This week's update is a short one, as every minute of my time this week has been taken up with the Teacher Training Course classes, homework teaching preparations and my karma yoga.
A friend who reads these updates requested that I write a bit more about the 5 parts of a yogic lifestyle that I mentioned in an earlier post.
You may recall that I've learned the five points of yoga are Proper Exercise, Proper Breathing, Proper Relaxation, Proper Diet and Positive Thinking/Meditation. When all 5 are practiced in a balanced fashion, the body, mind and spirit are nourished and healthy.
Dr. Susan Lord was the speaker one night at our satsang, and she talked about how our bodies stop sending signals after long periods of our ignoring them.
For example, people who never drink water or fluids during the day. They are chronically dehydrated, but do not feel thirsty. The body has stopped sending the thirst signal to these people.
Or, the people who repeatedly give up eating a meal during the day, soon discover they aren't even hungry for food at that meal any longer. It doesn't mean the body doesn't need the food, but the signaling system of the body has shut down for that activity.
The body is amazing, and whether from a scientific perspective or a spiritual perspective, we thrive best with balance in our lives. I'm also learning that Western science is starting to confirm, with thousands of studies, the positive effects of the yogic lifestyle.
Ahimsa (non violence) is one of the major tenets of yoga. Not killing is one of the reasons for a vegetarian diet. The other reason has to do with understanding that eating food that is closest to the source of energy provides the most nutrition and is the most beneficial.
Eating meat is eating something that is by definition devoid of energy or dead. I've eaten meat and fish my entire life, and I've not really questioned that what I was putting into my body was dead flesh. Yet, at the most basic level, that's what our burgers and salmon and steaks are made from. I've not thought about it, because it is just an accepted part of the culture I grew up in.
I'm thinking about it now.
The myth that yogis do not eat enough protein is just that, a myth. Beans and nuts are excellent sources of protein. Yogis do eat dairy products, other than eggs. For vegans, the dairy concern about not getting enough calcium is another myth that we hold dear - cows milk is not the best source of calcium. Dark green, leafy vegetables are much better sources of calcium. I prefer no dairy if there are vegan options. Luckily, here, everything made also has a vegan option.
Here at the Ashram, I've become a believer that a vegan diet is not only sustainable, but is delicious and full of variety and flavors and textures, when the food is prepared well and with love. Our two chefs, Ambika and Gigi are expert at vegetarian and vegan cooking. We are well nourished and our taste buds are also happy.
We are among the fortunate in the world who do not experience hunger. Yet, our Western diet and food choices are causing record numbers of chronic and painful diseases, obesity and death.
As for the yogic diet, this is landmark research out of Benson-Henry Institute at Harvard showed that in 4,452 patients who practiced yoga over a 4 year period, "Total utilization of health care services decreased by 43%, clinical encounters decreased by 41.9%, imaging by 50.3%, lab encounters by 43.5% and procedures by 21.4%.
If you are interested, there are many cookbooks for vegan and vegetarian meals. Be adventurous and try some of the recipes! You may be surprised just how delicious the food is. Practice the 5 points of yoga, and you may be surprised at how amazing you will feel!
And now, I must get back to my homework for Anatomy class and review for our asana teaching practice.
Wish me luck - only a week and a half to go!
Sending You Love from the Bahamas,🌞
Thank you for taking this journey with me!
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