The Urban Monk

Tantra isn’t about sex — yes, you read that right.

It can include sex, and the sex you have may be tantric… but the ideology itself is so much deeper and wider.

In Sanskrit, tantra means “web” or “to weave energy.”

Tantra is about connection and fusion before it’s about anything else — that’s what so many couples get wrong when they attempt to engage in tantra.

And, just so you don’t get it twisted, tantra is not only for couples. …


The Urban Monk

Before COVID-19, a different kind of infection completely spooked hospitals all over the globe.

The threat behind that infection is, by one estimate, responsible for 300 million cases and 1.6 million deaths per year.

That’s more than malaria.

When COVID started overwhelming hospitals and shutting down the country, it was all medical hands on deck. Those who were researching the original scare had to pause and pivot.

By the end of 2019, there had been some 1,500 documented cases of that mounting infector in the U.S.

The pivoted researchers got very curious very quickly about what effect the coronavirus infection…


The Urban Monk

Trauma is stuck in your brain and your autonomic nervous system (ANS) patterns.

That’s the real problemnot an inherent character weakness or an incorrect attitude.

The solution also lies within your brain and your ANS.

These aren’t fixed, immovable structures — they can be changed by trauma and by neural exercises.

That’s what neurologists call neuroplasticity. “Plastic,” as an adjective, actually just means easily shaped or molded.

All brains have plasticity, some more than others.

By encouraging and training neuroplasticity, you equip the brain to alter its pathways, strengthen certain areas, and remain flexible in its interpretation of…


The Urban Monk

Youth may not be wasted on the wrong people after all.

Teenagers — with frontal lobes that haven’t completed their myelination process — actually do show physical warning signs of wear and tear while they’re living recklessly.

They just might not have the self-awareness to recognize what’s happening.

Our idea about what it was like to be young, and our frustration about recalibrating our lifestyles to suit our aging bodies, is something of a fallacy.

The truth is, our teenage years and early twenties are where we built lots of the habits that remain in place well into our adulthood.


The Urban Monk

There’s nothing quite as heartbreaking as watching insidious invasive forces strangle the life out of the garden you’d built from nothing.

Well, there are plenty of things more heartbreaking than that, actually.

But feeling powerless and impotent against the crawling, vining, strangling red-headed stepchildren of nature isn’t ideal.

And though modern science has brought us tons of industrial-strength chemical weed killers, we’ve learned in time not to trust them.

Those weed killers can often imbalance the pollinators, bad-bug eaters, plant protectors, and bacteria in your garden.

It’s a whole ecosystem, see, even if it looks like you’ve tamed nature. (You…


The Urban Monk

Every day, it seems like there’s a new rule for how to behave.

And if you weren’t following that rule before, you’ve probably done untold damage that you’ll need to repair with a strict diet of sauerkraut and high-fiber whole-grain bread.

Sometimes, that’s not too far off.

Years of a daily donut habit, for instance, will certainly feed the harmful bacteria in your gut’s microbiome, causing a bacterial imbalance and possibly leaky gut.

But other rules, we are obligated to investigate further.

For example, the popular claim that drinking water during a meal dilutes your digestive enzymes and prevents them…


The Urban Monk

If we’re not burning dirty fossil fuels ourselves, we hardly notice they’re happening.

We’ve talked before about how much of our electricity is actually powered by fossil fuels (around 60%, at last count).

It’s easy to forget that when we talk about “saving power” in our homes, we’re still talking about carbon emissions.

After all, we don’t fuel up our homes with gasoline and have to refill the tank when we’re running low — we just pay the bill once a month. …


The Urban Monk

When Rachel Carson wrote her exposé of the disastrous effects of chemicals on our agriculture and water bodies, Silent Spring, she caused mass outrage from pesticide lobbyists.

She also did the American public an enormous service.

You see, it became clear for laymen, parents, nature lovers, rural citizens, farmers, and those curious enough to read for themselves that we were signing checks we wouldn’t be able to cash someday.

For the first time, citizens were informed enough about chemicals to make a choice about how they voted, what substances they chose to use, and whether or not they were willing…


The Urban Monk

Stress means pressure, change, resistance.

Stress doesn’t always mean worry.

Most of the time, we’re unprepared for stressors — they’d cause less unpleasantness if we were prepared, right?

But there are plenty of types of stress that are good for you and that we can– nay, must — be ready for.

Hormetic stress, for example, or hormesis — the stress your body goes through when it’s fasting.

Exercise is a good stressor. Cold showers? Good stressors. Quitting an addiction is another good stressor.

You and your body come out stronger in the end.

Hormesis, at its core, is about how…


The Urban Monk

Individualized healthcare is finally receiving the attention it deserves from the Western medical institution — and for good reason.

No two people experience life the same way…

Not if they live on the same side of town, or have the same parents, or studied the same major.

Commonalities of personality and lifestyle simply aren’t enough to guarantee similar results for similar treatment.

The same is true for personal development. No one method works exclusively well for Type-A personalities (a subjective assessment on its own) or can boast proven and consistent results for those with ADHD or anxiety.

We’re all individuals…

Pedram Shojai

NY Times Best Selling Author, filmmaker, and founder of whole.tv.

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