Tag Archives: spirituality and health

Before You Judge Plastic Surgery, Read This

Curious girl

Have you ever jumped to criticism after seeing someone with plastic surgery or hearing of a friend or relative’s decision to alter their appearance? Or if you have had cosmetic surgery, have you ever faced judgment from others for your decision?

Truth be told, plastic surgery is a controversial subject, and such responses are typical. In a compelling article from the September/October issue of Spirituality & Health magazine, one poignant story stands out:

“I was at a pub one night where I liked to sing karaoke with my friends, about six weeks after having breast implants,” says Michelle, 55, of Nevada. “There was a group of very competitive ‘mean girls’ who would come in. When I got up to sing, one of them said, ‘Whoa! How do you spell plastic surgery?’”

Women, is this really how we want to be treating one another? Does one person’s decisions need to perfectly align with our own beliefs in order for us to treat them with respect? Before we condemn the perceived vanity that goes into a decision to receive plastic surgery, let’s try on the hat of compassion and take a look at some of the real reasons people – women in particular – opt for that course of action.

Nearly 40% of the U.S. population is 45 years old and above, and 14.2% of American women are 65 years and over. Many of the cosmetic concerns women face in later years – wrinkles, sun spots, greying or thinning hair, loss of pigmentation – can be attributed to age, which, after all, is one of the most natural processes human beings go through. There is nothing inherently shameful about aging, and if anything it should be a source of pride. As Oprah Winfrey wrote recently in an article for Huffington Post:

I’m well aware that trying to stay fresh and current can be a challenge, especially if you live a lot of your life in public view. Of course I want to look my best. I want to feel strong and vibrant. But I know for sure that the pathway to your best life isn’t the route of denial. It’s owning every moment. Staking a claim in right now. And, with gratitude, embracing the age you are.

According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, by far the largest age group for both surgical and nonsurgical cosmetic procedures is 35-50 years of age, with the 51-64 age group following as second largest for nonsurgical procedures. Nonsurgical includes Botox injections, chemical peels, microdermabrasion and the like.

That means a sizable amount of women past their 40’s are looking in the mirror, feeling uncomfortable with how they look, and undergoing cosmetic alterations to their appearance. But even nonsurgical procedures are not devoid of risk. Such procedures can cause burns, scarring, darkening or lightening of the skin, and other unwanted side effects.

That’s not to say these procedures shouldn’t exist, but it’s important to fully understand what you’re getting into and ask yourself a few questions before choosing that path. For one, does your interest in cosmetic surgery arise out of deep introspection and soul-searching, or is it born of fear, shame, or insecurity? If the latter, explore some other options for increasing happiness and self-esteem, first.

As Jane Ganahl writes in Spirituality & Health:

Cultivate inner happiness by giving of yourself. Volunteer at a senior center, organize a book club, audition for community theater. Doing for others keeps you from obsessing about those crow’s-feet.

Buck the cultural impediments to visibility. Walk tall, refuse to take a table by the kitchen, make your opinions known. Change the way you look at yourself, and the world will change too.

What are your thoughts and experiences with cosmetic surgery? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below!

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Screen Shot 2013-09-04 at 12.18.59 PMSpirituality & Health is a magazine for people who want to explore the spiritual journey and wake up to our capacity for self-healing, vitality, and resiliency. Read the entire article on plastic surgery in the September/October edition of Spirituality & Health, on newsstands now! Get your first issue FREE here.

Would you like to win a FREE year-long subscription to Spirituality & Health magazine?

Intent is giving away 5 year-long subscriptions to Spirituality & Health magazine. To enter, simply comment below with your favorite empowering quote. Be sure to include your name and email so we can contact you if you win.

 

3 Ways to Design Your Home for Maximum Happiness

There's No Remedy For Memory

There are many possible sources of discomfort and discontent, ranging from relationship troubles, to financial woes, to self-esteem, and more. One common source, though, which is often overlooked, is your environment and home space. Even something as simple as the shade of a wall or placement of a bed can affect your mood and take a toll on your daily life. Luckily, there are several essential warning signs to look out for, and some simple fixes to achieve the healthy and healing space you deserve.

In the July/August edition of Spirituality & Health magazine, design expert Laura Benko discusses some common sources of design-induced discomfort, with tips on how to adjust these influences. Here are 3 of the 6 tips, and check out Spirituality & Health for the rest of the article!

1. Build Confidence. Piles of unfinished work, clothing, paperwork and other clutter can indicate procrastination and induce a sense of fear that you are getting behind. Mitigate this worry and build confidence at the same time by organizing odds and ends and getting started on some of the tasks on your to-do list.

2. Build Self-Esteem. Did you know that hanging artwork and mirrors too high on the wall can lead to a feeling of never measuring up? As a rule, artwork should be roughly 5 feet from center to floor so that you see it directly at eye level. As you view your wall hangings, remind yourself of the realistic expectations you set for yourself and the achievability of your goals.

3. Embrace Change. Decorations and decor that have not been updated in ages can induce or perpetuate a fear of change and uncertainly. Break the mold by moving some furniture around, hanging a new piece of artwork, or getting a plant. Give yourself a new perspective on your space and, as a result, a fresh outlook on your life and future.

Do you have any other holistic design tips? Let us know in the comments section!

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SH_JulyAug_CVR_lrg**CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED**
Spirituality & Health
is a magazine for people who want to explore the spiritual journey and wake up to our capacity for self-healing, vitality, and resiliency. Read whole article on holistic design in the July-August edition of Spirituality & Health, on newsstands now! Get your first issue FREE here.

Would you like to win a FREE year-long subscription to Spirituality & Health magazine?

This month, Intent is giving away 5 year-long subscriptions to Spirituality & Health magazine. To enter, simply comment below with your favorite empowering quote. Be sure to include your name and email so we can contact you if you win.

 

5 Quotes From Dr. Christiane Northrup That Will Make You Proud to Be a Woman

 

christiane_prodPeriods, PMS, menopause, morning sickness… Is there any aspect of the body’s cycles women can be proud of? According to the media and mainstream Western culture, women have more to feel ashamed and plagued by than proud of when it comes to their bodies. With messages of body positivity only barely making a dent in women’s overwhelmingly conflicted relationships with their bodies, something has got to give.

Enter, Dr. Christiane Northrup, the women’s health expert shaking every belief we’ve held about the female body for decades. Northrup’s reality check: Menstruation is a sacred experience that demands rest and self-regeneration. So-called “PMS” is really a flourishing of creative energy that surges through the female brain at certain points in her cycle. Menopause is a process of transformation, during and after which women can experience the best sex of their lives.

If any of the above statements contradict your own feeling about your body, then read on. In these 5 soul-shaking quotes from an interview featured in the latest issue of Spirituality & Health Magazine, Northrup offers a rallying cry for women to embrace the powerful bodies they inhabit:

1. The key is to understand that every woman has the keys to the kingdom inside herself, and those keys are found in doing those things that she loves to do.

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2. You [women] have a cycle where you bleed in tune with the moon. It is the cycle responsible for all human life on earth. It is the cycle that connects you to your creativity and to the very essence of the tide coming in, the tide going out, the seasons, the sap going into the roots and then rising up, and we have been taught for 5,000 years to be ashamed of that cycle.

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3. Did you know that we have as much erectile tissue inside our pelvis as men have? only, theirs is on the outside. What we have is the clitoris, which is the only organ in the human body whose sole function is pleasure.

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4. Menopause is when you really move into your goddess energy in a big way. You’re no longer losing your blood, so you move into this phase now where your FSH and LH hormones in the pituitary gland are at the same levels as when you’re ovulating. and for many women that is their peak time
of sexual desire.

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5. What we women are sure of is that there’s a man out there who will complete us. That’s what every movie tells us. But what it’s really about is doing that inner work of completing oneself.

Only as complete, proud, self-loving individuals can women experience the fullness of life that they deserve. Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below!

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SH_JulyAug_CVR_lrgSpirituality & Health is a magazine for people who want to explore the spiritual journey and wake up to our capacity for self-healing, vitality, and resiliency. Read the entire conversation with Christine Northrup in the July-August edition of Spirituality & Health, on newsstands now! Get your first issue FREE here.

Would you like to win a FREE year-long subscription to Spirituality & Health magazine?

This month, Intent is giving away 5 year-long subscriptions to Spirituality & Health magazine. To enter, simply comment below with your favorite empowering quote. Be sure to include your name and email so we can contact you if you win.

 

5 Quotes From Eckhart Tolle That Could Change Your Life

Eckhhart_Tolle_front-1Spiritual teachers and writers often talk about the importance of “being present” and practicing non-attachment when it comes to worries about the  past and future. But how do we actually stay non-attached in practice? When difficult emotions arise or life becomes too chaotic, many of us lose sight of the practices and teachings we’ve gained in yoga or meditation.

In the latest issue of Spirituality & Health magazine, the editor-in-chief sat down with renowned spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle to discuss the practical aspects of living in the moment, and how to deal with daily challenges like anger and negative emotions.

Here are a few pearls of wisdom we gathered from the article:

On the present moment:

The actual experience of awakening can only be in the present moment.

On focusing on the future:

The future does not exist, because nobody has ever experienced it. You can only ever experience a present moment.

On global responsibility:

Your primary responsibility is your own state of consciousness. And once that is achieved, then whatever you do and whomever you come into contact with, and even many people you don’t come into direct contact with, get affected by your state of consciousness.

On the difference between being aware and being unaware of negative emotions:

[W]hen there’s a lack of awareness, then you get completely taken over by those negative feelings. There’s no inner space anymore, and you think, say, and do things that are controlled by that negative energy inside you… The difference is, when the same thing happens again and you become irritated, you become angry, whatever it is—reactive in some way—sad or depressed, there’s an awareness that this is happening to you. You have the observing presence in the background that’s more who you are rather than the emotion. You are still there as it happens.

On engaging in “awakened doing”:

Awakened doing is when you don’t create suffering anymore for others—or for yourself—by your own actions. It also implies that your primary intention, the focus of your attention, is on the “doing” in the present moment, rather than the result that you want to achieve through it.

We hope you find these quotes as inspiring as we did, and grab a copy of Spirituality & Health to read the rest of this amazing interview!

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MayJune2013_Eckhart.1Read the entire conversation with Eckhart Tolle in the May-June edition of Spirituality & Health, on newsstands now! The issue also features: 

For more enlightening, empowering, and inspiring information about your physical and emotional health, subscribe now to Spirituality & Health. 

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10 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Calcium and Dairy

121018_SCI_DairyProds.jpg.CROP.rectangle3-largeThe health effects of dairy are a controversial subject among many doctors and nutritionists. While we nearly every species in the animal kingdom depends on dairy in one form or another in the first few years of life, the question of whether dairy is healthy for adults is more difficult to answer.

All dairy products are made up of a combination of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. However, dairy products can vary widely in their health effects; full-fat raw milk is processed very differently in the body than highly-processed, sugar-laden yogurts. While the USDA food pyramid recommends 2-3 servings of milk products a day, many health professionals suggest that’s a mistake, and that many of the dairy products we consume are quietly reeking havoc on our bodies from the inside out.

Most of us grew up thinking the milk, cheese, yogurt, dips, and spreads our parents fed us were “healthy.” We’ve been led to believe that dairy is the greatest thing since sliced bread, providing essential nutrients for our bones and overall health. But the latest medical research has produced some counterintuitive findings about how much dairy is actually good for us. Let’s take a closer look.

Here are 10 things you probably didn’t know about calcium and dairy:

  1. The US suggests 500 milligrams more in daily calcium intake than the World Health Organization recommends…Yet somehow, the US also has the highest hip fracture rate in the world.
  2. In an Australian study comparing 105 vegan Buddhist nuns and 105 people who consume dairy on a regular basis, there was no difference found in bone density.
  3. High dairy consumption (3+ servings daily) has been linked to an increased rate of prostate cancer;
  4. decreased semen quality in men; and
  5. breast cancer in women.
  6. Dairy is a major source of saturated fat, which increases the risk of heart disease.
  7. There are many plant sources of calcium, including navy beans and kale. (Check out the article in the recent Spirituality & Health issue for more plant-based calcium options.)
  8. Vitamin K may be just as important as calcium for bone health. Good sources of vitamin K include brussels sprouts, broccoli, and many more which you can read about in the article.
  9. Keeping your blood alkaline will help prevent your body from sucking calcium out of the bones. Nearly all produce can have an alkalizing effect in the body.
  10. If the taste and texture are what you’re after, there are lots of delicious alternatives! Consider nutritional yeast mac and “cheese” or tofu ricotta. Grab the latest issue of Spirituality & Health for more cheese alternative ideas!

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MayJune2013_Eckhart.1Does this make you second guess your dairy intake? For more information about how much dairy you should consume and how to get calcium from healthier sources, check out the May-June edition of Spirituality & Health, on newsstands now! The article Move Over Milk, by Alicia Bowman, provides some great ideas for how you can reduce dairy intake without going completely vegan. (And if you are vegan, then all the more power to you!)

For more enlightening, empowering, and inspiring information about your physical and emotional health, subscribe now to Spirituality & Health. 

The Truth About Tantric Sex (Plus 4 Techniques to Try with Your Partner!)

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John is Mormon and has been married to his wife for 29 years. They live in Utah with their children and, on the surface, appear to lead a normative, conservative lifestyle. But that is far from the reality.

John is a practitioner of tantric massage, a method of sacred sexuality that aims to deepen sexual connections and lead to mind-expanding, multi-orgasmic unions. From a conservative Mormon upbringing to an exploration of Eastern mysticism and sacred sexuality, John’s path has been difficult, to say the least.

For one, his wife does not share his interest in tantric practices, which forces him to “train” with other partners. Second, tantra aims to enhance sexual pleasure and connection and doesn’t have any particular interest in reproduction or marriage (though those are not explicitly left out.) On top of that, John has struggled with his own doubts and self-judgments from the start. Describing his first tantric training in an interview for the July/August edition of Spirituality & Health magazine, John says:

There was guilt. There was shame. I’m sitting there thinking, How can I be drawn to this? This is so different than anything I’ve been taught to understand. Why did I spend all this money to fly here? Emotionally, I went crazy.

John’s sentiments are not unusual. Even for the most “sexually liberated” out there (and what does that really mean, anyway?) there’s bound to come a time when we stop and think, “Whoa, this is a little out there. Is this okay? Should I be doing this? What would my ____ (mother, teacher, priest, rabbi, husband, child, fill-in-the-blank) think of this?” How many of us actually feel free enough to explore our desires fully, let alone invest real time and money in pursuing sexual enhancement?

Well, if you look at any given issue of Cosmopolitan, it might seem like that’s all anyone cares about these days. You’ll see articles like “How to have mind-blowing sex” or “How to please your man.” But that kind of easily digestible sexuality is far from what tantra is really about. As Leah Alchin, a tantra educator, tells Spirituality & Health:

If you can wake up these spiritual centers [chakras] and clear them out, you have more energy in the body, more flow, and more orgasmic pleasure. You’ll be able to spiritually awaken on a deeper level. If you want to get ahead in the [work of spiritual development], you need to cut the cords from the past that hold you down like gravity.

Thus tantra is primarily a practice of cleansing and awakening, following the principle that sexual energy is spiritual energy, and the two are inseparable in the journey toward enlightenment.

If you are interested in exploring sacred sexuality, we encourage you to find teachers and therapists in your area. In addition, here are 4 easy techniques you can try out with your partner:

  1. Sacred Space: Create a sacred space for exploring tantric practices. Whatever feels right for you and your partner, perhaps a dimly lit room, candles, soft music, or maybe something totally different! Try several things out until you discover the right atmosphere.
  2. Yab-Yum: Traditionally, the man sits cross-legged and the woman sits in his lap facing him. (Can be adjusted for same-sex couples.) The couple breaths each other’s breaths, alternating in and out, while gazing into one another’s eyes.
  3. Eyes Open: Keep your eyes open during lovemaking and all tantric exercises in order to enhance sensuality and really witness the love on hand. Look directly into your partner’s eyes to deepen the connection.
  4. Massage: Following John’s story, practice various sensual massage techniques, even without the specific end goal of making love. Appreciating and caring for another person’s body can be a powerful way of expressing love.

Read more about sacred sexuality in the July/August edition of Spirituality & Health magazine!

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SH_JulyAug_CVR_lrgSpirituality & Health is a magazine for people who want to explore the spiritual journey and wake up to our capacity for self-healing, vitality, and resiliency. Read the entire article on tantric practices and sexual ethics in the July-August edition of Spirituality & Health, on newsstands now! Get your first issue FREE here.

Would you like to win a FREE year-long subscription to Spirituality & Health magazine?

This month, Intent is giving away 5 year-long subscriptions to Spirituality & Health magazine. To enter, simply comment below with your favorite empowering quote. Be sure to include your name and email so we can contact you if you win.

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