Finding the light…

There are times in life that call for a going within the self just to be, to feel connected to the life force within us, with neither expectations nor desires. During times of challenging transformations, which some people may call rough/tough/ or hard, it can feel like too much work to try to be social, to “do” stuff, to push through other people’s needs and expectations.  When we choose to see these times as gifts too, opportunities to go within, to seek and reconnect with the light and life within us, we hear and see what our unique truths are. We can be present for ourselves, with our selves and in ways that allow each moment to reveal the presents in presence.  Appreciate the gift of you, as you are, how you are. Go within so that when you do come out, being with you really is like finding the light. Your light shining attracts more light. It is like this everywhere in nature, like attracts like. As I sit here writing this to you, for me, from me to you, in my mind I’m being serenaded… “this little light of mine… I’m gonna let it shine… let it shine… let it shine… let it shine”…

(From Barra, Salvador do Bahia, Brazil – with Kapha love!)

Monthly happenings…

I often hear people say that there’s “nothing happening” when in fact there is always something happening with Soul Wisdom International…

Sometimes it’s yoga, sometimes ayurveda, sometimes international eduction, sometimes it’s other people and places doing interesting stuff we want to support.  And sometimes it’s simply sitting still, cultivating the ancient art and wisdom of not-doing and this, is really something!

Here on our “Happenings” page is where we share information about upcoming happenings.  Our goal is to make the something more visible.

Each month on the final Monday we dedicate special time to spend with you sharing soul wisdom.  Unlike the other forms of sharing, on the final Monday of each month we present a video or an open workshop either online, in person, or on air.

What is SoupAyoga?

SoupAyoga combines my deep, soulful love of cooking (soups) with the wisdom of ayurveda and the practice of yoga.  I make vegan (sometimes vegetarian) soups from local, sustainable ingredients, using food knowledge I’ve cultivated through over 35 years of study and practice all over the world. I combine multicultural flavor profiles with the health benefits of ayurveda to create what people have consistently called “fantastic” soups that are substantial and balanced enough to have as a full meal.  When I first started sharing my soups I was bringing them to the yoga classes I teach and quickly realized that my desire to cook and share was actually fulfilling a very necessary void – what to eat after yoga?  How to eat in a way that bolsters and supports the elemental balancing ayurvedic yoga classes intends?  My soups are tridoshic (meaning good for everyone) but sometimes lean towards elements either I need to balance or that the natural environment is inspiring and encouraging, usually both.

How does it work?  On Saturdays I go to the local farmer’s market and select the best of what’s in season!  This usually involves green leafy vegetables, something brightly colored like carrots and or sweet potatoes, some type(s) of peppers, herbs, and really anything else perky and bright.  I love the fact that the market I go to only carries produce from local farmers who they know.  Everything I buy there is organic and tastes pure and extremely fresh.  All of the colors are vibrant and enticing.  Since my approach to yoga is holistic, including a combination of meditation, asana (movement), and pranayama (breathwork), I practice before, during and after cooking.  Somedays I have an idea of the flavors I’m aiming for but mostly, I take everything out and lay all of the veggies (and legumes) on the counter so that I can see them and wait to see what speaks to me.  I layer flavors starting with the spices and vegetables that grow underground and build the soup ingredients up to the smallest, leafiest items which go in last.

Why soup?  It’s a perfect meal!  It can be made as hearty or as light as possible.  You can have a lot or a little depending on the time of the day.  Fresh ingredients maintain their freshness and it can be enjoyed during any season.  Depending on the oils, spices, and combination of pulses and vegetables, soups can be made to balance and optimize any elemental combination.

 

 

 

 

Seeing beauty in the world…

Ayurveda has enhanced the way I see beauty in the world. Everything I already cherished, became even more beautiful as soon as I gained an understanding that everything has it’s own true nature, it’s own sense of size, proportion, and movement. When we study the doshas we start with an understanding of their qualities.  Seeing the nature of earth and water combined in a physique allows an appreciation for a solid frame with curves and fleshiness as natural, perfect in and of itself.  This body has it’s own innate beauty.  It will never be the same as the physique made up of air and ether which by its very nature has little to no substance.  The thick boned body, capable of withstanding weight, innately juicy, soft, supple-skinned, warm complected, with luscious hair and strong, and sturdy teeth, may not have a metabolism as quick as the body type ruled by fire and water and this too is more than okay.  It is as it is.  And in this being, in this truth of nature, there is profound beauty.

Furthermore, understanding the qualities of air as mobile makes it easier to appreciate the nature of things changing, seeing that the quality of fire is to spread, and that the quality of earth combined with water produces stickiness may seem totally logical, but when we apply these same qualities to how we think, how our bodies and minds digest, a whole new perspective enters. If the quality of water and earth is stickiness, it would naturally be harder for someone with this disposition to loose weight than someone with a predominant amount of air with all of the movement that brings. Notice, kapha dosha, the one made up of earth and water has no air in it naturally which means all of the things that would move this disposition would have to be introduced, added, or encountered in some way. The dosha with fire burns… through everything – food, ideas, emotions – everything – and fire combined with water would naturally spread needing earth to be added to it to slow it down, bring it to a place of manageability.  From this perspective we have the capacity to adjust what, how and when we eat (in terms of foods, ideas, and energies) to achieve ultimate balance based on who we are and what elements are most prevalent in us individually.  There really is freedom in loving the individual skin you are in, just as it is.  When we gain an appreciation for things as they are, celebrating the true nature of things because they are what and how they are, freedom and the ability to love freely enters.  To me this is what embracing your kapha(ness) and celebrating true, unconditional self-love is all about.

 

 

 

 

How to reach us…

 

SoulWisdomInternational15

Dr. Keshia Abraham is a 750hour Kripalu certified Ayurevedic yoga specialist originally certified as a Hatha yoga instructor at Synergy Yoga over 10 years ago. She holds a PhD in Comparative Literature with concentrations in African and African diasporic women’s literature, popular education and women’s studies. Her work in International Education, specifically Education Abroad, has strengthened and given direction to her work at an Historically Black University as Dean of Arts and Sciences and Chair of Humanities. She is passionate about global citizenship, spirituality and natural wellness.

 

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Riding the waves…

A while back, during an Ayurvedic yoga teacher’s training, I heard something that has stuck with me for years… well, most of what I learn sticks with me, which is one of the blessings of having a constitution made primarily of earth and water, like mud, things stick…
We were learning about how to treat each dosha type while teaching yoga. The lesson was about how to address each dosha type in a way most effective for them. Basically we approach pitta (fire and air) with some sweetness, some grounding but also with direct information because the need specifics. For the vata types (ether and air) the basic information also included helping them feel grounded, directed, bringing focus. It was when we got to kapha (earth and water) that my heart sunk, and something profound in me shifted. “CRUSH THE KAPHA”, they said. “You have to be rough with them, crush the kapha, crush the kapha, crush the kapha”… I get it, kapha doesn’t have air in it so it’s not mobile on its own, and left to our own devices a kapha type can easily sit still even during an exercise class and be perfectly content. But this notion of crushing it as if there’s no good in it, nothing to savor, no place for the sweetness, no room for embracing kapha qualities really got me thinking once I got out of my feelings. What if I could figure out a way to meet the kapha where it is, bring the fire of pitta and the fluid movement of vata without necessarily crushing or banishing the kapha all together? It was at that moment that this “Embrace your kapha” movement was born.

the dosha test

Let’s start with some basics… there is an ever-increasing amount of information being shared about the basic aspects of Ayurveda. You can easily access “find your dosha” tests  online that help people gain a basic understanding of which doshas (elemental composition) are predominant either at birth (Prakriti) or at the present moment (vikriti). Two such tests which I really like and have frequently uses are: https://www.banyanbotanicals.com/info/prakriti-quiz and http://lifespa.com/ayurvedic-health-quizzes/body-type-quiz/body-type-quiz-form/

Each of these dosha quizzes provide useful information. The second quiz, by lifespa.com includes free detailed analysis and wonderfully informative newsletters about ayurveda and general wellness information.

If you are a person of color you might have been slightly stumped when you got to questions about complexion and hair texture as all of the dosha tests currently available are designed from a Western Eurocentric framework. (Soul Wisdom International is in the process of changing this!!!) Just use the closest fit that makes sense for now and know that this is one of the primary reasons why I am here, and doing this work.

Okay, so now you have your test results… Now what? How do you use this information and what is it really telling you? What I’m not sure people realize is that we all have all five doshas in and around us – just different amounts of each. In fact everything living has some relationship to these five base elements – vata: ether(space) and air; Pitta: fire and water; and Kapha: earth and water. These show up to different degrees, at varying moments in all people, animals, plants, spaces, etc. I’m simplifying here because there’s so much that can be said about just this part that many people don’t go further to think about how we live with these elements and how they function socially.

by way of an introduction…

Soul Wisdom International embraces the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda and personalizes it with the intention of fostering deeper self-love. I use my whole lived experience and knowledge of international traditional spiritual systems to enhance the lens through which I understand and share this wisdom.

A conscious kapha predominant being myself, I am excited to have a platform to share insights about the sweetness of earth and water in all of us… stay tuned…