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Thursday, December 12, 2013

Don't Let It Bring You Down......5 Ways To Stay In The Spirit

Deck those halls, trim those trees...... a line from my favorite holiday song by the group The Waitresses- Christmas By Myself This Year. Great song, seriously love it, and it has a happy ending-girl and guy finally align and that old time holiday magic happens! Sigh. Pretty picture, but most likely not a  reality.
 Are you ready for the holidays?  Heard on a loop. This is asked by just about every person you meet in passing. Mindlessly, just like people ask each other how you are without really wanting to know. Sensitivity to the fact that not all of us are in the same space might just need to be the practice we all need to observe.  The truth is, not everyone has the family or financial support to be in a festive frame of mind. Many people struggle during what can literally be the darkest part of the year. Imagine being a child in a homeless shelter, or their parent.  There are those that are alone,  have lost loved ones, or in order to find that picture perfect holiday that the media portrays shop themselves into oblivion trying to fill the dark space within. The onslaught of treats and late nights can take their toll.
I relate. I never really liked all the excess, the rushing around, nor the expectations. I struggle with it. My father, mother, and stepmother all passed away during this time. Many years I have found myself in a dark funk, unable to shake the malaise that would creep in. Really feeling alone. I did some soul searching, and decided that like the rebel I can be known to be, I was going to create tradition that was relevant and meaningful to me.  WHAT??  Cue the screeching sound of brakes, the music stopping abruptly, and the curious stares. You should see the looks of strangers when I tell them I don't celebrate the holidays in the traditional way.  Instead I have found alternative  ways to stay in the spirit of light during this, what can be  the darkest part of the year through reflection of my yoga practice. Five of the Yamas and Niyama , or restraints and observations of yogic thought really can really bring a shift in your perspective, of this potentially stressful, if not magical time of year.
1. Christmas lies not underneath the tree, but in the hearts of you and me.... Practice- Contentment, or Santosha.   The holiday season is not about the biggest tree, the brightest Menorah, or whether or not you got the Lexus with the big red bow! The spirit of the season is to give with an open heart, from the heart, without attachment to the reception. The biggest gift you can give is time and yourself. Spend time with loved ones, visit a nursing home, help out at a homeless shelter,  or make donations to an organization that is in need. It doesn't have to be monetary folks. When I shifted my perspective, and decided that exchanging gift cards  with extended family was far from the spirit,  the clear choice was to stop.  My daughter and I decided to  do a collection for the local county animal shelter. They could use your old sheets, blankets, and helping hands. So can many organizations in the area.  Look at your closet-what can you perhaps share with someone that is needier than you? When you are asked what you got, you can answer truthfully-a lot of joy!
2. In the darkest days, stay in the light... Practice-Tapas, or austerity. The time before the Winter Solstice is the darkest part of the year. Days are short, and sunlight is fleeting. It is cold here in the Northeast. It makes you want to be inside with the blankets over your head. Get out and about instead, try to  be in the company of those people that are like minded. Visit places that make you feel good. Stay active. Take a yoga class. Go for a walk, get out in the sunlight. Stay in your current practice to remain grounded and don't retreat under the covers. You will raise your endorphins and brighten your mood.
3. More is not better..... Practice- Mithara, or moderation. I once heard someone say it looks like Christmas threw up at our house! Really, I don't know about you but  that does not sound to appealing to me. At all!  Excess.  And then it is over. Whether it is the extra cookie, the jillion invites to parties, or that last minute errand, ask yourself- do I really want  or need to do  this? Your wallet will thank you, and so will your health.
4. Bolster your immune system.... Practice- Saucha, or  purity.  The changing weather, closer contact with more people, burning the candle at both ends, and dietary changes that the season brings can challenge our immune systems. People get sick because they become run down. This is the time to pay attention to staying in balance. Try stimulating and moving lymph with dry brushing and then apply warm oil massage to the skin, paying attention to your joints.  Dress warm, in layers. The indoor dry air can wreak havoc. Stay hydrated. The amount of water we need is 1/2 our body weight in ounces. Get up and go to bed as close to your regular time as you can. Eat foods that are high in antioxidants and vitamin C. Ever notice citrus is very prevalent this time of year?  And as hard as it is, try to avoid the excess. That doesn't mean be a monk, hiding in a cave,  or beat yourself up for that extra cup of eggnog, but focus on being in balance. One thing I have discovered to help is Fire Cider. Gypsy anti flu brew! Full of immune supporting ingredients, a tablespoon a day keeps the doctor away. (For more on this visit my Facebook page The Ayurvedic Apothecary!)
5. Start your own tradition....Practice- Ishvaraha Pranidam, or the realization thee is something else out there besides you! When I decided to break tradition, I needed to create a meaningful  one for myself.  And I have to tell you,  it was liberating.  Many cultures around the globe traditionally have celebrations  that are meant to bring in the light. The one that resonates with me is the Winter Solstice. The darkest, shortest day followed by the reemergence of light.   I choose to  decorate a small natural tree with dried citrus, cranberries, apples, cinnamon, and raffia. Whatever natural items I have access to. The house smells awesome while the fruit dries,  and afterward the tree is taken  outside for the outdoor creatures as a gift.  Watching them enjoy their treat  is a  reason for the season, and I enjoy it as much as they do. If you do exchange gifts, try making some; and create your own wrapping paper with potato and celery stamped  with ink on newsprint.
By following any one of  these suggestions, perhaps, you can unwrap a new tradition for you and yours. That doesn't mean you have to totally do a 360 and change everything.  I still cook holiday meals, celebrate and participate with friends and family, but I am able to  step back, and stay in my center, and find true meaning  beneath the trappings of the season. To bring in the light, not only into our hearts, but to share it with those around you. This is my practice, on and off the mat...... Breathe in the light, breathe out the light, be the light!

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Friday, November 15, 2013

Ways and Means

Yoga. Definition of the word....Union. To yoke together. According to Patanjali's Yoga Sutras.....stilling the thought waves of the mind.The great  Erich Schiffman relates it to moving into stillness. As a yoga teacher, watching what is offered as Yoga in many studios makes me shake my is the antithesis of stillness. Constant photos of people contorted and people in the flavor of the month Maya Pincherasana ; handstand pics abound. This can actually push potential yoga students away from the practice. It intimidates and gives them a false picture. This modern model of Yoga  is all about the ego, the "ahamkara", the mind that says I look damn good in this pose. That's what it becomes, just a pose. No substance, no reflection, no connection. People get so wrapped about the physical and their prowess they don't look within. I have heard students leaving an over packed class comparing each other and how such and such looked. Really, are you kidding me? Yoga happens when you connect  to yourself on the mat , not on the mat next to yours. You can't imagine how many times a new student greets me with "I'm not very flexible." So sad. Little secret here folks- in the Hatha Yoga Pradipika there are only 15 poses....many seated. The goal of these was to prepare the body for Yoga....or cessation of the thought waves of the mind. I somehow don't think that is going to be acheived in a class where the soundtrack, how many arm balances you do, and fast paced juicy flow are the focus and  the teacher is more of a performance artist than a teacher. Many are telling students to push harder, exceed their limitations. You see, when you take the time to deepen into a posture, watch your breath, and feel the lines of energy that emanate through the body, magic can happen. You find the space between.  Stepping back and becoming the witness to your practice. You hit that aha moment where you connect so deeply you can stay in this space forever. You step away from yourself. When you take that first bite of bliss, you are hooked. I have been there and want to help my students get there.  Delicious, sweet, and life altering. You begin to change your perspective about what really matters.
This is where Yoga happens, the mental chatter stops. Asana is the ways and means to a much deeper practice, getting out of your head and into your heart.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Musical Chairs

Fall. The mornings are crisper(even though right now in Philadelphia it is going to 80+) and the season is most definitely changing. Summer is fading like the last rose. There a few leaves changing. Geese are flying. The sound of acorns dropping fills the woods behind my house. Children are back in school. Mornings are darker, and it is more difficult to awaken.  Change is good, but it can be hard. The Ahamkara, the ego,  tells us not to accept changes. It likes things just the way they are. Think about it; you may have been wearing flip flops all summer( I know I do!) but these chillier mornings something a little more substantial is in order. But the ego says, NO! wear the flip flops you are used to them, and they feel good, damn it !). The ego likes things that it is comfortable with. Make sense? Change offers us an opportunity to grow if we accept it. To use it as a lesson. Many times, we struggle when the opportunity presents itself. Go back in time to an autumn a long time ago, back to your childhood.  Remember the teacher in elementary school that would put 4 or 5 desks in a grouping? To perhaps work on a group project. You may or may not have been comfortable with this group. But you needed to experience and participate it in order to get the work done. You work together, and pretty soon you might have just forgotten that you weren't to happy about it in the first place. You might even have received a good grade for your endeavors and perhaps even made friends. But just when you felt your place , the teacher changed the group! For most of us, this brings discontent. Might even make you sad. When I taught in the classroom, I had a place called the "sad step". A place where you could go if you made a classmate sad, me sad, or were having a sad day to think about how you could make it better. When you get that desk move, you may very well put yourself on the sad step. But even if you stay there a long while, it is not going to change the fact that the powers that be have decided it is for your own good and there is no going back. Life is the same; when the our role in life, or a situation suddenly changes the course of our reality, our " desk" is moved and  we struggle to accept this change. The Ahamkara puts the breaks down in a screeching halt. Disbelief. How can they do this to me? I didn't do anything to deserve this? Fill in your own statement, we have all  been here.  We have the choice to put ourselves on the sad step and not accept the inevitable. Or we can take on the new position with an open heart, see what we can learn from it, and accept change with grace. Every element is in flux in the cosmos and situations change through the flow of the gunas. It is never static. I am really relating to this right now. Last week I was busy with my regular teaching schedule, classes and students. Comfortable with my regular status quo. When I found myself in the emergency room with what was a scary situation, I was in disbelief. Desk chair pulled out from under me. No, no way not me, uh uh! Several CT scans, intravenous medication, and outpatient surgery later, I have a scar right where my third eye is. ( I kid you not, I am now the yoga teacher that can really say "my itchy third eye! You have to laugh at the grand design. ) Permanent bindi. For all the world to see!  I could have put myself on the sad step, and moaned about it, or better yet put a paper bag over my head  and hide. Instead I choose to accept this change with grace, because that is all we really can do in this cosmic game of musical chairs. We are not in control as much as ego like us to think we are. My surgeon and doctors were wonderful. It will heal and slowly fade, but it is now part of me. A lesson learned. Just as the way we handle the challenges of life makes up our character. We can get stuck or we can grow. When things change unexpectedly, the choice is to accept and realize that there is something to learn from the experience.

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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The Heart of the Matter

Anahata, the heart chakra. Translates to "unstruck" or "unbroken". Unfortunately, it sometimes does break......shattering into a thousand glimmering shards. They pierce our soul and we become fragile, "broken hearted." We all have had a time in our lives that strikes us here, through situations or those around us. The pain of a broken heart can suck the life out of you, just as a happy heart can radiate light to the world from within. The heart also relates to the Udana vayu, or upward moving air,  one of the five forms of Vata, that moves the spiritual energy up and awakens us.When the heart is hurt we tend to retreat, I know. I personally am going through a painful time in my life and feel like the air has been sucked out of my being. I feel powerless to change things. It hurts deeply. Closing inward. I just want surrender to the waves of sobs and let them drown me. I am on retreat this week, and the darkness, warmth of candles and cloistering soothe; like being rocked and held in the arms of the earth. I almost wish it would open and swallow me into the quiet darkness of the abyss. Sitting in safe silent reverie,I have  the realization that when we feel powerless it is really where we are at our most powerful, by surrendering, letting go. By understanding that the only way to heal anything is through the power of love. Acceptance. Love is at the heart of the matter, it is the strongest of medicines if we allow it to heal our wounds.

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Wednesday, September 4, 2013

America....the beautiful

America....the beautiful. Richest country. Home of the free.(Or so we are told.....). The media tells us these things, and we gobble them up. But it is not the case if you look at what is going on right under our very noses. Yes America is beautiful....purple mountains majestic. Yes, perhaps much wealthier in the pocket than many countries where the income may be just $2 a month. Free....not for all. There are those in this country that are forgotten, whether they live in the inner city slums, are homeless and sleep under the Ben Franklin Bridge, the Native American reservations of Dakota, or the rural areas on the Appalachian Trail. They are trapped in a cycle of poverty to which we close our eyes. As a culture, we tend to not see what is going on with our brothers and sisters right next to us, we are too wrapped  in the "ooh and ahh" it's all good, just keep enjoying your creature comforts mentality the media paints for us to stay asleep and  not see the bigger picture.
I recently went to Lee County Kentucky, one of the poorest counties in the entire United States to begin to set up a yoga outreach program for Go Give Yoga.   If you have never seen the Appalachias, I suggest you do. I drove, so I was able to see the mountains, valleys, and blue mist that rises up first hand. From Western Maryland on it is truly breathtaking. Some mountains are almost 3000 feet above sea level. Amazing rock formations, animals grazing on steep hills, ever twisting roads before me. Arriving as the sun was setting, one of the first things I noticed was an area of deforestation down the hill that the road cut through and smoke rising up from it. There is strip mining for coal going on, and it is setting the people up there not for the better. Mountain top removal is wreaking havoc on the natural environment. They have one of the nations highest rates of  cancer here. Runoff from the mining operations leaches into the ground  water. I was told not to drink the water, use bottle or filtered by my gracious hostess at the Cumberland Mountain Outreach. ( wait a minute, isn't this the good ole USA?) Water, water everywhere, not a drop to spare. If you do not have access to the luxury of bottled water, what do you do? Consume what may be poisoned and worry about the consequences long term later? Safe drinking water is a basic human right that we ALL take for granted. The country there between Lee and  neighboring Wolfe County is beautiful to be sure, the people gracious.   There is wildlife- bear, bobcat, copperhead, coyote.  There are also trailers, many falling in on themselves. As we drove around I questioned why there were graves on peoples property; you see  small group gravesites, well tended and loved,  frequently. Folks here are permitted to bury their loved ones this way according to local custom, and their family ties are strong.  My hostess at the Outreach took me on a tour of the high school, the drug court, and the main street. We went to the local Kiwanis club and  I spoke about the benefits of anxiety reduction and self regulation that yoga can bring to children.  There are under 2000 people living in the county seat of Beattyville, and there are not many jobs or industry. The main employers are the prison, jail, or the school.  Not a lot of choices for your future. Many, if not most are on food stamps. Lee is a dry county, which is a blessing,  as crystal methamphetamine and pain pill addiction is rampant. Drug court does a brisk business.  In the forests, marijuana is a planted cash crop. I was informed that choppers and Humvees regularly come to eradicate the harvest. Yet in the beauty of these wild forests travelers come to rock climb the spectacular gorges.  Children go home on Friday from school, where they are fed on subsidy and then  many don't eat all weekend because their parent sold their food stamps for drugs. The children at the high school appeared overweight, and lethargic; and I am sure it is not  because of affluence, but lack of a healthy diet and lifestyle, and perhaps lack of hope.
While I was there ,I met another yoga teacher, one who has a vision for this beautiful area and its people. To empower them, not maintain them. To pool community and work together for the greater good of all residents of this hidden gem. To encourage healthy lives and health care, to bring yoga into these counties to help people connect to their bodies. To be proud of their Appalachian roots, to create their own jobs,  and find a better way for themselves. She has asked for my help, and I am glad to offer any I can to the people here. Thank you for having me.
At the Outreach, there is a small store, called "Second Hand Rose", run by Miss Rose herself, a lovely elderly woman, who just adores babies. The store  donates clothing to the children for school, 3 outfits each,  and run fill a "bag for a buck" sales. At Miss Roses 'they make these very special braids of strings of different fabrics. They symbolize, "as one thread we are weak, as a group we are strong." It is something we all need to take heed to. United we must  stand.
Please visit....
 www.  to find out more, or make a donation to the project in Appalachia.
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Thursday, August 22, 2013

Life Is the Practice

Some of you, my readers, from my posts can tell I work with children as well as adults. I taught and directed a private non profit preschool for many years until the universe changed my seat assignment. Now I still get to work with them in a different capacity, by bringing  them freedom to be themselves through yoga and art. Children are amazing beings. They are loving, forgiving, open hearted and resilient. They bounce and push boundaries. Full of curiosity.  They see each moment as  being open to possibility with no regrets. Guess what? You and I  were  children once!  We all wanted to seize the day in our own way. Didn't care what we looked like to the rest of the world ( even though your mother probably was not too thrilled when you wore two different socks and your shirt backward to school!) it helped us grow. Every minute was an opportunity for fun. But  as we move into adulthood, we sometimes put that child that resides within all of us deep down, hidden from the world. We stop being spontaneous and don't move ahead, losing sight of that sense of abundant joy  and build walls around our heart and minds.  Conform to the norm. We stop being present in our lives.  Ask yourself when the last time you behaved without caring what others thought? Without fear? Jump in any puddles lately, or did something just because you felt like it? It is fear that brings us here. Fear weighs the soul down like quicksand, you get stuck. If you struggle, you sink deeper. The truth is, it is healthy to face your fears, look at them and see what it really is that frightens you about taking chances. And then do something about it-do something that scares you as an adult, but as a child you wouldn't have thought twice about. Make it a personal practice every day to  do just one thing that challenges you. See how it liberates you and how you feel more buoyant. Be that person that sings in the rain-people may whisper and look at you like you are batty, but that's because they wish they were doing it too! In yogic tradition, the teachings tell us to step away from the ego, which causes projection, it tells us stories about the past and creates scenarios for the future. The way to avoid this is to be present, that the only moment that is real is now. Live like there is no yesterday, no tomorrow, and only today-LIFE is the practice, all you have to do is commit to being part of it.
Yesterday is a dream, tomorrow is a gift yet unopened, all that exists is this moment, breathe into your existence.

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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

What's Your Brand?

The "market" it seems, lately is being flooded with yoga. Everywhere you see a photo of a brightly clad hip looking yogi/yogini with their wheat grass smoothie, their favorite style of mat, or their coconut water in hand. Commercialism, much?  Groupons  and Living Social deals pop up all the time for classes-Bikram, Hot, Vinyasa, Inyengar, Svaaroopa, Laughter, Ashtanga,  Acro, ( don't be upset if I forgot one,  I am sure I am leaving someone out)...the branding goes on and on.  Yoga has become a product, for sale. Teachers see adds on "how to grow your yoga business". "How to market your brand" So sorry, but I want to throw  up.  Yes, we live in the modern world, and yea, the times they are a'changin', that brings with it good and bad.The reality is that "Yoga" ( the meaning of the word is union, or to yoke together) comes down from a thousands of year old tradition. It was taught guru to disciple, one on one.  There is a rich heritage of texts describing the process of yoking the mind, body and spirit. If you start to delve into the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, which only contains two passages on physical posture, the  eight limbs, or Ashtanga are as follows...
                1. & 2.Yamas, Niyamas which are observances and disciplines of conduct.
                 3. Asana; the physical postures
                 4. Pranayama; breath techniques that enchance the life force or Prana
                 5. Pratyhara; the withdrawing of the senses-looking within
                  6. Dharana; pinpointed focus
                  7. Dhyana; meditation
                  8. Samadhi; absorption, knowing one's true nature
(When was the last time that you were offered any of these in a class, my friends? )
If you look further you and examine the Bhagavad Gita, will find the real brands of yoga, the originals, not cheap imitation knock offs of, as Osho puts it,  this science of the soul....
                1. Jnana Yoga; the Yoga of knowledge
                 2. Raja Yoga; the all encompassing royal path
                  3. Bhakti Yoga; the Yoga of Devotion
                  4. Karma Yoga; the Yoga of selfless service
I don't know about you, but when there are too many choices I get overwhelmed. I may pick something in haste because it looked appealing and the price was right. Only to be disappointed that it wasn't what it appeared. It lacked substance, Yoga is a rich tradition, and it is being reduced to " Indian army calastentics" ( to quote one of my dear teachers tongue in cheek!) to make money and because people are seeking something. Yoga is meant to help find the answer to "who am I" to bring a deeper connection to your self. And maybe when you do that, you just mind find a connection to the human condition.
I love  all four paths of yoga; I am amazed at the knowledge and wisdom of the ancient sages. Add the psycho physiological reaction that comes from asana, where maybe you just find that "space" between and connect to the practice and learn how to breath and find out where you got lost on the way. Chanting, and realizing that there is something more out there is heart opening, it connects you. Helping others, without thought to yourself will change your life. This IS yoga.
I teach adults, pregnant mommas, and children. I practice all four kinds of yoga. I chant mantra, practice asana and love it. I devour the writings.  I love sharing this knowledge with my students, and watching them grow. There is nothing better when you witness that "aha" moment when a student really finds a posture. My brand is not a about the latest flavor, I don't wear Lululemon or drink Vitacoco. To each his or her own- if that's your thing, no offense. Personally I don't want 40 students in a class, it can be detracting to a more personal experience.  And I don't walk into a class and throw a handstand to show my physical prowess to my students ~( yes friends, people teach this way.)...about how to have an ego-the very thing yoga teaches us to step away from!
  I teach from the deep and beautiful tradition of this multi layered science , and have seen and believe in the healing and heart opening that comes through practicing true yoga.
Right now, I am setting my feet onto the path of Karma yoga. I bring yoga to patients at intensive outpatient rehab in North Philly, they have started bringing  me in twice weekly because we are getting positive results, I have traveled to Haiti to bring yoga to children there, and  am once again going to do out reach in a very poor and needy region, the Cumberland Mountains in Appalachia to bring yoga to those who need it. I have heard once again a range of comments...."awesome" to  "why are you doing that-you don't get paid?" ...yadda, yadda. And yes I teach classes at studios, and privates and do get paid in dollars , one has to pay the bills. But yoga teaches us that we can be in the world but not of it. We don't have to suck up to the big cash Sacred Cow. The reality is I do get paid in many ways- for the classes I teach,  in the smiles of my students, the heart felt appreciation of sharing this gift together, the peace that comes from letting go of all the b.........t. ( Fill in the blank, please) This, folks is my "brand" of yoga. Not flashy nor neon colored, but substantial.  Authentic. Trademarked.  Do you prefer the real brand or a cheap fashion knock off?

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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

You Are What You Eat.....

Recently, in India 23 impoverished children in a school lunch program died. They died from the very food that was served to them. Tragic, preventable, waste of young people that perhaps had the potential to change the world. But in some way, perhaps their passing still can. You see, the deaths of these children, and that of others, many indigenous farmers that have been sold into crop slavery through Monsanto and big agriculture and their poisons is a WAKE UP call to us all. In two instances a week apart, the first group of  23 died and 25 more  were sickened in Bihar, and 23 sickened in Goa at school lunch program. The suspect....Organophospate, an "agricultural" fertilizer. Guess what my friends? This commonly used compound is akin to sarin gas, a neurological toxin. Monsanto, has a favorite in their arsenal of biological warfare that they are waging on us- it  is their "herbicide" Roundup ( Glyphosphate); guess what is classified as  an organophosphate!. Hmmmm- the dots are connecting. Poor farmers are given GMO seeds, and the "fertilizer" to kill weeds so they can produce more. Soon they become dependent on this process, their own heirloom plants are eliminated. Working with these products poor indigenous farmers in many countries that produce common crops of such as soy and corn are poisoned and die. This toxin gets into the soil, water, and air. If animals eat these crops it becomes part of them. If we consume these plants, or animals, it becomes part of us. From the time something is put in the mouth, it takes forty days to work its way through the bodily systems and creates tissue, the food sheath, or physical body called the Annamaya Kosha.  The last tissue it reaches is the reproductive tissue "shukra", the sperm and eggs. So now it is shared with our progeny. We literally are made up of  what we eat. But, not only us, the plants, the animals, and that forgotten hard worker that we cannot live without... the honeybee. Bees are disappearing at alarming rates, colonies are dying off. These bees come in contact with the poison sprayed on their food source and guess what? You got more bees. No more bees, no more us. We got a big problem here in River City my friends, you think? In the philosophies of Yoga, Saucha, or purity is an observation. Being pure in thoughts and deeds. Being pure with what we take into our bodies. Because again, repeat the mantra after me ....WE ARE WHAT WE EAT.  This effects not only the body, but the mind. If we take in poison, we become just that. The body accumulates toxins and their ill effects manifest as disease. The mind clouds. We decay. Sorry to be a downer, but is the inconvenient truth. I don't know about you, but I don't want to glow in the dark! We have a choice here, and we can call attention to what is going on around the globe. Europe doesn't tolerate GMO crops and the insidious industry that comes with them. We vote with our dollar my friends, cast yours. Be aware, support small farmers, get involved and educate yourself about where your food comes from . NO one is perfect, but do and try to be your best.   I want my food to be like me....real.

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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Blinded By the Light

It's dark. So dark you can't see the hand in front of your face. Scary, right? Certainly. Objects in the distance are just blurry outlines. We are like this in life with many situations that we are too close to...we can't see. We  are in the dark.  Try it-take your hand and literally bring it so close to your face it touches your nose. Can't really distinguish what you see, correct? Now slowly bring the hand away from your face and it begins to come into sharper focus. You would think it the opposite, but truth of the object is not what you may perceive. In the tenants of hatha yoga, we call this viveka and vairagya-discrimination and detachment. You need to step away so you can see. It leads to vidya-true knowledge. It reminds me of a story....There where seven blind mice that lived quite happily by a pond. One day, the red mouse goes to the pond and bangs right into a something. Alarmed, she runs back to the rest and tells them there is a big stone something by their pond! The orange mouse proceeds to check it out and comes back and says it's a snake!  The yellow mouse, feistiest of the bunch,  explores and argues no, no, no! It is a spear! I'm right, I know it! Green mouse takes his turn and says it's a fan, I can feel the air moving, it is lovely. Blue mouse says you are all not telling the truth-it is a rope! Purple mouse explores and says you are all silly, it is just a mountain blocking our path to the pond. Listening to all the arguing, the wise white mouse now steps up and says   ENOUGH! I will get to the bottom of this, I will find the truth. She proceeds to the pond and explores the object in her way. She returns to the others and tells them how they were all right, but when you "see" the whole, the object is an elephant! The mice represent our journey through the chakras, the elephant the removal of obstacles that block us on the road to enlightenment, our path to seek realization.  We are very good at being blind mice. It takes standing back and really seeing the object, situation, person ( fill in your own blank if you are so inclined dear reader) to understand reality. In the darkness,  we need to be blinded by the light, open our eyes, and see truth.

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Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Perfect Timing

Today a judge in Encinitas California ruled that, despite objection from some parents in the school district, the practice of yoga for the districts children can continue. I am pleased and jumping with joy! Thank you your Honor, ten fold. You see,  I teach yoga to children, as well as adults, and they both benefit from the practice. The suit in Encinitas claims that yoga is a religious practice. A little background.....The word "yoga" means to yoke, or to unite. To bring together. In the practice of this ancient science, the mind, body, and spirit are united through movement, breath, and focus. This creates a psycho physiological response-it calms the mind, energizes the body, and connects to the spirit. So insidious, isn't it?  Really? Are they kidding? Who doesn't want to see a child with a calm, positive outlook and a healthy body. In these times, when specials are being taken out of schools, there is no outlet for these children. You see,  I taught in a classroom for many years, and over the almost twenty years in that setting I have seen children and their needs change radically.  These kids are stressed!  In the beginning of class, I start out with a sharing circle, based on the theme of the week , and  the things my students tell me about the things that push their buttons,  feelings they struggle with , and  the pressure they feel, is profound for those so young. They are plugged into the internet, I phones and video games, and their focus is taken away from the natural world-they are disconnected. They run from activity to activity, spend hours in school, hours doing homework, and after school and weekend  sports. There is competition. Their parents are under duress with work, the economy, and keeping food on the table. Many don't have time for themselves, much less their kids. Our children need down time, a time that brings them back in touch with peace. These kids need a safe, nurturing space where they can let go, be themselves, and for 30 or more minutes lose themselves, in this case, to the practice of yoga. The benefits of the practice are beginning to be recognized therapeutically. Different breath techniques are shown in studies to relieve anxiety. In ADHD, autism, and other ASD spectrum disorders, connection to the body and focus are some of the benefits. Special needs children improve cognition and motor function. The benefits  are myriad, and most of all, it feels good to kids! The deep self connection has put me in connection with myself, and my own inner muse,  I am in the process of "giving birth". You see, I am writing  a book on yoga for classrooms, so  I am thankful to this case for  bringing awareness to yoga, the benefits, the truth, and the joy that it can bring when mind, body and spirit connect through the practice of this ancient healing science. In our post modern society, the time could not be more perfect.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

By Definition

We can find definition, or meaning, in so many places. Things, events, words, people, all have a meaning. To find meaning of a word, we used to look it up in the encyclopedia or dictionary. Now at the click of a finger you can find the meaning for anything, sometimes in several incarnations. So easy to define something ...or someone? How do you define yourself? Two sentences? Or a more complex definition that reveals the depth of the subject, you. Or is the definition of you more a Wikipedia version, created by other people? Because of our experiences as we move through life they can assist in molding our character, this can have good or bad connotations  for us. Sometimes as we encounter others, they throw words at us that stick, we internalize them and  allow them to hurt us. They become the enemy that resides with in because we have allowed them to enter our psyche and become how we see ourselves. The reality is that the only things that can hurt you are the things you allow. It is what we allow in our hearts and minds that defines us. The person that was does not have to be now, we can revise the edition of us. Take a piece of paper, fold it in half. On one side, write down the old definition of you, how you feel you are perceived through others eyes. And then on the opposite side, create the new and revised definition, how do you see yourself, release those words that have limited you  by definition. Write what it is that you want to allow into your mind and heart in a positive light. Read it out loud, several times and affirm who you are now, by your own definition. 

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Sky is the Limit

"Limited to one per customer. I'm at my limit." Even the speed limit, there is that wall of not going beyond. Some limitations are good, in fact,  necessary, but sometimes they box you right into  a corner. In this thing we call life, we often create our own limitations by having expectations. Twice in two days, it has surfaced through others perspectives. Someone was speaking about tattoos the other day with me, and the perception, or  societal "stigma" that comes with them. Another, because I was subbing for my dear friend, who is a well revered yogi..."oh, tell me he's not here?"( Really?) Did you ever come from this place and then have a totally wonderful experience?  Right there, the limitation is created by the perception. Ask yourself, when someone  or something different was presented to you, and right away the mind put up the wall. Hmmm, bet you got at LEAST one....The truth here, is,  that  sometimes this mental/emotional limitation keeps you from experiences that can shift your perspective and connect you deeper on the human level. From the yogic viewpoint, viveka and vairagya-discrimination and detachment. Seeing things for what they really are is what is called for in every situation.  I love the pay it forward commercial of the older woman who drops her wallet, and the goth looking young man picks it up, and contrary to most peoples perception chases her down to give it back. Not what you thought, right? I will never forget some years ago on the way to a teachers seminar in Newark, I got lost when I hit the city, hopelessly! I was beginning to panic. Low on gas, and late, I asked the driver in front of me  at a red light where my location was, (and no, it was not a nicer part of the town, for sure!) The driver said "follow me, this way," Ask yourself right here, what would your  expectation been...(am I going to reach my destination, or is this "scary" person going to set me up for a carjack or worse...). I let go of fear, put it up to trust,  and this wonderful human got me to my conference, and  with a smile and wave was on his way. Don't let your preconceived expectations, societal or otherwise color your encounters, and limit your vision of the world. We are all different, something that should be embraced with no limitations set on our mutual experience......look around, the sky is the limit, you just have to see the sun  through the clouds.

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Thursday, May 23, 2013

Shed Your Skin

For those that know me personally, or read me often, you probably know that I am a major fan of Peter Gabriel, amazing man, profound songwriter, activist,  among many other things. ( side note, he is currently working an  interspecies communication project with the founder of the internet, and Sean Johnson and his  Wild Lotus band will be doing a "Bananafit" to raise awareness) A particular song contains a message of "shed your skin.....this is the new stuff.... this is for real....come dancing in."  This is profound right now- we happen to be in the year of the snake in the Chinese zodiac. They are auspicious. ( Interestingly enough, a garter snake managed to come dancing in the other morning in my living room, message for sure, made me think! Alerted by cat,  the wee creature was dispatched back outside none the worse for wear.) Snakes, you see, hunker down and hide in the cold, conserving energy, and waiting- they are cold blooded. But when the spring brings warm sun, they emerge and bask themselves, preparing to shed their skins. But here they are vulnerable, the eyes cloud over, the cannot see. The constricting old tight skin prohibits their growth. They must shed what no longer serves them so they can grow and see the world once again. The snake is connected to earth energy, she is seen as feminine, she feels every vibration, and represents the force of Kundalini, the coiled energy of creation that resides at the base of the spine ready to activate.  We are very much like the snake about to shed, we must let those things that no longer serve us peel away so that we too, may grow, and actively reach our full potential on this planet, we must feel and raise the vibration. Sometimes we  just don't see the bigger picture-blind to what lies right under our noses. Now is the time. We are moving away from patriarchy and the paradigm is shifting towards matriarchy, the time of reconnecting with the Divine feminine. The connection to the Earth, our root needs to be restored, we need to feel her again, and fell and  renew ourselves in the process. This is the time to come dancing in, this is for real.

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Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Who's got the Golden Ticket?

If you are a regular part of the yoga or "new age" community at large, you are no stranger to the term "enlightenment." In a society that is seeking something, a deeper meaning, we all want a some. If you are a fan of family and children's movies and saw Willy Wonka, Mr. Wonka ( played by the ever capricious Gene Wilder) seems to have that special something and is giving away just a few special "golden tickets" that guarantee the winners entrance to the magic realm of Wonka. The lowly Charlie Bucket who has a light in his heart, can't imagine he has what it takes, wins, and the other more likely characters fall by the wayside with their greed and entitlement (poor Violet and Otto!) Who doesn't want that and a Kit Kat? We see that golden ticket to enlightenment as making us special, above the rest. Sorry to disappoint you folks out there in candyland, it doesn't. It does not give you the key to the kingdom. True enlightenment comes from realization that we are not the stuff, the label, the brand. It comes from "vidya", knowledge of the true self without all the b....s...t. ( Fill in the blank, please!) Little secret- the golden ticket is the light of your soul-we all have one. Just have to unwrap it.  In our modern age we live in a  society full of narcissism that is attached to the material, the status quo and this blocks us from seeing that by the practice of non dualism it is what sets us on the road to a state of grace-non attachment to the past, non projection about the future, seeing everyone and everything as divinely one. Equanimity. When you step through this door, you step into the place of "Satchitanand" or Being, Consciousness, Bliss.  We reach the said bliss not from the goodies of the material world, but from the consciousness of who we really are. The odds aren't so bad, probably much better than our hero Charlie Bucket had, and he made it, so....who's got the Golden Ticket?
                                                    Oh purnamidam purnamidat purnat purmudatchite
                                                     Purnasya purnamadaya purnamayvavashisatay
                                           "What is whole and perfect will always be whole and perfect
                                                           Even when nothing else remains."

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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Keep Your Hands on the Wheel

Peter Gabriel sings a song that a line is thus..."keep your hands on the wheel, don't say nothing, this is for real." He's right, the message makes a heck of a lot of lot of sense......keep your hands on the wheel and be present. When you are taught to drive a motor vehicle the rule is to keep your eyes on the road, be observant to the signs . Keep the space between vehicles. no distracted driving. Our thoughts are very much like cars, when you are driving your own car- substitute body here, you need to stay focused and not wander off  the road. Thoughts keep moving past us in the drivers seat of our mind, but we need to not let them cause a traffic jam in our head. We need to not think about the past or worry about the future. Right here, right now, in the present moment they do not affect you.  If we stay in the flow, just watch the cars-substitute thoughts here (I think you are getting the idea, right?) drive on by we reach our destination safely, which would be the state of a peaceful open mind. But if we allow those car/thoughts to cut us off,  we attach and follow, much like the angry road rager, we lose ourselves. That's the equivalent of the ego attaching to the thought car, yanking the wheel out of your hand , taking you where it wants you,   and bam, you wind up not where you were supposed to be going in the first place. So, turn on the road forecast in your mind, avoid those thought jams, and keep your hands on the wheel.

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Thursday, April 25, 2013

Locked and Loaded

Have you noticed that news lately is full of more fires, earthquakes, and tension packed news? If you follow astrology at all, it is an interesting time. We are experiencing a strong influence from Aries, hot and angry. The planets are locked and loaded. People and events are being triggered. We all have these triggers, if you say you have none my friend, you are not being truthful with yourself. The things, people, and places that push our buttons. That button is pressed, and because of the action, there is the reaction in us. It can come as fear, perhaps causing you to retreat inward, or  anger comes, and then the explosion. We see it coming, and beat ourselves up after. How many times have you asked yourself "why did I let ____ do that to me" (fill in your own blank, pretty sure you can!)  But if we allow ourselves to step back from the trigger before it is pulled and see it for what it really is we can change the outcome. Those triggers are really the perfect situation to use  to come from a more open, and perhaps loving perspective. Instead of asking why is this happening to me and coming from the ego, use it as an opportunity for a lesson and see it as such. The things and people that come into our lives all appear for a reason, that is for sure and we are meant to learn  or teach something through the contact. They are a mirror of us. If we can stay in the moment and come from a place of equanimity and see something of ourselves in it, we can diffuse the bomb. Ask yourself just what triggers you, and the next time you are in that situation ask yourself what is the lesson here, what do I need to see. Right now we are experiencing a very strong full moon and the energies are going to be those kind that offset your balance and question what is valid for you. Your limits and buttons will be pushed. Things may suddenly change. Stay strong in yourself, see what it is that is really going on, step back and use it as an opportunity for growth.

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Thursday, April 4, 2013

Come Back To Life

I travel over the Ben Franklin Bridge every day, and  the toll takers recognize my face, and believe it or not, some actually converse! The other day it was  warming and, gulp,  sunny
 ( I truly was beginning to forget what it looked like!) the toll taker and I exchanged simple  greetings, and commented on the beauty of the sun. ...he said it brings a lot of life. How very simple and true! Light brings life.
We have just come through winter, a very long and grey winter. It has been dense, heavy, and long. Struggling to stay up beat. Buried under layers of clothing. Waiting for the darkness to end.  We have been hanging on, looking for signs, that spring is just around the corner for some time....hopeful for the light, warmth, and beauty it brings. The symbolism of the past week with Passover and Easter mirror this.....there is a struggle, darkness, austerity and a hanging on -hoping for the light to return. But return it does through the process of trust. The seed has to endure the harshness of winter. We all have situations and times that bring us into that place of darkness and stagnation. We question.   But just as the sun shines its light and warmth, and the soft rains fall, they rekindle life anew, so it is with us. Our soul sometimes has to endure austerity to reemerge into the light. We can look at that dark place where the seed of our authentic self is buried. There may be the soft rain of tears, a struggle to peel away those layers that cover over and keep us weighed down. The uncertainty of trusting universal process, that something else is at play in the rhythm of the cosmos.  If we stay steady and present,  fix our focus on bringing new growth into our lives, extending upward into the light,  and trim away the stagnant layers of things that no longer serve us or feed our soul, we can really reemerge finding lightness in our being and truly come back to life.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

The Time is Now

As I sit here in my warm bed with a cat keeping a watchful eye on me on this yet another grey chilly(isn't it supposed to be Spring yet??) day after spending the night at the emergency room hooked up to an IV glad to be home-it's the small stuff, you know? I have spent a lot of time thinking about mortality, and the unexpected changes that the Universe drops in our laps at a whim-just like that teacher you had that would ask you to answer a question when you weren't paying attention( don't even try to tell me you have never had one of those moments....)  This past month has been quite an eye opener in that department, and making me remember that life is fragile, fleeting, and to be embraced every moment. This past month started off with a family member in hospital, me having  respiratory infections that I just was not getting better from. A dear friends daughter needed surgery, a lot of people I know going through a lot of struggles. Trying to be present for them, my students, and self. The winter weather chilling us all inside and out, it was not a happy time. Kept on going, teaching classes, but feeling tired and weighed down. To quote a book I have read to my kids about winter..."the sky was grey, the roofs were grey, the whole city was grey.." pretty much sums up the mood.  Not surrendering or slowing down, though,  nope, not me. Those of you that know me personally know I am a fighter, and don't give up the ghost easily. Then the universe sent another curveball-my own daughter was hospitalized, stopped breathing, and was placed on a ventilator in guarded condition. At the same time I was denying that tired feeling for  how sick I was when I had no choice but to stop and see the doctor who ordered me to bed with strong meds for my lungs, I couldn't even visit her for two days. Interestingly enough in energetic medicine the lungs pertain to emotions and grief....hmmm. You can only imagine how I felt,  helpless and scared out of my wits.  ( She is out now  after the prayers of so many and western medical miracles, thank the Gods!) Life keeps on going, the planet revolves and the sun comes up although it seems like it is perpetually cloudy in more ways in one lately. But the writer at the helm of the grand design sent me my latest part and yesterday in excruciating pain, off to the emergency room to be a patient I went. Tests revealed a kidney infection, and a few other glitches and after intraveinous antibiotics I am enjoying the small pleasure of a purring cat by my side at home. Laying there in the hospital last night,  thinking and listening to the monitors again, the sounds of the elderly woman  all alone in the bed next to mine moaning in pain  and wondering what brought her and where was her family,  all the while  there was business as usual. We are so caught up in the wheel of life that we seldom stop and realize that in the next second that can change, possibly forever. We put things off, say we are busy, don't say the things we need to say, don't do the things that really need to be done like just be present and love one another. We fritter precious time away. We are all mortal, like it or not.  In this fast paced society we need to remember to make time. We just have the lease of this body and it's senses to experience the pleasures of each other and the beauty of this life on Earth, and when that cosmic screenwriter decides it's time to rewrite your script, you have no choice but to surrender to the grand design. Life is to be lived in the moment, not by putting things off or avoidance of those situations that make you uncomfortable. Say what you mean, mean what you say, and live your life the way you should- not limited by the past, not fearing the future and not thinking that there will always be enough time stop to smell the roses. Enjoy the blossoms and the thorns- they only bloom in your garden for a short time......the time is now.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

A Box of Chocolates

With the day of St. Valentine behind us,  the candy wrappers strewn about, the roses wilting from your special day, I have been contemplating relationships. How can you not with the mass media blitz to buy your sweetie just the right thing ( the 3 deep line around the roses in Whole Foods says a lot!) so that they can coo and gush to all their friends about how thoughtful you were and all will be right in the Kingdom of Happily Ever After. Look through rose colored glasses much? Relationships, to borrow and ad lib from the iconic Forest Gump-" are like a box of chocolates, you just never know what you're gonna get." Understated and so true. When you consider stepping into that interaction between two human beings, it is just like looking at that beautifully wrapped box of sweetness, full of anticipation, but to get to the contents you have to unwrap and open the box. There you are met with many options, some are just delicious,  some are gooey, some are chewy, some are hard, and some leave you with a downright awful taste in your mouth. Relationships pretty much have the same characteristics, but in order to fully appreciate their potential, you have to dive in and take that bite, maybe it's exactly what you were hoping for, maybe it's not. But there is always that special sweet in the middle of the box, and that is the always the best tasting- much like  the relationship with the self. In order to be able to be fully present in any relationship, you have to have a loving relationship with yourself. And this is not always easy for us, sometimes there is fear of unwrapping and getting to the center- that others won't like our real flavor, so it's better to keep it all wrapped inside and just be part of the big box. As long as we hide from ourselves we are never fully able to reach our dharma, which is our real reason for being here. In relationships we don't need another person to complete us- we already are perfectly complete, we just have to open our heart.  And that relationship with the self is by far the best , much like that chocolate covered cherry. And when you understand and love yourself for who you are, imperfections and all it enables you to connect and deepen your relationship with others.
So what are you waiting for......unwrap the box!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Onion

If you are a fan of the animated movie genre, you most likely have encountered "Shrek", a hilarious "kid" movie with many adult nuances. Shrek, our hero, is a  wonderful, apparently one level being-an ogre that dwells in the swamp. With an ogre you get what you get, right? Or do you look deeper and see what lies beneath the skin of the onion? But one of the best comments Shrek makes is that "ogres are like onions-there are many layers". Multidimensional, yes, indeed we are all like our green friend, we all have layers-layers placed on us through societal expectation, layers placed to protect that inner heart that perhaps we try to hide, layers of depth of character waiting to unfold.
But when you slice into an onion, the biochemical reaction is that the eyes water. They well up, no doubt about it- unless, of course you are cutting a genetically modified" no tears" onion. (that perfect onion without the accompanying mess is not real-nor is anyone that pretends it is all perfect, we all have some crying to do)No thank you, I will go for the raccoon eyes, thank you very much! But, deep inside the onion is the potential to grow-there is often a green shoot ready to reach out and grow from within. But you need to peel the layers in order for the new onion to sprout. The same applies to the human condition. When you slice through and peel back the layers that we place around our heart, it can be messy-if you cut through the thick skin there are going to be tears. Perhaps a lot, the nose will run, it will be messy! But in that dark, protected center part of the heart, there is that potential for growth, if we just peel back those layers and reveal that tender green. Green is the color of Annahata, or the heart chakra. If we can get through the mess and the tears and reach the green center, we connect with self love, we open to ourselves and that reflects in open heartedness to accepting and loving others just as much as we love and accept ourselves. We become open to life and all its possibilities. It is messy, it is a chore, but some dishes are not the same without the flavor an onion brings, just as  life is so much better when  you  cut through the layers and grow from within.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Open your Arms

We just had the three year anniversary of the Haiti earthquake. The big guns went to aid, but things are still devastated, and help is slow to reach those who need it- I have seen the sadness first hand. First, if you are so inclined, there are some good hands on orginizations that are working on the grass roots level among the people to bring change instead of funds trickling down from the top....look into Partners in Development, Amurt, or Yogakids Bridge of Diamonds if you are so inclined, and if you do-THANK YOU!
Having left the country to practice karma yoga, the yoga of selfless service, I can tell you first hand that it changes see the faces of the children and to hear the stories of the adults was powerful, and it has changed my perspective and my life profoundly. It seems that there is a lot of buzz over giving money on TV to sponsor someone in the third world,  celebrities championing their cause,  yogis traveling abroad to make a difference, but the reality is this is not for everyone. I want to go back, but right now my eyes are open to the here and now. Driving through Center City looking in the hedgerows next to Vine St. I have seen homeless tents hunkered down in this damp winter. They roll in to Whole Foods to blend in and escape the cold. Some addicted, some mentally ill, and some just victims of circumstance. I have see countless homeless near Logan Square, a very upscale area; a station wagon pulls up to feed them while the elite drink their $5 dollar lattes. This is just wrong on a fundamental level of humanity.  People accept it and look the other way. What if the shoe were on the other would you feel?  I have recently decided to teach a yoga class at an intensive outpatient drug and alcohol rehab in the shabbier part of north Philly. These women vary in age, size, and willingness to be there, for some it is the end of the road, for others just  the beginning. But for all it is a chance to change, and I hope to be part of that change. I was speaking about taking their power back, and that they are full of "sri"-beauty, abundance, and value and taught them goddess pose, and my heart sang when one of my students truly connected to the posture- she found her beauty in that moment! Her face became light and she was strong and proud, I could see the layers just melt away and no matter what was waiting for her later that day she was in the here and now and it was a joyous moment.  There are beings all around us in dire straits-struggling with  illness, both physical and mental, addiction, poverty, and hunger. All one, we are connected, we need to stepaway from fear of our differences and connect.  We can all do something, even if it is very small, even if it only lasts for a moment  on the local level to bring some change for the greater good.  If we open our arms and reach out we can not only uplift someone else in a positive direction, but manifest that in ourselves by the fruit of our actions.....let us collectively open our minds, our hearts, and our arms to those around us and truly bring about the change we wish to see in the world.
"Lead us from untruth to truth, from darkness to light, from death to rebirth."

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

One Size Doesn't Fit All

After the indulgences of the holidays, everywhere you look there are promotions for weight loss, detox, and diets. "Try this", "Drink this", "Take this" and find the new you, makes you feel like Alice in Wonderland with the potion that can change everything! (...mmm, drink me, one sip will make you smaller...) Yea, right, sell us a bridge and some snake oil while you're at it!
WHOA....put that magic potion down, and don't go off chasing white rabbits my friends-they really don't have the answer!  . My  physical makeup is not your physical makeup, bottom line or we would all be walking around looking like clones-what works for you may not work for me. If anyone tells you a general blanket for holiday detox, step away and go back out of the rabbit hole. As an Ayurvedic Practitioner,  we are taught that each individuals makeup is uniquely different, and we make recommendations and treat each individual to find the best path for them . Ayurveda basically  means "life philosophy". Using this system coupled with yoga brings us to a path for optimum wellness, which would be the ultimate goal. No brainer- who doesn't want to sign up for that?  The three humors ... or laughingly ."hey, what's your dosha baby"..... make up everything-Vata is the element of air and ether, Pitta is the element of fire and water, and Kapha is the element of earth and water .Each has a physically different form. Vata types are light, lean, somewhat erratic,  and have a more delicate constitution, Pitta is a go getter, prone to more temper, and pushes themselves, while Kapha is more solid, heavier, and "laid back". Different people, and different seasons-Vata is primarily autumn; changeable, drying, a windy and cool. Pitta is summer, the fire of the sun, warm and oily. Kapha is winter into early spring, wet, muddy,  lethargic at times. What works for a Vata person is going to have a different effect on a Kapha. A Vata person doing Vata things( like eating cold uncooked food and over exercising) in the fall is going become out of balance. Doing things that aggravate Kapha  ( sitting on the couch and eating cold phlegm increasing ice cream before bed ! )in the winter is going to slow down a Kapha. Like increases like, opposites cure, and there are subtle and numerous layers and applications.  Seasonal change effects each in a certain way, and diet and self care  needs to change accordingly. By finding your own unique makeup, you can find the program that fits YOU, not everyone around you,  and  bring you into a perfect state of balance. By  utilizing the science of Ayurveda, you can find the path for you...... one size most certainly doesn't fit all!