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Yoga
for Men

 


Menstuff® has compiled information and books on the issue of Yoga for Men. Author, CPA, MBA and yoga instructor Bruce Van Horn founded Yoga for Business, Inc., a company devoted to organizational and individual wellness. He presents a daily Yoga Workout routine that provides a complete physical, mental and spiritual workout. He is the author of Yoga for Prostate Health and Yoga for Men, designed for all levels of experience with yoga.. He has renamed (Asanas) positions in Yoga using terms from business to help you identify with the movement and focus your attention. He is the Chair of the Advisory Board for the Center for Complimentary Medicine at the Cancer Institute of New Jersey. Bruce also leads a volunteer yoga program designed for cancer patients and healthcare workers at Beth Israel Medical Center. He lives outside New York with his wife Michelle who is a Reiki Master. Bruce has two daughters who have asked that he refrain from headstands at the town pool. His website is www.yogaforbusiness.com If you have any questions, feel free to write: bvanhorn@yogaforbusiness.com

Dysfunction in Orgainzations
Tools to Overcome Organizational Dysfunction
The Right Season & Synchronicity
Understanding Belief Systems That Bind Us To Materialism
Enough is Enough
Financial Security
Determining Your Financial Archetype
Exercises
Money Saving Ideas
Introduction to Healthy Eating
Four Steps Toward Individual and Organizational Wellness
Cooking Utensils
Food Choices
Recipes
Determining Your Dietary Archetype
Combining the Very Best - Ayurvedic and Macrobiotic Principles with the Meditaranean Diet
Dr. Andrew Weil Discusses the Benefits of Organic Foods
Bringing More Soy into the Diet
Ten-Step Program to End Food Addictions
Your Life or Your Job? For the Really Stressed Out tt Could be a  Choioce of Life or Death
For the Really Stressed Out...Doing Yoga with Your Dog can be Great Relief for Man and His Best Friend

For the Really Stressed Out...Doing Yoga with Your Dog can be Great Relief for Man and His Best Friend


Yoga Instructor and author Bruce Van Horn does Yoga with his splendid dog Goodboy a Dalmatian, a breed known for being hyperactive.

Mr. Van Horn found his session with his dog so beneficial that he produced a Video/DVD entitled Yoga for Healthy Living Presents: Daily Yoga Class. Both Mr. Van Horn and Goodboy appear in the video.

Thousands of years ago the ancient yogis recognized there was wisdom in nature. A cat or dog could energize its lymphatic system by stretching enabling it to jump six feet up onto a ledge. Animals also know how to be in the moment and how to completely relax. There is much we can learn from observing our pets and no better way to bond with your own pet then by practicing together.

A few years earlier Mr. Van Horn was a mild mannered CPA. Then a midlife crises hit. His wife wouldn’t let him have an affair or buy a sports car so he had to make a fundamental life change. Now his life is exciting and full of adventure.

“I’m fascinated by your work. Thank you for your contributions-our society surely needs it” Patch Adams M.D., author of House Calls

Statistics:

18 million yoga practitioners in the United States
40% of all US Households Owning a Dog
Approximately 7.2 million Yoga Practitioners with Dogs

Bruce Van Horn and His Dog Goodboy Blow Down The Ashram Wall With this Light Hearted and Instructional Video For The Masses. A Complete Workout for the Body, Mind and Spirit. All Levels Welcome.

Yoga for Healthy Living Wellness Series: Daily Yoga Class on VHS or DVD Price: $14.95 (Running Time: 60 Minutes) Available at www.yogaforbusiness.com or call 1-800-356-9315

Author, Comedian, CPA, MBA and yoga instructor Bruce Eric Van Horn is the founder of Yoga for Business, Inc., a company devoted to organizational and individual wellness. He is the author of Yoga for Men and Yoga for Health Living Wellness Series and is the chairman of the Advisory Board of the Center for Complimentary Medicine at the Cancer Institute of New Jersey. Goodboy has touched thousands of people with his volunteer work at homeless shelters and nursing homes.

© 2003, Bruce Eric Van Horn

Your Life or Your Job? For the Really Stressed Out tt Could be a  Choioce of Life or Death


Yoga Instructor and author Bruce Van Horn has developed a program to help employers to move away from fear-based motivation and tools for employee empowerment.

Bruce found that by meditating before work and by bringing the yogic philosophy into the workplace, business increased and employees were happier. Bruce created a wellness program specifically for working people who need to better manage their stress and overall health.

Workplace stress arises either due to unfavorable working conditions or dissatisfaction with one’s job. The first, more common burnout occurs when workplace stress overwhelms the individual. Often times the management, through unreasonable expectations of organizational goals, trigger the stress response in the individual. The fear of being fired is equated with our fear of mortality. At least our ancestors could run or fight thereby burning off the adrenaline. Over time the constant release of adrenaline and cortisol will weaken the immune system and lead to burnout

The other source of burnout is job dissatisfaction, which Bruce suffered from. Bruce was miserable as a CPA and the unhappiness manifested as a physical illness. Then a midlife crises hit. His wife wouldn’t let him have an affair or buy a sports car so he had to make a fundamental life change. Now his life is exciting and full of adventure.

Bruce’s work is dedicated to his father and his former manager and all whose lives were cut short due to dysfunctional organizational design.

“I’m fascinated by your work. Thank you for your contributions-our society surely needs it” Patch Adams M.D., author of House Calls

Statistics:

Workplace Stress is Costing US Economy $300 Billion
Healthy Living Wellness Series: 4 Books, CDs and Video/DVD, Price: $49.95. Available at www.yogaforbusiness.com or call 1-800-356-9315

Author, Comedian, CPA, MBA and yoga instructor Bruce Eric Van Horn is the founder of Yoga for Business, Inc., a company devoted to organizational and individual wellness. He is the author of Yoga for Prostate Health and Yoga for Men and Yoga for Health Living Wellness Series and is the chairman of the Advisory Board of the Center for Complimentary Medicine at the Cancer Institute of New Jersey.

© 2003, Bruce Eric Van Horn

Ten-Step Program to End Food Addictions


I have created a 10-step program for people who are addicted to unhealthy foods or consuming unhealthy quantities of foods. If your food addictions are affecting the quality of your life, relationships with others, your career and your overall self-esteem, this program can be helpful in empowering you to become the master of yourself as opposed to the prisoner of your addictive behavior.

Ten-Step Program to End Addiction to Food

1) You must admit that you are often powerless over the desire to consume food. It has caused your life to be unmanageable or it is preventing you from pursuing your Dharma**.
2) You are willing to acknowledge that spirit or God can help you transcend this attachment.
3) In deep inner healing work you have come to understand the nature of your problem and admitted it to another person.
4) You are ready to transmute this karmic* attachment so you could pursue your bliss.
5) You work each day at the end of your meditation on overcoming your karmic attachments.
6) You make a list of individuals with whom you have karmic debts outstanding and are willing to make amends to them.
7) You have made the amends and successfully transmuted karma.
8) Continue to take daily inventory and create no new karma.
9) Continue to meditate daily
10) Further transmute karma by taking the message of healing to others.

  • Karma: Means past actions
  • Dharma: Life’s purpose

In this chapter we presented a program to help you make permanent behavioral change. The most important step is admitting that you have a problem. By purchasing this book and reviewing the previous chapters, you have initiated the healing process.

© 2003, Bruce Eric Van Horn

Bringing More Soy into the Diet


One way to improve our diet is by adding more soy-based products. We can do so by following these recommended percetanges.

Food Percentages:

15% Fish/oils/nuts/fats
25% Tofu/Soy
25% Grains
35% Vegetables & fruits

Increasing the amount of soy and reducing carbohydrates will help you maintain more balanced blood sugar levels. There are a number of benefits for reducing carbohydrates and increasing the soy ratio.

1) Greater mental focus and consistency
2) Improved ability to burn fat.
3) Enhanced energy including the feelings of being refreshed in the morning and avoiding afternoon drowsiness.

The health benefits of soy include:

a) Reduced risk of heart disease
b) Reduced risk of cancer
c) Diminished menopausal symptoms
d) Prevents Osteoporosis

Longevity and Diet

According to the book Soy Zone the Okinawans of Japan have the greatest longevity. One of their secrets is increasing the ratio of soy and fish in their diet and reducing overall caloric intake. This is the ultimate goal but we can move toward this type of diet slowly.

Soy Protein Sources

When increasing your consumption of soy products be careful to read the ingredients. Some Soy or Tofu Burgers may be mostly derived from carbohydrates and not from soy.

Soy Hamburger Crumbles: Harvest Burger Style Recipe Crumbles by Morningstar Farms. These can be added to pasta sauces or served with vegetables.

Soy Burgers: Boca Burgers are my favorite and they come in Vegan and regular vegetarian varieties. They can be eaten as a burger or sliced and cooked with your stir fry vegetables.

Tempeh: Originally from Indonesia, this is a mixture of fermented soybeans.

Be careful to choose a Tempeh product that has a higher proportion of soy to grains. Also Tempeh tends to absorb a lot of oil when cooking so you may want to brush lightly with oil and cook in a non stick skillet. You can serve with pasta or with your stir-fry vegetables.

Tofu: The firmer the tofu the more protein it has relative to its carbohydrate value. I recommend buying pre-prepared Tofu bars from companies such as White Wave. These can be found in your health food store refrigerated section. You can warm these in your microwave for about twenty-five seconds and serve.

Soy Cheese & Soy Yogurts: These are excellent snacks and should be used as substitutes for cheese and dairy.

Soy Milk: My favorites are Edensoy and Rice Dream

Soy Sauces: My favorites are Low Sodium Shoyu and Tamari sauce.

In this chapter we discussed ways you could bring more soy into your diet. In the next chapter we will discuss how you develop a program to insure that you are successful in making meaningful change in your dietary regimen.

© 2003, Bruce Eric Van Horn

Dr. Andrew Weil Discusses the Benefits of Organic Foods


Joining us today is Dr. Andrew Weil, M.D. He is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Medical School, is a Clinical Professor of Medicine at the University of Arizona and the Director of the Program in Integrative Medicine at that institution. He is the founder of the foundation for Integrative Medicine in Tucson Arizona and the Editorial Director of the “Ask Dr. Weil” website www.drweil.com). Dr. Weil is the author of eight books, including most recently Spontaneous Healing and Eight Weeks to Optimum Health.

Reprinted with Permission from “Eating Well from Optimal Health” Andrew Weil, Alfred A. Knopf Publishers, ©2000

I have talked about the dangers of agrichemicals and of my strong belief in the importance of organic agriculture, which I am happy to report is growing exponentially, here and abroad. The quality and variety of organic produce are getting better and better. And as consumer demand increases, things can only continue to improve. Although organic produce is becoming available in more and more supermarkets, I am aware that it is still difficult for many people to find and it is much more expensive than conventional produce. One strategy for dealing with this situation is to learn which crops are most likely to carry unhealthful residues of pesticides and fungicides and to avoid them or minimize consumption if you cannot find organic alternatives.

The list of suspect crops change all the time, but strawberries always top it. They are full of methyl bromicide, a fungicide and known carcinogen, that consumer pressure has so far been unsuccessful in eliminating. I do not eat them if I do not find organically grown ones. Quite recently the availability of organic strawberries increased dramatically in America. They are much more flavorful than conventional strawberries(and also spoil more quickly). Other regulars on the most contaminated list are peaches, apricots, cherries, grapes from Chile, Mexican cantaloupes, green beans, celery, and spinach. I also recommend trying to eat only organic potatoes and wheat (including flour).

I always wash produce before using it. If you use conventionally grown fruits and vegetables, it is especially important to wash them carefully and peel them when appropriate.

I suggest swirling berries, grapes and leafy vegetables in a solution of dish detergent and room temperature water-about one teaspoon of detergent per gallon-for five to ten seconds, then rinse with warm water.

You should scrub the sturdier fruits and vegetables with the same solution using a vegetable brush, and rinse the same way.

Peeling is enough to get rid of residues from carrots, potatoes, apples and cucumbers.

Eating more fruits and vegetables in any form is clearly an important way to improve your diet and take advantage of the healing properties of food. If you can afford to buy organic, the money will be well spent.

In this chapter we discussed the issue of organic versus traditional produce. In the next chapter we will discuss the benefits of soy and how we can bring more soy products into our diet.

© 2003, Bruce Eric Van Horn

Combining the Very Best - Ayurvedic and Macrobiotic Principles with the Meditaranean Diet


Here we have the best of the west, near east and Far East. Ayurvedic and Macrobiotic systems attempt to promote balance by combining different nutritional qualities.

In Ayurveda, we first must determine our body type. In the last chapter we have presented three different archetypes represented by Annie, Oscar and Manny and a test which helped you determine your own.

The Ayurveda diet promotes balance by incorporating all of the tastes into the meal. According to Ayurveda there are six tastes, sweet, sour salty, bitter, astringent and pungent. At least one meal of the day should have all six tastes.

The Western diet has become very much weighted to the sweet, sour and salty tastes, so in general we all need to move toward a better balance. However there are certain distinct differences amongst us so the following is only a general guideline for how you might want to weigh your dietary choices. These recommendations are designed to bring our bodies back into balance.

For Annie our Vata we would recommend:
Increasing: sweet, sour, salty, heavy, oily and hot.
Decreasing: pungent, bitter, astringent, light, dry and cold.

For Oscar our Pitta we would recommend:
Increasing: sweet, bitter, astringent, cold, heavy and dry.
Decreasing: pungent, sour, salty, hot, light and oily.

For Manny our Kappha we would recommend:
Increasing: pungent, bitter, astringent, light dry and hot.
Decreasing: sweet, sour, salty, heavy’ oily and cold.

Ayurveda recommends that all archetypes should eat in a settled environment and always sit down when eating. It is best to be silent when chewing, so if you decide to converse during a meal, first put down your utensils, finish chewing and then speak.

It is best to avoid very cold drinks because they can affect our optimal health balance. Beverages should be consumed at or slightly below room temperature. If you are drinking water you may want to warm it in the microwave for about 10 seconds just to take the chill out. You may also want to minimize the amount of beverages you consume with your meal because they may interfere with the proper digestion and mastication of the food. When you are hungry you may want to take a drink of water. It may be that you are thirsty. If the hunger still persists you can take a snack.

Breakfast should be light, your lunch should be the largest meal of the day and your dinner should not be eaten too late or too close to retiring. Eat only when you are hungry and always leave about 25% of your stomach empty to aid digestion.

Our approach is not to take the teachings of the Macrobiotic and Ayurvedic school literally, but to use the general framework for making healthier eating choices. The Macrobiotic diet, which is similar to the Ayurvedic diet is based upon balancing yin and yang forces that must be in harmony to achieve good health. The most balanced foods in the Macrobiotic diet are brown rice and whole grains.

Our recommendations for a modified Macrobiotic/Ayurvedic diet include the following weightings for the food groups:

25% Grains (sweet)
35% Fresh Green Vegetables and Fruits (bitter and sweet)
25% Soybeans & Sea Vegetables (bitter and astringent)
15% Fish and Seafood (sweet and salty)
Garlic and light seasoning (pungent)
Dressing with vinegar or lemon (sour)

The macrobiotic diet advocates consuming foods that are in season and avoiding processed refined products. We also suggest reducing the consumption of meat, poultry, dairy products and eggs and relying on fish as the protein source. However we understand that making drastic changes can be quite intimidating so it is best to start eliminating your attachment to foods gradually.

The Macrobiotic diet also recommends eliminating or at least reducing consumption of sweets, sugar, alcohol, coffee, caffeinated tea and strong spices. Again we would agree with these general recommendations but caution that they be adopted gradually. You can give yourself a bit of leeway to allow yourself a treat in moderation.

In this chapter we discussed the ancient teachings of Ayurveda and Macrobiotic approaches to eating and longevity. We believe in taking a broad interpretation of the teachings and have liberally adopted their program to fit our modern lifestyle. We discussed proportions of food groups in the diet and advocated a relaxed approach to dietary change.

In the next chapter, Dr. Andrew Weil renowned author and nutritional expert will discuss the benefits of organic foods

© 2003, Bruce Eric Van Horn

Determining Your Dietary Archetype


According to Ayurveda, the ancient science of life, there are three distinct personality archetypes. Although we may possess characteristics from the other three, only one is dominant in all of us. By gaining an understanding about our Body-Mind-Spirit Archetype we can more easily develop a program that can help us overcome our limitations.

On the following chart place a V for Vata (1st column), P for Pitta (2nd column) and K for Kapha (3rd column). Add up the number of marks under Vata, Pitta and Kapha to discover your own balance....Most people will have one dosha predominant, a few will have two doshas approximately equal and even fewer will have all three doshas in equal proportion

Determining Your Ayurvedic Constitution

Observations

Vata
Air & Space
Pitta
Fire & Water
Kapha
Warter & Earth

Body size

Slim

Medium

Large

Body weight

Low

Medium

Overweight

Skin

Thin, dry, cold rough, dark

Smooth, oily, warm, rosy

Thick, oily, cool, white, pale

Hair

Dry brown, black, knotted, brittle, thin

Straight, oily, blond, grey, red, bald

Thick, curly, oily, wavy, luxuriant, all colors

Teeth

Protruding, big, roomy, thin gums

Medium, soft, tender gums

Healthy, white, strong gums

Nose

Uneven shape, deviated septum

Long pointed, red nose-tip

Short rounded, button nose

Eyes

Small, sunken, dry, active, black, brown, nervous

Sharp, Bright, Grey, Green, Yellow/red, sensitive to light

Big, blue, calm, loving

Nails

Dry, rough, brittle, break easily

Sharp, flexible, pink lustrous

Thick, oily, smooth, polished

Lips

Dry, cracked, black/brown tinged

Red, inflamed, yellowish

Smooth, oily, pale, whitish

Chin

Thin Angular

Tapering

Rounded, double

Cheeks

Wrinkled, sullen

Smooth, flat

Rounded, plump

Neck

Thin, tall

Medium

Big, folded

Chest

Flat, sunken

Moderate

Expanded, round

Belly

Thin, Flat, Sunken

Moderate

Big, potbellied

Hips

Slender, thin

Moderate

Heavy, big

Joints

Cold, cracking

Moderate

Large, lubricated

Appetite

Irregular, scanty

Strong, unbearable

Slow, but steady

Digestion

Irregular, forms gas

Quick, causes burning

Prolonged forms muscus

Taste, healthy preference

Sweet, sour, salty

Sweet, bitter, astringent

Bitter, pungent, astringent

Thirst

Changeable

Surplus

Sparse

Elimination

Constipation

Loose

Thick, oily, sluggish

Physical Activity

Hyperactive

Moderate

Sedentary

Mental activity

Always active

Moderate

Dull, slow

Emotions

Anxiety, fear, uncertainty

Anger, hate jealousy, determination

Calm, greedy, attachment

Faith

Variable

Intense, extremist

Consistent, deep, mellow

Intellect

Quick but often faulty response

Accurate response

Slow, exact

Recollection

Recent good, remote poor

Distinct

Slow and sustained

Dreams

Quick, active many fearful

Fiery, war, violence

Lakes, snow, romantic

Sleep

Scanty, broken up, sleeplessness

Little, but sound

Deep, prolonged

Speech

Rapid, unclear

Sharp, penetrating

Slow, monotonous

Financial

Very tight with money. Concerned about security

Balanced but will Spend money on luxuries

May be rich but spends in excess


Reprinted with Permission from the “Complete Book of Ayurvedic Home Remedies” Vasant Lad, Three River Press

© 2003, Bruce Eric Van Horn

Food Choices


Shopping in large Supermarket Superstores such as Safeway or A&P make the process of finding specialty items a bit easier.

Starting with the produce section, the following items are recommended for your shopping cart:

  • Broccoli
  • Bok Choy
  • Collards
  • Carrots
  • Mushrooms
  • Onions
  • Dill
  • Lettuce
  • Tomatoes
  • Scallions
  • Ginger
  • Apples, Oranges and Berries
  • Peeled Garlic in Containers
  • Walnuts peeled

In the salad dressing aisle:

  • Olive Oil
  • Dark Sesame Oil
  • Vinaigrette Salad Dressing
  • Red Wine Vinegar
  • Green Olives
  • Oregano
  • Black and Red Pepper

In the tea and coffee aisle the following teas are recommended:

  • Green Tea - has caffeine
  • Peppermint Tea - a natural stimulant
  • Chamomile Tea - a relaxant

Moving on to the cereal and grain aisle the following items are recommended:

  • Bran cereal
  • Rice millet cereal

In the cookie aisle choose cookies like

  • Pamela’s Choc Chunk that are sweetened with fruit juice and are free of animal products.

In the pasta aisle:

  • Pasta
  • Whole grain brown rice
  • Rao’s pasta sauce (Rao’s brand can be expensive, but you can mix it with a less expensive sauce to make it last longer. It is so good that it can make an average meal really special.)

In the dry milk aisle:

  • Rice Dream Enriched Rice Milk
  • Lowfat Milk in the Dairy Section

In the frozen food aisle choose:

  • Vans Waffles
  • Boca Burger Vegan
  • Health is Wealth Tofu Chicken Nuggets

In the sauces aisle:

  • Low sodium soy sauce
  • Safflower
  • Canola low-fat mayonnaise

In the fruit spread aisle:

  • Polaner All Natural Fruit Spread of your choosing. Pick a berry flavor if you are not eating fresh berries on a regular basis.

In the fish aisle try to choose fish that is fresh and not farm raised. I suggest visiting a local fish store for the best selection and freshness. Fresh fish should not have an odor. If it does then do not accept it. The recipes in the following chapters use Salmon, Cod and Halibut.

I have outlined a diet I follow on a regular basis. By slowing down the pace at which you eat you can avoid overeating. Start with portions that are no larger than the size of your fist. If you are still hungry you can add second helpings from the salad and vegetable categories. You may want to start with this basic daily diet framework and then modify it accordingly once you gain a greater awareness of your choices:

Breakfast:

  • Apple
  • Tofu Bar
  • Peppermint Tea

Lunch:

  • Salmon with Brown Rice
  • Salad and Tomatoes with Dressing
  • Miso Soup

Snack:

  • 2 Cookies such as Newmans O’s

Dinner

  • Broccolli, Bok Choy & Tofu in a stir fry with pasta sauce
  • Pasta
  • Salad

Dessert:

  • Apple Pie with Frozen Vanilla Rice Dream
  • Chamomille Tea with soymilk

By following this diet you can get all six of the Ayuervedic tastes with your lunch and very important Omega 3 Fatty Acids from the fish. It may be helpful to eat a rather consistent diet. The digestive system is under less stress when it is prepared for the food it is going to metabolize.

Reducing consumption of meat will reduce testosterone levels. This may aid in reducing the risk of Prostate Cancer for men. In addition studies have shown that meat consumption increases aggressiveness, so cutting back on meat will make you feel better.

Fasting:

I recommend fasting only if you have the guidance of a teacher and you coordinate such activity with your doctor. In my own life I made the decision to make a lifestyle change from being a junk food junkie to becoming a conscious eater. I proceeded to do a nine-day juice fast. I drank a combination of papaya and vegetable juices. Around the fourth day I remember the cat’s food started to smell good. It was very empowering to have that level of control.

When I broke the fast the first food I ate was an apple. It has been my favorite food ever since. The next was Broccoli followed by other fruits and vegetables. The fast was helpful in letting me appreciate eating and all of the wonderful natural foods that are available to us. The fast helped to change my habits permanently and could do the same for you.

There are many misconceptions about diet and health. Each day we get conflicting information from the media. The American Cancer Society has published the following guidelines for healthy eating:

1) The use of alcohol increases the risk of cancer but having a glass of wine with dinner is probably beneficial.

2) Vitamins and antioxidants as supplements do not improve health. It is better to get these nutrients from their source foods

3) Bioengineered foods have not been proven to be unhealthy

4) An excellent source of calcium is green leafy vegetables

5) Cholesterol levels can be lowered by reducing animal source foods in the diet.

6) Cooking methods such as smoking or grilling/frying meat in high temperatures create chemicals that might increase risk of cancer. Techniques such as braising, steaming, poaching or stewing are better.

7) Eating raw meat such as sushi is probable not advisable.

8) Diets high in fats increase cancer risk.

9) Certain dietary fiber such as bran may help to reduce cancer risk.

10) Eating fish such as salmon which are high in Omega 3 Fatty Acids may reduce the risk of cancer

11) The single most important factor in reducing cancer risk is to eat 5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day.

12) There is no evidence that irradiated foods cause cancer.

13) Selenium which is a mineral found in grains may reduce the risk for certain cancers.

14) Soybeans and soybean products such as tofu contain several photochemicals that have a weak estrogenic activity and appear to protect against hormone-dependent cancers. One study has shown a protective effect against prostate cancer and some epidemiological studies demonstrated a reduced incidence of breast cancer.

15) Herbal teas such as green tea, peppermint, and chamomile have been shown to reduce cancer risk in animals.

16) Vitamin E which is found in vegetable oils such as olive oil may lower risk of heart disease and may have a protective effect against prostate cancer.

In this chapter we discussed healthy food choices. We presented a suggested daily diet and backed up our approach with American Cancer Society recommendations. Our approach is one of simplicity and gradual change. So if you can add an apple a day and a piece of tofu, that would be a great start.

In the next chapter we will discuss some simple recipes you can use to prepare healthy flavorful meals.

*You should check with your doctor before embarking on any fast.

© 2003, Bruce Eric Van Horn

Recipes


Bruce’s Recipe for Vegetarian Pasta

  • 3 tablespoons light olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons San-J Reduced Sodium Soy Sauce
  • ½ jar of Rao’s Homemade Marinara Sauce
  • 1 box of DeCecco Farfalle Noodles
  • 1 pound of broccoli
  • 1 pound of bok choy
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1 onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced (can be purchased pre peeled in a plastic container
  • 2 Vegan Boca Burgers.

Bring about a gallon of water to boil in the two-gallon pot. Add olive oil and salt if desired before boiling. Add pasta when boiling. Cook for about ten minutes.

Put the Wok and the frying pan on the stove. Coat wok and frying pan with one tablespoon of olive oil each and ignite flame to low.

If frozen put Boca Burgers in microwave to defrost.

Cut up broccoli, and bok choy in small evenly sized pieces. Cut up onion and garlic into very small pieces. Cut up thawed Boca Burgers and mushrooms into small pieces.

Put and equal amount of the chopped onion and garlic in the wok and frying pan and cook until lightly brown:

1) Put the chopped bok choy and broccoli in wok. Pour in two tablespoons of soy sauce. Cover with lid. Cook until soft.

2) Put chopped Boca Burgers and mushrooms in the frying pan. Pour in two tablespoons of soy sauce. Stir occasionally. Cook for three to five minutes.

Take the pasta if ready and drain. Then put it back in pot and pour in ½ jar of Rao’s and stir.

When the broccoli and Boca Burgers are done pour into pasta and mix.

Six Servings

Bruce’s Recipe for Creamy Dill Salmon

  • 2 tablespoons light olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons San-J Reduced Sodium Soy Sauce
  • 6 tablespoons of Nayosoya Dill Dressing
  • 1 onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced (can be purchased pre peeled in a plastic container)
  • 1 pound fresh salmon filet

Sautee fish in olive oil and soy sauce and use onion and garlic powder for flavoring for about ten minutes. Fill steamer with water. Place fish in the steamer and set for 12-15 minutes, until flaky.

Let cool and top with dill dressing.

© 2003, Bruce Eric Van Horn

Cooking Utensils


  • Wok: Preferably Farberware
  • Hand Coated Cookware 2-Gallon Pot with Lid
  • T-Fal Resistant Non Stick Frying Pan
  • Steamer
  • Spatula (wooden)
  • Large spoon (Wooden)
  • Sharp Slicing Knife
  • Cutting Board
  • Vegetable Brush

Before we begin to prepare our food we must have adequate tools. I recommend buying premium-cooking products that will last. A heavy-duty wok and frying pan that are coated with a non-stick surface are preferable. Make sure the lids fit snugly on all pans. In addition, a large boiling pot with a lid is also a must.

Steamers are also important for cooking vegetables and poaching salmon. By using the steamer you can reduce the fat content since you will not have to add oil.

I suggest purchasing a wooden spatula to use when cooking with the wok or frying pan. The wood does not heat up as metal would, so you are less likely to get burned.

A premium heavy cutting knife is essential. This is the most important tool for preparing vegetables and cutting meat. The knife should be heavy and thick. When you need additional leverage you can press down on the top (dull) side of the knife with your other hand.

For cooking in a wok, vegetables, meats and tofu should be cut evenly to ensure even cooking.

Finally a heavy-duty cutting board is necessary. Remember if you are preparing meats or fish, you must wash the cutting board off thoroughly before preparing a salad to avoid spreading bacteria such as salmonella. I suggest preparing meats at the end of the meal preparation and then washing the cutting board thoroughly for the next usage.

In this chapter you were introduced to basic kitchen cooking utensils. In the next chapter we will take you to the supermarket where we will make some healthy food selections.

© 2002, Bruce Eric Van Horn

Four Steps Toward Individual and Organizational Wellness


Step One: Discovering the Inner Comic

How is everyone tonight?

Have you ever thought about how we Americans must look to foreigners when we travel abroad?

Lumbering lards of tour bus flesh in sneakers and tees on the Champs Elysees in Paris asking for the $6.99 buffet special.

I said buffet all you can eat. (loudly in a southern accent)

I’m speaking in French…I said buffet.

What do you mean that dinner is not served until 7?

It got so bad that the European Community threatened to withhold support against the war on terrorism unless we did something to stop halt the massive flow of vacationing retirees that were decimating their culture.

So Alan Greenspan invited Ira the Investment Banker, Larry the Lawyer and Bruce the Accountant to devise a plan to take money away from the retirees and redistribute it to the more intelligent management classes who wouldn’t embarrass us if they traveled overseas. So we thought up the Long Term Capital, and then when that didn’t work we devised the Internet Boom and Bust and then the Enron crises.

And yet with all these accomplishments I still felt empty. Can you believe that? So I left accounting and became a Yoga Guru and a comedian wanabe.

I remember a vacation I took to Nice in the South of France. My wife and I had been strolling through the old section of the city with our French friends admiring the local food merchants, and their loyal customers who would make special trips to the market daily to find the freshest products. As we were walking by a counter, my wife let out a scream and everyone in the marketplace was suddenly looking at the Americans. The site of a decapitated pigs head on ice, wearing a Yankees cap and bleeding through the nostrils was a bit disturbing. “You Americans are so funny, you can go to the movies and watch thirty people being gunned down but you can’t bear to see where your food comes from… you want it neatly wrapped and packaged as a hamburger”, our French host blurted. I quickly replied that her observation couldn’t apply to us because we are primarily vegetarians, and we all had a good laugh.

So if you want to travel to France and fit in don’t utter a word, stay away from tour buses, wear uncomfortable shoes and don’t scream in the food market.

We can’t live life without experiencing some form of pain. It is part of the human experience. Pain gives our life’s journey meaning and can lead us back on the path of growth and the pursuit of our life’s purpose. Humor can help us to honor the pain and acknowledge it.

Unfortunately most of us repress pain and anesthetize ourselves with addictions such as alcohol, drugs, food, nicotine, sex, money, things, work, relationships, etc. In my own life I went through a series of addictions. You name the addiction…I had it. In fact, I was even addicted to my therapist.

Many psychiatrists, psychologists and pharmaceutical companies think we should all be taking daily doses of Prozac however this is just another addiction resulting in power being taken from you. What we really need is to get in touch with our true feelings, which is what the addiction is preventing us from in the first place. Yoga practice allows us to evaluate our emotions and feelings from a balanced, objective place. Overcoming our addictions is one of the spiritual lessons we have come to this life to experience. Will we have the courage to admit that we have these addictions and will we have the courage to take the action necessary?

Many of us never get the courage to face our addictions and we continue to blame others for our failings. This pattern of behavior was taught to us in early childhood. We learned by fear that if we placed the blame on others we could escape punishment.

I recall a time when I was five years old. I had colored the solar system on the living-room wall in crayon. When my mother asked me who did it, I told her that it was my one-year-old sister. When my mother began to praise my sister’s genius, I quickly admitted that it was my creation. I was given a bucket and a sponge and I remember scrubbing all day long.

Many parents are quick to react to such behavior with a physical and verbal assault. This conditions the child to avoid accepting responsibility. The results are that we have organizations full of individual who have been socialized to lie and blame others for their shortcomings. Our legal, healthcare, and educational systems have further contributed to removing the burden of personal responsibility to the detriment of the individual and society as a whole.

I have found that many people facing life-challenging illnesses are willing to accept responsibility for their actions and dispense with the denial process because it is obviously no longer serving their best interests. In working as a Yoga therapist with cancer patients I have found it very important to begin to unlock the energy blockages in the body because all of our experiences become manifested in our physiology. Therefore I consider the use of humor to be the first step in healing and healthy living. So as a first exercise, construct your own comedy act. You may want to take a few painful experiences from your personal financial life and exaggerate them. Humor is often about creating absurdity out of the stuff of everyday life. Sometimes our lives are absurd. In these cases you will not have to be as creative. I have provided about half a page for this exercise. Please fill in your name. I suggest you may want to share your act with a friend or co-worker. Sharing can be especially healing because it allows us to better understand each other’s challenges and past journey. However, do not feel obligated to share. We also will be running a contest for the best Inner comic. Please submit your submissions to www.yogaforbusiness.com

Exercise 1:

_______________’s Comedy Act:

You know if my dietary habits were made into a movie it would be called (i.e. Big Momma’s House) _______________________(visit the www.fandango.com site under Hot Movies and choose from a genre. Your life may fall into one of these categories; Action, Comedy, Drama, Suspense, Romance, Family, Sci-fi or Art House. Once you have chosen your category you can search the letters for the movies in your category to find the one that best fits your life.)

(Now you can complain) Not only do I have a (Bruce’s hypothetical story: a Momma that loves to cook with lard) _____________________ but a (Bruce’s story: a boss who loves to eat at the $6.99 buffet) _____________________ and an (Bruce’s story: addiction to Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups) ___________________________________ and a (Bruce’s story: preference for midnight snacks) _________________________________

(Now write your story. Exaggerate and be absurd with your own faults as well as your family members.) (Bruce’s story: I was a mild mannered CPA working at Anderson and Co and I had a mid-life crises. My wife wouldn’t let me buy a sports car or have an affair, so I had an affair with an Entenmann’s Blackout Cake and then a fling with a Dairy Queen Float)

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

(Now see if you can touch upon the more painful experiences with humor) (Bruce’s story: Now when I travel they want to make me pay for two fares) ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

(End by telling us what the sequel to your movie will be called) (Bruce’s story: The sequel to my movie will be 28 days where I will do a juice fast and daily colonics at some she-she Spa in Arizona) ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Step Two: Discovering the Inner Artist

Our talented Illustrator has brought to life the three characters I have created; Annie Thracks, Manny Problemas and Oscar Fodder based upon certain Archetype characteristics from Ayurveda, the ancient Indian Science of Life. The characters are engaged in a program that is being implemented by the Human Resource department. I use these characters in a lighthearted way, to honor the difficulties you may have encountered in your relationship with food. They are intended to be fun, not heavy and painful. The characters allow us to explore some of our similar traits and behaviors, and possibly uncover some of the limitations we impose on ourselves.

Expressing ourselves through art has also been part of the human experience for tens of thousands of years. Below we present a Case Study, using characters from the End Run Company. On the right sidebar I would like you to honor your own experience related to food, and your own relationships with fellow workers with an illustration. In addition you may want to identify some of the other characters as family members or other acquaintances. Please try not to be judgmental of your artistic ability, just focus on re-creating the painful experience. Adding absurdity can create some space between you and the experience.

Please add commentary where applicable. Feel free to add to your comic strip as you proceed through this book. We will have contest and pick the best submission and post the ten best on our website at www.yogaforbusiness.com. Please visit our website for details. So lets begin.

Case Study:

Rena Uwel meets with Sam E. Old, the new CEO of the End Run Company, at O’Riley’s Steak House to discuss the most recent financial crises. Having already laid off 40% of the workforce and reduced pay across the board by 20% the only thing left to cut is benefits.

Rena we have to cut health benefits. The employees are just going to have to take the responsibility for their own health. Sam smiled as he cut into his prime rib steak. “I’ve heard about this program that has been successful at reducing labor costs by promoting healthy lifestyle choices”. Rena giggled as she sipped her third martini

The next day Sammy Soysa, a consultant for Yoga for Business, creates a program to educate employees on healthy eating and develop sensitivity to dietary diversity.

“Okay class today we will discuss the various dietary preferences amongst your co-workers”, says Sammy. “And here’s Vito De Ficiencia from Corporate Communications. Vito is a raw food advocate”.

“Remember always thank the plants for giving its life for your sustenance and take in the living energy in its raw state”, Vito speaks in a weakened voice as he collapses and is helped to his feet by a nurses aide.

Vito gives Oscar a glass of wheat grass juice. Oscar turns green and runs to the bathroom.

And now let’s say hello to Dana Hunter from Collections, She’s an animal rights activist and our token Vegan. “Hey you with leather belt”, she yells like a Brooklyn Bruiser. She points at Annie who is trying to remain anonymous. Yeah I’m talking to you. Get rid of the belt.

Annie sheepishly removes her belt.

You know there is one thing worse than killing an animal for food…Killing for self image. Annie sinks lower in her chair.

The only way to stop the killing is to blow up the fur factories….Only kidding

“I will not eat any food containing an animal product including honey”, she says smiling at Annie. Annie sinks to the floor.

“Now lets welcome Jean Sheppard a Vegetarian from the shipping department”.

“Yes I refrain from eating meat, I do eat dairy”. I will not eat anything that has a central nervous system and must be destroyed. I must admit my diet could still be better. I tend to load up on carbohydrates like pasta, rice and I love pizza.

“Our next employees are Mary Yin and Steve Yang. They have been married for seventeen years they will now explain their Macrobiotic Diet and the secret of their successful marriage”.

“The reason we get along so well is we are exact opposites”.

“A Macrobiotic Diet combines both yin and yang to promote balance. Our modified macrobiotic diet consists of the following components”:

45% Grains

30% Fresh Vegetables and Fruits

15% Soybeans & Sea Vegetables

10% Fish and Seafood

  • Grains: especially barley, millet oats, rye, wheat , buckwheat
  • Vegetables and Fruits: especially broccoli, bok choy, collards, kale
  • Soybeans & Sea Vegetables: especially tofu, wakame, hiziki, arame
  • Fish: Salmon and other fatty fish high in Omega 3 Fatty Acids, seafood such as shrimp scallops that are well cooked. We caution against eating raw fish.

“And now lets welcome our Author Bruce Van Horn”.

Ayurveda is a sister discipline to Yoga. Yoga is the science of the union of body mind and spirit. Ayurveda is the science of life. Ayurveda helps us to understand our relationship to food.

Ayurveda has created three archetypes in which one will be dominant. So for each individual, there may be different weightings of the following food categories.

Annie: Vata

Oscar: Pitta

Manny: Kapha

The focus of Ayurveda is to eat a balanced diet that contains all of the tastes we are sensitive to:

  • Sweet: meats, pasta, bread, fruits
  • Sour: lemon, vinegar
  • Salt: sea salt
  • Bitter: green leafy vegetables, herbs
  • Astringent: soy and tofu
  • Pungent: garlic, spices

One meal per day should have all of these elements. Ethnic foods such as Japanese, Chinese, and Mediterranean cuisine follow these principles.

  • Annie, a Vata archetype, would want to eat foods that decrease Vata such as sweet, sour, salty, heavy, oily and hot.
  • Oscar, a Pitta archetype, would want to eat foods that decrease Pitta such as sweet, bitter, astringent, cold, heavy and dry.
  • Manny, a Kapha archetype, would want to eat foods that decrease Kapha such as pungent, bitter, astringent, light, dry and hot.

Now lets see what you are currently eating and the problems you might have.

  • I like convenience; the frozen dinners are just fine for me. I don’t usually have a big appetite and when I get home I’m tired and I don’t want to cook. I usually eat very fast. I get heartburn frequently and pop a lot of antacids.
  • As an African American I was raised on really fatty foods and I love deep fried chicken. My doctor tells me I have high cholesterol, which could lead to a heart condition. I’ve tried that low fat food but it tastes like cardboard. I usually eat by myself so I turn the news on. In the office I eat at my desk but am always interrupted by the phone or one of my subordinates. I am taking medication for an ulcer.
  • I know I have to lose weight but I just love Haagen Daz ice cream and porterhouse steaks. I love to eat out at fine restaurants. Eating is the biggest joy in my life. I eat fairly slowly and a meal can take a few hours.
  • I know I eat too much red meat. I have to eat more vegetables but they don’t have the same satisfying taste. I find it very difficult being a vegetarian. I prefer being a humanitarian.

Let’s take a look at the dietary history of mankind:

Our earliest ancestors relied on a varied diet of meat, vegetables, fruits, nuts and beans.

Along came farming and the rise of civilization and our diet shifted toward grains.

The trade-off to having a constant supply of food was that a diet heavily concentrated on carbohydrates can lead to chronic illnesses.

The industrial revolution and mass production techniques pushed our society toward efficiency at the expense of freshness. Our food products became processed, preserved and deficient in nutrients t such an extent that we had to had nutrients back into the food after processing. But as the studies with supplements have shown the only truly effective way to get important nutrients is from the food, in most cases in cooked form. Furthermore we have added sugar to most of our processed food to make it more palatable.

As the final exercise please draw a picture about some of your painful experiences with food. It could be overeating, upset stomach, incorrect food combinations, eating too quickly, eating when you are upset, etc. Feel free to add commentary.

Step Three: Discovering Your Inner Musician

There is an underlying vibration throughout the Universe that dates back to the original “Big Bang” some 8-12 billion years ago. There is also a vibration that runs through our physiology that is related to our heartbeat and breathing. Even our thoughts have a sound associated with them. Therefore everything has its own theme music no matter how silent it appears.

When our thoughts are out of kilter they throw off our normally relaxed patterns of breathing, and heartbeat.

Our talented Musician, Michael DiGirolamo, has created a musical combination for the meditations in the accompanying CD that will help you move from patterns of thought that tend to disrupt the system, to patterns of thought that lead to relaxation, focus and healing.

As an exercise in breathing and in vibration awareness I suggest you purchase a basic c chord harmonica. The harmonica is a great instrument because we can make sounds both on the inhalation and exhalation. What I suggest is that you work toward a 4 second inhalation and an eight second exhalation. This is a very healing interval. By getting six breaths per minute you are entraining your entire physiology to slow down and assume a healthier beat and rhythm.

To make the exercise even more interesting you can vary your position on the harmonica using higher notes and lower notes. You can even shake the harmonica in your mouth to create interesting sounds.

I recommend practicing the music exercise at least five minutes a day until you feel comfortable with breathing intervals. Or feel free to continue to use the harmonica. It is a wonderful instrument, which I have found to be very healing. I have found that using the harmonica to play the blues is especially rewarding. I recommend tapes videotapes by David Harp, which can be purchased on the Web.

Step Four: Loving Your Self

While it is true that as human beings we all need to experience some pain on our journey, there comes a point in time when we no longer need to inflict suffering upon ourselves. Self-love involves understanding that you are complete and whole and not lacking in any regard. You are a microcosm of the universe. That is inside of each of us is a hologram of creation. We all have great power, but we have been afraid to uncover it. The uncovering takes great courage because what I am asking you to do is to step into the silence. This involves tuning out the problems of the world we ultimately wish to solve. Only by creating the distance can you be effective.

There are many forces that don’t want you to uncover your inner power because it will mean they will lose power over you. Some of the greatest offenders are family members, organized religion, the healthcare industry, business organizations, the media and the government. Unlocking your personal power is one of great gifts of Yoga practice.

Yoga practice requires discipline, and yes, time. It is so much easier to embark on this path when we have the time and our health, yet we often do not and wait for a crises or breakdown before we take action. The key to developing the discipline to practice is self-love. You have to love yourself enough to give yourself this time.

In music the silence gives the notes meaning. In your life the silence can do the same. To be effective you must make a commitment now to yourself and your well being to immerse yourself fully in this program and allocate the time required, which is about an hour each day. I suggest you commit to follow the program for a month. I am confident that once you have experienced the benefits you will make it a life long pursuit. So lets begin.

© 2002, Bruce Eric Van Horn

Introduction to Healthy Eating


According to WebMD Health, our obesity epidemic may be contributing more to America’s rising healthcare and drug costs than the better-known evils of tobacco and alcohol. In addition, the American Cancer Society suggests that changing dietary habits and engaging in physical exercise may prevent the majority of cancers other than those related to cigarette smoking.

The American Cancer Society recommends that we intake most of our foods from plant sources. These include fruits and vegetables

  • Included in the category of fruits and vegetables are grains.
  • Limit our intake of high fat foods, especially from animal sources.
  • Increase physical activity.

In the case study we will present in the next chapter we will highlight some of the mistakes we all make with our dietary choices, our relationship to food, and physical activity. The general public has been bombarded with a plethora of information on healthy lifestyle choices yet obesity and diet-related illness keeps increasing at alarming rate, even among children.

We have become a society of victims, where many individuals are not willing to take responsibility for their actions. An obese man is suing McDonald’s for producing unhealthy food. Our legal system perpetuates this victimization and rewards helplessness.

The sedentary lifestyle, and a need for immediate gratification are the hallmarks of our society. In the early part of the twentieth century we had a much closer relationship to our food production. The industrialization of society and specialization has created a wall between the consumers of food and the producers.

There is an inherent intelligence in food. In our attempt to improve efficiency in our food production we often sacrifice quality for quantity. We need to have a better relationship with and respect for food. When we do not respect the nature of food by shopping for the week we attempt to save time but in the process we sacrifice freshness.

For each action there is a reaction. The law of cause and effect is clearly demonstrated when you look at our food production industry. Perhaps it is not just the red wine that is protecting all those Europeans but their lifestyle and relationship to food. The fast food mentality is harmful to our collective health.

In the wild, animals do not get osteoporosis. The reason is that animals follow their natural instincts. If we can get in touch with our natural instincts, then many diseases, which are really lifestyle choices, can be avoided.

The wisdom of our physiology has provided us with six tastes, which are as follows:

  • Sweet – pasta, bread, wheat, grains, meat, fish, seafood, fruits
  • Sour – dairy, lemon, vinegar
  • Salt – self-explanatory
  • Bitter – green leafy vegetables such as spinach
  • Astringent – beans, lentils, tofu
  • Pungent – spices, mustard

Ayurvedic nutrition recommends that we have at least one meal a day that has all six tastes therein. The reason we have so many problems with obesity and health is that the typical American diet is out of balance. It is primarily sweet, sour and salt; french fries and ketchup. When we utilize all of the tastes that nature has provided us with we can come back into balance.

The American diet is also one of excess. When we dine out, we are unaware that the portions being served are often super-sized, or all you can eat. We want to make sure that we get our money’s worth. We need to understand that being satiated doesn’t mean being bloated. The feast of yesteryear is not applicable in a time of steady and continuous food supply.

The principles of Ayurveda and Macrobiotic have been combined to create a diet that is balanced and easy to follow. The diet along with recipes will be presented in the next few chapters.

By integrating Yoga into your life, you may find that it is easier to make the lifestyle changes that are required to make this new regimen a permanent part of your daily routine. The Yoga breathing exercises will improve your digestive fire and burn calories more efficiently. Yoga can also help you make chores such as cooking a meditative exercise, so that you will not look at food preparation as a burden but a pleasure to be enjoyed. Once in the meditative state you can proceed to eat your meal with mindfulness.

By chewing properly and eating in a relaxed setting you can eliminate many of the digestive problems you encounter. On the accompanying CD is a visualization exercise that will help you make food preparation and dining a meditative experience. We need to eliminate negative emotions when we sit down to eat our meal. Many eating disorders are the result of emotional imbalance. We substitute food for something that is lacking in our lives. When we can begin to uncover the source of the imbalance we can move away from destructive habits. Overcoming our addictive behavior toward food is critical to maintaining and promoting good health.

In this chapter we discussed healthy eating and suggested adjustments to our diet and attitude toward food. In the next chapter we will present a four-step program to overcome behaviors that are preventing us from being healthy eaters and living a healthy lifestyle.

© 2002, Bruce Eric Van Horn

Money Saving Ideas


Asking children to make a contribution

There has never been a better time to be a child in the industrialized world. Children are well fed, immunized, and free to pursue their education and advancement in society. You would think that children would be extremely happy and car free. Yet they are not. This is because the media exposes them to all the worlds’ problems but doesn’t give them opportunities to help find solutions.

Often times parents with good intentions do not allow their children to become responsible adults. This happens when parents assume responsibilities that the children should. We hire nannies and household help, and outsource most of the chores so our children can focus on their studies and activities. Unfortunately, many children are spending most of their free time in front of the TV or in chat rooms.

We insulate our children from life by moving to suburbs that lack diversity along both ethnic and socio-economic lines. The only diversity they winess is when the buses and trains arrive on Sunday evening bringing their nannies and household help. We give them unlimited resources to purchase toys and fail to limit their ever-increasing demands. We give them cell phones, beepers, palm pilots, home computers and Gameboys. Then we wonder why they don’t value money, respect each other and their parents.

In effect what we have done is to surrender parental control and responsibility to the media and our children’s peers. Only when we are willing to take back control can we instill values and a respect for money in our children. By asking our children to assume more of the responsibilities of the household we not only promote our financial freedom but theirs as well.

The key is to educate children and be open about the family’s financial situation. Then you must implement rules, which must be followed.

Some suggested rules might include:

  • Helping prepare meals
  • Cleaning up after meals
  • Assorted household chores
  • Yard work

At first there will be a great resistance and a comparison to their peers. By setting an example and taking more responsibility, you can set an example that will engender cooperation. I suggest using a model that is used in summer camps. In summer camps outside distractions are eliminated. To take back control you will need to limit TV, Internet usage and telephone calls. It is very effective in encouraging discipline. You must set the rules and be strict with their enforcement.

In the next section we will talk about in-sourcing chores in the household.

Outsource at work, in-source at Home

The business model for success in our technological age outsources certain functions so we can concentrate on our core competency. In the home there are different factors at work. With very young children outsourcing tasks may be a necessity because when we are home, we want to spend more time with our children and participate in their development. However as children get older, the extra time garnered from outsourcing is often spent in chat rooms, in front of TV sets, or in idle chat on the telephone.

We have become a nation of outsourcers delegated cleaning, food preparation, lawn and gardening, childcare and many other household chores. The message we have given our children is that these activities are mundane and without value. Being disconnected to nature and food preparation has resulted in insensitivity toward the environment and an unhealthy relationship to food.

We have filled our children’s lives with so many activities that the family rarely has time for quiet interaction. In one community in Ridgewood New Jersey a group of parents is fighting back. They have declared Tuesday Evening activity free, to help families find time to spend to get re-acquainted with each other.

We have allowed the media to take control over raising our children and shaping their values. The subtle message this teaches our children learn is that love can be bought.

Many of us have no idea where our food comes from or how it is prepared. This fast food mentality is contributing to ever increasing cases of childhood obesity and other ailments. We can take a step toward financial healing and promoting better health within our families by becoming more active in the preparation of our food. By teaching children to respect food, they will become less wasteful and more conscious of healthy eating habits. In addition, preparing the meal becomes an activity that the family can all participate in.

Children also need to take responsibility for cleaning their rooms, making their beds, and helping with chores such as vacuuming and cleaning up after meals. By empowering children with these skills you will be giving them freedom.

If you live in a house, developing a connection with nature is a real possibility if your demand assistance with yard work. Simple chores such as weeding, planting, watering can be delegated to children.

Adults, with or without children, will benefit from insourcing more of these responsibilities and participating fully in the process. In Yoga, the ancient science of India a specific type was developed called Karma Yoga. The idea here is that if we can approach all chores in a meditative state, then our whole lives could be a moving meditation in action. So instead of getting all stressed out over what needs to be done, you can view the process as an opportunity to stay focused on your breathing and be relaxed. There are three benefits to this approach:

1) It contributes to your financial freedom

2) It becomes an opportunity for contemplation

3) You feel empowered

Changing Social Interactions

Our neighborhoods, social clubs, religious affiliations and friendships help to define who we are. If you are striving to keep up with the norms in these groups, that will limit your financial freedom. To effectively change our belief systems we may need to surround ourselves with people who share our values.

While I am not suggesting that you put your house up for sale tomorrow, you may want to consider how your environment affects your family and your financial decision-making. If you are at the bottom of the socio-economic ladder in your community you may want to seriously consider how you life might change if the pressure to keep up was removed.

The best way to begin to change your social interactions is to begin to volunteer in organizations that help others. You will not only develop your own compassion skills, but generate a new social circle from which you can develop meaningful relationships.

This is especially important for children. We focus a great deal of energy on developing our children’s world skills like, computer, math, science, analytical, verbal and sports. However we forget the interpersonal skills that kids need to become fully formed human beings. These are the skills they will need to have successful relationships in life.

The key to making effective change is in your willingness to let go of materialism and embrace freedom. Our modern day equivalent of bondage in Egypt is the mental prison, the belief system that is based upon materialism that ties us to our self- image, our ego.

An exercise on Thankfulness has been included on this CD to help you focus on what you have and move away from focusing on what you lack.

If you have a moment you may want to sit up and take some deep breaths and forward the CD to the Thankfulness Meditation.

Investing, Credit Card Consolidation and Elimination

Aside from purchasing a home, a general rule to follow is that if you can’t pay for something don’t buy it. It is as simple as that. If you can’t afford a new car, buy a used one.

We are a nation of debtors. Our current recession is the result of the bursting a speculative bubble produced by Americans who have undermined their personal balance sheets by excessive debt and engaged in casino investing.

We need to invest in ourselves through retraining, education, and honoring our own gifts by building our own businesses.

We need to make a plan of action to begin to control our spending. It begins by making a commitment to incur no new debt. The best way to do this is to start paying cash for purchases so you can begin to see how quickly money is flying out of your pockets. Perhaps you may want to set a goal for daily spending and then use that as a guide to stay on course with a budget.

For example you might come up with a figure of $75 per day and adjust for shopping or purchases that have a longer-term benefit. While it may be an inconvenience to have to visit the ATM’s more frequently this exercise will give you a better understanding of your spending habits and allow you to have more control over spending. There are also debit cards available from most major banks that allow us to pay bills from our accounts. If you are wed to using a bard this might be an alternative so long as you keep track of daily spending.

Once spending is brought under control, a plan must be developed to eliminate credit card debt. Credit card debt is very expensive and carries a high interest rate. The interest alone can be a substantial drain on your resources. Credit card debt can be converted into a home equity line of credit but you should still continue to focus on paying that off in short order.

That Pink Bathroom Ain’t so Bad

There will always be home improvement projects you believe are an absolute necessity. However, before embarking on a new project, ask yourself whether the renovation serves a utility or is it more cosmetic. Your home should be a place of peace and tranquility. If you are always finding faults and problems in the home, your time spent there will create stress and anxiety.

I make believe that I am on vacation when at home. When I am on vacation I don’t think about changing the décor, or embarking on a new project. I am just content to be.

When I first moved into my house I was determined to eliminate the yellow and pink bathrooms. It just happens that yellow came back into style. Perhaps if I wait long enough pink will be popular again too.

There are, of course, projects that you can undertake that are not too expensive and may fall into the category of Karma Yoga such as painting, finishing, etc. These are projects you can get the family involved in and with the help of a store such as the Home Depot you can not only purchase the products at low cost, but get very expert advice.

Don’t be a Slave to Fashion

If you must, never buy retail. Numerous chains abound such as Filenes, Loehmans, Todays Man, etc that offer stylish clothing at a discount.

Remember that the people you attract by displaying these labels may not be the people who will help you on your road to achieving financial freedom.

Simplify

Finally, start to simplify your life. Take the time to experience life’s pleasures such as a walk in nature, a dazzling sunset, or just dancing to salsa music in your own living room.

We have so much but we take it for granted on our rush to produce and consume. One day you may want to try a silent retreat of fasting and contemplation on the wisdom of nature. There are many meditative retreat facilities available for this purpose. Consuming nothing physically and materially is a good way to begin to get an appreciation for what we have.

What we find is that happiness starts in the inner realm and can never be found in someone else or something else.

*You should check with your doctor before embarking on any fast.

© 2002, Bruce Eric Van Horn

Exercises


In the previous chapter we developed a tool to determine our Ayurvedic Archetype. Now that we have determined our dominant traits we can design certain exercises to bring us back into balance.

The following exercises have been developed to address the needs of each of the three basic financial archetypes.

All archetypes can benefit from these basic exercises:

(1) Daily Thanksgiving: The ancient Indian sages practiced their Yoga in the morning. So as you rise to greet a new day, face the sun and put your hands together in a prayerful attitude and give thanks to the sun for its energy and life giving properties. Begin to think about what is working in your life and what you have to be grateful for. Thank the people in your life and honor your own achievements and growth. Most Religious traditions express gratitude for each day of living. This helps us to focus on what we have not what we lack. This may protect you from making business decisions that are based on a lack of self-love.

(2) Enough is Enough: A positive daily affirmation such as speaking the words “Enough is Enough” upon rising each day can be very healing. See if you can identify excesses in your life while you speak these words. Then practice this exercise when your daily thanksgiving has worn off and you are ready to buy that expensive pair of shoes you will only wear once.

(3) Exercises to Heal Love’s Scars: Our financial behavior cannot be rational and productive if we are carrying excess baggage filled with hurt and anger. One way to overcome the negative effect of this past hurt is an exercise in forgiveness. Write a letter addressed to these individuals with whom you have unresolved issues of anger and hurt. Explain in the letter why you are still angry, your grievances and then end the letter by forgiving them. Do not send the letters; instead, release them into the trash in one cleansing forgiving moment and then let it go. Once you let go of the anger you’ll begin to heal; you will begin to prosper.

The following additional exercises are subdivided by archetype:

Miser: (Annie)

(1) Focus on circulating wealth by donating time or money to a charity.

(2) Identify something in your life that would help in your transformation to a more giving person. Spending the money on education, training, a spiritual retreat or even a day at the spa would be well worth it.

Balance: (Oscar)

(1) Teach others to live a balanced life.

(2) Be more patient with others who are either circulating wealth to freely or holding on to rigidly.

Spendthrift: (Manny)

(1) Layout all of your credit cards on a flat surface. Identify one card that is useful and destroy all the others. Do not request a higher credit limit for this one card. This will help you begin to get control of your escalating debt.

(2) Identify sources that drain you of thought, action, and money allocations. Ask yourself if any of these sources cause frivolous expenditures or human and/or ecological suffering. If so, re-prioritize your allocations to include more time and money being devoted to charity and opportunities for reciprocal love. Volunteer to work with under privileged children. By volunteering for a charitable organization that has direct benefits to others, you will become the biggest beneficiary of your generosity. Teach your family that you no longer feel a need to buy their love. Teach them to respect and love themselves by respecting and loving you.

Gold digger (Manny’s Wife and Children)

(1) Dilute materialistic notions in your life by doing some housecleaning. Clean out your closet and donate unneeded items to a charitable organization. Do the same with other materialistic items that do not have sentimental value or fulfill some primary or secondary need. This exercise will help you to start to gain an understanding of the nature of your material possessions and your relationship to the provider of those possessions.

(2) Write down the qualities of the person who is providing for your needs. What are his or her dreams, wishes, longings, and passions (the determination, “this person loves to provide for me” is not acceptable). After you have determined a few of his/her wishes, do something for this person that would shift your focus from what’s in it for me to how can I serve this person, how can I show my appreciation for their love in a way that would be meaningful to him/her.

For all of the Archetypes, I have created a 10-step program, which can help us all to overcome our addiction to our possessions.

Ten-Step Program to End Addiction to Things

1) You must admit that your often powerless over the desire to acquire things and it has caused your life to be unmanageable or it is preventing you from pursuing your Dharma.

2) You are willing to acknowledge that spirit or God can help you transcend this attachment.

3) In deep inner healing work you came to understand the nature of your problem and admitted it to another person.

4) You were ready to transmute this karmic attachment so you could pursue your bliss.

5) You work each day at the end of your meditation on overcoming your karmic attachments.

6) You make a list of individuals that you have Karmic debts outstanding and are willing to make amends to them.

7) You made the amends and successfully transmuted Karma.

8) Continue to take daily inventory and create no new Karma.

9) Continue to meditate daily

10) Further transmute Karma by taking the message of healing to others.

*Karma: Means past actions

*Dharma: Life’s purpose

In this chapter we have provided some exercises to begin to take control of our dysfunctional spending/hoarding financial behavior. In the next chapter we will talk about some money saving ideas for the Manny’s of the world.

© 2002, Bruce Eric Van Horn

Determining Your Financial Archetype


According to Ayurveda, the ancient science of life, there are three distinct personality archetypes. Although we may possess characteristics from the other three, only one is dominant in all of us. By gaining an understanding about our Body-Mind-Spirit Archetype we can more easily develop a program that can help us overcome our limitations.

On the following chart place a V for Vata (1st column), P for Pitta (2nd column) and K for Kapha (3rd column). Add up the number of marks under Vata, Pitta and Kapha to discover your own balance....Most people will have one dosha predominant, a few will have two doshas approximately equal and even fewer will have all three doshas in equal proportion.

Determining Your Ayurvedic Constitution

Observations
Vata
(Air and Space)
Pitta
(Fire with Water)
Kapha
(Water and Earth)

Body size

Slim

Medium

Large

Body weight

Low

Medium

Overweight

Skin

Thin, dry, cold rough, dark

Smooth, oily, warm, rosy

Thick, oily, cool, white, pale

Hair

Dry brown, black, knotted, brittle, thin

Straight, oily, blond, grey, red, bald

Thick, curly, oily, wavy, luxuriant, all colors

Teeth

Protruding, big, roomy, thin gums

Medium, soft, tender gums

Healthy, white, strong gums

Nose

Uneven shape, deviated septum

Eyes

Short rounded, button nose

Eyes

Small, sunken, dry, active, black, brown, nervous

Sharp, Bright, Grey, Green, Yellow/red, sensitive to light

Big, blue, calm, loving

Nails

Dry, rough, brittle, break easily

Sharp, flexible, pink lustrous

Thick, oily, smooth, polished

Lips

Dry, cracked, black/brown tinged

Red, inflamed, yellowish

Smooth, oily, pale, whitish

Chin

Thin Angular

Tapering

Rounded, double

Cheeks

Wrinkled, sullen

Smooth, flat

Rounded, plump

Neck

Thin, tall

Medium

Big, folded

Chest

Flat, sunken

Moderate

Expanded, round

Belly

Thin, Flat, Sunken

Moderate

Big, potbellied

Hips

Slender, thin

Moderate

Heavy, big

Joints

Cold, cracking

Moderate

Large, lubricated

Appetite

Irregular, scanty

Strong, unbearable

Slow, but steady

Digestion

Irregular, forms gas

Quick, causes burning

Prolonged forms muscus

Taste, healthy preference

Sweet, sour, salty

Sweet, bitter, astringent

Bitter, pungent, astringent

Thirst

Changeable

Surplus

Sparse

Elimination

Constipation

Loose

Thick, oily, sluggish

Physical Activity

Hyperactive

Moderate

Sedentary

Mental activity

Always active

Moderate

Dull, slow

Emotions

Anxiety, fear, uncertainty

Anger, hate jealousy, determination

Calm, greedy, attachment

Faith

Variable

Intense, extremist

Consistent, deep, mellow

Intellect

Quick but often faulty response

Accurate response

Slow, exact

Recollection

Recent good, remote poor

Distinct

Slow and sustained

Dreams

Quick, active many fearful

Fiery, war, violence

Lakes, snow, romantic

Sleep

Scanty, broken up, sleeplessness

Little, but sound

Deep, prolonged

Speech

Rapid, unclear

Sharp, penetrating

Slow, monotonous

Financial

Very tight with money. Concerned about security

Balanced but will Spend money on luxuries

May be rich but spends in excess

 Reprinted with Permission from the Complete Book of Ayurvedic Home Remedies Vasant Lad, Three River Press

The following respective archetypes are commonly used in everyday language:

  • Miser (Person hoarding money) Annie
  • Balance (Person in balance) Oscar
  • Spendthrift (Person in debt) Manny

In addition Manny would be given the additional classification of:

  • Sucker (Person being used)
  • And his family would fall into the category of
  • Gold diggers (Person who are doing the using)

It is important to understand that our archetypes influence our belief systems, and impulses that are embedded deep within our consciousness. They affect every aspect of our living. In order to affect behavior, even as it relates to financial planning and healing, we should acquire a basic understanding of how we think and perceive ourselves. Once we understand our natural inclinations we can design programs to keep us in balance, and to modify the dominant effect of our Archetype.

© 2002, Bruce Eric Van Horn

Financial Security


A quest for security occupies much of how we look at life today. Most people think of security as a constant variable that can provide peace of mind. But how can this be achieved? Security, as defined this way, can never be achieved because life is not con­stant. It is only when we learn to ride the waves of life instead of fighting them that we can land on shore, safe and sound. If we fight the waves, then we exhaust ourselves, we become restless and unhappy because we just can’t figure out what’s wrong. Life is a sea of change with varying currents. The only trees that break in a storm are those that are not able to bend.

Studies tell us that at a very deep level any change may trigger the fight or flight response. We get scared, fearful and we choose inertia. If we can get beyond our fears, we can learn to accept a higher degree of uncertainty and risk. Furthermore, by accepting uncertainty in a given situation, we open ourselves to the belief system that life is in constant change and the only certainty in that things are going to change.

Instead of focusing on developing a nest egg for future retirement and working furiously to achieve it, we should try to live at 80% of our capacity and allocate the remaining 20% of disposable income for R&D. In my own life I have allocated time for my writing and reading, by living below my means I have been able to work fewer hours and take sabbaticals when needed.

Just as a company typically allocates a portion of its revenues to new product development to insure its survival, you should allocate resources for retraining and possible career adjustments. If you do so you will never be imprisoned in a situation that is harmful to your health. You will begin to own your own power in relation to your employer and other institutions. So instead of throwing your hands up in the air and turning on the TV, which is involves giving up your power, sit down at your desk and begin to develop an action plan for the life you want. Set an action plan of short term (1month), medium term (1 year) and long term (5 years). Draw an outline of the skills you believe will be necessary to accomplish your goal and then take concrete action to acquire them. If you stay focused on how you will serve society with your gift and skills you will be successful.

We all have been designed with a number of talents. A midlife crises, or retirement may be an opportune time to make a change to discover those hidden talents.

For those of you who view retirement as lying on a beach or lumbering on a golf course, this may not be the best thing for your health. Studies have shown that long life is associated with mental activity and learning. In my volunteer work as a Yoga Instructor with cancer patients, I have found that longevity in survivors was linked with their willingness to change.

So starting today you may want to change your financial goals to reflect a more modest budget with a larger allocation to your own R&D. If you can find your purpose, then the universe will reward your contribution. You will be using your talents to their maximum potential. This is the level where true financial freedom and personal happiness is attained.

Therefore to reach financial security you must be willing to venture into insecurity first. However once you have achieved financial freedom, you will never feel a longing for security. You will have evolved beyond that concept.

There is a perfect accounting system in the universe and the flow of money is proportional to the service provided. By restricting the flow of money as in the case of Annie, who is a miser, we end up with stagnation and entropy. The money in and of itself has no value and must continue to circulate. If we overspend, as does Manny, a spendthrift, then we have a debt to the universe and the debt may imprison and rob us of our freedom.

In this chapter we dispelled some of the myths surrounding financial security. In the next chapter we will look at your financial profiles and recommend specific exercises that will help you overcome your limitations.

© 2002, Bruce Eric Van Horn

Enough is Enough


With a few simple tools, you can break free of the chains that tie you to materialism and learn to live a content life enjoying more simple pleasures, and achieving financial and mental well being. We will introduce simple techniques that can be employed to initiate the process of financial healing. The first tool is verbalizing this most basic thought: ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. Once you begin to realize that you have enough, you can release the fear of being without. You can escape the chains that bind you to this fear.

Personal fulfillment cannot be achieved unless an individual can meet his or her own primary need for food, clothing, shelter, and love. For those born in our well-endowed nation, the first three are often met and individuals are free to cultivate a higher self and compassion for others. However, the seeds of human compassion, understanding, and love are often never planted because our parents may have substituted material possessions for love. They probably were following a pattern that they were taught by their parents.

Love involves self-acceptance and forgiveness. Love will never come by impressing others or giving material things.

You have the power to define your reality, not the ads on TV. When you reject the messages the media is proposing, you will begin the process of healing and begin to move toward happiness. The media conditioned you to believe that friendship, love, respect and admiration can be bought, because they have been bought. This is a terrible illusion that has disastrous and violent results in America—children killing each other over sneakers is just one example. With every charge to your credit card, you must look at what you are buying and take the time to explain to yourself and or your child why you can or can’t afford it.

In a world blind to its freedoms, the only basis we have for happiness is the accumulation of material possessions. This pushes us as a nation to continue to do business with nations that do not respect their citizens or use slave labor. The result is that we not only jeopardize our own freedom, but we do not assist others in achieving theirs. In the process we generate negative karma, which must be repaid. One only has to look at the Middle East and the corrupt totalitarian dictatorships we support to understand the damage done when we base our relationships on materialism.

We have been blessed to have been born in a land of plenty on a planet that vibrates with life. We need to acknowledge even the simple things such as the abundance of food, which we often take for granted.

As an exercise, list all of the luxuries in life that we take for granted, luxuries that took four billion years of evolutionary progress to achieve. Take a moment to contemplate and imagine the progress of humanity and the benefits you enjoy. Please feel free to add to the list.

  • Food, crops resistant to disease and plague
  • Clothing, in all styles
  • Shelter of every kind
  • Electricity/Gas to light and heat our homes
  • Running Water
  • Plumbing
  • Telephone and Communications
  • Cell phones
  • Internet
  • Music
  • Art and Culture
  • Sports
  • Education
  • Health Care
  • Family and Friends
  • Nature
  • Potential
  • Transportation to every part of the globe
  • Safety from dangerous predators
  • Institutions to spread risk, such as insurers and HMO’s

The following affirmations are a combination of the virtues listed by Yoga master Patanjali in his Yoga Sutra and other Yoga principles. These are daily affirmations to be recited at the end of your meditation.

1) I will maintain an attitude of loving kindness to all people and things. (Includes sympathy, compassion, patience, humility and forgiveness)

2) I will always speak the truth

3) I will never take that which is not mine. (This includes material as well as non-material possessions, i.e. bootlegged music, credit for another’s work.) Aspire to become a person of integrity.

4) I will observe devotion and loyalty to family and friends.

5) I will overcome the trap of greed. (This is a vice of our consumer-oriented culture, remember to repeat, “enough is enough” before making a purchasing decision.)

6) I will never give up on my goals and vision. (There is a time and place for good things to manifest. I will be patient)

7) I will stay un-attached, but in the moment

 

8) I will practice discipline through, retreat and daily Yoga practice.

Practicing these daily affirmations is meditation in action, the essence of a spiritual life.

Our senses often deceive us for they give us a false impression of the nature of the material world. Great physicists tell us that what appears to be material is in fact mostly non-material energy. Only by transcending past the limitations of our senses and our belief systems can we begin to appreciate the nature of ourselves and the world around us.

In this chapter we have provided you with tools to overcome your attachment to materialism. In the next chapter we will talk about how the quest for financial security may be holding us back and how we can refocus our energy on attaining financial freedom.

© 2002, Bruce Eric Van Horn

Understanding Belief Systems That Bind Us To Materialism


The recent terrorist attacks in the United States have awakened a collective yearning for meaning in our lives. Watching the Twin Towers tumble we began to realize the preciousness of life, the inevitability of change and the illusion of the material world. Although this event was terribly tragic, it did help us to begin to confront our mortality and focus on our spiritual needs.

Still however, our consumer driven economy pushes us to spend more and the media is used to promote this message. Corporate America has relied on both work ethic and the media to motivate the labor force. In our drive to produce and consume more with ever increasing efficiency, we not only harm our external environment but we hurt ourselves as well.

We end up getting trapped into a certain material lifestyle where we feel a need to compete with our neighbors. This causes us to run faster and faster on the treadmill just to keep up. We do not allocate the time or resources for personal growth because we are spending to feed a lifestyle. Many people trade themselves for their self-image, thereby depleting their personal assets in the process. As a result America’s number one health problem is stress, costing the U.S. economy $300 billion per year.

We have become a society addicted to our credit cards and the life it promises. Now you can afford that new Saab 900 with just $1000 down and they’ll spread payments over 60 months.

Is materialism the American dream? Maybe not. Freedom is the American dream--it was this ideal that the founders of this country were willing to die for. They were the elite of society and they risked all their material possessions for an ideal. Freedom also attracted immigrants by the millions, people who were willing to face the uncertainty of change for a better life. If people think he American dream is materialism, they’re going to be miserable.

Business decisions, including personal financial spending have three components:

  • physical
  • psychological
  • spiritual

Before we make a spending decision, take a job offer, or join a social club we should determine how each component affects our decision-making so we can determine the right course of action that is appropriate for our situation.

In the articles that follow I will guide you through physical, psychological and spiritual exercises that, if used regularly, can lead to financial freedom.

You will feel empowered once you have broken the chains that bind you to the ever escalating, insatiable desire for more. When you say Enough is Enough you will realize the power you have to overcome your reality. You will appreciate the abundance of your life. You can achieve your financial goals without having to take on a second job. You will be able to experience your child’s development and growth, and perhaps even find the time for a hobby or charity.

Your life is so much more than the accumulation of material possessions. If you can learn to redefine “wealth” as an “abundance of freedom,” then who has accumulated more wealth than the person who is free and living a life of purpose? Wealth can be defined this way! Wealth is more an issue of how you look at life, than the things you possesses. Financial healing is available to all of us, depending upon how we look at life. Therefore, the skills and techniques that will follow have as much to do with your view of life as your life’s possessions.

Additional tools that may be lacking in your belief systems will be presented and you can consider expanding your horizons. By demonstrating dysfunctional responses using humor you may feel less threatened when certain belief systems are challenged. Please try to be open-minded and consider change in a more objective manner.

The dysfunction in our personal financial lives creates injury and harm to family members and ultimately ourselves. By highlighting fictional characters who are not pursuing an authentic life or living a life without meaning, or expecting to be served, we can begin to uncover belief systems, that may not be serving our greater good.

By demonstrating dysfunctional spending and personal business decisions in a non-threatening way, you can take a step back from the ego and consider change in a more objective manner.

The characters presented have certain archetypal characteristics (based upon the ancient science of Ayurveda). In the appendix specific characteristics, both physical, emotional and financial that correspond to each character are discussed. Only by honoring the differences that make us unique can we develop a financial program that addresses all of your needs. You may find that your personality spans a number of these characters or perhaps you can identify strongly with one.

The key to financial freedom is in understanding your strengths and honoring your weakness and past pain. The past is preserved in what we call our “Karma” or “Karmic Software”. Once identified, we can begin to develop a program that can motivate you, and allow you to enjoy the process of growth and change.

In this chapter we discussed the belief systems that tie us to a materialistic vision of reality. In the next section we will use humor to begin to uncover the past that has been buried in your Karmic Software. Once the pain has been honored and acknowledged financial healing can begin and we will be empowered to begin to challenge some of our materialistic belief systems.

© 2002, Bruce Eric Van Horn

The Right Season & Synchronicity


If you create the intention to manifest your desires they will come to fruition provided the season is right. What this means is that we often must have patience and determination to keep trying many different alternative pathways to reach our goals. This is similar to how nature promotes evolution. Nature is always improving upon itself and trying new processes. If nature got discouraged we wouldn’t be here.

About five years ago I approached Dr. Deepak Chopra at a seminar with my idea for Yoga for Business. He told me that the season wasn’t right. At first I was hurt, but then I realized he was right. The market wasn’t ready for this message and I wasn’t ready either. There were certain lessons that needed to be learned. I started giving away my services to Cancer patients. I needed to learn the lesson of giving before the universe would manifest my desires. Once this had been accomplished, I was able to publish my first two books.

The regular practice of meditation will help you to identify seasons of change and increase the synchronistic moments in your life. The dictionary defines synchronicity as a coincidence of events, where there is a simultaneous action, which is related. For example picking up the phone to call someone and finding him or her on the other line.

Synchronicity can be used in many areas of your life…It can be used to build a business, form an advisory board, find a strategic partner, meet your soul mate or experience wonderful vacations.

Consider that every person you meet offers you an opportunity to learn and grow. By staying alert and in the moment you can capitalize on opportunities when they arise. Daily Yoga practice will help you to refine these sensibilities.

I have also used synchronicity when on vacation. Vacations are the best time to practice getting comfortable with stepping into the unknown and letting go. The known is our past; there is no growth there. When you go on vacation try to go to different places and seek out adventure. There are newfound friends to be made, different countries to learn about, and interesting places to explore. In a recent trip to the Dominican Republic we dined with new friends, explored waterfalls, journeyed through rainforests and enjoyed learning about life in their country.

Each day you’ll begin to let go of your judgment and expectations and each day enjoy yourself even more. Yoga will help to open the mind so you can experience your full potential. There are unlimited possibilities in life and soon you will find that your desires are fulfilled with less effort.

© 2002, Bruce Eric Van Horn

Tools to Overcome Organizational Dysfunction


In this chapter we will explore alternative belief systems that can help us transform dysfunctional workplace environments into thriving and successful companies that can not only enhance shareholder value but also maximize employee well-being and improve customer service. Specific tools and their application will be discussed.

Bringing Love into the Workplace

Fear can be a potent motivating force, but over the long-term the effects on human capital can be damaging. Fear does not encourage employees to make the creative responses necessary to ensure survival of the business.

All organizations exist for a purpose, a mission or Dharma. A fear-based management system considers solving the problem for which the industry or company is founded, a threat to its existence. The fear-based response is to hold onto power by preventing meaningful solutions from emerging. This is especially problematic in distorted industries such as accounting, financial, energy, healthcare and communications.

It is very demoralizing for innovative and idealistic employees and management to be prevented from solving problems. The result is high turnover and stress-management-problems.

If our belief systems empowered us to view the underlying energy of the universe as love and compassion, we could release our fear of change and understand that our organization’s Dharma or mission may be broader than we initially realized.

If you reach into your pockets and pull out a dollar bill you will notice the words emblazoned on the back “In God We Trust”. While our founding fathers created a separation between church and state they never envisioned daily life without spirituality. Their words, on the back of our currency, are reminding us that there is a higher authority we must serve, and it is not the dollar bill.

Management theories of the month will be promoted and management books will be written, but real change will not occur until we bring spirituality back into our daily lives and back into the workplace where it is desperately needed.

We need to move away from politically correct management, which is immobilized, from taking any meaningful action to empowerment of our HR Managers to try new approaches.

Yoga is a non-denominational approach to delivering spirituality back into our daily lives by helping us to change our

An alternative, and more long-term solution would be to change the motivation from fear to love. Love based motivation will create a sense of loyalty and purpose and with energy levels that can be sustained.

In the earlier chapter we discussed the Loving Kindness Meditation. I use this meditation before I am meet with a prospective client or business prospect. I meditate on how I can help or serve the customer. By shifting the focus away from what’s in to for me, to how can I help, I let go of the ego’s need to push a sale. It is liberating to let go of that pressure to close, and always have an answer to a customer’s problem or concern. The Loving Kindness approach lets you open up and really listen to your customers so you don’t force solutions. Through discovery, listening, and concern you can develop a strategy to really address your customer’s needs.

By calling on your higher self, you can also tap into the “cosmic computer” and get information that will be helpful to your customers. I also use the Loving Kindness meditation with employees; it is particularly effective in motivating employees.

We are very much a touch-deprived society. The human being was designed to live in groups with a great deal of physical interaction. We have become isolated even though we live together in condensed metropolitan areas. A study was recently done among various cultures regarding the number of physical touches between couples. It is no surprise to find that our culture is at the bottom of the list. Just go to any health club and you will see people paying large sums of money to have some interaction with their trainers. Our consulting firm Yoga for Business conducts seminars at corporate locations using hand on energy healing as a way to encourage touch and facilitate meditation.

Just as we solve problems in our dreams we can solve problems through meditations. In addition meditating in a group promotes cohesion and group problem solving. This is because the quieting thoughts of the group deepen the meditative experience and the goals and vision of the group is magnified during the meditation.

There is a Karmic reason why we are in each other’s lives. Yoga and meditation help us to see the bigger picture and view conflict with more compassion.

Survival Tips for Employees

There are many strategies you can use to own your own power in an employee/employer relationship. Primarily it means demanding to be treated with respect and dignity from your employer. My first job out of college was at a small accounting firm. The owner of the firm, a cigar chomping old codger, would use terms like “stupid idiot”, ‘God dam a…hole” when he was reviewing subordinate’s work. I was fired the day after tax season ended, just before I was to receive my tax season bonus, because I had been preparing some tax returns on the side and the owner of the firm was threatened by it.

I also recall how a national firm would fire individuals by calling them over a loudspeaker on April 16. They were dismissed and asked to pack their things and leave. I had also worked in a Big five firm for a manager who was very driven. I always knew he would someday make partner, which he did. Being partner was his highest aspiration. Several years later I learned that he had committed suicide. He had tied his self-image and self worth entirely to his job and his company when he could have put spirit and his family first.

In my own family I witnessed the demise of my father at the hands of the U.S. Postal Service. My father had a learning disability and was proficient at his sorting job but when a new postmaster arrived, he wanted to bring in his own team so he deliberately put my father on the cash window. My father had a nervous breakdown and had to be admitted to a psychiatric facility for depression. Only electric shock Therapy was able to bring him out of this state, but soon after that he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases. His life was cut short by many years. We have all heard about people going postal, in most cases the destruction is targeted inward.

My own experience in the accounting profession has opened my eyes to the fact that many “professions” have the most unprofessional behavior and management practices. To overcome this there are a number of techniques you can use to “Own Your Power”:

  • Never let an employer treat you with disrespect, confront the behavior immediately.
  • Never accept criticism that is without merit. Speak up. However if criticism is well-intentioned and truthful, be open to suggestions for improvement.
  • Do not accept comparisons to others. You are your own unique creation.
  • Don’t accept the statement ”This is the way things have always been done”.
  • Be on the lookout for the should/woulda/coulda blame game, which is usually used to get control over you. Ask your employer to use constructive statements such as “In the future I will pay attention to XYZ so that…”
  • If a superior is using obscene language and cursing, just leave. Do not fight anger with anger.
  • Always live at 80% of your income level to give yourself the freedom to own your own power and make career changes if necessary. Like a predator that can spot weak or wounded prey, employers prey upon the fears of their employees.
  • Never sacrifice your values.
  • Watch how your company is investing your pension funds. We have the power to help corporate America move away from feudal fear-based management to enlightened corporate governance. The powers that be will try to resist change to hold onto their power, but once we can reach a critical mass the change will be inevitable.

My website is dedicated to improving communication between employees and management. It will be a forum where complaints are aired amongst peers, and where support could be given to employees that stand up to tyranny. It could also be used to develop appropriate standards of behavior for the workplace environment. If you have had an incident you would like to report please email us at bvanhorn@yogaforbusiness.com

Survival Tips for Employers

Fear can be an effective motivational tool. It motivated the U.S. to devote resources for the space program and put a man on the moon. Fear can also help companies achieve certain short-term goals but the continuing use of fear can be damaging to an organization and society.

There is actually a hormone associated with fear. Studies have been conducted on mice where one group is given electrical shocks and then removed from the room. As soon as the new group arrives they are overcome with fear. If a group or groups of individuals in your organization are subject to stress, that energy will be transferred to others in your organization.

Love is a much more powerful long-term approach to employee motivation.

For employers I recommend a loving kindness meditation in which you ask “How can I serve, how can I help my employees evolve to become the best they can be”. This involves shifting the focus from what can they do for me, to what can I do to help them.

I recommend a holistic approach in which we view the employee as a whole being including a personal life, talents, aspirations, volunteer worker, parent, son, mother, etc. When we connect with another person at this level the dialogue becomes more meaningful. The employee will recognize the employer’s concern immediately and will respond by giving more of him or herself. The results are improved performance. The employee then uses the same approach for customers and fellow employees. The loving kindness virus will spread quickly throughout the organization.

Relationships are built on compassion, care, trust and respect. Top management will set the tone for the organization. I recommend a very broad and purposeful mission statement, which everyone in the organization should be familiar with. I also believe it is very important to have corporate leaders inspire and motivate the troops in the organization with a vision and purpose that is grander than just winning market share. Leaders should be involved in volunteer programs and should encourage company-wide participation.

Leading through periods of turmoil and change require honesty, a characteristic that has been lacking in most of our corporate leaders and politicians. The 9-11 attack on America has helped us to focus on leaders who are honest, who make sacrifices and can instill loyalty in employees

Developing an excellent customer service base requires having all employees focusing on “How can I help, how can I serve our customers”. The best way to begin to inspire this attitude is at the very top of the organization with top-level executives and managers. This will ensure that the organization is committed to this philosophy.

With workplace violence increasing, it would be a good time to implement a policy designed to take a spiritual approach to job termination. Often times an employee is terminated in the most insulting and injurious manner. The current model is designed to make the employee feel absolutely worthless and not to be trusted. Some employees are escorted out of the building when they are given notice.

An enlightened manager would understand that we are all connected and there is a reason for us to be in each other’s lives. A termination is often a blessing in disguise. If the company was truly interested in helping the individual develop and pursue their talents, than a termination could be handled in a loving way by redirecting the individual towards his Dharma. In Yoga we believe that each individual has a purpose just as every organization has a mission. By regular Yoga practice we can uncover our true path and help others find theirs. For under-perfoming employees we can also help them to get more focused on service than on their ego, which can eliminate the need for a termination in the first place. Ultimately it is important to acknowledge that the organizations mission and goals should be subordinated to spirit, the family. Organizations that support the family, country and spirit will empower employees and improve and enhance management/employee relationships.

In this chapter we discussed tools, which can be used to overcome organizational dysfunction. We approached the problem from the perspective of the employee and employer. In the next chapter we will discuss synchronicity and how organizations can help promote individual intuition and enhanced decision-making.

Chief Humor Officer

Until our business organizations can move away from a dictatorial forms of corporate governance, I recommend that the Board of Directors appoint an independent Chief Humor Officer who will function much like the fool did in the court of the Kings of the Middle Ages. The CHO will be able to expose when the Emperor’s has no clothes without having to worry about having his head chopped off.

The philosophy of Yoga can help us to own power so we will no longer need Celebrity CEO’s and other relics of our feudal past. Our selection of managers should be based upon experience, humility, compassion and dedication to service.

© 2002, Bruce Eric Van Horn

Dysfunction in Orgainzations


Today, we discuss various forms of organizational dysfunction that prevent the organization from accomplishing its mission and cause great harm to employees, customers and ultimately shareholders.

Our early human ancestors needed to be constantly vigilant as the world was a dangerous and threatening place. In the movie 2001 Space Odyssey there is a very powerful scene at the beginning of the movie, which highlighted our humble beginnings and struggles. One of our common ancestors was fighting over the vegetation with a warthog. Suddenly a cougar pounces and devours the helpless human.

Now fast forward to the 21st century. Wrapped up inside us is the software, which contains memories of past generations. Scientists call it instinct. After millions of years of struggle we have won the battle and can now live in relative peace and harmony. Unfortunately the primal instincts and fears are very compelling and many people find their evolution to higher states of awareness blocked by attachments to stress provoking stimuli. We keep pulling ourselves backwards when we should be progressing forward. We have become addicted to stress. An argument with a superior triggers the flight-fight response and our bodies respond by releasing adrenaline, because we immediately fear a job loss, and losing one’s job is equated at a deep level with death. Over time the constant release of adrenaline weakens our immune system.

Even outside of work we don’t allow ourselves the opportunity to really relax. Either we need to pump our adrenaline with aggressive sporting matches or violence in film and television.

Worse yet as we sit watching and pumping our adrenaline we are feeding our bodies meat and hydrogenated oils, which further increase our agitation. The real killer is that after we are all pumped up we don’t have a physical expression or outlet. At least our ancestors could run or fight thereby burning off the toxicity of the adrenaline.

It is up to each of us to try to resist the images of violence, which can block our spiritual progression. For some of us it will mean watching less television, changing the type of books we read, newspapers we subscribe to or the movies we see.

Perhaps we can alter our interpretation of situations and learn to put things into perspective. The opposite of fear is love and it is much more powerful, it has empowered many to overcome great obstacles.

The Gambling Mentality

If you believe the Universe is random and without order, than that is what you will experience. This ignorance has the potential to rob us of our power because we have no control over our destiny.

The gambling mentality, which is a belief that the universe is random and we are not in control of our destiny, distorts the market, as investors’ expectations become less focused on fundamentals and more on speculation. It is well known, that it is almost impossible to consistently outperform the market. Yet, many market players try to do just that, focusing on short-term gain over long-term fundamentals.

The investment with the greatest potential is you. This is because you have power and control over your being which you can use to serve others with your talents. When you earn money yourself, using your talents in the service of your fellow man, you are both giving and receiving. The flow of the universal energy will come to you in the form of wealth which can be assimilated into your life.

If money is inherited or won in a lottery, it is often lost very quickly and can be damaging to the lives of the recipients. This is because they have not changed their belief systems and attitudes about money and are still burdened by their poverty consciousness.

I once had a client who had inherited a substantial sum of money from her mother. In the course of two years, she had managed to spend every last penny even though she lacked other resources. Against my urgings for restraint the money had vanished.

There is a perfect accounting system in the universe and money represents the flow of energy. Money that is earned because of service provided to the universe will be retained. Money earned by seemingly random events, will most likely need to be repaid.

Winning the lottery is often the worst thing that can happen to people. Interviews with winners several years later reveal the money has taken a toll on the personal lives of the recipients. In the same way money earned on a crapshoot in the stock market could become equally destructive.

It is time for us to move away from the need to crown kings and queens. This involves owning our power and realizing that there is a hero in each of us waiting to emerge.

Declining Business Ethics

As I was writing this article I was confronted with a number of challenges. One of my tenants believed that rent could be paid at any time during the month or not at all. I wondered why this person thought it was my responsibility to house their business without being paid.

There are a number of small businesses I have encountered over the years that build their businesses by robbing Peter to pay Paul. They borrow from their vendors to grow their business, but haven’t asked their vendors for permission before they took the loan from them. Not only small companies but also larger businesses have a habit of slowing down remittances to earn interest on the balance. What ends up happening is that you have a slow decay in the moral fabric of business in general when such behavior becomes commonplace.

When you enter into an agreement to purchase goods or services you should live up to the obligation to make payment. Therefore before making a purchase you should already have the resources to secure payment, otherwise you should wait. In business you will meet people who are not willing to pay for goods and services and take advantage of others by constantly opening and closing businesses. You may get fooled by some of these people. I found that chasing after these people is often times a real drain of energy. Many times it is best to let go of the anger and move on and learn from your experience.

Sometimes you must stand up for your rights. The best way to do that is from an emotionally detached vantage point. In doing so you will not give them any power over you and therefore you will be more effective in your defense.

You can learn to be able to stand up to people without sacrificing your basic trust in others. You can be a charitable person but when you enter into an agreement to do business it is not charity. Make yourself very clear about this.

You have to always approach all business relationships from a position of strength. Weakness is never respected and as much as you want to be liked, you must focus on being effective. This is true with children and in any situation where you must assume leadership responsibilities.

In the executive suite there are a number of leaders who believe that the mission of the organization is to enrich their pockets. It is up to shareholders and the Independent Board of Directors to prevent such abuses.

Employees have great power because their pension funds make up substantial pools of capital in the market. I have developed a number of programs for large pension funds which will empower employees by promoting better governance practices in publicly held companies. Ultimately this will empower employees and reduce management practices that compromise the well being of the organization and the individual.

Nepotism and Control

As a CPA I realized that many of the problems experienced by small businesses were self-created. In order to effectively treat them I would have to broaden the scope of my services. It was then I realized that I would need to take a holistic approach toward my profession.

At least 75% of all U.S. businesses are family owned. Often family businesses make decisions based upon family needs as opposed to business needs. A socialistic, paternalistic distribution of wealth is inappropriate for a free market enterprise. Family generosity should be a conscious act of love and giving and set apart from the efficient operation of the business.

Putting ineffective family members in key positions in the company can be very demoralizing to other more productive family and non-family employees. In addition, business owners need to confront the issue of entitlement. They should meet with the family as a whole to determine what the family’s goals are and what distribution of resources, outside the company, can be used to achieve these goals.

For businesses not family run, problems such as turnover and employee loyalty must be confronted. Many business owners assume autocratic roles and are often unaware how offensive their behavior has become. Such conditions, if left untreated, can lead to low employee morale and increased turnover. Employees surrender authority to business leaders and expect such individuals to have moral justification for his or her positions. We are all human and of course we act irrational, however, to be an effective leader the business owner really must appear just and rational, and become a source of wisdom and inspiration to others. The owner’s behavior sets the tone for the organization.

I am particularly impressed with businesses that blend spirituality into their corporate structure. Mary Kay Cosmetics (Christian Based), and the Marriott Hotel Chain (Mormon Based) have created a movement by focusing on a mission that recognizes service to a higher authority. Mary Kay’s motto is, “God first, family second, and the company third”. This approach is extremely effective in building an excellent customer service business and will become the model of the future for enlightened businesses. My only critique would be to make the programs less religious and more spiritual so to embrace all belief systems.

As we evolve away from the post-industrial model of corporate bureaucracy, the lines are blurring between business and personal time. Knowledge workers need to be treated as adults and organizations that support healthy personal choices for their human capital will benefit accordingly. That is the more we treat employees as adults the more they will behave as adults both in their professional and personal lives.

The fear of losing control also prevents many business owners from growing their companies. Grooming employees to take responsibility and motivating them to have a parallel vision of corporate goals require the following commitment by the employer:

  • Release the fear associated with giving up control.
  • Set goals and clearly communicate them to employees.
  • Empower employees to feel part of a larger process.
  • Prepare formal evaluations and use the information as a tool to stimulate positive change
  • Hold regular staff meetings to communicate goals and encourage the sharing of ideas.
  • Develop short term and long-term goals and communicate these goals to employees.

© 2002, Bruce Eric Van Horn

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