3 Super Powerful Ways to Heal in our Toxic World

Throughout most of my 20s, I was plagued with chronic depression and anxiety.

I’m delighted to say that I’ve been free from those shackles for the past decade, other than the rare, mild bouts that come with the inevitable ups and downs of life.

This is largely due to the fact that for the past four years, I’ve been living in the woods. It’s not exactly Walden—what with the dog, three cats, husband, and young daughter sharing space. Still, residing in a tranquil forest has certainly altered my life in fabulous ways.

In the United States and other developed nations, while the sheer ease of doing everything has increased exponentially with the advent of so many apps for shopping, food delivery, taxi services, and meditation practices, so has the obvious toxicity of American culture. Wi-Fi microwaves, unlimited screen time, plastic disposable everything, rampant consumerism, invasive advertising, pharmaceutical addiction, all-you-can-eat GMOs and packaged junk masquerading as “food,” and endless media outrage broadcast in our living rooms are just the start of this list.

Here are a few of the most helpful habits I’ve found that led me to health and wholeness in a relentlessly toxic society. May they be of benefit!

1. Less meat, more vegetarian/vegan fare. 

According to a GlobalData report, “70 percent of the world population reportedly is either reducing meat consumption or leaving meat off the table altogether.”

Are you among this majority? Eating less meat—or, better yet, skipping it altogether—is the most effective way we as consumers can help slow down and even reverse the tragic deforestation that causes climate change. A wise, longtime vegetarian friend explains his diet choice this way: 

“It’s so people everywhere have access to food and no child starves because I have to have a meat-based diet. Those of us who have the luxury of eating whatever we want cannot ignore that our choices determine that some people will starve because most individuals are not willing to give up their cravings for meat.”

Can you reduce your meat consumption? Even if it’s just one or two days a week, that’s a start. Consider incorporating more delicious, nutritious superfoods into your diet instead.

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Become an Indestructible Warrior of Love

The majority of my yoga classes take place on a wooden platform jutting out over the shoreline, with a majestic view of the lake and the three volcanoes along the southern shore. (Shout out to Hostel del Lago in San Marcos La Laguna!)

In just about every practice I’ve led this year, I’ve been including pranayama and sound healing before final relaxation. Asana (postures) are important, but there is a depth of inner peace and transformation that is reached when pranayama and chanting are incorporated in daily practice.

Sometimes, we’ll do the consonant or vowel sounds for the crown, heart, and root chakras, in different orders depending on the day. Or, I’ll lead the students through the seed mantras for all seven of the main chakra points.

I always encourage people to join in with their voice if they feel comfortable, or just to listen, because I can clearly remember feeling freaked out by Sanskrit chanting at age 21.

I also love playing with the warrior syllables from Tibetan Buddhism. My beloved friend and yoga teacher, Paola, introduced them to me some months back in a sauna ceremony. They are amazingly powerful and beneficial.

The five warrior syllables are AOmHungRam, and Dza. Each represents a quality of realization.

Seed syllables contain the essence of enlightenment. It is subtle, not grandiose, this uncovering of the thick multitude of layers of conditioning. Yet, it empowers us to connect more and more with our true nature—pure awareness.

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