Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Missing Piece

What is wrong with this picture?

Maybe I should have started off by saying this: if things like falling teeth and nails give you the heebyjeebies, you'd better move along and skip this post (yes Kelly, that would be you).

Does that give you enough of a hint already? (I purposely made the picture a little smaller than usual so as not to *really* gross you out.)

Yes, ladies & gents, what you see here are 9 toenails painted white, and 1 pink stump where a toenail has fallen off.

It's the left baby toe. See it now?

I can really get in there a little closer.


Brace yourself.


I had an even more extreme close-up of just the little toenail itself, but even I was ultra grossed-out by it so I thought better of it than to upload it here. Ugh.

The weirdest thing about this is... I have no idea when this happened. I only noticed the missing toenail on Friday evening, and if you follow me on Twitter, you would have followed me on the wild goose chase around the house trying to locate it.

How does an entire toenail drop off without hurting, without me even realizing it?

It disappeared without a trace (it's not even in my sock - yes, one of my tweeps suggested checking my shoe and I actually did it).

I have a sinking feeling it might have come off during yoga, so the poor teaching assistants are going to be soooooo grossed out when cleaning out the shala. Imagine having to find... along with all the disgusting bits of hair, mat pieces, flaked-off skin et al... an actual WHOLE toenail (beautifully pedicured, no less). *GAG*

What is simultaneously amazing and gross is there's a teeny, tiny, new, little nail-bit growing where the old nail was.

Ah, Mother Nature. You're a freak.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Obama In Da House!

Will it never stop? Obama-mania, that is. I hope it doesn't. Firstly, coz I like the guy and what he represents, and secondly, I love all the kitsch that comes with Obama-mania.

First, it was Lululemon's Ombama campaign

And now, this ranks highly on my happy kitsch list. The special edition collector's item Chia Obama.

No, seriously. The same maker of Chia pets brings us 2 versions of Obama growing his green afro: Happy Chia Obama and Determined Chia Obama.

Can you grow one? YES YOU CAN!"

Hail to the Ch-ch-chief! Visit to watch his 'fro grow.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Comic Relief

(Picture credit here)

Hahaha... Well, I'm keeping in theme of the past couple weeks around here!

Here's another random one. This blog has been around for a while, but I've only just discovered it and I'm in stitches. Be warned: yoga dorks only (but still funny even if you're not a yogi. I think.)

It's what happens when plastic action figures are made to do yoga (yes, someone obviously has a lot of time on their hands...) Only on Yoga Beans.

They're a collection of short stories, based on each pose in the Ashtanga sequence. Here's a snippet of what you'll see...

And here's the money shot, where they reference David Swensen's practice manual!

Duke: "Now, here we see Mr. Swenson in the finished pose. That's some goddamn warrior spear energy right there, I tell you what."

Snake Eyes: "Mmmph!"

Duke: "See how that back foot is grounded? See the way the twist starts at the base of his spine and rotates his torso right around? He's got his gut tucked in tight and that top arm is long and straight and strong as the stem of a flower."

Heavy Duty: "Duke, you're a poet."

Visit Yoga Beans for more.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Stand UP!

...oh, and on the yoga practice front, I finally stood up, ON MY OWN, from backbends. YIPPEEEEEEE!

Check out Sharath at 48 seconds.

(He's the grandson of the founder of Ashtanga Yoga, and incidentally, he's coming to Sydney on a 2-week workshop in October. Of course I'm signed up for it already).

Of course it was nowhere near as graceful as he is - in fact, I was stumbling around on the mat after standing up... in part to get my balance, and in part I was really confused (huh? Did I really stand up already?)... and then I hopped for joy on the mat. YEEHAR!

Now to work on those dropbacks so I can put them all together like him. (there's always more to work on, innit?)

To-Meat (Sadie Nardini) or Not-To-Meat (Sharon Gannon)?

Ooh! Looks like the gloves are coming off on this great debate!

According to Elephant Beans, the two yogis will be debating the issue whether yoga & meat-eating are mutually-exclusive on live video on Huffington Post this Wednesday, August 19th.

UPDATE: Apparently this has been rescheduled to Sept. 1.

Friday, August 14, 2009

...But Maybe You're More Highly Evolved If You Eat Meat Without Guilt?

Here's another interesting article I've come across on the "To veg or not to veg" question I've been mulling over. See previous post on the animal industry.

I've had some interesting comments both privately and on this blog from people with widely differing views. Much like the discussion going on in the comments section on Sadie's Huffpost article (on being a meat-eating Superstar Yogi).

Here's another great article, which looks at it from another angle. Click on the picture, or on the link here. Still chewing the (veggie) fat on this one. Things that make you go hmm...

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

You Don't Have to be Captain Planet to Save the World!

OK, here's a completely different approach to how you can do your part to save the planet.

Umm... I guess there's a point to the message although I question the hygiene?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Ethics of the Animal Industry

As I'd mentioned in an earlier post a couple weeks ago, I was going back into my "vegetarian phase". I have these on-again, off-again vegetarian phases, and these have always stemmed from a health/ detox perspective. I've just always felt lighter and with more energy whenever I've gone veggie.

A friend and I had gone on a 7-day fast & detox at a health spa in Koh Samui a few years ago, and I'd remained vegetarian for about 6 months after that. Early last year, I'd gone vegetarian again also for about another 6 months... that is, lacto-ovo vegetarian. No meat at all, with no seafood either. The only animal products I would touch were dairy (hence the term: lacto) and eggs (hence the term: ovo). However, my immune system crashed on me in a massive way - I fell ill about 3 times in those 6 months, and each time it would wipe me out for about a week at a time. I don't usually fall sick, and even if I do it wouldn't last more than a few days so something was definitely up with my diet at the time.

I'd put it down to pure vegetarianism not working with my body. After all, I had gone to a Kinesiologist who put me on a candida detox to clear out my intestines (no wheat, no sugar, no yeast) and she did mention that there was something to be said about the "eat right for your blood type" theory... and since I'm O+, I'm technically supposed to be a meat-eater.

Since then, I've kept to a largely veggie diet, but would eat some meat or fish a few times a week to "supplement" my diet. Having said this, every time I ate any meat, I would feel the effects - I'd feel a bit more sluggish and heavy, and chicken definitely got my sinuses going too.

A few weeks ago, I decided to go back to being vegetarian again as the more I thought about it, the more I reckon the reason why my immune system shut down on me the last time was probably coz I wasn't supplementing with vitamins. Oh. Duh. Yeah, seriously... I wasn't even taking a multi-vitamin or B12 or essential fatty acids supplements. DOH! Of course I was gonna get sick if I wasn't getting these anywhere else in my diet. (This time around, I'm supplementing and stocking up on those vitamins!)

Around about the same time I went back to vegetarianism, someone from my online yoga book club, Namaste Book Club (yes, I'm that much of a yoga nerd. I'm part of a yoga book club. An online one at that!) suggested I also read Sharon Gannon's "Yoga & Vegetarianism", which looks at it from a yogic point-of-view (based on the Yamas).

Now if you didn't already know, Sharon Gannon's the co-founder of a style of yoga known as Jivamukti Yoga. I have a copy of her book of the same name, written with the other co-founder, David Life. It's a beautifully written book on their yogic philosophy which their school is based on, and part of this philosophy is keeping to a vegan diet. There is a chapter in the book on "ahimsa", which translates as "non-harming" (especially to other beings). Hence their insistence on a completely vegan diet, free from any animal products and by-products.

When I first read the book, I pretty much skimmed this chapter. I found it to be a very polarizing, politicized view (yes, I'd conjured up images of PETA supporters splashing paint on people wearing fur, Sea Shepherd supporters strapping themselves to the front of whaling boats... and every conceivable extreme behaviour from animal rights activists). Perhaps I wasn't ready to listen to their message yet. Besides, my personal view of Ahimsa is also applicable to the self: if I'm harming myself by not eating what my body needs, and if I'm O+ and *need* to eat meat according to "Eat Right 4 Your Type"... then I'm not practising Ahimsa on myself! (exactly like what happened when the Dalai Lama's doctor ordered him to start eating meat!) ...well, yeah. It all made sense to me, since I'd always approached it from a health/ nutritional perspective.

For some reason, I was very intrigued by Gannon's ENTIRE book on "Yoga & Vegetarianism" (even though I couldn't get through ONE chapter on it from her previous book.) She tackles the subject based on the 5 Yamas - One of the Eight limbs of Yoga, taken from Patanjali's Yoga Sutras. (The Yamas are basically guidelines to how you should interact with the world around you.) She summarizes the points in her book here, a link I'd seen on Elephant Journal. It's probably what got me intrigued.

I'm still halfway through the book, but she's already presented very clear and compelling arguments not only from an ethical perspective of how the meat & livestock industries treat the animals, but also from nutritional and environmental pollution points of view how we're just screwing everything up, ourselves included. It's making me think about it from a much larger perspective, beyond just ME.

And since I've felt the stirrings of shying away from meat from an ethical point-of-view, I've now come across yet another piece which has made me realize just how ignorant and how in denial I've been about how that juicy piece of "grain-fed steak" landed on the table in front of me (or even that grilled "free-range chicken breast", "naturally raised" smoked salmon... heck, while we're at it... that pair of Ugg boots, or that leather jacket came to be).

I guess eating meat and using animal products has been so much a part of my life, ingrained since childhood, that you just take it for granted - never questioning where it came from, assuming that every animal has its part to play in life and well... they're raised for food so it must be OK. And since those eggs I'm boiling are cage-free, free-range eggs, I'm doing my part to keep those animals "happy"... and since I buy mostly organic, I'm ingesting stuff that's got more "positive energy" surrounding it. And I was kept in my little bubble of denial - never-questioning, never-probing a little deeper than I have... until now.

Enter the documentary, Earthlings. Here's the trailer, narrated by Joaquin Phoenix:

WARNING: It is violent, brutal and very real.

You can watch the full documentary online here.

It is also deeply moving and a powerful kick up your butt to boot you out of your ignorance. For me, at least that's what it was. I'm still processing what it all means to me and how far I'll draw the line. I guess if you can still rest easy eating meat knowing where its come from and what's happened in the process of getting it neatly packed on your grocery shelf, then by all means, go ahead and continue eating it.

I can't.

In fact, I'm considering going vegan. As much as I love cheese, I'd blindly assumed dairy was fine since y'know... the cows don't get slaughtered or anything yucky like that... How bad could it be, right? But seeing them chained all day with a super-short lifespan, dying from exhaustion from producing milk... like ?!?!??? Yikes, do I really want to be contributing to THAT?

I think it's important to know where your food comes from - you are what you eat, after all. Which is why you should watch that documentary and make up your own mind about it. I am not preaching at all, I can only tell you what MY opinion is on the subject as it pertains to MY life and MY eating habits. I really believe that you consume things on an energetic level as well, which is why knowing what I know now, how can I continue supporting the meat & animal products industries?

It's probably going to be a pain in the ass and quite a mission to shift my dietary habits (oh dairy, how I love thee), but it's less of a pain in the ass than some of the things that go on in those slaughterhouses. Still processing where that line is for me. Watch this space for more mental farts on the subject.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

You Have a Genius Too!

I must be the last person on earth who STILL hasn't read "Eat Pray Love". Yes yes, I'm getting round to it. After watching this inspiring video of Elizabeth Gilbert, the author, talk about having a creative genius... now I'm even more amped to go out and get her book.

It is a funny, beautiful and moving talk on inspired creativity. Long, but worth it. Especially like the part about the 90 year old poet catching hers.
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