Monthly Archives: October 2013

Practice Consciousness

Breath, Glorious Breath

“Remember, it doesn’t matter show deep into a posture you go-
what does matter is who you are when you get there.”
Max Strom

I love this line. It has been the theme for my classes this past week.
These words remind me to pause and reflect on WHO I am and HOW I am on my way into and within an asana. I try to consider how I am treating myself and the yogis around me in my thoughts and words. Am I judging or berating myself because, even though I should know better, I think I need to be stronger or more flexible (or even that I should not have eaten those brownies) to go as deep into a posture as I feel I SHOULD be able to? Am I comparing myself to the yogi next to me who can push up into a handstand unassisted in the center of the room? Exhausting, right!?!?
As we learn to travel deeper and with greater alignment into a posture, we begin notice a flicker of quiet; a sweet stream of energy where there are no thoughts, no attitudes, only being; only a light of awareness. As we continue to practice over time and as our bodies, minds and hearts strengthen and become more open, these moments of steadiness appear more often and may string together offering clarity where it may not have existed before. It is unfortunate that too often we live our lives partially or almost totally disconnected from our bodies and rely primarily on our anxious and unsteady minds to lead us. We become so unraveled from our own needs that we ignore cues to eat, sleep or even use the bathroom.
How do we find this quiet, steady place where we can reflect on WHOM and HOW we are? Many of us have a hatha yoga practice and others of us have a bhaki or karma yoga practice. The elusive connection within that we seek can be found using our voices as we chant or our bodies as we move or perform service to others.
When I practice, I strive to be mindful of maintaining a connection to my breath and core which graciously offers me a steady, calm, confidence from which I can practice asana.
As a hatha yoga teacher, it is such a delight and an honor to be in a room full of students practicing mindfully and quietly seeking their own centers. The energy is tangible and true. Students leave class feeling strong, confident and beautifully steady.
Maintaining this quiet, confident connection at all times is what I aspire to, but as with any other practice, I forget and am again, in time, reminded. It is from this remembrance that I am reunited with the highest reasons for why I practice; Sat Chit Ananda…Being Consciousness Bliss.
Life is Practice, Practice is Life. Namaste.

Yoga: De-Stress for Success!

Womens Yoga ApparelIn this fast-paced world we currently live in, one of the hardest things to do seems to be to relax and rewind. From familial relationships to on the job issues and so on, there is a laundry list of issues affecting all of us that must be addressed if we are to balance everything out. At Cozy Orange, we understand that life is hectic and that there seems to be less time for all of the many activities in our lives. Many people have found that yoga has provided a great way to relieve stress as well as get into shape. Our fashionable line of yoga apparel provides the look you crave along with the functionality you require to effectively maximize your workouts.

Yoga as the Answer to Your Stress Related Issues

The beauty of yoga as a form of exercise is that it is one of the oldest forms in the world and it has been proven to effectively tone and tighten your body as well as expand and enlighten your mind. If you are suffering from higher levels of stress than usual, you could definitely benefit by incorporating yoga into your life. There are a multitude of yoga poses you can use to decrease your stress levels. Even if you only start with a couple of simple ones, you will already notice a significant change in your outlook within weeks. At Cozy Orange, we have ensured that our website provides a full range of options and information for whatever it is you are seeking to get out of a yoga workout. From the clothes to the elements of stress reduction, there is a regimen out there for you. To find out which one that is, simply visit our website and see for yourself what we have to offer at Cozy Orange.

Manifest Your Own Destiny- Creating a Manifestation Action Plan and a Vision Board

Breath, Glorious Breath

 Thoughts become things.  Whether we choose to accept it or not, we are powerful beyond our means.  Within every single one of us is the power to manifest our own destiny and turn our dreams into a reality.  Yoga is the gateway to the spiritual center within us; the divine spark of God that dwells within all us is attainable through one of the many paths of yoga and meditation. The physical practice of yoga prepares the body for long periods of meditation.  In meditation, we have the opportunity to surrender to the breath and hopefully reach enlightened bliss.  After repeated practice we not only gain strength and flexibility, but improved mindfulness and cognitive abilities.  We learn how to become present and aware of the senses.  We learn how to tap into ourselves and connect to our souls on a deeper, more intuitive level.  This is where we can harness the magic force to manifest that each and every one of us possesses.

Many of us know what we want out of life, or at least have a general idea.  It is the how that often sets us back.  Whether or not we realize it, the thoughts we hold in our mind become things.  Our fears serve as obstacles pushing our dreams further out of our reach.  Pay attention to your thoughts.  You will soon realize that the things that come most quickly to you are the things that you believe in, without any fear attached.  It is those things that we want most, that we fear we will never be able to attain, that seem impossible.  Thus, pushing them even further away.  You must BELIEVE that you are worthy and deserving of what it is that you want in order to make your dreams a reality.  “A man is but the product of his thoughts.  What he thinks he becomes” (Mohandas Karamchand Ghandi).  The word “Impossible” is simply a typo.  An apostrophe is missing. “Impossible” actually is “I’m Possible.”

We are responsible for our thoughts, words and deeds. We are human and in that we are imperfect.  Yet, with each stumble, each fall, we learn something about humanity and ourselves.  We learn and grow, gaining wisdom, compassion and confidence.  Aristotle once said, “Happiness depends upon ourselves.”  So we must take responsibility for our lives and take hold of the reigns so that we can create the reality we wish to see. We can manifest our own destiny.  We have the unique ability to attract to ourselves abundance- wealth, career success, love, family, dream homes, you name it!  You CAN have it all.  Abundance is your birthright.  God, in his infinite wisdom, created enough for everyone.  We only fool ourselves into thinking that there is not enough.  If we can change our perspective we can harness the power of imagination and creation to command the universe to bring forth all those things that you BELIEVE you are worthy and deserving of.  All we have to do is be like children, and make believe.

The trick to manifesting is being crystal clear on your intentions.  What is it that you really want out of life? What will bring you happiness? Peace? Fulfillment?  These questions are not easy to answer.  In order to connect to that intuitive self, try an at home yoga and meditation practice.

Find a clean, comfortable, quite area of your home.  Bring a journal and a pen. Sit in a comfortable seated position, lifting through the crown of the head with each inhale and grounding through the sit bones with each exhale.  Bring the right hand in front of the face, bringing the middle and pointer fingers together.  Place the two fingers between the eyebrows, where the third eye would be.  Inhale both nostrils.  Close the eyes, close both nostrils with the thumb and the ring finger.  Pause.  Exhale left nostril.  Inhale left nostril.  Close both nostrils with the ring finger and the thumb.  Pause.  Exhale right nostril.  Inhale right nostril.  Close both.  Pause.  Exhale left.  Continue on like this for twelve breaths.  Open the eyes.  Reach both arms up overhead, press the hands into a prayer and lower down to heart center.  Bring the knees together, rock forward and back massaging the spine.  Roll up to a Supported Should Stand when you are ready, or put your legs up against a wall.  Stay in this posture as long as you can, with your eyes closed, concentration on the third eye.  Roll slowly down.  Lie in Corps Pose for several minutes.  Roll over to your right side into a Fetal Pose.  After a few breathes, push up to a seated pose using your left hand.

Create your manifest action plan.  Map out your life.  Do not worry about the how.  Simply state that it will be a reality.  The language is simple. “By time frame, I will have________________, be _______________, etc.”  For example, “By fall 2014, I will have earned my 500 houryoga teaching certificate.”  You fill in the blanks with the time frame and the goal.  Be concise.  Create a reasonable time frame, we do not want to set ourselves up for failure, but rather create a space where possibilities can occur.  Do not worry about the details of how it will happen.  That is for the universe to figure out.  All you have to do is place your order.  Go deeper than manifesting a fancy house, or beach vacation.  Do not be limited by those material things we all lust after, wealth, hot people to share it with, fancy stuff.  Connect to what you want to feel in this future reality.  Think of the characteristics of the workplace you hope to be in, or the relationship you seek.   Connect your affirmations to this activity. Trust that you deserve to work in an environment that uses your creative talents and abilities.  Believe that you deserve to work with people that value your talents and skills and are a pleasure to work with.  Connect to the feelings of what it would be like to have those things.  Make believe. Pretend you have them already.

Begin your image search, page through magazines.  Allow your intuition to guide you.  Select images that generate a gut reaction.  Identify the characteristics you would like to manifest in your life.  You are the artist of your own life. Paint an illustrious picture.  Manifest your destiny with a Vision Board.  Now that you have your M.A.P. (Manifestation Action Plan), the Vision Board should be easy.  Once you have your images, paste them to a piece of poster paper.  Allow your vision board to evolve.  As you make your way through your daily routine, pay attention to images that inspire you.  You are creating a magnet with your vision board.  Keep your thoughts positive.  Fill them with hope and possibility.

“The greatest revolution in our generation is the discovery that human beings, by changing their inner attitudes of their minds, change the outer aspects of their lives” (William James).  You are worthy and deserving of abundance, in all areas of your life.  It is there for each and every one of us.  All we have to do is BELIEVE. Believe it and you will see it.

Yoga: Bringing It Home

The old adage ‘home is where the heart is’ takes on a different spin when it comes to yoga. For those that practice the ancient form of meditation and exercise, yoga is the hearth, health, and center for creating a sense of balance. As such, those that practice note that it is vital to have yoga sessions in a space that allows for comfort and serenity. At Cozy Orange, we know how important it is to have all of these elements for optimal success and that is why our yoga apparel is not only fashionable but fully functional for whatever type of yoga sessions you participate in. For the best yoga sessions, it is important to create that perfect space, and we provide information to help you do that on our informative website.

The Advantages of Home Yoga

Womens Yoga ApparelDepending on your personality and your mood, you may have certain requirements when you are in in a yoga session. Whatever your preferences may be, you have the power to make the space entirely your own. A yoga room is in your home is the perfect way to feel totally at ease and do whatever you want to do in it as opposed to sharing a space with strangers at a studio or gym. The advantages associated with home yoga sessions are many and many people find that they are able to concentrate even more in a secluded space free from everything and everyone. At Cozy Orange, we realize that each individual has the power to lay the foundation to the type of experience they want to achieve through yoga. Not only do we provide the yoga apparel that can take you through a workout, but we also disperse informative tidbits on our site to ensure that when you begin to create your space, it is done in such a way to maximize your total yoga experience. To get started today, take a look at our website and experience the best in yoga clothing now.

Breath, Glorious Breath

Breath, Glorious Breath

The other day I was reading an article on pranayama. It brought up an interesting “stress test” to try, which I thought would be fun to bring into my classes (I haven’t taught since reading the article, so I suppose I will have to remember to provide an update at a later time). Simply put, sitting comfortably, begin to notice the breath, then clench the fists as strongly as possible and continue to acknowledge the breath. What happens for most people is that the face clenches and the breath stops.

I’m sure we have all heard the saying, “when the student is ready, the teacher will appear,” interestingly, the teacher in this case was a tiny, little magazine article and the student was, well, a teacher. And I know it’s easy to say that the message of breath control is ubiquitous in the yoga community, however, this more specific message of breathing through stress and maintaining, not just composure but kindness (ahimsa) in times of anguish have been popping up all around me. Kindness to others, kindness to one’s self and kindness in the mind, as well.

So I began thinking, as I have a tendency to overdo at times. My journey into yoga began about 10 years ago and began with nothing other than breath, when I discovered that with the breath truly anything is possible. But life, as it has its way of doing, drew me away from this core, nutritive foundation and I realized that I have been more or less preaching to my choir. Day after day, week after week, teaching class after class began to be rather mundane, unfortunately to say. Going through the motions, but somehow still truly reaching people’s souls and spirits as I was consistently being praised on what a wonderful class I taught. This lead me to believe teaching came naturally and I didn’t have to work at it or continue to grow and challenge myself. Silly me!!

Again, life has its way. Enter, silly little magazine article that so suddenly reminded me to notice my breath. So I’d like to take a minute to explore the breath. Without it we have nothing, there is no existence for us homosapiens. Yet, for the better part of 24 hours we never notice that we are doing it. Why is that? Because it happens 14-18 times per minute every single minute of our lives. It doesn’t get much more mundane than that, does it? Yet, this breath, glorious breath is the miracle of life. It’s the first thing we do once we have left that warm, safe, fluid environment and it’s the last thing we do before moving on. So cherish it, honor it, and acknowledge it. There isn’t a situation where kindness can’t be created, so when trouble lurks, when fear rises, when anger bubbles, remember to step back, close your eyes, turn the corners of your mouth up towards your eyes and breath with intention, full and complete intention. The sort of intentions that melt fear into love.

There are but two emotions; fear and love, everything else is just some varying degree of one of the two and the breath is the bridge. Hold it, shorten it, make it shallow and you can heighten fear into whitewater rapids heading straight for a waterfall but lengthen it, deepen it, soothe it and you can cross that bridge over a babbling brook of serenity. Take your choice but just breathe!

A Simple Guide to Yoga

Womens Yoga ApparelAlthough the sport of yoga has been around for thousands of years, one would be surprised at how little is known about it. In recent years, however, more and more people have come to know about it in depth as it has become exceedingly popular worldwide. Yoga, which means ‘union’ in Sanskrit, began in India over 5,000 years ago and basically teaches its practitioners how to breathe properly as they take their body through a range of positions. These movements connect the mind, body, and spirit in a way that most exercise regimens cannot. People that practice yoga come from all walks of life and nowadays there is no particular ‘look’ associated with it. At Cozy Orange, our yoga apparel line is for women that are looking to propel their bodies to higher heights as well as optimize their fitness levels. From once a week to daily, yoga reduces your stress and keeps you well balanced.

The Many Styles of Yoga and Gear

New to yoga and don’t know where to start? That’s a question that many people may have and luckily, Cozy Orange has the answers to help you stay informed. There are some styles that are more popular than others and we strive to educate our customers as well as supplying them with a great selection of yoga apparel. Some of the more popular forms of yoga today include ashtanga, hot (also known as bikram) yoga, hatha, and vinyasa yoga. These are just a few of the styles out there that have been streamlined to help users achieve the type of body they want. Once you have decided what kind of yoga is best for you, there is yoga gear to consider. At Cozy Orange, we produce a line of yoga clothing as well as everything you’d need for a class from yoga mats, yoga headbands, and even a yoga tote to carry everything in. To find out what’s best for your new yoga venture, Cozy Orange has a website that aims to keep you up to the date on the latest in yoga news.

A day in the sun

A day in the sun

It was a beautiful day here in Ohio today. So at one studio, I decided to open the doors and allow the beautiful air to flow in our class as we danced in our vinyasas. At my other studio, we went out on the roof top and experienced our practice with the beautiful sun.

I started class by asking my students, “What do you enjoy most about yoga? What does yoga offer you? And why do you continue to come back to your mat?” I then asked them to take a moment to really allow these questions to sink in, then once they felt the answer in their soul, to allow their next exhale to express the answer. I then asked each of them to keep that answer with them through our entire class. To make a promise to take our practice deeper then moving through the postures, to understand the purpose of moving through the postures and to feel the purpose of every inhale and exhale.

As we soaked up the rays, we were able to practice the “stillness” that is ever so hard to accomplish in Yoga. We started off with our sun salutations to help bring our awareness to the mat. We then began to flow through a sequence of twist. I asked my students to flow through Warrior 1, warrior 2, revolved Triangle, Revolved half moon, half moon, Warrior 1 and then cycle through their vinyasa. At first many of my students had a hard time focusing. I requested that they take a breath to remember the purpose of their practice today and to let go and to allow the suns energy to guide them.

We did not have music, so it was an amazing challenge to keep the mind quiet as we flowed gracefully from one asana to another. When a breeze was offered to us, we took an extra inhale in to experience the breeze, as we exhaled we allowed ourselves to accept it had passed. I continued to remind each student to stay present and to keep their minds focused on their next breath and movement. I reminded them to resist the urge of allowing the mind to wonder off. As each of them began to experience their purpose and come back to the moment, the focus came back. The fidgeting became still, and their breath became deep, their souls began to sing with every inhale and exhale.

To test their commitment a little more, I then guided them into Chair, asking them to add a twist, once they found their twist; I offered them the option to step back into a twisted lunge. The twisted lunge took them into another whirlwind where they again had to remind themselves of the purpose and to keep their promise. I asked them to lift their arms up and come into a crescent lunge; the sun was offering a very warm ray. We reached up with our finger tips, elongating through our spine and accepted the beautiful energy that the sun was offering us.

It was an amazing practice where my students were given the opportunity through my guidance to accept what we were offered. They each left with a better understanding as to why they come to yoga and what continues to bring them back…as well as sun kissed skin!

Yoga to Energize Your Mind

Maintaining an agile and productive mind is something that we all strive to have for as long as we walk the earth. Studies have shown that as we age, we are more likely to become lethargic in our train of thought and our ability to recall basic information. It is believed that participating in exercises to strengthen your concentration can add to your overall vitality. Yoga has long been touted for its dramatic effects at aiding retention of information through its meditative practices. At Cozy Orange, they not only produce yoga apparel that is both fashionable and functional, they produce eco-friendly apparel that makes you feel good about purchasing.

Unlocking Your Potential Through Yoga

Womens Yoga ApparelTo boost your overall energy, yoga is a great way to learn how to harness the power that lies within you and using it to propel your body into intricate positions and breathing techniques that strengthen your core and your mental capacity simultaneously. Studies have shown that when people exercise, endorphins kick in that unleash more energy to their brains and their limbs, aiding in creativity. For those that have been practicing yoga for years, the benefits that go along with it when compared to other exercises cannot be beat. Yoga has taught many women how to balance their lives even more and lead more productive lives. Cozy Orange features an online site that gives detailed descriptions on our yoga clothes that are available in a wide array of selections as well as providing a thorough section on the impacts yoga on the mind and body. For the latest in yoga apparel and yoga news, visit their website and see how yoga can help you boost your energy levels.

Motivation, Life and Skinny Jeans

Motivation, Life and Skinny Jeans

Ever wonder why it seems every time we get on a roll with our workouts life gets in the way? This has been my life this summer, just when I get going something comes up and I lose that motivation (for me over the years there have been many sources of my demotivation – injury, illness, family, I could go on) and let me tell you motivation is hard to re-find once it wanders away. It doesn’t page you at the store and you can’t put up lost motivation flyers (although I might do it just to see what the reaction is LOL). I am sitting here feeling so accomplished that I have been hitting the gym for a month now (currently patting myself on the back) but I am thinking about the last few months when I didn’t go and think about what happened and why. I know we have all been here but now I’m wondering how other people handle it….do y’all hang up signs? Do ya get friends to help you stay on track?

This summer I had a month to find a new house, find a school and get movers… the gym took the backseat! Which looking back on was not a great idea, especially when I tried on those skinny jeans. So now I have focused on keeping myself motivated. I have found there are a few key tips to keeping motivated that worked for me that I wanted to share with all of you.
-Find a gym/workout that is your “perfect fit”. If you dread going, you are not going to go, simple as that!!! If you don’t want a gym, find a DVD at home you love, that get s you going. I am so psyched to go workout in the mornings now.

-Find the time of day that works for you. If you are not highly functioning after work, don’t plan a workout after work, you will ALWAYS find an excuse!!!!

-Don’t beat yourself up if you miss a day. We are all human and have to understand that some days our bodies just aren’t feeling it and need a break!

-Make “friends” with your instructor/a trainer at the gym. If they know you, they will learn what makes you “tick”. They will also heckle you a bit when they haven’t seen you in a while (NOTE: they should not make you feel bad! But just keep you wanting to come back and be accountable.)

-Tell your family what your goals are and let them know what you need from them. If you don’t ask they won’t know. Now, I know us ladies expect our spouses to know what we are thinking but that’s not the case.

-Sign up for classes you have to pay for, because guess what? You are not going to skip a class you just put out $30 for!!!!

Mindfulness- On the Mat and In Our Lives

Equanimity in the Yoga Studio: Eliminating Competition

September is one of my favorite months of the year. As I desperately cling to the last lingering days of summer I am reminded of all the things that I like adore about the season, helping me to appreciate all the warm rays of sunshine, gentle ocean breezes and the leisure time spent frolicking in all of nature’s wonders. September is also a month of transition, returning to the routine of school and work and adjusting to changing temperatures, shorter days and longer nights. It can be a time of new beginnings and second chances. It is during this month that we also commemorate 9/11, a day that changed the world forever. I was student teaching an 8th grade Social Studies Honors class on the day that the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were attacked, and when a plane full of brave Americans gave their last breath to prevent terrorists from completing their third targeted attack. In addition to being a yoga instructor, I am also a Social Studies teacher and a Yoga Ed. Instructor. Every year on 9/11, I wonder how this anniversary should be commemorated. I realize the significance of the responsibility of being a teacher and when I gaze into those young impressionable eyes I have this gut wrenching sense of honor and patriotism to do my best to teach…but what?

I begin each year with asking my students to explain what it means to be an American? Not such an easy question. Most students offer answers that state “Freedom,” “Free Speech,” Freedom of Religion,” “Democracy,” “Super Power,” “Rights,” “Opportunity,” “A place where you are free to be who you are and live your dreams.” I then ask students to identify some common core values that unite us as Americans. As a class, we generate a list. The values that I always add and define are: Justice, Responsibility, Courage, Perseverance, Initiative, Equality, Popular Sovereignty, the concept of the “Common Good,” Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. After we can all agree to the values that all of us, as Americans, can unite around, I define terrorism and explain the events of that day. I tell students of the horrors, the negative energy that thrived all around us, the fear we all felt, the innocent lives that were lost, and the many acts of heroism that thrived in those moments of darkness when warriors of light rose up to fight the forces of evil. I reflect on the ways communities and nations united. I end the class celebrating the ways that individuals donated their time and resources. I explain that firehouses and schools were inundated with supplies of bottle water, juices and food. I remember how hard it was to find an American flag to purchase. Stores were sold out because every citizen wanted to hang the American flag in a sign of strength, solidarity and perseverance. We as Americans joined together in community’s nationwide to say “No!” to terrorism. America would rise again and the light of democracy would always shine bright from our shores. Liberty was our birthright. No one- terrorist, evil dictator, monarch or elected official, could take that away from us. I asked my students to commemorate 9/11 every year by spending some time reflecting on the question- “What does it mean to be an American?” I encouraged them to allow the definition to evolve over time and to remember these values and how we, as Americans, can live our lives demonstrating these characteristics each and every day.

Each year, I reflect long after the lesson is over, on how I can demonstrate these characteristics as an American citizen and as a yogi. My intuitive response is mindfulness. I remind myself to be mindful in my thoughts, remembering that thoughts become things. I encourage myself to fill my thoughts will hope and possibility. I remind myself to be mindful of the words I chose to use, encouraging myself to select words that will build and not break, to use words that will inspire and empower, not destroy. I remind myself to search for the love and light that shines from within every person, situation and encounter and to seek out the love and light that dwells within myself. It is there in each and every one of us. This is my yogic message and the philosophy that guides my life as a yogi. I can transfer this philosophy to my civic mindfulness as well. In fact, as yogis and as Americans, I believe that we have a greater civic duty to shed the light of mindfulness to all those around us. We are all connected.

As Americans, we believe in the concept of popular sovereignty and the notion that we as a people can guide our government in the direction of the common good where all citizens will be treated equally before the laws, where justice rings true, where laws are just and enforced in a nonviolent manner. Ultimately, we believe in the ability of human beings to make progress and to govern themselves. We celebrate heroes like George Washington, whose courage, honor and integrity were legendary. We applaud men like Ghandi who taught that human beings have the unique potential to create the world that they wish to see. We even create fictional role models to guide us and encourage us along the path of democracy. Rosie the Riveter was right, “We can do it!” As long as God continues to bless us with a new day, we will always have the chance to get it right…eventually. But how?

Election day is not the only day that we as citizens can use our power to guide our government and create the world we wish to live in. Election day occurs once a year. We, as Americans, can use our role as consumers to vote each and every time we spend a dollar. We, as American yogis, can lead by example and educate at every opportunity. If we can utilize our spending power to choose companies that are mindful of their carbon footprint, of the resources they use and how they use them, of the way they treat their employees, their customers, and the communities in which they operate, we can change the world. Call me naive, ingenuous and childlike. This may not be the solution to every problem, foreign or domestic. However, remember that Jesus once said, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of Heaven.”- Matthew 18:3. Be reminded of the message of the Buddha in his final farewell, “Be ye lamps unto yourselves…” One step, one dollar spent in the right direction, could create the energy we need to change our world for the better and see the blessings of democracy bestowed throughout the world. We can do it.

As consumers, throughout the world, we can be more mindful to choose to purchase products from companies who are conscious of the carbon footprint that they leave behind. We can chose to support companies that give back to their communities and use resources that are eco-friendly in a safe and responsible way. We can educate ourselves about economic policies such as NAFTA and CAFTA and urge our elected officials to revisit these economic policies, as they offered empty promises to the people of Latin America and the Caribbean and have led to the destruction of natural eco-systems and economic disaster to other American countries. Essentially, Latin American and Caribbean nations were promised assistance in becoming first world nations, they were told there would be more jobs and improved conditions. What ultimately happened is that North American companies were offered tax incentives to build in under developed communities, where they deforested the area, used the natural resources and paid employees lower wages than they would in North America. Companies often move to the next area with better tax incentives, leaving their eco devastation and moving jobs elsewhere. These are the real reasons behind the roots of migration. People who live in Latin American love their countries and do not want to leave. They come to America because there are jobs here, not in their homeland. We could stop illegal immigration if we really wanted to if we revisited NAFTA and CAFTA. Not only have these policies devastated ecosystems and economic systems, it also led to obesity in countries like Mexico. There is a lack of potable water. Poverty means the only thing families can afford is soda instead of bottled water, chips and processed foods instead of fresh fruits and vegetables. Mexico used to produce 11 different varieties of corn. Now, as per NAFTA and CAFTA, the U.S.A. produces corn and sells the lowest grade corn back to Mexico. The corn sold back is the grade they traditionally used to feed their livestock. For more information, check out Witness For Peace, a politically independent, nationwide grassroots organization committed to nonviolence, led by faith and conscience. WFP’s mission is to support peace, justice and sustainable economies in the Americas by changing U.S. policies and corporate practices that contribute to poverty and oppression in Latin America and the Caribbean. (www.witnessforpeace.org)
As mindful consumers, we can chose companies like Cozy Orange and Sweet Riot. Cozy Orange creates eco-friendly yoga apparel and their mission extends beyond the mat and into our global communities. Cozy Orange is committed to making a lasting impact in the war against poverty by donating a portion of proceeds to developing economies in third world countries. Sweet Riot is a company that produces chocolate and promotes social responsibility. The company believes that we can change the world. Sweet Riot strives to weave social responsibility throughout their company in how they create their product, how they treat their people and in the business partnerships that they make. Do your own research. Read Newsweek. Learn which companies are the “Greenest.” Chose your products accordingly. Be mindful, not just in how you show up on the mat, but how you present yourself to the world with the words you use and the actions you take. Economically, consider your choices. Use the blessings of technology to use your smart phone to do a Google search. Take the time to invest in companies that invest in their communities and follow the principles that you believe it. Sweet riot is right. We can riot to change the world. We can be peaceful and nonviolent and recognize that strength is not always about physicality, it is also about our mental abilities to think critically and analytically. We have the power to change the world, and we can do it one dollar at a time. Spend well warriors of light. Invest responsibly. Shed light to those in the darkness. Donate your money and your time to causes that you believe in. We as human beings have the unique ability to persevere and to make progress. Within us we have the power to create the world we wish to see. Ghandi was right, so was Rosy. “We can do it!”