Finished… but not done yet!

Finished. Completed. Concluded. All A’s.
The more I learn, the more I want to share this potentially life changing information. I will continue learning and I will do my best to share what I’ve learned.

I will receive the degree of Master of Science in Health Sciences in Integrative Medicine from the George Washington University. The curriculum I completed represents the most progressive, scientifically rigorous and forward thinking platform for medical wellness. However, I do not have a license to practice medicine. Wellness doesn’t have to be pharmaceutical, surgical or even invasive but rather, wellness is lifestyle based!

Medical wellness. Think about that. Not medical illness but actual wellness. I have been amazed and fascinated by how much research and evidence exists to support the need for lifestyle interventions in order to maximize wellness. Think about these statements and see if either of them resonate with you.

I’m no more stressed than normal.
I feel fine but I could feel better.
Well, let me tell you…
Stress shouldn’t be normal and why don’t you feel better? 

The practice and science of maximizing wellness involves understanding the underlying mechanisms and biochemistry that fuel human cell growth and function. I now get how and why we study genetics, that human metabolism is more than burning calories and that proteins are the building blocks and directions for how we continue to maintain wellness. I get that nutrition is the primary way we fuel our bodies but nutrition also builds or breaks us down. We all have different chemistry and even biology so the right food for one person isn’t the same as for the next person. I know why exercise is necessary for the body’s health, not just weight management. But can you define exercise? Organic food is more than a fad and more than nutrition, it is about preventing toxins from entering the body. Supplements can help you find balance in the body’s systems augmenting what may be missing or lowering what is high.

Physicians, acupuncturists, nurses and nurse practitioners, physicians assistants, chiropractors, naturopaths, yoga teachers, meditation instructors, energy healers, Traditional Chinese Medicine doctors, Ayurvedic practitioners and other healers all have a role in integrating care for patients. Use what you and your practitioners believe will work for maximum healing! Follow the evidence, from traditions and history through to allopathic western medical research. Use the integration of body systems as well as healing systems to maximize wellness! How do I fit into all these practitioners? I am a health educator. I can help you sort through the evidence from your own life, current research and ancient traditions.

The practice of Integrative Medicine often feels like a game of hide and seek, looking for the hiding causes of symptoms and the evidence that directs you to improvement. Looking and questioning isn’t medical but requires awareness and knowledge. How you live your life has an effect on how you feel your body, the clarity of your thoughts, the efficiency of your digestion and the beating of your heart. When stress, unhealthy food choices or things like a sedentary life can be changed, why NOT? There are so many causes that have negative effects on the body and mind however, for every negative, we can change our behavior and lifestyle to effect positive changes and maximize wellness.

I’m not done learning or making my own lifestyle changes. I feel GREAT everyday knowing that I am proactively choosing to maximize my personal wellness and am helping those around me do the same. Movement. Meditation. Spiritual practice. Healthy cooking and consumption. Infrared Sauna. A few supplements. I choose these steps to help me feel strong and vibrant.

My spiritual practice has brought me to an awareness of Karma. There is an element of Karma that is conscious and often moves to unconscious positive choices. I consciously make decisions that are selfless however many decisions that appear selfish are really in oder to prepare my mind and body to serve others. As healthy decisions become healthy habits, my efforts toward positive health become automatic. Karma is a path of action. What you do matters and all actions have consequences, both positive and negative. I want Amazing Karma and amazing results. Do you?

While I might be finished with this degree, I’m still working to balance the Universal laws of cause and effect in order to maximize wellness. Amazing Karma, my friends. Come and get it… but know you’ve gotta work for it! I will be teaching health classes and doing one-on-one sessions at JOURNEYoga in order to help you find your Amazing Karma and balance your causes and effects.

Do Something!

It’s time to learn about yourself and how to maximize wellness.
Balance the laws of cause and effect!

Vacation Mentality

Vacation is a State of Mind

I found myself in the final month of a master’s degree in Integrative Medicine, doing biostatistics with this view… on vacation in Mexico. Now, this is an obnoxious statement and I implore you to not judge me, but I was a little angry with my husband for planning a major vacation 3 weeks before the end of school. Why couldn’t he wait three weeks for me to be done with school and REALLY take a vacation?

  1. I love my husband.
  2. I love learning.
  3. I love vacation.

So what was the problem? When I miss the signs from the Universe, it wacks me in the head with a 2×4. People keep asking, “What are you going to do next? What are you going to do with your degree?” I have bajillions of ideas and things I want to do and people I want to reconnect with. Plans are being made and I am beginning to put ideas into action assuring I can fill the extra 25-40 hours a week that are coming to me when school is over…

AND WACK!!!!
Vacation was the 2×4 to the head. The Universe tossed me an amazing opportunity! Thank you husband for being an agent of Universal wisdom. Thank you for the vacation.

What I learned on vacation is that I need to take some vacation mentality with me through time. The subtle sign from the Universe that I’ve been missing is that it’s important to make space. On vacation, I found it easier to concentrate and comprehend the content for school. I actually enjoyed biostatistics?!?! When I do less, I do everything better. I need to leave time in the day to be still and easy. I need to find more time to be creative and connect with nature (the beach and ocean are beyond the pool here). I need to do less.

Think about it

What can you let go of? How can you make space?

 

It’s Complicated…. but does it need to be?

Today I was approaching a closed door and I looked down at my keychain filled with various sizes and shapes of keys, a fob and a clicker for my car. Which key or device might possibly open THIS door? The answer is…. the door knob. There was no lock or device. I was making things WAY more complicated than it needed to be. Just open the door.

At the computer, I was trying to embed a .pdf into a webpage. I really wanted to use the document in front on me to inform students about our infrared sauna. After using a widget maker and figuring out how to embed the code from the widget, I didn’t like how the information presented. Then I remembered this thing called “copy and paste”.  So I copied the content and pasted it into the website. Why was I making it so complicated? (See finished web page)

Think about it

What are your true goals?
How do you stay focused on your goals and find simple solutions?
Just open the door.
Let go of the struggle.

Game ON

Ardha utanasanaGame on!
This is my new screen saver.
My game face.
Personal accountability.
Can I look myself in my face everyday?
Am I doing all I can do?
Am I living the life I preach?
Game on!
Think about it
Can YOU look yourself in the face everyday and know you are doing all you can do?

Helping Hands

Helping Hands 2
While I was in my amazing home, warm and safe from the blizzard, I had some irrational thoughts about the absence of love in my life. My husband was working out of the country as the snow fell and the shoveling began. Momentarily, I felt alone and helpless. But that feeling quickly faded.

In this image, the first and most obvious helping hands I see are my own. In this bind, the connection of hands work together to stretch opposing muscles shows an obvious form of help. My own hands and body are amazingly healthy and strong. I can help myself.

Some amazing friends appeared, like snow angels, and we all shoveled, laughed, ate, and shared space, energy and joy. Kevin was among these friends, and he took this picture. I never could’ve taken this image myself, nor could I have shaken the sense of lonely so quickly without these amazing people. They surely offered me their helping hands.

If you look closely in this image, you see sun and snow. Our connection to Mother Earth should not be denied. Through a blizzard, she slowed the city down enough to get people out of their work lives and into their communities. I have  heard and experienced amazing stories of neighbors helping neighbors and friends helping friends. Mother Earth may be sneaky, but her results are clear. She helped us to remember that people are good and willing to help each other.

My husband is an amazing human and a phenomenal source of love. From a distance, he listened to me complain and offered solutions to snow challenges (including using a blow torch over a shovel)! From a distance, he still offered help… and I see a reminder of his help on my hand. My wedding band in the center of this image cannot be denied as constant help and support.

Thank you for all the help I’ve received in my life.
Thank you for an amazing weekend.
Thank you for your patience with mother earth.

Do Something!
Do you need to help yourself or can you offer help to others?

It’s just a process: The Mandala

I haven’t written in a while. It’s not been a lack of inspiration or even time. I’ve just been going through a process. It feels like life is changing and I bounce between feeling in control and feeling purely like a witness as life swirls around me. As I sit to write, I cannot pinpoint one single idea to articulate as EVERYTHING seems possible and tangible and yet, just a finger tip away…

TODAY, September 21st, is the real 8 year anniversary of JOURNEYoga. I claim to be the owner, but JOURNEYoga is about the people and community. It does not feel good call myself the owner as I do not own the people so I will take the title “Fearless Leader”. On Saturday we created a mandala as a community however in the end, the community encouraged me to be the destroyer. In the moment, it was exciting and fun and a total rush to step into the mandala, and in reflection it was a great honor. How did the community know that I needed to have a ritual destruction? It is time to move forward!

The Mandala as representation of life:

It changes as we build it.
We change as it grows.
Brahma

There it is.
Pretty and clean.
Vishnu

Until we step into the fire.
And it changes again.
Shiva

Opportunity now that the slate is clean again.
What comes next?

Free Will. Choice. Change. Consciousness. Nothing. Everything.

And on a professional note of gratitude, Thank you to Girish for the song, Mahadeva. I used it without his permission and hope that I have his forgiveness. It is a chant to Shiva, destruction, and the great power for change in the face of fear that lives within all of us. After the destruction, shankara remains…. a peaceful state.

And to Melissa who designed and organized the mandala event!

Jai Ma! To my Mystical Momma!

My mystical Momma

Mom: Your dad lost 10 pounds for the wedding.
Me: Tell him, I found them.
Mom’s Inner thoughts: Love will zip this dress! Anything is possible…

Today, I would like to connect some points of gratitude among my heart, my mind, and my momma. On Mother’s Day, she called me out and said the my last blog post was over the top! Now… my mom practices yoga, but maybe only Half-Asana. She thinks choosing love is too much?!? Let us investigate. She does her asana in a gym and has amazing physicality and movement, but what about finding love, peace, compassion, union with the divine or meditation? Mom, how does your yoga affect the world around you? Do you REALLY do yoga?

The path of yoga offers a systematic approach to spiritual development by planting mysticism as inspiration into the development of the conscious human mind. The individual development that yoga offers is in order to be in union with and service of others and God.

Let’s look at two things: Mysticism and the Conscious Human Mind.

Mysticism (more to come in future posts)
Many mystical stories associated with Indian culture have woven themselves into yogic tradition (1/2 Monkey, 1/2 boy saves the world). But simply having the ability to imagine that anything is possible is mystical. I think that is part of the mystical stories.  Daring to believe…. Experiencing something you cannot explain is mystical. Mysticism isn’t just in your imagination.

Conscious Mind
If I am conscious, I am making choices. Aware. It is utterly amazing to realize that I can be anyone I want by turning my thoughts and imagination into actions. If I can imagine it, I can create it.  Why not work on a Love-a-lution? I can see it. I can feel it. I can live it! This is conscious living! Who taught me to be this open and to use my imagination for good?  Jai Ma!  It was MY mother!

Where mysticism and the conscious mind come into union, there is yoga!

Mom, when do you imagine what is possible about life? You told me you’re going to live to be 100.  What are you going to do with your next 25 years? I hope and pray that you keep doing what you’re doing. Yoga. And imagine a world where anything, even a love-a-lution is possible.

I express my devotion through chanting and meditation. You go to church.

I try to inspire people to make loving choices and make them when I can. You make loving choices when you volunteer at the local elementary school, within the church and with people in need in your community.

I imagine a life of creativity and living in harmony with others and nature. You quilt, cultivate plants, and create fun activities to do with you Grandchildren. You live in creative harmony with nature!

We do our yoga differently. I am trying to lead a Love-A-Lution but you don’t need the revolution part of my made up word. Revolution his about change. You are living love and I hope that doesn’t change. Your actions and the way you live is living love. So maybe thinking about loving doesn’t feel comfortable because you just live it without conscious thought. Maybe you can’t imagine a world where people don’t live with love as the guide.

I am inspired by you as my mystical momma with endless stories of selfless loving actions. Thank you Momma! And while you kick ass, you sure don’t live your life or do your yoga half-asana!Think about it

What will you do with your life, if you live to be 100 years old?
Who is your inspirational mystical momma?
Imagine what is possible and make it happen. One decision, one choice at a time.

Hari Om, Namaste.

A continuous state of love

My niece is super easy to love!

My niece is super easy to love!

How are you doing with your Love-a-lution? I’m still working on mine… but it is more than just an idea. The spark of love absolutely lives within me and I try to share it. What is love? I can’t find a definition big enough to encompass all that I believe love to be, but I JOURNEY on…  with friends, family, my husband, and strangers.  Love is everywhere.

This quote from Eckhardt Tolle is amazing!

Love as a continuous state is yet very rare, as rare as conscious human beings. – Eckhart Tolle from The Power of Now

  1. By saying love as a continuous state is very rare, says that someone is doing it!!!! It might be rare, but someone is doing it! I would LOVE to meet this spectacular human who lives in a continuous state of love.
  2. As rare as conscious human beings.  Is this the answer?  Do we simply need to become conscious humans?

I believe that part of being a conscious human being is about making choices.  We simply need to continue to choose love. When I make a truly thoughtful decision, it is influenced by love.

Now you choose….
Hate or love?
Frustration or love?
Dislike or love?
Prejudice or love?

I choose LOVE every time! This choice integrates compassion into a situation and makes less room for unwanted emotions. By consistently choosing love, you are conditioning your body to have loving reactions.

Another way to practice being in a continuous state of love is to meditate. Maybe practice using the mantra, “I choose love.” This places your entire being into the concentration of love.  Sanyama – When your Daryana becomes your Diana you benefit from Samadi.  When the object of your concentration becomes your meditation, you receive a profound knowledge of that object.  Think about the power of meditating on love.

Think about it

Would your world change if your reactive emotion was love? What would that look like? Could you find a continuous state of love?

I’ve started flossing again!

floss

Flossing can be awkward and even painful… so can meditation.

As I began class on Sunday, I was telling everyone that I was flossing again.  But with flossing, I’ve found a new challenge. Now that I’ve cleaned out the grooves in my teeth, more things, like kale, are sticking in them! A regular student looked at me and confidently asked, “So what’s the yoga spin?”

Let’s use flossing as a parallel to meditation or asana. Flossing is awkward and can be painful. Same for meditation or asana. Flossing gets rid of what doesn’t belong (plaque) and makes space for healthier items to get hung up (kale). In meditation we take time to remove thoughts that don’t belong. We replace them with healthier, positive statements; cleaning our minds in the same way we clean our teeth.

kale

Carry with you healthy and useful thoughts.

While working though asanas, I encouraged people to replace their thoughts. Instead of challenging or judgmental thoughts (this is hard, I am tired, I can’t do it) with the directions on how to do the pose (press your heel into the ground, engage your inner thighs, tighten your belly). Once concentration was focused on accomplishing the alignment, change began to happen! In meditation, mantras can be used as positive affirmations. Make a conscious choice to remove selective thoughts (vrittis) and replace them with the a mantra.

The same student who challenged me to spin flossing into a yoga lesson asked me to write this class down and do it again! So here it is and I’ll see you next week!

Do Something!

Floss. Eat more kale. Selectively remove thoughts and replace them with positive affirmations.

Hari Om, Namaste