Ballet is one of my absolute favorite things. The elegant movements, the balance and skill required, the ability to tell a story through music and movement alone; there’s nothing quite like it. I enrolled in my first ballet class when I was two-years-old. Although I loved the tights and the tutus, I don’t think we were doing as much “ballet” as we were screaming and running around the studio in tiny ballet slippers. But as I grew up, ballet and other types of dance became an integral part of my life. I began dancing competitively in elementary school, and from an early age was accustomed to spending anywhere from five to seven days a week practicing. Although it was a busy schedule for a child, it was a labor of love and I couldn’t have enjoyed it more.
I continued to dance through high school, but was soon struck by the reality that while I loved dance and was fairly good at it, I didn’t have the “ballerina body” of many of the pre-professional girls at the studio where I trained. I wasn’t tall, I wasn’t super slender, I didn’t have legs for days; the list of missing attributes went on. I once had an instructor swat at me for using incorrect technique. “The way you’ve turned out your leg is going to make your thighs overdevelop and get even bigger,” he told me. I didn’t even understand what that meant at the time, I was just horrified by the insinuation that not only were my thighs “big,” but that I was actively making them “bigger.”
Shortly before my 17th birthday, I was hospitalized for severe anemia and was instructed to stop training for at least six weeks. During those six weeks I felt something that I hadn’t felt in years – absolute freedom. I could spend time with friends after school rather than rushing to dance class, I could engage in other passions like writing for the student newspaper. While I loved ballet (and all forms of dance), and still do, I didn’t return. It had stopped being enjoyable for me, and started being a place that I never quite measured up.
Patty has a family history of Heart Murmur and because of this does an annual check-up of the condition. After a year of doing yoga she found that the condition has healed! She now say that yoga has tremendous “healing wisdom” that you can tap into. You never know how amazingly things fall back into shape as blockages are removed, alignments restored, and stress is relieved!
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The Saint Of Baylovo
This is a story of 99 year old Dobri Dobrev who lost most of his hearing in World War II. He travels 25 Kilometers every day from his village to the city of Sofia where he spends the day begging for money.
Though well recognized fixture around several of the city’s churches, it was only recently discovered that he has donated every penny he has collected – over 40,000 euros- towards the restoration of decaying Bulgarian monasteries and churches and the utility bills of orphanages, living entirely off his monthly state pension of 80 euros.
He has now become a beloved figure in Bulgaria, known as the “Saint of Baylovo”.
If a peniless old man can do so much for his community, what can we do?
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In 1998 Arunachalam Muruganantham’s was just married and his life revolved around his wife and widowed mother. One day he discovered that his wife, Shanthi, was hiding something from him. He was shocked to discover that it was rags, “nasty cloths”, which she used during menstruation. “I would not even use these to clean my two wheeler,” Muruganantham said later in a TED talk.
Muruganantham immediately ran to the store to buy sanitary pads to impress his wife. To his shock he found that these were quite unaffordable. He nevertheless bought them to find out what they were made of. When he tore the pad open he found it contained a white cotton like substance. Wondering why a few pennies worth of cotton was being sold as a “pad” at such expensive price, he resolved to make the pad himself.
He fashioned one home made pad out of cotton and proudly handed it to his wife for testing. To his shock he learnt that he had to wait till her period occurred. It was then he understood for the first time that periods happened on a monthly cycle! He then realized that if he had to wait for a month for each round of testing, his pad would take decades to perfect. He needed more volunteers and would have to approach other women. Continue reading
Who is a Yogi or Yogini? There are many ways to answer this question, but a key defining characteristics of somebody who is on the path to yoga is the steady reduction of recrimination and regret in life coupled with a steady increase in love and forgiveness. This usually results in a life full of happiness where living is viewed as an extraordinary privilege and a joy. But make no mistake, just by doing an hour of yoga on the mat a few times a week does not necessarily mean that you are on the path of yoga. This may get you started but it may take more effort than that. On the other hand there are lives that have been lived where the person never touched the yoga mat, but nevertheless lived in an entirely yogic manner. The story of Alice Herz-Sommer illustrates. She recently passed away at the age of 110.
Alice Herze was born in Prague, Czechoslovakia on Nov 25 1903. She was one of five children of a German-speaking, secular Jewish family. Her father was a wealthy businessman and her parents mingled with artistic circles. Kafka and Mahler were among the friends of the family.
Alice’s love for music started early. She began her piano lessons at 5. By the time she was in her late teens, she was giving well-received concerts throughout Europe. In 1931 she married a musician-businessman named Leopold Sommer who was also an amateur violinist. The couple had a son, Stepan born in 1937.