As a spiritual Life coach, I get this question a lot!
The process of learning how to love mySelf begins with understanding the separate parts of the Self. There are many different views on how to divide the self; the physical body, the intellectual body, the vision body, the Spirit body, etc. However, all schools of thought refer to a Higher Self of sort.
Lack of Self-love is the primary reason why people seek help; to end the misery of the negative self-sabotaging inner chatter. It is the main source of pain.
I am not talking about the narcissistic type of self-love where I can’t tear myself away from the reflection in the mirror.
In order for me to really love myself I have to be able to identify myself with the witness (my understanding of a Higher Self) that lies within. I need to switch my perspective from the part of me which I am identifying with. For this reason, all spiritually based programs begin with witnessing the breath. It is the first step in separating from my Ego-based thought programming.
The Buddha, the God-Self, the higher self; call it whatever feels good for you, but they are all referring to the same part of the self; The Witness. The part of myself who watches my life, from above.
I begin by watching my breath, and then I watch my actions, my words, my feelings, and finally my thoughts. I must detach myself from all of these in order to transcend any of my issues.
It was Einstein who said.” “A person starts to live when he can live outside himself.”
In order to transcend; “raise above” I have to see how my Ego created all of my negative belief patterns. My ego did this in efforts to save me and protect me at that time, when I was a small little child who was relying on my parents for all of my survival needs. I have to see how my ego created those beliefs as an act of love, because nothing changes until it becomes what it is…love.
At the end of the day, at the end of the journey it is all about self-love.
I love myself because I am none of that..I am not my feelings; feelings change; I am not my actions because my actions change, I am not my body because my body changes; I am not even my thoughts because I can change those also. All I AM is the witness; I am consciousness itself.
And the energy of consciousness is neutral; it just is
If I observe myself doing, feeling, thinking or saying something undesirable I have to remember that that is just a product of my programming. If I am willing to observe my own programming which was basically downloaded into me before I was five years old than I can see how my own ego created the association, thought pattern, and feelings as a way to protect me.
And although the ego usually gets a bad rap; it is the one most beautiful loving thing about the human condition because without it I would not survive.
We all do what we do, say what we say, feel what we feel and eat how we eat FOR A REASON! It all makes perfect logical sense. So if there is feeling you no longer want to experience or if you want to create a different experience in your life simply start with these four little words;
“Oh isn’t that interesting!”.
By observing it and getting to know it; you can move into it while surrendering all resistance of feeling and allow what is there to rise to the surface and move through.
All feelings surrounding the situation are very real; although they may NOT be factual to the current-day situation, there is something very real, which is being triggered by an association. Feelings are very real and extremely valid and the sooner we validate and give thanks to our egos for creating the negative thought pattern, (so we could survive the situation at the time,) the sooner we can mourn and give our selves permission to grieve the passing of our survival mechanisms we no longer need to carry us forward into adulthood.
By releasing the emotional charge attached to the thought pattern you can transcend and raise above your dysfunctional behavior that is no longer working for you!
Yoga, an ancient practice, is taking the country by storm and as a result, it has become a hot topic in the news. Now that there is a yoga studio on practically every corner, it’s more important than ever to remind yogis about the intensity of the postures.
Yoga is a discipline much like karate or ballet. The same way one would not walk into a ballet class on pointe shoes, one should not walk into a yoga class and expect they will be able to attempt a backbend, inversion, and especially a downward facing dog with straight legs and heels on the ground.
Having the wrong set of expectations and information, doing the practice from a place of Ego, or simply pushing your body too hard can cause pain and real damage. Some of the most common yoga injuries include: shoulder sprains, separation of the sacral-iliac ligament, hurt ribs, and compression of L4 and L5 vertebrae.
Separation of SI joint and lower back ligaments is probably one of the most common injuries in yoga and has nothing to do with being dangerous for your back. It has everything to do with misinformation. The most common pose being mis-cued is the downward facing dog. It is alas one of the most common poses and most frequently done.
The injury occurs from trying to do the pose with straight legs and forcing the heels to the ground, while having tight hamstrings, which most people have. I have even seen teachers and students try to shorten the distance between the hands and feet, in this posture, just to get the heels on the ground.
By simply bending your knees and allowing your heels to rise off the floor the injury is easily avoidable.
Shoulder Sprains or other shoulder injuries can result from muscling an arm balance pose; including downward facing dog. To the untrained eye, it seems that fancy, impressive arm balance poses, such as flying crow, require upper-body strength. However, like most characteristics of yoga, it is not as it appears.
Arm balance postures come from two main components, which take time to develop. One component is the ability to fold at the hip joint, to the point where your front ribs can touch your thighs; therefore closing the gap between upper and lower body when in a forward bend position. This position will enable the knees to position themselves in the armpits; which is where they belong in order to activate the second component of arm balance posture.
The second component is the ability to lift up on the internal floor of the pelvis in order to make the lower body light enough to come off the ground. The lifting of the feet off the ground is NOT initiated from shoulder strength. The upper back and shoulders are secondary in their support of these postures. It is primarily, the ability to continuously lift up on the pelvic floor muscles to initiate and sustain these postures.
Another common injury in yoga is a tear of the inter-coastal muscles (muscles between the ribs) during the twisting postures. This is primarily due to working the posture with an incorrect emphasis on the leading shoulder. It is a natural tendency to try to get deep into a twisting posture by pulling the leading shoulder away from the mid-line (or sternum), this will put undue pressure on the smaller intercostals muscles which attach the ribs to the sternum.
A simple correction is to lead with the back ribs, therefore, the whole rib cage can move simultaneously.
The compression of the lower lumbar discs is caused by, again not using proper foot pressure, and clenching the buttocks. Foot pressure is used to control the movement of the pelvis. It is also used to roll the top of the thighs inward so that the tailbone has the ability to drop down and move forward, through the legs. If the tailbone does not elongate (which can only happen if the butt muscles are relaxed), the pelvis will not be allowed to tilt in a backward bending position. This compresses L4 and L5 while attempting to move the upper body back in the back-bending position.
Additional tips to help prevent getting hurt:
- Realize that each posture (even the sitting postures) is about the ability to move through the legs and the big toe. Notice I did not say leg strength. It is about activating the legs to continuously ground the posture. Even when the legs are off the ground; the energy is going out through the toes. Think of your legs as the roots of a big oak tree. The deeper and stronger the roots, the taller the tree can get and still have the integrity to get blown around in the wind without coming out of the ground.
- In each posture, you must activate the lifting of the pelvic floor muscles. Once I ground myself to the floor (the big toe to the ground), I can begin to move my blood and breath by drawing the energy up internally.
- Yoga is extremely dynamic yet unbelievably subtle. For this reason, it is considered a discipline, which needs to be respected and studied. It is a tool, which can be used to harmonize the body, heart, and mind.
- All postures are alive and moving; never stagnant and frozen. We are not posing for photos; we are using our internal perception to align our bodies in the form. One of the greatest benefits of yoga is that it increases our ability to understand where we are in space. When we intentionally engage our neural receptors we are increasing our ability to focus, which is another benefit yogis receive from their practice!
When the pressure gets tight
When I have exhausted all excuses
And all defenses
There is no other place to go
But to go inside of the fear
The tenderest place to be
To go inside where there is no sound
It is the most courageous place I can go
It is the most loving gift I can give myself
How before I had no respect for the power of this intimacy
I had no idea
I had no honor
Honor of myself
Honor of my feelings
The sacredness of human emotion
The sacredness of my own emotion
The intensity feels like a powerful yet subtle river
So vibrantly flowing….
As the temperature in our external environment begins to dip into the single digits, it is time to turn up the heat in our internal environment! One way of achieving this thermal balance is cooking up simmering hot foods with some of the following warming spices!
Ginger contains powerful natural anti-inflammatory substances. Ginger extracts and teas have been used to treat arthritis, vertigo, migraine headaches, and various digestive problems, especially nausea. Ginger is readily available in most supermarkets.
Recipe suggestion: Pear and Ginger Juice! Place two pears and a 2inch cube of ginger in your juicer and enjoy! Not only will the ginger warm your insides, pears help strengthen your lungs and reduce mucus.
This mild Indian spice has been scientifically studied for its protective effects against inflammation and cancer. When combined with black pepper, medicinal uses of turmeric include the healing of stomach ulcers and the relief of oxidative, free radical stress in patients with inflammation. Turmeric powder is readily available in the spice section of most supermarkets.
Recipe Suggestion: See your Healing Foods Recipe Book, which was emailed on Thanksgiving for the Tri-Dosha Dal! (If you did receive your copy, please do not hesitate to contact me!)
Cumin is the most popular spice in Indian cooking. It is used to treat coughs, colds, and illnesses of digestive tract. One teaspoon of limejuice and a pinch of cumin in a glass of orange juice is also a tasty cure for hangovers! Ayurvedic practitioners also recommend drinking a cumin, coriander and fennel tea to help clear up acne.
Cinnamon, Cardamom and Cloves
These spices add flavor and aroma to dishes. Their wonderful flavor and medicinal attributes of anti-inflammatory and anti bacterial properties makes them popular. Cinnamon also plays an important role in stabilizing blood sugar levels.
Recipe suggestion: Try this easy recipe of Yogi Tea from Yogi Bhajan:
Prep Time: 05 minutes, Cook Time: 03 hours: Total Time: 3 hours, 5 minutes
2 quarts water
15 whole cloves
20 black peppercorns
3 sticks of cinnamon
20 whole cardmon pods (split the pods first)
8 fresh ginger slices (1/4″ thick, no need to peel)
1/2 teaspoon regular or decaf black tea leaves (approximately 1-2 tea bag)
Dairy or soy milk and honey or maple syrup to taste.
Bring two quarts of water to a boil. Add cloves and boil one minute. Add cardamom, peppercorns, cinnamon, and ginger. Cover and boil for 30 minutes. Reduce heat and simmer for two to three hours. Remove from heat, add black tea, and let cool. Strain and store in the refrigerator. Reheat when you want a cup and add milk and honey to taste.
The nutmeg is used for intestinal problems, especially for diarrhea. In India, nutmeg is believed to increase sexual stamina and has an enduring reputation as an aphrodisiac. It is not only appetizing in sweet foods, but enhances the flavor of meats and green leafy vegetables.
Recipe Suggestion: Saute’ onions and diced apple with collard greens or swiss chard in olive oil or ghee, and then sprinkle a little grated nutmeg on top to enhance all the flavors.
May the warmth in the spices and the love in your heart keep you comforted through the chilly months!
After working with hundreds of people over the last 20 years I would like to share with you some of the most common mistakes I see people make on their journey towards gaining greater health and wellness.
Mistake number one is misunderstanding the process of change and transformation. Despite a person’s desire, enthusiasm and commitment, the journey is NEVER a straight shoot in the new direction. Two steps back will often follow taking one step forward toward change. During this backslide is often when people give up on themselves and their process. It is during this backslide where our Ego will seduce us into thinking it is impossible or too difficult to move forward. We judge our process and all our dreams and desires are subsequently abandoned.
This is a classic example of disconnection. The heart wants something the mind thinks is out of reach. In this case, if we never learn the language of feelings, which teaches us to validate, and to feel and release, instead of thinking our feelings, the mind will always win out.
Judgment always leads to stagnation and stagnation often leads to dis-ease (in the body or the mind). If instead, if we choose to look at the back slides as a lesson to be learned from, then we gain from it and it becomes part of the journey.
The next common mistake I see is the very common idea that it takes willpower and deprivation in order to achieve desired results. The truth is willpower is a very limiting power. Approaching the process from willpower and deprivation does not leave any energetic space for exploration. As a result of no exploration there is no information and therefore nothing is gained but frustration and defeat.
The energy of willpower is based in fear. This type of power is exhaustive and non-informative which, eventually wears us out!
Instead of deprivation and willpower, focus on “adding in the good stuff”. This will ignite the creative process, which is filled with ever-lasting positive energy!
When we follow the prescription plan of a specific diet. The focus is set on what to eat instead of what the food gives us and even more importantly what is our psychological relationship with food.
Stress hormones in the brain negatively affect metabolism, digestion and absorption rate. What we are eating is only half of the story; our relationship to food and time is the other half.
The third mistake I see people making is the lack of realization that our body is made up of chemical reactions. The human body is a continuous series of action and reaction. Everything we ingest and absorb through the air, skin and our minds is combined with our unique system. Therefore every time we eat we are performing a science experiment, which will have a real world end result.
For example, most people think that their cravings are just part of their personality, family culture or daily habit, when in fact it is mainly a chemical or psychological association. Both of these reactions in the body can be altered given the appropriate remedy.
On point, the majority of sugar cravings are the body’s call for balancing the blood sugar. Most of us do not realize how much sugar we are really taking in. When I first ask people to tell me what they had for breakfast they proudly tell me that breakfast is their best meal: dry cereal, skim milk with banana. For many of us, this doesn’t sound so bad, however, even if all the ingredients were organic or natural it still ALL breaks down in our system as sugar. Putting that meal into an empty stomach is like setting a wildfire in your veins. That seemly healthy breakfast has just caused your blood sugar level to raise rapidly which will then in turn drop suddenly in few hours leaving you tired, confused, and hungry again. In contrast, a meal filled with healthy fat, fiber and protein will sustain better energy and mood levels resulting in a less caloric intake by days and weeks end.
The last mistake I will discuss is that most of us do not know how to hear and read the signs and signals the body is giving us. The body talks and if we want to reach our full potential for healing and wellness we MUST listen.
The human body is brilliant! The body has an unbelievable ability to heal itself. However, it must be given the chance. Cultivating a listening practice is mandatory for optimal health and wellness. It is for this reason, my approach includes a component of spirituality. The word spirituality means nothing more than consciousness.
A spiritual practice does not have to take a long time or a lot of money and anyone can practice! It is not even a luxury; it is a necessity for a balanced lifestyle of health and wellness.
We are living in a world where time seems to be speeding up and multi-tasking is a skill we are striving to hone. Carving out scared time to allow ourselves to be with ourselves is something we must remind each other to do. It is not selfish to take “me-time”; in my opinion, it is a way to be an energetic environmentalist. It will create a positive ripple effect for everyone in your life and on the planet.
Positive feeds positive, negative feeds negative.
Which spiral are you spinning in?
A boundary is a limit that promotes integrity and protects you by allowing you to feel safe. There are two types of boundaries: physical boundaries and emotional boundaries. Healthy boundaries come from your conscious awareness of the distinction between you and the people whom you share your life.
When someone crosses a physical boundary and bodily harms you, you bruise, and so you become vulnerable to infection.
When your emotional boundaries are breached you also become vulnerable to harm. When someone trespasses your boundaries by thoughtless or intrusive actions these actions are called… BOUNDARY VIOLATIONS.
Learning how to protect my boundaries is a skill which I learned through self-parenting. In the beginning, I was so conditioned to suppressing my feelings, I did not even notice when my boundaries were crossed. All I knew was I was upset and in emotional pain.
Are you aware of when someone tramples on your feelings? Are you aware when someone invalidates what you are saying, or when someone does not listen to your needs and your feelings?
Maybe you are aware and yet allow it to avoid a confrontation. I did this for a long time. Most of us avoid confrontation because we lack the communication skills to maturely express what we want and therefore we fear rejection.
However, these seemingly outward peaceful acts of avoidance can actually be inward violent acts of self-sabotage and can throw us into a tailspin of defense.
This is a common reason why most of us judge and trample on our own feelings. Self Judgement and neglect are the first steps heading to Negative Town.
We can not control what others say, however, we can control how we process what they say and do. Looking externally for validation can be a dangerous game.
I often remind myself and others to never under-estimate the ripple effect other people’s energy.
Who is costing you what?
We all have the birthright to be happy, however that belief has to start within!
As early as I can remember I did not feel secure in my body or my Mind. Although I was always an avid athlete and what appeared to be an average teenager, I struggled with body image, body weight, mood swings, confidence, energy levels, and most of all self-esteem.
As these issues remained unresolved and hidden, as I adult, I struggled with chronic illness, persistent depression and anxiety. I felt like I was always living in a mystery novel, struggling to break free from the unpredictable mood cycle, which would govern my actions and therefore, what seemed to be defining my life.
I was convinced that if I had the “perfect” legs and the “perfect” number on the scale, life would be “amazingly perfect”. I was in constant search of the magic pill and instant happiness. Although in my mind I knew this to be silly, my unconscious actions portrayed something different.
This opposition of thought and action took many years of frustration and pain to figure out. As a result, I have spent approximately 25 years gathering research and personal experience to come to the conclusion that my mind, my body, my feelings and my food CANNOT be separated.
What I have observed is that when our hearts and minds are disconnected, living seems to be about a struggle in energy, strength and vitality, which results in a feeling of loss of personal power, which may eventually lead to feelings of isolation, depression and chronic illness.
However, when we are connected to our passions and our minds can reconcile with what is in our hearts, living is quite the opposite! Aging is now using time to feel better and better! It is an upswing instead of a downward spiral!
Through cultivating a connection to all parts of ourselves, aging is about gaining inner wisdom and increasing emotional intimacy, both of which enhances our ability to have compassion and therefore feelings of connection and happiness. All of which are by far more authentically powerful, strong and vivacious! In reality, when we are connected, we age like a fine wine and life is definitely more joyful!
After surviving years of playing the role of sick patient, I emerged with this inner knowing that there was a disconnection between my internal and external environment. This was apparent to me because what was in my heart was definitely not evident in my actions or my communication with others. I realized I could have died without ever speaking from heart. Instead, I was busy protecting myself or mentally putting myself on trial. This way of being in the world never allowed me to see and “receive” any of the good that was presented before me. And believe it or not it ALL starts with food!
This tragic, yet life-changing realization is the reason why I created the BODYOLOGY SYSTEM . This six-month group virtual program helps you cultivate a lifestyle of health and wellness and ultimately connection.This course is the first step in heightening the awareness of all the parts of who we are and how to create what we truly want!
It is my belief and experiences that treating the body as a whole person can contribute to healthy lifestyle, more happiness and less reliance on prescription and over-the-counter drugs.
It is my personal and strong commitment to shift our health care focus from crisis management to prevention wellness!
So basically, there is so much information out there and it can be extremely overwhelming, confusing and maybe a little lonely to try it alone. The beauty of the Bodyology System is the incredible level of knowledge,support and dialogue.
Health and wellness is a process and a flow, which does not have to be difficult to understand. We ALL get in our own way when it comes to achieving something we truly desire.
So if you are really ready to integrate the empowering, easy-to-use tools from the Bodyology System I guarantee it will improve your relationship with your food and ultimately your life.
The existence and discovery of Ghee dates back to the most ancient times in Indian history, as a result of which it has been a key ingredient in Indian cuisine since a very long time. Ghee is an essential and nutritive ingredient that is used the same way in Indian cuisine as butter or margarine in the American one. Not just in cooking, but also plays a crucial role in religious ceremonies and many healing arts in the Indian culture. Moreover, Ghee’s nutritive significance and health advantages are often regarded as safe for consumption for anyone from sports people to regular dieters.
What is Ghee and how is it processed?
Ghee is just an elucidate form of butter. If one has had a taste of crustaceans, he/she would be more familiar to what is meant by drawn butter, which basically is the same as Ghee. However many would simply add and melt butter to the foodstuff and market it as drawn butter. Clarifying butter is a quite complex process. The butter is rendered in a cauldron or big saucepan until the formation of three distinct layers; a foamy lather, a watery one that is excluded, a solid butter layer, and a milky solid layer. The butter extracted is known as the clarified butter which is a liquid quantity or rich, golden butter-fat.
Such clarified butter is much preferred by many chefs as it doesn’t burn during cooking, yet retains a buttery flavor; i.e.it has a high smoking point. The more the melted butter is cooked, the more its flavor is intensified.
Why Choose Ghee?
Ghee is favored by health concerned cooks as it lacks hydrogenated oils. Even more, it lacks caseins (a milk protein) and lactose ( a milk carbohydrate which breaks down into sugar) which makes it a delicious, natural alternative for those who have these food sensitivities.
Saturated fats are the prime factors for the composition of clarified butter. It comprises of approximately 14 grams of fats per tablespoon, but doesn’t include any artificial additives, preservatives or trans fats. Of course one would not want high consumption of Ghee in their diet but the beauty of Ghee is small quantities are all you need for high flavor. As a result it is considered a healthy ideal fat to have in one’s diet. A tablespoon of Ghee has the same potential of that of 4 tablespoons of butter or any cooking oil.
Ghee is said to promote and stimulate secretion of various digestive acids, whereas butters and oils prolong the digestion process and burden the belly. In spite of the ongoing tests and research, it has been successfully proven to cure ulcers in various Indian medicinal practices. Moreover it is also helpful for curbing constipation, and promotes healthy skin and beautiful eyes. It is also said to improve learning and help boost memory.
Traditionally, it’s used as a skin softening agent in Indian beauty products and as a topical solution for burns and blisters.
Apart from its nutritional bounty, it is a rich source of antioxidants and largely helps in the absorption of vitamins and minerals from foodstuffs. Ghee also helps build different levels of body tissues and strengthen the immune system. The fact that in contains epic proportions of butyric acid and a fatty acid that is believed to have anti-viral traits makes it an able medicine for the prevention of cancerous tumors.
All in all Ghee gets the thumbs up!
Ghee is located either in the baking or dairy aisle in any natural food market.
When someone trespasses us or violates us either physically or emotionally this obviously hurts our soul. This energy of pain and hurt we feel in our bodies needs to be validated and released. This does not mean we agree, condone, or minimize the action, however, we need to protect ourselves against the energy we absorbed as a result of the action.
Forgiveness is a self-protection process. I have to choose to see the act for what it was and allow myself to feel and release the emotions which are attached to it. Once I validate, feel and release the toxic energy around the action I am de-activating my ego defenses. The result of releasing my defense mechanisms will cause me to be less reactive in the future and therefore not permit me to draw this energy back into my life again.
Forgiveness releases the burden of the negative feelings and energy which can weigh me down. The negative feelings can hurt my shoulders, make me tired, or cause me to mindlessly eat. All of which, uses my energy in an unproductive way.
This “holding on” will keep me stuck in the past as my Ego can then play the blame, shame, victim game. If I choose not to forgive, I am giving my power away to that person who caused me harm. In essence, I continue to hurt myself over and over again even years after the crime occurred.
When I can choose to hate the sin but love the sinner, (albiet, I may choose to love from them from a distance) I am releasing myself from my past. I take back my own life by choosing to forgive and I trust in the Law of Karma to bring justice to that person who wronged me, for I know they are creating their own life.
And if I need to forgive myself for dis-honoring or disrespecting myself, then I take responsibility to care for my soul and observe and correct my own behavior and move on.
“To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover the prisoner was you.” ~ Unknown
Holistic Nutrition is about treating the whole person. There are Primary Foods and Secondary Foods. Secondary foods are the foods we eat. Primary foods are the things in our life that feed our Soul, our passions.
Primary foods can be broken down into four main categories; Relationships, Career, Spirituality, and Fitness. The more primary food we have in our lives, the more the secondary food will support it and if there is an weight issue, the less the amount of secondary food we will need.
Love is the most powerful, healing vibration there is. I am sure most of you have experienced the love diet, where you meet someone new and promising and all of a sudden you are down 10 pounds! Finding our passions is our birthright; it is what makes us unique. The day I rekindled my childhood passion and started dancing again, was the day I stopped exercising and started loving life. It was no longer something I “had” to do; I couldn’t wait to get there! My mindset switched from a negative fear-based, (If I don’t do this then I am going to be fat”) vibration to a positive, love-based, (“I can’t wait to do this”) vibration!
This mind shift allowed me to go from surviving to thriving in a mere flash!
Now whenever I am trying to accomplish a goal, either with career, weight issues, relationship, or money, I check in with my mindset and find a way to shift into that love vibration. Love makes everything easy peasy!
Which Primary Food category needs more passion and vibration in your life?