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The Only Meditation Proven to Increase Happiness!

Love Yourself Happy! Loving Kindness Meditation is an absolute must-have addition to all the Valentines Day chatter about cards, chocolate and candle light dinners. As yogis, this meditation practice is the essence of what we strive to achieve in our practice whether we are sweating through postures or sitting in contemplation. We learn to forgive, be kind, and compassionate toward ourselves. From this place of self-love, we are then able to extend this practice beyond our sphere of existence into the rest of the world. Many studies have been done on meditation, and while all types of meditation are now known to have numerous types of positive impacts on your physical and psychological well-being, only one kind of meditation has been shown to increase the level of happiness in...

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Five Reasons to Study Yoga Nidra

Twenty five years ago as an undergrad in an Altered States of Consciousness course I watched in fascination as my lab partner swatted an imaginary fly from the hypnosis script I was reading. I remember thinking "This is a big deal!" Yet somehow the significance of this experience faded into the background of degree finishing and other life priorities for almost a decade. Fast forward to me lying on a straw mat in an Indian ashram listening to sounds from the other side of the earth. I am able to do this because my Guru Ji, in his thickly accented yoga nidra instruction voice, had suggested I could. This far eastern experience reignited my undergrad passion for the mystery and power of the subconscious. It...

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Eating Tumeric for Medicinal Benefits? Don’t Forget The Pepper!

This Golden Powerhouse of Healing Needs a Little Help From a Friend. Since ancient times, the Indian science of ayurveda has used turmeric for a multitude of healing purposes. Its popularity in the west has also risen dramatically in recent years as modern-day scientific studies confirm that this spice is indeed as effective a healing substance as its centuries-old reputation purports.(1) Tumeric is an eye catching spice that is displayed in eastern markets in glistening golden piles. It is also readily available in western supermarkets. Both the turmeric root, as well as its powdered form, are used in food and remedies. Eating turmeric in golden tea recipes, juices, or sprinkled on food is a great idea, however if you have been using this spice on its own, you...

A New Year’s Chocolate Re(solution)

The Solution to Mastering your New Year's Intention? Make it This Easy! This year I have decided to eat more chocolate. Well actually not more. Anyone who knows me, also knows that I have actually been pretty unrestricted in this area for some time now. What I have decided to do is upgrade my stash. You might assume that I am talking about eating dark chocolate, and that would be true, however my usual chocolate is already 70% cocoa solids, organic & free trade. In fact I am fond of telling anyone who questions the magnitude of my consumption that eating this chocolate is one of the ways that I serve humanity, because altruism is, you know, just my thing. This year though, I am stepping it up...

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3 Sure Fire Yogic Ways to Keep Your New Year’s Resolution

Tis the season for some Tapas. And no I don’t mean the appetizers that we have all probably had a few too many of over the holidays. In yoga philosophy tapas is the Sanskrit word meaning self-discipline. In the yoga sutras, the ancient yoga sage Patanjali places such importance on this concept that he lists tapas as one of the three cornerstones of a yoga practice. Tapas is also granted it the status of being one of the all-important 8 limbs of Ashtanga yoga. It has been said that the measure of one’s freedom can be determined by the measure of his self-discipline (or tapas). This never rings more true than at the beginning of the year when we are trying to free ourselves from (or...

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Too Old, Heavy, Stiff for Yoga? No Way!

[caption id="attachment_594" align="alignright" width="356"] My awesome mom in Navasana (Boat Pose).[/caption] Is the Western perception of yoga a barrier for some? The picture to the right is my beautiful mom, Marilyn, whom I called from Tokyo 20 years ago, and asked to meet me in six months at a yoga ashram that was a half-day train ride outside Mumbai. Oh….and to sign up for a yoga class in the meantime so that she would know what yoga was before enrolling in a yoga teacher training course. If you know my mom it might not surprise you that she signed up for an introduction to yoga class at the local YMCA, and was waiting for me at the airport in New Delhi that fall wearing flip flops,...

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Welcome 2021 The Year of the Cow

The Japanese Animal Zodiac and What it Means For You Welcome to the Year of the Cow. As each year-end nears in Japan, you begin to see images of one specific animal popping up in just about every setting imaginable; decorations, cards, advertisements. They vary from year to year and are always an animal of the Japanese zodiac. These animals are thought to be indicators of both individual personality and the nature of the year it represents. There are twelve animals, and they influence our world in twelve-year cycles. Your animal is determined by the year in which you are born. If you are in Japan and being asked what animal you are, that person is probably trying to learn more about your personality (of...

How to Make Ghee (Clarified Butter)

I was introduced to ghee when my mother and I were on our first Indian backpacking trip. Mom had some scratches on her legs that were getting sorer and more worrisome by the week. We were staying at an ashram and the morning prayers had just been done with a purifying fire ritual. When our teacher saw my mother’s legs he exclaimed, “That has to be treated now!” He promptly pulled some burnt, ghee-soaked, coals out of the ceremonial fire ashes, ground them between his fingers, and explained that the holy healing properties of ghee, further purified by fire and morning prayers, would be the most powerful remedy possible. We were doubtful, but had already tried all of our travel pharmaceuticals, and so she rubbed...

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Healing and Appreciating… With a Little Help From the Ancestors

Musings Inspired by Pitru Paksha (The Hindu Period of Ancestor Worship) The view from my late cousin's place of rest. My mom called me today with a camping update. She was excited to have spent the night sleeping next to the grave of an ancestor. It was a whimsical act born of a passing comment from a local that her cousin had been buried in that area a number of generations ago. Upon learning this, my mom immediately rounded up an elderly resident who had been shown the burial area by his grandfather years ago. Together they approximated the burial spot to an overgrown bramble. She felt compelled to camp as close as possible for no obvious reason. As I thought about what might have drawn her to...

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Coconut Green Tea Ice Cream

Matcha is known to be packed with anti-oxidants, and coconut milk is often touted for it's MCT oil benefits so I guess you could call this Coconut Matcha Ice Cream a healthy dessert. It is so yummy that I didn't require that designation, but I will admit that it makes me feel less guilty about having a second bowl....

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