Category Archives: Environment

interviews with those saving the environment

12 things


December 12, 2012

This week’s topic: 12 Things

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

Tara Judelle, yoga instructor
Eoin Finn, yoga instructor
Elena Brower, yoga instructor

Featured Music:
Sound Ambassador, DJ Drez
Baba, Mahadev
One in the One, Gina Sala
Meaning, Wah!

* * * * * * * *

to celebrate today’s auspicious 12/12/12 date, i’ve invited three of my favorite yoga teachers to grace the show: tara judelle, eoin finn, and elena brower. they’re world travelers and have acquired a wealth of knowledge about themselves, the people they’ve met, and the world we live in. i asked them to talk about the 12 things — words of wisdom, lessons, thoughts, values — they hold close to their hearts. it turned out to be a very valuable soul-searching exercise that made us aware of what’s truly important to us, especially as we approach that mysterious end of the mayan calendar on 12/21/12…

… more on the episode to follow…


’tis the season for giving


December 5, 2012

This week’s topic: ‘Tis the Season for Giving

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

Max Kanter, Volunteer Coordinator at Food Forward
Sarah Steffen, Marketing Coordinator at Habitat for Humanity, San Fernando / Santa Clarita Valleys
Nancy Shrodes, Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator at Heal the Bay

Featured Music:
Sat Nam The Grace Within You, Gurutrang Singh Khalsa
Hari’s Rapture (Radha Ramana Hari Bol), Jai Uttal
Ayodhya Vasi Ram, Gaura Vani & As Kindred Spirits
You Gotta Move, Miten & Deva Premal

* * * * * * * *

help others fortune

(the fortune i found inside my fortune cookie earlier today — very apropos, don’t you think?)

if your mailbox looks like mine, especially during the holiday season, you find it overflowing with bills, mail order catalogs, and letters from nonprofits asking for donations. basically, they’re all saying the same thing: please send money.

unfortunately for many of those nonprofits, they often find themselves at the bottom of the priority list, behind paying bills and buying holiday gifts. so what can you do if you want to help but just don’t have enough money left over?

you volunteer. it costs you nothing — save for your time and energy — and it can actually be pretty fun, especially if you find yourself volunteering with a group of like-minded people who want to make a difference.

so for this episode, i reached out to nonprofits who accomplish the bulk of their mission through the work provided by volunteers:

food forward: volunteers pick fruit which is then distributed to food pantries and organizations helping those in need

habitat for humanity of the san fernando / santa clarity valleys: volunteers help build homes for veterans and low-income families

heal the bay: volunteers help with beach clean-up and/or become environmental advocates

and while we’re on the topic of banding together to accomplish a common goal, the music on the show all come from live recordings from yoga gatherings: sat nam fest, bhakti fest, chant4change, and omega ecstatic chant.

i hope this episode inspires you to go out, roll up your sleeves, and have a great time making the world a better place!

be the change


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.

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)

* * * * * * * *

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 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 NOT — 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” 🙂

yoga and social awareness


September 26, 2012

This week’s topic: Yoga and Social Awareness

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

Johannes Fisslinger, president of Yoga Health Foundation
Julie Kundert, yoga instructor and founder of The Ahimsa Festival
David Ezekiel, yoga instructor and founder of Yoga Conservation Alliance

Featured Music:
Nirvana Shatakam (Shivo’ham), Blue Spirit Wheel
Gurudeva Bol, Jaya Lakshmi
Eastern Promise, Dave Cipriani
Jaya Sita Ram, Geoffrey Gordon

* * * * * * * *

i’m on deadline with the magazine, and free time is a precious commodity i don’t have at the moment. so the blog post will be delayed until tomorrow. but it’s coming, i promise.

by the way, i’ve chosen this photo because i’m in it. and from what i’ve been told, i’m easy to find 🙂

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

most yoga students think that yoga is all about the union of mind, body, and spirit — as in one’s mind with one’s body and one’s spirit.  but it’s more than just that; yoga is the union of one’s mind/body/spirit with that of every other being, whether it be a loved one, a neighbor, or someone clear across town. or even across the world. it’s right there in patanjali’s yoga sutras. want proof? click here to read more about it.

since this is the last week of yoga month, i thought it’d be appropriate to talk about how we can go about uniting ourselves with the rest of the world through social awareness.

i reached out to johannes fisslinger, one of the forces behind national yoga month and yoga recess, whose mission it is to bring yoga to children in their classrooms. i also invited julie kundert to talk about the upcoming ahimsa festival she produced to promote awareness about domestic violence and to raise funds to support the valley cares family justice center. and since all beings aren’t just humans but also all living creatures, i asked david ezekiel to talk about the yoga conservation alliance he created to support wildlife conservation.

by the way, many yoga studios around the country are offering a FREE week of yoga for new students. click here to find out more about this offer that ends in early october.

the ahimsa festival will be held at the park plaza hotel in los angeles on sunday, october 14th. click here to buy tickets or to make a donation.

julie kundert’s a yoga teacher but i forgot to ask her where she teaches, so i looked up her facebook page. you can catch her at various places in the conejo valley: yogaworks in westlake village, bodysattva in thousand oaks, and yoga upstairs and agoura power of yoga in agoura hills.

david ezekiel teaches all over the place, too, but on the westside: updog yoga in west hollywood, corepower yoga and maha yoga in brentwood, and santa monica power yoga in santa monica.

the music is an eclectic compilation from CDs i’d picked up along the way – at bhakti fest, from the musicians themselves, or both.

in keeping with the theme of awareness of the plight of others, i wanted to share a facebook fundraiser for a beloved brother in the kirtan community, geoffrey gordon:

As many of you may know, our beloved Geoffrey left his body on September 4th at 9:40 p.m. from a massive heart attack.

Geoffrey was returning home to Santa Fe from Sedona, where he had just received a standing ovation for one of his most exceptional percussion solos. Geoffrey was in a state of bliss throughout the entire weekend and shared his light and love with everyone.

We will miss him deeply.

Contributions to assist in the funeral and memorial expenses and to subsidize other financial needs can be given to his wife, Sandra Gordon, in memory of Geoffrey Gordon.

in his honor, i’ve chosen to end the show with a song from his album, breath of rama. one more beautiful voice has joined the great kirtan band in heaven.

(please excuse the hoarse voice and scattered brain… i was coming down with a cold and was feeling under the weather when this show was recorded.)

olympic fever!


August 15, 2012

This week’s topic: Olympic Fever!

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

Asuka Hisa, Director of Education at Santa Monica Museum of Art
Jessica Hooper, yoga instructor
Shari Goodhartz, yoga instructor

Featured Music:
Hanuman 2, Girish
Hanuman Baba (Dub Farm Remix), Krishna Das
Hanuman Jump, Jai Uttal
Hanuman Chalisa, Bhagavan Das

* * * * * * *  *

the seventeen-or-so days of the 2012 london summer olympics are now history. the US athletes did exceedingly well and came away with more medals than any other country, with the women athletes earning more medals than the men. girls rule!!

thanks to a few slow days at work, i was able to sit at my desk and watch the livestream feed of the cycling, swimming, diving, water polo, beach volleyball, soccer, and gymnastics events. and when i missed those, i’d tune in to the late night replay to catch up on the news so i could keep up with the ongoing conversations on facebook and twitter 🙂

so with a hat tip to the games of the 30th olympiad, i thought it fun to have an olympics-inspired episode. i ran down the list of events that caught my interest… and ended up with cycling and training with balls.  and to add a bit of controversy, i threw in the topic of yoga as an olympic sport.

i rounded up an eclectic group of guests:

– asuka hisa of the santa monica museum of art who talked about this weekend’s cause for creativity: tour da arts bike event at bergamot station

– jessica hooper, a yoga tune up instructor who uses balls (among other props) to help students get more in tune with their bodies while stretching and toning

– shari goodhartz, a yoga teacher who specializes in yoga therapy and philosophy

and while the only exposure i had to the long jump and high jump events was through the nightly news recaps, i thought it would be cute to imagine hanuman in his own olympic event — because, as we know, no one would even come close to achieving the distances he can! the hanuman-centered music selections were from girish, krishna das, jai uttal, and bhagavan das, gold medal wallahs in the kirtan world (if there were such a thing!)

for those new to the bike community in los angeles, these were the organizations asuka  mentioned in her segment:

– LA county bicycle coalition – LACBC works to build a better, more bike-able Los Angeles County. LACBC is the only nonprofit, membership-based organization working exclusively for the millions of bicyclists in Los Angeles County.

– C.I.C.L.E. – We are a Los Angeles based not-for-profit helping riders of all ages and skill levels use bicycles for everyday transportation. We believe that bicycling can improve our health, build community, save us money, and protect our environment …all while being fun!

– santa monica spoke – As a local chapter of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition, (LACBC) we are dedicated to improving biking in the City of Santa Monica. We are a community based group working to make Santa Monica more sustainable, and a better place to live, bike, walk, work and play.

– cicLAvia – CicLAvia makes the streets safe for people to walk, skate, play and ride a bike. There are activities along the route. Shop owners and restaurants are encouraged to open their doors to people along the CicLAvia. The next event will be on Sunday, October 7th.

here’s the link to the FREE jazz event located right around the corner from bergamot station: jazz on the lawn

this was the article shari and i referred to during her segment: Should Yoga Be An Olympic Sport?

i hope you have as much fun listening to this episode as we had talking with each other!

living sustainably


July 18, 2012

This week’s topic: Living Sustainably

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

Rishi Kumar, founder of The Growing Home
Ryan Mlynarczyk, director of “Within Reach”
Mandy Creighton, producer of “Within Reach”
Rob McFarland, co-founder of HoneyLove

Featured Music:
Hara Hara Shankara, Steve Ross
Jaya Sita Rama, Wade Imre Morissette
I Am, Guru Singh with Seal & Friends
Mukunda Madhava Govinda Bol, C.C. White

* * * * * * * *

since this is a weekly show, I try to keep things simple by sticking to one recipe:

– find 3 guests.
– add 4 songs.
– throw in a few random items to spice things up.
– toss gently.
– serve.

while getting dressed this past monday morning, i realized i hadn’t reached out to anyone, nor had anyone reached out to me (that i could remember, anyway) for this week’s show. needless to say, i had already gone through my stack of flyers for last week’s show and was totally stumped. i considered taking the week off; after all, i had done a show on the 4th of july holiday, so didn’t that earn me time off? besides, i’m the boss of me, right?  🙂

ah, but no such luck. the obsessive-compulsive side of me insisted that i hunker down and find some guests, whatever it takes to do it. i fired up my computer and started researching possibles.

so the question was: how do i  find out what’s new and exciting in town? by checking out what my friends were up to, of course.

i scanned my news feed.

hmmm. alice strong (a fellow cyclist) just commented on a post on the growing home’s facebook page, so i checked it out. rishi kumar, the growing home‘s founder, has been growing fruits and vegetables in his backyard and is now offering workshops to other aspiring backyard farmers.  i reached out to him and he said yes! so that’s one…

joe linton (another cyclist; in fact, one of the organizers of ciclavia) joined the facebook event “within reach movie LA premiere“. could it be another bikey movie? i checked it out and found out that not only was about two people touring the country by bike, but it was about their search for sustainable communities. do i see a trend here? i left some messages and hoped for the best.

i spotted george langworthy (co-director/producer of the documentary “vanishing of the bees“) on my online chat list and asked him if he could be interviewed. no response. he was probably busy…

come tuesday morning, ryan mlynarczyk from “within reach” got back to me. he was going to call in AND get his co-star, mandy creighton, to call in, too! and now i had two…

george eventually got back to me; unfortunately, he couldn’t be on the show. but he suggested i call rob and chelsea mcfarland of honeylove; they’re advocates for urban beekeeping. i did as he said, left messages and waited. finally, rob responded and said he was available. and that makes three!

once i had the guests, the music was relatively easy. i had counted around SIX kirtans happening around town this coming weekend, so i knew i’d be able to find tracks from at least four of them. and i did — there’s something from steve ross, wade imre morissette (thanks to bhakti babe for sharing!), guru singh, and c.c. white.

as it turns out, all my guests had something to promote on the show:

the growing home has their one-year anniversary party and fundraiser on saturday, july 28th.

the “within reach” premiere will be held at the LA eco village on tuesday, july 24th, with other screenings scheduled in other cities. here’s the trailer from their website:

honeylove will be celebrating national honey bee awareness day on saturday, august 18th, and will be hosting workshops, too. check their schedule here.

overall, i’d have to say that i learned a lot during the show and it’s inspired me to look into finding ways to live more sustainably. i hope you get as much out of it as i did!