4 years being vegetarian. The upside and the downside.

31st of December 2013, I had my last piece of meat. Ham I remember. I was in Miami. And I’ve decided to become a vegetarian.

My love of animals first, and my yoga practice, made me shift to that way of life without effort. Knowing the deep suffering that most animals go through before ending up in our plates, just this, was enough. The yoga practice just made me open my eyes. I didn’t want to be that person again, who knows, but doesn’t want to really know…

I have to confess that except for ham from Italy, burgers and chicken I was not super fond of meat, and I’ve stopped eating baby animals like veal and lamb 15 years ago.

The effects on my body arrived fast. While I used to go to bed feeling heavy, this feeling disappeared after a few days. Surprisingly I felt less stressed out, and I had less anger as well (yes I did spell it right, anger and not hunger). I’m wondering if the stress and the pain felt by the animals in those horrible places and before they die make them produce some sort of hormones that we absorb when we eat them? I don’t know, I’m not a scientist, but I swear I felt more at peace.

Another big surprise, my body was more flexible. I’ve read later during my yoga studies, that meat makes you stiff, I swear I felt it.

My health has improved, in 4 years I had only one cold after a long trip in a plane where it was super cold. No more migraines, i used to have cold sore regularly, now I have one once a year or less.

Of course as I like to be coherent I’ve also stopped buying leather. I’m still wearing the shoes and bags I had from before, but I’m not buying leather shoes or bags anymore, and it’s kind of fun to search for cool vegan stuff, and not that difficult. Even if you want to be posh Stella McCartney is a militant of the animal wellness and does not use animal product in her collections.

I absolutely enjoy being a vegetarian, it made me discover new vegetables, and a new way of cooking and I really enjoy it. Also I’m totally vegan at home, I stay vegetarian when I go to restaurant, because where I live, it’s already tough to find a vegetarian option (goat cheese salad, or tomatoes and mozzarella).

One of the downside of a vegetarian way of life is when you go out to the restaurant. You have to be very careful, they cook almost everything in veal or chicken broth to make it “more tasty”: risottos, some pasta, even soups! People say we are always telling everyone we are vegetarian, but may be if the menus in the restaurants were more honest about what’s really meat free or not, we would not have to ask….

Now let’s talk about the BIGGEST downside of a plant based diet. Its meat eater. They almost always want you to eat meat. I don’t even count the amount of times I’ve heard: For once you should try this meat it’s so yummy, or, Come on this is shrimp it’s not really an animal, or, you probably lack of protein, did you think about your health (coming from someone who has a lot of stomach issue while I never have any).

Just to be clear when I go out with friends I NEVER ask them to eat veggies, they eat whatever they want it’s a problem with them and their karma, so why the hell they can’t do the same? Why can’t they eat their meat while i eat my veggies without wanting me to eat corpses?

It’s like my decision has an influence upon their life, like they feel threatened. Unless they are secretly ashamed? I don’t know, but this is the only downside I faced as a vegetarian.

Hopefully some days people will be more aware, and the suffering will end. Who knows? But in the meantime can we respect each others?

Namaste

If you want to be more aware may I recommand the documentary: cowspiracy www.cowspiracy.com

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1 year of daily meditation

Today is the first anniversary of my daily meditation practice. I’ve been meditating for more than 3 years now, but not every day. 
1 year ago I stepped out of a toxic relationship that left me drained out emotionnaly, because I’ve invested so much in it when the other person was just selfishly  waiting for me to make all the efforts. I’ve decided that meditation will help me heal. And it did.

I’ve learned so many things!

 First, I’ve learned that i will not stop the flow of all my thoughts, no.. but I will learn to observe them in peace.

I’ve learned that we are NOT our emotions, and I manage now to sit and observe those emotions without being carried away by them (ok not all the time yet, but quiet often)

I’ve strangely developped some weird skills like feeling the energy around me,  or having this weird feeling of energy in my hands (I still need to figure this out).

I’ve learned patience, and that was a first. I also learned acceptance and forgiveness with some amazing guided meditations on the app “insight timer” I’ve understood that when people hurt you it’s sad about them because they can’t do better than hurting you, you are not the problem, it’s them.

Of course I didn’t become perfect or THAT wise lol. But I have improved! For the best. Strangely enough I’ve also learned to say no, quietly (I used to wait to say no until I was so angry I was about to explode lol), or to put on hold some relationships where I didn’t feel respected (that is also probably a consequence and a lesson learned from the toxic relationship).

I meditate to the sound of relaxing music, gongs, crystal bowls, in silent, or most of the time I use the guided meditations on  Insight timer (wich I recommand warmly and I promise I have no interest doing so), the app also helps me keeping tracks of my meditations! (The stats option is super cool, since for example I know that since I’m using that app I’ve meditated 103 hours and 30 minutes lol).

My favorite place to meditate is half seated in my bed or when I travel, in a plane.

I’m so looking forwart to this second year of magical power!

You should give it a try! 

Yoga and Burning Man

I taught yoga at Burning man again this year. 4 classes. Why would I work during my time off some people asked me. Well first of all it’s a pleasure to give back to that amazing community, not only through my camp who was offering many different activities (Pepperland is a great camp, check it out next year!) but also, by giving my personnal touch. I was super lucky to teach in two big legit camps:  Heebeegeebees and Red lightning. Such a treat.

Teaching at Burning Man, (and probably in yoga festival too) is an amazing opportunity to share your energy with people who are fully opened to receive. They are not running in between work and and supermarket, they are in the present moment. Fully commited to their practice. It’s a differrent experience.

Back home I teach in small studios, so when I taught my first class at Red Lightning in a huge space with a microphone and in front of 100 students, I had goosebumps, and I could feel this energy shared by all of us, it was so different, so empowering. And when at the end, people come to thank you and to tell you the class was amazing and how they feel great, you just want to stay in that moment forever.

Can’t wait for next year.

Namaste

A glimpse on a yama: Aparigraha

I’m starting here a serie on the yoga sutras, with one of my two favorites yama: Aparigraha.

Yoga sutra 2-39 : aparigrahasthairye janma kathanta sambodhah

Freedom from wanting unlocks the real purpose of existence.

It would be smart to stop trying to possess something desperatly. In a society

That is based on consumption, most of us believe that things can make us

Happy. This way of life prevents us to live in the present moment and prevent

us to seek the true source of happiness. Aparigraha doesn’t necessarly means

possessing stuff it could also be fame or even may be mastering a hard asana.

In my practice I’ve learned the hard way to let go if I can’t do a specific asana. I

remember I was obsessed with visvamitrasana and tried so much that I ended

up hurting myself. (ahimsa anyone ?), now I know how to let go. I don’t hold a

handstand more than 2 seconds ? it’s ok I will try another day, and may be it

will never happen in this life but does it really matter ? Is it a real source of

happiness ? We tend to complicate our lives with things we don’t really need,

and we suffer with the loss or lack of something. B !K !S Iyengar wrote : « By

the observance of aparigraha, the yogi makes his life as simple as possible and

trains his mind not to feel the loss or the lack of anything. Then everything he

really needs will come to him by itself at the proper time. » I live in a country

) where rich people comes to live in for security and tax reason, I

witness people with a lot of possession, are they happier ? Not at all ! They

focus (we all do) on what they don’t have (yet..) and forget about all they have.

Being grateful for what we already have and not suffer for all the thing we

don’t have is the fist step to happiness ! Keep it simple!

Ubuntu and yoga

The concept of Unbuntu is often resumed by the words : « i am because we

are » Yoga means yoke which can be translated by many words like, connection  

or union. Those two philosophical concepts have similarities but some  

differences as well. 

Similarities : Yoga teaches us compassion and compassion is definitely a major 

point of Ubuntu. In the yoga sutras Patanjali explains the concept of ahimsa,  

non harming other people or purself, in Ubuntu if you harm someone else it’s  

like harming yourself. You have to get rid of your ego to embrace ubuntu and  

yoga clearly helps you with that, ego tends to diminish and connectivity rises. In            

yoga we have to look at when ego limits our possibility. , ego is neutral. Ego is  

simply a sense of “self” or personality, the thoughts and reactions of a mind  

shaped by experiences, preferences, habits, and fantasies. As humans, we  

share this phenomenon, and ego-identification creates boundaties hat keep us 

separate from each other as well as from recognizing 

the pure gold of our own true nature. As we learn to recognize the  

mental patterns and defenses that Patanjali describes, we become 

more comfortable in the role of witness. We gain perspective that allows us to  

detach from the ego self. I would say here that somehow, yoga gives the tool to 

accomplish ubuntu. Also the idea of karma, what we give is what we receive 

it can be related to ubuntu but lay be in a more global level as it includes the  

idea of reincarnation. 

Differences :  

Ubuntu is a concept that is only philosophical in a way, yoga covers more field,  

than that. Yoga takes care of the body too, so we can have an healthy mind in  

an healthy body. Yoga has also a spiritual dimension, it helps controlling an  

individual’s mind, body and soul. I am a soul, a spirit, living in a body. The idea 

of Ubuntu is that we depend on human connection, i don’t think it’s  

totally true in yoga. Some yogi tends to love being isolated to meditate 

and try to attain enlightment. The connection we talk about in yoga is more  

the connection between mind body and soul, which will lead to a control of the  

ego and that’s where yoga and ubuntu have the same ideas. 

A must read for yoga teachers, or devoted practicionners

Spirituality

  • The Bhagavad gita
  • The yoga sutras (Patanjali)
  • The Upanishads

Practice

  • Light on Yoga (B.K.S Iyengar)
  • The heart of yoga (T.K.V Desikachar)
  • Asana Pranayama Mudra Bandha (Satyananda Saraswati)
  • Yin yoga: Outline of a quiet practice (Paul Grilley)
  • Jivamukti yoga: practice for liberating body and soul (Sharon Gannon)
  • Yoga mind body and spirit (Donna Farhi)
  • Dancing the body of light (Dona Holleman)

Anatomy

  • The key muscles of Hatha yoga (Ray long)
  • The key poses of Hatha yoga (Ray Long)
  • Anatomy for vinyasa flow and standing poses (Ray long)
  • Yoga anatomy (Leslie Kaminoff)

 

Enjoy your reading; Namaste.

BE the change….

The past week has been intense emotionally for a lot of people in the world and for myself including in my personal life. It makes me wonder: Why the hell most of human beings don’t take warnings seriously?

Let’s take an example with the Earth, many many studies, and many changes we actually can observe in the weather, show us that global warming is on its way with all its terrible consequences; And what the majority of humans are doing about it? Nothing. They just hope for the best. That’s what human beings do best. Am I the only person who’s annoyed, to say the least, by this kind of attitude?

Are we still those kids that you warn constantly: “be cautious with your toys otherwise they will end up broken…” and they still act like you say nothing and then the toy is broken and then they are sad about it? wtf people?

We can say the same thing about how people treats each other, they don’t care about hurting their feelings, they don’t listen when you warn them and then when you take some actions, they’re like: “omg I don’t understand, I was hoping everything will be fine and it’s not”.

Warnings are a serious matter people. Be aware of your surroundings, be aware of what people tells you, be aware of what scientists tell you, and just don’t sit there hoping for the best! I always wondered, is that arrogance? “I know better, global warming is an urban legend and there won’t be any consequences anyway”, is that a problem of understanding? “when my mom says my toy will be broken, what does she mean exactly?” is it because people are numb? “I live on a beautiful pink cloud, everything looks so pretty I can’t hear you, global what?”

The famous quote says: “BE the change you want to see in the world”, it doesn’t say think in a positive way about that change that will happen while you sit there doing nothing!!!

May be something to think about on this beautiful day?