It's November of 2017 and everyone and their mama is getting sick again, my mama and partner included. Their cold lasted around one and half to two weeks, so when I felt the minor throat itch and drop of energy level, I decided to nip it in the butt with this following tea tonic which I drank before breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I felt the tonic instantly activated in my body, heating up my belly and clearing up my nose. This tea tonic is packed with ingredients that are natural forms of antioxidants, antibacterials, and antifungals, so it helped me recover in just 4 days, a third of the time I probably would have had it.
1. 1 Cup of Fresh Ginger Tea:
Bring to boil about 2 or 3 inches of chopped ginger in 4 cups of water. Then let it simmer for about 20-30 minutes (the longer the stronger). Pour into a cup and add the following ingredients.
(I only use a cup for the tonic, but you drink it 3 times a day so have it prepared for the rest of the day.)
2. 1 Tablespoon of Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)
I would suggest Bragg, since it's raw, organic, and unfiltered with the "mother". Check out CNN's article for more information on all the health benefits of ACV here.
3. Juice from a Quarter of a Lemon.
I used a lemon from my tree, but if you don't have a lemon tree, I would recommend getting an organic one from the store.
4. 1 Tablespoon of Honey
When honey is added to hot water that is over 95 degrees fahrenheit, it will lose the health benefits, which means the water should cool a bit before adding the honey. I would also add some room temperature water to help cool it down. To see check out the long list of health benefits, click here.
5. Oil of Oregano
The dosage depends on the brand of oil you purchase. The dosage for my bottle was 2-4 drops, but I've seen other bottles where the dosage is 10-12 drops. The list of benefits of this super-oil is quite astonishing. Check out WebMD to see that list. Just know the flavor of this has got a massive punch, but to me, it tastes like enchiladas.
6. Cayenne Pepper
Lastly, add a dash of cayenne pepper to take this tonic to the next level.
Drink and enjoy and know that it may make you do a little wiggle dance because of the strength of flavor!
In addition to this tea, I felt my recovery to be quite speedy because I also got the following:
I'll probably be making constant references to my moon dance experience, but that's what happens when you spend 5 days of dancing, sweat lodging, semi-fasting, and being in constant ceremony; it becomes a part of our being.
In the last year, I've been called to paint these spirit animal mandalas. Since we have a garden full of these and I've often been told I have the energy of one, the next animal I painted was hummingbird. In the Aztec culture, it was believed that dead warriors would reincarnate as hummingbirds, and warrior energy is about having focus and taking action. They, along with the jaguar, are also represented as the protectors of the sacred san pedro cactus.
So as Michael takes me to the airport, he asks me what hummingbird means to me. I share that they remind us to appreciate the sweetness of life through presence and light-heartedness. He then places a rose quartz stone with a silhouette of a this precious little bird in my hand and reminds me to carry the spirit of this beloved creature.
So it was by no accident that when each woman was put in a group which danced for a specific direction, that I was placed to dance in the South which is represented by the hummingbird. As we danced under the full moon as we howled our voices into the night sky, we shout out, "Colibriiiiii!!!!" to remind us of the energy of this fierce yet sweet winged creature.
This bird is a reminder to embody that love and presence, and to appreciate the sweet nectar of life. So just as some wise person once said, "Expect nothing, appreciate everything."
5 days and 4 nights of ceremony with Abuela Malinalli near the pyramids of Teotihuacan, Mexico was an experience that left me both in awe and in a daze. When I first heard about this ceremony where women dance through four nights to celebrate the full moon and be in prayer for peace, love, gratitude and the healing of Pachamama, I was eager to know more and take part, especially considering this craving I've had for a deeper connection to my Mexican roots. As the time approached, my beautiful friend, sister, and now madrina, Guzel, gave me dates and an exact location so I immediately bought my flight. Days later, I excitedly meet up with her to find out more about what to expect. She shares details such as the 5 days of ceremony is mostly without sleep, with the exception of 30-45 minute naps here and there; and not to mention we are semi-fasting and sitting in a temascal (a sweat lodge) before and after each four nights of dancing. The thought of not sleeping and semi-fasting for 5 days leads me to immediate panic and anxiety, but I figured, we're all in it together; and if the abuelas are doing it, then I can do it.
Realizing that this isn't going to be the easiest ceremony I've done, I make sure to go in with the context of receive and surrender. After my first night of dancing, I'm struggling physically and emotionally, being flooded with doubt, regret, and an overactive negative mind, realizing that this was not what I thought it was going to be. As I dance through the first night, I wonder what it even means to surrender. My answer came to me the next day while reading the beautifully written book "San Pedro Huachuma" by Javier Reguiero who states, "Acceptance is one of the deepest expressions of surrender."
The second night of the dance, I have a bit more clarity around accepting the situation for what it is, accepting the fatigue, accepting the physical discomfort, accepting it all, loving and appreciating it for what it is, realizing how much of this is a reflection for life. The third night I felt so much more open to receiving the hypnotic smoky scent of the copal, the beautiful connections with the women, the uplifting beats of the drumming, and the harmonious sounds of the voices. By the 3rd and 4th night I am feeling much more understanding of the intensity of this whole experience, as the dancing experience begins to transform into an act of complete self-expression through voice and movement, where every moment becomes truly a living prayer.
Looking back and reflecting on what I got out of this experience, I realize that the lessons are ever evolving. There are moments when I feel heavy and the moment I put on the songs of Abuela Malinalli, the feeling of strength and power, fuerza, are resurrected. The energy of the moon is a reminder to tap into the feminine energy of love and acceptance, and enjoy the ebb and flow of life and our emotions.
I came out of this experience feeling as if I have been initiated into a sisterhood, a long-lived tradition that I'm sure I've lived many lifetimes before, and remembering that I can tap into this reservoir of life energy at anytime. I will forever be grateful for this opportunity, for it was truly an honor and a blessing to be in community with the elders and sisters from all over the globe.
As a birthday gift, my sister treated me to a 3-Day Probiotic Juice Cleanse from the Santa Cruz-based company she works for, La Vie Wellness in a Bottle. Having struggled with a persistent cough and a slower digestive system over the last few months, I figured what better way to heal my body than with probiotics. According to La Vie's informative blog on 5 Reasons Probiotic Drinks are More Beneficial than Supplements, Dr. Mercola says, “Fermented foods not only give you a wider variety of beneficial bacteria, they also give you far more of them, so it’s a much more cost-effective alternative".
So here is how my personal experience went...
(Please note that this is not medical advice and speak to your doctor before trying this at home.)
Day 1: Easy! The juices are delicious and they've got me already pooping 4 times before 11am! True story. The cleanse is already in full effect.
Day 2: Hard. Definitely harder than day 1. I went to an evening Aware Project event (an amazing organization whose social media platforms I create) with a shaman who gave a phenomenal talk on plant medicine diet. However, the talk took place at Au Lac in Downtown L.A. which has a delicious, gourmet, heavenly, plant-based menu. To be around food and it's divine aura after not having eaten for the last 2 days really pushed my limits. Lesson learned. Next time, I will plan my cleanse around events such as these.
Day 3: Even harder. The moodiness is coming on strong. Michael says he's just waiting for the storm the pass and it truly feels like that inside. On day 3, I had an appointment with my beloved curandera doctor. Dr. Elena, a phenomenal healer who is based in East L.A. works with oils, herbs, muscle testing, storytelling, and magic. She muscle tested me for foods I should and should not be eating, which leads me perfectly into my day 4.
Day 4: Feeling accomplished. But of course, I dreamt on the 3rd night of the cleanse that I gorged out at a potluck, waking up feeling so upset that I broke the cleanse but such relief when I realized it was just a dream. I woke up at 5am automatically feeling ready to go probably because my body needs less time to rest and digest.
Overall, I have been left feeling empty and I mean that in the most positive way ever. I am now feeling super energized and my regular morning yoga and meditation practice has gone to a whole other level. This cleanse felt like a jumpstart and I'm now ready to fill myself up little by little with food I know will give my body the fuel and power to heal itself because just as Hippocrates said, "let food be thy medicine". So in addition to eating plant-based foods, drinking sufficient amounts of water, exercising, having a regular morning yoga/meditation practice, and receiving regular massage, adding probiotics to the mix tops off my self-care with a cherry. Above all, it has helped me re-evaluate my relationship with food. I am more conscious than ever to give gratitude before every meal. This was truly a practice of discipline, presence, and self-care.
I'd highly recommend this to the strong-willed and those who are ready to take their health to a whole new level. All the best to you all and much gratitude for reading!
For more information on gut health, fermenting and abdominal massage, check out our next Fermenting Workshop for a Healthy Gut with Triana, Michel, and Marisa on October 11, 2017 from 7:15pm-9pm on the west side.
"In this time Piscean values are giving way to Aquarian values. The difference between the two is very simple. Piscean values work from the ego, creating boundaries. Aquarian values have no boundaries; they are Infinite. Aquarian consciousness takes you inside your soul, so that you can relate to the soul in all."
-Yogi Bhajan from Aquarian Times, Spring 2003
Kundalini Yoga is more than just a physical practice, it is a philosophy and lifestyle. Ever since I completed my teacher training, I constantly find myself coming back to one of these sutras (lines to meditate on) to better understand myself and others.
1. Recognize that the other person is you.
When we are able to see that we all serve as reflections of each other, we are given the gift of understanding the areas where we can grow. The things that drive us nuts about certain people are likely the things we don't like in ourselves and what we love in others is what we can love and embrace in ourselves.
2. There is a way through every block.
This is an excellent reminder to honor the ebb and flow of life. When we find ourselves meeting an obstacle, this is the time to take action and opportunity for growth.
3. When the time is on you, start, and the pressure will be off.
Great advice for procrastinators, right?!
4. Understand through compassion or you will misunderstand the times.
As the Dalai Lama says, "Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive".
5. Vibrate the Cosmos. The Cosmos shall clear the path.
Everything vibrates at a frequency, including our words, images, and thoughts (WIT), so when we put out positive WIT, the universe tends to work in our favor.
I invite you to take a sutra each day or day to integrate into your daily life. When you find yourself in a pickle, see how any or all of these can apply. Part of a yoga practice is also practicing the philosophy so that we can apply these beautiful teachings to our relationships and community.
"A Kundalini Yogi examines and breaks the habit to ignore the breath. Think of the breath in broader terms than simply respiration. Consider that the breath and its movements are connected to the movements of all the emotions and thoughts."
-Yogi Bhajan, PhD
Master of Kundalini Yoga
If there was just one tool we could offer anyone, it would be awareness of breath. According the The Aquarian Teacher KRI Level One Instructor Textbook, Pranayama is the science of breath which can assist in the following:
The following easy breathing techniques:
CHALLENGE YOURSELF: If you don't already, commit to a morning practice of breathwork, which is a meditation in itself. Hundreds of techniques exist out there, but here are five simple steps that we use and feel has helped us find a sense of peace and tranquility in our mind and body.
Breathwork Exercises for Warm Weather
*With hands in prayer pose, begin by tuning in with 3 om's or a mantra of your choice so that the body and mind are united in sound and vibration.
1. Deep Breathing with Arm Toss:
5. Bhramahi (Bumble Bee) Breath
Attention All Gallstoners!
So apparently , we ALL have gallstones. Not just in our gallbladder, but mostly piled up in our liver. According to medical intuitive Andreas Moritz, author of The Amazing Liver Cleanse, "They (gallstones) are, indeed, one of the major reasons people become ill and have difficulty recuperating from illness." Michael and I decided to do this flush mostly for preventative measures. But having been told numerous times over the last decade by homeopathic doctors that the root cause of my allergies was my liver, I would have done this flush years ago. Better late than never!
What might this liver flush involve?
It's an intense experience that will leave you in awe of what has been building up in your liver since childhood. It involves the consumption of malic acid, drinking bitter tasting epsom salt water, and chugging a delightful glass of olive oil mixed with grapefruit juice, while praying, meditating, and hoping for my liver to let go of everything it must release. Did I mention the pre- and post-colonic? I would highly recommend reading Andreas' free ebook, The Amazing Liver Cleanse, before considering this flush and to also get the exact instructions and measurements for the flush. To read, click here. Other books of his can be found on Amazon.
Having just completed the flush and post-colonic, I feel as if someone pressed the reset button on my digestive system. The actual flush was exhausting and definitely takes some recovery time, but it was well worth it! I was able to count at least 120 visible gallstones, which means a few hundred more that weren't visible were also released. Considering both Michael and I are both Chi Nei Tsang (Abdominal Massage) practitioners, we totally value the importance of gut health and understand how our gut is truly our second brain and storehouse of emotions. As I witnessed the release of gallstones and bile throughout the cleanse and colonics, I felt as if I was also letting go of stagnant emotions of fear, worry, anxiety, and sadness. In order to let go of it though, I went deep into the experience of feeling it...all of it.
Looking for a colon therapist?
Considering I had never fancied the idea of a colonic, I was quite nervous going into this experience. We went to Brenda at the Green Leaf System in Eagle Rock and she did an awesome job at explaining the process and gave so much helpful information. We ended up going for 3 rounds and did our last two rounds with a coffee fusion. Her info can be found at www.thegreenleaf.net
As of now, I can say I am so grateful to have experienced this flush. I felt a deep sense of gratitude for the women who introduced me to this information, I feel deep gratitude for my health and my amazing man who joined me on this journey. I'd like to give a special shot out to my liver, gallbladder, colon, and all of my amazing intestines for being such troopers. My new meditation has involved sending smiling energy to each intestine and thanking them for doing their job so well. Sat nam, namaste, shanti, hari om!
I love Thai Massage. I love Thai food, Thai people, but most of all, I love Thai massage. I love it so much I traveled all the way to Thailand just to learn Thai Massage. As a therapist, it's easier on the body with proper alignment, and as a receiver, it gives my body a whole other experience.
Michael and I have decided to take all of the things we love, put them together, and take our passion to the next level by facilitating workshops and opening up with cacao to open the heart and kundalini yoga to warm up the body. This trio is such a perfect combination for connecting to yourself and to a partner. So far we've done these workshops in L.A. and San Francisco and loving the experience!
Benefits of Cacao:
Benefits of Kundalini Yoga:
Benefits of Thai Massage:
My first memory in yoga school at Himalayan Yoga Academy in Rishikesh, India was our well known yoga instructor Ashish's wise words. After tuning in, he immediately took us into Tadasana, mountain pose, which is one of the most simplest and yet challenging standing poses. As he walked around giving us a grim nonverbal assessment, he asks the question, "What is yoga?" Everyone gave the typical answer, "Yoga is union" or "yoga is bringing balance to the masculine and feminine", etc. etc. etc. Not being satisfied with any of our answers, he finally states clearly and confidently, "yoga is space".
Fast forward two years, I'm sitting in my meditation wondering how I can tap more into feeling my body, I begin to bring my focus on my breath. Inhaling slowly, sustaining the breath, exhaling fully. The longer I go, the more I began to feel sensations in my body, the more I became aware of tension in places I hadn't even realized.
I remember Ashish's words and began to focus on how the breath creates space inside myself, how every time I inhale, my diaphragm lowers creating more space for my lungs to expand, as with each exhale, the contraction is a precursor to creating that space. My greatest challenge has been finding space for myself in my relationship, especially considering I work side by side with my partner. Knowing that I am in a situation that I cannot change, I find the breath a highly effective tool when used. When used is the key to it being effective. As I create space within myself, I am making room for patience, love, compassion, courage, understanding, trust, gratitude and acceptance. I create a home for all of these things to live, and it's something as simple as the breath that opens up this space.
I challenge you to take on a 7, 21, or 90 day pranayama practice...even if it's just 3 minutes a day and see how you feel! One of my favorite breathing techniques is the alternate nostril breathing. Instructions can be found at https://www.3ho.org/files/pdfs/alternate-nostril-breathing.pdf
Painting mandalas has been one of my greatest teachers. It has taught me to takes risks, be forgiving of my mistakes, and love what I create. Even though I've always loved art, I had gone over a decade without feeding the artistic drive. Now that I've started, I don't want to stop. It is a reminder that just like the apple tree, we will continue to create. My artwork reminds me to return to my creative feminine flow!
The meaning of mandala is "sacred circle", which has the power to awaken healing powers. Since mandalas embody geometric shapes, our mind creates symbolic meaning in relation to our universe, which in the Taoist belief, is a reflection of everything within ourselves.
So what significance does the Spirit Quest mandala have?
About the writer:
Marisa loves hoop dancing, riding her bicycle, playing, hosting gatherings, doing yoga, kung fu-ing, traveling, meeting people, eating, and savoring dark chocolate covered strawberries and coconut ice cream. She strives to be fully present, compassionate, and act and connect from a place of love.