Happy Mother’s Day!

What are you getting your Mother for Mother’s Day?

Today is Earth Day.  Mother Earth’s Mother’s Day.  To learn a bit more about the history of this day, click here.  This year’s theme for Earth Day is “The Face of Climate Change” .  Earth Day Network is posting photos on their website displaying individuals affected by climate change and those taking a stand to do something about it.

Regardless of your view on climate change, it just makes plain sense to take of our planet.  As far as we know, Earth is the ONLY planet in the UNIVERSE able to support life.  We should all be making the maintenance of this unique and specialized environment a huge priority!  It honestly seems crazy not to.

So what will you give your Mother?  Make a commitment to ONE CHANGE.  Just one.  Start recycling more, compost, turn off the lights, unplug electronics, take shorter showers, walk/bike, use refillable water bottles, use reusable grocery bags, donate to a cause, use less, recycle more, etc… Just make one change.  If everyone made one lifelong change, imagine what an impact it could have on the environment!

My ONE CHANGE is the DivaCup.  The DivaCup is a reusable menstrual cup (I apologize if this is TMI…).  I love it.  No more tampons or pads in the landfill!  It comes in two sizes, so if you’re interested in trying it out, make sure you get the appropriate size.   Yes, you do have to get up close and personal with yourself to insert and remove, but it’s YOUR body after all, so I think it’s empowering.  Insert in the morning and don’t think about it again until you get home at night.  It’s comfortable and easy.  I highly recommend it, ladies.  Easy for me and great for the planet.  It’s a win-win.

Not long ago, I overheard a conversation between two co-workers about recycling. One was asking where to recycle her soda can from lunch and the second was saying to just throw it away.  The second continued on to say that she doesn’t recycle at home because it would mean she would have to walk farther to put the recycling out for pickup by the city.  My jaw was on the floor.  Too lazy to recycle.  Scary.  There are still many of our neighbors who feel the same way.

Taking care of our planet should not be seen as a choice.  So what ONE CHANGE will you make?

Make every day Earth Day.

Earth Day  Every Day

What I’m reading…A Vagabond Song

My lovely 91-year-old grandmother recently fell, breaking her hip and landing in the hospital for surgery and then rehab.  Looking out of her upstate NY hospital room window this week, she watched as the leaves began to change colors and float from the trees.  She recalled a poem she adored from the 6th grade.  She remembered just the first line, “There is something in the Autumn that is native to my blood.”  I learned then that she and I both share a love of the fall.  We googled it and the beautiful words below, from a 16th century poet, are what we found.

 

There is something in the autumn that is native to my blood—
Touch of manner, hint of mood;
And my heart is like a rhyme,
With the yellow and the purple and the crimson keeping time.
The scarlet of the maples can shake me like a cry
Of bugles going by.
And my lonely spirit thrills
To see the frosty asters like a smoke upon the hills.

There is something in October sets the gypsy blood astir;
We must rise and follow her,
When from every hill of flame
She calls and calls each vagabond by name.

A Vagabond Song
by Bliss Carman

Summer Solstice 2012

Summer officially begins here in the northern hemisphere with the Summer Solstice on June 20, 2012.  I’ll be celebrating, along with thousands of NYC yogis, in the heart of Manhattan’s Times Square on Wednesday evening.  I did some research to get to the bottom of the big deal about the solstice.  This will be my first solstice yoga event and I really didn’t know anything about its significance!

Here’s what I learned (please leave comments if I’m leaving anything out!):

  • The word solstice comes from the Latin solstitium (from sol (sun) and stitium (to stop)), reflecting the fact that the Sun appears to stop.
  • On solstice day, the Sun does not rise precisely in the east, but rises to the north of east, and sets to the north of west, allowing it to be in the sky for a longer period of time.
  • It  is directly overhead at its most northern point at 12:00 noon, which creates more sunlight (in the Northern Hemisphere) on this day then any other (making it the longest day of the year).
  • A review of history shows that many cultures associated the summer solstice with a renewal of mind, body and spirit.
  • The Sun represents fire, detoxification, and purification.  More sunlight=more solar energy= transformation!
  • The day can be considered the turning point of the year, the half-way point, so it is a good time for reflection and meditation.

Whatever is dreamed on this night, will come to pass

William Shakespeare, From A Midsummer Night’s Dream

 Illustration image

Catch some rays! (but don’t forget the sunscreen)

Happy Solstice!!

Chief Seattle says…

Some context on this quote…it’s actually a letter sent in 1852 by Seattle (pronounced See-atch) of the Puget Sound Duwamish Indians in response to a request by the Government to buy his tribal lands.  He wasn’t technically a chief as his tribe did not have chiefs- but he was some sort of leader among his people.  I thought it very appropriate in light of Earth Day and I plan to share excerpts in my yoga classes this week.

The President in Washington sends word that he wishes to buy our land.  But how can you buy or sell the sky?  The land?  The idea is strange to us.  If we do not own the freshness of the air and the sparkle of the water, how can you buy them?

Every part of the earth is sacred to my people.  Every shining pine needle, every sandy shore, every mist in the dark woods, every meadow, every humming insect.  All are holy in the memory and experience of my people.

We know the sap which courses through the trees as we know the blood that courses through our veins. We are part of the earth and it is part of us.  The perfumed flowers are our sisters.  The bear, the deer, the great eagle, they are our brothers.  The rocky crests, the juices in the meadow, the body heat of the pony, and man, all belong to the same family.

The shining water that moves in the streams and rivers is not just water, but the blood of our ancestors.  If we sell you our land, you must remember that it is sacred.  Each ghostly reflection in the clear waters of the lakes tells of events and memories in the life of my people.  The water’s murmur is the voice of my father’s father.

The rivers are our brothers.  They quench our thirst.  They carry our canoes and feed our children.  So you must give to the rivers the kindness you would give any brother.

If we sell you our land, remember that the air is precious to us, that the air shares its spirit with all the life it supports.  The wind that gave our grandfather his first breath also receives his last sigh.  The wind also gives our children the spirit of life.  So if we sell you our land, you must keep it apart and sacred, as a place where man can go to taste the wind that is sweetened by the meadow flowers.

Will you teach your children what we have taught our children?  That the earth is our mother?  What befalls the earth befalls all the sons of the earth.

One thing we know: our god is also your god.  The earth is precious to him and to harm the earth is to heap contempt on its creator.

This we know: the earth does not belong to man, man belongs to the earth.  All things are connected like the blood that unites us all.  Man did not weave the web of life, he is merely a strand in it.  Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself.

Your destiny is a mystery to us.  What will happen when the buffalo are slaughtered?  The wild horses tamed?  What will happen when the secret corners of the forest are heavy with the scent of many men and the view of the ripe hills is blotted by talking wires?  Where will the thicket be?  Gone!  Where will the eagle be?  Gone! And what is it to say goodbye to the swift pony and the hunt?  The end of living and the beginning of survival.

When the last Red Man has vanished with his wilderness and his memory is only the shadow of a cloud moving across the prairie, will these shores and forest still be here?  Will there be any of the spirit of my people left?

We love this earth as a newborn loves its mother’s heartbeat.  So, if we sell you our land, love it as we have loved it.  Care for it as we have cared for it.  Hold in your mind the memory of the land as it is when you receive it.  Preserve the land for all children and love it, as God loves us all.

As we are part of the land, you too are part of the land.  This earth is precious to us.  It is also precious to you.  One thing we know: there is only one God.  No man, be he Red Man or White Man, can be apart.  We are brothers after all.

What I’m teaching…Earth Day 2012

Mobilize the Earth. Earth Day. 4.22.12

The first ever Earth Day took place on April 22, 1970.  Then Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson, an environmental activist, originally conceived of the idea in response to the 1969 oil spill in Santa Barbara, California as a “national teach-in on the environment”.  20 million Americans took to the streets, parks, and auditoriums to demonstrate for a healthy, sustainable environment in massive coast-to-coast rallies. Thousands of colleges and universities organized protests against the deterioration of the environment.  Earth Day became a global initiative in 1990, when 141 countries participated mobilizing 200 million people worldwide!  Earth Day is credited for boosting recycling efforts globally and leading to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts.

Yogic tradition teaches that the first yogis created the asanas, or physical yoga postures (“seats”), mimicking what they saw on the mountain tops in nature as a way to prepare the body for longer periods of time sitting in meditation.  To prevent pain and/or stiffness while seated, they stretched their bodies taking the form of the trees, animals, birds, and bugs they saw around them.  The practice of yoga, therefore, celebrates nature at its very root (pun intended!).  Set an intention in your next yoga class to learn ways to live more in harmony with nature and then put the intention into action!

Human beings are the only species on Earth that destroy nature.  I think we can all agree that our planet, our home is being neglected!  Together, we really can make a huge difference.  No effort is too big or small.  Recycle, use energy efficient light bulbs and appliances, turn the water OFF when you brush your teeth, use reusable bags for your groceries, walk instead of drive, turn the lights OFF, stop buying water in plastic bottles and get a filter on your faucet so you can use your own reusable water bottle,  eat organic, eat vegetarian, don’t litter, don’t use toxic chemicals to clean, don’t buy things  with packaging that will create a lot of garbage, spend time in nature, educate your community, “be the change that you wish to see in the world”.  These are just some of the things that I am doing.  What are you doing??

Earth Day is Every Day.

For more info:

www.earthday.org

http://www.epa.gov/earthday/

http://www.earthdayny.org

http://www.recycleacrossamerica.org/

http://earth911.com/