week as the first woman president of India.

This wondrous country that has brought Yoga to our world has come a long way through much sorrow and troubles.

To learn more about the history of women in India, check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women_in_India. And remember when you think things will never change, they just might anyway.

Love Much,


Today is the first day of the rest of your life!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Sexy Yoga ?

Check out the photo of Sean Corn at this link: http://www.yogajournal.com/views/2394_1.cfm. I'm all for helping out children with aids. A wonderful cause, no doubt about it. What draws my attention is the horrible posture that Ms Corn, world-famous Yogini, takes physically. I've seen this type of stance from her on many photos and I think it sets a very poor example for what Yoga can do for you.

Yoga can help with posture, hip problems, back problems, and so many other physical ailments. Why water this down in the name of "looking sexy?" Hasn't "sexy" caused a lot of problems for us? Don't get me started on high heel shoes or having to suck your belly in to look skinnier than any average body was meant to be!

Can't sexy be a glint in the eye? A Mona Lisa smile? A subtle wink? And nowhere in the Yoga texts does it talk about being sexy.

I personally like to feel sexy every now and then, but not when I'm publicly representing Yoga.

It's not just this one photo, either. There have been a number of erotic, or close to it, photos of this particular Yogini in various magazines. For example, in the Aug 2007 Yoga Journal on page 119, there she is again; nude with 2 other women. This ad is for women empowerment.

Call me a crazy, but I don't need to be naked and held tightly by another naked woman to feel empowered!

Love Much (even with your cloths on ;-),


Today is the first day of the rest of your life!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Worth - Finding it in a baby picture

You might wonder why the previous post had someone else's baby picture in it. I was planning on adding something about baby pictures specifically, but decided to separate these posts. Also, there were no digital photographs 40+ years ago.

Earlier this week, I suggested you put a picture of yourself on an alter. This idea was passed on to me from Todd Norian, a very heartfelt and wonderful man.

Another photographic technique that Todd used to reach in a little deeper, involved baby pictures. At one of his trainings a couple of years ago, he had the group (40 of us) really look at our baby pictures. Not each others, just our own. Then he played "You Are So Beautiful" and asked us to sing along to our baby pictures. There was not a dry eye in the place.

That same baby picture I used that day, is still on my alter and whenever I feel like giving up or following a paycheck instead of a dream, I look at this photo taken over 40 years ago. How can I give up on such a wonderful and beautiful baby? How can I settle for less? She deserves my best, and I'm doing my best to fulfill that.

Love Much,


Today is the first day of the rest of your life!

Monday, July 23, 2007


No, this isn't me. Pretty cute, though. The photo is complements of Wikipedia.

A couple of years ago at a Yoga Teacher Training with Todd Norian, one of our homework assignments was to place a picture of ourselves on an alter used for Yoga practice. This seemed egotistical and odd to me. After a couple of weeks, I finally found a photo to use that didn't have other people in it. At that time, other items on the alter included a statue of Buddha and a framed card of Saraswati.

As I paid homage to these great deities and what they stood for, I was humbled to see my own self amongst them. As tears trickled down my face, I began to understand at a deeper level that if we are all connected (which I adamantly believe and science backs up) that I, too, am Buddha. I am Saraswati.

This brought more meaning to my practice and my life. So, find a photo. Place it in an area with other figures that are meaningful to you and see what happens. It just might surprise you.

Love Much,


Today is the first day of the rest of your life!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

What will they think up next!

Doga. Yes, Yoga for your dog.....


Love Much,


Today is the first day of the rest of your life!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Buzzing - The Voice of God?

The gentle flowing movements of the asana practice begin to cool down. My heart rate slows and the rhythm of me breath deepens as it fills every cell of my being. Finally, after twisting, turning, and seeing the world upside down, it is time to rest. This final rest prepares me for the icing on the cake, pranayama and meditation.
To merge with the vastness of the Universe. To hear the voices of angels. Nadi Shodhana brings balance to my energy and mind. At last, meditation is not sought after. Rather it spontaneously emerges from the silence that has been cultivated over the past hour or two.
As I sit in this state of bliss and knowing, I hear a humming in my inner ear. Many teachers have told me this is the Universal energy buzzing, and only at such a deep place can it be heard. Have a reached Nada? Am I hearing the sound that cannot be heard?
Excitement fills my body. I decide to check on this experience from one more teacher, Doug Keller. My respect and admiration for this kind, gentle, and brilliant teacher is why I turn to him.
It takes a few weeks, but Mr. Keller responds. Alas, the humming I hear is not nada, or the voice of God, it's tinnitus!
Well, I might not have heard the Universal energy buzzing through me, but I have found a wonderful teacher of both the physical, mental, and spiritual :-)

Love Much,


Today is the first day of the rest of your life!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Peace - Can't we all just get along?

Two beautiful creatures. Both cute. Both small and furry. Yet, getting along can be a challenge.

The other day, Pippin, the 2.5 year old Daschund pictured above, was outside romping freely about the front yard. His nose began to twitch, as it often does, and he was on a mad chase of some new scent. My son continued to shoot hoops in the driveway, not thinking much of it.

Suddenly, I heard Jake, my youngest boy, scream out, "Stop, Pippin! Stop it!" I tear outside to find 3 bloody baby rabbits spewed around the yard.

This is not the first time that we've found Pip going after and eventually eating creatures that take refuge in our lawn. These wild animals welcome a yard that has many hiding spots and minimal, if any, pesticides. Out back there is even a deck for them to take cover from the rain or larger predators.

However, there's no hiding from the keen nose of a Daschund, and he happily chases his prey under the deck much to my chagrin.

As I loudly scolded my loving puppy, my heart was torn. Daschunds were breed for 100's, if not 1000's of years, to hunt small mammals. The eating them part, I'm not so sure about, but the hunting is part of who he is.

How can I scold or show anger at someone simply being who they are? My thoughts of non-violence (ahimsa, the first yama in the Yoga Sutras) are different than his.

My heart insists on trying to save these poor bitten up bunnies and my disappointment in Pippin is easily seen. At the same time, I feel love and confusion towards my dog. He is only doing what is instinctual to him. Feelings of sorrow and responsibility for the wild critters, weighs heavily as well.

I try to taper my frustration with him. Struggling to show him that I love him and yet this act of killing is not condoned.

To act as peacefully as I am able, and yet to not judge another's actions.

I realize he's just a dog, but this same lesson applies to anyone. Doesn't it? To act in a way that I believe is loving and to voice that (like teaching my dog that killing critters around our home is not such a hot idea), but to still love people (like the certain politicians) that act in a way that I don't condone. Ah, the lessons from a dog.

“Peace is not something you wish for; It's something you make, Something you do, Something you are, And something you give away.” - Robert Fulghum

Love Much,


Today is the first day of the rest of your life!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Pause - A personal post

Did you ever just have a sucky day? Things not going right? Doubt creeping in about what you're doing with your life and the direction your heading?

That just about describes my day earlier this week. Overall, I'm a positive person and pretty good at finding the silver lining in just about anything. Not 2 days ago.

Words came out of my mouth that would make a sailor more comfortable than a devoted Yogini. Tears streamed; emotions and doubts came flying out.

This is not my usual state, but these feelings needed to come out, and that was that.

Overall, I'm a disciplined and hard-working type, but yesterday I enjoyed the nice weather. Weeds were pulled, bushes trimmed, and the dog walked. All before breakfast. I skipped my usual morning Hatha practice and didn't even sit for a formal meditation. A welcome break from a disciplined routine.

The air was crisp, the soil fertile, and the puppy happy.

This morning's practice, I set an intention to see things differently. Inversions, naturally, followed. Between more intense asanas and anytime prior to a headstand, I take time to rest. TKV Desikachar recommends in the middle of an asana practice to "rest awhile in savasana". These are mini-rest, not the final savasana deep relaxation. Just enough to release tension and enter the next asana with calmness and steadiness--sthira.

For some reason, today it occurred to me this was the new perspective that I needed. In my practice I had realized and valued mini-rests, but throughout the day I had strived to learn more and be my best all the time. Frankly, it's exhausting!

Today, I allow the rests to come between each activity. These are not deep sleeping states or times with no awareness. They are mini-rests, each one unique. Perhaps, a stroll in the sunlight, writing a letter, or even doing the dishes. No stress of planning for the future or trying so hard to "be my best."

As Abe Lincoln said,
"The best thing about the future is that it comes only one day at a time.”

Love Much,


Today is the first day of the rest of your life!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Snap Crackle Pop - Knees

Is it just me, or do we all creak and pop more as we age? One of the most frequent questions I get is "Why do my knees crack?" When doing shoulder circles, it's like a symphony of snaps, crackles, and pops.

What's up with this? Is it dangerous? Is it just what happens as we grow older and wiser?

I'm not a doctor and if you are really concerned, there is a snapping sound, or you experience any pain at all, then I'd suggest seeing one. With that said, here's what I found:

Crackling Knees
* A weak adductor (inner thigh) causes the knee to misalign and crunch or crack.
* Arthritis or damage to the knee cap.
* Your getting older and hopefully wiser.

Clicking Knees
* Possible problem with the meniscus.

Popping Shoulders
* Scar tissue being rubbed upon and thus broken down some. Aadil Palkhivala says, "If it doesn't hurt, keep going."
* Humerus (upper arm bone) coming in and out of the socket. (Now there's a lovely thought.)

Cracking Joints
* Gas escaping from the fluid in the joint.
* Tendons or ligaments snapping back into place.
* Arthritis

Most of these issues can be alleviated with proper alignment and keeping enough fat in your diet to help lubricate the joints. My knees used to crack whenever I'd squat even with proper alignment. Based off an article in Yoga International (now Yoga Plus), I added Ghee (clarified butter) to my diet and the cracking went away.

Recently, Rod Stryker said, "If you do shoulderstand towards the end of your practice, then you don't have enough time to counter its effects on the neck. Notice if your neck cracks a lot. If it does, put headstand and shoulderstand in the middle of your practice and see if the cracking stops." He believes this cracking is a warning sign of arthritis yet to come.

So, why do we snap, crackle, and pop? Should we be concerned?

Reasons vary. If you hurt, see a medical professional. Work with proper alignment and use Yoga to find a balance of strength and flexibility surrounding the joint. Eat a healthy diet, and consider adding Ghee.

Have a healthy day,
Love Much,


Today is the first day of the rest of your life!

Monday, July 9, 2007

Vacation - Healing - They go hand in hand

Did you ever have a wonderful massage, wonderful dinner out, or awesome Yoga practice and feel this sense of peace and relaxation? A bit more expensive and time consuming, but that's what a vacation does for me in the ultimate sense.

Time on the mat and meditating is like a mini-vacation. A Yoga practice can be a brief time to stop the external world and focus on just being. It's a time to breath, center, and remember what's important in our lives.

The last 2 weeks have provided me with a wonderful road trip through Pennsylvania, Washington DC, Virginia, North Carolina, and Kentucky. Only a few formal meditations and one Hatha practice made it into my days. My practice was to truly be present and absorb everything around me.

It was great! Even if you love what you do, the sense of freedom and just loving life is awesome. No laundry, no phone calls, no email, nothing but exploring new places, foods, and people.

One of our stops was in Black Mountain, North Carolina. There were a number of neat shops. I'm not much of a "shopper", but the people that were in this small town of about 7000 were interesting, friendly, and down-to-earth. In one of the shops, New Earth , the gal working there was talking about how important it is that each of us accept responsibility for our own healing. Caroline Myss has talked about this as well, saying that healing modalities such as acupuncture, massage, crystals, etc are all fine, but you have to have our prana, life force, in us.

In her audio book, Why Don't People Heal, Myss says, "We lose life force to our past, leaving less for our present life.... We need 80-85% of our prana in present time to create what happens in our life.... To use spirit to create and heal, it must be in the now." I believe that Yoga can help you bring your spirit to the now, using Myss's jargon, but no teacher can force that to happen. In the end, it's up to each of us to direct and guide our own prana.

That night, after chatting with the gal from New Earth and thinking about healing, this is what I wrote. (Please, understand, this is not poetry or an attempt to be grammatical in any way. What follows are thoughts that flowed in and around my mind as I journaled.)

Crystals. Vibrations. All around.
Pains. Aches. All abound.

Heal thyself. Look within.
Remember. Remember. Look within.

Teach. Learn.
Teacher. Student.
What is the relationship?
How does it operate?

Teacher. Healer.
Healer within. Teacher without.
How can this be?
Is the teacher me?

Connection is the answer.
Heal thyself.
The answer lies within.

The teacher guides,
and sees the student's own healer.

The teacher and healer do not actually heal!
Yes, this is true. Do not be shocked or run away.
Just pause to listen to this new way.

The student is lost.
Searching for aid.
The teacher or healer
is who they pay.

Now listen close,
as the wisdom,
the secret
is told.
The teacher doesn't fix you,
even when you're old.

The teacher sees
the healer in you.
They suggest, teach, and guide
to show you your within.

From here it is all up to you!
Yes, it's true!

YOU are the healer.
The only one that can banish the pain.
If YOU don't participate,
then all the teaching will be in vain!

So, go to your teachers and healers too,
listen and learn.
Use what they say,
and remember, in the end, it's all up to you!

Success or failure.
Pain or health.
It's all up to you.
Now. What are you going to do?

Love Much,


Today is the first day of the rest of your life!