Friday, May 28, 2010

Memorial Day: no classes

We will be having a family day of our own. Be safe, and we wish that you will be fully present with your loved ones for the long holiday weekend! Namaste!

Monday, May 24, 2010

The Yoga of Sustainability: Part Two


Where the first section of this book reflected on ways to "do no harm", the second will address the application of mindfulness in reducing consumption of resources.

It sounds like common sense not to waste finite and vital resources, but we take so much for granted everyday, partially because our consumer culture urges us to consume more than we possibly can, as if it will fulfill us or make us happier.

Let us begin to awaken to the present moment and true state of the world. Mindfully conserving resources and still living comfortably, we can help the earth by only using our own share, making sure others won't have to go without. Like all other things, swift changes are needed right this minute, or else we are going to see people around us, ourselves & our children struggling for basic resources in the near future.

If you have ever "roughed it", gone camping where there are no modern conveniences, then you know how to conserve resources. You also know how excessive we are with our resource use, how much we waste without even paying attention. Roughing it at least once a year can be an important spiritual practice to remind us not only of our waste, but how far we've tried to move from the real world. Nature, we have to remember, is the measure & provider of all things, not our man-made so-called "real" world.


Gallons of precious potable water flow down the drain while we ignore it, scrubbing our teeth. Or dishes. Or body. Sound familiar? Without mindfulness we use water like its infinite and inexhaustable. But the amount of freshwater on earth is finite, & we cannot control where its falls as rain in its continuous cycle of transformation.

If we simply live more mindfully, we can survive on a fraction of the 100 gallons the average American blows through everyday. Its shameful and embarassing that we waste a significant portion of that amount, when whole families in India & Africa survive on less than a tenth or fifth of that each day. And, the most startling contrast is that while our potable water flows instantly into our own home, these families have to spend hours, up to eight each day, walking, searching, competing for it- and carrying it home. We take water for granted, and we shouldn't. It is too precious, and necessary to life to be taken as anything less then sacred.

Begin by simply becoming mindful everytime water is flowing. Practice new techniques for water use and within three to four weeks those techniques will become your new habits. Then remain mindful to keep them up!

THIS SAME TECHNIQUE APPLIES TO WASHING DISHES & THE HANDS, SCRUBBING SINKS & THE TUB: turn the water on for a flash to wet hands, the dish Or surface and then off again. Lather & scrub-at least 20 seconds for hands. Then turn the water to half the force you'd normally use or less, and thoroughly rinse & shut off the water again. Use a pitcher or cup to fill for rinsing the tub or sink, shutting off the water once its filled.

MINDFUL SHOWERING: For the body, use a low-flow showerhead with a "water pause" function- the Waterpik one is very good. It conserves water but delivers strong enough pressure to feel very nice, and the water pause feature keeps the water mixed at the chosen temperature, while cutting it down to a trickle. These Waterpik showerheads are available at Target for about $20, & installs in moments.

So begin with a full-force shower to thoroughly wet the hair & body, then pause the water. Let the trickle keep your body warm while lathering hair and body, and while shaving. Then take just a couple minutes to rinse with the full-force water.


Put a brick or two into the tank of your toilet, making sure that it doesn't interfere with the mechanism.

For homeowners, water conserving toilets start between $100-200, & toilets last just about forever.

Don't necessarily flush for every single thing. Flush only when needed. Never throw trash into the toilet, and if you accidentally do, don't waste the flush for that piece of floss.


Pour half-drunk water glasses into a pitcher for watering plants.

Reuse the same glass all day, the same coffee mug, the same plate, silverware & bowl. Rinse only if needed in between uses. One family member only needs one set.

Wash dishes as they become dirty, as much as possible. Avoid pile-ups, stuck on funk, and feel more clear & relaxed without that lurking mess in the sink. It takes less time, effort & water to wash freshly soiled dishes then dried messes.

You can use a dish-tub for clean rinsing your dishes after scrubbing, then pour the water at the end of the day into a watering can for the garden.


Don't water your lawn. Healthy lawns only need water in a drought. If you are having a drought, water your lawn before sunrise or after sunset for 15 minutes, and please be mindful not to waste water on your driveway, street or sidewalk.

If you have sprayed your lawn in the past you have killed the microorganisms & beneficial cycles of bacteris & nutrients that truly keep a lawn healthy. Focus not on water but humus building. Use food scraps & water in an old blender & spray that around the yard. Let your lawn recharge & rebuild. It will take time. Make sure to cut it at a medium-length & not sooner than every nine days, too soon & too short is the same as over-grazing.

It is inappropriate to use water to clear your sidewalk or driveway. Not only is it wasteful, but it pushes your debris downstream to become another's problem. Instead, find a good driveway broom, stand tall, engage your navel towards your spine, and enjoy the core strength you create as you sweep. Sweeping burns energy, stimulates the flow of prana and is a good cardiovascular workout.

Try to gather & use rainwater for watering indoor and outdoor plants, and other non-potable uses such as washing hair. Make sure not to ingest any of it.


Be mindful whenever you use water. When the water is flowing, let it be a bell of mindfulness, and focus on the task at hand. If you catch yourself daydreaming, turn off the water and take a deep breath before working on your task again.