Are you cooking in the bathroom?

These are a few items from the kitchen that you will find in my bathroom.  Included are some of my favorite recipes.

photo

The association between yoga and hippies is not an accident.  As yoga starts to seep off your mat into your life you start to look for ways to do the least harm to the environment.  There are many practical, natural products that can be used for skin and hair care.  Here are just a few.

1.  Coconut oil.  I use this for everything from skin to hair.  I rub it on my face, drop it in the bathtub and use it as a deep conditioner*.

2.  Sea Salt.  I use sea salt as a hair product.  I make a great beachy hair spray for pennies to the dollar of those found in stores.**

3.  Baking Soda makes a great face scrub or on the fly toothpaste.  Mix it with a little water and scrub away.

4.  Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV).  ACV is my new hair conditioner.  I wash my hair with an all natural bar soap from Jonathan’s Organics.  Every other time I wash I rinse with ACV.  I fill a small bottle halfway with the ACV and mix with warm water and pour.  Make sure to rinse out thoroughly as the smell can linger.

*Coconut Hair Mask:
– Soften the Coconut oil by rubbing it between your palms. (If it is really tough to get out of the jar run it under hot water)
-Saturate the hair with coconut oil (About 2 Tbsp)
-Wrap the head in plastic wrap or a shower cap.
-Leave for an hour or so.
– To rinse out: shampoo and condition as usual (you might need a few shampoos) OR pour Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) over the hair to take off oil.

**Beachy Hair Spray:
– tsp of sea salt
– ¼ tsp of coconut oil
– warm water
-small spray bottle

Mix all ingredients into the spray bottle. Shake until salt is dissolved and the oil is dispersed. (You may need to run the bottle under warm water to melt the oil each time you use it.)

Advertisements

Sutra Sunday: The Truth Hurts?

Bringing back the Sutras!

In the Yoga Sutras, Patanjali gives five yamas, or restraints.  These are the things we should not do.  I outlined the yamas in Being A Bad-@ss YoginiThe first two yamas are ahimsa (non-violence) and satya (truth).  During teacher training, we discussed how sometimes these two ideas seem to work against one another.  As we often hear, “The truth hurts.”  Right?

I was taught by my teacher that ahimsa always comes first.  Above all, do no harm.  All other yamas are subsequent to this.  However, this does not give us a free pass to lie.  Little white lies are an easy way of preserving someone’s feelings, but this is not the lesson that we should be learning through these two yamas.  The real lesson here is awareness.

Some truths are simple.  They are harmful and therefore probably don’t need to be heard by anyone else.  A character from How I Met Your Mother put it this way, “Just because something needs to be said, doesn’t mean it needs to be heard.”  Taking a moment before you say something gives you the power.  It makes you a deliberate speaker and one who is an advocate for non-harm through real action.

Other truths are more tricky.  Sometimes the possibility of hurt feelings may save someone from harm in the long run.  This takes more discernment than deciding whether or not to say something.  Discerning what your intention is in saying something comes first.  Jake at InstantKarma.org says,

“Often, people say hurtful words and than justify these words by  saying that they had good intentions – they only wanted to help the other  person. This is usually associated with the idea that a person wants to teach someone  how to be a “better” person. If someone leaves their clothes on their floor, they  are given a lecture on how lazy and sloppy they are to help them become a  better person. The intentions of the lecture are to “help” this person. The truth  is, these lectures have very little to do with improving the person, these lectures are  given to change something about a person that someone does not want to live  with. A person usually does not give lectures on being sloppy or lazy because they  really want to help the other person – they give the lecture because they are  tired of cleaning up after them. The motives of such speeches are completely  for oneself.”

If the intention of the speech is truly to help someone, then the task is to decide how it should be said.  Creating a positive sentence takes more time and care than blurting out the first thing that comes to mind.  However, it can often save people’s feelings as well as motivate them to take action.

“We can see that the idea of hurtful words and intention do  go together. Telling someone that they are lazy, forgetful, thoughtless,  uncaring, etc. are all hurtful words. Even if they are said with good  intention, i.e. to help “improve” the person, the hurtful words will create a  negative affect. There is an amazing difference in the affect that “Please,  honey, could you put your dirty clothes in the hamper instead of the floor” has  than “Would you stop being such a lazy pig dropping your dirty clothes all over  the damn floor!”. ”

Often we feel that people will be motivated by a blunt or somewhat harmful version of the truth.  This is probably true.  When people say hurtful things to me I automatically find a way to change so that I do not have to hear them again.  It is pain avoidance.  Not true learning.  Sometimes, as Jake stated, the person really does not need to change, you would like them to change to make you more comfortable.

No matter how kind the words, the truth might still sting.  We cannot always predict someone’s reaction to our truth.  But we can use kind words.  We can have good intentions behind our words.  And we can take a moment before we speak to decide.  Tap into your breath, become fully aware of your body in space, repeat a mantra, whatever brings you into the present moment.  Take that moment and make a choice.  Taking control of our words is a powerful message to the world, and ourselves.  We all have the potential to be messengers of truth AND love!

Instruments of Peace

I don’t watch the news or read the newspaper. Not everyday at least. Not even with any sort of regularity. Still I know people died today. People die everyday. Not in their beds at the ripe age of 97. They die of violence.

Everyday people die of violence. Somewhere. Out there. Beyond my window. My little world has never been closely attacked. I have not experienced violent death or injury. I cannot begin to know what it would feel like to be invaded in such a way. Yet, I can imagine. Because I am not just my little world. I am one part of the millions and billions and each tragedy is my tragedy.

It is hard to talk about tragedies without sounding flippant, cliche or overly sentimental. These are real lives that were lost and real people who are left behind in the wake. Nothing I or anyone else can say will change this. There are no memes or inspirational quotes to take away the pain that will be felt. There is no comfort in violence. That is its nature. The comfort comes later. Or never at all.

I believe it is important to acknowledge the deaths in Boston. These are “our” people. Americans. Each time we are hit with a large-scale tragedy in the United States, I am reminded that these things, guns and bombs and death, are “normal” occurrences for some people. And there is little I can do about that.

Today in Baghdad, 200 were wounded and 50 killed. In Somalia, 20 are dead. In Syria, 12 died. Too many people to count died due to gun violence alone here in America over the weekend. Each one of these numbers represents a living human being, someone’s someone. These do not discount the pain of the victims in Boston, they add to it. This is just those ripped from the NYT headlines and they can leave you feeling empty and helpless, knowing the extent of senseless acts of violence across the globe.

All we can really do is be a weapon of peace. It is unrealistic to demand the whole world cease to be violent. We cannot stop the whole world, be we can demand of ourselves that we not add to the violence. As yogis, we are asked to practice ahimsa, the Yoga Sutra of “non-violence”. This encompasses all violence towards others and oneself in thoughts, word and deed. You don’t have to punch someone in the face to be violent towards them. It is not an easy practice, even in times of our lives where we are not angry or upset. It is that much harder when we have real anger and real reasons for revenge.

It is easier to hate someone for their differences than learn to love them for what is the same. To do that we must see our brothers as ourselves, and that as I wrote earlier is “The Greatest Challenge.” If we are going to make any impact in this world, it will be because we were able to be an instrument of peace and through our actions, teach others to be the same.

It is true that everyday there is violence, but it is equally true that everyday there are people who work for peace. These people give me hope. These people make a difference in the lives they save. They may not win the war yet but they keep going to battle.

My sister is a peacemaker. She is a social worker fighting each day for children in rough home situations. I can not understand what she goes through everyday, but I am grateful that she keeps getting up in the morning and going to work. She gives me hope that the decent will always outweigh the terror, good does defeat evil. Every person knows someone in their life that restores their hope. Who is yours?

My heart goes out to all those reeling from the loss of a loved one. I send prayers to all those overwhelmed by tragedy. I am grateful for all those who each day work towards building a more peaceful world, no matter how discouraging it might seem. Om Shanthi.

…Here’s what I DO know. If it’s one person or a HUNDRED people, that number is not even a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of a percent of the population on this planet. You watch the videos of the carnage and there are people running TOWARDS the destruction to help out. (Thanks FAKE Gallery founder and owner Paul Kozlowski for pointing this out to me). This is a giant planet and we’re lucky to live on it but there are prices and penalties incurred for the daily miracle of existence. One of them is, every once in awhile, the wiring of a tiny sliver of the species gets snarled and they’re pointed towards darkness.

But the vast majority stands against that darkness and, like white blood cells attacking a virus, they dilute and weaken and eventually wash away the evil doers and, more importantly, the damage they wreak. This is beyond religion or creed or nation. We would not be here if humanity were inherently evil. We’d have eaten ourselves alive long ago.

So when you spot violence, or bigotry, or intolerance or fear or just garden-variety misogyny, hatred or ignorance, just look it in the eye and think, “The good outnumber you, and we always will.”

-Patton Oswalt

Sutra Sunday: I cannot tell a lie

This Sunday I discuss Satya, truthfulness, one of the yamas in yoga.

सत्यप्रतिष्थायं क्रियाफलाश्रयत्वम् 

satya-pratiṣthāyaṁ kriyā-phala-āśrayatvam 

Once a state of truth (satya) has been permanently established, each statement will form the basis for a truthful result. 

Telling the truth, I mean really telling the truth all the time, is difficult.  Period.  There are big lies and small lies and white lies and black ones.  There are intentional lies and lies of omission.  We lie to our parents, our teachers, our colleagues and friends.  We lie to ourselves.  In the end, they are all equal.  They are all the opposite of truth.

This past week, I missed an interview.  My mom came to ask me about my day.  It was 5 o’clock and I suddenly remembered that I had an interview at 2.  I had missed it and there was nothing I could do.  I decided to send an email of apology asking if it were possible to reschedule.  I wanted to lie.  I wanted to make up a story about my car or a family emergency.  I wanted to say anything other than, I forgot.  I wanted to… but I didn’t.

As a yoga practitioner, I would have felt icky walking into an interview for a yoga teaching job based on a lie.  It would have felt icky to write it.  So, I wrote him a cleaned up truth explaining that I had not put it in my calendar correctly.  In the end this might have hurt me, he might not want to reschedule with someone who is not well-organized enough to get to an interview.  It might have hurt me, but I did everything I could.  I acknowledged my wrong doing while still holding to satya.

It wasn’t easy.  It made me angry as I was writing the email that I could not make myself type a lie.  I so wanted to cover my ass and get a second interview.  Not because I so desperately wanted the job, but because I do not like to make mistakes.  To me, satya is most difficult when facing my mistakes.  It is then that I struggle the most, but when I come out on the side of truth it is there I reach the most growth.

Telling lies has never come easy for me, though whenever I did decide to tell one, I was fairly good at the deception.  It always made me feel disgusting and in the end I never really gained anything.  I usually ended up telling the truth, even years later.  Now it is just easier to tell the truth and face the consequences.  It is faster.  I do not always tell the truth, as sometimes I do not want to face the consequences.  When I do tell the truth, though, I do not need to waste my time worrying about being found out.  The damage is done.

That is the beauty of satya.  Truthfulness will start to set you free from a self-imposed prison.  Truthfulness lightens the load of worry.  When paired with the first yama, ahimsa/non-harming (to be discussed in another addition of Sutra Sunday), satya has deep power.  You will start to see that there was no need to lie in the first place.  Whatever happened does not change because you told a different story and most people will be able to accept the truth.  If they cannot, you accept the consequences, which you most likely would have accepted either way.

Try for one week to be conscious of the lies you tell, big or small.  Notice where you omit information in order to avoid lying or telling the truth.  Try for that one week to focus on satya, on telling the truth.  As long as your truth will not cause harm to another, go ahead and tell it.  How does it feel to be free from the shackles of lies?