Category Archives: Well-Being

Experience the power of sound tantra, opening your energy system

BY GINA SALA

You are one-of-a-kind, and your voice and presence are a blessings in the world. And you can sing. Even if someone ever told you you can’t. Our voices are healing instruments, and instruments of connection, joy, integration, transformation, authentic expression of the heart, playfulness and beauty. Singing helps us wake up to Who we are.

Whether you’re a professional singer or public speaker or tend to save your vocals for the privacy of the shower, you are welcome here!

Gina Salá is a teacher, performer, and healer who helps us awaken to the power and pleasure of our voices and the magnificence within!With a repertoire spanning 23 languages, she has learned and shared songs and sound healing techniques on stages and in living rooms, conferences and huts throughout much of the world, including singing at the United Nations and as lead singer for Cirque du Soleil’s “O”.

Gina offers individual and group voice classes, fun events and workshops, corporate team building events, and sound healing for adults and youth. She also leads singing and chanting tours of exotic India.

Join Gina Sala June 23-28 for Songlines & Ragaroads: Singing Ourselves Home at Hollyhock on Cortes Island

Discover ways to incorporate yoga teachings on non-harm and social engagement into your life

Redefining the present moment – Michael Stone

What does it mean to be in the moment? What does it mean to be mindful? Yogi and Buddhist teacher Michael Stone breaks down the oft used term and shows how it relates to being mindful about what’s really going on.

The gift of our wounds – Michael Stone

 

The heart of non-attachment – Michael Stone

True non-attachment is an intimacy with life. Buddhist teacher and yogi Michael Stone shares his perspective on how to live an engaged life.

Shot & edited by Ian MacKenzie http://ianmack.com

Michael Stone leader of Centre of Gravity, is a psychotherapist, Yoga teacher, author and activist, committed to the integration of traditional teachings with contemporary psychological and philosophical understanding. The components of his practice include Yoga postures, breathing technique, meditation and textual study. Over the years, his goal has been to cultivate long-term relationships with people who want to deepen their understanding of Yoga and Buddhist teachings and practice. He also maintains a dedicated workshop and retreat schedule in communities in Canada and abroad. Michael is a father and lives in Toronto with his partner Carina Lof and his 9 year old son Arlyn. These days you can find him working on a documentary film called “Reactor,” a new book of the same title, teaching, and also giving talks at conferences and in community.

Join Michael Stone  June 28 – July 3 for a workshop on The Inner Tradition of Yoga and discover ways to incorporate yoga teachings on non-harm and social engagement into your life

 

The Road Map to Salvation through Mantra

BY SNATAM KAUR KHALSA

How can we really enjoy this life?  How can we really enjoy being in our bodies, in this rib cage?  We must have the capacity to have a still and quiet mind.  Because the joy is there.  This innocence is there. The love is there.  We become too ravaged in our own insecurity, our own misery, our own blindness, to even see the truth.  Yes, thrash around if you must, gnarl and gnash your teeth like a wild animal.  After enough tearing about, you will be left alone, simply alone, to rebuild the pieces of your life.

Use the sacred medicine of Mantra at this time, and you will find the happiness and the joy that you are seeking.  What is despair?  What is anguish?  It is a simple frequency of the mind.  Just as Mantra is a frequency of the mind.  Mantra is a word that is thousands of years old.  It means projection (tra) of the mind (man).  Mantra is the way we project our mind to Divinity.

Snatam_Kaur_playingAs human beings we are constantly in a state of being in touch with our darkness and our light, our insecurity and our security, our courage and our fear.  We come to this earth with our karma, our past actions from previous lifetimes.  Our souls have come here to learn and grow.  The yogis say that it takes 8.4 million lifetimes (rock, blade of grass, ant, tortoise, etc. etc. not necessarily in that order!) to reach the human incarnation.  We have passed through that animal phase.  Yet many of us are still in this kind of animal phase, and even worse then animals.  At least with animals there is an innocence about their actions.  We have even lost our innocence!  So, how do we experience the goodness, the joy, and the love?  How do we reach our Divinity? Mantra.  Mantra, takes you there.  It is a fast track, direct line.  Many people do not want to even practice it, because it works too well!  They enjoy the neurosis, the anger, the pain, and the anguish!  There is a certain kind of satisfaction in it, a knowing, the familiar, and the oh so delicious drama of it all.  Mantra, well, sorry folks, mantra is kind of boring.  It is that kind of boring, boring, boring, boring a hole into your heart so that your light can finally shine through you.  It takes time, it takes patience, it takes consistency, it takes prioritization.

Here is a thousand foot view of the human experience of Mantra from the beginning to the ultimate goal. Someone experiences a Mantra, they get healed, they feel light, they feel love, and they feel joy.  Perhaps they heard someone singing it, their yoga teacher, a musician, something. If they are lucky, they will realize that it was  not in fact the human carrier of the mantra that brought them joy, but the living presence of the Mantra.  You see, because every mantra is alive, a living breathing energy.  The mantras find you!  So yes, if you know the truth, you will know that the healing, the joy has come from the Mantra itself.  With this realization one incorporates the Mantra into their life.  The ultimate goal is that the Mantra becomes you, you live it and breath it, it guides your breath, your thoughts, and your actions.  These Mantras are simple positive affirmations of the love and light of God that is within and around us, the affirmation of truth and reality that all is Divine, all is God.

Most of us exist with the Mantras on a very peripheral level.  We hear the Mantra every once in a while, we cycle in and out, we go to a chant concert or experience one night, to a disco the next night, we chant together, and then we turn around and yell and scream at each other all in the same day!  Such is the human life!  How do we get to  grace, to true experience, and joy?

My teacher taught a very simple practice that in essence gives the opportunity for all of us having a very human experience to transform, and transform completely.  It is essentially a road map to salvation through Mantra for the house holder.

It is called the Aquarian Sadhana.  I have been practicing this Sadhana since I was a teenager. And yes, with all of my faults and life in its ebb and flow, if there is anything that has worked for me, it is this practice.  This is the way it is done; we get up before the sun rises, in what is called the “Amrit Vela” or nectar time; somewhere around 3:30 am.  To make this early rising sustainable one must go to bed early as well. So we rise up, and then take a cold shower.  And yes, I did just say that.  I’ll say it again in caps, Cold Shower.  If you want to change your life, wake up before the sun and take a cold shower!  It is the most awesome experience in the world.  It totally wakes you up, for obvious reasons, but also gives you an amazing rush and experience of circulation which is fabulous for your skin and all of your organs.  Any emotional freak outs, any craziness, can be completely healed by a cold shower.  Alright so, moving on, then we do a recitation called Jap ji.  Followed by about a half hour of yoga, and then by seven mantras which we chant.  Of course in this article I cannot tell you what all of the chants are, and how to do the practice.  You can come and attend one of our courses to have an experience of that.  Or check out one of the links below for more information.

What I can tell you is that this practice has changed by life.  It has given me the opportunity as a human being, in the best and worst use of the word, in all of my experience, to reach the Divine.  Why?

Here is why, and the number one thing I wish to convey.

I do it every day.  Let me repeat that.  I do it every day.  Like the heart beat, I am consistent.  With consistency we convince the mind that yes, in fact we are putting our Divinity first, we are prioritizing it at the top, that this is in fact the core experience that we are choosing to have.  Daily practice.  That is how we are going to change the world.  That is how we are going to bring peace to this planet.  One practitioner at a time.  And so we set aside 2.5 hours each day, we give a little over 10% of our day to God, and as my teacher Yogi Bhajan says, then God gives Himself/Herself to you.

What is my goal with all of this? To have sacred mantras in my mind all day, all night, all the time.  Am I there yet?  No.  Do I have a method to get there?  Yes.

Join me my friends.  Find a way to have a daily practice.  Put Divinity in the front seat, and watch as your life, even if ever so slowly, changes and transforms.  We have to start somewhere.  And if you are like me, the chaos, the noise, the confusion, the drama, is well, let’s just say, not really working any longer.  Let us find the stillness, and even for a moment allow for the boredom to set in.  Ah yes, the boredom!  Where we can finally be still long enough to hear the laughter of a child.  Where we can finally be still enough to see how much God truly loves us.  Where we can finally just be.

Sat Nam. God Bless You.

Snatam_Kaur

Snatam Kaur is a beloved teacher of chant and yoga whose dedication to peace, love and wellbeing have inspired students and audiences around the planet. She is one of the most popular New Age artists of all time, selling over 70,000 albums a year with enthusiastic press about her music everywhere from the Houston Chronicle to the Hindustan Times. She’s been featured in publications such as Oprah Magazine, Yoga Journal, and LA Yoga. Dressed in distinctive Sikh garb, Snatam Kaur embodies the Sikh message of strength through inner serenity. snatamkaur.com

Join Snatam Kaur at Hollyhock on Cortes Island Sept 13-16, 2013, for Awaken the Kundalini.

 

Spiritual Perspective Shift Life – Dr. Sukhi

HOW A SPIRITUAL PERSPECTIVE CAN SHIFT THE DIRECTION OF YOUR LIFE?

by Dr. Sukhi for www.consciousdivas.com

When I think back to my earliest childhood memories it’s crystal clear for me today that I’ve always been on a path of self-discovery and exploration. Perhaps it’s because the darker shades of life permeated my environment for most of my upbringing. Or maybe it is just the journey I was meant to be on. I’ll never truly know, but I would always look around and think, is this it? Is this everything life has to offer? For most of my upbringing I found that this thing called “life” wasn’t this grand, exciting and fun adventure.

I found that I was looking for happiness and fulfillment in all the wrong places. I would constantly think that once I achieved this or acquired that then life would become fun and exciting and I’d be happy. Falling into this paradigm of cultural domestication cost me so much heartache and pain. This continued until the pain and discomfort couldn’t get any worse. When I hit this breaking point, which was the most challenging thing I’ve ever experienced, something within me transformed. This was when I knew that every experience, challenge and hardship that was placed in front of me was an opportunity to wake up to something greater than that present reality.

Then one day it happened. When the universe pushed me to the edge I was forced to ask myself, “who will I be when I’m no longer me? Where will I go? What will I feel? Who is this “I” that looks out upon this world? Does it all end when this physical body dies?” At that moment I had all these questions and today more than 21 years later I’ve discovered that I’ll never truly have an absolute answer.

Dr. Sukhi

What is this thing called spirit? We’ve all met people who say they’re spiritual, but what exactly does that mean. Today I’ve learned that the essence of spirituality is in the eyes of the beholder. It is obtained through the efforts to become better acquainted with the “I” that is within us doing the looking and seeking. This path can take many forms and looks very different for each of us. Yet when you’re on it, something intangible shifts from within.

Read more here……

 

 

Can Eating Enoki Mushrooms Lower Your Cancer Risk?

BY PAUL STAMETS via The Huffington Post

Paul_Stamets_EnokiEnoki mushrooms, a tasty variety commonly sold in grocery stores, were one of the first mushrooms studied for preventing cancer. Credit for discovering this medical benefit goes in large part to Dr. Tetsuro Ikekawa, a former epidemiologist at the Research Institute of the National Cancer Center in Tokyo, Japan. He wondered why the cancer rates in the Nagano Prefecture of Japan were abnormally low from 1972-1986, compared to surrounding provinces. Ikekawa found it was the center of enoki mushroom cultivation. A cluster within the population of Nagano died less frequently from cancer: enoki mushroom growers and their families. Since many enoki farmers gave their employees the bruised or blemished mushrooms that were deemed unattractive to shoppers, these Nagano citizens ate far more enoki mushrooms than their neighbors. Dr. Ikekawa surmised that their higher rate of enoki mushroom consumption correlated with the lower cancer death rate in Nagano Prefecture.

Paul_Stamets_Enoki_Stats

 

At the time of the research, the average cancer death rate in the Nagano prefecture was 160 per 100,000. This rate dropped to 97 per 100,000, comparatively, in families of enoki growers (Ikekawa, et al,,1989, 2003). Men’s cancer deaths decreased by 36.6 percent, and women in this cluster benefited from a 42.7 percent decrease in mortality from cancer. The population base in this study was around 175,000 people and was age-adjusted. By contrast, the United States currently records 173 deaths from cancer per 100,000 as of 2009 (The Henry J. Kaiser Foundation).

While there are no clusters of enoki growers and enoki eaters to study in the U.S. like there are in Nagano, this Japanese study could inspire epidemiologists to study the effect of higher mushroom consumption. Such research could support the widespread theory held by many mycologists and physicians that increased mushroom consumption can lower cancer fatality rates.

Dr. Ikekawa’s 1989 epidemiological study published by the Nagano Prefectural Research Institute of Rural Industry corroborated years of lab-scale research by Dr. Ikekawa and others. In a flurry of medical research — sparked in part by Ikekawa’s1969 article in Cancer Research on the cancer-fighting properties of many gourmet mushrooms — Japanese researchers sought to isolate, purify, and identify the constituents in enoki mushrooms that provided the anti-cancer effects. Their research focused on two classes of protein-bound polysaccharides: FVP (as in Flammulina velutipes polysaccharides, such as EA6), and FVE (for Flammulina velutipes extracts). As a result of this research, two new compounds — flammulin and proflamin — were isolated. Proflamin is a glycoprotein, containing more than 90 percent protein and less than 10 percent carbohydrate with a molecular weight between 13,000-17,000 Da. Notably, this molecule is orders of magnitude lighter than the heavy beta glucan polysaccharides. Comparative tests of proflamin showed better immune mitigated, cancer-fighting activity against melanoma and other cancers than the well-known PSK isolated from turkey tail (Trametes versicolor) mushrooms. (Ikekawa, et al., 1985).

In 2009, the journal Immunology published a study showing that ingesting enoki extracts containing these substances significantly improved survival rates of mice infected with Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), a leading cause of cervical cancer. Two sets of mice were infected with the HPV oncovirus, and one set was given an extract of enoki mushrooms.

Tumor protection assays showed that 60 percent of mice co-immunized with HPV-16 E7 plus Fve, as compared with 20 percent of those immunized only with HPV-16 E7, remained tumour-free for up to 167 days after challenge with the tumour cells.
The positive immune reactions were augmented from expansion of HPV specific interferon (IFN)-gamma-producing CD4(+) and CD8(+) T lymphocytes cells (Ding et. al., 2009). In a later study by Yin et al. (2010), Chinese researchers found that three unique beta glucans found in enoki mushrooms (beta-linked glucose, galactose, mannose and fucose sugars) induced a significant increase in cellular nitric oxide expression from murine peritoneal macrophages. Nitric oxide production by immune cells is one of the key mechanisms that our bodies use to destroy diseased cells. Enhancement of these types of immune responses is seen consistently with many medicinal mushrooms that have been tested by cancer researchers.

Nutritional Properties
Enoki mushrooms are a rich source of important nutrients (Stamets, 2005). Our analysis showed that for every 100 grams (dry weight), enoki offers:

  • 346 calories
  • 53 percent carbohydrates (31 percent complex carbohydrates, 22 percent other sugars)
  • 26 percent protein
  • 26 percent dietary fiber
  • 3 percent fat (1.0 gram polyunsaturated, 1.2 grams total unsaturated, 0.23 grams saturated)
  • Significant quantities of many vitamins and minerals: 0.35 mg thiamine, 10.9 mg pantothenic acid (B5), 61 mg niacin, 1.69 mg riboflavin, 14 mg calcium, 0.61 mg copper, 8.3 mg iron, 3,100 mg potassium, 54 µg selenium, and 19 mg sodium.

Read the full article here.

Paul_StametsPaul Stamets is founder of Fungi Perfecti, and was named by Utne Reader magazine as one of the Top Fifty visionaries in 2008. He has pioneered many innovations in the cultivation and use of edible and medicinal mushrooms. He is the author of The Mushroom Cultivator,Growing Gourmet and Medicinal Mushrooms, and Mycelium Running: How Mushrooms Can Help Save the Worldwww.fungi.com

 

Join Paul Stamets at Hollyhock, on Cortes Island, for “Mushrooms: Wild & Mysterious”, Oct 23-27, 2013.