We've all had one... Even seeing "Yeast Infection" on the computer screen, we just want to scroll it away and bolt as fast as we can, as if even just the thought could bring one to us. But it doesn't need to be a fear. In fact, getting a yeast infection doesn't always need to get to such a miserable point. It happens, it's natural. There are also many ways to avoid and limit the occurrence of yeast infections as well as get rid of them effectively without spending money on a bunch of treatments that may not be working for you.
The below article was written by my dear friend, Audrey Stein. She was experiencing recurring and intense infections, following treatment directions, changing her diet, etc, and was still having a hard time kicking the problem. So she-took control and did her own in-depth research and has compiled this information in an effort to help other women take charge of their bodies and vaginal health. Thank you, Audrey!
Yeast Infection Tips - By Audrey Stein
Hey everyone! Here’s my post about yeast infections. I was trying to keep it as concise as possible (it’s basically an article now) but note that there are a lot of considerations when dealing with reoccurring yeast infections. I’m not a medical professional. That said, the research on women’s and vaginal health appears to be fairly limited, so I found tapping into the mind hive and looking for consistency across different websites was pretty helpful. The 4 main things that helped me were boric acid, probiotic supplements, changing my diet, and keeping my vaginal area dry. I also want to address a new type of medication resistant yeast that seems to have emerged in recent years (that’s what I had). Furthermore, I want to acknowledge that all of our bodies are different and this is just what worked for me. For more detailed info, keep reading!
Treatments when over the counter (OTC) treatments don’t work:
1) Boric Acid suppositories: Sooo many people vouch for it in their treatment of yeast infections! It not only helps with YI, but also BV and vaginal odor because it balances out your pH. It comes in a capsule, and you insert it into your vagina by hand or with a clean applicator (like what you get with Monistat). Some people continue using it a couple times a week after treatment to maintain vaginal health. I’ve had a good experience with pH-D, found at Target for about $18. Feminiva was also recommended in the video below. Note that the most effective boric acid comes in powder form inside the capsule, but some are in crystal form and aren’t as helpful.
(The Benefits of Boric Acid: Video Below)
2) Probiotics: The results of studies on the use of probiotics are mixed, and from my experience, they didn’t eliminate my symptoms. However, I feel they reduced the intensity of my symptoms, and are highly beneficial to your health and immune system, so I would recommend them. When looking for a probiotic, look for those with 10 or more strains, include lactobacillus acidophilus, and the ones that have to be refrigerated are typically best. The one I’m using I found at Meijer is from the brand Solaray (Mycrobiome Probiotic, women’s formula). It was $35 -unfortunately they can be a bit pricey- but I did get a BOGO 50% off deal on it.
3) Eating garlic/garlic supplements: This might not totally cure it, but it does benefit your immune system and it’s fairly inexpensive.
4) Terconazole (prescription medication): I was diagnosed with a newly emerging medication resistant yeast and this wiped out the symptoms. However, after 3-4 uses, it really agitated the inside of my vagina (the instructions said to use it for 3-7 days). I discovered in the reviews of this product that many women had similar issues with it. When I tried it a second time later on, I used it only once. The symptoms were pretty much gone, and my skin wasn’t irritated. After that point, I maintained my results by continuing to treat it with natural treatments (I go into further detail about that under Other Considerations).
5) Plain Greek yogurt/kefir: Putting yogurt/kefir on my labia topically was beneficial in helping with itchiness and burning. Some people swear by putting it on a tampon and inserting it, but I felt inserting and removing the tampon irritated my vagina.
Note: I don’t have any experience with the fluconazole pill, so I don’t know how effective it is. Please feel free to add your experience with it in the thread!
This seems to be the thing that has had the greatest impact for me.
1) Simple sugars: Do not eat most sugars, especially processed sugars-yeast loves it! I also start with sugar because other types of food produce sugar in your body (carbs, starches, dairy, alcohol), so you want to avoid these things, as well. Some sites recommend ridding of fruit. I seemed to do okay with small portions of fruit at breakfast, particularly those high in vitamin C and with low sugar content (strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, lemons, limes, avocado, and grapefruit). Love sugar like me? I used stevia in my coffee, tea, and on my oatmeal to add some sweetness!
Fruit with low sugar content: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/320078#eight-low-sugar-fruits
2) Carbs: Highly processed carbs, flour-based foods, foods made with glucose (i.e., white bread, crackers, white rice, etc.). Eating oatmeal, quinoa, brown rice, and gluten free foods worked well for me. I’ve also read that whole grain bread is fine. I had no issues with it when I ate it occasionally.
3) Alcohol: This is a biggie! It’s best to avoid it altogether because most alcohol includes sugar and/or carbs. I occasionally drink vodka sodas, which has not affected me negatively.
4) Starches: Foods such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, and corn. I will note that small portions of these things did not seem to impact me.
5) Dairy: Pretty much all of it exept for plain Greek yogurt and kefir because they both include probiotics.
6) Other suggestions: It is thought that some types of nuts, like peanuts, pistachios, and cashews can make a YI worse. Consuming almonds and walnuts are perfectly fine. Some sites recommended eliminating caffeine. I haven’t, and it hasn’t seemed to impact me. Eating lean meats is recommended (chicken, fish, etc.). Also, no fried foods.
Websites on the candida diet:
Keeping your vagina dry:
Yeast thrives in (I know some people hate this word) moist areas.
1) Wear breathable, cotton underwear.
2) When you can get away with not wearing underwear, do it! I quit wearing undies to bed. With that said, wash your bottoms more frequently.
3) Wear skirts, dresses, loose fitting pants. Cotton is best (I’ve been living in cotton leggings and sweatpants). Clothes that retain moisture like tight jeans and nylon keep vaginal area moist.
4) Pat-don’t rub- your vaginal area dry when you get out of the shower. Rubbing can make the infection worse.
5) Notably, I have been most prone to YI when I’ve been on my period, especially because pads/tampons keep moisture in. Try using cotton cloths instead.
● See a doctor to make sure it’s a yeast infection. BV and some STIs have some similar symptoms, so it’s important to test for those, too.
● If your yeast infections are reoccurring, it’s important to get tested for diabetes.
● IMPORTANT: As mentioned above, I discovered that after multiple uses of OTC treatments (i.e., Monistat/miconazole), I had developed what the nurse at PP described as a “new kind of yeast.” It sounds like with overuse of the OTC drugs, a more resistant yeast develops. I hadn’t seen anything on the internet about it, so I wanted to share that info.
● Even after your symptoms are gone, it’s important to take care of your vagina as though it still symptomatic. If you’re highly prone to getting recurrent infections, keep treating it to ensure the elimination of the overproduction of yeast (your vagina naturally has some yeast in it) and to balance your pH. After using Terconazole, I maintained vaginal health by using boric acid for 14 days, maintaining a probiotic regiment, and eating clean (I’m still figuring out how long to do this for, but I’m going for at least a month). Avoiding vaginal sex for about a month after the beginning of treatment is recommended, as well.
● Medications like birth control (especially IUDs because the infection can cling to it), antibiotics, and meds for BV can cause YI. I’ve read that probiotics can help.
● I really appreciate this tip from Bridget Osborn in my previous post: “Medications honestly can put you into a viscous cycle because after your vagina is clear from yeast, it takes time to adjust back to normal and those sort of ups and downs of your PH balance can really take their tole longterm, so even with all of this advice in mind, some women are flat out more susceptible to them. It doesn't mean the woman practices poor hygiene or is neglectful, I know it sucks to hear it but some women just flat out have a harder time with it than others.”
● It’s important for your partner(s) to get tested and treated for yeast infections, too, as you may be passing it back and forth.
● Condom/dental dam use is beneficial as the bacteria from the genitals/mouths of others can mess with your PH balance. This is particularly helpful if you have multiple partners.
● Shaving and waxing agitates the vaginal area and can make the infection worse.
● Cleaning your vaginal area: Using warm water alone is best (I did not know this until recently)! Scented soaps, douching, feminine wipes can screw up your pH. Scented laundry soaps can cause YI, as well.
I hope this was helpful! Let me know if you have any questions or if you have additional info to add to the mind hive, please post below!
Audrey Stein lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She is a board certified music therapist and graduate student in the social work program at Grand Valley State University. Over the past 10 years, she has worked with a variety of populations, including people with developmental disabilities, the elderly, and people with various health conditions. She is an advocate for intersectional feminism, as well as social justice and equity in the healthcare system.
As some of you may know, in addition to yoga and wellness, I am also an actor. Consistently auditioning and humbly practicing rejection in the large doses it often presents itself in, it often requires me to find balance in the rest of my life which is why I have such a strong love for the practice of yoga.
Yesterday, I left an “audition” feeling anything but balanced. My mind was all over the place. I felt the cause was thought-provoking enough to share.
I received an “audition” from my representation that wasn’t exactly an audition. It was worded as “a competition.” I would receive $50 for participating and had the opportunity to win $1,000. The entire experience seemed rather off; Auditions don’t pay and a competition? In the least, I was intrigued but hesitant.
I arrived to the “audition” and was taken down a set of stairs into a basement with winding hallways, empty boxes of product and fluorescent lights. I was led to a room where a woman introduced herself and a man was sitting down with a computer and equipment I didn’t recognize. This was a lie detector.
Immediately, my mind went to how intimidating it would be for someone who’s life depended on the data this machine produced; how the body might react just by already being perceived as guilty or if someone were desperate to prove their innocence. Needless to say, I felt uncomfortable attached to a machine attempting to penetrate my subconscious as it has to so many others in less fortunate circumstances.
I was given two drinks to taste and was told if I said “Yes” to the question of, “is product A better than product B” and was telling the truth (according to the machine), I would win $1,000.
I came to the experience blind. I had done no research on which brand was the asking company’s nor had I done any research on how one might pass a lie detector test.
I was under the impression it was an EXPECTATION that I answer the question “honestly.” I believed product A was this company’s product and I didn’t want to disappoint by revealing I didn’t like it.
These are two important factors: expectations and people pleasing.
Product A tasted like flat seltzer water. Product B tasted like a tart and fruity seltzer water. Believing that Product A was theirs, I convinced myself it was the better product by justifying to myself it was more closely to what I would expect a seltzer water to taste like rather than if I felt it was a better product. Product A, might I add did NOT taste good. That wasn’t the question NOR the expectation. So I convinced myself of something I could believe and justify in order to reach 1) expectations and 2) To please those around me.
Turns out, I passed and won $1,000! I also discovered the poorly-tasting product I was praising was NOT the product of the company’s. Oops! But... thanks?
Previously, I have studied the psychology of child development and that a child is more likely to go to college if it is an undeniable expectation of their parents rather than coming to the decision on their own. So that justifies the expectation part to an extent. But how far do expectations go? With whom? Is it a motive? A relationship? Or simply a habit of surrendering your own opinion when confronted with an opposing one? Or one that may cause feelings of unpleasantness or dislike from others?
How do you view your relationships and work environments objectively? Do you feel like these factors play into your performance? Have you ever considered it before and do you believe the affects are positive or negative on you?
Would love to hear your answers below!
The recent polar vortex has created chaos and straight up danger in many areas throughout the country. Not only has the cold been unbearable and damaging to property, people, animals, and the general environment, it’s seemed to blast a negative energetic effect that has caused chaos in everyone’s electromagnetic field.
First off, I would love to hear in the comments section if and how any of you may have been effected by this. On my end and for many people in my life, it seems like a chain of events, that are nearly comical in their ridiculousness, have made no joke of the situation and affected our lives, health, and careers/ambitions very strongly.
Essentially, it felt like everything broke. Health issues seemed to arise as fast as a time lapse, odd accidents causing serious harm and potentially permanent damage occurred, flowers of ambition on the brink of blooming froze and snapped, and everything, EVERYTHING, every inch of effort to better or progress anything of importance seemed not to matter at all.
I originally wrote this blog post a few days ago when I was feeling the effects very strongly and was unable to find any explanation. In researching for my upcoming women's circle this Sunday, I have since come across some interesting information:
I pay most attention to the moon when doing my research for circles because after all, the moon's 28 days cycle mirrors that of a woman's and also possesses the feminine energy, the yin to the yang (the sun). I keep my ears open to hear what the effects of the other planets' movements may be and write them down if I believe they may be beneficial in our themed discussions.
I have recently learned that Mars has been in it's "warrior" sign and Uranus, in its sign of "destruction." For Pisces especially, the erratic comet of Chiron has been traveling through which is specifically related to health issues. My boyfriend is a Pisces. In the past month he has been scheduled for a sudden tooth extraction and root canal, had a close friend became very ill and passed away, his son acquired a terrible flu, and to top it off, my boyfriend also slipped and fell down some stairs and is currently in physical therapy as I write this.
For my Pisces friends, Chiron leaves the sign of Pisces on February 18th.
All of this combined with the magnetic shifts caused by the polar vortex has left many of us quite shaken. As we prepare for the Supermoon in Virgo on February 19th (the closest moon to the earth all year), we will experience strong energies of another sort. Luckily, Virgo is filled with optimism, efficiency, and clarity. We will be able to rise above and finally resolve the chaos of the past month.
This will not be the entirety of our 2019. It cannot. And when we are held down, held back, when we are unable to move, it breeds restlessness. Our lives, our energies, and our opportunities are about to shoot off like a rocket. So much so that it will bring an abundance of opportunity.
If you’re still taking cover from the polar vortex, either quite literally or emotionally, or perhaps are a healing Pisces, take this time to seriously recharge your batteries. Get your sleep, eat healthy, take a bubble bath, call your parents. And most importantly, when this next phase hits, take it day by day. It will be likely and sometimes inevitable that we will be overwhelmed.
In the meantime, ladies, get yourselves to a circle near you.
Next Circle: February 17th @5pm.
Ironically, the very first yoga class I ever taught, a restorative class (meant to relax the body and mind), took place on the second floor of a yoga studio on 23rdand Park in Manhattan during a protest just before rush hour. As if the copious amounts of angry people with blow horns wasn’t enough it seemed like every fire truck in Manhattan decided to take the 23rdstreet route.
I was already anxious about teaching for the first time and now I had to attempt to help my students relax in a chaotic environment when I didn’t know how to relax myself.
I once had a meditation coach I used to work with who taught me many different forms of meditation. I would stare at a flame or the leaf of a plant with my eyes hazily open. I learned to follow my breathing; come back to the breathing. A practice. The basis of meditation and how I had interpreted it had transformed during this time as I no longer tried to shut out my thoughts or outside distractions, frustratingly trying desperately and abusively to quiet my mind. Instead, I honored my thoughts; I acknowledged them. The practice became a respect for my mind, rather than a punishment. Only then could I begin practicing to let them go and once again, return to the breath.
I have spent my life surrounded by those who have been diagnosed with some form of Attention Deficit Disorder. What a terrible word, ‘disorder.’ How inaccurate of a description. These have been some of the smartest, most talented, and inspiring people I’ve ever met. As society tells them there is something wrong with them, their attention is literally already on three other things that are probably more beneficial to them. Their energy and attention, able to be dispersed across many different subjects, quickly acknowledging and absorbing what each has to offer. And ‘disorder’ doesn’t quite compete. They are literally unstoppable.
These are both of my brothers as well as my mother. Majority rules in this case and leaves just my father and I. I remember sitting down to practice piano growing up and getting so frustrated and angry because in a house of five, it was near impossible to get a moment of silence and my mind couldn’t focus on that ONE thing.
So there I was, focusing on my sequence, my first class, my doe eyed students, sirens and blow horns, instead of relaxing.
Come back to the breath. Acknowledge. Respect. Release. Come back to the breath.
Instead of getting frustrated, instead of running away, denying the reality of the clearly distracting obstacles, I decided to run towards them. I asked the students to close their eyes and come into their breath. I asked them to choose one sound to focus on. What is the texture of the sound? What is the color of the sound itself? Where is it felt in the body? Come back to the breath. Next. What is the conversation you hear? If inaudible, what is the feeling of the conversation? Who’s faces does the conversation belong to? Come back to the breath.
Slowly, the chaotic contributors were acknowledged one by one. And although still present, our minds were able to settle after having acknowledged them and seeing/hearing them from different angles. Our ears would hear but no longer listen saying, “been there, done that.”
And we were able to practice. At the end of the class, I even had students approach me and say how relaxed they felt, that they forgot about the noise entirely.
As I write today’s post, the radio alarm is going off in my bedroom and there is a man named Vlad in my wall working on the electrical system but really just sounds like he’s trying to cut down a forest with a handsaw, yelling Russian at someone over the phone from time to time. There is a woman outside the window talking to no one in particular yet being heard by everyone. And this is New York City at 9am.
Whether in the city or anywhere else, we are always surrounded by different stimulus tugging at our attention and sipping our energy. It can be irritating, distracting, sometimes, unbearable. Perhaps if we only take a moment, come back to our breath, acknowledge, respect, and release.
Come back to the breath.
#breath #breathe #yoga #creatrix #restorative #newyorkcity #nyc #citylife #stress #noise #chaos #healing #holistic #senses #add #adhd #psychology #practice #meditation
In March of 2018, I began my training to become a Certified Creatrix, sacred leader of Women’s Circles through Goddess Ceremony. During the training, each participant was given the opportunity to indulge in a private discussion with our teacher, Cassandra. It was an hour-long Skype session (before our in-person retreat) and we were given two options as to what we would like to discuss to help us move forward in our training.
The first option was to discuss our goals and the direction we would like to take once the training was complete. The second, a bit more personal, was the opportunity to discuss our past or any personal reason we may feel held back in pursuing this new career path.
This brought about some serious consideration for me. I admire Cassandra so very much, not only as a person but very much so as a businesswoman as well. I can listen to her speak for hours on end and soak up the wealth of knowledge she possesses like a sponge. I knew I would greatly benefit from her advice with moving forward in my new endeavors.
However, something was nagging at me deep inside, a feeling of uneasiness with the intention of taking off his hat and coat to stay for a while. He is the familiar and deceitful face of fear mixed with shame and guilt.
I wanted to focus on the future. I wanted to look forward and I knew I would, no matter what. However, this dark feeling had a hold on me and I knew I possessed a deep need for healing I couldn’t ignore.
I spoke with Cassandra for a long time. I cried. A lot. There were many moments I found myself unable even to speak (, an issue I later learned to involve a blockage in the throat chakra: our center for self-expression). What I felt was incredibly intense. I had been carrying such baggage for a long time. And although I was given the opportunity to release, I knew those bags would still find their way into the cab with me when I left.
I loved all that I learned. My background in psychology and as a yoga teacher allowed me to feel that leading Women’s Circles is something I could be good at and truly enjoy. But I knew my credentials as far as the scars I’ve carved and together they spelled out “Unworthy.”
I have not always been kind to other women. In fact, at times I have been cruel, careless, and reckless. I am not proud. To do so has become a behavior commonly accepted, even encouraged in society. When we are told so young that our worth is merely our physical appearance, we begin to compare ourselves to our peers. Distance comes between us as society locks us in a cage of self-doubt and self-judgement. To “love yourself” seems like a joke. No, you must be BETTER than the girl next to you or face the consequences. It becomes you or her. It becomes a fight for social survival which, let’s face it, is our world when we are young. And some never learn of sisterhood or our ancient histories to grow out of it.
Those teenage years were certainly cruel.
These habits have been ingrained in many of us, to be on the defense every time a new woman enters into our lives. It isn’t natural. It’s far from, actually. What is natural is for women to share community. Something I didn’t experience much of. Something so many of us have lost. I would imagine my self-esteem might be much different otherwise.
I didn’t respect myself. I didn’t respect my body, my sacred temple. I just kept thinking, “I hope its good enough.” Even worse, I allowed others to do the same. As if disrespecting my time wasn’t enough, I allowed equally if not more-so damaged men to convince me with their actions that I was worthless, that my body was not sacred and beautiful. I was conditioned to expect to be used and thrown away. How very wrong they were. And how beautiful and vulnerable was I.
None of these scars fade easily. All of the above mentioned haunts me, hidden in my subconscious even in my strongest moments. My anger persists at the slightest hint of an attack on me or any other woman. I feel robbed of the sisterhood that was meant for me.
I confessed my sins to Cassandra, my head held in shame. I expected a familiar distant nurturing and attempt at comfort without having any anticipation for it to penetrate and actually make a difference. It was too embedded in my heart. The wound was on a soul-level.
Unexpectedly, what she said did penetrate my mindset. Not in a comforting or condescending way but in a very real way which held that much more worth to me. She told me, if I had known the sense of community I felt robbed of, I would know that I was not alone in any of what I expressed or have experienced. And other women need to know that they too, are not alone. And I would be the woman to hold that space. I was meant to hold that space.
What we are not given, we must give life to. For we are women; The creators, the givers of life.
Cassandra was right. In the last six months I’ve spent leading circles, I have felt the most purpose in my life. I know I am making a difference. I know I am providing a safe space that many women have never experienced; to express, to share, to feel connected, and most importantly to feel accepted.
So as we enter into 2019, I ask you to consider and indulge in both options; Do not pass up the opportunity to heal. I promise you, you will feel lighter. When we are lighter, it’s easier to fly.
And sister, you will soar.
Happy New Year!
#goddessceremony #skype #creatrix #goals #newyear #healing #health #metoo #womensmovement #sisterhood #womenscircles #shewolfwellness
That’s the title of a book I once read by Diane Zimberoff. Catchy, huh? There are many of its kind that teach us about the mentality of playing the victim in our own lives. Self-pity is a big theme. And although I’m an advocate of self-help books that teach us (or remind us) how not to get caught up in this so-called victim “trap,” I’d also like to acknowledge a different example of the victim trap in which the title is perhaps more suitable.
(One of my favorite books that beautifully illustrates this on a larger scale about our choices and where we want to be in our lives is The Awareness Journey by Daniel Slot.)
The word “trap” in itself means to cage something in against its will. If that something escapes, it is not caged in and therefore the trap is not what it claims to be or do. By claiming to be in a victim “trap” we claim that we are in fact helpless. If one is given the tools to dismantle a trap, it is merely a box.
An historic and shitty event occurred accidentally in the world of psychology when psychologists Martin Seligman and Steven F. Maier had been experimenting on dogs. One of the experiments was to have dogs associate an order of events; similar to Pavlov’s dogs associating hearing a bell before feeding time with the association proven by premature salivation in the dogs’ mouths. However, Seligman and Maier’s dogs were to relate a feeling of discomfort with the sound of a beep. In hindsight, this was neither kind nor well thought out. Rather than the harmless result of simple salivation, these dogs were faced with the unnecessary and repeated activation of their fight or flight response, one that drowns the nervous system with adrenaline, reserved only for the rare moments when one’s life is in danger and they need to survive. To activate it repeatedly depletes the system, lessens its affect, takes a huge toll on the body, brain, and emotional body as we are unable to function at a higher intellectual level (aka, Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs or the energetic body’s Chakra system).
We are given two natural options as animals when our survival is threatened; To fight by challenging the threatening stimulus resulting in either victory in which the threat is eliminated or personal death in which other than the loss of life, leaves us emotionally unaffected due to… well, death. The other natural response is if the fight response isn’t logical (aka, death is inevitable) we flight, or flee. As in, RUN FOR YOUR LIFE.
What happened after being repeatedly subjected to a stimulus the dogs could neither challenge or escape, is utterly heartbreaking and hauntingly familiar. They simply did nothing. They heard the beep. They remained lying on the ground, awaited the shock, whimpered through it, and did nothing.
Perhaps it can be supposed that if they couldn’t escape, they had learned their efforts were futile and that is why they now did nothing. But the repeat experience, over and over, brought about an unexpected outcome. Even when an obvious opportunity to escape was presented to them, the dogs remained on the floor. The trauma had solidified absolute helplessness in them. Because when we experience trauma, when we are unable to control a situation we cannot escape from, the result is worse than the death that naturally should have occurred had we failed at either fight or flight. We instead experience a true living hell; Living the rest of our lives after our hope has died.
This is learned helplessness. It doesn’t occur from our own mental abuse of ourselves or a habitual attitude of blaming others, backing ourselves into the victim corner. It is a neurological reaction caused by our inability to act.
When we consider the homeless, addicts, the people once close to us in our lives who seemingly just “gave up,” we are seeing the effect of learned helplessness. It is also a theorized cause of chronic depression; when one has no control over the outcome of an event in their lives of which they also cannot escape. Or war vets suffering from PTSD, unable to connect to their loved ones or to anyone.
Similar to any mental health diagnosis found in the modern day Diagnostics Statistics Manual, everything is on a spectrum. Because you experience symptoms of depression, anxiety, bipolar, or attention deficit disorder does not mean you need treatment or medication. It doesn’t mean you would even be diagnosed. But experiencing just a few of the symptoms, puts you on that spectrum albeit at the very low end of being affected. The populations mentioned in the above paragraph would more than likely be placed on the extreme opposite side of the spectrum of learned helplessness.
However, there is a spectrum. And more than likely, even on a minute and perhaps subconscious level, likely we have experienced a loss of hope after repeatedly feeling as if we had no control.
There have been a handful of times in my life where I truly felt victimized. Without the tools to physically fight, as many women are raised without, my response is simply to walk (sometimes run) away. As situations have proved, this isn’t always sufficient or an option, and I have in fact been faced with having to physically defend myself in the moment. I am ok. I have prevailed. I am grateful. But there is now something I must defend myself from every day since and that is my body’s (now natural and learned) responses to similar stimuli.
I cannot be scared anymore. I don’t say that as if I’ve developed a lack of fear and am now a tough cookie. I mean it quite literally. If a friend comes up behind me for a surprise, I jump about three feet, my entire body floods with adrenaline, I want to cry and throw-up at the same time.
Similarly, when I am walking alone at night when one such attack happened, or when someone stands too close to me at the train station, or someone who shares physical traits with a past predator makes eye contact with me on the subway, my body physically reacts.
These things haunt me. I can rationalize after the initial moment, sure. But what cannot be taken away is my developed physical response; fear. To me, this is the trap. And unfortunately, rather than the “victim” trap, which I feel illustrates that lack of control in the situation, a more accurate word that comes to mind is “prey.”
To have “prey” is premeditated. There is a target perceived as weak, a target vulnerable to intimidation. There is want to cause harm to another so that the attacker can feel powerful.
As a woman, if I find myself alone with a man or have a feeling that someone may be following me, or in any sense have felt unsafe or betrayed, I am shamed for expressing my concerns to men, even those closest to me. When in reality, I wish to God I wasn’t afraid. I wish my body didn’t begin to sweat, my heart-rate elevated, my skin blotchy, and all my senses on high alert. I can rationalize, yes. Not every time that happens means I’m in danger. But my physical responses say it’s happened too many times not to be on full alert. Because happening even once is too many times. I admit my anger for this, that I have been made to feel weak, unsafe, and essentially helpless, has made it difficult to have the patience to explain this to good men with good intentions and mere confusion regarding the women’s movement. I cannot be that person because it hurts too badly.
Even if its been 30 years which seems to be a popular excuse, I guarantee those physical responses are still present in that woman or man or person. A biological-level fear cannot be escaped. I can’t imagine men feel that way when they find themselves alone with women. Which doesn’t mean they’re “bad.” It just means they’re unaware of it or the frequency of it, when they already cannot relate to the situation.
Two opposite sides of a spectrum.
I would also like to note that it doesn’t necessarily have to be a physical attack to illicit this type of effect on a person. Verbal abuse is very real. The effects of sexual harassment are very real and go far beyond the moment. The same physical responses occur because they are on the same spectrum of sexual abuse. Even conversing about an event, a victim relives it. You will notice the physical signs. That’s in part, a very big reason why rape victims don’t want to speak in a court of law let alone come forward at all.
When someone is angry on any political platform, in any relationship, in any work environment, anger is a strong response to cover hurt. Chances are, what they defend has been their very real experience and they now have physical responses that make them feel as if they are under attack just by an associated subject being mentioned. And there is no compromise when a person is in that state.
We need understanding in our world now more than ever. We need compassion. We need empathy. We not only need it in our government but we need it amongst our people. Without taking control, without exercising our right to vote, without being emotionally responsible and going to therapy when we need it, without doing our absolute best to respect one another and certainly our human rights, we voluntarily step into the victim trap and throw away the key. The physical response trap stems from hate. Which we can only combat with our own compassion and awareness and standing up to bullying when we see it. Teaching our children to stand up to bullying when they see it. Teach both men and women how to defend themselves and children from a young age to treat others how they would like to be treated.
It began just fine. In fact, I was feeling great. With the exception of the weather. The overcast sky seemed to forecast what I forgot was coming.
It happens within an hour. The sudden change. The skies mirror the state of my heart and cloud my mind. It then cries down on me, my small, cheap $5 NYC umbrella, a poor excuse for shelter. Yet, even inside, I am unsafe from the storm.
I feel hopeless. All of the thoughts running through my mind exhaust me to the point of apathy. The amount of energy it takes to fix it, to fix all of the things. I want to sit on my couch. Wishing I wasn’t surrounded by all the things I should accomplish. But here they are, taunting me. And here I am. Feeling helpless and overwhelmed. Wondering, why do I even try? Is all I do worth it?
And then I remember. I look at the calendar. My entire body sighs with relief. Ah, yes. I know what this is. And what this is, is temporary.
The lunar cycle is 28 days, the average length of a woman’s menstrual cycle. The moon is known to represent the receptive feminine energy and it shows that as women, we strongly relate. Within these 28 days, there is a dramatic shift in our happy hormone, estrogen. Beginning at the time of ovulation, our estrogen level is on a steady incline. This is what supports our mood and feelings of normalcy every day. When the time of ovulation returns, our estrogen level drops entirely and begins its slow build once again over the next 28 days. It does so all in the course of an hour.
In the course of an HOUR.
Any logical being could assume the emotional effects this could have on a person. For some, it can be more extreme than for others. It can be devastating. The sudden change can lead us to question our sanity, sudden mood changes similar to symptoms of bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety. And all the nightmarish thoughts that accompany them.
Men also relate with the 28 day lunar cycle although generally, not as severe. Their happy hormones also drop and resume their incline, however the depletion is not nearly as extreme and hardly noticeable to most. It often causes a disconnect between genders or within relationships. Whereas most women aren’t even aware of what is happening in their bodies at this time, men usually aren’t aware and certainly can’t relate.
We often hear negative judgments about ourselves during this time from others and even repeating them to ourselves; “You’re just being emotional,” “You’re hormonal,’ “Are you on your period?”
It isn’t that we are hormonal. It is a lack of hormones. These are not unfounded emotions. They are very real. It’s the boogey man jumping out of the closet. It’s our demons crawling out from under our beds. It is white noise blasted at high volume. And it happens, in the course of an hour.
It is not that we are “on our periods.” It is ovulation. It is the possibility of life, a safe and reserved space to transform stardust into consciousness. It is the most beautiful and powerful thing a human body is capable of. This is the female body, our womb space and the potential of the universe that we hold in the core of our being. It is painful because it is powerful.
There is no more demeaning thing a world can do than shame a woman for this experience, to write off her feelings, her emotions, her fears. Perhaps, these emotions are real because we have the potential to see the world more clearly than any one else.
During this time, we become extremely sensitive. Sensitivity is receptivity. Receptivity is a window to our intuition.
We are sensitive to our emotions, yes but what of the rest? We also become sensitive to others. We absorb their energies, we feel their emotions, we sense stranger’s stories. We literally and tangibly feel more as our skin is more sensitive. Our hearing, our eyes, our sense of smell, taste and touch, all absorbing information at a quicker rate.
Isn’t it amazing that at a point when we feel we are at our lowest, we also possess our highest potential?
Isn’t it unfortunate that we waste so much energy defending ourselves from the ignorance from society rather taking notice of an untapped strength?
After learning about the existence of this change in hormones, I began to track it in my body, predict it. I began to take back control and I no longer cared if someone didn’t understand. I was too fascinated to care. With all of the negativity dispersed, I began to see clearly.
Women are incredibly powerful human beings. We are the givers of life. We are the nurturers. We are the healers. As long as the shame and misunderstanding that exists in society continues to cloud us in our most powerful moments, the world will continue to suffer from the lack of balance in the feminine and masculine.
If you do not understand, be compassionate.
If you do not relate, be kind.
If you are in it, breathe through it.
If you can see through it, own it.
The other night, I took the best bath of my life. I had taken a ridiculous amount of rose petals, left for dead, and decided I would make use of them. I ran the bath, lit some candles, and dumped a massive bag of petals into the water. They looked so perfect floating there on the surface, begging for me to slide myself in. As I did, it felt as though I was being cradled by the softest pieces of velvet, floating about and petting my skin. I stayed there for more than an hour, my senses having the time of their lives between the physical sensation and the amazing aroma infusing the water I was submerged in.
The next day, I took even more petals and kept them over my stove as I made my first batch of Rose Water. My entire apartment smelled like a garden! I've since bottled it up and infused some bottles with different essential oils. I thought it a great opportunity to share some of the healing benefits of rose petals and rose water as I'll be bringing some of my homemade batch to our gathering on Sunday. (Women's Circle - New Moon in Virgo!)
Be sure of the quality of your essential oils by checking out these studies by
Consumers Advocate https://www.consumersadvocate.org/essential-oils before adding them into your Homemade Rose Water.
First off, Rose is your skins new best friend. The kind of friend you meet and immediately have a friend crush on and know you already want them to be in your wedding. Rose oil and rose water are perfect for sensitive skin that can often be irritated in the form of acne or eczema. It smoothes and moisturizes rough skin and can even nourish your scalp from sun damage or harsh product chemicals. Speaking of sun damage, did you know you can also create a homemade sunscreen from roses? Rose water also works as a toner and placing rose petals over your eyes can help get rid of those dark circles. When it comes to your skin, rose is a steady player on your first line of defense. Additionally, the scent is used in aroma therapy to ease anxiety, promote better sleep, detox your body and elevate your mood.
#rose #roses #roseoil #rosewater #essentialoils #diy #rosepetals #bath #selfcare #shewolfwellness #creatrix #womenscircle #nyc #newmoon #skincare #sunscreen #toner #aromatherapy #bestfriend
Recently, I have found I’ve been warring myself a little thin. As a freelancer in NYC, I have many different job titles and relationships that are wonderful and also demanding. At the end of the day, its what I have chosen. Some days it feels like it pays off. Most days, I feel like running away to California and burying myself in the sand.
I love all that I do. But my restless energy has led me to not only a full plate but one I seem to keep piling full that can no longer hold all that I choose to participate in. I have been waiting and waiting, feeling as if I’m just about to a point where I can rest and relax. Maybe read a book or something. And the closer I feel to this point, the longer it seems to be drawn out. I am, however, beginning to experience brief moments or time slots where I finally have a free moment (which is new for me). Instead of relaxing and using it as a time for self-care, I am instead riddled with an anxious mind constantly afraid I’m forgetting something.
It’s the feeling you get when you’re about to fly out of town. You’ve packed your bags, you’ve checked them twice, packed extra socks and underwear, your toothbrush, the back-up outfit, the just-in-case-the-weather-sucks clothes, the little things you probably don’t need but “just might.” And you walk out the door, still with an uneasy feeling as if you forgot something important. You get through security, find your seat on the plane, they close the door and ding! You remember, you forgot the wedding present, or you didn’t leave the keys for the person feeding your cat, or you forgot your entire suitcase, whatever it may be. You are left helpless in your state of panic, secured and strapped down to your seat with nothing but a barf bag to comfort you. Maybe Sky mall magazine if you’re lucky.
Needless to say, over the last year or so, I’ve wired my brain not to relax. I’ve created my schedule, my routines, my responsibilities, without leaving any time or practice for self-care.
Why is it that we place self-care on the back burner? Why is it the one thing that we think we can put off, or go without, or do it “when we have time?”
For many women in my age group, this isn’t terribly uncommon. Throughout a woman’s life cycle, we travel through four main archetypes: The Maiden, Mother, Enchantress, and Crone. The Maiden is the young, adventurous woman, trying to find herself, trying new things, and figuring out where she fits in the world and where she wants her life to go. The Mother archetype is one of nurture and care for others when we outgrow the Maiden phase and become less self-involved. The Maiden phase is often (and rightfully so,) difficult to let go of. The Enchantress is a woman after menopause with an empty nest who finally has a chance to return to herself. And lastly the Crone, the woman who has traveled through all of these phases and has become a sacred source of ultimate wisdom.
As a woman in this day and age, having read my brief rundown of the archetypes, I’m sure we can each see these stages clearly and also acknowledge (even some of our own conditioned thinking) the shaming our society has placed on the transitions throughout womanhood. We force our wild maidens to stay in the lines, be polite and withhold any tools for defending oneself both verbally and physically. Instead of acknowledging the bringing forth of new life while sacrificing one’s own identity, we tell mothers they need to get back to their beach body after BIRTHING A CHILD. At the first opportunity to return focus to oneself after motherhood, we call it a midlife crisis and again, discourage a woman from freedom, dragging out the chains. And our sacred Crones of ultimate wisdom, we drug and place in homes for the deterioration of their minds.
Women need the support and encouragement from the world. Be part of that and offer your compassion.
'Returning to the initial conversation after some background info: The struggle of the Mother Archetype. Whether or not we have children or experienced the magic and sacrifice of physical motherhood, our minds and energetic body will still be in the Mother phase. The same as teenage pregnancy, more than likely the woman is still in the Maiden phase at that time. So it’s not uncommon to find ourselves exerting our energy by nurturing the other people in our lives, whether they are friends, roommates, significant others, or family members. Have you noticed yourself going above and beyond? Are you supporting your spouse in their career instead of focusing on progressing your own? Are you biting your tongue so as not to cause unease to your parents? Are you telling everyone, “I’m fine?”
Every coin has two sides. The self-sacrifice we perform for the sake of others is nothing less than divine beauty. It is also the reason by the time we hit the Enchantress phase that we spend all of our retirement money on our personal version of Eat, Pray, Love. Which is more than fine because it’s a fantastic book by the fantastic Elizabeth Gilbert.
The thing is, between the shift of the Mother phase, the conditioning of society, the pressure of the underlying American Dream translating to 'nothing is ever good enough,' and this strange false sense of pride millenials get from exhaustion and overexertion, EVERYTHING is directing us AWAY from looking out for ourselves.
I have realized that I can no long sit and wait for that moment of rest to come for me. I look back on the past year, or three, or five, and I realize, it isn’t just going to show up on its own. Our lives are actually our day to day. Our habits aren’t temporary unless we make the change in the NOW to transform them. When we succumb to what life is offering us without any of our own input, we become victims and give up control. If every day is looking the same, if you’re just waiting, your life isn’t going to look any different in five years. Even if you’re keeping your head down, waiting for that promotion, waiting for that new apartment, waiting for that one big break, your mind will have formed habits that keep you inside of your self-made jail cell. And you’ll ask yourself why that raise or promotion or marriage or new couch didn’t make you happy the way you thought it would.
Maybe instead, you’ll go out dancing. Maybe you’ll go to that concert in the park. Maybe you’ll quit your job without a backup plan! Maybe you’ll hitchhike, or jump on a freight train for a free ride to California (considered it). Maybe you’ll take a pottery class. Or climb a tree. Or have a food fight. Or jump in the pool with your work clothes still on.
I think about my mother and her sacrifice in raising my brothers and I; The ultimate nurturer and safe place. With hugs that make me feel like I’m still in the womb, still capable of innocence, still held entirely, nurtured, and completely supported. The woman I watched as a child once come home and… jump in the pool with all of her work clothes on. I remember being in complete shock as this beautiful business woman, mother and wife, just JUMPED. In those glimpses, in her silly jokes, her often goofy behavior, I see my mother. I see La Que Sabe. An inspiration. A wild woman at heart. A woman who deserves to be honored and respected.
I sincerely hope she one day gives the world the bird and checks into a spa for a month.
In fact, for all of the mommas out there, with little ones running around or teenagers trying your patience, I wish for you the sweetest moments of solitude, and a bubble bath, and a glass or three of nice wine and beyond. You are truly warrior women.
So mark it in your planner, ladies! Self-care is necessary. No one is going to give it to you. You’re boss isn’t going to offer you a day off for it. Your kids or your significant other or your friends, all well intentioned, are not going to replace it. Sacrifice for others does not add up to currency that eventually buys you the opportunity to love yourself. Plan it into your tomorrow. Construct your day(s) and week(s) to emulate what you want your life to look like in five years. Never underestimate the power of small actions: Go to a yoga class today. Sign up for another on Friday. Buy leafy greens at the grocery store and actually eat them! Schedule that therapy session. Pawn your children off on your parents and read or write or take a walk or dance naked in your living room. Whatever it takes. Whatever you need. YOU start now.
#mother #motherarchetype #balance #maiden #enchantress #crone #femalearchetypes #divinefeminine #goddess #daughter #womenscircle #nyc #blog #shewolfwellness #yogateacher #pryt #500ryt #selfcare #healthandwellness #sisterhood #eatpraylove #elizabethgilbert #bubblebath #spaday #transformation #positivethinking #action #strength #americandream #millenial #motherhood #burnedout #recharge
Throughout my yoga training, I remember looking at the teachers that were far ahead of me in their training and certifications as well as their mindsets and lifestyles. Without vocalizing it to myself or others, I had put them on pedestals. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I thought that once I became a 200HR yoga teacher, wait no, a 500HR teacher, wait no, a Prenatal yoga teacher, maybe THEN I would have it together.
Many people become intimidated to begin yoga because of stigmas that surround it. “I’m not flexible enough to do yoga.” “I’m not calm enough to do yoga.” “I can’t afford yoga.” “Yoga is for girls. Where’s my protein shake?”
And as much as it saddens me that I can’t seem to convince these people to come to my class, I also understand. That was me too.
My point in writing this blog post is to say that sometimes, that is still me too.
I have heard and regurgitated the phrase many times, “Yoga is a practice. There is no game.” The stigmas of yoga extend far past the studio. And the mindsets that hold us back from a consistent yoga practice are ones that extend into our lives and hold us back from other things as well.
Men and tall women are prone to having more strength than flexibility. (I am 5’9.”) Strength, is often our strength. Others are blessed with flexibility but lack strength. Yoga helps to balance these two qualities (and many others).
As a yoga teacher, I am often self-conscious of my lack of flexibility when teaching or taking a class. My splits? Not great. In fact, they may go by another pose name all together because that’s certainly not what they look like. But catch me in peacock pose and I’m ready to take on the world!
Yoga is a practice. Even for a yoga teacher with three certifications.
Lifestyle is a practice. Even for a yoga teacher with three certifications.
I am not perfect. I don’t wake up at 6am to a smoothie and an hour of yoga and am prim and perfect by 8am. That would be awesome though, wouldn’t it? So I’ll work towards it.
I don’t always eat healthy and sometimes I go out with friends. No, its great! And even better, when I don’t guilt myself about not fasting and meditating instead, I am able to get on with my yoga practice the next day instead of allowing my negative self-talk to hold me back.
Its called patience. Its called forgiveness. Its called being your own friend and being kind to yourself. Its not holding yourself to unattainable standards that aren’t meant for you or that perhaps you’re just not ready for. What is a goal if its easy? There’s no growth in that.
I write this to humanize what yoga and the people who do it are. They are often those who struggle with themselves, their lifestyles, their past, and their goals for the future. They are determined and sometimes weak.
You don’t need to be flexible to come to yoga or pursue a career in it. That I am proof of that. Yoga will help you with flexibility. And if you’re all about strength and feel yoga isn’t enough for you, I dare you to take a vinyasa class and not shake once. Think you’ve got it covered? Try covering your eyes with a blindfold like the 500HR teacher trainees at Atmananda for two hours a day for six weeks straight. Yoga works your muscles in a completely different way than many athletes are used to. I promise, it will help you in any other practice. And as much fun and maybe simple a blindfold sounds, your muscles work five times as hard without a visual for your equilibrium.
Feeling shaky now?
Those are just some of the physical benefits. It helps with energy levels, it helps with insomnia, it helps to balance hormone production which directly aids in balance of mood and emotions. You don’t walk into yoga class cool, calm, and collected. Especially if you live and work in NYC! But that is why you GO. So you can leave feeling that way. So you can finish your day feeling that way. So you can have some reprieve from the crazy world and finally take an hour to yourself.
If its finances getting you down there are plenty of YouTube videos and apps. Can’t do yoga at home? Check out Yoga to the People which is an amazing studio that has changed the game for the accessibility of yoga across different classes and levels of income. There is a suggested donation of $10; Give it if you can, its cheaper than most other yoga classes. If you can’t, that’s why its ‘suggested.’ Give what you can and get yourself to class.
If you find that little voice in your head babbling any of these excuses in the future, remember that every person who looks like they've got it together on the outside probably doesn't either. But they're trying.
Give yourself permission to do the same.
From one human to another, happy practicing!
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