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We Yoga therapists use oil for many things. Stiff joints and sore muscles? Oil. Tinnitus? Oil. Concerned about cognitive decline? Oil. We should own shares in edible oil companies. Time and again I have suggested oil to students because it was taught to me as treatment protocol. That treatment protocol was taught to me by my teachers whom I trust implicitly and who use oil therapeutically themselves. But I’ll tell you a secret – I have never been 100% sure that it works. I mean, what I was taught made good, logical sense, but my inner skeptic never completely bought the thinking. Inner Skeptic wanted proof, hard core, validated proof.

Well, my friends and Inner Skeptic, we finally got that proof, and we got it in the form of the process known as “oil pulling”. You’ve probably heard of it; it was all the rage a few years back. Magazines were full of articles about oil pulling that made some very large claims. I’m not sure about large claims. In fact, I steer clear of those. What I can tell you is that I have been diligently working with oil pulling for about 2 years now and the difference when I go to the dentist is noticeable enough that my very outspoken hygienist says, “It’s like trying to clean the inside of a clean car. There’s nothing for me to do in here!”

And it’s true. Blessed (I say sarcastically) with advanced periodontal disease, I have the great pleasure of going to get my teeth cleaned every 3 months. At first my gums were so tender and inflamed, and there was enough tartar buildup, that the process of having my teeth cleaned was painful, painful enough to require nitrous and numbing injections. After 2 years of oil pulling, there is minimal tenderness and tartar, and no need for my mouth to be frozen. I can still say that I am shocked and thrilled every single time. This stuff works!

How is this done?

For me, it was suggested that I work with untoasted organic sesame oil but the oil needs to be palatable, and I know people who cannot tolerate the taste of sesame oil, so they opt for coconut oil instead. It’s more important that you set yourself up with an oil that you will like because consistency with the practice, as with all practices, is key. You’ll be doing this for 15 – 20 minutes a day, at least 5 days a week, so you’ll want to enjoy your oil!

Take a tablespoon (or slightly less) of your chosen oil, plop it into your mouth, and begin to work the oil around the mouth, between the teeth. Begin to actively pull the oil through the spaces between your teeth. (Did you ever suck pudding or Jello through your teeth when you were a child? That’s the action I’m talking about.) As you do, the oil collects and traps harmful bacteria. Eventually the quality of the oil will change to an almost-soapy substance. It will also turn to a milky colour. It takes about 15 – 20 minutes for this change to occur so I suggest you hunker down and read your texts/emails or do the dishes. Continue on with daily tasks as you work the oil through your mouth; it will help make the time pass.

Warning: Your mouth muscles will become sore after a while. When that happens, take a short break but keep going for the allotted time.

Once the time is up, do not spit the oil down the sink. Your plumber will love you for it but you will not. Spit the oil into the garbage or your green bin. Then brush your teeth and go on with your day. Your mouth will feel remarkably fresh and clean.

Traditionally, it is suggested that this process happen in the mornings. After a number of years of working with people, I understand how busy mornings tend to be. I would like to suggest that you find a time in the day that works for you. Nothing devastating will happen if you don’t do this in the morning. Better that you do it consistently at 8 pm than not at all.

I’ve checked with Inner Skeptic and we both agree that it’s safe to say that if you struggle with periodontal issues, tartar buildup, or simply want to clean your mouth as thoroughly as you can, oil is the way to go.

Try it for yourself for a few months and see what happens. If you do, let me know how it goes. Maybe leave a comment down below. I always love to hear about other people’s experiences.

Wishing you all the very best,

Tabitha

Dig a hole. Dig deep.

Mozart digs a hole – Photo by Kersti Abawi

I remember sitting in the meditation hall at the ashram in India, listening to our teacher, Saraswati Vasudevan, talk about digging holes. The lesson was so effective that it is still with me today, over a decade later. She was describing what she had observed in many students, an attitude and set of behaviours that serve as blocks to effective practice and transformation. It’s something I witness as well, so I would like to share this lesson with you today. It went something like this (Actually it went nothing like this. I’ve put my own spin on it. 😉 ):


You are told that, without a doubt, if you stand on the spot where you are and you begin digging, you will find water. You are thirsty to your very core and you have no water. It is an absolute guarantee that you will find water right…..there. All you need to do is start digging. With great enthusiasm, you begin to dig. You know the person who has led you in this direction and you trust them implicitly. In fact, you know that they too have been thirsty like you. They have stood on that spot and have dug a hole. They have found water and know, without a doubt, that it is still there. You will do as they do. Why would they lead you astray?

Dig….dig…dig…..

Okay, I’m an inch down now. No sign of water.

Keep digging. It’s there. I promise.

Dig…dig…dig…

One foot down. No water. Okay, I’m getting irritated now. Where’s the water?

(Doubt starts to creep in. Maybe my guide has steered me wrong. Nah, that can’t be right. They wouldn’t do that to me.)

Dig…dig…dig…

2 feet down. No water.

(I start to look around at other spots. Maybe it’s over there? Maybe I heard wrong? Maybe this is all a joke?)

Dig…dig…dig…

6 feet. No water.

(Now I’m angry. THIS IS RIDICULOUS! I jump out of the hole. And run over there ——-> and start digging. Nothing. Then I run over there <———- and do the same thing. NOTHING! No water. NO WATER! What a joke! So I give up and walk away and tell all sorts of people all sorts of stories about how “this stuff” just doesn’t work.)

If only you had known that the water flows freely at 6 feet and 1 inch.


Think about it. 😉

Blessings,

Tabitha

Monday Morning Inspiration

Photo by D Barnes-Boniface

Become a prayer-maker. Why? Because what you face in your life is bigger than you can handle. It is. Go to a place with shadows and privacy, and just start talking. There is some ancient Friend that wants to hear from you.

Martin Shaw
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