Yawning, why not?

August 10, 2014


I’ve been taught that yawning means I’m tired, or that my body or brain is looking for more oxygen, that it’s impolite to yawn in public. I know that there are times when I cannot stop yawning, mostly when I’m in a boring meeting and can’t pay attention. Just the other day I was at a stop light and the driver in the car stopped next to mine yawned- and sure enough as the light changed, I was yawning, too.

A friend sent me the essay on Yawning by Andrew Newburg, director of Penn’s Center for Spirituality and the Mind. It is from the book: HOW GOD CHANGES YOUR BRAIN. Newburg suggests that yawning can change our brain by regulating neural functions and that it is important to yawn, perhaps bringing yawning more into our daily consciousness- for example, to yawn before working or meditating.

It is a persuasive essay encouraging more yawning in our lives in order to enhance cognitive function and neurotransmitter production. Clearly, the simplicity of the mere yawn and the capability of any human to manifest a yawn makes this an inherent skill that anyone can bring more into awareness.

I am going to conscious bring yawning into my life- right now, 10 yawns- kind of delicious!

Read the Yawn essay.




Motherwort Tincture

July 2, 2011

It is time to harvest and tincture one of my herbal allies, motherwort, Leonurus Cardiaca, also called Lionheart. This herb grows where she wants in my garden and I never know from year to year where she’ll show up – here is motherwort with the day lilies.

Years ago this tincture was recommended to me by Susun Weed to help me with sleep issues. Over the years I have used it to calm menstrual cramps, calm anxiousness. It can be dried and used as a smudge along with sage and mugwort. It makes a bitter tea- so sweeten with honey and use it for a stress-diffuser. Livestrong.com has a good article listing other uses for motherwort. Also, more good information at Herbalist.com where it mentions that motherwort is well-known and used in Europe:

The sedative (nervine) action of the herb, claimed by the herb’s historical use was demonstrated scientifically well enough for the Commission E, the official German herbal pharmacopaea,  to recommend it to the public………Older scientific data on the herb’s neurological and cardiac properties are based on studies by Chinese researchers of an extract called leonurin from Leonurus sibiricus, an herb very closely related to Leonurus cardiaca.   

Susan Weed has a wonderful 3 minute video on how to tincture this herb.

To tincture: you will need a jar with tight-fitting lid, scissors and vodka. Cut the top 8-10 inches of the flowering tops. Then cut the plant material directly into your jar. The flowers are prickly, be cautious. Put enough flowers and leaves to tightly fill jar, pour in vodka to very top. Put on lid, shake, turn over a few times to make sure most of the air bubbles are dislodged, maybe you’ll need to add some more vodka. Then label, leave in dark place for 6 weeks. Strain, put in smaller dropper jars.  Voila.

T and me in our new aprons.

I choose a what I believe is a healthy lifestyle. According to some people there is not enough scientific proof that clean air, pure water, good quality sleep, simple, unadulterated, natural food is a better, healthier way to live. I operate from common sense. It makes sense to me to take care of myself by exercising, choosing organic foods. I don’t need a study to tell me that I feel good after a walk in the woods or good night’s sleep or a yoga class or  miso soup and brown rice. I also don’t need to argue about it with anyone. I like my life. There are others who feel the same way. There are many looking for this way.

Perhaps there are not enough independent scientific studies proving that EMF’s from wifi, cellphones and cordless phones are hazardous to my health. Never before have people lived in environments so laden with EMF Pollution. Scientists claim the true health hazards of EMF Pollution will not be known until the current youth reproduces, as EMF Pollution has been known in scientific studies to permanently damage DNA and cause birth defects as well as miscarriages. I’m not interested in waiting for the results.

I have lived most of my life walking to a different drummer than most. It’s a groovy rhythm.

RAM (radial-axis magnetism) Technology features small magnetic spheres in groups of six. Each magnet is positioned so that its positive-negative axis is rotated 60 degrees relative to its neighbor. Arranged in a circle, these sequentially rotated spheres produce a series of overlapping magnetic fields. This means that the flux energies enclose any object in proximity to them. No matter how any contact is applied, positioned, or shifted, the magnetic cocoon remains constant.

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Asheville is surrounded by the beautiful Smoky Mountains. Everywhere you look are gentle, round mountains and in late October the colors are warm, vibrant and delicious. Even the trees in town are beautiful.

When I visit a new place I like to get a feel of what it is like to live there. I am not so into being a tourist, although I did some touristy things. I am interested in the food stores, the farming, the organic restaurants even the yoga classes. Here are some stores I visited last week.

Greenlife Grocery (where they now bake organic bagels) has a delicious hot bar, and is well-stocked particularly with local products and produce. I bought a jar of local sauerkraut- totally delicious, made by Viable Cultures who also manufacture kombucha and tempeh. EarthFare is another large store with all imaginable products. Their conscious philosphy is inspiring:

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I want to mention The French Broad Food Coop which has been around for almost 35 years, having started as a group of families buying cooperatively and now a busy and large store. “The French Broad Food Co-op is a store owned by the people who shop here, and we work hard to satisfy your shopping needs in a courteous and conscientious way. Shares are fully refundable.” You can also subscribe to a discounted group health insurance program.

Last but most exciting to me are the Farmer’s and Tailgate Markets which you can access at over 25 locations from early spring until late fall.

The Asheville area has much to offer for the health conscious person. Next post: where to stay!


It is hot and humid and I am sleep-challenged in weather like this. I have looked all through the internet to find out the biological connections and have not come up with many reasons for my wakefulness except I can’t sleep when it’s hot. Even on my Nikken sleep system.

According to Dr. Jonathan Fleming, co-director of the sleep program at University of B.C. Hospital, controlling your environment is crucial to getting a good night’s sleep. In an article in The Province, Fleming goes on to say that even those who sleep well will not get optimal rest in the heat. People have less Rapid Eye Movement sleep, which is associated with memory and cognition. They also experience more unconscious awakenings, he said. Unconscious awakenings? What the heck are those? I can’t find anything in that category anywhere on the internet- I have to assume that means when we wake up but aren’t really aware of it – like when we change positions, roll over, fluff the pillow, whatever and do not remember doing so.

But Fleming added that people shouldn’t be too concerned about lost sleep during the heat wave. Temperature-related wakefulness only accounts for half an hour of lost sleep per night. Then why did I toss and turn ALL NIGHT- finally falling unconscious when the sun came up?

There are only a few nights in the summer when I find it hard to sleep. We do not use air conditioners in our bedroom- it usually cools down at night in the foothills of the Berkshires. But we have just purchased a “swamp cooler”- a fan that blows air over a reservoir of cold water- will let you know if it helps- But some other helpful things to do to cool down at bed time include taking a cool shower, putting a bowl of ice in front of a fan, opening windows at night to cool down the house and closing the house, pulling shades in the morning to keep the cool air in. Try putting a damp towel in the freezer for a few minutes and wearing on your head or around your neck for awhile, having a spritzer bottle of water to spray over the bed every once in awhile. Any other suggestions besides checking into a motel for a few nights, let me know.