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Garlic, Depression, & Anxiety

Have you ever noticed that some foods touted as ‘superfoods’ aren’t so super for you? For me, garlic is one of those things. If I eat it accidentally or knowingly, I generally can’t sleep that night and I wake up the next day feeling groggy and grouchy. Raw garlic? Forget about it – instant panic attack. So what gives?

Interestingly, back in 2010 when I was going through the teacher training program at the Sivananda Yoga Ashram, we were told never to eat onions or garlic because they were ‘rajasic’ or excitatory which would affect our meditation.1 Cruciferous vegetables were also discouraged because of their gas-inducing qualities (which also affects meditation). Many of us were shocked and appalled at these recommendations, believing these foods had nothing but health benefits. Nevertheless, onions and garlic were never served at the ashram the entire 30 days I was there.

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Reviewing 2019 So Far

Sunset shot by one of our Hipcampers, Candy Delaney. She likes it here.

It has been a very long time since I posted anything. Unlike last year, this year has been a whirlwind of activity as I tried to re-establish myself as a teacher and studio owner after the barn project was (finally) finished. So many classes, so many new faces, so many good memories. I feel incredibly grateful for all of the support and have a renewed zest for teaching.

And now Nathan and I are moving into another realm with AirBnB (in addition to the area we already have set up for camping) and farm-to-table dinners in the barn.

This morning as I was doing the dishes, I started reflecting on all of this busy-ness and wondering why we do it. I can’t answer for Nathan, but for me, spending time in Nature has been an invaluable healing tool. I was an only child, so being outside, talking to the plants and animals provided some much needed company and relief from the chaos inside the house. As I got older and quieter inside, the rocks began to share their wisdom too and it became easier to hear the infinite knowledge of existence carried on the wind and through the water, like gentle whispers in my ear.

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My Favorite Self Care Ritual

I can’t remember exactly when I was introduced to Abhyanga, the Ayurvedic practice of massaging your own body with warm oil, but it quickly became part of my daily self care routine. As a person who seems perpetually Vata imbalanced, this simple act of self love calms my mind, soothes my body, and gives me a ‘time out’. This is definitely an Ayurvedic practice I recommend to EVERYONE!

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Trust Your Treads

Tonight I walked out to the barn to turn down the heat since an event I was supposed to hold the next day wasn’t going to happen. As I walked, I realized I was walking down our driveway with ease and without fear – without a flashlight in the dark pretty darn near the new moon – knowing it was covered in snow and ice in spots. Once I realized what I was doing, my truck-driving-farmer-fiancé’s voice came to me: “Trust Your Treads”.

Those simple words hold so much meaning, don’t they?

The first time he spoke them, he was driving quite fast through a snowstorm. I was nervous. And that’s what he said because he had years of experience “trusting his treads”.

I made it to the barn safe and sound because I didn’t really think about it. I was enjoying the crisp air, the clear starry sky, and the crunching of snow under my feet as the dog pranced along happily beside me. I was present, in the moment.

On the way back… a whole other story: I thought about it. I got nervous. The ‘what if’s’ got to me and I tensed up, losing my footing a couple of times.

It always amazes me how the mind can play tricks! So like my wise man says, you just gotta “TRUST YOUR TREADS”!

Let All of Your Actions Be in Praise to the Divine

With every breath you take, remember that you are here out of grace. Your human birth is a true and rare gift. The fact that you opened your eyes for another day on this crazy and awe-inspiring Earth: a miracle!

When you cook a meal, make love, go to work, become upset, talk with someone else… remember that you are manifesting lila, divine play. We create because we are made in God’s image. The divine needs us for his play. Therefore, there is no reason to become attached to any thought, experience or action because it is not you performing these things. It is God manifesting through you.

As an artist, you may have encountered a situation where you had a vision, a dream or some kind of tap on the shoulder about a piece of artwork you should create. You ignore it. Then months later, you see that exact same thing “you” thought of – only someone else did it! This is the divine making his will happen – with or without your cooperation!

All the gods and goddesses, the angels and the devas long to have the human experience. Can you challenge yourself to live for them and let them live through you? May you let your divine light shine! Namaste!

Breathwork as a Pathway to Samadhi

After conducting my last breathwork class, I realized that the #1 reason why I love breathwork is because it can give the practitioner a taste of samadhi in a very short time. Samadhi is, generally, a state that only seasoned meditators experience after many years of practice and a whole lot of grace. In Hinduism, this is the ultimate goal of yoga – the final stage of meditation – at which union with the divine is reached. For many of us, this state will only occur at death.

According to the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, there are two main types of samadhi: “with seed” and “without seed”.

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What is Breathwork Therapy?

Pranayama (control of prana or life force energy via the breath), is one of the 8 Limbs of Yoga, and as such has very ancient healing roots. However, the more modern version of therapeutic breathwork was born in the 1960s out of LSD research. When the government banned LSD, Stanislov Grof turned his attention to something that couldn’t be outlawed: breathing. Grof went on to trademark “Holotropic Breathwork“, a non-drug alternative to reaching altered states of consciousness.

Today, there are numerous styles of therapeutic breathwork. At the core, all breathwork therapy has benefits similar to other “psychedelic therapies” (such as Ayahuasca, magic mushrooms, and LSD) in that, as oxygen builds up in the blood, the breather experiences a mild sort of trip with the aim of promoting transcendental, ecstatic, religious or mystical peak experiences. Types of experiences usually fall into one or more of several categories:  sensory, biographic, perinatal, and yogic sleep states.

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How Changing My Diet Changed My Life

This is the fourth article in the series, “The 12 Healing Tools“. These articles outline the things that I have found most useful in my journey to overcome childhood trauma and abuse, drug addiction, and debilitating depression.

At the end of 2003, I hit rock bottom – again. Looking back, I think it would be appropriate to say that I had a nervous breakdown. The stresses of a bad relationship, living a life not authentic to who I was, working long hours at a high stress job, my past drug abuse, and undiagnosed PTSD all took their toll. But, as many of you know, once you hit bottom, the only way out is UP. So once again, I pulled myself together to find a way out.

I had been practicing yoga and going to Buddhist meditation classes for about a year after this breakdown when I decided to go on an elimination diet. My gut was totally messed up and I was hearing a buzz about how going gluten free could fix that. So for two weeks, I ate all veggies and rice. When I introduced bread again, I thought I was going to die. The stomach pains and racing heart were unreal! I had my answer and stayed entirely gluten-free after that.

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