2020 is flying by. I don't know about you, but I'm high on life! So far things feel great energetically and I'm open to whatever results from my present activities.
In February, I hosted and attended a few beautiful events. The first was an amazing restorative and pranayama workshop at Soulflower Yoga in Merchantville. A favorite pose of the people's was the reclining backbend, laying with a bolster under the back, head is relaxed, back on a block, knees are up and together, feet are flat, hands and arms are supported by the floor or blocks. I taught this pose in combination with Lion's Breath, tongue out and eyes up, to open the throat and balance the energy of the practice. We enjoyed 2 lovely hours of restorative relaxation with powerful pranayama (breath practices). I also co-hosted a cacao ceremony at the Venus Moon with The Nurtured Soul as Soul Blessings! It sold out with 14 attendees! Beautiful souls! We sang the lovely cacao song, had time to journal and everyone got a couple minutes of reiki and an entire hour of sound healing. The energy for me was very high, I felt uplifted and happy! I made the cacao at my house ahead of time. It is always an enjoyable process. I get to sing, give reiki and infuse lots of Metta prayer into the medicine.
On February 22, I attended the Mystical Soirée by Mystical Blossoms at the Rancocas Woods Creek Mercantile. I bought an all natural and amazing full moon soy wax candle and a Lakshmi bracelet from Relics Revisited; I met Lisa from Nature's Energy, whose work I adore and saw my friend Dorothy Claire, a magical crystal angel, whose creations and energy carries much healing light. That same day, I held space for healing at Yoga for Living for a dear friend of mine. The energy there is calm and inviting. Rhonda, the hostess, welcomed everyone with warmth and facilitated a meaningful healing ceremony.
The next day I met up with Tara Bozarth to connect over desires to share mindful practices with high school students. Tara and I are students of Spirit to Sole Connection's Community Herbalism School. She responded to last month's video about taking action to help our kids live happier, healthier lives. Tara is a mother of 3 young adults and shares many concerns I have about students' lack of empowerment and connection. It is our desire to bond a network of like minded activists that can combine our efforts to make a difference on this front. If you have resources to share about this or would like to join us don't hesitate to reach out or leave a comment!
Please share your events with me. I would love to attend and blog about my experiences with everyone!
Since January, I've been working in a new school and must explain my allergies in order to protect my health. Based on my experience, the focus is on the students and very little regard is given to the safety and health of the teacher. Most students don't truly understand this type of allergy and lack respect. In many cases, other faculty and staff are also as oblivious. I must say though, my current administrator seemed genuinely sensitive to it and open to advising me on how to proceed with the population about it. It is definitely a tricky situation when trying to get an entire community on board with something so foreign and unexplored. It is not my desire to convert people, just to keep myself as healthy and unexposed as possible while providing expert language and culture instruction.
Even though most allergies are not immediately life threatening, they cause inflammation and irritation that breaks down health over time. It amazes me how overlooked this is on so many levels in so many places.
It's true I suppose, that you can't demand people refrain from using fragranced products. It's a free country and it is my choice to keep this job. All I can do is make people aware and hope they respect at least my space, meaning not using scented products in my classroom.
I had to explain this to potential roommates for my home. It was a struggle because the majority of people have no idea that fragrance is a synthetic chemical that provides zero nourishment and is toxic to your body. I am very glad to have found a friend and roommate that respects my allergies as much as possible, to the point of using free and clear laundry detergent so my clothes don't get cross contaminated with the chemicals. I appreciate this so, so much.
In addition, I see many students affected by watery eyes, stuffy noses, distracted minds, shallow breathing, headaches and belly aches and so many disruptive symptoms. That is my inspiration for sharing what I choose to share. It is worth taking a look at what products they are exposed to, what foods they are eating, and how they are nourishing themselves inside and out to maintain balance during an important developmental phase of their lives. Growing children's hormones have a huge job to do. If their bodies are nourished with wholesome foods and practices that support a balanced immune and endocrine system, they will be happy and healthy.
Do you notice your kids experiencing inexplicable headaches, earaches, repeated ear or sinus infections, runny nose, sensitive skin, breakouts, acne or asthma? Even fatigue, distractedness and anxiety can be reactions, allergic or sensitive, to endocrine disrupting fragrance toxins.
I have always been allergic to fragrance and sensitive to strong products and all medicines. As a child my skin would rash or hive, my ears would get infections, and I had reactions to many medicines and products. Luckily, my mother supported holistic solutions. I was even allergic to gold and had a reaction three times while growing up trying to pierce my ears. Eventually I used silver and I am apparently not allergic to silver, just gold. Who knew?
Allergies to these ingredients cause quality of life hindering affects in one's life. However even for folks who don't have significant reactions, exposure to these toxins damage the body just as much.
Let's explore the topic of fragrance as a toxic ingredient. First I'd like to note how many products one uses that has fragrance in it. Do you even know how many you use? Some products might be obvious but others may not be. Many makeup products have fragrance or parfum... lotions, body products, candles, air fresheners, soaps, cleaners, wipes and even trash bags. It's adding up to be present in every room in the house! The hazard to this extreme exposure comes to life as it enters the bloodstream through inhalation or skin transmission and disrupts the body's natural flow. The ingredients "fragrance" and "parfum" are on the list of innumerable products. This ingredient is not regulated by ANYONE and can mean ANYTHING.
Marketing is the scary thing here. We are taught to think that clean has a smell, taught to think that laundry has to smell like rain, floors smell like orange and many other impressions people eat up and never question. This has been a long time presence in our society.
All natural living is now a trend in full swing. People WANT to use natural products and improve their health. But what is an all natural fragrance? (In my life, all natural fragrance means ESSENTIAL OILS and herbal infusions. End of story.) Even if something is labeled "natural", it doesn't have to be because the ingredient "fragrance" is not regulated whatsoever, so no one is checking them to verify that it is in fact naturally fragranced with integrity. (Please follow the link in the resources section for a detailed explanation)
Companies just want to sell you their product at premium prices. Whether the label says "natural fragrance" or "fragrance"outright, businesses are using toxic ingredients that exacerbate asthma, cause allergic reactions and disrupt hormones. Endocrine or hormone disruptors affect our reproductive organ health including the thyroid gland. When exposed enough, one experiences imbalances and irregularities related to the reproductive organs. The deeper you dive down this rabbit hole, you realize how many chemicals AND PLANTS disrupt the endocrine system and how many products expose us to them. Is it a big mystery why so many women get breast, uterine and thyroid cancer? So many men have erectile dysfunction and prostate cancer? When our sacred hormones are out of whack, so is our immune system and everything else. Having trouble sleeping, concentrating or even balancing? Endocrine disruptors can throw off any tiny nuance and ripple into stress, fatigue and many other complications.
I avoid fragrance as much as possible and have to make people very aware of my boundaries. If I am exposed to my allergens too much the reactions include burning eyes and nose, throat swelling, coughing, sneezing, earaches, chest and neck pains, hives, lips swell, headache or even stomach ache. It's too extreme to let go and has been a struggle to keep up with all the symptoms.
My method of supporting my body has evolved over time. My most useful tool to date is the neti pot. It clears out my upper respiratory pathways and clears my head. I had been using one for years before I realized that it's an ancient Ayurvedic practice for cleansing the third eye! I loved that. I also practice dry brushing which supports immune and endocrine health. These topics will be explored in future posts. :)
I also recently discovered the quercetin phytosome. I have been seeing a new healer. I went to her for neck and headache pains. She checked me out thoroughly and recommended I take quercetin phytosome which she provided for me to sample. It interacts with histamines in the body. After a few days of taking it I felt an incredible difference. Now this supplement is an absolute part of my day. That being said, I am not completely immune to other allergic responses. My neck pain is definitely better when taking quercetin, but my sinuses are still seriously affected. The neti pot helps that! (Please reach out if you would like me to refer you to my amazing holistic healer in Woodbury, NJ)
I am always open to learning about new possibilities to adjust my body's interactions with these toxins. If anyone in the audience has more to say on this, I am all ears.
More sources to explore
"Yoga International’s publisher, the Himalayan Institute, introduced the first mass-market neti pot to the West in 1972. Swami Rama, the Institute’s founder, wanted his students to use the nasal wash to improve their spiritual practices, so they crafted an elegant ceramic pot." -History of the Neti Pot
Reiki and Restore 6 PM Tuesdays at Soulflower
March 5th Acoustic Vinyasa Flow 7 PM @ The Venus Moon
March 22 Meditation Madness @ Soulflower Yoga
March 27th Acoustic Yin with Reiki 6:30 PM @ Soulflower
Afterfly Gathering of the Fools- May 1-3
Anahata's Purpose Wellness Festival Retreat- July 23-26
Witch Market- October 31 7 PM-12 midnight. A traditional Samhain Celebration at Rancocas Woods (Looking for volunteers for the day of and witchy vendors interested in participating!)
I offer private yoga practices in my home healing space in Woodbury, NJ, customized to your needs. One on one for $50 per session, a pair for $75 per session. Sundays 12-7 PM. Check out the A La Carte tab on my website for more service options!
Thank you for reading! Please let me know if you can make it to any of this month's events! I can't wait for Spring to officially arrive.
Divine Light, Great Spirit, Infinite Universe,
May I honor the perfect harmony and truth in the present moment
May compassion and love sustain me
May my heart glow with gratitude
For blessings surround and support me always
May I shine light upon the world
OM Shanti Shanti Shanti