If you’re the kind of person who makes to-do lists (I am), you might feel that self-care—cooking healthy, practicing yoga, even meditating—is just another chore to check off your list (I sometimes do). So when a friend invited me to participate in an ancient Buddhist ritual that literally involves doing nothing, I was intrigued. It’s [...]
Shannon Sexton, guest blogger Coffee: Is it good for you or bad for you? Last month, the New York Times Magazine reported that by drinking moderate amounts of coffee, you may reduce your chances of developing type 2 diabetes, dementia, and certain types of cancer—and even, perhaps, live longer. Yet evidence also suggests that coffee [...]
A Q&A with Martha Beck Martha Beck earned three Harvard degrees before deciding to spend her life helping others tap into the deep, wordless wisdom already within them. A New York Times best-selling author, she has been referred to as “one of the best-known life coaches in America” by Psychology Today, USA Today, and NPR. [...]
A recent study conducted by researchers at Ohio State University and presented at the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience seemed to prove that friendship has benefits beyond the emotional. In studying treatments for peripheral neuropathy, a pain and numbness of the hands and feet that’s a side effect of diabetes and one of the most common chronic diseases in the United States, researchers found that lab mice paired with a cage-mate experienced far less pain from nerve damage than those who were caged alone. Mice who had “friends” had higher thresholds for pain; they also experienced reductions in inflammation. The lonely mice were just lonely.
Where Yoga and Shamanism Meet, Bold Directions Unfold
In 2006, Kripalu faculty member Ray Crist was recovering from a debilitating illness. A yoga teacher, martial artist, and Reiki practitioner, Ray had spent four years traveling the world seeking those who could heal him. His quest took him from the Buddhist monasteries on the borders of Cambodia to the clinics of the National Institutes of Health in Maryland. But when he ventured into the jungles of Peru to study with Incan shamans, the experience opened new doors of perception—and healing—within himself.
Guided by Don Manuel Portugal, a shaman in Cuzco, Peru, Ray discovered the culture, mythology, and practices of Incan shamanism. “Shamans are the medicine people of their tribe,” Ray says. “Their methods of healing center on the ‘energy body’ and plant medicine.” The deeper he delved into Incan shamanism, the more he began to notice profound similarities with yoga. “Yogis and shamans view the world as a physical world,” he explains. “Traumatic experiences are embedded in the body—near a joint, muscle, meridian, internal organ, or chakra. Yoga and shamanism help us delve into the root of our traumas to find healing on physical and emotional levels.” Ray began incorporating shamanistic principles into his yoga practice, imbuing it with a new richness. “Shamanism brought to my practice a direct awareness of energy moving through my body, a visceral understanding of what each asana offers,” he says.
Many of us have watershed moments in our lives, when everything changes. For holistic health coach and natural-foods chef Andrea Beaman, that moment came when she witnessed her mother undergoing treatment for breast cancer.
Q Describe what you do in 15 words or less.
A I teach people how to achieve vibrant health through diet and lifestyle choices.
Q Tell us about a turning point in your life.
A Witnessing the devastating effects of chemotherapy and radiation on my mother’s breast cancer. The destruction of her body planted the idea in me that there was something terribly amiss with our modern treatments of disease. Five years after my mother’s death, I was diagnosed with incurable thyroid disease. I refused the treatment recommended and instead improved my diet, lifestyle, and consciousness. It took time and patience, but my condition healed. Since that time, I’ve been teaching others how to naturally heal their physical, emotional, and spiritual conditions.
Q What do you love about teaching?