We are delighted to announce our spring 2020 retreat in Santa Barbara, CA: In Your Elements
This March, discover the wisdom of your inner landscape while connecting deeply to the elements of the world around us - earth, air, fire, water, and ether. Through gentle Pilates, yoga, meditation, and adventurous time outdoors, we'll explore the synergistic and nourishing relationship between personal and planetary wellness.
To ensure personalized attention, the retreat is limited to 10 guests. Learn more HERE.
Growing Food Like a Forest: An Interview with Tom Newmark at Finca Luna Nueva in Costa Rica
Téana : Hi Tom, it's such a joy to be here with you at Finca Luna Nueva, where the rainforest meets the biodynamic, organic, and regenerative farm. I'm looking around and seeing most gorgeous greens, with bursts of colorful flowers and fruits.... I feel like I've stepped into the Avatar movie.
Tom: It's an absolute pleasure to welcome you and your group to Finca Luna, Téana.
Téana: One of the things I've noticed here is that there's no real separation between the forest, which feels incredibly biodiverse, colorful, and layered, and the farm.
Tom: It's our guiding principle that we should grow food like a forest. And a forest is chaotic ... in perfectly orderly way. There is an organizing genius to the madness and the chaos. There was a friend of mine - one of the great ethnobotanists in North America - who came to visit. He looked at the canopy here in this great tropical rain forest and was stunned by the layers and the diversity of form and the multiplicity of color and the chaos. Everything is producing and every inch of sunlight is being captured. There is no bare earth. The leaves are racing up into the canopy and 99% of the sunlight is captured before it gets to the ground. And where there is ground that's available, it's being covered by vines and by an endless display of life because solar energy is endlessly bathing the planet. And that's from which all life comes.
Téana: And so why not replicate that when you create a growing zone? Why do anything other than that? This is rainforest.
Tom: Exactly. We should grow food like a rainforest grows food. And so we do not have orderly rows, straight lines… straight lines make you crazy. We believe that there should be tall trees next to shorter trees, next to vines, next to things that grow on the ground, and everything should be supporting everything else. And there should be things that come into fruit at this part of the year and things that come into fruit in other times of the year.
Téana: Incredible. Is there a name for this kind of farming?
Finish Reading the interview HERE
Nourishing Herbal Infusions are the mineral-rich bedrock of the Wise Woman Tradition. These delicious, easy-to-make brews are safe for people at all stages of life including children.
If infusions are new for you, look forward to the increased energy, calmer nerves, shinier hair, softer skin, and stronger immune system you'll soon be experiencing. Nourishing Herbal Infusions are most supportive if consumed on a regular basis, and over time you will discover a rhythm that is sustainable for you. Many people make infusions each night by following the directions I have laid out below, as the goal is to drink at least 2 cups (and up to 4) of infusion per day. I make a larger amount of infusion every two nights and find that it keeps in my fridge over that period of time as I drink it. One of my friends, a single mom, decided to only make and drink infusions on the weekends when her son is with his father, as this is currently realistic for her. The important element to note here is the commitment to a regular rhythm, your own unique ritual of self-care.
Place 1 oz (28 grams) of dried herb in a quart/litre mason jar. I rotate through Nettle Leaf, Comfrey Leaf, Oatstraw, Linden Flower, and Red Clover, which I purchase organically from Frontier Herbs. It is of utmost important to weight the herb each time on a kitchen scale to ensure that you are getting the full benefits.
Every herb in your rotation - and we only work with one herb at a time - requires the same amount, except for Linden, which only requires 0.5 oz (14 grams) of herb. Boil water and then let it cool for a couple of minutes, before pouring over the dried herb, filling your mason jar completely to the top. Stir the infusion herb into water with a chopstick or other utensil and tightly lid your jar. Let the herb brew by allowing it to sit on counter for 4-8 hrs. or overnight. In the morning, strain the herb out with a very fine mesh sieve, and compost or re-brew if it is Linden or Comfrey: To re-brew, place the herb into a small pot, cover with three cups of cold water, bring to a boil, turn off, lid the pot and let sit for 4-8 hrs.
Once strained, store your infusion in the fridge and drink within 48hrs. Never mix your herbs, but do a different one every day or two. You can start with just one herb if you wish, getting to know it and feel how it feels in your body. Soon you will notice the minerals affecting your body in wonderful ways! Enjoy.
Keeping a regular physical practice going in colder winter climates is a challenge for many of us. While it's understandable to want to curl up and be more sedentary in the less sun-shiny months, finding creative ways to keep moving rewards us with many health benefits, both physical and mental. Keeping up your strength, flexibility, and confidence are the obvious reasons to get your move on, but movement's mood-enhancing effects alone are totally worth stepping up for. In fact, exercise has been shown to decrease feelings of depression and anxiety no matter what the intensity level. Read on for six simple suggestions for staying active through those blustery months when you're "not a gym person."
• Dedicate a space in your apartment or house where you can keep an unrolled yoga mat ready and waiting for you to lunge and plank your way onto at any time. You may also want to keep some props such as a Pilates Magic Circle, light weights, or a yoga block on a shelf nearby. If you'd benefit from some structure and guidance, check out one of many the great online streaming platforms such as Pilates Anytime or Do Yoga With Me.
• Get to know your local Pilates or yoga studio and look into what kind of classes they offer. If a before or after work class doesn't work in your schedule, see if there are studios near your work that offer express lunch hour classes and mark them ahead of time in your calendar as meetings so that you prioritize them.
• Dance! Grab a friend and go out dancing, or put on your favorite music and dance at home until you feel your body heat and your mood elevate. Another thought: sign-up for that hip hop or flamenco dance class you've been wanting to take from a local dance studio.
• Get a mini-trampoline and jump, jump, jump. I like to put on my favorite podcast and do at least 15 minutes to get my heart-rate up. A good rebounder doesn't have to be expensive, either. I recently purchase a perfectly bouncy and stable one from my local sporting goods store for less than $70.
• Bundle up and go out for a brisk walk. Yes, I resist this option as well, but the truth is, once I'm out there, I enjoy it and usually feel refreshed. If having a destination helps, consider walking to the grocery store or to the library instead of calling a Lyft. The key here is to really BUNDLE UP!
• Treat yourself to a retreat! There are so many options these days that will help you recommit to a healthy routine and get you out of the cold. You're also sure to meet great people and be introduced to new teachers and ways of moving.
Elderberry Tincture & Syrup for Immunity