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may 2012

resources for inner peace, health and healing

Cover art: “Born Free” by Rassouli, www.rassouli.com


Therapeutic Coaching速 Certification Program The Meta Institute is now in its new home in New Hope The Meta Institute Presents:

Therapeutic Coaching速 Certification Program, an intensive 15 month, weekend program that brings together the best and most effective aspects of life coaching and therapy. Learn the newest cutting edge skills and techniques to assist people in achieving their goals This program will offer you skills from a wide variety of fields such as: If you are interested in adding to your present skills or considering a career change, call for an information package and application. Early payment discounts & payment plans available!

Emotional Intelligence Hypnosis Quantum Physics, Business Management & Consulting

Systems Theory Experiential Learning Past Life Therapy NLP Team Building & Leadership

Family Therapy Developmental & Life Cycle Stages Motivational Counseling, & so much more!

Applications being accepted for September 2012 Class Free Information Session, Thurs., May 10 (6:30-8:30) please call to register

Reiki Trainings & Other Workshops Reiki I

Reiki Master Teacher

June 30, 2012 (Sat. 10am-6pm) $75

Aug. 7 & 8, 2012 (Tues./Wed. 2-part evening class 6:30-10pm) $300

Reiki II

Intuitive Readings by Mary Beth Tracy

July 1, 2012 (Sun. 10am-6pm) $150

Reiki Master Class

30, 45, 60 minute readings by appointment only

July 31 & Aug. 1, 2012 (Tues./Wed. 2-part evening class 6:30-10pm) $300

Individual, Couples, & Family Coaching Available

NEW NUMBER (763) 533-6527 E-Mail: Meta@metainstitute.com or visit our website www.metainstitute.com

5121 Winnetka Ave., Suite 200 New Hope, MN 55428

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Professional Training

5th Annual Conference Holistic Therapies:

Achieving Wholeness

Friday, June 1, 2012 University of Minnesota Continuing Education Conference Center St. Paul, Minnesota 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. $159 includes continental breakfast and lunch Partnering Organizations

The Penny George™ Institute for Health and Healing

To register call 763-433-1200 or visit www.AnokaRamsey.edu/Training may 2012

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staff

inside may 2012

essential wellness digital magazine Twin Cities Wellness aka Essential Wellness 4270 Honey Tree Pass Danbury, WI 54830 Publishers Dee & Lynn LaFroth ADVERTISING Dee LaFroth sales@esswellness.com 715.259.3047 EDITOR Lynn LaFroth info@esswellness.com ART DIRECTOR Sunshine Sevigny WRITING SUBMISSIONS Click here for guidelines RECEIVE ESSENTIAL WELLNESS BY EMAIL! Send us your email to receive twice-monthly Celebrate Wellness e-news and Monthly digital Essential Wellness info@esswellness.com

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6-9 ABOUT THE COVER ARTIST Rassouli’s art inspires us to see the heart’s creative power 12-15 Sound harmonizes our body-mind helping us to evolve BY ESTARYIA VENUS 18-25 Sound—a healing therapy—can be used to heal body, mind, spirit BY KAY GRACE 28-33 Creativity and art helped me snap the cycle of food addiction BY MICHELLE L. HOVEY SWERIN


“Born Free” by Rassouli, www.rassouli.com

“Joy Vibrations”

may 2012

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ABOUT THE COVER ARTIST

Rassouli’s art inspires us t the heart’s creative powe

R

ASS O U L I i s a visionary artist, known for his unique style of Fusionart. He was born in Isfahan, Iran and migrated to the United States as a young man. He is currently residing in Southern California. Guided by his Sufi uncle, Rassouli grew up hearing and reading mystical poetry while studying under painting masters and eagerly searching volumes of artistic works of varied traditions and styles. He roamed the art museums, won awards for his paintings, and traveled in classical Europe as a teenager. He came to

the United States in 1963 to have the freedom to explore his artistic drive. Here, he studied fine arts and architecture at the University of New Mexico and environmental psychology at the University of Southern California. FUSIONART IS RASSOULI’S UNIQUE STYLE

Although he practiced architecture for a time, painting ultimately became his overpowering passion and his profession. Through the years, Rassouli has created hundreds of canvases, in his unique style of Fusionart, which invite the viewer into the creative power of the heart and the wonder and

beauty of the soul. His artistic expressions are radiant with a life-giving and captivating energy that arouse the imagination. The conceptual approach of Fusionart has been developing in Rassouli since early childhood, which is evident in the expansive scope and variety of his creative work. He continues to cultivate new approaches to bring fresh insight to his creations and to develop new ways to share the creative process with others. Rassouli paints with rags, with his fingers, and uses his favorite brushes when he feels moved to enhance what is happening on the canvas. He begins with a canvas primed with black paint and Continued Page 8...

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BY

to see er

“Joy Vibrations” by Rassouli, www.rassouli.com may 2012 7


ABOUT THE COVER ARTIST continued...

brings the light of vision to it developing a relationship with the appearing images as he creates. Within the past 30 years, he has exhibited widely in Europe, North America and Asia and has created several major murals. Rassouli has written several books, and he shares his excitement for the creative process wherever he is. He guides others in retreats, shares his approach to creativity through public talks, in radio interviews, in videos and films, but nowhere does he witness to his creativity more magically than through his paintings. For more i n f o r m a t i o n and to vie w h i s g a l l e r y : w w w. R a s s o u l i . c o m a n d www.NewDawnCollections.com

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“The Voyager” by Rassouli, www.rassouli.com may 2012 9


MusĂŠlan

Yoga Teacher Training and Yoga Study Deepen your study and share your passion... Oldest Yoga Teacher Training program in Minnesota. Weekday and Weekend programs 200- and 500-hour levels Accepting applications now Chanhassen ~ Eden Prairie ~ Eagan ~ Costa Rica Yoga Alliance registered More information: MuselanYogaTeacher.com

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LEAD. INFLUENCE.

Heal mind, body, spirit. Holistic Health Studies Program • Earn a Master of Arts degree or one-year Graduate Certificate • Explore discoveries about health, healing and wholeness • In-depth study of complementary and integrative therapies • Enriching experiences for professional and personal development • Supportive and diverse learning community • Convenient evening classes open to women and men To learn more, call 651-690-6933 or visit stkate.edu/holistic

Henrietta Schmoll School of Health

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may 2012

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HEALING THROUGH ART & SOUND

Sound harmonizes our b helping us to evolve

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VERYTHING in the universe is vibrating. The patterns and harmonies of the vibrations of our natural environment resonate with the elemental nature of our being. Being in sync with our environment is an essential factor for us to maintain harmonious balance. Sound harmonizes our body and mind and brings us into synchronization with the pulse wave of the Earth so the body is in its optimum state for us to receive the cosmic energies and influences that are entering the Earth’s planetary sphere in 2012.

connected pulse systems—the heart pulse, our breathing, our brainwaves, and the cranial fluid in the spine. Through using specific sound vibration entrainment patterns, we can synchronize our brain, heart, breath, and spinal fluid into one coherent wave of energy, releasing stress and tension from the system to allow the body and mind to come into harmony and balance. THE EARTH’S VIBRATIONS & OUR EVOLUTION

Mother Earth is the bigger organism that we are held within. Our body, made of the same elements as the Earth, speaks of our intimate connection with the vibrational matrix of our planet. Through sound vibration we can HEALING POWER OF SOUND surrender and synchronize with Our bodies have four inter- the natural rhythms of the Earth,

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allowing the body and mind to relax into a larger pulse wave of support. We receive deep nourishment and healing from our vibrational and rhythmic connection with the Earth. As we embrace her rhythmic patterns, we create a foundational support for our evolving consciousness. BRAINWAVE ENTRAINMENT

There is a powerful healing effect when we harmonize our brainwaves with the rhythmic pulses of nature. Entrainment harnesses the healing power of sound and physically helps us to be able to repair and regenerate, as well as balances our emotions by stopping mental chatter and allowing stronger connection with our spirit. Continued Page 15...


BY ESTARYIA VENUS

body-mind,

may 2012

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Devanadi Yoga Summer 235 hr Yoga Teacher Training & Intensive July 9 to August 3, 2012 Yogis, Healers & Mystics Invited!

Our dynamic, therapeutic-focused program offers a core curriculum to learn the tools you need to become a yoga teacher able to lead classes in a large variety of environments, as well is an in-depth intensive for students seeking to deepen their practice. We study traditional Hatha & Classical Yoga, Ayurveda, Tantra, Yoga Therapy, Thai Yoga Bodywork and Energy Medicine, plus aim to create an abundant community that supports personal growth, health and wellbeing through universal mind-body-spirit practices. We teach a synthesis of yoga styles, anchored around ParaYoga, with an emphasis on asana, bandha, mudra, pranayama, and meditation, as well as a rich study of yoga philosophy, history and lineage. All programs have filled in the past - register now!

Co-hosted by Senior ParaYoga Teachers: ®

Tanya Boigenzahn Sowards- E-RYT 500, RTT, CHTP &,REiki Master Tanya is the founder/owner of Devanadi Yoga, and is the creator/director of our Trainings. Blessed to have been in the company and service of many amazing and globally conscious teachers, she is a senior student and assistant to Yogarupa Rod Stryker, is one of the first and only ParaYoga® Level II Certified™ teacher/practitioners in the world, and continues to study Sri Vidya in the Himalayan Tradition. Tanya has been certified in many other yoga styles including Ashtanga, Restorative Yoga and Prenatal Yoga. She also leads one of the only multi-level certification programs for Thai Yoga Bodywork and Reiki in the US, and leads workshops and retreats nationally and internationally.

BEN VINCENT - E-RYT 200

Ben’s search for truth began long before being exposed to yoga, but yoga felt like coming home. He has studied various traditions of yoga, meditation, mysticism, music, and philosophy, with pre-eminent teachers including: Rod Stryker, Richard Freeman, William Prottengeier, Aadil Palkhivala, and Ustad Ali Akbar Khan. Through his teaching and practice, he seeks to embody, express and inspire the eternal truths of the yogic traditions. To share this wisdom as a teacher, is both a blessing and great responsibility, as there is no greater service than the work of love.

Hosted by

Devanadi Yoga

Contact us for Student Handbook & Application: www.devanadiyoga.com tt@devanadiyoga.com 612.926.8250

See our website for more in on our other offerings:

Thai Yoga Bodywork Practitioner Certification | Reiki Trainings | Fall 235/500hr Yoga Teacher Trainings + December Thailand Journey | Guest Teachers, Wellness Therapies, Classes & Workshops 14 www.esswellness.com


HEALING THROUGH ART & SOUND Sound harmonizes our body-mind continued...

RECEIVING ENERGY THROUGH PLANETARY ALIGNMENTS

When we’re in balance and harmony, we’re able to receive the light and energy that is coming into the Earth during planetary alignments. Now more than ever we want to be receptive to this energy—particularly during the upcoming Venus Transit on June 6 when the evolutionary frequency waves are activating cellular consciousness inside of our DNA. Synchronizing our brain hemispheres through the power of sound and rhythmic entrainment is an effective way for us to prepare for this shift—to literally propel us into the evolution of our consciousness, which leads the way for our immortality. Venus plays an essential role in birthing the Earth and human consciousness into its next evolution.

er of sound through specific brainwave entrainment, we can prepare ourselves to receive the energy of this powerful planetary alignment. Syncing our pulse waves using entrainment strengthens our body-mind-spirit-connection. © Estaryia Venus 2012

Estaryia Venus is an internationally recognized sound healer and has produced a series of powerful brainwave synchronization CDs including the newest: “Venus Wave” ~ Vibrational Healing Series, a powerful sonic entrainment audio program. Estaryia leads empowering sound healing rejuvenation and yoga workshops and retreats throughout the year as well as live tele-classes. Next live teleclass during the upcoming Venus Transit. Estaryia is also leading workshops in Boulder and Aspen, Colorado during the Venus alignment. Join her and connect with your immortality during this amazing time! To learn HEALING WITH SOUND By using the healing pow- more visit: www.Estaryia.com

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Your Partner in Health

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• • • • • • •

Qigong Reiki Sound Healing Spiritual Evolution Tai Chi Yoga And More!!

Like us on facebook


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HEALING THROUGH ART & SOUND

Using sound to heal body, mind, spirit

C

AN YOU think of a song which had a powerful effect on your emotions? How about the sound of a car accident happening nearby; what would that do in your body? Do you feel a bit uneasy just thinking about that sound? It’s clear that sound and music are powerful forces in our lives. Imagine what might be possible if you could harness that power to create a positive, healing reaction. SOUND HEALING IS ENERGY MEDICINE

Sound healing is a form of energy medicine based on vibrational frequencies. Everything in the universe is made of energy which vibrates at its own unique speed or frequency, which means that everything is sound, whether it’s audible to us or not. 18 www.esswellness.com

A primary principle of sound healing is that symptoms and suffering, whether physical, spiritual, mental or emotional, first occur in the human energy field, and the stronger this dissonant or chaotic energy becomes, the greater the impact it will have on the person. When we change the energy field, symptoms and behaviors also change. SOUND HEALING RESTORES BALANCE

If a person is ill, in physical pain or feels out of balance mentally, emotionally or spiritually, the system is not “in harmony” or vibrating at its optimal level. Sound healing brings the entire system back toward more order and harmony, using tools, technique and intention in order to release whatever is causing the issue. On a physical level, sound healing effectively induces a state

of calm, slows down breathing, heartbeat and brainwave activity, lowers blood pressure, alleviates pain, and reduces stress, all of which boost the function of the immune system. Harmonic singing and other forms of sound healing have been shown to enhance memory, charge the brain’s cortex, and even teach and entrain the brain to restore and replace weak, dormant or missing frequencies. Sound can take your brain waves from active to alpha, as if you were meditating, or even into a theta brain wave state, where very deep healing often occurs just below the surface of your conscious awareness. SOUND HEALING ALLEVIATES CHRONIC PAIN

The Journal of Advanced Nursing reported that listening to Continued Page 20...


BY KAY GRACE

may 2012

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HEALING THROUGH ART & SOUND Using sound to heal continued...

music for one hour a day for one week reduced chronic pain by up to 21 percent, and depression by up to 25 percent in people with a range of conditions including rheumatoid arthritis. Mozart’s music has been found to reduce the electrical activity associated with seizures in people with epilepsy. A leading New York oncologist uses Crystal and Tibetan singing bowls and Hindu Sanskrit chanting to help cancer patients; in his book, The Healing Power of Sound, Dr. Mitchell Gaynor discusses the amazing results seen by integrating music, vocalization, and meditation into patient care. USE SOUND FOR STRESS AND ENERGY SHIFTS

We know what a great health benefit it is to reduce stress, and using music and sound to help do this is a fun, powerful and effective way to enhance health and improve energy. In fact, sound and music can help you shift from one state of energy to another, from feeling tired and depressed, to feeling more calm, energetic and happier. Often, emotional and mental

difficulties can also be resolved. For example, someone with lower back pain may have pulled a muscle but is also feeling unsupported by those close to him or her. This pain, and even the thoughts about the pain, vibrate at a specific speed creating a sound—which may or may not be audible to human ears. The task of a sound healer is to match this specific frequency in order to release the pain, and make room for a new pattern or healthy way of thinking and being to emerge. USE INTENTION WITH SOUND HEALING & ITS TOOLS

Intention is critical to sound healing. What the healing practitioner and the person receiving the sound intend, combined with the state of being you’re in encodes itself onto the sound. Sound contains information, and we decode it all the time. Even if we are unaware of this consciously, our bodies and subconscious minds recognize and respond to this information. Continued Page 24... may 2012

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First Minnesota Appearance May 18-19-20

 

Denise Poole, the Stone Crone  

Denise has been reading messages from stones for  over 25 years.  Stones are ancient record keepers,  books from the Earth Library, mentors and mirrors  for us.   In a private reading, you explore your own  soul’s journey through time.  You can gain insight  into dormant talents and abilities and can remove  blocks in your path.  You pick the stones.  Denise  channels the messages from Mother Earth.   

Contact Sheryl or  Dale Fisher 763-420-9017

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Find your

Holy Grail in England July 30th - Aug 8th, 2012

Trip includes:

• 10 nights lodging, breakfast included • All transportation • one dinner during our tour • Group Sound/FAC sessions and discussions on drawing power while at the sacred sites

• Entrance to selected sites • Access to Stonehenge inner circle Trip cost: $3400 double occupancy, airfare not included

Email or call for more information or to sign up. msloos777@comcast.net 651-436-1418

I am also available for Private healings and readings. Call or email me for an appointment. www.wavedancebodywork. byregion.net

We will be visiting Scorhill in Dartmoor National Park, Cornwall - St Michael’s Mount, Megalithic stone sites, Tintagel, St Nectan’s Kieve, Boscastle, St Ives, Penzance, Port Issac, Southwest area of Wilshire - Glastonbury, Avebury, Stonehenge - inner circle, crop circles and other sites of interest.

FREE BARTER LISTINGS!

VIRTUWELLSWAP.COM For more info click here

may 2012

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HEALING THROUGH ART & SOUND Using sound to heal continued...

Sound healing tools and tech- • Releasing through sound, niques include voice (toning, which creates a pathway for chanting, singing, overtone or unwanted energy to leave. harmonic singing), drums, Ti- • Making the sound of a betan and Himalayan Singstored energetic trauma ing bowls and chimes, gongs, left in your system is ancrystal singing bowls, tunother kind of releasing. ing forks, music, and laughter. • Entrainment which uses specific sounds and intention HOW DOES IT WORK? to bring you into a particu• Dissolving a block by matchlar state of being, such as reing its frequency, like an laxed, focused or energized. opera singer who shat- Even a single tone sung at the ters a glass with her voice. proper frequency, can effect change 24 www.esswellness.com

in our bodies. Scientists believe this may be possible because our bodies are made up of about 80 percent water and water is a major conductor of sound. If sound helps the cellular activity move toward greater order, the body can do its own job much more effectively. More complex music affects us on a mental and emotional level because it is acting in the nervous system, specifically, the parts of our brain responsible for emotion, memory and non-verbal communication.


SO, HOW CAN THE AVERAGE PERSON USE SOUND TO IMPROVE THEIR EVERYDAY LIFE?

• Don’t bite your lip or hold your breath if you’re in pain: Groan and make sounds to release it! • Speak the truth with kindness and awareness, however it lines up with your core values. • Sing often, whether you can carry a tune or not. • Use your voice for self-healing and wellness: Tone a simple vowel sound like AH, OH, EE, add your intention (like peaceful, capable, confident, gracious) and sing for at least three minutes, to shift your energy quickly and easily. • Play music often, at least an hour a day, which feels good— calming, energizing, peaceful. • Pay attention to your sound environment, changing what you can, and harmonizing with those sounds you cannot change, by singing that same tone which is unpleasant, or another tone which is in harmony with it. • Your thoughts are inaudible sounds and have a very pow-

erful effect on you physically, emotionally and spiritually, so pay attention to them, and weed out the thoughts that don’t support you. Voice is the most powerful sound healing instrument of all. It’s yours alone, and it’s free. Shifting your energy and state of being can be done very quickly, in just a few minutes a day, and anyone with a voice can do this. For those who don’t have a voice, or who cannot hear, sound healing is still accessible through vibration and feeling. Sound is at the heart of every creation myth, bringing spirit and intention into physical form, an incredible tool for healing and manifestation, so I would encourage everyone to explore the world of sound healing and to seek out experienced sound healers and healing music to create well-being, vital health and greater harmony in your life. Copyright 2011 Kay Grace All rights reserved Kay Grace, CAEH, enjoys teaching the art and science of Sound Healing, and empowering people to access the unique qualities of their spirits to

create lives of greater harmony and happiness. She has an established private practice offering Sound Healing Therapy and Energy Work since 2001, and has helped thousands of clients access the power of sound to relieve stress, reduce pain, and create deep healing on physical, emotional, mental and spiritual levels. A graduate of a four-year certification program in advanced energy work from Inner Focus School, she has also studied Sound Healing extensively with Jonathan Goldman and Sound Accord Healing School. A published singer and songwriter, Kay is a member of International Sound Healers Association, ABMP and is a valued faculty member of Normandale College in the Integrative Health Education Center, where she offers a sound healing practitioner certificate program called Sound Healing Mastery, as well as Energetic Boundaries for the Helping Professional as part of the Workplace Wellness series. 952292-0480; kay@energyexpress.com www.EnergyExpress.com www.Facebook.com/kaygrace www.Twitter.com/SoundHealingNut www.StressFreeIn7Minutes.com www.SoundHealingRetreats.com may 2012

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Shamanism Training Program

Healing the Wounded Spirit, Soul Retrieval, Recovery From Trauma, Space Clearing, Depossession Need help writing/publishing your book? Call for consulting, editing & publishing Contact Mary Stoffel 763-444-8146 mlstoffel@innovatord.com www.humanimal.com www.practicalshamanism.com

“Assisting People to Achieve Powerful Shifts in Consciousness”

Money, Spirituality and Feng Shui

Can’t get to the bottom of your money issues despite everything you’ve tried---including Feng Shui? 4-part teleseminar begins in May. For details, click HERE.

Set Sail: A Personal Feng Shui Credential Program

Want to learn more without becoming a professional consultant? Carole’s Set Sail virtual program begins in September (quick action by May 31 saves $700). Contact Lisa (lisa@windwaterschool.com) for more information.

612.823.5093 | carole@carolehyder.com | www.carolehyder.com

Transformational Healing Akashic Readings House Clearings Travel Tours Classes Wave Dance Bodywork Jaci Loos (651) 436-1418 msloos777@comcast.net www.wavedancebodywork. byregion.net

may 2012

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HEALING THROUGH ART & SOUND

Creativity and art helped snap the cycle of food a

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IKE SO many people who are overweight, for me, it has been a lifelong struggle. Since childhood I have been clinically overweight and throughout my life have gone on a rollercoaster of ups and downs on the scale.

My lifelong experience with weight management and my ongoing struggle led me to explore this topic further in my graduate studies. Through this examination I came to realize weight management has been a cyclical experience in my life. I saw that many attempted changes I made

Self portrait of author prior to art therapy

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over the years to lose weight were quick fixes or temporary changes. Always ending up right where I began or even further backwards. CAUGHT IN A CYCLE

Every attempt I made to lose weight was focused solely on what I was doing. Was I eating


BY MICHELLE L. HOVEY SWERIN

d me addiction too much? Was I not exercising enough? Never taking into account how I truly felt emotionally, mentally, or physically. Instead this holistic view was something I pushed further away and out of consciousness. For me this created familiar cycles of all or nothing change and deprive-binge-guilt

eating. Possibly most consequentially, I buried my emotions deeper to the point of slipping back into old habits mindlessly due to denial and/or feeling overwhelmed. FOOD & EMOTIONS LINKED

However, there is no denying that food and emotions are tied

and that weight loss can be a very emotional experience. None of the strategies I had used accounted for this or accounted for the fact that I was a unique individual. Therefore the root of the problem was never fully addressed. I began Continued Page 32...

Art created by author as part of mindful eating art journal may 2012

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June 14-16, 2012 Guest Teacher & Sanskrit Scholar Professor Nagin Sanghavi From Mumbai, India Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

Devanadi Yoga

Theory of Karma, Social & Spiritual Implications

Om Collective

Gita as Scripture of Yoga

All are Welcome! More info: www.devanadiyoga.com

www.theomcollective.com

www.yogaprairie.com

COLONICS DETOXIFICATION OXYGEN BAR and so much more!

612.824.4041 | calhounnaturalmedicine.com 3033 Excelsior Blvd, Ste 585, Minneapolis, MN 55416

may 2012

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HEALING THROUGH ART & SOUND Creativity and art helped me continued...

to examine what would have to be different in order for me to better manage my weight long term. Changing my eating habits stuck out as a primary factor in what needed to be addressed. MINDFUL EATING & ART THERAPY: CONNECTING MIND & BODY THROUGH CREATIVITY

As a student studying art therapy and drawn to mindfulness techniques I believed that merging these two powerful tools of awareness could help me to understand and change more permanently. Art therapy and mindfulness are both mind-body approaches. Each experiential process allows for the use of all senses, focused present-moment attention, and therefore increased awareness. Art therapy does this through being person centered through individual choice of what to express and medium, process centered in expression and externalization, and product centered in that it creates an art product that can be reflected back on and give insight into an experience that can not always be verbalized. Mind32 www.esswellness.com

fulness is present moment focus and awareness while employing non-judgment and acceptance. Mindful eating specifically is the use of this during the eating process. Both processes also strengthen pathways in the brain, a vital component of creating change. TRANSFORMATIVE PROCESS: INCREASING AWARENESS AND SELF EFFICACY

I decided to apply these in my life to my own processes around food through creating a mindful eating art journal. In my journal I created daily art entries for eight weeks and created self portraits before starting the journal, at the midpoint, and after to further reflect on how the experience may impact me. I found the art journal transformative. It allowed me to make a conscious choice to be present and express how I was feeling. It helped me tune in to how I felt physically, emotionally, and mentally, which I had tuned out previously. This did not always make me choose a healthy option, however it made me more present and aware of

my choices and how I was feeling when I made them. In addition, it helped me reflect back on patterns or thoughts, which came up during the eating process, which then gave me more understanding and control moving forward. MINDFUL ART: POWERFUL TOOL TO COMBAT ADDICTION

This awareness, present moment and process focus, with the element of non-judgment proved to be a powerful combination when combating past negative eating cycles. The mindful art proved to be a tool to help allow a moment of mindfulness to emerge from what could often be a mindless process. This moment of mindfulness then allowed there to be more conscious choice and control over eating choices. Over the eight weeks, I went out to eat much less often than usual (as I began to feel uneasy not knowing how my food was prepared or what was in it), virtually cut out a 20-year pop habit, tripled my fruit and vegetable intake, and lost 8.5 pounds. Fur-


Art created by author as part of mindful eating art journal

thermore, after the journal was complete I continued to use art to remain mindful of my eating and have had continued success. USE CREATIVITY TO GET WELL

I share my personal experience with this process to encourage others to use creativity to improve your own wellness through art. Art allows a process to unfold that is centered on the individual, their choices, their experience, and their feelings. I have no doubt that how this process would un-

fold would be different for each individual. However, whether you are snapping a creative shot of your snack on your smart phone, doodling that cheeseburger on a napkin, recalling a memory of grandma’s Sunday dinners through watercolor in a leather-bound journal, or creating a self portrait reflecting your relationship with food, mindful art can provide an outlet to express, connect, and develop a more holistic relationship between the eating process, mind, and body.

Michelle Hovey Swerin, M.A., completed her graduate studies in Counseling and Art Therapy. She is currently a wellness coach, pursuing her License in Professional Clinical Counseling and certification in Art Therapy. Her blog, www. creativelywell.blogspot.com, encourages others to use the power of art and creativity in their pathway to wellness, called Creatively Well. She is also developing a workshop series on Mindful Eating and Art Therapy. Please feel free to contact her at mlhswerin@gmail.com. may 2012

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Live Well.

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May 2012 Essential Wellness