Tag Archives: hikers

From Iranian Prisoner to Fatherhood – Welcome to the World Baby Isaiah

Yesterday, my sister Mallika and I both got the coolest email from our friend Laura Fattal.

Quick rewind: About four years ago, Laura’s son Josh and his friends Shane Bauer and Sarah Shourd were taken into custody by Iranian border guards and accused of illegally crossing into Iran while hiking along the border. Over the subsequent two years, the three Americans became part of a high stakes international drama that resulted in their being charged with illegal entry and Josh and Shane convicted of espionage and sentenced to eight years of imprisonment. Sarah was released after 14 months on ‘humanitarian grounds’ while Shane and Josh’s terrifying ordeal lasted another year and finally came to an end in September of 2011 when they too were released after paying substantial fines.

Josh, Shane, and Sarah’s arrest was of course covered by the media, but as weeks stretched to months, and months eventually to years, their plight threatened to fade from public consciousness except for the efforts of Laura and an army of social media users she recruited and mobilized to keep her son and his friends’ struggle for freedom in the news. Mallika and I – and the Intent community on which we blogged – joined the effort as well and over the course of months worth of correspondence with Laura, formed a friendship and strong bond with her and her family. They inspired us with their relentless determination to use the power of information and technology to demand justice and the safe return of their loved ones. When Josh and Shane finally returned home bringing their long ordeal to a happy end, our entire family felt an emotional relief and pride for playing some tiny part in their safe redemption.

Which brings me back to yesterday and the email from Laura with the attached picture (which Laura and Josh approved our placing here) announcing the happy and healthy birth of Isaiah Azad Fattal to Josh and Jenny Fattal. Azad means “freedom” in Farsi, which to my mind is the most appropriate moniker baby Isaiah could possibly have.

Birth Announcement_080413_1pm-1

The great Indian Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Rabindranath Tagore once said that “every child comes with the message that God is not yet discouraged of man.” I’ve looked at baby Isaiah’s picture several times today and smiled because to me too, his bright eyes are a reminder of the potential we yet have to remedy the world’s ills – in Iran, in the US, and everywhere else where human rights are abused, silence, or limited. So to Josh and Jenny and the entire Fattal Family – thank you from all the Chopras and the Intent family for the gift you have given all of us in your little miracle Isaiah. We feel pride and joy in seeing his precious being and know the world will be a better place simply because of his existence.

Please share your congratulations and warm thoughts with the family in the comments below!

What Gets in the Way of Your Exercise Routine?

To kick off their journey on 30 DAYS OF INTENT, Natalie and Iman visit celebrity trainer Holly Perkins for a lesson on fitness. They’re joined by YouTube star ExoticJess, and the whole gang goes for a hike in the Topanga Canyon. We interviewed Holly on her favorite fitness techniques and ways of maintaining an exercise routine.

The Chopra Well: It looks like you, Natalie, Iman, and Jess had a lot of fun hiking! What do you think usually gets in the way for people regarding exercise?

Holly Perkins: I find the number one reason why people don’t exercise is lack of time. In truth, no one has the time to exercise; you have to make the time. Interestingly, I believe that a person’s motivation goes even deeper than scheduling. I believe that many people perceive a workout as something that will be tiring and therefore, don’t feel they have the energy for it. In some ways, that person doesn’t really want to workout.

Therefore, a tight schedule serves as a great excuse to not exercise but isn’t the real reason.  The most common reason my clients tell me they couldn’t fit in a workout was time.  But in truth, I know that if he or she really wanted to make it happen, they would. I believe that pretty much every President that we’ve ever had made time for exercise. If the President can do it, so can you.

CW: If you could encourage everyone to change or incorporate one thing to their daily routine and exercise, what would it be?

HP: If could spread some magic around the world I would ensure that every single person incorporated strength training into their weekly activities. I believe that many general aches and pains that folks have come from an inherent lack of structural strength. Stronger muscles equal a more resilient, integrated body.

CW: What’s your favorite form of fitness activity?

HP: My absolute favorite workout is strength training. Specifically, I look forward to my back workouts every week. My life changed when I committed to a consistent strength training program. I also find that yoga is transformational for me.

CW: There’s so much out there regarding exercise and fitness…Some people say we should be doing cardio for at least 30 minutes a day, others say walking daily is good enough, and recently there’s been a hubbub around short bursts of high intensity weight training. How should we sift through all of this?

HP: The wealth of fitness information on the internet is overwhelming.  Sometimes even I have to think through the various implications of advice that I see out there. My suggestion is to keep it simple: 1) Be active – in any form. Once you achieve that, 2) Make sure you have 2-3 cardio specific workouts and 1-2 strength specific workouts each week. The specific program details almost don’t matter as long as you have a mixture of activities, challenge yourself moderately each week, and change up your routine every 2-3 months. Don’t get confused, just get active!

What’s your favorite fitness activity? Let us know in the comments below!

Subscribe to The Chopra Well and keep up with Natalie and Iman’s journey – this is just the beginning!

Other Articles on 30 DAYS OF INTENT:

Is that Obama getting a colonics treatment?! (interview with Iman Crosson)

First Day of Therapy…Broadcast for All To See (interview with Natalie Spilger)

How to Capture the Power of Intention…on Camera! (interview with 30 Days producer, Bristol Baughan)

Music Video Dedicated To Hikers Detained In Iran

My intent is to use music to tell the story of what happened to us in a different way.

I hope that my song "Piece of Time’ and the video will help people relate to Shane, Josh and I and the very difficult situation that we’re going through. Our tragedy is a human tragedy. It’s not political for us in any way, it’s deeply personal.

When we were arrested near the Iran/Iraq border in July 2009 and thrown into prison cells, we lost contact with everything that we loved. All we had was each other. The last time I saw Shane and Josh, the day that I was freed, they asked me to use my music to raise support for them and to help get them out of prison.

Every second for the last 2 and a half months since my release I’ve been fighting alongside our families and countless others around the world solely to this end.  

I hope the song and video will give people a deeper look into our lives before, during and, in my case, after prison. I hope that this way I can share a piece of who Shane and Josh are, why their detention is so completely unjust and why their freedom is so tremendously important to fight for.

I am now in the same position that our families and loved ones have been in for the last 17 months. even though I am free, my  separation from Shane and Josh is very painful.

Singing the songs that I sang to them in the courtyard of Evin prison, knowing that they are still singing them now, is one thing that brings me a little closer. 


Download Sarah’s "Piece of Time" here at Amazon.

Please visit www.freethehikers.org for more information.

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