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My parents take the 45-day Vegan Diet Challenge!

I am back in California after nearly 2 years of travelling.

I never would have predicted I would be back home or that my parents would agree to try a vegan (plant based) diet for 45 days!

During my last Vipassana meditation course in India my inner voice told me it was time to go home, which I thought was strange as in my mind I thought I would be in India for years. The inner voice was more than a voice it was a knowing. I knew I had to come back and soon.

I arrived back in California 5 days ago full of enthusiasm from all that I have learned on my travels. My latest inspiration was to watch the movie Forks Over Knives about the health benefits of changing to an all plant based (Vegan) diet.

http://www.forksoverknives.com

I told my parents I was excited to watch this film and would they be open to the idea of seeing what it had to say and if it was convincing to try eating plant based for 45 days.

THEY AGREED!

The very next day my father ended up in the Hospital with a heart attack scare.

Talk about timing.

I thanked God that I was there and that I listened to the knowing.

The doctors all wanted to pump him full of medication, and ran a bunch of tests and monitored his vitals.

Both my parents were very against the idea of my father having to take more medicine. He is already an insulin dependent Diabetic and also has Parkinson disease for which he is taking Dopamine.

I strongly suggested that we could use food as medicine. He agreed to stick with the plan and see if changing his diet and also including meditation into his daily life would make a difference.

My mothers intentions are also health related. She has been overweight and addicted to sugar for years. She said she was ready to change, and wanted to be kind to her body and this approach sounded good to her.

It has been 3 days and she has already lost 4 pounds and is overjoyed that maybe there is a solution to her eating problem.

Maybe she can enjoy food and feel good too!

I also wanted to try the diet. I have been eating a vegetarian diet for 3 years now, but wanted to take it to the next step of eliminating all animal products. My reasons are two fold: for preventative health measures, to feel at my best and optimal health, and for the environmental and animal concerns.

So far we are all so happy with the changes. My parents are loving the food and being all in it together is great for the support and determination.

I am so proud of my parents! For having the openness and willingness to change, try something new, and be open to another way.

And just maybe we all might end up feeling amazing!

(I am getting inspiration from the recipes on the Engine 2 diet challenge website http://engine2diet.com)

 

Bean Tofu tacos Vegan Diet IMG_6313 IMG_6322 IMG_6323 IMG_6328

Vietnamese Spring Rolls A Fire Within Vegan Diet

 

 

 

 

Ashtanga Yoga in Thailand – breakthrough!

I have come to Thailand for a month to practice Ashtanga Yoga with my new teacher Steve Lapham who is amazing! (www.ganeshaprojects.com), and I had a major breakthru today.
The question is…
Why do I make things harder than they are?
I am currently “stuck” on the asana in Intermediate series called Kapotasana (which is a back bending posture where you are on your knees with the goal being to touch your heels), and today I heard a voice in my head say “ Polly you can do this, it doesn’t have to be so hard Let It Go”.
What came up for me felt like an emotional brick wall that was old and cellular and has been with me since childhood. It is the feeling that I get in dreams sometimes where I am running as hard as I can and my body feels like is moving thru wet concrete and just won’t go no matter how hard I try.
It felt like my brain and this weird belief/ emotion/ blockage cuts me off from prana and life force making things so hard when they arnt.
WHY? I guess it doesn’t matter why. All I want is to be free.
I want to be in the flow of energy that is coming from source and in that flow using that prana I know it is all possible. It is only me, my mind and my emotional baggage that makes it seem not possible.
This is what amazes me with Ashtanga Yoga, showing up on my mat everyday with a good teacher. He is pushing me to my maximum, and I feel from him that he knows its possible for me. I just need to get out of the way, and that what I did today.
Before I begin I say silently to myself “I am now ready to let go of all this that is no longer serving me.”
My first Kapotasana today Steve was holding my hips and telling me to press the floor with the tops of my feet and shins and have the feeling of straightening my legs. As my head moved closer to my feet I could feel the emotion rising, the old feeling of running thru concrete. It was an incredible realisation to see that this emotion is what has been holding me back in my backbending. My breathing was intense and laboured and I felt like I was about to cry. I came up and knew I had to do it again.
So I did and it was much more free and easy and I could breathe and it wasnt a drama! Wow.
This is why I practice yoga.
It’s not so that I have the perfect Kapotasana.
It is coming up against the emotional brick wall that has been holding me back and moving through it. Experiencing it, releasing, and seeing light on the other side.
The personal growth that comes in moments like these are life changing, and am so grateful to have found a good teacher to guide me through them!
I recently read a blog post from a fellow Ashtanga Yoga friend which was about how do we know when we are progressing in yoga. The article referred to the yoga sutras where it says basically (paraphrasing) that you know you are progressing in your yoga practice when you are becoming a nicer, tolerant, and more compassionate person.
That is the point.
It doesn’t matter that I can do Kapotasana perfectly. What matters is that I am willing to face my blocks and let them go!
Which I know directly transfers into my life.
Becoming and living in a more balanced, centered and serene state off the mat.
Thank you Steve and Ashtanga yoga for helping transform me and helping me to see what is possible!

The lessons I have learned practicing yoga in Mysore, India

“I wanted to change the world. But I have found that the only thing one can be sure of changing is oneself.” ― Aldous Huxley

I have been here in Mysore, India almost 3 months and with my final week looming ahead I have been reflecting on my experience here and feel like it is beneficial to share it.

I came here hoping to find myself, feeling lost, and experiencing a creative block and possibly a “mid life crisis”, I was hoping Mysore would give me the jolt my life was needing.

I had a lot of fear about coming and even wanted to back out at one stage, even though coming here was something I had wanted to do for years. I was in a comfort zone at home and leaving that for the unknown and the unknown in India seemed scary and daunting.
Thank God (Ganesha, Krishna, and everyone else) that I made it here.

The first month was hard.
I was having exercising withdrawals, and realized that at home I had been living on endorphins and adrenalin. I was also having space issues. Here in India there are people everywhere at all times even at the crack of dawn and it was especially a challenge in the Shala. Practicing yoga packed in with 60 other people with sometimes only a centimeter or two between yoga mats, for a person who likes my space and wide open nature this was a true test.


I was coming face to face with my very judgemental mind and was judging everyone and everything.

I was chasing my tail about my creative block and life purpose hoping for inspiration and not getting it, and feeling restless, irritable and discontent.

I began doing psychic development classes and heart meditations with Angelika and David from Spirit of the Dove www.spiritofthedove.org and beginning to tap into my inner beliefs and was what holding me back. These classes were truly transformational and helped me to see that the biggest thing holding me back was myself. I also did several healing sessions with Angelika that helped create a major shift almost instantly afterwards, and which truly have changed me.

Things began happening in yoga as well.

I realized one day that I was holding myself back in yoga practice.

Even though to all outside appearances I probably looked like the committed yoga practitioner (coming to India, getting up at 3 am everyday to practice yoga by 4:15 am, not missing a day) I knew inside I wasn’t all in. I still didn’t “love” yoga. I had this realization that it was something I had done with everything my whole life. Not give 100%. I always was one foot in and one foot out. I had a good cry and got some amazing words of advice from a good friend who understood exactly what I was feeling and his words were “Polly you can change” “starting tomorrow give it your best”. “Everyday that is all you can do. Show up and give it your all, and at the end of the practice you will know and you will have that satisfaction of knowing you did all you could today, and… it doesn’t have to be a drama.”
That advice has transformed me and it sticks in my mind everyday.
It doesn’t matter what the person next to me is doing or not doing I can stay in me and focus on what I can do and that is amazing.

When I got here I was ruled by my mind, I felt withdrawn and not very happy.

Three months later I feel like a changed person. I am feeling fully in myself, patient, and just happy to be. I am not worried anymore about my “life purpose” having realized here that things take time and that as long as I do the next thing that inspires me I am on track.

I have gotten words of wisdom from the most unlikely people and it has taught me to take the time to truly listen.

I have confronted my idea of “success” and when I asked my heart what my success looked like it was a big flower that truly touched a lot of people. It was calm, peaceful, fulfilled and happy. The feeling I got was that I could die content knowing I did what I came here to do.
My minds idea of success, on the other hand, was so insane I am embarrassed to even write it down.

I was told to come here with no expectations, which was great advice because the ones I did have have been exceeded ten fold. I feel like coming here to Mysore was the single most important thing I could have done in my life. I feel like anything is possible now and that nothing is in the way. I can be me and that is the biggest gift I could have ever gotten.

I can tell you now that I am already planning my return to India. I know I have to go North to the Ganges and the mountains and see what the North of India has in store and I am sure I will come back to Mysore.

India has been imprinted in my soul and has given me my life back.
I am feeling truly blessed and grateful for everyone who has helped me along in my journey here. You have all been gifts from Ganesha (the remover of obstacles)
From the bottom of my open heart THANK YOU!

What’s the Rush?

Caught In The Web- Acrylic and Mixed Media on Canvas- By Polly Green

Last week I crashed on my surfboard and smashed up my face. I got away with only 3 stitches in my lip and am nearly healed, but it has made me stop and question myself and my life.

What’s the rush? What am I rushing towards?

What truly matters in my life?

What is the point?

If I died today would I be happy with the life I have lived?

What would I say that’s been unsaid?

What would I do that I haven’t done?

What is truly important?

These are all things I am asking myself right now.

Being hurt has slowed me down and made me look even closer at myself. What am I rushing for?

I know I am training, but is this an excuse to escape? By cramming as much into my day as possible am I enjoying what I am doing? Am I fully present or am I already onto my next activity in my mind? I do know I have been going too fast, and believe I got hurt as a result.

But what is the balance?

I still don’t know, but I want to listen to my accident as I think it was a wake up call that let me off lightly.

I have been doing more ART and read a good book, which brought up all of these questions. It is called Shadows on the Path by Abdi Assadi, and was given to me by a new yoga friend who has inspired me.

Am I just caught in a spiders web of illusions created by my ego? Sometimes I think I am, and desperately want to be free from the web of my mind.

I know this is what it is truly about: getting clear with my life so that when I die I will die smiling.

I am hoping that my yoga and meditation practices will bring me closer to truth and away from illusion. I do feel like I am seeing these things with more clarity anyway.

Stop and Listen are today’s messages that I am hearing loud and clear.

Thank you for wake up calls.

The 5 S’s

The five S’s of sports training are: stamina, speed, strength, skill, and spirit; but the greatest of these is spirit.”–Ken Doherty

Freedom

Freedom! by Polly Green

This quote sums things up really well. All 5 of the S’s are important, but I do think spirit is the most important.

My flat mate asked me the other day what is motivating me. When the alarm goes off at 5am. I have been thinking about this question and ultimately I think my reasons are..

  • It feels good even after a long hard day -it is a good tired
  • I am seeing progress – getting stronger and more stamina and more consistent
  • I like having a goal
  • Noticing the little things like when I do my flat water paddles the water lilies are closed when I leave and start opening when I finish my paddle. Like they are just waking up too.
  • Seeing just what my body is capable of if I treat it right
  • Enjoying everyday instead of being focused on my end goal

Water Lilies- Early morning flat water training - photo Polly Green

Someone told me they didn’t think I could be the World Champion because I have too many interests. Part of this statement is true. I do have alot of interests but what feels like is happening is they are all starting to feed off each other in an amazing balance which is actually making things better!

Take for example my art work, yoga and cycling, which you might not think directly relate to freestyle kayaking, but they really do. Through yoga I am learning total awareness of the present moment and body control. Cycling gives me the feeling of freedom and a great way to stay fit when my arms need a break, and through my art i get into the “artzone” so similar to being in “the kayaking zone” being in the present moment and totally absorbed in what I am doing. They are actually all complimenting each other and helping me to achieve the balance I am striving for.

The Road to Freedom! My Favorite Cycling Road

I have also been thinking alot about food lately. I just watched “The Future Of Food” a very enlightening film about what is in food and GE food, which I knew little about. After watching I am now more committed than ever to eating healthy. Mostly vegetables (organic if possible), fruit, nuts and protein (food that is closest to it’s original state). I am also making a commitment to avoid sugar which is my main nemesis. I also learned this week that the body treats breads, rice, and pasta as sugar so am avoiding those too, and read recently sugar is more addictive than cocaine! I have also given up artificial sweeteners and am instead using Stevia, which is a natural good for you sweetener.

I am on day 2 of my new plan and feel better already. I am feeling like this is a different approach. Before I was wanting to lose weight and it was actually backfiring because I would get down on myself when I didn’t or would fall of my eating plan. Now I am thinking more about what is the best fuel for my body, what will make it the happiest? And drinking more water!
I am leaving tomorrow for a 3 day Vipassana meditation course. More mental training and a good detox diet.
I am remembering to be grateful every day for the life I have been given, and to BE HAPPY :)