Quick, Hold My Temper

Today, on my flight from San Diego to Sonoma, I received a lesson in the importance of context in relationships from the couple seated behind me.

The couple was bickering behind me:

Lady: hold this
Man: what is this? Are you going to have me hold your water?
Lady: yes
Man: well, what are you holding?
Lady: my temper
Man: okay

Nice work, lady. You sure told him, I thought.

Later, as they deplaned and I watched her patiently guide him down the aisle between the seats, I realized that what I had registered as a smartass comment from a bitter husband was actually a legitimate inquiry from a blind man who just wanted to know what he was holding.

Context is EVERYTHING.

Namaste.

This article originally published on www.groundingup.com. Go here for more real life application of yoga philosophy

Sell the Goat!

Settle in everyone, I’m going to tell you a story.


A villager lived in a small house with his wife, mother-in-law, six children, a cow, and some chickens. The chaos was driving him crazy. So he went to the village rabbi for help. The rabbi said he could solve the problem: he advised the man to buy a goat. The man immediately went out and bought a goat. 

Now he had a wife, a mother-in-law, six children, a cow, some chickens, and a goat. The house was even more chaotic than before. The villager returned to the rabbi and described the increased confusion. Once again, the rabbi said he could solve the problem and he told the man to sell the goat. The villager went home and sold the goat. 

Suddenly, all he had in his small house were his wife, his mother-in-law, his six kids, a cow, and some chickens. Things were positively peaceful without the goat!

*Hanson Lasater, Judith, Ph.D., PT.Living Your Yoga. 2000. Print


I share this story with you because I like good stories about perspective and when Anna at ThreeDogYoga shared it with me, I knew that I was going to need to pass it along. It also gave me a great excuse to look at goat pictures (thank you, internet).

Most of the work we do in yoga really just boils down to shaping our own perspectives. Life is going to be what it is going to be; how we see that life is the part that we control. That is enlightenment and it is a life’s work.

So go out there and sell some goats.

 

This article originally published on www.groundingup.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Because the chicken sees.

Years ago, when I first started yoga, I noticed that most of the “serious yogis” I met had some fairly specific diets. They were vegan or vegetarian and anti-GMO and pro-biotic. They did detoxes and cleanses and only ate natural unrefined sugars. But why? Was it because they were health and fitness enthusiasts or was there something about yoga that was doing this to them?

I had to do a lot of reading and research to get to an answer that made sense to me because there are a lot of elements involved in answering the question, “what is the yoga diet and, OMG, why?

I came across this story Ram Dass tells while I was researching the yoga diet as prescribed by the old traditional yogis. They believed that a sparse diet consisting of fruits and a few nuts was required to achieve spiritual enlightenment (or hunger hallucinations which may have been mistaken for the astral plane).

The story goes something like this:

A holy man gave two men each a chicken and said, “Go kill them where no one can see.” One guy went behind the fence and killed the chicken. The other guy walked around for two days and came back with the chicken. The holy man said, “You didn’t kill the chicken?” and the guys said, “well, everywhere I go, the chicken sees.”

There seem to be 5 straight forward rules when it comes to eating like a yogi.
1–Don’t eat too much.
2–Eat light, healthy, unadulterated foods which are easily digestible.
3–Eliminate foods with strong flavors and smells and reduce consumption of stimulants like caffeine and booze (um, okay).
4–Be aware of where your food comes from and how it is prepared. Avoid foods that involve violence in the sourcing. Obviously, meat requires some killing but this also applies to harvesting fruit or vegetables from a plant before it has fallen to the ground of its own accord.
5–Consecrate the food before you eat it.

The first three rules seem like what the American Heart Association has been telling us for decades–eat healthy portions of a balanced diet and you will be all set. But in yoga, it is more than that.

Those first three rules are about maintaining the physical body so it is ready and able to complete the eight limbs or stages of yoga in the quest for enlightenment. Inherent in those rules are directions for abstinence, austerity, discipline, generosity, and a breaking of bad habits with the idea being that a self-controlled person can better attain spiritual freedom.

The last two rules about awareness and consecration are clearly spiritual in nature. Most of us are good with consecrating our food before we eat it; in Christianity, that is the equivalent of saying grace at the dinner table. Amen. Done. Let’s eat.

However, remember the dudes with the chickens? Well this is where the vegetarians and vegans get on board. Yoga says that GOD is everyone and everything. He is you and me and the apple tree in the front yard–and that chicken.

In yoga, a violent act is a violent act against GOD, and the chicken sees.

This article originally published on www.groundingup.com.