Category Archives: Time line / Events

Create the Shift

Spring is here, and though it has had a jumpy start this year, there is no denying the shift.  The crocuses and daffodils are in bloom and patiently serve as a reminder that rebirth is on the horizon- if only we chose to respond.

In my own experience I have found that in order to create major shifts towards meeting my goals for wellness and prosperity, I have had to honestly reflect on the things in my life that were holding me back and respond with fortitude and humility.   The hard life decisions, like ending a marriage or leaving a job or moving to a new city, can be really daunting, but when appropriate, can be the very shift that is needed to move forward with renewed purpose.

Most of my health coaching clients come to me at points in their lives when they are on the brink of a major shift and know that they need support of moving forward to reach their health goals.

Most recently, one client who just completed my health coaching program, first came to me struggling with overweight and wanting to avoid a family history of diabetes and other chronic diseases that had claimed  so many of her loved ones prematurely. She wanted off the fad dieting merry-go-round and its catastrophic effects on her physical and emotional wellbeing.  She needed to reprogram her approach to healthy living.  Over the course of six months, I am happy to report that she has lost almost 40 pounds, but more importantly she has learned to reclaim her agency over her health to become the healthiest, most vibrant version of herself. “I can’t unlearn what you have taught me,” she explained, “I can’t go back to how I was living before.”  The shift is there, if only we chose to respond.

Please join me for an exciting 7-Day Healthy Eating Challenge that I am leading at Pekoe Acupuncture & Wellness April 21st- 27th.  The challenge is this: Can you go for one whole week eating nothing but homecooked, unrefined or whole foods?  The program is designed to empower you to take control of your health through nourishing and cost-effective meal planning.  Create the shift towards sustainable weight loss and improved digestive health now!
Be well and lots of love.

A Place for Compassion in Healthcare

I’ve been obsessed with the HBO documentary series The Weight of the Nation, an intricate and engaging examination of the obesity crisis in the America that came out this month.  It analyizes the perfect storm of  environmental, economic, and political trends that have created this epidemic.  Media coverage of the issue has been done and done again. Very often it is superficial and offensive, focusing simply on the increasingly sedentary American lifestyle.  That more and more Americans, in fact the majority are overweight or obese, because they are lazy.It’s a convenient, uncomplicated approach to explain the crisis.  It’s why the reality series The Biggest Loser is such a hit. It’s why Michelle Obama named her childhood obesity initiative Let’s Move. It’s how the food industry shirks responsibility for dominating the market with processed, chemicalized junk passed off as food and targets our country’s most vulnerable populations in predatory marketing practices.  It’s how the federal government forges ahead with dangerous food policies and subsidies for the very foods that are making the nation sick.  Most importanly it’s how most of the American public can absolve itself of the need to be compassionate for those who are suffering when they need it most.What I appreciated the most about the documentary was its humanizing profiles and interviews of those struggling with unhealthy weight.  These were not the anonymous overweight people walking through the streets whose backsides are taped for cliched media coverage of the issue.  By really looking in their eyes as they descibe their sickness, it’s not so easy to turn our backs  and dismiss them as lazy and deserving of their fates.

I know from my own family history with obesity, I had grown up largely unsympathetic, thinking of the disease as a character flaw for those with whom I had difficult relationships.  With maturity I’ve come to accept that weight discrimination truly is the last acceptable prejudice in our society.  And perhaps it only really happened when I’ve allowed myself to be compassionate for my own shortcomings in taking care of myself.  This past month especially I have often buckled under the stress of moving and keeping up the entrepeneurial hustle, overindulging in espresso and sweets, and skimping on sleep and self-care.  At any given time, we all try to do the best with what we’re working with, and often we’re flawed.  These struggles create the foundation for our capacity for empathize with others in their times of need.

This is where professionals in integrative health seek to fill that gap for compassion in modern healthcare, by treating the whole person, not just a collection of symptoms.  The team of practitioners that I have joined at Pekoe Wellness and Acupuncture, a holistic health clinic in downtown DC, is inspiring not only becacuse we each share a mission that attends to the physical, emotional, and spiritual wellness of our clients, but above all, because we offer respect, compassion, and support.  Please check out all of our offerings at Pekoe, including nutrition & wellness services from your truly.

Please enjoy the contents of this month’s newsletter, including the spicy, rich Penang curry recipe I brought back from Thailand and summer musings of turning body image on its head.

Be well and lots of love.
-dahlia

This Cusp of All Things New….

Last month I wrote that I was off to Thailand for my honeymoon and that you may not hear from me until I return.  However, I have so many updates and wellness tips to share this month that I had to touch base before leaving tomorrow!

Firstly, please join me for the launch of BellySatva’s Group Wellness Series Wednesday March 7th at 6 p.m at Pekoe Wellness in downtown DC! If you struggle with sustaining weight loss, increasing your energy, or detoxing- this is the perfect community for you.  Based on the principle that everyone comes with his or her own unique health concerns we will examine the confluence of bio-individuality and lifestyle on cultivating wellness in a fun, supporive group setting. Participants will meet up to three times monthly for dynamic discussions on wellness themes and workshopsand enjoy the tools, recources, and knowledge to meet their wellness goals. Contact me now for information or register on the BellySatva Home page.  Only a few spaces are left!

In other news, powerhouse yogini and Budukon master Emma Saal’s joint, Epic Yoga is opening soon, very soon, in Dupont Circle on the south side of Connecticut next to Madhatter and Yola.  And my new three classes should be ready to rock when I get back! Continue to check in on FB for updates.

Please enjoy the contents of this month’s offerings, including the ultimate DIY beautification fun from local yoga therapy authority Megan Davis and my fancy foodie project Butternut Squash Brown Rice Risotto with Shitake Mushrooms, Kale, and Black Walnuts. See you in a couple weeks, hopefully with new fun Thai massage techniques and recipes up my sleeve ;-)

Be well and lots of love.

-dahlia

Exciting New BellySatva Offerings for 2012!

So many of the intiatives I have been working on for the past year are beginning to take shape.  First up, locally-beloved acupuncturist Nicole Mires reports that the expansion of her practice Pekoe Wellness is ready for opening in February.  The space will offer massage, acupuncture, holistic health and nutritional coaching, Thai yoga therapy, community treatments, transformational life coaching, private and semi private yoga classes, meditation, Tai Qi martial arts, workshops, and more! Check out Nicole’s announcement and my office hour schedule below for more information.

Pekoe will also provide the home to BellySatva’s Group Wellness Series to launch Wednesday March 7th at 6 p.m.  In a fun, supporive group setting, participants will enjoy the tools, recources, and knowledge to meet their wellness goals, including sustainable weight loss, increased energy, and detoxification. Based on the principle that everyone comes with his or her own unique health concerns, group workshops and discussions will examine the confluence of bio-individuality and lifestyle on cultivating wellness.  Contact me now for information, only a few spaces are left!

In other news, please check out two new classes that I have added to my teaching schedule below, including a class in my home studio Flow Yoga Center, where I came into my practice almost 7 years ago, and the spiritually fly Fath Hunter’s yoga loft Embrace Yoga.  Stay tuned for news on the opening of powerhouse Emma Saal’s joint, Epic Yoga coming soon.

Please enjoy the contents of this month’s newsletter, including locally-acclaimed massage therapist Tom Coen’s New Year’s prescription to bring life into intention with parallel breaths and my uber-simple roasted root veggie medley. I’m off to Thailand for my honeymoon in February, so I’ll check back in upon arrival stateside :-)

Tom Coen on Breathing Energy into Intention

This month’s self-care tip comes from locally reputed massage therapist Tom Coen, who specializes Zero Balancing – a holistic energy-shifting therapy that I can only describe as an incredibly meticulous form of bodywork that is subtle yet highly effective.  Below he describes a meditation practice designed to breath energy into intention- a perfect practice for the start of a new year!

 

January, oh January!
Time of resolutions and guilt and unrealistic expectations….This year instead of making a huge list of ridiculous goals, I’ve decided to embrace brief bits of meditation before bed. Parallel breathing is one of the simpler, yet very powerful meditations I’ve experienced over the years. It not only is a meditation in itself, but it can be used to focus energy into a specific intention or problem.

We are Vertical Creatures
One of the most unique developments in the human evolution (perhaps THE pivotal one if you ask me) was when we became upright bi-pedal animals. We are vertical creatures, and this gives us a unique relationship to gravity that no other animal really has.

Gravity is one of the oldest and strongest forces in our universe, so too the vertical currents that run through our body are the deepest flows. Picture yourself standing next to a very tall building and looking up. You can almost feel the height of the building, its size is a strong force. This is the same energy that courses up and down the skeleton, spinning off the major curves of the body to create the chakras. When we focus our attention here, we establish a deep and unswerving calm by connecting to what is deepest and most primal in our natures.

The Parallel Breath
This breathing technique was one I learned from Fritz Smith, the creator of Zero Balancing. We start every day of class with it, and in just a few minutes it can really change your state of mind. Close your eyes and begin by just observing your breath as it is. Now deepen the breath a bit and try to establish an even rhythm. For this exercise I like a 4 count breath.

Now begin to imagine that as you breath in you draw energy from the universe down through the crown of your head. As the in breath continues, draw this energy to the base of your spine. As you exhale send this energy up the spine in a steady stream and back out into the heavens. The key to this technique is to really FEEL that motion. To me it feels like a slight pressure, a little squeeze moving up and down the spine. Others say it feels like a tingle, or like an electric current. As yogis, most of us are familiar with the idea of breathing INTO a particular area, the idea here is similar.

Once you have gotten the feel of this firmly rooted in your consciousness, the next step is to use the breath to work through issues you face in your life or if you choose, issues facing us all. To work with a personal problem, imagine some representation of the issue and place it in your hara (the area more or less between the 2nd and 3rd chakras). As you continue the parallel breaths, be aware of any changes that you observe to your image. See if you can feel the image change and dissolve as you breathe.

If your focus is “world work”, place the issue in the same area but in front of your body rather than internally. Changes might come slower in your imagery of this issue, but when you close, rest easy in the fact that you have DONE SOMETHING to improve it. The energy you have put into the issue makes some sort of difference (it’s quantum physics, look it up!), but more importantly takes away the feeling of powerlessness that we often feel about such big issues.

For more info about Parallel Breaths, Zero Balancing, and Dr. Fritz Smith, email tomjcoen@gmail.com or check out the following:

www.zerobalancing.com
“Inner Bridges” by Dr. Fritz Smith
“Zero Balancing” by John Hamwee

On Integrating Inspiration…

With the new year approaching, I have been relfecting back on where I was this time least year.  It was was perhaps one of toughest spaces in my life. Life had knocked me around professionally, physically, and emotionally and I was struggling to get back on my feet and move forward with the path I knew I wanted for myself – to take my pie in the sky dream of having my own holistic health practice and bring it in to fruition.

I look back at my writings around that time and a general theme running through all of them is the importance of cultivating self compassion.  Staying committed to myself and my goals in spite of the setbacks and disappointments along the way.  Otherwise, any setback, anytime I effed up or things didn’t go my way could become a convenient excuse to unravel into self-pity and self-destruction.  In that space I would similarly encourage my readers to build that space for compassion towards themselves so they too could stay committed to their wellness goals without getting discouraged.  Slow change, I wrote, is sustainable change.  It’s that relaxed, nuturing pragmatism I believe that resonated with my readers and attracted new clients.

One year later, in this new space where I am not only back on my feet, but have slowly built a strong client base and designed a range of services to meet their needs,  I realize that what I need now is to hold myself accountable. To effectively manage my energy so I can balance business demands and still commit to my wellbeing.  And it seems now that the universe is unfolding in a way where I am attracting clients who, yes, are craving a nurturing presence in their lives that inspires healthy change, but is a force of accountability to make sure that the inspiration materializes into the shifts they are seeking.

With this intention, please enjoy the contents of this month’s newsletter, including a cozy home remedy from local acupunturist and wellness maven Nicole Mires of Pekoe Acupunture and my vegetarian rendition of Harira, Morocco’s famous tomato chickpeas stew.

Be well and and have a wonderful holiday season.

Exciting BellySatva Updates!

So here we are, the official end of summer. For me it’s always such a bittersweet time of year because I’m never quite prepared to say goodbye to summer days.  However, I find that fall seems to arrive exactly when I need it, providing the space to settle in and savor. 

This summer I have been working on a number of projects, and it seems like now I am finally beginning to see all of these efforts materialize into something tangible.

Professionally, BellySatva is taking shape as I join an inspiring team of holistic health practitioners under Pekoe Acupunture.  Spearheaded by locally renowned acupunturist Nicole Mires. Pekoe is not only literally expanding into a larger space to accommodate its growing client base, but it is expanding the scope of its services to meet their needs. The new location will have a lovely waiting and reception area, four treatment rooms for massage, acupuncture, holistic health and nutritional coaching, Thai yoga therapy, community treatments, transformational life coaching, private and semi private yoga classes, meditation, Tai Qi martial arts, workshops, and more! I will begin to hold office hours twice a week at Pekoe, providing health and nutrition coaching, Thai yoga therapy, and private yoga services.

My teaching schedule will become more structured as I begin teaching regular classes weekly at Epic Yoga, an exciting new yoga studio that master DC yoga instructor and powerhouse Emma Saal is  opening in October in the heart of Dupont Circle.  Stay tuned for scheduling.
In another exciting venture, I will join my friend and incredible artist and healer Heather Lundy in the lauch of her central Virginia-based studio, The Nest, offeringdynamic workshops in yoga and nutrition

Additionally, I will teach children yoga in four after-school enrichment programs throughout the DC metropolitan area withClifton Enrichments.

On a personal note, my wedding is coming up next week (AH!).  Perhaps one of the most time-consuming projects I have taken on in the past couple months, I am excited that it is all underway and I am on the cusp of this new phase in my life.
Please enjoy the contents of this months’s newsletter, including new workshops, an essential health and beauty tip straight from the locally-celebrated Beauty Buff, Avantika Wagle, and my recipe for the ultimate grillable veggie burger, which took me all dang summer to master.
Be well and much love.
-dahlia

Going Back to Middle School

Recently I began teaching yoga to inner-city middle school kids four days a week with Higher Achievment (HA), a DC-based enrichment program that prepares middle school kids from underserved backgrounds to pursue college education.  When I took on this assignment, I must say I was anxious.

I’d been apprentice teaching children’s yoga for some time now, but usually in more priveledged elementary school classrooms.  Teaching kids was difficult at first.  Any sign of fear or weakness, the kids sniffed it out and ate me alive.
Now here I was not only going back into middle school – the time in our lives most of us want to forget – but working in one of the nation’s most notorious school districts with kids who may, as my mentor Edie cautioned me, perceive me as “a skinny white girl from a well-to-do background” and resent me.  I recalled scenes from the HBO series The Wire that ventured into Baltimore schools where teachers struggled to prevent violent outbreaks in the classroom, let alone get through a lesson plan.
I went into the program prepared for battle, conjuring up my best no-nonsense gym teacher persona, ready to establish my authority.  I was pleasantly surprised however to see how eager my kids were to show off what they already knew about yoga and learn more.  They also took well to responsibility- never had to tell them more than once to roll up their mats and place them away neatly after class.
Following the pillars of the HA curriculum, I pushed my kids to find their power and their voice as leaders in their community. It started first with asking them to demonstrate postures and lead their classmates in how to get there.  Then I started teaching them sun salutations and prompted them to lead their classmates through the sequences. “Stand tall and proud,” I instructed, “and speak from your belly.”
It was during these exercises that I realized how shy my kids truly were. Typically, the kids would have no problem finding their voice as they snickered or rabble-roused in the background while I or another student was speaking.  But these same kids who were wise-asses and whiners on the sidelines, when given the floor and asked to lead activities, would shrink into themselves, whispering instructions under their breath, and second-guessing their authority.
It was baffling to me, but ultimately, I knew the pattern all too well.  When I was at my corporate job, it was easy for me to bitch about office policies that made no sense, or the lack of upward mobility, or any other common workplace grievance.  Now I am self-employed and I find myself failing to step up to the challenges of establishing my own business- shy to get myself out there as an authority on issues of health and wellness and frustrated with new media marketing. Now that I have the floor with the mike on, I find myself throwing blocks in my own way, second-guessing and shrinking away when I feel challenged and overwhelmed.
In that way I find myself honoring my kids, knowing that we’re on this path to self-realization together.  While I empower them to be leaders in their communities, I am inspired to step up to challenges in my own life.
That said, I am finally pursuing my website makeover by contracting it out, teaching more visibly at my home studio Flow Yoga Center, and slowly befriending new media. Stay tuned for these updates and more.  Until then,
please visit the BellySatva facebook page and *like* me ;-)!
As always would love to hear from you.
Much love.

The Grievance Loop

At the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, where I graduated just last week (!), we are taught as Holistic Health Counselors to begin all of our sessions with clients asking simply “what is new and good?”  We do this very intentionally – to prompt clients to step back and think about what is going well in their lives.  People have a tendency to walk around with a script in their heads of everything that is going wrong.  And sure enough, I have observed that when I start a conversation with a simple, “what’s new?” or “how’s the living,” oh boy do people recall that script, and vent about their frustrations at work, or difficulties adjusting to the change in season, or what have you.
This past month, I have certainly been no exception.  When friends asked me how the move into the new house was going, I’d end up venting about my dog’s moving anxiety and his 36-hour poopcapade that left no corner in the house uncovered.  And why did I have to verbally throw up all over them like that? what gives?
Perhaps its my need to inject some snarky wit in small talk and keep it engaging.  Or maybe that default complaining is a way to address these frustrations and have the opportunity to laugh at them in the company of others.  After all, where does most comedy begin if not with the need to bring levity to our grievances?
Whatever it is, I have found that by giving into this loop of complaining, these frustrations tend to take on a life of their own and consume my thoughts and conversations with others.  And sometimes that forum for venting is appropriate.  But at what point can I allow that script of all that is going well to take the forefront of my interaction with others? So, with that, I am actively reminding myself to honor those around me and to keep the space open for the positive developments to take on the life of their own.  Perhaps I could create the space for my friends to focus on all that is new and good in their world too.  This will continue to be my practice.
Please enjoy the contents of this month’s newsletter. As always I would love to hear from you.  Be well and much love.
-dahlia

The Thing About Resolutions

I’ve had many resolutions – New Year’s or otherwise – in my lifetime.  Over the past few years, I have vowed to:
Read more
Wake up earlier
Practice yoga daily
Start running again? (can my hips still take it?)
Those last 5 pounds…..
Eliminate ALL processed foods from my diet
Befriend and utilize new media
Get my “stuff” together
Keep apartment clean
All of these start from a place where usually after reading a good book or an article, getting up early and doing my daily practice, and so forth that I was able to articulate that these were things that I consistently wanted for myself.
When I wasn’t able to integrate these intentions as often as I would have liked, I ended up getting disappointed and just walking away from it all together. I’d find myself just waiting for the point in my life when I had my “stuff” together. Perfect job, perfect body, perfect relationships with those I love.  Ultimately that perfection was never there. Especially the more I compared myself to others and measured their successes against mine.
This year I didn’t make any one resolution to a particular good habit or goal.  I’m committing to a new perspective -to see perfection where there already is and  to move slowly and deliberately towards larger goals.  Fine, I have not yet eliminated all processed foods, or consistently met deadlines, or stayed on top of laundry.  Just because I fall back into old habits here and there, does not mean that I deserve these things any less.
For instance, I recently got engaged over the holidays. And it is truly a wonderful time where it seems my excitement over planning our wedding and starting this new phase in our relationship tends to consume my thoughts.  Can it serve as a distraction in checking off items on the ever-growing to-do list? Certainly. But so what? Why shouldn’t I enjoy my engagement without feeling guilty about other tasks that are not getting met at the moment? After all, I know that intentions I have committed to years ago – studying healing and nutrition, having my own practice, getting married to my best friend – are taking shape, even through all the rough starts and detours. Why can’t I find perfection in what’s here and now?
I hope this year proves fruitful  for you in not only integrating your own resolutions into your life, but finding abundance and perfection in what already is.
Much love,
-dahlia