Unease, anxiety, tension, stress, worry—all forms of fear—are caused by too much future, and not enough presence. Guilt, regret, resentment, grievances, sadness, bitterness, and all forms of nonforgiveness are caused by too much past, and not enough presence.
[holistic health] sadhana tea house
Since moving to NYC i’ve been hitting up my local health food store and supporting black businesses where possible! Anyone in the Mount Vernon area should definitely visit the Sadhana Tea House on Gramathan Avenue.
It carries teas, tonics, vitamins, supplements, natural self care products and a range of smoothies made by the loving hands of Mother (see below) who is a proud vegan since the age of 14 who is 64 years old looking like she’s 40+.
meditate in the morning, eat your greens, drink water, stretch and thug it out in between.
[natural remedies] vitamin D
We’ve had some freak days of heat over on the East Coast over the past couple of weeks so i’ve taken the opportunity to get some quality time in with mother nature - always time well spent. The autumn equinox has come and gone so the days are getting shorter and nights much longer which means less daylight - the most natural source of the D.
It’s produced by the body in response to skin being exposed to sunlight. It is also occurs naturally in a few foods — including some fish, fish liver oils, and egg yolks - and in fortified dairy and grain products and is essential for strong bones, because it helps the body use calcium from the diet. Because of colder climates, a change in the conditions we work and live many of us have a deficiency in vitamin D.
Symptoms of bone pain and muscle weakness can mean you have a vitamin D deficiency. However, for many people, the symptoms are subtle. Yet, even without symptoms, too little vitamin D can pose health risks. Low blood levels of the vitamin have been associated with increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease, cognitive impairment in older adults, severe asthma in children and some cancers.
Research suggests that vitamin D could play a role in the prevention and treatment of a number of different conditions, including type1 and type 2 diabetes, hypertension, glucose intolerance, and multiple sclerosis.
Vitamin D deficiency can occur for a number of reasons:
You don’t consume the recommended levels of the vitamin over time. This is likely if you follow a vegan diet - most of the natural sources are animal-based, including fish and fish oils, egg yolks, cheese, fortified milk, and beef liver.
Your exposure to sunlight is limited. Because the body makes vitamin D when your skin is exposed to sunlight, you may be at risk of deficiency if you are homebound, live in northern latitudes, wear long robes or head coverings for religious reasons, or have an occupation that prevents sun exposure.
You have melanated skin. Magic melanin reduces the skin’s ability to make vitamin D in response to sunlight exposure. Some studies show that older adults with darker skin are at high risk of vitamin D deficiency (basically we’re built to need more so we need to get up outta these cold climates).
Its important that we take a supplement if we follow a vegan or veggie diet or seek to get out in the sunshine (even if it’s cold) where possible.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a mood disorder featuring depressive symptoms, occurs during the dark times of the year when there is relatively little sunshine, coinciding with the sudden drop in vitamin D levels in the body. Several studies have suggested that the symptoms of SAD may be due to changing levels of vitamin D3, which may affect serotonin levels in the brain. (x)
Here are some of the benefits of vitamin D -
1. Helps fertility
Vitamin D may increase fertility rates by six percent. Studies have shown that vitamin D works synergistically with other vitamins.
2. Prevent breast cancer and other cancers
Seventy percent of women with breast cancer are vitamin D deficient. Vitamin D has been shown to prevent breast cancer cell growth and decrease the expression of cancer causing genes.
JoEllen Welsh, a researcher with the State University of New York at Albany, has studied the effects of vitamin D for 25 years. She believes vitamin D may be just as powerful as the most modern anti-cancer drugs.
“What happens is that vitamin D enters the cells and triggers the cell death process. It’s similar to what we see when we treat cells with Tamoxifen, a drug used to treat breast cancer.”
Besides breast cancer, vitamin D has been shown to decrease the risk of all cancers in women.
“Improving calcium and vitamin D nutritional status substantially reduces all-cancer risk in postmenopausal women.”
3. Stronger Bones
Without vitamin D, calcium won’t be absorbed in the hard tissues like bone and teeth. Vitamin D has also been shown to increase the absorption of calcium from food.
In 2007, researchers found that vitamin D deficient women were 77 percent more likely to suffer a hip fracture.
Brittle bones are though of as an unavoidable consequence of aging. It may be that this condition could be fixed with adequate vitamin D levels.
“Because vitamin D deficiency is preventable, heightened awareness is necessary to ensure adequate vitamin D nutrition…”
4. Immune Support
Vitamin D supports the “Killer cells” of the immune system. These are important for seeking out and destroying pathogens.
These “Killer cells” lie dormant around the body until they’re needed to fend off an invader. They rely on signals from the body to be activated. Vitamin D is one of the most important ingredients for these signals. Vitamin D plays a role in the cell’s ability to go into alert mode, and tells the cell to calm down when the job is done. If the “Killer cell” continues to rampage through the body, it can cause collateral damage and may contribute to autoimmune disorders.
5. Better skin
Your skin can also feel the impact of shorter days that winter brings. Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital and the National Dermatology Center in Mongolia looked at about 100 Mongolian children and found daily vitamin D supplements significantly reduced symptoms of winter-related eczema.
Buddha had said:
Each of us is a God. Each of us knows all. We need only open our minds to hear our own wisdom.
[inspiration] Buddhism, mindfulness and interconnectedness in action
Last week i was invited by my friend blackyogis to the Shambhala Centre in NYC for a talk titled “To Save All Beings; A Buddhist Call to Action” lead by the super inspiring Rev angel Kyodo williams - writer, ordained Zen priest and the author of Being Black: Zen and the Art of Living with Fearlessness and Grace.
While i don’t identify as a Buddhist, Buddhism has interested me since the beginning of my yoga practice and throughout the development of my spiritual practice and holistic health-style.
Buddhism is a spiritual path of becoming awakened or enlightened by identifying our own suffering and becoming liberated from this through entering stillness.
The teachings on the Four Noble Truths are regarded as central to the teachings of Buddhism, and are said to provide a conceptual framework for Buddhist thought. These four truths explain the nature of dukkha (suffering, anxiety, unsatisfactoriness), its causes, and how it can be overcome.
The Noble Eightfold Path—the fourth of the Buddha’s Noble Truths—consists of a set of eight interconnected factors or conditions, that when developed together, lead to the cessation of dukkha These eight factors are: Right View (or Right Understanding), Right Intention (or Right Thought), Right Speech, Right Action, Right Livelihood, Right Effort, Right Mindfulness, and Right Concentration.
With the rise of mindfulness, and in light of the recent killing of the unarmed black man Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, angel Sensei spoke on the root of that tragic situation and surrounding events as both a parallel and hindrance to the idea of an Enlightened Society.
By understanding the issues causing the events in Ferguson, Buddhists and all those working for social change can better respond to climate change, global inequality and all other intractable social issues. She spoke on how we (as Buddhists) can remain relevant and most effective in the very moment the Buddhist teachings can be most useful to the world.
It’s taken me a week to write this because so much was shared in the room, by the amazing speaker and the people in the room, especially by the sisters who spoke so openly, all of which was more important for me to digest and implement than to write about. However, there are some points that i’d like to share with you.
1. letting go of “ego”
meditating and proclaiming to follow a path of righteousness is one thing but acting from that knowing is another. angel said, “the practice (of meditation/Buddhism) has become so much about improving the self that we have failed to see the room around us” which really resonated in me.
seemingly, the appearance of being yogic, into wellness, or someone who meditates or eats a plant based diet has become self righteous and much about developing the self, so much so that the society and the habitat we live in has thus far failed to reap these same benefits.
we’re not perfect and will never be as long as we live in a human body. human beings are that of duality, made of dark and lights and each day brings different joys and difficulties. “faking until you make it” isn’t the same as faking the funk, and honouring the space between the people we are and who we are striving to be and become is not shameful, but admirable!
we meditate or practice yoga to escape the construct of the ego and being ‘perfect, and “escaping the attachment to the mirror or ourselves” - ie. smiling when we don’t feel like it, maybe working a job we don’t have joy for or just generally acting like we have it all together. bad days and uncomfortable emotions are a part of life, as are days when our bodies are full of tension and pigeon pose feels like a mosquito bite, or days when meditation brings up irritation and suppressed thoughts and feelings. just as we know the areas of ourselves that cause us to suffer, we have to call out the darker things around us and in our wider society, such as racism, subtle and obvious, sexual discrimination etc. through this we can find ways in which we can use this discomfort as catalysts to impact on our environment for effective liberation and change in whatever capacity. slow motion is better than no motion.
compassion for ourselves and being gentle with ourselves is the gateway to finding interconnectedness with other people and the world at large including the Earth. to love yourself (as much as a lot of us claim to..) and moving from an open heart space means that self love is able to penetrate to everyone and everything around us. Seeing others as ourselves, their pain as ours and the want to end our suffering is the way we can come together to tackle the likes of shootings of unarmed young black men as a shame on the state of the human race. the choices we make through our actions, reactions, words and intentions, in our lives and our relationships - can heal or hinder our collective growth and is a responsibility we all have.
the journey really is the destination and the practice is a never-ending journey where we chip away at our constructed self to get back to the source of all things. so have patience, sensei.
(via meditate and medicate)