Category Archives: healthy

wood nymphs aka giggle fairies

While I write this the wood nymph walked by, smiled and said: “Hello, beautiful.”

At Omega there are two fairies that roam around, they giggle continuously and they take care of all of the flowers here at Omega.

One of the fairies looks like Pocahontas with butt-length hair, she is always smiling with huge pearly white teeth, mocha colored skin, she is very giggly and kind, and she is the fairy that teaches the Munay yoga class. The other fairy has bright red hair with milky white skin, she giggles all of the time as well, and always seems to be in her own world.

The fairies also spread their love in other creative manners around campus, there’s a manifestation jar with paper and pens, so that you can manifest whatever you want and then put it into their with feathers decorated jar that is inside of a wooden bird-cage. The fabulous beings have also placed a gratitude tree near the sanctuary, you can write down what you’re grateful for on an ornament which you can then hang in the tree. Yesterday, in honor of the new moon, they placed a moon with little notes hanging from them, you could grab the one thing that you need, varying from radiance to genius to brilliance.

Munay yoga, is a calm, but effective yoga class, which is very much focussed on feeling beautiful. During the yoga class we get to grab an animal card which has an explanation. I picked a ladybug, which represents abundance and this is, according to the card, flowing my way. At the end of the class she placed a note which we saw upon opening our eyes after meditation:
You are beautiful just as you are, the only thing you need to change about yourself are the thoughts that you aren’t good enough.
With a beautiful flower placed along side of the note.

a day at omega

It might be difficult for people to imagine what it’s like to live in a community such as Omega where you live (in a tent) and work (without pay) with all of these people. Why would you do it? Because you learn a lot! There are so many staff classes, there’s never a dull moment. It’s the perfect place for people in transition, who don’t know what the next steps in their life might be. People are generally here to grow, learn, to live in a nurturing environment with like-minded people and to be of service to all of the participants that are here each year.

And boy! There are many classes for staff indeed, there are multiple yoga classes a day, qi gong, tai chi, dance movement, meditation, kirtan, sadhana, centering classes, women’s sharing circle, drum groups, improv theater, conscious communication, body awareness, soul soil, and so much more!

Just to give you an example, today I started my day off with an hour off meditation in the sanctuary, then breakfast, then Kundalini yoga on the hill with the amazing teacher Oliver from Germany, then lunch (pad thai!), then mindful movement, then Munay yoga with the wood nymph, then Ishta yoga, then dinner and then in the evening there’s a Tonglen meditation.

Of course there are days when I work 8 hours and am only able to take a class or two, but even then I’m grateful for being here, for being of service and I am cherishing every minute of Omega life. And don’t get me wrong, there are days when it’s difficult living in community, and work is difficult, etc. but that’s just life in general. Without the downs there wouldn’t be any ups.

Please read this beautiful poem that was read to me today:
The Invitation by Oriah
It doesn’t interest me
what you do for a living.
I want to know
what you ache for
and if you dare to dream
of meeting your heart’s longing.

It doesn’t interest me
how old you are.
I want to know
if you will risk
looking like a fool
for love
for your dream
for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn’t interest me
what planets are
squaring your moon…
I want to know
if you have touched
the centre of your own sorrow
if you have been opened
by life’s betrayals
or have become shrivelled and closed
from fear of further pain.

I want to know
if you can sit with pain
mine or your own
without moving to hide it
or fade it
or fix it.

I want to know
if you can be with joy
mine or your own
if you can dance with wildness
and let the ecstasy fill you
to the tips of your fingers and toes
without cautioning us
to be careful
to be realistic
to remember the limitations
of being human.

It doesn’t interest me
if the story you are telling me
is true.
I want to know if you can
disappoint another
to be true to yourself.
If you can bear
the accusation of betrayal
and not betray your own soul.
If you can be faithless
and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see Beauty
even when it is not pretty
every day.
And if you can source your own life
from its presence.

I want to know
if you can live with failure
yours and mine
and still stand at the edge of the lake
and shout to the silver of the full moon,
“Yes.”

It doesn’t interest me
to know where you live
or how much money you have.
I want to know if you can get up
after the night of grief and despair
weary and bruised to the bone
and do what needs to be done
to feed the children.

It doesn’t interest me
who you know
or how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand
in the centre of the fire
with me
and not shrink back.

It doesn’t interest me
where or what or with whom
you have studied.
I want to know
what sustains you
from the inside
when all else falls away.

I want to know
if you can be alone
with yourself
and if you truly like
the company you keep
in the empty moments.

Oh and I saw a little bit of this today:
groundhoggy

poppies

peonies

groundhog

first impressions of omega

I have arrived, and it’s wonderful!

So far I have been doing lots of yoga, getting to know my fellow seasonal staff-ers, enjoyed a shamanic music experience, meditated, got settled in, learned about the mission and values of Omega, and of course had my first day of work.

The people here are lovely, there are many seasonal staff-ers, I believe there’s about 60 of us, and the people I have met are great and all seem to have an amazing story of why they are here, how they got here or goals in the future.

On arrival day the weather was beautiful and sunny, it was the perfect day to explore and acclimate to the surroundings. We are in the middle of beautiful nature, there is a large lake. Spring has just popped out here, the leaves on the trees are nearly filling the space, lots of the trees are in bloom and many plants are as well. Just walking around this place creates a calmness inside.

It will rain a lot here in the Hudson Valley, actually while I write this it’s raining out.

My work at Omega is supporting the faculty; hundreds of teachers come to Omega every year and the team that I work for supports the teachers in their every needs. Today was my first day of work and there is a lot of detail that goes into this particular position, it’s so much fun! I walk around with a walkie-talkie and I drive around on a golf-cart. Bliss.

The food is amazing, it is all farm to table, which means extremely fresh and healthy local produce! It’s great not having to cook, but having a delicious buffet meal three times a day. There’s kale, collards, brussels sprouts at every meal, there’s hummus, beans, there was kitchari, porridge, beets, there’s always a salad bar. The list goes on!

It’s interesting to see the balance between living in community, and Omega being a business. It’s very down to earth and serious as one would expect, but then there’s the community aspect to it which is a more laid-back and new-age lifestyle. In my opinion the best of both worlds. I think my background and experience is why I was placed in the department that I was placed in since I can understand the business aspect to it very much.

Last week I had taken my first Jivamukti class at Union Square in NYC, and this week I got to meet the co-founders! We got to ask them any questions we wanted to and it was so inspirational to hear them speak to us.

More later, including photos, it has been a little overwhelming so far so I haven’t popped out my camera much.

revolución!

Our planet is, sadly, crowded and dirty. We haven’t been taking care of the planet – on the contrary – for generations. I have faith in our generation; I have come across, and keep running into so many people from all corners of the world who have a similar vision of how to treat our planet going forward. We share a vision of what we should be doing to help the planet, basically by doing anything but make it worse. I have faith in all of these people, and I hope that things might change.

I myself have made quite the shift from working in fashion and publishing to a health and environment conscious lifestyle. Now I am a certified yoga teacher, I have recently enrolled in the Institute of Integrative Nutrition where I will learn about nutrition and a healthy lifestyle. I’m about to work for seven weeks at the Omega Institute where I will deepen my yoga practice, take various courses, and learn about sustainable living at their sustainable living center, in return for all of this I will work for them. In the eyes of some people, a crazy hippie lifestyle, but to me, this is a logical way to live my life: knowing that what I do is contributing to the betterment of our planet and humanity.

My vision is not unlike many young people I have spoken to: living a more ‘off grid’ lifestyle, living self-sustained, utilizing technology (instead of technology using you) for the betterment of our planet and educating others on these subject manners. It is these people that make me have faith in the fact that our planet will be headed towards a greener future.

In the long run I would love to open a retreat-center, where visitors can come to learn about sustainable living, nature and foraging, creating your own beauty products, organic farming, simplifying life, cooking with fresh produce, growing and eating herbs for health, and to do yoga and meditate. Basically lessons on how to live a healthy lifestyle for yourself and the planet, with hopes that visitors will go back home with improved lives and teach others as well.

I have much to learn about all of these subjects, and am eager to do so. I can feel the energy of our planet shifting from a humanity that is ignoring the facts, to a conscious humanity focussed on love.

Let’s join this revolution! It’s time to free mother nature from our wrong-doings, let’s treat her as she should be treated: with love and compassion.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not telling you all to live an off-grid lifestyle, and I really don’t mean to preach, this is more a of an appraisal for our generation. You don’t have to go out and become a hippie or a yogi to help save our planet, just try and live a little more consciously. We can make conscious decisions when buying products, use less chemicals, and smile, bring positivity into our lives because positivity is contagious.

Revolución!

why try: dry skin brushing

lymphaticSystem

Earlier I wrote about the Oil Pulling Method, which is part of the Ayurvedic tradition, today I want to share Dry Skin Brushing, which is also part of Ayurveda.

Our skin is the largest organ in our body, and I find it thus deserves some love and attention. With dry skin brushing we stimulate the lymphathic vessels and the lymph nodes.

The lymph nodes are small bean-shaped nodes in our body, they are linked by the lymphatic vessels. Lymph nodes filter or trap viruses, cancer cells, bacteria, and other unwanted substances. They do pretty wonderful work for your health!

When we brush our skin with a dry brush, we are stimulating these lymph vessels and thus engaging the excretion of unwanted substances towards the lymph nodes.

The benefits of Dry Skin Brushing:

  • Removes dead skin cells
  • Stimulates blood flow and lymph flow
  • Detoxifies the skin
  • Reduces cellulite
  • Stimulates the hormones and oil glands
  • Strengthens the immune system
  • Helps digestion
  • Stimulates the nervous system
  • Tones muscles
  • Tightens the skin

The only utensil you need is the brush, and you should only use one that is made with all natural bristles. This gentle brushing of the skin stimulates the lymphatic system, which I think is the most important benefit from the above list, because this system is of vital importance to our health.

Step 1. Legs

1. Start out with either the right or the left leg.
2. Begin with the bottom of your feet, which you brush in small circular motions.
3. Then you brush in either small or longer strokes upward from the tops of your feet towards your knees.
4. Brush the knees in circular motion.
5. Then brush the upper legs towards the inside of your thighs and hips.
6. Brush your bottom by brushing from under your cheeks towards your lower back.
7. Repeat all steps with the other leg.

Step 2. Front torso

1. Brush with small strokes from your hips and pelvic region, and from below your breasts and sides towards your navel center.
2. In a slow and large circular motion brush around your navel all across your belly.
3. Brush under and above your chest (breasts) towards your armpits.
4. Brush from behind your neck, along your jawline, then down your neck towards your collarbone in a couple of streaks along each side. As though you’re writing an S from the back of your neck to your collar bone.

Step 3. Back torso

1. Brush your lower back softly with upward motion in multiple streaks.
2. Your upper back should be brushed softly in a downward motion towards the center of your back.

Step 4. Arms

1. Start out with one arm.
2. Brush down all of your fingertips.
3. In a slow circular motion brush your hand-palms.
4. Brush along the back of your fingers and back of palms towards wrist.
5. Your lower arms should be brushed from your wrist towards your elbow.
6. Brush your elbow in circular motion.
7. Then brush from your elbow towards your shoulder and arm pit.
8. The armpits should be brushed softly in a slow circular motion.
9. Repeat with the other arm.

There are a few different ways you can do this brushing, but this is how I like to do it. You can do it for as long as you like, but I like to brush for about 5-15 minutes per time. Try and keep it in your shower routine by making it a habit, it’s best to do this as often as possible. It’s important to shower afterwards so that you wash off any toxins and/or dead skin cells that have surfaced due to the brushing.

My experience is that this keeps skin so soft and healthy, and the feeling that you’re activating your very important lymph nodes and vessels makes me feel as though I have massaged my body and my mind.

After showering with warm water I like to follow it up with a blast of 30 seconds with ice-cold water. This is also great for your skin and lymph nodes. After showering I like to massage some coconut oil on my skin which is antibacterial and deeply hydrating.

Image source:
Wikipedia

tarot cards

tarotDeck

I found this pack of tarot cards lying around, and just couldn’t help myself figuring out how to do it.

There are two ways that I used it: one was by just grabbing a card, and the other time with a question. I must say I grabbed a couple of good ones.

The first card I picked from the row of tarot cards was the card with number eight, which turns out to be the card of strength! This is a great card to pick at any time. What does the card of strength mean?

Card No. 8 Strength

Focus on what you want, instead of what you don’t want. Allow yourself spiritual time, especially time alone to meditate. Don’t allow yourself to think fearful or worrisome thoughts.

Within your career, it’s time to be assertive and ask for what you want and need in order to move up the ladder. If you’re looking for work, then you should be confident in yourself, because you have the skill-set to find the work you want to do. There are more options than you would think possible.

Love should be going smoothly, if in a relationship. Otherwise it’s a great time to get out and mingle, since you’re in a confident phase and you’re in a phase that you’re likely to meet someone.

You should be careful with your money and save it. You have enough to be comfortable now, but even if you have just a little money, try and save. There is the possibility of buying a home soon.

At the moment you are in vital health, but try and improve this by exercising and eating healthful foods.

It’s a spiritual time for you right now, just try and focus on all three of the aspects of your being: mind, body and spirit. Do your utmost to align the three.

Then I asked the question if I was going to find my life’s career soon. and I picked the card 9 of cups.

Card No. 9 of Cups

9ofCups

The second card is the 9 of Cups, I picked it from the pile upright. Grabbing the card upright or down has different meanings. I – luckily – picked the card upright, which is the better version of the two. Below I will describe the meaning that I have found on the web.

You’re in the final stages of completing a large project. Although you have great ideas all of the time, it’s time to execute these ideas instead of simply thinking big. The nine of cups represents happiness in all stages of your life: health, finances, work, love, luck, or relationships. This card is one of the most satisfying ones in the deck, on all levels – emotional, physical, and sensual. It’s often known as the wish card, the nine refers to a fulfilling situation, such as the strengthening of a love-bond.

The nine of cups shows that you should count your blessings, you have a lot to be thankful for in life, and more is still to come. Let it flow to you by staying in this positive mindset.

You’re about to achieve what you’ve set out to achieve. Your worries are in the past, and the future is bright. You have indulged and splurged in life’s luxuries, good food and wine, enjoying a resort, or experiencing art or beauty – and deserve it.

Great cards, right? I’m not sure I believe in all of this, but it’s quite pleasurable to do.

tarotCards

Source:
Biddy Tarot
Psychic Revelation

the oil pulling method

The Oil Pulling Method
The Oil Pulling Method

Recently I started the Ayurvedic Oil Pulling method. This method consists of putting a spoonful of cold pressed oil (I prefer coconut) in your mouth and swooshing it around for 10 minutes. Don’t swoosh too hard, just let it flow around your mouth, through your teeth and the back of your tongue – but don’t gargle! It’s best to do so on an empty stomach, first thing in the morning or after brushing your teeth later in the day. Be careful though, supposedly swooshing the oil might make you want to gag or swallow it and that’s not a good thing since it’s laden with bacteria. When you spit the oil out it should be a white color – if not; you didn’t swoosh it in your mouth long enough.

The supposed benefits are:

  • Activation of the metabolism; the toxic waste comes into your saliva via the mucosa in your mouth
  • Bowels will function better
  • More energy
  • Blood flow is better
  • Detoxification
  • Whiter teeth & teeth are more firmly placed in the gums than before
  • Cleaner mouth

Who would have thought that swooshing some oil in your mouth daily would have such great benefits other than a cleaner mouth?! The clean mouth thing I would’ve guessed, but more energy?

Well, I’ve been doing it for a little while now, and I must say, my skin looks great, I feel great, but you never know if it can be attributed to this alone, or other things that I have added to my routine recently.

a month of mindfulness

Red Hook View Statue of Liberty & greenery - there is beauty all around.
Red Hook View while I was having dessert for lunch
Statue of Liberty & greenery – to show that beauty is indeed all around us.

I named this platform myself, and I named it ‘mindfullyminty’. This name is appropriate, because I have been searching for ways to live my life in a more mindful manner. Also, my younger brother nicknamed me Minty when we were little kids, and this name has stuck around ever since.

Although I have named this website mindfullyminty, this doesn’t mean that I have been living accordingly, with which I mean: mindful. Becoming mindful is a process and something I have noticed is that the ego, or our own sense of I, keeps tuning in.

Today is April 1st and this whole month I’m going to try and live my life in a mindful manner, which means that I am going to try and live in the now. I will try and notice the thoughts that arise, without interpreting them, per se I will let the thoughts be and come back to the present moment.

While this might sound easy, I think it won’t be as easy as it sounds. Our sense of self gets in the way in many aspects of our life, for example while we’re waiting in line at the grocery store, we will get impatient and want this line to be shorter, and other negative thoughts arise about the crying children. Instead of seeing this grocery store line as a wait, a nicer way to see this is as an opportunity to focus on the breath, or focus on whatever beautiful thing you see around you such as a smiling baby, or a hard working clerk, or the flowers that are for sale.

Another thing I want to do on a daily basis is take a walk and enjoy the view. Currently I am in Brooklyn, NY, and one would think there isn’t much beauty and splendor around, but anywhere you are, albeit in the slums, you are able to find beauty, you should be open to it, and really look around. The sun, the sky, the trees, the children, the flowers growing through the cracks of the pavement, the cute cafe’s where people are enjoying their coffee, there is so much beauty even in the spots where you think there isn’t beauty and I intend to notice it this month.

Wish me luck!