Kid with a gun

3 Ways That America’s Gun Problem is Like India’s Garbage Problem

After traveling to twenty countries in the last two years, I can tell you without a doubt that every country has its share of problems. However, it’s America’s gun problem, and India’s garbage problem, that sadden me the most, because I love these two countries the most. What’s even more sad is that just the act of me writing this post will undoubtedly start off a shit storm that will have people unfriending me like a bastard at a family reunion. Still, the comparison of these two problems is real, and the issues must be addressed. Here are three ways that America’s gun problem is like India’s garbage problem.

It’s Tragic

 

These two issues are horrific, astonishing, obvious, and downright tragic. While politicians and corporate leaders try to glaze over the issues, because the mountain just seems too high to climb, the rest of us argue over which trail to take. Who’s to blame? Why is it a problem? It’s always been this way. We have the rights to our guns. We have the right to toss our garbage into the Ganges River. How dare you take away my rights! Meanwhile, children get plowed down at school like a scene in a video game, and our planet chokes on the garbage of over a billion people.

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Yoga class

What are the Best Ways to Learn Yoga?

Yoga is a complete lifestyle that encompasses the mind, body and spirit. My first instructor used to say, “It’s a work-in, not a workout.” It is all about harmonizing the body with the mind and breath through the practice of various breathing exercises (pranayamas), yoga poses (asanas) and meditation (dhyana). Many people often ask me what is the best way to start yoga or how to start doing yoga at home. There are many possibilities for how to start a yoga practice, but these are the best ways to start yoga.

The first thing you should know is that there are many different types of yoga. Why are there so many different types of yoga? The answer is simple, because there are so many different types of people in the world, and everyone has different preferences. The styles can be vastly different so it is a good idea to learn a little bit about them ahead of time so you can choose the type of yoga that is best for you.

Types of Yoga

 

Hatha yoga is a generic term that refers to any type of yoga that teaches physical postures (asanas). This is typically where most people get their yoga start. This is where you will learn basic yoga poses. Ashtanga is a rigorous style of yoga that follows a very specific sequence of postures and those postures are normally held for a longer period of time. Vinyasa classes are known for their fluid like movement or yoga flow. Vinyasa teachers carefully choreograph their classes for smooth transitions from pose to pose. Generally, they play music and sometimes it feels almost like a dance. Iyengar yoga is a very meticulous typed of yoga, with utmost attention spent on finding the proper alignment in a pose. In order to assist each student with achieving the proper alignment, an Iyengar yoga studio will stock a wide array of yoga props, like blocks, blankets, straps, chairs, and pillows.  In a Bikram class, you will sweat a lot as you work your way through a series of 26 poses. Like Ashtanga, a Bikram class always follows the same sequence, but the class is taught in a heated room, much like Hot yoga.  Generally, the only difference between Bikram and hot yoga is a hot yoga studio must deviate from Bikram’s sequence in some way, because the Bikram sequence is trademarked, so they must call themselves by another name.

Indian man serving samosa

6 Yummy Indian Street Foods You Simply Must Try

Indian food is hard to beat. From Masala Dosa, to Thali, and Butter Chicken, it’s all mouth watering good. The street food is equally as delicious, but just a fraction of the cost. It’s also fast and convenient. However, if you are a westernized foreigner visiting India for the first time, you should proceed carefully. Indians don’t have any sanitation standards for their street carts. They don’t wear rubber gloves. Hell, they probably don’t even wash their hands. So, if you have a tender stomach I suggest you avoid Indian street food, but if you’re ready to indulge in some serious India treats, these are six yummy Indian street foods you simply must try.

Samosa

Samosa is my new favorite Indian street food, and it costs only 10 rupees! That’s about twenty cents in USD. Samosa is a crispy deep fried snack with a flaky outer crust. Inside is a rich spicy filling of mashed potatoes and peas. It is usually served with a sweet and spicy sauce that reminds me a little of chutney.

Ramana's Garden Cafe in Rishikesh

Ramana’s Garden and Children’s Home: A Cherished Icon of Rishikesh

I had the pleasure of spending Halloween night celebrating in style with the beautiful children of Ramana’s Children’s Home. As we danced to blaring Hindi hip hop under the vivid flashing lights, I felt someone tenderly tap my leg. I looked down to see the cutest little girl reach up to me. She wanted to…

The Ganga River in Rishikesh

Why My Love Affair With Rishikesh India is Over

All my life I’ve had a terrible pattern of falling in love with the wrong people, people that weren’t a good match for me. In the beginning of the relationship I’m overcome with a sudden burst of intense chemistry, and then I spend years, or even decades, trying to make it work. Now I realize that I did the same thing with Rishikesh India. At first I was attracted to her picturesque beauty, exotic charm, clean air, and the mighty Mother Ganga. But like any new relationship, the once rose colored glasses have turned dark. Now that the new relationship energy is over, I’ve begun to see obvious red-flags that I missed before.

I came back to Rishikesh for one main reason, to decide if I wanted to move here. All of the yoga, spiritual classes, Ayurveda, and recreation are very alluring. Plus, it’s cheap here, really cheap! I could probably live in Rishikesh comfortably on $500 a month. Unfortunately I’ve decided that inexpensive living is not enough for me. After a month in Rishikesh the clear answer is no. I can’t live here. These are the reasons why my love affair with Rishikesh, India is over.

Air Pollution

 

The first time I came to Rishikesh, in early 2016, I cried tears of joy when I saw the brilliant blue sky. Keep in mind that I had just left New Delhi, one of the most polluted cities on the planet. I hadn’t seen a shade of blue in the sky for months. The pollution in Delhi was so bad that on most days I could stare directly at the sun because it appeared blurry and orange through the grey dense smog. Rishikesh is in the foothills of the Himalaya Mountains and she looked shiny and new to me compared to Delhi, a good 7 hour drive away.

Rolling Stones concert in Lucca Italy

The Rolling Stones in Lucca Italy: A Spectacular Disaster

I went to the Rolling Stones concert in Lucca Italy, but I didn’t “see” the show. Probably only about 10 percent of the 55,000 people attending were able to see the show, because it was general admission on a flat field, that sloped slightly downhill the opposite direction. It didn’t take long for the crowd to get frustrated and soon drunk concert attendees were climbing up anything they could find to get a glimpse of the stage. Trees and concert rigging were popular places to perch, but it seems the best seats in the house were on top of the portable toilets! The Rolling Stones concert in Lucca Italy can only be described as a spectacular disaster, but I’m still glad I went!

The Ticket

 

I didn’t go to Lucca with the intention of going to the concert. But on my second day there we drove by the venue where they were erecting the stage and I realized that the Rolling Stones would soon be playing only three blocks away from where I was staying. So, I decided to go, but by that time tickets were next to impossible to find. I tried buying some online but the websites were all in Italian and they would only snail mail the tickets. With only a few days to wait before the show, I didn’t want to risk the tickets not arriving in time. Finally, I looked on Craigslist and got lucky! An American many (Jason) was going to go with his girlfriend, but she cancelled on him at the last minute. Like I said, I got lucky, and he got $200.