The first Full Moon of 2018 occurs tomorrow not only on the first day of the year and on moonday (Monday) and a SuperMoon but also in La Luna’s home zodiac sign of Cancer. Energies are high and as such, I have been contemplating what to bring into this New Year and what to leave behind.
As human beings with intellect and egos, we have the natural tendency to analyze. As soon as we categorize a person, experience or thing there is an attachment that binds us. We rarely if ever reiterate the person, place or sequence of events that occurred without including our own opinions. And as such those re-creations are not fact but stories, often tying us to the past or future instead of living in the moment. It sets up expectations for similar experiences without allowing us to stand in awareness unbiased and unfiltered.
This is my resolution for the new year. Stop the stories. Slough it off. Let moments pass over me in its entirety instead of gnawing and chewing and digesting it to a pulp. Quiet the mind stuff. Be the now. Have gratitude attitude. Thank you 2017 for being the springiest of diving boards. We are about to phoenix right out of these ashes. Rise up yogis, Namaste.
There is nothing more vibrant than the colors of the Autumn, especially on our dinner plates. I love the season’s abundance of root vegetables like carrots, beets, rutabaga, turnips, parsnips and radishes at the markets in their rainbows of colors.
This Fall I have been eating lots of rutabagas and turnips. They can be intimidating if you have never cooked with them before, as they do take a bit more time to tender, but keep it simple and reap all their goodness. A third the calories of potatoes, these beauties are super high in antioxidants and Vitamin C thus a great preventative for the impending cold & flu season. I have been chopping equal amounts of both into cubes sauteed in coconut oil with onion, garlic, salt and pepper and boom: root hash! Rutabagas are also great mashed with butter, salt and pepper. I’d love to hear from you about ways you enjoy them in the comments below. Enjoy the harvest!
It takes less than 90 seconds for an emotion to be triggered, surge chemically through the bloodstream, and then get flushed out. After that, we have to recreate it for it to last longer. We do that by attaching a story to the feeling, which we feed and repeat.
In a yin yoga practice, we settle into long surrendering postures for several minutes and use the breath to guide us. We learn to stay present with the subtle sensations and rhythms of a feeling. We pay attention to how it feels in the body. We breathe and give it space. We risk loosening our focus on the mental story attached to the sensations and discover that a feeling we felt stuck in for a long time is simply made of energy. Energy is never still or static; it is always shifting and changing. Even the most uncomfortable feeling that we spend our entire life trying to avoid, takes only a few minutes to transform once allowed its momentum. Join me on the Frost Moon in Scorpio for Full Moon Yoga where we will use breathwork to free ourselves from the emotional circuitry loops that bind us. Breathe on yogis, Namaste.
In the late 1990s, I embarked on a 12-week spiritual path to higher creativity while re-navigating my life after not being accepted into veterinary school. I had adored animals since I was a small child and excelled in academics especially mathematical, scientific and analytical studies, so it just made sense that’s what I would do. I tried not once but several times with the same results, leaving me with this huge sense of failure not only for not getting in but for not having a plan B. So when a friend asked if I wanted to participate with her in this inward personal journey to greater confidence and intuition I thought why not.
One of the basic tools of this course is “morning pages” which are three pages of longhand, stream of consciousness writing done first thing in the morning. They are about anything and everything that crosses your mind so it doesn’t matter so much what is written but that the pen keeps moving across the page. When we write, things tend to become clear to us. It helps us see windows of opportunity we didn’t see before. In this process of clearing our mind moving into creativity, we achieve emotional empowerment because we are less reluctant to hesitate and more apt to take risks. Instead of getting overwhelmed with the huge complexities of different situations, we just take smaller steps. We learn to trust our inner guide rather than listening to external influences that dictate how we should live our life. We live from a safety net of belief that this creative force in us is the Divine’s creative pulse itself, expressing as our unique gift to the world.
This experience retrained my brain from acting from the mind and intellect to working from the heart and soul. I still write morning pages two decades later however it was in my yoga teacher training I was reminded of the value in doing it again daily. Instead of being emotionally and creatively starved, we are able to fill our own wells and care for our own spirit. This sense of abundance enables us to be more generous, compassionate and effectively help others. La Luna Alchemy’s New Moon Journal Ritual is a two-week journey from setting intentions on the New Moon to manifestation on the Full Moon. Every morning in your inbox a visually stunning email will guide you through a process of personal inquiry and contemplation. Join us on this incredibly transformative process to your exquisite metamorphosis. Write on yogis, Namaste.
Lakshmi is the Hindu goddess of abundance and prosperity. When worshipped in a temple, she is depicted with four hands, holding a lotus, a conch, a pot of nectar and a fruit respective in each. The fruit that she holds represents the results of our labors or actions, which comes from her blessings. When such fruit is a coconut, it indicates that she is the source of the three levels of creation, namely the gross, subtle, and the imperceptible. On this auspicious day of the August Leo New Moon and Total Solar Eclipse, this simple ritual will create a powerful intention to implore more love in our lives and universe. Moon blessings.
- 1 cup (8 oz) water
- 1 Organic India Tulsi Sweet Rose tea bag
- 1/4 cup Silk coconut milk (the vanilla flavor is an especially nice treat)
- Boil the water then add to the tea bag in a cup. Steep covered for 5 minutes.
- Remove tea bag and add coconut milk.
- Sip slowly while chanting Om Maha Lakshmiyei Namaha
The Sun is the star at the center of our universe. Our concept of time is measured by this relationship, as it shapes our reality and perception of the world. It is the most important source of energy for life here on earth and in some cultures regarded as a deity because of its power and strength. In Hindu mythology, Surya is worshipped as the sun god, the giver and protector of life and illuminator of the intellect. Surya Namaskara, the sun salutation, is the foundation for the entire method of the practice of yoga.
Sri Tirumalai Krishnamacharya, the father of modern yoga, spent his youth traveling India studying Vedic philosophy then later at university studying Ayurveda, Vedanta, and Sanskrit and even spent over seven years in a remote cave in the Himalayas with his guru studying the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, learning asanas (postures) and pranayama (breathwork). He ultimately came back to Mysore to teach others such as Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, B.K.S. Iyengar, and Indra Devi among others. Many considered him a scholar and yoga master but he never took credit for his teachings rather attributing the knowledge to his guru or ancient texts. He stressed the importance of combining breath work with the postures and meditation so that health, clarity of mind and spiritual elevation may be achieved.
Simply performing Surya Namaskara without focusing on the mental energies is just exercise, losing meaning and outcome. Pranayama, bandhas (energy locks), drishti (gaze) and meditation on the mantra are equally important. Practitioners develop control of the senses and a deep awareness of themselves, emotions, and workings of the mind. By maintaining this discipline with regularity and devotion they develop steadiness of body and mind. When the practice of breath is synchronized to movement, the asanas become linked together on the thread of breath called vinyasa. This also creates heat within the body, increases blood circulation and flushes toxins from the body through the sweat. With strengthened bodies, sense organs and minds, one becomes healthy and righteous and able to attain eternal liberation. As Pattabhi Jois said “yoga is for everyone – man, woman, the young, old, healthy, and infirm. It is all a matter of having an inclination for it. Laziness or lack of interest are the only things that get in the way of its practice, nothing else. This is a universal truth.” Practice on yogis, Namaste.
I attended the Denver premiere of ‘Hare Krishna: The Mantra, the Movement, and the Swami who started it all’ last night at Sie FilmCenter with an enlightening post-screening Q&A with co-director and screenwriter Jean Griesser. The film was a beautiful portrayal of A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada and his work in a very tumultuous late 1960’s America. What struck me was that this man began his quest at 70 years of age in a country where he knew absolutely no one and came with absolutely nothing. It was his devotion that fueled his purpose to “offer spiritual wisdom to the people of the world!”
The film takes us behind-the-scenes of a cultural movement born in the artistic and intellectual scene of New York’s Bowery, the hippie mecca of Haight Ashbury, and the Beatle mania of London. I was particularly captivated by never before seen interview footage of Allen Ginsberg and George Harrison. I have always been fascinated with that historical time period, which ultimately led me to the Grateful Dead and turning on, tuning in and dropping out in my youth. What I believe was lost in those times was vibrating at a higher consciousness masked with getting high. To be high is not to be realized. It is a beautiful tool to alter our awareness and reality, also known as Maya, the illusion, opening us to wider perspectives in this transformation. We often look outward in this exploration seeking knowledge and experience, however, the ultimate truth is found going deeply introspective to self-realization. The spiritual path is deep, hard and exceedingly difficult to comprehend for the earthly mind but as Prabhupada says “Krishna consciousness resolves everything. Nothing else is needed.” What a long strange trip it is yogis, Namaste.
Watermelon represents summertime and there is nothing better than this sweet juicy fruit on a hot summer day. This amazing fruit has the highest amount of the powerful antioxidant lycopene (bright red pigment also found in tomatoes) than any other fruit or vegetable. This antioxidant is well researched for its benefits against heart disease and several types of cancer so drink this up not only to good health but staying hydrated…as it also contains potassium which helps to maintain our electrolyte balance on these warm summer days! This recipe comes from my dear friend, Kerry Ingram’s, lovely website Mothering Arts, a community that supports mothers and babies in the first three years of postpartum. Even though I do not have my own children I find the articles and resources inspiring and nurturing to everyone.
- 5 cups of cubed watermelon (no seeds or rind)
- pint of strawberries
- 1/4 cup water
- handful of mint
- Cut the watermelon into cubes and remove any seeds. Cut off the green stems on the strawberries.
- Add everything, including the 1/4 cup of water to a blender. Blend thoroughly.
- If you want this drink to have a water-like consistency you can strain the juice through a fine mesh sieve or leave as is for a slushy-like texture.
- Serve with a sprig of mint and enjoy!
A scent can bring on a flood of memories, influence people’s moods and even affect their work performance instantaneously as smell is intimately linked to the parts of the brain that process emotion and associative learning. The olfactory bulb is part of the brain’s limbic system which has access to the amygdala, which processes emotion, and the hippocampus, which is responsible for associative learning. Aromas can have positive effects on mood, stress reduction, sleep enhancement, self-confidence, and physical and cognitive performance.
An odor has no personal significance until it becomes connected to something that has meaning. In the initial encounter, we begin forming nerve connections that intertwine the smell with emotions. No other senses have this kind of deep access into our nervous system. Pick a distinctive odor, then pair that aroma with a calming meditative session. After a few sessions, the odor itself will elicit a relaxed state, even when we don’t have time to meditate.
We can use naturally occurring aromatic compounds in essential oils made from plant extracts to help relax, to provide mental clarity, to help cope with emotional conflicts, and to energize physically, emotionally or mentally. By incorporating these scents into our everyday life, we improve the way we feel about and respond to life. Two of my favorite products right now are La Luna Alchemy’s Ritual Oil, an essential oil blend created for each moon sign, and Apothecanna’s Stimulating Body Oil, a spicy citrus scented oil which also contains healing CBD (cannabidiol) to soothe muscles after morning Mysore practice. Connecting body, mind and spirit in harmony with nature in every thought, action and moment of our daily life is the Yoga. Stay bendy yogis, Namaste.
Today is International Yoga Day which celebrates Yoga as a holistic way to achieve equilibrium of the body and the mind. Yoga is so much more than the physical practice of asana (postures) that we associate with here in the Western world. Rather it is the journey of discovering the sense of oneness with yourself, the world and nature. When we devote ourselves to the practice Yoga, it moves off the mat and towards a lifestyle that is in harmony with the universe. Today, as you engage with others, look deeply in their eyes recognizing the divine in everyone. Be present. Be kind. Be compassionate. That is the real yoga. Be love yogis, Namaste.