Benefits Of Practicing Tantra Yoga And Tantric Sex

Health and Intimacy Benefits of Practicing Tantra Yoga, Tantric Sex and Tantric Orgasms
From Chandi Devi

Sexual Health can be improved naturally through the practices of Tantra Yoga and tantric sex. Besides having a strong body/mind/spirit connection, every loving couple should also enjoy multiple, powerful sexual orgasms, which stimulate and increase the secretion of the pineal and pituitary glands.

Tantric Sex Improves Sexual Health

Tantric sex has a rejuvenating effect, improving men and women’s sexual health. Frequent orgasms, as one of the brain wave stimulations, will alter body chemistry. Depression and stress disappear. Women’s sexual health is greatly improved. Headaches, menstrual cramps, urinary-tract problems, weak immune function, incontinence, etc. virtually become a thing of the past.

In tantric sex, the brain chemistry is affected by empowering the endocrine glands for more hGH, serotonin, DHEA, and testosterone. Scientific and medical studies prove that sexual health improves drastically… stimulating blood circulation, detoxifying the body through the breath, strengthening the cardiovascular, endocrine/immune and nervous functions, leading to improved sexual health, rejuvenation and longevity.
Orgasms Strengthen The Immune System

Orgasms that last at least 20 minutes can alleviate depression altogether. Take years off our face as depression is eliminated from our life. Prolong life span, strengthen the immune system and improve overall sexual health by freeing our body and mind through tantric sex.

Men can derive great benefits by increasing sexual quantity and sexual quality in a safe, healthy, natural way through tantric sex. Tantric sex focuses on the benefits of prolonging the sex act for more intimacy and health benefits.

Men are most concerned with:

  • Having a soft erection
  • Inability to maintain an erection
  • Low intensity
  • Premature ejaculation
  • Prolonging ejaculation
  • Performance skills
  • Self confidence
  • Satisfying his partner
  • Male sexual health

While men’s sexual health concerns are more of a physical nature, women’s concerns seem to be a function of their minds.

Women want to enjoy sex, but their main problem usually stems from Western based religions or feelings of guilt and shame.

Women’s problems with sex generally fall in the following categories:

  • Loss of interest in sex
  • Loss of sensations
  • Painful intercourse
  • Inability to reach orgasm
  • Having weak or mild orgasms
  • Weak internal muscles due to childbirth etc.
  • Sexual health concerns
  • Sexual guilt and shame
  • Inhibitions
  • Fear of intimacy
  • Need to be in control

Loss of interest can arise from being too busy, overworked, having an insensitive lover who doesn’t know how to make you happy. The guilt and shame factor is deeply imbedded in our Western culture mainly perpetuated through religion and “osmosis” …the Western mind-set. In the East, the body and all its functions are considered beautiful and natural.

Frequent Orgasms and Women’s Health

Frequent orgasms can benefit women’s sexual health tremendously. However, there is a vast difference in having an ordinary orgasm and having a tantric orgasm. Ordinary orgasms, which are the norm, are of short duration, isolated in the sex organs. Tantric sex orgasms involve the full body, mind and spirit, lasting for hours as well.

Benefits of Tantric Orgasm

To obtain the benefits of a tantric orgasm, the shakti, or energy, the rising kundalini, must pierce each of the chakras (vortexes of energy in the subtle body) as it ascends the spinal cord. It must reach the brain’s central nervous system and endocrine command center – the hypothalamus and pituitary gland, which commands the changes that benefits our sexual health.

Benefits of Frequent Orgasms

Frequent and powerful orgasms increase the level of the orgasm hormone, oxytocin. The oxytocin level is linked to the personality, passion, social skills and emotional quotient (EQ), all of which affects career, marriage, emotions and social life. Orgasms are very beneficial for sexual health because they empower our pituitary (brain function).

We benefit from tantra practices on the physical, spiritual and emotional levels. Hari Om Tat Sat.

Everything You Wanted To Know About Sex Toys

Everything she always wanted to know about sex toys and wasn’t afraid to ask.
By: Hilda Hutcherson, MD.

This month I’m giving readers a choice: We can either (a) discuss the possible privatization of Social Security and its impact on 21st-century macroeconomics or (b) go shopping for sex toys. May I see a show of hands? Okay, so that would be 2.4 million women ready to hit the stores, and one retired stockbroker from the suburbs of Detroit who’d be ever so grateful if I’d start writing for BusinessWeek. Sorry, Dad—the people have spoken.

With friends like Hilda Hutcherson, MD, my go-to sexpert and the author of Pleasure: A Woman’s Guide to Getting the Sex You Want, Need, and Deserve, who needs sales help? I call my fearless pal and offer to buy her lunch in exchange for a guided tour of the best sex toys currently on the market.

My education begins in the personal massagers section of a discreet midtown Manhattan shop called Eve’s Garden. I check out a shelf of architecturally unobtrusive little gadgets as Hilda heads straight for a periwinkle blue confection. “See how pretty,” she says, grouping it with the chartreuse and salmon ones. “They’re so sculptural, you could really have them on your coffee table without anybody realizing they’re vibrators.”

But before I can lay out what I feel is a rather cogent argument for not displaying an assortment of pastel sex toys in the middle of my living room, Hilda has moved on. “Ooh, look, Lisa—it’s the smoothie!” She picks up an ultrasleek tiger-stripe number and turns it to low. “Smoothies are a bit more phallic,” she says, as it dawns on me that Hilda’s idea of a bit more phallic is my definition of the Washington Monument. “These are terrific for women who are just trying to get their feet wet.”

As the smoothie buzzes away, I start to offer her a little free advice: “Technically, Doctor, it’s not the feet that need to get—” But before I can finish, Hilda is zeroing in on an odd contraption. “Here’s one based on a medical device for women with arousal disorder. This piece suctions the clitoris,” she says, holding up a rubbery thimble, “while this cylinder vibrates. I write lots of prescriptions for these,” she says matter-of-factly.

“But isn’t everything here over-the-counter?” I ask. “Aren’t sex toys more about leisure activity than medical need?” I can’t help picturing an operating room in which a dedicated young surgeon calls for his instruments: “Scalpel! Sutures! Box of remote-control panties!” Hilda puts down the sample of edible Kama Sutra Honey Dust she’s been enjoying. “When I write a prescription, I’m giving a woman permission from a doctor,” she says. ” And some of us need that.

Ten percent of the sexually active female population have never had an orgasm, and God knows how many women have trouble climaxing with a partner. I prescribe a vibrator for use during intercourse. Toys give you control and provide extra stimulation.”

Now, I’m aware that at this point certain readers (and you know who you are, cousin Myrna) would just as soon have me cut to waves crashing against the shore, but for my friends with a healthy curiosity—here goes nothing: “Hilda,” I say, pointing to a gigantic vibrating penis that looks and feels just like the real thing…and then some, “you don’t think most men would find this a touch daunting?” “Well, you can always start small. Here,” Hilda says, handing me the Fukuoku 9000. “This finger-puppet-y vibrator slips over any digit, looks totally nonthreatening, and still gets the job done.

How could this tiny toy make a man think he’s being replaced?”She pauses a beat, shifting into pleasure-activist mode. “But I’m telling you, Lisa, that other one is definitely worth a try. I mean, for one thing, it’s dishwasher safe!” And there you go. At exactly 12:39 Eastern standard time, life as I understand it officially ends. I note the sign that informs customers of a 10 percent discount on floor models, I see the make-your-own-dildo kit containing special molding powder, patented “liquid skin,” stir stick, vibrating unit, easy-to-follow instructions, and I suggest we break for lunch.

Over Cobb salads, I ask Hilda if there’s any truth to the rumor that vibrators are addictive. “That’s ridiculous,” she says. “Granted, if you’re using it five or six times a day, it’ll be hard to go back—”

“Or hold a job or raise a family or…walk,” I chime in.

“But,” Hilda goes on, “the thing most of us love junkies ache for can’t be found in a toy. They’ve yet to come up with a vibrator that whispers in your ear or holds you tight at 3 A.M.”

“They’ve yet to come up with a lot of men who do that.”

“True, but toys tend to put the oomph back into long-term relationships, so you start releasing those hormones that actually do keep couples close.” Hilda spears a cherry tomato. “And if you don’t have a steady partner, they help your body remember how to respond. Or if you’re menopausal—and not sexually active or taking estrogen—they keep the blood flowing through those vessels. You’ve got to prevent your vagina from shrinking and getting dry—a dildo is fantastic for that,” she says as I watch the busboy who’s refilling our iced teas go pale and back into a waiter.

If Eve’s Garden is demure, our next stop, Babeland, is big, bright, and in-your-face. “Taste this,” Hilda says as she squeezes a drop of “strawberry cheesecake lube” on the back of my hand. Before I can mention that this lubricant tastes an awful lot like Robitussin, my eyes light on the holy grail, the Rolls-Royce of sex toys. Drumroll, please: Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Rabbit Habit, complete with strategically placed rotating pleasure pearls, fluttering ears, swiveling head, and varying speeds for both rotation and vibration. This bunny does it all!

“It’s a brave new world, my friend,” Hilda says as she gives me a hug, gathers her three shopping bags worth of erotica, and heads home to celebrate her husband’s 50th birthday. After checking out the vibrating bullet, the Pocket Rocket—which Hilda swears by—and the G-spot vibrator, I collect my purchases (yes, I managed to find a few things, but that’s between me, my boyfriend, and the nice woman in accounting who signs off on expense reports) and grab a cab.

With Johannes in Europe, it’ll be a girls’ night in—just me, my 3-year-old, Dora the Explorer, and Angelina Ballerina. Someday Julia will go through my drawers just the way I did my mother’s (and by the way, Mom, I’m onto you—a diaphragm is not a kitty cat’s bathing cap), and who knows what she’ll come across. Maybe I’ll take that moment to tell her how you have to work at relationships, and how you have to care for yourself, and how—unless you want to be surrounded by a SWAT team and two dozen bomb-sniffing beagles—you have to take the batteries out of toys when you travel. Or maybe I’ll just send her to lunch with Auntie Hilda.

Read more on Tantra Yoga. And join me for our next Tantra Workshop for Couples.

Eight Things You Need To Know About Orgasms

8 Things You Need To Know About Orgasms
Orgasm – Women’s Sexuality

One of the yoga paths is Tantra. I am posting this article because I like, and agree with it. I believe that all women should enjoy the pleasure of orgasm. Tantra can help all women. And enhance any couples sexual relationship. There is no other way to open every Chakra than a mind blowing orgasm. Sign up for one of my Tantra workshops to share, discuss and learn how to make this happen for yourself.Sex researchers Masters and Johnson labeled “intense orgasms” (like the kind where Sally’s not faking it) as involving 8 to 12 vaginal contractions, each lasting 4.0 to 9.6 seconds. That adds up to over two minutes of continuous mind-bending bliss.

Not even scientists can agree on what percentage of women regularly climax, or how or even why. But it’s generally accepted that roughly a third of women are unable to have orgasm through any means, says Cindy M. Meston, PhD, who was the chair of the World Health Organization’s 2005 orgasm committee (yes, there was such a thing). Recent research has confirmed that anatomy plays a role: Some women are just born to orgasm—and some have to work at it.

A study published last year in the journal Hormones and Behavior confirmed that the shorter the distance between a woman’s clitoris and vagina (less than 2.5 centimeters is ideal), the easier it is for her partner to stimulate her super-sensitive areas (tools and toys can help bridge the gap). Regardless of how we’re built, almost every woman is aware of the other big challenge: Orgasms tend to require more constant attention—about 20 minutes, studies show—than most busy people have the time or concentration for.

Working out at the gym? Sleeping on an airplane? Giving birth? Women (perhaps even you!) have reported experiencing orgasms in all of these unconventional situations. This has nothing to do with subconscious fantasies: Spontaneous, non-sexual orgasms can be caused by increased blood flow to the genitals combined with vibration or contact with the clitoris (during labor, there are also massive surges of ecstasy-inducing hormones like prolactin, oxytocin and beta-endorphins).

Exercise-induced orgasms, in particular, seem to have been the gym addict’s best-kept secret, until a study late last year by human sexuality researchers at Indiana University revealed that about a quarter of the 530 women they interviewed had climaxed while working on their abdominals, riding a bike or lifting weights.

Research has shown that orgasms experienced during sex cause us to release 400 times more prolactin—which tends to make people feel sleepy and satiated—than from those from masturbation, writes Meston in Why Women Have Sex, a book she co-authored with psychologist David M. Buss. This is why women may still feel alert enough to write a status report or clean the bathroom mirrors after a self-induced pleasure session. It all makes evolutionary sense, say the authors, because post-sex sleepiness helps women lie still, which is the optimal position for conception.

The surge of oxytocin that occurs during orgasm triggers a release of feel-good endorphins that act as powerful pain relievers. Even better, Meston says, while medication can take more than a few minutes to kick in and then lose power after a few hours, orgasms relieve pain immediately and last for the rest of the day or night. She suggests this could be because orgasms offer a custom-made treatment prepared by your own body chemistry. Don’t have a problem with headaches? The orgasm cure can also work on arthritis, backaches and muscle pain.

You’re familiar with your cervix—the opening to the uterus at the far end of the vagina—but you probably haven’t thought of it as a sexual organ. Some women love the feeling of rhythmic pressure on their cervix (Meston has heard it described as an exciting intersection of pain and pleasure) and may depend upon that sensation to reach orgasm. But even if a woman has the flexibility of a champion pole dancer, she can’t do much to shorten the distance to her cervix—and that’s when a longer, um, instrument can come in handy.

When the uterus contracts during orgasm, it can help use up cramp-causing prostaglandins, flush out excess blood and even clear out some of the lining and debris that could flow backward and lead to endometriosis, Meston says. If having sex during your period makes you feel squeamish or just physically uncomfortable, Meston suggests going straight for the fix by taking matters into your own hands.

Research shows that women have more—not to mention more fulfilling—orgasms as they get older, says Debby Herbenick, a research scientist at Indiana University. In an analysis of 3,990 adults ages 18 to 59, she and other sex researchers found that an impressive 70 percent of women in their 40s and 50s were sent into orbit the last time they had sex—which was higher than the number of happy postcoital customers in their early 20s. While the study didn’t delve into causes, it’s likely that older women are more comfortable with their bodies, their partners and their own desires. They’ve also had enough erotic experience to know what revs their engines as well as what causes them to really take off.

Which leads us to: Everything You Wanted To Know About Sex Toys

Embracing Impermanence – The Truth Of Life

After the Laundry, the Laundry 
By Judith Hanson Lasater

Impermanence is the truth of life. Embracing it in our most basic daily activities can be the key to everyday ease.

Living with a busy family, I often feel just like one of the Tibetan monks I once saw making an intricately designed sand mandala. For months, they bent over the ground, arranging the sand grain by grain, and once their beautiful creation was complete, they cheerfully destroyed it in the ultimate celebration of impermanence.

While I don’t create ceremonial mandalas, I do wash the dishes. And when I come back to the sink later, dirty dishes have appeared again. I fold and put away a basketful of laundry, and in no time, the basket is full again. Even my yoga mat is a reminder of impermanence. Just this morning, it was stretched out on the floor, filled up with my movements, and now it leans against the wall, empty and forlorn.

As the Buddha said, impermanence is the nature of the human condition. This is a truth we know in our minds but tend to resist in our hearts. Change happens all around us, all the time, yet we long for the predictable, the consistent. We want the reassurance that comes from things remaining the same. We find ourselves shocked when people die, even though death is the most predictable part of life.

We can even look to our yoga mat to watch this pattern play itself out. We often find ourselves attached to a never-ending process of “improvement” in our asanas. They do improve quickly at first—in the beginning, we are on a honeymoon of discovery; we grow by leaps and bounds in ability and understanding. After a couple of decades, however, our poses change much less. As our practice matures, it becomes more about consistency, deeper understanding, and smaller breakthroughs.

This is not to say we won’t continue to improve, but the improvement may be subtler. Oftentimes, we can no longer practice certain poses because of age or injury, yet we feel agitated because we assume that the poses of our youth should be the poses of our middle and old age. We are surprised when familiar asanas become difficult and formerly difficult ones become impossible.

What’s the lesson here? Experiencing remarkable improvement on a continual basis, it turns out, is a temporary stage. Realizing this puts us in touch with the truth of impermanence; remaining attached to the practice of our past creates suffering in us.

In India, the home of yoga, there is a traditional Hindu social model that underscores the change we continuously experience. Called the Ashramas, or Stages of Life, it defines four distinct periods in life, during which people can and should do certain things.

The first, brahmacharya (brahmic conduct), is the student stage, during which one learns about oneself and the world; the second, grihastha (householder), is the stage of family and societal obligations. The last two stages focus on renunciation. During the third, vanaprastha (forest dweller), one is freer to begin a contemplative life. And during stage four, samnyasa (renunciation), one goes deeper, surrendering all worldly things and living as a simple mendicant.

The beauty of this model is its inherent acknowledgement of the impermanence of each stage of life. There is wisdom in this awareness—not just because our lives do obviously and unavoidably change but, more important, because when we accept this fact as truth, we suffer so much less.

Without having an awareness of impermanence, we typically fall into one of two patterns: denial or depression. Although we cannot escape the impermanence of life and the fact that we are going to die, we desperately deny these truths; we cling to our youth or surround ourselves with material comforts. We color our hair, Botox our foreheads, and touch our toes. Or, if denial isn’t a good fit with our personality, we may unconsciously turn away from the truth by feeling depressed or withdrawn from life.

Yoga philosophy offers an alternative to these tendencies. It is to embrace the powerful truth spoken by all great teachers: the power of living in the unchanging eternal present. The first verse of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra states, “Atha yoga anushasanam,” which translates as, “Now is an exposition on yoga.”

The power of this verse is often lost on readers who interpret the words as an introduction of little value. But in my view, Patanjali does not use unnecessary words. That first word is the key. The verse is intended to underscore the importance of the study of yoga right now. It encourages us to focus on what is happening to the body, mind, breath, and emotions in this moment.

Now is a word that is powerful and sufficient enough by itself to be used as a life study, a sort of mantra. The ability to respond to now, to live in now, to enjoy each precious moment without clinging to it or pushing it away is the essence of spiritual practice.

Yoga philosophy as a whole is predicated on the notion that identification with the temporary, changing aspect of reality leads to suffering, while recognition of the eternal, changeless Self leads to peace. In day-to-day life, these concepts seem interesting at best and esoteric at worst. But remembering the eternal in daily conversations, tasks, and actions is really the key to transforming our lives.

Unless we are able to return to the “big picture” of our lives, we will be caught up in the minutiae of being late for an appointment or losing a favorite earring. What gives life its juice is the ability to mourn the lost earring fully and simultaneously know it doesn’t ultimately matter. In other words, we can live to the fullest when we recognize that our suffering is based not on the fact of impermanence but rather on our reaction to that impermanence.

When we forget the truth of impermanence, we forget the truth of life. Spiritual practice is about remembering that truth and then embracing it. In the past, I kept doing the laundry so it would finally be “done.” Of course, it never gets done. Now when I look into the laundry basket, whether it is full or empty, I try to see it as an expression of what life is all about: moving through the different stages, surrendering to impermanence, and remembering to embrace it all.

Ayurveda – An Ancient Cure For Modern Life

An Ancient Cure for Modern Life
By Alison Rose Levy

Everyday stress can lead to vata derangement, an excess of nervous energy. These Ayurvedic therapies can bring you back into balance.

Like most Americans, I’m an expert at multi-tasking. I eat at my desk, wash dishes while on the phone, go through bills on the bus, and drive while talking on my cell phone. Based on his knowledge of the Eastern wisdom of Ayurveda, the internationally recognized Ayurvedic physician and author Robert Svoboda has another name for this rushed, fragmented way of functioning. He calls it “vata-deranged.”

Modern life as we know it, with its excessive travel, late nights, and nonstop stimulation, often contributes to vata derangement, which can affect anyone. People like me—the tall, slender, fast-talking ones—are most at risk, however, because our native constitutions are vata dominant.

To comprehend vata derangement, we need to understand that vata is one of the three metabolic types, or doshas, described by the ancient health science of Ayurveda. Vata is the principle of movement, ruled by air and ether. The other two doshas are pitta, the principle of assimilation ruled by fire, and kapha, the stabilizing force, ruled by earth and air. Ayurvedic doctors say that we are each a unique combination of these three. For most of us, one type is predominant, another secondary. But whatever one’s native type, when a person goes out of balance, the vata principle destabilizes most easily, causing other kinds of health and emotional problems.

According to Ayurveda, this is the force that governs all movement in the body, including the in-and-out flow of the breath, the action of our limbs, the circulation of subtle energy in our organism, and the mind’s ceaseless flow of thoughts, words, and images. Unlike earthy kapha, solid and grounded and with a tendency to get stuck, or fiery pitta, sharp and focused and knowing just where it wants to go, vata, like the wind, wanders here and there, its direction ever-changing.

Performers like Michael Richards, who played Seinfeld’s Kramer, Lisa Kudrow acting ditzy and off-beat on Friends, and Woody Allen, with his anxious patter, have made us laugh at the off-centered, nervous spaciness typical of vata derangement. While these qualities may seem funny when we see them on film, it’s not fun to experience the jerky stops and starts of breath, thoughts, speech, nerves, and limbs that result from a vata imbalance. And the health consequences aren’t laughable either.

Vata’s Rise and Fall

The pressure and pace of modern life can tip anyone into vata imbalance. But even if you spent your life meditating in the woods, it’s not easily avoided. Ayurveda holds that sturdy kapha is dominant in childhood, ambitious pitta rules in the prime of life, and vata prevails in our senior years. Our senior years bring the vatic qualities of dryness, roughness, and irregularity, manifesting in such health complaints as arthritis, constipation, anxiety, insomnia, and stiffness.

Fortunately, we can look to ancient wisdom for answers: Ayurveda has evolved ways to remedy vata imbalance and its accompanying diseases, and throughout hundreds of years ancient Ayurvedic physicians and Yogis devised many techniques to prolong life—hoping to gain more time to attain self-realization.

Undoubtedly, the Westerner most knowledgeable about these Ayurvedic rejuvenative practices is Svoboda, who teaches at Albuquerque’s Ayurvedic Institute and is the author of Prakriti (Sadhana, 1999), an excellent introduction to Ayurveda. For the last 25 years, Svoboda has traveled toIndiato receive and learn traditional rejuvenative treatments and to study Indian culture, philosophy, and practices.

Last year he offered a small group of students a weeklong immersion in the health model and way of life he practices. Along with Iyengar Yoga teacher Ellen Leary ofNew Hope,Pennsylvania, Svoboda designed a retreat reflecting the Indian world view that Ayurveda, hatha yoga, and other spiritual practices like meditation and chanting are aspects of an integrated system of healing and spiritual evolution. As I flew to the Caribbean Island of Tortola, I wondered if, even with these gifted guides, it would be possible to alleviate some of my stress-building vatic habits in one week.

The Beauty of Routine

Vatas tend to be erratic—or as workshop participant Paul Busch, an Iyengar Yoga teacher from Minneapolis (and a vata), described himself, “addicted to variety.” While stalwart kaphas plod along, rising, eating, working, and sleeping punctually, vatas zigzag out of regularity, rising and going to bed at odd times, skipping meals, and not keeping to any regular pattern. Although this makes life interesting, it is also destabilizing. The cure: Establish a predictable routine.

The first evening of the retreat, Svoboda explained that they had carefully structured our schedule and practices to emphasize rejuvenation, particularly for balancing vata. Since dry, rough, airy, fast-moving, and irregular are the core qualities of vata, the Ayurvedic approach is to prescribe treatments, activities, and foods that provide the opposite qualities: oiliness, grounding, slowness, heaviness, consistency, and flow. Svoboda and Leary asked that we adhere to their schedule, even if it meant steering clear of the sun-drenched beach below. Instead of going after “fun,” we tasted a different kind of enjoyment: a restful night’s sleep.

This was the beginning of our routine: Every night we went to bed early, and every day began at6 a.m. We entered the day gently with an optional morning Meditation, followed by an hour long class in Pranayama at 6:30 a.m.This is very important for vata, whose flow can become disturbed by transitions, particularly abrupt ones, like dashing straight from the dream state to the computer upon arising.

“Vata is discontinuous, so if there’s a transfer of energy and direction, like at a juncture or at any transition, that’s where vata becomes agitated,” Svoboda said. No chance of that here. Unlike other classes I’d attended, where even beginners launched into advanced pranayama techniques like alternate nostril or bellows breathing, Leary, who recently returned from a month at the Iyengar Institute in Pune, India, led us in a simple, restorative pranayama practice.

We used props in Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclining Bound Angle Pose), to ensure our bodies were in correct alignment and our diaphragms gently lifted. We supported our legs with homemade sandbags and a belt, allowing the groin area to deeply relax. Leary gently guided us in sensing the inner thoracic area, and after a time, without any forcing, we slowly lengthened and deepened our breath.

Expanding and steadying the breath helps pacify vata because it counters the constrained and shallow breathing—and attendant anxiety—that result from vata’s fast pace. Leary instructed us to allow this expansion to happen without forcing it, encouraging us to take a step back from the vatic and Western tendency to overdo it.

Breath is essential to rejuvenation,” Svoboda explained later, when we gathered on the stone front porch for one of his three daily talks. The term prana, he told us, denotes consciousness and life force. Because prana is carried on the breath, increasing our breath capacity brings in more life force to nourish the physical tissues of the body. “As the organism becomes more confident there is ample prana, it relaxes,” explained Svoboda. While regulating the breath is necessary for vatas, inducing a calm state is healing to everyone’s cells, bodies, emotions, and thoughts.

But everything in its own time. Lest we fuel our spiritual evolution with ambition, Svoboda reminded us that we won’t get there any quicker by pressing the pedal to the floor. Even when it comes to spirituality, each of the doshas has its own way of overdoing or under doing it. Kaphas are most likely to be kicking back and smelling the flowers, finding no motivation to practice at all. Pittas may be driven to become spiritual overachievers, losing contact with compassion as they pile up attainments.

Vatas overdo because they are mentally stimulated by so many options but without doing one thing consistently. This tendency carries over into other life activities. “My eyes are bigger than my stomach,” commented Busch. “My mind wants a smorgasbord, staying up late, watching stimulating films, or engaging in late night conversations, while my body would prefer to get some rest. And like all vatas, I overrule my body.”

Under Doing It

The retreat schedule, routine yet relaxing, defeated all vatic temptations to overdo. There’s no point in overdoing a practice like pranayama, Svoboda told us, because we can’t take in more prana unless we have room for it. In minds crammed with thoughts, organs clogged with toxins, and bodies stiffened with neglect, there is just no space for anything else.

Wherever there are blockages, the flow throughout our system is obstructed, causing vata disorders. The practices we learned opened the space for that flow. To open the mind, there was meditation. To expel toxins encumbering our digestive tract, there were Ayurvedic herbs and diet. To release structural and muscular blockages impeding our movement, there was Hatha Yoga.

After our daily pranayama, we performed Suryanamaskar (Sun Salutation) to the rising sun on a deck overlooking the ocean. With their addiction to variety, vatas find it boring to do asanas slowly and repetitively. Of course, more than anyone else, they need to take the time to allow themselves to become steady in each pose.

“As a vata I love constant change, and it’s the worst thing for me,” noted Busch. Suryanamaskar is beneficial for vatas, who tend to have stiff joints, because the asanas move all the limbs and lubricate the joints. Suryanamaskar also regulates the flow of energy through the nadis, channels of subtle energy that run through our organism, like acupuncture meridians.

While pittas and kaphas do well with more strenuous exercise, repetitive, flowing movement balances vata, so it is best for vatas to do Suryanamaskar slowly. These poses can align vatas mentally and spiritually, Svoboda pointed out, if they face the sun, real or imagined, while doing them. Focusing gathers vata’s scattered energies, Svoboda said, and directs them toward “the sun, the source of light and consciousness in the world.”

Practice Is Perfection

Following a well-earned breakfast, we next performed abhyanga. This is an Ayurvedic oil massage and a classic prescription for healing vata that brings vata’s dry, rough, and irregular tendencies into balance with the oil’s smoothness and heaviness.

Ayurvedic clinics in Kerala,India, are renowned for treatments like pizhichil, in which as many as four people simultaneously oil massage a single client, or shirodhara, in which oil is slowly poured onto the top of the head. When oil is absorbed through the skin, it dislodges toxins, explained Svoboda, which otherwise impede the flow in our system, block the movement of prana, and aggravate vata.

Ayurvedic physicians also use food as medicine, considering the effect of every food and spice on each dosha. Cream of wheat, for example, while grounding for vatas, is too heavy for already grounded kaphas, who tend toward weight gain; on the other hand, a vata should probably pass on the chili because beans cause gas.

Although people associate Ayurvedic cuisine with Indian food, the two are not synonymous. A diet balancing to one’s dosha can consist entirely of Western or international dishes. The retreat offered gourmet spa cuisine, delicious and balancing to all three doshas.

Ayurveda views the digestive process as a metaphor for all we take in. Many people eat whatever is available, watch whatever is on the tube, and believe the common consensus on many subjects. But Ayurveda asks us to consider what we can handle, as vata’s delicate nerves and digestion are easily overwhelmed by a bad meal—or a bad movie, for that matter.

Svoboda and Leary urged us to use the retreat practices to refine our inner awareness, so we could begin to discern the effects of the foods, images, and ideas we take in. This is helpful for all doshas, but particularly for curious and experimental vatas, who want to try everything even though their powers of assimilation aren’t always up to it.

Anything taken in but not processed remains in our organism and becomes a toxin, Svoboda told us. That’s why it’s important to recognize what is beneficial and decline what isn’t, rather than leave the gate open to any and all forms of input. Vatas are great communicators and love chatter. But as much as they love it, it is jarring to their nerves. The solution? To practice limiting input—and output.

All chatter ceased on the day dedicated to silence, a traditional form of spiritual austerity practiced in India. Silence is believed to have a purifying effect on the sense of hearing and on the mind itself. In silence I noticed how much breath and energy I habitually waste on words.

At meals I never missed the conversation, which I now realize was often used to stave off fears or feelings of emptiness. In silence these feelings were given room to come into the light of awareness, where they could dissolve. Our silent afternoon asana class brought the entire group into a state of inner and outer focus, as we followed Leary in a strong series of standing poses, the ocean breezes and our own breath the only sounds we heard. Silence, I discovered, is a restorative posture as powerful as any physical one.

The retreat showed me what Savasana (Corpse Pose), the most basic restorative pose, was all about. With my busy work schedule, I frequently omitted this asana from my practice at home, dashing from other asanas directly to the phone or computer keyboard. The flip side of this kind of vatic overdoing is an energy crash, from which a judicious rest can protect you.

“Savasana brings you as close as possible to perfect physical alignment because it is easier to do correctly than any other pose. Being still while in alignment allows all levels of your being to move into alignment,” explained Svoboda. This is why Savasana feels so restful, physically, mentally, and spiritually. With enough rest and alignment, even restless vatic energy can stabilize.

At first, with its new terminology, Ayurveda can seem exotic, even to someone like me who has traveled to India and studied hatha yoga and meditation for 14 years. But in truth, resting deeply, eating healthful foods, following a regular schedule, moving at a gentle pace, stretching all my limbs, taking deep breaths, and limiting stimulation are all the basics of good health. There’s nothing exotic about these practices.

What is unusual is that we live in a society where we have to make an extra effort to practice them and resist the pressures that lead us to neglect self-care. Following the Ayurvedic and yogic techniques seemed unfamiliar at first, but when I practiced them, my body (or was it perhaps some subtler aspect of myself?) recognized them. As modern Americans, we may have forgotten how to care for the human being, but Ayurveda remembers and can remind us of what we once knew.

Love This Life

Love This Life

it is about celebrating the moment
and that we’re not guaranteed
or owed another day
and how cool it is that what we hide
can actually be the fuel towards our glory
and that it’s not so bad being proven wrong.

it is about welcoming the blind turn
and the possibility that
there’s no such thing as coincidence
and that empathy is incredibly sexy
and that it is never too late
to pick up a guitar or a paintbrush
or to make an amend or to make a new friend

it could be about rekindling a past flame
or igniting a new one
or shapeshifting from a dreamer into a doer
or savouring the caress of a love long gone

it means whatever it is you want it to mean because
it is a celebration of you and your path
cuz it could go at any second

you rock
2002 david culiner

Five Reasons Urban Farming Is The Most Important Movement Of Our Time

Five Reasons why Urban Farming is the Most Important Movement of our Time
Reposted from FB Truth Beckons – Good is

Urban Farming

Urban Farming - Edible Yards

I love suburbia not for what it is, but for what it could be. While most other houses on my street have grass lawns, my yard sprouts zucchinis, tomatoes, pomegranates, kale, spinach, apples, figs, guavas, almonds, garlic, onion, strawberries, and more. Over 500 plant species all in all. We grow more than 3000 pounds of food per year on a plot of land the size of a basketball court—enough fruits and vegetables to feed my family of four year-round. Our house is part of a growing global movement of people involved in urban farming.

The simple act of planting a garden can shape issues like economics, health, and politics at the same time because food is an essential focal point of human activity. As the urban farming movement grows, here are five ways that it will transform our world:

1. Renewed local economies. Local neighbor-to-neighbor commerce generally doesn’t happen in our communities. Residential areas almost never include common spaces where community exchanges might happen. Likewise, because selling homemade bread to your neighbors is illegal in most areas, the law discourages community commerce, and instead encourages you to purchase from the supermarket chain.

In my own community, the urban farming movement has reinvigorated local commerce. Instead of buying oranges, I now trade pumpkin for oranges from my neighbor’s tree. If urban farming continued to grow, it would cause a massive and positive economic disruption by introducing local food production that would compete with the corporate mainstream on price, quality, convenience, and level of service.

2. Environmental stewardship. Industrial agriculture is a major source of fossil fuel pollution. Petrochemicals are used to fertilize, spray, and preserve food. Plastics made from oil are used to package the food, and gasoline is used to transport food worldwide. Urban farming unplugs us from oil by minimizing the transport footprint and using organic cultivation methods.

While industrial agriculture often maneuvers to avoid paying for environmental externalities, urban farmers directly bear the ecological costs of their actions. This makes urban farmers better stewards of their land because they draw their nutrition from it. Rather than using chemicals that destroy soil biology, urban farming culture stresses sustainable organic techniques that enrich the topsoil.

3. A focus on local politics. Urban farming makes it clearer and easier for people to be involved in local politics by bringing issues that directly affect neighborhoods to the fore. Local regulations become far more relevant to the day-to-day life of a person attempting to cultivate their own food than most issues normally discussed on CNN. The growth of urban farming has already resulted in large-scale legal pushes like the California Cottage Food Act, which will allow people to legally sell certain homemade goods like jams and breads. Other neighborhood issues such as the raising of chickens, beekeeping for the production of honey, or the chlorination of water are already in the sights of urban farmers and environmentalists alike.

4. A revolution of health and nutrition. Increased awareness about the negative health effects of food from the industrial food chain is itself a big reason why urban farmers grow their own food. When you feed your produce to your family, you’re less likely to douse it in poisons. Local food has more freshness, flavor, and nutrient retention because it goes through less transportation and processing. As the urban farming movement grows, it will mean more accessibility to nutritious local food and more time spent doing the healthy physical work of gardening. This could result in less obesity, less chronic disease, and decreased healthcare spending.

5. A flowering of community interaction. Urban farming is a lifestyle inherently centered on community. Growing food is, after all, a cooperative effort. In my own community, I see that the knowledge of how and what to grow is exchanged, seeds are swapped, labor is shared, and the harvest is traded. As urban farming grows, a stronger interdependence within communities is likely to result as local food systems bring more community interaction into people’s daily lives.

The most important movement of our time. Although there are many other notable initiatives today, the influence of urban farming is uniquely widespread because more people live in cities than rural areas and food is a central necessity that affects everything at once.

The seeds of change are already being planted in homes like mine across the world. For these seeds to grow and blossom, we need to demand more local food so that the market for urban-grown produce expands. We also need to put pressure on our legal system to allow easier local trade and more local food production.

Imagine if we grew food instead of grass. Every community is a local food economy waiting to come to life. The answer to climate change, the health crisis, and the recession economy is right outside your door. I’ll meet you at the garden fence.