Despite its surge in popularity, fasting is a practice that dates back centuries, and there is plenty of scientific research that confirms its benefits, which goes well beyond weight loss. For example, fasting does wonders for promoting blood sugar control and decreasing insulin resistance. By increasing your body’s sensitivity to insulin, your body becomes more efficient getting glucose out of your bloodstream and into your cells where it is needed. Fasting also fights inflammation, improves blood pressure, and reduces cholesterol and triglyceride levels, just to name a few. Why don’t more people do it? It’s hard. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be. How do I know? I’m living proof. I’m just finishing up my 6th five-day fast, less then a week after my 60th birthday. Most associate fasting with the complete abstinence of all food and drink except for water. Needless to say, few of us are disciplined enough to endure a five-day absolute fast. I was fortunate enough to find an alternative way to obtain the myriad benefits of fasting without an absolute fast. I [...]
Surrender: Cease resistance. As I transition my life to one of more serenity I find myself seeking more time alone, or more aptly, more time with my own mind. It's pretty cool to just observe your mind, and follow without judgement or attachment wherever it goes. I am really enjoying my time at the very special Bolton mountain. It's peaceful. I never thought I would enjoy hiking alone but it's really a special time to just "be" and enjoy nature without electronic distraction. In my practice over the last few months I've notice dramatic positive changes in my relationships and knowing that the only thing that changed was me, I realize how much control we have over our mental state, both positive and negative. How enjoyable life can be and much more rewarding relationships can be through acceptance. Both acceptance and love of ourselves and seeing the beautiful beings in others. Although it is a constant challenge to let the ego go, and not follow societal's influence to blame and get angry, I just feel much better when I don't. [...]
I'm enjoying the beautiful summer weather and taking a daily walk to meditate on the waterfront. I've been opening my eyes during meditation recently and loving it. In the beginning of my practice I felt like I had to close off my senses to be able to go inward and relax, but now I can maintain the same sense of stillness while enjoying the beautiful world.
Wahoo! I am now a 200 hour yoga teacher through Laughing River Yoga in Winooski, VT. Thank you to Emily and Sofi and the wonderful assistants. Forever gratitude to all the students from whom I have learned so much. This has been one of the best experiences of my life and I hope to be of benefit to all beings through my learning. Most of all, be your authentic self, love and accept yourself. Be kind and compassionate to all beings without judgement.
As in my usual way of discovery, last minute I checked the Garrison Institute retreat calendar and found out that Krishna Das was hosting a chanting weekend. Wow, that sounded really awesome, and yes it was. One whole weekend immersed in chanting was a great antidote to news overload. We also benefitted from a beautiful Buddhist teaching from Tulku Sherdor. Many people were concerned about emotions during these troubling times and we were reminded how everyone, and that means everyone, just wants to be happy, free from pain and suffering. And that what we all have in common.
When people meet me, they see a very outgoing person, someone who can easily speak to anyone. I really appear as an extrovert. They are always amazed to find that I’m not as comfortable in larger groups and that I find it really challenging to speak in front of groups. So I chose the 5th Chakra, the Vissudha Chakra, to study and work on this month. The more I learned about this chakra, the more I identified with it and realize that it is out of balance. A person with a balanced throat chakra can express him or herself well. They can easily speak their truth and accurately express their feelings. An imbalanced Vissudha chakra can manifest itself by talking too much and/or not listening enough. You tend to question what you’ve said and ruminate if it was the right thing to say. I hold back a lot because I have a challenging time expressing exactly what I am feeling and I worry about saying the wrong thing. A blocked 5th chakra can also manifest in illness, such as frequent [...]
I took advantage of a stunning November day to take a hike/run down Camels Hump. It was nearly 60 degrees at the start, but a bit icy and some snow at the top. I really tried to make it a nature meditation by focusing my thoughts on the beauty and sounds of the mountain nature. As other thoughts would arise, I would bring them back. Running down and hopping the rocks was awesome, and much easier to keep your thoughts in the present, as it really takes concentration not to trip and fall. It was beautiful to notice the leaves, rocks, trickle of the water and the changing temperature from bottom to top and back down. I was hoping to do a meditation at the top but it was brutal with super gusty winds.
Quick visit back to New Jersey and I was able to take advantage of picture perfect 60 degree weather with a beach run and meditation on the sound and vast expanse of the ocean. I am practicing keeping my eyes more open during meditation and taking in the environment without becoming distracted. Meditate with me while watching this beautiful video.
Taking advantage of our gondola pass and wanting to get a good cardio workout, Peter and I climbed (for the second time) straight up Mt. Mansfield, under the gondola. It was tough, but at least you have a stunning view, unlike on a stairmaster. My yoga practice is primarily stretching. I find Malasana really stretches the back, and a lot of forward bends, seated forward bend, and twists usually help.
Driving home from the retreat I thought I was floating through life. But coming home, you always hit ground, at least in the beginning of your dharma practice. Instead of spending nearly 8 hours of learning and meditation and silence, or exercise the rest, I am meditating now two times a day for 24 minute sessions, and well, the other 15 hours are in life. I think I liked it the other way around, so as I move forward, I will try to unclutter my mind and my life, simplify, enjoy more silence and incorporate more practice. I love the peace! I did stop on the way home to visit my daughter at college and instead of running around, I went to meditate at the Ramapo Reservation with the magnificent view.