Self-Care at Home
By Shivani Vora
Personal stress and overworking in her job as a brand analyst in the beauty industry are the two catalysts that led Jasmine Marie to discover the power of breathing. “The pastor of my church was a big believer in breathwork and launched free breathing classes for the community,” she recalls. “I started taking them and realized how much they helped me navigate the challenges I was going through.”
Fast-forward a few years later to 2018 when Marie decided to get trained in breathwork and make teaching it to Black women her full-time career. “I wanted to offer this transformative and inexpensive tool to people who looked like me,” she says.
Her pre-pandemic group classes happened in person, and in 2019, she went on a six-city breathwork tour. Today, she’s pivoted to twice-monthly virtual breathwork circles that span 90 minutes. “We open with checking in with each other and talking, and then I lead the breathing. “The circles are about connecting with people and yourself.”
Your healing journey began when: The day I took my first breathwork class. On top of work stress, I was in an abusive relationship, and breathwork is what got me out of it.
What are the physiological benefits of breathwork? After going through something traumatic, especially over a long period of time, your nervous system is on edge—and you feel the effects of that in every part of your life. In breathwork, you learn to really listen to your body, which helps restore a nervous system that’s overworked and stressed out.
How does breathwork change our state of being? The practice calms a wandering mind and relieves symptoms of anxiety.
Your day begins with: I don’t have a set routine. Instead, I give my body what it needs that day. It could be a walk in the park, reflective journaling or a short breathwork session.
The most important thing we can do for ourselves each day is: Ask your body what it needs. The answer isn’t the same every day.
Secret to a great night’s sleep: Winding down your senses by dimming the lights, playing relaxing music and turning off your phone.
The greatest lesson learned in quarantine: Go with the flow. It’s impossible to plan anything.
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Though she was always curious about plants and their characteristics, it wasn’t until she majored in farming at college that Jade Marks got a deep dive into their medicinal benefits. “They can be hugely helpful in all sorts of ailments, both physical and mental,” she says.
When various illnesses including cancer hit Mark’s family, her interest in alternative medicine became that much stronger, and she decided to study herbology. She launched 69 Herbs in 2018 and currently makes nine tinctures, each intended to treat particular ailments, in her Brooklyn studio. Unsurprisingly, the company has had record sales since the pandemic with the tinctures regularly selling out. “Sleep it Off and Coat My Nerves are the bestsellers,” says Marks.
Your day begins with: I walk my dog, meditate for 15 minutes and have a double shot of espresso.
Your healing journey began when: My mom passed away from pancreatic cancer in 2017 and that’s what prompted me to go to herb school.
The most important thing we can do for ourselves each day is: Hydrate and take technology breaks. We don’t need to be texting or on Instagram nonstop.
What are a few herbs we should all have in our home garden? Calendula, lemon balm and yarrow. Also, notice what is already growing wild and get to know them. Many common weeds like mugwort, dandelion and plantain are medicinal.
Top tip for growing herbs successfully at home: If you don't know where to start, look to the mint family; many plants in this family are easy to grow, safe to consume, and widely medicinal. In addition to the typical mints, the family also includes rosemary, lavender, skullcap, thyme, basil and tulsi.
Most underrated herb: Spilanthes is my go-to for toothaches and canker sores, and I love the way it buzzes in your mouth.
Secret to a great night’s sleep: Daily physical activity. I need my body to be tired to sleep well.
The greatest lesson learned in quarantine: How to support Black lives and social justice.
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