As the Solstice brings us to the brink of major cosmic balance, the Temperance card invites us to recalibrate, alchemize, and make ourselves available for subtle shifts, says Melinda Lee Holm …
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 …
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 …
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.
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.
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.
:: MATERIAL GIRL ::
Mother of Pearl dresses and anything vintage!
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.
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.
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!
Massage all the way! Particularly with oils, deep tissue, and any Ayurvedic massage.
All I need is a comfy (and big!) bed and my three dogs and I’m home.
…is everything! Tasty comfort food, loads of flavour, global inspiration—with a touch of Ayurvedic magic.
:: MYSTICAL WORLD ::
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!
Slow down and breathe! I’m very Vata—airy and ungrounded.
The philosophy of Ayurveda, which includes food, meditation, mindfulness—it’s all about balance.
At the moment I’m reading Real Love by Sharon Salzberg. I love a feel-good read that reminds me what life is about.
Discovering Ayurveda over 10 years ago.
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.
Mastering the art of wombifestation is the real secret of the law of attraction, says Latham Thomas—PLUS Ruby Warrington shares 3 ways to start wombifesting today …
The womb is receptive, soft, and a container for cultivation. And the act of creating something from that place, of accessing our womb space and drawing to us that which we most desire, is called wombifestation.
It’s the opposite of the manifesting power that so many modern spiritual leaders and thought-leaders talk about. Manifestation has become correlated with “making it happen,” whereas wombifestation means simply “letting it happen.” It’s an act of fierce allowance, of saying “yes” to what you want and letting it come, whether it’s a job, a romantic partner, a new car, a baby—simply envisioning, and holding space for it.
There is tremendous value in being a go-getter, getting things done, making shit happen. Both men and women can be very skilled in this arena. But there are qualities within us women that can be enhanced by also acknowledging the uniquely feminine force of receptivity. We have this other force working in our favor, and we should play to that. And I’d also like to note that you don’t have to have been born with a uterus or currently have one to embrace this concept.
This feminine force is magic, and employing it is a powerful way to walk through life. It is the magic of owning your glow.
Now, I am not simply advocating that you pray for what you want, kick back and relax, and expect that you will get it. “The Universe will provide” philosophy has also been misapplied by many who believe that you can simply ask for what you want and it will be handed to you, with no work involved. My philosophy is much more dynamic than that.
You can’t be lazy when you want something; being receptive is an active state of being. In nature, the spider makes weaving her web a meditation and focuses on creating a vortex of energy that draws the prey to her. She doesn’t go out to hunt it. She dwells in the certainty that when she does her part, Mother Nature does the rest, and food will be provided.
Observe how flowers use their beauty and fragrant scent to seduce the pollinators. Flowers can’t pull up their roots and go proliferate on their own. They depend on the insects and animals to help spread their pollen, so they use stillness to create an energy vacuum to draw the bees, birds, and butterflies.
Have you ever been so laser-focused on something, yet it seems to elude you? And then, once you forget about it and focus on something else, it seems to find its way back into your orbit? Do you think this is a coincidence?
Like most feminine processes, choosing to simply let things happen is powerful, and yet it can be seen as a form of weakness. In a culture obsessed with conquest and control, we’ve forgotten the very basics when it comes to the law of attraction. When you let it happen, you, my dear, are at the helm.
Instead of spending energy actively hustling and pursuing the desired outcome, you summon it, you invite it forth. You stir the pot, and you make the space for it—so that the vision blooms within you and becomes reality. Like a spider with her web, you create the very vacuum that invites the opportunity to occur.
3 WAYS TO GET WOMBIFESTING TODAY by Ruby Warrington
1// Clear your cal. Having my Google cal stacked back-to-back sometimes feels like a badge of honor to me. Like, “wow, look at how in demand I am,” or “check out what a boss I’m being taking all these meetings.” But I can also feel the way it makes my belly clench (yep, all the way down in my womb), as the quieter, softer voice of my inner knowing, asks, “but what about some time for me?” In the same way, if I look at the coming week and there are big empty stretches in my calendar, the sense of inner peace is palpable.
Cultivating more of this feeling of peaceful groundedness is what wombifestation is all about, and one way to do this is to simply block off time in your cal to give you some (deep belly) breathing room. Maybe even literally if you use this time to meditate, bringing your attention and focus back to the things that truly matter to you. You could also use it to nap, to play with your cat, to cook, or even to masturbate! Not activities we’re generally taught are part of a “successful” life, but all of which are about stoking the fires of your feminine essence.
2// Ninja your to-do list. To help you work out what to remove from, write down all a list of all the actions connected to what you are currently manifesting. If it’s a work thing, this might mean meeting with X amount of people, pitching Z, or going to Y networking events. In a romance scenario, it could be your commitment to going on how ever many dates per week. For each one, write down the actual progress you’ve seen as a result of each. Now write out the big “successes” you’ve had, and the actions (or not!) that had the most impact on them occurring.
This could help you get super clear about all the places you’re leaking energy on activities that aren’t actually in service of your desired outcomes. That just make it look like you’re “trying.” Lol—is it any coincidence that the word “trying” can also mean: “” (from the Miriam Webster Dictionary)?! Wombifestation is about “trying” less and “trusting” more.
3// Embrace boredom. We live in a world that’s basically designed so that we are never bored. I witness myself do it all the time—the minute there’s no immediate action to be taken, conversation to be had, or piece of information to be processed, I reach for my phone and either hit up Instagram, start a text chat with somebody, or open a browser to start researching yet another new idea I had the other day.
Which can all make life feel very full and exciting and productive … not to mention shrink time to where it feels like there’s never enough. When we’re here, there, and everywhere, there is no time to recharge. No opportunity for our energy reserves to become replenished to the point of overflowing (out of us and into our wombifestations). It sounds counter-intuitive, but in the Now Age we have to actively make space for boredom. Time for our minds to wander and just be. This is the vortex. THIS is where the magic happens.
Intro excerpted from OWN YOUR GLOW: A Soulful Guide to Luminous Living and Crowning The Queen Within by Latham Thomas.
Whatever Donald Trump—the Divine Feminine is RISING! Ruby Warrington talks to Rebecca Campbell about her new book Rise Sister Rise, and hears why it’s time for the Wild Woman to be heard…
RUBY WARRINGTON: Your background is in advertising—what are the secret cues in advertising messages that have blocked the rise of the Divine Feminine?
REBECCA CAMPBELL: Wow, this is a BIG question. Generally speaking though, patriarchal society (which is exaggerated in advertising and the media) has tried to contain women to fit into a limited number of socially acceptable archetypes: the Maiden and the Mother.
There has been very little representation of the Wise Woman—the woman who is not afraid to share her voice, who cannot be contained, or restrained of the Crone, who becomes wiser and more potent with her years.
Advertising is also based on making the product a hero—which means exaggerating a problem it is designed to “solve” (often perpetuating fears). For example, when talking about periods, it’s about being discreet. When talking about aging, it’s about halting this natural process. So you can see how we’ve been taught that embracing the cyclic nature of being a woman is “a problem.”
RW: Was there an “aha” moment for you in terms of focusing on this work with your new book?
RC: I was very much in my feminine when writing my first book, but I soon realized I had no idea how to run my business from the this place. A career girl who learned to make it in man’s world, I reverted to the old patriarchal ways of being the hard worker, the warrior, the good girl. Of using pressure not pleasure as my driving force. Of putting my service to others above service to myself.
My client sessions were booking out six months in advance, and I kept promising myself that I would tend to filling my well when things quieted down. But days turned into weeks, and weeks into months. I became increasingly aware that it was not possible to bloom all year round and that there had to be a different way.
Then I had a dream that was just so real, I woke myself up mid sob. In the dream I had a baby—and everyone was in awe of her because she never ever cried. But because she didn’t cry, a whole week passed without her being fed. Guilt-stricken, I scooped her up and brought her to my breast. As I looked down at her face I saw myself, my mother, and all the women in my family.
I then checked my phone and discovered a text from my dad to call home because mum had breast cancer. Later, I looked up the metaphysical meaning of her illness, and discovered that it can be to do with a refusal to allow ourselves to receive and be nourished.
I saw how even though I had left the corporate world, I was still operating this way too. So I cleared my diary for a week and went to the Chalice Well Gardens in Glastonbury—to fill up my inner well at the mother of all wells. It was here that I heard the first whispers of Rise Sister Rise.
RW: Who and what have been key figures and teachings for you in terms of awakening the Divine Feminine in you?
RC: There are so many! Maya Angelou, The Magdalenes, Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Christiane Northrup, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Marion Woodman, Sally Kempton, Starhawk, Gurumayi Chidvilasnanda, Alexandra Pope, Monica Sjöö and Barbara Mor.
RW: You talk about the importance of healing our relationships with our mothers—why is this? And what has been your own experience of this?
RC: We receive a blueprint of what it means to be a woman from our mothers, and often the relationship we have with her will be mirrored in how we see the world. How held we believe we are by Life. How to give and receive love, nourishment and support.
When we heal our relationship with our mother, we have the opportunity to heal and connect ourselves to Mother Earth in the process. To let our own inner rhythm sync back into harmony with the rhythm of the planet and of all life. We are also able to give ourselves the mothering that we need, and are able to show up to life full rather than looking at the world and other people to fill us up.
RW: In what other ways do you bring your inner Wild Woman forth in your day-to-day life?
RC: First, by acknowledging my fears and feelings when they surface—no matter how inconvenient, uncomfortable, crazy or embarrassing (I’ve got an amazing whatsapp group of ladies where we hold the space for us to do so without judgment—there are A LOT of emoticons).
I then work on transmuting these feelings through creative expression (rather than pushing them down). This could be through dance (Sia is great for this) or some form of creation such as writing.
And finally, by really honoring the wild woman phase of my monthly cycle (PMS time). I have learned that if I push down what’s rising in me and what is falling away during this time, I will probably find a destructive way of keeping myself contained and restrained such as overeating or having a few too many glasses of wine.
RW: In what ways do you think the rise of the Divine Feminine is already creating a shift in society?
RC: I believe it is becoming safer than ever for her to be seen and heard. We can see her in Michelle Obama, and in shows such as Girls. We can see her at work as women rise together in collaboration rather than in competition. With every new woman who rises, by following her intuition, claiming her power, and sharing her voice, she makes it easier for another woman to follow her lead.
This era of history has been prophesized by the mystics and sages of all the ages, and I believe that social media and the rise of the female entrepreneur has had a lot to do with this coming to pass. It’s becoming easier for women to come together in circle, to collaborate, and to unite.
RW: And what do you think differentiates this movement from, say, the 1970s feminist movement?
RC: To me, the rising feminine is feminism of the soul. And as we recover from the past few thousand years (!) of patriarchy, I believe it is important not to seek its polar opposite—to move from patriarchy to matriarchy. Rather, it is time to bring the sacred masculine and sacred feminine energies back into balance. As the sacred feminine rises, may the sacred masculine rise along with Her.
RW: Looking 20 years into the future, what do you think the bigger impact of a feminine uprising could be?
RC: I believe if we all honor the cyclic nature of our bodies and of life, the planet will go back to a state of harmony. We see ourselves as separate from nature but that is just not true. We are part of nature but so many of us have disconnected ourselves from it—and in doing so, we have disconnected from both The Great Mother (Earth) and from ourselves.
The sooner we surrender to our own cyclic nature (for example: for women, our monthly cycles are connected to the waxing and waning of the moon), the sooner this planet will move back into balance. I do believe it is possible and I do believe that we are all being called to surrender to this calling before it is too late.
Rise Sister Rise: A Guide to Unleashing the Wise, Wild Woman Within is out now on Hay House. Rebecca Campbell will also be joining Numinous Founder Ruby Warrington and Madeline Giles of Angelic Breath Healing for a special event in NYC on 11/11 2016. Full details to be announced!
The message of the Capricorn Full Moon is to create structures that allow you to honor and protect your most emotional self, says Sandra Sitron.
We experience a Capricorn Full Moon on July 19th at 6:57pm EDT.
THE MOON AND ITS MESSAGE
“We can be parents to ourselves by adoring and providing for our own Inner Child. Let’s figure it out. Let’s help ourselves grow.”
A Full Moon always creates awareness between two opposite energies. And since it requires a lot of energy to expand into greater awareness, Full Moon vibes are always active, outward, and high-intensity.
The opposite energies involved in this Full Moon are: Sun in Cancer and Moon in Capricorn.
The ancient archetype of Cancer is Mother. Cancer teaches us to actively nurture. Cancer is focused on the personal and the private. Emotions, home and family.
The ancient archetype of Capricorn is Father. Capricorn shows us the importance of building structures and organizations that can function efficiently. This energy teaches how to prioritize what is important to us. Capricorn is focused on the formal and public. Career, institutions, society.
And so the polarities of this Capricorn Full Moon have to do with home vs. professional life, and emotion vs. rationality.
When I did a journey to understand the energy of this Full Moon more clearly, the symbol that came through was: A lizard half submerged in water.
The lizard reminds us to slip down into our emotional waters. To center ourselves in our inner truth, yet adapt to our environment. To find a way to be fluid in where there is structure. To become so efficient and effective that we can remain emotionally robust.
And so any time your actions out in the world feel at odds with your emotional needs during this Moon phase, lean in to what feels self-supportive instead. For example, if you are feeling overwhelmed remember you can always soothe yourself with empathetic words.
To find balance in the beam of this Capricorn Full Moon, call in archetypical Mother and Father energy.
Protect yourself. Create structure in your life. Make sure you are safe and provided for.
It’s all about nurture and love. Show yourself how cherished you are. Give yourself unconditional love.
URANUS IN ARIES
“We are training the vine in a new direction. We are wild, free and autonomous. We take bold action in service of our growth.”
The Capricorn Full Moon also forms part of a T-square, with Uranus in Aries as the focal planet. The symbol that came through for this t-square aspect was: A duel in the wild west.
The Sun and Moon are in the signs that manage the emotional and the vocational. They are trying to reconcile with each other and are simultaneously in a tense aspect to Uranus in Aries—the planet of change in the sign of leadership. The energy of this moment is fraught. This intensity can feel like it leaves us with no option but to make hard and fast decisions, simply for the sake of survival. Impatience, and a desire to take action are running the show.
This aspect can feel like who you are and what you do are being questioned. It can feel like shifts need to be made immediately. Freedom becomes of utmost importance. I call this “eject button” energy. Something’s got to give and it’s got to happen now!
But whenever there is a T-square (which looks like an arrow in the sky, and holds both motivating and challenging energy) we can look to the sign that is unactivated to find resolution—the logic being that if three signs are activated, it’s like a table that has three legs and is missing the fourth. Thing’s are a little wobbly.
The signs that are activated right now are Cancer, Capricorn and Aries—while the unactivated sign (or missing table leg) is Libra.
Libra reminds us that relational skills are needed now. So to work with this Capricorn Full Moon, try to put yourself in other people’s shoes. Veer toward compassion. Communicate with diplomacy. If you get angry, go slow. Allow the adrenaline to subside before you speak. Unless you are facing a true emergency, know that you have time to breathe and decide rationally how to set a boundary.
MARS SEXTILE THE MOON
“We are comfortable with our light and our shadow. We support ourselves by allowing our emotions to flow.”
Action planet Mars is another supportive force for this Capricorn Full Moon. He makes a tender trine aspect to the Sun and a harmonious sextile to the Moon.
Mars is currently in Scorpio, reminding us that all the answers we are looking for are available when we dig deep. Go inward. Find the places in our body where old emotions have been stored. Mars in Scorpio gives us permission to let go. To cry. To go all the way down into our center, to where we feel feel grounded.
Feeling all the things we never let ourselves feel before actually helps us feel safe. To feel whole. It shows us that we are complete. This cathartic process of grieving and letting go is how we can mother ourselves through any conflicting emotions the Capricorn Full Moon may bring up at this time. Your job is to simply allow.
The symbol that came through for Mars sextile the Moon was: A magical cloak that can transport us to faraway lands.
Maybe there is some tool or technique you can use to heighten your experience in this world. Look around. Is there something you can utilize that’s actually right next to you? Something that can help you better navigate your emotional state? It may be a mindset, a meditation, a favorite healer, yoga practice or book. Open you eyes, your heart and your mind, and it will be be easy to find and emotionally supportive.
The symbol that came through for Mars Trine the Sun was: A very young tree growing straight toward the Sun.
This image helps us remember that we find true alignment in striving for our essential truth and nourishing our root system. If you are looking for motivation, pay attention to your emotions. Make peace with limiting beliefs around your family and ancestral system, where you came from. Make sure that you are tenderly telling yourself the whole truth about how you feel.
During this Capricorn Full Moon phase, which will color the two weeks ahead of the August 1 Leo New Moon, make unconditional self-love your guiding principal—and choose your actions accordingly!
Protect and nurture yourself. Be loving toward yourself and create efficient structures designed to make you feel supported. Break free where you need to, but not at the cost of what you have so carefully built. Give yourself time. Through bravely investigating your emotions you will find relief and understanding. You will find your truth and discover new ways to protect it.
An Immersion with my yoga preachers, an animal spirit out of balance, and an epic journey of self-discovery…
:: MONDAY & TUESDAY ::
I’m dedicating some extra space today to THE most incredible weekend with my friends at lululemon. “The Immersion” was a four-day experience in Austin, TX, hosted by lulu ambassadors Gabrielle Bernstein and Baron Baptiste—creator of mega transformational practice, Baptiste Yoga. And it came at the perfect time for me, since 2016 has been the year I’ve finally found a dedicated yoga routine, but have found myself yearning for ways to tap the spiritual side of the practice. As in, use it as a way to commune with the Universal oneness, y’all!
Well of course this is Gabby’s whole jam with her Kundalini practice, which she described to us (50 of the most switched-on, diverse and interesting disrupter-entrepreneur types I’ve had the privilege of spending some dedicated hang-time with—and what an HONOR to be numbered among them!) as bringing “physicality to my spiritual practice.” A long-time meditator, “I was always like, ‘how do I get my body involved?'” And I may not be the most dedicated K-head (“K” as in Kundalini, obvs), but every time I do practice I can be guaranteed some pretty out-there downloads from the energy I call “spirit.”
And then there was Baron, a prime example of a breed I’ve named the “yoga preachers.” Not in the sense that he’s preaching a certain way to be or dogma to believe. If anything, his philosophy centers around the concept of “santosha”—sanskrit for something like: “satisfaction with the status quo…tinged with curiosity for where this could go.” But he’s one of those teachers with a sixth sense about precisely the right words to deliver at precisely the right moment in the practice to unlock the door to the divine. That is, to an understanding of your Self as a limitless being of pure light consciousness. Hallelujah!
:: WEDNESDAY ::
A also brought along my new Wild Unknown Animal Spirit Deck, a.k.a. my favorite new toy. The card I pulled for guidance about my time at The Immersion? The Firefly—a flighty, creative energy that burns super-bright, but can easily burn out. Which sounds exactly like me—a major introvert—in full-on retreat mode. The suggestion to bring this energy into balance? “Write a poem.” Which I’ve actually never done before, but which has rapidly become my favorite thing! Kim Krans’s practical tips are one of the best things about the deck. Have you been using yours yet? I’d love to hear what you think.
:: THURSDAY ::
So Ellen Degeneres is a secret Numi. Um, going through the research for a recent interview I did with her uncovered the following evidence: she came out after a trip to spiritual development center Esalen, where, “What came up was: ‘would they still love me if I was gay?’ It made me feel ashamed that I was pretending to be something else, just to make people like me”; she’s a long-time advocate of Transcendental Meditation – “when your computer goes crazy, you just shut it down and when you turn it on, it’s okay again. That’s what meditation is for me”; AND in 2010 she founded a record company called eleveneleven. #materialgirlmysticalworld
:: FRIDAY ::
You guys—I’m so so close to handing in the final manuscript for my book! And writing it has been the most epic journey of self-discovery, something I was reminded of today when I re-worked the intro I wrote as part of my original proposal waaaay back in early 2015. From the overall tone, to my knowledge and understanding of all things numinous, the process crystalized exactly how much I’ve grown in the past 18 months—not least as a result of me literally living what I’ve been writing about. Which bodes well for the impact the finished result could have on YOUR lives, dear potential readers! Safe to say I’m fully psyched to share my baby with y’all next year.
Hello Libra moons! Yours is the reflecting Moon, the mirror of the heavens. If our Sun sign is what others see in us, our Moon sign is what we feel within ourselves. As such, partnerships are big for the Libra Moon sign – you need to feel seen, heard, and appreciated. You don’t have to be glued to a mate, but having close friends, colleagues and family to bounce ideas, attitudes and emotions off is a necessity.
Represented by the symbol of the scales, this Moon feels a deep need for harmony and balance in all areas of life. You are the peacemaker of the zodiac, and sometimes to a fault, going to great lengths to keep things copacetic at home or work. You are a firm believer in fairness and can genuinely feel like you’ve failed when emotional waters get choppy – even when it’s not your fault!
The Libra Moon can be guilty of going against your authentic needs and desires to make the people around you happy. Libra Moon so dearly wants to be loved and accepted, but it’s of no use if you’re not being authentic. You want others to love you for who you really are, so there can be an internal struggle to keep the peace. Even worse, the people in your life can feel mislead if you’re always being a “yes woman/man.”
So how do you find balance? You focus on YOU. You get honest with yourself about what you want in any given situation and build from there. People who really love and care for you will accept your truth even if it’s not what they want to hear. Your soul will only feel heavy and burdened if you always end up doing, feeling and being what you think others want.
So keep the order, but not at the expense of your soul. Focus on showing others how to treat you, by how you treat yourself. Also, practice the art of saying “no.” It sounds simple but for the Libra Moon it can be torture. It’s worth the effort though. It will show you and others you can create healthy boundaries.
Ruled by Venus, planet of beauty, the Libra Moon also has an eye for the aesthetic. An artistic flair. You will probably find symmetry, composition, and the skilled use of negative space extremely appealing. So make an effort to spend time getting artsy. Painting, photography, or even creating vision boards will fulfil the emotional need for visual harmony.
Since the Moon also rules our home environment, Libra moons need a safe, nurturing space without clutter. And with such a sensitive Moon, you really need a place that’s peaceful. Hectic energy will only drain you.
:: CHILD’S POSE ::
You will know your Libra Moon is off if you find yourself plagues with indecisive thoughts. My suggestion for those moments is to go within with a simple Child’s Pose. Feeling confused and stressed about a situation is usually a signal that you’re not listening to your heart. Get grounded by connecting to the earth. Let go with your breath. Give yourself the time and space to really listen to your inner teacher. Really think about what you want, and make your decisions from that solid, still place inside.
:: GET GROUNDED ::
Libra is an air sign so this also an intellectual Moon. Your thoughts and feelings can move like the wind, and you can get quite ahead of yourself! When things get a little too breezy it’s a sign to get grounded. Create a habit that you do everyday – maybe it’s warm lemon water in the morning, or writing in your journal at night. Just pick something simple and do it without fail. Keeping a routine will help calm some of the nervous energy that comes with being an air Moon sign.
In short, take time to honor yourself and the rest will fall into place!
This New Moon in Libra is gifting us the tools to fashion a beautiful and empowering reality, says Hannah Ariel Eckhaus. PLUS a Kundalini meditation to aid the process. Image: Mellisa Ristine
Monday October 12th we are being delivered an opportunity to get real clear, real fast! We are being gifted a liberating new moon at 19 degrees of Libra. What makes this New Moon particularly ripe with potential for intentions to fly is that it’s taking place in direct opposition to innovative Uranus in Aries! Uranus is THE liberator. Uranian energy is radically electric, vertical like lightening, offering us “ah-hah” moments like we’ve never had before.
Libra is an intellectual air sign so our conscious thoughts count big time right now. The New Moon in Libra appears to be asking not just for our intentions but our attention. Especially when it comes to seeing how our inner thoughts correlate and compose our external reality. After all, what is suggested to us in our thoughts defines all the actions we take in our waking life.
Post-eclipse season, this New Moon in Libra will ideally help us to fashion new, focused thought forms, that will in turn lead us into a new, focused reality! A reality that reflects a recently realized new ideal regards your identity – a part of yourself that perhaps you’ve compromised or forgotten over time in order to follow preconceived social graces. After all, Libra rules relationships, balance, posture – this sign is master in the art of appearances. The New Moon in Libra couldn’t be more happy to help liberate you, with the reminder that the way things appear absolutely depends on your direct participation.
There is always so much more going on beneath the surface. The key is to remain clear and calm enough in your reality so that your intentions can propel you forward into situations and relationships that will support what you have in mind for the future. What is being presented to you? And where do you really stand on this? If you don’t know, then how then how can you move forward in a way that will support you?
Now, through the astrological energy surrounding the New Moon itself, it’s as if the Universe is handing us the tools to answer these questions ever so quickly. Uranus, Pluto, Venus and Mercury are all here at work, to aid in the manifestation of a reality based on the genius, beautiful ideal within you! The opposition to Uranus is all about cracking open the code of what needs to happen next; the brilliant “oh my goodness!” moment, where the truth becomes strikingly clear.
At the same time, Pluto will be squaring this Moon. Pluto energy deals with subconscious patterns so ingrained, we can no longer remember when they became habitual. Pluto in aspect to this New Moon in Libra will be to our advantage, empowering us to break down deep rooted, re-occurring thought patterns that are, in all actuality, no longer serving our highest aspirations. Especially in regard to relationships. Especially in regard to what feels harmonious.
This may not feel as “nice” as Libra would like at first, but Pluto and Uranus absolutely will make sure that your New Moon intentions begin a process helps reorder our reality to illustrates a new ideal, one that you will be proud to look at from an objective point of view.
Along with these power players, Venus and Mercury are currently involved in what is called a “mutual reception” – when two planets are in one another’s signs of rulership. While Libra energy is ruled by Venus; Virgo energy is ruled by Mercury. Currently, Mercury is in Libra while Venus is in Virgo, ultimately activating the circuitry of our consciousness in a way that will assist our thoughts to better reflect our true values.
Also, Mercury will be conjunct the North Node at this time. Meaning, our destiny is in motion and it is utterly up to us to be clear in our thinking now, as it is the clarity and co-operation of our thoughts that will lead us forward. Prioritize and remain focused on what creates harmony – what sings to your inner self? What did you learn about yourself during that Aries Full moon eclipse? This is prime opportunity to put all your recent epiphanies to good use! Venus in Virgo is an earthbound energy that takes great satisfaction in arranging the details to serve a greater purpose. What details do you want to pay attention to?
Post eclipse season; post Mercury and Venus retrograde; it’s time to break on through to the other side of self-doubt and self-evasive compromise. Remain alert to your most beautiful ideal. Now, offer yourself a chance to see it through in reality.
:: MEDITATION FOR THE NEW MOON IN LIBRA::
A kundalini meditation designed to particularly detox the mind each morning is Sodarshan Chakra Kriya. In the teachings of Yogi Bhajan, Sodarshan Chakra Kriya is: “one of the greatest meditations you can practice. It has considerable transformative powers…giving the individual a new perspective on the Self. It retrains the mind…it can purify your past karma and subconscious impulses that may block you from fulfilling you…it balances mental projection…establishes inner happiness and a state of flow and ecstasy in life.”
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.
Sakara Life puts the sexy into plant-based cuisine. Founders Danielle DuBois and Whitney Tingle invite us into their Mystical Material world…
Sakara Life is like the final nail in the coffin for the notion that eating whole and plant-based is anything less than seriously sexy.
Founded by best-friends-since-grade school Danielle DuBoise and Whitney Tingle in 2011, Sakara is an all-organic meal delivery programme based in NYC, while the ladies themselves have become poster girls for the movement.
Yay hot blonde girls-about-town spreading the word that whole = food-for-the-soul! But beyond their obvious poster girl credentials (no surprises that Danielle is a former model), hailing from the hippie enclave of Sedona, Arizona, they totally walk the Numinous walk.
“We believe that health and well-being are dependent on several factors: nutrition, relationships, career and love for the self,” goes their philosophy. Which is also a lot about balance (read: eating right all week like totally cancels the vodka shots on Friday night, right?) Read on for a peek into the Mystical World of these pioneering Material Girls…
Sakara Life meal delivery plans start at $99 for a 1-day trial, and are available in these zip-codes on the East coast. The service will roll out in California in June 2015
:: DANIELLE DUBOISE // MATERIAL GIRL ::
My label: anything from a second-hand store
My shoes: chunky platforms
My fragrance: Jasmine+magnolia+rose
My jewels: Bliss Lau
My pampering: Borax baths
My home: The Line
My food: Plants
:: DANIELLE DUBOIS // MYSTICAL WORLD ::
My awakening: Kisses. I always start my morning with kisses
My sign: Gemini
My mantra: “Be the light, always”
My reading: Sakara Book Club
My transformation: learning to love my body again
My mission: To help everyone learn to feel good & sexy in their bodies
:: WHITNEY TINGLE // MATERIAL GIRL ::
My label: Hand me downs
My shoes: Cowboy boots
My fragrance: Vanilla
My jewels: Family heirlooms
My pampering: Energy facials with Maureen Dodd
My home: Sakara!
My food: High quality, fresh, straight from the earth
:: WHITNEY TINGLE // MYSTICAL WORLD ::
My morning awakening: Spending time being fully in my mind and in my body before sharing my energy with the outside world
My sign: Capricorn
My mantra: “What I think I create”
My healers: Maureen Dodd + Taryn Toomey + my mom and sister
My reading: You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay
My transformation: I don’t think I’ll ever stop transforming, or at least I certainly hope not! Change is essential
My mission: Help as many people in the world as possible feel GOOD
With a Mercury retro period and two eclipses to navigate in the coming weeks, is the Cosmic joke on us? Ash Baker shares a grounding and balancing yoga sequence for Libra, to foster harmony and equanimity in the chaos. Main image: Brittany Alcorn.
September 23rd to October 22nd
Anatomy: Kidneys and lower back
7th sign of the Zodiac
Venus, cosmic queen of love and the ruler of Libra will be energetically present throughout the heavens this month. This is a time to focus on cultivating harmony, balance and peace within your life. So much change is coming upon us. Mercury will retrograde from October 4th – 25th, during which time we’ll also experience a lunar eclipse on October 8th and a solar eclipse on October 23rd.
Now people tend to run for the hills when Mercury retrogrades, but personally I prefer to use this time to pause and deeply reflect on all the changes that may be occurring within you and around you. Those changes may come apparent as the eclipses also stop by to say hello.
Eclipses are known for removing something in your life, may it be a fear producing attitude, a toxic relationship, or whatever is blocking you from getting your dream job. Thankfully, all this cosmic drama is going down in the month of love and harmony. Use the Libran energy to find balance in the crazy, cultivating gratitude for what is, and peace with what isn’t.
The poses below have been chosen to help you find your inner calm and be your very own Venus.
Goddess Pose :: Utkata Konasana
Come into Tadasana, standing Mountain Pose, at the front of your mat. Step the right foot back as if you were about to do a lunge. Instead, turn your whole body to the right, making sure your torso is in the center, right above the pelvis.
Step both feet to a 45-degree angle, with the toes out and the heels in. Take a deep inhale and as you exhale bend your knees directly over your heels. Make sure your hips are in line with your knees. Bring your hands in front of your heart in prayer.
Allow yourself to feel the heat being created from the strength in your legs, and with each inhale imagine scooping up that fierceness from below and exhaling it into your full, gorgeous heart. Hold for up to one minute.
Warrior Two :: Virabhadrasana Two
Come back to Tadasana. Step the right foot back three-four feet. Turn your right foot to a slight angle with the toes out and the heel in. The left foot should be pointed forward.
Inhale and reach the arms up and out in line with your shoulders like wings. Your torso should be facing the right side, arms extended above your legs. Simultaneously exhale, and begin to bend the front knee so it lines up with the ankle. If you’re a beginner, lessen the bend in the knee but never take it further than your ankle.
Look directly along the length of your left arm, chin aligned with your left shoulder. If you gaze down, you should see your 1st/2nd toes. Make sure your torso is directly above your pelvis.
Reach your arms out wider and feel them lengthening. Press your feet down into the ground, gathering energy back into the body. Hold for 30 seconds, up to 1 minute. Come back to Tadasana and switch sides.
Cat / Cow Pose :: Marjaryasana & Bitilasana
Come to hands and knees. Make sure your hips are right over your knees and your elbows are directly above your wrists. Keep a slight bend at the elbows.
As you inhale, arch your spine and pull your chest through your shoulders creating an opening in your collarbones. The chest and the sitting bones reach upward.
Exhaling begin to tuck your tailbone, press the hands downward into the floor and round your spine. Feel your shoulder blades spread wide across the back. Repeat for five rounds.
Scales of Peace Meditation
Find a comfortable seat. Prop yourself up on a blanket so the hips are higher than the knees, creating a slight pelvic tilt. Take a moment to notice your natural breath, but don’t change it. Just soften into your energy.
After a couple of minutes start to deepen your breath by following a count of five seconds for the inhale and five seconds for the exhale. Really focus on expanding your belly on the inhale, and then drawing the belly button inward towards the spine on the exhale. Try five rounds of this deeper breath.
Now bring your hands to your heart and think of something in your life where you want to create balance. Hold that in your heart space for a moment. Then picture what it would look like if it were in balance. How would that feel? Keep breathing with that feeling.
Stay here for as long as you need and allow yourself to arrive at answers that may assist you in creating actual balance in your chosen issue. Try doing some journaling afterwards to create action-worthy ideas to help bring equanimity into your life.
Monthly Mantra: “I am the ruler of my own harmony.”
Who says you have to go meditate in a cave for days to find your true life purpose? Not Numi fave Gabrielle Bernstein, who’s new book Miracles Now offers 108 almost instantaneous tools for bringing less stress and more flow into your life. But do they really work, asks Ruby Warrington? Images: Chloe Crespi.
Gabby B isn’t exactly the kind of girl to sit around waiting for s*** to happen. A New Yorker through-and-through, when it comes to crossing off her to-do list yesterday is never soon enough. Same goes for attaining enlightenment – and her die hard fans are of the same mindset.
“I was finding a lot of people in my workshops would say, ‘but what can I do right NOW, I want to fix this today’. I think that the next generation of spiritual seekers want immediate change right now,” she says, over a lunch of salmon and cauliflower rice in her light-filled East Village apartment. And so she set about compiling a volume of all the tools she uses herself to bring peace, stability and a sense of inner knowing to her own fast-paced, inner city existence.
“A lot of it came through just living,” she explains. “Something would come up for me and I’d be like; ‘I have to put that in the book’. It’s all self-prescribed. Like I’ve had to practise saying “no” a lot lately – which was the inspiration for an exercise called #Sometimes NO is The Most Loving Response.”
A certified Kundalini yoga teacher, getting deep into this spiritual “technology” no doubt opened her eyes to the speed with which breath work in particular can create a shift in our internal (and therefore external) environment. She nods; “I included a lot of what I learned during kundalini teacher training – a lot of pretty ‘do-them-now’ meditations, but which all address pretty specific things we’re all faced with. Like the #Meditation to Prevent Freaking Out!”
But isn’t it kind of “spirituality lite”? How can repeating a two-minute mantra, or whatever, take the place of the deeper work that we’re often called to do to elevate our lives beyond the confines of our current situation? Her eyes widen; “Oh I am by no means suggesting bypassing the steps to look at deeper issues – I wrote three other books on that. But what I love about Kundalini in particular is that the small things that come up always have their root in bigger issues. It’s an invitation to go deeper.”
Which sounds like my invitation to put the theory to the test. Here’s how a week’s worth of Miracles Now played out for me.
Day one: #Value Yourself and the World Will Value You
I’m en route to London, on a work trip that represents a new challenge for me. Am I up to the job? This exercise, borrowed from spiritual money guru Kate Northrup, suggests writing down three things I value about myself so that the world can reflect that back to me. Mid-way across the Atlantic I fire up my iPhone notes app. “I have strong willpower which I use to keep healthy and direct my life the way I want.” “I have the ability to remain calm and positive in a stressful situation.” “My friendships are real and deeply felt.” YES – I can do this!
Day two: #Energize When You’re Short on Sleep
Ugh, jetlag. Gabby suggests doing a 15-minute shoulder stand – “which (Kundalini guru) Yogi Bhajan taught can equal two hours sleep because it relaxes you so deeply.” Unfortunately I didn’t bring my yoga mat, and getting into position on the hard wood floor of the apartment I’m staying in equals a major ouch. I stay up there for 60 seconds max – fail. (NB. should have noted option two, “simply lean your legs against the wall.”)
Day three: #Honor Your Commitments
This is a random one – Gabby suggests letting the book just fall open some days and seeing what “comes up for you,” and, fittingly, I get this on a day where I’m tempted to back out of a team bonding workout session with my London crew. I don’t have time to do the actual exercise – “make a list of the ways you may flake…the write a list of how this behavior affects others” – but I get the message loud and clear. I go workout, we bond, I feel great.
Day four: #Rest, Relax, Restore
Back in NYC, I’m feeling too amped from my trip (it was a success!) to sleep but I need to be on my A-game tomorrow. In this exercise Gabby introduces the “Yoga Nidra”, a deep relaxation technique that involves lying on your back and focusing on relaxing each body part individually, and then your body as a whole. “Do your best to stay awake,” she advises. But I’m asleep before I’ve even got as far as my left earlobe.
Day five: #A Meditation for Healing Addiction
I like to party, oh yes I do, and with some of my more cocktail-loving friends coming over for dinner I am bracing myself for a hard drinking evening – but with a full work schedule for the weekend, I have zero space in my diary for a hangover. Can this meditation help keep the white wine monster at bay? I am instructed to press my thumbs into my temples and repeat the mantra “Saa-Taa-Naa-Maa” for five minutes, while clenching my molars rhythmically together. Two beers into the evening, I open the Sauvingon Blanc (white wine monster: “screw the hangover, this is fun!”). But what’s this? No-body else is drinking that much. Could it be the meditation worked on them instead of me? I go to bed relatively sober, so success…sort of?
Day six: #Be More Childlike
Another random, and oh-so-fitting with that weekend workload staring me down. “It may seem counterintuitive, but one key to feeling more productive and satisfied is to step away from your responsibilities from time to time,” Gabby writes. Being more curious, more present and allowing yourself to daydream are ways she suggests to bring a more creative, childlike quality to the task in hand. I find myself adding “dance break” on my to-do list. Er, yay.
DO YOU HAVE ANY RECURRING DREAMS AND WHAT DO YOU THINK THEY MEAN?
“I have had flying dreams since I was a little girl. And carnival dreams. I think both mean that I’m destined for fun, fear and beautiful chaos.”
WHAT’S YOUR MORNING AWAKENING RITUAL?
“I take about 11 minutes of big, deep, full-body breaths upon waking. It helps to settle the barrage of thoughts.”
WHAT MANTRA DO YOU TRY TO LEAVE THE HOUSE WITH?
“Slow it down, Sister.”
WHAT’S YOUR LUCKY CHARM?
“I always travel with my little traveling Ganesh that was gifted to me by my friend, MC Yogi.”
IN WHAT WAYS DO YOU MOST EMBODY THE TRAITS OF YOUR SUN SIGN?
“As a Libra, I know I need balance. Most days I find I favor work over caring for myself, which is why I can speak so clearly about this need.”
WHO IS YOUR GO-TO GURU, AND WHY DOES THEIR WORK RESONATE WITH YOU?
“Hari Kaur Khalsa. She is in her early 50s, she is no-nonsense, fully dialed-in to her teacher and her teachings, and she makes herself completely available.”
AND THE HEALER YOU HAVE ON SPEED-DIAL?
“Louise Amar in NYC, who connects me to my own innate capacity to heal.”
HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH NEGATIVE THOUGHTS?
“I pay $1 for each one. Handel Group Coaching taught me that trick, and when something negative has a particular hold on me, I define it, tell my coach and pay $1 each time it comes up. I can usually cease those thoughts within 6 weeks.”
AT WHAT MOMENT IN YOUR LIFE DID YOU FEEL MOST IN TOUCH WITH YOU?
“The first moment I held my son, and whenever I finish a meditation.”
RETAIL THERAPY IS…?
“Food shopping. A huge food shop and a few hours to cook a meal is my medicine.”
WHAT’S YOUR POWER OUTFIT AND WHY?
“I love Lole and 51inc – both make super elegant clothes that are great for transitioning from/to practice or teaching. I should also add Wellicious and Prismsport. Prismsport makes a Missoni-esque pattern that is such fun.”
AND WHAT MAKES YOU FEEL BEAUTIFUL?
“When my boyfriend tells me I’m gorgeous, even with spots. A steam bath. A massage. 20 minutes in the sunshine. Green juice.”
YOUR LAST CONVERSATION WITH THE UNIVERSE WENT SOMETHING LIKE…?
“Thank you for putting me in the path of such stellar humans. I thank the Universe for that at least once a day.”
WHEN DID YOU LAST WITNESS MAGIC IN ACTION?
“When I read about my book being used to help teenaged girls love themselves!”
WHAT’S ON YOUR VISION BOARD RIGHT NOW?
“My son’s smiling face, a love note from him, my PANGEA ORGANICS catalog, a tarot card that says “MATURITY,” a page from my book, ART OF ATTENTION, a postcard from my film, ON MEDITATION, two malas – one from Blooming Lotus Jewelry and the other from Karuna Malas – and the schedule from my studio, VIRAYOGA.”
AND YOUR MISSION IN YOUR CURRENT EARTHLING INCARNATION IS…?
“In this order: To be the calmest, most calming mama to my kid; to love my family so they feel it; to make lots of teachers and Independent Pangea Organics Beauty Ecologists super wealthy through my own outreach; and to teach yoga that heals and uplifts.”
Thank you Elena, and namaste, Numi x
Images by Michael Chichi and Chloe Crespi, from the book Art of Attention.