Tantra Yoga: The Dragon & Tiger Practice | Trinity Yoga

Tantra Yoga: The Dragon & Tiger Practice

tantra yogaDO THE GROUNDING VERSION – TIGER – IN THE SPRING & THE DRAGON in fall. Excerpted from Para Yoga Master Training – Rod Stryker

The practice – Dragon and the Tiger – a kriya practice that combines evolution and involution. The Dragon breathing fire, is the upward movement. The spine is the governing vessel. Channel moves upward. The tiger is the controlling vessel, it moves downward. The tiger prowls the earth. Before energy starts to move we need to balance involution and evolution. From Chinese medicine, the two meridians meet at the roof of the mouth and the root chakra. AWORHAN – THE CHANNEL THAT MOVES UPWARD AHAROWAN – THE CHANNEL THAT MOVES DOWNWARD In this kriya, we direct consciousness upward through one channel and down through another. The two channels are the spine and the meridian that flows in front of the spine. Prana can be directed up or down through either channel. For a more grounding effect, the spine is the downward channel and the front body meridian is the upward channel. Moving the opposite way is integrative , but more expansive. By activating the downward flow we become a spiritual tiger, strengthening our capacities in the word by channeling our life force into the lower chakras. The chakras in the spine spiral upward. The chakras in the front meridian spiral outward. Moodlahara and Bindu chakras are purely spinal. Swadhistana, Manipura, Anahata, Vissudhi and Anja are both involution and evolution. (front & back). To begin, Center and begin ujjai breathing, deeping the breath as you draw your awareness inward. Depending on which direction you have chosen, the Dragon breath moves up the spine to Bindu, then loops toward the Anja chakra and downward. The Tiger begins at the root on the inhale moves forward to the front chakra meridian passing through all the chakras to cross at vissudhi at the throat to loop at the Bindu forward to Anja where it loops back downward at the throat to the spinal column on the exhale. Practice with an erect and upright spine, or lying down similarily. Add an OM on the exhale of the tiger practice when you reach the bindu as you move toward Anja – 3rd eye. Mary-Jo Fetterly TRINITY YOGA

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KITCHARI Recipe | Trinity Yoga

KITCHARI – THE ULTIMATE FOOD

Mary-Jo’s 1 week (or more if you choose) Kitcharie Plan

  • buy mung beans (the tiny yellow split mung beans/dal) and white basmati rice (it is more easily digested that brown rice and traditionally used in kitcharee
  • mung beans are best soaked overnight but if time does not allow a good rinse before cooking works ok as well
  • when cooking the kitcharee there may be a foam that surfaces, skim this off of the top as you are cooking this will assist in better digestion
  • be creative with the choice of spices and please add vegetables into the pot as you cook to make a really tasty meal
  • I have found that I like to use more spice than is generally recommended in a kitcharee recipie- this is fine to do for the nature of your week long kitcharee cleanse’
  • the energy that goes into cooking the food is very important, chanting OM mentally or verbally is wonderful or the mantra: Om Aim Hrim Klim Chamundayi Vichee Namaha

The Key to Health – Agni
Food is converted into healthy tissues and organs when it is transformed by a healthy digestive fire, known as agni is then absorbed by the body’s cells. According to Ayurveda, everything we take into our bodies through the mouth, breath and skin, and into our minds through our senses and thoughts, is converted for use by digestive agni. In this way, the sum of everything we eat, see, hear, and think becomes who we are.

When our digestive fire is strong and healthy, our tissues and organs are healthy, we have good immunity against disease, and our outlook on life is naturally vibrant and joyful. If our digestive fire is not strong, the food we eat putrefies inside us, which can lead to premature aging, obesity, low energy, low immunity, or emotional disturbances such as depression or anxiety.

The Start of all Disease – Ama
When the digestive agni is weak, undigested food particles begin accumulating in the digestive system, resulting in a mucus-like, toxic substance called ama. This ama forms first in the digestive tract, but sooner or later spills over into the blood, muscles, fat, bone and even the nervous system. According to Ayurveda, accumulated ama is the start of all illnesses. It creates blockages in the body’s channels causing stagnant energy of nutrients and leading to disease and emotional disturbances.
How does ama form?

  • Eating fried or fatty foods, red meat, wheat, and refined sugar
  • Drinking excess water during meals
  • Drinking ice cold beverages or ice cream regularly
  • Eating dry, heavy or cold meals regularly
  • Staying up late at night or traveling excessively
  • Having a sedentary or stressful lifestyle

How can you get rid of ama?

  • Maintaining a strong digestive fire so that all food you eat is fully digested
  • Taking supportive herbal formulas that dissolve ama and blockages caused by ama
  • Eliminating ama from the body by fasting or detoxification practices like pancha karma.

Foods that Weaken Digestive Agni
The digestive fire can weaken if you overindulge in spicy, cold or fatty foods, if you eat the wrong kinds of foods for your unique constitution, or if you are under stress. Below is a list of foods that may weaken the digestive fire in all constitutions. These should be avoided or eliminated from your diet if you want to regain vibrant health. If you must eat these foods, try for a maximum of three times per week.

HEAVY TO DIGEST FOODS such as wheat, meat (esp. red meat), refined sugar and deep fried foods. These foods severely decrease the digestive agni and produce mucus and toxic ama.

SOUR AND SPICY FOODS such as tomatoes, all sour fruits (oranges, pineapples, lemons, grapefruits etc.), vinegars and hot spices like chilies. These foods, when eaten excessively, increase pitta heat in the body and eventually reduce digestive power.

FERMENTED FOODS such as yogurt, alcohol, cheese (especially old and hard ones like Bleu cheese, camembert, brie, etc.) and yeast containing foods such as veggie pitas, soy sauce and beer. Foods that are fermented are sour and heating in nature and though they balance vata in small amounts, they increase pitta. This results in more gas, as well as decreased digestion and assimilation of nutrients.

ICE COLD FOODS AND DRINKS kill the digestive fire. They are best avoided totally. If taken as refreshment during hot summer days, wait 2 hours after or before meals.

CANNED, PACKAGED AND MICROWAVED FOODS! They have limited nutritional value, weaken the digestive fire and produce toxins in the body.

Ayurvedic Recipes
Food should taste, smell and look delicious, as this combination causes our digestive fire to blaze and our food to digest well. Like any cooking discipline, there are elements of both art and science involved. The key to learning how to cook Ayurvedically is to start with a good recipe, and then gradually branch out from there.

Kichari –┬áTHE PRIMARY BALANCING FOOD
Kichari is a nourishing and delicious dish of basmati rice cooked with split mung beans, ghee and spices. It is one of the staples of the Ayurvedic diet and is often the only food that is served during the detoxification and rejuvenation therapies of pancha karma. Kichari is suitable for all body types and is highly nutritious, a near perfect blend of proteins and nutrients. Since it does not aggravate Vata, Pitta or Kapha, eating it alone for a few days at a time allows the body to rest and recuperate during illness or intensive therapy. Kichari can be served by itself or with vegetables, and the consistency may be like a soup or more like a rice dish or casserole.

INGREDIENTS
1 cup basmati rice
1 cup split mung beans (yellow mung dhal)*
1 tsp. mustard seeds
1 tsp. cumin powder *
1 tsp coriander powder *
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp Grated ginger
Serve with grated coconut, sea salt, fresh lime, chopped cilantro
* These quantities can be doubled or modified for more flavor or different properties.

PREPARATION
Heat the spices in a large deep saucepan with a little bit of water. When the mustard seeds pop, add cumin, coriander, turmeric. Saute; for a minute or so, then add the split mung beans and finally the rice. Stir until all foods are flavored and colored with the spice mixture. Add 5 to 8 cups of water and let the food come to a boil. After 5 minutes, reduce heat to simmer and let cook for about 30-35 minutes or until the beans are completely soft. Then and only then, add a little salt. Serve the dish with freshly chopped cilantro. You can add more water if you like a more soupy consistency. As mentioned above, you can experiment with different vegetables and spices to create different flavors and different properties. You can add your chosen vegetables during the last 15-20 minutes of your cooking time. Always be mindful of the properties of all foods you eat, and try to eat according to your dosha. Winter squash is best for extra fiber, greens are best for balancing the spicy qualities of the herbs.

Green Mung Bean Soup
BENEFITS
In Ayurveda, Mung Bean Soup (also called mung dal) has a magical and powerful effect! It helps to balance all 3 doshas. Its spices are part of the medicinal quality of this delicious and nourishing soup. When combined with certain sharp and penetrating herbs, the blocks created by ama (toxic mucus that lodges in the body over time due to poor diet, lack of exercise and wrong lifestyle) are broken and flushed out of the body.

INGREDIENTS
1 cup whole green Mung beans – soaked overnight in 2 cups water + 1 tsp. salt
4 cups fresh water after straining soaked beans – add more to make it more soupy
1 tbs. Sunflower oil or ghee
1/2 tsp. Mustard seeds *
1 Bay leaf
1/2 tsp. Turmeric
1 tsp. mixed Cumin and Coriander Powder *
1 1/2 tsp. Ginger – chopped or grated
1 1/2 tsp. Lemon juice
1 tsp. raw Sugar cane juice–succanat (optional)
Preparation Time: 45 minutes
*you can double the amount of these spices if you want to add more taste

METHOD OF PREPARATION
Soak the whole green mung beans overnight in water. Drain the mung beans, wash them two times and then cook them for about 40-45 minutes (the hulls should be broken.) In a separate large and deep saucepan, heat the oil or ghee and add mustard seeds. When mustard seeds pop, bay leaf, turmeric, cumin, coriander, ginger and a pinch of black pepper. Mix well and do not allow to burn. Place the cooked beans with the fresh water and the remaining ingredients into the herbal mixture in the saucepan. Bring to a boil then simmer for a few minutes more. Enjoy!
MUNG BEAN SOUP CURE:
It is beneficial to fast on Mung Bean Soup. You can start with 3-5 day fast, eating only mung bean soup for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Then add cooked vegetables like squashes and leafy greens for two days. Finally, add a 1/2 cup of rice for two days. Then return to your normal diet. You can also do a mung soup fast for half a day if you feel you have eaten something too heavy the day before.

Rice Gruel
HEALTH BENEFITS:
Rice gruel is a light and digestible breakfast or snack food to eat during the day. It is a very nourishing food.
INGREDIENTS
1/2 cup basmati rice
2-4 cups hot water
1 tsp ginger root
1/4 tsp. salt
PREPARATION
Rinse the rice and cook for around 35-40 minutes
For different tastes: Use 1/4 teaspoon each of cinnamon and cardamom, with a pinch of saffron, sweeten with maple syrup or succanat. Or, alternately: Use 1/4 tsp each of cumin, coriander and fennel, with a squirt of Bragg’s Liquid aminos or squeeze of lemon juice to taste.
NOTE: You may add more water and blend into a warm smoothie for easier digestion.

Ginger Water
Ginger water has the quality to cut into and loosen mucus as well as stimulate your digestive fire. Due to this stimulating action on the digestion it is also the perfect drink to be taken either before you eat a meal or half an hour afterwards.
To make: Cut 4-5 slices of fresh ginger root and place in a pan of water. Bring it to a boil and allow it to simmer for at least 5 minutes. Strain into a mug and enjoy! If you wish to sweeten it with honey, add it only after the liquid has cooled to drinking temperature, as honey is not heat stable.

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Will Your Studio Have Enough Students This Summer?

As Summer approaches, the weather becomes warm for most of us. Where I live in Southern California, the hills and mountains have been covered with flowers that are just now fading. The season is definitely changing.

For a yoga studio, Summer can be a hard time. A number of my private clients have asked me Al, how do I deal with business slowing down during the Summer? People are going on vacation, and even wanting to cancel auto-renew. What can I do? The good news is, with the right approach, Summer can actually be a moderately good season, and most importantly, one that leads to a very good Fall.

But, its important to know the hidden consequences of the Summer season in order to prevent them effectively. By understanding the big picture, we can make Summer a decent season. So, here’s the deal. Summer has the obvious problem where people go away or somehow change their regular routine. As a result, they stop coming to your studio during this time. Consequently, you lose revenue. But this isnt the worst part. The real concern is that even after many of these people come home and resume their regular lifestyle, they won’t come back! Youll be stuck in the Fall, needing to re-build part of your student base because people broke their routine.

Remember, each time someone has to decide again whether to come to your studio, there is an opportunity to lose them as a student. This doesn’t serve their yoga practice, and it doesnt serve you financially (or philosophically). If someone is on auto-renew (I hope you all have an auto-renew program by now!), they may cancel it with the genuine belief that they will resume in the Fall. But when September rolls around, they are so busy with other stuff, they just don’t get back to it. Has this kind of thing ever happened to you?

So here is the solution. We have two main goals. First, we want to keep students during the Summer to generate at least some revenue. Second (and most importantly), we need to retain students through the Fall. The technique I find most effective for this is to offer a great 3-month deal to students that takes them through the Summer. For a monthly unlimited membership, what this might look like is, Three months for the price of two! or $200 for the whole Summer! The key is, it must carry them through to the beginning of Sepetember (and then revert to the regular price), usually, its June, July and August. Now, you might be thinking “Come on Al, I cant do a monthly unlimited for $66 a month.” The key is to remember that many of these students would otherwise have taken the time off and you wouldnt have made the money anyway. Plus, this way, they will be back in the Fall.

You won’t need to worry about them re-considering whether to practice yoga regularly, or even considering another studio. Another aspect of this approach is that while other studios may be struggling during the Summer with special discounts for one month or just a class card, you will in fact be attracting new students who cant resist such a great deal. And, guess what studio these new students will continue at when September rolls around? At regular price none the less. Next, let’s look at how to make things even better.

Remember the essential rule of being the boss. You make the rules AND, you reserve the right to make exceptions any time you see fit. And No, you dont need to let people know in advance that you sometimes make exceptions to any given rule. This means that if you have individual students with special circumstances, you can give them whatever offer you please to make it a win-win situation for both of you. Let’s look at an example.

A student walks into the studio and tells you shell be away for most of July and August, and she wants to cancel her monthly unlimited auto-renew. You tell her about your Three months for the price of two special, but she points out, she’ll only be around for one month. Now at this point, remember that from a business perspective, your goal with this student is not so much to make money during the Summer as it is to be sure she comes back in the Fall. So, you tell her you understand her situation, and you really want it to work for her so you are willing to give her three months for the price of one. This way, she can use the studio even if shes back in town for just a few days between her Summer trips. The bottom line is, we never want to lose a student just because they are away for a brief period. Remember, if you are paying teacher per head, it doesn’t cost you anything if a student doesnt show up.

Now, there is even more we can do during Summer. We’ve just talked about how to keep from losing students, and also maybe getting some new ones. But if you read my newsletters, Im hoping that you are someone who plays life to win, and not simply to avoid losing (think about this for a minute – they are very different). Summer is a time when many people try new things. New diets, new fitness programs, and yes, decide to try yoga. Its a time to hit promotions hard.

Here is a sample strategy. Give a free yoga day. Since it’s free, you can promote it for free in local papers, on the radio and even on local TV news. Contact each medias main phone number and tell them that you want them to do a PSA (Public Service Announcement) for a free community event. Also, two days prior to the event, notify their newsroom and ask them if they will send a news team out to cover the event (Yes, your studio is entirely worthy of being covered by the news – try it first, then tell me what you think). Now, here is the key. At the end of every free class, have the teacher spend five minutes thanking people for coming, and then giving them a special discount if they sign up before they leave. Offer them a HUGE discount, like one month of unlimited yoga for $40 (See the Yoga Works interview in the Super Studios Manual for details about this http://www.centeredbusiness.com/superstudios.htm).

The goal is to get them coming to your studio and liking it. After their first month, you transition them to a regular price program. Its not about what you can earn this month so much as what you can earn in the future, month after month after month. By the way, teachers will often volunteer their time for free yoga days, since if the studio gets more students they will make more (if they are paid per head).

There are many more strategies and techniques – this is a summary of just one. If you’re interested in more, the Home Study Studio Success Course (see www.centeredbusiness.com/homestudy.htm) has many of them. But for now your goal is to keep your students through Summer. Remember, youre the boss. Change and revise what we’ve talked about here to fit your situation. Just keep your outcome in mind. My best wishes to you for a happy and successful Summer.

Namast,
Coach Al Lipper

P.S. Please let me know what you think of this article. What other studio business topics would you like to learn more about in the future? You may email me at: coach@CenteredBusiness.com

About Coach Al:
Al Lipper is a master business coach, business teacher and writer. For free resources on running a yoga studio as a successful and fun business, visit www.CenteredBusiness.com.

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Recovering from a Hysterectomy

Here are a few yoga recommendations for post-hysterectomy patients.The best thing to recommend would be Restorative yoga in the style of Judith Lasater.

I have a student who recently had a large cyst removed from her ovary in major abdominal surgery and is doing Restorative once weekly with fabulous results in comfort, energy level, peace and calming.

There is great value in these supportive postures for reducing swelling, edema, muscle strain or pain and generally supporting a return to balance after such a major assault such as abdominal surgery.

The book, Rest and Renew by Judith Lasater is a good bet for home practice or hopefully one can get out to a class regularly.

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What kind of yoga is right for me?

“What kind of yoga is right for me? What a great question! I have been practicing yoga for nearly 10 years and I’m still asking it.On the most basic physical level – the ‘kind’ of yoga you practice may reflect your desire to get hot, cool down, open up, tighten up, move quickly, flow slowly…etc.

On a more fundamental level, you may find yourself called to a particular path of yoga (ie. Kundalini, Ashtanga and Bhakti Yoga).

To add to this mix of schools, many Western brands of yoga have evolved from their traditional Indian roots (ie. Anusara, Jivamukti and Power Yoga).

The different yoga schools simply adhere to different applications of inner discipline, all of which ultimately lead to the liberation of the soul and to a unique understanding of the Divine Unity. The schools are merely named according to the yogi’s objective of self-transformation and the instrument chosen for such anticipated change. www.experiencefestival.com

The kind of yoga that you practice may be defined by name – but truly, it is your body and your practice.

If you’re like me – you may find that your taste changes from year to year, and even day to day.

You may be attracted to a vigourous style (i.e. Ashtanga or Power Yoga) only to find that your practice is injurious.

At other times you may feel a strong calling to surrender into a restorative practice.

Ultimately, the right kind of yoga is one that brings you into balance.

For more insight check out Mary Jo’s articles: Is Yoga For You? and A Brief History of Yoga.

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Teenage Affluenza

Here’s a link to a video that parodies materialism in the suburbs. It contrasts the woes of middle class teens to the struggles of third world children.Some days I forget to count my blessings. I moan about being squeezed out of the housing market and the rising cost of living.

Then there are days when I clearly see that I am rich beyond measure. I have access to clear air, water, wilderness, food and jobs.

This video is an embarrassingly familiar reminder that we have very little to complain about – and so much to do.

“Teenage Affluenza”

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the yoga of climbing 1

I reluctantly entered my first climbing competition yesterday. I dragged my heels getting there, convinced that I was too tired to climb. I moaned and dramatized my moontime apana, knowing that fear the root of my lethargy.I love climbing and I’m quite competitive. Sounds like a perfect match for a climbing competition. The only problem is that I’m not comfortable with failure.

While I do not openly compete, I do compare myself to others. When I do this I shake myself off centre. I lose touch with my intrinsic love of climbing.

And so there I was at the competition, yawning between attempts – putting around, half removed. The risk seemed to great to put in 100% effort. If I gave my all and lost, I would lose my egocentric supremacy.

To my delight and horror, I made the finals. The final route was a mystery on the outside wall. The finalists, all friends, descended down into the pit to await their turn. With time to spare, I trotted home for a hit of Floradix (liquid iron) and a bowel evacuation.

I returned to the gym, assumed savasana and visualized myself climbing strong and smooth. Clueless to what the route looked like, I figured pseudo-imagery was better than none.

After a few rounds of nadi shodhana. I felt calm and focused. My fatigue paid off – I lacked the energy to wind myself in a nervous tizzy.

After the competition Rik told me that he was nervous for me. I remember that feeling while watching loved ones perform. That’s what the finals felt like, performing in front of an audience of supportive climbers. The stage, a gently overhanging wall; the cast, a sprinkling of multi-coloured holds.

I climbed the wall with my eyes, miming with my hands and feet to mimic the moves. I did my best to decipher the route from the ground, roped up and gave it my all.

I surprised myself and stuck several lunges. I hit a tricky section and attempted to climb a corner arete with no holds. I changed my mind and lost my feet. My effort and fall were greeted with excited cheers.

Both yoga and climbing have taught me how to fall and get back up. When I teeter and totter in balancing poses I no longer fear falling over. I’ve grown to love the sense that I’m losing my balance. I know that this shaking and rocking, helps me develop grounding and poise.

Through my Trinity trainings I have learned how to let loose and dance freely. When I climb I dance between my desire to maintain control and to take risks.

Success is not necessarily about getting to the top or the end of a climb. My greatest accomplishments in climbing come when I drop my ego-striving. Sometimes falling is the most rewarding achievement of all.

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Patenting Traditional Wisdom

Here’s an excerpt from a mind-boggling New York Times article:

I GREW up watching my father stand on his head every morning. He was doing sirsasana, a yoga pose that accounts for his youthful looks well into his 60s. Now he might have to pay a royalty to an American patent holder if he teaches the secrets of his good health to others.

The United States government has issued 150 yoga-related copyrights, 134 patents on yoga accessories and 2,315 yoga trademarks. There’s big money in those pretzel twists and contortions – $3 billion a year in America alone.

Click the link for the full article. The Big Stretch – New York Times

Thanks again for the link Paul!

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When to start teaching?

Are you thinking of becoming a teacher? Perhaps you’ve registered for a yoga teacher training program; you’re currently training, or you’ve recently graduated. Now the question is swimming in your brain – am I ready to teach?

I myself wondered: am I prepared for the responsibility of guiding a yoga practice? Do I have enough wisdom to impart?

These questions kept me stuck for a while. I was waiting for the conditions to be perfect, my knowledge to be vast, my personal practice to be advanced.

I soon discovered that teaching was the ultimate learning tool. I’d study and spend an exorbitant amount of time creating class plans – only to discover that – like life – classes were full of surprises.

On a technical note – I spaced my three levels (60 hours/each) out over 1.5 years. After Level One & Two I dabbled in some teaching. I taught yoga in the park (by donation) and graciously accepted subbing offers when they arose.

I know teachers-in-training that jump right into teaching after Level One. A lot has to do with ones confidence and willingness to take risks.

When I say “risk” I do not mean this in an injurious way. If you are considering teaching prior to completing your certification – please be aware of potential health hazards (i.e. contraindications).

Yoga injuries are becoming more prevalent and because of this – many studios require yoga teachers to have insurance.

Apprenticing with a senior teacher is a wonderful way to gain hands-on experience. Once you have learned physical modifications of asanas it is great to have the opportunity to practice them.

Many teacher are more than happy to have an assistant. Be sure to clarify what both of your expectations are.

So are you ready to teach? The key is to teach what you know to be true from your own practice. Have confidence in your ability and be humble before your students – they will become your teachers.

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A witness of duality

Traveling with my partner Mairen, Trevor and Ally a few weeks ago I noticed a very interesting difference. A seeming division with Trevor and I on one side of the car and Mairen and Ally on the other.

The discussion, primarily around global warming, was split down the middle and yet there was this balance between emotional, tangible and witness, acceptance.I have been doing a fair bit of reading lately on Tantric belief and philosophy, including The Way of the Superior Man by David Deida, and this has all got me to thinking.

I am curious to know your experiences around your life and practice.

Women: in your daily life and yoga practice do you find caught up in your bodies, in the sense you very much identify your self by what it is doing. Notice a tendency to be so absorbed in your Shatki that you lose your witness, the ability to distinguish self between your thoughts and feelings?

Men: In your daily life and yoga practice do you find that it is possibly being somewhat narrated by a third person, this tendency to want to watch the entirety of what is going on without making a strong connection to the sensation of it.

I would also be interested in how you think your practice could bring about further balance. A complete comfortablilty in both polarities, so to allow for your fullest expression of being/

Much Love
Noah

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