How Migraines Saved My Life

I believe that one of the gifts of any disharmony or agitation in the body – whether it’s pain, confusion, discomfort, anxiety or fatigue - is that it often forces us into taking a closer look.

Why is the body signaling me in this way?
Why aren’t things working like they should?
Why is pain so annoyingly present?

My “gift” early on was migraines. By the time that they surfaced, I had already been living with fibromyalgia symptoms for years. Constant joint pain and stiffness, tender tightness in my legs and shoulders, headaches, awful fatigue, weakness… the works.  For years, I was told (by several different practitioners and specialists) that I just needed to learn how to “manage” it. So that’s what I did. I managed life with the pain and the fatigue and the weakness. I expected it to be there, always the same, never different.

But when migraines became a weekly occurrence, something in me gave pause.

Nothing about these felt normal. The reality of blinding headaches every week was not going to work. As an art student, I was reliant on my vision and overwhelmed at the thought of missing so many days. I hated having to leave work and was embarrassed every time I had to tell my professor or boss that I had to leave or lay down immediately.

At the time, I was nineteen and already well into my yoga practice, taking classes almost daily. Yoga had opened my eyes and my experience to different paths to healing, but, when it came to my migraines, I had no idea what would help.

One night, at a restorative yoga class, I told the teacher about my migraines, and she told me about her work in craniosacral therapy and how it could be really good for me.

I booked a session on the spot.

At my first session, as she held my head, a zillion thoughts flooded through my mind, racing imagery, as the rest of my body relaxed. I saw colors, felt tingling, and lots of sensation in my head, neck, and back. I left feeling happier, more at peace and deeply inspired.

Later that night, I felt a flash of pain, so excruciating and sharp that I nearly passed out. An ovarian cyst had ruptured. But almost immediately afterward, I felt my body return to that same post-craniosacral therapy state of relaxation.

And after that? No more migraines. No more cysts.

It changed everything.

I started diving into healing modalities, seeing my craniosacral therapist regularly, beginning work with a naturopath. As I started to feel better and see clearly without the pain, I began learning more about nutrition, meditation, and, eventually, Chinese Medicine.

A year later, I realized that those migraines had been my gift. They brought me to where I was, committed to a healthier lifestyle and inspired to learn more about healing.

Looking back, I see how unbelievably unfortunate it was that I had to put up with all of the aches and pains of fibromyalgia. And I’m so grateful that my body used those horrendous migraines to let me know that I didn’t have to settle with symptoms.

My desire to cure those migraines shifted everything. And it brought me to a much more awake, alive, and peaceful existence.

I share all of this to say… don’t give up on your body just yet.

If you suddenly have a new discomfort, don’t get discouraged. Over the years, I’ve had so many clients that come in to address an acute situation, never realizing that there are other connected issues and that this current situation could be the highlighting sign of a larger pattern. Gluten-intolerance, sudden anxiety, family situations, chronic pain or difficult times: they begin a conversation within the body that has the potential to lead to true healing and transformation.

Whether or not my client mentions the other symptoms to me, their body reveals the full picture, and they’re floored and happy to report back how so much has changed through our work together. Something propels them to come seeking balance, and lo and behold, that is the gift - the gateway to our embodied-self becoming our daily-self.

As hard as it can be to believe, your current challenge may be the gift you’ve been waiting for.

Over to You

When you can, take a moment to sit with a notebook and pen.

Ask yourself:

1. What is often nagging me in the back of my mind?
2. What things do I just put up with because I don't think they can actually go away? Examples that I hear most often: Painful periods, painful sex, anxiety, restless sleep, dry skin, sore back, breakouts, headaches.
3. Now, imagine yourself in the future, glowing with gratitude.
What's changed? What's resolved? How do you feel in your body?

Write it down and keep this somewhere you'll see it everyday.

As for migraines...

I've successfully treated these in my practice. Sometimes, it takes a few months and with women in particular, a few menstrual cycles before they resolve. Other times, it takes just a few regular sessions and adjusting daily habits and nutrition to see results.

Truthfully, nurturing women is what I live for. And if I can help you deepen your relationship to your own body, bringing into balance your body, mind, and spirit, then I am one happy and grateful lady.

If you’d like to chat more or book a session, connect here.

And stay tuned for more tips and healing considerations for migraines. :)

Raw Chocolate Vanilla Creme Bonbons

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I made these decadent little vegan goodies at Easter, and the family (most importantly, my grandmother) went nuts for them. Super simple and no refined sugar!

 

 

They're made using raw chocolate that is created by cold-pressing the cacao bean, separating the oil from the protein and fibre. 

If you remember back from my last post, cacao contains potent antioxidants that destroy free radicals and is thought to improve heart function and can potentially lower the risk of developing disease. And don't forget that theobromine- the mild, non-addictive stimulant that may prevent depression.

Be prepared: the vanilla creme tastes like a rich vanilla custard. You'd never know it wasn't dairy.

I've added a bit of interest with the incredibly beautifying ingredient, maca. It's an endocrine adaptogen, meaning it contains the nutrients necessary to support normal hormone production, and thus, is beneficial for all sorts of imbalances like infertility, adrenal fatigue, PMS, hot flashes, menopause, and libido. It's high in minerals and essential fatty acids. And if you're concerned about the taste, don't be because you won't even notice it here. ;)

Here's the recipe:

Chocolate

  • 1 cup melted cacao butter
  • 3/4 cup cacao powder
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • pinch Pink Himalayan salt

Vanilla Cream

  • 1.5 cup cashew nuts
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 tsp. maca powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla powder
  • pinch Pink Himalayan salt

I chose popable silicone-topped icecube trays for my bonbons. You could use any silicone-lined candy tray or something similar. 

You can also make them to be more like choco-pots with mini ramekins if you don't have trays at home. 

Soak the cashews in water for at least an hour before using.

Melt the cacao butter on low using a bain marie (or a glass bowl over a pot of water for those of you that are wondering what a bain marie is). Once melted, remove from the heat, add the cacao powder, salt and maple syrup stirring to combine into a smooth mixture.

Drain the cashew nuts and rinse with clean water. Place in a high-speed blender with the salt, water, syrup and vanilla. Combine well.

Into your trays, take turns to alternate pouring chocolate and spooning the cream into it.  Once each tray is full, place in the freezer to set for one hour.

Once set, remove from the freezer, allow to defrost for a few minutes and enjoy!

My favorite (healthier) alternative to coffee...

So, you can give up many things, but coffee isn’t one of them?

I understand.

For many, it’s a love affair, but to our hormones, it’s more of a love-hate, stop-making-me-go-haywire affair.

I know better than to tell any coffee lover to stop drinking coffee, but if you’re dealing with a nasty case of PMS (irritability, swollen and tender breasts, headaches, anxiety) every month or hot flashes (yes, it’s the same properties that contribute to these issues), then I say it’s time to let that coffee go.

Do you know who will agree with me?

1. Your blood - it prefers to be alkaline. Coffee is very acid-forming, which is not helpful if you want fresh blood that is able to regenerate healthy tissue.

2. Your liver- that major fat-burning and detoxifying organ that can be overburdened trying to filter out the chemical residue and caffeine in coffee.

3. Your adrenals. Coffee contains an acid-based oil that irritates the lining of the stomach and promotes gastric acidity, which in turn encourages our body to secrete adrenaline that then stimulates insulin secretion, and in turn fuels hypoglycemia. Hello sweet tooth and mood swings!

4. Mama Earth. Coffee is one of the most heavily sprayed crops, mainly coming from South America. Pesticides like heptachlor, chlordane, and deledrin. All you need to know is TOXIC TOXIC TOXIC.

5. Your energy levels. In Chinese Medicine, coffee is considered one of the more heating substances that you can put in your body, and yes, for certain body types and in certain times of the year, a little bit is okay. However, if you’re consuming it on a daily basis, then you’re also depleting your body of valuable reserves like B vitamins (specifically B1, thiamine) and preventing nutrients from being absorbed in the small intestines which causes one to feel further fatigued, nervous and achy. Not cool.

So, what’s a girl to do?

Alright, I’m getting off my soap box and more to the point.

Here’s your alternative:

Meet Cacao, the superfood.

If Cacao had a dating profile, it would probably look something like this:

Easy-going, great taste, healthy benefits, rich in minerals, dense in nutrients.

And more specifically: 

Cacao is a good source of fiber, contains vital minerals like potassium, manganese, iron, and calcium.

25% of its weight is protein (!) and it has more antioxidants than even acai berries (groovy).

It has favorable fats that beautify the skin, lubricate the joints and intestines, strengthen cell membranes, and restore fat-soluble nutrients to the tissues.

It also makes for a great carbohydrate choice.  Why? because it’s highly mineralized yet low in sugar.

Raw cacao generally has an antioxidant rating three to four times higher than that of a cooked dark chocolate bar. Plus, compared to coffee, it is extremely low in caffeine and contains mostly theobromine, a bitter alkaloid, which makes it superior to caffeine as it does not affect the central nervous system.

If you’re wanting to reduce the amount of coffee in your life, then I hope this knowledge helps: The theobromine in raw cacao has cardiovascular and lung-healing properties - it dilates blood vessels and relaxes smooth muscle tissue.

NO more palpitations and shakiness. Just the opposite.

So, here's my favorite alternative:

“Cacao Tea” Recipe

You can find raw cacao powder at your local food store. The brand, Ojio, is my favorite!

  • Simply boil water, add a teaspoon of cacao powder to a mug, pour water, and stir.
  • If you need a sweetener or cream, use coconut cream, and/or honey.

I like to add cinnamon and a touch of eucalyptus honey to mine.

The bitter notes should suit your taste buds just fine. ;)

Over to You:

What's your favorite way to drink coffee? Or do you have another hot beverage to suggest?

Feeling the effects of long-term coffee use?

Why not book yourself a consultation with me to see how craniosacral therapy and supplemental remedies can help you get back into balance.

Contact me to arrange a free 15-minute clarity consultation.

Until next time, have a healthy, happy week!

Caitlin Lyon, CST, LMP #49494

e: caitcranio@gmail.com

My Top 9 Reasons for Sharing This Work

I believe that when we nurture ourselves, miracles happen...

That natural beauty and vibrant health are one and the same...

That the things we are often most scared about, most worried about, most haunted by are silenced and transformed when we allow ourselves support and space to listen to the body’s wisdom...

That feminine health is an ongoing, loving relationship with ourselves...

That true spiritual connection can be found in living connected to nature...

That any dis-ease in the body is showing up to request our full attention...

That choosing to eat, move, and live more naturally is the most generous and healing gift that we can give to our bodies, our families, our communities, and the planet at large...

That carving out space for creativity and relaxation is essential to health and happiness...

That life is meant to be simple, beautiful, and the constant reminder to love more.

 

Thanks for reading. xoxo

Healthy Banana Bread

When I'm settling in for major knitting projects, this is my go-to goodie to have on hand. :)

With honey and coconut sugar as the sweetener, it really is impossible to feel guilty about it. It's fabulous warmed with a dollop of ghee on top. Enjoy!


Banana Bread Recipe

  • Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Cook time: 1 hour
  • Yield: Makes one loaf.

Ingredients

  • 3 or 4 ripe bananas, smashed
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 1 heaping tbsp coconut sugar
  • 2 tbsp. honey
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup of gluten-free all-purpose flour (I like Arrowhead Mills)
  • 1/4 cup of almond flour
  • 1/4 cup of oat flour

Note: if you don't have almond or oat flour, don't stress. Just use the all-purpose for the entire 1 1/2 cups.


Method

Good news! You don't need a mixer.

Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). With a wooden spoon, mix butter into the mashed bananas in a large mixing bowl. Mix in the coconut sugar, honey, egg, and vanilla. Sprinkle the baking soda and salt over the mixture and mix in. Add the flour last, mix.

Pour mixture into a buttered 4x8 inch loaf pan. Bake for just under or at 1 hour. Cool on a rack. Remove from pan and slice to serve.

Simple Potato and Leek Soup

While we may not get the full winter experience here on the Central Coast, we can still nourish with some root vegetables, yes? What I especially love about this recipe, aside from its filling yummy factor, is the fact that all of these ingredients were purchased at Trader Joe's. : )

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Ingredients
Makes 4 servings

  • 6 medium potatoes, peeled and diced (I choose organic reds)
  • 2 medium leek, white part only, washed and diced 
  • 2 small yellow onion, chopped 
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp. tumeric
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger, chopped 
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • Fresh cilantro and dill
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil 
  • salt and pepper (to taste)


Directions
In a saucepan add the coconut oil. Under medium heat, sauté the potatoes for 3 minutes. Add the leek and stir together. Add oil if needed. Cook for 10 minutes. Add the onion, garlic, turmeric, and ginger, and stir for about 2 minutes. Deglaze with the vegetable broth. Bring to a boil and let simmer for 10 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. Set aside to cool down. 

Pour mixture into a blender and mix. Transfer mixture back into the saucepan. Simmer for an additional 5 minutes.

Adjust seasonings and serve immediately. Garnish with diced cilantro and dill. Drizzle with the olive oil. Enjoy!

February, Self-Love, and Your Feminine Health

I've never been too excited about Valentine's Day, but I am a fan of Love, and I'm all for sharing more. Let's prioritize it.  ;)

In my line of work, I see the devastating effects of working too hard, sleeping too little, and stressing too much. So, this weekend I sat down and dreamt up these offerings. It started with enlisting the talent of my friend, Tiziana, and her products... and as I was daydreaming about her au chocolat perfumed balm (coconut and shea butters infused with wild harvested Criollo cacao), my mind went to all of the wonderful healing plants used in Sequoia Beauty's serums designed for nourishing everything from fair and sensitive skin (like mine) to sun damaged and dry and knew that these had to be included too! And as I was getting ready for bed and putting on my BioTunes, I realized that these harmonious sounds would make for the most perfect backdrop of sound healing while you are tucked under soft flannel sheets.

Celebrate Your Body

For the month of February, I'm offering Self-Love packages with 4 sweet options- everything from the choice of 1 session or multiple sessions! My intention is to not only address your health needs, but treat you to an indulgent retreat for your body and mind.

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Expect the ultimate pampering experience of energy balancing with craniosacral therapy & Ayurvedic Face Rejuvenation that includes facial acupressure, stimulating scalp massage, neck & shoulder massage together with the use of healing aromatic oils that deeply calm, refresh, & re-energize your face & whole being.

Special bonuses include:

  • oiling and massaging of the belly for digestion and detoxification (optional)

  • face treatment customized with Sequoia Beauty's healing serums

  • the relaxing effects of customized aromatherapy with the aromatic treasures made by my dear friend, Tiziana

  • restorative effects of BioTunes

Benefits:

  • improves circulation, lymph flow, and encourages detoxification
  • heals muscle stiffness
  • restores balanced muscle tone
  • supports hormonal balance
  • generalized feelings of well-being and ease in every aspect of your life
  • brings your body and mind into a relaxed and open state
  • more connection to your free-flowing energy
  • assists with the release of stress, worry, and anxiety
  • mobilizes the tissues and tension patterns to release
  • increases circulation and smooths facial tension
  • restores a vibrant glow and radiance to your skin
  • clears nasal congestion
  • relieves difficulty sleeping
  • relieves TMJ syndrome-grinding teeth and/or neck tension

These packages are designed to optimize reproductive & digestive health, too!

Common symptoms to be addressed may include:

  • Painful/irregular menstruation or Amenorrhea (no menstruation at all)

  • Face and/or jaw tension

  • Headaches

  • Insomnia

  • Anxiety

  • Back, neck, or shoulder pain

  • Fibroids

  • PMS

  • Ovarian cysts

  • Unexplained pelvic pain

  • Difficult pregnancy

  • Difficult menopause

  • Digestive disorders

  • Low energy

  • Digestive issues

  • Restricted breathing due to tension

  • Emotional stress

Treatment Options:

Mini Healing Treatment: 40 minutes - $70

Mini Healing Series: 3 30-minute sessions - $150

Renewal: 75-minutes of focused healing - $100

Self-Love Series: 5 75-minute sessions for transformation in your health - $450

Just can't decide? Wondering what would be best for your wellness needs? Email here or call me and we can discuss the best treatment options. 805.714.1843

 

 

Goji Ghee Truffles

After discovering Ancient Organics ghee, I was inspired to make a little something sweet with the healing fats of ghee.  If you aren't familiar with this powerful food, it's a staple of Ayurvedic cooking, also known as clarified butter.  

According to the Ancient Organics site, "Ghee is comprised of full spectrum short, medium and long chain fatty acids, both unsaturated and saturated. Ghee contains Omega 3 and Omega 9 essential fatty acids along with vitamins A, D, E and K. Ghee made from organic butter of pastured cows is one of the highest natural sources of CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid). 9 phenolic anti-oxidants, as well as numerous other minerals present in ghee."

Sounds amazing, yes?  In Ayurveda, its said to give longevity to the body as it's been used for many years as a digestive and elimination aid. You can use it for energy, sexual vitality, skin and eye health, and as a lubricant for the joints and alkalizing the blood.

Ancient Organics goes on to say, "The purity of ghee allows it to be deeply penetrating and nourishing as it passes through the lipid membranes of cells. For this reason, the vitamins and minerals from food cooked in ghee will be drawn deep into the body where they impart the most benefit. The assimilation of the nutrients increases when suspended in a ghee matrix. When you add spices to ghee to cook with the flavor is carried deep into the food. Many herbal preparations use ghee as the carrier oil because of these characteristics."

Now, for the recipe (adapted from the Ancient Organics recipe):

 I spy a chocolate chip in the one given to my mother as she doesn't like the bitterness of cacao. Baby steps. ;)

I spy a chocolate chip in the one given to my mother as she doesn't like the bitterness of cacao. Baby steps. ;)

If you're looking to eliminate sugar out of your diet as you bounce back from the holidays, then you will love this recipe. It's a superfood medley... and the butterscotch notes of ghee blend wonderfully with the fruit.  

Makes 2 dozen or so.

You will need:

  • 2 cups walnuts
  • 1 cup dried apricots
  • ½ cup Ancient Organics Ghee
  • 1 cup coconut flakes
  • ½ cup cacao powder, plus extra for dusting
  • ¾ cup cacao nibs
  • 1/4 cup goji berries
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • Pinch ground cayenne pepper, optional
  • sea salt to taste

Directions:

  1. In a food processor, place walnuts, dried apricots and coconut flakes.
  2. Process until well incorporated.
  3. Add ghee, cocoa powder, cacao nibs, goji berries, and spices.
  4. Blend again until incorporated.
  5. Taste the mixture and add more spice as you see fit.
  6. Add salt to taste and blend one last time.
  7. Form into 1” balls and refrigerate in a sealed container. (I like to use a glass pie dish covered.)
  8. Dust or roll ghee truffles in extra cocoa powder before serving.

I find the slightly bitter tones of chamomile to pair wonderfully with these little drops of gold.

Or be very lavish and pair with your trusty Earl Gray tea. ;)

Hope you like!

Do you have a magical ghee story or recipe? Please share.

Have more questions about ghee or want to get started on a cleanse? 

Message me or leave a note.

You are Holy and You are Free

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Many people that end up as lovers of satsang and meditation (and the healing path) tend to find their way when the state of affairs are getting increasingly uncomfortable. Grasping, clutching, searching for anything that can make sense of what's happening....While at the same time, something seems lost in dropping the roles.

Life starts to feel like an itchy turtleneck on a hot day.

Most of us didn't choose the path. It chose us.

We didn't choose to feel this lost or confused, and sometimes, the only peace that can be found is while sitting in a quiet space or on the other end of a phone conversation with a friend that's been there.

So often, we end up feeling like the crazy one. Crazy for not wanting to go along with divisive, competitive, "tooting our own horn" talk. Crazy for wanting to drop everything and run for the hills naked, the itchy turtleneck stripped off long behind us.

It can feel like a devious choice, as rebellious as outsmarting the system.

Grab yourself a name card: CRAZY. EXISTENTIAL CRISIS. SPIRITUAL SEEKER. FLAKE. OUT OF TOUCH. TRANSCENDENTAL FREAK.

The call to the bodhi tree can come at the most inopportune time as far as the mind is concerned (and family. and friends. and jobs). 

It can feel like you are losing your mind. And you are.

It can feel like it should be easier. And it should be.

Life was never meant to be this hard.

Outrage over the state of modern life is holy. Concern for yourself and your duties is holy. Desire to concern yourself with politics is holy. Desire to move beyond and around politicis is holy. Desire to live outside of the rules is holy. Desire to hold tight to the rules is holy.

Holy until one believes that this chaos actually prevents you from truly being free.

Each one of us is the bearer of the holy- making peace with what is.

Sitting under the bodhi tree DESPITE chaos, despite responsibility, despite financial issues, or maybe better yet, because of chaos, countless responsibilities, and financial requirements in life is your best choice of action.

And when we truly sit, all of this chaos, responsibility, confusion, financial burdens can rest in a much larger field of support.

Don't deny the bodhi tree.

Take heart, dear friend.

You are holy and you are free.

Turn your attention to that and you are the sanest person in the herd of humanity.

 

Join us Tuesday evenings in Avila Beach for more satsang goodness. Visit the events page or contact me for more info and to RSVP.

 

My Yoga (Teaching) Philosophy:

I find sanctuary in a room full of people breathing together.

My spiritual orientation rests in listening, staying open, and guiding you towards the greatest inspiration for life and your personal connection to God, Goddess, Spirit, Nature, the Mystery- whatever calls you home.

As often as I can remember, I stay with the moment so that I can stay open to what every person in the room is bringing as an offering.  We teach each other.  We ride the waves together.  It’s a journey.  Always.

And the longer I teach, the more I see that riding the waves one wave at a time is what keeps this joy ride interesting, playful, and well, joyful.

It’s painful to pretend to know too much, so I don’t.

I honor the sparkle and the grit.

I do my best to be the sparkle and let the grit find the love so that it can sparkle too.

I articulate the teachings in my uniquely quirky way.  I’m human, so sometimes, I do very poetic maneuvers like combining words.  Come to my 5:45 am class to see my greatest poetry made.

I like to crush our culture’s concept that health and wellness need be punitive, or that awakening be hard or far-off. 

Look for inspiration, and you’ve arrived.

xoxo, Caitlin