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ONE- Protecting the White Nile River

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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

 

 

 

 

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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!
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India- adventures of an enlightening kind

I am back in India for the third time.

My intention is to deepen my spiritual practices and to find a teacher that can help illuminate the way.

It has proved to be another soul searching adventure. Not easy. Facing doubts. Wondering if there is a better place to be. Watching my mind which constantly creates negative chatter, doubts, and senseless disturbance.
It has been an adventure of a different kind.

My partner Oliver and I have been asking for guidance, and have been led to many different spiritual teachers.
We were told by a spiritual Indian friend upon arriving here in Rishikesh that:

* we may not find one teacher that will guide us, but many along the way.

* Be open and you will receive

* get clear with why you are here and what you are asking for
* pray/ask for what you need, and what is for your highest and best good – you will get it

* dont judge or try and figure it out – remain in equanimity

* leave it to the universe and ask “help me move ahead from where i am now in the highest & best way”

* surrender

* you will get something from everyone, sometimes the journey is just that & it works within yourself
We have been led to many spiritual masters here, and have been hearing the same things.

Not only from them but also in the books I am reading.

Osho’s Yoga the Science of the Soul & rereading Ekhart Tolle’s The Power of Now for the tenth time.

* stay open and receptive
* you are devine light

* what are you dependent on? what are your attachments?

* we spend alot of time looking outside of us for that which is within us

* become aware of reality- of where you are within you

* enlightenment is like planting seeds- for a period of time they are in the dark mystery and need trust, patience and surrender because at a certain point seeds will sprout

* suddenly you are in the light
* it just happens. you dont control it
* it can happen at any moment
* with calm and tranquility it happens in its own time

Coming from an achievement orientated culture following this philosophy can be frustrating, and I have “thrown my toys” more than once already since being here.

Wishing I could be comfortable with life as it was before.

But I cant.

I know I am here for something more. Something deep down that I know in my truest self is real.

But has gotten covered up.

I am here uncovering what I know.

What I heard yesterday from Sadvi Bhagawati Saraswati, the teacher here that I resonate with the most, was just this.

That I am not this body, my achievements, my story, my past, my mistakes. This is not me.

Sadviji said this is what causes the anguish that I feel when I know there is more.

She said “we are the light, there is nothing separating us from the light.” “Just because we are in a body doesn’t mean we are separated from the light.” “It is our mind that creates the separation and illusion, the pain is coming from the mind telling us we are separate but this is a lie.”

Some how this made sense to me.

She said the anguish is good. Because it keeps us searching. Deep down your true self knows this.

She said work on seeing yourself from the light. Instead of being in you looking at the light – change your perspective. Be in the light looking at your body.

Something has changed in me since hearing this.

and I am so grateful that Sadviji was able to answer my deepest question in a way that I am able to understand and work with.

Rishikesh is pure Shiva energy.

Shiva is the power that comes through and destroys our concept of who we are. Destroying everything that is in the way of awakening and being in the light.

I know that is why we are here.

Clearing out all that is within me holding me back from embodying the light.

In 2 days we are going on another ten day Vipassana meditation course. It will be my third one, but first in India.

Guruji Shri K. Patabi Jois says that yoga is 99% practice and 1% theory.

So these ten days will be intensive practice of the theory I just learned.

Clearing the mental chatter, being the watcher, seeing reality as it is, and taking it to the extreme.

Thank you India for once again giving me what I need.

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Yoga, intentions, and how they changed my life

Two years ago I went to India for the first time.

Specifically to study yoga at the source of Ashtanga yoga, Mysore.

I went to Mysore feeling lost, and asking for my life purpose.

The answer I got was:

You know you are on purpose if what you are doing makes you thrive.

So I asked myself, what makes me thrive?

  • Different cultures
  • Being outside/ nature
  • Spiritual connection
  • Adventure
  • New experiences
  • Being of service

Suddenly I felt like I got the point. I realized that these are the things that make me happy, and settling down and doing what I saw everyone else doing around me wasn’t going to do it for me.

My three months in Mysore left me a changed person, and I knew I had to return to India.

Nine months later I was back.

The best advice I got about traveling in India is that India is like a magnifying glass. What ever you put out comes back to you MAGNIFIED.

This was so true.

I quickly put aside any fear about my trip and began setting my positive intentions:

  • I have a smooth and easy time in India
  • I meet amazing, friendly, nice people
  • I am always safe and protected
  • I deepen my spiritual connection
  • I have amazing adventures

I began reciting my intentions over and over in my head.

Guess what?

It worked!

The six months I spent this second time in India were truly magical. Every intention I set happened to the maximum degree.

  • I met amazing people.
  • I always felt safe.
  • I got amazing places to stay.
  • I accomplished all of my adventures. (Cycling from Manali to Leh, Cycling from Leh to Srinagar, kayaking the Zanskar Gorge and Upper Indus, Trekking the Marka Valley)
  • I deepened my spiritual practices
  • I made an amazing short film
  • I became a certified Ashtanga yoga teacher
  • I met a healer and did alot of personal growth work
  • I met my life partner
  • Doors opened.

Every single intention I set happened.

(Truth be told I didn’t want to leave, and can’t wait to go back.)

My whole life changed while I was there, and it felt like true transformation.

I deepened my commitment to yoga, healing, and meditation. And it is now the path I am pursuing.

I got the feeling while I was in India to come to Bali, and that Bali would be my new base.

I am now in Bali.

Never having been here before I am trusting the guidance and doors are opening.

My new intention is:

  • Thank you for the magnificent outcome in Bali

My heart feels like it is still in India, and sometimes I wonder why I am here and not there.

I am getting clear that my purpose in life is this journey of self discovery and where it brings me.

Bali is bringing:

  • healing
  • amazing connections with like minded people
  • fantastic yoga
  • lovely local people
  • calm, peace, and healthy living
  • continued personal growth

Everyday I am feeling grateful that I took the first step two years ago to go to India, and continue this journey of self discovery.

What led me there was yoga, faith, and following my heart.

A friend once told me that taking a leap of faith is like being on the flying trapeze. You can’t grab the next trapeze until you let go of the one you are on.

So I have let go of the old trapeze. I am asking for guidance everyday, and trusting that I am exactly where I am meant to be right now, and that the more I open, doors will open, and it is proving to be true.

Thank you!

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