The price of Change.

What is the cost of helping those in need and for what reason do we offer this help? Can we really make a difference that is long term or are we just creating more short term problems?  There are many things to consider when making a choice to help. What is our true motive? Is it temporary self gratification that we can hold onto in thought and remember the time when we helped that person or those people? Or did we think it through and come up with a plan that they can sustain?

The social structure of the people in need should be analyzed carefully and all things should be considered before we offer help. Communication needs to be clear and there should be an understanding within the entire community whether they want to be involved or not. A lot of things can be misunderstood if left unspoken. These communities have seen people with grand ideas come in, offer temporary help and then leave plenty of times before. Even if we plan to stay forever we must still respect what we do not know and realize we have not and never will walk in their shoes. So we must really think all things through and try not too get emotionally involved to our work. It’s difficult but this attachment will only damage all that we want and need to do.

Not knowing the cost of change will sometimes bring about a heavy price.

   I have been working closely with Djimy and have been teaching him yogic philosophy and movements. From the first day his interest in both has been from the heart. So much so that he wrote a letter to me expressing how could he create an organization within his community that could offer positive change. He continued stating how “there are some bad people here and I know you will have a positive idea for me.”  I then explained to him that I would like to teach him to become a teacher of Yoga. I would teach him basic breathing and movements so that he could easily teach others and he was all in. We worked together at least 3 days a week for 4 weeks. He could not participate everyday because of not having enough energy due to the lack of food (the tourist industry has drastically dropped and more people are struggling to survive in the Batéy).  So those days we would talk a little philosophy which was quite difficult for the both of us because of the language barrier but he eventually got me.

As the weeks passed more  people from the Batéy began to show up to train and Djimy had the opportunity to teach. He didn’t really know everything but he still taught as if he did. Taking the role as a leader without hesitation and the others followed along without question while we both taught. On Saturday December 3rd he the opportunity to help me teach a class of people from the Batéy and tourist who were visiting that morning. The class went well and Djimy did an excellent job helping out.

That same day he wrote me a small note saying that his birthday was on Monday and he wanted me to join him for a small get together at his place. Sunday passed and Monday I went in to teach class at the Batéy. I walked up and someone approached me and said Djimy was sick so i went to check on him. He came out of his small room with 2 huge poorly stitched gashes on his head and 1 on his hand. We went to the spot were we train to talk about what happened. He explained to me that 4 Hatian guys (1 who lived in that Batéy) came to his door telling him to give them money and as we he was explaining that he had none, he pushed the closest guy away. As he tried to slam and lock the door he saw a machete in the corner of his eye. He caught the blade with his hand and kicked the guy but then stumbled and fell. That is when the men continued to attack him, hitting him twice on the forehead and on the shoulder.

I expressed how I felt somewhat responsible because these men probably believed since there was so many people in his place that Saturday  that he had to have gotten money from them. I told him that I didn’t want to put him or anyone else in harms way, so I would stop have teaching there. He brushed it off and said there is no need to stop thats just how it is here sometimes. I still tried to push the issue but other guys had showed up for class by then and I decided I would teach that day and think about it later. Not even a full day after being attacked Djimy still found the strength to help teach class. He put a red Philly cap on over his stitches and taught as if nothing had happened .

So I am left wondering, if this was because of us working together.  Did he already have problems with these people? Should I have looked at the community closer and thought of what effect my presence may have on it? I am asking myself all the questions this article started with and I am considering whether or not to continue. Class is still set for its’s normal time but I will talk to all the guys who want to train and see what they think about it. This will be my deciding factor but if they want to learn then I will not be the one to deny them.

Building from the inside out.

The training has slowed down a little due to an encounter with a “covered” manhole that by accidental exploration, seems to have moved away from my foot as i stepped off a curb in town. One leg in and one leg out, looking up at the sky wondering what happened  as I hold myself up so i don’t fall all the way in. Moral of this story is even if it has a cover its still probably not safe to step on. Yes the Ninja skills were off.

A couple of days in bed allowed me to heal and figure out how to teach the guys with the little time I have left in the Dominican Republic. There was still a language barrier with some of the guys and I am still not sure if the guys who speak english are willing to share all the information that I give them. I thought of drawing out the flows but how can I make them simple enough to teach, direct and not take a bunch of time doing so. Answer came in the form of stick figures.

With the little time I figure that I have left I have to train them Kung Fu movie style, giving them each a flow for them to learn and teach them all in one room. So each of them can learn that flow and then they can teach each other their flow. This seems to make the most sense and is also going to be an interesting challenge. They have to maintain the discipline and patience of continuing to learn while I am gone and I am going to try to continue to train them via internet/mail. Sending them as much relevant info as I can. Some of the guys who work a little have access of some sort to the internet and Brian Newhouse of Village12  will also be a liaison communicating or simply passing info to the guys.

photo: Krystle Marcellus Krystlemarcellus.com

Be1.

The first time down at the Batéy I offered a class to all those who were interested and found that the kids were willing to try anything that looked fun while most of the adults were simply watching from a distance. One young adult participated (Jimmy) and followed every move I made with deep focus. I thought to teach him and whoever else that wanted to learn a more physical type class but the scarcity of food has changed that idea. So I put together a class built on building the breath and then the body. Teaching simpler movements that will generate more energy. My goal is to teach Jimmy enough so he can teach others in the Batéy. This will also open up opportunities for him to possibly teach in the city and make some money to feed his family.

Jimmy (right) practices yoga in a small bar owned by him and his sister, where locals used to spend their money, he says. Due to the constant decline of the economy in DR people have just enough money to feed their families, while those in the batéy are constantly look for a way to make any at all.  photo by: Krystle Marcellus

The beginning of a journey.

I am currently in the Dominican Republic doing volunteer work with Village12 and Be1vision at Sun camp  (with the help of Diane Pellerin). I am working closely with Haitian refugees in a small town called Muñoz, Puerto Plata. I have come to share what I know about meditation and Yoga with this community. The informal settlement they live in is locally known as a Batéy, which is a small hand-built area originally given to sugar cane workers and their families, a business which has now closed. All of the people there are misplaced with no rights to their land or citizenship.

photo by Krystle Marcellus

The Be1being project

The Be1being project is aimed at teaching people in impoverished communities the philosophies and movements of yoga. Through meditation, breathing and exercise catered to each communities needs, I hope to create an outlet for better understanding of self.  This understanding can create less violence, stronger community, open-mindedness and a foundation to grow on.  I also hope to train individuals to teach others for a small profit.

                                                                                                                 photo by Krystle Marcellus

What’s in your Yoga Mat?

Yoga is a multi-billion dollar business that has impacted our society in many positive ways but for every up there is a down. The downside is being found in the very mat that you sweat your heart out on. Ask yourself  “What do you really know about your Yoga Mat” other than it’s a nice color, you stick to it and the company has a really beautiful mission staement. Yoga mats are an “Essential” part of every Yoga practice. But at what cost are we paying for our comfort?

Yoga is a practice thousands of years old but the contemporary Yoga mat that we use has only been around for 51 years, being  introduced in 1960′s with Yoga itself. Independant researchers are finding that these mats are creating more harmful toxins then the ones we are trying rid ourselves of.  This article I found on www.greenyoga.org examines, explains and offers some options to this overlooked problem within the “Yoga community.”

The Search for a Green Solution

by Laura Cornell

When I became a yoga teacher, one of the first things I did was to buy a set of mats for my students. It wasn’t until many years later that I learned that the main ingredient of yoga mats is polyvinyl chloride (or “PVC,” also known as “vinyl”), an environmental toxin.

I began to research the questions related to PVC. I soon learned that polyvinyl chloride is widely considered to be the most toxic plastic. Vinyl chloride, the base ingredient in PVC, is a known carcinogen, and those who work in PVC plants suffer elevated health risks. Dioxins and other carcinogens are byproducts of its manufacture. When making yoga mats, plasticizers are added to make to make the PVC soft and sticky. It’s not usually possible to know the exact ingredients of any given mat, but the most common additives include lead, cadmium, and a class of chemicals called of phthalates, which disrupt the endocrine system among many other health problems. These additives off-gas and leach during product use, and are also known to seep into groundwater once the product goes to landfill. Read the rest of this entry

Origin of Yoga

The purpose of yoga (meaning to bind) was called the ‘raising of Mother Kundalini’(the life force at the base of the spine). Yoga had its origins in India in the Sat Yuga, the Age of Gold, over 26,000 years ago. This was a long peaceful age of abudance in which humans had plenty of time to search within.

The yoga of the raising of the Kundalini at this time blossomed organically, out of the intuition and spontaneity of the practitioner. The goal of the yogi was to ascend into the immortal realms of pure spirit, to imbibe the intuitional nectar of enlightenment, irradicate disease and find liberation from suffering. This was called Samadhi.

In 600 B.C., during the dark age of Kali Yug, signified by Iron, these practices were written down for the first time by Patanjali in India and thus gained a structure that evolved into various systems given out by contemporary Gurus. This structure was called the Eight Limbs of Patañjali’s Yoga.

Ultimately, the students of yoga were to gain enough systematic knowledge of yoga techniques, that they could tap into the original or primal yoga of spontaneity, intuition, and creative freedom, a condition that modern yogic practitioners might refer to as Super-mind.

The seed mantra of yoga is AUM or OM. It is the sound of the Cosmos and is the sound that constitutes the Akashic Realms (the non-material etheric plane), the source of Samadhi. This universal tone of pure resonance is produced elegantly by the disc-shaped instrument called the Ancient Gong.

www.holistic-resonance.com

Repost of articles/exercises you need to consider.

THE PROBLEMS

*That’s right: Even a sculpted six-pack can’t protect you from your chair.
*A person may hit the gym every day, but if he’s sitting a good deal of the rest of the time, he’s probably not leading an overall active life,
*The evidence that sitting is associated with heart disease is very strong,
*The cure for too much sitting isn’t more exercise.

IS YOUR OFFICE CHAIR KILLING YOU…
Regardless of how often or how hard you work out, there’s still a good chance that you’re sitting your life away.
Mens Health
By Maria Masters, October 27, 2010

Do you lead an active lifestyle or a sedentary one? The question is simple, but the answer may not be as obvious as you think. Let’s say, for example, you’re a busy guy who works 60 hours a week at a desk job but who still manages to find time for five 45-minute bouts of exercise. Most experts would label you as active. But Marc Hamilton, Ph.D., has another name for you: couch potato.

Perhaps “exercising couch potato” would be more accurate, but Hamilton, a physiologist and professor at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, would still classify you as sedentary. “People tend to view physical activity on a single continuum,” he says. “On the far side, you have a person who exercises a lot; on the other, a person who doesn’t exercise at all. However, they’re not necessarily polar opposites.”

Hamilton’s take, which is supported by a growing body of research, is that the amount of time you exercise and the amount of time you spend on your butt are completely separate factors for heart-disease risk. New evidence suggests, in fact, that the more hours a day you sit, the greater your likelihood of dying an earlier death regardless of how much you exercise or how lean you are.

  • That’s right: Even a sculpted six-pack can’t protect you from your chair.

 But it’s not just your heart that’s at risk from too much sitting; your hips, spine, and shoulders could also suffer. In fact, it’s not a leap to say that a chair-potato lifestyle can ruin you from head to toe. Read the rest of this entry

What should I eat? How should I eat? Just try to keep it simple.

photo: pbs.org

People often ask me about food and I tell always tell them “You know whats good for you and what’s not. So just work with that for now.” I realize that this does help too much so I pulled this article up from www.helpguide.org to give  everyone a heads up on some simple practices on eating. There are a number of other articles out there so I suggest doing your research as this is not the answer to all your questions but a good place to get an in depth start on things. So enjoy and next time you see me I may have a more definitive answer for you. -probably not ;) -
Meridian Organs And Meridian Foods
Food For Thought – Introduction

Healthy Eating: Guide to New Food Pyramids and Tips for a Healthy Diet

Healthy eating is not about strict nutrition philosophies, staying unrealistically thin, or depriving yourself of the foods you love. Rather, it’s about feeling great, having more energy, and keeping yourself as healthy as possible– all of which can be achieved by learning some nutrition basics and using them in a way that works for you.

Healthy eating begins with learning how to “eat smart”—it’s not just what you eat, but how you eat. Your food choices can reduce your risk of illnesses such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes, as well as defend against depression. Additionally, learning the habits of healthy eating can boost your energy, sharpen your memory and stabilize your mood. You can expand your range of healthy food choices and learn how to plan ahead to create and maintain a satisfying, healthy diet.

Healthy eating tip 1: Set yourself up for success  

To set yourself up for success, think about planning a healthy diet as a number of small, manageable steps rather than one big drastic change. If you approach the changes gradually and with commitment, you will have a healthy diet sooner than you think.

  • Simplify. Instead of being overly concerned with counting calories or measuring portion sizes, think of your diet in terms of color, variety and freshness—then it should be easier to make healthy choices. Focus on finding foods you love and easy recipes that incorporate a few fresh ingredients. Gradually, your diet will become healthier and more delicious. Read the rest of this entry

Yoga Vs. The Gym

Photo Krystle Marcellus www.krystlemarcellus.com

I spent a few years of my life picking apart each body part in the gym and then downing a protein shake and calling it a day but I still never felt totally connected to my body. I mean what does  this feeling feel like anyway? I also practiced Kung Fu, Tai Chi and Chi Gong  during this stage of my life when I was younger and not really capable of truly grasping the concept of balance. While I was training my teacher would often say in broken English “Too much Yang. You have no balance.” He later explained to me how the bodies energy could not flow properly because the kinetic chain was undoubtedly strong but the links were weak in comparison. Meaning that the tendons and ligaments were not being strengthened properly and were lacking optimal mobility due to a focus on strength exercises that were only focused on body parts rather than total body development from your toes to your head. I was caught up in the the GOTTA GET STRONGER mode.  I eventually took in what he said and started to experiment with my workouts, using the ideas of mobility, strength and flexibility as my foundation for exercising. I had put some intersting exercises together at the gym (someone was always staring and I could see the slight confusion/curiosity in their eyes) but it was not till i took a Yoga class that I understood what that kinetic chain felt like. I could feel where I lacked body awareness and also where my weaknesses were. A humbling experience it was and till this day I still continue to reconstruct my body through Yogic/Martial lengthening and strengthening exercises that continue to give me a feeling of fullness and balance. Read the rest of this entry

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.