Mountain Views News, Sierra Madre Edition [Pasadena] Saturday, September 30, 2017

MVNews this week:  Page A:8

JUST FOR BEST FRIENDS Mountain Views-News Saturday, September 30, 2017 
8JUST FOR BEST FRIENDS Mountain Views-News Saturday, September 30, 2017 

by Chris Leclerc 

Happy Tails 
Throughout history, certain species of animals, atvarious levels on the food chain have fallen prey toa predator that is very different from what one mightexpect. This precarious predator is not located in theforest or in the depths of the ocean, where most wildlifesurvival attacks would typically to take place.

This predator is rarely ever pointed out in public,
and rarely claims the blame or admits taking part in theprey and attack process. The predator I am referring tois the incredible human being, and the attack is not onlyphysical but mental and perhaps even spiritual as well.

The human’s tendency to initiate and spread negativerumors which create long-term urban legends causingirreparable damage to the reputation of other species istypically based on ignorance and fear and the prey ofpreference can vary tremendously from one species toanother. 

Unusual behavioral patterns and odd physicalappearances of creatures that are different from ushumans are often misunderstood, so rather than takingthe time to learn more about other creatures in an effort 
to understand why they look and behave the way theydo, we often put them into a category that defines themas creepy and therefore extinguishable.

I find it ironic that many of the living things onthis earth that play a major role in the survival of ushumans are those that we tend to fear the most. Of the 
countless creatures that have fallen prey to the human’spresumptuous paranoia throughout history, the spideris most likely among those at the top on the list.

I think this is really quite unfortunate, becausespiders play such an important role in the balance ofour ecosystem. In fact, without spiders and the amazingwork they do, this world would be in big trouble ona local community level as well as on a global level.
Indeed, things would be off quite kilter in the overallscheme of things.

Spiders are among the approximately 100,000 speciesthat fall into the classification of Arachnids, mainlycharacterized by having four pairs of legs and a bodythat is separated into two segments. There are about2,000 different species of spiders in the United Statesand although, (with the exception of one family) allspiders do carry venom to subdue their prey, very feware likely to cause concern to the human being.

More often than not, any cause of concern relatedto a spider bite is due to an allergic reaction. Only twospecies of spiders commonly found in North Americaare known to be a serious threat to 
the human - the black widow and 
the brown recluse. When you lineup the facts, break it down and dothe math it becomes clear that the 
risks spiders present are minimal andarachnophobia is nothing more than aform of fear-based paranoia.

Now that we have an idea about the 
risks spiders present, let’s focus on thegood things they do and the hard workthey perform on a daily basis to ensurethe health and welfare of our existence. 
All spiders produce silk, with whichthey weave their wonderful webs and 

this fascinates me beyond words.

Some webs can be so large they cross the streetfrom one tree or utility pole to another. I saw a hugeone recently during a walk around the block, and Iwish I had taken a picture. It was absolutely gorgeous

- a remarkable work of art! But, aesthetic beauty is notthe purpose of the silken spider’s web. As we all know,
the main reason why the spectacular spider weaves its’sticky silken web is to catch insects and other small 
creatures to eat. 
This is the most important role that the spider playsin nature, and it has a direct positive impact on eachand every one of us. If you annihilate the spiders in yourhouse and in your yard, you will most definitely findout (the hard way) just how valuable those eight legged‘creepy’ creatures are.

You are likely to find yourself calling the exterminatorvery soon thereafter, because your property would likelybecome infested with every type of tiny creature thatyou can possibly imagine. The truth is that the spiderkeeps our local bug population in check in a way that nowe often do not appreciate.

The spider’d wonderful web has become particularlyimportant to me this summer, what with the mosquitoesswarming in masses in our neck of the woods. Weneeded that rain last winter, but the resting water foundin small pits along the wash has invited an exponentiallylarger population of mosquitoes than what we usuallyhave. I am one of those who attracts biting bugs too, soI feel like somewhat of a target when they come lookingfor ‘dinner’. 

So what would you rather have? A delicate, illusive,
shy eight-legged being who is more afraid of youthan you are of it, or an entourage of stinging, biting,
annoying insects invading your living space, both insideand out? The answer comes easy for me. I prefer tokeep those interesting, artistic spiders around where Ican benefit from their gorgeous works of art, and theirveracious appetite for certain blood-thirsty creatureswho would otherwise over-populate and make my lifemiserable. 

Isn’t is amazing how just a little information cando so much good for the reputation of an historicallymisunderstood, feared creature? In tune with my typical“Happy Tails” theme, I encourage all my human friendsto educate themselves better about all living things,
particularly those that differ from us, and learn toappreciate the value of their presence. Love and let live! 

One of the 
definitions of the 
word ‘adapt’ is to“become adjusted 
to new conditions.” 
In many ways,
this is what yoga is

trying to accomplish-- adaptability. Adaptability is theability to gracefully thrive within the ever-changingcircumstances of life. In yoga and Ayurveda, we focuson treating the present state of body and mind. Whatworked yesterday may not apply today.
There are a few factors that determine our present state ofbody and mind. First, what we take in plays a significantrole. This is not exclusive to food and includes what we 
receive through stimulation of the five senses. What arewe hearing, seeing or feeling? Have you noticed howaromatherapy improves your health? Or have you feltwonderful after some time in the sunshine? It’s helpfulto remember what nourishes and what depletes.
Second, evaluate your lifestyle. How we live ties into 
our overall environment. There are many questionsfor self-inquiry here. What is life like? Ask yourself,
“Is my yoga practice contributing to a calm and sereneenvironment overall? Am I around positive people wholove me?” Personally, I check myself to see how muchwellness I have in my life day-to-day. If I’m taking 

care of myself through exercise, yoga, meditation, andholistic practices, then I’m enjoyable to be around and Ifeel happy and comfortable.
The challenge comes when our present state of body andmind is overlooked. When we are out of balance, we 
often ignore our symptoms or put off addressing them.
A simple breath practice might feel too simple. Gettingmore rest or sleep is something we know we should dobut don’t do. Possibly, we think we SHOULD be at adifferent place than where we REALLY are.
If you are ever uncertain of where to begin with youryoga practice, address where you actually are in thatday. What part of your body needs attention? Do youneed to stretch or strengthen? Is it the mind that needssettling? A soothing breath practice may be indicated.
Remember, little steps add up to greater change in thelong run. When we approach the authentic present stateand condition, the ability to adapt and thrive increases.
This creates flow and balance in the world and in us, 
Come see us at Yoga Madre to create awareness andnourish yourself. Visit the website for classes, events,
and training: 

Namaste, Keely Totten,
E-RYT 500, 


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