The Far-Out Doctor and His Magical Soap

Doctor Bronner

I was an idealistic long-haired, bearded hippie in the late 1960′s when I picked up my first bottle of Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint Liquid Castile Soap in a California health food store. It was back then that I was introduced for the first time to several staple products that became a part of my free-spirited life style – all-natural crunchy granola, nutritious brown rice and Dr. Bronner’s skin-tingling Peppermint Soap. I remember well my first reaction to that big navy blue & white soap bottle label, which was covered with tiny words running in all directions, filling up every single inch of space. The rambling text talked about an All-One-God-Faith and Moral ABCs, sprinkling Jewish and Christian ideas with the words of the poet, Rudyard Kipling and other unexpected sources. I didn’t quite know what to make of it, but its oddness and quirky philosophy made me trust that this wasn’t just another commercial-hype Madison-Avenue-advertised brand from a big faceless company. On top of all of that, the label enthusiastically talked about using the all-natural soap for just about everything that could be washed, which fit right in with my simpler-is-better back-to-nature tendencies. I have travelled a long road in life from being a child of the 60′s to now being in my sixties, but the good Doctor’s strange and magical soap is still a part of my life, still wearing its strange words speaking a vision of a better world without war for all. Dr. Bronner’s Soap was one of those common experiences that many of us freedom-seeking sojourners have shared. Read more »

Frank White, Yogi – My Teacher’s Teacher

Frank White

I never had the chance to meet Frank White in-person in this lifetime, but I am connected to him and his teachings through my connection to my own teacher. When I trained to become a yoga teacher at the Rishi Yoga Institute, my dear teacher, Devin Morgan often told each of us that we were benefitting from the vision, teachings and training methods of yoga instilled and passed on to her by her own teacher – an amazing man named Frank White. I had never heard of Frank before, but decided to search online to see what I could find out about him. The man I met through the articles written about him and the memories expressed by people who personally knew him made a deep impression on me. Frank didn’t begin practicing yoga until he was 65 years of age. He eventually earned his certification and became an inspiring teacher with great ability at age 68, teaching students young and old until he passed away at the age of 85 in 2005.

The fact that Frank White had never even tried yoga before he was an older man is inspiring to the many mature people who wonder if they can begin yoga later in life and become accomplished at it. Read more »

Nurturing an Attitude of Gratitude

Gratitude

Each of us reading this post woke up this morning to a new day of possibilities in a world filled with great beauty and many wonders, but did we take even a moment in time to reflect on it and express heartfelt gratitude for all that has been placed before us? It is so easy to take for granted the miracle of just being alive, being able to experience all the wondrous events that fill a lifetime, no matter how long or short the time we get to spend here on Earth might be. For many of us, our lives have already seemed so long that we just assume that the sun will rise on another day and, so we move through each day as if it is nothing special – just another normal day in another week in another month in another year of our ongoing life. Read more »

When the Going Gets Tough – Sweat It!

SWEATING2

I want to make the case for sweating being a desirable and healthy, good thing. Once you begin to understand the importance of sweating to your overall health, and the dangerous health risks you take when you try to prevent or avoid sweating, I think that you will come to agree.

There is nothing more natural to the human condition than sweating. It has kept the human body cool since the very beginning, preventing dangerous overheating, while providing one of the major pathways for ridding the body of biological toxins and impurities. Yet modern humans seem to want to deny the fact that sweat just naturally streams out of the pores that cover our skin – and this aversion to sweating is a rather recent social development!

We humans have openly and freely perspired for all of our history Read more »

Oral Health Equals All-Over Body Health and Wellbeing

Smiling Girl

It has been wisely said that cleanliness is next to Godliness – and it is certainly clear that bodily cleanliness and healthfulness is essential to our total wellbeing. One area of the body that is often underestimated in its importance to our total health is the mouth. We now live in a marvelous modern age where science knows so much about the detrimental effects on our bodies of pathogenic agents such as harmful oral bacteria and, yet, so many people seem completely unaware of the importance of daily oral care and hygiene, other than how white their teeth are and how good their breath smells. These two much sought-after qualities are certainly indicators of our mouth’s health and a boon to our social wellbeing, but too often the emphasis on them is more cosmetic than comprehensive and holistic in nature. The shelves at the local drug store or market are overcrowded with competing brands of highly advertised oral care products promising the whitest teeth and sweetest breath – but to what real benefit and at what ultimate price to our health?

The Oral Health to Total-Body Health Connection

One important thing that modern science has proven beyond a doubt is that our oral health has direct and dramatic impact on the health of our entire body. The reason for this is that our mouth is a major gateway into the inner systems that regulate every bodily function. Our mouths are aswim with a potent colony of bacteria – some beneficial and some very destructive – that can enter our body easily when we suffer from tooth and gum disease. The harmful bacteria can find their way to Read more »

Avoiding The Trap of Over-Attachment to Purity

Guru, Monk & Fork

Did you hear the one about the guru, the young yogi monk and the sizzling…? Well, wait – before I give it away, let me tell you the whole story as it was told to me.

In my early twenties, I worked for an older gentleman named Herb Reed (not the bass singer from the Platters) who in his younger years had been a yogi monk, close follower and assistant to Paramahansa Yogananda, the famous yogi who came from India to the United States in 1920 to bring Kriya Yoga to the West. Yogananda wrote about his incredible life in the wonderful book, Autobiography of a Yogi, which has been read by generations of seekers and has inspired many over the years to pursue the path of yoga. Herb had worked very closely with the famous teacher and guru, helping take care of Yoganandaji’s personal affairs. When I met Herb many years later, I was a wide-eyed idealistic yoga-practitioner, spiritual seeker and strict vegetarian. Herb related a story to me once that has impressed me deeply and reminds me about avoiding the trap of attempting to be overly-ideal and pure in our lifestyle and practices while living in this world, especially at the expense of being here for the service of others.

The story, as it was told to me, revolved around a special request from Yogananda Read more »

A Healthier, More Plant-based Way of Eating

Plant Based Diet Image 1

Turn on any Dr. Oz episode, pick up any diet book, or read any article by a health “expert” and you’ll hear a different message. Eat carbs, don’t eat fat, go vegan, eat lots of meat, drink juice, and on and on. However, I propose that if we all listened a little more closely, read a little more between the lines, and opened our minds up to it, we would also hear a more common message in 99% of this media – eat more plants.

This plant-focused way of eating is simple and straightforward and without gimmicks. It guarantees that you can eat large quantities of food while still maintaining or losing weight and reaching your overall health goals. It’s not sexy or magical, but instead focuses on the simple principle of nutrient density. Nutrient density is a measure of the micronutrients that you get from a food as compared to the calories that food provides. For example, Read more »

Natural Sinus Relief with the Ancient Practice of Jala Neti

Neti Pot

I am not ashamed to say that I love my Neti Pot! If you don’t know what I’m talking about, I will enlighten you very shortly. As the Santa Ana winds blow here in Southern California, each gust kicking up dust and pollen into the air, everyone around me (myself included) seems to be suffering from runny noses and irritated sinuses. It is so hard to concentrate on anything or just feel good when you can’t escape the pain of sinus pressure building up in your head. Your first inclination is to run to the pharmacy or drugstore for some advertised over-the-counter remedy that promises to alleviate your suffering, but stop before you do! Why ingest or snort a bunch of synthetic chemicals that, at best, only mask the symptoms and, at worst, can create more problems than they solve? Why not consider an ancient natural remedy from India that many yogis perform regularly – the practice of Jala Neti. Read more »

Cold Weather? – Warm Butternut Squash Soup! Mmmm!

Butternut Squash Soup

Wintery weather is still upon us and the frosty chill in the air makes it a perfect time for warm, soothing comfort foods. One of the most satisfying and heart-warming comfort foods in the world is a big bowl of hot, homemade soup. My dear friend and yoga teacher extraordinaire, Devin Morgan, has just published a new cookbook titled The Little Book of Soups by Devin Morgan, filled with recipes for cozy, creamy soups created to fill your tummy, make your tongue smile and nourish your body. The book is currently only available directly from her in a special preview edition, but the final published edition (with possible how-to DVD) will soon be available on Amazon.com. As a special winter treat for all of you, I have asked Devin for permission to share one of the recipes from the book. The soup recipe I picked is one of my favorites – rich, golden Butternut Squash Soup. This winter squash is one of my family’s favorite seasonal foods, right after “pumpkin – anything & everything.”  So, here is the easy-to-make, delicious recipe from Devin’s new book: Read more »

Welcome to Heaven on Earth

The Spirit of Aloha Botanical Gardens

This incredible world given to us by the Divine Creator for all to enjoy and care for  is filled with many truly beautiful places. Humankind has within its free will the potential and ability to nurture and protect that beauty for all to share or to exploit and destroy it, caring not for others or the Earth. Fortunately for all of us, there are loving souls present in our world who have dedicated their lives to preserving and perfecting the beauty that surrounds us to create an oasis of paradise in select places where all can experience the world as the Eternal One intended it to be. I know one of these enlightened caretakers who has achieved bringing together a true vision of Heaven on Earth. That loving soul is a man named Frederick Honig who resides on the Hawaiian island of Maui. His vision of the world as it should be is an incredibly beautiful place called the Spirit of Aloha Oceanfront Botanical Gardens. The beautiful, spacious site of the Gardens, situated in Haiku, Maui, sits atop the picturesque cliffs of Uaoa Bay, looking out over the Papa Nui O Kane Rock Island and the vast expanses of the azure-blue Pacific Ocean. For over sixteen years, Frederick has cultivated, sculpted, planted, and built what many experience as a portal into a sacred realm. The inspiration for this beautiful estate is for all to live in harmony with nature and to promote well-being for each and every individual, as well as for the ecology of our planet.

Read more »

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