We’re dedicated to promoting good chi* through conscious living and maintenance of a genuine life.
*Chi (chee) is the vital life force — an energy that flows through the body. Chi is present in everyone and everything in different amounts and strengths.
Listen to the Chi For Yourself interview with Sam Bennett
Yoga teacher and author Peter Sklivas joins us this week on Chi For Yourself. His first spiritual novel is The Secret of Enduring Love: Yoga Romance of Damayanti and Nala. It’s a 21st century retelling of an ancient Vedic tale from India. When Princess Damayanti embarks on a quest to win the heart of her beloved Prince Nala, the gods don’t make things easy. Damayanti must pass a series of dangerous tests orchestrated by the goddess Shakti, lords Shiva and Indra, and other immortals. The key? With guidance from her guru, Great Swan, the princess learns the secret to opening the seven inner gateways—and awakening the love of God, the divine feminine, and the beloved.
Hear the Chi For Yourself interview with Peter Sklivas here:
(Originally aired in October, 2011)
Robin Marvel’s story of personal struggle with abuse, homelessness and teen pregnancy is a testament to her strength and courage. On this Chi For Yourself episode she talks with John about the power of choice in daily living and the necessary tools to succeed in an ever changing, sometimes challenging world.
Robin says many children are faced with the same difficult circumstances that she faced in childhood, and she’s chosen to use her life as a way to encourage others toward a life of confidence and strength. Robin Marvel is the author of Awakening Consciousness- a Girl’s Guide..Awakening Consciousness- a Boys Guide..and Awakening Consciousness- a Woman’s Guide.
Click on the BlogTalkRadio logo to hear the show..
Visit Robin Marvel’s website..
Chi For Yourself welcomes Jennifer Louden..Jennifer is a personal growth pioneer who helped launch the self-care movement. She’s the author of The Life Organizer and other books on well-being and whole living. Listen to the interview here by clicking on the video player..
Visit Jennifer Louden’s website..
Join us for the interview with Kristen Moeller, author of What Are You Waiting For: Learn How to Rise to the Occasion of Your Life. Kristen’s inspiring story is one of personal challenges and learning to live beyond loss. You can hear the show by clicking on the YouTube screen…
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Visit Chetan Parkyn’s website
It seems that everyone, from athletes to celebrities to high-powered executives and politicians to stay-at-home moms and college students, is practicing yoga. Our Chi For Yourself guest has put together an encyclopedia of different yoga styles as a reference for those new to yoga and experienced yogis and teachers alike. But Meagan McCrary’s approach digs deeper than the physical descriptions of the practices to include everything from a style’s philosophical foundation and teaching methodology to what-to-expect and health benefits. Meagan is a certified yoga instructor and freelance writer. Her teaching path has been greatly influenced by Anusara yoga founder John Friend as well as Noah Mazé, Elena Brower, and Martin and Jordan Kirk. Her yoga, wellness, and lifestyle writings are widely featured in print and online in publications including Elephant Journal, GaiamLife, and Glo. Meagan McCrary is the author of Pick Your Yoga Practice: Exploring and Understanding Different Types of Yoga.
Hear the Meagan McCrary interview here..just click on the YouTube screen:
Listen to the Allen Klein interview here:
We often think of celebrations as centering around special occasions, like Birthdays, Christmas, or other holidays. But our Chi For Yourself guest says there is no need to wait for those times. In this interview Allen Klein reminds us that everyday is a cause for celebration. The very fact that you are alive, the wondrous world around you, and the special people in your life are all reasons to rejoice. Allen Klein is the author of Always Look on The Bright Side: Living Life to The Fullest
Visit Allen Klein’s website
Hear Dr. Bernie Siegel on Chi For Yourself
Visit Dr. Bernie Siegel’s website..
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In GenuLines this week- Make your work work for you..
Fresh Food Trends
Natural Trailblazers in Sustainable Eating
Food experts have listed local, regional and sustainable foods among the top food trends for 2014. Consumers’ heightened environmental awareness and their love for fresh flavors are responsible.
There’s even a new term, “hyperlocal”, to describe produce harvested fresh from onsite gardens at restaurants, schools, supermarkets and hospitals—all designed for sourcing tasty, nutrient-rich foods minus the fuel-guzzling transportation costs. Adding emphasis to the need to preserve vital local food sources, the United Nations has designated 2014 as the International Year of Family Farming.
Here are four thriving food trends resulting from shifts in Americans’ thinking and our growing love for all things local.
What could be more entertaining and economical than searching for and gathering wild foods in their natural habitat? From paw paws and persimmons in Missouri to palmetto berries in Florida and seaweed in California, Mother Nature provides a feast at her children’s feet. Commonly foraged foods include nuts, mushrooms, greens, herbs, fruits and even shellfish. To learn how to identify regional native wild foods and cash in on some “free” nutritious meals, foragers need to know where and when to harvest their bounty. Conservation departments and state and national parks often offer helpful field guides and recipes.
Jill Nussinow, also known as The Veggie Queen, a registered dietitian and cookbook author in Santa Rosa, California, characterizes foraging as “nature’s treasure hunt.” Nussinow says she forages for the thrill of it and because, “It puts you very much in touch with the seasons.”
On her typical foraging excursions through forests and on beaches, Nussinow notes, “You never know what you might find: mushrooms, berries, miner’s lettuce, mustard pods or sea vegetables. It’s free food, there for the picking.” However, she warns, “You have to know what you are doing. Some wild foods can be harmful.”
For example, Nussinow advises getting to know about mushrooms before venturing forth to pick them. She recommends the book Mushrooms Demystified, by David Arora, as a learning tool, and checking with local mycological associations for safe mushroom identification. She also likes the advice of “Wildman” Steve Brill, of New York City, who publishes educational articles at WildmanSteveBrill.com. “He knows more about wild foods than anyone I know,” she says.
1 Locally sourced meats and seafood
2 Locally grown produce
3 Environmental sustainability
4 Healthful kids’ meals
5 Gluten-free cuisine
6 Hyperlocal sourcing (e.g. restaurant gardens)
7 Children’s nutrition
8 Non-wheat noodles/pasta (e.g. quinoa, rice, buckwheat)
9 Sustainable seafood
10 Farm/estate-branded items
Vermont wildcrafter Nova Kim teaches her students not only how to identify wild edibles, but also how to harvest them sustainably. It’s critical to make sure wild foods will be available for future generations.
Kefir, kimchi, kombucha and sauerkraut all owe their unique flavors to fermentation. Sandor Katz, author of The Art of Fermentation: An In-Depth Exploration of Essential Concepts and Processes From Around the World, is a self-described “fermentation revivalist”. He explains how microorganisms, such as lactic acid bacteria that are universally present on raw vegetables and in milk, transform fresh food into preserved sustenance.
Katz recalls how his boyhood love for sour pickles grew to an “obsession with all things fermented.” An abundant garden crop of cabbage left him wondering, “What are we going to do with all that cabbage?” The answer came naturally: “Let’s make sauerkraut.” Subsequently, Katz has become an international expert on the art and science of fermentation from wine to brine and beyond, collecting recipes and wisdom from past generations (WildFermentation.com). He observes, “Every single culture enjoys fermented foods.”
Increasing respect and reverence for fermented foods and related communities of beneficial microorganisms is a new frontier in nutrition and medical sciences. For example, several researchers at the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics annual meeting last fall in Houston, Texas, described the connections between the trillions of bacteria living in the human gut, known as the “microbiota”, and mental and physical health. Kelly Tappenden, Ph.D., a professor of nutrition and gastrointestinal physiology with the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, explained that gut bacteria play a variety of roles, including assisting in the digestion and absorption of nutrients; influencing gene expression; supporting the immune system; and affecting body weight and susceptibility to chronic disease.
The popular adage, “We are what we eat,” applies to animals, as well. New research from Washington State University shows that organic whole milk from pasture-fed cows contains 62 percent higher levels of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids compared to conventional, or non-organic, whole milk. The striking difference is accounted for by the fact that the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s national organic program legally requires that organic cows have access to pasture throughout the grazing season. The more time cows spend on high-quality pasture, which includes grass, legumes and hay, the more beneficial the fats will be in their milk. On the other hand, when ruminant animals, designed to graze on pasture, are fed a steady diet of corn and soy, both their milk and meat contain less beneficial fat.
According to Captain Joseph Hibbeln, a lipid biochemist and physician at the National Institutes of Health, American diets have become deficient in omega-3 fatty acids over the past 100 years, largely because of industrial agriculture. Hibbeln believes that consuming more omega-3s may be one of the most important dietary changes Americans can make to reduce the risk of chronic diseases, improve mental health and enhance children’s brain and eye development, including boosting their IQs.
Food Corps is a national nonprofit with a mission to improve school food and thus children’s health and lifelong potential. Active in 15 states, it places teams of young teachers in limited-resource communities to establish school gardens, provide food-based nutrition education and supplement school meals with garden fresh produce.
Coldwater fish such as salmon, mackerel, tuna and sardines provide excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Plus, dairy and meat from animals raised on pasture can improve our intake, as well.
How might eating with the “creation” in mind influence food and agriculture trends? Barbara Ross, director of social services for Catholic Charities of Central and Northern Missouri, believes, “People’s common denominator is that we are all part of and integral to the creation.” She considers how “Food, agriculture, environment and economy are bound together in a way that requires we think, plan and act for the dignity of each person and the common good of the human family.” Ross explains that the choices we make in these vital areas affect the richness of our soils, the purity of our air and water and the health of all living things.
Marie George, Ph.D., a professor of philosophy at St. John’s University, in Queens, New York, agrees, “The serious ecological crises we see today stem from the way we think,” and “reveal an urgent moral need for a new solidarity” to be better stewards of the Earth and its creatures. For example, George sees it as contrary to human dignity to cause animals to suffer; that’s why she opposes gestation crates and the push for cheap food that exploits animals and the environment in the process.
Kelly Moltzen, a registered dietitian in Bronx, New York, shares a passion for addressing food justice and sustainability from her faith-based perspective of Franciscan spirituality. She believes that, “When we connect our spirituality with the daily act of eating, we can eat in a way that leads to a right relationship with our Creator.” By bridging spirituality with nutrition and the food system, Moltzen hopes to raise awareness of how people can care for their body as a temple and live in right relationship with the Earth, which she perceives as “the larger house of God.”
Fred Bahnson, director of the Food, Faith and Religious Leadership Initiative at Wake Forest University’s School of Divinity, in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, is the author of Soil and Sacrament: A Spiritual Memoir of Food and Faith. His book takes the reader on a journey to four different faith communities—Catholic, Protestant, Pentecostal and Jewish—to explore connections between spiritual nourishment and the cultivation of food. Bahnson speaks about sacred soil and the communities of mystical microorganisms that lie within and create the foundation for sustenance. He also describes the special power of communal gardens, which welcome all and provide nourishing food, yet come to satisfy more than physical hunger.
Regardless of religious denomination, Amanda Archibald, a registered dietitian in Boulder, Colorado, believes, “We are in a new era of food—one that embraces and honors food producers and food systems that respect soil, environment and humanity itself.”
Melinda Hemmelgarn, aka the “food sleuth”, is a registered dietitian and award-winning writer and radio host at KOPN.org, in Columbia, MO (FoodSleuth@gmail.com). She advocates for organic farmers at Enduring-Image.blogspot.com.
This article appears in the March 2014 issue of Natural Awakenings
Katherine Woodward Thomas on Drawing True Love Our Way
After years of experiencing love going sour, Katherine Woodward Thomas set a goal: She would marry her soul mate within a year. Her quest inspired a surprising awakening that spurred her to look deep inside for the key that would unblock love. Thomas realized the transformation that enabled her success involved clear steps that could help anyone. Today, the licensed psychotherapist and relationship expert has guided thousands toward successful relationships via her national bestseller, Calling in “The One”: 7 Weeks to Attract the Love of Your Life, and subsequent books and seminars.
What catalyzed your Calling in “The One” professional journey?
I was 41, a card-carrying member of one of America’s largest-growing groups—the never-marrieds. I had bought into the cultural belief that a woman my age had little chance of finding a great husband. I felt anxious and resigned, trying to come to terms with it, but sad inside.
Fortunately, at the time, I was part of a small group supportive of each other’s intentions. So I set the outrageous intention that I would be engaged by my next birthday. I also recognized my longstanding pattern of attracting unavailable men who were engaged, married or alcoholics. A woman in the group said, “Katherine, I will hold that intention with you if you permit me to hold you accountable to be the woman you would need to be in order to fulfill it.
Her wake-up call turned my focus from running out to find love to going within to discover the barriers I had against it. Thus I began what became the Calling in “The One” process.
How does it differ from other approaches to finding love?
Many approaches focus on the external reasons love is elusive, such as all the good men are taken, men don’t like powerful women or just not having met the right person. This approach focuses more on the internal reasons—going within to discover and release one’s own conscious and unconscious barriers. For most of us, a gap exists between how much we think we want love and how much we are actually open and ready to receive it. Until we bridge that gap, we will covertly keep love at bay, and won’t even realize we are doing it.
What are the most common hidden barriers to love?
One hidden barrier is resentment. We only resent people to the extent that we’ve given our power away to them. Uncover your role in what happened. Even if it was 97 percent their fault and 3 percent yours, zero in on that 3 percent, because you’ll only be able to trust yourself to love again once you’ve taken that responsibility. If you still feel resentful, you have not yet evolved beyond the person you were before.
Another centers on old agreements—the spoken and unspoken, agreements we make, usually in an emotional time—such as “I’m never going to let myself get hurt again” or “I’ll never love anyone the way I love you.” Such agreements live in our lives as intentions. They may no longer be conscious, yet still set our course.
Another has to do with toxic relational dynamics. To find the best partnership, you need to be your best self. Maintaining a toxic dynamic drains personal power, making it hard to move forward in life. It’s vital to evolve out of this debilitating dynamic so you are in the center of your power everywhere in life.
The fourth area, and probably the most important, revolves around the core beliefs you hold about both yourself and others. You might have a reasonably clear sense of yourself around money, career and friendship, but your core love identity might cause you to believe yourself unworthy of a quality partner. Identifying and challenging these beliefs is critical in learning how to break free from them, helping to raise your value in your own eyes and thus in others.
You believe the best way to find a needle in a haystack is to become magnetic and allow that needle to find you. How does one become magnetic to love?
Being centered in the truth of your own value and the real possibilities you hold for true love is wildly attractive. Love yearns to embrace us, but can’t come to us if it can’t come through us. When we shift into this place of possibility, we can become profoundly magnetic to love.
This article appears in the February 2014 issue of Natural Awakenings