Truth on the Train

Sorrento, Italy – Today on the train to Pompeii, I heard a man from Southern Florida tell a Napoli local that it gets so hot where he is from that even the animals die from heat stroke.

As a matter of fact, a few years back, a black cat just up and keeled over on the hot pavement right in front of him. He went on to explain that he immediately submerged the heat afflicted animal in a nearby river where the cat was promptly revived enough to scratch up his bare arm somethin’ terrible.

Watching this man tell his bullshit story I could see that he believed every word was true. It was also clear that the train passenger he was telling it to didn’t speak english and didn’t likely care if the story was true or a complete fabrication.

But the story made me think about truth and its subjectivity.

It is entirely possible that the cat was just laying down in front of the man hoping for a scratch behind the ears and instead ended up a victim of near drowning at the hands of a South Floridian with a hero complex.

I’m on the Amalfi coast this week at a yoga retreat, so truth or Satya is top of mind for me. Yoga, asana and meditation, offer a path to seeing things as they truly are, without the layers of bullshit we as humans pile on. Witnessing and understanding things just as they are.

Maybe he really did save the cat, maybe it was just a grim misunderstanding. But getting to the truth is a life’s work and in the case of this man’s story, we will never know what exactly went down. So chalk this up as another of life’s great mysteries.

This article originally published on GroundingUp

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All Natural Yoga Mat “Cleaner”

Unfortunately, scientists have done studies to confirm what we already strongly suspected, which is that our yoga mats are little better than petri dishes. And, thanks to science, now we know:

  1. Bacteria, viruses, and fungi really flourish on the porous rubber material of yoga mats. Here’s a sampling of what turned up in testing: regular old fungi, like ringworm and athlete’s foot, viruses including strep, flesh-eating strep, and a variety of staph, including Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Nice!
  2. Our all natural essential oil infused mat washes aren’t going to cut it when it comes to killing what lives on the petri dish we call our yoga mat. You will need Lysol or bleach for that. Boooooo!

I bring this up because I recently returned from a yoga retreat in Mexico to which I brought my own mat (because I know what lives on communal yoga mats and prefer to stick to my own brand of funk).

I clean my mat from time to time by wiping it down with a wet towel, but our yoga studio is incredibly clean and I’m the only one using the mat, so I try not to get to up tight about it. But when I unrolled my mat after it had been subjected to a week of humidity, sweat, trail dust, bug guts, and gecko poop, I had to admit that I might just need to recycle it and buy a new one.

I use Jade Harmony yoga mats. Their open cell rubber construction makes them extremely grippy and absorbent, and they are eco-friendly. Their one draw back is that cleaning them with anything but a warm water wipe down will dry them out very quickly.

“The really important thing is to NEVER use other [other than warm water] cleaning products or essential oils on your mat. Unfortunately most cleaning products adversely impact the natural rubber in our mats, causing it to break down and dry out. Essential oils pose an entirely different issue, causing your mat to lose its grip and break down over time, as its open cell rubber pores get clogged up and damaged.”–Jadeyoga

So with that said, I went ahead and ignored Jade’s advice and whipped up a homemade mat cleaner–recognizing that I was in no way actually sanitizing it. At least it would look and smell clean and if the cleaning ruined the mat, I would just consider it a cost of the yoga retreat and move on.

Make Your Own Mat “Cleaner”

What you’ll need:
Spray bottle (2-4 oz in size)
3/4 cup distilled or spring water
1/4 cup Witch hazel or white vinegar
1-2 drops Tea tree essential oil
1-2 drops Essential oil of your choice (sandalwood or eucalyptus is my choice)

Instructions:
Combine all ingredients in a measuring cup or bowl, mix well then put it into your spray bottle. To clean your mat, wipe it with a damp towel, spray, and wipe again. Allow it to hang dry before rolling it back up.

My advice, as someone who is completely unqualified to give advice is that a yogi:

  1. Use their own mat and never share
  2. Be sure to thank your immune system.

This article originally published on www.groundingup.com.

I do what I want (sometimes).

On Sunday, my friends from ThreeDogYoga and I are leaving for a yoga retreat at Haramara in Sayulita, Mexico.

Unlike a standard vacation, it seems a yogi needs to have “reasons” for going on a yoga retreat. And for every reason there is for going, there are at least three reasons for not going on a yoga retreat; believe me, I have been talking myself out of yoga retreats for YEARS.

Here is a sampling of some of my reasons for NOT going on a yoga retreat sooner
1–It seems like way too much yoga
2–I get incredibly homesick (yes, I know that I am a grown woman)
3–My work and family schedule just can’t accommodate it. How will everyone live without me for 5 whole days?
4–Yoga retreats are expensive and a luxury. It’s not fiscally responsible.
5–My husband can’t go with me and if I’m going on vacation I should probably go with him.

The Internet of Yoga is more than happy to provide lists and lists and lists of reasons for attending a yoga retreat. And while most of those reasons seem fairly legitimate, I have to say that none of those reasons are really MY reason for going. 

Some reasons the Internet says you should go on a yoga retreat
1–Take your yoga practice to the next level
2–Expand your meditation practice
3–Digitally & nutritionally detox
4–It is part of your yoga teacher certification
5–Because you really need a break

If you are a human being, it has probably been a really long time since you felt like you could do what you wanted to do when you wanted to do it.

If you honor your responsibilities and value your livelihood and relationships than there is an endless list of things that come before you and what you want to do. A yoga retreat in Mexico is probably not on that list.

That is life and it is the life we love and willingly created, blessed with rewarding careers, happy homes, sweet and loving spouses and kids, pets, friends and neighbors, and extended family. But, these blessings don’t maintain and nurture themselves. You have to be there to water all that green grass day in and day out. Who will water that grass if you are in Mexico?

Yes, I’m heading to Haramara to expand my yoga practice and to explore yoga teacher training, to detox, and do whatever else the Internet says goes on there.

But if I’m really being honest, I would have to say that going on this retreat is a way of proving to myself that I can still do what I want sometimes. Work will still be there, my husband will forgive me for leaving him alone for 5 days, and the kids will survive.

P.S.–I’m already homesick.

This article was originally published on www.groundingup.com