I wasn't always a health nut or a yoga "guru". As a matter of fact, I was a really sick kid.
From the time I was a baby, I have suffered from allergies and asthma. Except I was not diagnosed with these conditions until I was about 9 years old.
Every Spring and every Fall, my mother was told by our family physician that I had bronchitis. I was put on heavy duty antibiotics for weeks at a time. Antibiotics my mother came to understand many years later, adults should only be on for a maximum of 3-5 days. I missed weeks of school every year, stuck in bed watching I Love Lucy and Bewitched and I never really felt "sick".
It was a kind of nightmare.
I wanted to play in the leaves in the Fall and smell all the flowers in the Spring. I missed out on Halloween trick-or-treating and fun country flower-picking and frolicking events in the Spring. Every year, it was the same old tune.
Until one day, my mother, who worked at a hospital bumped into the Allergy Specialist. Then things started to change for me.
She made an appointment with the Ear, Nose and Throat specialists at the hospital and I started allergy testing. In the 70's allergy testing consisted of making tiny scratches on your back (all over of your back) and putting tiny drops of live allergens onto the scratches. If there was a reaction on the skin, then you were allergic. Guess what happened next?
I was the poster child for allergies! It turned out that I was basically allergic to EVERYTHING enviromental and almost everything animal (especially cats, dogs and horses). And not only was I allergic, I was 10 times the normal patient...whatever THAT meant. As a child, I took it to mean : I had been sufferig for a long time unnecessarily.
And so a new cycle began for me. Oe that included allergy shot 2 times a week and a whole new paradigm of nutrition, supplemeents and education.
As my mom took in all this new information, our lives and circumstances started to make a whole lot more sense.
There was a reason I was getting "sick" and it was allergies. I was allergic to feathers, dust, mold, grass, dogs, cats, horses...you name it...I was allergic to it.
I remember the first morning I ate my cereal before school and I could actually breathe and eat with my mouth shut for the first time. I was 9 years old. Before that, eating was challenging especially when I was trying to follow manners and "eat with your mouth shut." You see, I always wanted to do the right thing but I really struggled with simple tasks. And now not only could I breath and eat simultaneously, I could TASTE food and flavors. WOW!!!!!
It was around this time in my life that I was introducted to my step-father's sister, and then things got really interesting. My step-aunt also had her own existential health crisis and she was a advocate for macrobiotics and all things natural. She was seen as a strange lady who cooked all her own food and brought along with her (outside of the home) all of these teas and tinctures and oils and many other "weird" concoctions for her health and well-being.
As everybody else was making fun of her, I was watching and learning. I believed she had the information and knowledge that I needed to be healthy and grow. She taught me yoga exercises and massage techniques and Qi Gong movements that would be helpful for my asthma. She taught me about foods that created phlegm and discomfort and foods that were better for my body. She tuaght me about cooking and spices and herbs and it was a huge awakening. I was buying everything she was offering. I was ten years old.
At that time my mission was to get healthy and feel better so that I could hang and play with my friends, go to school and not get behind on readings and homework and be "normal" like everybody else.
Little did I know, this was the beginning of my life's purpose : to learn how to heal myself and help others learn how to do the same.
Since I was ten years old, I have learned supreme self-care because I know the value in being healthy and staying healthy. And as a very small child, I made a secret vow to myself to do whatever I could to keep myself out of hospitals, to stay off of pharmaceuticals, to stay out of a sick bed and to be out in the world : laughing, loving and living.
This commitment I made to myself remains true to this day and my wish is to help others learn how to help themsleves throgh the many techniques and options that are available today that include the disciplines I have known to be of service to me: yoga, reiki, nutrition, meditation, creativity, movement, and essential oils.
There is a time and place for doctors and hospitals and Western medicine. And I am totally in favor of the dedication of our modern world and its advances in medicine. However, I also have experienced that many chronic conditions can best be served through a variety of healing paradigms and that our bodies are powerful and capable of doing the work. Being well-informed and curious and inquisitive about what works for each one of us and what doesn't takes patience, persistence, and presence. Paying attention to what is working and what is not and knowing when to seek Western counsel and when to seek alternative methods and when to combine the two pardigms.
It's up to you. Always. To make the choices for your body and healing. Gather the information and feel out what is best for you. And remember, that was works for somebody else may not work for you and vice versa. Perhaps it is why there are so many different options to explore and it can be comfusing. Using your intuition about what might be best for you and feeling your body and how it works is a really good start.
I love you.
And care so much about you and what happens to you.
Please take supremely good care of yourself.
In my years of teaching yoga, I’ve found Self Love to be an essential element of one’s evolution and enlightenment. The foundation of Self love is radical self acceptance. Self love is embodied and expressed in the delight to serve others. When we love ourselves completely and unconditionally, love infinitely pours into every cell of our body. Love is never finished, it is always in flow. So once you are being filled with the flow of self love, it begins to overflow and takes the form of loving kindness, compassion, playfulness, respect and nonjudgmental expressions of service.
My favorite self-love practice is forgiveness, forgiving over and over again, in every moment. Another great practice of self love is mindful speaking to myself and others. I listen to the language and tone with which I speak to myself and make certain that I speak to myself as I would to my lover or a child. It is an extremely helpful practice.
Loving self care is essential to Self Love! Taking care of mind and body – including eating good foods for my body and soul, dancing, clearing emotions with meditation, choosing positive thoughts and releasing negative ones, sharing time with people I love and laughing. Laughter and play are the most magical tools for self-love!!
To live a life you love, you have to have a sense of what you love, how you love and why you love. Our best possible selves must start with accepting where we have been and where we are now and where we want to go. There are always transitions in our lives. Everything changes everyday. We need to know how to work with these changes from a place of self acceptance and self understanding. We are the directors, producers, writers and actors of our own life. Once there is an understanding that we have the power within our own hearts and minds to create what we wish, then radical transformation can begin. Taking full responsibility of ourselves, our thoughts and our actions, is required. And self love starts the process.
Yoga is a process of balance and union of the different parts of our self nature. In its most simplistic terms, we are balancing and bringing into union the feminine with the masculine, the sun and the moon, the ha and the tha. Most of us have issues with one or both of parts of ourselves – so to love all the parts, just as they are without criticism or judgment, is a huge step towards enlightenment, aka the ultimate self love!