Tag Archives: equinox

5 Ways to Celebrate the Fall Harvest Moon

Harvest Moon

Early this morning, if you were awake during the pre-sunrise hours, you may have noticed a brilliant full moon lighting up the sky. It’s called the Harvest Moon, and it signifies that autumn is just around the corner.

The autumnal equinox is officially this Sunday, September 22. This is when the sun shines straight on the equator, and the lengths of day and night are roughly equal. The days will begin to grow shorter after that, as we are all so familiar with. We are moving into the fall and winter seasons, now, gearing up for shorter, darker days, cooler weather, and many months of holidays and festivities to come.

But for now, we’re still experiencing the glow of the full moon, and it is a great time to honor the season we are moving into and celebrate the harvest!

I know, it might sound strange to celebrate harvest in this modern era when very few of us actually plant, grow and harvest food. Our separation from this agricultural process may be a critical factor in the environmental problems our world faces today – not to mention our growing obesity, eating disorders, and other food-related ailments.

We still, of course, benefit from the energies of the earth to produce sustenance for our bodies, but how often do we offer our gratitude? How often do we approach our food with the reverence it deserves? I promise you, if we were intimately involved in all stages of its production we’d feel much more awed by the miracle that food is.

Here are 5 ways to honor the earth and celebrate the Harvest Moon:

1. Break bread with friends and loved ones. Harvest is all about the bounty of the earth and stocking up for the more barren months ahead. Cover your table with rich, sustaining goodies, and invite your friends to bring dishes to share! Give thanks for your food in any way that seems appropriate, and enjoy watching your loved ones nourish their bodies with the food from your table.

2. Make a promise to yourself to end food shaming. Food is a gift from the earth. Vegetables, fruits, seeds, grains – meats and dairy, too, if you’re not vegan/vegetarian! Food is not poison. Food is not the enemy. We would not survive without sustenance, and there’s nothing wrong or unnatural about that. So enjoy the food you eat, and stop feeling guilty about it.

3. Plant some seeds! I know, harvest is about the reaping, not the sowing. But there are lots of delicious fall and winter foods you can plant now and enjoy in several months. Go for kale, beets, squash, and cauliflower! If you don’t have a garden, then get yourself a small pot for your porch or window sill. The joy of watching a seed sprout and eventually grow into full brilliance will only be beaten by the joy of eating food you grow!

4. Use this full moon as a great starting point to begin following the moon cycles. The Gregorian calendar certainly has it’s place, but it’s fun to also follow the “calendar” laid out by the moon’s cycles. Once attuned to its rhythm, you’ll start noticing the subtle difference between a waxing and waning moon; you’ll enjoy the dark night of a just-new moon; and a month from now, you’ll welcome the full moon once again!

5. Practice active gratitude. The bounty of harvest is a blessing, and abundance in all categories is a gift. Even if you don’t feel particularly blessed at the moment – if you feel poor or lacking in some regard – don’t start with the wishing. Start with the thanking. That is, instead of asking the Universe (or god/dess, or spirit) for what you desire, give thanks for what you already have. Express your gratitude wholeheartedly, and don’t leave anything out! You can write it out, say it in your head, or vocalize it to a friend. The practice is so gratifying and cleansing that by the end you will undoubtedly feel rich beyond measure. That is true abundance. That is the harvest.

And enjoy this song “Harvest Moon” by Neil Young! One of my favorites…

Don’t Get Weighed Down by Other People’s Baggage

My bike is olive green, and apropos of this, his name is Oliver. I bought him about two years ago, and it was one of the best purchases I’ve ever made. Suddenly, ho-hum commutes became joy rides, and parking anywhere in the city was a breeze. He even has a quaint little basket. See:

Oliver, fall 2011.

The problem is that more times than I can count, someone uses my basket as his or her personal garbage receptacle. (9 times out of 10 the trash is from Dunkin Donuts; I’m just reporting the facts here). It happened this morning, while I was at Equinox taking a Long & Lean fitness class with bright light and big OG supporter Lauren Hefez, and the ire prompted this tweet.


Grrr, I was mad.

Arriving to teach this evening at Inner Strength, one of my students mentioned that the tweet made him laugh. He also shared that he has a pick-up truck.

“You can’t imagine the sh*t people throw in there… I’ve found chicken wings…”

Seriously? What is wrong with people, I thought.

Until I realized that it isn’t so outlandish, really. People try to put their junk on others all the time. And while it might not be fair that we should have to throw out other people’s crap, what else can you do—leave it in your basket? Let someone else’s garbage weigh you down? Hell, no.

Whether it’s a limiting belief about yourself or the world, unnecessary drama, or garden variety emotionally petrified rubbish, some people don’t know how to dispose of it properly. It’s not your job, but if it lands in your bike basket, pick-up truck, relationship, or office environment, then your best bet is to take the trash out. Make it swift, let it go, and move on to the next thing. (I understand this is easier when it’s a coffee cup or half-eaten egg sandwich). But the bottom line is that you can’t carry around other people’s crap for them. We’ve all learned this the hard way, and today was a gentler reminder for me (metaphorically speaking).

We have better things with which to fill our baskets and lives, and handling our own thoughts and actions is tough enough (not to mention the only things we can control). I wasn’t happy about the trash, but it made for a welcome reminder that a lighter load always makes for a more joyful journey.

Originally published on my website, Om Gal.

Celebrate Spring Allergy-Free: 10 Natural Remedies for Seasonal Sniffles

(cc) by wcn247's

The history of celebrating Spring is thousands of years old. It is the day that there are 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness. It is the celebration of the vernal equinox. There are two equinox’s per year, occurring around March 21 and September 21. An equinox is when the earth is neither facing toward nor against the sun. The center of the Sun is in the same plane as the Earth’s equator. The earth is balanced.

For centuries, people across the entire world have celebrated spring as the time of rebirth, renewal and regrowth. Spring months are defined in most places as March, April and May. These are the months that the snow starts to melt, temperatures rise, the days are longer and plants are blooming. Spring is seen as a time of renewed excitement about life. It is the awakening of the dead from a long winter.

(cc) Rich Anderson

Spring is also a time of turbulent and unpredictable weather patterns as the cold air mixes with the warm air. In perfect timing with this wonderful day, we had thunderstorms and flooding yesterday here in Texas and today, it’s slightly colder with beautiful blue skies and no rain.

With the blooming of the trees, flowers and changing weather patterns, people also suffer from allergies due to the increased pollen and climate changes. As I sit home sick, due to a sinus headache, on the first day of Spring, I can’t help thinking about the timing of my illness. While I may be suffering from a stuffy nose and head, I look outside and can’t help but notice the beauty that the rains and warmer temperatures have brought. And so, like the earth, I search for balance between the turbulent storms and the beauty that new life brings.

A follower of meditation, yoga and natural remedies, I am taking this day to balance myself so I too can renew this Spring. Like me, you also might suffer from allergies. Here are some natural remedies that I have found to help with a stuffy head. These remedies may not work as fast as some of the over the counter remedies you can take but in the long run, these methods last a lot longer and make you feel clean, refreshed and renewed.

  1. Drink lots of water, hot tea (such as a sinus tea with nettle – Celestial Seasonings makes a great one), green drinks and smoothies.
  2. Eat hot soup.
  3. Clean out your sinuses by taking a hot bath or shower then doing a sinus irrigation.
  4. Place your face over boiling water with a few drops of eucalyptus oil.
  5. Use a nasal spray (water mixed with a little bit of salt) hourly.
  6. Rest. Sleep some, read, or watch TV.
  7. Exercise. When you feel well enough, sweating and getting your heart-rate up will help you detox.
  8. Meditate.
  9. Do some light yoga.
  10. Mix 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar with 1 tbsp honey (preferably local) in a cup of warm water and sip throughout the day.

That’s it. If you can do these things you will not only feel better, you will be balanced and be in alignment with the changing seasons of the earth and your life.

photos by: wcn247 & Rich Anderson

Working out with the Rock!

I have been a celebrity trainer for many years with many different clients in the entertainment industry.  It has really been exciting and very interesting to say the least.  My one time workout with Barbara Streisand, thats a storty.  An interesting time with Roseanne Barr, another story.  My years and years of workouts with Michelle Pfeiffer which I will treasure forever, are just a few.  Recently I have retired from training on a daily basis.  Although I would come out of retirement for certain celebrities, I have taken to the gym as a regular person with my married name to workout myself.  I joined the Equinox Gym in the San Fernando Valley in southern California and love it.  Carving out time to workout does take an effort.  You need to be able to break away from your routine and focus on your body.  I do this on a daily basis except for Sunday.  Yesterday I was there on the EFX machine when I noticed the Rock, Dwayne Johnson.  This guy is in shape.  I watched him for a while and will tell you that he definitely spends time in the gym.  His style is deliberate, he knows the musculature of his body and how to train it.  He gets the results. In order to get results you have to challenge your body, give it resistance and definitely  sweat.  You must get your heart rate up beyond resting and beyond the walk in the mall.  You have to feel it.  Get over the hope that someday a pill will take the place of the gym.  It is not going to happen and I hope it never does because what you get from the gym is priceless.  The hour on the bike with my heart pumping to my ipod keeps me going.  I smile, feel great, sweat dripping down my back and sometimes you run into old friends who are there for the same reason.  Alec Baldwin, who I have known for 18 years was there sweating up a storm as well.  We chatted for a minute and then we were both back to our workouts.  Your body deserves the time that you devote to it.  It is the least you can do to give back for all it does for you.  See you at the gym.

What do you love about fall?

This is my third fall in Southern California and although I love the warmer weather, my nostalgia for East Coast autumns has not worn off. In Julie Andrews fashion, I few of my favorite things about fall are auburn leaves, the smell of wet leaves, apple pie, cozy sweaters, wood burning fires and candy corn. What do you love about fall?

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