Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Yoga of Sustainability: a simpler, healthier, happier world


This section will focus on ways to protect our natural resources. That includes non-polluting, non-erroding and other practices of non-spoiling.


Water is a most abused resource, both in squandering and misusing it, and in blatantly rendering it contaminated.

If we have something toxic, such as medication, to dispose of, what do we commonly do with it? We toss it into the toilet. Where does it end up from there? It ends up contaminating drinking water and entering the tissues of fish, where it can harm the individuals life, the reproductive abilities of the species, or end up in an unsuspecting human's dinner. NOTHING OTHER THAN HUMAN WASTE, TOILET PAPER OR AT WORST, FOOD SCRAPS SHOULD GO INTO THE TOILET. Call your local pharmacy and ask if they take & properly destroy expired medication.

Even that which we use to clean our home, selves & dishes can foul freshwater ecosystems. Any cleaner, detergent, shampoo, conditioner or soap that contains phosphorous/phosphates with encourage the growth of algae in the water where it ends up. This extra burst of algae growth will use up the water's oxygen and suffocate fish & other waterlife. ALWAYS USE SOAPS, DETERGENTS, SHAMPOOS, CONDITIONERS, & HOUSEHOLD CLEANERS THAT ARE BIODEGRADABLE, AND DO NOT CONTAIN PHOSPHATES.

We also have been conditioned to use poisonous cleaners throughout our home, making ourselves & waterways sick. NEVER USE TOXIC CLEANERS, BLEACH, DRAIN UNCLOGGING SOLUTIONS OR THE LIKE. INSTEAD USE A SNAKE TO CLEAR YOUR DRAIN, AND USE ALL-NATURAL, BIODEGRADABLE, SUPER-CONCENTRATED SOAPS TO CLEAN YOUR HOME. IF YOU NEED TO WHITEN LAUNDRY, USE BORAX. Your home will still shine, and the environment will be preserved. You and your loved ones will also be healthier for it.

It's not just the pipes in your house that are linking water to the rest of the water cycle, but the ground as well. Thousands of gallons of gasoline are poured onto the earth every year- from spillage at the pump to filling the lawnmower. We need to exercise great care in the handling of toxic substances. ALWAYS BE MINDFUL NOT TO SPILL PETROLEUM PRODUCTS AND OTHER HARMFUL SUBSTANCES ONTO THE EARTH- PAVED OR BARE SURFACES. It poisons the ground and groundwater. Even spillage on paved surfaces with runoff into storm drains during the next rain. Never throw garbage outdoors for the same reason- toxic substances from furniture, tires, electronics, batteries & other trash left to nature pollutes earth and water. ALWAYS DISPOSE OF REFUSE PROPERLY- RECYCLING BATTERIES, ELECTRONICS, TIRES, AND HAZARDOUS CHEMICALS. Call your local transfer station for details. ALSO, NEVER SPRAY CHEMICALS, FERTILIZERS OR HERBICIDES ONTO YOUR LAWN, AS THIS IS THE SAME AS DUMPING OTHER TOXIC SUBSTANCES OUTSIDE. Cultivate a lush lawn by leaving the blade at a medium or high level and mowing grass every 9 or so days. Mowing too frequently and too close to the ground is the same as over-grazing, and it causes the grass to die back and doesn't allow it to build strong roots. Mowing every 9-12 days leaving a medium length on the grass stimulates thick, heavy growth. If you can't stand the weeds, buy a tool to pop them out of the ground. If you don't feel like taking the time to do so, make peace with them and let go of the ego that drives you to desire a uniform lawn. That is a human ideal, and nature sees health in diversity, not monoculture.

Water is a precious resource which we Americans are blessed to have ready access to. We need to respect this abundance and stop the needless poisoning of groundwater & freshwater ecosystems.

The Yoga of Sustainability: a simpler, healthier, happier world


Mindfulness is the mental part of a yoga practice. When we exercise mindfulness, we are focused. Our mental perceptions and our physical actions are unified. We are thinking about what we are doing, we are noticing our impact and paying attention to interactions.

This is a powerful state to embody. When we are mindful, we can notice our emotions, but choose to set the negative emotions aside. We stil experience them, but do not allow them to control us. Mindfulness helps us to fully enjoy all actions in life from eating to chores, and especially enjoy peak experiences & even normal daily interactions with loved ones with a new sense of delight & sacredness.

Mindfulness has to be practiced, because it is not, at least in this place & time, our default state. Without mindfulness we live with no understanding of the roots of our feelings and we trash relationships by reacting blindly out of negative feeling states. We also live stuck in habitual cycles that may prevent us from achieving well-being. We may also falsely think that happiness comes from of people and objects. This leads to focus unduly on material possesions, or to blame others for our lack of harmony. Once we apply mindfulness we see that happiness comes from an inner feeling of rightness & well-being, brought on by positive action, love, generosity, freedom from negative attachments & the wellness and harmony of mind, body & spirit.

When we apply mindfulness sociologically, we see the patterns forged in our culture based on seeking happiness without mindfulness. The idea that objects make us fulfilled, that buying or consuming is the way to solve everything has made profiteers rich & the masses sick, tired & indebted. Profiteers further benefit as people, desperate for wholeness and happiness try to buy solutions. What makes this demented capitalist paradigm worse is that not only people are devalued, but also the entire ecosystems- an entire planet of intricately connected lives dependent upon limited, precious resources is reduced to commodities to be manipulated to acquire the most money possible.

It doesn't take too long to draw the parellels between the environmental situation, the epidemics of anxiety, depression & preventable diseases, our focus on meaningless consumption, and our reverance for money in America. Its all part of the same problem and requires the same solution. Mindfulness is at the root.

We can use mindfulness to change ourselves, and one person, one family at a time change our society. We can move away from an object and money focused culture to one focused on life, on living beings, gratitude, interconnection, respect and kindness.

May this book inspire and serve you on a mindful journey through this life. May you rediscover that we all are a part of the whole of nature, our well-being interconnected to the entire Earth ecosystem. May your practice of mindfulness and sustainability bring you countless unforeseen treasures & bring you closer to your loved ones, community, spirituality, and self. May all of us Earthlings live happily, healthfully & free from suffering together on this small, beautiful, delicate planet.



Part one: Protect
1. Water
2. Air
3. Land
4. Biodiversity
5. Shop Wisely

Part two: Conserve
6. Water
7. Paper
8. Fuel/energy
9. Consume Less
10. Resourcefulness
11. Simplify

Part three: Lifestyle
12. Sustainable Food Systems
13. Mindfulness


Sunday, March 28, 2010

How to feed the world

How to feed the world ? from Denis van Waerebeke on Vimeo.

Slow Foods Revolution

Foodies & Environmentalists Unite!

The Slow Food movement, started in Italy to counter the emergence of fast food, seeks to preserve health in families, communities, cultures & planet through promoting a revolution in school foods, reformation in the way we look at nutrition, & protection for biodiversity in plants & farm animals.

Please give their website a peek!!

Since 70% of the water is used by agribusiness, most of the petroleum products go to farming & food miles constitute a lion's share of CO2 emissions in the US, simply by becoming a slow foodie, celebrating connection, taste & respect, the recreational gourmet can become vastly greener. Changing your eating & purchasing habits is a huge part of becoming sustainable. And by gum, its so much more delicious too.

So if you, like me, are embarrassed for those people who buy those tasteless grocery store tomatoes, or who refuse to eat fruits and vegetables out of season, you may already be well on your way to being a Slow Foodist.

Below how the Slow Foods website defines their slogan of "Slow Food is Good, Clean & Fair".


The word good can mean a lot of things to a lot of people. For Slow Food, the idea of good means enjoying delicious food created with care from healthy plants and animals. The pleasures of good food can also help to build community and celebrate culture and regional diversity.


When we talk about clean food, we are talking about nutritious food that is as good for the planet as it is for our bodies. It is grown and harvested with methods that have a positive impact on our local ecosystems and promotes biodiversity.


We believe that food is a universal right. Food that is fair should be accessible to all, regardless of income, and produced by people who are treated with dignity and justly compensated for their labor.

Friday, March 26, 2010

The Yoga of Sustainability: a simpler, healthier, happier world

I feel that at this point in human history, after all of the hardships overcome by our ancestors to give us an easier, longer life, we have gone too far. I believe this mainly because our chase for convenience has taken us past ease & more liesure time to the point of epidemics of preventable diseases. Not to mention rampant anxiety, depression & multiple, concurrent environmental disasters that will cause unimaginable harm to ourselves, our future generations & all species on earth.

How inconvenient that is for us- isn't that what life is about now- mere convenience? Food's most important attribute now is ease of preparation & ingestion, not taste nor nutrition.

Its grotesque when reflected upon- its more important to us as a nation to shove quick, greasy, vulgar tasting substances down our throat as fast as possible, catch a fat or sugar or salt buzz, & then rush off. Very depraved indeed. Good thing we eat it fast, because if we stopped to taste it we'd be disappointed. I think this is typical of what our society is missing. Jimmy Carter made an amazing speech in I believe 1979, on what's wrong in our country- lack of human connection & peace of mind & no connection to nature at the expense of a capitalist & disposable culture. And now thirty years later this infection has rotted through not just communities, but our whole culture. The quest to own more things as cheaply as possible has overidden all self-control to the point of literal global disaster. Convenience & consumeristic values seem to be more important than avoiding millions of deaths, millions of climate refugees, wars over water & mega natural disasters.

I think better of my fellow humans than that. I'm not waiting for our state to ration water (although some counties in at least AZ & CA are already doing so) before I learn to live hapilly with much less. I have made the choice to live on only my share of the earth's limited resources, because contrary to ridiculous popular belief, there's only so much to go around. I believe its not right to go on wasting water knowing full well that in as little as twenty years there are going to be world-wide shortages of clean drinking water, yes, even in the mighty US. I'm not going to eat a globalized diet based on anything & everything from everywhere all at once, especially when I know that its absurd, & only cheap because the farmers & workers that make it possible are paid scratch and barely survive. Since I've actively made changes to my lifestyle I live abundantly, on a lot less money, with greater health & connection to loved ones, than ever before. This is no coincidence- it seems that the one solution to the one problem fixes all of the leaks. No catch. Eat well, live well, love well & be fulfilled.

It just takes learning, a short adjustment of a month of creating new habits & then you're off & running, and now a vibrant part of the solution & not the problem.

Martin Luther King Jr., Ghandi, Jesus, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and many other brave souls lived their lives openly fighting, at risk of their own safety, what they believed to be unjust. So can we get over our own addiction to a false sense of entitlement to grow up and think about the consequences of our lifestyles for just a minute? If we look deeply into the face of a child, or an endangered animal, how can we tell them "Sorry kid, I know you'll have to live on a few gallons of water a day, but I didn't feel like using a low flow showerhead. It's my right as an American to take 20 minute showers using 5 gallons per minute." there are people in Africa NOW that have to walk 5-8 hours a day for muddy river water. This is their water for drinking, cooking, washing, bathing & feeding animals. Let stop being the spoiled rotten brats of the world. Change comes not from the government down. Its the only virtue of the free market-what we buy & don't buy transforms industry. We change this country by the way we live our individual lives. Let's use our mindfulness to lead a peaceful revolution.


Sunday, March 21, 2010

Precious Water Down the Drain

The April 2010 issue of National Geographic is all about water. Please pick up a copy of this very important issue & become informed about the true situation of the world's fresh water supply. It includes an article written by Barbara Kingsolver (Animal, Vegetable, Miracle).

We are blessed to not have to worry about water constantly. Our neighbors with wells need to be more cautious than us city folk. Our ancestors with crude wells & no indoor plumbing had to even more attuned to how much water they used. How about the women in Africa that walk up to 8 hours a day to collect polluted, murky water. That's the only water they have access to. Shouldn't we feel ashamed as we watch gallons pour down the drain as we brush our teeth?

In the next 20 years, drinking water shortages around the world are expected, including in the US. Use conservation practices now to help solve this alarming issue.

We waste more clean water per day than a person in Africa will have access to for drinking & cooking. Watch next time you brush your teeth, see how much clean water pours straight down the drain. Apply mindfulness every time you use water from now on...

-Try shutting the water off when not in direct use. (while lathering hands, dishes & body)

-When you do turn it on, try not to use such a forceful stream. Try using as little as you can.

-Be mindful when setting the level in your washer.

-Also consider flushing a little less & putting a brick in the tank of your toilet to save water with every flush.

-Buy a low flow shower head. Mine is a Waterpik brand head with great water pressure, which has a toggle button that cuts the water down to a tiny stream, just enough to keep you warm, while you shave, shampoo & soap up. The water stays mixed perfectly. It only cost around $20, and it has a cousin that has the hose attached for those that prefer that style. It uses an average of 1.5 to 2.5 gallons per minute. Tops.

-Use a head on your garden hose that can help reduce wasted water. Don't water your lawn/garden when rain is predicted.

-Grey water is non-potable water used for non-potable needs- use a dishpan to clean your dishes, and use that grey water to water your plants (use biodegradable soap or else you'll kill your plants and poison waterways). Capture some rainwater to wash your hair, water your garden, and flush your toilet. Non-heated water from your shower can also be poured into the tank of the toilet. Rainwater or shower water can be used to clean the car as well.

Wednesday Prana Class now Moderate Level

I was excited to introduce a second vigorous class upon returning to work. However, I've realized that I would better serve my yoga community with another moderate class.

So, the Tuesday 5pm class is Strength Mandala, our only vigorous class, now a more varied class combining classic Strength yoga with creative sun salutation variations & deep flowing poses.

Wednesday's 5pm class is now Prana Yoga, a varied moderate class that is a stepping stone to Strength Mandala, but also a great meditative, toning & relaxing class of its own.

I hope that this serves you better than before! Namaste!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Sustainability Intern needed

Please pass this on to anyone you know, of any age that may be interested! Please respond to this request via email: naturalmethodyoga@gmail.com Ideally I envisioned this being an internship for a highschool junior or senior, or a college student, but anyone who wants to learn sustainability & will enjoy applying the teachings is right for the position. This intern will receive for the duration of the internship free yoga classes. The position starts immediately & runs until Sept or Nov depending on the interns needs. Light to moderate gardening work in an organic heirloom garden is the bulk of the work, but the intern will learn the entire orchestration of the sustainable home ecosystem. This includes all aspects of the home, knowing how to shop, clean, organize; grow, prepare, store foods for a year round local diet with gourmet but healthy meals. This includes easy cheesemaking, making butter, breads, snack foods & more. Please send this to anyone that may be interested, we need this position filled immediately.


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

the local green market scene

We had an amazing shopping experience at the Mohawk Harvest Cooperative Market on north main street in Gloversville, across from the Glove Theater. If you live & or work to the west of Amsterdam I highly recommend buying your animal products here if you can't get them at the farmer's market. The manager very strongly focuses on the local scene. Very good selection, especially for the size. All items emphasive local sourcing, including the bulk grains, produce & baked goods. Best all-purpose green grocery store in the west. You can get nearly everything there, and Chris is enthusiastic to show you around & tell you where everything comes from!

In Amsterdam, Down To Earth has been the natural foods store for around 30 years. Dave is always kind, eager to special order & go out of his way for his customers. Especially great source for herbal tinctures, teas, homeopathic remedies, essential oils & bulk grains/beans. Also a source for Amsterdam's own Rullison Honey & Adirondack Maple Syrup from Fonda. Dave carries lots of supplements as well. If you are ever in need of a natural remedy for what ails you, ask Dave, and he'll have something good (and all-natural)on the shelf to suggest.

If you are east of Amsterdam, the Schenectady indoor farmers market is on
Sundays from 10-2 in the arcade/coffee area of Proctor's. Its not just food, but live music & more!

For the rest of the week & for those that live &/or work in Albany, the Honest Weight Food Coop is the largest, best stocked & labeled place around. You can get local animal products & a vast selection of health & beauty,medicinal & food items there. Prepare to be awed by the vast selection, helpful staff and buzzing community feel. It's a great big city co-op. Best all-in-one green grocery store in the east!

If you live and or work in Saratoga, on Phila Street, kiddie corner from Ben & Jerry's, Four Season's is a buzzing health-food store with some local selection, a microcosm sort of grocery/herbal selection, and a killer cafe. You simply must eat from their glorious fresh buffet of vegetarian delights, enough to healthfully satisfy any appetite. This is our number one place to eat in Saratoga, hands down. Their vegan smoothie is SO good, a refreshing Summer dessert, perfect to share with a friend!




Besides growing our own & farmer's markets in season, we get 99% of everything else from Down To Earth and Mohawk Harvest Cooperative Market and we're always satisfied.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Yoga's impact on me...

please share your story on our facebook fan page discussion board. These words cannot share it all, not nearly. Yoga has led me on an incredible journey through life, love & spirit.This is a bit of my story...

Yoga has changed the course of my life quite radically. It first taught me to listen to my body. I knew a little bit about hearing my body, but because I hated it, I often punished extremely. Now I can hear everything my body says. And slowly over the years of practicing on & off the mat I've learned to tolerate, then respect, to sort of appreciate to now love my body-all thanks to a living yoga practice. I know just how to find my edge without going over, I rarely get sick at all, I feel strong & flexible, energized & peaceful. I know the tricks my mind plays on me & can separate myself from them. I know when I'm not present & can bring myself back to the moment as many times as I need to.
Even though my confidence has always oscillated from pretty strong to zero, yoga's mindfulness has allowed me to nurturing a lasting sense of respect for myself& to choose the kind of person I want to grow into. I aim to walk off the mat carrying all of the prana, grace & love that my yoga practice releases into the way I move, think, stand, breathe & love. I was always an empathetic person, but yoga has taught me to see what others experience & feel it more deeply, helping me to initiate a practice of "love thy neighbor as you love thyself". I have learned how to navigate through life with balance. I have relearned how to navigate my life by my heart. Everything I have been able to become has been because of my yoga practice, what it unlocked in me, and the journey it led me on. Yoga taught me that I had been a spiritual person all along. I learned that I need a decent amount of time alone to recharge but that the greatest happiness is always that which is shared. I've learned that I can't do everything by myself and that to do everything we can accept help when we need it & even humble ourselves to ask for it. Then we can see that pain & frustration may be part of our experiences if we like it or not but we can minimize our afflictions by depending on community and giving back. Pain will happen but suffering is optional. And perhaps most of all, mindfulness has made me a conniseur of the senses & emotions- I can delight in a variety of flavors drinking in the richness of the colors of the world, vibrations of the wild symphony of sounds around me, the feel of the sun & air like a sensual massage, the luscious scent of each season, the bitter taste of leaving my son's side & the delightfully sweet and warm & rush of love bubbling through me like an ecstatic flood when he smiles at me. I can even taste food differently- more astutely & pleasurably. I've found that life is a magical, ecstatic dream, a sacred spiritual event, a beautiful blessing to be vividly experienced with every level of being & yoga is the catalyst that opened this awareness within me.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Life is constant change: Parinamavda

Yoga has a term for the fact that all of nature is in a constant state of flux, parinamavada. The only place where an absolutely straight line, static unchanging balance, or permanence exist is in the human imagination.<br><br>

Yet, we seem to compare ourselves to a rigid standard: we should always look, act, think, feel and be a certain way, we should be able to do everything on an inflated to-do list to be accomplished or worthy.<br><br>

But, as in nature, we should seek a dynamic equillibrium, because a static balance will never come. It's a fairy tale, along with perfection. Homeostasis is a balance in flux. Everything in nature is in motion- the sunlight changes by minutes each day, clouds, temperature & humidity fluctuate, water moves in a cycle, seasons constantly change. From moment to moment everything is subtely different. Our popular culture would have us to think that we are entirely seperate from nature, so when our energy, moods & preferences flow & change we think something is wrong with us. <br><br>

Parinamavada is the constant change that is inherent life, the way nature works, and thus the way we work, if we accept it or not. Better for us to apply our mindfulness to observing how our energy, mood & needs fluctuate from day-to-day, hour-to-hour, moment-to-moment and honoring the reality that we find.<br><br>

When we wake up tomarrow we're not quite the same person we were when we went to sleep. When we come to the mat for yoga practice, we will experience the same poses differently depending on where we are mentally & physically at that moment. Our patience fluctuates with how we feel. The way we view & respond to the world depends on where we are at that particular moment in time. Not only are we constantly changing, but so is the whole world.<br><br>

Parinamavada invites us to observe our reality, let go of preconceived notions of how things are supposed to be, accept our moment to moment experience and to honor our instincts (not habits). Our instincts took thousands of generations to evolve & they serve us well. Instincts tell us to rest when we are worn out & warding off illness. They tell us to eat lightly in the heat, to eat heavy grains & stews in the winter. They tell us how to feed, clothe, protect & enjoy ourselves to find dynamic harmony.<br><br>

Not only does parinamavada beckon us to listen to our instincts, but it calls us to be free to evolve. We are one way this day or this year or this half of our life but it can all change with one inspiration and we are no longer the same. One example is motherhood- after pregnancy & giving birth a woman's old body dies, her chemistry & mindset are forever altered. Its not as some might imagine, "there goes her body", making inuitive choices a woman can be more beautiful as a mother than before. But it changes the shape, strength & feel of the body and the way the mind works. I feel myself rediscovering yoga poses, the curve of my lower back, how to express myself in dance- its all changed, parinamavada.<br><br>

Besides great shifts, parinamavada more commonly indicates the subtle differences in hydration, energy, mood, flexibility, strength, focus, thoughts, and infinite other factors that contribute to our total experience. Due to this plethora of contributors each moment, when we are mindful, is unique & fleeting. It is a rare gem. It is a taste to be savored. It is a smile that lights our heart. It is a peak experience or it is painful or it is mellow or what ever else it will be, but it is one & only one just like it. Others may be similar, but never again will you have this moment back. And this perhaps, is the most important part of parinamavada- once we learn to observe each moment as a unique experience we can really begin to see that the deepest beauty in life is found in the simplest moments. Enjoy the beauty of each fleeting one, let it fill your soul. This is the ephemeral exquisite nectar of life. Namaste.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

The green diet

All of the concepts that make a diet more ecologically sustainable tend to make it more delicious, healthy & otherwise gourmet. It is a win-win situation. What is provided at the grocery store is not what we are talking about though...<br><br>

*Note: I'm trying html in this blog so if it comes.out weird, sorry. If it comes out well, it'll look infinitely easier on the eyes. Bueno suerte.<br><BR>

I have been taking a hard look at what I eat & how it effects others for years. My biggest concern was animal cruelty & eating lower on the food chain for most of that time. But now I feel a broader dietary perspective is required to do the most good.<br><br>

<b>Universal tips for eating green, no matter who or where you are:</b> <br><br>


Processed foods not only are not very healthy, even if they are organic, but they leave a nasty footprint behind. Ingredients are shipped in from multiple locations, many of them already processed themselves, then they are all processed together with giant machines, packaged & shipped hundreds if not thousands of miles. Often they'll go to distributor's warehouses, then to the market. The processing itself is energy intense, & since these foods are going to sit around a while before you buy them, they are likely to contain preservatives. If these processed foods are refrigerated, like soymilk, or frozen, like Mrs. T'S Pierogis, you better believe the truck that transported them was a refrigerated or frozen truck, respectively, spending a huge amount of fuel. So what do you do? Our goal is in the next 2 years (only because I wasn't into this habit before the baby was born, or else I'd be doing it now...) to make all of our snack foods (what my husband wants for his lunches during work) once per week. He usually eats cereal bars, cookies & crackers -all organic. So I'd make 2 kinds of nutritious cookie bars (yes, it can be done, just use all natural whole food ingredients!) and 1 salty snack like crackers or veggie chips or pretzels (yes this can be done too!) each week, depending on what is in season.<br><br>


LocaL seasonal diets are what our anscestors had to eat. They are varied, diverse, resourceful, healthy, traditional & more fun than you think. They are easier on the earth by far. They support the local economy. They urge you to become a gourmet, trying & savoring non-homogenized yogurts, artisan butter, heirloom vegetables and learning to enjoy & reflect on them like a connesuer. Eat local, everybody wins.

Sound harsh? Restaurants buy from distrbutors in large quantities. So unless you ask & find out that the animal products come from local farms, you can assume they don't and you are eating products from animals that stood all day & night in their own filth, never frolicked, rarely saw daylight, & were fed a diet that rotted their guts because they were never meant to eat it. THAT is harsh. Don't support that. Eat vegan when out & request that they carry local animal products if you want to eat them.<br><br>

MAKE SURE TO GET ALL OF YOUR ANIMAL PRODUCTS FROM A LOCAL FARM THAT LETS THE ANIMALS LIVE A HEALTHY, HAPPY, TOTALLY NATURAL LIFE. DO NOT TRUST LABELS, ASK QUESTIONS.<br><br> Coming from the last paragraph, you see what agribusiness is. Envision that when you see meat, eggs & dairy everywhere, unless you can talk to the farmer, visit the farm, or talk to the co-op manager to know that the animal was raised right. Do not believe labels, especially not the pictures. Its all meant to get you to buy the product, it is purposely misleading.<br><br>

IF YOU CAN'T FIND LOCAL ANIMAL PRODUCTS THAT YOU CAN FIND OUT FOR SURE COME FROM GENUINELY NATURALLY RAISED ANIMALS, BECOME VEGAN.<br><br> I'm sure you understand why now- our food system & grocery stores are capitalist, not compassionate. They exist to get your money, not serve your best interest, or the planet's, or the animals exploited like the environment, as a commodity. Capitalism is self-serving, so be skeptical.<br><br>

<br><br> This takes some practice to get used to, I admit. But all that time is well spent, preserving the fresh tastes of the season as the healthy convenience foods of the winter. Then winter can be enjoyed as a time for family fun, making homemade pizzas, pasta with pesto or shepard's pie then cuddling on the couch with a movie or a good book. I'll share more details on this in the future...<br><br>
Fair trade if especially important with non-edible goods like clothing & crafts, and coffee, tea & chocolate. Chocolate, unless it is fair trade, can be assumed to have involved child slave labor. It is not an exageration! Coffee & tea should also be fair trade because those worker otherwise were likely to make far below a decent wage otherwise. Dry goods are lighter & required less energy to ship. Bulk goods use much less packaging, an eco-plus. Pasta is usually a fair exception to the no processed food rule, but get organic pasta in bulk or as little packaging as possible.
ANIMALVEGETABLEMIRACLE.COM is a good source for seasonal & DIY recipes. If you want an enjoyed read with a thorough picture of what seasonal healthy gourmet eating can be like, please read the book, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver.
<br><br>must have appliances: crockpot, rice cooker(used for any grains), breadmaker (one that makes pizza dough & jam!) & a canning set up. Canning is dangerous when done wrong, so always be careful to follow directions.
<Br><br>places to shop: (as close to home or work as possible) Down To Earth, Rt. 30 AMSTERDAM, Mohawk Harvest cooperative Market, N. Main st, GLOVERSVILLE, Honest Weight Food Coop, Central ave, ALBANY, LOCAL FARMERS MARKETS MAY-NOV (SCHENECTADY & TROY HAVE YEAR ROUND MARKETS)...<br><br>

It does take more time & thought to eat this way. It takes a lot less time at the grocery store. Its a lot more fresh & flavorful. Its SO MUCH BETTER FOR THE EARTH. Every minute you put in preparing food for the week or putting up food for the season is banked, because you create convenience for later. You support your local economy, local farmers, you meet your neighbors & the people who grow your food, and you can use this new time in the kitchen to bond with your loved ones. Spend this time creating & passing on healthy & sustainable food traditions that will serve them well, lifelong, and share memories that will warm your hearts that long as well.<br><br>

things to google: slow foods movement- slowfoodsusa.org, cheesemaking.com, farm to school project, edible schoolyard, biodiversity: heirloom plants & heritage breeds, 100 mile diet, the omnivore's dilemma, vegetarian times recipes (very good ones!), mohawkharvest.org, hwfc.com seasonal vegetable recipes, whole grain recipes, the passioanate vegetarian (really awesome cookbook)...

<br><br>FYI: it takes 30 minutes to make fresh mozzerella from milk, it takes a handblender, a little stirring & some ignoring to make homemade butter, 1.5 cups each florida sugar & drained frozen strawberries picked in June thrown into a breadmaker for an hour become badass jam, fresh baked bread smells awesome- even in a breadmaker...

Saturday, March 13, 2010

The purushartas: living yoga practice

There are two major schools of yoga philosophy- vedic and tantric. The two are not entirely mutually exclusive. The vedic school dates back several thousand years and is more aimed at ascetic renunciates, or sannyasins. The tantric school started on this side of the Common Era, and included practices aimed at householders, folks like you & I, as opposed to monastics.

It is the Tantric tradition that sprouted the concept of Purushartas, the four aims of life. When the Purushartas are in balance, we are whole & in harmony, productive, loving, content and at peace. We are serving the world by being ourselves at our best.

The four aims are duty (dharma), material needs (artha), pleasure (kama), and spirituality (moksha).

Dharma is our duty in life, finding our niche. It is what we feel we are put here on this earth to do, share & be. Dharma also encompasses our duty to care for our family, chores, household, community country & planet. Dharma is duty but not slavery. It is doing what is right and good because it is right and good, & thus makes us feel right and good. This includes things like paying taxes, conserving resources, shopping consciously and caring for elders.

Artha is material accumulation, the goods we need to live a healthy, balanced life & to fufill our dharma. Healthy artha does not imply riches, possesions to the point of clutter nor does it imply keeping up with the Jonses. It instead means finding just the right level of material objects including money, to provide for basic needs of food, shelter, clothing and enough other stuff to feel whole & content. No more is really necessary, that would be superfluous.

Kama is always associated with the Kama Sutra, which is the same word, meaning pleasure. But healthy kama isn't hedonistic, its wholesome. Wholesome doesn't mean censored & boring either. Balanced kama includes healthy recreation alone, with family or with friends. It can include any non-destructive hobby, or talking (but not gossiping) with friends. It is our fun time. As long as its truly non-harmful fun, it is kama. All work and no play makes us ill, but remember so does all play and no work.

Moksha, spiritual liberation, is the fourth aim. Taking care of our moksha, our path to enlightenment, which is point at which we are said to be free from the cycle of birth and death, is the least acknowledged in mainstream modern life. Going to church just to please others & going through the motions with no feeling is not healthy moksha. Finding a spiritual practice, religion and/or church or temple that resonates deeply with your heart is the way to moksha. It is different for all people but it should inspire very deep gratitude, love, respect and help you to strive to be better everyday, but in a non-punishing non-demeaning way. Yoga practice, meditation, organized religion or any action that helps you to reaffirm your values is contributing to your moksha. If you have an ecclectic spiritual practice and no group or church to practice with, your yoga practice, a group of like-minded friends, or going to a special place for you will help you to retouch the essence of your beliefs regualrly to keep them strong and present in your life.

Through studying how the four aims work in your life you can understand how to achieve balance & fulfillment. Remember that nothing in life is stagnant, balance is dynamic & needs to be maintained in regular practice.

The purushartas will be discussed more over time, as they are a central theme on the householder's path to yoga.

Friday, March 12, 2010

The Omnivore's Dilemma

If you ever read one book that I recommend, please read this one. It details the journey of 4 meals back to their roots- literaly. We see the conventional meal, in this McD's but it could've been conventional food from the local grocery store- which is what most American's feed their families everyday. We see the organic meal traced to its roots. We see a sustainably farmed meal at its roots and also a foraged meal. WHAT IS MOST POWERFUL & URGENT TO READ IS THE FIRST 300 OR SO PAGES THAT ARE LIKELY TO ALTER YOUR RELATIONSHIP TO THE GROCERY STORE & TO THE FOOD INDUSTRY FOREVER. We see how it came to be that farmers were swindled into the chemical fertilizer addiction, growing government corn, and how a powerful & meaningful movement like organic can sell out to The Man. We see how intelligent and artful the grass farming & beyond organic movements are. The conclusion- what plagues our food system & thus our health, is capitalism, and we cannot expect corporations to care about our nutrition, we can only expect them to care about profits. The best way to feed ourselves for the sake of our nutrition, our environment, our economy & our taste buds, is to support local, sustainable farms. And combining Capitalism: A love story & this book, OUR BEST WAY TO SUPPORT OURSELVES FOR COMMUNITY, EARTH & FUTURE is to support local, sustainable farms, co-operative markets, other co-operative businesses, CSA's, and farmers markets. I'm not the only one to connect this book & movie- Michael Pollan is interviewed by Michael Moore in the film's special features.

Between this book & the movie, and the special features, I have a new outlook on my life, this country, & what can be done to make this a better place to live for my neighbors & the future generations. It has proven again that as science, yoga & buddhism all agree, everything is interrelated. Seeing Jimmy Carter's speech from July 15, 1979 in the special features validated a lot of my beliefs. What's eroding us, our communities & this nation is all the same problem with the same solution- as an Irish proverb says "it is in the shelter of each other that the people live." Namaste

More about Capitalism: A love story & why you must watch it

It was such a powerful film I must say more to urge you to see it. IT MOVED ME TO TEARS. It explains so clearly what is absolutely abysmal in our society, but also what can be done to overcome it. Capitalism is not part of our constitution, nor is it what the founding fathers wanted for us or why patriots laid down their lives to give birth to our nation. DEMOCRACY is, & it is based on equal power for every individual, not an elitist class structure where the rich brutalize, victimize & scavenge the corpses of the middle class & poor. Please watch this movie & pass on the word. HIGHLIGHTS OF THE FILM INCLUDE: a thorough explanation of the bail-out scam, the Trody family of Miami taking back their home from the bank, the triumphant sit-down of the workers of Republic Doors & Windows, FDR's proposed second bill of rights which would have given us the rights to universal healthcare, adequate retirement, paid vacation, adequate wages & pension, universal college, a livable wage & affordable housing back in 1947. Quotes from the credits include: "I sincerely believe...banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies." -Thomas Jefferson 1816 & "It's class warfare, my class is winning, but they shouldn't be." -Warren Buffett (world's richest man, 2007) Also find out what a "dead peasant policy" is, & if your boss has one on you. Not only can our daily choices & support of a localized economy help erradicate this terrible tyranny, but the gumption to stand up (or sit-down in some cases) for what is right in the true herritage of our founding fathers, the women's suffrage & civil rights movements and everything we value as moral. This is not lofty talk, this is our responsibility as citizens of this country, to keep the power equally distributed & protect ourselves & other from violations of our most basic rights. PLEASE SEE THIS FILM! Namaste. Next documentary on my list ASAP Food Inc. Please beat me to it. Very soon I'll reveiw The Omnivore's Dilemma, which I have read & highly recommend, which is in a similar note as Food Inc.

Capitalism: A love story

Michael Moore at this point in his career, really knows how to break down a topic to nakedly expose it for what it is in an enjoyable film format. I say enjoyable, because his films are very watchable in the sense that they are engaging, the pacing is good, etc. His films are also exposing painful grievences in our society, & some pretty righteous bones to be picked. When we realize not only how self-serving, corrupt & heartless the big corporations that feed us & clothe us are, but that they hold practically all of the clout in our political system, its stirs an indignant disgust. However, what is beautifully yogic, is that the solution to opting out of that system is the same as healing our Earth, mending our communities and local economies, and protecting our family's health with good nutrition. Buy based on informed decisions, genuine need, and seek the most locally-sourced & produced options available. Seek socially & environmentally responsible options. Try to support the local economy, & adopt a resource conserving mindset- repurpose & be, well, resourceful. PLEASE SEE THIS FILM AND FOR EVEN BIGGER IMPACT, FOLLOW UP WITH MICHAEL POLLAN'S BOOK: The Omnivore's Dilemma.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Mindfulness: this is not just a test

I'm testing how to enter a blog from my phone. I may as well make it
useful too. I've wanted to discus mindfulness, or more the lack thereof. If we
don't practice yoga or meditation regularly our minds are often fully
disconnected from our actual experience. Even with my son, the most
beautiful thing in my life, if I'm not mindful, my mind scoots into
future possibilities or rehashes previous experiences. I'm no longer
really seeing him well, my senses are dulled a bit, and time moves
painfully fast. With a deep breath I'm back, I'm really seeing,
hearing & feeling him again. I feel more relaxed, I'm savoring him
again. Mindfulness isn't just some new-age
lingo, something unique to the yoga class & seperate from ordinary
reality. Mindfulness is a powerful tool by which we transform our
mundane experiences to delightful ones, our cherished experiences to
sublime ones, and even uncomfortable or painful experiences to
spiritual growth. namaste.

mindfulness, meditation, yoga & dance

37 Prospect Street- the clock tower
Amsterdam NY 12010



I am grateful for those who will make the switch to my blogspot & facebook spaces for extra natural method info above and beyond the site and classes.

Whenever I'm inspired I'll be here to drop a line. Also I'll add books, films and links that inform & inspire me.

I appreciate your help at my consolidation effort. Less administration, more living, learning and sharing! It may be a week or two until I'm back to really get this underway, but I will be on it, when the time is right.

Delight in Spring, join all of nature in frolicking like wild march hares and cleaning our homes. Reorganize your physical and virtual life to feel lighter and more energized. That's what I'm into, and it feels soooooo refreshing.

Blessings, love & peace...