Chanting Mantras and More Sound Healing

chanting mantras and sound healing

Currently I am chanting So Purkh for 40 days.  I’ve done this a few times over the past 3 years.  I was first introduced to So Purkh about 8 years ago, but I thought it was too difficult to learn.  I tried it a little, but I was also 8 months pregnant, super busy and super impatient at the time.

When I finally attempted it around the end of 2011 it was because of Marcia Canestrano, whose website had an English and Gurmukhi video of Nirinjan Kaur’s recording of the prayer.  Nirinjan’s voice, the calming music and the fact that the video was subtitled helped me a lot.  Marcia Canestrano’s site also introduced me to an idea I’d never heard of before…a chanting circle.  In Pasadena she holds 40 chanting circles and has been doing so for years.

Coincidentally she is a part of another group I’m in (Kristin Sweeting Morelli’s Pleasure Tribe) and when I saw her post there, I let her know just how amazing the prayer has been for me, and that it was because of her that I finally committed to the practice.  She invited me to join her online So Purkh group and since then I’ve been chanting So Purkh like I never have before.

Years ago So Purkh helped me to see my life completely differently in an extremely short period of time.  It helped me to see my long-term committed relationship for what it was.  It helped me to understand what I needed and deserved from a man, although I didn’t totally accept what it showed me, I knew at least that I didn’t have that and that I needed to leave.  It gave me strength as a woman and faith in myself that I’d never had before.  It also helped me to heal my relationship with my father and with parts of my past.

Now I am chanting So Purkh again and I find myself chanting it all day some days.  I find myself in awe of it’s power and my own creative power more often than not.  I find myself feeling warm and fuzzy, in the coldest part of the year that I usually want to hide away from.  And I feel myself becoming much more powerful in my understanding of masculinity and femininity and for the first time in my life, secure and certain in my romantic life.

I highly recommend So Purkh (The Power of Prayer) by Nirinjan Kaur and Marcia Canestrano’s real and facebook chanting circles.  I also highly recommend Simrit Kaur’s Supreme Sound Course.  Check it out here.

You can also learn about sound healing and my recommended mantras, by signing up for my “Mantras to Move You” Guide here: Click Here

Review of Give Your Tyke What He Likes by Karmyn Malone

It almost seems like some sort of fairy tale, or maybe if you watch the news, a nightmare. Children eating mostly fruits and vegetables, is barely an accessible idea to many.   There are certainly some bad stories out there, and most people have only heard the bad ones, so it’s no surprise that it is completely unheard of by many.  Karmyn’s raw vegan recipe book makes it look completely easy, normal and popular though.

The recipes have great names, simple ingredients and look extremely attractive.  Which is great for children who love to eat by sight…aka picky eaters.   I’m the kind of person who likes to make very simple foods and they don’t always look pretty, however with a 3 year old, that doesn’t really work well.

I read this book with my kids last year and immediately they were asking to make the recipes in the book.  There are great pictures, and pictures of Karmyn’s kids who helped “write” the book.  Several of the recipes have become regulars in our routine and my 6 year old likes to make these recipes herself.  The ono dogs and ono cucumber sandwiches are my kids’ favorites.

This is a great book and well worth the price.  If you want your kids to eat healthier, eat more fruits and veggies or if you’re looking for help transitioning your kids to a high raw or all raw diet, this is definitely the raw vegan recipe book for you!  If you’re an adult with picky eating habits or you’re just into pretty raw foods this will not fail you either.

I am not exaggerating when I say this book really helped me, permanently, with making foods for my kids.

You can purchase the book here: Feed Your Tike What He Likes

Sadhana: The Cornerstone of Kundalini Yoga

立石光正

立石光正 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On this blog you will hear me talk about sadhana a lot.  It is basically a dedicated(hopefully daily) spiritual practice, specifically a yogic practice, especially emphasized in kundalini yoga.

A traditional sadhana as taught by Yogi Bhajan is done in the ambrosial hours(before the sun rises). It includes chanting, meditation, pranayama (breathwork) and at least one kriya that is repeated daily for a period of time, hopefully to mastery.  A cold shower before yoga is recommended.

It’s a great way to begin each day.  Sadhana can be done with a group (and is great that way) or alone.

Most Kundalini Yoga teacher trainings will require sadhana practice.  I fell in love with Sadhana during my teacher training.  Yoga festivals (such as 3HO Solstices, Sat Nam Fest, Wanderlust, etc.) also have sadhana. Many yoga centers in big cities also have sadhana, though the hours are usually not the traditional hours (4-6:30am).  Sadhana classes are often free or by donation.  It is usually a more relaxed, meditative and atmospheric class than regular yoga class, but there can be a portion that is a work-out.

If you’re doing sadhana on your own, in private, it’s important to have a good location in which to practice.  You can however do sadhana at whatever time works best for you.  If you’re not experienced I’d recommend sticking to a sadhana organized or recommended for you by a yoga or spiritual teacher.  If you are experienced, feel free to experiment.

My sadhana has at times consisted of transformational (reichian) breathwork and ecstatic yogic dance, along with chanting and meditation.  At other times I would do traditional kundalini yoga warm-ups, pranayama, a couple of kriyas, meditation and chanting.  Sometimes I split my sadhana into morning and evening.  Doing just an hour in the morning of meditating with music and doing a very simple (non-noisy) kriya, usually spinal kriya, so as not to disturb others sleeping, and reserving my energy to move with force and ability to chant loudly for my evening sadhana.

For more information about setting up your own Sadhana practice, check out this article.  Sadhana Q & A with Yogi Bhajan

For Kundalini Yoga and spiritual practice advice check out Siri Mera Kaur, where you can sign up for a free “Bliss Path E-course” to get you started on the yogic path.

Extended Breastfeeding Vegan: Still Nursing

Breastfeeding symbol

Breastfeeding symbol (Photo credit: Topinambour)

The breastfeeding relationship can ebb and flow over the course of a natural duration.  Natural duration, is commonly called extended breastfeeding, but it is not extended when it comes to the history of humanity across cultures.  The natural duration of weaning is between ages 4 and 7. With all the breastfeeding controversy I wanted to share a particular report I read last year.  I think it would be great to add some stories here and my breastfeeding inspiration to paint a vivid picture of the breastfeeding diorama.

One story:

A woman could not breastfeed.  Her nipples were inverted and she did everything she could to try breastfeeding her daughter but it didn’t work.  She used her love and passion for the “womanly art” to write a guide for mothers participating in WIC in her area about breastfeeding.  I hope this woman is a Lactation Consultant or working in the birth/postpartum, maternal/child health field today.  We need more people like her in the field!

Story two:

I did a breastfeeding counselor training while pregnant with my first daughter.  I was inspired by the disaster of Hurricane Katrina and the fact that babies were suffering because they didn’t have clean water for formula.  I thought they could find out which women were lactating and make sure the babies were fed.  Breastfeeding was something I’d never thought of before.  5 years later my two daughters are still breastfed. I know that I was able to keep this up through support and accurate information.   I can understand how easy it is to not breastfeed or to not stick with it if you don’t have qualified support or accurate information, and sometimes it really is impossible.  However breastfeeding is a powerful act and unfortunately I see so many times that people criticize women who breastfeed for an “extended” period of time, by saying they’re doing it for themselves.

I believe this is the farthest from the truth.  I believe that mother’s who continue to breastfeed their children after whatever is thought of as reasonable in their inner circle, do so for the children.  I literally think there are zero women out there who are clinging to their children and forcing them to breastfeed.  I literally think there are zero moms who don’t look forward to having their bodies back.  Yes, it is awesome to snuggle up and watch your children so closely while they nurse…but its not always so pretty.  You may have to go through stages of biting, quick snacks, wrestling, twiddling, non-stop nursing marathons, and so on.   Children learn more about empathy through these stages, when they are patiently corrected and shown the impact they have on mommies.

So without going through the whole list of benefits for the child, the parent and communities, let’s just say that no one is breastfeeding strictly for their own benefit.  It’s a team effort.

UPDATE May 2017:

I stopped breastfeeding my kids about ages 6 and 4.5.  I now have a new baby.  One person I talked to about extended breastfeeding is Sophie Emma Rose.  She dedicated herself to normalizing extended breastfeeding also known as child-led weaning.  Check out her Youtube Channel here.

Consider donating to her son here: https://www.youcaring.com/sophieemmarose-819142

Datorade Island Cleanse: How and Why To Do It

MMMmmmmm Datorade, lovely, creamy, sweet, intoxicating drink, you… people want to know you and I can’t keep our secret any longer…

I’ve been getting lots of search results on how to make datorade.  I think there are basically 2 ways to make it and it really depends on your preferences. First you need some good dates… get dates that have no preservatives in them.  They should be soft and juicy.  If your dates are dry you will need to soak them in water, perhaps overnight.  The best dates are organic and naturally grown dates.

Update:  This post is now not just about making a great datorade, but using datorade daily, for a period of time to achieve a higher level of health, happiness and simplicity in your life.

My favorite varieties are medjool and khadrawy, two of the juiciest types of dates.  Deglet noors are the driest dates I’ve ever had.  I prefer to get dates from the date farms, but sometimes I’ll get the bulk variety from grocery stores, or very carefully picked packaged dates from the store.  Pitted dates are not raw and contain sulfites.  There are several companies that mail in dates, but the most well-known are www.thedatepeople.net and www.7hotdates.com

Best datorade quality dates

Best Datorade Quality Dates. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Quantity of dates.

Purchasing: If you’re trying dates for the first time or for the purpose of this recipe a pound is alright, I’d go with 3-5lbs. if you’re not convinced you will like them.  Otherwise get as many pounds as you can handle.  I usually get at least 20 lbs. when I order them.

Creating: I think it’s a really good idea to make a blender full, even if you have to store what you don’t drink right away because it makes it easier to blend and datorade a day later is all the better.  For smaller dates I put in 20-30 dates.  For medjool dates I put in 10-20 dates depending on the size.  It looks like the blender is about 1/4th to 1/5th full of dates.

Water.  Do you want your datorade to be thick like a milkshake or thin like a latte?  If you want it thick you might put a few less dates in and fill the blender up with water until it’s half full for a 48 oz blender.  If you want it more latte-like, fill it up 3/4 with water.  You could also add in ice.

Low-Fat Strawberry-Banana Yogurt Smoothie 1 cu...(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What you get… Depending on your blender and your dates, it might be difficult to get the dates to blend up completely.   You might want to start with a few at a time, and continuously add more.  Sometimes I blend in batches.  I might start with all my dates and water in and then pour some off, adding it back in when I’ve got a batch completely blended and stored in a container.

If your datorade is thick you’re going to end up with a drink that looks like caramel and basically tastes like it as well.  The thicker drink is sweeter, drink it like a dessert drink.  If you go with the latter expect your drink to look more creamy, with a white foam at the top and taste sweet, but palatable enough to drink a gallon’s worth.  It will look more like the smoothie to the right.  Now once you get the hang of it, you’re probably going to experiment and pick a ratio you prefer which is why I haven’t given any direct measurements.  Datorade is pretty flexible, but it can be a disaster until you get accustomed (addicted) to the taste and texture.

What I mean is that your comfort level will increase when you’re more confident that you know what you’re doing when you make it.  I have seen others afraid of datorade, it may not mix well with other foods, especially if you’re drinking the thicker, sweeter blend in large quantities.  I usually eat datorade as a meal.  Being hydrated is also important with dates or any dry fruit.  For this reason the more watery variety is better as a meal and if it’s not sweet enough for you add a few more dates to it and more water to decrease the sweet.

Datorade is a great food for energy and extremely filling.  You can also add other fruits to it such as bananas, strawberries, or apples.  You could also pour datorade over sliced apples, bananas, strawberries, cucumbers or whatever other fruits you want to try.  This is a great staple for a fruit cleanse, eating a raw diet or eating fruit for breakfast.

Troubleshooting:  There are no exact measurements here, because it’s all about personal choice and being intuitive in your eating.  If your datorade is too sweet, add more water.  Datorade is not like your everyday smoothie, that’s why it’s not typically called a date smoothie.  Most people prefer it to have the consistency of Gatorade or just slightly thicker.  That’s why it has it’s name, it’s a nice Gatorade alternative, that’s a lot more natural and tastier.  

If your datorade is not sweet enough there’s many things you can do.  You can definitely add more dates if you have good quality dates.  In the U.S. you can order fresh dates from September until approximately March.  If you order a large quantity you can keep them in your refrigerator throughout the summer.  If you don’t have fresh dates you will probably need to soak your dates.  The taste may not be satisfying with store bought dates, it might be a good idea to add other fruits to your datorade.

Recommended ripe fruits are: apples (if in season), pineapple, bananas, mango, pineapple, raspberries, peaches, cherries and nectarines.  I recommend learning how to guage and encourage ripeness in fruit.

You can also add vanilla, mint, coconut water, coconut, cucumber or tomato to create a different flavor, if you don’t want it sweet or can’t get it sweet enough.  Another issue might be your blender.  If your datorade is chunky, try blending it for longer, on pulse, starting and stopping.  You might also want to try a stick blender or food processor.  The best blenders for meal quality blends though are high-speed, heavy duty blenders like the Vitamix, Ninja, Omni, Cuisinart, Healthmaster, etc.

Benefits

As mentioned earlier, Datorade is a natural Gatorade alternative.  Go for datorade if you’re looking for a post work-out drink.  You can also use it as a meal if you have enough dates and I often have it for breakfast because it gets me going for the day much better than most breakfast foods.

Dates are full of many nutrients but the most important part to me is that they are easy to eat and very filling.  I don’t believe in calorie-restrictive dieting.  I think it’s more important to get most of your calories from healthy foods, so eating a lot of fruit, with low-fat and high value will be beneficial to those with a sweet-tooth or who have trouble overeating.  Dates are high in fiber, good sugars, potassium and many more nutrients including iron.

Cleanse:

Datorade Island makes a great cleanse.  Any fruit island is great for digestion and sensitizing taste buds.  Datorade Island also helps if you need to recover from any previous or current illness.  It is super easy, simple, tasty, filling and rich in nutrients.  Datorade is often used as a replacement for energy drinks and coffee in the morning, because it will fill you up with energy.  It will not cause a crash later because of the high fiber and high level of minerals.   Start a datorade cleanse if you’re ready to refresh your taste buds and your sense of health, energy and nutrition as a whole.  If you’re ready to be fulfilled and excited by a simple eating process go for the Datorade Island Cleanse.

Step 1:

Secure the best quality of dates you can find.

Step 2:

Decide how long you’re going to do the cleanse 3 days to 14 days is recommended.

Step 3:

Make sure you have plenty of dates to get you through your cleanse and a good blender.

Step 4:

Get goaling.  Don’t worry about weight loss or weight gain, you’re doing this to improve your digestion and increase your nutrient uptake.

Step 5:

Make sure you have extra ingredients to add to your datorade, in case you get bored.

Step 6:

Prepare ahead if you’re taking Datorade to work, school or anywhere like that.  (Get containers)

Step 7:

Plan your meals.  Calculate how many calories you will need and be generous, make a little more than you think you’ll need.

If you’d like support doing The Datorade Island Cleanse or other cleanses, with exotic fruit and simplifying your digestion, eating with abundance and prioritizing the emotional/spiritual side of achieving your health goals join me here.