By Patricia Tortolani | January 10, 2019 | Lifestyle
Are you ready to be transformed? Like really, really made over? Meet the health, beauty and wellness warriors who are dedicated to bringing change from the inside out.
It stands to reason that if you are reading this story, you are looking to make some kind of a change. Maybe you are yearning to be more present in the new year or seeking stillness. Perhaps it’s the complete opposite and you want to feel more energized, less sluggish. Or quite possibly you just had a raging fun month of December and are looking to expel some, err, toxins. Whatever your reason for wanting a cleanse, you’ve come to the right place. This is a story about the new age of healers who are going to help you look and feel your best self in 2019. The list was curated by The Sacred Space Miami founder Karla Dascal, herself an icon of clean and conscious living. These gurus, along with The Sacred Space Miami—a mecca for meditation, yoga, education and wellness—are all part of a community of healers and experts dedicated to bringing change.
She is the fitness guru behind the sweat-drenching yoga-cardio hybrid The Class. She is known for sculpting the bodies, minds and spirits of Jennifer Aniston and Naomi Watts, among others. And she doesn’t believe in shortcuts.
Tell me about your relationship with The Sacred Space.
TARYN TOOMEY: I was first introduced to The Sacred Space because Jaycee Gossett, one of our founding teachers, was leading an event there. I remember right after the event she called to say, ‘T, this place is made for The Class. It's so mindfully designed and has many qualities that we hold near and dear—tons of intention—and the aesthetic is so similar to what we curate in our own work.’
How is The Class different from other workouts? Would you even call it a workout?
TT: Yes, it is absolutely a workout! It works your entire body from head to toe and includes plyometrics, calisthenics and cardiovascular moves. It is true that there are many other elements involved. We are intentionality engaging the discomfort in the physical body and then invite students to close their eyes and watch what the mind does around the feeling, which makes it a full consciousness practice. That's why you find at times people have a hard time explaining it, because it's unique to you. It's you experiencing you, and getting to know oneself in a different way. And in tandem getting an absolutely incredible workout from start to finish.
Miami is unique in that it has a flourishing wellness community, but is still very much a nightlife city. Do you think it is possible to experience both aspects?
TT: I don't really think that you can do too much of one or the other and really feel a balance. That's not to say that a night lifestyle has to contain all sorts of unnecessary, unhealthy ways. But I do believe in going out, freeing the spirit, having a good old dance party and staying up too late. I feel it’s actually a way of self-care.
The creator of Los Angeles-based Moon Juice, a wellness company that sells dusts, powders, tonics and superherbs, Bacon believes that transformation begins from the inside out.
Tell us about the Moon Juice philosophy.
AMANDA CHANTAL BACON: Moon Juice is intelligent self-care. We nourish body, beauty and wellbeing while reducing stress with extremely potent, supremely pure plants and mushrooms. Similar to The Sacred Space, we’re very aligned and focused on a new way of living to transform well-being inside and out.
How does one start living a more healthful life? What are your tips?
ACB: Take time away from your phone, walk, meditate, put time limits on social media apps if that is consuming too much of your life. Distance yourself from relationships that make you feel bad. If you notice you’re engaging in negative talk externally or internally, witness when that happens and dig deeper into why you think you’re partaking in that. Look at resolving some of those fears.
People tend to think they need a radical cleanse to kick-start good habits. Thoughts on cleansing?
ACB: I believe in cleansing at the appropriate time, in the appropriate way. It’s not for everyone and it’s not all the time.
What are the biggest nutrition mistakes we tend to make? How can we correct them?
ACB: One of the biggest mistakes I see is someone going plant-based or vegan and sugar-free but having a diet still loaded with sugar in the forms of dates, honey, maple syrup, fruit juices, etc. Be mindful of how much sugar you are taking in per serving—I’m mindful to take in less than 8 grams per serving (unless it’s a special treat). Look for high-fat foods to satiate rather than sweet foods.
What are some self-care practices that you personally do every day?
ACB: Meditating, walking and taking adaptogens.
A trained healer and spiritual adviser, Shaman Durek applies ancient wisdom to modern problems. His mission: to help you eradicate negativity and find inner peace.
How did you become a shaman?
SHAMAN DUREK: My great-grandmother was a medicine woman in West Africa. My father was her apprentice. She had always told my dad that he was going to have a son who would have the powers. I started training when I was 11 years old, meeting with other shamans in Africa, Nordic shamans, priests, ministers and other healers. The idea being to understand the spiritual arts from different points of view.
Taking a step back, what are the powers of a shaman?
SD: I can read your thoughts. Not your active thoughts, but the thoughts that you have generated in your mind and are looping around. I also have the ability to communicate to spirits in the sense of trees, flowers and animals.
Who do you help with these powers?
SD: I get called for a lot of interesting things. I work with media moguls, CEOs, athletes and politicians. One of my good friends is the princess of Norway. But I also work with autistic children, troubled teenagers and parents who are trying to understand their kids.
What is the best way for laypeople to access you?
SD: My podcast Ancient Wisdom Today. I bring in top doctors and scientists to talk about what’s real in life. The things people tend to brush over in conversation: Why does your child get temper tantrums, what is going on with people’s sex life when it comes to marriage.
Can you speak to women’s empowerment?
SD: In shamanism women are considered the ones who understand the life code; they see the whole, all that is possible. A man sees based upon a linear perspective. When you are not seeing the whole you lose out. For men it is possible; they just have to put a little bit more love and self-care into themselves because they are often stuck in this fear of ‘I don’t want to be weak.’ I want everyone on Earth to see the whole.
Certified in functional medicine—the buzzy field that examines the interaction between a person’s genetic, environmental and lifestyle factors, Dr. Cole treats patients around the world via webcam consultations.
Is there a simple way to explain the difference between traditional medicine and functional medicine?
WILL COLE: In short, functional medicine is the best of Western medicine—being evidence-based and using the latest advancements in labs to find out the root cause of why people are going through health issues—and the best of alternative health, which is actually getting someone well instead of prescribing pharmaceutical drugs for every problem. Functional medicine practitioners often run more comprehensive labs to look at underlying deficiencies, imbalances, infections and dysfunctions, giving amazing insight into these often overlooked pieces of your health puzzle.
What is the biggest misconception about what you do?
WC: That functional medicine is just for the wealthy and famous. While I have patients that are both of these, it is not the majority of people I consult.
To what do you attribute functional medicine’s growing popularity?
WC: According to a comprehensive study by the Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council, American men ranked last in life expectancy, and women were ranked second to last. Despite the advancements in life-saving surgeries and emergency care, when it comes to chronic health conditions and longevity, we are doing something wrong. Functional medicine is attempting to offer a sustainable health solution.
What are your treatment methods?
WC: Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, said thousands of years ago, ‘Let food be thy medicine, and medicine thy food,’ and functional medicine agrees. Food is used as medicine in a condition-specific way. It’s important to remember, though, that even with natural options and foods, what works for one person may not for the next.
So to create a tailored approach to healthcare, what is the first question you ask a new patient?
WC: People just want to truly be heard and listened to. You learn about a person’s case when you hear them.
A passionate advocate of self-awareness, the benefits of meditation and the importance of enjoying the journey itself, Tygielski teaches weekly classes on Hollywood Beach, Fla., to tens of thousands of students.
What type of meditation do you practice?
SHELLY TYGIELSKI: My daily practice is mostly comprised of Metta, more commonly known as ‘lovingkindness’ meditation. It’s a practice of directing well-wishes toward others.
Why do you practice on the beach?
ST: Nothing is more calming and soothing to me than the ocean. Even if practitioners just come to ‘sit’ with us, they benefit from their time at the ocean. They leave feeling more balanced.
How has meditation changed your life?
ST: Meditation saved my life. My daily practice helps me suppress the flare-ups that I used to experience due to an autoimmune disease (uveitis) that has caused vision loss. One of the keys to controlling flare-ups in an autoimmune disease is to control stress.
ST: It is the ability to bring the benefits of meditation off the cushion and into daily life; find joy and fulfillment in even the most mundane tasks.
People often say they don’t have the time or patience to meditate.
ST: If you don’t have 10 minutes a day to meditate, then you need to rethink your life. If you think you don’t have patience to sit quietly for 10 minutes a day, you should probably sit for 20 minutes!
TARYN TOOMEY PHOTO BY LISE-ANNE MARSAL; AMANDA CHANTAL BACON PHOTO BY METIER CREATIVE; SHAMAN DUREK PHOTO COURTESY OF SHAMAN DUREK; WILL COLE PHOTO COURTESY OF WILL COLE; SHELLY TYGIELSKI PHOTO BY CURTIS CHILDS