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Meditation helps release attachment to negative influences

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By Ingrid Crane

Is it not by grace that we even wake up each morning? When we acknowledge this daily miracle with gratitude, it sets the tone for the rest of the day. We are inspired — in spirit — life breathed into us. What a gift!

I am grateful to my teachers, who have been equally inspired by that Great Source: Universal Mind, Pure Consciousness. The Tamil word for God is Kadavul, which means to go within. No coincidence there!

The whole purpose of meditation, aka yoga, is to unite with that Source. When you connect first thing in the morning, you are tuning into the Light. You are being recharged at the highest level to go into your day with love and compassion. Yoga brings balance to the body/mind through stretching and releasing stress and tension and revealing a sense of peace and tranquility. Through the practice of yoga, you gradually release attachment to negative influences, including poor choices of food.

The first tenet of yoga is the Sanskrit word Ahimsa, which means reverence for all life, seeing the good in all. I’m vegetarian because of this tenet and the yogic lifestyle I have chosen to follow. Besides being an ethical consideration, a vegetarian diet reduces the risk for chronic diseases such as diabetes, obesity, hypertension, coronary artery disease and some types of cancer. In the 5th century, Hippocrates said: “Make food your medicine and medicine your food.” In the 20th century, Dean Ornish, M.D., has shown that a low-fat, plant-based diet, combined with yoga and meditation can reverse heart disease and slow down, stop or perhaps reverse breast and prostate cancers. His books should be readily available at the library.

Food is fuel for the body. Clean food prepared lovingly and seasoned with herbs and spices that have healing properties is nectar for our human journey. The illnesses we get as senior citizens come from a life of poor diet, lack of movement and stress. We eat on the run. Where are we going? Ninety percent of disease begins in the digestive tract. We eat unconsciously. In yoga training we were given the wonderful advice to “chew our liquids and drink our solids.”

A vegan diet, which does not include dairy, has shown amazing results. I wrote in a previous article about a then-71-year-old woman, who at 47 was diagnosed with breast cancer and enrolled in a research study looking at how low-fat diets affected the disease. She became vegan for the study and experienced a dramatic recovery a few months later. Her cancer stopped spreading and her arthritis pains disappeared. She has remained vegan for 24 years and is in great health. And the best part is that not long after she commited to veganism, she completed her first Ironman triathalon!

The basis for a health-enhancing diet includes whole grains, legumes, fresh fruits, fresh green and yellow vegetables, nuts and seeds (fortified cereals, soy or rice milks assure vitamin and mineral adequacy). This list is full of protein, by the way. Most importantly, drink water and eat watery foods because we are made of water (70 percent).

Two weeks on a raw food diet can relieve arthritis. An easy favorite of mine is: grated carrots, greens, tomatoes, raw cashews (or substitute avocado), olive oil and Bragg’s Aminos or Tamari. And if you have access to sprouts, broccoli sprouts especially, then you are giving your body a royal treat! Green smoothies can be made easily in a blender, for instance, a large bunch of kale, collards, spinach or romaine combined with a little fruit (pineapple, strawberries, mango) with 2 cups of water.

Periodic fasting is both cleansing and healing. When an animal is sick, it fasts and hi-bernates. We can learn a lot from these creatures.

Lately I’ve noticed all the diseases that come from inflammation: Asthma, migraine, arthritis, heart, Alzheimers. I think we’re generally inflamed. Ginger and turmeric are both anti-inflammatory roots and should be a regular part of the diet for optimal health. Ginger is good for the nervous and reproductive systems. Onions purify the blood and I can’t say enough about garlic. Together, garlic, ginger and onions are known as the Trinity roots. These beneficial foods when cooked together amplify their healing effect on the body. Add turmeric and you have a powerful base to mix with vegetables, cooked lentils, rice or beans.

I have received the most wonderful feedback to the columns I have been writing and for that I am so grateful and even more inspired. I shall take a summer break from writing, however the Sholom Park yoga classes will continue on the first Saturday of each month at 9 a.m. Please join us for this sacred practice in the Peace Park on S.W. 80th Avenue, 2.5 miles north of S.R. 200.

Ingrid Crane is a certified yoga instructor, Reiki and Thai massage practitioner and can be reached at 854-7950.