A lot of people are familiar with the benefits of eating organic food over conventional food grown with pesticides, but have you given the same thought to what you are putting on your skin?

Your skin is your body’s largest organ; it protects you, cleanses you, helps you breatheand it covers every inch of you.The products you put on it make a huge impact on your overall health.Minimizing toxic exposure is important for every process in your body, all the way down to a cellular level.

In the United States, companies are allowed to use harmful ingredients and make their own judgments about safety. In fact, there are over 1,400 chemicals banned or restricted in personal care products by the European Union while the  U.S. only bans 30. What does this mean?  We have to do our own homework to avoid toxic chemicals in products. (Check out Beauty Counter’s Never list of what to avoid: The Never List)

Botox has become an everyday word for many concerned with aging and beauty. But what is it exactly? Many people would say that it is used as an effective way to combat wrinkles and other signs of aging that appear on faces.One can merely google “botox” to find out that it is also a neurotoxin (derived from the toxin of the same bacterium that causes food poisoning).It can also cause paralysis of unintended muscles. I want to make it clear that my point here is not to judge but to educate with information that some might be unaware of.

However…  I am much more interested in talking about natural options that can perhaps have the same positive effects!


Elise receiving Acupuncture from Talia of Dahms Acupuncture in Encinitas, CA



Option 1: Microneedling

also known as collagen induction therapy (using fine needles to create hundreds of tiny, invisible puncture wounds in the top layer of skin)

less than 24 hours down time (flushed face)just a few sessions of microneedling will noticeably reduce fine lines, crow’s feet, and deep wrinkles on the forehead

-just a few sessions of microneedling will noticeably reduce fine lines, crow’s feet, and possibly even deep wrinkles on the forehead

-the more expensive option (per session)

-can be done at home using a dermaroller (like the one from Amazon here, probably not as safe or effective, but much more cost efficientDermaroller

“The microinjuries you create stimulates the body’s natural wound healing processes, resulting in cell turnover and increased collagen and elastin production, therefore reversing as well as preventing signs of aging,” says board certified dermatologist Sejal Shah, MD. It works the same way lasers do, only you’re injuring the skin mechanically instead of using heat or lightand works better with less down time (according to  the journal Dermatologic Surgery in 2016).

I had wanted to do microneedling for a long time, but also wanted to go to a professional. So I waited for a deal to come up. This past year around Christmas, Alexis K in Solana Beach offered a discounted package of 3 sessions. Alexis is bright, smiley and had perfect skin; I trusted her immediately. She even let me do the 3 sessions without the numbing medicine. I know, I know…I’m crazy. 

I definitely noticed a difference, even in the overall quality and vibrance of my skin. But Alexis sums it up best: “I have been an esthetician for over 20 years and microneedling has been the most effective and results driven treatment I have ever offered my clients. And you can expect long lasting results!

Option 2: Cosmetic Acupuncture

tones atrophied and sagging muscles and reduces fine lines

results are gradual and take more time

where Botox just works on the face, Cosmetic acupuncture works with the entire body and the person’s well being

less expensive than microneedling (per session)

no down time (unless you have bruising from a needle, which from personal experience I can say is minor)

I was reading online about natural facial regimes and found Dr. Sarah Emily Sajdak, DAOM, L.Ac of Aquarius Acupuncture in NYC. She created a technique she calls Beauty AcupunctureTM . As a nutritional counselor for 8 years, I know that skin issues almost always come from gut issues. Everything I read and saw on her page was in alignment with how I wanted to go about creating better skin from within. She says, I actually discovered Beauty AcupunctureTM while treating patients for migraines. I realized many of the same points that I was using for treating for headaches also restored Qi energy, blood and lymph flow to the skin. Beauty AcupunctureTM reduces lines created by muscle tension, improves acne, dryness, puffiness, and under eye circles and bags, improves glow, and evens out overall skin tone.

She gave me a referral here in Encinitas, and I immediately made an appointment with Talia of Dahms Acupuncture. She is the real deal. After seeing her for 10 weeks straight, I can see a noticeable difference in my skin and also the way I feel overall.  I had felt dehydrated for over a year, no matter what I did…that has been corrected since my first session with her. She says, “Regardless of what brings someone in, over the years an internal imbalance has lead to their current state, whether it be sagging skin, dryness, wrinkles or fine lines. So we work from the inside out.

Option 3: Gua Sha

form of soft tissue manipulation that includes the use of a tool (usually made of jade) and an oil

increases blood flow and encourages lymph drainage to the face and neck

been used for centuries in China

can be used every day

the only cost is for the tool

I started doing this every day, followed by a jade roller (which aids in the absorption of the products used). Not only has it made a difference, it works to improve the lymphatic system and  I find the process luxurious and it only takes a few minutes. Dr. Sajdak often gives her patients facial Gua Sha as “homework” and this accelerates the healing process and maintain results between sessionsThe best demonstration I have seen showing the strokes and tricks of the Gua Sha method is a video by New York esthetician named Britta PlugGua Sha Tutorial

One can also book this as a treatment with an esthetician like Reyna Maldonado of Releaf now located at Four Moons in Leucadia. 

Using one or more of these techniques are sure to make a difference in your skin and your health in general! I have personally tried all three and recommend all of them. We can’t totally get away from toxins in today’s world, but we can minimize them as much as possible by making informed, healthier and safer decisions than we did yesterday.

As some of you might know, I had a plethora of chronic illnesses going on just a few years ago. I was doing everything I knew how to feel better, but not really getting better. Sometimes I would heal something, only to find a new symptom or illness crop up. One of the main things that I discovered and treated that made the biggest difference in the way I felt: heavy metals.

I had gone to several doctors who had not worked a lot with toxicity and did not seem comfortable doing a heavy Detox with me (my adrenal glands were in really bad shape). Most doctors do not like to talk about Heavy Metals. But I knew getting rid of them was my answer…so I created my own.  It took a whole year, I was in bed a lot and it was rough in many ways… and after that my heavy metal toxicity measured very low and I felt a lot better.

But I knew there had to be an easier, faster and more graceful way to (truly) detox.

I have since spent the last 2 years reading, listening and learning everything possible about this topic of toxins, where they come from and the best way to get rid of them. I am not just talking about the toxins that we are breathing, bathing in, drinking and eating daily (because we are doing all of that), but even more importantly the toxins that we have had for a long time, like the ones we got from birth(ex: lead was very common in a mother’s breast milk) and growing up(ex: the amalgams many children get for braces are now considered very dangerous).

I started putting together a plan, and for the sake of the length of this article I will keep this short: I found someone who had put all the elements of the same protocol together, the main/active ingredient and supplements, even the same diet and exercise advice!  At first, I was a little upset.  This topic was so personal to me and I truly thought I had put all of this together for the first time. But when I realized this man’s (Dr. Daniel Pompa) influence in the industry and how thorough the whole Detox protocol was and how good the videos were, etc I was just happy to be part of facilitating the information.

And it is something I agree with and can stand behind 100%, both from a scientific and experiential place.  I have gone through it myself and have taken about 15 clients through it as well, and every single person so far has had nothing but good things to say. 

Below is a video with good friend and client, Libby Carstensen.  She gives her personal experience from doing the Detox and we begin a conversation on the difference between this and other Detoxes or Cleanses.




If you would like more information in the form of a video on: (use all caps and no spaces)

*low energy/brain fog: text THINKCLEAR to 44222

*chronic pain: text NOPAIN to 44222

*sleep/anxiety: text GETSLEEP to 44222

*weight loss resistance: text LOSEIT to 44222

The Detox is called True Cellular Detox, and it includes:

Initial Toxicity Testing, 90 Days of Supplement Information and Instructions, 20+ Hours of Detox Training, 90 Day Meal Plan with Grocery Lists, 3 Monthly Calls (with me), Fasting and Ketosis Information, Burst Training Suggestions, lots of supplementary articles, and more.

The cost is usually $3000 but I am selling it right now for $1500.  You can do 3 monthly installments of $520 if that works better for you.

Please let me know if there are any further questions, concerns, or how to start…I would be happy to help you out!

Who: Johanna Anderson Swanson (IG @marylana)

Occupation: Elementary School Teacher, Owner/Designer of Mar y Lana

Location: on Sabbatical


I have known Johanna for about 15 years. We were friends of friends, saw each other at parties or birthdays.  I always wanted to get to know her better, and I somehow kind of knew that I would.

Instead of telling you a bunch of details about her, I’m going to tell you a story that tells you who Johanna is.

One day about a year ago, I was going through a strange thing with my right hand.  All of a sudden the joints got swollen and I couldn’t use it. Literally. I couldn’t even open a jar. I wasn’t able to do a huge part of what I do as a career, Structural Integration, for awhile.

During that time, which was intensely scary for me, Johanna asked me if I wanted to go  surfing in Morrocco with her and some girls that upcoming November. (Of course I wanted to.) But I didn’t have enough money for the trip and I started telling her about my hand.  She then proceeded to tell me that she was getting a double mastectomy and both her ovaries taken out and that she was committed to going anyway.

Just when I thought I had a challenge!

I said, ‘Ya know, I think I can figure it out.” That was the beginning of Johanna and I getting really close, really fast. We had one of the best trips of our lives by the way!

She, by action not by word, reminds me to never feel sorry for myself and always make the best of situations.

She is very tall and elegant. Confident. She is never too tired or busy to help out a friend. Colombian and American. She is an inexhaustible mother, a quixotic partner (as described by her husband Jake who says you have to look up the word to get the full definition) and an inclusive friend.

I am mixing it up this time and we did a full audio interview.  It’s my favorite format yet by far. (scroll to directly under the photos to press play)

Sat nam,















Who: Ben Greenfield (IG: @bengreenfieldfitness)

Occupation: Coach, Author, Speaker, Founder of Kion

Location: Spokane, Washington


Have you heard of Ben Greenfield?  If you are into health and wellness, you probably have. Especially if you are a dude. This guy has has been interviewed by Joseph Mercola, Joe Rogan, was featured in Men’s Health just last month and will talk about literally anything.


He’s a self-proclaimed masochist, and will pretty much do whatever it takes to his body in the name of testing it to the limits and scientific experimentation. To give a little taster of what I mean: he has participated in 13 Iron Man Triathalons, the Spartan Delta, and has trained with Navy Seals for fun.

I met Ben and his lovely wife Jessa at a good friend’s wedding in Kauai.  I learned that he is extremely intelligent, pretty much never serious and can imitate any accent under the sun… but definitely best at Kermit the Frog.


He gets (a little) more serious here in the audio response below, answering the 3 questions that I ask all the Worthy individuals chosen. His advice is applicable to almost anyone and you should especially listen if you think his greatest challenge would be physical 🙂


Sat nam,



(scroll down past photos for audio file)







Who: Malini Ramani (IG: malini_ramani)

Location: world traveler, based in New Delhi

Occupation: fashion designer, maliniramani.com


Malini and I have never met in person, but we share some pretty interesting similarities. First of all, we both have spent a considerable length of time in the fashion industry (although she definitely beats me out on this one). While I owned a high-end fashion boutique for 5 years, Malini has been designing clothes for over 18 years. This woman is a wizard with colors, fabrics and flow. Everything she creates has an old soul with a modern feel. Her brand has been featured many times in Vogue and Conde Nast Traveler and has been known to dress the jet-set socialite.

We are also both Kundalini yoga teachers! I loved finding this out about her. She is such a strong force for all that is good and inspiring in this world, and it doesn’t surprise me that she credits this type of yoga for making her soul “soar.”

She also believes in magic and miracles.

She is also a writer, interior designer & mixed media artist. And just recently she has designed a Kundalini-inspired line of apparel. She sent me a sample that is not only unique and beautiful, but also the most comfortable I have ever worn or taught in.

I highly recommend checking out her website and following her on Instagram…her account is insightful, encouraging, witty, deep, entertaining…and for the fashionistas out there…she sprinkles some of her dresses and kaftans in there!

I hope you enjoy her open and honest share.


Sat nam,





1). Who are you?


I would say I am a blend of the east and the west.

My name is Malini Ramani and I’m 48 years old.  I’m single and don’t have kids either. So- basically…I’m kind of on a solo journey. As I’m getting older, I feel myself feeling more and more Indian.  I suppose it’s a good thing that I live in the country of yoga, magic and spirituality. I’m on a constant search to discover the secrets of the universe and those of my own soul.

I feel myself changing and growing a lot during this particular phase. All aspects of me are different from what they were… I even look very different. Until a few years ago I only wore western style clothing..including super skimpy barely there dresses.  Now, the way I look and feel is completely different. I wear Indian cotton kurtas with matching salwars (Indian pajama style pants) almost every day.

I suppose I am most well known as a fashion designer, because I have had my own brand of clothing for the last 17 years. It’s been a fun ride…with many ups ad downs and lots of adventures and travels and it’s also been very tough on many levels. Tears, joy, heartache, laughter and a lot of bitchy people is what I experienced in the fashion industry.

Two years ago I did my Kundalini yoga teacher training in Bali and it changed my life. When I finally had the guts to teach my first class- I felt a kind of joy that I had never experienced before. I didn’t think it was possible to feel so complete. It made my soul soar. I now know without a doubt that one of my main life’s purpose is to help, teach and inspire others. The fashion industry doesn’t let me explore too much of that…so I am in the midst of a transition phase.


2). What is the greatest challenge you have overcome/are overcoming?


I feel one of the most difficult things in life is letting go. We all live with so much fear of the unknown. I worry a lot and am anxious a lot of the time. I wish I could just drill into my own head that…”I cannot control anything”.

I want to be able to surrender to the universe. I want to live through my heart instead of my head.

One other big problem that I have is that I am not disciplined enough. I have a lazy streak- but saying that I am also very hard on myself. I need more balance in my life. I’m a Libra and our symbol is the scale. The days I am balanced are the happiest days of my life.


3). What have you learned?


I have a new tattoo on my right wrist which is the Arabic symbol for the word ‘Sabr” which means faith and patience. I got the tattoo because I wanted to keep reminding myself that if I just believe in these two words and live them with honesty and commitment – I won’t stress about anything. I have also learned that we cannot control anything.

Besides that- I have learned that “Wisdom is when you realize that all the cliches are true”  (such as “What comes around goes around”  and ‘When one door closes, another one opens.” )

The biggest thing I have learned is that everyone has his or her own journey.

Don’t compare – don’t compete!

Be your unique self and trust in the universe.




Who: Alexi Panos  www.alexipanos.com, IG: @alexipanos

Location: Digital Nomad

Occupation: Conscious Creator


Alexi: she is a sweetie; she is strong; she is present; she is committed; she is soft; she is kind…she is everything she seems to be on the outside and much more. I met her through a friend that introduced us because she was interested in getting some Functional Diagnostic testing and she became a client. The more I talked to her and got to know her, the more I liked her. She is one of those people that gets more and more beautiful the more you know her.

The most obvious and lasting quality about Alexi is her P R E S E N C E. You feel it for the rest of the day after talking or seeing her. She is totally with you when you are around her.  She is not looking around, at her phone, or multi-tasking. This is my favorite quality to find in people, especially those with extremely full lives like her. She is not only in the moment but also empowered by it …and that translates to full engagement and no excuses. For anything.

She is the co-founder of a non-profit called E.P.I.C. that has been in action for 12 years, which focuses on bringing clean water and community development to those in need in rural Africa. You will hear more about this in her audio share below, and I highly encourage you to play around on her website as there is much to offer.

She has been through a lot but she is not a victim.  She has done a lot but she is not a martyr.

I am excited to provide the answers to her questions as an audio file because so much of Alexi you might not get from written word.  She is so energetic and dynamic, and I am filled with joy that you will get to hear her voice and feel her vibrance as she answers the 3 questions. I know you will honor her as the Worthy Woman that I do.


Sat nam,



(I would be grateful for you to let me know by comment below or on social media what you think of the audio format.)





Press play to hear her answers (below):

This is the article posted on FDN, my school’s website in August, honoring me as practitioner of the month.

Practitioner Spotlight – Elise Purcell


Elise Purcell, H.H.P, FDN-P


Like many FDNs, Elise understood what it felt like to go through the “cycle of trial and error” with her own health challenges.  Over the last 10 years,  she had been diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis, Psoriasis, borderline Auto-Immune disease, Gout, Lyme Disease, a parasite that took 5 years of treatment to get rid of, leaky gut, extreme heavy metal toxicity and food sensitivities, adrenal exhaustion, two forms of long-term pneumonia…  and the list went on and on!

Elise had been practicing Nutritional Counseling for seven years prior to finding FDN.  She found that, though her clients did have significant health success, in more recent years, were starting to present deeper challenges that were not being healed by diet alone.  She yearned to help them find the root cause and avoid the guessing game like she had experienced, thus her journey to FDN began!

“I feel some of these were mis-diagnoses, but to say I have “been through the ringer” is an understatement.  This is why I am so passionate about helping others find an easier way.”

Elise believes that we can’t just address one aspect of our health and expect to truly heal.  She added that labels and diagnoses are sometimes important and helpful but often pigeon hole the person into sickness mode.  And she was pretty sure that is what had been happening to her, despite all of her efforts to stay positive, most doctors still kept telling her how “sick” she was.  Through FDN training, Elise had learned how to support key areas of her body including the adrenal glands, mucosal barrier, detoxification systems, metabolic processes, absorption and assimilation, immune and defense mechanisms and steroid hormone balance.  She admits that she is still working on her health but can finally say that she is feeling great and leagues ahead where she had been. Also added that she just keeps feeling better and better with this model of health!

“FDN’s a model of rebuilding health instead of only treating disease is truly holistic in that we look at ALL aspects of the person and help the whole person, not just the “disease.”

Elise’s biggest challenge during DRESS(Diet, Rest, Exercise, Stress Reduction and Supplementation), from her perspective as a “retired” Type A personality, was not over-exercising.  She had always been a very active person and happy to move.   She had to learn to cut out certain types of exercise to nurture her body and heal. A major take home from FDN training for Elise is that empowerment is everything!  She feels that if a person knows what’s going on inside their body and why, they are more inspired to make the commitments to improve their health.

Elise shared, that FDN has proven to bring remarkable improvements for her clients health and faster than she had expected!   While it took Elise many years to get to the root of her own dysfunction, she finds that it is a joy to see just how easy and fast it can be when armed with a the right knowledge and a clear path.  Elise added that FDN sets up a container to truly help the whole person.

“Working with a client in this way is a constant reminder that we are all different and special, and that is a good thing…each one of us is an intricate mandala that should be treated with love and care. We should not and cannot rush healing, but we can make it as beautiful a process as possible, and helping someone to see it in that way is purely a pleasure.”

Elise has a thriving practice and shared her clientele is mostly 30-50 year old entrepreneurs, but does get clients of all ages.  She finds that most of them have adrenal concerns and gut imbalance or dysfunction of some degree.   Elise graciously let us in on how she structures her business services.  First she offers a free twenty minute consult, after the consult, if the person still expresses interest and is a 10/10 commitment level she will share her program details.  She added that she requests a down payment upfront and that finds that her clients are motivated to complete the process faster when they have invested themselves financially.  Also, her programs are structured as a three month minimum commitment of meeting every other week and finds that most clients continue well after that to further advance their health.  Way to go Elise!

Along with FDN, Elise is certified as a Nutritional Counselor, from IIN.  She also has certifications in Advanced Rolf Method of Structural Integration, Upledger Craniosacral, KRI Kundalini Yoga Teacher. Elise is a H.H.P. and has been practicing several Holistic modalities for the last 10 years.

Elise’s top tip for her fellow FDN-Ps, is to talk about FDN as much as possible and trust that your clients that need you will find you!

Check out Elise Purcell’s Website: www.integrationforlife.com



Who: Keri McGuire (IG: barregirl) (therapysocialfitness.com)

Occupation: owner of several studios

Location: Encinitas, CA


I first met Keri about 4 or 5 years ago. She was the owner of Xtend Barre in Encinitas, which I really wanted to try but was intimidated. I will never forget walking in the first time. It seemed like all the women were immaculately groomed(at 8am!), hair perfectly done, some wearing make-up, knowing exactly what to do and…well, to be honest I felt like I stuck out like Judd Nelson in the Breakfast Club. I also felt like I was the only one shaking like a leaf and sweating like a pig. Keri made me feel at home anyway.  The instructors were great and I loved the class so much I have continued to go pretty much every week since then. (And I still shake and sweat during class by the way).


Keri’s warmth and encouragement clearly attracts so many people, even shaky leafs and sweaty pigs, and she now owns three studios (two now evolved into Therapy Social Fitness). She is one of those people that is so magnetic and seemingly perfect that you wonder if she is for real. Well she’s real. She’s not perfect, thank God. Who is?! But I have known her long enough and through many life twists and turns and challenges to see how she responds. She’s genuine; that huge smile comes from a very deep and real place. No matter the challenge, she always ends up on the positive side with some wisdom to spread.


She’s a hard worker, a direct talker, multi-talented, absolutely freaking hilarious, and one of the most resilient women that I know. Enjoy her insights…


Sat nam,








Keri and the barre girls(see what I mean?!) #babes

Keri and her two beautiful girls



1) Who are you?


This question made me take a step back for a minute as it probably does to many people I would assume.  Who am I?  I am definitely my mother’s daughter.  I was taught from an early age to be independent, hard working and strong willed.  I try to lead by example in all areas of my life.  I believe in several important things including the power of positivity, the value of a strong work ethic, and of course …the golden rule.  If we would all just remember to treat other as we wish to be treated, what a wonderful world it would be!  I am a single mother to two brilliant daughters who I enjoy to no end and to whom I hope to instill the same values that I was raised with. I am fortunate to own several fitness studios and I have been so extremely blessed with the strong community of intelligent and inspirational women that has been created around these businesses.  I guess I consider myself a business woman, a role model, a sister, a mother, a daughter and a friend until the end.


2) What is the greatest challenge you have overcome/are overcoming?


I went through a divorce about 6 years ago when my daughters were very young. Having been raised by a single mother myself, I was petrified and felt that I was doomed to repeat history.   I had prior to that put my real estate career on hold and stayed home with the babies for a few years.  I had always identified myself as a career woman and it was the first time in my life, that I could not support myself by my own means.  So when I made the decision to get divorced I also had to figure out what my future career path looked like. It was a very scary and painful time in my life and I am so very thankful to have been surrounded by the most amazing family and friends who encouraged me and supported me through the ups and the downs of those times.

So, I dove in and started trying to figure out what I truly wanted to be when I “ grew up”.  I have a degree in Finance and have always considered myself a very left brained person: mathematical and analytical sometimes to a fault. I love golf and I love kids so I flirted around with a business concept that could marry those two passions.   When the opportunity presented itself to open a barre studio, it seemed like a good distraction and sort of a “ pet project” to get me by and maybe have some fun.  I could never have predicted that I would own 4 of them in a few short years time!  I also could have never predicted the pros and the cons that come along with owning your own business!  The up side of the industry that I am in are the flexible hours that allow me family time (and me time), a chance to be creative and explore a side of me that I never really knew existed, and hands down the best perk of my job are the people!  My amazing team of partners and instructors, and my many clients who have changed my life in so many wonderful ways.  The women who I have the privilege of being surrounded with daily inspire me, educate me, support me and allow me to return the favor!   The downside of owning your own business would be that you definitely take your work home with you.  It is NOT a 9-5 job to say the least.  It can also be difficult to manage the various relationships that form in an all female studio environment such as this.  I have about 60 women that work with me…  all ages and walks of life.  It is a constant balancing act between partner, boss and friend.


3) What have you learned?


Overall I have learned that as strong as I am, it is equally as important to be vulnerable.  I have learned the value of open communication and honesty in all relationships…business and otherwise.  I think that as an independent woman in 2017 sometimes we can feel the need to put up a hard exterior and “ stick to our guns”.   I have learned that it is just as important to listen with an open mind and heart as it is to stand up for what you think is right.  We have so much to learn from each other.  We just need to be still and silent long enough to hear what is truly being spoken.  I have become a much more patient person in the past few years and I love knowing that my children will be the beneficiary of that skill. I have learned that a good work ethic is crucial to survive and succeed in this ever changing world.  I will continue to work towards making sure that my children know that they are not entitled to anything in this life and that hard work and commitment are their tools to success.

Who: Dr. Somer Nicole (IG: @yogadoctors.tv)

Occupation: Founder of YogaDoctors.TV, Doctor of Physical Therapy, Kundalini and Hatha Yoga               Teacher (yogadoctors.tv)

Location: shares time between Kauai and Encinitas



This entry really excites me to share with you all because a) she’s one of my very best friends and b) this girl seriously has the best advice and is one of the most clear-headed and unaffected people I have ever met.  Somer is highly intelligent and naturally left-brained, yet innocent and pure like almost only a child can be. That might only make sense if you know her. But add in the wisdom of someone who has worked out a lot of trauma and hardship and the peace of someone who has put in the time and energy to get there, and you have a small idea of what this embodied woman is all about.

The first time I met her, about 5 years ago she was walking out of yoga and I was walking in. I thought, “Wow that looks so much like my mom when she was young.” And although she is nothing like my mother, we have gotten so close she might as well be a member of my family.

I do not like talking on the phone, yet Somer and I talk every week, sometimes more than that and sometimes for hours. She has this uncanny ability to cut directly through any fluff or distortion or distraction and get right to the truth of the matter.

She is my teacher in self-care, and has absolutely mastered nurturing herself as first priority, no matter what. We often take classes, workshops and travel together and she is a consistent role model for me to take it easy and not do too much. Even when I’m purposely trying to slow down and cut back, she is my mirror…showing me that I still have work in that area.

We have been asked if we are sisters more times than I can add up, mistaken for each other many times, and she actually got called up on stage on my birthday (instead of me!) in India for Kundalini teacher training.   I’m not sure what that’s all about but I know we met to become Soul Sisters and I thank the Universe for her every single day.


Sat nam,








1)  Who are you?

It’s an interesting time in my life to be asked this question, as I have distanced myself internally from my old identities more and more over the last year or two. Somer as the Physical Therapist. Somer as the Yoga Teacher, the CranialSacral Therapist, the SomatoEmotional Release practitioner, the Reiki Teacher, the meditator, etc…. Those are all things that I do.

Who am I? I am the pure consciousness that observes it all. I am a Spirit having a human experience. I am someone who stands in my Light, so others can find their way out of the Dark. I strive to be a blessing to those I meet.

And in this life, I am someone who dives deeply into my body to experience the full spectrum of my emotions. I seek to bring the unconscious into my conscious awareness. I explore belief systems instilled in me by family and society, so that I can unravel what is not True for me. I am a Truth seeker. I am a director of my own energy. I am an explorer of my inner landscape.

And in my experience, the only True constants are Love and change. I am Love. And I embrace change to the best of my ability.



2)  What is the greatest challenge you have overcome/are overcoming?

I am currently recovering from a lower back injury, where my L1 and L5 nerves are involved. It’s been a total change in perspective for me, especially a Physical Therapist because I was treating it wrong for many years. It never felt “nervy” to me, so I was treating it like a muscle strain and didn’t realize the repetitive hip flexor and hamstrings strains I’d had (A LOT of them!) were related to my spine. It wasn’t until I had someone objectively look at me and I got my own biases out of the way that I could see the bigger picture.

It’s been challenging on many levels, one being it’s the most physical pain I’ve ever experienced. I was asked to avoid forward bending of any kind and do only passive extension (backbending) exercises, until I could experience 7-10 days without referred pain into my sacro-iliac (SI) joint. After which, I could them begin forward bending again. This has been more challenging than it sounds.

I am inherently a mover, I get up and practice 1-2 hours of Yoga every morning, I hike, I swim and I am used to feeling strong and flexible in my body. And as my body has been asked to be more still, the louder my mind has gotten. I see now that it has been the perfect storm to allow many unconscious patterns to come to the surface.

And as when I’ve experienced any injury in the past, I go into exploring what energetic imbalance and suppressed emotions may have manifested this physical pain into my reality. I know at the highest level, I’ve created it for a reason. So many emotions have come up with not being able to move my body the way I am used to. Wanting to get pregnant this year, I freaked out thinking I was heading into pregnancy and a natural labor with this injury. To me, that’d be a worst case scenario. I had so much fear come up that I wouldn’t be able to handle both of those things together. In addition, many emotions that are related to the root chakra, which also governs the spine. I’ve felt it all deeply.

Fear that I’m not safe in my body.

Fear that I’m not safe in the world.

Fear of being hurt more.

Fear of not being supported.

Fear of not being nourished the way that I need.



3)  What have you learned?

I’ve learned if I don’t stand in my own power and speak my own Truth, it physically makes me sick. I’ve learned that my body will feel safe when I always choose to do what is in my Highest and stop responding to what other people want first or what they think is best for me.

I’m learning to listen to the intuitive intelligence of my body 100% of the time. Not just 99% of the time. Even when I get an initial gut instinct, my mind has the tendency to give me all the reasons why it would make sense to do something different. I have learned to stop reacting to the mental pressure. I realized the mental pressure is not ever going to stop, so the only thing to change is my reaction to it.

I have learned I am a highly emotional being. I’ve learned I have emotional intelligence and when I listen deeply and navigate it fully, I make better decisions. I’m learning to be more patient and to WAIT TO RESPOND until I am emotionally clear about any personal or business decision. I’m learning to remain still and practice a calm state of BEing, instead of doing more in reaction to the mental pressure. I’ve learned the feeling of needing to DO more, create more, strive more, contribute more and be useful more comes from a societal conditioning. I’ve learned everyone’s path isn’t to reach millions of people and put themselves out there publicly. For some, it’s simply to be a mother or just being absolutely present and kind with every person who crosses their path.

I’ve learned it’s less about what I DO and more about my state of BEing. I’ve learned that being in a feminine, receptive state attracts my desires to me like a magnet. I used to think I could do it all on my own, I’ve learned to reach out more. And I’ve learned that BEing my own medicine sometimes means listening deeply to my own intuition and other times it means asking for support.



Who: Tom O’Bryan (thedr.com)

Occupation: Host of the Gluten Summit and expert on Celiac and Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity

Location: Encinitas, CA


I heard about Dr. Tom through taking a  The Whole Journey course called Gut Thrive. He not only broke up a lot of misconceptions I had about gluten but shed even more light on just how damaging it is now for pretty much everyone, even if there are no obvious symptoms. I wrote about this topic a while ago on The Inertia: Health and I’m sure that will not be the last article I write about it, especially after learning from Tom. The information he delivers is not fun or what most people want to hear, but it needs to be considered for future health.

Dr. Tom taught me that over 300 auto-immune diseases have been associated with a sensitivity to gluten. His talks lit a fire in me to learn more, as my health has been affected by some auto-immune issues starting later in life… and was elated to find the 7 part series he created called Betrayal: the Auto-Immune Disease Solution They’re Not Telling You.  His passion for health and wellness and reaching out to help people suffering was beaming out of the computer.

It wasn’t even a few weeks later when I was walking up to a yoga class in Encinitas and I saw him sitting outside, probably just trying to get his yoga on in peace.  I had no idea he lived in California, much less my small hometown of Encinitas!  I immediately recognized him and could not help but go up to him…to tell him thank you for the work that he has done. I didn’t pause long enough to think about how many people probably do this to him every single day, but at least it was BEFORE I got all sweaty. He was kind and humble… and I was late to class because he has a lot to say, and I didn’t want to miss any of it.

He is truly tireless to serve the well-being of others. I have heard that he even starts helping people with their health at the grocery store. I hope you enjoy his interview and (even more) hope it inspires you to check out his site and teachings for you or someone you love with celiac disease, auto-immune issues, chronic illness… or really just anyone who wants to secure his or her health now and in the future.


Sat nam,





Tom with his children



Tom dancing with his wife, Marzi





 1) Who Are You?

 I’m a perpetual middle-aged guy doing my best to make the world a better place. In a profoundly impactful Men’s Weekend I took part in a number of years ago, the question was asked ‘When you transition off of this world, how do you want to be remembered’? After going through the grief, and the loss of not seeing my kids again, it became clear to me that the bottom line message I’d want inscribed on my tombstone was:

‘Here lies a kind man who was of service to others’.

I personally believe the world can use a great deal more kindness. If there is a conscious theme to my life, the Tibetan word Maitri best summarizes it- ‘loving kindness, and an unconditional friendship with One’s Self’.



 2) What is the greatest challenge you have overcome/are overcoming ?

Being kind with my self and remembering my heart in this crazy world we live in. In 1999, I had the privilege of being part of the Team doing research for the book ‘The Mystic Heart: Discovering a Universal Spirituality in the World’s Religions’.

We interviewed representatives of the top (by number of followers) 20+ religions (all Bishops or higher) and asked them a series of questions. The answers were remarkably similar, and the bottom line message across all religions was

‘Do Onto Others As You Would Wish Done Onto You’.

Living by the Golden Rule is not always easy, but always fulfilling when I can do it. If more of us lived our lives from this premise, I believe we’d see more kindness, more of a ‘Pay It Forward’ mentality just wanting to make the world a better place for all.



 3) What Have You Learned?

 Two things:

  • That every day is heaven on earth and it’s my choice to see the beauty and Divine Order to it all, or get blocked, stuck and animated by the moment-by-moment challenges and opportunities that come my way. The secret to maintaining my sanity when I feel really pressed is Maitri-Loving Kindness, and an unconditional friendship with my Self, knowing that I am doing my best.
  • I spent 30 years in Chicago raising a family and creating a business. There was an icon in those days who represented the heart of the city. A writer, Studs Terkel was loved by all and empowered hundreds of thousands to be a better fair-minded person. His common-sense approach to life represented in his books and newspaper articles represented the best of the city. In his later years he was known to hang out in a local tavern. When he’d get up to leave, as he was walking out with his stogie in his teeth and his fedora angled on his head, he’d turn around and say “Take It Easy, But Take It”.

And I’d say that’s my message to the world, “Take it easy, with loving kindness, an unconditional friendship with your Self, BUT TAKE IT!”