ah-Rise.

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.

 

Breathe.

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.

Word.

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 Love Tea

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.

Lakshmi Love Tea

INGREDIENTS

  • 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)

PREPARATION

  1. Boil the water then add to the tea bag in a cup. Steep covered for 5 minutes.
  2. Remove tea bag and add coconut milk.
  3. Sip slowly while chanting Om Maha Lakshmiyei Namaha

Surya.

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.

Aroma.

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.

 

Soma.

I have been recently delving into jyotish vidya, the divine science of light, also known as Vedic astrology. Originating thousands of years ago, sages first described astronomy and astrology in the Hindu text Vedanga Jyotisha. This system is so rich in mythology and meaning as exemplified in the story of Chandra, the moon god. Chandra had married all 27 daughters of King Daksha, each of whom was named a Nakshatra (constellation aka lunar mansion). However, Chandra loved to spend time with only one, his beloved queen Rohini. The other wives complained to their father, King Daksha, who repeatedly brought this up to Chandra, unwilling to change his behavior. King Daksha got angry and cursed Chandra, causing him to diminish (wane) in size. The Devas (gods) intervened and requested King Daksha to withdraw the curse, who did upon reassurance that Chandra would visit all his wives. Since the curse could not be completely revoked, King Daksha allowed Chandra to regain his strength for half a month (wax) while transitioning all 27 nakshatras (wives) in the month thereby completing the zodiac orbit.

The 27 nakshatras complete the entire circle of 360 degrees of the zodiac as each constellation is 13 degrees and 20 minutes when measured from the fixed initial point. Each nakshatra is divided in padas of 3 degrees and 20 minutes. The 27 nakshatra, each with 4 padas, give 108, which is the number of beads in a mala. Malas are used in meditative practice where each bead is used to count the repetition of a mantra. I am now offering malas on my website each lovingly handcrafted by me. The silver white luster of the moonstones in the Lunar Love Mala is said to balance yin and yang and promote greater flexibility and flow with life.  As the moon waxes and wanes through the month, moonstone is a wonderful crystal to remind us that we too are always full, choosing what we illuminate to the world. Shine brightly yogis, Namaste.

Retro.

Hello retrograde…this month has five retrograde planets, yes I said five: Mercury, Saturn, Jupiter, Venus, and Pluto. While the new beginnings of the Spring season arrive with enthusiasm, this retrograde movement in April will delay any firm rooting. Retrogrades have a funny way of stirring up the past, creating a wrinkle in time that allows us to retrace our steps, reflect, and offer us the most opportunity for soul growth. So be sure to give situations additional thought, care, and consideration.

Mercury goes retrograde on April 9th. The Mercury Retrograde period is an excellent time for deepening our trust and connecting with our intuition. Allow additional travel time, exercise patience with yourself and others, take care of your technology and triple check details before signing on the dotted line. In the midst of all this rerun flashback, I am really excited to offer La Luna Alchemy’s Mercury Retrograde Elixir to help neutralize or prevent potential negative effects of this 3-week period. This elixir supports us to relax and shift into an “intuitive” perspective more easily to help resolve disruptions that bubble up during this time.

Saturn goes retrograde tonight so it’s a good opportunity for us to think about the things in our lives that led us to where we are in our relationships and our jobs. We can take this occasion to go over any steps we need to take to rebuild our career or see where aspects need reworking, remodeling or reviewing.

Jupiter retrograde requires introspection and an awareness that inner growth is necessary for our hopes and dreams to materialize as personality traits and behaviors that require extra development will be illuminated. Even if we are traveling on the right path at this stage, we will be reminded how important it is to be happy and content with what we have.

Venus retrograde is one of the most significant astrological transits because it only happens once every 18 months. This is a time to heal the wounds of our heart, to let go of past lovers and relationships, to let go of past hurts and blockages, and to open ourselves to a deeper love. It is also a great opportunity to tap into our intuition and to really listen and follow through on our gut feelings.

While Pluto is retrograde we should be ready to let a piece of our personality, a piece of our life, or someone in our life give way or go in order for things to be changed and made new. It is a useful time to do a body cleanse and wash away the pollution inside our bodies or do a cleansing of our environment.  On Earth Day this month, I am offering a total body cleanse symposium which will discuss bodycare, a detox yoga flow and explore our relationship to the foods we eat for a more optimal state of health, well-being, and clarity of mind. For more details and to register go to Renew & Restore: A Conscious Cleanse. Take this extraordinary month to open to the marvelous possibilities of the cosmos and delve deeper into your true Self. Shine on yogis, Namaste.

Be the Light.

On the dawn of the winter solstice I contemplated what to manifest in the new year on the new moon next week while scrutinizing over the past twelve months assessing everything that did and did not work. Like a plant who needs the dormancy of the winter to come to bloom, we too need this time to grow our roots and let the dead foliage fall. We need to take the time to nurture and weed in order to flourish. And like flora we take this time to ground down deep into the quiet stillness. Meditation imparts our intuition and our truth.

It is perplexing when others express their dissatisfaction about their work. This is a space that we spend a majority of our time and energy. As a society we have placed an enormous importance on financial security with so little on our true purpose in life. Each one of us has an extraordinarily unique gift to offer. When we don’t align our lives accordingly how can we truly be authentic beings? Working simply to make a living means we are not living in the present. We are working towards an energetic exchange later. How can we possibly be conscious and present in the moment when all of our energy is being displaced for the future? Living in this state results in the anxiety, depression, fear and disease that is so prevalent today.

This year I am manifesting Love. A love for ourselves. As we cultivate daily practices that fulfill us we tend our personal gardens. These can be small simple acts as time spent in Nature or grandiose lifestyle changes such as embarking on a new career. Nourish the spirit and watch it blossom into the majestic expression of your being. Stop watering dead leaves. Feed the fire. Ignite that Light inside you and watch it glow. Shine on yogis, Namaste.

Full Moon Cookies

All my favorite things today: a full moon, yoga and sweet treats!  It truly is a fantastic way to nourish ourselves and prepare for all that is to come in 2017. Baking in the winter is so wonderful not only because it fills the air with deliciousness but also warms the home from the heart. So enjoy these sugar cookies, stoke your fire and shine brilliantly on this last Super Moon of the year.

INGREDIENTS

Cookies:

  • 16 tablespoons (2 sticks) butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Icing:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2-3 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)

PREPARATION

  1. Heat oven to 350°F.
  2. Beat butter and sugar in a bowl with electric mixer on medium-high until smooth.
  3. Add the egg and beat until fluffy, about 2 minutes
  4. Add the vanilla on low.
  5. Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl and add it slowly to the butter mixture, mixing until just incorporated (the dough will be stiff).
  6. Refrigerate, wrapped, for 60 minutes…perfect time to go do some moon salutations!
  7. Roll out dough on a floured surface to 1/4 inch thick.
  8. Cut into circles (think full moon!).
  9. Bake 8-10 minutes until the edges are a light golden brown.
  10. To prepare icing combine all ingredients stirring until smooth.
  11. Once cookies are cooled cover with a thin layer of icing and top with gold sprinkles.
  12. Happy Full Moon!