"Let Me Be The First To Say…"
water based oil on canvas, 16" x 20"
original photographs by Juan Rubiano (juanrubiano.com) and Randi at tankgirlsrs on flickr.com
When I started this project, there was a lot of intensity going on in my life. My neighbor was paralyzed in a car wreck, my mother in-law-was dying, people were getting pepper sprayed at U.C. Davis for non-violently protesting, and 1% of the world’s Bengal tiger population was killed in a single incident. 18 tigers were dead. The fact that 18 tigers represents 1% of the world population of Bengal tigers hits me hard.
How did we get here? A Vietnam veteran with PTSD was making a horrific statement. It was like watching a Buddhist monk set himself on fire. It was like watching children turn themselves into bombs. There’s a special soft part of my heart that was breaking watching this sadness unfold in the world.
I have first hand experience with the frustration of caring for exotic animals and thinking no one else does it right. I know what that guy was thinking when he used his self-immolation like a weapon to rage against the machine. And I’m here to show the world community how this works. I want to start a conversation about living with big cats because right here in Southern Illinois the population of cougars is growing.
Well, who am I? Over the last 20 years I’ve rescued more than 30 parrots. Different birds from all over the globe are sitting in my house every moment of every day wondering what I’m going to do next. Even the smallest ones have a lifespan of 20 years. The largest ones live as long as humans do. Supporting them involves a lot of pressure over a long, long period of time. Eventually, a person realizes she has to trust other people. My largest parrots will live longer than I will and their populations are facing the same problems tigers are.
Before social networking, connecting with like minds on the internet was still difficult but I caught a break. Dr. Harrison, an avian veterinarian who sells organic birdfood worldwide commissioned me to simplify the message on his website. I put his ideas in a point of purchase booklet he provided to avian veterinarians, big aviaries, and bird owners who were already on the same page. It was part of the wave that changed the way the whole pet food industry talked about feeding peoples’ pets—and not just birds. All kinds of pets benefit as humans get wiser. So I learned a valuable lesson about what one person can do. But it’s not just one person doing it. It is people cooperating that gets things done!
The system for protecting tigers is already in place. There are some non-profit organizations projects that are doing things right. Look around. The work of Dr. Alan Rabinowitz really shines. He is the “Indiana Jones of wildlife conservation.” I heard his story on Krista Tippett’s National Public Radio show called “On Being.” The interview is titled “The Voice of the Animals.” Under comments on that page you’ll find a link to my 18 Tigers Art Show. Not because what I am doing is so special but because the whole world is looking for ideas to solve the complex problem of tiger extinction and now is time to do more than talk. Looking at the problem leads to understanding it. Understanding leads to action. Action leads to hope. There is hope. You are here at this very moment because you want to help make things right. Many other artists have become a part of the show because they want to help make things right.
In the Oglala Lakota (Sioux) tribes there is a member of the society called a Heyoka. That translates roughly as a jester or a sacred clown. The Heyoka lives with the rest of the community, but stands outside their normal way of doing things so he can mirror back to the people how their actions are serving the highest good. Heyokas remind us that personal responsibility is at the heart of social order, survival, and sacred power. That’s the greater role the artists in my show are playing today. They help us to penetrate deception, turn over rocks, and create a deeper awareness among human be-ings. It’s our children who will play the greatest role over the years to come. A famous Wichasa Wakhan (holy man) named Black Elk said, “Grown men may learn from very little children, for the hearts of little children are pure and, therefore, the Great Spirit may show to them many things which older people miss.” What we teach the next generations to value means the world to many species.
Walk around the rotunda. We’re here to tell you like it is. We’re starting the conversation because tigers are the helpless victims of human expansion. Recognizing the roles we are creating for ourselves is the answer. Cooperation is the answer. The system is the solution. The system IS the solution, but it is also the problem if we have no vision for the future we’re creating and no way of seeing ourselves in the mirror.
The stories we hold onto is what transforms the world. Join the conversation. Let’s talk about the difference we want to make. The Dalai Lama says:
"In the face of all the challenges we face today, is my optimism about the future of humanity idealistic? Perhaps it is. Is it unrealistic? Certainly not. To remain indifferent to the challenges we face is indefensible. If the goal is noble, whether or not it is realized within our lifetime is largely irrelevant. What we must do therefore is to strive and persevere and never give up."
In the world I want to create, the tigers don’t live in cages.
OhMyBikram is a labour of love for editor and founder, Barbora Simek. Born out of the desire to inspire the yoga community and provide a forum for the exchange of stories, information and knowledge, OMB is a place for everyone who practices Bikram Yoga wether it is your first class or your thousandth.
OMB’s content is rounded off by the contributors who generously donate their time and words to these pages. If you’d like to contribute, just send us an email, we always love the extra help.
Tagged: , About Oh my Bikram http://ombyoga.com/ OhMyBikram is a labour of love for editor and founder , Barbora Simek. Born out of the desire to inspire the yoga community and provide a forum for the exchange of stories , information and knowledge , OMB is a place for everyone who practices Bikram Yoga wether it is your first class or your thousandth. OMB’s content is rounded off by the contributors who generously donate their time and words to these pages. If you’d like to contribute , just send us an email , we always love the extra help. , Dr Divi Chandna explains why Bikram Yoga is the ultimate way to achieve overall health in body and mind. It is slow medicine, but it is the best medicine. Bikram yoga is the single best form of yoga for the achievement and maintenance of perfect health , a perfect body , and a sharp mind The Bikram method is an intelligently designed sequence of 26 postures (asanas) lasting 90 minutes. Bikram Yoga is practiced in a hot room. The increased room temperature aids in warming muscles and increasing the extensibility of body t , which allows deeper stretching , and may help to prevent injuries. Toxins are released through the breath and through the skin by sweating. The end result is an unparalleled feeling of mental and physical well-being and relaxation. Bikram Yoga is the best way to lose weight and get in s , especially beginners. Bikram Yoga… Why does it work? Bikram yoga works 100% of the entire body from the inside out. The series of stretches and compressions exercise your muscles , joints , ligaments , tendons , organs , nerves and glands. Upon release of a posture , fresh oxygenated blood travels through and rejuvenates the vessels and tissues that were being compressed. Bikram Yoga is an effective lifestyle component for losing weight and increasing overall health and well-being. Bikram Yoga is also effective to a , 000 calories per class , depending your work-rate. Bikram Yoga has been taught for nearly 4 decades. Why? … because IT WORKS and it is EFFECTIVE. Regular practice will strengthen your spinal and core muscles , and will help alleviate health ailments by providing relief and control over symptoms (eg pain). Bikram Yoga brings your body back to square one – the way our bodies were meant to be , in a safe process of restoration and rejuvenation. Bikram Yoga is an excellent cardiovascular workout without high impact and stress on joints , making it accessible for everyone and every body. Bikram’s Yoga is a series of 26 beginner’s postures performed in sequence in a heated room for 90 minutes. Bikram’s Yoga is suitable for all ages and levels of ability. Each posture stretches , strengthens , and prepares the body to work every muscle , organ , gland , and cell in the perfect order. The result is 100% exercise! Bikram scientifically designed the series to bring your body back to a healthy working order , to promote weight loss , prevent illness , and limit the effects of aging. In addition , the series of postures combine skills of concentration , patience , determination and self-control , which lead to increased mental clarity and reduced stress. Bikram’s Yoga is done in a heated room to warm your muscles , prevent injury , and cleanse the body by flushing out all toxins. As Bikram says , “Yoga is the only exercise in the world you can do at any age. There is always some posture that will improve your health , mind or soul.” The 26 postures , much like the alphabet , cannot be changed in any manner , or the series simply does not work. Please make sure to attend schools labeled Bikram’s Yoga College of India for authenticity. Bikram Choudhury began learning hatha yoga poses in his native India at the age of three. At five , he began studying with Bishnu Ghosh (Paramanhansa Yogananda’s brother) and quickly became a yoga champion. At age 11 , he was the youngest contestant ever to win the National India Yoga competition. At 14 , he was delared by Swami Shivanada as ‘Yoga Raj’ (King of the Yogis). A weightlifting accident crippled Bikram when he was 20. With the guidance of his guru , Bikram created his 26 posture series , which actually restored his health. Combining Eastern discipline and Western medicine , Bikram perfected his comprehensive system suitable for all ages and levels of fitness. Bikram arrived in the United States in 1973 at the invitation of President Nixon and the urging of actress Shirley Maclaine. He quickly became one of the foremost yoga , as celebrities , athletes , and others flocked to him. Since that time , he has been healing thousands of students at his school in Beverly Hills. Bikram has been traveling extensively , bringing the benefits of yoga to millions of students worldwide. Bikram Yoga is the 26 postures Sequence selected and developed by Bikram Choudhury from Hatha Yoga. It has been proved and experienced by millions that these 26 postures systematically wor , to give all the internal organs , all the veins , all the ligaments , and all the muscles everything they need to maintain optimum health and maximum function. Each component takes care of something different in the body , and yet they all work together synergistically , contributing to the success of every other one , from bones to skin and from fingertips to toes. So before you change it , you have to heat it up to soften it , because a warm body is a flexible body. Then you can reshape the body any way you want. Hatha Yoga flushes away the waste products , the toxins of all the glands and organs of your body. It provides a natural irrigation of the body through the circulatory system , with the help of the respiratory system. It brings nourishments to every cell of your body so that each one can perform its function and keep your body healthy. Bikram Yoga also employs heat to further that cleaning process: When you sweat , impurities are flushed out of the body through the skin. Practicing yoga not only increases our supplies of oxygen , but it also teaches us how to use that oxygen properly – we learn to control the breath through pranayama. , Welcome to the website for the Canadian Yoga Federation (CANYoga). The organization’s primary function is to act as the governing body for the sport of Hatha Yoga in Canada; providing assistance to provinces who are organizing Hatha Yoga regional competit
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