Medicinal Mushrooms!

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Medicinal Mushrooms!

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Did you know that as an organism mushrooms are more closely related to animals than they are to plants? Mushrooms are full of many medicinal properties that can support the human body. They have been used in Chinese medicine for over 1000s of years and are great allies to support our immune system and more! 

One reason why mushrooms are such good helpers of the immune system is because they are rich in polysaccharides that help to strengthen and maintain the structure of our cells. Another fun fact about mushrooms is that because they do not have stomachs, mushrooms digest their food outside their bodies! They do this by excreting enzymes and acids to break down their food before it enters and is then absorbed by the mushroom. This is why mushrooms are known for being great decomposers in the garden, they have the ability to break down a large variety of things and use them as food. 

So, mushrooms and us! There are over 10,000 known mushrooms in the world, and even more still unidentified and unknown. Personally, I have really enjoyed getting to know mushrooms better and adding them to my daily and weekly up keep for my healthy being in the world. I like to ingest them either by making a tea or through a tincture. A tincture is a liquid extract of an herb or mushroom that is taken by the mouth. Tinctures are usually made by soaking an herb or mushroom in alcohol to infuse and concentrate the useful chemical constituents and medicinal properties of the mushroom or herb into a liquid that is then taken orally. Alcohol is a great mode of transportation for these medicinal properties because it allows them to enter the body through the mucus membrane in the mouth, and is directly absorbed into the blood stream. This means fast acting results in the body for you!

Some of the most exciting mushrooms to me these days include Reishi, Chaga, Cordyceps, and Lion’s Mane! 

I take my Reishi mushroom tincture daily to give a boost to my immune system! Reishi, or scientifically known as Ganoderma Lucium, has been used in Chinese medicine for more than 200 years. It’s first use was documented by the Han Dynasty (206 B.C. - 220 AD). Reishi is known for boosting the immune system and protects the body from pathogens such as viruses, bacteria, and parasites. It also helps to protect your cellular DNA and mitochondria that is responsible for the biochemical processes of respiration and energy production in the cell. 

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Next is Chaga. With Chaga I like to have a crock pot going with big chunks of Chaga in it so that I always have some chaga tea on hand. It is great on it's own and it can also be a good base for any type of cooking I choose to do.  Chaga (Inonotus Obliquus) is great for warding off the common cold. It is known for lowering inflammation caused by stress and can even keep your hair shinny !  This mushroom dates back to Russian folk medicine of the 17th century and grows on birch trees. Chaga is a powerful immune booster because of its polysaccharides, specifically its beta-glucans that have the ability to boost the production of the specific white blood cells called lymphocytes, that regulate the immune response to infectious micro organisms. 

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The next mushroom to mention is Cordyceps! Cordyceps (Ophiocordyceps sinensis) are known to increase energy, stamina, alleviate asthma and bronchitis. It also can help to invigorate the labido, improve blood flow, and it is an anti-inflammatory. This is a great mushroom for athletes and the elderly because it contains beta-glucans, a type of sugar found in it's cell wall that delivers oxygen to the human body on a cellular level and boost ATP, the body's main source of energy. It's first recorded use dates back to the Tang Dynasty of 620 AD. 

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Though there are many more medicinal mushrooms to mention, I want to note Lion's Maine because this one truly fascinates me. This mushroom has a very particular look to it. Unlike a classic mushroom cap, or the dancing mushrooms you may have seen in the beloved movie Fantasia, this one looks like a white pom-pom or like a long haired lion's mane (hence the name). This mushroom aides to improve memory, boost concentration, and helps to protect the nervous system. In general, it also stimulates the immune system, is an anti-inflammatory and antibacterial, but it is most known for its remarkable properties to repair and regenerate neurons.  This property of Lion's Mane can be great for supporting people with neurological diseases and general maintenance of the nervous system. 

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There is always more to learn about mushrooms and it is an easy and effective way to boost the immune system. Who knew so much goodness could come from these little fugi growing in the forest. 


Madeline Lynch is a receptionist at the Brooklyn Acupuncture Project. She is an artist, massage therapist, reiki practitioner, and currently studying the bridge between psychology and spirituality in a masters program at Teachers College, Columbia University. 

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Yoga and Chinese Medicine: Getting to the Root of It

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Yoga and Chinese Medicine: Getting to the Root of It

Yoga and Chinese Medicine: Getting to the Root of It

Marie Mendicino

Having recently gone through and completed a 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training, I wanted to bring forth some information surrounding the Root Chakra. Specifically I want to dive into the tangible relationship that can be made between the root chakra its respective yin and yang meridian counterparts in Chinese Medicine. At the end I will provide some yoga poses that help to open this chakra and alleviate some of the negative emotions that are associated.

 So, what is a chakra?

There are seven main chakras that are focused on. A chakra is an energy “vortex” located deep within the body along the path where the main “nadis” (energy pathways in the physical body) come together. Depending on the source there is said to be around 72,00 to 350,000 nadis. The seven main chakras are: 

  1. Muladhara - Root Chakra

  2. Svadisthana - Sacral Chakra

  3. Manipura -  Solar Plexus Chakra

  4. Anahata - Heart Chakra

  5. Vishuddi - Throat Chakra

  6. Ajna - Third Eye Chakra

  7. Sahasrara - Crown Chakra

Each chakra has a very specific yin and yang meridian counterpart. The Root Chakra corresponds to the Kidney meridian (yin) and the Bladder meridian (yang). The emotions associated with these meridian pathways are fear and shock. They embody the concept of the sympathetic nervous system which holds the key function of the fight or flight response. In combination with these two meridians, the root chakra holds the consciousness of self defense and survival.

What is a Meridian?

 Meridians are also energy pathways in the physical body, that come from ancient Chinese schools of thought. There are 12 main meridians in the body and 8 extraordinary channels. The 12 main meridians run along the surface of the body and have bilateral symmetry. They are connected to and named after the abdominal organs and relate to physiological processes, musculoskeletal functions and emotions in the body. The meridians also have corresponding myofascial pathways (consisting of muscle and connective tissue). 

Yoga and Meridians?

 Yoga is a wonderful way to connect to the body and release any physical or emotional tension that may be stangnent within the body. Yoga also helps to move the physical structures of the body which in turn can facilitate clearing of energy along the meridian pathways.

 The physical structures associated with the bladder meridian are the urinary bladder, the hamstrings, the kidneys, the adrenals, the pelvic floor, the gluteus maximus, the posterior calf muscles, the spinal erectors and the quadratus lumborum. The physical structures associated with the kidney meridian are the kidneys, the adrenals, the pelvic floor, the quadratus lumborum, and the posterior thigh adductors.

Yoga Poses for Root Chakra and Kidney and Bladder Meridians?

Forward Fold - Uttanasana

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  • Focus on connecting the belly to the thighs before straightening the legs in order to get your sits bones extended high towards the sky

  • The focus of this pose is to spread the sits bones apart making room for the pelvic floor to relax and the Root Chakra to open up

  • This pose stretches the hamstrings and the gluteus maximus muscles and the connective tissue that extends from the tip of the toes all the way up the back body and around the scalp

Wide Leg Forward Fold - Prasarita Padottanasana I

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  • Focus on engaging the front thigh muscles (pull your kneecap up) to maintain support and stability in this pose

  • Keep toes facing straight ahead

  • Bring hands towards or on the ground for support - use a block to place hands on for extra support

  • Focus on spreading sits bones wide apart and up towards the sky

Downward Dog - Adho Mukha Svanasana

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  • Spread fingers wide open and press firmly down into hands - focusing on distributing weight evenly between the fingers and palm

  • Relax shoulders and allow scapulas to retract down the back

  • Allow the stomach to hollow out and fall close to the thighs

  • Focus on spreading the sits bones apart and up towards the sky

  • Focus on keeping length along the spine (remembering that the neck spine is part of the spine)

  • Allow legs to straighten to stretch the hamstrings - ONLY IF - the spine is able to stay straight

Source:

Vaughan, R. E. (2017). Science of Points & Pathways: A Handbook of Meridians & Chakras for Practical Application 

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Acupuncture Sound Bath Elemental Series 2018, Starting this weekend!

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Acupuncture Sound Bath Elemental Series 2018, Starting this weekend!

Dear Community,

In celebration of BAP's 10 year anniversary and the Spring Equinox, we welcome you all to join us for the first weekend of the Acupuncture Sound Bath Elemental Series 2018. We will talk about the virtues of the season, practice vocal toning, and then relax into the acupuncture sound journey for new perspective and vitality. 

There are still a few spots left!

Pre-registration required, don't miss your chance to sign up!

Saturday, March 17th - 7-9 PM at BAP

Sunday, March 18th - 4:30-6:30 PM at BAP

$55.00 per session

Please wear loose comfortable and warm clothing that you can roll up past your elbows and knees.

The Medicine of the Acupuncture Sound Bath:

As both acupuncture and sound have deep roots in the ancient wisdom traditions, weaving together the modalities brings an approach to healing that is thorough, reliable, beautiful, and fun.Through vocal meditation, Qigong, and a short discussion of Taoist cosmology informing the treatment, we enter into the acupuncture sound journey with intention and coherence. With the intelligence held in acupoints and the guidance offered through sound, the meditative state is easily accessible and we can resonate with the highest form of health. Sarah has been practicing acupuncture since 2005 and is the founder of the Brooklyn Acupuncture Project. She has dedicated her life to making this medicine affordable and available to all. Lev has been working as a coach and sound therapist since 2006 and is the founder of the Medicine Tree Center. They have been collaborating on the Acupuncture Sound Bath since 2013 and are happy to share their particular piece of healing with the BAP community.


Look forward to seeing you there!

Sarah Natan MAcOM

Founder/owner at BAP

 

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BAP Celebrates 10 Years!

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BAP Celebrates 10 Years!

Dear BAP family, 

Our clinic turns ten years old this month!!!! 

At some point I will write down the whole Brooklyn Acupuncture Project story thus far, as it has been one that is sure to inspire and fill the hearts of all who hear. For now, I will tell a little more of the story (I shared some in a newsletter last year at this time) and let it continue to unfold. 

I had the vision for the clinic in a Vipassana mediation in June 2007; though I saw it in either DUMBO or Northampton, Mass at that time. Through a sequence of events I can only describe as grace, the people/places/and things to move the project forward in Gowanus opened into manifestation. 

In the early days, we were in a smaller space on the 4th floor. We had the "invisible receptionist," a somewhat reliable system of registration and payment that allowed people to sign up on a sheet of paper on the wall and pay with envelopes in a drop box.  We flyered at the farmers markets, gave talks at the Park Slope Food Coop, and showed up every day even when there were no people on the schedule. The sliding scale was 18-30 dollars and our logo was lady liberty with a revolution fist.  We definitely did not have a computer.  At that time, only the pizza place downstairs and the two restaurants on the corners of 12th and 13th were here. Though the magic of word of mouth, we got steadily busier over the next few months and by the summer, we were humming along with 5-10 people/day. 

We have continued to grow in a natural pace that has surprised and greatly pushed me out of my comfort zone continuously. Indeed, the past ten years has taught me more about love, leadership, and letting go than I would have ever imagined. Today, we see over 200 people/week, have an all star reception team, and some of the finest healers in the city offering treatments. We are now officially the "Best of Brooklyn" and have the utmost sweetest clients of all time. We always joke that even if you are not so nice, when you walk past the elevator doors into the clinic, somehow you are transformed. There is a beautiful energy field that we all create that is responsible for the healing vibration that occurs here. 

I want to thank each and every one of you (which is all of you) that have played a part in shaping BAP. I want to especially thank the people who have given so much love to the clinic through the years and who continue to share their light with us! 

Brittany Griffen, Melissa Little, Kidada Fields, Christopher Peacock, Alexandra Garcia, Donna Hernandez, Evie Ellman, Nikole Sturgis, Jennifer Sawyer, Kate Flynn, Saruh Lacoff, Erica Evans, Liz Roper, and Madeline Lynch; thank you. To all the therapists who share the space with us and offer their healing ways, thank you. To all the people who have come and gone and shared some of your heart with us, thank you. 

May the growing light of this season shine on the clinic and each and every person who walks through our doors. May the healing and illumination cultivated at BAP be shared with all beings.

We will celebrate with two Acupuncture Sound Bath's next weekend!  Please register to hold your place as space is limited and we are bound to fill up. 

See you there! 

With Love,

Sarah Natan

Founder/owner at BAP 

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Light, Liver, and Sound

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Light, Liver, and Sound

Dear Friends, 

The Light returns! :) 

Even though it is still quite cold, spring is rustling beneath the frost as the Yang energy begins to rise. In Chinese cosmology, this time belongs to Hexagram 19 of the IChing, "Lin." Hexagram 19 is represented by two Yang (active, hot, rising) lines moving up through four Yin (still, cold, sinking) lines.  "Lin" translates as something like "approach."  

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The IChing is comprised of 64 hexagrams, six lines of varying combinations of Yin (open) and Yang (closed) lines.  By the time we get to the Spring Equinox in mid-March, we have equal light and dark and thusly three Yang lines under 3 Yin lines.  This upcoming new moon will mark the Chinese New Year and the beginning of the next cycle.  In my own cultural heritages, this time is noted by the Irish Celts as "Imbolc," when the sap begins to rise, and by the Jews as Tu B'shvat, the birthday of the Trees. Indeed, you can follow all cultural lineages back to nature based wisdom. 

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There are 12 particular hexagrams that represent the 12 months of the year, 12 hours in the clock, 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac, and 12 organ systems in Chinese medicine. This time of early spring "Lin" is  associated with this month of February, the hours of 1-3 in the morning, the ox, and the Liver organ network.  If the winter solstice and darkest time is like midnight, this time of "approach" is still quite dark and quiet but with a very different quality. There is some subtle yet palpable action. 

The quality of the Liver can be learned though looking at Hexagram 19.  The upper three Yin lines mean "Earth" and the lower 3 lines represent "Thunder." Thunder rumbles under the Earth, awakening and empowering the seeds, the roots of the trees, the sap, and us!  Sometimes, the Liver is likened to the "general" of the body as it is in charge of moving QI and Blood and nourishing the tendons that move our muscles. It is associated with the eyes as it is the Liver that holds our vision strong, even in the darkest times. The top of the Liver channel ends at the top of the head as it has a direct connection to the North Star, or our guiding light. It is the energy of the Liver which is said to travel in dream and return to inform our hearts though the blood. 

The energy of the Liver meridian flows next into the Lung which rules our immune system. By working right now with the Liver energy we can prevent spring allergies and some of the possible stagnation that comes with waking up out of winter. Just like the ice that starts to melt as that Yang rises, old patterns can start to creek and crack as you yourself stretch into a new cycle. When Liver Qi flows freely, all systems of the body are humming along and the mind is free and easy to dream, vision, and plan. 

What are those visions and aspirations for you? What are you stretching into? What is it that is waking up, rumbling under you? 

For me..it is all about getting organized!  Visualizing and planning is a challenge for me so scheduling can be tough :)  Thank you all for being patient  as I crack open into this new commuter lifestyle and find the best ways to balance out my work in Massachusetts and NY. 

Luckily, my husband and healing partner in sound, Lev, has a good healthy Liver ;)   His supreme organizational skills mixed with my love of BAP sound baths and a desire to continue led us to..... 

(drumroll please....) 

Plan, confirm, and announce our  2018 Sound bath Series!

The first one will be in Mid-March, right around the time of the Equinox. As always, we will correspond the treatments with the energy of the season as indeed heath is aligning with what is! As above so below, macrocosm /microcosm. We have so much to learn from the elements. Every year we can go deeper. 

Please join us for one or all of these awesome events. We will talk about the season, practice vocal toning, then relax into the acupuncture sound journey for new perspective and vitality.  

Sign Up Here

Last, but not at all least, thank you all who voted us into wining the BEST OF BROOKLYN for acupuncture in 2017!!!!  We love creating this clinic with you and will continue to be the best that we can be. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank You.

 

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Seeds of the Anaconda: Artistic Activism Fundraiser

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Seeds of the Anaconda: Artistic Activism Fundraiser

Here at the clinic, we are constantly trying to find the best ways to stand for the true, the good, and the beautiful parts of humanity.  Each season, we fundraise for a environmental or social justice group that are already doing the good work.  Last fall and winter we were able to send a hearty amount to the Standing Rock legal fund and this spring and summer we helped raise funds for an indigenous family in Ecuador's upper Amazon to build a traditional healing lodge for their community that is being torn apart by oil.  This season we will be supporting a beautiful expression of artistic activism. 

Seeds of the Anaconda is a visionary art gathering that seeks to share Ancestral Wisdom through exhibitions, art workshops, artist talks, ceremony, and community outreach.  From 2012 to 2020, gatherings across the Americas and the world will unite Indigenous tribes and non-Indian tribes to come together in one purpose and one heart, for peace, harmony, and the restoration of unity with all living Beings and the Earth. This year Seeds of the Anaconda are raising money to have this gathering in a remote tribal community  in Santa Marta, Sierra Nevada, Colombia, where the people have never had the opportunity to access artwork usually only seen in city museums and private collections.

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The Medicine of the Sliding Scale

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The Medicine of the Sliding Scale

Over the past ten years I have witnessed the efficacy of the sliding scale and have seen how, in many ways, the sliding scale itself is a healing influence.  For people seeking sustainable ways to stay healthy, for the health care community as a whole, and for business owners like me; the sliding scale offers a refreshing reframe to the dominant paradigm of business as usual and how we look at health.

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The Bright Yang of Pride

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The Bright Yang of Pride

I'm not sure if there is a correlation between the arrival of the summer solstice and gay pride month, but I would like to think that there is.  The timing, in fact, was meant to fall roughly on the anniversary of the famous Stonewall riots which sparked the gay rights movement. 

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Acupuncture Sound Bath for Your Practical Everyday Life

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Acupuncture Sound Bath for Your Practical Everyday Life

Working with the combination of acupuncture and sound therapy stimulates a creative environment where resilience is amplified.  In our personal lives, families and workplace organizations, we often feel overstressed, and thus lack creativity and aliveness.  Healing vibrations enliven and animate our imagination, rejuvenate the energy in our bodies, and therefore, revive the vigor in our spirits to go back out there and give it everything we’ve got.

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"Its use came into my hands"

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"Its use came into my hands"

I recently came across this phrase in a book on Kampo, the Japanese system of herbal medicine with close ties to classical Chinese herbal traditions. I was strangely moved; for as a student and young practitioner in this tradition of herbalism, the saying seemed to describe so well my experience of learning this vast, complex, and subtle art: a sense of being taught not only by my teachers but by the tradition itself.

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Ring in the Spring with BAP

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Ring in the Spring with BAP

Congratulations on moving through another winter and keeping hope alive :) 

In these unprecedented and trying times, we could all stand to strengthen our capacity for hope.  It just so happens that the spring season, as seen through the eyes of Chinese medical cosmology, gives us exactly this opportunity. 

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Sleep 101: BAP's Starter Guide to Catching Zzz's

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Sleep 101: BAP's Starter Guide to Catching Zzz's

Sleep. For some it’s elusive, for other’s it’s a nuisance, but for everyone it’s essential.  And here in our clinic, in “the city that never sleeps,” we hear a lot about people’s relationship to rest.

Researchers loosely agree that 7-9 hours is the necessary snoozing time needed by the average adult. But many New Yorkers spend their days actively fighting to beat this basic need. 

In fact, disrupted sleep cycles are at the root of so many of symptoms that we see here at BAP, that we’ve put together a short guide to good sleep hygiene...

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BAP, A Safe Space: Now and Always

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BAP, A Safe Space: Now and Always

We have entered into some uncharted waters. While what is happening in our collective reality has hints of patterns from the past, there has never been another now.... We are at a place now in history where we need all hands on deck, all organ systems in full working order, and all past behind us.

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Travel with Dietary Dignity! 5 Strategies for Navigating Food Sensitivities on the Road

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Travel with Dietary Dignity! 5 Strategies for Navigating Food Sensitivities on the Road

It’s that time again!  The holidays are upon us and we are off to join friends and family to celebrate and bring in a New Year.  At the center of every celebration is likely a feast or at least a great cocktail hour!   The question is – can you handle all the food, booze and deserts that come across your palette? Do you struggle when you travel to keep your diet in line? 

Here are my 5 simple and smart tips for making it through this year’s holiday travel schedule by all modes of travel. 

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Winter Letter from Serra Chase

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Winter Letter from Serra Chase

We are now in the deepest, darkest, most still, and receptive time in the wheel of the year as the Yin energy is full. On the winter solstice (DEC 21) the tiniest spark of Yang Qi appears in the darkness to lift us up into lighter times. This miracle of the return of the light is what all of our winter holiday festivals are based on.  Listen into the magic of this time...

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Still I Rise

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Still I Rise

It's been a wild ride this week. And wherever you may be on that rollercoaster, we just want to remind you that we are here for you. With massage, sound baths, acupuncture, reiki, leadership coaching, and therapy you can treat yourself to you-time and tune into what's important. In the meantime, here's a little inspiration from the wonderful Maya Angelou:

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Recipe: Chicken Soup for Cold Season

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Recipe: Chicken Soup for Cold Season

The following recipe combines the benefits of bone broth with Chinese herbs. Many of us have already experienced a cold this fall as the seasons make their shift. Eating this soup periodically can help keep our immune systems...

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Divination Games: What does it all mean?

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Divination Games: What does it all mean?

Divination is an old-fashioned word for how we can provoke the universe into furnishing us with signs and symbols to guide us along our path in life. And learning to navigate that world is the theme of Jonathan Edwards upcoming workshop series at BAP.  In this interview Jonathan talks about what we can expect from his class, the role divination plays in his work as a healer, and how plants can be our guides through the world of dreams and symbols.

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