Everything Flows Onward

finding my dharma. living my dharma.

Late Summer Playlist July 23, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jenny @ 6:52 am

I thought about posting this before, and then when the wonderful @cupcakemafia did it, I decided to go on ahead and follow her lead.

I love good music for yoga practice and when I teach I try to make playlists that inspire grace, movement and flow. This is by far my best play list yet (in my opinion) and I’ve even had students tell me so! Alors, I decided to share it with you all.

Volià my late summer yoga class playlist:

1. Om Namah Shivayah (ft. Bhagavan Das) by MC Yogi

2. Om by The Moody Blues

3. How Deep is Your Love by The Bird and the Bee

4. She Moves in Her Own Way by The Kooks

5. Love is My Religion by Ziggy Marley

6. For the Widows in Paradise by Sufjan Stevens

7. Your Hand in Mine by Explosions in the Sky

8. People Should Smile More by Newton Faulkner *

9. True Love Leaves No Traces by Leonard Cohen

10. Live is Wonderful by Jason Mraz

11. Back to Where I Was by Eric Hutchinson

12. One Step Closer to You by Michael Franti & Spearhead

13. Remember Me as a Time of Day by Explosions in the Sky

14. Ha-tha (Sun Meets Moon- Sixth Chakra or Third-Eye) by Chinmaya Dunster

15. Breathing-Prana (Third Chakra or Hara) by Chinmaya Dunster

The last two songs come from an album called Yoga on Sacred Ground and each song plays to/ is meant to awaken a particular chakra, which is why I like to play them at the end of class for deep relaxation and Pranayama (respectively).

I’m working on a new playlist right now so I can incorporate a great artist I met at a house concert last night named Jonathan Stark. He’s ridiculously talented, has a beautiful voice and lyrics to match. It will probably also include a tune or two from my good friend Eric (and his band The Apprentice)**, just to give you a little sneak peek.

*Class favorite

**The Apprentice (band name came about BEFORE Donald Trump’s stupid show…) can be found/purchased on iTunes and highly encourage you to take a listen. They are a wonderfully inspiring, thoughtful group of musicians and I can’t say enough about how much I enjoy their music. Songs that they are best known for include: Be My Home, We Were Just Eighteen and my personal faves also include Disease and Riverside.

 

New Eyes July 17, 2009

I can’t remember when I decided to go vegetarian. How long has it been now? I think I gave meat up back in March. It’s hard to say because it was all such a natural progression and there has been no struggle that I really can’t remember when I made the switch. Hmmm…

Well anyway. The next phase of my journey is here and now. From the beginning, I had wanted to go vegan, but I recognized however many months ago that doing so would mean taking a leap so big, one which I would not successfully be able to jump. So I settled with vegetarianism, despite the fact that there was a nagging in the back of my mind saying, “This isn’t enough.” I couldn’t truly justify giving up only the flesh of an animal, yet still consume milk and eggs and other by-products that I knew full well weren’t procured in a humane fashion.

But again, I knew I couldn’t sustain a vegan diet immediately. So I let it stay in the back of my mind and continued to occasionally consume eggs, cheese, yogurt and even some seafood. Until I came across this link. After clicking around and watching their slide shows here, I knew it was time. I had a strong hold on my vegetarianism. I had a strong reason for doing what I was doing. And now, it was staring me in the face. The time to go vegan was upon me. I was so disturbed. I couldn’t watch those clips, read that information, and go back to doing what I was doing. There were no more excuses.

Now comes a time of transition for me. A time for new awareness. The biggest thing I realize is that becoming vegan is not only going to change my habits, but change my life. This is a commitment, this is now a defining part of who I am, because it affects so many areas in my life. What I eat, what I wear… I even find myself conflicted at work now as I go through gallon upon gallon of milk to serve in peoples’ lattes day in and day out. I love my job and I am nowhere near even considering quitting, partly because I can’t do without the checks. But how long before it becomes too much to support?

The fact is, I have to look at life through new eyes now. Animal by-products are all over the place, in more than just our food. I have to see everything for what it truly is. I have to stay informed. I have to do my research. I have to be able to back myself up, because already, I have taken some slack for making the switch. There’s only one thing I’d like to say about this, and then I intend never to address it again unless pushed to do so.

Going vegan is MY decision for MYSELF. While it is now something that I will reflect upon often, think about even more and incorporate into the core of my being, I have no intentions of trying to persuade anyone else to do the same. Similarly, I am not out to act pretentious or holier-than-thou by talking about this as much as I probably will be doing. This is a journey of the self. I will judge no one who does not subscribe to the same philosophy as me. I know what does not sit well with MYSELF. So I can only hope that as I respect the decisions of others, so may my decisions be respected, too. And that’s all I’ve got to say about that.

Now, on the issue of health. This is not research left undone either. I do recognize that I will have to be very careful on this journey, to make sure that I stay healthy and receive all the best nutrition I can give myself. Fortunately, after going vegetarian I started a regular vitamin routine, and there are only 2 other vitamins recommended for vegans that I will need to add into my system. In my commitment to ahimisa (non-harming), I am including myself. I will not undertake this new lifestyle at the sake of my well-being.

Having made this decision truly puts my soul into a new place of ease. This is the right choice for me. I feel as though I am connecting to my authentic self. This is the true journey I am on, the journey of living authentically.

As I go through my days, my studies, my inquiries, I continue to discover my dharma. To connect with this, to travel this path unwavering, this is to know liberation within myself.

 

Perfect moment. Only moment. July 8, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jenny @ 3:16 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

I talked briefly on this subject yesterday, but today I’d like to talk more about the cleansing diet that Baron Baptiste offers in his book Journey Into Power.¬† The idea is that as you go along the week, you are able to connect with your body and notice your hunger patterns, stop cravings for foods that your body doesn’t need, and truly doesn’t really want anyway, and just to generally tune your radio to receive clearer signals from the body on the whole. As I previously mentioned, I have been partaking in the week-long cleanse since last Saturday. It starts with two days of a light, macrobiotic diet, followed by 3 days of a fruit fast and then the last 2 days you gently ease your way back into a more regular eating pattern. Also like I stated before, I did not go on this journey to try and lose weight. I decided to start it because I was feeling disconnected to my body. I noticed that I hadn’t actually allowed my stomach to so much as attempt to growl in probably weeks. I was eating unconsciously and eating even if I wasn’t hungry just because “it was time to eat.”

I have tried other cleanses before but at the base of them, I was out to shed a few pounds. I am 100% certain that the reason I have been successful this past week is truly because my intention has been different. I have not wanted to deprive myself of anything, in fact, I have only wanted to honor my body and provide it with just what it needs to be healthy and happy.

Today I am on the last day of the fruit fast. It’s been surprisingly easy. I honestly haven’t felt like I’ve missed out on anything that I’ve “wanted.” (I think this is partly because I have a natural sweet tooth and so feasting on fruit all day long is no big for me…) Tomorrow I begin my foray back in to regular eating (the tofu is baking as we speak! yummm).

I wanted to talk about this because of how much I really feel this whole week has helped me on a level deeper than just paying attention to when I’m actually hungry. To have been honoring my body and tuning into the signals it provides me has been just what I have needed to do lately, as I am suffering from an injury (strained pectoralis major) that has me physically unable to practice yoga.

At any other time in my life, even just a few weeks ago, I would have fought against my body, pushed it past its limit and made things a whole lot worse than they are now. But something about being so in tune to myself this week set me up to be in the right place to recognize my body needs a serious break. Even more importantly, I have come to this conclusion without the slightest bit of resentment towards myself. I don’t blame myself for the injury, I don’t think my body failed me because a weakness had been exposed. Instead, I am truly practicing ahimsa here, and it has left me resting happily in a state that can only be known as Serenity. I’m floating with the wind, riding the wave of the moment. I’m not fighting an uphill battle with my body, instead I am accepting the present moment just as it is. These are the ebbs and flows of life.

It really does bring a lot of peace to be in harmony of body and mind. I am truly surprised that all of this week I have actually been in a mood ranging anywhere from Just Plain Good all the way to Spectacular. It’s the kind of feeling that truly only comes from living in harmony, mindfulness and awareness of the present moment.

I’m very, very thankful that I happened upon Baron’s book when I did. It seems like the universe timed this one perfectly (but then again, when doesn’t it?) This was a lesson I really needed to focus on and understand.

Breathing in, I know this is a perfect moment.
Breathing out, I know this is the only moment.

Thich Nhat Hanh

 

Yoga, food and books. July 7, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jenny @ 2:17 pm

Okay, I admit it. I suck at consistent blogging. I’m making an honest effort, I promise!

I decided to ease my way back in today with a general update, of sorts. So here’s just a smidge about what’s going on chez moi:

  • My Ashtanga practice is coming along great, but it seems that in these early stages of my practice, it continues to highlight areas of weakness in my body. First it was my knee, and now it is my pectoralis major. My knee healed up fine, with care and I felt really strong and had some wonderful practices. Then after a couple weeks of that, I got this pain in my chest muscle. I didn’t know what it was at first but now I am pretty sure and it is to the point that I simply cannot practice Ashtanga until it is healed. To be frank, there’s not much that I can actually do that does not bug it. So until it’s healed my personal practice will be Yin-like and will not involve my pecs. I thought I would be more unsettled with this but I am surprisingly at peace with it. This is about healing my body, not about winning a competition (that I’ve created in my own head and where I am the only participant.) So I am okay with being easy. It’s like that whole starting point thing: I want to honor where my body is right now and not yesterday, because it is not the same. (We talked about this in Namaste Book Club chat the other night- more on NBC below- and I am so grateful because I think without that conversation I may not be so at peace with this.) I don’t know if any other Ashtangis have experienced this kind of thing when they first started practicing, but it feels to me like it’s just exposing areas of weakness and then as I heal, I come back stronger and eventually, my body will be in the best position possible to carry out the practice. Either way, I know the true goal in yoga is to build that connection, that oneness with body, mind and soul and so I intend to do just that, no matter what style of yoga I end up doing.
  • Next thing’s next… and this is along the same lines of establishing that body-mind connection, because the past couple of weeks I felt like my relationship with food had been a little off. I was getting stuck in patterns again of eating at certain times even if I wasn’t hungry, of not being mindful of what I was eating, etc. I could feel the way it was affecting my mood. So I found this book by Baron Baptiste called Journey Into Power. I didn’t realize it would talk about our food relationships, but when I brought it home and flipped through it, I discovered a whole bit about this. In the book he talks about his cleansing-detoxifying diet and how to use it to reconnect to your body. So I decided that that was just what I needed to do. I am on day 4 of 7 and so far it has been wonderful. The first two days you eat light, very healthy meals (he gives good examples of a diet plan in his book) and then you do a fruit fast for 3 days and the last 2 days you go back to what you ate on the first 2 days. The point is NOT to lose weight. The point is to realign body and mind. So as I am doing this diet this week, I am noticing my natural hunger patterns. I am noticing what my body craves. Incidentally, I see that I need one small cup of coffee in the a.m. (otherwise I get withdrawal from the caffeine), but after that my body truly does not like coffee in the system. For one, it clouds my appetite and I can’t accurately read whether or not I’m truly hungry. And also, I think the acidity is upsetting to my belly. I know that his cleanse doesn’t call for coffee at all, but I had to tailor it for myself or else I wouldn’t make it through the 7 days. It was so funny, even the very first day, I went for a late morning cup of coffee and after the first sip I immediately recognized that I didn’t want it, but I’d reached for it out of habit. I’ve even noticed a huge improvement of my mental state. I’m feeling lighter and in better moods. Despite the diet, I’m not focused on food. I gently notice when I’m hungry (I don’t think for 3 weeks I had once let myself actually get to the point of feeling hungry. Instead I was just eating because it was “time to eat”) and then I eat something healthy and fulfilling. It’s amazing what respecting my body does for my mind.
  • And finally– have y’all heard about Namaste Book Club? It’s an amazing little thing that I got started with my friend from Twitter, Nancy (@yoga_mydrishti). We only started a couple weeks ago and are only 2 chapters into our first book but already we have been mentioned in several popular blogs, we have 100 fans on Facebook, over 60 participants on our social networking site where we host our chats and are closing in on 200 followers on Twitter! (@NamasteBookClub). We’re international too! We have active members in Australia, Canada, the US and Europe! It’s been such a great success and I am so happy that people are so receptive to it. It is such a wonderful group of people and I cannot wait to see how it grows. It’s such a great way to study deeper aspects of yoga and meet a plethora of wonderful people.

So that’s about that. I usually am not a fan of doing life updates, but I’ve not had a ton of time for pondering deeper blog topics. Maybe with Namaste Book Club now, though, I will! I am also (always) hoping to blog more consistently, so you know… That’s worth as much as it is, I guess.