10 ways in which I will integrate “foundations for holistic health and wellbeing” themes with my professional and personal life is:

Cultural relativity. I don’t think anything in life is absolute. Cultures and people are always changing. To embrace change is a desirable quality of character to maintain during times of change. I can practice this in my personal life by staying flexible through forgiveness, gratitude, acceptance, contentment, and compassion for others.

Quantum Physics: What can happen will happen. To think positive thoughts because they have the power to change my reality in good ways, unlike negative thoughts that make life much worse,  and staying positive regardless of the circumstances.

Will live as a holistic health activist through leadership and adhere to the paradigm shift that is taking place. To live from the heart and raise awareness of higher consciousness. Self love so I can better show up in others lives.

To live as woman and healer. To help others through they’re suffering. To share what I know for the greater good for all. To take responsibility for the maintenance and enhancement of my life, and continue to heal my self from past, present, or future trauma and suffering.

To find balance and moderation in all things. For example, I will continue to minimize exposure to technological distractions that add to the problem and create more illness, separation, and stress on the body, mind, and spirit.

I will continue to integrate holistic philosophy of illness and disease in all areas of my life. For instance, my dog has fallen sick with mange once again, and I will try integrating alternative therapies with western medicine. Both are effective at treating the disease, but one will not compromise her immune system. Holistic remedies can be more effective and have long lasting results.

I will continue to use centering and breathing practices such as Tai Chi Chih and Yoga, using art projects as a focus for meditation purposes, and journaling about the effectiveness of each of the healing modalities that I am learning in class. Breath awareness in all areas of my life to promote relaxation and feelings of wellbeing.

To continue learning about Eastern and Western healing traditions. To use this knowledge and wisdom when appropriate in my professional life as a yoga teacher and personal life as a holistic health practitioner.

To make well-being and holism a priority in life by taking yoga, learning something new, and trying a holistic healing modality each and every day.

To engage in this world as a spiritual being living this human experience.

Emotion Pain and Health

Emotion/Pain and Health

Leslie Stangler

“Love is not an emotion or thought. Both pleasure and pain are equally binding. They condition and prevent fresh experiences of life and we do not have experiences as a child has. A scenery that enthralls us on first sight soon becomes stale and we stop noticing it.

Thinking or trying to prevent it is not going to help but an understanding of the psyche which is there at the background of our thought. Love is not thinking surely. Love is where you are. Thoughts may be incidental or secondary.

Love requires a mind that is innocent and not clinging or grasping at anything but being unobstructive to the flow of Energy”- Gurusfeet

“You don’t have emotions to be enslaved by them, to be imprisoned by them. You have them so you can master them, they are your servants, they let you know if you’re buying into something negative that doesn’t belong to you. Befriend them, befriend anger even, when it arises take a step back and see that you’re choosing to be angry, the first time you see that it’s a choice will shock you, but from then on, it will get easier and easier to control. Change your attitude towards life, stop trying to control every little aspect and detail of it, learn to let go whenever you need too, drop the assumptions, the expectations, flow with the river, because it’s only when you learn how to flow with the river that you gain any real sense of control, because guess what? You are the river itself.” -Francis Pinto 

This is the essence of my way of coping with pain and suffering.

Healthy and normal expressions of emotions for me are to notice the sensations that arise in the body, how it affects my heart rate and breath intake. Where in the body are the emotions arising? I wonder these things, just as I observe my thinking patterns. I do not feed the thoughts that are going to negatively affect my body, mind, and soul. Unhealthy expressions of emotions for me would be anger, envy, contempt, jealousy, hatred, etc. These are unhealthy for the body, mind, and soul. I focus on being content, aware, non judgmental, grateful, forgiving, and accepting what is. I do not hold onto emotions or thoughts, I allow these to flow through me and so I maintain a state of equilibrium, harmony, and peace. I stay focused on the pure consciousness and bliss that is within.

My cultures understanding of the function or purpose of emotions and pain are: I feel like the society I live in has a problem with suppressing emotions, that they are there and people stuff them into their muscles, cells, and bones, to later come out uncontrollably when there is a trigger. I like to keep emotions from being stored in the body by remaining stable, calm, and giving up the need to control my emotions. By letting things go, and becoming mindful and present in the moment has allowed me emotional freedom and intelligence to live a happy life, happy and free.

Cultural messages about the appropriate ways to express pain or suffering are to suck it up and be strong is something I learned in the military culture. I feel society turns away from people who are suffering, and this brings feelings of isolation and abandonment. When someone is suffering and you see them suffering, I believe they need to be treated well, like they are family, we are all brothers and sisters on Earth. 

I was taught to respond to pain by expressing it freely, that complaining, drama, and judgmentalism is a cool thing to do, that when people come together it’s a good opportunity to gossip or complain. Until I joined the yoga world and this became unacceptable behavior for me. I became aware that  emotions, attitudes, and beliefs can cause psychological, spiritual, and physical harm to ourselves and others.

Can I relate my families cultural attitude to a particular culture? America is my culture, and I realize Americans are the most unhappy people in the world, lacking social integrity in many aspects. People are too busy on their cellphones to see who and what is around them. I wish people would wake up to reality, that big corporations are breeding a zombie nation full of consumerism and unhappiness. 

Have these affected my health and wellbeing? This is a constant struggle for me, and I continuously fall back on the teaching I learned in India to find peace of mind. I teach love and light in my yoga classes, contentment, to be the change you want to see in the world, and to lift all others up through the act of yoga. Life can be suffering if we let it. But if we allow ourselves to love all aspects of the truth and reality, we can love the changes and transformations suffering brings. To simply notice the sensations that arise, to know the body and understand the emotions that arise is the way to process these emotions so they do not carry with you into the future. Live in the moment, and all is well! Its liberating to notice body, to just be aware, to not become attached to feelings. Effortless living while being in awareness is truly enough. To live in a place of non reacting or acting, so simply be. I suffer when I hold on to ideals, or beliefs on the way things ought to be.

I suffer because I do not want to see the world suffer, and since others are suffering, I suffer too. I feel I am empathetic and not to whats on tv, I do not own a tv or cellphone, Im talking about what I see when Im at yoga or feel when Im at the grocery store. The happiest people are the ones who are free in their bodies, free to love themselves and all others. People who eat well and care about their bodies. I want more people to become awakened to the inherent ability to be happy within our selves and not needing external materialistic things to bring happiness.

I was taught crying is ok because Im a girl, and we have hormones, boys on the other hand probley have a harder time of it while showing sad feelings for they want to retain their masculine identity. I on the other hand am more like a man in many ways, since my Navy background, I grew to be resilient and emotions do not arise as freely. I have become much stronger, stable, and emotions just don’t happen as much. I have felt feelings like abandonment, discontentment, betrayal, and these feelings do pass if you no longer feed into them. I feel like emotions arise and they only grow if you water their seeds.

The practice of yoga has changed my life forever. I am consistently peaceful. I do have occasional depression and pessimism which passes as soon as I realize its a waste of my energy, there is not enough time in our life to live miserably. Life is a beautiful thing to be joyful, and share many thanks. I am grateful to be immersed in the India yogic culture, to have these teachings to live by. I am also fortunate for my upbringing and teachings in faith and God, which is universal. It means much more to me now that it ever has.

Funeral rituals or cultural custom: My family has rituals that support the grieving process. My grandparents who have all mostly passed have had nice funerals. I grieved when I saw my grandmother pass before my very eyes. Tears were flowing and I showed my true emotions. Only way to release these feelings is by facing them. I felt very bipolar, like I was happy for her that she was going to pass, and as soon as someone passes a sadness overwhelms me, which is healthy to grieve those you care about. Only a sociopath would not feel anything for people who they should be grieving over.

Oftentimes I feel numb to things that I should be sad about. Ive had three pregnancies, and all resulting in miscarriage or abortion, the first one was very devastating, the second not as bad, and the third well I felt very desensitized to feeling anything anymore. I do want a family and to be happily married, and grieve that I have not settled down with a descent man yet to have a family with. I did not want to bring a child into a world so full of suffering, nor under the circumstances I am living at the moment.

It’s a miserable and pessimistic attitude to think that there are too many people on this planet causing damage to Earth, when the reason we are here to feel connected and have families for building connections. The current society I live in is confused, we don’t know who we are. IN other cultures and societies each person in the family has a purpose. Right now, I feel lost in this culture we have created, I have seen so much love and community while traveling, but this western attitude is spreading like the plague.

I feel like I don’t know my neighbors, I feel a disconnect and distance from my own immediate family. My dad and his brother hate each others guts. I feel sibling rivalry with my own big sister, who I cant get along with because I cant stand her materialistic ways. I am the only yogini in the family and so different from everyone else, I feel I don’t belong here, I belong in an ashram in the Himalayas singing mantras with other Buddhist yogins. When I express my distaste for the way things are in my mothers household, she becomes aloof and does not care the state of our house, she is a Facebook addict, and focuses too much on politics.

I am learning to accept her and the way the house is, that it may never change. That I should love her regardless, because I am my mothers daughter. Its hard for me to respect people who don’t care for the things they do have, To love your families by giving them the attention and love they need and not put more importance on ‘things’ is what I want to see happen. This is why Im letting go of the want for my mom to clean the house, is it worth losing a relationship over things?

People can be very desensitized to what they are feeling, what they need, and what others need. There are so many distractions that are keeping us from taking care of ourselves and others. Meditation and yoga is here to save the world.

When someone is hurt, they will bite others, what they need is a hug and some loving energy. Dogs for instance, they have feelings and become neurotic from being caged up all day while their owners are slaving away in the cubicle from dusk till dawn, and when the owner returns they don’t walk them, they sit on the television. This is a very mundane unhealthy lifestyle that will breed a very unhappy dog. Dogs just like people need affection, reassurance, lots of outdoor activities, and time spent together, not in front of a tv. You are all your dog knows, and it’s your responsibility to make that dogs life great, otherwise he will suffer.

After too long of being hurt and not receiving the love we need, we will become emotionless beings, or angered and bitter beings. Being emotionless is a protective mechanism, its very human to feel, to think, to want love, and when you don’t get it you go looking in the wrong places. Being angry is like putting up walls around you to protect you, it’s a human conditioning. I want so bad for people in this culture to uncondition themselves into thinking they need to get defensive, be passive, be aggressive and be turned on to love. Be love, be light, be well.

The culture we are in would benefit from learning about the Divine love and consciousness that is in all things everywhere. To care more about the Earth, eat less meat, and love ourselves and others enough to share love freely.

Health is greatly influenced by our attitudes and emotions. What we think we become. If we think we are shit, we become shit. If we feel we are beautiful goddess, strong warrior, prosperous peacekeeper, we become all these things. The universe responds to our thinking, so be careful what messages you are sending. We are such small creatures and we have the capacity to be very large and change the world with our little thoughts.

I worry the culture we are in is doomed. I also think we have the power within to save our selves through liberation. The food we eat is poison, the air we breath is poisoned, Im skeptical about many things, and this all leads to my suffering, my emotions becoming unhealthy. I realize this is not healthy to go from one extreme to the other, from happiness to unhappiness. So I decided to follow  the middle path, what is taught in Buddhism. This has worked so well for me, I have become very stable by not becoming over excited or over burdened by the doom and gloom in the world or the overabundance and happiness that can be felt. These are two extremes, and living in duality is unstable. To become aware of these dualities, to understand the Tao, is to understand how to live at peace with the self and all others. I decided not to be judgemental, and to each his own, others may find liberation temporarily by buying new things, I find liberation from noticing the sensations in my body, counting my breaths, practicing yoga, thinking about where to travel next, how I can be of service to God, etc.

Health and Healing: philosophy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My philosophy, values, and beliefs on holistic health integration into everyday life are what brought me to taking this course.  I’m very passionate about taking responsibility for my health and want to learn more each day on ways to live a happier and healthier life. I enjoy having a place to come two nights a week where women gather to empower each other on holistic health studies at St. Catherine University. I only hope to build a community around me that lives from these ideals long after completion of the program. I will discuss as to why I came to be where I am or when the paradigm shift happened. I will discuss my underlying motives to finding holistic health studies. I will go over a few specific holistic health modalities I utilize each day.  Also, to discuss the role of the client and healer, and my role as a client and healer. This paper is to go over my philosophy and beliefs on wellness, health, and illness.

There are many influential factors as to why my philosophy is so strong into holistic health. Firstly, I was born at home with no vaccinations or hospital visits. I was raised to avoid hospitals and to take responsibility of my health. If I were depressed in class I would call, and she would pick me and we’d play ‘hooky’ for a day and picnic with each other at the park; for nature is the ultimate therapy.  I had a good upbringing because I turned out all right. The military is a place where I endured physical, spiritual, and mental hardships. Understanding, education, and spiritual growth are my takeaways from military service.  Upon leaving the military, it took many years to transition from military to civilian life. To recover from the military conditioning and psychological stress I had once endured, I thank yoga practice, mindfulness meditation, and other forms of healing to allow me to take my life back. Yoga was my saving grace; it taught me the skills I needed to overcome obstacles.  I believe now that we create our own suffering, developing emotional intelligence is necessary to detach the self from suffering. 

Suffering is a human condition, part of life, but it does not have to interfere with inner peace, wellbeing, and happiness. Yoga is what put me on the path of non suffering. The first thing I noticed when I began yoga was how relaxing it was while strengthening and toning my body.  Its possible to keep very fit without over working the body, Holistic health can be maintained through a regular yoga practice or routine.

Over exercising can have negative implications on health, such as releasing a surplus of free radicals which may speed up the aging process. Iyengar has noted,

“Yoga asana (postures) are stimulative exercises, while other endurance exercises are irritative. For instance, medical experts claim that jogging stimulates the heart. In fact, though the heartbeat of the jogger increased, the heart is not stimulated in the yogic sense of being energized and invigorated. For example, in yoga, back bends are more physically demanding than jogging, but the heart beats at a steady, rhythmic pace. Many exercises improve energy levels by boosting nerve function, but ultimately, this exhausts the cellular reserves and endocrine glands. Cellular toxins increase, and though circulation is enhanced, it is at the cost of irritating the other body systems and increasing the pulse rate and blood pressure. Ultimately, the heart is overworked. Unlike other exercises, yoga results in the concentration of immunity cells in areas affected by disease, and therefore improve immunity. That is why the ancient sages called yoga a therapeutic as well as a preventative science.”  ( Iyengar, 2014.)

We need to do things in moderation, with self love, and breath awareness. Yoga taught me so much about myself and opened my mind to so many new beliefs and ways of life. I began the practice during the military where I was limited as to how much of it I could do. After returning home from service, yoga became a full-time hobby. I became much more involved with eating organic foods, drinking purified water, taking sauna and steam baths to detox, meditation, and reading books on Eastern philosophy.  Through the St. Kate’s program mindfulness practices, Yoga teacher training, and local meditation centers, I found stress relief through mindfulness meditation.  I ventured east to India for completion of 300 hours yoga training in Rishikesh. Practicing yoga in the yoga capitol of the world was a life changing time for me.

I bring my philosophy of health to life through yoga teaching, this is my way of being a social activist. We can become healer as a social activist by promoting qualities of healing with good health and wellbeing. I like to live by example, and sharing my knowledge of wellbeing with most everyone I come by.  I especially like to share many values and beliefs through guiding others into relaxation. Yoga has a focus of the attention on the breath, meditation, and moving meditation through yoga postures.  Yoga is moving meditation, allowing the physical repetitiveness with deep breathing to bring rythym, harmony, and equanimity into the body, mind, and soul (Seaward, 2012).

Yoga is also a form of subconscious re programming, to focus on positive thought patters to attract the things you want in your life, and by letting go of that which does not serve you, like anxiety, anger, and judgments. If there is a yoga pose I’m eager to master, I visualize myself doing the pose, and after some time of practice physically and mentally, I am able to do the pose with ease. Finally, Im grateful for the power of mind to help me accomplish these goals in my yoga practice, or for anything in life. Yoga is a way of life, a practice, and harmonious union with mind, body, and spirit. I love to share my yoga practice with others, for community is probley the most important means to have a healthy life.

Moral support and unconditional love is a powerful tool for healing. Yoga creates a sense of community with friends who are supportive of your healthy lifestyle choices. Yoga provides a community for healing. I practice teaching yoga for healing while using an array of holistic modalities with each class. Yoga class is accentuated with the use of hands on adjustments and assists, aromatherapy, sound therapy, energy healing, breath guidance, and mantra. Yogic philosophy breeds many open minded, open hearted, and self-healing practitioners. If everyone did yoga, it’s probable that hospitals and psychotherapists would go out of business.

Healing is a lifelong process and journey. Every healer needs to continue healing practices for ultimate or optimal health and wellbeing. No better way to heal than with yoga practice.

Yoga allows you to take care of yourself first and then be well enough to show up with a more loving presence for others. Healers are needed in many areas of life, mainly to help others who are going through tough times or  maintaining a positive attitude about life. I continue to seek healing, for every healer and every person needs some form of healing. We need each other’s support. To take down the walls of ego or separation; to know we are one, and we are all in this together. To understand how damaging our society can be if we support the wrong things. To follow our intuition and do what’s best for the body, mind, soul, and planet Earth.  I give all of myself through selfless service to the greater good for all; this is what Jesus would do. I pour my heart out into my work, and this job has been very fulfilling. Giving is receiving, giving healing is true self-healing. Healing so beneficial for a number of reasons, soul loss may be one of them.

Now, that I study on soul loss, I realize I may benefit from this practice. Soul loss happens through beautiful experiences like India, and not so beautiful experiences like family separation, eating disorder, military, cultural grief, societal or environmental dilemmas, and other losses (Elena, Avila, 2000.) There are childhood events that may have happened that lead to soul loss and soul loss can happen all throughout the life. I think we would all benefit from some form of soul healing like soul retrieval, especially if you are already doing yoga, meditation, and practicing good health. We have medicine inside of us and ability to cure ourselves while each of our illnesses is unique because no two people are alike. The soul needs a strong willed body to come home to for the soul retrieval to work and be long lasting.

Practicing holistic health modalities such as massage, arts, and yoga are all important for the energy body to grow strong, so the soul has a place to come home to when you call it in through ceremony.  Once we become aware of the habits and cultural issues we have that contribute to poor health and illness, we can begin to heal. I like to incorporate Ayurveda into my everyday healthy living. Now, I want to try something new, with the help of a curandera or shaman to heal. Healing with a curandera does not separate the soul and spirit from the body, it is medicine and spirituality practiced simultaneously (Avila, 2000.) Curaderismo is convenient and uses what is useful and available in an intuitive and creative way, using herbs, counseling, massage, light work, faith, soul retrieval, ritual, psychotherapy, spiritual cleanses, and much more (Avila, 2000.) It must be so refreshing to satisfy the life force energy and replenish the soul. To strive to be perfect, whole, and complete health is healing at its best, maybe we are perfect we just don’t realize it.

I believe an illness happens when not living in harmony with all the aspects of self and nature and when your life becomes out of balance. When there are too many distractions; illness and stress can creep up on us without us aware of it. I believe the best thing we can do for our health is turn off technology, enjoy nature, and heal thy self. Time is valuable. Time is of the essence. To not spend it rushing around trying to get as much done in what short time we have on Earth, but to slow down and enjoy the present moment; than life will be much more enjoyable. Time can easily be wasted monkeying around on TV, internet, playing video games, etc. To harmonize with our surroundings and selves, it’s important to shut down distractions, stay focused, and become consciously aware of the body, the mind, the spirit, and life happening around you. There is so much beauty to be seen in the world. Distractions are like putting on blinders, so we become unaware of the beauty, mystery, awe, and wonder in our lives. This is where mindfulness meditation comes to the rescue.

Mindfulness meditation or Vipassana, a practice from ancient India, means “to observe reality in a special way” (S.N. Goenka, 2008.)  I learned from Merra Young (personal communication, 2013.) mindfulness meditation class, when anger arises, you simply observe it, observe it objectively, without identifying you with that particular negativity. We will keep reacting to situations until we find the truth in ourselves that we have the power over emotions.

By observing the thought, a feeling, and the reaction we  may detach from the outcome. To become the observer that thought will pass (Goenka, 2008.) The important aspect is facing the issues as they arise, not to suppress the issues, for then they do not pass away, they will keep coming up.

Change starts within the self, and we must be responsible for our actions, behaviors, and ultimately our health. Misery is when we do not face our problems, and they continue causing destruction in our lives.  If you learn not to react but simply to observe, you will come out of the suffering. There is much to observe during this time of complete chaos, materialism, consumerism, and social upheaval in this modern age. This is a fast paced western society, filled with external stimuli, and it has conditioned us to push our minds and bodies to the point of exhaustion, to the detriment of our own wellbeing (Marc Micozzi, 2011.) Distractions are our only obstacle to finding inner peace, to allow ourselves to sit and contemplate; we can find the peace that we so desire.

To be still, to experience the peace and contentment that lies within we must free ourselves from this external materiality (Micozzi, 2011.) This is made possible through contemplative styles of meditation like transcendental meditation and mindfulness meditation, yoga practices, and other styles of moving meditation. Meditation brings balance into your life; balance is crucial for well-being, to find peace within the chaos. Meditation is an effective cure for many ailments, and I learned while in India illness is psychosomatic and begins with the lack of breathing, which causes unnecessary stress on the body, mind, and spirit. Breath is a great focus for any meditation or yoga practice. Meditation is medicine in its own right, working to bring homeostasis and balance into its user. It’s an important reminder  to remember that health is a dynamic energy flow that changes over a lifetime, with health and illness coexisting (Micozzi, 2011.) Healing is available within each and every one of us. We must learn the skills and tools to practice healing for ourselves. Illness can be prevented through finding the true self, the nature of our being through meditation, listen to the body, and know what’s right for the self.

The new role of the client is to realize that healing starts at home. Healing happens with lifestyle choices and mindfulness. It is in our everyday actions that will help or hinder our health. We are our best teachers and know what’s best for us if we quiet down and listen to intuition. The client must want to change, to seek change, and look in all the right places. There are many doctors and healers practicing alternative therapies nowadays; it is up to us to find the doctors that specialize in holistic health care; they are out there. The human body is not just a machine full of different organs that would need occasional fixing if anything goes wrong, but is a noble entity that works on the delicately intricate network of emotions, thoughts, reflexes, needs, aspirations, and sensations (Dr. Parva Sanjay, 2014.)  The mind is responsible for most disease that may happen to each person, is an important lesson I learned during my travels to India.

The new role of the healer is to allow the client to realize that healing starts at home, with deep soul searching. That there is only so much, the healer can do.

The client needs to be open minded and receptive for the healing to work, for the healer to make sure the client is ready. Many changes must be made for healing to be effective and for further prevention of illness to return. The healer can take extra time getting to know the client, to bring up anything that they notice which may interfere with the healing. A healer becomes a partner rather than in a doctor patient relationship, which is very hierarchical. The healer is more equal to the person, as in building a team. The healer to be an active participant in the patient’s wellbeing through leadership and motivation. Some people just need a little guidance or motivation in the right direction for healing to take place.

Wellness is when we practice holistic health and incorporate mind, body, and spirit into our daily lives and healing one day at a time. Once we realize we are perfect, whole, and complete healing starts within. Life’s challenges, stressors, and distractions often time make us ill or unhealthy.  We can begin to take control of our lives by becoming responsible of the health of our soul, spirit, bodies, and minds. To give up the struggle and simply enjoy the breath, this life, and all the amazing things the Universe has to offer. Health is to put the focus on the things that heal. There are many tools to carry with us, such as meditation, arts, nutrition, gratitude, yoga, counseling, faith, massage, etc. There are many people willing to help, it’s time to have faith in our abilities to heal, and many people are genuinely good and to trust their expertise. Only when we allow ourselves to surrender to the healing that needs to be done will we be healthy, happy, and whole.

The cultural issues we face today can only harm us if we let them. There’s always something that may cause us suffering. Often times we create our own suffering by attaching ourselves to certain beliefs, expectations, judgments. Such as, we are alone in this world and this culture is individualistic. In reality, we are never alone; we have Divine spirit guiding us, and we are connected through spirit. By becoming the observer and witnessing life rather than identifying ourselves by it, we find emotional freedom and become free of suffering.

The paradigm shift happens when we become  tired of the suffering. By taking time to seek change or to be the change we want to see in the world. To understand that health is somatic, or controlled from within, is a paradigm shift of consciousness from being asleep to awakening to infinite potential as a human being. “The mind is central to your health” (Sanjay, Parva, 2014.) When we realize we are able to transcend and transform our lives with our very own thoughts, this is the power of healing. To choose positive thoughts over negative, for we attract that which we think. We become highly selective of which thoughts enter the subconscious, for negative thoughts will only bring ill health to the body, mind, and soul.

When the paradigm shifts we see the world as a positive and loving environment, a place for us to experience love, life, and healing. To take on an active role in our own health, rather than be passive and put our lives into the hands of the medical system, which can be dangerous and unsettling. The paradigm shift we are experiencing is one from medicine-as-intervention to that of self-healing. I’ve learned from yoga that the improvement of my body awareness and voluntary control of the body makes all the difference. Mindfulness, such as breath awareness, is an intrinsic defense mechanism against stress and disease. Rather than depend on external materials such as psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy; to begin by looking within and what is the root of the problem. The breath can be the catalyst we need for good health.

Well-being is a given when we do the things the body enjoys, such as dancing, breathing deeply, being active, taking long walks, eating healthy foods, sleeping plenty, and drinking natural spring water. Health is also finding the parts of the soul that may have gone missing, letting go of past traumas and allowing the present moment to be exactly the way it is. To accept the things we cannot change, the courage to change the things we can, and the wisdom to know the difference (Serenity Prayer.) Allowing death to be a natural part of life, and without death there is no life.

Savasana is the death of the yoga practice, by practicing savasana, I am consciously preparing myself for the real moment of death. When I do the yoga, everything else falls into place, I remain in a constant peaceful state of mind. I seek guidance from my inner intuition rather than depend on a dis-compassionate medical system.  Its important to know when its time to die, allow yourself to go without holding on. To find contentment in our hearts, and allow others to pass when their time comes, and none knows when that time is because tomorrow is not promised. Each day is a gift, that is why it is called the ‘present’. I see death as closure to a life well lived. To welcome death and not to hold onto life when the spirit is ready to pass on.

Happy and free is the way to be. Health happens naturally when we are healthy physically through nutrition and exercise. Mentally through meditative practices, and spiritually through prayer and community involvement. Healing starts from within.  Humans have so much potential to be great, it’s time to allow this greatness and light within to shine bright and heal  one another and our home, Earth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

REFERENCES

 

Avila, Elena (2000). Woman who glows in the dark. Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

Goenka, S.N. (2008.)  Goenka on mindfulness or vipassana meditation. Mind Buddha, All
Things Buddhism. Retrieved from: http://mindbuddha.blogspot.com/2008/01/sn-g

oenkaon-mindfulness-or-vipassana.html

 

Iyengar, B.K.S. (2014). Yoga: The path to holistic health.

 

Micozzi, Marc. (2011.) Complementary and alternative medicine.

 

Parva, Sanjay. (2014). Healing from within, the paradigm shift. About Religions.

 

Retrieved from: http://healing.about.com/od/psychotherapy/a/paradigm_shift.htm

 

Proulx, K. (2003). Integrating mindfulness-based stress reduction. Holistic Nursing Practice,

 

17(4), 201-208.

 

Seaward, B.L. (2012).  Movement, relaxation, and health. Burlington, MA: Jones &Bartlett

            Learning

 

Tucker, Belinda (2014).  Cultural differences in health beliefs.  Ehow. Retrieved from: http://  www.ehow.com/info_8435795_cultural-differences-health-beliefs.html

Healing Traditions Culturally

People’s healing traditions reflect cultural beliefs, thoughts, rituals and practices associated with their understanding of the human experience of health, illness, healing, suffering and curing. Healing traditions have endured the test of time and are preserved in health systems, which continue to thrive in society alongside biomedical culture and health care technologies. The healing traditions that are used today are a blend of folk medicine, indigenous knowledge, and modern day medicine. Indigenous health beliefs and practices are passed from generation to generation in indigenous societies and ethnic communities through such activities as storytelling, prayer, and sharing recipes for making medicines from plants. Healing traditions are inherently holistic, which involve the spiritual, emotional, mental, and physiological aspects. Holism also includes science that is connected with the environment. In this paper I will discuss healing traditions and culture.

Culture is a set of beliefs, values, and habits within a community. We have personal culture within our family network and professional culture within our work culture. For instance, yoga teachers are part of a professional culture with their own sets of beliefs, thoughts, rituals, practices, and healing traditions. Yoga people living in America will also be part of a family culture with their own set of healing traditions. Culture has a tendency to change, overlap, and health and happiness is contagious! Yogi’s centuries-old healing tradition includes providing holistic modalities that changes the lives of people and communities. Hatha Yoga Pradikpa is a great resource for learning the methods and healing traditions of India. This ancient knowledge is available by book for all to understand and practice. There have been many advances in healing traditions and for many people to access this knowledge through internet resources, making connections, and essentially learning the wisdom of the ages.

Indigionous or Aboringial healing traditions are available to each of us throughout the world. Each region has their own unique healing techniques. We can learn much about survival, resilience, and well being from these local tribes.

[O]ne of the most significant developments in recent decades has been a resurgence of interest in Aboriginal culture and traditions. At the individual level, this resurgence has promoted pride and self-esteem… [with] ten distinct values or core beliefs associated with the fostering resilience in Aboriginal settings. These include: spirituality; the importance attached to child rearing and the extended family; the respect for age, wisdom and tradition; respect for nature; generosity and sharing; cooperation and group harmony; autonomy and respect for others; composure and patience; relativity of time; and non-verbal communication. (Dion Stout 2003, 24-5.)

I find indiginous healing tradition to be dear to my heart. My upbringing had many of these indigenous qualities. These people lived from the land and cared for the Earth, with a strong connection to nature. I was fortunate to have my parents, who taught me the value of living frugally and as a minimalist. I had a supportive family, we went to church on Sundays, I attended youth groups,  and I learned many things about holistic wellbeing. I learned what it meant to be healthy and not healthy.  What I find interesting is what I practiced as a kid has now become a healing tradition in my adulthood. I was fortunate to have a spiritual upbringing, my parents motivated me to practice religion, arts, and be in nature. Practices like painting, walking in nature, music, and dance. Healing through movement, meditation, concentration of  mind, and laughter. Healing can take place through many different means. Pets are therapy, so is socializing with others. Humans need touch, love, and harmony to live in a way that creates balance. These healing traditions influenced me in many positive ways, resulting in a stronger sense of self and my place in the world. I truly believe how we take care of the planet is more important than how we care for ourselves, for the planet is home to everyone and to future generations. We are all inter connected beings, living together as one on Earth, and one with the Earth. 

Illness is an imbalance of the energy in the body. Imbalances happen when we do not receive the love, touch, and healing energy we need to thrive, when we are not whole. Imbalance can be from so many things, pollution, wastefulness, non acceptance, discontentment, and so on. Many healing traditions work to bring balance back to the person, thus bringing mind, body, and soul into harmony with each other. Not only is harmony within ourselves important, harmony with our environment is crucial. Ecological systems theory describes the dynamics of our ongoing interaction with our inseparable environment. Each part of a system affects every other part as well as the system as a whole (Hutchison, 2003).  This concept is holism.

Holism is that all things in the world are interrelated and affect every other thing in mutually interactive and cyclical ways, “The parts become meaningful only in relation to the whole context” ( Marc Micozzi, 2011., pg 442) We need relationship and community to experience the great beings we are in a meaningful way. What we bring to the community matters. Each day, each choice we make will inevitably impact the environment and what goes around comes around. We affect the environment and the environment affects us. How we eat, what we buy, and how many chemicals we put into the environment affects not only us but every organism and being around us. Just as our thoughts will help or harm others. The Earth is saturated with fear and pollutants, making it that much more important that we focus on healing our Earth and ourselves.  I believe for the majority of the people to love themselves, others, and the Earth, this will heal what ails us. European Americans have much to learn from Indigious peoples about energy healing. We can learn from the Aboringials and Indiginous that healing begins with spirituality and finding balance in the energy system of the body.  Many of the holistic modalities were at one time considered indigiounous, because we were all indigenous at one time. Now energy healing has gone main stream, because more people use Complementary and Alternative practices than biomedicine. The number of visits to CAM providers now exceeds, by far, the number of visits to conventional primary care physicians in the U.S. (WHO, 2002). Holistic healing modality practices are prominent throughout the indigenous communities, and we are fortunate to have this knowledge as our own.

Western European Americans may have their own healing traditions within their culture, but they have taken on the concept of energy healing from Eastern cultures quite readily. Eastern ways of energy healing are: yoga, meditation, reiki, chi gong, and many more. Western ways of healing are healing touch, Swedish massage, Technically, most the healing modalities are some form of ‘energy healing’ but there are specific modalities for the healing of energy. Breathing meditatively while having a practitioner perform reiki is a way to balance energy and enhance mind-body connection. The practice of yoga is an active way of energy healing, it stills the mind and body, so the wonderful soul can be experienced as pure consciousness and bliss.  Acupuncture is a passive way of energy healing, when the practitioner inserts needles to alter the flow of chi or qi in the body. Meditation allows divine energy to flow through you and to be stored in the dan tian for later use. Qi Gong allows vital energy to flow. Many Eastern cultures believe illness to be stagnant energy, the more movement of energy the better. Qi gong is considered an ancient form of martial art (Micozzi, 2011, pg 438.)  Martial art is another way to energy heal. As you can see, there is a mile long list of ways to heal, from many traditions, and used similarly or differently across the cultures. We can live our best lives possible by using these healing techniques within our own cultures.

Age/gender and health

My role as a woman in society is to be the healer, holder of wisdom, and women with soft loving heart, all qualities of the Divine feminine. The man’s-role is to support the woman in her endeavors emotionally, spiritually, physically, and sometimes financially. The woman and man should walk side by side into the future rather than one pulling the other. Better yet, pulling each other out of the dumps through love, intimacy, and connection.We can be teammates or enemies within the ranks. Men have qualities that woman can cultivate and vice versa. Balance is key to a healthy life. I like the idea of walking into the future hand in hand, as equals, while finding enjoyment in the differences that make each of us unique as individuals.

I feel my role in society now is to be student, friend, family, teacher, lover, dog walker, helper, and to be kind always. To bring peace and love into the environment through leading by example. I am soaking up so much knowledge and wisdom from my reading and studies in India to bring back here and let that wisdom amplify outward to the yoga community and anyone else who approaches me that is interested in the yogic way of life. To be a student at St Kate’s has introduced me to many more ideas on holistic health modalities that I will continue utilizing in my yoga teaching and encounters with others in every day life. We are a community, we need each other. The yoga allows me to take down the walls that separate us. We are one, and in need of coming together to heal as a society. There are many illness and disease related to current social stigmas. We can heal if we all work towards this as a goal.

My grandparents were involved in my life when I was growing up. I noticed that my grandma and grandpa on my moms side were not equals, grandpa did things in spite of grandma, such as gambling, drinking, hoarding things and pets, traveling long distances, and eating the expensive meat products while the mom and kids got the cheap products. He also told her to be quiet, so maybe grandma is to talkative now after years of living with a man that did not want her to talk to him? He was too busy reading books and talking to people in town. My grandma Nelda, on may be lonely now for her husband past away prematurely from a life of indulgences and unhealthy habits. But wouldn’t you be lonely living with someone that didn’t care to be warm towards you all the time? If only I had the patience to sit on the phone to hear her many stories, which many are repeats. I do travel up north often to spend days with her at her house in northern MN. I do think she will come stay with us in the spring and I will sit across from her and hear her out, she is my last grandparent alive after all.

She has told me that I am annoying how much I tell her to stay present, but she keeps going back to telling stories about the past. Again, differences are that I have different life experiences and upbringing than her, but family loves unconditionally regardless of these differences, she will always be my grandma.

My grandparents on my fathers side, were much more equals, they travelled together, and did social gatherings. Grandma took care of the house and kids while grandpa was away at work, just as much as my other grandma did. Both the grandparents genuinely cared and loved for each other and stayed together since they met, their entire lives. Every relationship has their struggles, but family tends to stick together through thick and thin.  Its nice when the person you are with is cognizant of human conditioning, and that both of us are working towards the same goals in life, such as being present, non reactive, non passive-aggressive, non egotistical, etc.

Both my grandparent died at home from diseases of old age and lifetime of unhealthy habits. Im glad they were at home to die. I was born at home, and I feel this is a time of transition best to be done in the comfort of your own bed.

My beliefs around that of aging and death are not the average views in modern society. I am most comfortable living a life that is natural and true to my self, my soul, or the core of my being. I see people growing older around me, and I am growing older too. I do not have attachments to this body nor this life, my soul lives on for eternity. My understanding is that since I enjoyed this life in each moment, I will be ready for death whenever it occurs.

The time will come to travel onward, when my soul leaves the body. Its important to me to spend my life enjoying this body, this breath, in the here and now, and not rushing anything. Life slows down the more you do, and the more you appreciate the simplicity in life. I do not see the importance of Botox and plastic surgery because if you do yoga, detox, and keep a healthy weight you will have a healthy glow, stay young looking, and feel liberated from social norms. Many social norms are dying hair, fake nails, tanning, etc which accelerate aging process. Strength is beauty. Courage to age is beauty. Wisdom of the aging is beauty. Natural is beautiful. I see much wisdom and beauty in the aging person who does not fight the coming of death, but embrace it by living to the fullest and with greatest ease.

I think we are all socially obligated to be kind, but how about be kind to ourselves as well? By allowing ourselves to age gracefully. To love others who are aging, and to let people go when their time comes, rather than hold on to them like they weren’t ever going to die. Death should be a part of every day life. Its part of each yoga class, we end class laying on our backs, as a way to practice death each day, so when the real time comes we are more prepared.

The stages of life I notice are the first 28 years is for gathering knowledge, the second 28 years are for utilizing that knowledge and experience for the greater good of all, and the last 28 years of the life to renounce the life you once had to be closer to God in preparation for return to the spirit realm.

When it comes to family making, healthy roles for men and woman are straightforward. I believe a child needs mom and dad, the dad to support the mom for the first three years of the child’s life. To support the child throughout the child’s life by loving the mom and fulfilling his fatherly duties. My role has been very independent of a man, but no matter how independent a person, we are human being in pursuit of love, happiness, and connectivity. I feel that a relationship between man and woman most healthy when each person is happy and in love with themselves first and foremost. Having God in the relationship as a guiding force for strength and cohesiveness in the relationship. Always, embracing change together, change is the only constant in life and supporting each other mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually throughout the time together.

When I am an elder, I will pass on the knowledge and wisdom from a lifelong commitment to yoga practice and selfless service in the name of God. There is much to learn from the elders, who have a lifetime of gathering information, only to be shared with those who take the time to hear what the elders have to say. Grandma Nelda has an impeccable memory of her younger years. I feel like there is an opening in the memory when you reach a certain age, so you can share those things with the grandchildren. Our ancestors were old at one time and we all pass away, only to be remembered by the energy we left behind. I want to be remembered by my sharing light, love, and gratitude to all. I hope to have a place of value within a family or community, to be respected as I respected my elders.

In family, we all have a place, a belonging, and a purpose. My purpose for now is in the yoga community as yoga teacher. Yoga can be my family for as long as I live. I will be happy with this regardless of whether I have a biological family of my own or not. Life is to be enjoyed no matter what the circumstances through self love and kindness. I do live at home now with my mother, her boyfriend Chris, his mom Ruth, and many animals. We are from completely different cohorts and have different interests, hobbies, and habits. Regardless of the differences Im fortunate and grateful for family, to live in Minnesota with family, and to have great pets! It’s an active household, with a balance of quiet, which I need most of.

The roles of men and woman in this society are forever changing. So, my beliefs are to seek balance in all things. I love that a man and woman balance yin and yang together. To maintain feminine and masculine qualities in each one of us. As far as male partners go, I look for a man that has an open heart. He surprises me by opening doors and taking me in his car for outings and pays for my meal! It shows great character when a man will be confident, generous, and loving and help a woman do things because he wants to. A man is sexy who is secure in his role as a man. I appreciate men who don’t need to kill animals, or need weapons to be cool. A man who does not need to drink alcohol for pleasure. Someone who is willing to take the time to help you do your home-work, or be able to study around.  A man who can change his own oil and work things out with his car, someone who does not have a throw away attitude in life, that things are worth keeping around, even if they are holed socks. A man who is open to trying new things but does not preoccupy his  time nor peace of mind around needing stuff. A man who is knowledgeable yet understanding of our own differences, someone who can agree to disagree without that affecting our love for each other, a man who can be protective of his family.

I truly appreciate having a man be truly present with me in this moment, especially a man who does yoga. It saves me a lot of trouble, and drama. These are not expectations of my own, but why settle for less the your equal? My mom once told me, “ A man needs to feel respected, a woman needs to feel loved, than it will work out.” So to respect the man and he will love her in return is a beautiful thing. Respect the man by giving him your undivided love and attention, not allowing televisions, cellphones, and radios to interfere with the intimacy and connection between the two. Its all about priorities, if your priorities are in the wrong territory, a relationship will not be strong.

Daily Rhythms/Technology and health Leslie Stangler

The cultural messages we often receive are to maximize the day by starting early and finishing late. I was taught to educate myself, to make learning priority in life. Since I am working on my Masters degree, I still believe higher education is more important than having an extravagant lifestyle, with fancy things. I like a simple life with time to meditate, do yoga, spend time with dogs, outdoors in nature, and to have room to breathe. I do not own a television for this very reason. I love time to day dream and read books or write in journal. I love time spent drinking tea and eating chocolate. There are many people I know is society who are opposite than my relaxation style. People like to be constantly busy, work long days, and go out late at night, ignoring their need for rest and quiet time. We use technology late at night, which affects our sleep, and alarm clocks to wake us up before we’re ready. It’s a beautiful thing to sleep without this negative influence from technology, to listen to the body’s natural rhythms. To sleep when the sun goes down and wake when the sun comes up.

Technology may help people with a lot of things, so there are many ups and downs to modern technology. I was taught technology comes second to the skills we should have as people. Things may have changed since I was growing up, now computers are part of everyday living. I learned to write cursive and good spelling with no spell check. I learned to play outside and with friends without having technology involved. I have had issues with technology throughout my life. Techie things break, are expensive, need repairs, and are wasteful. I have gone through many cellphones which led to impulse control issues, I felt the need to check the phone all the time, so I have been phone free for going on two years and I love it. Phones allow instant communication, which is not always a good thing. I like having my space. It was too hard to have a cellphone and not to check it all the time, this can get you in trouble on the job, in school, with your partner, etc. I am disgusted that I see so many people spend more time on the cellphone talking than they do with the people in front of them.

Relationship are much better when cellphones are not involved. To respect the man by giving him your undivided love and attention, not allowing televisions, cellphones, and radios to interfere with the intimacy and connection between you two. Cellphones can cause much drama and fighting in relationships, on the other hand its nice to receive an “I love you” text. But to save it for in person is what really matters. Its all about priorities, if your priorities are in the wrong territory, a relationship will not be strong. Even though there are airplanes to take us anywhere, I love a man that does not need to travel the world or seek worldly pleasures for happiness, he holds the key to happiness within. Even though there are weapons of destruction, I love a man who doesn’t need to kill animals, or need weapons to be cool. With the help of the Mac book pro, its nice to have someone who is willing to take the time to help you do your home-work, or be able to study around. I love a man who is aware of internet in-security and protects his identity and information from government hacking, and advise you in doing the same.  A man who can change his own oil and work things out with his car, someone who does not have a throw away attitude in life, that things are worth keeping around, even if they are holed socks. A man who is open to trying new things but does not preoccupy his peace of mind around needing anything. A man who is knowledgeable yet understanding of our own differences, someone who can agree to disagree without that affecting our love for each other. A man who does not have addictions to technology, social media, texting, or constant distractions.

I believe an illness happens when not living in harmony with all the aspects of self and nature. When your life becomes out of balance. When there are too many distractions; illness and stress can creep up on us without us aware of it. I believe the best thing we can do for our health is turn off technology, enjoy nature, and  heal thy self. Time is valuable. Time is of the essence. To not spend it rushing around trying to get as much done in what short time we have on Earth, but to slow down and enjoy the present moment; than life will be much more enjoyable. Time can easily be wasted monkeying around on TV, internet, playing video games, etc. To harmonize with our surroundings and selves, it’s important to shut down distractions, stay focused, and consciously aware of the body, the mind, the spirit, and life happening around you. There is so much beauty to be seen in the world. Distractions are like putting on blinders, so we become unaware of the beauty, mystery, awe, and wonder in our lives. This is where mindfulness meditation comes to the rescue.

Philosophy on life and healing

My philosophy, values, and beliefs about integrating holistic health into everyday life are what brought me to taking this course.  Im very passionate about taking responsibility for my health and want to learn more each day on ways to live a happier and healthier life. I enjoy having a place to come two nights a week where women gather to empower each other on holistic health studies. I only hope to build a community around me that lives from these ideals long after completion of the Masters in Holistic Health Studies at St. Kate’s. I will discuss as to why I came to be where I am  or when the paradigm shift happened. I will discuss my underlying motives to finding holistic health studies. Ill go over a few specific holistic health modalities I utilize each day.  Also, to discuss the role of the client and healer, and my role as a client and healer. This paper is to go over my philosophy and beliefs on wellness, health, and illness.

There are many influential factors as to why my philosophy is so strong into holistic health. Firstly, I was born at home with no vaccinations or hospital visits. I was raised to avoid hospitals unless necessary and to take responsibility of your health. I would not go if I were sick, only over the possibility of something broken or severely ill, for example, the time I had ammonia, broken collar bone, or inhaled a strawberry. I would stay home in bed if I fell ill. My mom put olive oil in my ears over an earache. She fed me ginger ale, fruits high in vitamin C, and chicken soup if I had fallen sick with flu. If I were depressed in class I would call, and she would pick me and we’d play ‘hookie’ for a day and picnic with each other at the park; for nature is the ultimate therapy.  I did go to the doctor in my teens for the time I grew ill with an eating disorder, a cultural disease. I had a good upbringing, and I believe now that I created my own suffering I did not have the emotional intelligence at the time to detach myself from suffering. Suffering is the human condition, part of life, but it does not have to interfere with inner peace, wellbeing, and happiness. My doctor was very holistic, he told me to snap out of it; that I did so I joined the military to strengthen my spirit, travel more, and get educated.

The military is a place where I endured  physical, spiritual, and mental hardships. Understanding,  education, and spiritual growth are my takeaways from military service. Christ was my savior throughout the military, and I always turned to God for strength in all things. Upon leaving the military, it took many years to transition from military to civilian life. To recover from the military conditioning and psychological stress I found yoga practice, mindfulness meditation,  and other forms of healing. Yoga was my savior, it taught me the skills I needed to overcome obstacles.

Yoga taught me so much about myself and opened my mind to so many new beliefs. I began the practice during the military where I was limited as to how much of it I could do. After returning home from service, yoga became a full-time hobby. I became much more involved with healthy eating, purified water, sauna, steam, detox, meditation, and reading books on Eastern philosophy.  Through the St. Kate’s program mindfulness practices, Yoga teacher training, and local meditation centers, I found stress relief through mindfulness meditation.  I ventured East to India for completion of 300 hours yoga training in Rishikesh, yoga capitol of the world, which was a life changing time for me.

I bring my philosophy of health to life is through yoga teaching, I share many values and beliefs through guiding others into relaxation and the focus of their attention to the breath through meditation and yoga postures. Above all, I found friends and community for healing.  I used yoga for healing, and now I am taking on the healer roll by teaching yoga, meditation, wellbeing, and health to help others who are going through tough times or to maintain a positive attitude about life. I continue to seek healing, for every healer and every person needs some form of healing. We need each others support. To take down the walls of ego or separation; to know we are one, and we are all in this together. To understand how damaging our society can be if we support the wrong things. To follow our intuition and do what’s best for the body, mind,  soul, and planet Earth.  I give all of myself through selfless service to the greater good for all; this is what Jesus would do. I pour my heart out into my work, and this job has been very fulfilling. Giving is receiving, giving healing is true self-healing.

Now, that I study on soul loss, I realize I may benefit from this practice. Soul loss happens through beautiful experiences like India, and not so beautiful experiences like family separation, eating disorder, military, cultural grief, societal or environmental dilemmas, and other losses (Elena, Avila, 2000.) There are childhood events that may have happened that lead to soul loss and soul loss can happen all throughout the life. I think we would all benefit from some form of soul healing like soul retrieval, especially if you are already doing yoga, meditation, and practicing good health. We have medicine inside of us and ability to cure ourselves while each of our illnesses are unique because no two people are alike. The soul needs a strong willed body to come home to for the soul retrieval to work and be long lasting.

Practicing holistic health modalities are all important for the energy body to grow strong, so the soul has a place to come home to when you call it in through ceremony.   Once we become aware of the habits and cultural issues we have that contribute to poor health and illness, we can begin to heal. Healing with a curanderismo  means “to heal”  and it does not separate the soul and spirit from the body, it is medicine and spirituality practiced simultaneously (Avila, 2000.) Curaderismo is convenient and uses what is useful and available in an intuitive and creative way, using herbs, counseling, massage, light work, faith, soul retrieval, ritual, psychodrama, spiritual cleanses, and much more (Avila, 2000.) It must be so refreshing to have a life force energy or soul to replenish itself.  To live in a way that you feel perfect, whole, and complete is healing at its best.

I believe an illness happens when not living in harmony with all the aspects of self and nature. When there are too many distractions; illness and stress can creep up on us without us aware of it. I believe the best thing we can do for our health is turn off technology, enjoy nature, and  heal thy self. Time is valuable. Time is of the essence. To not spend it rushing around trying to get as much done in what short time we have on Earth, but to slow down and enjoy the present moment; than life will be much more enjoyable. Time can easily be wasted monkeying around on tv, internet, playing video games, etc. To harmonize with our surroundings and selves, it’s important to shut down distractions, stay focused, and consciously aware of the body, the mind, the spirit, and life happening around you. There is so much beauty to be seen in the world. Distractions are like putting on blinders, so we become unaware of the beauty, mystery, awe, and wonder in our lives. This is where mindfulness meditation comes to the rescue.

Mindfulness meditation or Vipassana, a practice from ancient India, means  “to observe reality in a special way” (S.N. Goenka, 2008.)  I learned from Merra Young’s mindfulness meditation class, when anger arises, you simply observe it, observe it objectively, without identifying yourself with that particular negativity. We will keep reacting to situations until we find the truth in ourselves that we have the power over emotions. By observing the thought, a feeling, the reaction we detach from the outcome, become an observer and often times that thought will pass (Goenka, 2008.) The important aspect is facing the issues as they arise, not to suppress the issues, for then they do not pass away, they will keep coming up for you. Change starts within the self, and we must be responsible for our actions, behaviors, and ultimately our health. Misery is when we do not face our problems, and they continue causing destruction in our lives.  If you learn not to react but simply to observe, you will come out of the suffering.  Distractions are our only obstacle to finding inner peace, to allow ourselves to sit and contemplate; we can find the peace that we so desire.

The new role of the client is to realize that healing starts at home. Healing happens with food and lifestyle choices. It is in our everyday actions that will help or hinder our health. We are our best teachers and know whats best for us if we quiet down and listen to intuition. The client must want to change, to seek change, and look in all the right places. There are many doctors and healers practicing alternative therapies nowadays; it is up to us to find the doctors that specialize in holistic health care; they are out there.

The new role of the healer is to allow the client to realize that healing starts at home, with deep soul searching.  That there is only so much, the healer can do. The client needs to be open minded and receptive for the healing to work. Many changes must be made for healing to be effective and for further prevention of illness to return. The healer can take extra time getting to know the client, to bring up anything that they notice which may interfere with the healing.

To conclude, wellness is when we practice holistic health and incorporate mind, body, and spirit into our daily lives. Once we realize we  are  perfect, whole, and complete, healing starts within. Life’s challenges, stressors, and distractions often times bring ill health.  We can begin to take control of our lives by becoming responsible of the health of our soul, spirit, bodies, and minds. To give up the struggle and simply enjoy the breath, the life, and all the amazing things. Putting the focus on the things that heal. There are many tools to carry with us, such as meditation, nutrition, gratitude, yoga, counseling, faith, massage, etc.

The cultural issues we face today can only harm us if we let them. I had an eating disorder for I was so distracted, and my priorities were all wrong. I used the anorexia as a way to escape reality, which only created more suffering. I experienced turmoil from the military. There’s always something that may cause us suffering. The paradigm shift happens when you are tired of the suffering. We seek change. We seek to be the change we want to see in the world. The paradigm shifts and the health becomes natural. When I do the yoga, everything else falls into place.

Often times we create our own suffering by attaching ourselves to certain beliefs, expectations, judgments. Such as, we are alone in this world, this culture is individualistic. In reality, we are never alone; we have Divine spirit guiding us, and we are connected through spirit. By becoming observer and witnessing life rather than identifying ourselves by it, we find emotional freedom and become free of suffering. Happy and free is the way to be. Health happens naturally when we are healthy physically through nutrition and exercise, mentally through meditation, and spiritually through all of the above, and connecting with a higher power.

Savasana, death of the practice

One important aspect of life: birth and death. A time to live, a time to die. And to let death be the result of living a life well lived, to accept death, and not hold on to the last breath. To practice through savasana at the end of the yoga practice to accept the death of the yoga practice, a metaphor for living life to the fullest.

Death is needed after life. Life needs to go on. Death is liberation from suffering. Death is a victory not defeat. Death is a rite of passage, we are eternal beings living this short human experience. I live each day knowing today could be the last, to celebrate the moment with mindfulness and kindness. By letting our elders pass away without holding on to them…through life support and over medication. To celebrate life each day by allowing death to be a natural part of life, not something to resist. Let go of that which does not serve us…resistance to change, attachments, etc…

For every beginning there is an end. Yoga begins and ends in savasana for me, for I want to feel awakened to the notion that death is part of my everyday life. To accept death.  By accepting death I appreciate life much more freely. To know that this soul will live on. Death is welcomed. It is inevitable.

 

Why wait till death to learn that you are truly luminous being of God? Be the light.

East and West

I had a transformational experience after starting yoga, and I had integrated Eastern philosophy into my life and culture. Many other people of my culture: white, 28, college student, veteran, single, dog owner, nature lover, fitness lover do the same. Yoga as a fitness routine can take you by storm. Yoga is part of the western culture very much so, and I just happened to take it a little deeper by going to India and becoming a yoga teacher. Yoga practice is a physical, spritual, and emotional,  practice that allows you to discover your true self, to shed the layers of illusion. There are so many reasons to love the freedom and happiness from a regular yoga practice. Healthier body image, diet, and the body become strong like a warrior. People like me and others who practice yoga appreciate yoga for the therapeutic benefits of relaxation, flexibility, and time to meditate and breath. Yoga is across the world practice and popular in all cultures. There are other cultural things that come with yoga practice, such as veganism, tea drinking, meditation, mindfulness, listening to softer music, spending more time in nature, or reading sacred texts. Yoga is life changing, its disciplined, and heart opening. Yoga has created a culture of its own of people who are universally open to infinite love and human potential. When I started yoga, I went into unknown territories of my body. I worked each day to perfect poses, try new poses, and challenge my spirit, mind, body connection. Yoga teaches the body is the temple, to cherish and love the body till death do us part, and all is impermanent that this too shall pass. Women of the West can find tranquility when practicing yoga of the East. The West shares similar tradition and beliefs such as religion teaches that God exists, and the body is the temple for God, to care for the body. I was attracted to yoga practice because I have spent my life living with faith that God would lead me to the path that would be for my greatest good. Yoga to me took much time and effort to find effortlessness in it, it was very challenging at first and has grown natural over time. I can’t imagine going a day without yoga practice. It is my life now. I share my love for yoga with others, mixing a western and eastern style of teaching yoga to make things fun and interesting, deep and full of wisdom.

 

Yoga may not be a religion or a religious practice but it can be whatever you want it to be. There are many similarities of Yoga belief system or Hinduism and that of the European Gods. One of the most powerful teaches is that God resides in us, when we open a pathway for God to enter, the healing spirit of the Divine will enter and heal you. We are more Eastern than we may think. This Eastern philosophy may have been a regular lifestyle for our ancestors and we have only begun to unravel the mysticism that comes with a yoga practice. The super consciousness that is within each of us can come out if we let it and let the wisdom of the ancestors flow.

High Tea Time

Tea drinking is a holistic health tradition passed down throughout the ages, which spans across the world through all cultures everywhere. When I wake in the morning to drink tea, this activity connects me with the healing power of the tea. The hot liquid warms my soul. I believe the plant or herb brings healing energy to me. I am connected to every person who is also drinking tea, and we are one as tea lovers. Tea lovers unite! Tea has been around as long as humans knew to pick plants and steep them in hot water to reap the benefits of the plant medicine. Hot water allows the healing power  of the plant to unleash. Since I am of English, German, Welch decent with Native American since Europeans mingled so well with the Natives in the New World, I feel that tea is part of those cultures, and this new American culture, tea has meshed well with all cultures. When through London towards India, at the airport there were tea accessories, tea products, and the many snacks to accompany a tea session. I think of the many people who drink tea for it is a cultural tradition with many healing powers. Tea has made it across the world perhaps to every home in the world. I enjoy tea first thing in the morning with a rice cake, almond butter, cinnamon, and honey. All kinds of tea for different occasions, I like tea to be energizing in the morning, so I drink a green or black tea. And in the later portion of the day I drink herbal teas, Rooibos, white teas, or plain boiling water with lemon juice.

  Tea does give me a nice happy buzz. Tea brings people together around a table for conversation, meditation, relaxation, and holy communion with God. What I mean by holy communion with God, I mean when we give our attention and mindfulness to the tea in front of us or the person we sit across from. We are honoring God in every person and everything. Focus is an essential aspect of meditation, and no better way than to focus on the art of tea drinking before, during, and after a meditation session in the early hours when all is still, quiet, and peaceful.

 

The more we remain relaxed and breathing, with a rested mind, we are honoring the divine in each of us.  Tea can be for you whatever you want it to be. For me, tea is a time to honor my body, to give gratitude, to enjoy and experience the simple things in life. I sip my tea from a beautiful tea pot, and have an assortment of teas that keeps me coming back for more every day. Tea can be relaxing, energizing, detoxing, and aid my health in so many healing ways. I have made many friends at local tea shops; it’s a great way to build community. Tea is the most used beverage in the world (Tea and health, 2000.) On any given day, over one half of the American population drinks tea. There are many reasons to love tea. There are many types of teas to choose from and many health benefits. Tea is readily available, healthy, environmentally friendly, hydrating, and affordable.

  Tea originated in China and tradesman spread it around from there, to Japan, India, Russia, Europe, Britain, Unites States, South America, Middle East, Africa, and so fourth (History, 2000.)  As legend has it, tea may have originated in China around 479 B.C. when a Buddhist monk needed to stay alert for meditation and the tea plants magically sprang up around him. Another legend has it that an emperor of ancient China had a cup of hot water, and a leaf fell into his cup; thus the first cup of tea was born. Tea started as a medicinal drink and became artistic around 907 A.D. (History, 2000.)

  Tea has been a gift from mother Earth, for bringing people together, and for bringing many health benefits to those who drink it. Every morning I drink tea with a bit of chocolate to start the day. Every afternoon tea is a way to unwind, and the warm beverage may aid in digestion. Every night tea relaxes me, so I have a restful night of sleep. I drink only hot beverages now, and my body thanks me. Tea is soothing to the soul. The nutritional and healing benefits of tea has helped me in so many ways that life would not be the same. Tea brings so much pleasure and joy to my life. It’s a tradition of all cultures, passed down through the ages and will be enjoyed as long as humans exist. 

I have keen memories of drinking tea in India. They call it chai in India. I loved standing around the chai stand early in the morning waiting for freshly made tea near the Ganges river, with my yoga friends in Rishikesh. Chai wallahs are a popular gathering place in India (Tea, (2009.)  We drank milk from the sacred cow, used fresh cardamon black tea leaves, cinnamon, and other masala spices. I have since made tea many times just like this at home, with special recipes from Indian friends. It’s best made from scratch and with almond milks. I have found the best chai in Minnesota at Avant tea garden in downtown Anoka on Main Street. I have a tradition of walking my dogs to Silver wood park nearby the house to enjoy tea or hot chocolate while soaking up the natural environment.

  I also have fond memories of drinking tea with a friend from the Amazon while camping around a fire in northern MN. He told me stories about the time in China when he did tea ceremonies, he a special pu-erh tea and tea set from China. I began getting into tea a few years ago when I realized how sacred tea drinking is. How many people who have come before me have drunk tea in a sacred way? In Japan, Geisha’s served tea so eloquently. In India, chai stands are on every square mile drinking milk from sacred cows. In England and Britain, tea is served with great sophistication.  In America tea takes on that of the English, with elegant tea rooms to dine in to small shops servicing tea in nice glasswares traditional to that of Japan or China. In Taiwan, tea is drunk artistically. There is always a method for drinking tea across different cultures. In Taiwan, first, tea is steeped, and the first infusion discarded, the second infusion is drunk like liquor (History, 2000.) Every culture has their own way of making tea and drinking it. There is no right or wrong way to drink tea, it is preferential. Different cultures around the world prepare tea in their own way, and we can tap into this knowledge and try out the different ways until we find what works for us. Tea drinking is an art form, culture at its finest, when people come together to drink tea this builds community,  thats why its called a tea party.

Tea came to America when the settlers welcomed the Empress of China in 1784; the first shipment had arrived (History, 2000.) I have English blood in me, and we all know the English enjoy tea time, with biscuits and chocolates during ‘high tea time’ to ward off the afternoon tired time when a nap isn’t always possible but tea time is. Wars have waged over tea. During the 1600’s taxation without representation led to the Boston tea party and revolutionary war (Tea fact sheet, 2013.) It was only a few decades later when coffee would arrive from Brazil to lower the tea consumption in America. Regardless of the competition, tea remains the second most popular beverage in the world next to water (Tea fact sheet, 2013.)  The Tea Association of USA anticipates the dollar value of tea sales in the US will grow from an estimated $10 billion in 2013 to nearly $15 billion by the end of 2016  (TeaUSA, 2014.) With sales increasing, this means more people are discovering the healing power of Earths natural beverages, tea.

Black tea has half the amount of caffeine as coffee (Rossi, Holly, 2014.) Tea can be enjoyed however you like, with fruits, sugar, milks, liquor, plain, in a bag, or steeped from a pot, and there are many pots to choose from. Many teas have little caffeine; herbal teas have no caffeine. There are many tea shops to choose from as well.

There are approximately 43 Minnesota tearooms, and many more to account for (Minnesota tearooms, 2014.) I work at a tea shop, called Healing Elements. We offer healing services, tea, aromatherapy, yoga sessions, and much more. We also have shelves with herbs, so you can include different herbs into your tea infusion. There are books around to let you know the benefits of each tea and herb. I also enjoy Tea source, a local tea shop that has discount days,  sampler days, and many teas to choose from. “Tea that is made the right way, and is not too strong or too weak, has a healing energy. It can keep your body healthy and refresh your spirit” (Rossi, 2014.) Each region of the world produces its own type of tea, with a special name for it. Visit a place like Tea source (Learn about tea, 2014) or visit Traditional Medicines webpage to learn about healing properties of different teas and where they came from and how to prepare different teas (Sadler, 2014.) 

There are many books on the subject, to learn all about tea. The original book on tea from China, called the Cha Ching or “Scripture of Tea” is the oldest surviving tea manual (History, 2000.) There are 93,200,000 results when I google the word tea, so lots of information out there to research. Its important to know that depending on what kind of tea you are steeping, the water has to be prepared to the right temperature and the length time for each steep matters, temperature and time will ruin a good tea. There’s nothing worse than tea that is bitter or not hot enough or too hot. When tea is done right, the tea will be more healthful. A reason to love tea is the health benefits from its regular use.

Tea can be stimulating or relaxing, and it is always good for us. Tea is full of polyphenols, antioxidants, “The chemical basis for the preventative benefits of tea seems to be specific polyphenols in both green and black teas that can act a powerful antioxidants” (History, 2000.) Kombucha provides many beneficial bacteria for mitigation of bad bacterias from the body, great for alternative medicine (History, 2000.) More importantly, tea prevents disease for tea works to decrease inflammation in the body thanks to its antioxidant properties.

There are many healing properties of tea, and each tea has its own blessing. Tea is energizing, relaxing, and staying stress-free is very important for living a healthy life. Tea can lower blood pressure and be restorative. The antioxidants, catechins, tannins in tea are believed to have health benefits including cancer prevention, cholesterol reduction, and protection against stroke and heart attack (Black tea is most energizing tea of them all, for higher caffeine content. It’s also  rich in manganese and potassium and it contains some B-vitamins (Rossi,  2014.)  Green teas are purer than other teas, with no oxidative properties. I do believe green tea has contributed to my fast metabolism and slim physique. Tea drinkers may look younger than no tea drinkers, for antioxidants in tea attack free radicals in the body.  Rooibos tea has no caffeine and is a great substitute for black tea when you make chai. Rooibos has many healing properties.  It can  be used for skin ailments, as an immune system booster, a way to slow the aging process and a remedy for conditions from insomnia to headaches to anxiety.  (Rossi, 2014.) Rooibos does not contain oxalic acid, the compound found in some other types of tea that can cause kidney stones, (Rossi, 2014.)  When the concentration of inorganic oxalic acid is high in your body, it may precipitate out in crystalline form and these tiny crystals can irritate the human tissues, and get lodged in the stomach, kidneys and bladder as “stones,” (Ding, Sara, 2014.) Oxalic acid is beneficial as long as it’s not cooked than it becomes harmful or inorganic oxalic acid. This may be of concern to some. When things accumulates in the body it may cause health problems. I recommend doing regular liver, gallbladder, and kidney or Ayurvedic flushes couple times a year so you stay free and clear of crystals and stones from becoming a problem (What is the liver flush? 2014.)  I am not sure oxalic acid is worth worrying about, that the pros of tea drinking outweigh the cons. Tea may be the best thing for prevention of kidney stones for all we know.

Tea has too many benefits to count; I recommend tea for any ailment. Its best drank in the morning time on an empty stomach. Hot water is very stimulating and detoxifying for the body, hot beverages are recommended in Ayurveda healing as well. Tea has many healing properties, especially social and spiritual ways. To drink tea is to connect with your roots. Our ancestors drank tea ceremoniously, we should to. Tea can heal the current American cultural problems, social isolation and depression by bringing deeper sense of meaning to our lives. To drink tea is to connect with our higher power, to connect with the energy of mother earth, and to connect with ourselves and others at a deeper and more spiritual level. I think tea opens our minds to infinite wisdom of the ages.

What is the Liver Flush?  What is the Gallbladder Flush? Cure zone. Retrieved from: http:// curezone.com/cleanse/liver/default.asp

Ding, Sara. 2014. What is oxalic acid? Juicing for health. Retrieved from: http://juicing-for-health.com/oxalic-acid.html

Healing tea. (2000) Malay Mail, Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/ 326183640?accountid=26879

History. (2000). In Cambridge world history of food. Retrieved from http:// search.credoreference.com/content/entry/cupfood/history/0

Roberti, R. (2001). Tea culture. Link – Up, 18, 30-31. Retrieved from http:// search.proquest.com/docview/210198548?accountid=26879

Rossi, Holly. (2014). Healing Power of tea. Belief Net. Retrieved from: http://www.beliefnet.com/ Health/2008/09/The-Healing-Power-of-Tea.aspx#

Sadler, Drake (2014). Press. Retrieved from: http://www.twincities.com/ci_16761481 Retrieved from: http://www.traditionalmedicinals.com/articles/11-plants-wellness/

Tea and health. (2000). In Cambridge world history of food. Retrieved from http:// search.credoreference.com/content/entry/cupfood/tea_and_health/0

Tea. (2009). In The deluxe food lover’s companion. Retrieved from http:// search.credoreference.com/content/entry/barronflc/tea/0

Tea fact sheet. (2013). Tea Association. Tea council USA. Specialty tea institute. Retrieved from: http://www.teausa.com/14655/tea-fact-sheet

TeaUSA 2014. Retrieved from TeaUSA.org

Learn about tea (2014). Tea Source. Retrieved from: http://www.teasource.com/teas/learn-tea.html

Minnesota Tearooms. (2014). Retrieved from: www.teamap.com/states/state_MN_Reviews. html