Monthly Archives: October 2012

GMOs: what are they and why should we care?

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October 31, 2012

This week’s topic: GMOs: What Are They and Why Should We Care?

until i can figure out how to embed the podomatic player, click here to listen to the podcast.

Interviews:
Jeffrey Smith, founder of Institute for Responsible Technology
Melissa Costello, vegan chef and author of The Karma Chow Ultimate Cookbook
Angelika Tesch, owner of Summerland Produce Co.

Featured Music:
Tranceformation, Roxanne Morganstern
Ramachandra, Sean Johnson & The Wild Lotus Band
Breeze at Dawn, Mirabai Ceiba
Kundalini Rising, Dev Suroop Kaur & Liv Singh

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knowledge is power. and when it comes to the food we eat, knowledge is health.

it was almost a year ago, on this very show, when i’d interviewed pamm larry, grandmother from chico and founder of labelGMOs.org (since renamed carighttoknow.org). she was busy organizing and training volunteers to collect signatures to put an initiative on the november 2012 ballot that had to do with labeling food containing GMOs (genetically-modified organisms).

at the time, i was one of those who believed that not only were genetically-engineered crops developed to make them more resistant to pest infestation and adverse weather conditions, but that they had also been tested and proven to be safe for human consumption. but thanks to the information pamm passed along, i realized that i had been misled, just like everyone else. it turns out that due to insufficient testing, there’s a possibility that GMOs may cause adverse health effects. so until proven otherwise, it makes sense to avoid them as much as possible. but how would i know if what i was eating contained GMOs, especially since most packaged food contains some form of soy and corn, two of the largest GMO crops in the country? that was pamm’s point, exactly.

fast forward to today. the initiative pamm pushed for is now on the ballot:

PROPOSITION 37 – GENETICALLY ENGINEERED FOODS. LABELING. INITIATIVE STATUTE.

and, as expected, it is meeting with resistance from the companies with the most to lose if it passes: monsanto, dupont, dow, BASF, syngenta, pepsi, coca-cola, kraft foods, kellogg’s, and more.

so how do you get voters to vote YES on 37? by informing them about what GMO crops are, what effects they can potentially have on our health and on the environment, and more importantly, that consumers have a choice that they can make, just as long as they’re given the information they need.

which is why i invited jeffrey smith, the author of “genetic roulette: the gamble of our lives” and the filmmaker of the documentary with the same title, to talk about GMOs and the studies made about them.

i also invited melissa costello, vegan chef and author of the new “the karma chow ultimate cookbook“, to talk about how easy it is to cook healthy plant-based meals — because, as it turns out, the majority of the cows, pigs, and chickens sold at the market are raised with feed containing GMO corn. which means they likely have traces of GMO in their meat. eek.

and since many of us have busy lives and may not have the luxury of being able to search for and buy organic and pesticide-free produce, i invited angelika tesch of summerland produce company to talk about her CSA (community-supported agriculture) delivery service.

the songs featured on this show are from albums released this year: david ari leon and peter wolff’s “voice of life”, putumayo’s “world yoga”, mirabai ceiba’s “between the shores of our souls”, and dev suroop kaur and liv singh’s “kundalini rising”.

by the way, the photo shown above is from a postcard from groups involved with spreading awareness about genetically-modified organisms in our food supply: YES on 37, organic consumers association, institute for responsible technology, genetic roulette, and the cornucopia institute.

if nothing else, if  you don’t have time to listen to the entire episode, please watch this short “genetic roulette” trailer:

 

postscript — sadly, proposition 37 did NOT pass, with the NO vote beating the YES, 54% to 46%. and it’s no wonder, given the money the opposition spent to defeat it.

the day after the election, this was posted on the YES on 37 blog:

Yesterday, we showed that there is a food movement in the United States, and it is strong, vibrant and too powerful to stop. We always knew we were the underdogs, and the underdogs nearly took the day. Dirty money and dirty tactics may have won this skirmish, but they will not win the war.

Today, we are more than 4 million votes closer to knowing what’s in our food than when we started. This is a victory and a giant step forward. We are proud of our broad coalition of moms and dads, farmers, nurses, environmentalists, faith and labor leaders who did so much with so few resources to bring us to this point, and we will carry forward.

These results are also a reminder of the corrupting influence of huge multinational corporations on our electoral process. The world’s leading pesticide and junk food companies outspent Yes on 37 by more than 5 to 1, and beginning on October 1, spent about a million dollars a day on a hailstorm of false claims, misrepresentations and fear mongering over five simple words on a label. In the end, they spent enough money to hide the truth from the majority of voters. The food manufacturers are on the wrong side of history; they should not fight their customers, but join them.

Today is not the end of our campaign to secure our fundamental right to know what’s in our food. It is a strong beginning, and we thank the millions of Californians who stood with us. We are proud of our grassroots movement, our 10,000 hardworking volunteers, and the diverse coalition of health, faith, labor and consumer groups that stood with us. We will keep fighting for consumer choice, fairness and transparency in our food system. And we will prevail.

To Victory!

empowered women

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October 24, 2012

This week’s topic: Empowered Women

until i can figure out how to embed the podomatic player, click here to listen to the podcast.

Interviews:
Kate McIntyre Clere, producer/director of “Yogawoman”
Susan Nichols, founder of Yogitoes
Jo Tastula, yoga instructor and creator of “High Vibrations Yoga”

Featured Music:
Lokah Samastah (Sean Dinsmore’s Happy Free Mix), Sharon Gannon
Grandmother Moon, Sacred Earth
Better For It, Lisbeth Scott
Where, Lisbeth Scott

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i’m not sure if i should blame today’s technical difficulties on the upcoming mercury retrograde, or on the fact that i ran into the studio at the stroke of 1pm and didn’t get a chance to get settled down before going live.

or that right as i was trying to get used to the mic and mic stand that someone had left by the soundboard (the one i usually use was moved to the other side of the room and i didn’t have time to swap them), i heard a strange noise coming from the stack of fruit boxes on the table next to me… and realized something was MOVING in one of those boxes! oh my god. was it a small dog? or a rat? WHAT THE HECK WAS IT??

just then, another DJ walked into the room and started moving the boxes around while i was interviewing my first guest. it turned out that he had brought over his pets because his apartment was being fumigated. and right as he was about to walk out of the studio to grab lunch, he introduced me to the rest of his family: auggie, the red boa constrictor, and sam and ellis, the turtles.

just great. he left me alone with a gigantic snake and assured me that he wouldn’t bite.  even more reason why i didn’t venture to the other side of the room to swap microphones!

which was quite ironic, considering how the show was about empowered women and i was feeling totally powerless, at least at the start.

speaking of empowered women, i had a fun time talking with my empowered female guests:

kate mcintyre clere, one of the producer/directors of the new “yogawoman” film, opening here in LA on october 26th (it opened in NYC last week and will be opening across the country later this year).

susan nichols, founder and CEO of yogitoes, who will be hosting the “divine female” beauty event at their new rexperience lab on october 25th-28th; it’s also a fundraiser for breast cancer awareness.

jo tastula, a yoga teacher here in LA who’s produced a yoga and meditation DVD, “high vibrations yoga”, complete with stunning scenery and perfectly matched music composed by lisbeth scott.

musical interludes on the show came from the yet-to-be-released soundtrack from “yogawoman” as well as a track from “om sweet om“, lisbeth scott’s companion CD to jo’s DVD. i also added a track that was a free download on lisbeth scott’s website. much appreciated!

here’s the trailer for “yogawoman”:

after the show, i found out that the recording i’d made had all kinds of sound issues – not only was the mic input less than desirable, but the music feed was equally distorted. arghhhhhhh! but thanks to audio edit tools, i replaced the corrupted music sections with the pristine versions, which should make listening to this episode a lot more palatable.

by the way, jo was right about the snake. here’s what i found under “18 omens of good fortune” on the world of feng shui website:

Meeting Up With A Snake

Is another sign of good fortune. Whether in your garden, inside the home, or out trekking, if you meet up with a snake, it means something or someone important is coming into your life. Never ever try to harm or kill a snake when confronted with one. The more poisonous the snake, the better is the good fortune. The king cobra is described as a snake of extreme good fortune. Whatever you do, never kill a snake as they are also associated with some spiritual presence.

so there you go.  i’ll be waiting for that stroke of good fortune to come my way… soon, i hope!

it’s just yoga

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October 17, 2012

This week’s topic: It’s Just Yoga

until i can figure out how to embed the podomatic player, click here to listen to the podcast.

Interviews:
Brian Leaf, yoga instructor and author of “Misadventures of a Garden State Yogi”
Vanda Mikoloski, yoga instructor and comedian
Bryan Kest, yoga instructor

Featured Music:
Hey Ma Durga (Compassion), Sean Johnson & The Wild Lotus Band
Kali Durge, Michael H. Cohen
Saraswati Mata, Daphne Tse
Saraswati Bhagavati, Dave Stringer & Spring Groove

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sometimes we take our yoga practice too seriously.

some of us think of it as a religion where we need to commit our yamas and niyamas to memory and doggedly follow them if we want any hope of reaching enlightenment.

or we may think of it as a phys ed class where we’re constantly being observed by our teachers and graded based on how well we do our poses.

others think of it as a competitive sport where those who can perform the most complex backbending balance poses win fame and fortune.

and none of that is true; in fact, if your perception of yoga is any or all of the above,  all it will do is bring about stress and worry, which is NOT what practicing yoga should be all about.

so i decided to invite three yogis who clearly have their heads screwed on straight when it comes to yoga:

– brian leaf, author of “misadventures of a garden state yogi“, a light-hearted look at his yogic journey

vanda mikoloski, a yoga instructor and comedian who always finds a way to find the humor in our yoga practice

bryan kest, a well-known yoga instructor whose biggest gift to yogis everywhere is the concept of donation-based yoga classes. and not focusing on the perfect yoga pose — because god knows any pose i do will never be perfect!

since the show fell during the nine-day celebration of navaratri — a time when the divine mother is worshipped in her different forms, i selected chants that honored durga, her warrior aspect who destroys all our impurities, vices and defects, and saraswati, the goddess of wisdom, music, arts, and science. lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and prosperity, is her third form that is also revered at this time, but since i’d devoted all of last week’s music to her, you can listen to that episode here.

here’s the promo clip for brian’s book:

if you’ve never heard of kripalu before, here’s the link to their website: kripalu center for yoga and health

vanda and i talked about the humor of yogadawg during her segment — here’s the link to his website. if you’ve never heard of him before, it’s about time you did! my itchy third eye

we also talked about the inappropriate yoga guy whose videos went viral a handful of years ago. again, if you’ve never heard of him, you owe it to yourself to check this out:

and if you want to find out if bryan kest will be teaching a workshop near you (unless you live in LA and can easily get to his studio in santa monica), check out his workshops and retreats page. (i hope i gave fair enough warning about bryan’s somewhat spicy language during his interview; if not, my apologies!)

bryan also made mention of vipassana meditation; here’s a website with more information about what it is and where you can take a free course: vipassana meditation

and yes, i know; the word i was struggling to read during the show intro was in-ex-haus-ti-ble. i have no clue why i couldn’t seem to pronounce it at the time… but i just did! 🙂

the business of yoga

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October 10, 2012

This week’s topic: The Business of Yoga

until i can figure out how to embed the podomatic player, click here to listen to the podcast.

Interviews:
Michael Thomas Robinson, yoga instructor and financial planner
Stuart Hanna, owner of Mission Street Yoga and founder of Dharma Tribe
Justin Michael Williams, yoga instructor and founder of SketchbookLA

Featured Music:
Maha Lakshmi, Brenda McMorrow
He Maha Lakshmi, David Newman
Lakshmi, Girish
Hari Har, Snatam Kaur

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with the presidential elections coming up in less than a month and all the talk about the economy, i thought it would be appropriate to talk about how to bring about abundance and prosperity.  after all, i’m sure there have been times when we’d wished we had more money to do what we’ve always wanted to do. in my case, it’s to travel the world, take more workshops with highly-regarded yoga teachers, and maybe even finally sign up for a yoga teacher training program, even if i keep insisting that i’ll eventually be the only person in LA without a TT certificate…

but how does one make that happen? it is by merely posting pictures on a vision board and wishing that they will manifest themselves?

i gathered a trio of knowledgeable yogis for this week’s show:

– michael thomas robinson is a yoga teacher and former yoga studio owner who’s been a financial planner for over 15 years

– stuart hanna is a yoga teacher, owner of mission street yoga, and founder of dharma tribe, a studio management software package

justin michael williams is a yoga teacher and founder of sketchbookLA, a social media marketing agency

so what was the takeaway from our conversation? that to be successful, we need to plan, organize, and promote. and be specific about what it is that we want to achieve.  for more details on how to do that, you’ll just have to listen to the podcast 🙂

all the music on the show are chants for abundance and prosperity. three of them are to lakshmi, the hindu goddess of wealth and prosperity (and who couldn’t use some of that these days?). the last one, hari har, is a kundalini mantra suggested by guru dass khalsa during a late-night facebook chat. he said: “hari har opens one to the flow of the universe’s creative and manifesting power.” that deserves a rousing sat nam!

speaking of lakshmi, i picked up a pendant of the goddess of prosperity (pictured above) from manoj chalam at a recent yoga festival after he suggested i wear it to bring abundance into my life. after all, when it comes to statues of hindu deities, he’s the expert!

here’s a video i found of one of his talks:

i’ve been wearing lakshmi’s energy around my neck ever since, and hopefully, this episode will share some of that with you. om shreem maha lakshmiyei swaha!

be the change

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October 3, 2012

This week’s topic: Be the Change

until i can figure out how to embed the podomatic player, click here to listen to the podcast.

Interviews:
Jocelyn Kay Lee, creator, director, and performer at “Wee Yogis Play”
Thea Mercouffer, filmmaker of “Rock the Boat – Saving America’s Wildest River”
Aaron Paley, co-founder and Executive Producer of CicLAvia

Featured Music:
Be the Change (The Story of Mahatma Gandhi), MC Yogi (audio from YouTube video)
Just Believe, Kaylee Smiles
Namaste, Kaylee Smiles
One River, Benjy Wertheimer & John de Kadt
Let’s Talk About Occupation (We Are The 99%) Official Music Video, Guido Corleone (audio from YouTube video)

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it’s now october, national yoga month is over, and after five weeks of nothing but interviews about yoga, my initial thought was to have guests who were involved with anything other than yoga on the show…

so i searched my email inbox as well as my facebook feed for ideas. but since half of my messages/feed are about yoga and the other half are about everything else, it was almost inevitable that i’d find something yoga-related that i REALLY wanted to mention. and, in this case, it was 143rd anniversary of mahatma gandhi’s birthday on october 2nd and the gandhi-inspired “be the change” video that MC yogi had just released.

speaking of anniversaries and change, the first anniversary of the occupy LA movement was on october 1st, so i also wanted to share the video guido corleone (and yes, it’s a pseudonym) posted in honor of the occasion.

there was an email i’d received from george wolfe of LA river expeditions that said: “This Thursday, October 4th, is the LA Premiere of an awesome new documentary— all about the LA River and its revitalization, as well as other important issues related to how we use our steadily shrinking water resources…” since i was fortunate enough to have actually paddled a kayak up and down a section of the river with george’s expedition group, i reached out to him, and he put me in touch with the filmmaker of “rock the boat“, thea mercouffer. who also happens to be his wife.

i knew that i was going to be riding my bike at cicLAvia this coming sunday, october 7th, and i knew that many of my westside friends still had NO idea what this uber-awesome bike/walk/dance/play event was all about. so i contacted the cicLAvia PR people and they set me up with aaron paley, one of the original people responsible for making it happen in the first place.

with the conscious life expo opening near LAX this weekend for a three-day run, i reached out to the organizers for an interview; unfortunately, they were in the midst of event prep work and had to decline my request. but as if divine intervention were looking out for me, a message landed in my inbox about “wee yogis play“, the first-ever yoga musical for kids. it turned out that a good number of the performers in the musical are yoga teachers i know and/or have heard about, so i immediately contacted them and got jocelyn kay lee on the show.

i added some music from “wee yogis play” and the title track from benjy wertheimer and john de kadt’s  “one river” album, and boom — we have a show!

of course, i didn’t count on the killradio.org website being down while my show was supposed to air live. so the only person on the show who knew what was going on was yours truly. i suppose worse things could’ve happened.

as for the show IOU’s, i.e., the links to ticket purchase sites, here they are:

“wee yogis play” at the magicopolis theatre on saturday and sunday, oct 13th-14th 5pm: indiegogo

“rock the boat” at the downtown independent theater on thursday, oct 4th 7pm: brown paper tickets

and here’s the link to the “hungry for change” film: FREE online screener

i also mentioned the wrong url for my podcast site. it’s ayogist.podomatic.com NOT podcast.podomatic.com — you’d think i’d be able to say it in my sleep by now!

finally, i searched the internet and found out there was no one named guido corleone in “the godfather”. shows you how bad i am with movie trivia… which is why this show is called “yoga chat” and not “movie chat” 🙂