Tag Archives: ny times

Daddy, is yoga Hindu?

NY Times report on the Hindu American Foundation reclaiming project.

Hindu Group Stirs a Debate Over Yoga’s Soul

By PAUL VITELLO
Published: November 27, 2010

Yoga is practiced by about 15 million people in the United States, for reasons almost as numerous — from the physical benefits mapped in brain scans to the less tangible rewards that New Age journals call spiritual centering. Religion, for the most part, has nothing to do with it.

But a group of Indian-Americans has ignited a surprisingly fierce debate in the gentle world of yoga by mounting a campaign to acquaint Westerners with the faith that it says underlies every single yoga style followed in gyms, ashrams and spas: Hinduism.

The campaign, labeled “Take Back Yoga,” does not ask yoga devotees to become Hindu, or instructors to teach more about Hinduism. The small but increasingly influential group behind it, the Hindu American Foundation, suggests only that people become more aware of yoga’s debt to the faith’s ancient traditions.

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Yoga Culture Part 2: Skin Infections

Listen up yoga peeps:

New York Times article revisits the old tale of workout warts galore…  Flip flops in showers, wipe your exercise equipment etc.  But what about completely unregulated yoga environments where a barefoot is mandatory and science project props from 1999 are as ubiquitous as incense and om?  Be sure inner peace is all you get at the…

Be Sure Exercise Is All You Get at the Gym

By JANE E. BRODY NY Times Published: August 2, 2010

When you go to the gym, do you wash your hands before and after using the equipment? Bring your own regularly cleaned mat for floor exercises? Shower with antibacterial soap and put on clean clothes immediately after your workout? Use only your own towels, razors, bar soap, water bottles?

If you answered “no” to any of the above, you could wind up with one of the many skin infections that can spread like wildfire in athletic settings. In June, the National Athletic Trainers’ Association, known as N.A.T.A., issued a position paper on the causes, prevention and treatment of skin diseases in athletes that could just as well apply to anyone who works out in a communal setting, be it a school, commercial gym or Y.

The authors pointed out that “skin infections in athletes are extremely common” and account for more than half the outbreaks of infectious diseases that occur among participants in competitive sports. And if you think skin problems are minor, consider what happened to Kyle Frey, a 21-year-old junior and competitive wrestler at Drexel University in Philadelphia.

Mr. Frey noticed a pimple on his arm last winter but thought little of it. He competed in a match on a Saturday, but by the next morning the pimple had grown to the size of his biceps and had become very painful.

His athletic trainer sent him straight to the emergency room, where the lesion was lanced and cultured. Two days later, he learned he had MRSA, the potentially deadly staphylococcus infection that is resistant to most antibiotics.

Mr. Frey spent five days in the hospital, where the lesion was surgically cleaned and stitched and treated with antibiotics that cleared the infection. He said in an interview that he does not know how he acquired MRSA: “The wrestling mat might have been contaminated, or I wrestled with someone who had the infection.”

If it could happen to Mr. Frey, who said he has always been health-conscious in the gym and careful about not sharing his belongings, it could happen to you.

The Risks

Recreational athletes as well as participants in organized sports are prone to fungal, viral and bacterial skin infections. Sweat, abrasion and direct or indirect contact with the lesions and secretions of others combine to make every athlete’s skin vulnerable to a host of problems. While MRSA may be the most serious skin infection, athlete’s foot, jock itch, boils, impetigo, herpes simplex and ringworm, among others, are not exactly fun or attractive.

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NY Times: on the 2010 Kumbh Mela

Taking a Sacred Plunge, One Wave of Humanity at a Time

By JIM YARDLEY and HARI KUMAR
Published: April 14, 2010

HARIDWAR, India — Over the bridge they came, Hindu holy men by the tens of thousands, the most devout naked and dusted with sacramental powder, marching toward the bathing pool in the Ganges where the water is considered holiest on this most propitious of days.

Shouting and singing, waving tridents or spears, the naked mystics, or naga sadhus, were granted the first plunge.

Then came the gurus and swamis, wrapped in saffron robes, a few shaded by beaded parasols. One swami was delivered into the water on the shoulders of his disciples. For 20 minutes, they frolicked, as other pilgrims watched from nearby rooftops.

And then time was up. The police tweeted their whistles and began nudging the group out of the sacred water. There were still untold thousands of holy men waiting to take a dip.

Wednesday was the culmination of the Hindu religious festival known as the Kumbh Mela, a staggering outpouring of humanity that also represents a staggering logistical challenge.

Since January, tens of millions of pilgrims have arrived in this city by train, plane, bus or foot for the privilege of bathing in the Ganges on certain auspicious dates. On Wednesday alone, 10 million people were estimated to have entered the water. The crowds are so massive that safety is a serious concern.

Not least is the challenge of managing the rival sects of holy men, the self-described defenders of the Hindu religion for whom the Kumbh Mela is both a sacred ritual and a demonstration of their status.

In years past, they have bickered with each other, or with the government, arguing over issues like which group should be allowed to bathe first or whether their photographs could be taken during the holy dip.

“They are very egoistic,” said Anand Bardhan, the administrator overseeing the Kumbh. “One moment they suddenly become angry and the next moment they will shower lots of affection. You need to understand their nature.”

This year, the police assigned a special officer as a liaison to the various sects who helped negotiate a consensus on the bathing schedule. The first in the water this year were followers of the order known as the Niranjani.

But tragedy struck Wednesday morning. The police say the Juna sect was beginning its procession toward the Ganges when one of their vehicles hit several people in the crowds. People panicked and stampeded. Seven people were killed, though it is unclear if they died from the accident or the stampede.

Leaders of the Juna canceled their procession, instead choosing to bathe at a different spot on the Ganges, and blamed the authorities for failing to adequately clear their route to the river.

Mahant Hari Giri, general secretary of the Juna, said that leaders decided it would be inappropriate to resume their march through the city but that the group had not boycotted the ritual, as some had reported.

“It was not possible to take the whole procession,” he said. “But we have not boycotted the holy bath. We did take a dip in the Ganges.”

The Kumbh Mela derives from Hindu mythology, which holds that gods and demons struggled over a pitcher, or kumbh, containing the drink of immortality. As the gods raced toward heaven, drops of the sacred nectar spilled out onto four locations on the river: Allahabad, Ujjaink, Nashik and Haridwar. Today, the Kumbh Mela is held every three years, rotating among the four cities, meaning that each hosts every 12 years.

Tucked in the foothills of the Himalayas, Haridwar is a challenging place to host tens of millions of people. The Kumbh Mela is conducted in the middle of the city, and many pilgrims insist on taking their dip in the holiest spot, known as Har Ki Pauri, which is roughly the size of three Olympic swimming pools.

Authorities estimated that roughly 100,000 people an hour entered the water at Har Ki Pauri on Tuesday and Wednesday. Many pilgrims believe that a dip in this spot on the appointed day will allow them to break the cycle of reincarnation.

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Mind. A Dream Interpretation: Tuneups for the Brain

Published: November 9, 2009 at NYTimes

It’s snowing heavily, and everyone in the backyard is in a swimsuit, at some kind of party: Mom, Dad, the high school principal, there’s even an ex-girlfriend. And is that Elvis, over by the piñata?

Uh-oh.

Dreams are so rich and have such an authentic feeling that scientists have long assumed they must have a crucial psychological purpose. To Freud, dreaming provided a playground for the unconscious mind; to Jung, it was a stage where the psyche’s archetypes acted out primal themes. Newer theories hold that dreams help the brain to consolidate emotional memories or to work though current problems, like divorce and work frustrations.

Yet what if the primary purpose of dreaming isn’t psychological at all?

 

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Harvest Season

…Is just around the corner in the mountains of sunny California.  What the NY Times did not mention in their recent article on the big bad Mexican drug cartel firestarters is that it ain’t just the “illegals” enjoying the fertile soil and sunshine for growing purple sticky punge.  Year round, but mostly during harvest season, scores of people from all walks of life head to the hills to work on both LEGAL and ILLEGAL farms.  It is so common that it’ll be mentioned on the radio (“hey trimmers, this one’s for you”) and local businesses stock up on supplies (use your imagination).  There is a sense of community, with pilgrims returning year after year, some staying on to help grow the next season’s crops or maybe starting farms of their own.  Sure, the money is a factor (it beats most desk jobs in more ways than one), but also the many gatherings, the return to nature, and the meeting of like-minded individuals lend to what many would call a “lifestyle”.

No doubt things can go wrong as in any situation.  In this case, a campfire lit by those “believed to be low-level workers for a Mexican drug cartel” sparked a 90,000-acre wildfire.  Yikes!

ebeans

NY Times: New Symbol of Unhealed Congo: Male Rape Victims

New Symbol of Unhealed Congo: Male Rape Victims
NY Times By JEFFREY GETTLEMAN
Published: August 4, 2009

“According to Oxfam, Human Rights Watch, United Nations officials and several Congolese aid organizations, the number of men who have been raped has risen sharply in recent months, a consequence of joint Congo-Rwanda military operations against rebels that have uncapped an appalling level of violence against civilians.”

“…aid organizations say that the military maneuvers have provoked horrific revenge attacks, with more than 500,000 people driven from their homes, dozens of villages burned and hundreds of villagers massacred, including toddlers thrown into open fires.”

“…Castrations also seem to be increasing, with more butchered men showing up at major hospitals.”

“One mother said a United Nations peacekeeper raped her 12-year-old boy. A United Nations spokesman said that he had not heard that specific case but that there were indeed a number of new sexual abuse allegations against peacekeepers in Congo and that a team was sent in late July to investigate.”

“‘I understand the world feels guilty about what happened in Rwanda in 1994,’ said Denis Mukwege, the lead doctor at Panzi Hospital, referring to Rwanda’s genocide. ‘But shouldn’t the world feel guilty about what’s happening in Congo today?'”

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While reading this article, top news on the Today Show is Paula Abdul’s leaving American Idol and Susan Boyle’s amazing new makeover.

I moved it with my mind

Apparently, it just takes practice.  Go figure.  Researchers are training monkeys to move stuff with their minds alone…

Researchers Train Minds to Move Matter

“The research, which was carried out in monkeys but is expected to apply to humans, involves a fundamental redesign of brain-machine experiments.” read more