Tag Archives: Thanksgiving

What I am thankful for…

It’s Thanksgiving Eve here in America. I thought I would pause to reflect on what I am thankful for during this time of festivities.

1) My wife. She has travelled all around the world with me and has stuck by me every step of the way on my crazy Yoga path, with my blogging, with my jobs in the mental health profession, and on every other endeavor I have pursued. She has the best sense of humor and is the glue that holds our family together. Not to mention she is a brilliant cook! I love her very much.



2) My mom. She is the reason I moved to Hawai’i. That was one of the bestĀ decisions of my life (although I wouldn’t recommend it for everyone). At 69, she continues to grow younger than me every year. She is breast cancer survivor of 25 years. Her faith and spiritual power make me look like an amateur. This woman can perform miracles! She handily won an art competition with her Picassoesque painting and continues painting as a serious hobby.


3) My teachers. Ray Madigan and Shelley Choy have taken me under their wing and have given me the tools to flourish as a Yoga teacher. With their tutelage, I was able to go head to head with the best in my assessment and come out certified. They have given me wonderful teaching opportunities and have welcomed me with open arms to their studio.

ray and shelley

4) My job. In 2008 on this date before Thanksgiving, I remember finishing my work as a case manager only to come home and read the paper that all the funding had been cut for the program I was working for. I was unemployed soon thereafter. Today, I am gainfully employed and am appreciative of the chance to make a living in Hawai’i helping people with severe mental illness. To avoid any kind of a HIPAA violation, I will instead show a rainbow I photographed during a morning commute to said job.



5) My family. Luke and Toshiko took me in as their son-in-law and we all live in the same big house. To communicate with them you have to shout (because Luke is hard of hearing) and speak a hybrid of Japanese and English (because Toshiko doesn’t speak English that well). This makes for an often hilarious daily adventure. Luke has had a tough year with health issues, but that does not get in his way. He is a retired Master Sergeant from special forces and a retired labor and delivery nurse.

Also, my brothers Mark and David. Mark lives in here in Hawai’i and my brother David lives in New Mexico. Both have given me much support over years. My Dad who lives in New Mexico also gives me wonderful support and guidance.

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6) My Stepdad Tim. I have know him since I was four and he has taken great care of my mom during all of her ups and downs. His sense of humor has gotten us all through tough times. He still makes the best pasta sauce and biscotti from his family’s recipe.



7) B.K.S. Iyengar. He passed this year but has left such a legacy that he is still very alive through his writings and through his teachings. He will go down in history as one of the great men.

guruji with patanjali


Happy Thanksgiving all and thank you very much for doing yoga!

Eat whatever you want during the holiday

holiday feast

It’s that time of year again. The Thanksgiving/Yule tide festivities are breathing down our necks. Now is the time of year we see all the posts on how to survive the holidays if you are on a Paleo dietĀ or some other evidence-of-virtue low caloric intake plan. Panic sets in for many this time of year as is has for me in many Christmas pasts. “I am going to gain a thousand pounds” you say to yourself. So here is my radical thought of the day: eat what ever you feel like eating during holiday time with family and friends.

No I am not going psychotic. It has just been one of those years where I realize how fragile our loved ones can be and how quickly they can be taken away without much notice. Do you want memories of fussing at the dinner table because someone but real butter in your casserole? Or do you want memories of enjoying and being present with your loved ones during what could the last time you would be gathering all at once?

I come from experience. I was on a raw food diet for a time. Many people had to make accommodations for me during that time and it was not a pleasant experience. Come to think of it, I don’t think I was invited over for holiday dinner the next year.

Since then, I have found some sort of enlightenment, and realized I actually enjoy eating good food with my family. So here is my proposal to you: If you have a steady and regular yoga practice, you have my permission to feast with everyone else during the appropriate time. I think that by giving yourself permission to do so, you will have a much better attitude toward the holiday. If you are doing yoga properly, your body will tell you how to offset the large intake of food.

In terms of eating, I often think about the Buddha. He was a serious yogi who starved himself doing extreme acetic practices. He only found enlightenment when he ate a grain of rice that was given to him. He didn’t go overboard with it. He just realized that the practices were holding him back from his true nature.

If you are vegetarian or vegan, stay that way! Just enjoy what is given to you and you can eat and don’t feel guilty if everything isn’t just so. Holidays are sloppy. Families are sloppy. Friends are sloppy. Just use the discipline that you have acquired through your dietary practices to fully enjoy the holidays with a present and clear mind.

And by all means, enjoy your holiday!