Archive for June, 2013

Mind your mind – or it will mind you!

Posted on June 26, 2013. Filed under: Healing, Spiritual Practice, Yoga | Tags: , , |

While in my usual “I can’t” story, I forgot for a moment I couldn’t and so I did.   Wow, that sounds like the usual bad facebook picture meme with an inspiring picture – so let me try explaining that.

Sometimes our minds can be bullies,

Not always working together (Movie still from Fiend Without a Face)

Not always working together (Movie still from Fiend Without a Face)

and instead of us minding our minds, they mind us.  I had a nice example of this last night in my yoga practice, when I was working on handstands.

I’m at an interesting cusp in my work on handstands.  While I can kick up into handstand more often than not but still need a wall to prop my feet against to hold the pose once I do.   Not quite as developed as say my headstand where I can almost always kick up and I can balance without a wall.  But given that not too long ago I couldn’t kick up in either – the journey is definitely underway.

There’s a story in my head that I can’t balance in handstand without the wall yet, and when I try, I tend to fall down.   But since I don’t always kick up successfully to the wall, I have a moment in between that is really interesting.

There’s a point where after I kick up my mind makes a decision that either:

  1. Yes, I’m going to be able to get my legs up the wall and keeps going to do it
  2. Or, I’m not and slows things down so I fall back to the floor.

But then something happened.  I kicked up and my mind couldn’t decide which of my two “stories” was true – and I just paused neither falling nor touching the wall just balancing.  So as my mind was balanced in indecision between the stories, it lost a certain hold and I found balance that it thought I couldn’t have.

Of course, once my mind realized what was happening the pose fell apart. 😉

This is where a yoga practice is a great microcosm for how we are in life.  Sometimes our minds have stories of what we can and can’t do – but when we let go of those we can find more possibilities than we thought we had.

Remember to mind your mind and not let it run your life too much…

Good doggy (Movie still from Fiend Without a Face)

Good doggy (Movie still from Fiend Without a Face)

Or at least try to get it to stay off the furniture!  🙂

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Splish, Splash – taking an herbal foot bath!

Posted on June 21, 2013. Filed under: Healing |

I’ve spent the paste week or so getting used to the real world post-Herbstalk weekend and all the standing and walking around there got me thinking about feet.  Or more about how nice an herbal foot bath was after the whole thing!

Earthing - (Image by Michael Blackmore - Mad Crow Herbals)

Feet, oh my- (Image by Michael Blackmore – Mad Crow Herbals)

Is there a part of the body that we see so regularly, use so much but take for granted more than feet?  Ah, poor feet I hardly know ye…

But foot baths (herbal and more) are great.  They are good your feet and good for you.  I find they always improve my mood.   They tend to draw energy down grounding you which means they can be helpful with insomnia.

When I have a particularly hard week, I might give my feet a nice soaking every night, it makes life so much better.

You can find actual foot baths in specialty stores with specialty pricing, but frankly I use a simply big plastic dish pan I bought in a hardware store.  Way cheaper and works really well.

Some folks use muslin bags or other tea type bags to put the herbs in before putting them in the water.  I’m a little more free and just toss the herbs in directly in the water.  In fact, I cover the pan with a towel and let the herbs and water brew tea like for a bit before putting my feet in.   Then either use a colander to strain them out when I’m done or just let the garbage disposal do its magic.

Some folks might not like all that wildness and wiping plants off their feet afterward, but frankly there is something very neat and wild about having your feet immersed in with the herbs floating about! 🙂

There are all kind of things you can put in the water:

  • Herbs that are generally good for the skin like – Calendula, Rose, Linden, Chaparral or Lavender
  • Herbs aimed at cleaning things you may pick up like – Sage or Yarrow
  • Salts – don’t just think of  Epsom salt most salts and especially sea salt are pretty good things to have there
  • Surprisingly vinegar good too for your skin and feet – think the every classic Apple Cider Vinegar
  • And, of course, essential oils even if just to lend a wonderful scent!

There are things you might not think of but once I picked up a little infection on my feet and doing several hot foot baths with lots of sliced fresh Garlic cloves did wonders and got rid of the problem promptly without all the icky chemicals and side effects of the over the counter stuff.  🙂

If you don’t remember when’s the last time you treated yourself to one, then you’re long overdue!

While wonderful for you to do for yourself, let’s not forget how special it is to prepare a nice foot bath for that someone special in your life as a surprise!

And because it’s been running through my head here’s a little nifty song and animation about feet.

So put your feet forward and just do it.

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It’s Greek to me….

Posted on June 7, 2013. Filed under: Uncategorized |

I wanted to share a post I did for the Herbstalk blog as their very first post in case you missed it and give one more plug for the festival which is this weekend!  Go already! 🙂

May was a little light for blogging for me, but after the Herbstalk festival is over this weekend, I’ll be resuming normal (whatever that means!) blogging here!

Once again just go!  🙂


Hello Herbstalkians?  Herbstalkites?  Herbstalkers? ….Oh, just Hey You!

Welcome to the Herbstalk blog where we’ll be presenting posts from the folks who run Herbstalk, the vendors and the teachers.

Last year, I had the privilege of teaching one of the first classes taught at Herbstalk, on honey, and by popular demand I’ll be teaching an expanded version again this year.  And in the year in between I’ve been having a blast teaching, writing and exploring all kinds of herbal wonders including tree medicine, essential oils, and salves – and of course even more about honey.   But one of the things I’ve been having the most fun with lately is Oxymels.

Sometimes I think the name Oxymel sounds like 50s children’s show puppet.  (“Oh, Oxymel when will you learn?”)  But what it is actually is a mixture of honey and vinegar that has its roots all the way back in ancient Greek medicine.

A plain Oxymel can be as simple as mixing say 4 parts honey with 1 of vinegar (Apple Cider Vinegar the preferred one in most herby circles) or just 1 part each and take that as a simple tonic.  It’s refreshing, energizing and good for fevers and respiratory issues.  You can gargle with it for sore throats and coughs.  Or use it as a base for cough syrups.

But Oxymels can also be used as the menstruum (solvent for extracting) for plant medicines just like tinctures but with Oxymel instead of alcohol/water mixtures.  They are great to use for folks who can’t have, or don’t want, alcohol.     Even though I work with alcohol based tinctures regularly (and make some pretty amazing ones) I tend to philosophically like the non-alcohol ones better.   Since as a whole the body treats alcohol as a toxin and the notion of not adding to that toxic load when healing has a lot of appeal to me.

I’ve been focusing lately on make nourishing Oxymel tonics like these:


The one on the left with the lovely dark color is a brewing seaweed mix of digitata kelp, alaria and  longicruris kelp.   Seaweeds are just amazing nutritional powerhouses packed with amazing vitamins and minerals.   But frankly, I find most seaweed (other than dulse) pretty unpalatable.     Straight up seaweed vinegars are great for extracting that nutritional goodness, but are very much an acquired taste that I haven’t acquired…. but an Oxymel is another matter and should make for a wonderful nutrient filled health tonic.

The one on the right with the lovely more golden color is a brewing mix of Red Clover, Dandelion leaf and Nettles which I’m thinking of as a spring cleanse tonic.   Red Clover and Dandelion are classic spring herbs to cleanse the system and Nettles are a classic bit of nutritional support with some cleansing power as well – making this a great spring cleansing tonic.

How I made these was to mix equal parts of honey and Apple Cider vinegar in a big measuring cup and stir until well blended.   Since I was working with dried plants, I filled each pint jar about ¼ to 1/3 way with the respective plant materials and added the Oxymel into each one until full and stirred well to get out any air bubbles.   Use can make larger sizes of course, but I like using pints for my first round experiments.  Then I put some wax paper over the top and screwed the lid on – because the wax paper will help protect the metal from the vinegar.    And of course labeled them with the mixture ingredients and date I put them together.  Now I’m letting them sit for about 4 to 6 weeks, shaking gently every day.   Then in early May I’ll press out the liquid and enjoy the magic.

I hope this is wetting your appetite a bit for the wonders of Herbstalk in June.  I’m looking forward to seeing you all there! 🙂

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