Thursday, February 14, 2013

All You Need is Love

Happy Valentine's Day!

I remember my father telling me years ago that there are many Sanskrit words that mean "love." In a personal quest, I searched the internet for Sanskrit databases and was amazed to find over 600 entries for words whose definitions included love. After grouping words by root to narrow down the list, 278 seemingly unique words remain. Every aspect of love is defined... attachment (anuraga), love for one's children (apatyasneha), devotion (bhakti), passion (madana), love of worldly existence (bhavabhava), desire/longing (pranaya), abundance (premakara), self-knowledge (sammati)... 

Today, we can take extra time to celebrate that love is more than we can define and far more than romance, chocolates, flowers, or balloons. Love has many names, shapes, and emotions. In celebration, here are some of my recent findings related to love: 

-The electrical activity of monks' brains were recorded by EEG's. A remarkable finding: 

                          "The EEG recorded record-high gamma wave activity because the 
                           practitioners entered a state of unconditional kindness.
                          In other words, their neural activity changed when they 
                          experienced love."

-Romantic love as explained by neuroscience, whose author eloquently says:

                         " No matter what we learn about love, it will continue to be 
                         one of the most meaningful and powerful forces on the 
                         planet, as it should be."

-Scientific American published an article about oxytocin. Oxytocin, which has recently been dubbed the "cuddle hormone," is not only involved in affection but could determine the longevity of relationships. Additionally, new genetic understanding shows that certain people have less or different oxytocin transporters that affect the ways they engage in romantic relationships.  

-A New York Times article from 1908 made me laugh. It's always good when you can incorporate bacon into a poem:

- Beautiful photos of older couples on ABC News made my heart feel happy, especially this quote:

                          Every day my wife expresses her love for me. She says, “Did I tell you how          
                           much I love you today?” Every day — every day she says that.”
                          –Moe Rubenstein, Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, New York.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Response to the Arguments against Yoga

This morning, I watched a video on Fox News and have a response to Larry Winget's arguments against yoga

Dear Sir,  

I personally invite you to my city (or any of my other favorite cities) to try some amazing yoga classes and maybe even an acro event at Project Yoga Richmond? You can learn about how yoga is not singular and about how life is much more than "winning and losing." Perhaps exploring the philosophy and roots of the practice would be beneficial for your complete understanding. 

Yes, life is tough. Competition surrounds us. However, you don't have to degrade the benefits of yoga to promote sports and competitive activities, What if people engaged in an activity that cultivates self-awareness, strength, focus, and compassion so that they can perform well and fair in competition? Just as you don't want kids to be "cheated" of playing sports, they shouldn't be cheated of learning more about themselves through yoga, especially with the false claim that no "real life" lessons exist with yoga. 

Debate yoga as a "sport" all you want, but please don't claim that some of the strongest (physically and emotionally) and kindest people I know are wusses. Professional athletes and soldiers have engaged in the practice, and they might not appreciate that sentiment either. 

With gratitude.