Just this morning, I stumbled upon this YouTube clip of Eckhart Tolle answering a question about anger. Although it might seem random in a July 4th message, I thought blowing things up all over the country is a good enough metaphor to share it today. I highly recommend listening to the clip so you can hear the wisdom from the Meister himself, but for what it’s worth, here are my reflections.
Although unpleasant, anger and strong emotion can help us to grow, when we recognize that they are all just patterns of thought, or what Eckhart calls “thought forms”. When intense feelings come up, instead of identifying with them, fanning that fire, and succumbing to a knee jerk reaction, remember that you are not your thoughts and you don’t even have to believe all your thoughts. As Eckhart said – there’s enormous freedom in that.
Working with the negativity that arises within us, however it shows up, can be a really important spiritual practice in and of itself. When you recognize anger, see it as just a thought form that you simply absorbed somewhere along the way. It’s not actually you and you can decide to let it go if it’s not serving you. It will probably show up again in the future, but it doesn’t have to control you, or have the ability to ruin your or anyone else’s day. Further, when you can look at your own anger without judgement, you’re naturally more understanding when others get angry.
So we can even be grateful for anger and other strong emotions because they give us something to work with, a way to expand our understanding, and learn to become truly free.
The Ayurvedic Perspective
Also, we may be more prone to anger in the hot weather. Ayurveda, the world’s longest continuously practiced health care system, teaches that we are ruled by energies of fire (Pitta), air (Vata), and earth (Kapha), and that Like Increases Like. So if we’re outside in the hot air, working out hard, eating spicy food, etc, we may feel symptoms of too much fire energy, which includes anger, inflammation, stress, etc.
Certified Ayurvedic Consultant, Emmie Stamell recommends treating excess pitta with opposite qualities, “A cooling diet and lifestyle practices such as moon-bathing, avoiding the mid-day sun, wearing colors like white and blue, and enjoying a light diet full of locally grown veggies are ways to pacify the conditions associated with excess heat. Coconut, watermelon and salad are great summertime treats. Essential oils like sandalwood and rose cool the body-mind. Exercise is best done in the early morning or evening to avoid overheating the system, and as a general rule, back off to 75% of your typical effort. Yin yoga, or a calmly paced yoga flow that incorporates wide-legged forward folds and twists with elongated exhalations is ideal for a summer practice.”
I used to think that everyone naturally gets healthy and fit in the summer because of all the juicy fresh produce, more outdoor activities, and the tendency to eat a little less when you’re in a bathing suit. Well, maybe that was true when we were in our twenties, but beginning in our forties, it seems that a new pattern emerges. It’s called “summer is the new holidays”. Dun, dun, dunnnnnnn.
Our quintessential summer vacations, bbq’s, picnics, fried beach food, and ice cream stands are no longer fully counterbalanced by healthier summer habits. I know this is a common problem because of all the emails I predictably receive in September from previous cleansers eager to start the fall cleanse immediately!
I’m just going to come out and say it – this is wrong! I’ve long been a proponent that you can live a totally fun life and be healthy and fit. Those two things are not mutually exclusive. It’s about balance, quality, and mindset (aka not totally giving up and ditching your healthy habits just because you downed a Kimball’s-sized ice cream sundae).
So here’s what I’m doing about it… I want to support you in both having an epic summer and feeling energetic, thinner peace, and healthy going into the fall. This well rounded program includes highly effective tenets near and dear to my heart – variety, flexibility, super efficient forms of exercise, exceptionally nutritious food, and self care. It won’t be hard to work the cleanse guidelines into your schedule. Nothing is off limits. You won’t be dieting. Instead, you’ll be having a wonderful summer while staying balanced, and hopefully even feeling better than ever when fall hits.
When you join the program, you’ll get:
A short eBook with the full, easy to implement plan (so you’ll still have time to read all your novels this summer)
A weekly checklist so you can easily keep track of your Summer Party Cleanse activities
Lots of wonderful recipes perfect for the summer and even parties
A weekly email with inspiration, more ideas, and recipes of the week
Membership into our private Facebook group so we can all chat, share
tips, and encourage each other (this is permanent, like Hotel
Because this is the first time I’m offering this, I’m also pricing it super low to get as much participation and feedback as possible. I may get some flack for this, but here it is… I invite you to join the Summer Party Cleanse for just $25. Not because it’s not valuable, but because I want it to be a no-brainer for you to join me. The 8-week program begins July 7th (and your eBook will arrive June 30th). Join here!
Or as one yoga student amusingly misquoted, “He who doesn’t breathe, doesn’t live.”
In our culture, we tend to only think about breath when it becomes a problem, like when doing burpees or after eating garlic. Or more accurately, when someone else eats garlic (and then joins you in the sauna*). We assume breathing is more of a subconscious activity, and there’s no need to think twice about it.
So, it may come as a surprise to learn that breathing is the new yoga (as MM Owens pointed out in his magnificent article Breathtaking). Breath exercises, known as pranayama, have been an integral part of yoga for thousands of years. Many popular styles of Westernized yoga relegate pranayama to a few deep breaths in the beginning of class and “coordinating movement with breath”. Although these are vital for yoga, there’s a whole world of breath techniques to discover – breaths that calm, energize, focus the mind, “polish the skull” (no kidding), detoxify, enlighten, and even tranquilize, if that’s what you’re looking for. Just like the tagline “there’s an app for that”, there’s probably a breath for that.
There’s even a type of breathwork that’s been described as “20 years of therapy in 1 hour”. Mystical and legendary, it goes by many names; integrative, holotropic, kriya, and more. I was first exposed to this practice at the Energy Intensive program at the Kripalu. As much as I believed in the power of breathwork, I found myself scheming how to skip this portion of the workshop because it sounded so dreadful. But out of my immense respect for our instructors Sudhir and Shoban, I showed up.
They set you up in small groups with a dedicated coach. You lie down, get super comfy with pillows, blankets, and bolsters – whatever you need – and then commence the breath technique. It’s a very simple practice actually. I can only describe it as those little breath spasms that would come after crying really hard when you were a kid. It’s a quick inhalation, with a long, “letting go” exhalation. That’s it.
And you do it for an hour.
The first 10 minutes aren’t fun. It feels like it’s going to take forever and be tedious and your mouth is going to be dry, yadda yadda yadda. But then something takes over, and the breathing becomes automatic; you don’t even have to try anymore. If you do happen to space out out, your coach will gently remind you to begin again.
What happened to me the first time blew my mind, and still does to this day. My coach, Laura Mushenko, asked me early on if I needed anything to get more comfortable. I asked her to roll up a blanket under my neck. After she did that, I asked her to make it just a little bit higher. Here’s where it got bizarre… As soon as my neck relaxed on that perfectly rolled blanket, I started instantly bawling like never before. Totally out of the blue, like someone flipped a switch. I cried so hard for so long that my face twitched. It was ugly crying at its finest.
Although I was probably in an altered state, what I experienced felt very real. I saw myself as a newborn, alone and scared in my crib, with terrible stomach pains. (After I was born, they called me “Screamer”, and the doctor assured my parents that crying alone in the crib was good for babies.) My adult heart broke for that little baby. But understanding the suffering that I endured so early on, felt profoundly like “healing my inner child”, and I didn’t even know there was an inner child to heal. All that crying was soul cleansing, letting go of an incredible sadness that I didn’t even know I had. It. Felt. So. Good.
So yes, it really was like decades of therapy in one hour.
I became a huge fan of this technique. I went back for a second session at the Kripalu a year later, which surprisingly turned out to be more blissful than anything. Then I arranged another small group session for my friend’s 50th birthday. Because who wouldn’t appreciate the gift of crying until your face twitched?
That angel who perfectly supported my neck, and wiped my tears and boogers for an hour, flew in to our area to lead our birthday group in this process. It takes a very special person to hold the space for people to go through something that intense, and Laura is that special. She led us lovingly and expertly.
With this type of experience, there is a deep respect for our own innate intelligence, and we trust that what needs to happen will happen. That said, I honestly would have liked to hear my friends cry more (wahahaaa!) because I wanted them to have the same depth of experience I had the first time. But even though there was less emoting than I expected, I believe good things happened. After the session, everyone looked so refreshed, relaxed, and kind of sparkly. In the week that followed, I heard reports of lightness, vivid dreams, and feeling more alive.
My own experience the third time felt metaphysical, deeply meditative, and expansive. At one point, I stopped breathing for what seemed like a very long time, and floated in that pristine stillness. Admittedly, I kind of wanted to cry hard again myself, but this was probably just as good. When it was over, I felt cleansed and refreshed, even without all the tears, and was reminded of just how powerful breathwork is. When you bring a subconscious process under conscious control, you may catch a glimpse into your own subconscious. You also enhance your sense of vitality, joy, and clarity, especially through regular practice. Practicing simple techniques like the full yogic breath for a few minutes each day can make you feel calm, energetic, and focused. Who wouldn’t like a little more of that?
If you’re like most people, your Thanksgiving involved gross overfeeding, family (the good, the bad, and the ugly), lots of work, and manic Black Friday shopping, perhaps all sprinkled with a tiny bit of stress. Although it’s written right into the name, we’re too busy washing dishes and buying stuff to focus on the “thanks” part of Thanksgiving. But if we really knew just how life changing giving thanks is, we would jump on that bandwagon with more vigor than we jumped on the treadmill today!
Like exercise, gratitude practice makes us feel happier, more energetic, healthier, more attractive, and so much more. You’d think it would be our default state, but the human tendency to focus on what could go wrong (or kill us) is probably one of the reasons we survived as a species. But in modern life, that mindset isn’t protecting us as much as it is detracting from our quality of life.
The good news is – we can change it! Through gratitude practice, we rewire our brains, the way we look at life, what we feel capable and deserving of, the way we react to others, and consequently how they react to us. Feeling grateful gives us more energy, clarity, and joy. When we have those things, we aren’t as prone to engage in unhealthy habits like too much food or drink. We just feel better and more at ease all the time, and everything ripples out from that.
“You simply will not be the same person two months from now after consciously giving thanks each day for the abundance that exists in your life. And you will have set in motion an ancient spiritual law: the more you have and are grateful for, the more will be given you.“
– Sarah Ban Breathnach, author of Simple Abundance
There are many variations, but one of the simplest ways to practice gratitude is – upon waking and before going to sleep, just think of a few things that you’re grateful for. Do this consistently, every day, and watch how all the good things in your life magically expand.
We’d love to hear about your gratitude experience, how you do it, and what happened… Share below!
Wishing a very happy, healthy Father’s Day to all the dads in the crowd, and to everyone celebrating the wonderful dads in their lives! Keeping dads healthy is a special mission of ours, since we both lost our dads to preventable chronic disease way too early.
One thing we really admire about the men who have cleansed with us, is that once they decide to feel better, they don’t procrastinate or dwell on what they must forego (with the one possible exception of beer). They jump right in with both feet and usually have fast, impressive results! Even the guys who are just eating the cleansing meals their wives prepare lose 15 lbs, stop snoring, and feel fantastic! It makes us so happy… and also a little jealous.
The Preventable Silent Epidemic Affecting Dads Everywhere
You guys carry a lot of weight on your shoulders, and as a result, are often under pretty significant stress. Stress isn’t some benign, slightly unpleasant feeling that wakes you up sometimes or gives you acid reflux. It is a biochemical dynamic that can impact everything about your health – your blood pressure, blood lipids, blood sugar, hormone levels, digestion, nervous system, etc – and can predispose you to a cornucopia of chronic disease. According to WebMD, 75 to 90% of all doctor’s office visits are for stress-related ailments and complaints. It is a significant factor in five out of the six most common chronic diseases, including top killers cancer and cardiovascular disease.
This is HUGE! Imagine if we got on top of that? How much suffering we could avoid, how much happier we could be, and how much money we could save? Turns out, the US could save an estimated $1 trillion in medical related expenses if we simply reduced our stress.
Many years ago, when my stressed dad’s blood pressure started going up, he said he’d make dietary changes, but drew a hard line at meditating. Back then, meditation was a little too “out there”. Thankfully, now it has widespread societal and medical acceptance as a very effective strategy for stress reduction.
But the current problem is that most people aren’t prioritizing it even though they know it could help. They’re just too busy. As the saying goes, “You should meditate for 20 minutes every day. If you’re too busy, you should meditate for an hour each day.” And as any experienced meditator can tell you, meditation practice actually saves you time because your brain is more organized, focused, and creative.
Think of it as strength training for you brain – it helps you to quiet all those stressful thoughts that end up wreaking havoc on your body. If you traded one hour of your physical workouts for a few meditation “workouts” each week, you’d benefit more.
We hope we’re not stressing you out about stressing! Our intention is to inspire you to take it seriously and motivate you to take action. Some tools we recommend include:
Online 21 Day Meditation Experiences by Oprah and Deepak Chopra. These are offered free a few times a year (get on their list!) and you can purchase them as well. We especially liked “Hope in Uncertain Times” and “Making Every Moment Matter”.
Yoga classes near you (a meditative practice with many benefits for body and mind).
Taking breath breaks – a few times each day, taking a break to breathe deeply. Our YouTube channel has several breath videos. Full yogic breath is the basic one you can do anywhere, while the Alternate Nostril Breath is especially stress relieving. It’s like a horse tranquilizer!
Take that “jump in with both feet” attitude and just do it! Your kids, grandkids, and even great grandkids will be so happy you did!
Science tells us that we are most like the people we spend most of our time with, in terms of health, weight, and even wealth. We influence each other in so many subtle and not so subtle ways.
Joining a community of people going in the direction you want to go increases your chances of success and fun!
In our cleanse – BAM! – instant community with people who are moving in the direction you want to go. You’ve got us, and we’ve got your back. Our cleansers also support each other, at events, online on the private Facebook page, and on our connection calls. Long lasting connections and supportive friendships get formed!
#2 Change your habits.
Habits can propel us to success or doom us to failure. It simply comes down to consciously creating good habits.
It’s not even hard! All you need to do is repeat the behavior you want to cultivate for a period of time, and voila – you’ve got yourself a new empowering habit!
In our cleanse, we walk beside you every single day for 4 weeks, encouraging, reminding, and inspiring you to create these long lasting, healthy habits for yourself. This is why our cleansers usually continue moving in the direction they want, even after the cleanse is over.
To illustrate the power of habit, check out this poem…
I am your constant companion.
I am your greatest helper or your heaviest burden.
I will push you onward or drag you down to failure.
I am completely at your command.
Half the things you do, you might just as well turn over to me,
and I will be able to do them quickly and correctly.
I am easily managed; you must merely be firm with me.
Show me exactly how you want something done, and after a few lessons I will do it automatically.
I am the servant of all great men.
And, alas, of all failures as well.
Those who are great, I have made great.
Those who are failures, I have made failures.
I am not a machine, though I work with all the precision of a machine.
Plus, the intelligence of a man.
You may run me for profit, or run me for ruin; it makes no difference to me.
Take me, train me, be firm with me and I will put the world at your feet.
Be easy with me, and I will destroy you.
Who am I?
I am a HABIT!
#3 Address your subconscious beliefs.
Does this sound familiar?
“I do everything I’m supposed to do for a couple weeks, and then for no reason whatsoever, I revert back to my old ways, and sometimes even worse than before.”
If I had a dime for every time someone said that to me, I’d definitely be rich… or have at least $25.
It’s a very common theme. The root of it is one of the biggest reasons diets, resolutions, relationships, and even businesses fail. It is simply because our subconscious beliefs about ourselves and the world sabotage our conscious efforts.
The subconscious mind drives about 95% of our behavior. A woman who sees herself as overweight and unhealthy will always struggle with reaching and staying at her ideal weight. Someone who doesn’t feel worthy of love will always find a way to push it away. We need to get to the root of the beliefs in the deeper layers of our minds before we can make any easy and lasting changes. Everything else, although helpful, will be temporary fixes.
“Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.” – Carl Jung
Fortunately, there are tools to help us get at the subconscious beliefs – meditation, mindfulness, EFT, positive affirmations, and more. It’s like upgrading your operating system!
In our life changing cleanse, we help you to not only cleanse out toxins, excess weight, and water retention, but also limiting beliefs about what you are capable of. We begin January 7th with the mindfulness week. Join us!
Two incredibly wise teachers have teamed up to create free, online 21-Day meditation experiences. Each day for 21 days, there is a new meditation for you that you access online or through their free app. Each meditation is less than 20 minutes. In each meditation, both Oprah and Deepak Chopra talk for a few minutes about a concept or experience before we meditate. This is probably my favorite part of the program. The content is so inspiring, rich, and calming. No matter what struggles I’m navigating, their words never fail to make me feel like “everything is already alright”. After their intros, Deepak gives us a mantra meditation. We repeat the mantra silently for maybe 10 minutes… and then you’re feeling focused and uplifted!
I loved the Hope in Uncertain Times program so much that I bought it, and have done it several times since then. I will return to it often in the future.
Their next meditation program begins on October 30, 2017. Click here to sign up! If you’re reading this after the program has begun, get on their mailing list or like them on Facebook so you’re notified of the next program. It seems they run them a few times a year.
There is an ancient proverb that says, “He who half breathes, half lives.” One of my yoga students took the concept a little further and said, “He who doesn’t breathe, doesn’t live.” While we obviously need to keep that in mind (lol), the main problem is that most of us are shallow breathers. Breathing rapidly into the top part of your lungs is a result of stress and also creates more stress hormones in a negative feedback loop. As we know, stress is damaging to the body, drains our energy, and steals our joy. To feel relaxed and energized, as much as you can, breath deeply and fully, right down into your belly. You know, like you did when you were a baby. Babies are little yogis who can teach us a thing or two!
There are also numerous breath exercises that help bring about peace, calm, energy, clarity of mind, and more. If there is a state you want to achieve, there is a breath technique that will help get you there. Below are links to a few of our most common yogic breath exercises with a summary of the benefits, the “how to”, and a minute or two of practice. A daily breathing practice will help keep you relaxed, your energy stable, and your mind clear. You can also use these in times of need, when you need an infusion of energy, clarity, or calm.
Here at the Ultimate Rejuvenation Cleanse, we share nutrition, yoga, Ayurveda tips, and delicious, healthy recipes to help you feel your best. Connect with us by subscribing to our newsletter and liking us on Facebook!
This New Year, are you looking to transform some aspect of yourself? Most of us are! Did you have the same intention in years past? Most of us did! With all this fresh motivation, “New Year, New You” effort, why do we find ourselves climbing the same mountain year after year?
There are endless theories that have shed light on our predicament, but they haven’t necessarily helped us overcome our challenges. We’ve still got these same 10 lbs, the afternoon Venti double shot high octane sugar bomb addiction, binge watching, couch potato habits.
Maybe it’s high time to stop looking for the newest trend in self help, and instead embrace the oldest trend in self help… meditation.
Meditation isn’t just for hippies anymore. It’s gone mainstream, big time. And for good reason… it works! Meditation is the foundation of all self help. Looking through hundreds of books in the self help section, the common denominator is self awareness, creating mindful space between trigger-reaction, reducing stress, cultivating self control, simplifying… Meditation addresses all of these. One practice, so many benefits! Plus it’s free, you can do it anywhere, it’s simple, and anyone can do it.
This time of year (and again in a few months) everyone is hyper focused on weight loss. Can meditation help you lose weight? Yes, because extra weight is a symptom of a thought pattern. Meditation sheds light on the thoughts and transforms them into more empowering versions. The cause of overeating dissolves, and eating more moderately becomes natural. Of course, the benefits extend way beyond anything about weight or appearance. By products of mediation include becoming more patient, understanding, insightful, creative, happy, peaceful, and more.
Let’s do this! Here’s the resolution underlying all resolution… Every day, make the commitment to yourself to sit down and meditate. Make your starting point so small, that your subconscious won’t derail you. On the first day, just sit down for a minute with a straight back and closed eyes. The second day, increase the time a bit, if that feels right. Just get into the habit of sitting, let the time frame build slowly up to around 20 minutes. During meditation, you can simply watch your thoughts, find the space between thoughts, observe your breath or ambient sounds, or maybe silently repeat a mantra. There is a meditation technique for everyone.
For more guidance, check out these excellent resources:
In our stressed out society, many of us are in a constant “fight or flight” mode, due to psychological stress and habitual shallow breathing. This causes our sympathetic nervous system to direct the blood where it’s needed to quickly escape or fight an imminent physical threat– our muscles, brain, and eyes. Therefore, blood flow is directed away from digestion, immunity, skin, and repair. Is it any wonder that stress causes digestive problems, rapid aging, and predisposes us to disease?
Yoga to the rescue! The physical yoga postures, breathing exercises, and psychological approach stimulate the parasympathetic response, which is rest, digest, and repair mode. And you thought you were just getting more flexible! Yoga practice can help us to feel better in every way, live better, and even age better.
There are numerous styles of yoga, from relaxing and restorative to vigorous and athletic. Explore the classes in your area – you can definitely find one that meets your needs (which of course may change over time).