Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Outreach Yoga Challenge - Day 2 Its in the Water

A blissful sleep is a sure start to a great day, the rains in Vancouver have started and I hear my own voice echo to my mum 'You can't have the good without the bad! It wouldn't be so beautiful and lush if it didn't rain!' How amazing is this world we live in, were the rain provides us with the most essential nourishment our body needs, water. Here are some interesting facts about water;

Its used for almost every bodily component, sweat, tears, urine, blood, lympth, digestive juices
We use water in almost all bodily functions circulation, digestion, elimination, absorption

Drink at least 8 glasses of water a day, about 1.5 litres, more when exercising
1 in 6 people dont have access to clean water
Every yr 2 million die from disease from lack of clean water
Regions around the world have water shortage due to drought and overuse
Nestle use up public water in 3rd world countries
Banks force countries to sell public water to private companies.
Communites have shed blood to regain resources
Bottled water isnt necessarily safer than tap
Average American uses 69 gallons of water a day

Buy a refillable glass, or stainless steel water bottle
1 x loo flush in west uses same amount of water an African family uses in a day for all uses
Predictions are set for war on water
You can carbonate your own water
Plastic water bottles leak chemicals

Mountains of plastic water bottles dumped in India are going to outlive us
Industry has technology to make ocean water to drinking
Private water costs twice as much
Conserve by investing in renewable energy
In Bolvia 1 in 5 kids die from lack of clean water

A cow drinks upto 20 gallons of water a day
Every yr 7 billion gallons of water leak in the USA
40% of bottled water is municipal (yes that means tap water)
Growing movement to stop selling bottled water, its happening here in Canada already

There are 80 'controlled' 'safe' toxins in our tap water
Filtered water can remove taste of chlorine, buy a filter jug
South Africa installed prepaid water meters that the poor cant afford
Our bodies are made up of 70% water so we should give a shit!

The World is also made up of 70% water, does this not make you think?

Aside from oxygen water is the most abundant and precious substance of life on this Earth, look after it, don't waste it, think about the water you put into your body, think about the pollution pumped into our rivers by the BigCo.com before you buy your next pair of unecessary trainers                                         http://www.greenpeace.org.uk/media/press-releases/nike-scores-1-0-over-adidas-toxic-pollution-clean-commitment-20110818.
Water gives longevity and health, its good for our spirit! We can surf in it, shower in it, splash it, swim, look for rainbows and dance in the rain. There is enough clean water on this planet for everyone in the world. So why doesn't everyone have it?
Lets use it, not abuse it!
Look how lush the rain makes Vancouver! The view from my balcony to the mountains is shabby huh :)

Yoga talk

Seated forward fold, or pascimottanasana in Sanskrit, is a great place to practice taking care of ourselves, an important part of 'ahimsa', or 'non-harming.' Most of us can practice more safely if we sit on a little height - perhaps a folded blanket, towel or yoga block - to elevate our hips a little. If you have any low back disc issues, take care of yourself by keeping your knees bent. 
 As you sit on the front edge of your height, hinge forward from the hip crease, keeping your spine long and straight.
 You may be familiar with the expression 'edge' in yoga - it means a place where we find a balance between not enough and too much, in terms of sensation and effort. In our forward fold as well as other postures, we're looking for a place that is without pain. If we push too hard, we may start to cross that line from helpful stretch to feeling a twinge of pain. Our breath might start to get shorter or less steady. If we find that this happens, we have the opportunity to practice ahimsa, to bring ourselves back to a place where we feel some significant/helpful sensation of stretch, but it's pain-free, with no strain.
 As we work in forward fold, we also have a chance to think about another aspect of ahimsa - how we might practice compassion for ourselves by not judging ourselves within these yoga postures. Can we let go of our tendency to feel we're not 'good enough' if we can't reach our hands to our feet, etc? What if we can't go as far as the person practicing next to us? If we need to practice with our knees bent to take care of our low back? Can we practice compassion for ourselves by being willing to modify as we need to and to practice patience towards our unique body and its needs from day to day?

Remember its YOUR body and YOUR practice, so do what YOUR body needs! I find that somedays I really want to physically work my body in 'simple' poses, by activating my thigh muscles and pulling my toes up to the sky, I actively pull my navel back to my spine whilst breathing Ujay breath, as I breathe in I lengthen and then deepen on the exhale. Try this and see how different it feels. Bend your knees and feel how it feels for your heartbeat to pump on your thighs, then slowly work to straightening the legs, or don't!

After my practice today, I knew I had overstretched on the folds, hyperextension on the knees, overextension of my ego? I'm grateful for my practice, I met a guy called Al Green and sang Paul Simon riding my bike home in the rain grinning as my face was drenched. I do hope my serotonins are giving off the right message that doesn't say 'looney'.

Meditation Talk

I'm nesting in my new crib this evening with 'Shambhala the path of the Warrior', part of my homework reading for the Shambhala meditation school I've been going to. I do have to avoid the only weirdo in there that insisted on sitting next to me the first class I attended and asking me during meditation if I thought the flags on the walls were silk, moments later if I could speak Chinese, and then nudging me (still meditating) to tell me the flags were not straight...being a yogi I've learned not to judge him (kind of..cough) but to steer clear of him too.  I caught a great film called 'Crazy Wisdom' about a tibetian guy named Chogyam Trungpa who brought the Shambhala practice to the West, he also seduced women, drank and smoked. Everything in a balance right :) If you are interested in finding some stillness in your busy life, meditation is a great tool that we can access to quiet our monkey minds. You could start with simply spending 5 quiet minutes to yourself, sitting crossed legged, eyes shut if that helps you for now, and count your breaths in and out, inhaling in for 4 and exhaling out for 4, if your mind wanders off track, then simply acknowledge this and maybe even smile and return to your breath. Living in the present moment is so much more enjoyable, and we constantly live in our minds chatter, wouldn't it be great to shut out the white noise and only turn it on when we need it? I'm a work in progress, and so can you be! :)

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