Many of my teachers believe that the body speaks to us through aches and pains. I have come to believe this as well. We often feel symptoms within our body and they tend to only get worse when we choose not to hear what they are saying. This makes a lot of sense when you start to understand how the energetic body operates. Throughout our lives (this life and past lives) we hold onto experiences or trauma. We have a hard time letting these experiences or traumas go as they arrive in our lives. We want to hold onto the good memories and we hold onto the traumatic memories as well! We hold them within our body instead of letting them go and the longer we keep them the larger they become. You can imagine it like an energy cyst in the body that gathers energy every time we pay attention to this experience. We pay attention to them when we get triggered to remember that experience.
Imagine you were tickled a lot as a young child by your siblings and it made you really uncomfortable and in fact the tickling was something that you began to hate. Every time someone came near you, you would begin to clench up in a way to protect yourself, even if it was for a hug. Slowly, over time, you began to manifest symptoms wherever you had tightened the body in this protective manner, let’s say in the shoulders. You could have chosen to let this go as you are no longer a child being tickled by your siblings or you can choose to hold onto and carry it around with you. This carrying causes weight in the shoulders, which causes pain in the shoulders and this prevents you from enjoying physical touch throughout your life. This is just a simple example of how we can hold onto something and our body holds onto the symptoms.
When I work with clients we discuss aches and pains they are having and then we also discuss things that are going on in their lives. I also work with them energetically so we can discover the connection between the physical ailment and the cause.
Some examples I have seen when working with clients are:
- Pain in the back related to fear of the client’s partner not having their back during a career transition.
- Hip pain and knee pain caused by a client fearful of stepping forward in a move to a new location.
- Stomach pain and digestive problems when a client was not willing to digest their current situation.
- Lower back pain when a client discovered they were fearful of being able to financially support their family.
- Neck pain when a client was feeling like their husband was being a real pain in the neck.
Do I need to keep going or do you get the idea? Ask yourself, what symptoms am I feeling today? Can I connect this to one of your issues that you need to let go of? If you are not sure there are great books out there to help you out! Here is one of them.
If all these clients could let go of this fear, then the suffering would disappear. Not sure how to let go? Guess what – I wrote a blog about getting neutral that I keep referencing! It will teach you one technique you can use to let go.
A few weekends ago Marco and I had one of our teachers, LeRoy Malouf come in for a proficient workshop on learning his healing method, Energetic Wellbeing Process. Throughout this training, we spent a lot of time learning how go strong to our lives at 100% and we also worked on clearing symptoms or things that were bothering us. By the end of the weekend, we were all so clear and operating in our truths. My higher Self came in and revealed some obvious yet profound truths to me. I thought I would share them with you.
-In order to live the best life possible we must: be strong at 100% of our life and we must clear things that come up on a daily basis (if you are interested in learning more about this you can book a session with Marco or I so we can show you. It’s really easy!)
-There is unlimited possibilities out there!
-Only I can limit what is available to me.
-Only I can get in my own way.
-The Universe will constantly remind me of it’s power and it doesn’t mind doing it.
-I must stop living small.
-I must continue to get neutral to statements that come up. I wrote about how to do this a few weeks ago here.
Have you ever noticed that the universe provides you with the same experience over and over again? Do you ever have moments where you feel like you are dating/in a relationship with someone who is similar that the person you just broke up with, and maybe the one before, and maybe who is like your dad or mom?
Before we are incarnated into this life, we sit down and make choices of what lessons we want to learn during this
lifetime and until we learn them the universe will keep providing us with opportunities to learn our lessons. You will literally be given the same situation over and over again until you learn how to deal with it differently. Find a new tool to add to our toolbox of skills.
Let me give you two examples that might help you understand what I am saying better.
I have always been a girl who loves to live without drama in her life, but for a long time I just kept having to deal with drama mostly with other girls, one relationship after another. The typical response (looking back I can of course see what I would do over and over again). I would get upset with someone because they didn’t meet my expectations (I am not sure I even expressed to them what my expectations were!!) and I would speak my truth or try and set boundaries (people don’t like it when we do this!!). Then in return they would get defensive and say mean things. I would
reach out to 3 people.. my husband and 2 best friends to get vindicated and to see if they thought I was being an ass. A few of these experiences and then the girl and I would no longer be friends. Rinse, wash and repeat – it would happen again.
HMMM… Finally! I became aware of this pattern one day. I was presented with an email from a girl friend and I watched myself start my pattern. BUT something different happened this time. I had been practicing Ho’ponopono, it is the act of saying “I’m sorry, Please forgive me, thank you, I love you.” So I started practicing it and don’t you know things shifted for me. I began to understand and feel love and compassion for my friend who could not let this go, wasn’t I too doing the same thing by reaching out to my 3 people to complain. I also then felt a great sense of love and gratitude that I had these wonderful people in my life to reach out to. I then just felt so grateful for the entire experience and all the experiences that brought this drama in my life so I could learn this lesson and move forward. I sat and cried with so much love and joy! BUT, the universe doesn’t stop there, she makes sure you really get the lesson – so of course one more! AND don’t you know this person apologized via email. Funny the coincidence I was reading the book Zero Limits by Joe Vitale and he had the same experience emails and all!
Another great example would be with my love life. I have dated and married very similar personalities to my father. They kept finding me and I kept seeking approval from them. I also didn’t know how to stand up for myself or set healthy boundaries. After getting my divorce I found one of my teachers and she helped me learn to fall in love with myself and truly love ME! Again, the person that had to change was me. Now I am able to have a healthy loving relationship with my husband. BUT I had to change myself in order to have this. I also had to love myself in order to find him! Otherwise guess what? The pattern would repeat itself.
The beautiful thing about these patterns is once you work through them it not only helps you, but it helps the other person who is connected to this pattern. You see we seek out each other to play out these lessons – in yogi terms it is called our Lila. <3
These lessons were very simple – yet profound. I have learned that I cannot create expectations and not share them and get upset with others when they are not met, I need to set healthy boundaries with others and I cannot seek approval from other people – I must find that within myself.
What patterns have you found happening in your life? What are some of the great lessons you are seeking in this lifetime?
My mind has been overactive these past few months. Shifting into fall from summer play, outdoor activities, packing lunches, toddler nap times, nursing baby, etc. seems a bit jarring, especially since my 4 year old started full day preschool, my 7 month old is becoming more awake everyday and I started working part-time. I haven’t worked since February when I was biking around the city teaching yoga classes. Here’s the thing – when you’re with children and babies most of the day, they require your presence; and the same is true for teaching yoga classes. If you’re not grounded and present in the classroom, most likely your class will suck. So I am currently moving through a brain shift – working at a computer from home while simultaneously trying to manage the household, drop off/pick up Nico from school, take care of my perfect little baby (and of course practice yoga because I don’t know how to live without it). All of this has my mind reeling. I am mentally stimulated, inspired and learning, but I’m having a hard time TURNING OFF.
The reality is that we are really busy. The yoga practices are reminders to slow down and travel from the mind, and all it’s mental heavy lifting, to the heart – to remember that the body is finite, the Self is infinite and everything we experience is for growth and learning. These practices are the most precious gifts, especially as we learn to tune in and use them to support immediate needs. I tend to make time and space for asana, pranayama, and meditation, but I rarely prioritize relaxation unless I absolutely need it. Lately, I’ve even been skimping on savasana because I am so desperate for time to move my body that the window closes (i.e. Sascha wakes up from his nap) before I am able to practice a long savasana. THIS IS NOT GOOD FOR ME. My body suffers and I don’t get the recharge that I so desperately need. Most days, I would most benefit more from a 20-40 minute Yoga Nidra than 1+ hour of asana. So, let me tell you about the magic that is Yoga Nidra…
Yoga Nidra, or psychic sleep, is a guided meditation while laying in savasana, releasing one body part at a time until the entire body is relaxed. My teacher Sri Dharma uses the example that the body is like a computer – from time to time you must close the apps to clear away the clutter so that the computer can function at it’s highest capacity. There are many different styles of Yoga Nidra meditation – some are more wordy and some will take you far out. I prefer a simpler version. Sri Dharma leads a very simple Yoga Nidra that results in total relaxation so that deep healing may occur. He also guides you through beautiful visualizations that stimulate the higher chakras. With regular practice of Yoga Nidra, you may lose body consciousness which allows for an expansive experience.
Yoga Nidra is a technique that not only facilitates the deepest relaxation for the nervous system and all of the muscular and connective tissues, but it also integrates all of the techniques that prepare you for the higher practices and limbs of yoga. The seemingly mystical experiences that may occur during Yoga Nidra aside, the practice will most likely leave you feeling recharged and refreshed in body and mind.
Because we are so busy and our minds constantly turned on, finding time to find deeeeeeep relaxation is essential. Sri Dharma says, 1 hour of Yoga Nidra is comparable to 4 hours of sleep. Totally worth it.
(1) Go to a class! We offer Yoga Nidra classes! Wednesdays @ 7:30-8:30 pm, Thursdays @ 1:00-2:00 pm (this is a cOmmunity by donation class!) and on Saturdays @ 6:10-7:00 pm.
(2) There is no shortage of free guided Yoga Nidra audio on the internet, but I recommend spending a few dollars on a quality recording that you will use over and over again. I, of course, recommend Sri Dharma’s Yoga Nidra. And here’s a good iPhone app!
Deep relaxation reminds us that we are supported. By the Earth, by our loved ones, and by our highest Self. I highly recommend taking time from your busy life to slow down and go deep. I promise to continue to remind myself that I, too, need to relax. Give it a try!
Yoga is spreading like wildfire across the country and the world, and with good reason! The sacred science is just that, a science – meaning with consistent practice, Yoga will systematically take you as deep as you are willing to go. Once you get a taste of the bliss, or “yoga high,” it will leave you wanting more, which is why you see so many folks walking around with yoga mats on their backs and yoga studios filling up daily classes. Culturally, we tend to binge on entertainment to stimulate and satisfy the senses, but bingeing on Yoga will only lead you deeper into infinite knowledge and union with your higher Self (!!). Bingeing on asana, or postural yoga (the exercise), can surely create exercise junkies and enable more activity in the mind and body. Eventually you may notice that it is not working anymore. So you have to go deeper, more subtle. Here’s what I’ve learned in my many years of practice and from my Yoga teacher, Sri Dharma – with constant practice, you will reap the benefits. To practice a little everyday is better than practicing A LOT OF YOGA two or three days a week. This makes sense for me now more than ever as a mother to a 4 year old and 6 month old. Gone are the days when I could practice 2 hours everyday! I mean, binge all you want! But don’t neglect the practice on the days you don’t get to a class.
What does “practice a little everyday” look like? For me, it means 20 minutes of meditation in the morning and 30 minutes of asana with a baby rolling around next to me. Sometimes it looks like 10 minutes of pranayama and reading a Yogic text or article to fan the flames inside my heart. I practice asana in the grass while my boys play outside! It looks different everyday according to my needs. Sometimes I make it to a 90 minute yoga class! That being said, taking classes and connecting with community through your local studio or practice space has been so nurturing to me. In my experience, the safe learning space, a haven if you will, of a trusted studio will provide you with the Yogic techniques and support to integrate the practices in your life, and to do a little everyday.
The concept integration always comes up for me. We are constantly integrating new teachings, processes, information. After my second son was born, we went through a process of integrating a new member into our family. More and more integrating. So seek out the highest knowledge and teachings available to you and integrate your own personal lessons into your daily life.
It’s also nice to share tricks and experiences – it helps us support and share with each other. How do you practice a little everyday? Post below in the comments!
Do you desire to find healing and live a more balanced, harmonious, peaceful, purposeful life? Are you a curious student? A seasoned healer? A seeker? Come check out LeRoy’s free workshop at Be Here Now THIS WEDNESDAY from 7:30-9:30. ALL ARE WELCOME! I read his book, Knowing and Living your Purpose: A Practical Guide to Being the Real You, and he is truly a masterful energy worker. I will attempt to provide you with an overview of his work, but I highly suggest you come see the magic for yourself.
What is the Energetic Well Being Process?
LeRoy developed the Energetic Well Being Process (EWBP) later in his life drawing from the many sources of energy work he has both trained in and discovered through his spirit seeking. The language surrounding his method is simple, to the point, accessible – and the practical application is also very notable. Three concepts vital to the EWBP are: weak energy drains away your life purpose, the positive power of being neutral, and clearing away our symptoms by identifying root causes. Let’s break it down.
Weak Energy Drains Away Your Life Purpose:
We continually block ourselves with thoughts and emotions, beliefs and assumptions. A lot of this programming is “inherited” from our ancestors, parents and relatives, social groups, society, environment, etc. As the blocks, or weak energy, accumulate overtime, they create patterns and play in the background of our minds and bodies and eventually becomes symptoms. The symptoms are communicating to us and if we don’t respond, they turn up the volume! Understanding how our energy goes weak will help us notice patterns and eventually reduce or eliminate symptoms.
The Positive Power of Being Neutral:
It’s easier to understand the practice of neutrality by exploring its opposite. We are NOT neutral when we are reactive, creating drama, worried, anxious, depressed, judging, blaming, frustrated, fearful, angry. When we are neutral, there is less bias and more understanding, open-mindedness and balance. Being neutral does not mean a lack of connection, rather it a way to clear negative emotions as they arise and act from a place of calm (instead of RE-ACT). He has developed a protocol to practice neutrality that is very detailed and helpful which he lays out in his book.
Clearing Away our Symptoms by Identifying Root Causes:
Working through our symptoms seems simple, and it is to some extent, but there is some priming involved; for example, having a strong desire to heal and practicing neutrality. He uses the analogy of symptoms as waves – one end of the wave can be thought of as the symptom/reaction and the other end is described as the truth. When you observe/find/identify the wave it “collapses.” To find the root cause, the question arises “where (in your entire universe) is the weakest point in relation to the symptom?” Again, he maps out a lengthy protocol that is clear and easy to use.
The purpose, or ultimate goal, of healing is to remember who you really are, which is in harmony with all of nature, centered in the heart, being and only seeing unity and wholeness, becoming stronger and more fit as you age!
Who is LeRoy Malouf?
Something I love about this book is that LeRoy shares his life story. In his eighties, he is full of life and vitality. He and his beloved wife raised 5 children. Over the course of his life, he’s had several careers shifts on the path to finding purposeful, satisfying work. Come meet him for yourself tomorrow from 7:30-9:30 for a free demonstration at Be Here Now Yoga, Healing and Wellness.
Growing up, my mom had a book called “Alkalize or Die”. She would push cantaloupe and cucumbers on us, always making sure to let us know “it’s alkalizing!” It wasn’t until years later that I appreciated her efforts. Our bodies’ pH is an important indicator of health, and an acidic environment is a breeding ground for various diseases, including cancer. Most foods that comprise the “standard American diet” are acidic, e.g. meat and dairy products, sugar, breads, pasta, coffee, tea. Other the other hand, fresh fruits and vegetables, almonds, and sea algae are some examples of alkaline foods. An alkaline diet ensures good health at the cellular level and energizes your system with nutrient dense, high fibrous, low sugar and magnesium rich foods. Check it out – the pH of the body is analogous to the pH of a pool – if too acidic, the water turns green from bacteria growth!
Alkalizing in the morning is a great way to reset and start the day. Drinking warm lemon water upon waking is suggested by the ancient food science of Ayurveda (you can add a touch of maple so the lemon doesn’t wear away the enamel of your teeth). Common sense would lead you to believe that lemon is acidic, but through the digestive process lemon becomes alkaline! Drinking greens in the morning is another fabulous way to energize and alkalize. If you don’t have a juicer, investing in a good green powder is a good way to take in nutrient dense greens rather than creating biological deficits through sugary drinks, coffee, and tea.
Play with these concepts, integrate, be easy on yourself and find your rhythm!
My teacher, Sri Dharma, recommends this green juice:
Half a bunch of celery
1 green apple (optional for sweetness)
Make it your own, add parsley or other greens!
There are so many good green powders available on the market. I’ve been turned onto and highly recommend Vitamineral Green powder, a very potent blend that will knock your socks off.
As you can see from our blog history, the latest Be Here Now blogger was a talented vegetarian chef offering custom recipes, practical food preparation and kitchen tips. Thanks to Greer for her fabulous Meatless Monday contributions.
Here’s a bit about my food journey and some thoughts on Meatless Monday! My experience of vegetarianism/veganism as well as my attempts to raise a well-fed and healthy family has been on a steep learning curve. The eating styles within my family vary – I am a fairly strict vegan, my husband eats meat and my son is somewhere in between (and the baby gets plant-based breast milk ☺ ). Labels aside, I think Meatless Monday is a smart and accessible way to learn about plant-based diets and how to integrate this style of eating in the kitchen – and I love how it’s become pedestrian language. I am not a militant vegan and my intention is not to place judgment on anyone for their eating choices, but I’d like to share some of the reasons why transitioning to eating less meat and dairy is great for the health of our bodies and the planet. My yoga teacher, Sri Dharma Mittra, is a huge advocate for veganism as a gateway to cultivating compassion in the heart. By refraining from eating our animal brothers and sisters, we begin to see their sentience and the interconnectedness of all beings. Again, this sensitivity to the dead flesh of animals is cultivated and some do not see the value in it simply because they love the taste of meat or because they are not ready to break a lifelong habit. This is where “Meatless Monday” comes in –eating no meat one or two days out of the week as a grounds for experimenting with vegetarian cooking. A more modern reason for consuming less is for economic and ecological/environmental reasons. Staggering statistics show how much water and land it requires to raise livestock, producing far less food than the same ratio of water/land to grow vegetables. Livestock, particularly cows, also pass gas of high levels of methane, a greenhouse gas 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide (although it’s lifespan in the atmosphere is much shorter than CO2)! There are plenty of resources available that inform our personal decisions, specifically about what we buy and put into our mouths, as it relates to the economy and environment – and as scientific findings and the conditions of this planet continually change, I believe we have a responsibility to adapt accordingly. AND eating less meat is good for the body! Eating less meat reverses heart disease and makes you feel lighter! Again, it’s all about INTEGRATION and that’s precisely why Meatless Mondays is genius.
SO. There is no shortage of delicious recipes out there. Grains, beans, legumes, healthy fats like avocado and coconut, fruit and TONS of vegetables, especially those dark leafy greens – this is the stuff that healthy recipes are made of. Some of my favorite food bloggers are Ohsheglows and MinimalistBaker. Check them out. My friend recently suggested this veggie burger recipe – so delicious and offers a savory denser meal to satisfy the meaty craving. I also have supported my diet with protein-laden superfoods like hemp seeds, goji berries, and the algaes like spirulina.
I’ll be blogging for BHNY and I hope to bring you recipes, musings, wisdom, and lightness (I’ll try not to be so serious ;). We will have plenty of guest writers to bring more voices to the conversations. xoxo
Emma McGonigle is a seeker, mother and D.C. based Dharma Yoga teacher. She is a dedicated student of Sri Dharma Mittra, who serves as an endless source of inspiration through the teachings of Self-Knowledge and hatha-raja yoga. Spending her days (and nights) mothering 2 boys ages 4 years and 6 months, she also works as Marketing Manager for Be Here Now Yoga and hopes to update her teaching schedule soon!
Potatoes are by far some of my most favorite foods in the world. They’re so versatile, nutritious and full of flavor. They also are very affordable which means they can be a great, healthy staple in your diet. Turning them into baked fries is my favorite way to prepare them, they’re so simple you almost doesn’t need a recipe, but every time I eat them I love them so much that I want to share the recipe. Roasting them slowly lets them get so perfectly crispy on the outside and turns the inside into the texture of mashed potatoes. Mmm… baked fries you have my heart.
Baked Fries Recipe:
Potatoes – as many as you want, I usually roast at least 1 pound just so I have them on hand
Olive oil to coat
A mix of chili powder, onion powder, garlic powder, nutritional yeast, salt and pepper (all optional)
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Wash and dry the potatoes, cut them into wedges. Put the wedges in a bowl and top with olive oil and all the spices. Use enough that you coat the potatoes with the spices. Once coated place on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 45-60 minutes. You’ll know they’re done when they are fork tender and crispy on the outside.
Eat with any variety of sauces (sriracha, ketchup, peanut sauce, chimichurri), top your rice bowls with them or eat plain and hot right out of the oven. If eating them as leftovers just heat them up in the oven first.
Greer Gilchrist is a D.C. based Yoga Teacher and Plant Based Chef. Find her at Be Here Now on Wednesdays 9:30-10:45am and 12:00-1:00pm, on Saturdays 3:30-4:45pm for Power Flow, 5:00-6:00pm All Levels and 6:05-6:45pm Yoga Nidra. Catch all of her yummy recipes, veggie adventures and practice yoga alongside her with 30 minutes videos at Sagecityyoga.com and on Instagram #sagecityyoga. Namaste well fed, nourished and happy!