Everything seemed ideal at the Ideal Hotel, a San Diego historic building from 1912, when I toured around with David Macek, Executive Director of The Red Lotus Society housed in the hotel. I was inspired by the brightly painted rooms in which several people live — and other community members converge — to practice meditation, yoga, martial arts, and the arts. A tearoom and organic garden are in the works.
Since the 2007 renovation, the Ideal Hotel’s transformation matches Macek’s, who went from college football player to a spiritually-centered man, 100 pounds lighter. The journey started with yoga and farming. Macek became mostly vegan in 2007 when he noticed improved digestion, read books including Way of the Peaceful Warrior by Dan Millman, and realized eating meat was contributing to global hunger by inefficiently using resources.
“Each bite I take has an impact on the greater human society,” said Macek, who found his life path through healthy eating, self-love, and service to others.
Another man in San Diego dedicated to helping other people is Santosh Ram, a delightful yoga teacher. Some classes are in laughter yoga — touting health benefits from lowering blood pressure to boosting immune systems, reducing pain, and creating weight loss.
To improve his physical health, Ram took up yoga, spent time hiking in natural areas, and explored the vegetarian/vegan diets.
“As I have been deepening my spiritual journey, I realized the importance of non-harming, or Ahimsa, one of the moral principles underlying Yoga, of which vegetarianism is such a beautiful expression. My emotional health has improved greatly as well,” Ram said.
Since becoming a vegetarian in 2003, he feels more energetic, greater clarity of mind, a reduced need for sleep, and a greater sense of overall agility and well-being. Ram loves exploring new foods and cultivating an ever-growing appreciation of the diversity and abundance on our planet. His wife is expecting their first baby, to be raised veggie-friendly, in November.