Inspiration from Dr. Ron
Written by Nicole Lindstrom
Ronald Alexander is a man of immense knowledge stemmed from a deep wealth of experience. He has traveled the world studying and practicing Hatha, Ashtanga and Vinyasa Flow. In 1974, he co-founded the Kundalini Research Institute in Pomona, CA and has taught Zen, Tibetan, Vipassana and Mindfulness practices in various places. He is currently the executive director of the OpenMind Training Institute in Santa Monica where he teaches mindfulness practices and integrative mind-body healing therapies. He is author of Wise Mind, Open Mind: Finding Purpose and Meaning in Times of Crisis Loss and Change. Just to name only a few of his accomplishments.
So, needless to say, when I saw his name on the Wanderlust line-up I was immediately curious and had to find out what he had to share. Little did I know, the inspiration I would receive from our meeting would be one of my fondest memories from the festival. Dr. Ron was scheduled to speak with Shiva Rea at the Hay House Speakeasy, under the title “Woodstock to Wanderlust – Festivals and Cultural Shifts of Consciousness”. Their discussion revolved around how large gatherings that celebrate music, expression and freedom have evolved as well as what purpose and benefit the festivals offer the freedom-seeking individual and society at large. Sitting in on their talk, watching clips of yoga and music from Woodstock, feeling the awe inspired crowd and the spirit of nostalgia was enlightening to say the very least. One thread of their conversation really hit home for me, the festivalgoer perspective.
It’s easy to walk around with blinders on in the midst of the chaos. Lulu Lemons and Mandukas prancing to and fro from yoga class to yoga class, lecture to lecture. Waking up in the morning with your schedule in hand, rushing for a quick coffee and bite to eat before you get at it, never stopping until the night’s music has faded from your ringing ears and the dance dwindled from your throbbing feet. All it takes is the awareness of this narrow scope for one to realize what is really happening, how powerful a festival like Woodstock or Wanderlust really is! At Woodstock, Tom Law brought yoga into existence for half a million people. At Wanderlust, the art of teaching consciousness and yoga has become refined and structured in such a way to allow participants to pick and choose from a variety of their interests and curiosities. When you put into perspective how far the yoga community has evolved since the 1960s, it is quite impressive. And then comes the big question, what comes next?? How far can our community really go? The possibilities are endless and as Wanderlust participants, we are right on pace with the progressive times. We will be a part of what comes next.
Directly after their talk, I rushed off (with a broader view and heightened awareness) to my next yoga class with Shiva Rea. And whom did I see about five mats down, all by his lonesome? None but Dr. Ron himself, of course. And later, when we met in the evening for our interview, I was once again surprised by his casual appearance and his laid back energy. He walked over, coffee in hand, with such a pure and gentle lightness that we all felt immediately comfortable and relaxed into a wonderful conversation.
Here are two questions and responses from our chat:
Nicole: It was so great to hear you speak this morning about Woodstock and listening to your talk made me want to ask you, what is your fondest memory from that festival?
Dr. Ron: My fondest memory was participating in a Kundalini yoga class taught by Tom Law. What was special about it was after the class was over, I was just flying, energetically. I went in through the door from one plane of consciousness to this other plane. Nothing like marijuana or Hash. It was very mystical. I remember sitting down with a group of girls afterward, talking, holding hands, all knowing. Finally after about 15 minutes I said, “Did you go through the door too?” And we all started laughing.
Nicole: Another thing that you touched on in the discussion this morning was balance. You said that for a period of time you were pretty strict with your diet and health and everything. But then you realized over time there needs to be a balance. That hit home when you said that, I think a lot of people in my generation are in that stage right now where everything is so extreme, it’s one thing or the other. They haven’t found that balance of moderation and they don’t know how to incorporate it into their lives. So I want to ask you, what is balance and how would you encourage others to find that balance within themselves?
Dr. Ron: I will talk about balance in a variety of ways… I think you need to get in touch with your body type and your constitution. In homeopathic medicine, everyone has a core constitution. When it comes to diet, I was a purest for 15 years. For one year I was totally sattvic, all I existed on was hot milk and honey. 365 days to the day, goats milk and honey three times a day. The second year, all I ate, because my Guru said, “I want to take you to a more subtle level of the causal body, I want you to eat only beets and carrots that are cooked”. In my consciousness I was being sattvic, I was being really pure. And of course my meditations were extraordinary. I was seeing auras. I could do psychic readings in my twenties. And then I hit this point where I had no energy. I went to see a blind chiropractor, I was sitting in his waiting room and he said, “Okay bag of bones, drag it on in here!” And every time I’d see him he’d say, “You know, the steak house is just down the street. I’m willing to take you for a good steak!” Over the course of the year he asked, where are your grandparents from? Where are their grandparents from? You are Irish. You are somebody from Ireland. You were raised genetically on meat and potatoes! Not honey! He sent me to a psychic nutritionist. The more I started introducing more into my diet, the more I was able to do and that’s when I started to think, ‘What do I need for balance?’ It’s completely dependent on the person. Everybody is different. One size does not fit all. So balance I think has to be very individual to the person. There is no such thing as perfect.
Speaking with Dr. Ron was like eating food for the soul. We parted with grins on our faces and the sense of something bigger. Cat and I had just caught a glimpse into a time that was before our consciousness, providing insight into what treasures might be found within our own lifetimes. Just as Woodstock was then, Wanderlust is now. The future is boundless and full of possibilities. All we need to do is be aware, conscious and present.
Stay tuned to our Wanderlust networks (Youtube | Facebook | Twitter) to catch our weekly Speakeasy Video releases from the likes of Dr. Wayne Dyer, Marianne Williamson, Congressman Tim Ryan, Shiva Rea, Seane Corn, Irshad Manji, MC Yogi, Waylon Lewis (from Elephant Journal) and so many more.