The Earthbody Blog

A curated guide to holistic wellness

Welcome to my journal. Each week I share a story that turns my mind with the insights, goof-ups, and lessons I discovered in the exchange. I also believe that the good life takes practice. Here's where I'll share resources in meditation, self care, daily ritual, wholesome nutrition, and the best in body~mind wellness. Thanks for reading and welcome to the family.

Denmo Ibrahim, Founder & CEO Earthbody.

Creating Boundaries

Four Years of Healing at EarthbodyA fence is a boundary. Visually it says, do whatever you want but don’t cross this line. It’s clear. Most of us wouldn’t find ways to get over the fence. We’d assume it’s there for a reason and that it doesn’t really concern us anyways. We could just as easily go around or find another way.

A door is a more flexible boundary. You can come right up and knock on it, but I choose whether to answer or not. And even if I do choose to answer it, I then decide whether to let you in or not. So doors are cool. They give you a way to control what comes into your space.

But what about the other boundaries—ones that aren’t as obvious? Like working past your physical limit? Or committing to more projects than you can actually take on? Or forcing yourself to stay awake, go further, nod in agreement when you don’t actually agree.

Boundaries define a person. A boundary means you have an edge. It doesn’t have to be rigid; it can be flexible. But whatever pushes against that line is your point of reference. It outlines what you value.

Boundaries are commitments you keep to yourself. You can save yourself a lot of headache by letting people know where your lines are. It’s not going to offend them. If it does, maybe they shouldn’t be dealing with you; in fact, it sounds like they may not have set their own clear boundaries. But first you have to know what’s important to you. Where do you stand? Ask yourself what do you value? What area’s of your life will you always protect?

When you listen to the message of the body, you may realize that frankly, you’re just the messenger. Your Body has her own mind, her own wants and desires that may be different than your Mind-Mind. So speak up. Define your line. Be a protector for the you within.

What is Ritual?

Four Years of Healing at EarthbodyA ritual is a set of actions performed with intention. That’s it. Anything can become a ritual if those three parts are included—action, performance, and intention. Let’s break it down.

Action. Action is something physical. You can’t just think or talk about brushing your teeth. You need to actually pick up the toothpaste, uncap it, squeeze out the paste, hold the toothbrush with the other hand, and then brush. Those are a set of actions.

Now, is brushing your teeth a ritual? It could be. But it needs performance and intention to be ritual. Without those two key players, it’s just a means to an end.

Performance. That’s interesting. Ritual requires performance? Really? Well, let’s look at traditional performance. In theatre, actors need to hold a certain amount of attention for an audience to be interested. Without the right amount of energy, if it’s too pedestrian, it will fall flat. It’s not worth watching.

In ritual, performance isn’t something you do for someone else; you are both the observer and the observed. You become aware that something is occurring. When you engage in ritual, you allow your own creativity to get involved—for example, by enhancing the mood (should I brush my teeth by candlelight?), choosing the type (gel or paste?), or making up playful rules (I’m going to hold my ear while I brush my teeth). A sense of performance heightens the action so it’s not just ordinary, but instead a work of art.

Intention. Truth be told, intention is where any ritual really begins. What do you want to feel, be, do, have, or let go of? If I were feeling stressed out, for example, I might create an intention to feel lighter. I might imagine myself literally in the clouds, wearing white, with wings on my back. As I brush my teeth, I could imagine the paste creating a million little clouds alongside my gums and teeth, lifting me up to the sky. Intention is the secret of why we do what we do.

Ritual, then, is a physical act of intention -- a symbol of greatness that you create. It is powerful, possible, and practical.

Are there aspects in your life that you could turn into ritual? Do you want to create a ritual to work with an intention?

You could start by looking at your life as it is. What are the actions you do regularly? They could be working out, showering, washing your face, using your phone, riding the elevator, walking to work, driving home, sleeping, waking up, making coffee, putting your shoes on, etc. Returning to these daily actions with a fresh view may be all you need to totally transform. Ritual is a set of actions performed with intention.

You can create ritual. You can invite ritual. The practice of ritual will change your life.

Ayurveda 101

Ayurveda 101Ayurveda 101

You may have heard of Ayurveda, but wonder what some ancient Indian healing practice has to do with you in the 21st century. Ayurveda is a system of healing based on the Vedic texts written 5,000 years ago from ancient India. Its aim is to heal and maintain the quality and longevity of life through nutrition, lifestyle, massage, and herbal remedies.

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Power of Ayurveda In Treatment

Power of Ayurveda In TreatmentIn addition to diet and medicines, ayurveda has countless body treatments for both health and beauty, and it is important to note that in ayurveda beauty is a result of health, and health is one’s natural state. At Earthbody, we’ve designed a series of rituals inspired by Ayurveda to work with particular ailments such as insomnia, anxiety, stress, and nervousness.

Many of these treatments consist of medicated oil massage, as vata (the dry dosha) tends to increase with age, and therefore is the most commonly aggravated dosha. Oil provides lasting moisture and protection for the skin and even deeper tissues. Soap is not recommended in ayurveda, as it strips away one’s natural protective mantle.

Getting regular oil massage, ABHYANGA, with the appropriate medicated oil, can help to protect and nourish the skin, improving the flow of blood and lymph, and encouraging the body to heal it’s self.  It can also help to nourish one emotionally, illustrating that the mind and emotions are all considered to be property of the body in ayurveda and Indian philosophy in general.

Another common treatment in ayurvedic practice is shirodhara, which consists of pouring a continuous stream of warm medicated oil, (sometimes milk) on the forehead. This is a deeply relaxing treatment, which soothes the mind and lubricates the organs of the head, improving sight, smell, taste, and hearing. It can alleviate migraines, prevent them from reoccurring, and cure insomnia. Oil treatments are plentiful in ayurvedic medicine, and it is recommended that one do self-oil massage on a regular basis. Vata should oil themselves daily, pitta every other day, and kapha once a week.

Sometimes people may need a drying treatment, these will usually be kapha types.  In such cases dry powder scrubs are called for. They are usually made of heated abrasive powder, cooked with invigorating herbs. These scrubs can break down cellulite helping one to loose weight.  In addition it will help to reduce oily skin and break up phlegm in the system.

Unlike western medicine, ayurveda places emphasis on the power of small things.  This means it is usually better to take a multifaceted approach to healing than to just look for the one thing that will cure you.  Hindu and Buddhist philosophy state that all things in the universe are connected and interdependent, and in line with this way of viewing things, ayurveda does not look for the one pathogen or injury that is causing illness. If there is disease it is because the body has become a hospitable environment for disease, and such an imbalance is probably caused and corrected by multiple factors. The ayurvedic approach to life is inclusive and holistic, taking into account the entire individual, and the environment they interact with.

Four Years of Healing at Earthbody

Four Years of Healing at EarthbodyAnniversaries are a perfect time to reflect on pivotal relationships, labors of love, and habitual patterns which have been released. This month Earthbody celebrates our fourth complete journey around the Sun.

As with anything we create – an idea, a company, or a person -- there is the birth of now, the daily nurturing, and the dream of tomorrow. Creating Earthbody has been the single most fulfilling adventure of my life. I have watched a simple vision turn into reality. With each new person that joins our small community I witness transformation of the subtle, the total, the miraculous, and the ordinary. We are waking up. On a cellular level, we understand health is our birthright and the body is a gateway to realizing our potential.

I began Earthbody in 2007 as a way to connect to my own healing process. Working with others made me accountable to myself and very present to another.  In turn, this kind of openness inspired more openness. This simple relationship began to unravel deep-seated tensions, unwind mental clinging’s, and encourage the richness of the breath. Simply put, embodiment became a tangible experience through the practice of conscious bodywork and massage. In four years, a holistic community of people like you came to and through Earthbody. So my friend, let me be the first to wish you a Happy Anniversary. May you always be happy, healthy, and further along the path.