MY MYSTICAL LIFE: 4 SURPRISING SELF-CARE TIPS

My self-care tips are all about balance, and it doesn’t have to cost a thing. PLUS the best self-care books of 2018 reviewed …

Photo: Caitlin Mitchell

When Kelley Hughes of Philly-based apothecary brand Wilde Gatherings offered to show me her signature facial, it was a no-brainer. Right, you say. But being on book deadline while overseeing a total Numinous re-brand (coming v. soon!) and somehow juggling all my other projects means zero space in my diary for heading up to Midtown on a random Thursday afternoon. I don’t even really like facials.

But. Right now, anything to get me BACK INTO MY BODY is a no-brainer. With a chart that’s all Fire and Water and a work life that runs on Air (elementally and literally, since my Macbook and me are inseparable), Earth is what’s lacking. Grounding. Which means it’s on me to make sure I make space in my iCal for it. (And thank you so much Kelley it was divine! I like facials again!)

Meaning, for practices that invite human touch. For IRL conversations with hugs and vibes I can feel. That remind me of my physicality from the inside out. Without this WEIGHT to balance me out I may as well just float off into the Cloud.

Kelley’s line is based in Ayurvedic principals, which is also a science of balance. On a daily basis we can feel we’re too much of this, too little of that. The same imbalances that find us reaching for a quick fix. Coffee, sugar, booze. Mindless TV. Things to liven us up or calm us down. When often all we need is some time away from our phone, a nourishing meal, and a decent night’s sleep. Inviting in what brings us balance is the essence of self-care to me.

Here are four of my surprising self-care tips (which also don’t cost anything):

1 // Journaling in the middle of the night. When I get too Airy, my head gets full of crazy thoughts. They get so loud they often wake me up, and since SLEEP is my ultimate self-care rule, I will do anything to protect it. The best way to stop the thoughts? Get up and write them all down, IN THE DARK (turning a light on only makes the thoughts think they’ve won), on a piece of paper. Works like magic.

2 // Taking Instagram off my phone at night and on weekends. As an entrepreneur, I used to go around bitching / bragging about how I was always ON. How doing what I love means my work is my life, and how this is great, but can also feel relentless and like its own kind of treadmill. Then I realized I could create my own “office hours” by just simply IG off my phone! Game-changer! Of course I still work evenings and weekends, but in the peace and quiet of my own mind.

3 // Not drinking. The morning I began writing this post (including the “not drinking as self-care” tip) my friend Mia from @thesoberglow put a comment on Insta that basically said it all. Which is this: “No workout.
No juice cleanse. No spa visit. No massage. No colonic. No vacation. No meditation. No dry scrub. No salt scrub. No detox. No wheatgrass shot. No hike. No manicure. No smoothie. Nor will any of the million things I could do to take care of myself ever be more potent, more radical or more important than my choice not to drink..” Alcohol is only fuel to my already raging Fire. A flood of Watery feelings where I already have plenty of those floating about. An ejector seat into the Airy ethers. My Sober Curiosity, above all, is what keeps me cool, dry, and with my feet planted firmly on the ground.

4 // Giving myself an extra hour in the morning. For drinking lemon water and meditating, yes, but mainly to give myself time for a proper poop 🙂

Want more pro self-care tips? Below, Lisa Kjellsson reviews 5 of the best self-care books for 2018 …

Product’s from Kelley’s line, Wilde Gatherings

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Recharge: A Year Of Self-Care To Focus On You, by Julie Montagu (Piatkus)
When yoga teacher and nutritionist Julie Montagu’s husband became seriously ill, caring for him and their four children soon left her drained of energy and she realised she had to make some changes. Her book is a one-year commitment to self-care, split into monthly chapters focusing on topics such as mindful eating, stress management, digital detox and self-esteem. The chapters on finding your truth and living with purpose are especially inspiring. This refreshingly jargon-free book is essential reading if your intention for 2018 is to put yourself first, but will the format work for everyone? Most of us want to feel better now.

Self-Care For The Real World, by Nadia Narain and Katia Narain Phillips (Hutchinson)
The long list of celebrity endorsements had me wondering whether this hyped title would be all lifestyle shots and hot air, but my initial scepticism was soon replaced by true book love. The Narain sisters touch on everything from body confidence to heartbreak, and share their strategies for navigating life with self-love and kindness. The tips on how to inject more self-care into the workplace, for example, might just make all the difference if you work in a high-pressure environment. This is a beautifully crafted book and, like Kate Moss, I want to give it to everyone I know.

The Self-Care Revolution: Smart Habits And Simple Practices To Allow You To Flourish, by Suzy Reading (Aster)
As a psychologist specialising in stress management and healthy lifestyle change, Suzy Reading certainly has the credentials to write about self-care and her book draws on lots of interesting research as well as her own life experience. The ‘vitality wheel’ she has devised to help readers diagnose which areas of their life need more attention is particularly useful as it illustrates just how multifaceted a full life should be and how easy it is to neglect any one aspect. This practical guide to wellbeing also has excellent tips on goal setting and developing strong coping skills and will perhaps especially resonate with busy parents.

The Self Care Project: How To Let Go Of Frazzle And Make Time For You, by Jayne Hardy (Orion Spring)
Having struggled with her mental health for most of her twenties, Jayne Hardy often wondered which came first, her lack of self-care or her depression. Her account of feeling too low to leave her bed or brush her teeth highlights the need for support for those in the same situation, and Hardy now runs a social enterprise in aid of those affected by depression. Her advice is to form a ‘self-care squad’, a group of friends to rely on for different types of encouragement. Sadly the good points she makes – about people pleasing and overcommitting, for example – are somewhat lost in a writing style best described as a stream of consciousness. Overall this is more of an insight into the author’s mind than a source of self-care inspiration.

The Little Book of Self Care: The Tiny Everyday Habits That Will Transform Your Life, by Mel Noakes (Ebury Press)
Despite enjoying professional recognition and a social life filled with travel and parties, Mel Noakes had always battled with low self-esteem and for years used food, exercise and work to numb herself. After reassessing her life during a year of travel, she changed direction and became a life coach. Her book may be small in size but it packs a punch – covering everything from decluttering your home and nurturing your relationships to getting more sleep and managing your money. Financial self-care, as Noakes calls it, is not just to do with budgeting but also tackling the beliefs and values that may be holding us back from prosperity. The bite-sized chapters with actionable advice make this a great little book to refer to for a dose of mindful transformation.

For more book recommendations, check out @thelkedit on Instagram, where Lisa shares inspiring non-fiction reads.

MATERIAL GIRL, MYSTICAL WORLD: JASMINE HEMSLEY

Jasmine Hemsley is the British former model turned foodie, who found fame as half of healthy eating sister act Hemsley Hemsley. But her new book, East By West, is a solo venture—a modern take on the ancient practice of Ayurveda … PLUS she shares what makes her a Material Girl in a Mystical World.

THE NUMINOUS: So Ayurveda. Why is it having such a moment? Is it a backlash to the “clean” eating movement?
JASMINE HEMSLEY: I think it’s because when we talk about “wellbeing,” is not just about the physical anymore—what we look like. We want to FEEL great too, so it’s also become about mental and spiritual health. For example, yoga is so mainstream now, and Ayurveda is the framework for this practice. It also isn’t a fad diet. It’s a philosophy that’s been tried and tested over 5000 years. It’s a way of eating that’s comforting, and that can also feed a whole family.

TN: Having been exposed to lots of different diets as a model, what’s the one thing you’d like to teach the world about food + healthy eating?
JH: That it’s time to take a beat to really enjoy our food. So often we talk passionately about food, but do we really savor it? How about treating each meal with respect, like a ritual, and taking the time to ask: do I actually like this? Does it make me satisfied? Do I really need more? These kinds of observations can help us begin to figure out what we need in life, let alone on our plates.

TN: For a newbie, Ayurveda can look so complex—how would you sum up the philosophy in a sentence or two?
JH: Ayurveda is about finding your balance, and going with the ebb and flow of life. It’s as simple as, if you’re feeling hot eat something cooling, and when you’re feeling cold eat something warming. But what’s really magic about Ayurveda is the herbs, which are nature’s medicine cabinet. For example fennel and ginger are great for indigestion, turmeric is anti-flammatory. By sprinkling your food with these herbs and spices you’re fortifying yourself against whatever the day will bring.

Jasmine also creates pop-up sound baths as Sound Sebastian

TN: So many popular food philosophies have a kind of “one-size-fits-all” approach. Which is not our experience of life! What is the best thing about embracing our inconsistencies and ever changing physical and emotional states?
JH: I see mind-body awareness as a framework for understanding our whole selves—for example, coffee makes me go a bit erratic and crazy, so I know it doesn’t suit me. I can drink it on holiday when I’m a bit more chilled, but when I’m in London, buzzing already, it sends me into overdrive. What you’d say in Ayurveda is having too much “vata.” It was this awareness that coffee was making me anxious that helped me find ways to bring more calm into my life. It’s about feeling empowered to make choices that are right for us as unique individuals—with hot beverages, and with life!

TN: You’ve already got a name as being part of Hemsley Hemsley with your sister, Mel. Why did you want to do a solo project?
JH: It’s been seven years with Mel, and we’re still a team and we’ve still got lots of projects going on—but this is my passion project and an expression of all the things that excite and inspire me individually. I have a Filipino mum and a British Dad, so I’m East by West by upbringing. And my travels through India and the influence of the natural wisdom in the way of eating there has always completely fascinated me.

TN: What’s your fave recipe in the book and why?
JH: That’s a hard one! I love tasty, easy comfort food that makes you feel all cozy inside—and there’s something so warming about the Rasta Dal. The recipe was taught to my meditation teacher by a Rastafarian, and also shows that Ayurveda isn’t just curry, or “Indian food,” it’s part a bigger philosophy. It’s got coconut milk, it’s got French mustard … I don’t know anyone who hasn’t tried this and begged for the recipe! But I have to get a sweet in here too, as I have a sweet tooth—and my buckwheat banana bread is my ultimate crowd pleaser, toasted with butter. It hits all the spots.

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:: MATERIAL GIRL ::

My label
Mother of Pearl dresses and anything vintage!

Wanda dress, $925, Mother of Pearl

My shoes
Barefoot where possible … otherwise I’m loving Veja sneakers, anything with a block heel for going out, and in this weather some snug Sorel walking boots.

Organic cotton Veja sneakers, 120 Euro

My fragrance
At the moment I can’t live without Sequoia Ayurveda Vata Perfrume—it just makes me feel calm and grounded, and everyone comments on it.

Sequoia Ayurveda Vata Perfume, $30

My jewels
My engagement ring from my long term partner Nick—a chrysoberyl (lime green crystal) in a gold setting. And my vintage turquoise eternity ring which he actually gave to me first!

Engagement ring + lentil dahl. Photo: Nick Hopper.

My pampering
Massage all the way! Particularly with oils, deep tissue, and any Ayurvedic massage.

My home
All I need is a comfy (and big!) bed and my three dogs and I’m home.

My food
…is everything! Tasty comfort food, loads of flavour, global inspiration—with a touch of Ayurvedic magic.

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:: MYSTICAL WORLD ::

My awakening
I try to beat the sun and rise at sunrise for maximum energy. I begin with a morning meditation and sun salutations for at least five minutes (which activates 95% of the body!), some tongue scraping, oil pulling and a hot herbal tea, followed by a nourishing hot porridge or stewed apples. Then I wrap up and get walked by my dogs!

My sign
Aquarius

Aquarius and Air ring, $325, Lulu Frost

My mantra
Slow down and breathe! I’m very Vata—airy and ungrounded.

My healer
The philosophy of Ayurveda, which includes food, meditation, mindfulness—it’s all about balance.

My reading
At the moment I’m reading Real Love by Sharon Salzberg. I love a feel-good read that reminds me what life is about.

My transformation
Discovering Ayurveda over 10 years ago.

My mission
To bring the wonderful world of Ayurveda to the mainstream so everyone can discover it.

East By West: Simple Recipes for Ultimate Mind-Body Balace by Jasmine Hemsley is out now.

WHY AYURVEDA IS HAVING A MOMENT: AN INTERVIEW WITH DIVYA ALTER

Ruby Warrington sits down with Divya Alter, chef and author of the brand new What To Eat For How You Feelto discuss why the timeless science behind Ayurveda is the perfect food philosophy for the Now Age…

William & Susan Brinson for Divya’s What to Eat for How You Feel from Rizzoli.

“Eating the right foods in the right way makes the light of our soul shine—you experience a tangible connection with the divine energies.”- Divya Alter 

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RW: First up, what would you like everybody to know about Ayurveda?

Divya Alter: That Ayurveda can work for you today! Although written thousands of years ago by ancient Vedic sages, Ayurveda is a universal manual that helps us integrate and balance ourselves on physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual levels. This timeless science helps us determine what to favor or avoid in terms of diet, routine, and environment by considering our individual needs, and what choices we can make to be healthy.

And if we face health challenges, an authentic Ayurvedic treatment goes much deeper than suppressing the symptoms; it addresses the root cause. An Ayurvedic healer’s goal is to assist in restoring the intelligence of one’s body to heal itself.

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RW: So why is Ayurveda having a moment? What makes this the perfect wellness system for the “Now Age”?

Divya: Ayurveda has had many moments through history; it is a divine universal science and its principles are always true. But I think that by experiencing the benefits of practicing yoga, lately many people have begun to explore and embrace its sister science, Ayurveda. It’s also encouraging to see how modern science is doing more research on Ayurvedic herbs, proving the ancient wisdom that was there all along. We know so much about turmeric now!

It is the perfect wellness system because it is highly customized to one’s individual needs. It is the most comprehensive preventative medicine—something we need today especially, as so many of our modern health challenges can be eliminated or minimized through preventative care.

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RW: What has your own journey with Ayurveda taught you about our relationship with plants?

Divya: Ayurveda helped me look at plants—fruits, vegetables, grains, spices, etc.—as my friends. I really want to get to know them! And the more I “hang out” with them, the more I appreciate them and understand when and how to use them in creating delicious, healing meals.

An aspect of every relationship is compatibility. Just like some people really don’t click together, sometimes eating two good foods together may result in them fighting in your stomach. Ayurveda taught me how to enjoy a healthy relationship with food by mixing and matching it properly. This goes beyond matching ingredients to layer friendly flavors and create stunning presentation; my goal is to make delicious food that can always be digested without any problem.

Another fascinating lesson I received from Ayurveda is that herbs and spices, like humans, are composed of the five elements (space, air, fire, water, earth). Dr. David Frawley explains in The Yoga of Herbs that each of the plant’s tissues affects a corresponding tissue in the human body: the watery liquid of the plant works on liquid plasma; the sap works on blood; the soft part of the wood on muscle; the gum of the tree on fat; the bark on bone; the leaves on nerve tissue and bone marrow; and the flowers and fruits on the reproductive fluids. Seeds, which contain all parts of the plant in an un-manifest form, work on the body as a whole.

William & Susan Brinson for Divya’s What to Eat for How You Feel from Rizzoli.

RW: How can eating this way heal the mind and soul, as well as the body?

Divya: Ayurveda recommends that we eat invigorating, “intelligent” foods—the way God or nature designed it in the first place. Fresh, locally grown, seasonal, organic, wholesome (unprocessed), energizing—properly combining such quality ingredients will support your body in doing all the intelligent things it is designed to do.

Eating Ayurvedic clears the body and mind from blockages and helps us feel happiness and bliss. You experience a clear communication between your body, mind, and senses, and you can easily control them. On a soul level, eating the right foods in the right way makes the light of our soul shine—you experience a tangible connection with the divine energies.

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RW: Are any foods “banned” in Ayurveda? Why?

Divya: According to Ayurveda, there is no good or bad food in and of itself. A food or herb can be good for someone or bad for someone—it depends on one’s individual needs at that time.

However nowadays, for the sake of convenience, manufacturers have created a lot of corrupted foods that make our cells act less intelligently (for example foods that are canned, homogenized, or genetically modified). These are bad for everyone. Why let such denatured foods clutter your pantry, and then your body and your mind?

Additionally, the Shaka Vansiya (SV) Ayurveda lineage that I am trained in recommends that we limit or avoid foods that are predominantly clogging, inflammatory, or overly heating to the liver: leftovers, soy, nightshades, onions and garlic, and flax seeds.

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RW: When would be a good time in life to experience Panchakarma?

Divya: Panchakarma is the traditional Ayurvedic practice of purification and nourishment. It is a practice of being open to letting go of physical, mental, energetic sludge, and to receiving nourishment and rejuvenation. It is a time-tested and efficient way to address imbalances resulting from daily wear and tear, as well as seasonal changes and energetic accumulations.

To really experience the benefits of Panchakarma, you have to give yourself the full 30 days for the practice and to do it at an Ayurvedic clinic located in a natural setting. I’ve seen quite a few victims of modern day Panchakarma that is practiced without a personalized protocol. That’s why I have to caution you: don’t do it unless your body is ready and unless an experienced Ayurvedic doctor is on hand to constantly supervise you.

A good time in life would be when you are in relatively strong health, you’re able to afford taking a month (or more) off, when the channels of your body are open to release toxins, and you are at a good clinic under close supervision. The weather should be not too hot or cold (spring temperatures). Such a Panchakarma experience can be truly life changing!

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RW: What is the overall philosophy of Divya’s Kitchen? What’s your message for the world?

Divya: At Divya’s Kitchen we believe that food can heal. That’s why we are devoted to serving you delicious food that your body and mind say YES to!

Our fresh, balanced meals are prepared with love, and deeply rooted in the authentic tradition of Shaka Vansiya Ayurveda that meets us where we are today. Ayurveda teaches us how food can restore the natural healing intelligence of the body.

Divya’s brand new book, What To Eat for How You Feel: The New Ayurvedic Kitchen- 100 Seasonal Recipes, is now available from Rizzoli! 

Divya Alter is a certified nutritional consultant and educator in the Shaka Vansiya Ayurveda tradition. She is the co-founder of Bhagavat Life, the only Ayurvedic culinary school in New York. She and her husband launched North America’s first Ayurvedic chef certification program and Divya’s Kitchen, an authentic Ayurvedic restaurant in Manhattan’s East Village.

THE MAGIC INGREDIENT: DREAMY VIBES WITH VELVET BEANS

In the first installment of her new column, Ysanne Spevack shares a creamy faux Cappuccino recipe for you to sample some dreamy velvet beans vibes…

Like Jack’s magic beans in the fairytale, velvet beans (Mucuna pruriens in Latin) truly deliver. They’re one of the strongest herbal ingredients I use, and a favorite for total vibe-change. Pods that grow on trees in India, and used as an Ayurvedic medicine, they’ve been tried and tested over millennia, and are now available as an extract in the US, sold as a brown powder that’s water-soluble.

The main active compounds in velvet bean extract fall into two groups: antioxidants, and amino acids, of which the main one is L-dopa, and another is called trypatmine, for obvious reasons. Together, these phytochemicals work synergistically for neural health, and specifically relieve stress and melt our sense of boundaries. Perfect for Pisces season—the archetypal symbol of ego loss and dreams. There’s some research that links velvet beans to sexual health too, but that’s likely to be a result of their relaxing effect.

L-dopa is a precursor to dopamine, norepinephrine and adrenaline, which means it has a profound psychoactive effect. You can feel it working, stimulating a sense of dreamy deliciousness and allowing you a peak behind the veil of consciousness. If you’ve ever wanted to feel the grandeur of the Universe while you melt into your pillow, velvet bean extract is the high vibe ingredient for you. I recommend using it sparingly—a little goes a long way. Also if you’re feeling unstable, or if you’re pregnant, it’s best if you pass on this for now, as with anything psychoactive.

Here’s my recipe for a delicious hot ‘faux cappuccino’ that won’t buzz you like caffeine, and will guide you to feel a subtle oneness with the cosmos. It’s not a bedtime drink— the velvet bean stimulates adrenaline production. But it’s a fantastic way to space out with some music on a lazy Sunday afternoon, and swim in cosmic waters of the Milky Way…

The drink is comfortingly sweet, while the bitterness of the velvet bean and umami of the reishi are similar to coffee, hence the name. Nettles soothe the nerves, and keeps the velvet bean from being jarring while it takes you up a notch.

Imbibe to enjoy about a one hour of day-dreams, in a suitably Piscean way…

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Pisces Velvet Bean Cappuccino Recipe
by The Conscious Cook

Makes one serving

Ingredients:

1 coffee mug filled with boiling water
1 nettle tea bag
*1/8 tsp velvet bean extract
*1 tsp powdered reishi mushroom
*1 tsp tocotrienols
1 tsp raw unfiltered honey
1 tbs raw coconut oil

* Denotes ingredients that are available online at Highvibe.com

Method:

Infuse the nettle tea bag in the boiling hot water in a large mug by pouring the hot water onto the tea bag as soon as it’s boiled.

Cover the mug with a saucer or plate, and set aside to infuse for 5 minutes.

Measure the other ingredients into a high-speed blender.

Remove the cover and tea bag, and add the nettle tea to the blender.

Blend on low, bringing the speed up to high, and then switching the blender to the maximum setting.

Blend on high for about 30 seconds, to create froth.

Pour into a large mug, spooning the creamy froth out with a spatula.

Hold the cup with both hands as you take sips, and finish it with a teaspoon to enjoy all of the frothy, creamy goodness.

Finally, relax and allow your dreams to unfold as you swim into the universal cosmos.

Discover more about Ysanne Spevack HERE.

THE MAGIC INGREDIENT: 10 HEALTHY DELIVERY SERVICES YOU NEED TO KNOW

Pizza, we love you long time – but these 10 healthy delivery services will change how you think about ordering in, says Magic Ingredient columnist Raquel Griffin

 

As much as I’m all about cooking as much as possible from scratch, the truth is sometimes you just want to let the goods come to YOU (since life in the material world all too often fails in the enough-hours-in-the-day stakes). So if you find yourself short on time and needing to outsource elements of your high-vibe life, here are 10 healthy delivery services that will help to keep the vibes high and maybe even snag an extra moment to stop & smell the roses.

1. The Purple Carrot (National delivery)
The Purple Carrot is a subscription based vegan meal delivery service that takes the thinking and time out of creating a plant-based culinary tour-de-force. They deliver pre-measured ingredients, quick cooking meals (most clock in at under 45 minutes) and easy, yet unique plant-based recipes from some of the world’s most sought after chefs. Even if you’re already Vegan Iron Chef material, everyone needs a night off – and who knows, introduction to this vegan-meal-magic -in-a-box might just be the loving nudge your parents/ friends/ colleagues could use to make going meat-free a reality.

2. Udder Milk Creamery & Raw Dairy Co-op (Northeast delivery)
At a time when raw dairy purchases still happen largely via unmarked brown paper sacks and are vaguely reminiscent of a drug transaction due to raw milk’s illegal status in most U.S. states, the Udder Milk Creamery & Co-op is a revelation. And with a delivery map that keeps expanding (currently they service from New Hampshire to New Jersey) it means raw dairy devotees (along with the raw-dairy-curious) can all get our fix of the white stuff. In addition, they also offer a lovely selection of delicious handcrafted food imported directly from the Middle East. Plus, if you’re lucky enough to get Kathy (one of the owners) talking during your delivery, you’re liable to receive a treasure trove of free healing gems from her fount of holistic health knowledge.

3. Thrive Market (National delivery)
 I’m sure many of you Numis are up on this but if you’re not: THRIVE MARKET, people. Thrive. Market. Similar to popular low-cost online health emporiums like Vitacost but waaayy better, this membership-based delivery service is all about amazing “Wholefoods-like” (read: organic, vegan, non-gmo, etc.) products at wholesale prices. Plus they have an amazing “live good, do good” ethos in which every membership purchased nets a family in need a supply of high vibe groceries via a donated membership, making the pay-it-forward pay-off even sweeter.

4. Notmilk (New York & Brooklyn delivery)
I love making fresh almond milk as much as the next gal but sometimes you had a late night at a Red Tent event and you forgot to soak the almonds…but does that mean that you should have to compromise your high-vibin’ ways? The sisters and NYC hometown heroes’ behind Notmilk delivery service say HECK NO. So whether you’re living life in the fast lane or the thought of blending your own milk seems mildly daunting and/or unappealing their subscription-based delivery service is the easy way to “do fresh.” Not to mention their almond milk flavor profiles are kind of insane…Honey lavender almond milk, anyone? Or their big kahuna of choice – the “custom nut/seed milk blend” option. So, let there be fresh Almond milk for everyone!

5. Mountain Valley Spring Water (National delivery)
In an ideal world, collecting your own spring water would be the way to go and with Find a Spring that is fast becoming a reality. However, for many urban dwellers this can often present a journey of E-P-I-C proportions which is when it’s definitely time to outsource. So call Mountain Valley Spring Water instead. Bottling spring water from the same source in Arkansas since 1871, in a world of bottled spring water charlatans Mountain Valley Spring Water is the real deal. Voted the best tasting water in the world, TWICE, and delivered straight to your door in gorgeous recycled glass jugs. Done and done.

6. Bhagavat Life (New York & Brooklyn delivery)
We’ve all heard of the many benefits of the ancient science of Ayurveda. Heck, many of us are card-carrying oil pullers but how many can actually boast true Ayurvedic cooking skills (and if you can only make kitchari that doesn’t count)?  Enter Bhagavat Life – Wellness Meals delivery service. For those intrigued by the sparkling wellness that Ayurveda can offer, yet intimidated by delving into the world of Ayurvedic cooking, Bhagavat Life offers the perfect entry-point. Plus included with each meal subscription is a health consult ensuring your meals are in perfect sync with your evolving health needs.

7. Aadhi Cuisine (LA & Orange County delivery)
From weekly meal delivery in traditional clay pots complete with coconut shell spoons, Aadhi Cuisine offers a lovingly handmade take on Sri Lankan Ayurvedic cuisine, perfect for Numis on the Left Coast longing for an Ayurvedic meal delivery service they can all their own.

8. Four Seasons Herbal CSA by Field Apothecary (National delivery)
This sweet little Hudson Valley, NY-based herb farm is like a veritable “Tinctures n’ Salves R Us” offering both seasonal and annual memberships to it’s herbal CSA which ships nationally. Their seasonally themed boxes offer a cornucopia of herbal delights and are the perfect solution for concrete jungle dwellers looking to get a daily dose of green-witch/wise woman mojo delivered straight to their door.

9. OurHarvest (New York delivery)
Checking out the weekly farmers market is definitely a highlight for many, but sometimes getting there just isn’t a reality. OurHarvest to the rescue. Working with some of NYC’s premiere greenmarket purveyors, OurHarvest lets you shop local greenmarkets based on your location and offers you the ability to either pick up your items later or get them delivered direct via Uber (of course). Plus, for orders over $25, OurHarvest donates a meal to a local food pantry. It’s all good.

10. Urban Organic (NY/NJ delivery)
Doing home organic produce delivery long before it was cool, Urban Organic offers the most affordable & plentiful organic food delivery in all of New York. At only $25 for a “small box,” filled with 10-30 organic fruits & veggies it’s a steal – and at a time when organic produce is everywhere yet still out of reach for many, Urban Organic offers an oasis of high vibe health and healing to all.

KNOW YOUR DOSHA (HINT: IT MIGHT NOT BE WHAT YOU THINK)

Know your dosha…know how to balance your body your mind and your LIFE. But don’t go thinking you’ve only got one to work with, says Wolf Medicine. Image: Geonah Lee via Behance.net

*note, I am not a licensed physician and cannot diagnose or treat dis-ease. Please consult your GP before proceeding with any of the comments or suggestions presented in this blog post.

So it’s 2015 and everybody is all about getting away from categorization and labelling (or maybe it’s just the people I hang out with). You’re post- human? Post-label? You don’t want to be called anything? Cool. Those are all labels too, but whatever. And well I’m the opposite. I’m a label fiend. Gay – check. Queer – check. Black, cancer, scorpio rising, feminist, killjoy, Ayurvedic teacher and yogini. Check, check, check and check.

Listen, I get it – we all want to be seen as individuals with our own unique qualities and attributes that set us apart, but we humans also want to belong, which is why we often seek out community/tribe. There’s a constant push-pull of wanting to belong, but also be seen as standing out from the crowd.

Which brings me to a HUGE misconception about Ayurveda I’ve been wanting to address for some time: the doshas. More specifically, the idea that each of us is just one. Hint: we aren’t!

I’ve lost count of the number of times a client has come to me for a consultation, and begins the session by telling me what dosha they are. This is usually based on a quiz they took, a book they read, or maybe what some random person told them eight years ago at a meditation retreat in Maui.

Not that I’m here to patronize and act as some elevated expert guru. I was taught, in depth, a great deal about the sacred science of Ayurveda, and simply act as a conduit for that info. I have deep respect for this ancient philosophy and its lineage, and am into learning just as much as I am into sharing. This is why I want to clear up some myths surrounding not only doshas but the practice of Ayurveda itself.

So, why label the doshas Vata, Pitta and Kapha in the first place? To begin, Ayurveda, the science of life, or living in harmony with the rhythms of nature as I like to think of it, has its origins in India dating back at least 5,000 years.
According to Ayurvedic philosophy everything on earth is made up of five qualities: ether (space), air, fire, water and earth. These qualities are then separated into three categories: Vata (ether + air), Pitta (water + fire) and Kapha (earth + water). These are the doshas.

So as you can see, these elements are all everywhere – in you, in me, in our pets, our plants etc. There is no perfect translation from Sanskrit to English, but know that the word “dosha” refers to that which vitiates. Meaning, the doshas are always moving, shifting and getting out of balance within each of us, often wreaking havoc within the body as they do.

So when you take Deepak’s quiz online and declare yourself a “Vata”, what you are labelling is your true essence. It means that those qualities of Vata (ether and air) are dominant in you – but by no means are they the only qualities in you.

Borrowing from the Aries Pitta pop art weirdo Lady Gaga, it is Ayurveda’s way of saying you were born this way. And your dominant dosha will also be what lies beneath any diseases/maladies you are experiencing.

But actually, two doshas usually proliferate in people – your body type is one dosha while your personality is another. Once you know what these two are, you can use that knowledge to eat for your body type, address any dis-ease you are experiencing and, hopefully, feel empowered to maintain a balance in mind, body and spirit.

During my time studying Ayurveda I began to understand the intricacies of the doshas, and on a personal level this has helped me to better understand how I am behaving (i.e. several days of boiling rage means I need to cool that fiery Pitta) and to also work with and meet others where they’re at.

Here’s my take on the doshas and how they might all manifest in you:

:: Vata (ether + air) ::
Physically, these people are usually very short or very tall. Basically think super model, Lurch from the Addams Family or Tinkerbell. They have trouble putting on weight and often don’t achieve bulky muscle mass. These are the people who eat and eat and eat and never put on weight.

The downside? Well there’s a reason one of my favorite teachers refers to them as “crunchy, munchy, itty, bitty, teeny, tiny Vata.” They tend toward brittle hair and nails, dry skin, cracking joints and brittle bones. Of all the doshas, they are the most susceptible to disease and illness and don’t have strong immunity.

What is awesome about vata people is that they tend to be really optimistic and positive. They are creative and playful and like to think outside of the box. Vata is that person who shows up at a community meeting with a TON of ideas and enthusiasm and gets everyone motivated and hyped up…and then never shows up again or quits after three days.

:: Pitta (water + fire) ::
Whoa there Pitta people. CTFO. Seriously. Pittas – my personal favs but don’t tell – have more muscular bodies or can build muscle quickly. Their weight fluctuates and they are sometimes more susceptible to thinning hair or balding and skin issues such as acne. Gingers are usually considered Pitta, with their red hair, fair skin, freckles and alleged quick tempers.

Pittas are usually courageous, determined, goal-oriented, follow through on projects and can tend toward being bossy, controlling and critical of others. I like to think of Pitta’s tendency towards being judgy and critical as misunderstood passion. Pittas get turnt up when people are being lazy and don’t care. My best advice if you want to avoid that feisty Pitta in your life (being one myself), is to show up and be ready to give 100% – or leave and quit wasting folks’ time.

Pittas like to accomplish goals and get ahead and don’t like to do things half-assed. I advise all Pitta people prone to anger/rage to stay the hell away from hot yoga and try some twists and grounding yoga poses in a cool place instead. Also, drink lots of coconut water and aloe juice. Seva, or selfless service, is also a great way to constructively channel that Pitta fire.

:: Kapha (earth + water) ::
Big, beautiful, abundant Kapha. The dosha with the strongest immunity. It is said that Kapha is only susceptible to 40 or so diseases while Vata is vulnerable to 80+. Kaphas are a sturdy bunch. They tend to put on weight easily and have trouble loosing it (if they so desire). Their joints and ligaments are strong and limber. Their hair is think and wavy and their skin has just the right amount of oil and suppleness.

Chronic sinus, congestion and lung issues pop up when Kapha is out of balance. I don’t want to say that kaphas are pushover doormats prone to hoarding but…let’s just say that these people just aren’t frantic, anxious or bossy. Don’t expect them to purge possessions or relationships easily either. I actually make it a point to cultivate relationships with Kapha people. When you are as fiery, feisty and flaky as me, you need some of that calm, earthy vibe around you. My boo and many of my friends are Kaphas and it’s a good balance for me.

They take their time when making big changes. They are never in a rush and don’t really like to get angry or upset folks. What I love about Kaphas and try to access within my Vata-Pitta self is their sense of groundedness, kindness and empathy. They aren’t quick to react and aren’t easily angered. When Kapha is too abundant in the body, people can become depressed, lethargic, clingy and possessive. Vigorous yoga and pranayama as well as spicy food are great for busting up too much Kapha.

So there you have it – Vata, Pitta and Kapha all working together harmoniously (hopefully) within every body.

DRESSING FOR YOUR DOSHA

If eating for your body-type is about creating a sense of balance, dressing for your dosha means fashion can be healing too. By Mairi Yunits. Images: Mara Hoffman SS15 collection.

In my past, non-Ayurvedic life, shopping was my weekly meditation. It wasn’t a real weekend without a new outfit – and it certainly wasn’t an outfit if it didn’t include heels and a very tiny black dress.

Hats, bags, skirts, and tops were constantly accumulating in my drawers, and looking back, I can see how the clothes piling up on the outside were the material reflection of what was happening on the inside – layers of bad relationships, poor health choices, un-authentic friendships and lack of self-love, yearning to be organized.

A few twists and turns down the road, I found myself studying to become an Ayurveda Practitioner – which in turn has meant de-cluttering my internal and external wardrobe. Four years later, it’s clear that healing myself on the inside has in turn even-keeled my closet.

Once I had discovered my dosha (in Ayurveda we all fall into three different types physically – you can find yours out here) I began to recognize I was dressing very wrong for my Pitta-Vata constitution. So I took this on as another gateway to my healing process, and ran to the nearest store to purchase all organic cotton blue and green shirts. But also, I’m a Leo (with Leo rising too!) – and running around in T-shirts was never going to cut it.

As time progressed and I began to refine my new sense of style, the idea of dressing for my dosha began to evolve into an art form.

So what is the benefit of dressing for your dosha, and what changes will you notice?

Ayurveda is all about balance, and just as eating the right foods for your physical make-up is about creating the conditions for optimal health, knowing what clothes work best for your dosha can connect the three tiers – mind, body, and spirit.

Seen this way, dressing (and shopping!) becomes an act of self-care, bringing more clarity, flow of communication, and confidence, be it at your next business meeting or simply a Saturday at the farmer’s market.

It’s grounding. While our mystical selves love to float in the ethers (hey all you vatas out there) clothes can help ground us back to our day-to-day life. We each have a message to share, and the proper clothes can give us the stability we need to rock it.

Here’s how to make a dosha dropping fashion statement.

:: VATA (FALL & EARLY WINTER) ::

My airy social butterflies. First things first (because we all know these things slip the mind); you must avoid being chilly at all costs. I know you love to show off your creative side and make a statement, and a scarf could be just the eccentric addition you’re looking for. Favor outfits that are warming and grounding. Pastel colors can work wonders, and a cozy pair of socks will seal the deal. Soft, warming fabrics such as cottons, linens or merino wool, should be at the top of your shopping list. Stick to flats, as you’re the ones that benefit from the most grounding influences. When you can, go barefoot.

:: PITTA (SUMMER) ::

My luxurious fire elementals. Please don’t let your desire to impress others guide all your outfit choices. The key here is to think light and airy with your clothes. Pittas can easily feel restricted, so make sure there is room to breathe. Silks, linens or cotton fabrics are great. As for colors, keep it calm – white, green and blue will do. Limit pattern. In the summer, carry a hat and sunglasses on you at all times. While black can be a short-cut to the kind of show-stopping looks you love, be careful not to overdue it in the summer months. A Pitta can’t afford to overheat, what with world domination on their hands.

:: KAPHA (LATE WINTER & SPRING) ::

My dear conservative Kaphas. You, my wise friends, tend to go for comfort over fashion. You take the timeless approach and tend to invest in clothes that will last and be practical. While this is a wonderful skill, it can also keep you in a style rut. Next time you find yourself reaching for more practical, neutral colors, spice it up with some purple, red or orange. These colors will give you some extra spunk to get you moving. Partner with light fabrics and throw in a high quality watch to complete the look. Don’t be afraid to step outside your comfort zone when it comes to fashion, it may be the motivation you need.

If you know you embody multiple doshas, focus on your main dosha first and bring in the sub-doshas when you feel they need extra TLC. You can also adjust your attire to the doshic season.

The famous saying in Ayurveda, “it all depends,” applies to getting dressed just as much as your diet or daily routine. So start small, and pay attention to how your clothes are affecting your mood, whether you’re out and about or hanging around the house. As your closet cleans up, you’ll begin to see the magic of dressing for your dosha – and understand more fully that healing does in fact come in all shapes and sizes.

Mairi Yunits is a Pitta-Vata, Green Media Specialist, and Ayurveda Practitioner living in Chicago. Find out more about her work at Livemukta.com

HOLY C**P! How I achieved the perfect poop

Don’t get grossed out! The perfect poop (PP) is a sign that mind and body are working in perfect harmony. Ayurvedic practitioner Wolf Medicine says finding hers meant leaving New York City…

Image: Oh…by Edward Edwards via Behance.net

Forgive the crude title, but the Ayurvedic practitioner in me can’t help but get real about bowel movements. After all, a good gut is the key to good health and lately I’ve become obsessed with poop because I know it’s about more than just taking a dump. When shit ‘ain’t right down there, it’s a sign that shit ‘ain’t right in the mind – and in the name of addressing both, I find myself on a quest to figure some stuff out in my life.

Essentially, my ultimate goal in Ayurveda school was to experience the Perfect Poop (PP) – which is what all the doctors and practitioners who taught me actually referred to it as. The PP occurs first thing in the morning upon waking. A friend of mine says the urge to poop is what wakes her up in the morning. It should be shaped like a banana or a coiled up snake (yes this is truly possible), and yellowish brown in color.

If you aren’t gagging or disgusted by now, congrats! You are an emotionally mature person. If this is grossing you out then you’d better read on, because once you realize how important it is to have the PP daily, you will be looking in that toilet and jumping up and down with glee and admiration when it finally does occur.

For me, achieving the PP is epic, a sign that I am truly taking care of my body. The thing is, it only ever happens when I leave New York (my home) for vacation, or if I take a day or two off work. Seriously, I once went to visit my mom in Texas and was pooping perfect poops for days. And recently, after being constipated for three days, I had a morning off and experienced a moment of PP glory that brought such a sense of calm and happiness I almost took a picture to show to my friends.

I had been eating Ayurvedic meals of root veggies, ghee, Kitchari, and all that good stuff, and drinking warm water in the morning and Triphala tea at night for several days in addition to taking ‘moments of silence’ (my phrase for meditation) each morning. Then, it happened: not just a nice, long, snake-like poo in the toilet, but proof that my body was responding to my good intentions. A sign that mind and body were working in perfect harmony!

Getting all the waste out of the body, not only physical but mental waste as well, is how we stay healthy. Put good food and thoughts in, and the kidneys, liver and colon will get the ‘bad’ stuff out. What happens if it stays in? Well, cancer for one thing. And migraines. And skin rashes and acne and a host of other ailments and diseases. If the crap isn’t coming out via the rectum, then it’s coming out in the skin, or festering in the colon, liver or blood, or wherever else the body decides to store it. Then it gets rotten and toxic, and then you got problems.

Which brings me to 2009. Back then I was in my late twenties and drank one to two bottles of wine a day. After months of my skin breaking out in either acne or eczema, I decided to change my ways for good. I didn’t really pay attention to poop then. I knew constipation was bad because I’d read it somewhere and that was about it. I was pretty regular but relied heavily on coffee to help me ‘go,’ which, I later learned, was also contributing to all the skin issues.

Image: Headcase Designs

So I quit drinking coffee and alcohol (and ‘til this day I feel like if I can accomplish both those things, then I can do anything in this lifetime. ANYTHING). I cut out gluten, and later, much later, processed sugar (another REALLY difficult journey that’s a whole different conversation).

I also started reading about Ayurveda, and even went to an Ayurvedic doctor who put me on a diet of no onions, garlic, tomatoes, shell fish, cashews, peanuts, yogurt, fermented food, coffee or alcohol, along with having me take a bunch of Indian herbs and immune boosting vitamins. Meat was also off the menu, but I decided I needed at least one thing in my life that I could still enjoy. Was this hard for me to stick to? Hell no! I actually found I thrive off this kind of shit.

I love a challenge, and I’m so vain that if it keeps my skin clear, I will do it. For the next eight or so months I pretty much stayed away from partying and instead ate really well and read books at home. I actually don’t remember if I was having regular bowel movements at that time but I assume my digestion was better.

The bad news is, I was still getting eczema outbreaks every so often despite my saint-like diet. About two years into my new Ayurvedic life, a friend suggested I try meditation. I felt my body stiffen and my mind shut down (but not in the good, meditative way) as soon as she suggested it. Sit still? Not think? Quitting coffee is one thing…but for somebody whose made restlessness an art form, that shit is impossible.

You think checking your Facebook or Instagram non-stop in a problem? Well I laugh, ‘cause that is child’s play people. Try not committing to ANYTHING, ever, as your life’s work. Routine, consistency, commitment, stillness…all of it is like kryptonite to me. I’m amazed I’m still with my current girlfriend (it’s been nine months which is like nine years for me).

I have yet to join a club, organization or class, and stick with it for more than a month. I have also managed to avoid a permanent place of employment throughout my twenties and into my mid-thirties. The list of careers I have either attempted so far include, but are not limited to: joining the peace corps, working on a boat, becoming an ordained minister, being a massage therapist, homeopath, acupuncturist, psychiatrist, naturopath, bike mechanic, addiction counselor, hermit, herb farmer, stripper, dominatrix, queer porn actor, houseboy, dancer, choreographer, yoga teacher (that is still something I’m looking into) and many more.

I’ve also made several attempts at figuring out how to make a living hanging out in the desert or the beaches of Hawaii and Australia (I’m actually still looking into those). All of this is to say my passions and interests vary, and rarely stick. So if I can’t even choose a life path then how in the hell am I going to meditate even three minutes a day (my goal each morning when I wake up)?

People often blame New York, saying it breeds this sort of behavior in folks. I hear over and over that there is so much variety here – so many paths to choose – that people take on too much. I’ve come to believe it isn’t New York that makes people this way – rather, it’s a mecca for people who already have this monkey-mind-I-love-to-be-busy-and-do-as-much-as-possible quality in them. New York is where busy people come to get off on being busy.

How does this relate back to the PP? My digestion got really fucked up when I lost a long-term freelance job, around the same time my friend suggested mediation to me. And what I’ve learned about pooping, or lack thereof, is that if your mind isn’t settled, calm and in harmony with your body, then the rest of your body will not function properly.

This is an illustration of the direct link between mind and body. If your mind is scattered and frantic, then your digestion will be scattered and frantic and too – thus, constipation (and lots of other symptoms that come under the umbrella term IBS).
In Ayurveda this is called a ‘vata’ imbalance. Vata is ether and air. It is a quality within each of us that is light, cold, rough, dry and constantly moving. It is located in the mind and pelvis. You can’t always see ether and air but they are there.

So how to address this imbalance? I have learned to find a calm, grounded place for my mind through meditation and yoga. For me, sticking to routine as much as possible also helps. Any divergent from my morning or evening routine means no PP for me. I seriously need two hours each morning of quiet time – no talking, no rushing to get ready, no looking at lots of crap on the internet – in order to properly evacuate my bowels.

My girlfriend and I recently made an agreement to block Facebook from our lives and to have silence in the morning to either sip warm water or do pranayama, and that has helped a lot. When I still get eczema every now and then, I know the feedback my body is giving me is that a time of retreat will do me some good – in addition to upping my dosage of probiotics and blood cleansing herbs.

As for finally settling on a career as an Ayurvedic practitioner? Using the practice to heal myself and my poop has shown me that it’s my dharma to share Ayurveda with others. Oh wait. Or is my path simply to become a yogi, practicing svadhyaya in the mountains of northern India? For now I commit to listen to my body and follow its guidance.

Have you found a way to do the PP too? We’re all yogis here, so come share your stories on Twitter, Instagram (maybe not your photos tho) and Facebook

Find out more about Wolf Medicine here.

MATERIAL GIRL, MYSTICAL WORLD: AMANDA MOON JUICE

Her juices have a cult following on the West Coast…and she’s basically a total babe. This week’s Material Girl is Moon Juice founder Amanda Chantal Bacon, here’s a peek into her Mystical and super stylish World…

Amanda Chantal Bacon shot by Tasya van Ree

What was your entry point into healthy food and juicing?
Healthy and body specific eating began around age five with a divine intervention by an ayruvedic doctor. The gateway to serious juice drinking was an apple lemon ginger green juice.

What’s been the most transformational part of your own foodie journey to date?
It really dates back to that doctor, who pulled me aside and had me stop eating sugar, wheat and cow’s milk when I was five years old. It turned out to be life defining. This has all been enhanced by working as a fine dining chef, traveling the world’s farmers markets, and experiencing peasant traditions.

How does this tie into your path as a spiritual being?
My meditative practice and life experiences are directly affected by the foods I eat. When I’m juicing and eating light sattvic foods, I can tune in and slip out to other dimensions within seconds. I don’t drink any more for this reason, but even eating heavier, cooked foods and meat just adds some time and pranic work to getting the cosmic high. I would have to say that there was a real shift in my spiritual perception when I made a deep commitment to clean eating and drinking.

What’s in your fantasy juice?
Love this question…It would be white peaches pressed into fig leaves drunk on a dock in the summertime on Lake Como.

:: M A T E R I A L   G I R L ::

My label
Black Crane

Black Crane AW14

My shoes
Celine

Celine SS15

My fragrance
Rose oil from India

Roll on fragrance oil by Jurlique

My jewels
Pink opals

Pink Opal ring, $115 by Max and Chloe

My pampering
Colonics

My food
Raw chocolate

Fine & Raw chocolate truffles, $28

My home

Earthy mid century modern

:: M Y S T I C A L   W O R L D ::

My awakening 
Breath of Fire

My sign
Aries sun, Aquarius moon, Scorpio rising

My mantra
Sat Nam

My healer
My son, Rohan

My reading
Pema Chodron is who I turn to when I need some grounded advice and a good strong shoulder

The wisdom of Pema Chodron…

My mission
Bringing love and beauty to us all with plants

My transformation
Is a daily process, and I’m on a particularly ripe and juicy part of the ride…

Shop the full selection of juices and cosmic provisions at Moonjuiceshop.com, and follow Amanda @moonjuiceshop

THE NUMI YEAR IN REVIEW: BEST OF 2014

2014 has been a year of SELF-EXAMINATION, TRANSFORMATION and ADVENTURE! Here are 11 posts that made us laugh, gasp, cry…and take a good long look at our lives from the inside (listed in no particular order of awesomeness).

1. YOGI VEGAN LEZ: DIARY OF A DETOX A DEUX

The yoga was the fun part…

When Alexandra Roxo decided to embark on a hardcore nine-day Ayurvedic cleanse, she had no idea her girlfriend would decide to come along for the ride. Cue tears, tantrums and an ocean of emotion.

2. TURNED ON: THE TANTRA OF ONLINE DATING

Dancing between masculine and feminine…

Ellie Burrows is pretty sure she’s discovered the secret to online dating. And it’s Tantra. Not super-connected, total body orgasm, tantric sex – rather the energetic concept that makes that kind of sex possible: a balance of the masculine and feminine energies.

3. NEED-TO-KNOW: YOUR SPIRIT POWER ANIMAL

Feel so much more powerful knowing he’s on my side…

Dealing with a situation that had left her feeling vulnerable and alone, when Ruby Warrington met her spirit power animal last year…it got emotional. Here’s how to connect with your own beast of the wild unknown.

4. TO SKINNY DIP OR NOT TO SKINNY DIP: KNOW YOUR YOGA RTREAT ETIQUETTE

No hiding behind your hair all week…

Yay, you’re going on a yoga retreat! You want to get the most out of your experience, right? Who better than Heather Lilleston and Kumi Sawyers fromYoga For Bad People to lay down some summer retreat etiquette. We’re talking less freaking out, more more F.U.N.

5. KUNDALINI CALLING: HEAVEN ON EARTH WITH GURU JAGAT

Guru Jagat shot in Venice Beach by Lisandra Valazquez

Guru Jagat is the outspoken face behind the Ra Ma Institute, the only all kundalini yoga studio in California’s Venice Beach. She talks to Madeline Giles about her vision for the Age of Aquarius, life on the 33rd parallel and outsmarting the Global Elite. Conspiracy theories or conscious debate?

6. DARK FAIRY DELIRIUM: WHAT IT FEELS LIKE TO BE A GEMINI

Image by Bela Borsodi for Document Journal

Right after a powerful New Moon in multi-faceted Gemini, gifting us an opportunity to embrace the quicksilver side of ourselves, Nadia Noir gives an insight into a life spent searching for “the other me.”

7. THE NU RULES: ATTRACT THE RIGHT RELATIONSHIP FOR YOU

See yourself through your lover’s eyes…

Can’t seem to attract the right relationship? It’s not him, honey, it’s you. Jennifer Kass re-writes The Rules, beginning with a lesson in self-love…

8. 26 LIFE LESSONS MY BURNING MAN EXPERIENCE TAUGHT ME

Ruby and her husband Simon on the Playa…

Connfession: My Burning Man Experience was too full-on to be called fun, says Ruby Warrington. But when it comes to life lessons, a week on the Playa delivered pure gold.

9. SPIRITUAL AWAKENING: THE REBIRTHING OF BROOKE CANDY

Image: Brooke Candy’s Instagram account

Lessons in Kabbalah with Madonna and a “little spiritual trip to Hawaii.” Brooke Candy tells Ruby Warrington how following a more “soulful” path has been a lesson in self-love…

10. BEYOND BFFS: HOW TO CREATE A COVEN

Cara and her coven, photographed by Richard Bush for i-D magazine

Something very special happens when women come together in ceremony. Erin Telford explains how to create a Coven – and bonds that run deep as blood.

11. ORGASMIC MEDITATION: INSIDE THE CULT OF CLIT

Orgasm as spiritual exchange…

Empowering women’s movement, or de facto sex cult? Dani Katz gets intimate with the practise known as Orgasmic Meditation…

NOTES FROM THE NUMIVERSE: MOON SIGNS AND THE EMOTIONAL BODY

Last week’s New Moon in Cancer felt like a tipping point for some major personal transitions. And all because I womaned-up, learned to love my Moon and embraced my emotional body. By Ruby Warrington.

When I first met Marma Katie a few months back (as in Ayurvedic “marma” massage – she’s the go-to girl among my NYC Numis), she started telling me all about her Moon Puja. We were at the launch of Nadya Andreeva’s Happy Belly book, which felt like a fitting place for a discussion about an ancient spiritual fasting practice designed to support your mental and emotional balance, while also easing any issues with the digestive system (unsurprising that the emo Moon rules the gut).

The Puja, which is performed every Monday (yup, Moon-day), involves taking only clear or white liquids from sun up to sun down, at which point you chant your Moon mantra, light a candle and break the fast with a small white cookie, sweet or piece of cheese.

“It’s for anybody who’s Moon, or mother energy, is in a compromised position in their chart,” Katie explained. As the Moon also rules the feminine principal, “treating mainly women on a Monday, particularly mothers and grandmothers, has become part of my practise too,” she went on.

We didn’t go into the details of her Moon placement there and then, but obviously our conversation got me thinking about my Moon, which I’ve been feeling very tender towards lately – to the point that Moon signs have become my latest astro obsession.

Representing the mother, as well as our emotional body, my Cancer Moon sits directly square (challenges, tests, inhibits) my Sun, in my intense eighth house (death and rebirth, sex and money). Even more “compromising,” it’s in a tight aspect conjunct Saturn (self-sacrifice, patience, austerity). Poor little Moon! Um, perhaps the Monday Puja was for me too?

 

Turns out that in Vedic astrology (relevant because the Puja is an Ayurvedic practise) my Moon is in my ninth house, and is actually “very, very blessed” – this info via text from Marma Katie’s astrologer out in LA. “Your mom is kind of like your guru, though she’s very tough. She’s a truth teller. Not always fun, but at least you know where you stand,” he told me.

Uh…word. She’s also a Jungian psychotherapist, and so let’s just say that conversations can get pretty deep, pretty fast. There’s not a lot of space for small talk in our relationship (but hey, at least we know each other’s deepest, darkest insecurities).

So anyway, no Puja for me. I have to say I was a little bit disappointed, as I quite liked the idea of a diet of coconut water and cauliflower soup one day a week – plus I’d already been eyeing up this pearl ring, as you’re supposed to wear a piece of jewelry to rep the Moon energy too. But all my research has actually felt like part of an on-going process of getting to know my Moon, which has been a healing journey in itself.

I first began to understand my Cancer Moon on the Astro Twins’ Become Your Own Astrologer retreat last year. Cancer is ruled by the Moon, which I interpreted as a double whammy of sensitive, watery, intuitive energy – and sitting right below disciplinarian Saturn, in that medieval eighth house, first I wanted to make it my scapegoat. “Moon, it’s your fault I get so insecure about money. Moon, it was you who let my first boyfriend use sex as a weapon of control. Moon, you’re the reason I have such an emotional digestive tract!”

But I quickly got over all that self-pitying bullshit, and realized I should actually welcome my emotionally empowered Moon as a soulful counterpoint to all the fire in my chart (Sag rising, Aries Sun and a Chinese Fire Dragon to boot). “Do you sing?” asked one of the other women on the retreat. Apparently all the divas – Mariah Carey, Diana Ross, Aretha Franklin – are Aries with Cancer moon. In other words, walking egos with serious soul 😉

And actually, my first conscious effort to bring forth my Moon energy was an East Village karaoke session with the Twins soon after the retreat. Usually enough to bring on a mild anxiety attack at the mere thought, but surprisingly empowering in the moment.

Of course, with Saturn RIGHT THERE my hardest lessons happen to be where my Moon is (all the money stuff, the sex stuff, the personal power schtick). But I’ve also come to understand that she, along with my girl gang of incredible female friends, is there to nurture me through them. And that confronting my most emotionally painful, most basic truths (safe in the knowledge that my courageous Aries Sun is also right there by my side) is the fast track to some seriously high vibe eighth house transformations – not least when it comes to my relationship with my mother. It also makes sense that the energy surrounding last week’s New Moon in Cancer felt like a tipping point for many of these transitions.

So where’s the Moon in your chart? If living a richly textured life is about connecting mind (as I see it, your Sun), body (rising sign) and soul (the Moon), then embracing your Moon and all it has to teach about your emotional life is an essential part in bringing your whole self to the table – in life, in love, 24-7.

Once you’ve downloaded your personal birth chart, click here for a full interpretation of the Moon in each house.

COUPLES THERAPY: DIARY OF A DETOX A DEUX

When Alexandra Roxo decided to embark on a hardcore nine-day Ayurvedic cleanse, she had no idea her girlfriend would decide to come along for the ride. Cue tears, tantrums and an ocean of emotion.

Alexandra (right) and her girlfriend Orian after the cleanse

I was a bit nervous about telling my partner about the detox. We’d only been together five months, after meeting at a karaoke bar in Koreatown where I was instantly drawn to her off key rendition of “Stand By Your Man.”  Since then, we’d been falling in love over wine, croissants, late night snacks, drunken dancing…you know, the general dietary rule breaking that happens when you’re in a state of hormone induced euphoria. So deciding to put the brakes on the fun, so to speak, was a bold move. Especially seeing as we were moving in together a week later.

But I’ve always been one to take risks and do things in extremes, so I went with it. To my surprise, my girlfriend’s response was “I want to do it too.” This caught me very off guard because a) she’s more religious about her nightly cigarettes and wine and her morning coffee than her Jewish heritage, and b) I had been planning spending the week wearing mumus and listening to Enya while journaling, and never imagined doing it in front of my lover. Not to mention the idea of us both of being hungry/grumpy/gassy at the same time! Ew. I was hoping she’d be bringing me tea and holding down the emotional fort while I was the one being “transformed.”

Before the experiment

Okay, so what’s the big deal about a silly cleanse? Well THIS cleanse ain’t for the faint of heart. It’s a full on Ayurvedic experience, which includes rising with the sun, doing daily yoga, meditation and dream journaling, eating only two handful sized portions of vegan food at meal time, drinking your weight in greens, doing a three day juice fast, skin brushing, self oil massage, garlic liver flushes, kidney flushes, oil pulling, salt water colon cocktails. It’s basically its a full time job. But I did it last year and emerged glowing like a baby’s bum and happier than I’d felt in ages, so after this #$%^ing winter it was the medicine I needed. Plus with all the falling in love stuff (loads of white bread, recreational drugs…) I felt like I was in need of a full-on detox to get back on track.

What I wasn’t expecting was the emotional upheaval that occurred. Geez, not only had I stored up a few extra pounds this winter but also like, A LOT, of emotions. Four of my close friends also decided to do the cleanse and we were group texting about it all week. The word “meltdown” came up almost daily. Why were we all crying so much? Were we pms-ing? Nope. Were bad things happening? Not really, except not being able to eat. Shit just comes to the surface when you’re doing a detox, which I guess is why some people opt to take off work or go to a spa to do it. But alas, I’m not Lilo, so the closest I came was steaming up the bathroom and chilling in some epsom salts.

Couples cleansing: a balancing act

And of course, the meltdowns melted into my relationship. It began with me announcing I needed to be alone for the week and storming off in tears, and soon I was dividing the green powder and groceries in two as if I was the star in a reality show about cleansing. I also cried pretty much every day as I released fears about all the attempted relationships gone awry in the past year. And I’ve already gone to therapy and done a peyote ceremony to try and work through that shit.

But those past heartbreaks and insecurities came rushing to the surface with a vengeance with every organ flush I did. And all of a sudden my girlfriend was angry at me! I’d “taken away” her freedom and her ability to be herself (i.e. eat when she wanted to). She grew resentful of me as I asked her; “Did you read the cleanse booklet?” and reminded her “wait, you can’t drink out of the faucet!” As she was too embarrassed to admit she was having these feelings, she just got really cold and distant until I broke down and cried into my turmeric stained hands. (As an aside: she said she didn’t cry at all, but later admitted to sobbing while watching a film about low income housing in Israel. I mean…) It’s an emotional thing, this cleansing.

Very dark green juice

In the dark alone time while staring at my garlic olive oil slurpee, I found myself challenging and questioning everything about the relationship. Everything. No stone remained unturned. The cleanse had forced me to get REALLY real with myself, and now there was no turning back and nothing to hide behind. No robust red wines, no morning coffee in bed, no trips to the bakery on the corner holding hands like we were in some 1990’s rom com. No spontaneous nights getting stoned and laughing ‘til you pee your pants and pass out holding a bag of Doritos. None of that!

You’re just raw. Real. Without frill. Looking tired, feeling grumpy, stinking of garlic and coconut oil. And actually, an honest look at yourselves as individuals and as a couple is pretty much the best gift you can give your relationship. Detoxing together as a couple is hard, but worth it. You don’t have to cleanse your colons together or scrape each other’s tongues, but making a goal and seeing each other for who you are without all the other stuff is a risk that – hopefully – will only deepen your bond.

Here are some tips for doing a detox for couples and not fucking up your relationship:

  • If you’re fully addicted, the first few days without coffee are bad. You may get evil, so maybe take this time alone to yourself and try to start on a weekend when you can scream underwater or hide in a closet.
  • Do not micromanage your partner. If you know more about cleansing than them etc, it’s easy to say things like, “wait that apple’s not organic!” before snatching it out of their hand and throwing it across the room. Just don’t.
  • Be gentle on yourself. Be gentle on each other. Ride the emotional ups and downs like a pro surfer and don’t do anything rash. Just breathe and imagine yourself in that exotic spa, staring at an extremely overpriced juice while gazing at a partial ocean view.
  • Resist the urge to send a photo text asking “does your poop look this green?” Just ask Google instead, please.

Alexandra Roxo is a Brooklyn-based filmmaker. She and her business partner Natalia Leite have a company called Purple Milk that makes all kinds of fun stuff. See more here: Drinkpurplemilk.com

Their new web series Be Here Now-ish, which chronicles the spiritual pilgrimage of two girls’ from NY to LA , will be premiering April 10 on Beherenowish.com

Follow more from Alexandra and Orian @yogi_vegan_lez