Can't be caged

Part of my job as a Nutritionist and Personal Trainer is to help people eat right.  What is right though?  Well my UVM Nutrition Degree and background tells me it is really hard to get the protein we need from vegan sources alone but the yoga teacher and animal lover in me try's to practice ahimsa, the yogic concept and limb of non-harming, so eating meat and animal products often conflicts with my moral conscience and makes me feel like less of a Yogini.  So Yogi’s and Buddhist would go so far as to say you aren’t a yogi if you eat meat. So what's a girl to do?  My solution is to eat free-range eggs.  First I need you to understand the difference between "free-range" and "cage free".  Free-range eggs are from birds who live outside.  These birds peck, scratch and cluck happily (I hope) outdoors.  Most people don't realize it but "cage-free" really is a trick to get you to think you're doing something good for the animals but cage-free is almost the same as caged because it just means free to walk around the bottom of a crowded cement warehouse floor.  These birds are usually angry, sickly and stressed and they don't get the same nutrients that out door birds do which makes their shells weaker and their yolks much runnier.  There are mines specifically set-up to dig up the earth for minerals to feed chickens to make their egg shells harder so they don't break at the store or in production cutting into the bottom line and customer satisfaction. The dirt they are fed makes up for the lack of dirt that inevitably finds it's way into the chickens systems when they are outside, which naturally hardens their eggshells.   These mines are just another harm to the environment and our landscape.  But what about other nutrients "cage free" and caged birds are lacking, like lack of fresh air and sun light.  Lack of freedom to move around maybe fly and stretch their wings?   I know I feel healthiest when I am outside.  And it's no different for animals.  They get large benefits from being outdoors, not just nutritionally.  I know this because I have chickens and let me tell you, I can see them pecking at the windiw in the morning if I am late to let them out as they are desperate to get outside. So next time you are in the grocery store buy FREE RANGE eggs please!.  Or better yet, stop at one of the numerous people houses that sell eggs straight from their own chickens.  We are luck enough to live in VT, a state where lots of your neighbors have free range chickens and sell their own eggs. Yet we'd rather go to the grocery store and buy eggs from chickens from who knows where and treated who knows how and are perfectly happy to be ignorant of where are food comes from. All the while digging up the earth and ruining the landscape to feed our inhumanly treated animals the nutrients they lack from being contained.  Stop being lazy and "cheap" and start buying food that is treated humanly.  Your body and the world will be better for it if you start acting more consciously on the impact you have.  Not to mention you will feel better about eating your food if you know it is from happy healthy animals that were treated well and how a good life.  It's all a big circle this life, and we should all practice Ahimsa.  Stop treating animals just as products and rather treat them for what they are, life...

Ice bath

Most people call me crazy when I go out in the freezing cold and practice Sup Yoga in the Snow.  Understandably they are nervous I will fall is, which I have, twice.  But I have deep trust in my ability to remain calm in difficult situations. Buddhist masters are said to be able to stop their own heart, or drop their body temperatures etc. This requires deep concentration and the belief that we can harness the seemingly autonomic bodily processes with the power of our mind and proper consolidation and utilization of our prana. Practicing Yoga teaches us if we just focus, breathe, we can get through anything, as long as we remain calm and keep our minds under control. It's easy to think "oh my good I'm going to die!" when you fall into freezing cold water and believe me, it's shocking. But we run into the icy cold lake for the penguin plunge, we go to spas with ice baths, so what's the difference? Our mind. Our mental readiness. Our expectation of cold. So rather than freak out when you fall try to think calmly. We can't let our minds control us, or fear for that matter, we must learn to control our minds. And when you do fall into that cold abyss, remember you can pull yourself out, you ARE strong enough.  People do Ice baths at spas, they jump into the lake in Febuary for the "Penguin Plunge" and they live, they are fine, because they are mentally prepared.  It's when we let our surprise and fear overcome us that we lose control of the situation.  Control your breath, control you mind.  Harness your will.  All that said, #donttrythisathome, always wear a pfd and a wetsuit in cold water, and tell someone where you are going.

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Partnership

What does it mean to be someones partner?  To share?  To make equal?  In life we form many relationships, but the true struggle for most people is how to let go of their own desires so that may lift up another, be a true partner to them,  To help them find balance where they are struggling, to adjust your own behavior or posture so that they may feel more comfortable.  We may want to be selfish, and satisfy our own needs but no one is will to budge than the relationship will fall apart.  We must compromise a little in order to really thrive.  In order to meet some challenges we must tune into others so that we may rise above together.  When we are unhappy in our relationships we must first focus on what we can do to make it better, for we are the only ones we can really control.  Our behavior is the only behavior we can change.  Our attitude towards the person and the situation must shift.  For while I may want to be the "Dancer" I am the only one stable enough to hold us down, the one that must support the dancer so that we may both fly. 

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Fear

Fear

Fear- False Evidence Appearing Real.  Fear and worry are two of the destructive forces in our life.  It's natural and normal for us to fear such things as lightening but we can't live our lives based on our fears.  Worry in my mind is the most colossal waste of energy, mainly because it is us projecting our fears and believing that they are or will become real, essential predicting the future and embracing all the what ifs.  The fact is, you'll never know "what if" and you aren't meant to.  There's only right now and that's all you truly have and can control.  The future is not ours to see, it's not guarenteed and the past is over and done, nothing you can to do to change that.  You can plan and worry about your day, your life, but chances are it is not going to end up anything like you planned and the things you worried about will appear, after the fact, like a, "Why was I so worried about that."  There is a power being positive just as there is a power behind negativity.  There are numerous scientific studies happening right now that are observing how negative attitudes actual effect our cellular matter, and it is not good.  Negative thoughts slowing destroy us, kills cells and changes them, fear holds us back from our true potential.  It's always scary that first time we jump into the water, or that first time we ski etc.  but if we move past that place of fear and worry we often discover something so amazing and so life changing that we forget why we were afraid in the first place.  Mother nature posesses awesome power, as do we, but if we let fear and worry rule our minds and our lives we may never get to witness that amazing power, of the universe, of the amazing power of our divine nature, of the relationships we could create.  We could miss out on so much.  Don't let fear and worry rule your life.  You are so much more powerful than you know.

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Perfection

What is perfection?  Is there really such a thing?  I'll often say in my classes that "no one is perfect, everyone is perfect".  Some might say that Vermont is not a great paddle boarding state to live in since our season is so short, far less than ideal for the water babies out there.  I mean really, we have what?  2 months of summer and then it's wind, rain, snow, cold, brown, freezing water.  Not what some would consider perfect.  But as a yogi I now understand that everything is perspective, and if you can change your perspective, you can change your life.  The thoughts we think become our reality.  We are all intelligent human beings and if we choose to believe something to be true we undoubtably will find things that validate our opinion.  The thoughts we entertain become our reality.  Where someone else see's freezing, unenjoyable and dangerous, I might see amazing, challenging and magical.  I see snow on the ground and beautiful foliage in the trees, with colors of orange, red, white, blue and green surrounding me and I think, "This is perfection!!"  Sure it was 28 degrees, and any Vermonter can tell you that 28 degrees in the fall feelsA LOT colder that 28 degrees in the spring, but as Yoga teaches us, if we can sit in that place of discomfort, even if for 5 breaths, if we can focus on something other than our discomfort, then something inside us opens up and lets go and then we grow.  We get stronger, more flexible, more tolerant etc.  We evolve into a better, stronger, more enlightened versions of our self, if we take the steps towards change.  If we practice letting go.  We have the courage to face our dislikes and fears head on, face the imperfections of life.  For really, what is perfect?  It's what you want it to be.  It's what you believe.  What do you choose to believe?  How can you change your reality by changing your mind?

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Sunset

My brother said to me the other day, "Why do you care so much about seeing the sunset? It's not like it's special, it happens every night!" Some people don't stop to meditate on beauty and all the other reminders of life, the reminder that another day is ending, or beginning and they don't hear the loud cry from the universe to appreciate and savor each moment. You only get so many beautiful sunsets and sunrises in your lifetime. And as you watch the sky shift before your eyes it reminds you of change, of the impermanence in all things. What was here today will be gone tomorrow. Like the leaves on the trees or the snow on the ground, the clouds that dissipate into thin air without a trace, everything eventually fades away. Like the sunset, it happens quickly. Savor it. Don't blink. Take a picture to keep you warm when the memories of all the awesome things you've seen fade a bit. You can't remember every sunset, every memory, so take a picture. And then put your phone down. Remember you are surrounded by beauty right now. You are surrounded by life. Don't miss it because you were too busy looking at a screen, or posting mere moments rather than making real memories.

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