Sai Maa Shines on Philly this Summer

EB_SaiMaa_0816Sai Maa, an international spiritual master and humanitarian leader whose global headquarters is located in Denver, will return to Philadelphia from August 26 to 28 for a program titled Conscious Living: From Reaction to Creation. A highlight of the weekend will be a free opportunity for hundreds to receive Darshan—a rare gift from an enlightened master — at 5 p.m. on August 27. Participants may choose to attend these transformative programs a la carte or to attend the full weekend experience.

Other events held during the weekend are Enlightened Conversations with Sai Maa, from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m., August 26; From Reaction to Creation, a workshop with Maa’s teachers, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., August 27; and Transform Myself, Transform the World workshop, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., August 28. Special discounts are available for weekend programs through August 13, and for first-time attendees and students.

During Darshan, participants experience an intimate, enlightened moment with Maa, a spiritual master whose powerful presence embodies pure divinity. Maa’s divine presence brings them into communion with their own spiritual essence and gifts them with a healing grace.

This extraordinary weekend event will provide diverse and powerful learnings that will help attendees actively create how they experience every moment of life. They will be inspired with a much deeper understanding of themselves, a newfound peace of mind and a renewed inner strength.

Full schedule of events and costs can be found online. Location: Marriott Downtown, 1201 Market St., Philadelphia. For more information, visit August 2016

The Mindful Classroom: Learning to Experience, Experiencing to Learn

by Peter Ryan

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Imagine a small high school class where the teacher and students practice being fully present, where they focus on listening carefully to each other’s perspectives. Imagine, at the end of that class session, that there is an opportunity to take a few breaths, and each student becomes aware of what it was like to be in that class. They take time to let the learning and the experience of the whole thing—the other kids, the teacher, the topics, their own contributions—sink in.

Perhaps what is next is a martial arts or yoga class, where concentration and movement come together, rather than competition and self-consciousness. Then maybe it is time to help in the kitchen, prepping the vegetables from the garden, or to pitch in and clean up a classroom.

The goal of this mindfulness—a kind of awareness and openness—is to allow for more relaxed, and therefore deeper, learning.

Mindfulness is what would be classified today as a “trending topic”, increasingly embraced by major corporations, sports teams, celebrities, politicians and even the United States military. The practice of focusing awareness on the present moment, both internally and externally, is said to provide myriad physical and mental health benefits.

Its use in schools is also growing, often as an add-on to a lesson, or as a program designed to improve conduct in the classroom. As part of an overall school culture, with trained teachers and students actively participating in the well-being of the school, mindfulness has undeniable results. Teachers can maintain an environment where students have time to notice their experience, and can integrate the whole experience more effectively.

In high school, particularly, the academic and social pressures are so intense that young people are constantly worried about what just happened or what is about to happen. Chasing after worries becomes the norm. Rather than standing by as they get lost in the whirlwind around them, we can encourage students to mindfully experience it, then let it go and make room for whatever is next. But very, very few people are able to do this alone. It takes, as they say, a village.

Peter Ryan, principal of The Lotus School of Liberal Arts, is a certified focusing-oriented psychotherapist and trainer, an instructor in martial arts, and has taught literature and social studies for nearly 20 years. The Lotus School of Liberal Arts is located at 85 Sherman Rd., Ottsville. For more information, call 484-312-0011, email or visit August 2016

School Daze: Heading Back to School After a Divorce

by Laura Favin

No matter how amicable, necessary or even desirable for a child’s well-being, a divorce rocks their world. Parents can help them navigate any unfamiliar terrain with a little planning.

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The first day of school can hold a mix of excitement and dread. Children will have new teachers, classrooms and schedules. Finding a place on the playground or in the cafeteria may be fraught with anxiety.

It’s even more difficult for a child to navigate back-to-school jitters after a summertime separation or divorce. But there are steps parents can take to make a child’s transition easier.

Recognize Emotions
Children whose parents are divorcing may feel scared, angry, insecure or depressed. They often try to hide negative feelings to avoid making the situation worse.

Younger children may feel embarrassed or afraid of crying if they talk about it. Older children may affect a nonchalance that belies the turmoil they feel, and act as if it’s no big deal.

Encourage children to talk about their feelings. Ask if they are nervous about seeing old friends, and if they’re afraid to tell them about Mom and Dad getting a divorce. Be sensitive to the physical and hormonal changes that may affect a teen’s volatility.

Rehearse Strategies
If the divorce resulted in a change of address, walk young children around the new neighborhood. Make a map together of the streets and include landmarks like the golden retriever’s house, the park and the mailbox painted red. Be sure to include a tour of their new school.

Help older children work out how to talk to their friends about the divorce. Robert Emery, a professor of psychology at the University of Virginia, suggests statements such as, “You know what really sucks? My parents are getting divorced,” and “Thanks for listening. I really need a friend right now.”

Reassure Anxieties
Let children know that one or both parents will continue to attend sports events, class plays and parent-teacher conferences.

Young adults may feel needed at home and consider putting off college and taking a job to contribute financially. Reassure them that they and the rest of the family will do just fine, and that what everyone needs most is for them to stay on the course they’d planned.

Recruit Assistance
Apprise the school’s administrators, guidance counselors, social workers and coaches of the family’s situation. Informed adults can more readily recognize any need for specific support.

Commit to co-parenting by keeping routines as consistent as possible. Share apps such as Our Family Wizard or TeamSnap to track class schedules, homework assignments and after-school activities. Make every effort to attend school conferences together. Ask teachers to alert both parents to changes in a child’s behavior that may not be apparent at home.

The best predictors of a child’s successful re-entry to school after divorce are parents that are prepared to guide, monitor and support them.

Laura Favin, LCSW, is a parenting-mediator for the Alpha Center for Divorce Mediation, headquartered in Doylestown, with offices in the five-county southeastern Pennsylvania area, New Jersey and Colorado. Favin earned her MSW through NYU and her MA in psychoanalysis through the Boston Graduate School of Psychoanalysis. For more information, call 800-310-9085, email, or visit and August 2016

Lovelight Yoga and Arts Festival Lights Up Summer

EB_LovelightFestival_0816Yoga musician Trevor Hall, kirtan icon Krishna Das and legendary yogi Dharma Mittra headline the Lovelight Yoga and Arts Festival, a three-day event held from August 26 through 28 at Camp Ramblewood, in Darlington, Maryland.

Lovelight celebrates the evolution of U.S. yoga culture—from the grassroots of the sixties counterculture into the modern yoga studio and transformational arts movements. The Lovelight Festival is co-produced by Woodstock ‘69 festival founder Michael Lang, yoga musician Wynne Paris and event planner Kimberley Maddox.

The weekend will feature musical performances, yoga classes, flow arts, themed campsites, drumming circles, vendors, art, workshops, sacred bonfires and vegetarian food. On Saturday, August 27, at 1 p.m., the festival will attempt to break the world record for headstands. Events will take place at a summer-camp-turned-festival venue that features a spring-fed lake and an Olympic-sized pool. Many styles of yoga will be offered, including jivamukti, kundalini, integral, hatha, power and stand-up paddleboard yoga.

Tickets include tent camping; over 40 workshops and yoga classes; three stages with more than 30 musicians and bands, including DJ Mambisa, LA yogi and musician Dave Stringer, and Canadian chanter Brenda McMorrow; swimming, hiking and canoeing; fire dancers, bonfires and drum circles; live painters, art gallery, dance parties and interactive art experiences; and children’s and family programming. Available for an additional fee are rustic cabins with shared amenities, meal tickets, car camping, healing village treatments, hotel packages, Lovelight shuttle service and stand-up paddleboard classes.

Cost: Tickets range from $85 to $325. Location details: Camp Ramblewood is a one-hour drive from Philadelphia. For more information, visit August 2016

Himalayan Salt and Wellness Cave Celebrates Grand Opening

EB_HimalayanSaltNWellnessCave_0816The grand opening weekend of Himalayan Salt and Wellness Cave, located at 1494 North Charlotte Street, in Pottstown, takes place August 12 through 14, with a ribbon cutting at 10 a.m. on August 13. The event includes basket raffles and special offers for attendees.

The Himalayan Salt and Wellness Cave provides relaxation sessions for individuals and families, as well as reiki, yoga and reflexology, in custom-built rooms lined with Himalayan salt imported from a mountain range in Northern Punjab. In salt therapy, also known as halotherapy, microscopic salt particles are inhaled, and the healthy negative ions are absorbed by the skin. The process soothes the body and mind, and has been shown to relieve respiratory and circulatory issues, skin conditions, asthma, allergies and sinus issues, among other ailments.

The celebration includes several special savings offers for clients, including a free salt session with a yoga, reflexology or reiki session booked; buy one salt session, get one ½ off; and 10 percent off all packages. Walk-ins are welcome but are served on a first-come, first-served basis, as priority is given to clients that call ahead and schedule appointments.

Founder and owner Anita Heft explains, “Last fall, I went to visit a salt cave in another part of the state, and I was inspired by how relaxing and healing the experience was. I said, ‘I’m going to open one of these!’” Heft’s background as a certified and licensed reflexologist and reiki master, combined with her education in business management, has helped bring the facility to life for the benefit of the communities in northwest Montgomery County.

For more information, call 610-310-3884 or visit August 2016

Letter from the Publisher, August 2016

Karen_LFP_0516The world is a hard place to take right now; just watching the evening news can be an emotionally draining experience. As a new mom, I wonder how I can keep my son safe.

I know that my questions have been faced by countless other parents. How can I help him grow up strong and steady, with a sense of internal peace and confidence? What can I do to make sure he knows he is the ocean and not the waves? And how can I imbue in him the skills to act righteously, lead confidently, connect empathically and stay rock-solid in a place of self-love, whatever challenges life presents to him?

While voices of reason paraphrase Gandhi’s urging to “be the change” and encourage us to mold the world through our behavior, the reality is that in order for our children to be righteous, confident, empathic and full of self-love, we need to teach them to be so. If they are going to operate from a rock-solid foundation in the face of challenges, we have an obligation to give them the tools to build that foundation.

Part of that process, researchers are finding, begins with honoring and cultivating creativity in adults and children alike. Julia Cameron, author of the internationally bestselling book The Artist’s Way, has given us a new resource: The Artist’s Way for Parents: Raising Creative Children. In it, she explains that because we are role models for our children, how we relate to ourselves as creative beings sends a message to them about their own creativity.

Another avenue for foundation-building involves integrating mindfulness into our education system. At The Lotus School of Liberal Arts, in Ottsville, students enjoy moments of silence after class to allow them to be completely present for the experience. They reflect on what was said, what they learned and how they felt, allowing them a more relaxed, deeper learning opportunity. You can read more about it in our article “The Mindful Classroom.” We can build this slowing down and paying attention into more curriculums, helping students decompress and combat the harried, hurry-up mentality that dominates our culture and sometimes keeps us from acting (and reacting) as our best selves.

If mindfulness is not currently part of our children’s school experience, we, as parents, can help them build mindfulness into their daily routines, teaching them to take short mental breaks to “mini-meditate” throughout the day. We can also pay closer attention and more readily recognize when children need more support. One such scenario is outlined in our article “School Daze,” which offers helpful tips for guiding children (regardless of age) as they navigate the emotional terrain of going back to school during a difficult family transition.

As back-to-school time approaches, even we adults get the urge to sharpen our pencils and learn something new. Let’s remain open to opportunities that help us become more centered and grounded. We can then help the young people in our lives learn to do the same. May your learning process bring you not only knowledge, but also wisdom and growth. That’s what will help us all make this world a better place for the next generation.

With you in Awakening,

Karen G. Meshkov

August 2016

Natural Awakenings Comes to Wawa Stores in Montgomery County


Natural Awakenings of Bucks and Montgomery Counties has secured a distribution partnership with Wawa Stores. This past February, 22 Wawa and Super Wawa locations throughout Montgomery County began stocking the magazine in their heavily trafficked entryway vestibules.

New and existing NA readers can now find the magazine at Wawa Pick-Up Partner locations in Skippack, North Wales, East Norriton, Blue Bell, Fort Washington, Willow Grove, Roslyn, Glenside, Abington, Huntington Valley, Jenkintown, Flourtown, Conshohocken, Lafayette Hill, Chalfont, Lansdale, Colmar
and Hatfield.

“We have been pleasantly surprised by the demand,” says Publisher Karen G. Meshkov. “Especially because Wawa shoppers are not necessarily all associated with our healthy living niche, we didn’t know what to expect. I think that what this tells us is that the tide is continuing to turn. There are more and more people that are looking for a healthier, more awakened lifestyle in the Philadelphia suburbs, and NA offers them access to the information, services, products and providers that can help them to make that shift.”

There are plans to expand to more Wawa Pick-Up Partner locations in Bucks County and the Main Line in 2017.

For more information, email

July 2016

A CUT ABOVE THE REST: Rodale’s Heritage Hogs Are Best of Breed

by Michelle Bense

ED_RodaleHogs-1_0716At Rodale Institute, in Kutztown, the importance of humanely raised, heritage-breed meat is paramount. Their heritage hog program and facility, running for about a year now, produces organically raised, pastured pork that’s both delicious and good for the whole family. The hogs are raised without antibiotics or hormones, and forage for their food, with free range of both spacious indoor and outdoor facilities, 24/7.

Farm Manager Ross Duffield oversees the whole farm operation. “When I was hired, we had a few hogs and they were not being managed as efficiently as they could have been,” explains Duffield. “I raise hogs not only on pasture, but to thrive on pasture and improve the health of the soil.” Farmers can learn from Duffield and use Rodale’s model, on a scalable level, to raise their own heritage hogs.

“The quality of our pork is superior to most pasture-raised hog operations,” assures Duffield. “Usually hogs are just a cleanup crew, but we treat them as more than that. The common misconception is that hogs destroy the ground, but they do little damage to the ground if they’re managed properly.”

Their hogs are offered a very diverse range of forages, and are encouraged to eat a variety of foods. “Pigs that eat grass, corn, turnips, pumpkins, small grains, kale, apples and beets—just to name a few of our pasture varieties—will have a more robust flavor and different fat consistency than those that are raised on grain and/or milk alone,” says Duffield.

Duffield says that, ideally, someone interested in purchasing this high-quality meat understands what makes their meat different. Rodale Institute focuses on heritage-breed hogs—traditional livestock breeds whose descent can be tracked to their forefathers—which are limited in number nationwide. “Heritage breeds do very, very well on pasture. More of their diet is consumed on pasture than your average confined hog. They’re efficient and make good use of the land. They’re also friendly, easily manageable and have excellent mothering abilities,” he enthuses. “The better they are on pasture, I feel the better quality pork they provide.”

ED_RodaleHogs-2_0716Rodale Institute focuses on selling whole hogs to the customer, at around four to five dollars per pound—about $1,000 for a whole hog, depending on exact weight. “I’ll help people out [on price] if they’re willing to buy meat from me consistently,” says Duffield. About half a dozen hogs are available right now, with “quite a few” expected to be available in the fall.

Customers are welcome to share a hog with others, Duffield notes, but the responsibility is on them to find a partner with whom they may split the cost of the whole hog. Hogs are sold directly off the farm. “We use an Animal Welfare Approved meat-processing company in Mount Joy called Smucker’s Meats. Smucker’s can accommodate just about any option the consumer chooses, from simply dressing the hog, butchering primal cuts or cutting retail cuts that the consumer chooses,” Duffield explains. Primal and retail cuts are vacuum packed, labeled and flash frozen. Rodale Institute sells portions of the meat in its on-site farm store, including pork chops, sliced bacon and other cuts. Duffield says they’re also interested in selling primal cuts of meat to local chefs, restaurants and catering companies.

Providing the hogs a low-stress environment, Duffield says, makes for much better pork. “Our hogs are happy. Happy pigs make good pork.”

Rodale Institute is located at 611 Siegfriedale Rd., in Kutztown. To purchase a whole hog for your family or business, call 610-683-1474 or email

For more information, visit or

Michelle Bense is a freelance editor and writer for Natural Awakenings magazines. Connect with her at

July 2016

Summer Cold Sores: Tips for Reducing the Burn

by Hyo Lim

WomanEthnicCoveringMouth_46009499_lIt starts as a tingle on the lips, and in a few days a painful blister appears, announcing to the world the arrival of a cold sore. This condition affects many and often occurs at the most inopportune times. Despite its “cold” name, it can be triggered by excessive sunlight, making summer a prime time to suffer an outbreak. Other triggers include stress, trauma (dental treatments), fatigue and hormonal changes. The typical time for healing is two weeks.

The triggers activate the herpes simplex virus (HSV-1), which lies dormant in the nerves until it infects the cells in and around the lips. In a few days the sore becomes visible and is contagious. The virus can then spread to other parts of the body and to people that have not been previously infected. For most people who suffer from cold sores, the infection has occurred during early childhood without any visible outbreaks. Cold sores can also be contracted by sexual contact from exposure to genital herpes virus (HSV-2).

There is no cure for this common but bothersome disease. The best approach is to prevent outbreaks by controlling and avoiding the typical triggers. There are, however, products to reduce the duration and severity of symptoms. Antiviral medications such as Valtrex and Zovirax taken orally with in the first 24-48 hours of the onset of symptoms can be effective in shortening the outbreak and lessening the intensity of the cold sores.

Topical ointments, whether prescription (Denavir, Zovirax) or over the counter (Abreva, Zilactin), shorten the outbreak by only a few days. The products can, however, reduce the symptoms of pain, itching and burning.

There are also some natural products that can help in recovering from cold sores. Lysine, an amino acid, taken daily (1000mg) has been found to reduce the frequency of outbreaks. For those that like the taste, licorice can be an enjoyable way to fight back. Studies have shown that the glycyrrhizic acid found in licorice prevents the spread of the virus. Licorice powder can even be added to petroleum jelly or other creams and applied to the affected areas. Lastly, aloe vera applied topically can soothe the symptoms of burning and itching. It does not shorten the duration of cold sores caused by HSV-1, but it does speed up the healing process of those caused by HSV-2 (genital herpes).

CRG_DentalWellnessCentre_1115As the height of summer approaches, enjoy the long sunny days with plenty of sunscreen for the exposed areas, including the lips. If an outbreak does occur, consult your dentist or doctor or try the natural products mentioned here to deal with the cold sores. Rest assured, the summer is long and the outbreak will be short.

Dr. Hyo Lim, DMD, practices at Dental Wellness Centre, in King of Prussia. Connect with him at 610-265-4485 or

July 2016

Protecting Your Sacred Self

by Kathleen Downey

CoupleBreathingLakeOcean_31808537_lIn our culture, when we speak of protection, we are usually referring to the physical world. We imagine bundling up for winter to protect against the cold, wearing a helmet and knee pads, and home alarm systems—all of the ways that we can protect material belongings. If we understood that the spiritual, emotional realm is our primary self, and that everything in the physical world is a reflection of that, we would be mostly concerned with how to protect the most important aspect of who we are—our spiritual and emotional selves. Whether it’s from our own internal energies or the unhealthy energies of others, attaining this protection is crucial.

During the first part of that process, we learn that we aren’t alone; we have spiritual allies. Then we can venture into the unknown and learn about who we are as spiritual, emotional beings, and what our subconscious expectations are. Our subconscious has stored memory from many lifetimes. Each memory, traumatic or otherwise, has an expectation attached to it. These deeply held memories project or suggest who we are, and with our conscious minds preoccupied with daily tasks, we usually follow those subconscious suggestions. Being guided to discover our truth through a first-hand experience that allows us to pull information from our subconscious into our conscious mind is a powerful, life-changing experience.

Our spirit holds our long-held truths. What we discover with our first-hand experience in our spiritual lives is the magic that will set us free from stagnant lives, pain, depression and fear, imbalance, memory loss, the negative thoughts and energies of others, and our own disempowering, learned beliefs. Understanding, as our ancestors did, how to protect our empathetic sacred selves with knowledge; building our lives and beliefs from our spiritual strengths; overcoming these learned beliefs from soul loss and trauma—this is the “spiritual healing work” recorded in the history of every culture. The shaman’s journey is among the oldest examples of meditation and healing work for the benefit of all.

By using all of our senses to experience our spiritual strengths and challenges, we eliminate fear and doubt, because we feel the experience in safety—a deeply relaxed state where healing takes place. When we work with self-discovery tools and expand into past life therapy, forgiveness can take place, and we experience the bigger picture of our relationships.

CRG_KathleenDowney_0616Kathleen Downey is a certified practitioner of shamanic healing, counselor, past life therapist, yoga teacher, nutritionist and author of Healthy is Delicious. She is available for private sessions in Lambertville, NJ, and video conferences worldwide. She and LMT Courtney Downey will host a two-part workshop, Protecting Your Sacred Self, in Doylestown, July 15 and 24. Email or visit


July 2016

KarmaFest Camping Weekend Comes to Pottstown

KarmaFest.fwKarmaFest, a holistic, psychic and yoga festival weekend of camping and fun, is coming to Pottstown for the Labor Day weekend, September 2 through 5, at Fellowship Farm. Campers can arrive after 7 p.m. on September 2 and will check out by noon on September 5. Daytime-only participants are welcome from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., September 3 and 4, and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., September 5.

The festival will feature enlightening lectures, meditation, live music, swimming, vegan and vegetarian food, 50 to 75 interesting vendors and two full days of yoga. Also available at an additional charge will be readings, massage, reiki, reflexology and more.

KarmaFest was founded by Patricia Hawse in 2005, after she experienced the effects of holistic health firsthand, while serving for the Red Cross in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Witnessing the immediate effects of yoga and meditation to relieve tension and increase energy and balance, Hawse vowed to spread the word through a festival—KarmaFest.

BarefootSandHippie_9422419_l“We are so excited that our second year of KarmaFest will be a full holiday weekend experience,” says Hawse. “Think lots of time around the drum circle and bonfire at night, and waking to a great KarmaFest, with all the trimmings, during the day. We also have a beautiful swimming pool, so we’re looking forward to offering an end-of-the-
summer extended weekend getaway.”

Cost: Full weekend pass, with 3-night stay, starts at $88 for tent camping and $122 for dorm stay (early bird prices, before July 15). Day passes: $20. Location: Fellowship Farm, 2488 Sanatoga Rd., Pottstown. For more information, call Diane at 610-220-7817, email or visit

July 2016

Doylestown Food Market Hosts Second Annual Celebrity Chef Farm to Table Dinner


On August 13, twin chefs Keith Blalock, of PA Soup and Seafood and Penn Taproom, and Kevin Blalock, of Lookaway Golf Club, will prepare a farm-to-table meal to benefit the Doylestown Food Market. The tented, rain-or-shine event will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Bucks County Audubon Society at Honey Hollow, in New Hope. The event is the Market’s largest fundraiser of the year and will showcase seasonal preparations from local Bucks County farms.

John LaSala, market board president and fundraising chair, says, “We knew it would be hard to top Chef and Mayor Ron Strouse, who we had at our premiere event last year. And then we thought of Keith and Kevin Blalock and realized how cool it would be to have local chefs who are brothers—twice as good; twice the fun!”

tent with lights and people

The dining experience will be accompanied by a silent auction and live music by Cherry Lane Jazz Band. The event is BYOB with local beer, wine and kombucha “mocktails” sampling. Local wine will be available for purchase.

Honey Hollow, the idyllic site chosen for the annual event, is a National Historic Landmark and headquarters for the Bucks County Audubon Society.

Tickets can be reserved at Farm The cost is $75 for members and $95 for non-members, and all proceeds go to support the Doylestown Food Market on its path toward sustainability.

Founded in 2014, the Doylestown Food Market focuses on providing convenient, year-round access to local, healthy, fresh and organic products. The Market works closely with local producers and incorporates the feedback of member-owners in developing and designing the store. The Market is open to members and non-members alike.

The Market is currently accepting volunteers for the event as well as sponsorship inquiries from area businesses.

Event location: Bucks County Audubon Society at Honey Hollow, 2877 Creamery Rd., New Hope. Doylestown Food Market location: 29 W. State St., Doylestown. For more information, call John LaSala at 908-337-9670 or visit

July 2016