Our thoughts have the power to transform our reality.
The Healing Practice of Pratipaksha Bhavanam
Vitarka badhane pratipaksha bhavanam – Respond to negative thoughts and patterns by thinking and doing the opposite.
If you’ve followed Tasty Yummies for sometime, you are aware that my yoga practice has played a very integral role in my healing and my health, along with my journey toward self-love and self-confidence. I jokingly say that yoga is the gateway drug that came into my life, rocked me and changed me forever – the “drug” that got me on the path to healing. But in full honesty it truly was the stepping stone that brought me to a place where I could finally prioritize my health and from a totally non-ego centered approach, it allowed me to place ME and my happiness above all else. Yoga was the first introduction I had to learning to love and celebrate my body, to trusting myself and most importantly, to knowing that I was actually worthy of being happy, vibrant and well.
It was sometime in 2006 that I first stepped onto my yoga mat, and while I didn’t know this at that time, it was that first unrolling of my mat that fully changed the trajectory of my life moving forward. It was the first time that I made a choice to prioritize my self-care above all else, to give myself permission to fully love myself and to trust that what lied ahead, while intensely challenging, would make for a better version of me.
My yoga practice has evolved greatly over the years. From a daily, rigid, before dawn, self-led mysore practice, to group ashtanga practice, to sweaty vinyasa classes anywhere and everywhere I could take them in, from coast to coast. A few years ago my personal practice eventually reached a place that I was yearning for more and it was then that I received my 200-hour and then 500-hour certification to teach, which I used to host retreats and teach regular classes, publicly and privately. These days, my personal yoga practice is much more private and intimate, with a far less stringent, regimented approach.
While I don’t have a scheduled 90 minute practice daily anymore, yoga still seeps into every single one of my days, even if just by way of the philosophies and methodologies inspiring my approach to daily living. Often it’s the practice of conscious breath work in a stressful moment, or quite literally physical stretches prior to or just after lifting heavy weights or having a rigorous workout of some kind. Some days I make my way to the beach to flow. Often I don’t. I find myself, most days, without consciousness, creating a symphony of breath and movement when I need it most or finding that beautiful balance between effort and steadiness in all aspects of my living. There may not be any greater constant in my life than the practices I have cultivated through yoga.
Throughout my yoga teacher training in 2014, I had a great many lightbulb moments. Literally open mouth “Aha!” moments. Realizations not just in what my body and mind were capable of, but rather in recognizing the control that I had unknowingly harnessed through my practice over the years up to that point. The control of creating my own happiness on the mat and in my life. There were beautiful practices that I had cultivated, unconsciously, which greatly contributed to changing me and much of it finally had explanation with these teachings. I could finally put words and thoughts to them and almost tangibly hold them in my hands so that I could study, cultivate, practice and share them with others.
Studying the yoga sutras and more specifically, Pratipaksha Bhavanam, were probably the most eye-opening aspects of my teacher training and to this day, despite my practice and my teaching career having changed drastically than what I ever could have imagined, they continue to provide daily practices and inspiration for a better life.
Yoga at 8,839 feet?
It was at the very top of Half Dome mountain on a trip to Yosemite last week, at the end of the most intense and rigorous hike (and experience) of my life, after facing my biggest fears and heading head on into place of great discomfort – that I had a great moment of true revelation! It was on top of that mountain, while sobbing in pure pride for what I had just accomplished, that I had the great realization that it was my yoga and the practice of Pratipaksha Bhavanam that got me through and to the top of that mountain that day! Both literally in the actual hike to the peak, but also the years of healing and transformation that led me to even being able to take that journey to be there, in the first place.
In every moment of self-doubt on the journey that day, in every intense thought of great fear, in every question of “But, what if I fall?” I had the unconscious ability to tap into this important practice and change both the dialogue and the outcome. I wouldn’t allow it to continue, I honored it in the moment, I expressed gratitude for it’s teachings and it’s purpose, then I shut that shit down and then literally heard the words – “Oh, my darling, but what if you fly?” (Erin Hanson)
2016 will go down in the books as an intensely challenging and pivotal year for a great deal of us. If you too are counting down the days to starting over in 2017 with a vow to change and have a better year, let’s reflect on these resolutions and how to make them last. Mentally we need that idea of pressing a magic reset button in hope that we can leave our baggage behind in a four digit number and wash our hands of it. By the end of the year it’s as if our candle has been burned at both ends and we grasp at the belief of starting over at the stroke of midnight.
I have learned through my own ritual work with the moon and seasons that everything is on a cycle and having our own practice to mark the beginning and end of them can help you manifest things you want to attract and release that which no longer serves you. The moon expands, gets full and bright and then retracts until its dark only to start the cycle again. In the fall, the leaves die and fall off of the trees, everything retreats and goes within for Winter and emerges with new life and birth in Spring. We are not immune to these natural cycles. It’s why we focus so much on the New Year! But before we can make room to bring new things into our lives, we must release the old and clear out the clutter. I am going to help you set this intention for release through a simple ritual I have experienced results with.
I am so excited to introduce you all to Brook Albrigo, a very dear friend of mine. You have heard me speak previously about the very important roles that reiki and the subtle body have played in my healing journey, I have also shared very specific details of healing sessions with Brook. I am very honored to announce that Brook will be joining us here monthly to share more about reiki and the strong influence in which energetics can play in healing, including simple tips to restore balance and promote vitality and wellness.
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If someone had told me 6 years ago that I would become a Shamanic Reiki Master I would’ve laughed in their face and told them to get their head checked. Those words just didn’t exist in my vocabulary until the day, immobile and injured, I sought physical pain relief and found healing on an extraordinary level.
The path that followed was one I never for one moment felt that I chose, but rather that it chose me. I had to surrender to it or be dragged kicking and screaming. Either way, THIS was happening!
Before I discovered healing through energy work, I was completely comfortable in my routine of self destructive and toxic co-dependent ways. I was living in New York City, working in the beauty industry, sometimes working weeks without a day off. I was convinced all the sacrifice would pay off – it’s all part of the ‘city hustle’ and you can sleep when you’re dead, right? The stress and disregard for self care was so out of control that I had developed insomnia, digestive issues, a constant eye twitch and I couldn’t calm my nerves enough to take the subway home without at least two drinks in my system.
Looking back and knowing what I know now, this was all just a major distraction. A diversion I had unknowingly created to avoid the real issues underneath the surface. I was more willing to sacrifice my health, happiness and overall well-being than face the hard truth – I simply did not love myself. Even worse, I hated myself. I had been on antidepressants for years trying to numb this feeling of never being enough or worthy. I was adept at smiling and pretending that I had it all together, but deep down was this great deal of self loathing and suffering. While initially antidepressants did help me get through a tough time, I had come to rely on them for too long and wanted to eventually come off, but did not think I was capable. All of these circumstances combined with my Saturn Return (an event that happens to all of us about every 28—30 years which brings about major change), the perfect storm was created.
Read the rest of this entry »
This Spring, Wild Spirit Retreats hosted RISE, our first women’s retreat of it’s kind. We were blessed with an incredible group of women who came together to cultivate a magical weekend of healing and deep connection. We moved together, we created, we feasted, we laughed those incredible heart-warming belly laughs that can fuel you for months and there were many tears shed as we dove deep into our souls, hand-in-hand with each other. I am honored to have been able to share my passions, to have nourished and shared space with those 23 beautiful souls. As a teacher, I found myself learning from my students, so much about myself and this journey we are all on together and I am still swelling with gratitude for the lifelong friendships that were formed during our gathering.
I am so excited to announce our next Women’s Empowerment Retreat, GATHER, a sacred, women’s-only gathering in Southern California, October 2-5, 2015.
G A T H E R is a harvest for the soul.
A journey into the abundance of the Earth.
A place to forage for light,
to explore the field of the spirit,
to discover the wonders around and within us.
This is an exploration of your wild heart.
An offering to your highest self.
A place to find your tribe.
This is a celebration of the Earth goddess within.
What is GATHER?
GATHER is a 4-day Women’s Empowerment Retreat combining yoga, meditation, ceremony, cooking and connection. GATHER will take place in Southern California, being held at the Akashas Vedanta Ashram in Ramona, CA, in San Diego County, October 2-5, 2015. The entire retreat is 100% gluten-free.
We will be offering multiple daily yoga classes, guided meditation and ceremony sessions, various cooking workshops and demos, creative workshops and more. You can see the sample schedule here.
For many of my readers that are yogis, I am sure you have heard of the Wanderlust events. These incredible, full-on celebrations of all things mindful, combine yoga, meditation, hiking, music, incredible speakers, farm-to-table dinners and so much more – all in beautiful, inspiring locations.
But, have you heard of their one-day events, Wanderlust 108 – “The world’s kindest triathlon”. These events are unlike the traditional triathlon’s you are likely familiar with, rather Wanderlust 108 is a day of running, yoga and meditation to bring out your best. This “mindful triathlon” combines a 5k run, an outdoor yoga experience, and a guided meditation in your local park.
I am super excited to announce that coming this April in Northern California, myself and my girl Vyana are hosting our first-ever retreat as Wild Spirit Retreats.
April 3-6, 2015 – The Sequoia Retreat Center – California
Rise is an escape from the hustle
a plunge into the nourishment of presence
to walk into our shadows
hand in hand
supported by our sisters
to explore the spirit through yoga, cooking, writing, vision boarding, hiking, bodywork and more
a place to transform fear into confidence
hatred to forgiveness
jealousy to understanding
to celebrate movement and nourishment
a gathering to honor the power of being a woman
// What is Rise //
For those that have been following along with my Holiday Gift Guides, I am sure the beautiful Adventure Mala I featured in the Yoga Gear gift guide, a few weeks back, for sure had to catch your eye. That beautiful mala bead necklace that I so lovingly wear nearly every day, comes from this amazing company Tiny Devotions.
Who is Tiny Devotions?
We’re bohemian beauties & yogi fashionistas who love our mala beads; sacred pieces that inspire their wearers to live more inspired, peaceful & intention based lives.
Tiny Devotions is a hip, fresh and inspired company that creates mala beads and accessories for the bohemian girl.
Our mala beads represent the free spirited lifestyle of living your dreams, following your passions and looking good as you do it.
Tasty Yummies on Boho Daily
I am super humbled and proud to be featured on the Tiny Devotions blog Boho Daily today – talking about inspiration, intentions, malas and more!
Hey all! I am super excited to be partnering with some really great brands this season to bring you the first-ever Tasty Yummies Holiday Gift Guide. This 5-part series will go live every Tuesday until the week before Christmas. Each week, I will be featuring a different theme with products from some of my very favorite companies. I have been working very hard to bring you some really great stuff! So please, click over to their sites and show these wonderful, mindful companies some love this holiday season and if you buy, please tell them that Tasty Yummies sent you. Also, stay tuned for some amazing features and giveaways with a few of these great brands throughout this holiday season. To see the other gift guides from this series head over here.
As most of you know from following my blog the past few months, my life has been in a very transitional state. Probably more so than ever before in my life. We sold our house in Buffalo at the end of 2012, after living there nearly 10 years and we closed on it right after the New Year. We went from the hustle and bustle of a ton of events and travel, and all the rest of the holidays – right into packing our house up and putting most of it in a moving truck to go into storage in California awaiting our arrival two months later. From mid-January until mid-February we temporarily moved ourselves to my parent’s house in Buffalo, so we could wrap up all loose ends on the business and in our personal lives, we sold our second car and flew out to California for a week to find a place to live. We got lucky and found a place on day 1 of looking and we got to rest for a bit to take in what would soon be our new home. We flew back to Buffalo and had less than two weeks to finish packing up, see everyone we wanted to see, have one last big sale of our silkscreened posters and other products to what was home to our business for nearly 10 years. Then, we packed up what was left plus ourselves and the pooch into a moving truck and headed west on a week-long drive. We arrived just over a week ago and we have been getting settled and acquainted with our new home ever since.
Needless to say, life has been a whirlwind and I have felt quite floaty and ungrounded for quite some time. Coming from the cold hibernation of Buffalo as well as the hectic transitional state my life has been in for over 3 months, my body is looking to align with the lightness of spring and I am ready to get back to reality of what is my new life here in California. With the Spring Equinox beginning on Wednesday, March 20, I want to prepare my body and mind for a new season and a new life journey. I love celebrating new beginnings with a cleansed mind and body and this is the perfect time to do it. The spring and fall equinoxes are the only dates with equal daylight and dark as the sun crosses the celestial equator. As the earth comes into a time and energetic change, I am seeking to shift my mood and emotions away from the darkness of winter into the brilliant renewing energy of the Spring.
Now is the time to get things moving again and clear out our systems ready for a summer of activity. It is the perfect time to focus on cleansing and rejuvenation to rid the body and mind of toxins. Beginning this Wednesday, March 13 and ending on the Spring equinox, one week later March 20, I am embarking on a 7-day Spring cleanse and I wanted to share my plan with all of you, since I know there was some interest on Facebook.
PLEASE NOTE: I am not a doctor nor a health professional, coach or expert in any way, shape or form. This cleanse is what I have to created based on what I have found to work for me, my body and my energy. Do NOT do anything that isn’t healthy for you and if you have any medical conditions at all, please do not enter a cleanse or a detox without the care or guidance of a physician. I am simply sharing my plan and experiences for anyone that is interested in what I am personally following.
The Tasty Yummies 7-Day Spring Cleanse
Spring is a time of transition, the change from Winter to Spring is one of the most stressful and challenging shifts we go through all year. In many places, Winter, with its cold weather, gradually gives way to the increasing heat of Summer, so we go from a time of excess kapha (water and earth) energy to the increasing heat of the pitta (fire element) season.
As with the cleanses I have done in the past, I am loosely following the Ayurvedic traditions, along with the items I tend to have issues with, personally. Ayurvedic wisdom recommends working with the body’s natural shifts that occur at the juncture of seasons. In addition to this cleanse, I will be continuing my daily yoga practice, focusing a bit more on detoxifying and cleansing asanas. Plus, I will be making time each morning for meditation and self reflection. I would like to someday soon visit a proper Ayurvedic doctor and learn more about my dosha(s) and what is right for me, so I won’t be getting too dosha specific, this time around, as even with many online quizzes, I am still not 100% on which dosha(s) I am. I plan to just focus my food on what is right for the season and the transition from kapha to pitta.
Ashtanga Hrdayam, one of the classical texts of Ayurveda, reminds us that “foods which are hard to digest and cold, sleeping at day time, foods which are fatty, sour, and sweet should [all] be avoided.” Focus instead on foods and activities that are dry, heating, light, and energizing. Enjoy hot water to help flush and rehydrate the system, and eat light, well-cooked foods that will be easy for your body to digest. Each morning, I plan to, as I always do, wake up and enjoy a warm glass of lemon water. The Institute for Integrative Nutrition says “The simple combination of warm water with fresh lemon can boost your immune system, alkalize and kickstart your digestion, improve skin health, and hydrate you. Just make sure to drink the lemon water after you brush your teeth because the citric acid could wear down your tooth enamel if followed by brushing.”
Since, I have had quite a few people ask me about how I cleanse, I thought I would put together a post with a very loose description of what I will personally be doing for this cleanse. If you have any additional questions about what I am doing, please post them below and I will do my best to help. Again, please keep in mind, this isn’t a professional program, it is simply what I have created to work for me, my body and my health. Do what is right for you and please listen to your own body and it’s needs!
I am avoiding the following things:
Excess Salt (I will use a very small amount when cooking)
Meat (chicken, beef, pork, etc)
Fish and Shellfish (shrimp, scallops, mussels, etc)
Gluten (wheat, barley, oats, rye, etc)**
Foods with preservatives, additives or chemicals, and foods grown in an environment laced with chemical fertilizers or pesticides, and canned, frozen or processed foods.**
I am limited all grains and starches, hoping to avoid them through the entire cleanse, if possible.
†Ayurveda doesn’t restrict dairy, but I personally seem to have issues with it and I typically avoid cow’s milk dairy all of the time. On this cleanse, besides ghee, I am avoiding ALL dairy during my cleanse.
** these are all things that I personally avoid on a regular basis, but are very important to a cleanse
So you are probably wondering what exactly I am eating, then…
What I am eating:
Fresh organic fruit. I am going light on the fruit because of the sugar and I am focusing on suggested fruits that are best for digestion such as apples, pears, figs, prunes, papaya, cranberries etc.
Fresh organic veggies. Some of the best for digestion are leafy greens, cabbage, celery, brussels sprouts, broccoli, etc
Whole organic grains such as brown rice, quinoa, amarynth, buckwheat, millet – I plan to limit my grains to VERY little during this cleanse, one serving a day or less
Beans like lentil, split peas, mung beans, etc
Vegetable juice and broth
Soups and stews made with vegetables, legumes and grains.
I am cooking with a small amount of olive oil and/or ghee (indian clarified butter that is GREAT for detox)
Raw honey and maple syrup (extremely sparingly)
lots of luke warm water with lemon and/or ginger
detox tea (I like Yogi brand Detox tea)
I am also taking probiotics in the morning after breakfast (I use a basic Probiotic from just Walgreens, which I am already taking daily)
I will continue to take my variety of daily supplements that I have discovered benefit me and my body’s need, through working with a professional.
I plan to get as many recipes on this blog throughout the cleanse as I possibly can, so you can see a good example of how I eat when I am cleansing. During cleanses I like to give my mind the break and not get too crazy with my creations and stressing about my recipes and measuring foods, etc – so many times I will be cooking very, simple and humble dishes, that require little measuring and recipe specific instructions. For this reason, since recipes may not be as abundant on here as you may be looking for, I plan to share, throughout the day each day of the cleanse, what I am eating throughout the day on my Facebook page.
Here are some additional tips that I have learned along the way:
Some of the differences with an Ayurvedic cleanse vs a regular cleanse is that it teaches you to avoid or focus on foods specific to you and your body-mind type (or your dosha) and it’s needs. Also, although you should be eating TONS of fresh fruits and veggies, you shouldn’t eat them raw during this cleanse. Raw foods are harder on your digestive tract, so you should be heating and/or boiling your veggies and eating them warm.
Eat whole, fresh, natural foods, organic if you can get it. Buy your produce fresh, and consume it quickly.
Also avoid ICE cold water and beverages, it can disrupt the “fire” needed in your digestive tract.
Cook with digestion-enhancing, detoxifying spices such as turmeric, cumin, coriander, clove, ajwain, fenugreek, dried ginger, Chinese cinnamon and fennel. Add the turmeric to foods as they are cooking, and sauté other spices in ghee or olive oil and pour over prepared dishes for the best therapeutic benefit.
According to Ayurveda, each meal should be a feast for all of your senses. When your plate reflects an appealing variety of colors, textures, flavors and aromas, your digestive juices start freely flowing in anticipation and your body, mind and heart are all fulfilled by the eating experience.
As I mention above, normally I avoid consuming raw vegetables and fruit since it can disrupt your digestive tract and it is harder to digest, however this time around, I am including juices that I am making from fresh, organic vegetables and fruit.
Look for posts throughout the week with tips on cleansing as well as some recipes and suggestions.
Will you join me on this Spring Cleanse? Let me know if you will be and feel free to share your thoughts, suggestions, tips or favorite recipes either here in the comments below or on the Tasty Yummies Facebook page. Thanks for following along and namaste!
(tulip image above from Wallpaper Shock)
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