I LOVE My Womb (Photo Challenge): Day 1 – Favourite African Goddess

Today’s photo challenge was to post a photo of my favorite African Goddess. Yemaya is the African Orisha Goddess (ruler of the ocean, deep seas, and lakes), that I connect with the most. I don’t know everything about her, AND every time the opportunity for learning more about African Orishas come up, I’m always drawn to Yemaya’s energy.

I believe I connect with Yemaya, off top, because of her association with water. It took a long time for me to get used to water. I mean, I like to drink it and bathe in it, but large masses of water sort of freak me out. That feeling is because, I am not the best swimmer.

I have the worst childhood memories of me vs large bodies of water. For instance, this one time when I was on a field trip (age 5 or 6) at the local YMCA, and instead of the swim instructor LOVINGLY coaching me through my fears of being in the swimming pool (no floaties at all), this fool drops me in the deep part of the pool. You know that saying, “sink or swim”? Well, I sunk. I didn’t put up a fight to even try to swim. I literally gave in to the water.

Another time, (around the age of 7 to 9), I was at the beach with a family friend. The day was beautiful, partly sunny, and full of all the sandcastles I could make, because, I WAS NOT GOING NEAR THE OCEAN. Playing along the shore, I also watched how other kids, and just people in general, were fearlessly enjoying the ocean, I mean all the way up to their waists. And to me, that was unheard of, because once again, I WAS NOT GOING NEAR THE OCEAN.

Bravery, started to settle in, because I wanted to experience the same joy THOSE people were feeling in the ocean. I put my  little blue pail aside, and began to walk towards the shoreline. Water hitting right at my toes, I went in a little further. Water hitting right at my ankles, I went in a little bit more. Water hitting right at my knees, and I’m starting to feel myself a lil’ bit… so much, that I turned my back to the ocean and stepped in further, and now the water is hitting right at the middle of my thighs.

I turned around to look at everyone playing in the ocean, who is now behind me, and fear automatically sets in. The biggest wave I’ve ever seen is rising high, and it looks like it’s about to swallow me. I try to run, but as the tide is moving me back and forth, my feet loses it’s grip because guess what? I’m standing on a sand bar!

So when I come back to consciousness on the shore, all I can remember is a big ass wave swallowing me, taking me deep into the ocean, and throwing me back on the shore. Talk about NEVER EVER wanting to get near an ocean again, that was me!

So now, being grown and conquering some fears associated with water, I’m not so afraid.

I said all of that to say, my experiences with water has played a major role in my life, by cleansing (physical and spiritual) and, ritual healing and offering. The representation of Yemaya and water, could have been a mini rites of passage for my role as the person I am today, a mother, a nurturer, empathic, a healer, etc…

For me, I connect with Yemaya because of her associations with the number 7, spirituality, moonstone, clear quartz, turquoise, sandalwood, and cowrie shells (all of my favorite things). And although, I may have had a traumatic experience with what Yemaya is the ruler of, being in tune with her energy gives me comfort, healing, and understanding to the wombman I am, and becoming.

She is water, she is magic, she is healing, she is Mama Watta!

My intention for the remainder of the #ILOVEMYWOMB photo challenge is to bring Yemaya into my morning meditations.

To get in on this awe-inspiring and fun journey of womb healing and awareness, follow along and participate each day for the next 30 days, of the #ILOVEMYWOMBPHOTOCHALLENGE (@ILOVEMYWOMB).

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The Buddha Spotlight: Author of Mama Glow – Latham Thomas

Namaste y’all!

The Buddha Spotlight introduces you to Latham Thomas

 

Goddess Mena Love: Do you have any advice for women trying to conceive naturally?

Latham Thomas:  Stop “trying” and start being. Now what do I mean by that- procreation, like any other natural process does not require thinking, planning or strategizing- it’s really not about designing your sex life around when you are ovulating, it’s about practicing a lot with your partner, having a lot of good sex on a regular basis as a training ground to boost your fertility. With conception- its less about control and more about surrender, letting go, and being receptive, which happens when you relax and forget about the outcome, and focus on being in the moment. Embody the sexiness and have fun!

 

Goddess Mena Love:  How important is meditation while pregnant?

Latham:  I believe you should implement practices that work for you. Some people don’t enjoy meditation- because they aren’t ready for it. So they have to find a way to transcend that they enjoy. There are lots of benefits to meditating while pregnant- including increased oxygen flow to baby.

 

Goddess Mena Love:  How important is to change your diet before & during pregnancy?

Latham:  What you eat will become the building blocks of your future child. Would you rather build a castle of sand or of stone? Preconception detoxification- which I outline in the pre-pregnancy section of the book, and a healthy plant based diet of whole foods with a focus on what I’ve termed “glow foods” for optimal wellness. Find recipes on www.MamaGlow.com.

 

Goddess Mena Love:  Tell me about your doula experience.  What inspired you to become a doula?

Latham:  Becoming a doula seemed like a natural progression to my work. I was serving pregnant women in my prenatal yoga classes, many of them found that my soothing energy and sense of calm was just what they wanted when they went into labor. I applied for a fellowship and was trained as a doula with the Hudson Perinatal Consortium. My experience as a doula has influenced every aspect of my life, including my parenting. A lot of the principals echo teachings from yoga. I have learned to trust the process, go with the flow, watch and wait, listen, take a back seat and support each of these lessons are addressed in my book as well.

 

 

Goddess Mena Love:  Any advice for women who would like to become a doula?

Latham:  Listen to the calling to serve. Find a community.

 

Goddess Mena Love:  What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned on your path of awakening?

Latham:  The birth of my son was the biggest lesson.

 

Goddess Mena Love:  What’s music are you listening to, right now? What’s in your playlist?

Latham:  I listen to everything- it depends on my mood. Lots of classic soul. I love Baptize by RKCB.

 

Goddess Mena Love:  What advice do you have for women going through depression (i.e. post partum depression) without a healthy team of support?

Latham:  It’s important to build a sister circle of support around you especially if you have a history of depression prior to pregnancy. See http://mamaglow.com/get-help-depression-pregnancy-alone/

 

Goddess Mena Love:  What is your favorite quote?

Latham:  Nothing ever goes away until it teaches us what we need to know. ~Pema Chodron

 

 

Goddess Mena Love:  What are some tips for manifesting dreams into reality?

Latham:  I don’t use the word “manifest” all things are born from the womb- from the feminine principal. So I use language that reflects our power in being creatrixes. Wombifesting– is about creating a vacuum and drawing what you want to yourself rather than chasing it down. Dreams are reality waiting to happen if you align your beliefs, actions then they are born. Focus on one thing and nurture it- where you focus your energy fruit is born.

 

Goddess Mena Love:  How important is it to speak affirmations to yourself?

Latham:  It’s very important to speak blessings on yourself. But if you don’t believe what you are saying it doesn’t work. Words are powerful and can heal.

 

Goddess Mena Love:  What’s your meditation destination?

Latham:  I don’t go someplace in my mind- I allow the sensations moving through me to take the driver’s seat.

 

 

Goddess Mena Love:  Are you a vegan or vegetarian? How important is it to change your diet while living a spiritual life?

Latham:  I eat a vegan diet and it works for me. I’ve been vegan since I was 14. I believe assessing your diet is always a positive thing. Your diet may need to change periodically- certainly with the seasons for instance. The more you eat high vibrational whole foods- the better you feel. Plants specifically have information that programs our cells.

 

Goddess Mena Love:  What’s your favorite healthy comfort food?

Latham:  Popcorn cooked in coconut oil and topped with truffle salt.

 

Goddess Mena Love:  What is your favorite healing plant?

Latham:  Yarrow and Raspberry leaf.

 

Goddess Mena Love:  When you are not at home, how do you create peace for yourself?

Latham:  I’m a Taurus so I always have to feel grounded wherever I am. I bring objects that make me feel cozy while traveling. But otherwise when I close my eyes and breathe I make space for myself.

 

Goddess Mena Love:  No one speaks too much about consciously dating. What are your views on dating or being in a relationship with a mate that may not fully understand the path you’re on?

Latham:  I date who I feel a magnetic affinity toward. Who inspires me and who I inspire. I don’t expect him to understand my path- it’s for me to unfold. All I expect is for him to respect what I am doing, and where I am headed and just support me along the journey. If you focus on just being yourself and leading by example- the best in you will influence your partner and vice versa.

 

Goddess Mena Love:  Any advice for people who are just starting out on this path of awakening?

Latham:  Listen to the whispers within.

 

 

 

Latham Thomas is a maternity lifestyle maven, women’s wellness & birth coach, on the vanguard of transforming the maternal & women’s wellness movement. A graduate of Columbia University & The Institute for Integrative Nutrition, Latham is the founder of Mama Glow  a holistic lifestyle hub for women to explore optimal wellbeing. Her practice provides support to pre/postnatal women along their journey to motherhood offering culinary and nutritional services, yoga, and birth coaching services. She is co-founder of the Mama Glow Film Festival- a platform for maternal advocacy through film and philanthropy which launched in 2011 with Christy Turlington-Burns and Selita Ebanks. Latham recently launched the Mama Glow Salon Series– a platform for birthing conversations around cocktails, panels, and discussions. Latham launched the Mama Glow Salon Series in 2012 hosting the east coast premiere of Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein’s film More Business of Being Born. Bridging the gap between optimal wellness, spiritual growth, and radical self-care Latham Thomas is emerging as the go-to-guru for modern holistic lifestyle for women during pregnancy and beyond!
Latham is a recurring guest on the Style Network hit show Tia and Tamera, where she has served as Tamera’s doula. A sought after nutrition and lifestyle expert, her television appearances include The Dr. Oz Show, Fox News LIVE, CBS News, ABC Eyewitness News, NBC-LXTV, The Couch, TODAY Show Australia, and Inside Edition. She has been featured in the London Times Sunday Styles Magazine, Du Jour, Fit Pregnancy, Style Network online, GQ British, New York Daily News, New York Post, Time Out New York, Vogue.com, Whole Living, Essence Magazine, the cover of Experience Life Magazine, Global Grind, and VegNews Magazine, Cosmopolitan. She is the host of the new Scripps network web series- Om on the Go which features fitness interviews with: Venus Williams, Gabrielle Bernstein,  Daphne Oz, Kris Carr, and more. Latham was selected to speak on an esteemed panel at Arianna Huffington’s Thrive Conference at City Center alongside Dr. Dean Ornish, Lucy Danziger and Mark Bertolini.
She lives in New York City with her son Fulano and their turtle Climby. Latham’s first book- “Mama Glow: A Hip Guide to Your Fabulous Abundant Pregnancy”, foreword by Christiane Northrup, M.D. debuted at #1 on Amazon in November of 2012. Latham celebrated the launch of her anticipated book in partnership with Morgan Stanley, Fit Pregnancy and hosted by fashion maven and client Rebecca Minkoff. Mama Glow has been endorsed by esteemed physicians including Frank Lipman, M.D., Mark Hyman, M.D., Neal Barnard, M.D., Richard Ash, M.D. and Lissa Rankin, M.D.  Latham is helping to green the planet one belly at a time.

 

© Copyright 2014 – Goddess Mena Love. All Rights Reserved

The Buddha Spotlight: RYT & Holistic Health Practitioner – Dana A. Smith (Pt. 1)

 

 

Dana A. Smith SpiritualEssenceYoga.com

Dana A. Smith
SpiritualEssenceYoga.com

Namaste ya’ll!

The Buddha Spotlight introduces you to Certified Yoga Teacher (RYT), Holistic Health Practitioner, Intuitive Counselor, and Author of Yes, Yoga Has Curves, Dana A. Smith.

 

Goddess Mena Love:  Why did you decide to open a yoga studio?

Dana A. Smith:  I was inspired to open a yoga studio after I had outgrown teaching in my home. I wanted to reach more people but couldn’t do it out of the basement of my home. I set the intention to have a space that would better allow me to serve my community and through a string of miracles I was able to open my studio in 2008.

 

Goddess Mena Love:  Explain Jiivana Yoga.

Dana: Jiivana Yoga (pronounced Jee-Vah-Nah) is actually a style of yoga created by me. I’ve experienced many wonderful styles of yoga and found that there were pieces of each that really resonated with me. I had been facilitating yoga teacher training for 4 years and realized that in order for me to teach my trainees in a way that was authentic to me I had to create my own style of yoga. My yoga practice led me to Thai Yoga Massage, which led me to Reiki, which led me to Life Coaching. All of these modalities allowed me to grow mentally, spiritually, emotionally and physically and I wanted my trainees and my students to experience something similar. I didn’t want them to rely solely on coming to class to heal or even coming in for a Thai Massage or Reiki treatment. I wanted to teach others how to create a strong foundation to grow and feel empowered by what they were learning. For me yoga is life and I searched for a Sanskrit word that translated Life and Jiivana was that. I went further to break the word Life into an acronym – Living Inspired and Fearless Everyday. My belief is that we should be inspired in life. The things around us should inspire us, motivate us. We should be courage enough to release fear (f.alse e.vidence a.ppearing r.eal) and flow in light everyday.

Dana A. Smith SpiritualEssenceYoga.com

Dana A. Smith
SpiritualEssenceYoga.com

 

Goddess Mena Love:   Do you find it hard to expose yoga to African Americans?

Dana:  I wouldn’t say it is hard but in some instances it has taken a lot of work to dispel the myths and educate on what yoga is and what it isn’t.

 

Goddess Mena Love:   What advice can you give to people who are afraid to integrate yoga with their current belief system or religion?

Dana:  My advice would be for them to let go of fear and lean what the true essence of yoga is. Yoga is a healthy system designed to align mind, body and spirit. It isn’t reliant on any religion or belief outside of you believing that you have the power to shift your life for the better. Education is key! Most people new to yoga have not idea of what it is and how it can help them. Giving them the history and purpose of yoga goes a long way in making others feel comfortable in practicing.

 

Goddess Mena Love:   Do you have any tips on yoga and fertility?

Dana:  The key to yoga and fertility is balancing the sacral chakra (home of the womb) and the heart chakra (the true brain). The mind is also a powerful thing and as the quote above states you have to believe it (that you are fertile, supple and a vehicle for life) in order for it to be so. I’ve worked with quite a few wonderful women who were getting over womb issues and infertility issues. I always have them to start out with forgiveness exercises (for self) and then advise them on ways to balance the sacral chakra.

 

Goddess Mena Love:  Finish this statement.  Yoga gives me access to…..

Dana: Yoga gives me access to my unconditional joy.

Dana A. Smith SpiritualEssenceYoga.com

Dana A. Smith
SpiritualEssenceYoga.com

 

Goddess Mena Love:  What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned from teaching yoga?

Dana:  I learned that people are much stronger than they give themselves credit for! I also learned that I can be a positive force to facilitate change in others.

 

Goddess Mena Love:  Can you explain Thai Yoga Bodywork and the benefits?

Dana: Thai Yoga Bodywork (also known as Thai Yoga Massage) is an ancient form of therapeutic healing. It combines acupressure, energy balancing, stretching, and yoga asanas. There many are benefits of Thai Massage. It increase flexibility, range of motion and energy level.

Dana A. Smith SpiritualEssenceYoga.com

Dana A. Smith
SpiritualEssenceYoga.com

 

Goddess Mena Love:   You have a variety of ongoing workshops at Spiritual Essence Yoga, with so much to learn and teach, how do you decide what workshops to provide?

Dana:  I base my workshops on what my students say they need. I love to talk to my students and see how their practice is coming along and what is going on in their lives.

 

Goddess Mena Love:  How important is it to change your diet while living a more spiritual life?

Dana:  Changing my diet from a mostly processed to clean eating really changed my spiritual health. Eating healthy allows me to be more at ease and helps to increase my energy.

 

Goddess Mena Love:  What’s your favorite song/movie? What kind of music are you listening to right now?

Dana:  My favorite movie is actually the Color Purple. The story of struggle, perseverance and forgiveness is powerful to me. Fela Kuti is on heavy rotation on my iPod. The songs sing to my soul deeply.

 

 

 

© Copyright 2014 – Goddess Mena Love. All Rights Reserved