Reiki and The Mainstream

With various forms of healing available it is interesting to see the ways in which some of the ‘fringe’ modalities slowly being adopted into more mainstream healthcare facilities.  This trend highlights the value people place on the more holistic approach to recovery and treatment.  This Washington Post article highlights the use of Reiki in hospitals.

Your Powerful Thoughts

The influence of our thoughts goes beyond measure.  Rarely do we actually have the opportunity to measure the degree to which what we think has an impact on all that we do.  This video does a nice job of briefly discussing some of the science behind thought, the brain and performance.  The line between the mind and the brain is foggy at best and when science can bridge the gap it provides a bit of clarity.

My fate lies with me, not with heaven.®ion=stream&module=stream_unit&version=latest&contentPlacement=3&pgtype=collection

In a continual search for relevant information to share one inevitably runs into obstacles and the search itself can become as enlightening as the material itself.  Being a not-so-savy internet surfer/social media person I require a bit effort in posting as I am not looking to be the person responsible for useless posts or articles someone can read standing in line at the grocery store.  I stumbled upon (not the website although I have nothing against them) this article entitled, “An Expert on Chinese Medicine but no New Age Healer”.  I was intrigued and so I found myself clicking the link and encountered more than I had anticipated. 

The article details the work of one Dr. Paul U. Unschuld.  A relative unknown to most but a very prominent and unheralded figure in the field of Chinese Medicine.  As a student in a field of study where the source materials require translation we have only a number of texts that are widely accepted as thestandard for which we are to learn from while in school.  The names on the texts themselves represent what most names on textbooks mean to most students.  Specifically a name on a textbook.  A mysterious figure who has shown themselves to be an expert in that field with the propensity for writing technical prose.  So I was particularly surprised when the NY Times did a personal profile article detailing one of the definitive voices in the translation of Chinese to English texts.  The article details his recent completion of a project that has taken him over 28 years!  Although his commitment to his craft or expertise did not surprise me.  What came later in the article that did.

Dr. Unschuld is NOT an Acupuncturist, NOT an Herbalist and NOT a practitioner of any medical modality that one would associate with his field of expertise.  Perhaps ignorantly I assumed this was the case.  If I am the only one then shame on me.  Dr. Unschuld has also NEVER had any form of Chinese medicine performed on him at the time of this interview (2016).  For someone to spend their professional career and legacy on a subject matter they have not directly participated in was fascinating to me.  The part that left me with a real sense of awe however was in the closing paragraphs of the article. 

“My fate lies with me, not with heaven” -Chinese proverb.  The journalist in conjunction with Dr. Unschuld chose this proverb to conclude the article with followed by several paragraphs expounding on this ideology on modern Chinese society and development.  This statement, perhaps akin Dr. Unschuld’s wisdom, his experience with the source material or immersion with the ancient ideas of classical Chinese works has embodied one of themost essential driving forces in a patient’s success… “My fate lies with me, not with heaven”.  As ancient as the statement is it seems oddly contemporary and Dr. Unschuld attributes this responsibility as one of China’s motivating forces for their rapid growth.  This responsibility also extends to the maintenance of one’s wellness.  In times of illness, recovery and when there are no signs of our physical bodies having any disharmony.  It is you, it is I, it is us who ultimately will put the effort into our health.  From choosing the right foods, exercise, stress maintenance to admitting our limitations and owning when we need help we can be in charge of the only vehicle that we are ever given, us.

So in an article written about a linguistic scholar focusing on Classical Chinese Medical texts I encountered a seemingly conscious current.  A current that shapes not only a field of medicine, the author of numerous translations and texts but a society as a whole.  Each of which indicating to us the importance of our role in our own health and our own lives.

Forever Yang. A Discussion on Sexual Performance.

Swanky saxophone music melodically trots along in the background as the camera pans past the rising stacks of a cigarette-smoke filled hotel room to land upon a couple embraced under sheets half-exposed.  One partner sits a bit more upright as if victorious from battle with a thousand-yard stare as if contemplating the great philosophical questions of humanity.  This, while the other lays in what appears to be a state of physical and romantic bliss too exhausted to communicate save for the lustful longing look of love in their eyes…  At least this is how Hollywood portrays sexual relations.

In the world where everyone else lives, male sexual performance or erectile dysfunction (as no man ever wants to refer to it) plays a role in a surprisingly large number of lives worldwide. Erectile dysfunction or ED is defined as the persistent inability to achieve or maintain an erection sufficient to permit satisfactory sexual performance.  Data has shown as of 2015 that roughly 22% 1 of men in the US are affected by ED along with 150 million men worldwide.  Keep in mind that number is only the reported cases. 

The feeling of virility in men (and women) represents more than just the ability to please a partner sexually.  It embodies vigor, youth, energy and the feelings of an indescribable, indestructible force.  Perhaps more importantly for many, it is a symbol of our existence on this Earth.  One’s sex drive can be viewed as a representation of their health and well-being.  That being as such, if this most basic of experiences and abilities were to be hindered or taken away in some cases a man would be left to feel powerless.   Bereft of this deep energetic drive can lead one to feel his/her finite mortality in a more physical sense.

Fortunately, this issue does not represent new territory for Chinese Medicine.  According to TCM, the ability to become and stay aroused is primarily a function or the Kidney and Liver meridians.  The Kidney, specifically the Yang or fire aspect of the Kidney meridian engenders the psychological aspect while the Liver meridian controls the domain of the physical function.  Given the interrelated nature of the body these organs and their correlated meridians have a more primary role in developing and maintaining an erection.  However, they do not act independently.  To say more specifically there are other factors that can negatively affect male sexual performance, drive and desire that are not specific to the Liver and Kidney meridian.  Of course weakness of these two systems can be a primary suspect but contributions from dampness and heat (often combined) from consumption of alcohol and fatty/fried foods has an influence.  Overwork, mental or physical exhaustion can weaken the Spleen meridian and digestive system to inhibit the body’s ability to properly digest food.  This can inhibit the body’s ability to assimilate food into energy that is required for daily living not to mention any other any other more passionate activities.  Western pharmaceuticals have a reputation for disrupting male virility in many individuals based on the side effects of that pharmaceutical as well as other drug-to-drug interaction.  Additionally, physical trauma can contribute to inhibition of blood vessels and nerves that innervate sensitive and related areas causing issues to arise as well.  While physical factors play an enormous role in male sexual performance the psychological aspects cannot be overstated.  Using TCM, the psychological aspects of the individual are taken into consideration as the patient is viewed as an integrated being where the role of one’s thought process and physical function are seen as two aspects on larger continuum. 

A study was performed in 2004 using 102 patients who sought treatment for ED.  Given this was not a double blind study all of the patients received treatment with some form of TCM.  This included acupuncture, moxibustion and specific acupuncture point injections of vitamin B12.   Patients were treated once a week for 10 weeks.  Out of the 102 participants, 73% experienced complete symptom alleviation, and another 18% experienced symptom alleviation.   This a near 90% efficiency rating.  Now the degrees to which these men were experiencing symptoms were not divulged in the study and this may be for numerous reasons.  Regardless, this is a very positive outlook for those affected by ED looking for treatment. 

In short, the high prevalence of ED and male sexual performance issues has been looked at in numerous medicinal practices all over the world.  From Ayurveda to TCM, health care practitioners realized that vitality and sexuality have a close relationship and given the prevalence of this in today’s society it is imperative that treatment options are provided.  This is where TCM can provide a path to vitality for those who are seeking treatment for their ED or a boost in their libido.

This Is What Your Acne Reveals About Your Health

In Chinese Medicine, it’s believed that acne that flares up on different parts of your face represents health problems on different parts of your body. For example acne on your upper cheeks is a response to stress in your lungs or respiratory system. Smoking is but one of these causes (read on for more). Therefore a good indication of which organs need attention and care is to simply look where your acne is.

Digestive System and Bladder

Drink plenty of water to flush, keep an eye on your diet, eliminate greasy foods and refined sugars. If you’re craving deep fried fatty foods, eat avocado or add a tablespoon of coconut oil to your dish. Make sure you consume plenty of fresh organic fruits and vegetables. Some of the best antioxidant rich foods or drinks include green tea,warm lemon water, and fresh berries. If your diet is not rich in naturally fermented foods such as kimchi, sauerkraut, kombucha, or kefir, consider supplementing with a probiotic capsule daily. Most health food stores carry probiotic capsules.


Your heart is a massive organ that pumps blood through your entire body. It has a tough job and can become easily stressed due to poor diet, inactivity, and various mental and physical stresses. If you have pimples on your lower forehead make it a point to do regular cardiovascular exercises. Eating pomegranate and coconut oil will also keep your heart healthy and help clear this up.


When kidneys are not taken care of, you may find large, painful pimples on your ears that just won’t go away. Kidney troubles are often caused by not drinking enough water and eating too much sodium.

Some other kidney destroying habits include:
-frequently delaying the call of nature
-drinking too much coffee or alcohol
-mineral deficiencies such as magnesium
-eating too much animal protein
-sleep deprivation
-excessive refined sugar

This is as good of a time as any to point out that vendors such as Subway, who tout their products as being “healthy” have an excessive amount of sodium added to almost everything on the menu. The next time that you take a look at their nutrition claims with highlighted low-fat content, take a minute to focus on the sodium column. In addition Subway adds genetically modified soy to nearly all of their foods. If you want healthy kidneys it’s best to avoid fast food in general, even the “healthy” restaurants, drink more water, and eat more parsley which is an excellent detoxifier.

Oiliness, redness, flakiness and pimples between the eyebrows can indicate that your liver may have been overworked and in dire need of a cleansing. Cut back on greasy foods loaded with vegetable, soy, and canola oil, alcohol and pasteurized dairy (or dairy altogether). Avoid eating late at night as well. If you’re craving a late snack take a spoonful of raw honey. This will let your liver rest while you’re sleeping. Eat more of these during the daytime to cleanse the liver (always choose organic root vegetables):
-green tea
-leafy green vegetables
-lemons and limes.

Lungs and Respiratory System
Stresses to the lungs are likely to cause flare ups in the upper cheeks and even break your capillaries. Even if you’re not a smoker you may have noticed an upper cheek breakout due to:
-lung infections
-living in a polluted area.
The best thing to do is to avoid smoking and second hand smoke. Follow this link for 15 plants that can cleanse the lungs and boost respiratory health.

Gum or Teeth Problems
Gum or teeth problems may contribute to acne in the lower cheek area. Be sure to avoid eating refined sugar and soft drinks. Oil pulling is a great habit to take up if you’re experiencing any type of gum or teeth problems. It’s also a good idea to eat plenty of fresh fiber rich fruits and vegetables to strengthen your teeth and gums from chewing honest natural foods.

Hormones and Genitals

This especially affects women. Flare ups on the sides of the chin are a good indication of hormonal imbalance. This can be due to menstruation, birth control, or a diet high in soy. Sometimes, even emotional or physical stress can cause hormonal imbalances. Get plenty of sleep and make a habit of meditating or doing yoga to keep the mind focused and stress-free. Be sure to take lots of essential fatty acids such as Omega 3s. Follow this link for a list of foods rich in Omega-3s.

Some herbs that can help balance hormones include:

-holy basil
-red raspberry leaves
-milk thisle.
-Green tea is also a brilliant anti-androgen.

Small intestine and stomach
This is typically caused by a poor diet and food allergies. If your diet is adequate you simply may not be digesting the nutrients you put into it. We were always told that we are what we eat, which is true to an extent. More accurately however, we are what we can digest. If your gut is lacking probiotics and completely out of balance from not eating naturally fermented foods or taking probiotic capsules, it won’t matter how much good wholesome food you’re eating. The nutrients will simply pass right through you. Refer to the upper forehead section to learn more about what to eat to get your gut working properly.
Additionally stress, lack of sleep, and dehydration can wreak havoc on your stomach and small intestine. Getting a good nights sleep, drinking plenty of water, and addressing your stress by making lifestyle changes and practicing yoga/meditation are great non-dietary ways to address your chin acne.


5 Ways for Urban Yogis to Live Their Yoga

AHIMSA -Yoga Sutra Chapter 2 Verse 35 is one of the five Yamas, which are guidelines for how we can live in harmony with others. A traditional translation of Ahimsa means, “Do not kill or harm other people.” I’ve outlined here a more modern interpretation for today’s urban yogi.

  1. Lovingkindness

Ahimsa means that when connected to our heart we naturally share lovingkindness. Love is active and it is never too late to offer healing through loving thoughts and kind actions towards yourself and others.

  1. Compassion / Connection / Respect

In fact, we have an infinite abundance of compassion out of respect for the connection we have with all other creatures. “The greatest illusion of this world is the illusion of separation. Things you think are separate and different are actually one and the same. We are all one people.” (Avatar) Connecting to others without fear of being judged and dropping our judgment of them helps us expand beyond fear into a place of love and respect.

  1. Safety / Balance / Self-care

Fear feeds violence. Lack of safety makes us afraid (whether its real or imaginary). When we are chronically living from fear we become imbalanced. A return to balanced living is the antidote to violence. However, it requires constant sensitive adjustments to maintain. These come as a result of dedicated self-care. We all grow better in positive energy. Through this we learn the way we treat ourselves will be the way we treat others.

  1. Empathy / Choice / Forgiveness

Practicing empathy helps us to see the other person or situation with kind eyes. It changes the knee jerk reaction of fighting back. As a result we lose interest in justifying our need to be right. Ahimsa is the constant reminder of our freedom to choose between fear or love.

On the mat, we practice choosing love as a visible expression of how we do the poses. Remember your Yoga shouldn’t hurt. It is not a punishment and you are not trying to “win”. At the end of class, during savasana, we forgive ourselves for times we weren’t as compassionate as we could have been. We recognize we are imperfectly perfect, doing the best we can. Forgiving ourselves strengthens our capacity to love the full spectrum of who we are, shadow and light. This builds our empathy muscle and in turn our ability to be more easily forgiving of others off the mat.

  1. Peace

When we live in Ahimsa we’d rather be happy than right. We don’t have to prove ourselves worthy of love, we know we are love (aham prema). Our natural state of peaceful joy is how we are meant to live. It is our birthright; it is everyone’s birthright. As a result, we stop comparing and competing, we start promoting peace in all that we think, say, and do and life feels like we are on easy speed. We are at peace with our pleasure.

My experience of Ahimsa:

Personally the one thing that pulls me out of balance the most easily is over-working or simply over-doing. This inspires fear that I am powerless. As long as I make time to stay balanced by getting enough sleep, meditating daily, practicing yoga, going for walks, drawing, and relaxing then I live my Ahimsa. I’ve come to realize that the antidote is making sure to leave enough open space and free time to equally give my mind, body, and spirit time to rest before they get tired.

Just like anything else the benefits of applying Ahimsa can only be achieved if you actually practice them. Today, before you head out the door to face the day, pick two categories and really commit to creating a new pathway of lovingkindness, compassion, safety, empathy and peace.

Love yourself, love your day, love your life!


Editor’s note: This is another amazing guest post by Daily Cup of Yoga contributor Silvia Mordini, E-RYT, retreat leader, happiness coach, and yogipreneur. Enthusiasm to love your life is contagious around Silvia. Her expert passion connects people to their own joyful potential. Silvia lives her happiness in such a big way that you can’t help but leave her classes, workshops, trainings and retreats spiritually uplifted! Born in Ecuador, raised traveling around the globe, she is an enthusiastic citizen of the world and spiritual adventurer. She has over 10,000 hours and 15 years of teaching experience, owned a yoga studio for 9 years and after being run over by a car used yoga to recover physically and emotionally. Silvia leads Alchemy Tours Yoga Retreats and Alchemy of Yoga RYT200 Yoga Teacher Training.

Silvia can be reached on the Web at ;or, or via email at Twitter: @alchemytours@inspiredyogagal; Facebook: Silvia Mordini; YouTube: lovingyourday; Pinterest: Silvia Mordini; Intagram: alchemytours.

Photo credit: Manduka Yoga on InstagramMARCH 20, 2015COMMENT