Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Beaconing Light

Let your light shine bright: reach out, use it, share it
As you know, this month marked six months of being vegan.  While my overall goal has been personal, I feel the increasing need to continue to outreach and share with each of you in hopes of inspiring "pay it forward" positive energy.   My dream that perhaps, in one of these posts, just one thought or experience connects with just one out there to do the same.   I challenge each of you to embrace this thought.  As you receive, what do you give?  We each were born with a light.  Do you keep your light for your own desire, or do you allow your flame to flicker out into the open, sharing the light and warmth with all whom encounter it?  Some of us do big things, others small, in either instance, do we share the light of things we encounter or do we selfishly keep it to ourselves?  As we experience, we should become a beacon - as we look toward the light established for us by others, we should also remember to let our own lights shine, reaching and guiding as many as we can. For together, we all become brighter through the union of our flames.

This little light of mine

This journey requires not just talking, but actually walking.  I've decided to take my light and go running out into the dark.  It's scary out there.  I've decided to take a leap of faith that moves me from in front of this computer and transports me to a place, in person, in front of people.  I've decided to let my little light shine as bright as I can.  As I walk this vegan and yogic journey, I began to seek out other avenues in which I  walk the talk, receive and give.  I came across an opportunity to do just this thing.  I discovered "Yoga on the Parkway" , a community "Spread the Love" event dedicated to promoting health and wellness within the City of Philadelphia.  I first decided to participate to meet other yogis and health conscious people.  The more I read about the event, the more I decided to apply to become an Ambassador for the event.  The application asked for an answer to the questions how I wished to promote wellness and why I felt I would make an excellent ambassador.  I jumped off the cliff and took the leap!  I wrote an essay filled with my truths and my journey.  Much to my surprise, I was selected and am now an Ambassador for this wonderful event.  I now get to go out on weekly themed excursions, promoting this event.  If you will be in the area, I  invite each of you to visit the website to participate for it is not just for serious yogis, but for everyone, regardless of their experience, age, body weight, or gender. This week's theme inspired this blog entry as we are to "let our lights shine" by giving out tea candles. I am humbled and grateful for this reward as I continue this  serendipitous journey.

My little light is now shining more brightly as its intensity has been multiplied by the light of the others I have met, each an Ambassador in their deserved right with little lights of their own.  As an Ambassador, my responsibility is to volunteer my time to promote and invite as many as possible to join,to gather, and to mass to practice, meditate, and to celebrate health.   Om Shanti!

Become an Ambassador

As we land, the way becomes brightly lit and clear,
guided by those who landed before us
As an Ambassador, I plan to volunteer a teleconference on a "Wellness Wednesday" in which I will share my vegan experience.  I've learned through this process that we each can be an ambassador if we choose to be.  I don't profess to know all but I am eager and humbly willing to give what I am, where I am.

What do you have to share? What champion resides in you that is waiting and beaconing you to shine?  Are you able to overcome your fear and take the leap of faith?  When we leap into what we think is dark and unknown, we often discover that as we get closer to landing, there are several others who have leaped before us who are waiting and are using their light to guide our way.  The closer we get, the clearer the way becomes.  As we land, it is our responsibility to join the group, ready to assist those whom come in our stead.

Yoga: Suyra Namaskar - Sun Salutation
The salute to the sun is a flow series that will help you achieve a sense of well being 
 and purpose.  You can observe Suyra Namaskar - regardless of where you are or who you are, it allows you to bring light where none exists.  No matter how dark it may be or whether you see it or not, you know that the sun is always shining...somewhere. The sun gives life, provides ignition for your internal light and allows you to shine.  Namaste.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Peaceful Transformation

Day 180 - Six months

Wow.  I awoke with an awestruck feeling of gratitude.  This day marked new beginnings, new friends, and new life.  It marked transition, trying, and transformation.  I am a new creature.  I am not the same person I was just 180 days ago.  I am amazed at the many new things I've learned and humbled by the massive amount of things yet to know.  With eagerness, I accept each new experience with encouragement, and I attempt to convey as much and as soon as I can.  As I reach, I teach, as I share, I care.


The prefix "dis" is often has a negative association as it generally means "not".  In this case, I would state that I am not a health professional, dietitian, nutritionist, fitness trainer, guru, or chef.  I do not profess to have the knowledge to cure illness, foster weight loss, or prolong life.  In fact, I recommend that individuals consult a professional and obtain a mentor/coach to guide their path with a healthy focus.  Sometimes, however, "dis" can be associated with a positive spin as it is the opposite of a negative connotation, for example: "disinfect".   While I can not promise a miracle fix, I can share my experience and my transformation in hopes that this choice will disengage negative feedback, enable discussion of discoveries, distribution, disclosure and display that as I discard, past ways will disappear, so too will dys-function, dis-ease and dis-ability.

Recognizing Change - relationship of  Yoga and Veganism

Yoga and Veganism
 Hand in Hand on one accord
I began this journey almost two years ago.   It had begun with "exercising", a little cardio, circuit training, and a some yoga.  Slowly, I found that I felt better after practicing yoga than after a strenuous workout. I started doing less of these exercises and more of yoga.  The more yoga I practiced, the more I began to realize that yoga is not exercise.   Yoga is a means to bring your mind, body, spirit, and soul into one accord with peace and tranquility.  I had begun to change.  The more I disconnected with traditional physical movement, the more cleansed I felt.  This lead to more and more dislike of things I knew were not good for my body.   Six months ago, after a year of enjoying the benefits of yoga practice, the realization of the need to review the food consumed  just swept over me like a wave.  With an intensity, it suddenly became important to understand that this transformation was not just a physical adjustment, but a mental and spiritual one as well - thus, becoming vegan.  Acknowledging this change is not a major revelation but more of a natural progression.  The link between Yoga and Veganism is as old as the practice of yoga itself.  If  in yoga, you are working toward a clean body, mind, and spirit, the wish would be to only place things in the body that would not contradict the practice.  The more yoga I practiced, the more desire I had to select foods that focused on healing, purifying, and of a pranic (quieting) nature.  My desire to eat anything of an animal origin had lessened.  I had begun a transformation naturally.  The decision to become vegan feels "right".  According to Pantanjali, the father of yoga, "the purpose of yoga is enlightenment, that one can not attain enlightenment through the harming of other beings (i.e. animals". Although we don't wish to think about it, consumption of flesh is a violent act.

Lokah Samasta Sukhino  Bahavantu

Emerge peacefully from your chrysalis and fly!
This mantra means " May all beings be happy and free and may the thoughts,  words and actions of my own life contribute in some way to that happiness and that freedom for all".  This mantra is the banner which represents the relationship between yoga and veganism.  Too often during these past short six months, I've been challenged, confronted, questioned, and forced to defend my eating habits.  Not many outside of my vegan circle have applauded or even complimented.  I realize that people are not personally attacking me, but rather, are experiencing their own fear of transformation.  In the leadership transformation book, "Flight of the Buffalo", authors James Belasco and Ralph Stayer state that:

"Change is hard because people overestimate the value of what they have -
 and underestimate the value of what they may gain by giving that up". 

This is avoidable if the change is positive, natural, and in accordance with mind, body and soul.  Instead of anger, I feel compassion for those who attack, and I choose to feel happiness, to accept ayurvedic (holistic mind, body, and soul) approach. I challenge those afraid to emerge from their own personal chrysalis transformed,  new and fresh and to embody Lokah Samasta Sukhino Bahavantu.

"When we quit thinking primarily about ourselves and our own self preservation,
 we undergo a truly heroic transformation of consciousness"- Jospeh Campbell

As I celebrate the end of my previous life and the beginning of  life anew, I am strengthened by peaceful transition as the gap between mind, body, spirit, and soul quietly closes and slowly continues to transform. I am grateful for the opportunity to learn, dis-cern, share, and grow.  May you all be happy and free.


Yoga:  Bridge Pose - Setu Bandha Sarvangasana

The bridge pose is a beginning backbend that strengthens the legs, hips, massages the spine, opens the heart.  According to The Capricious Yogi, "the purpose of this pose is more than a physical gesture.  Prior to posing, place hands in prayer position at the third eye and make an intention or dedication.  By combining your intentions with the of opening the heart and the strength of the back bend, the pose aligns or 'bridges' the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual within the body."
The bridge pose provides a slow, peaceful strength that allows transformation from one point to another.