Saturday, December 31, 2016

NYE: Here's to a Hopeful 2017

Cheers to a challenging 2016, a year speckled with both grief and gratitude. This will be a year I will never forget. 

So many seeds planted, so many fruits stolen away. In these moments I am reminded of the cold harsh reality of life, of nature, of death. 

Yet even in these darker spaces there is still room for hope. Still enough space for light. In the moments when my grief would eclipse my hope, it was still there, hidden, obscured, but there. In 2017 I hope this process of uncovering continues. I know it will not be easy. That the deep work of Pluto and loss cuts and leaves scars. 

Yet there is beauty here too. In the pain and scars there is the carving out of our character and the sharpening of our living senses. I am learning that hope is not something we have "in" something. Like hope in the goodness of humanity, but rather something that stands alone. We hope for hope's sake. Hope, like faith, just is. 

I pray to feel this hope throughout every cell in my body. That 2017 is the year for hope's return. 

Sending light and love and blessings and the return of hope in 2017.


Tuesday, December 13, 2016

An End of Autumn/Early Winter Treat

Guest Writer: Hannah Leatherbury

It’s the end of autumn – my good friend in college always said “Fall makes me CRAZY.”

Until my friend said that, I had never considered the effect the seasons had on my mood and my choices, but flash forward 10 years and it’s something I constantly consider. I study and practice many teachings from the traditional medicinal system of India – Ayurveda. One of the things I love about this system is that it clearly states that I am a reflection of nature and that if I can find harmony with nature’s rhythms, my health and well-being improve.

Ayurveda teaches that the season of Autumn/Fall is the season that favors the qualities of air and space – it’s colder, windier, unpredictable, erratic, exciting, creative and a little CRAZY.  That means that in order to find harmony, I need to look for warming, predictable, cozy, stable influences to help ground me in the strong winds.

One of my favorite practices in the fall is to massage my face with warmed oil. This practice is designed to help re-hydrate chapped/dry/irritated skin and soothe tension in the muscles around your face. Self-massage with oil is an ancient practice from India -- in the Sanskrit language, the word for "love" and "oil" are the same. Oil not only hydrates your tissues fully (meaning that it absorbs deeper into the pores and tissues beneath the top layer of skin than lotions and moisturizers will), it also draws out toxins within the tissues. You really have to try it to believe it.

First, choose an organic oil that you have on hand. I now use Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula with Vitamin E Skin Therapy Oil for Faces because it is such a nice blend, but, you can use plain ole’ sesame oil (if you have dry skin) or coconut oil (if you have inflamed/acne-irritated skin).

Next, find two containers, one smaller than the other. This could be a small glass and a large glass, or a squeeze bottle and a large glass (shown here). The smaller container will hold about two tablespoons of the organic oil you have chosen. The larger container will hold the smaller container plus enough hot water to warm the oil from the outside.

After the oil has warmed for a few minutes, pour a little of it into the palm of your hand.

Massage oil into the skin using circular motions around the temples, cheeks and chin. Use long strokes on the nose and forehead. Let the face feel completely saturated, just short of dripping with the oil. Wear this around your house for about 5-10 minutes (or longer if you wish).

Take a washcloth that has been run under hot water and feels warm to the touch. Squeeze out excess water.

This is my favorite part, can you tell?!

Unfold the steaming washcloth onto your face and gently pat away any excess oil. Notice the subtle glow left behind and enjoy! Your face is ready to dance with the wind and the cold of Autumn.

If you want to learn more Ayurvedic practices and tips, we start our next 30-Hour Ayurveda Immersion in January of 2017! Check out details here!

More About Hannah:

Hannah Leatherbury (E-RYT-200/RYT-500, YACEP) has been a student of yoga and Ayurveda for over a decade. She co-leads Sky House Yoga's 200-Hour Yoga Teacher Training Program and directs the 30-Hour Ayurveda Immersion. You can read about her journey from being a disenchanted goody-goody to a slightly more enchanted and mischievous yogi here: