Women are flocking to wellness because modern medicine still doesn’t take them seriously

It seems that privileged women in the US have created their own alternative health-care system...It’s easy to laugh at the dubious claims of the wellness industrial complex...But the forces behind the rise of oxygen bars and detox diets are worth taking seriously—because the success of the wellness industry is a direct response to a mainstream medical establishment that frequently dismisses and dehumanizes women.

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The Distinction Between a Yoga Therapy Session and a Yoga Class

"Although yoga as a practice is therapeutic, there are significant differences between a yoga teacher and a yoga therapist and between a yoga class and a yoga therapy session. Clarity about these differences is helpful for the teacher/therapist, as well as for the student/client. We will look at this distinction from the perspectives of the yoga student, the yoga therapy client, the yoga teacher, the yoga therapist, the yoga class, and the yoga therapy session." 

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Harvard neuroscientist: Meditation not only reduces stress, here’s how it changes your brain

"Sara Lazar, a neuroscientist at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, was one of the first scientists to take the anecdotal claims about the benefits of meditation and mindfulness and test them in brain scans. What she found surprised her — that meditating can literally change your brain." 

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Reason for the Season

There is a feeling of excitement and fun during the holiday season, but as we all know there may also be a certain amount of stress. For those who are feeling positive anticipation, the holiday time can enhance the loving emotional experiences and bring joy to the heart. For those who are already struggling with stress, anxiety, eating disorders, depression, addictive illness, and loneliness - you may fear that the holiday will intensify your struggles.

During this time at BE NICE I hope to offer both a place of joy in practice, as well as a refuge for those who are seeking support. As I always say in class, practice is the one place where you can be assured that judgement should be suspended. Come "feel what you feel" and let your teacher and your practice both support and guide you.

If you are struggling this holiday season, begin with self-compassion as a starting point. Again, drop the guilt and remember that "the reason for the season" is up to you. You can decide why this time is important to you and how you want to experience it. Take hold of this time by letting go of tightly wound expectations and future worries. Seize this moment, as it is what creates your experience.

You may also reach out to individuals and ask for love and friendship that is available to you. Perhaps your mission can be to honor the spiritual meaning of the holiday, and connection to what is truly important to you. May you and those you love be blessed.

Simple Eating

"Thought is supplied to us by food; if the food is pure our thoughts will also be pure." ~Swami Vibhooti Saraswati

Food can be complicated, so I keep it simple: I do my best to eat things that don't come from a box and that are still alive. I do this as often as possible. I don't find this too difficult. In fact, I really enjoy the taste of fresh fruits and vegetables. I also love juicing and have found that it has reduced my cravings for the kinds of food that masquerade as the real fulfilling nutrients my body really needs.

After a summer gathering with lots of "party food" and leftovers in the fridge, my relationship to food momentarily shifted. I found myself eating food because it tasted good. I ate when I wasn't hungry. I didn't discriminate much. The impetus to eat wasn't driven by my quest for physical, mental, or spiritual health. Instead, I was eating from my emotions. Thankfully, I was able to identify and categorize my pattern of unconscious consumption quite easily because I spent many years eating in haste. It was familiar and interesting, not troubling. However, what I did find it disturbing was how this kind of eating lead to heavy and melancholy mornings, lack of motivation, and, the feeling of sometimes being sad or depressed. Food had become a barrier between me and my state of happiness –– or Ananda if you want the Sanskirt term.

Food is very powerful.

Yoga is not a dogmatic practice. It doesn't tell you what you can or can't do. It's more of a tireless number of suggestions to try. But these suggestions are not soundbites. They are methods that manifest into a life worth living. Sometimes it takes days, months, years (some say lifetimes) of practice. But don't let that last thought discourage you, because the formula can be easy: all you have to do is unroll your mat, or sit down in contemplation to practice. 

After sixteen years of practice, I guess I spend more time considering if I'm hungry, rather than just eating. In other words, I am able to act in accordance with my desire for good health and happiness. That's a sign that the boundary between my practice and my lifestyle is disappearing. Consider taking a step back from what you eat and instead, spend time considering how you eat. Let it unfold like the yoga postures you do when you come to your mat. Be curious, rather than judgmental. Loose the expectations, and build a greater awareness. Let your choice of food be a chance for discovery. Keep in mind, nothing is permanent.

Use the yoga tools to unearth the perfection inside of you. Lay down your mat, practice, and let the rest take care of itself.