OM Fest – Connecting with Ancient Spirituality

Fernando Molina of Ananda Yoga made an amazing observation in his enlightening lecture on “The New Yoga” during OM Fest in the Mayan Riviera. He pointed out that yoga festivals are where union is even more apparent because the variety of different styles of yoga come together creating a community of peace, healing and light!

OmFest3This is exactly the experience OM Fest delivered! From the most spiritual kundalini session I’ve experienced to waving our hands in the air and clapping during a vinyasa flow with MC YOGI, we truly saw many yogic methods from the hearts of mindful leaders united together as a community of love!

Similar to other yoga festivals I’ve been to, my spirit is on fire in the afterglow of OM Fest. Bliss shines through me, my smile is ear to ear, and I feel great about myself, my job, my relationships, and I have hope for the rest of the world’s crises, too!

OM Fest is the first international festival I’ve attended and the first festival I’ve taught at. Several very special elements made OM Fest unique.

map1The ancient civilization of the Yucatan are the Mayan people who created one of the most developed and sophisticated cultures in the Western Hemisphere pre-Christopher Columbus’s ‘discovery’. The Mayans were very spiritual beings worshiping primarily gods of nature. Their sun god, Kinich Ahau, their rain god, Chaac, and their earth god Ah Uuc Ticab.

What does this have to do with OM Fest? Our gathering took place at historically one of the most spiritual ancient regions in the world, and that divine energy was prevalent. For thousands of years the people of this area have been connected. Connected to nature, connected to time and space, and connected with themselves. They predicted eclipses and built majestic temples aligned with longitude and latitude lines that cast shadows of snakes only during the equinox. The Mayan ancestors were in touch with everything.

MC Yogi and I :D

MC Yogi and I 😀

Amazing teachers, spiritual healers, and peace givers came together with beautiful worldly intentions. Best part is OM Fest is a place where intimate connections flourish! Who doesn’t want a chance to get one on one time with amazing teachers?

Claudine Lecorre took us on a path through a striking visualization before teaching a Kundalini class on strengthening the nervous system. Someway, somehow in working Kundalini up the spine through breath we encountered Zen. Victor Varana taught Kalam-Balam— The Path of the Snake and the Jaguar tying the ancient knowledge both to the practice in our minds as well as for our bodies. Combining methods from two of his passions, yoga and Aikido, he moved us through honestly the most unique sequence I’ve probably ever experienced. Olga Lingard shared her sweet spirit and knowledge of Anusara in an astonishing workshop where hard energetic work pays off with deep relaxation.

Omfest2We practiced balance in Michael Gannon’s Ashtanga workshop, we practiced trusting each other in Marina Barberena and Eliu Flores’s Acro Yoga class, and we practiced connecting to nature in SUP (Stand Up Paddleboard) Yoga with Kat Carroll and Itzel Olvera.

Paul King gave an enchanting Iyengar practice that freed my muscles and my spirit. Ayurvedic conferences taught us how we can heal our selves by living well. We gazed inwards with Antonela Roselli as she dug deep within Pratyhara, one part of the eight limbs of yoga that doesn’t get very much attention in North America. We opened hips and hearts. We played like children during laughter yoga, and we slept like babies after sound therapy by Shaman Ahau.

OmFest1Until living in the Mayan Riveria, I hadn’t given much thought to our ancestors or ancient spirituality. Another aspect I hadn’t given much thought to is the effect that music has on our bodies. Since we are such a huge percent water, vibrations have a subconscious effect on us. From beautiful ringing Tibetan singing bowls to the sweet lullabies from Paloma Devi, from Ale Sai of the musical team Moksha chanting ‘Om Namaha Shivaya’ to MC YOGI’s mantras—it was all there! Dancing barefoot in all areas is accepted, encouraged and inevitable. Inda and Yani’s angelic voices chanting mantra sent healing energy through the roof! Smiles twirled as hips swayed. Culturally, these people know how to have a great time. #IMoveLikeAGringa

Another great aspect accompanying the sacred tones was the captivating art! Amanda Giacomini, a remarkable artist was gracious enough to share a copy of three paintings of Shiva, Hanuman and Lakshmi with everyone. Mandalas of all sorts of colors and sizes were displayed. Siri Nath Kaur even taught a Kundalini class on Awakening our Creative Power. Positivity and love flowed freely. I still feel the energy of everyone giving and receiving!

International yoga with international students and international teachers brings international ideas. This kind of variety just doesn’t exist in the festivals I’ve participated in before. (Which is fine, they are aimed at different demographics, I loved those festivals too, and all yoga is good yoga!) OM Fest was refreshing, inviting, welcoming, healing and uplifting all at once! What an event!

All of the traits of OM Fest have made a lasting impression on my heart, and it’s already reflected so brightly in my life and my relationships! I feel it’s added a sense of being well-rounded to my yoga practice. I have found meditation easier to come by and more enjoyable to stay in. I couldn’t be more thrilled with this weekend and hope everyone gets the opportunity to attend such an event! Like OM Fest on FB to receive OM Fest 2015 information as it becomes available. And if you are looking for a spiritual escape close to home, please consider the Mayan Riveria for one of your next adventures. It’s sure to please!


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Matilda frickin’ loves sharing the positive things she stumbles across in life! In addition to silly blogsyummy organic recipes and reviews, Matilda writes for elephant journal and is the author of the hit novel Eeny, Meeny, Miney, Moe – Dating and Sexcapades of a Yogi. Check it out and follow me around ;). 

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Eff You, Wikipedia, for Acting Like Free Media

Just hearing the nasty little word ‘diet’ makes my jaw tight with anxiety and my mind crave donuts.

I searched ‘diet’. The first page of results reveals an intense and lucrative industry. The Atkins Diet, The 3 Day Diet, Biggest Loser Diet, DHEA Supplements, South Beach Diet, Drop 30 Lbs in 30 Days. There is a plethora of diet related information available. We can learn anything from the 10 Skinny Cocktails to a list of the Best Diets in 2014.

One can find anything one wants to know on the internet, right?… Free media?

I was perusing the web, researching diets and the idea of dieting, fully prepared to state what’s already been stated. How it’s a four-letter word and the amount of misinformation available is saddening. Why diets don’t work and that the Diet Industry makes a lot of money with super magical weight loss pills or flavored shakes that serve only one purpose… to make money (continuously… if they succeeded in making someone thin they would lose that customer.)

This article isn’t about diets anymore. It’s about free media.

Wikipedia has an interesting perspective. In the introduction for Nutritional Diets, the top part that can’t seem to be edited displays a picture subtitled “A selection of foods consumed by humans.” Screen shot 2014-10-07 at 5.31.45 PM

Really?!? That’s the example we are going to give people who are actually trying to research nutrition? In addition to tulips, we see muffins, nuts, grains, more nuts, more grains, all carbs… Are the items in the bottom right corner yams, bread or fish?… I can’t tell. Yes, in the photo someone chose to be our example for ‘a selection of foods consumed by humans’ we see veggies and fruits as mere garnishes. Half a strawberry and several slices of lemon aren’t enough to provide the vitamins our bodies need.

Screen shot 2014-10-07 at 5.39.32 PMI’m going to click this picture and see if I can replace it with one full of a variety of fruits and veggies, I thought to myself.

Nope, sure can’t change it but we find that this terrible example of what humans should eat was kindly released by the Agricultural Research Service, the research agency of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Hmmm, interesting.

Later, we read, “Proper nutrition requires ingestion and absorption of vitamins, minerals, and food energy in the form of carbohydrates, proteins and fats.” WTF?!? Carbohydrates, proteins and fats?! Now I’m kinda’ getting frustrated. We are supposed to absorb vitamins and minerals from just carbs, proteins, and fats?! Fruits and vegetables isn’t even going to be mentioned? What about ‘organic’ or ‘nutrient dense’ Seriously!? You’ve got to be kidding me. Who wrote this?Screen shot 2014-10-07 at 5.46.08 PM

“There is no consensus on what constitutes a healthy diet.” Shut the FRONT DOOR! How is there no consensus? Who was asked? I bet if you solicit about a hundred yoga teachers or practitioners of Eastern Medicine about nutrition you will get a frickin’ consensus. I call bull-shit!

Even free media isn’t free. Just as we have to be mindful of the things we consume as food, we have to be mindful of the information we consume. The lack of information and misinformation is vast because nobody makes profit off of people being well. I really enjoy the documentaries A Beautiful Truth and Hungry For Change, the information in these films jumpstarted my interest in nutrition.

Free media is the biggest joke of all. Regarding proper human nutrition, there is a consensus. Enjoyable articles on elephant journal and mindbodygreen often give excellent recipes, healthy ideas, and ayurvedic methods. Processed or not makes a difference. Chemical additives like msg, artificial colors and flavors, and preservatives are historically completely foreign to our bodies. No wonder we can’t process them. P.S. The chemicals in artificial food interact with our cerebral chemical makeup making us just a little (or a lot) crazy. Read about how diet effects ADHD here.

A nutritional ‘Diet’ is defined as the sum of the food consumed by an organism or group. When one speaks of a giraffe’s diet, they are speaking about what a giraffe eats throughout its life, not what the giraffe ate to get ready for swimsuit season or that family gathering where there will be tons of photos taken. Hazaa! It’s not supposed to be a three day, 4 week, year long or segmented regimen at all! It’s the sum of what we consume, the prana for life. Our cells regenerate with the nutrients we provide them… and I just don’t think tulips and carbs are gunna’ cut it.

Eff you, Wikipedia, for acting like free media.

Fruitnvegs

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Matilda began introspection and soul work several years ago. She fell in love with yoga during a miserable low point in life. Job sucked, relationship sucked, and when push came to shove she didn’t like herself all that much. She felt she was on the fast track towards a mundane life. Searching for something positive to be a part of, Matilda impulsively purchased six months unlimited at the yoga studio. There she found something she didn’t realize was lost… herself. Yoga- something so simple, yet so complex changed everything.

Matilda is a sultry storyteller. In addition to silly blogs, yummy healthy recipes and reviews, Matilda is the author of the hit novel Eeny, Meeny, Miney, Moe – Dating and Sexcapades of a Yogi. Follow her for more beautiful short stories, compilations of risky and seductive encounters paired with tasteful karma.

DIY Organic Toothpaste (Fluoride = Icky Eeww Gross!)

stretchOne of my favorite parts of being a yoga teacher is that many people ask me for advice on all sorts of issues. (Some other professionals in other areas like doctors or physiotherapists dislike being asked for free advice. I LOVE IT!) Clients, friends and family tend to all ask the same root question in their search for peace, health and happiness.

“What steps can I take to be good to myself?” they ask phrased in a plethora of ways.

It’s that simple. Being good to ourselves results in happiness and health.

‘Good to ourselves’ doesn’t mean treating ourselves to shopping or bags of chips. In this sense it means actually giving your body the nutrients you know it needs regardless of money, actually giving your body the time it needs for rest and exercise, regardless of money, and to give your spirit the opportunities to let go of everything— especially the attachment to money. (Uggg… Something I’m working on!)

The information is already inside of each of us but we have fallen out of practice with listening to our selves. You know what you need! Maybe its different from want, or maybe what you need is the same as what you want. Have you asked through your own words what steps you can take to be good to yourself? Start listening to you. You deserve it and you can allow yourself to feel well by treating yourself well.

When we are good to ourselves, we feel better, we are happier and we treat others better.

A step I guarantee will make you feel better and be happier is ensuring you don’t consume or absorb fluoride. Check out this video 10 Truths About Fluoride. It’s a must see!

Whew. That video is crazy, right?! Here is an article I like on how to remove fluoride from your water. Teaser: Brita and Pur filters don’t cut it.

Just altering two tiny parts of the morning routine will change your life! It’s quick, easy, you’ll save money, create less waste, and feel better! Eliminating fluoride from your prana will not only benefit your dental health, but the health of your whole system increases. The difference is notable!

DIY Toothpaste Recipe

toothpaste

No more boxes, no more tubes, no more flavors, colors, sweeteners, chemicals and no more fluoride! 😀

What you need:

-Small glass container or jar (Abundantly found at thrift stores!)

-Organic virgin coconut oil (Most detailed article on coconut oil types. Great table in the conclusion.)

-Baking Soda

-Tea Tree, Eucalyptus or Peppermint Essential Oil

Directions:

Put roughly equal parts coconut oil and baking soda together in your cute glass jar. I like to put the oil in first because the baking soda gets stuck in the corners.

Add 15-25 drops of the essential oil of your choice depending on the size of your jar and your personal taste preferences.

Shake or stir depending on your oil’s consistency. I live abroad at the moment. Packages come in Spanish and the coconut oil never gets solid, but I love my drippy DIY toothpaste just the same. If you are in colder climates, oil may be opaque and thicker but it still mixes with baking soda easily.

Creating your own toothpaste produces less garbage, costs less money, and the fluoride stays far away! Using fluoride free floss is also important. The second unnecessary fluoride morning routine is swishing with mouthwash.

For a mouthwash alternative, check out the incredible benefits of oil pulling!

What’s your favorite DIY toothpaste flavor? Catch a typo? Comments below! 🙂


Matilda began introspection and soul work several years ago. She fell in love with yoga during a miserable low point inMatilda life. Job sucked, relationship sucked, and when push came to shove she didn’t like herself all that much. She felt she was on the fast track towards a mundane life. Searching for something positive to be a part of, Matilda impulsively purchased six months unlimited at the yoga studio. There she found something she didn’t realize was lost… herself. Yoga- something so simple, yet so complex changed everything.

Matilda is a sultry storyteller. In addition to silly blogs, yummy healthy recipes and reviews, Matilda is the author of the hit novel Eeny, Meeny, Miney, Moe – Dating and Sexcapades of a Yogi. Follow her for more beautiful short stories, compilations of risky and seductive encounters paired with tasteful karma.