Aparigraha 

Can we have a comfortable home, give and receive gifts, eat well, make decent money at our job without feeling the pain of letting these go? Since our life is temporary, it is almost as if everything that we have is really borrowed to us from the divine, existence, and/or the earth. Aparigraha is trusting that we will have what we need when we need it and so letting go or giving away excess. I wanted to share a beautiful blog post by Sri Swami Satchidananda, which is below the photo.

  
 (Free boxes are vessels to give what you don’t want or need and receive what you do; this one I made and is at Core Essence Yoga).
Poverty Is In The Heart – December 26

Poverty is in the heart. You don’t own anything because you didn’t bring anything with you when you came, and you are not going to take anything with you when you go. It is all given to you by God. When you have emptied your mind of ownership, that is renunciation or poverty. I will give you a small illustration.
Once King Janaka was studying under a great sage. He used to leave the palace and go to the hermitage and sit with all the other students to study the scriptures under the guidance of a swami. It seemed to the other students, however, that the teacher was treating the king a little specially. Naturally they became jealous, so they were gossiping. The sage knew what was happening, but he allowed it to continue for a while.
Ordinarily in those days in the hermitages the swamis used to sit and teach under a tree. One hermitage happened to be on the outskirts of the king’s palace. One day the swami created the illusion that the palace was on fire. The ministers and servants from the palace came running saying that the palace was on fire and the fire was spreading. Immediately all the students got up and ran; but Janaka, the king himself, was just sitting there contemplating on what the teacher was saying. The swami was talking about the steadiness of the spirit, and Janaka was contemplating on that. He didn’t even hear what was happening.
So all the other students got up and ran. After a few minutes though, they all came back saying, “It was just a false alarm. There is no fire at all. We don’t know what happened.” The swami said, `Ahh, is that all? Thank God! Okay, sit. But when the palace was on fire, why did you people run to put the fire out? The palace is far away. Are there not people there to do those things?” “Oh, no, we weren’t worried about the palace. But our loincloths were hanging on a line very close to the palace, so we just ran there to save them.” “I see. Do you know who is the owner of the palace?” “Yes, this strange man; he didn’t even notice. He was just sitting here the whole time.” Then the teacher said, “You see, you were attached to your loincloths and ran to save them, whereas he just sat here. He didn’t even run to save his palace. So who is rich here, and who is poor? All you renunciates have is a loincloth. But he doesn’t even have that much. He is really the poor man. Nothing can shake him.”
King Janaka simply answered, “Well, there are people there to take care of it. This is a precious moment for me, why should I go?” Then the others realized how attached they were and got the lesson. It’s not possessions that make you rich. Even attachment to a begging bowl can make you a householder; whereas you can have a big family and still be a renunciate. It’s the attachment that makes the difference. So we should learn to empty our minds of the attachment, not of the things.

Om Shanthi, Shanthi, Shanthi

New yoga school and a trip to Costa Rica

My teachers, Ali Szarzynski and Shayne Broadwell, are leading a yoga retreat with an optional 50 hour training to be applied to a 500 hour teacher training  or continuing education credits.  The trip will be the first offering by Union Tree School of Yoga, whose logo I had the privilege to design and is below.  I have been dreaming about traveling in Costa Rica and can’t wait to begin my 500 hour training with two of the most inspiring yogis in Milwaukee!!!  If you don’t have New Years plans yet, get on a plane to Costa Rica to join us for a transformative week on the Caribbean coast!
Union Tree School of Yoga is a collaboration of Milwaukee teachers  from Core Essence Yoga and Yama Yoga, you can learn more on Facebook at Union Tree School of Yoga.  Please message me if you have any questions!!  
 

Asteya

 Asteya is a practice of non stealing.  This translates to not overcommitting, depleting from your own energy to do more stuff.  I recently experienced someone backing out of a group project and at first couldn’t understand, but after I asked about it she replied that she needs to take care of herself and when overcommitting there is no more energy left to nourish herself.  I have so much respect for that because we live in a world of the overcommitted, we might come them busy or workaholics.  We aren’t doing anyone a favor by volunteering to do something when we haven’t the time to do it, or if having the time and energy to do it means we can’t take care of our Self.  In reality, we end up doing a halfassed job at the thing we volunteered to do and even worse at taking care of our Self.  Asteya is being able to say no before you overextend yourself so that when you do say yes, you have plenty of energy to share and give. 

  
As climate change has been accepted as real and something humans will have to deal with no matter what, what can we do to lessen our own suffering and the loss of life on this planet?

Ride bikes or walk to commute when you can.

Make a shift in your diet to include less meat, more organic vegetarian meals.

Use a rain barrel for watering.

Instead of hours of TV to try to relax, take an hour for a yoga, meditation, or yoga nidra practice.

Better insulate your home.

Shop at a thrift store and buy used whenever possible.

Grow a food garden.

Allow your hair to dry naturally.

Do not buy single use beverages.
Please comment if you have any other ideas!

Yoga and climate change

Our love for our friends and family, the yoga practice we do as self-maintenance needs to expand to our planet, because without the health of Earth, we don’t have the basics: air to breathe, food to eat, or water to drink.  What happens to our climate happens to us.

200 countries’ leaders gather to talk about institutional change to prevent Earth’s temperature from rising 2 degrees Celsius, however each country consists of individuals that also need to undergo a radical shift in lifestyle in order to maintain life.

As yogis, extend your practice off your mat to include bicycling and walking for transportation, a radical reduction in consumption of new products (instead go to thrift stores), and buy local food that isn’t prepackaged in plastic.  These practices are no longer just for the environmentalists, but for anyone who wants to see life continue on the planet.

http://www.npr.org/2015/11/30/457364450/10-things-to-know-about-the-u-n-climate-talks-in-paris