Monthly Archives: August 2013

Yama | Asteya

Asteya is the Yama of non stealing. This one seems straightforward at first, maybe even an offshoot of Ahimsa when one first thinks of it. But there is more to not be stolen than may meet the eye.

If we look at my running example, the story of our traveling merchant friend, we know there are particular individuals who are in the business of stealing. We can infer that if the thieves succeed at stealing from the merchant, it will adversely affect him. While many of us wouldn’t take the course the thieves have chosen, we must be mindful of other ways we may be stealing unintentionally.

Under the guidance of Asteya in particular, we are reminded of how much in this world we must share and that when one individual takes more than he or she needs, it can affect us all. More importantly if you or I are that person, we should refocus our intention and attention because we have clearly lost the reason for our action.

Part of non stealing is recognizing what one needs, taking no more and no less, for more will become a burden in some form, and less would not be respectful or gracious to the self. This also means recognizing the difference between needs and wants, as wanting is what ultimately leads to suffering. Suffering in this way is avoidable if we inquire inward, clearing any distorted feelings to see the reality of what will serve us and what will not.

So how can we practice Asteya in our day to day lives? The most obvious is in our materialism, our belief in ownership, and the illusion of wanting to own more or not owning enough. Here, we can begin to understand the behavior of how we consume, and start reflecting on the intangibles we may be stealing that we never realized, like a small child who gloms the time of their parent because they know no better.

Take a breath and show gratitude and appreciation. All that we’ve procured through life is ours for a reason, and we’re not intended to take from others what they’ve procured.

When we played softball, I’d steal second base, feel guilty and go back,” said Woody Allen. Again the Yamas are guidelines, and may not necessarily apply in the sports world, but Mr. Allen’s point here still applies, and it’s something we’ve all heard growing up, taking something that’s not ours isn’t right, and we know it.

Categories: Relaxation Space, Yoga & Meditation | 1 Comment

Bed Rollin’ Blues

It’s time for bed, time to sleep and wake up refreshed…ahhhhhhh — still awake? What gives? Why is it so difficult to shut ’em and drift off ’til tomorrow? It’s not like the other side of the pillow is going to be any cooler after the fifth flip, and those crickets are not going to all of a sudden stop being crickets; so what are you going to do?

First off, it might be wise to stop reading this right now and go to sleep. Seriously, the miraculous thing about the internet and text messages and all that in the cloud: it is all going to be there tomorrow when you wake up (and if something happened where it wasn’t, buddy you’ll be too busy fending off gangs of marauders or zombies or some nonsense like anyway). Any bit of energy you struggle and fight so desperately to hold tonight is just going to be taken out of tomorrow. So the first step is to turn off the cell and the NCIS re-runs and get a technology-free night. It is a herculean feat, I know, but it can be done and it feels absolutely choice when you wake up.

I realize I’ve already suggested turning off the computer and phone (I hope you are reading this in the morning), but if you’re still up, here are some other things that prevent sleep besides the unyielding pull from technology:

Diet:
What you eat before you sleep is crucial to a goodnight’s rest. I know it is a big thing in Europe to eat late and all, but the foods here are chucked, loaded, stuffed and supersaturated with all sorts of fat, salt, and simple sugars (I call ’em “quick-sugs”), that your metabolism has a bit of a fit trying to magically work them into your body as PIECES OF YOU. So eating well throughout the day and nothing more than a snack before bed will do wonders combatting those doldrum red-eyed-blues. Quick note: if ya love ya cups of coffee or energy drinks, it takes 8-14 hours to clear half of what you consumed in caffeine out of your body, pending on your metabolism. So if you drank 150mg of caffeine at 5pm, there is still going to be 75 mg shootin’ through your bloodstream at 3 in the morning. For more on great nutrition tips, check out our GREEN ROOM page.

Stress and Hormones:
Everyone has stressful days, but so often can it carry into a stressful night. One of the best ways to simmer down before bedtime is to be consistent with your routine, unless you notice that routine as the source of continual stress. If so, you will have to experiment here and there to find what works best for you. Whether you like to read a bit after dinner, chat with whomever, work on a project for work or school, if it’s something that cools down the pomp of a tumultuous day – go for it. Pre-bedtime can be a great time to meditate if you’re into that kind of thing. Part of meditation, however, is choosing your focus. If your focus is stressful, well it’s not going to do much good. (focus tips: breath deeply, actualize all those little alveoli openings in your lungs with each breath, visualize nature and soft light). Gentle stretching is also another great way to loosen up from the tight-turning day. If you have a partner, firstly God bless you, secondly massages are awesome. It is not recommended to exercise vigorously before sleeping. It may fatigue your muscles and mind, but there is a major difference between being fatigued and being tired.

And More:
I don’t like to brag or anything but this blog is full of up-to-date, fresh and intellegent posts (nearing 350) written by some truly gifted people. I’m sure if you are fully willing you can find something within one of our many categories that works.

Another great way to catch some zzz’s is listening to soft ambient music or soothing sounds. Below is a 4-hour Youtube vid from Alex A of Ocean Waves.:.:.:.

Categories: Audio & Visual Clips, Relaxation Space | 1 Comment

Absolute

Nothing in life is as absolute as death.

So then why do some feel

That when someone falls,

But does not die,

They cannot lift themselves up

Once again?

Fear of falling is common,

Yet why is hope of rising

not as common, and rising

With help rarer still?

Is there no faith in one another

That we must look down on

And discredit those who take missteps?

Why not instead bolster those fallen

That can be raised?

Are we doomed to have under our feet

The spirits of those who could have been

Uplifted and restored among the rest

Of humanity, but instead are left to decay

With the true rot of the world?

An original poem by Sel Baskurt

Categories: Reflections | Leave a comment

Yama | Satya

What comes to mind with the word truth? Innocence? Justice? Often I’ve looked at the truth as simply “telling it like it is,” but in terms of yogic philosophy, truth is much deeper.

Satya, the second Yama, is typically translated as “truthfulness,” but a more literal translation is “that which has no distortion,” and while that’s more of a mouthful, I feel it better expresses that which it is.

Going back to last week’s example of the traveling merchant, I said Ahimsa, the first Yama, takes precedent over all other Yamas. This is still the case, but if we take into account Satya, and think on its more literal translation, we’ll come to understand details of the story in a new way.

After the merchant leaves the village, and the thieves enter, the villagers know the thieves mean to do the merchant harm. So when the villagers are asked by the thieves which way the merchant went, their lie to protect the merchant is not only a practice of Ahimsa, but it is still a practice of Satya, because while the villagers themselves are telling a non-truth, they observe and understand the truth of the situation.

So how can we practice Satya in our day to day lives? We can start by observing how we view things. Once we’re able to see, hear, smell, taste, and feel things without distortion, the better we’ll become at expressing truthfully. Remember, it’s a practice, taking our time with each sense. Eventually, the aim will be to take the focus inward, to look within ourselves, to see the full expression of our being without distortion.

Take a breath and stop to smell the roses. Practice observing, looking at old things with fresh eyes, and looking at new things like old friends.

“Truth is by nature self-evident. As soon as you remove the cobwebs of ignorance that surround it, it shines clear,” said Mahatma Gandhi. Let us clear our cobwebs, and allow ourselves to mindfully live in truthfulness.

Categories: Relaxation Space, Yoga & Meditation | 2 Comments

The Path Less

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The path less seen

Is the path that’s new

The what in dreams

Is the what that’s true.

Weightless breeze

That softly blew

Find it breathes

Inside of you.

We find the path together

We find the path alone

Each a lofty feather

Of lark that sings the song.

Thin light which lines

The path that shines

To port a laugh

With wind for mast

To at the end

Another again send.

The path less seen

Is the path that’s new

Find it breathes

Inside of you.

Categories: Green Room, Spirit | Leave a comment

Summer Recipes Made Healthy!

4792082844_383426634f_qAs the end of August approaches, we are reminded that summer days are slowly coming to an end.  Students and teachers will be going back to school, hot, humid days will be replaced with cooler, shorter days, and storefronts will be displaying fall fashions and decor.  However, with two weeks left before summer ends, there is still time to enjoy healthy, summer recipes at your next barbeque, picnic, or gathering.  And with Labor Day weekend less than two weeks away, the recipes found here will be sure to be sure to impress your guests!  Traditional foods such as marinated grilled chicken, coleslaw, potato salad, as well as desserts are made with fewer calories and fat, but are still full of flavor.  Recipes for vegetarian guests are also included.

Let us know of any healthy recipes that you plan to make for Labor Day and/ or any other gathering.  We would love to hear from you!  Enjoy the rest of the warm, summer days and bon appetite!

Photo by:  Emilian Robert Vicol on Flickr             License:  Creative Commons

Categories: Body, Green Room | Leave a comment

Trip for the Mind – Replacing Negative Thought Patterns

MindVery often there exists particular negative thought patterns that repeat themselves over and over again more than other thought pattern in our minds. It’s as if we are the main character in this ever evolving story playing itself out and since we are “in it”, we can’t always see our thought patterns clearly.

During this daily unconscious  and sometimes conscious process, we accidentally make these negative thought patterns stronger purely by default. What I mean by this is that the more we think a thought, like a roadway in our mind, the more defined and set this thought pattern becomes. Just like anything else, the more we do something the more set it becomes and the more unconscious and automatic it becomes.

The danger in this is that the more automatic and unconscious we are of these negative and repetitive thought patterns, the more they shape our mind and impact our lives. Time goes by and all of a sudden we realize we are in a completely different place mentally and emotionally without even the slightest inclination of how we got there – we just suddenly arrived there. By this time we are already set in this negative cycle of thought that it is now who we have become.

This automaticity that is part of who we are is always at work both consciously and unconsciously. How then does one work with this so that we can create patterns in our minds that better serve our growth? Try this mental exercise and see how it plays out throughout your days.

  • First Layer: wherever you are, notice which negative thought pattern repeats itself the most throughout the day
  • Next Layer: with this awareness, each time that negative thought pattern emerges literally think the exact opposite
  • Final Layer: continue this process with each habitual negative thought pattern

By doing this you start to create new neural pathways in the mind, new route ways in the complex matrix that is the mind thereby setting new patterns. Start with the most conscious thought patterns and work your way towards the more subtle ones slowly. Once you have a handle on this you can begin the unconscious search progressively, remembering that it is the actual process that yields the end results therefore, rushing through is not required. Enjoy the mind search…

Photo By: Don Schultheis

Categories: Green Room, Mind | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Machine

How do we fit together in the machine that is the universe?

For if we’re whole, there is nothing that needs to align.

But some if not most do not feel whole because of desire and lack.

When we realize we have everything we need already, our hearts open for us to enter.

And at that point we begin to navigate the schematics of the universe.

Not to find our place but where we can do the most for it and in turn those around us.

When we reach that point all shades of love are available to us.

From passion’s deepest red to the warm glow of a golden friendship.

Who you are becomes the hue of the universe and vise versa.

Let us color this machine vividly like our own bodies.

So that we know what it means to be alive.

An original poem by Sel Baskurt

Categories: Reflections | Leave a comment

22nd Annual Long Island Seafood Festival & Craft Fair

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The Long Island Maritime Museum is pleased to announce the 22nd Annual Long Island Maritime Museum Seafood, Craft and Music Festival. This annual two-day Long Island tradition will be taking place on the Long Island Maritime Museum grounds.

This festival is the largest single fundraising event for the Long Island Maritime Museum in West Sayville, Long Island, NY. The Museum is dedicated to the preservation of Long Island’s rich maritime history and heritage for educational purposes. This year, the Festival features its indoor and outdoor museum exhibits, as well as over 150 vendors of fine nautical arts and crafts and educational groups, and – of course – huge pavilions purveying some of the finest and freshest seafood available. Last year, the festival hosted over 18,000+ people! Music has become a huge highlight of this weekend event, featuring the best national and regional acts.

Hours:
Saturday, August 24th: 10:00am – 8:00pm
Sunday, August 25th: 10:00am – 7:00pm

$8.00 per person, Under 5 Free. Museum members receive $1.00 off admission (must show membership card at time of ticket purchase). Tickets can be purchased online at our website. Gates will open at 10:00am and close at 5:00pm. The food vendors will remain open until 6:00pm and great entertainment until 7:00pm.

Arts, crafts, great entertainment and of course… Seafood!

Merchandise Vendors Wanted!
Visit our website for Vendor Application.
Please contact us if you have questions or would like more information.

Where:
Long Island Maritime Museum
86 West Avenue
West Sayville, NY
631-447-8679

Admission: $8.00; Under 5 FREE

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Categories: Events, Off-Campus | Leave a comment

Yama | Ahimsa

Sounds like a prayer, and in a way it is, Ahimsa is the first Yama, or Restraint, which is part of Ashtanga Yoga, or the Eightfold Path of Yoga. These are the guidelines that lead to a fulfilling life as advised by Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras.

The Yamas are ethical guidelines, things we should refrain from doing, and Ahimsa, non-harming, is the foundation upon which the rest are built. Not to jump ahead, but as an example, the second Yama is Satya, truthfulness or refraining from dishonesty.

There is an old tale of a traveling merchant. One day, he arrives at a village and the villagers are happy to see him. After the merchant leaves, thieves enter the village and ask the villagers which way the merchant went. Now if the villagers were to follow Satya, they’d have to tell the thieves about the merchant, but Ahimsa takes priority over Satya, because it can be inferred that the thieves want to steal from the merchant, causing him harm. So the villagers deceive the thieves to prevent that from happening.

So how can we practice Ahimsa in our day to day lives? One’s instant reaction might be to fix the world at large, woes such as social injustices or rainforest deforestation. Those are for humanity as a collective to work through using the Yamas. For now though, start at home, start with yourself, and avoid the things that would bring harm of any kind (physical, mental, and spiritual) to yourself. Obviously, don’t run with scissors, but what about being too judgmental or critical toward yourself? Perfectionists know what I mean.

Take a breath and tell yourself something kind and believe it. Once you’re kind and compassionate toward yourself, it will extend outward to those around you, in ways you might not expect.

“We can never obtain peace in the outer world until we make peace with ourselves,” said the Dalai Lama. While this is the overarching goal of practicing the Eightfold Path of Yoga, the finer point here is kindness inside becomes kindness outside.

Categories: Relaxation Space, Yoga & Meditation | 6 Comments

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