Expanding Awareness with Kundalini Yoga

awitchsjourney.comAbout 2 years ago I became interested in Kundalini Yoga. I had already tried a couple of yoga classes (not Kundalini) and enjoyed it. The teachers were a couple with a small child, they were kind and very good teachers. Unfortunately for me, they had decided to go back to India. My gratitude to them.

 

One day I saw that the New York Open Center was having a short course in Kundalini Yoga, and I quickly signed up. I scrambled to find comfortable white clothes to wear for the class, as I had read that in Kundalini Yoga people wear all white. Most of my clothing is black so you can imagine how difficult was for me. I found some simple clothes to wear and went to my class, very excited and nervous. There I met Donna Amrita Davidge, a vibrant woman who blessed me with my first Kundalini Yoga experience. During our first class we did an exercise in which we sat in easy pose (cross legged), facing a stranger (class mate), and just stared into each others’ eyes and I had my first boohoo moment. I cried as I clearly heard this woman say “I love you” without opening her mouth. I felt her love, as a human to another human. Of course there was laughter as well in the group, as some just became giggly during the exercise, and it was all beautiful. I really felt the connection. The entire experience with Donna Davidge was eye opening for me, and heart opening as well. I found a practice that was not only very spiritual, but also strengthened my body as a whole. Kundalini Yoga certainly is a complete experience. And that was it for me, I wanted more. Sadly, this was a very short course. I did come back the second time that Donna Amrita Davidge came to teach at the New York Open Center, and after that I wanted to find more regular classes. I asked her about two yoga studios that I had found online, and she gave me her recommendations on both, saying they were very good places to go to.

 

As I’ve done before, I tried to get a friend to join me for at least one class so that I wouldn’t have to go by myself and feel so vulnerable. However, that didn’t work, and I decided to just go for it on my own. And so, I went to Kundalini Yoga East. There, after a warm welcome by the front desk person, I joined the class.

 

First of all, if you are wondering, as I did, why is it that people wear all white to Kundalini Yoga, I can tell you what I’ve learned so far. According to Yogi Bhajan (the spiritual leader who introduced Kundalini Yoga to the USA), wearing all white clothing expands our auric radiance. White is the representation of all colors in one, so you also get the benefit of all colors together.

 

Kundalini Yoga is the Yoga of Awareness. It is a total experience. You chant mantras, you meditate, you practice many breathing exercises, and physical exercises. When I first took classes with Donna Davidge I realized this is tough! I was sore for a week after the first class but of course, I’m not an athlete so there is that to consider. But still, it is not exactly easy. There is a lot of fighting your Ego which constantly tries to stop you from doing things, making you think you can not, making you feel that you can not and constantly trying to distract you and talking you into quitting. I’m really glad that I decided not to listen to the Ego trap and I kept coming back to class.

 

Since I’ve begun to practice Kundalini Yoga more often, I’ve noticed a few changes. They have been slow, but they are happening. I have more patience with the world although I still need to work on it more. I am more calm in general, and when a situation does stress me out, I am able to calm myself down faster and easier. I’ve also begun to feel more connected to all, and I feel more compassion for others, which sometimes can be, difficult. One example; right before New Year’s eve I saw a woman on the train who had a very sad expression on her face. I see this woman often on the train but this day she looked particularly sad, as if she was about to cry. I wondered why she looked so sad, was she missing someone? At the end of the year, did she feel lonely? I smiled at her, but I really  just wanted to walk up to her and give her a big hug and tell her that I loved her. Another woman near me noticed the same thing I guess, and she was also smiling at the woman. I was just too shy to simply walk up to her and give her that hug. But I just felt so sad…I felt it strongly in my heart.

 

It is difficult to explain some of the changes that I am experiencing. But I must also mention that my Reiki practice is still part of the positive influence in my changes, because it really is. I do my Reiki self-practice right before Kundalini Yoga class and before going to sleep. The balancing effects of Reiki are also responsible for all these changes no doubt.

 

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On April 5, 2014, I joined many more Kundalini Yoga practitioners on a wonderful, big event called White Tantric Yoga. I had heard about White Tantric Yoga before, and I wanted to join the big event last November, but I was to be out of the country. This time I wasn’t going to miss it and I am so glad I didn’t. During White Tantric Yoga, we practice a number of meditations and mantras throughout the day. A meditation can last for 31 minutes, with a break after and then another one, then a break, and so on. The practice is done in pairs, sitting in very straight lines across the room. It is very challenging because of all the time you have to be sitting, but it is also a very unique experience. There really is no way of explaining much, all I can say is that each person has their own experience and it is not the same for all, but we all learn and grow from it, and we expand our consciousness. I did become emotional at the end of the day, and cried a little. I am grateful to Yogi Bhajan and to all who made the event possible and all who participated. I am looking forward to doing it again!

 

We were told that we’d be feeling the effects of White Tantric Yoga for about 40 days. So far, I have had unusual dreams, mostly related to animals so far. Last night I had a very personal and powerful experience which I will keep to my personal journal (sorry). It’s been 6 days…

 

Eternal gratitude to Donna Amrita Davidge, The New York Open Center and Kundalini Yoga East.

The gratitude that I feel is immense. May the blessings continue.

Sat Nam.

Starting out with good health & moving forward!

pentacle AWJ

Well, I must say, I started the year the right way! And my gratitude just keeps growing!

 

On January 18th I went to a Women’s Health Symposium at the Meta Center in NYC. I learned so much! I was just blown out of my mind by the love I felt amongst the women who attended. It was love for life, love for health, love for self and love for all. Sharing different perspectives on health and healing, to improve and help each other grow.

 

First, Susan Wilson gave us valuable information about how easily Cancer statistics can be swayed in any direction to cause fear, and gave us information on other options for testing like thermography. She spoke about breast cancer and for example, that the hereditary risk is only 10%, but lifestyle makes the difference. The risk goes down 50% if we consume more fiber because everything starts at the gut. One great resource she shared was http://breastcanceroptions.org/. Her knowledge is vast and her energy is just so reassuring and calming.

 

Suzy Meszoly, a homeopath, spoke of a holistic approach, of how important energy is and how our bodies are completely capable of healing if we allow and help. She was refreshing and so loving! How great it would be if people had more access to someone like Suzy, for their health concerns!

 

Annelie Withfield spoke about nutrition, and she had a lot to say! She said something very important: “When we get sick or out of balance, the first thing to do is stop and look to nature for answers”. She focused on a few foods that are very powerful: beets (great food for women to build blood), greens, sea vegetables, fats (grass fed butter, grass fed beef), pollen, mushrooms and chocolate. She used to be a 100% raw food eater but like many who start that route, she realized that it wasn’t the best lifestyle for her or her family. She also mentioned how important it is to love our water and drink the best water we can (NOT tap water). Annelie’s website is great! Check it out, lots of great recipes! http://www.thesuperfoodfamily.com

 

Susun Weed was the last speaker of the day. She began with a song a cappella; a song about the maiden, mother and crone. She spoke about menopause, and boy did I learn a lot! I really didn’t know anything about menopause since I haven’t been there yet, but I’m glad I was there to learn from those who have walked the path and know that it is part of our lives, it isn’t a curse or a problem. I purchased her book, New Menopausal Years: The Wise Woman Way, Approaches for Women 30-90. I want to know as much as I can to be ready and enjoy every step of my journey! :) It’s good to know that we don’t necessarily need hormonal treatments during menopause and that if we simply nourish our bodies, our bodies will do the rest. Susun Weed had a lot to say, and her point of view is almost completely opposite from the other speakers, and from what I am used to hearing.

Hearing that raw food is not what we should be eating, and that we must cook our food to get the best nourishment we need… wow! Also, that even in a so called raw food diet, the majority of the food is not raw at all. Cooking is not just putting the food over the fire, there are other ways to cook like, dehydrating, sprouting. Raw foods aren’t nourishing because the cell wall of the food is intact. It can’t be broken if the food is raw, even if we put it through a juicer it won’t break the cell wall and release the nutrients. All this information is very crucial and important to me because, for a long time I’ve been questioning my eating habits and trying to force myself to eat more raw foods but I was never sure if it was the right choice. Now I understand that I either extreme is not beneficial. I guess I kinda knew it, but I just needed more information. Susun Weed paid for research about this matter herself, so I feel that I can trust the information. She also recommended as part of nourishing the body, to drink 1 quart of herbal infusion a day, and she rotates between these 5 herbs: nettles, linden, red clover, oat straw and comfrey. This is part of the Wise Woman Way. I highly recommend to check out her website: http://www.susunweed.com

 

There was much more information and hopefully soon the videos will be up on Youtube so that I can share them here. I feel so blessed to have been there! I can’t wait for the next event!

 

Now for the rest of 2014, I hope to continue growing, loving, learning, living!

 

Healers: are we unable to heal ourselves?

pentacle AWJ

Lately, I’ve been pondering this question. Are healers unable to heal themselves? I don’t mean this in a strict, literal way of course. Just wondering if the majority of healers just don’t heal themselves at all.

 

I believe, as many others do, that to be able to help others, we must first help ourselves. To be strong enough to take care of others, we must first take care of ourselves. Love and care for our bodies, minds and spirits. Eat properly, exercise, meditate, sleep. What we invest in ourselves we are able to share with others. A person that is ill, can not possibly take care of another. This is all common sense.

 

Then why is it that the majority of healers that I know and have met, are constantly giving of themselves to others, while never taking proper care of themselves? Many are even sick half the time, never even considering their own health, constantly pushing themselves, and pushing aside their own needs.

 

One way of seeing why this happens is this. How can I think of myself, when there are so many who need my help? How can I possibly spend time pampering myself, when others need of me? How could I possibly neglect them, there is just so much to do, so much healing needed in the world, I can not possibly take time to think of me! This person is sick, that person is sick, they need healing, prayers, herbal remedies, etc…I will take care of myself later….

 

Recently, I was watching a Japanese anime (yes I’m a fan of Japanese anime), that had a particular character which made me think of this subject, and made me want to write about this question that I’ve been asking myself. This anime, titled Arata Kangatari/Arata the Legend, has a character named Kotoha. She is a healer, also could be called a Kitra which is a term used in the Temple I am a member of, Temple Sahjaza and it means a healer, counselor, nurturer, among many other things. Well, Kotoha is a healer, and she works with her hands. She uses a healing touch. At one point in the story, she gets physically hurt, and her friend asks her “Can you not heal yourself?” and her answer is “No, my power only works to heal others, but not myself.” That made me think. It is very literal here, that this healer has a limitation to her powers, and that limitation puts her in great risk. If she was with other healers of her tribe, then it would be fine because they can all take care of each other. Out on her own, it is not so.

 

Although this was a fictional character in a story, I had to compare it to real life healers that I’ve met, including myself. Are we like Kotoha? Not literally, but do we just not know how to heal ourselves? Are we so preoccupied, so engulfed in the task of helping others to heal, that we can not take seriously the fact that we really must heal ourselves first, before we can properly care for others? How can we correct this behavior?

 

There have been times when I honestly am not sure what to do when I don’t feel well physically, mentally and/or spiritually. It is more like my mind goes blank, and I suddenly can’t react properly, I can not react like I would when, say, my mother needs an herbal remedy for a cold, or someone needs a healing prayer, a candle spell, etc… My husband has sometimes brought this up to me, to my own surprise. How is it that you know all these healing remedies and things, and yet you can not figure out what you need to do for yourself? Why does this happen? Is it a state of mind that I get stuck in sometimes? Or do I just need to get used to caring more about myself?

 

The Internet really is a double-edged sword. It helps us learn so much and connect, but wow, it can be so harmful too. The amount of people asking for help, prayers and healing energy is overwhelming and draining. What do we do? Can we really say no? I’m sure a lot of times people say yes, prayers, but they don’t really pray. It is just too much. It really breaks my heart when I start to think about it. I have to stop myself, otherwise I’ll be depressed and that is not helpful at all.

 

My Reiki teacher, Pamela Miles, strongly believes that taking care of ourselves is very important and we should do Reiki self-practice every single day, at least once. To her, this is the base of a healthy life and healthy Reiki practice. I completely agree with Pamela, and I do my Reiki self-practice every day, at least once a day and more if I can accommodate. I decided to take Kundalini Yoga classes more frequently as another way of taking care of myself. These are the steps I’ve taken to improve my self-care, and I know that I need to do more.

 

I would love to know what other healers are doing to take care of their needs. What are you doing to heal thyself, healer?

 

Love & Light,
Priestess Oscura N.

A Visit to Mother Nature’s Temple and School

Oh Mother Earth, how I love thee, how grateful I am to thee….

 

I went on my first field trip to identify medicinal plants. We were a large group, led by the amazing Peeka Trenkle. A bus ride early in the morning took me and my hubby to New Paltz, NY. From there, we got a ride to Stone Mountain Farm. The second we got out of the car, the loudest sound I’ve ever heard in such a place….the songs of the tree frogs and the cicadas, surrounding us in a non-stop soundtrack to our walk through nature.

 

We all eagerly took notes and photos, as our Nature guide (Peeka) pointed the wonders that Mother Nature offers us, what they can do for us and how every single plant, flower, tree, grows where it is needed, when it is needed. I learned so much, like for example, that wherever there is poison ivy, not far from it there is an antidote called Jewelweed (some photos below).

 

Such a beautiful, sunny day it was, and Mother Nature showed us so much, including two black snakes we saw mating on a tree! We sat under some nice shade to enjoy our packed lunches, looking at a magic circle of stones that had been erected in that area (I imagine there was a wonderful Summer Solstice celebration there!). Most of us had some cicadas hitch a ride on our heads, backs, and other parts of our clothes (jaja!).

 

Our walk ended by an incredible, peaceful, grand willow tree.

Gratitude….

My journey into Herbalism

Studying herbalism is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. It’s one of those things that I could have learned from my grandmother, but back then when I was a kid, I didn’t appreciate it as much as I do now (I wish I had).

 

Sure, I could buy some books, read, use trial and error, and that would work just fine. But my personal preference is to learn in a group setting, with other people. So, I started looking for some classes in NYC. Fortunately, a place I love here in the city called New York Open Center has a great introductory course. I wasn’t sure at first, so I started asking friends for opinions and recommendations, but eventually I realized that if I want to do something, I just have to go ahead and do it. Opinions, though helpful, were just slowing me down and making me doubt.

 

So, here I am, super excited to be taking a four month herbalism course with the amazing Peeka Trenkle. And to add to the excitement, Drew DiVittorio and David Winston also teach some of the classes. So far it has been an amazing experience. My appreciation of herbs has grown exponentially, and my excitement to learn more and work with herbs just keeps growing.

 

I finally made my first herbal preparations! I’m so excited! I’m working on two tinctures, and I watch them lovingly every

tincturesday. One is a tincture of lavender, feverfew and California poppy used to relieve migraines (I don’t get migraines as often any longer but I figured this would be a good one to have). The other one is dandelion root and burdock root to help cleanse and detox the liver. Now I just have to let the herbs and alcohol work their magic and wait. Of course I plan to start more preparations, but I’m taking my time. Did I say this is exciting? It is, very much so!

 

I can’t wait to plant my own medicinal herbal garden, to get more familiar with all the herbs, and be able to enjoy the magic of Mother Nature, the real medicine that has been here all along. My gratitude to Mother Earth and all the blessings she gives us every single day. <3 :)

 

Love & Light

 

Blessed by the 13 Indigenous Grandmothers

I found out about the council of 13 Indigenous Grandmothers through The Omega Institute. I never heard of them before, but I wanted to find out more. The 13 Indigenous Grandmothers represent a global alliance of prayer, education and healing for our Mother Earth, all Her inhabitants, all the children, and for the next seven generations to come. They are traveling around the world, encouraging and promoting projects that will save our lives and our future through preservation of the planet, and our indigenous ways amongst other things. They would be at Omega soon, but I just couldn’t afford to go there. There was the commute, the cost of the event and lodging. Just a few days ago, I read a tweet from Urban Zen announcing an event at their location in NYC, with the 13 Indigenous Grandmothers, and I could get a discount on the ticket. This was my chance! I got so excited. I started to spread the word, trying to get someone to join me. Unfortunately, none of my friends were able to go. I nearly changed my mind about going, but I am glad I did go after all. I bought my ticket on the day of the event (June 10, 2011). I also got caught up on some work at the office and was almost late to the event.

These wise women don’t just share their experience and wisdom with us, they also share their wonderful, positive, loving, caring amazing energy. The night started with inspiring, energetic music. The Urban Zen space is really stunning. I took a few photos but I didn’t want to interrupt so just a few without flash. If you’d like to see them check out my Photostream at Flickr. I walked by the grandmothers while they sat not far from the main stage, and then I looked for a good place to sit. The energy in the space was really positive, very strong. I felt very emotional and teary eyed.

Donna Karan came onstage after the music show to introduce the 13 Grandmothers. She shared her vision for Urban Zen, and the terrible pain of losing her husband. She really is doing great work with Urban Zen. May the Goddess and God bless her.

The 13 Indigenous Grandmothers slowly made their way onstage, with their translators and helpers and took their seats. Each grandmother took the microphone, one by one, and shared with everyone present, their thoughts and feelings regarding the environment, community, our responsibilities to our Mother Earth, and much more. Grandmother Agnes was the first one to speak, and she talked about water. She called us Water Babies. :) “Think about the water in your body. Talk to it, give it thanks every day” was one of the things she said. This resonated with me, as I’ve been very interested in how water responds to thoughts and feelings. Grandmother Agnes said we should drink lots of water, and we should revere water as a God because it gives us life. She even guaranteed that if we communicate and are thankful to our body’s water every day, we’ll feel much better overall and we’ll notice the difference after a few weeks. :)

Grandmother Flordemayo shared a vision she had while she was at a Crop Circle. She said that her father-in-law appeared to her, in a ball of blue light. Then he said that he brought her in a roundabout way to that place. And then she said that this same night, a guard who was doing a night shift at a place where there was a watch put on to avoid the forgery of crop circles, saw a blue light appear, and then there was a new crop circle. Very interesting.

Mona Polacca also stressed the importance of water, just as all the others did. She spoke about the sacred foundation of the 4 Elements which are the key to life and should be the focus of our prayers, our respect and care.

Two grandmothers were not there in person, so videos were presented with a message from each. Grandmother Bernadette Rebienot shared a positive message, letting us know that she has hope for the future which is great. She also mentioned how important prayer is. In fact they all pointed out how important it is for us to pray, for Mother Earth, for the 4 Elements our sacred foundation.

Clara Shinobu Iura’s video was very inspiring. She is a healer at Santa Casa de la Cura in the Amazon. She reminded us that the forest is our pharmacy, and we should respect and care for it as opposed to destroy it. The forest is essential for us to breathe, feed, and heal our bodies. The pharmaceutical industry ignores and turns its back on the deforestation, and yet their wealthy industry wouldn’t exist without the forest to begin with.

After all the grandmothers spoke, we all participated in an ancient Inuit ceremony. It was exhilarating! The music, the song, the howling! It was an amazing experience. After that, each and everyone attending the event had the opportunity to be personally blessed by one of the grandmothers. To be honest, I felt blessed since I walked into that place, just being there, listening to them talk, sing, and bless everyone in general. As I stood in line, waiting for my turn to receive a personal blessing from one of the grandmothers, I knew I would cry, because there was just so much positive, beautiful energy around me, I felt emotional. Margaret Behan Red Spider Woman blessed me. She did so quietly, and I quietly walked back to my chair, with tears in my eyes. I sat down to meditate, as more tears streamed down my face, and my hands and chest felt very warm. In my mind I saw grandmother Red Spider Woman hand me a flame, placing it in my hands.

Agnes Baker-Pilgrim gave a final prayer, which was full of love, compassion and emotion. She cried, and I cried. As Grandmother Jyoti said, I was “having a moment with my water”. I walked out of Urban Zen feeling light and relaxed, affected by the presence of The 13 Indigenous Grandmothers.

“We have to Be the New Vision, and live the New Vision.” -Grandmother Jyoti

Blessings,
Oscura

A cure for cancer? It’s been around for a while.

Responsible spiritual people (and just responsible people in general) take care of their bodies and their health because it is part of our personal development and living a harmonious, productive life. It is no surprise then that we care about what we eat, our lifestyles and our environment.

It is important for us to educate ourselves and stay up to date regarding information about subjects such as organic food, sustainability, alternative medicine, exercising, and anything related. We also help spread facts about things that affect us negatively like GMO’s and Monsanto.

It is because of all this, that I am writing this post. I feel the responsibility to share information, to try to reach people and even if I spark the interest of just one person, I’ve done some good.

When it comes to deadly diseases like Cancer, we all have lost someone or know someone who has. This horrible disease kills too many people each year and it seems to keep spreading fast. I lost my grandmother to Cancer about two years ago. Once you lose someone close to you to this, you tend to become more interested in the subject if you weren’t interested before.

A friend suggested I watch a documentary titled ‘The Beautiful Truth’. That documentary changed the way I look at a lot of things, starting with chronic diseases. To know that there is a cure for cancer and many other chronic diseases, was really enlightening, and at the same time it angered me. Why? There are so many people out there suffering, so many organizations asking for “donations” so that they can “find a cure”….why? When someone has already found a cure, even presented this cure in front of US Congress including several cured patients and all the evidence needed, only to be shoved aside. The reason is simple. The cure doesn’t benefit Big Pharma at all. There is no miracle drug that will make someone rich beyond their dreams. It is a lot simpler than that, and that is why it has been shoved aside for so long, even prohibited in some cases.

The Gerson Therapy is a powerful, natural treatment that boosts your body’s own immune system to heal cancer, arthritis, heart disease, allergies, and many other degenerative diseases. People from different parts of the world visit the Gerson Institute (in Mexico and Hungary) seeking the therapy that for them is their last resort. This therapy can also be administered at home, and there are certified Gerson caregivers. It has led to the healing of people who were sent home to die by their doctors. I highly recommend everyone watch The Gerson Miracle. You won’t regret it. You can watch it on Hulu right now and on Netflix. Once you watch this documentary, you will want to share the wealth of information with others. This is highly important information that needs to be shared.

And once you have this knowledge, you see things differently. Why is this person asking for money to “save children with cancer”? Why are there even children suffering like that? Why are there so called charities asking for money to “find a cure”? It is absolutely unbelievable and unacceptable! And people having to go to Mexico to be healed with the Gerson Therapy, while others get poisoned and killed fast with chemo therapy in every hospital in the USA. We must educate ourselves and share the knowledge, that is the bottom line.

Yes, I am promoting The Gerson Institute, but I am not doing this for any personal or monetary benefit. I am doing it because it is time we stop suffering, and start living.

Find out more:
The Gerson Institute: http://www.gerson.org/
Watch ‘The Gerson Miracle’ on Hulu now: http://www.hulu.com/watch/180363/the-gerson-miracle or on Netflix: http://www.netflix.com/Movie/The-Gerson-Miracle/70113618
Watch ‘The Beautiful Truth’ online now: http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/beautiful-truth/

Live a healthy life now. And spread the truth.

~Oscura