Tuesday, November 6, 2007
A juicy drive across the country
Fortunately, I'm no longer residing in the smokey/smoggy town of Los Angeles. I had an amazing time receiving teachings from Srivatsa Ramaswami and hanging with my older brother. By the end of my first juice feasting month I was ready for some fresh air. So I packed my car up, juiced about 3 gallons, and headed east on I-10. Driving through the valley and into the mountains was eerie because the thick wild fire smoke prevented any clear view of the sky. As soon as I got into the open desert I could feel my lungs open and begin dumping out the toxins. Driving long distances is quite pleasant on a juice feast. Since there's no need to worry about food all you have to stop for is going to the restroom. Unfortunately a full bladder tends to sneak up on you while juice feasting, but there are many rest stops for this very purpose.
Now, I have a history of being a really poor distance driver. I've actually fallen asleep and side swiped my mirror on a mere 1.5 hour drive from Austin to SA. With that said, I had no problem staying alert for over 8 hours at a time. My mind is so much clearer and more alert on this juice feast. The times I did feel like I was fading prompted me to stop and perform rounds of Surya Namaskara (Sun Salutes) until I felt my energy was flowing adequately. In addition, extra bee pollen and AFA (Klamath Blue Green Algae) served to keep me present in my driving. The alkaloids in AFA work wonders on the mind and have a tendency to perk me up.
Before leaving LA I bought a large cooler and stored my juices in glass mason jars. I had an ample supply of fresh juices for my entire trip.
Late the first night I was trying to decide where to sleep. I was just coming up on Tuscon when I had the premonition to exit and head to Patagonia, home of the Tree of Life rejuvenation center. Patagonia, Arizona is a bit of a vortex and I always seem to encounter magic while there. I'm so glad I listened to my inner voice because I ended up meeting some really amazing people who supported some really deep healing work that had come up in my practice. In my next post I'll begin explaining my practice (sadhana) and the different levels of healing I'm bringing about within myself.
Fortunately my friends in Patagonia are very conscious, which means they all have juicers! After drinking all of my road trip juice I simply visited Red Mountain Foods, the local health market, to collect more juicy produce. After three days of recharging in the beautiful mountains of the Sonoran desert I was ready to continue my journey to Houston. I didn't bring quite as much juice, but I found an Asian market in El Paso and bought a case of 9 young thai coconuts. The fresh coconut water mixed with Vitamineral green kept me strong until arriving in North Houston (Spring to be exact) the next day. It was so nice to see my parents, dog and cat. They were surprised that after 31 days of juicing I wasn't thinner than I am. I weighed in for the first time at the Tree of Life at a comfortable 158 pounds. This is great because I initially had fears of losing too much weight on this feast. I started out at about 165 and knew that I could comfortably lose upwards of 10 pounds, but anything more would be less than desirable. David Rain told me that people usually approach their healthy weight on a juice feast, which means if you are already under weight you might even begin to gain. During our meeting I told David and Katrina that I feel like I'm consciously preventing too much weight loss by bringing in other forms of energy such as breath, sunshine, nature sounds, and loving friendships. Katrina said, "you mean you're working with prana". Yep, that pretty much sums it up. Prana is a sanskrit word that refers to life energy. Qi is the chinese word for this very same concept. My yogasana and pranayama practice is the primary way that I cultivate my prana. There are many forms of prana that we require from our environment to survive, from the gross to the sublte. Food is the most gross level that our bodies require. Eating living/raw plant foods feeds you with the subtle life energy of the plant, whereas cooked/processed food only provides your body with the chemical (caloric) energy it needs. Since my normal diet consists of live foods I've really tuned into this subtle energy from my diet. I think this is why I'm now conscious of feeding myself with the other more subtle energies such as breath and sunshine. Think about it, what's the most important nutrient? Oxygen. That's right, life just isn't going to stick around very long without breathing. So by consciously filling my lungs to their full capacity I'm able to take in a lot more energy than I otherwise would. This is fundamental to the Vinyasa Krama (linking complete breaths to each movement) and pranayama (breath work) that I practice. We also need sunshine on our skin for our bodies to produce real vitamin D, which is actually a hormone, not vitamin. In other countries such as France they actually give you paid time off to vacation on sunny beaches when you are diagnosed with cancer. This is because vitamin D is essential for preventing and healing cancer. So what's the story on nature sounds. It turns out that we are deeply affected by the vibrations in our environments. Unfortunately, we have created a reality in which we live in little boxes we call "houses". These squared-in dwellings have a very limited ability to create complex sound reverberations. When we go outside on the other hand the possibilites for complex sounds becomes nearly infinite, which is of great advantage to our mind. It's kind of like the difference between listening to a Bach symphony and a two year old banging on pots and pans. Take your pick.
So how do I get all of this extra breath, sunshine and nature energy? Naked yoga outside of course! I try to do at least one of my asana and pranayama practices outside every day. I feel totally charged after such a session and I can actually see a difference in my energy level.
My plan for November is to continue going deeper in my sadhana and healing practice. I have a one way ticket to Oahu for December 6th and plan on spending my last juice feast month on the islands.