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#YouKnowMe: 3 Brave Yogis Sharing Their Abortion Stories After The Recent Ban

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We found three yogis who are destigmatizing abortion and creating healing spaces for those who have experienced medically induced pregnancy loss.

If you’ve been watching the news, you’ve probably heard about Alabama’s recent abortion ban that makes it a felony for any doctor to perform an abortion during any stage of pregnancy—making no exceptions for victims of rape or incest. In solidarity of those affected by the ban, people are taking to social media to share their personal stories through the hashtags, #youknowme and #1in4 . We found three yogis who are destigmatizing abortion and creating healing spaces for those who have experienced medically induced pregnancy loss. 

See also 7 Things You Should Do for a Grieving Friend

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1. Kassi Underwood

“For some of you who have experienced abortion, I know forgetting seems impossible, even for a few hours, even if you don’t feel bad or sad about it—it’s a thought that changes shape and finds new ways to drive you crazy. 

Listen: you’re going to find something that works for you, a Practice, a prayer, a meditation, a habit of mind and shift in perception that makes you feel peaceful, confident, and free. 

It might take time. It will probably take more than healing crystals and therapy. That’s okay. 

Don’t fight the thoughts. Close your eyes and dare them to come. Get interested in what they have to say. 

If you can’t stop thinking about it, know that’s a fear, and behind the fear there’s a lie, and behind the lie there’s a truth, and in that truth is your treasure trove of wisdom.

You are expected to feel silenced or to shout your abortion, either to regret or rejoice in your abortion, to label yourself a victim or a villain. Don’t fall for any of it. Trying to meet these expectations will block the wisdom wanting to flow through you. 

People who’ve had an abortion have a treasure trove of wisdom that people who haven’t had an abortion simply don’t have access to. 

I think I’m a way better mother than I would have been if I hadn’t had an abortion. If you’re a mom and haven’t had an abortion, well I just feel sorry for you. Kidding—but the abortion I had and the searching I did afterward gave me wisdom about myself and motherhood that I never would have learned without it. Grateful for it all. If you’re searching, keep searching. The daily spiritual practice is where the revolution begins.”

See also This Home Practice Will Help You Reconnect to Your Body After a Miscarriage

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2. Sara Avant Stover

“We need to remember that pregnancy loss ALSO includes when a woman has an abortion. Not in every case (sometimes the decision to terminate is clear, easy, and doesn’t feel like a loss). But in many cases, abortion is also a mother saying goodbye to her child when she found she simply had no other option.

Please include us—with compassion and without judgement—in books, conversations, and support groups for women who have lost their babies. We’re grieving, just like you.”

See also Yoga After Miscarriage: A 6-Pose Healing Practice

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3. Irene Morning

“TW: abortion, substance use, intimate partner violence⁣ ⁣

I HAD AN ABORTION. And if I could scream it any louder on IG right now, I would. I have the privilege to talk about it publicly without repercussion, and honestly, I’m sorry I haven’t sooner because I think silence around abortion is one part of why we’re backsliding so drastically right now. ⁣

I’m not going to tell my abortion story from a place of emotional strife because I don’t feel anger toward the experience anymore. There was a toxic relationship, deep love, abusive behavior, cocaine and alcohol use, borderline physical aggression, and a whole bunch of other things that are actually very normal when you’re a well-off white girl with poorly managed trauma. ⁣

My partner and I both had our plates overflowing with poorly managed trauma. We did not know how to show up for ourselves, let alone each other. We were both so wrapped up in (mis)managing the pain of our lives to that point that the only ways we knew to handle our relationship were manipulative and violent. ⁣

In the end, and in my body, I felt that taking on motherhood in those circumstances would create a legacy of manipulation and violence. To me, that posed a greater ethical challenge than terminating a pregnancy at 7 weeks. ⁣

This, by the way, is not to say I judge the woman in a similar situation who makes another choice. She has different reasons and feelings than I do, and I respect that. What I do feel anger toward is having men who cannot speak to these experiences make policies that send the message that our choices are neither normal nor moral. ⁣

We who get pregnant need the power to make our own choices. We know. There is innate wisdom inside of us that brings about what is right, weighing all the circumstances. It doesn’t always feel that way in the moment, but we are all always doing the best we can with what we have. ⁣

To anyone and everyone who has been impacted by this political battle, is currently impacted, and will be impacted in the future, I see you, I feel you, I love you, and I trust your relationship with your own body.”

See also Feeling Angry—And Can’t Seem to Let It Go? This Sequence Can Help





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Ayurveda

5 Yogis Using Their Practice to Heal On The Mat

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These yogis have used their yoga practice to help them battle life-long illnesses and fight cancer.

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1. Andrea Clary

“2018 was the most challenging year of my life thus far. I received news that would change my life forever. A diagnosis that hit me like a ton of bricks and would alter my life course. I went from bike riding, teaching yoga, and working full time as mental health professional, to being confined to a hospital room. My body now felt as though it was no longer my own, but a landscape for science and medicine. I endured several rounds of chemo, invasive procedures, and rapid changes in my physical and mental state. I was stripped of my physical strength, my weight, my hair, my practice and many other things I clung to. Suddenly, I had to choose whether to live fully and fight, or give in. I made up in my mind I wasn’t here to give up. I was here to triumph. I held on to this idea through every moment I experienced fear, pain and sorrow. I would say out loud, “This will not be my life.” I was faced with learning how to spiritually grow through stillness in the midst of an experience testing every fiber of my being. In that stillness, I began to discover myself. I discovered grace. A word that was beautifully appointed by my closest friend in my darkest time.

Yoga isn’t just helping me heal, it’s helping me live. It aided me in fortifying my mind, body and spirit. It helped me understand a new concept of strength, helping me soar over each medical hurdle I faced. I claimed remission and 8 months later, here I am in remission, cancer FREE. Continued healing in my navigation of this second life is a process I work towards through yoga and an evolving spiritual practice. With each day there may be a new challenge and it may thwart you. Keep going anyway. Personal growth is not linear. There may be loops, triggers, setbacks or repeated patterns, but each is designed to help you learn and propel you further. You are more than a diagnosis. You are a soul having experiences bringing you to and through circumstances contributing to growth. You are a source of light made to shine brighter than your wildest dreams. Believe in this, believe in yourself and believe you are uniquely crafted to inspire!”

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2. Adria Moss

“Hi, my name is Adria and I define warrior. I very well could’ve gave up 13 years ago after being diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. I very well could’ve thrown in the towel 6 years ago after my surgery left me on life support. I could’ve stopped when I couldn’t work and couldn’t afford my car payment anymore. I could’ve given up when I filed bankruptcy alone without a lawyer at 21 because I couldn’t afford to pay my medical bills. I could’ve given up when I suffered from depression and suicide ideation. I could’ve given up at the sight of my own body, now scarred by the trauma. I could’ve not shared this with you but for what? I could’ve done a lot of other things besides get up time and time again. And honestly, my story is very undefined. You see the beauty, you see the healed scar, you see the good and I’m glad. Pain should indeed polish you. But just know that this lotus comes from the mud. And I wouldn’t change a thing. Favored. Highly blessed. And motivated to change the way we view one another. Every one is fighting a battle unseen, don’t you ever forget it. I will continue to be uplifted and shine the light that was so graciously given to me. This is warriorism, undefined. Don’t run from the pain, run towards it.”

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3. Yulady Saluti 

Today is my Cancerversary. 7 years ago I opened my eyes from surgery and saw my husband [husband’s] face. Instead of the smile I was expecting I noticed a tear rolling down his cheek. Instinctively I asked him “how did the surgery go?” As soon as he spoke I understood where his beautiful smile had gone. “Honey, you have cancer” were his words. When he spoke the words they seemed to hang in the air for a while. Then the words started to settle. Out of the air the words drifted and took a seat right in the center of my chest. We had been through so many problems with my health already. We held each other and cried. It was one of those cry’s that leaves you heaving for breath. Why me?! Why now?! My mind raced. Finally, after what seemed like forever, we started to take slow deep breaths together. Syncing our breath made it feel like we were one. Cancer had no chance at that point. Together we can do anything. Whatever Cancer wanted it could have. It couldn’t take “us” away from each other no matter what it took from me.”

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4. Jessica DiLorenzo 

“A lot can happen in 3 years if you put your heart to it. 3 years of intense emotional and physical healing. 3 years of loving wholeheartedly. 3 years of making peace with new pieces of me. 3 years of receiving guidance and support in so many forms. 3 years of developing skills for deep listening. 3 years of trusting my intuition, of forgetting and remembering. I’m just far away from it now that sometimes I forget it ever happened. Those are the best days. This week I did a lot of reflecting on the struggles and the growth, knowledge, and appreciation for EVERYTHING that came after. Thank you to the teachers (especially the little tiny ones) who guided me straight back to my heart when I started to stray. Presence is everything, and working with children and their teachers/mamas demands it of me. What an honour to serve in aprofession that gives students and teachers voice and freedom to express knowledge, feelings, and creativity in so many forms. This is a great life. I’m thankful to be here with all of you. #3yearsfreeofcancer”

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5. Ash “Breast Cancer Yogi”

“When I found out I had breast cancer, I was afraid I’d never achieve my goal of doing a handstand. But I realized it was my LIMITING BELIEFS that were keeping me from even trying:

➣ “I’ll never have the range of motion I did before my mastectomy”

➣ “I’ll never have the strength I did before my mastectomy”

➣ “I will be too sick to train as hard as I want to”

➣ “I am diseased”

➣ “My athletic life is over”

➣ “I might as well give up”

Then I saw people like @paige_previvor hitting the gym after her mastectomy. @katiemarvinney running the Boston Marathon after chemo. These inspiring women were living their lives and crushing their goals–and I wanted to be one of them.

So I replaced my limiting beliefs with positive ones, and just like that… my life overflowed with potential.

➣ “I’ll work within my new limits, but I’ll keep pushing to expand them”

➣ “I can get stronger than I ever was before”

➣ “I will accept off days for what they are, and bounce back with a vengeance”

➣ “I have been given a new chance at life”

➣ “My new athletic life is just beginning”

➣ “I will never give up 

Follow @yogajournal on Instagram to see a weekly spotlight of inspiring yogis in our community. 



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Ayurveda

7 Ways to Stay Healthy While Traveling Through India

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Ayurvedic practitioner and holistic health coach Sahara Rose shares her best advice for avoiding an upset stomach and keeping your immune system strong when traveling.

Photo excerpted from Eat Feel Fresh: A Contemporary Plant-Based Ayurvedic Cookbook by Sahara Rose Ketabi. © 2018, First American Edition, DK Publishing. Sahara Rose Ketabi is the best-selling author of Idiot’s Guide to Ayurveda. Learn more at iamsahararose.com.

1. Carry essential oils.

My favorite for India is doTERRA DigestZen, which contains an Ayurvedic blend of anise seed, peppermint plant, ginger root, caraway seed, coriander seed, tarragon plant, and fennel seed oil. I drink this with hot water every day—even when I’m not traveling to India—to keep my digestion on point.

2. Take oil of oregano capsules.

Start with one dose a day (follow instructions on the supplement package) three days before you go to India and continue it taking every day while you’re there. “Oil of oregano is like a natural antibiotic, which can help prime your body for any exposure to bacteria or parasites,” Rose says.

See also 18+ Ways to Use Your Essential Oils

3. Take peppermint oil capsules before meals.

This will help aid digestion and also kill bacteria.

4. Take high-quality, diverse-strained, shelf-stable probiotics.

India can be hot, even when you’re traveling in winter, which is why you’ll want to make sure none of your supplements require refrigeration. “Probiotics are great because they introduce more bugs to your microbiome and have been linked with higher immunity,” Rose says. “In the US, we’re not exposed to a wide range of bacteria in our food source. In India, you will be—and that can be a major shock to your digestive system.”

See also Probiotics 101: Your Go-To for Gut Health

5. Pack protein bars.

Choose a low-glycemic, high-fat bar with medium protein to keep you satiated and nourished. You will be ecstatic when you have nothing else to eat and remember you have these bars in your bag.

6. Bring your own chocolate.

If you have a sweet tooth, carry your own low-glycemic, high-quality chocolate. “Indian sweets have a lot of sugar and dairy, which can cause an upset stomach,” Rose says.

7. Always choose cooked foods and peel-able fruits.

The reason everyone tells you not to eat raw foods in India is because of the different bacteria and parasites in the soil, Rose says. Her go-to meal: palak paneer (spinach curry with cottage cheese) with vegetables, which is a common Indian dish available at almost any restaurant. “I ask to replace the cheese with mixed vegetables, which is usually broccoli, mushrooms, and peas,” she says. “I have that with whole-wheat flatbread, called chapati, or rice and add a side of cucumber raita, which is like Indian tzatziki.”

Banana with almond butter (which Rose brings with her from the United States) is one of her favorite breakfasts when traveling in India. “Mangoes are also a must-try—during mango season there are hundreds of varieties,” she says. “Just steer clear of grapes, berries, and apples—unless you peel them.” 

See also 4 Ways to Practice Wellness On the Road



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Need to Improve Digestion? Add This Ayurvedic Principle to Your Meal Prep

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Set the stage for stronger digestive fire with this essential kitchen practice.

Craving change but feeling too stuck, sluggish, or restless to take aim? Join John Douillard, founder of LifeSpa.com, and Larissa Hall Carlson, Ayurveda Yoga Specialist, for Ayurveda 201: Six Weeks to Transformation and Bliss Through Ayurvedic Psychology. In this new online course, you’ll experience: unique yoga practices; inspiring discussions backed by science; and recipes, herbs, and a short, gentle cleanse. The results? Clarity, brilliance, and balance so you can create lasting shifts in your life and well-being. Learn more and sign up today!

According to Ayurveda, there’s more to optimal digestion than eating for your dosha (constitution) and planning sattvic (pure, balanced) meals. In fact, it starts before you take your first bite. Here, Larissa Hall Carlson, who co-teaches our upcoming course, Ayurveda 201, with John Douillard, reveals the ideal way to prepare your meal.

Watch also Relieve Tension with a Daily Ayurvedic Head Massage



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