June 21, 2019 // Archive

Date based archive
21 Jun

International Day of Yoga lands on June 21, which coincides with the first official day of summer in the Northern Hemisphere. Today, we’re highlighting people from around the world who are incorporating yoga into their lives. Keep reading to see yogis on each continent (and yes—we even got Antarctica, too!) 

See also How to Salute the Sun

1. Nansera Cissy, Ntenjeru (Uganda, Africa)

“Please take a moment everyday to remind yourself that you’re enough. Personally, I do so through a 10 minute meditation every morning and it works for me. It’s important to have this kind of approval from within before you go out to meet the world for it can sometimes be falsely unaccepting and cruel to your different.”

2. Jean Laval, Paris (France, Europe)

Translated: “Kundalini yoga has completely changed my life—I have much more energy, much more clarity of mind, and I’m much more joyful since I’ve been practicing this yoga.”


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21 Jun

New Belgium’s summertime brews have arrived, so let’s dig into this duo of widely different beers — both solid hot weather choices.

New Belgium Passion Fruit Kolsch – A lot of times you see “passion fruit” on a beer label and then you tuck into the beer and… there’s nothing there. New Belgium’s Passion Fruit Kolsch is quite a different experience, lush with that distinct, tropical character, slightly sour with a lemon juice note that veers toward lemonade as the palate develops and becomes richer. The finish is clean and crisp, a lively mix of lychee and citrus, with a slight element of thyme evident on the finish. Perfectly summery. 4.3% abv. A- / $9 per six-pack

New Belgium Voodoo Ranger Juicifer IPA – This new Voodoo Ranger release is a slightly more bitter and slightly more alcoholic version of its Juicy Haze expression, this one built around Citra Incognito, Galaxy, and Chinook hops. As as hazy IPA, it’s nicely balanced, taking a somewhat sweeter approach to the style that allows notes of pineapple to meld with milk chocolate, lending a hugely expressive, party-like character to the brew. This serves to mask the significant alcohol level of the beer, mind you, so tread with some level of caution. 7.7% abv. A- / $11 per six-pack

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New Belgium Voodoo Ranger Juicifer IPA

$11

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21 Jun

Smoky Canvas (053)

Dior Smoky Canvas (053) 3 Couleurs Tri(o)blique ($63.00 for 0.11 oz.) is a new, limited edition trio that features a shimmery gray, bright silver, and deep black. The three shades coordinated well together to create a monochromatic, gray smoky eye. It performed well, though they’re classic and common enough shades that you’ll definitely want to check your stash for similar shades first!

Dior Smoky Canvas #1 Tri(o)blique Eyeshadow
Dior Smoky Canvas #1 Tri(o)blique Eyeshadow
Dior Smoky Canvas #1 Tri(o)blique Eyeshadow
Dior Smoky Canvas #1 Tri(o)blique Eyeshadow
Dior Smoky Canvas #1 Tri(o)blique Eyeshadow
Dior Smoky Canvas #1 Tri(o)blique Eyeshadow

Smoky Canvas #1

Smoky Canvas #1 is a medium-dark gray with neutral-to-cool undertones and a soft, frosted finish. It had good pigmentation with a soft, drier consistency that was a little dusty in the pan but only had a touch of fallout when I initially applied it. It applied evenly and blended out nicely along the edges. This shade stayed on well for seven and a half hours on me before fading visibly.

Smoky Canvas #2

Smoky Canvas #2 is a bright silver with subtle, cool undertones and a metallic sheen. The consistency was soft, lightly creamy, and smooth without being too dense or too softly pressed in the pan. It had opaque pigmentation that applied evenly and lasted nicely for eight hours on me.

Smoky Canvas #3

Smoky Canvas #3 is a deep black with a satin sheen and neutral undertones. The consistency was soft, smooth, and blendable without being powdery nor too firmly pressed in the pan, so it was easy to work with. The eyeshadow had rich color payoff in a single layer, which wore well for eight hours on me before I noticed any fading.

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21 Jun

“We are mere bundles of habits.”

William James

 

My two-year-old son, Ace, is a pattern machine. When he finishes dinner, he says, “bath.” When we change him into his PJ’s he says, “read.” If my wife’s phone rings, he yells, “JuJu! (his aunt’s name)” If anything ever goes wrong, he says, “Oh, sorry Daddy.” When he sees my wife getting ready to go out, he says, “Mommy cuuuuute.”  And any time he sees his mother or I exercising, he says, “push-ups.” In fact, something about me doing dishes always cues him to come grab my hand and take me to the same spot where he does push-ups, down dogs, jumps, and other moves. Dishes now take awhile. Every part of Ace’s world is a habit loop. Cue-routine-reward.

 

 

This is all adorable. The mind of a toddler—how sweet and simple. But, you and I are just the same.

 

  • When your phone vibrates, what do you do?
  • When you are driving and you see red lights, what do you do?
  • When you smell and see tasty food, what sensations arise?
  • When you drop a glass and it breaks, what do you say? What immediate response does your body have?

 

Patterns aren’t just isolated responses either. One pattern leads to the next. They create a trajectory. Making the bed often precludes a morning Netflix show and prompts you to begin the day’s tasks. Exercise leads to more productivity, more energy, better nutrition, and more confidence throughout the day—these powerful dominoes are known as keystone habits. They amplify how effective you are in a day. Actions can spur a negative cycle as well. You get cut off in traffic and the next thing you know you’re arguing with your wife about the thermostat. For some reason today is the day to address her temperature sensitivity. Likewise, if you wake to a new Netflix series or to video games, Uber Eats and pizza rolls might be in your future. Actions create a trajectory. This is why so much is made about successful people’s morning routines.

 

The Core Habits

In our ebook, The Essential Guide to Self-Mastery, and in all work at Inspired Human Development, Justin Lind and I advocate three core habits: exercise, meditation/gratitude, and education. While there are other patterns I find invaluable, these three change your mentality and amplify impact more than any others. They are the core habits for prompting a life well-lived. And, as famed wrestler and coach Dan Gable said, “If it is important, do it every day.”

 

One workout won’t do much. On your fourth attempt at meditating, you might be more frustrated than in the first. Reading for self-development only once a week is like 86% less effective than reading every day. For these habits to truly work their magic and create a series of chain reactions outside of their narrow lanes there must be a daily commitment. But adopting three new daily habits might be a bit much to bite off in one sitting. If you are looking for one place to start, it is the chief habit: daily exercise.

 

Say you don’t buy it. Working out a few days a week is sufficient for your health. After all, you should only workout three or four days a week, right? I’ll get back to this question, but first let’s look at another. Why daily? Other than the fact that you want the positive ripple effect of powerful action every day, this goes back to the very core of how habits work. Habits are reinforced through daily action and weakened by altering patterns. The best way to set a habit is to do it every day. Days off, reinforce the habits patterns of inaction. Over time, these can lead you to quit.

 

For example, I used to take a cold shower every Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday. I hated it and, despite my many reasons for wanting to engage in this practice, I eventually quit altogether. When I decided, again, that cold showers were a worthy pursuit, I knew I had to make them a daily discipline. Since that decision, I’ve taken a cold shower every day for over 3-months. There is no wiggle room. No switching to tomorrow. I just do it.

 

As I’ve written before: “By consistently facing physical resistance, we gain the confidence to enter the resistance that permeates every other meaningful life endeavor. The opposite is also true. Every time you skip a workout, you subconsciously excuse the pattern of avoiding resistance throughout life.”

 

This is why you exercise every day. It is the best way to create a habit that you maintain. And the best time is first thing in the morning. Habits are made up of a cue, a routine, and a reward. Waking is the most consistent cue that there is. If you don’t wake up, you have big problems. Furthermore, moving right away rips the Band-Aid off, training willpower and activating positive momentum first thing in the morning. Thus, waking to a consistent movement practice is the essential habit. You could just do ten-minutes and then workout later depending on the day of the week, or get it all done right there. It doesn’t have to be long, or extremely strenuous—just consistent. Once planned, it is as simple as deciding to always follow through. As I tell myself, 99% is a wimp.

 

 

Daily Movement Is Critical

Now, we have to address the elephant in the room. Science. General adaptations syndrome. It isn’t a good idea to crush yourself every day of the week. The body needs to face resistance and then an appropriate period of recovery in order to grow resilient. But this view of training is clouded by our modern world and its industrialized, compartmentalized view of training.

 

Humans move every day. Throughout history, humans have experienced tremendous physical vigor through daily movement. They ran climbed, carried, and moved earth, at varying levels of intensity, every single day. All that activity didn’t impede their progress but actually promoted it. Relatively low-intensity movement promotes recovery. I say relatively because we are all at different levels and our threshold for volume will grow over time.

 

Strength legend, Pavel Tsatsouline, has helped many people build exceptional strength and fitness through an approach he calls, “grease the groove” training. Put simply, he recommends training every day while never approaching failure or extremes. His Easy Strength and Kettlebell Simple and Sinister programs demonstrate how effective this can be. He does advocate occasional gut-checks, but these are easily handled by a system that isn’t overdrawn. Grease the groove training is phenomenal for habit building. By lowering the barrier to entry it makes the habit of fitness more likely to become deeply rooted. We’ve all watched as people’s best intentions to go to fitness classes after work are slowly eroded by exhaustion and erratic evening schedules. Morning daily movement removes these obstacles.

 

Even among those most successful exercisers who choose to go hard three or four times a week, most are actually doing some form of exercise every day. They are going on walks, stretching, rolling, practicing yoga, and using other recovery modalities on off days. Fitness has crossed over to passion so they put in more time per session, but the reality remains, they too build the daily habit.

 

My own workouts shift in volume and intensity depending on the day of the week. I hardly ever do my main workout during my morning movement routine.  But regardless of the day, I wake to a movement flow and then do a 10-minute calisthenics strength-endurance routine. Movement is essential. It should be done, daily.

 

Add Daily Movement

For anyone who is looking to start adding exercise to their lifestyle, looking for more consistency in their exercise, or for those who just wants more energy and productivity out of their days, I strongly recommend starting with a modest daily investment first thing each morning. This process is forever sustainable and can be scaled to every level, need, and lifestyle. It precludes burn-out, allows for variation, and ensures a chain reaction of personal empowerment and growth.

 

Your habits define your actions in the long-term. Thus, you should define what actions are most important and do them habitually. No habit has more positive ripple effect than a daily movement practice.


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21 Jun

The way the story goes, when Siddhartha sat under the Bodhi tree and meditated on the night he was to become the Buddha, the god Mara slung arrows at him all night.

Mara is essentially the god of Shadow, and his arrows were manifestations of all the unawakened thoughts and emotions of Siddhartha’s human experience. These included (among others) anger, lust, jealousy, shame, embarrassment, and self-doubt.

With each arrow that cut through the air towards him, Siddhartha brought awareness and compassion to it. The arrows, when received by his compassionate awareness, turned into flowers and fell at his feet.

By the time morning arrived, there was a sea of flowers surrounding the now awakened Buddha.

Even after he became “enlightened,” the Buddha discovered that Mara would show up from time to time when he was teaching. He would be teaching to a crowd, and describe seeing Mara walk around in the back.

His reaction to Mara remained this warm, compassionate awareness. “Hello Mara, I see you there. Let’s have tea.”

The Ego

In modern terminology we can consider Mara to be our Ego. It is the place of all our thoughts, worries, fears, and behaviors which inhibit us from being completely open, lighthearted, and compassionate every moment of every day.

Our Ego is both our protection from pain and source of our emotional and psychological issues. It operates both consciously and not.

Having an Ego is part of being human. We can not eliminate our Ego from our being any more than we can eliminate our DNA. It is tied to us. However, it is not true that all we are is Ego, and we can learn to free ourselves from our Ego’s sticky grasp and see life from a bigger perspective.

You Are Not Your Ego

With mindfulness practice, we learn to see our Ego as an object in our awareness, not who we really are. We are able to see Mara and his arrows before they inflict their wounds.

The more practice we get at being still, the more easily we are able to witness the noise of our minds and not identify with it.

When we are still in meditation, our minds will speak up and try to get our attention. But if our minds are trying to get our attention, then we can’t be our minds.

We must be something else. We are the ones hearing our minds. If we are aware that Ego is present, we cannot be it.

You are the one who hears your Ego, who responds to your Ego. You are the awareness that resides beyond your Ego. For most of us, most of the time, we identify as the Ego.

Over time and with practice we learn to identify more with the background space of awareness, the space behind the curtain of Ego. This is the journey of enlightenment.

Being Mindful With Ego

A couple years back, things were particularly stressful for me. I had a lot going on with work and family and my to-do list felt longer than usual, filled with items that loomed large over my head.

I was sitting on my couch feeling overwhelmed when my wife asked me if I would like her help to triage my list of tasks. She offered to help me set up a schedule for the next few days so I could accomplish what I had to do in a clearer, calmer, more grounded fashion.

When she said that, this white-hot burning sensation of anger and resentment came bubbling up from my gut.

It wanted to shout at her, “Leave me alone! I’m fine! I don’t need you to tell me what to do! You’re not my mom!” That was my Ego, and I was acutely aware of its presence.

Given that awareness, I was empowered to respond, “Well, this white-hot burning sensation of anger and resentment came bubbling up when you asked that, so… yes, I think it’d be a great idea for you to help me.”

She did, and it was truly helpful as I broke up my long list into manageable bite-size pieces.

The Journey of Enlightenment

There is a notion about enlightenment that there is a complete dissolution of Ego revealing absolute bliss. I don’t think that’s entirely accurate.

Instead, consider the perspective that enlightenment is a process of learning not to relinquish control of our lives to our Egos. We learn to stay above them. We have our Egos sit in the back seat of the car of our life; we don’t give them the steering wheel whenever they show up.

Our Egos are going to have a reaction to life – such as getting angry at my wife for her offer to help me triage my to-do list.

However, the more I realize I am the awareness behind my Ego, the more I am able to see the reaction of my Ego as not me, and know that I am free to choose another way.

The Buddha said, “I see you, Mara, let’s have tea,” instead of “Here Mara, you take the microphone.” We don’t kill our demons, instead we learn to overcome them by recognizing we don’t have to fight them.

Another falsehood about enlightenment is that it happens all at once. The idea that there’s a spontaneous parting of the clouds and everything is perfectly crystal clear is a nice one.

It does happen, but that is not the only way it happens. Enlightenment is not a specific experience to have, but rather, a process to undertake.

Everyone I know who has ever had a spontaneous awakening has not permanently shed their Ego. It comes back. Having the spontaneous experience is great story-telling, but there is more to the story afterwards.

A zen story goes:
A student approached his master and asked, “How do I attain enlightenment?”
The master replied, “Chop wood, carry water.”
“And what do I do after I attain enlightenment?”
“Chop wood, carry water.”

Enlightenment is not the end. It is another step on the journey. May your journey continue.

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21 Jun

There’s growing concern among mental health professionals and child advocates about the “like” buttons of the social media world. They say kids’ drive for validation and popularity on services like Instagram can lead to anxiety, depression and low self-esteem.

Instagram itself nodded at the problem recently when CEO Adam Mosseri announced a limited experiment to hide like counts on some posts.

Popularity contest

The like button is an integral feature of Instagram, allowing a user to give a click of approval to a picture or video. Counting likes can become a popularity contest and that can be a problem for kids, said Dimitri Christakis, editor in chief of JAMA Pediatrics.

“Children compare themselves to others via social media, and that can lead to feelings of inadequacy, social isolation and depression and anxiety,” he said.

Christakis said more research is needed to prove these connections. And a test of sorts is now being conducted by Instagram itself. For about the past eight weeks, some Instagrammers in Canada have only been seeing the number of likes on their own posts — no other users get to see that data.

An Instagram spokesperson said the company’s CEO is bullish on the results so far, but offered no other details.

Pamela Hurst-Della Pietra with the group Children and Screens today called for Instagram to ditch like counts altogether “for United States users, and not just as an experiment.”

Amassing likes allows Instagram influencers to attract advertisers, but CFRA analyst John Freeman said he wouldn’t be surprised if Instagram de-emphasized likes in the future because it’s easy to game the system.

“From the advertiser’s perspective, they’re not interested in the number of likes,” he said. Advertisers want richer data, “not just likes, but strong dislikes and how many of those dislikes came from Pennsylvania,” he said.

Freeman said moving away from likes could also be a way for Instagram and its owner, Facebook, to appease critics who are concerned about the corrosive effects of social media.

If you’re a member of your local public radio station, we thank you — because your support helps those stations keep programs like Marketplace on the air.  But for Marketplace to continue to grow, we need additional investment from those who care most about what we do: superfans like you.

Your donation — as little as $5 — helps us create more content that matters to you and your community, and to reach more people where they are – whether that’s radio, podcasts or online.

When you contribute directly to Marketplace, you become a partner in that mission: someone who understands that when we all get smarter, everybody wins.

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21 Jun

Although diet and exercise programs usually dominate the weight loss headlines, research suggests that your sleep habits may be just as important.

The latest piece of research showing a link between sleep habits and weight gain appeared in the June 10, 2019 issue of JAMA Internal Medicine.

This paper found that exposure to artificial lighting at night predicted weight gain over 5 years of follow-up among more than 43,000 women. This article, however, is merely the latest of hundreds of scientific papers from the last decade indicating that poor sleep makes it easier to gain weight and harder to lose weight.

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21 Jun

The singer/songwriter Bob Dylan, who was born in 1941 in Duluth, Minnesota, is similar to the film character of Zorba the Greek who introduced himself with “I have many names if you are interested.” There’s nothing simple about either one of these outsiders whose multitalented skills and unconventional personalities put them on the periphery of the societies in which they lived.

In 2016, Dylan won the Nobel Prize in Literature “for having created new poetic expressions within the great America song tradition.” Now the formidable veteran film director Martin Scorsese has created a playful, rambling, and rousing rock documentary about Bob Dylan’s 1975 road tour where he traveled across the country (even driving one of the buses) with a group of gifted band members and other singers/songwriters eager to be part of a funky and unprecedented musical extravaganza. Instead of performing in large arenas and stadiums, Dylan and company played in small towns in concert halls holding only 3,000 seats.

The famous American poet Allen Ginsberg (see our Naming the Days profile for his birthday) serves as the philosophical guru of the revue. Joan Baez and Joni Mitchell are on hand to showcase their vocal talents; poet Patti Smith and violinist Scarlet Rivera display their love of mystery; the former Byrd Roger McGuinn does a whimsical imitation of Dylan’s vocal style; movie stars Sharon Stone and Sam Shepard reminisce about meeting Dylan and joining the tour; and intimations of the cultural clashes of this Bicentennial era are conveyed in vignettes from President Richard Nixon, Hurricane Carter, and actor Michael Murphy.

Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Scorsese provides fascinating glimpses of the versatile singer/songwriter as he tries to remember the past, does not appreciate the irritation of the press, insists on wearing whiteface, and derives pleasure from improvising with other musicians in back rooms closed off from the public. Best of all is the energy and camaraderie exhibited during some of the best songs, including “Mr. Tambourine Man,” “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall,” “Hurricane,” “Just Like a Woman,” “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door,” “One More Cup of Coffee,” “When I Paint My Masterpiece,” “Blowin’ in the Wind,” and “I Shall Be Released” (the two last ones with Joan Baez).

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21 Jun

ASHLEY NICOLE PHOTOGRAPHY

Exactly 247 people came to practice yoga with me today. Why is that such a big deal? Well, it means that I’m a badass. But to fully understand, you have to learn more about me and my community.

The practice of yoga powerfully changed my life. I went from being an alcoholic, Xanax-poppin’ college dropout to traveling the world to inspire others to be the greatest versions of themselves.

I was born and raised in Dallas, and was eight-years-old the first time I was sexually abused by my neighbor. That year I was also sentenced to my first in-house suspension. I didn’t have the tools to cope with the trauma, and I was punished for it. I became a menace in my elementary school. Teachers didn’t want me in class, so they placed me in an ESL class instead (English is my first language). The ESL teacher drank cold coffee all day. She spoke in Spanish (which I didn’t understand) and seated me in a cubicle I couldn’t see over or around. Needless to say, I didn’t learn anything that year. I grew more disenchanted with school. Nobody asked what was going on with me.

My dysfunction bled into adulthood. By the time I was 29, I was an alcoholic, married to a man I didn’t really know, and detached from myself. Then I found out I was pregnant. I told my then-husband, and I haven’t seen him since. Watching a Ricki Lake documentary called The Business of Being Born (who doesn’t love Ricki Lake?) inspired me to have a natural childbirth. I found a doula, and the first thing she advised me to do was to start practicing yoga.

My first thought was, “Yoga? Black people don’t do yoga.” But I found a yoga studio, and it went something like this: I’m nervous as fuck wearing too-little yoga pants (of course, people don’t make yoga pants for my kind of super sexiness). The white woman behind the counter actually said, “This is a yoga studio, mama.” No kidding, I’m here to buy donuts, I wanted to say. When I explained that I was there to practice, she told me to pick a beginner class because I was plus-size. This was my first interaction with the world of yoga, at the closest studio to my home, and I had to travel 24 miles to get there.

Despite it all, the first time I stepped on the mat I was introduced to myself. As I practiced more and more, I gained the power to cultivate my life. I also quickly learned that yoga was expensive, so I found a studio that would let me clean up in exchange for free classes. I didn’t understand how a practice that empowers people to heal themselves was so inaccessible.


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