Thursday, December 30, 2010

Knowledge vs. Learning

"...A school is a place of learning and so it is sacred. The churches, temples and mosques are not sacred for they ave stopped learning. They believe; they have faith and that denies entirely the great art of learning, whereas a school...must be entirely devoted to learning, not only about the world around us, but essentially about what we human being are, why we believe the way we do, and the complexity of though...Learning and the accumulation of knowledge are two very different things. Knowledge must always be incomplete, whereas learning is order. Disorder is essentially conflict, self-contradiction and division between becoming a being. Order is a state in which disorder has never existed. Disorder is the bondage of time.
J. Krisnamurti

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


The secret is in simplicity, living, creating and loving. I mean, it is fine to play with complexity, as a way to stretch and play with our minds, but beyond that there is really nothing more. However, our mind can become tired, and when we really need its energy, clarity and support we find it confused and drunken. The mind, which is supposed to work as a clarifier, as a pair of lenses to be kept clear, clings with fear and constructs a factious form of love, life and experience.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Organs of Elimination

The "solid-waste management-organ" of the body. As many as several pounds of mucous and rubber-like waste can be impacted along the wall of this organ!
(From the Hippocrates Health Institute)

Cleansing Aids
Colon-hydrotherapies that use wheat-grass juice implants are very effective in minimizing cleansing-reactions. 

The "water-management" organs. The kidneys are responsible for keeping the chemistry of the blood alkaline by filtering dissolved acid wastes out of the body. Help your kidneys by drinking plenty of distilled water and fresh alkaline juices. Consume a minimum of 1/2 -oz. per pound of body weight on a daily basis.
(From the Hippocrates Health Institute)

Cleansing Aid
Help your kidneys by drinking plenty of distilled water and fresh alkaline juices. Consume a minimum of 1/2-oz. per pound of body weight on a daily basis.

The "recycling-center". This organ separates the bad chemicals from the good ones, and directs the toxins to the appropriate organ for exiting the body. If the primary organ of elimination is clogged, the liver attempts to redirect the toxins. 

Cleansing Aid 
Wheat-grass-implants provide a direct "shot in the arm" to the liver and help pull toxins out of the blood more quickly.

The blood's "air-purifiers". The lungs introduce oxygen directly into the bloodstream while, at the same time, removing waste-gases that are produced in every cell of our body during the Krebs (energy producing) cycle. 

Cleansing Aid
Deep-breathing from the diaphragm is crucial. Regular aerobic exercise in an oxygen-rich environment is an easy solution. If you are a conditioned shallow-breather, simple means are available to loosen your breathing.

The major "garbage-arteries" of the body. This intricate network of tubing carries the bulk of the waste from the cells of the body to the final elimination-organs. Major lymphatic glands (holding-tanks) are the appendix, spleen, thymus and tonsils. These glands tend to swell during detoxification.

Cleansing Aid
Regular exercize (both aerobic and resistance) and massage are beneficial to the lymphatic system. Drink plenty of fluids to help dilute, transport and eliminate toxins. 

The "temperature/humidity controller". The skin is the elimination-organ with the largest surface area. In addition to regulating temperature and body-moisture content, the skin often functions as a support-system for the other organs of elimination. Skin-disorders are manifestations of its performance of this function.

Cleansing Aid
Exercise, dry skin-brushing, massage,and plenty of fluids facilitate the breathing and perspiration of the skin. 

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Eight Limbs Hatha Yoga

Yoga comes to this place to increase self-awareness, with the system aid of the 8 Limbs of Ashtanga Yoga.           

This includes a universal code of conduct:

1.      Yama: codes of conduct;
2.      Niyama: recommendations for spiritual living;
3.      Asana: essence of starting with the body--steady and comfortable and balance of Abyasa (effort) and Vayragya (surrender);
4.      Pranayama: expansion and channeling of the breath;
5.      Pratyahara: drawing senses inward—life obstacles will be overcome by changing me, not the world;
6.      Pharana: mind needs to be trained through concentration;
7.      Phyana: meditation—once the “horse mind” has been trained and doesn’t have to be held anymore—wholeness, natural peace of mind.
8.      Samadi: 8 Limbs—no longer separation: wholeness in meditation, and daily living. 
                                 (Joseph Le Page, personal communication, March 18, 2004)

Friday, January 22, 2010

Pain Relief

Months ago I found a site that explained how to replace Ibuprofen with a natural remedy to pain, such as a headache:

Bromalain: go with 1,800-2,400 (MCU) or 1,080-1,440 (GDU); take 500 mlg a day, 3 times, between meals;

Ginger: antioxidant - (tincture or capsule) for serious pain: 6,500 mlg (concentrate extract);

Vitamin C: (pain prevention) 2,000 mlg every day;

Vitamin E: 400 international units;

Siberian Ginseng: helps adrenal glands produce more stress hormones.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Amino Acids - The Building Blocks of Life

In the last months I have done some research and realized the importance of amino acids in our diet not just for rebuilding but for cleansing our body. Recently I have started to think of a metaphor for the role that amino acids have within our organism. Like the ancient Greek Roman Gods, each god had a specific role to maintain a strong and healthy body and mind based on each individual need.
That been said, each individual may require a specific amino acid more than another due to internal or external demand, such as after an intense work out or an intense intellectual endeavor. Asking a friend, why do you workout? And she answered, to increase strength and muscle volume. I answered, the workout will not necessarily provide these, but mainly set the need of certain amino acids. 

Even if you don't engage in much exercise amino acids are fundamental for our health. One of the most important amino acids is Methionine for protecting our body from our polluted air, water and overall polluted environments and foods we eat. Amino acids can be retained in various different ways, depending on our individual diet. Vegetable and meat proteins (Organic), Free Form Amino Acids, L- type, (Natural and Pharmaceutical Grade-Tested), Royal Jelly, Bee Pollens, etc. To learn more on Amino Acids see the following links:

Monday, January 18, 2010

Warrior 1

Hero I                                        by Alessandro Rutigliano

To lengthen your hip flexors and ease back pain, add Warrior 1 to your short list of poses.

When you have only a short time for your daily practice, which poses do you choose? Whether you opt for a simple Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog), the paired inversions Sirsasana (Headstand) and Sarvangasana (Shoulderstand), or a restorative pose to counter your hectic day, consider including another pose consistently: Virabhadrasana I, (Warrior I).
I often sing the praises of this challenging pose to skeptical students who feel that it’s a lot of work without a lot of noticeable benefit, so let me explain my enthusiasm for it. In my work as a physical therapist and yoga teacher, I’ve noticed that many people in our sedentary society have tight hip flexors, which they don’t stretch much, if at all. I’m convinced that short, tight hip flexors are a major factor in many cases of chronic or recurring back pain that so many people experience in the West. The hip flexors become tight when the hips are constantly placed in a flexed position—think sitting, driving, or sleeping in the fetal position. Like any other muscles, hip flexors will shorten structurally if they are not stretched. However, if you incorporate Virabhadrasana I into your regular practice, you’ll stretch the hip flexors, helping them gradually return to their normal length and easing a source of backaches.
Mighty Muscles
The hip flexor muscles include the iliacus, psoas, rectus femoris, tensor fasciae latae, sartorius, and, in some situations, the short adductors pectineus and adductor brevis. All of these muscles (except the adductors mentioned) cross the front of the hip and are active in hip flexion, which pulls the femur (thighbone) and torso closer together. The hip flexes when you perform a sit-up or lift your leg toward your chest while standing. (Each of these muscles has other actions, too, but we’re focusing here on their hip-flexing ability.)
Of the whole group of muscles, the iliacus and psoas are the strongest hip flexors. They are often referred to as the iliopsoas because they both follow the same path and have exactly the same action. Although they have different origins—the psoas originates on the lumbar spine, while the iliacus originates on the inner surface of the ilium, one of the large bones of the pelvis—they come together in the very back of the lower abdomen and run across the floor of the pelvis, over the outer part of the pubic bones on each side, and dive deep through the inner upper thighs to attach to the inner upper femurs.
The iliopsoas is powerful partly due to its size—each psoas is nearly as big around as your wrist—and partly because its position so close to the hip joint gives it excellent leverage. It is such a strong muscle, in fact, that it can influence the tilt of your pelvis and therefore the position of your spine during your daily activities. In other words, when the iliopsoas gets very short and tight, it can pull your pelvis into an anterior (forward ) tilt. This type of tilt—when the top rim of the pelvis tips forward and down and the coccyx (tailbone) lifts up—usually puts the lumbar spine into hyperextension, also known as a swayback. (A posterior or backward pelvic tilt happens when the top of the pelvis moves backward, the coccyx moves down and tucks under, and the lower back flattens.) Strong abdominals help pull the pelvis into a posterior tilt, but you might be surprised to hear that even if you have strong abdominals, a tight and strong iliopsoas muscle can win the battle and tilt your pelvis forward.
A chronically hyperextended lumbar spine puts the lower back muscles in a shortened position, causing them to ache. If the only thing that relieves your lower back discomfort is to lie on your back and pull your knees to your chest (therefore flattening the curve), you might have a hyperextended lumbar. Hyperextension also puts a greater percentage of your upper body weight onto the small facet joints on the posterior aspect of the vertebrae instead of on the solid vertebral bodies and disks, where it’s meant to be. Too much weight and compression on the facets cause wear and tear of the cartilage covering the bone in the facet joints, which can result in painful osteoarthritis.
Tip Your Hips
Enter our hero Virabhadrasana I, which can stretch the hip flexors, correct an anteriorly tilted pelvis, and help decompress your lower back. But remember to focus on practicing it with a strong posterior pelvic tilt. If you don’t, and your psoas and iliacus are tight, they will pull the lumbar spine into hyperextension and you’ll eventually feel lower back compression and pain in the pose.
There are several ways to learn how to hold a posterior tilt, but it’s best to learn the action first before integrating it into the pose. Try this: Stand with your back to a wall, with your heels about a foot away from it and your knees slightly bent. Feel an anterior tilt by moving your frontal hip points (the two bony knobs on the front of your pelvis, each known as the ASIS, or the anterior superior iliac spine) down toward your thighs, your coccyx up the wall, and your lower back away from the wall. To move from an anterior to a posterior tilt, lift your ASIS (hip points) up away from your thighs, take your tailbone down the wall, and feel your lower back move onto or toward the wall.
Now that you’re familiar with the action of a posterior tilt, here’s how to incorporate it into your Virabhadrasana I. Set up the pose with your back to a wall, right foot forward, left heel pressing into the wall. Place a strap over the upper thigh in the crease of your right hip and hold it down with one hand on each side of the thigh. Be sure to keep your chest lifted and your shoulders down. If you are in an anterior tilt, your hip points will drop down toward or even onto the belt. To counter that, bend both knees a little and strongly lift your hip points up off the strap and into a posterior tilt. With the hip points lifted, gradually straighten the left knee, pressing the heel into the floor but keeping the lift up on the hip points, in order to stretch the iliopsoas across the front of the left hip. Keep in mind that for most students, when the front knee bends more deeply, up to the ultimate goal of 90 degrees, it’s hard to hold the posterior tilt. If that’s the case for you, try coming only partway into the pose.
Turn Inward
You can deepen the iliopsoas stretch a bit more by minimizing the external rotation of the left hip. When you do this, your left knee will turn out less. The iliopsoas is an external rotator, so it will try to reduce the stretch by externally rotating as you do a posterior tilt. To lessen this, be sure to turn your left foot 60 degrees away from the wall. (In standing poses like Warrior II, you turn your foot out more, so that it’s parallel to the bottom edge of your mat.) Once you’ve done that, square your pelvis toward the wall across from you as much as you can by pressing the left inner heel down firmly, lifting the left inner knee, and using the strength of the left leg to help bring the left half of the pelvis forward. You’ll not only deepen the iliopsoas stretch, but you’ll also protect your left knee from a twisting injury.
As your iliopsoas stretches and lengthens, it will pull less on your lumbar spine and pelvis, and you’ll be able to lift your lower back up out of the pelvis, thereby decompressing it and relieving discomfort. You may also notice that your posture, both standing and walking, improves, and you might enjoy a new sense of space in your hips and lower back. And you can rest assured that you’re helping prevent arthritis in your lower back.
I hope I’ve made a convincing case for consistently including hip flexor stretches in your home practice. It’s especially important to work them on sedentary days and before practicing backbends—if you’re stuck in an anterior pelvic tilt, you can imagine the compression in the lower back while you do Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge Pose), Ustrasana (Camel Pose), or Urdhva Dhanurasana (Upward Bow Pose). When you consider adding Warrior I as your iliopsoas stretch, know that you’re setting the stage for a strong and healthy back in the years to come.
By Julie Gudmestad 

Friday, January 8, 2010

Altered State of Consciousness

Altered State of Consciousness
There are different eastern approaches and different forms to achieve control over the mind—usually through Altered State of Consciousness. “Yoga, hypnosis, meditation, autogenic training, Zen…are usually included in the category of ‘altered states of consciousness.’ From a western perspective, what is really happening in the mind during meditation and what is the goal of meditation are that during an altered state of consciousness an individual could have certain ‘positive’ or ‘negative’ experiences. The objectives of these practices were based on spiritual pursuits; on the other hand, in the west its popularity is due to the expectation that they are good for relaxing, reducing stress, anxiety, neurosis and other problems of the fast-moving, competitive, stressful society (Ikemi et al., 1978).” “During the practice…there is generally a shift from ergo tropism to trophotropism.” These terms denote the mechanisms and the functional status of the nervous system that favor the organism’s capacity to expend energy, as distinguished from the trophotropic mechanisms promoting rest and reconstitution of energy stores. In general, they are the relative balances between the sympathetic and parasympathetic subdivisions of the autonomic nervous system. (Online Medical Dictionary 2004) “During the autogenic state induced by autogenic training, different parts of the brain may be actively engaged in the release of impulses and old memories. This state may combine effortless relaxation with spontaneous imagery and emotion. Teachers tell their students not to get alarmed by any thought that comes to mind, but to notice it as they would any passing thought and then attend once again to the mantra.” This phenomenon resembles Freud’s notion of Catharsis during free association: when there is a release of ideas, thoughts, or delusions and any repressed material from the depth of the mind, accompanied by an emotional response and relief.  This suggests that autogenic meditative state may facilitate a self-analytical process. However, even meditation can result in unexpected experiences; and yet to quote Jung again, it is not the method but what lives within the individual. Yoga, for example, involves fewer risks because it is a more progressive form of exercise meditation, and by that it moves gradually along a step by step practice, and generally done within a community and within safe environments.
Positive Aspects of ASC:
  • Yoga was devised for healthy and well motivated disciples;
  • Western system of autogenic training and related methods were devised as a medical type of therapy, for use primarily with psycho-neurotics.
  • Man has innate regulatory mechanisms which, if given the chance, restore the brain and body processes to optimal homeostatic conditions.
  • The ‘body [and brain] knows best’, and given rest, it can recover from sickness.
  • In the West, Altered States of Consciousness (ASC) are helpful for relaxing, reducing stress and anxiety, as well as neurosis and other aspects of fast-moving, competitive societies.
  • Self-induced modification of corticodiencephalic interrelations.
  • Higher-order personality integration: increase in empathy and creativity.
  • During practice catharses can occur.
  • Facilitate the self-analytical process, aims at totalistic discharge and verbalization from body and mind.
  • Yoga promotes psychotherapy’s final goal: the realizations of one’s true ‘self’.
  • Facilitate the healing of psychosomatic disorders which are induced by the interaction of somatic and psychic factors.
  • State of neutralization is stabilized by the insight into previous anti-homeostatic reaction patterns and distorted conditionings (stopping the cycle).
  • Yoga can awaken the truth of human nature without extreme side effects to include: suicide, destructive and aggressive behaviors and psychosis-like symptoms.
  • Yoga is integrated in the individual’s everyday life and can have a profound philosophical base.
  • The origin of Yoga was based on spiritual pursuits and this is still an important aim of such practices today.
  • Findings to support this concept are…summarized in the annual Aldine volumes Biofeedback and Self-Regulation (Ikemi et al., 1978).
Negative Aspects of ASC: Satori vs. Makio
  • Satori, an old Japanese term, means the integration of the emerging subconscious psychological material into the personality structure. Sudden release of this material can be intolerable causing ‘Makyo,’ or over-evaluation and attachment to small ‘Satori,’ or subconscious material into personality structure.
  • Forced confrontation with disturbing anti-homeostatic unconscious material warded off by psychological defenses, without psychological preparation.
  • Makyo-like state may even result in suicide even in healthy individuals.
  • In yoga, Makio occurs less often due to the gradual training methods of yoga that minimize the abrupt release of unconscious material.
  • Meditation and Yoga involve the temporary inhibition of conscious ideation as a way to experience ‘pure consciousness.’
  • This results in the release of unconscious material, to be observed and not identified with.
  • Lack of ability to discriminate between consciousness (as perceiver) and conscious ideas (the perceived), as explained within the topic of Witness (Ikemi et al., 1978).
ü      Process of autogenic discharge of disturbing neuronal material should closely follow the patient’s own brain programming.
ü      Maintaining indifference is one way of dealing with Makio: be able to observe and consider the experience unreal, but simply as products of the ego-self.
ü      Concentrating and stay with the breathing.
ü      The presence of a supporting person at the place of practice is very beneficial.
ü      Group practice of yoga tends to decrease the probability of negative effects.
ü      Yoga seems most applicable to psychosomatic and psychoneurotic cases (Ikemi et al., 1978).

Saturday, January 2, 2010

La Disciplina/Discipline

La gran parte dei nostri stili di vita vengono formati in modo esteriore dall’esigenze della società, della famiglia, dalle nostre sofferenze, dalle nostre esperienze, conformandosi a certi schemi ideologici o di fatto. Questa forma di disciplina è molto spesso un oggetto stagnante, che fa’ morire l’interiore. (facendo assopire così ogni aspettativa della nostra vera personalità)
La disciplina deve essere senza controllo, senza repressioni, senza alcuna forma di paura.
In che modo questa disciplina può arrivare?
Essa non è disciplina prima e libertà dopo; la libertà è il vero principio non il fine.

Per capire questo tipo di libertà, quale libera dalla conformità della disciplina,
è la disciplina stessa. Il vero comportamento per imparare è la disciplina (dopo tutto il vero significato della parola disciplina è imparare). L’atto stesso di apprendimento diventa chiarezza.


Most of our lives are outwardly disciplined by the demands of society, by the family, by our own suffering, by our own experience, by conforming to certain ideological or factual patterns – and that form of discipline is the most deadening thing. Discipline must be without control, without suppression, without any form of fear. How is this discipline to come about? It is not discipline first and then freedom; freedom is at the very beginning, not at the end. To understand this freedom, which is the freedom from the conformity of discipline, is discipline itself. The very act of learning is discipline (after all the root meaning of the word discipline is to learn), the very act of learning becomes clarity.…