How To Heal: Energy and Shamanism with Dave Eyerman

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This week I connected with Dave Eyerman from Clear and Now Healing to dive into the world of energy and shamanism. I specifically wanted to reach out to Dave because I think there’s a gap in the health and wellness world when it comes to understanding energy work, a method that has contributed to healing for centuries, and I want to bring some awareness to those methods through this interview. 

Carolyn: Hi Dave, thanks for connecting with me today! I always like to start with basic introductions, so, tell me a little about yourself. How did you get involved in Holistic coaching? 

Dave: Pleasure to connect! I’ve been a coach, healer, and teacher my whole life. When I was a kid, I ran for student council in elementary school on a platform that focused on just wanting to make things better. Then, when I was older, I was a high school teacher and loved it. I was good at teaching, but I really liked working with kids 1:1. That clicked with me much more and my wife suggested I go to acupuncture school. I was going through treatment at the time and it was really helpful for me but I didn't know if I wanted to go for it. The short version of the story is that I said no at first but that when I said yes I loved it! 

Carolyn: That's so awesome! I love how life will direct you exactly where you need to be, even if you don't realize it. How did energy work come into play? 

Dave: Well, I added my own stuff over the years like energy work and shamanism but they all kinda layer together. I use them all as tools to an end. Yes, I’m an acupuncturist and a shamanic practitioner but really, I'm a life coach. I help people grow and get clear on who they are so they can live a rich, happy, life. When people come to me and ask if acupuncture is the only way, I say no. There are so many options and it’s really how you use those tools that matters. 

Carolyn: That's the whole point of writing these posts, to let people know that there are SO MANY options to find better health, healing, and happiness. I know you offer both coaching and classes, can you tell me a little bit about your programs? 

Dave: Sure! I teach a few different types. I teach reiki and the other classes are things I've developed myself. For example, I just taught a boundaries class for empaths. I developed these classes as a way to heal myself, but I learned how much they resonate with others. When it comes to empaths, most of us over help. We say yes when we should say no. We help at the expense of ourselves, and while empathy is good and helping is good, we want to do it in a boundary appropriate way. There are issues that are underlying and come from being an empath without boundaries. 

Carolyn: That's what the journey is all about, right? Learning how to navigate the route and then helping others along the same path! 

Dave: Exactly. And this class gives you actionable tools to take with you. We look at why we over care and some techniques to come to a better understand of a way to be healthy with it. I want people to know how to use these concepts so it's all about learning and reflecting. The second half of the class is about just being sensitive to other people's energy. You can take on the energy of the people around you and we go over the how's and why’s that that happens and better boundaries around that. So that’s one class that I teach…. 

Carolyn: Sounds fascinating! What do you want people to take away from working with you?

Dave: The basic aim of my life coaching is to help people live a fuller, richer life. Most commonly people will reach out to me because of stress and anxiety but usually, that points me to something different. How you respond to external pressure shows me more about what’s going on with you. I work with clients to help them move through this. I help them consider how they can become more free from themselves. I call myself a Personal Freedom Advocate. Who we are at our core is whole and complete but all the shit that happens in life layers on top and blocks us from accessing that beautiful truth. I work with clients to help them move those things away so they can reconnect with their truest self. 

Carolyn: Ummm, that sounds incredible! How do you do that? By teaching alternative coaching methods? 

Dave: Actually, I usually don’t teach coping mechanisms. Instead, I like to help clients follow their train of thought to discover the root of where the stress is coming from. If you don’t argue with your anxiety, you can work with it and use it to understand what's really going on under the surface. It’s not about trying to meet your anxiety where it’s at, it’s about clearing out those under-the-surface thoughts and beliefs. What happens is, over time, some of those issues will just go away as you work with the underlying negative thoughts. It happens with practice. 

Carolyn: Speaking my language, my friend! Ok, so let's talk about energy! For the people who have no clue what shamanism is, can you break down how it works?

Dave: Oh yes, shamanism is mankind's oldest spirituality and medicine. It’s built on a couple fundamental principles, taking in all aspects of who you are:

1. Everything is connected. Everything is a relationship. There are many native tribes that don’t have a word for object, so everything is a being, So you’re always in relationship. It brings into focus how you relate in a balanced and honorable way to all beings, and everything then becomes an ally. 

2. Everything is a being. 

3. All beings have a spirit. 

4. All beings are a manifestation of Spirit. Truly, you are Spirit manifesting as a being, just as everything else is. 

A shaman is one who has been trained to connect with the spirits of these beings. I am not a shaman, and I don't think I will never call myself a shaman. That is a community-appointed title, not a self-appointed one. I do shamanic work and use shamanic techniques as part of my healing practice, but I don't call myself a shaman. 

Carolyn: The idea that everything is connected was a really difficult concept for me to grasp for a long time, but now, it all makes so much sense. And what about energy work?

Dave: We know energy. We know what it's like to have a lot of energy. We know what its like to feel low on energy. When we have a lot of energy, we are clear headed, bright eyed, more positive. Low energy is lethargic, etc. If you told someone you’re having a low energy day, they’d get it. So I describe it on that level. In order to get more energy, we need to eat well, sleep well, eat good foods, we know that. All those are active processes, things we have to do in order to get more energy. Receiving Reiki or other energy work is like filling up your gas tank without having to do anything active. And then your body’s natural wisdom knows how to heal itself. If you break your arm, the cast doesn’t heal you, its just protecting it so your body can do its work. 

Carolyn: So, it’s about relaxing the body so it can heal itself. Right?

Dave: You've got it!

Carolyn: I believe that to my core. So tell me, who would benefit from this type of work?

Dave: People who know there's something more to life than what they’re experiencing. Have you ever had the feeling that something is missing? You may not know what that thing is, but something just isn't satisfying or there's some deeper discontent, and I like to help guide people to discovering what that is and incorporating that into their life.  

Carolyn: That's me, for sure, and so many other people I know. What a gift to give such clarity to people! Tell me, what does a class with you look like? What should people expect? 

Dave: To start, usually we do some introductory material to get acquainted. Classes are always a combo of lecture, discussion, and practice because I want everyone to have tools to walk away with. A good teacher is valued based on what students can do on their own after the class is over. I give students the freedom to ask questions and open a discussion in a formally informal setting. It's a casual atmosphere. I wear jeans, I curse, and I try to be as grounded as I can in my presentation. I want to give a hands on approach with tools in a relaxed setting. 

Carolyn: I bet that takes away a lot of nervous tension! What benefits have your clients seen from working on this with you? 

Dave: People have told me it’s been life changing, but you get out of it what you put in. If people are looking to me to fix their problems, they’re staying in disempowerment. When you're working with me, you're making an investment in yourself, a commitment to yourself. When people are invested in the work, they can get to another level of understanding themselves. If people want to change their lives, absolutely this is the place. If you want to become fully alive, more fully who they are, this is the place to do it. 

Carolyn: That's a powerful statement and so true. You get out what you put in! Ugh, I'm so inspired by this interview and I'm sure a lot of other people will be too! Where can people find you? 

Dave: On the web! Find me on my website and my Facebook!

Carolyn: Awesome!! Thank you SO MUCH for meeting with me and sharing some of your knowledge, this was absolutely fascinating!

Dave: It's my pleasure! Thanks for having me!

Interviews by Carolyn from Without The Weight, Inc. are meant to share all the different options available to heal your mind, body, and spirit from a holistic lens. Any advice or recommendations are meant to work as complementary therapies alongside any treatment provided by your medical practitioner and are not suggested as a replacement for medical care.

How To Heal: Ayurveda with Natasha Gayl

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This week, I connected with Natasha Gayl of Natasha Wellness to get the inside scoop on all things Ayurveda! In this interview, we talk about the history of Ayurvedic medicine, a basic outline of what Ayurveda is, and Natasha’s own journey to living and teaching an Ayurvedic lifestyle! I learned so much during this interview so I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Carolyn: Hi Natasha! I’m so happy you could meet with me today! Tell me a little about yourself, what made you become a wellness coach?

Natasha: Hi Carolyn! Well, I got into this a little over a year ago. I've always wanted to be a coach since I was in high school but it wasn’t really a job back then. I had pressure from my Russian family to get a degree, which I did. I worked in my field for a couple years then transitioned because I wasn't feeling fulfilled. At the time, I was enrolled in a yoga teacher training and the whole experience was focused around Dharma. Through that, I realized that my Dharma was to help people through food and healthy lifestyle. With the support of my husband, I left my unfulfilling job and began building my business.

Carolyn: It’s always so interesting to me how each “dead end” in life just repositions you towards creating the life you truly want. What was it about food that made that deep connection for you?

Natasha: Through my own health struggles, food was always my way of managing it. I kept learning and figuring out different diets, aka I was my own guinea pig. During the yoga training, I learned about Ayurveda and it just made so much sense! Not everyone is going to do well on the same diet (hence why I could never stick to one) and Ayurveda really honors that and recognizes that we are all different and require different diets, habits, and practices. I started practicing Ayurveda on my self then decided to take an health coach training that was focused in Ayurveda. That’s what led me to where I am today.

Carolyn: Everything flows for a reason! Had you worked with any holistic practitioners before?

Natasha: I interned with a Chinese herbalist, acupuncturist, and chiropractor. I was trying to figure out my own health issues and doing so led me to connect with holistic practitioners and eventually the beginning of my path, although I didn't know it at the time. Yoga teach training was a launching pad and I'm so grateful for my experience.

Carolyn: Yoga is such a gift, truly, and it’s connected to Ayurveda, is that right?

Natasha: Yes! Ayurveda is the sister science of yoga. It hails from India and is over 5,000 years old!

Carolyn: Wow! So it comes from centuries upon centuries of practice! Can you tell me a little about the history?

Natasha: Sure! Ayurveda comes from Vedic texts that have been translated over time. Ayurveda is similar to traditional Chinese medicine in the way it treats us holistically, but Ayurveda really focuses you as an individual. Each person is made up of a combination of the 5 elements air, ether, earth, water and fire. There is never blanket answer in Ayurveda, it understands that we are all different and require different healing paths. It looks at food, lifestyle, and habits as a way to come back into balance. Ayurveda uses Dinacharya (daily rhythms) to reconnect your body with its circadian rhythms and essentially reconnect us back to the way infants and animals live. Waking, moving, eating, sleeping, etc. in tune with the sun and daily patterns is what reconnects us to our higher selves.

Carolyn: I really love the idea of treating each person as an individual instead of following a blanket plan like most diets on the market today. How does Ayurveda break down who should eat what?

Natasha: There are 3 different Dosha (mind-bod) types that we fall into and it’s all about finding balance between the 3. Protocols depend on each person’s dosha and goals, but essentially if they’re eating and living in balance, no matter what they’re goal is, it will be met.

Carolyn: That’s a powerful promise! Can you break down those types for me?

Natasha: Absolutely! You have Vata, Pitta, and Kapha types that describe different body types.  

Vata is made up of air and ether. This is a wind type so there is a lot of anxiety, ungrounded creativity. A Vata type is usually thinner with smaller features and dry skin. Generally they struggle with digestion issues like gas and bloating. A Vata type needs a lot of grounding and cooked food, meditation, and slow practices like yin yoga. They tend to love running or flow vinyasa but that’s just adding more wind which can increase anxiety..

Pitta is made up of fire and water. Typically a Pitta type will have dry, red, and warm skin. They love spicy food, making lists, and working really really hard. My husband is this type and he’s non-stop - a burning ball of fire! Pitta types have a lot of drive and passion but they can get burned out easily. They love hot yoga classes and intense workouts but they need more cooling practices like a yin yoga class, walking/weight lifting, and cooling foods like cucumber or aloe.

Kapha is made up of earth and water. Together they make mud so they’re heavy, wet and dense. It’s common for them to have big eyes, big lips, and curves. They love sweet and heavy foods that are nourishing and keep them grounded but they need the opposite. Generally, they have a bigger build and are more emotional. They tend to be steady and loyal people. Kapha's should eat lighter cooked foods like warm broths, less grains and meats, and lighter foods in general. They need a lot of movement in their life, especially vigorous movement. They need to get out of their cocoon!

Your dosha shifts throughout your lifetime and can shift through the seasons which is why I offer the seasonal cleanse.

Carolyn: I think I’m a mix of Kapha and Pitta, but I’m not 100% sure. I should probably enroll in your cleanse! Can you tell me a general outline of how the 7 days would go?

Natasha: I’d love to have you join a cleanse! I call it the seven day whole foods and self care cleanse and I offer it in groups and through private coaching. I always have people ease in for the first 3 days - that’s when you figure out your dosha and prepare to go deep. I offer a robust cleanse guide with recipes, self-care practices (dry brushing, tongue scraping, oil massage) and why we're eliminating certain foods. I offer multiple recipes available based on your dosha for each meal. You get to choose your own adventure and you don’t have to eat anything you don’t like!

Carolyn: That’s good because I hate diets that make me eat food I don’t enjoy!

Natasha: Of course! This is all about self-care and you should enjoy your food! The whole point of the cleanse is to bring people back to themselves. I want to teach people how to cook and take care of themselves. The recipes are all anti-inflammatory and then there’s levels that people can choose from. That way an "experienced" cleanser and a "novice" can both find the right cleansing path for them. My cleanse is not meant to be so intense your body fights the process. I want you to work in sync with your mind-body to uplevel your current state of being. If you can’t imagine getting rid of everything at once, then you can choose to only give up certain things. If you’re already in a place where you’ve given other things up, we can start more advanced. We’re all in a different place and we don’t want to shock the body. This is a lifestyle shift and we want to make it sustainable!

Carolyn: That sounds incredible. What is the main message you want someone to take away from your cleanse?

Natasha: Don’t be afraid to cleanse! Cleansing is a really wonderful introduction to healthier living and, from what I’ve found, it’s the most approachable. The cleanse is just seven days, anyone can do it, and it’s a great way to dip your toes into Ayurveda. There’s open communication and support from me the whole time so it’s not something you do on your own. I’m happy to hold your hand through the process. Plus, you can basically eat any of the recipes after the cleanse since they are plant-based and nourishing. This ain't yo mama's juice cleanse!

Carolyn: Having that support makes all the difference! Thank you so much for meeting with me today. Where can people find you to sign up for your class?

Natasha: Of course! They can find me on my website, on Instagram, and on my Facebook page as well!  

Interviews by Carolyn from Without The Weight, Inc. are meant to share all the different options available to heal your mind, body, and spirit from a holistic lens. Any advice or recommendations are meant to work as complementary therapies alongside any treatment provided by your medical practitioner and are not suggested as a replacement for medical care.

How To Follow Up On Good Advice

Louise Hay is a hero of mine. 

If you don't know who she is, Louise Hay is a motivational author who wrote the bestselling book: You Can Heal Your Life, and she is ABSOLUTELY AMAZING. She was diagnosed with Cervical Cancer and healed herself by using a combination of physical, mental, and emotional exercises to understand, overcome, and let go of issues from her childhood. 

I told you... absolutely AH-MAY-ZING! 

I watched this video awhile ago and connected on so many different levels, but when the video was over, I just turned off my computer and didn't put anything into practice. 

And if you're anything like me - you'll think about it, maybe even talk about it, but you struggle to put it to practice. It's weird but I see this happening all the time. We hear great advice that we KNOW we should take, but we continually do the same things over and over again that don't serve to benefit who we are or where we want to go. It's bizarre. 

But I realized, maybe the reason we don't take on the good advice is because it's too much change all at once. Maybe, asking us to adopt 10 new rules for success feels overwhelming. If that’s the case, it’s really the best case scenario because it's easy to work with overwhelming things... you just have to minimize them until they feel doable. 

Every action comes from a thought first. Louise Hay would be the first person to tell you that, but when we overload our mind, we feel too burdened to actually take action.

Don’t make things heavy for yourself. Watch this video and choose 1 thing to change. Work on that and then, once it feels simple, add another.

Before you know it, you’ll be living all 10 and walking in the footsteps of the truly brilliant, Ms. Louise Hay.

With love & light,

Carolyn Kaufman

Resources To Manage Stress and MS

The only thing more stressful than the diagnosis itself is dealing with the symptoms.

MS is a really tough disease that can feel impossible to navigate, but I want to let you know that you have control of the ship and there are so many treatment options available to find relief!

When I first started on the MS path, I thought the only thing I could do was take my medication and “try to stress less”. I had NO IDEA what it meant to stress less (isn’t it a part of life to be stressed?), how to do it, and nothing gave me more stress than taking the medication itself.

I started with injections and I hated it, every single time. I just wanted my disease to go away, but instead, it seemed to get more fierce with each passing day. Everything felt out of control and I didn’t know how to feel grounded again. I needed help and felt completely lost.

That’s why I decided to write this post today. It took me YEARS after diagnosis to reach out for help… but once I did, I was AMAZED at how much is available for MS patients. Non profits like the National MS Society and MS Focus (these are just two of the heavy hitters but there are many small organizations as well) are working day and night to improve the lives of MS patients and I couldn’t be more grateful for all they offer. For example, MS Focus helps to relieve stress with grants for everything from Health and Wellness Programs, Homecare Assistance, Healthcare Assistance, and more!

If you have MS or are affected by a loved one with the diagnosis, use these resources. Don’t be afraid to ask for help! Reach out to these networks for support and they’ll gladly direct you to relief…. and that’s what matters more than anything. YOUR RELIEF.

Happy healing,

Carolyn Rachel

How To Heal: Yin Yoga with Pamela Newman

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A few years ago, I found myself with a friend in New Hampshire at a Yin Yoga class. I’d been doing yoga at home for quite some time, but I’d never actually been to a class. I wasn’t sure what to expect and I felt nervous, but as the class flowed, I realized how beneficial this type of yoga could be. By the time it was over, my life was changed forever. I was head over heels for Yin.

According to Yogapedia, “Yin Yoga is a slower-paced, more meditative version of the popular physical and spiritual discipline of yoga. In Yin yoga, the poses are held for a long period of time (typically three to five minutes or longer) to target the connective tissues (such as the ligaments) rather than focusing on the muscles. As a result, the asanas are more passive holds, with little muscular engagement.”

After that first class in New Hampshire, I came back to Boston and immediately searched on google for a nearby class. As if divine intervention was guiding me, I discovered a class at the perfect time above my favorite restaurant in Cambridge (just an aside, it's called Life Alive Cafe and you should DEFINITELY go if you're ever in Boston!). Yin yoga with Pamela became a staple in my weekly routine and I loved how much mental strength I developed by focusing on my breathing during those long holds.  

Through that practice, I’ve learned to better manage stress, to carve time out of my schedule for self care practices, and that healing the body doesn’t have to be aggressive or quick… it can be simple and flow smoothly.

That’s why I wanted to interview my bright light of a yoga teacher and now my great friend, Pamela Newman, to share a little more insight with you into the world of Yin.

Carolyn: Hi Pam! Thank you for interviewing with me! You know how much I love your class and I’d love for others to become aware of the power of Yin, so this is great! Let’s just jump right in… Tell me, what makes yin yoga different than a standard yoga class?  

Pamela: Hey, Carolyn, thanks for having me! Yin targets your connective tissues as opposed to your muscles, like regular yoga classes do, so we do all of our poses on the mat for anywhere from 2-6 minutes.  Each pose is supported with props so you can relax the muscles to stress the connective tissues.

Carolyn: Right. So it’s less about getting a workout and more about relaxing the muscles, which is huge when it comes to reducing stress! What are some other benefits of taking yin/restorative yoga?

Pamela: The benefits are endless!! But to name a few, it helps with stress management, improved joint mobility, increased circulation, lower blood pressure, anxiety reduction, increased flexibility, and it calms and balances mind and body.

Carolyn: No wonder I love this class, I need all of these things… It’s amazing how one class can have such dramatic benefits! Can you break down how a class with you would go?  

Pam: Sure! We open in a relaxing pose to get centered in the present by either lying down or sitting upright. Then, we go through a handful of poses that we hold for 2-6 minutes. It can take up to a minute to set up each pose but, once you are comfortable in the pose, you resolve to be still for the remained of the time and attempt to keep your mind present throughout. At the end of each pose, we come out slowly and do a minute of rebound in a more relaxed posture. Every class ends with an extended Savasana (final relaxation pose).

Carolyn: Ah, Savasana, my favorite part! Despite all the benefits, Yin hasn’t picked up in popularity in the Western world yet. What prompted you to start teaching Yin and Restorative yoga?

Pam: After 10 years of regular vinyasa, ashtanga and Iyengar classes, which are all considered yang or active styles, I took my first ever yin class in Portland Maine with Sagel Ulacher and fell in love. I couldn't believe how challenging it was for me to be still for so long.  As a self proclaimed type A personality, I realized immediately the benefits that slowing down would bring me.  When I started my 200 teacher training I knew right away that I wanted to offer my students Yin and restorative because the benefits of slowing down were endless for me.

Carolyn: Wow, so you fell into it just like I did… except you’ve had a lot more practice with other styles! Ten years is a long time, what got you involved in yoga in the first place?

Pam: My older sister dragged me, kicking and screaming, to a hot yoga class in 2007 when I was staying with her in Princeton, NJ. I had been running for years and never felt so open as during class. I just felt the immediate benefits of better posture and increased confidence. After that, I was hooked.

Carolyn: Oh, that’s so funny that you went kicking and screaming! Funny how we always need what we’re resisting most. So, you teach yin all over Boston now… Who should come to your classes?

Pam: Everyone! Although I believe “should” is a judgment word, so I would say that physically yin yoga is accessible to most people. We use plenty of props to support each individual's postural needs and in our overly busy “on the go” culture, most people would benefit from slowing down and spending some time in their parasympathetic nervous system.

Carolyn: Ah! You caught me using the should word! Louise Hay would be questioning me up and down for using that. And yes, I completely agree… we spend so much time in our Sympathetic Nervous System (fight or flight) that it’s an absolute gift to have Yin to bring us back to our Parasympathetic (rest and digest). After decades of practice, do you have a favorite yoga pose?

Pam: Definitely Deer pose - I have been known to drool over the bolster in this pose :)

Carolyn: Haha, just the imagery makes me laugh. Let’s get back to your class. What’s the main way you hope your class attendees feel after class?

Pam: At ease, centered and grounded in themselves.

Carolyn: That’s beautiful. And what is the main message you hope people will take away from your class?

Pam: You are perfect just the way you are, let's love ourselves a little more and judge a little less.

Carolyn: Amen, girl! What are your top three tips for people who’ve never tried it or are new to yoga?

Pam: Come with an open mind and know you don't have to do any of the poses, breath work or meditation techniques that don't resonate with you.  Everyone's experience will be a little different and you can't do it wrong!

Carolyn: I love that. Thank you so much for taking the time to answer these questions about yourself, Yin, and your class. It was such a pleasure, as always, to connect with you and I can’t wait for my next yin class! Just tell me now, how can people find you?

Pam: I currently teach around Boston at Yoga Works in Back Bay, The Corner Studio in Medford, and Coolidge Yoga in South End. To keep up to date on my classes or any pop ups, follow me on instagram at instagram.com/yinspiritwarrior!

Interviews by Carolyn from Without The Weight, Inc. are meant to share all the different options available to heal your mind, body, and spirit from a holistic lens. Any advice or recommendations are meant to work as complementary therapies alongside any treatment provided by your medical practitioner and are not suggested as a replacement for medical care.