Ahimsa: Non-Violence

Ahimsa: Non-Violence

Ahimsa (non-violence) is an important part of yoga philosophy, and one of the yamas (guidelines for living well) on the eight-fold path (eight limbs) of yoga. We can think of this in many ways. Non-violence towards others. It may be obvious that we do not want to harm or kill other humans. We also want to root out violence in our feelings, thoughts, words and actions towards all beings. Are passive-agressive remarks to your friend or spouse violent? What about violent thoughts about the driver that cut you off in traffic? If we take more resources than we need, are we being violent towards other people? towards animals? towards nature? Is eating meat violent towards animals? Is eating mass-produced, highly processed fake-meat products loaded with GMOs and preservatives less violent than eating a chicken raised humanely by your neighbor on a nourished piece of earth? Every action we take has far-reaching results, and we can do our best to be informed and act according to our principles. There may not be easy answers. When these subtle and complicated gray areas arise, we can sit with the ideas. We may watch our own feelings or thoughts, and notice any corresponding internal conflict. There’s no need to create more internal conflict by beating ourselves up. All we can do is our best at this moment. We are growing our awareness. Notice how your actions and words make you feel. Do you feel better or worse if you respond angrily in a political debate? How do you feel if you listen, and take in the other person’s perspective, if just for a moment? “Hate does not drive out hate. Only love can do that.” ~ Martin Luther King, Jr. & The Buddha Non-violence towards the self. Most spiritual teachers agree that non-violence actually begins with the self, and that any internal conflict reflects as conflict in the outside world. The good news is that we have the ability to reduce the internal conflict through meditation, yoga & self-awareness practices. “Either we accept the way of life as it is, with violence and all the rest of it; or we say there must be a different way which human intelligence can find, where violence doesn’t exist. That’s all. And we say this violence will exist so long as comparison, suppression, conformity, the disciplining of oneself according to a pattern is the way of life. In this there is conflict and therefore violence.” ~ J. Krishnamurti Kindness towards the self. When this all gets overwhelming, I like to come back to basic kindness towards the self. We can be very gentle with ourselves, very friendly towards the self. Laugh. That helps. Or cry. Whatever...

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Save Water (and time) with Thai Massage

Save Water (and time) with Thai Massage

Massage therapists: Did you know that a Thai Massage session requires half the sheets that a table massage does? (Thai on the mat, client fully dressed = one flat sheet, one pillowcase. Table massage =  one flat, one fitted, one pillowcase/face-cradle cover.) That means half the laundry, saving you time and money, and… this saves hot water, laundry detergent, and all of the resources that go into the sheets themselves. Unless we are buying organic cotton sheets, that can add up to lots of pesticides, herbicides, & other nasty chemicals that go (or don’t go) right into our land and water. More costs go into labor and shipping, as most cotton comes from overseas. Don’t you wish they’d come up with some other packaging besides those plastic zippered bags (petroleum) for new sheets? How many clients do you see per week? per year? How much laundry do you wash per week? Dry? I’ve already waxed poetic about my outdoor clothesline, and in winter I try and air-dry my massage sheets indoors. This requires major organization on my part (& doesn’t always happen) in my tiny house. But, I try. I feel that to keep my business running in a way that reflects my commitment to a diverse and abundant bunch of ecosystems on earth, I should use minimal natural resources. I love that I get to make these choices as a small-business owner. Being the boss rocks. I fell in love with Thai massage having no idea that it would cut my laundry in half. It was just a bonus. In Indiana, we are in the midst of an extreme drought, and Bloomington just issued an Emergency Water Restriction Order. I feel a tiny bit better about my water consumption via washing machine each time I have a day full of Thai bodywork sessions. I think of conservation as an exciting and fun part of the healing arts. We share this beautiful planet! How are you conserving in your practice? Let’s share ideas. We’re all in this together....

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For the Love of a Clothesline

For the Love of a Clothesline

I love hanging sheets out on my clothesline. You would think laundry would be a dreaded chore: I wash around five sets of sheets a week for work. Each massage client = one set of twin sheets with pillowcases and/or face-cradle covers. The washing is done in a machine, and when I can, I let the sun and wind do the drying. I look forward to the break in my day that is hanging sheets fresh from the wash. The barefoot walk from my dryer through the backyard grass can tell me so much about the moment of the day: damp and cool on a spring morning, scratchy with dry dirt clods underfoot in heat of summer. Indiana is already in a drought this year & rough on bare feet, among other things. The other day I looked out and thought “Well, at least the sheets will dry quickly.” We are in mid-summer in Indiana, and a Mama Robin has a nest of babies tucked in an S-curve on one of our gutter downspouts. The babies and their ever-open beaks peek a little higher over the nest by the day, and Mama Robin seems to have a suitor (Daddy Robin? or friend) that wants to help out by bringing snacks. He sits and serenades the whole family, worm or bug in beak, from the nearby Redbud tree, hoping they’ll invite him over. Hanging the sheets sends me into the backyard, at least for a few minutes, every day. I get a glimpse of how plants are changing, growing, ripening, decaying, and possibly a reminder that I ought to be out there more. Neighbor cats cruise back and forth on invisible highways, sometimes ignoring me completely (if they’re on a mission), sometimes coming over for backyard kitty massages. During the cooler months, a breeze will quicken the slower drying time, and I’ve been known to let the sheets freeze on the line. Sheet-popcicles. I get a little kick out of folding icy sheets into bundles small enough to fit into the dryer when I’ve finally given in. It helps my southern soul feel like I can tackle the mid-western winter. Something about the mathematical organization of five sets of sheets on the four-sided, umbrella-style line makes for a satisfying accomplishment. Flat sheets go on the outer rings with the most width and height, fitted sheets a few rungs inside, pillowcases & face-cradle covers stay to the shorter lines on the inside. It soothes me to get them all hung and smoothed out. I always feel like I’ve passed the test of fitting them all on there, and arranging them in an aesthetically balanced way. The hanging sheets are visually beautiful,...

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