Namaste dear reader! Head on over to http://www.jennapacelli.com to receive updates via email. I will be posting all the same high-vibrational frequency yoga and health content there- for free, as always. See you on the other side!
Namaste dear reader! Head on over to http://www.jennapacelli.com to receive updates via email. I will be posting all the same high-vibrational frequency yoga and health content there- for free, as always. See you on the other side!
Thrilled to be teaching yoga at our Reboot, Renew and Reawaken retreat in Costa Rica January 24-31, 2015 with the wonderful, powerful Caroline Jordan Fitness and Charmane Crain. Dance, fitness, yoga, holistic health, gourmet vegetarian food and all the beauty and charm of Costa Rica.Nurture your body, mind, and spirit in a tropical all-inclusive retreat on the Osa Peninsula of Costa Rica. Stay tuned for more information!
-Waking up in the morning and feeling the crisp air coming through the window that tells you fall is on its way
-Making eye contact with that special someone from across the room-without anyone else noticing
-A smoothie with lots of kale in it
-Lighting your favorite candle
-Your dog’s adoring look that teaches you the depths of love and devotion
-Loose-leaf green tea
-Pressing your hands into the mat for down dog
-Listening to your favorite song over and over again
-Handstands wherever you are- even if you’re not the best at them
-Realizing that you’ve been enjoying yourself despite the outcome and finally understanding that that means you’ve already won
Savor the process. Enjoy your ice cream on special occasions.
Love and AUM, Jenna
Namaste Divine One,
Tired all the time?
Dread the morning?
Feel you don’t have time to really wake up, let alone time for a health breakfast?
Not a morning person?
Upgrade your morning to change the way you feel the rest of the day. Taking steps to improve your mornings will make the experience entirely more enjoyable and maybe you’ll start to look forward to the sacred alone time you will have.
Here are some steps to follow for an energizing morning:
Other things to consider: Don’t turn on music in the morning. Or try listening to something soft and uplifting if you can’t live without music. Allowing yourself, especially if waking up before dawn, to experience the unique peacefulness that exists in the morning will add meaning and depth to your day. In the yogic and Ayurvedic traditions, it is understood that the times before dawn and dusk are especially potent for spiritual practice because the mystical energies of the planet flow more heavily during those times. You can feel it.
If you can, try waking up earlier and going to bed earlier. This may require you to prioritize your day better because you know you don’t want to leave your most important tasks for the end of the day when you could be going to bed. Try it out and let me know how it goes!
Don’t forget the night before!
If you struggle to wake up early enough, take a look at your routines- do you have one at all? Perhaps you have a harmful routine? How are you eating?
Do you eat gluten (often linked with grogginess and lethargy) or a significant amount of processed food? “Significant” can be subjective. To a health coach, eating processed food more than once a day is significant. And processed food is technically any food that has been altered from the way it was grown in the ground.
Diet is very often the culprit for why someone can’t fall asleep, stay asleep or wake up feeling refreshed and energized. Keeping a food journal can help you discover areas of improvement in your diet or lifestyle.
What are your favorite holistic daily routines? I would love to hear about them!
Like what you read? Then you’ll love Jenna’s seasonal 11 Day Whole Food DIY Detox that will help you establish healthy habits and routines around food, sleep, relationships and physical activity. Click here to detox with Jenna! No starvation, grumpiness or lethargy (typically associated with extreme detoxes) required!
True or false: If you have a family history of heart disease, diabetes, stroke, or cancer, it is probably inevitable that you’re going to “come down with” the same condition.
What do you think?
What have you been led to believe?
Have you ever felt any confusion about this topic?
Let’s explore this…
I’ve had conversations with numerous people about this topic and the majority of them were confused or entirely misinformed about it. I hear all the time: “Well, everything kills you so, whatever, I’m just going to eat whatever I want.” Or “It runs in my family- it’s inevitable.”
What I really hear is: “I’m overwhelmed, confused and addicted to cheese/meat/sugar/soda/processed food and it’s easier to bury my head in the sand than to educate myself and make changes in my life.
Let me tell you-I used to be highly addicted to sweets, candy and cheese, so I’ve been there and know what it’s like to be out of control with food. I also have a high genetic susceptibility to heart disease and Alzheimer’s if I don’t control it with diet.
And by becoming a health coach, I finally figured out how to make the changes needed in my life so that I could get rid of my addictions and crave foods that would help my genes express themselves in the healthiest way possible.
What you eat goes beyond how you look: it changes the expression of your genes at a fundamental level. If your cells don’t get the nutrition they need, they know it and will eventually start to malfunction, leading to many lifestyle-related illnesses and diseases.
Our bodies don’t make mistakes, we do. Our bodies were not designed to give us cancer or Type II diabetes. A hereditary predisposition to certain diseases contributes a lot less to their manifestation than most people believe or understand. Our bodies respond to the materials we give them. When we build a subpar foundation through food (because food IS the foundation), the building will be shoddy, we alter the expression of our genes, and the walls will fall down eventually.
Mark Sisson, author of the Primal Blueprint, said: “The key to switching genes on or off is based on the signals we give them.” The signals are food, environment (like stress and primary foods), and mind/body connection.
This may be hard to believe and many of you might argue with this but it’s true: Often the cure is in the diet.
I pulled many of the following statistics and quotes from Dr. Joel Furhman’s book Eat to Live but you can find many of the same stats and figures from other studies, books, documentaries and trustworthy scientists and physicians who actually take an interest in nutrition (see end of article for more resources):
Food can either be the best form of medicine or the worst kind of poison.
“Almost a third of our young children are obese, and many do not exercise.” –Mehmet Oz
Rates of obesity are rising: The national Institutes of Health estimate that obesity is associated with a two-fold increase in mortality, costing society more than $100 billion per year.
Obese families tend to have obese pets, which is obviously not genetic. And overweight and obesity are directly correlated with diabetes, heart disease, and certain cancers.
Let’s be clear: being overweight is not caused by how much people eat but by what they eat. We must eat large amounts of the right kinds of foods.
“Most Americans are not aware that the diet they feed their children guarantees a high cancer probability down the road.”
“If you have to give up something you get pleasure from, your subconscious may prefer to ignore solid evidence or defend illogically held views.” (Been there, done that, too!)
More than 85% of adults between the ages of 21 and 39 already have atherosclerotic [clogging of the arteries] changes in their coronary arteries.
High nutrient, low calorie eating results in dramatic increases in life span as well as prevention of chronic illnesses (heart disease, diabetes, stroke, cancer). From rodents and primates we see:
-Resistance to experimentally induced cancers
-Protection from spontaneous and genetically predisposed cancers
-A delay in the onset of late-life diseases
-Nonappearance of atherosclerosis and diabetes
-Reduction in parameters of cellular aging, including cellular congestion
-Enhancement of cellular repair mechanisms, including DNA repair enzymes.
-Protection of genes associated with removal of oxygen radicals
All forms of meat, cheese, dairy, processed and refined foods, sweets and many oils are, in fact, low-nutrient density foods and do not fit into the high nutrient, low calorie foods referred to above.
Those with diets high in refined carbohydrates from white bread, white rice, and pasta had two and a half times the incidence of Type II diabetes.
Refined carbohydrates, white flour, sweets, and fruit juices also raise triglycerides, increasing the risk of heart attack in susceptible individuals.
Refined foods are linked to (refined = anything altered from its original state in the ground): oral cavity cancer, stomach cancer, colorectal cancer, intestinal cancer, breast cancer, thyroid cancer, respiratory tract cancer, diabetes, gallbladder disease, heart disease.
“Heart attacks and the most common cancers (breast, colon, prostate) are found in rich societies where nutritional extravagance is the rule.”
“Cancer is a disease of maladaptation… Your risk of cancer decreases with an increased intake of fruits and vegetables, and the earlier in life you start eating large amounts of these foods, the more protection you get.”
“Too much animal-source food is one of the leading causes of heart disease, cancer, strokes, diabetes, obesity, etc.”
“The China Study showed a strong correlation between cancer and the amount of animal protein, not just animal fat, consumed. Consumption of lean meats and poultry still showed a strong correlation with higher cancer incidence.”
“Cancer is much more preventable than treatable. Studies show that plant-derived nutrients are able to prevent the occurrence of, and even reverse, DNA damage that may later result in cancer. The ability to remove and fix damaged cells is proportional to their exposure to phytochemicals.”
The answer? False. You have the ability to turn your genes on or off, depending on what you subject your body (and therefore cells and DNA) to. This may seem scary to some and totally liberating to others! It all depends on how much responsibility you want to take for yourself, your life and your health.
So, what to do about it?
You are going to get the most nutritional bang for your caloric buck through fruit, vegetables, beans and legumes. Most of your diet should come from these sources and oils, animal products, sweets and other junk food should take up a very small percentage of your food pyramid.
Also, you don’t have to be perfect! I tell my clients to follow the 90:10 rule. If 90% of the time they are eating a diet of nutritional excellence, then the other 10% of the time, they can eat foods they really love! They usually find, however, that the higher the quality of food they put in their bodies, the less likely they are to crave processed foods.
So when someone asks me “If I can’t eat all this stuff, what can I eat?!” It’s simple- eat lots of plants: fruits, vegetables, beans and legumes! You will likely lengthen your life, never have a problem with your weight again, and kiss any “pre-determined” disease goodbye.
Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Let’s chat!
P.S. You cannot take a pill for nutrient density and continue to eat processed foods and animal products. This is because isolated compounds of certain vitamins and minerals can be toxic and don’t absorb as well as their plant-based forms. There are also many unknown beneficial compounds found in plant-based foods that are vital to our health and wellbeing. Because they are unknown, you cannot bottle them!
For more information and to thoroughly educate yourself on this topic check out the following resources:
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Despite understanding all the negative health implications of oral contraceptives, I believe in a woman’s right to choose her method of birth control – and her right to enjoy sex for the sake of sex (rather than as a means of procreation). And despite last Monday’s new legislation, a woman does still have the right to choose. It’s going to cost her a lot more, however.
The problem is the fact that companies are now allowed, as a result of this legislation, to impose their religious beliefs on their employees. Some companies are willing to cover most methods of contraception, as long as they can exclude drugs or devices that the government says may work after an egg has been fertilized.
This is an infringement on a woman’s right to believe when a fertilized egg becomes a human being with a life force, prana, spirit. Instead, company CEOs and owners will be able to impose their religious and philosophical beliefs on women who may not feel the same. Because to exclude contraceptive methods that work after the egg has been fertilized is to communicate that you insist that at the moment of conception a soul is attached to that egg.
Now, let me be clear. I am pro choice. I do, however, believe that a fertilized egg does contain the soul of a Divine being. The Vedas (our most influential ancient yogic scripture) say that the soul comes into the woman’s body in the form of the man’s sperm: “Under the supervision of the Supreme Lord and according to the result of his work, the living entity, the soul, is made to enter into the womb of a woman through the particle of male semen to assume a particular type of body.” –Bhagavad Purana (Shrimad Bhagavatam). This wisdom was known to the people of the Vedic periods 2 million years ago.
Which brings me to yoga and spirituality.
In the yogic tradition, we understand that everything in the Universe is inherently perfect because it is all contained in the infinite balance of Shiva and Shakti. This is tantra. That love brings up the opposite of itself in order for us to heal the dark places in us has been understood in the yogic tradition for some time.
Inherent in the yogic tradition is the idea that we were placed on Earth in order to evolve spiritually. To realize ourselves, our true nature, is our purpose. Shayam Das, a beloved kirtan artist who died in India not too long ago, reminded us that the most valuable thing we can have is the understanding of who we truly are. We are the blue sky, the infinite Brahman, Shiva, the Supreme Self.
As an extension, we cycle through lives in different bodies, trying to liberate ourselves. Our karmas and sankaras stay with us. Sankaras (Pali) are (or samskaras in Sanskrit) the mental habits and grooves we react to over and over again. Vipassana practitioners are especially familiar with this. When we understand that our true nature is infinite joy, peace and love, we realize that our sankaras are not us but the result of a lack of awareness for lifetimes of being on earth in different bodies.
An excerpt from Zen Master Guishan’s poem “Encouraging Words” :
Lying on your sick bed about to breathe your last, you will be assailed by every kind of pain,
Your mind will be filled with fears and anxieties and you will not know where to go or what to do,
Only then you will realize you have not practiced well.
The skandhas/aggregates (matter, sensations, conceptions, impulses and consciousness)
and the four elements in you will quickly disintegrate, and your consciousness will be pulled wherever your ancient, twisted karma leads it.
Impermanence does not hesitate.
Death will not wait.
You will not be able to extend your life by even a second.
How many thousand times more will you have to pass through the gates of birth and death…”
So when a woman conceives, it is because a soul either needs to be manifested through her or to be in a human, cellular form for a brief moment to affect that woman’s consciousness. For example, if a woman gets pregnant and miscarries, the process and pain of miscarriage may have occurred in order for the mother to evolve spiritually, assuming she has the awareness to do so.
Again, love brings up the opposite of itself so that we can become more aware of our true nature. Pain brings us to our knees and helps us clarify our lives. On the other hand, if she delivers that baby, she has manifested that being, but she has less control over the trajectory of that small person’s life than she thinks. There is no true ownership. Again, that baby came into the world with all of its karmas and sankaras and will have to deal with them itself as it grows and evolves.
So when a woman conceives, it is clear, in the yogic perspective, that there is a soul connected to that being. Life begets life. A child is manifested through her mother and father.
So we cannot know the karmic causes and effects of conception or the prevention of conception. It takes a very advanced sadakh, or seeker, to have that level of insight into their own karma. But we have a right to choose our own path in life and if that means oral contraception for some women then they should be able to choose that.
Yoga is about the middle path and non-judgement. Allowing others to experience and work through their karmas is crucial. We cannot do it for them and no one can do it for us. It is not our place to judge another for their choice of contraception or not. Righteousness is the brother of ego. While we all get caught up in the humanness of righteousness, awareness is required in order for us to move beyond that habit. To pass a law that allows businesses to impose their beliefs and therefore righteousness on its employees is inherently patriarchal and small minded.
So what are your thoughts around embryology and conception with regards to the yogic perspective?
The United States Supreme Court (I say Senate in the video and I meant to say Supreme Court!) ruled Monday that some companies with religious objections can avoid the contraceptives requirement in President Obama’s health care bill. This is the first time ever that businesses can hold religious views under federal law. This means the Obama administration must look for a new, different way to provide free contraception to women who are covered under the health insurance plans of companies who object to birth control.
In this article, I will talk about oral contraceptives (referred to generally as the pill in this article), the health implications of taking the pill, what to do instead and how to ensure your body is healthy, no matter which contraceptive method you choose. I will also discuss the pill in light of this new decision by the US government and discuss yogic and Vedic influences on this subject.
Let me start off by saying that I was on the pill for the last 7 years of my life because my periods were very painful and my hormones were out of control (a problem in itself). Of those who use oral contraceptives, 58% of them use it to reduce menstrual cramps, migraines, acne and PMS.
I recently decided (with a bit of apprehension because I had tried to go off before without success) to stop taking it. I decided this because after being more educated than I was when I was making that choice initially, I thoroughly understand the true effects of the pill.
When I expressed concern about being on the pill years ago, my OBGYN insisted that it was healthy so I believed her because I was young and didn’t know any better. Now I do know better and am going to tell you about it and help you understand what to do instead.
So let’s clarify what hormonal contraceptives are actually doing to your body, and what your gynecologist isn’t telling you:
With a BA in Anthropology, I’ve known for a while that this is a ubiquitous fact in the field. Our attraction to men is not only emotional, it’s very much chemical as well. As women, we can instinctually, when our hormones are healthy and natural, be attracted to men who are genetically different from ourselves, so that when we procreate, we will have genetically healthy offspring.
The pill reverses our hormones (even low doses) so that we’re attracted to men who are more genetically similar to ourselves. This is because we evolved to have our brothers and family around us when we were pregnant.
Being on the pill is like being pregnant all the time because we’re not ovulating. So we are naturally inclined, hormonally, to surround ourselves with family- those genetically similar to us – when pregnant. Being on the pill replicates this need to be around genetically similar people, possibly attracting the wrong man because pheromones are directly related to hormones and genetic code.
I know women who were on the pill when they were dating and getting married and then went off the pill after they were married to be able to have kids (more about fertility in a bit), and hated the way their husbands smelled and didn’t feel attracted to him as much! So if you’re engaged, get off the pill to test this out! Imagine a sex-less life with your partner because you can’t stand his smell (pheromones).
For more information read this Time article.
A book that I recommend to all my clients that will help you understand how to maximize nutrient absorption: Eat To Live.
Because it’s chemically altering your hormones and stopping ovulation, it’s also lowering your desire for sex. Libido is directly correlated with your body wanting to make a baby! The pill reduces the amount of testosterone running through your system. Testosterone (as we understand from our male counterparts who tend to be much more sexually driven, on average, than women) is vital to libido. Less testosterone = lower libido = lame. More information here.
5. It puts you in danger of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, blood clots and stroke. Cancer, diabetes, heart disease and other lifestyle related diseases all have roots in the body’s absorption of nutrients, the amount of animal protein and fat in the diet and estrogen. The genetic component plays much less of a role than you think. Along with animal products, the pill, by increasing the amount of estrogen and reducing the body’s ability to absorb nutrients, sets you up for these diseases. And cancer especially takes root at a very young age, depending on the quality of your diet and how much animal protein and fat you’ve consumed, along with processed foods and refined sugars.
So. What to do, what to do. I suggest getting off the pill. It is, of course, your choice. Do so safely and with awareness.
Alternatives to hormonal contraceptives:
Fertility Awareness Method. Effectiveness with perfect use: 98-99%.
Very effective if you are highly motivated to do it right. This is taking charge of your health and contraception at it’s best. This also depends on which barrier method you choose when you are in your fertile period. Some studies have shown that FAM can be 98% effective when abstaining from sex during your fertile period and 99% effective when used in conjunction with coaching. If you choose this method, it is critical that you receive proper coaching and training.
Barrier methods to be used in conjunction with FAM:
Condoms. Effectiveness with perfect use: 98%
Diaphragms. Effectiveness with perfect use: 94%
Today Sponge. Effectiveness with perfect use: 91%
Pill: Effectiveness with perfect use: 99%.
Elle Griffin is a holistic health coach and colleague of mine who specializes in women’s fertility and teaching FAM to women. Visit her website here.
Some tips on balancing your hormones after going off the pill and retraining your body to ovulate again:
In part two, I discuss the religious, political and spiritual implications of oral contraception, with a focus on the yogic tradition and what the Vedas say about human conception. Stay tuned!
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“The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars.” – Jack Kerouac
And sometimes I DO feel like I’m too impulsive, emotional, driven, intense. That’s the nature of a Scorpio as well. The double-edged sword.
I have since learned that many of these “excesses” make me exactly who I am in all my beauty, fear, joy, shame, darkness, light, divinity.
And that the people who thought I was “too this or too that” were not meant to be in my life longer than the time I needed to learn that moment’s lesson. Because if someone can’t love you when you’re on the dark side of the sword of intensity, let’s say, why would they love the light side of your intensity? And if I can’t love the dark side of my emotional sword, I can’t fully appreciate the beautiful side of my emotions.
And, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned to channel my once wild, intense energy into my life’s work and spiritual evolution. It’s never a perfect process but that’s the point. Dancing with the moment, trusting the Universe, embracing the discomfort…
What things have you been called too much of? What lessons did you learn? What does your process look like in terms of dealing with the parts of you that aren’t always desirable or lovely?
“Everything is perfect” -Sri Dharma Mittra