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Natural Awakenings Central New Jersey



Sep 01, 2020 02:11PM ● By Nicole Zornitzer

Svadhayaya is the art of study of self. As described by some yogis, this practice of understanding the “self” allows you to know yourself so well that you grow into your wholeness and greatness. This niyama is so important to me that it has become my company’s mission statement.

It is through human conditioning that over time we build walls or barriers around ourselves without even realizing that this process is occurring. These obstructions may occur as a result of a traumatic experience, a failed relationship, a loss of a job or just society telling us what we are supposed to be doing versus what our heart is telling us our true calling is. We begin to identify ourselves as this packaged human behind layers upon layers of protection. It can become suffocating.

Many years ago, a psychic approached me after a class I’d taught and advised me that, as a healer, I needed to protect myself from the negative energy fields around me and that I was susceptible to being taken advantage of or my energy being taken away from me. Subsequently, I spent the next several years creating an even thicker layer of protection around myself, including the use of essential oils for protection, the use of sage to clear the space and practicing self-reiki to keep my energy intact.  

What I came to understand, largely due to my education in Ayurveda, is that this advice was not necessarily appropriate for me. While we all need to be cautious of becoming a victim of someone else’s malice, I realized that it is still our given right to be open and experience the offerings that are presented to us. If we continue to build barriers, we will lose the very lessons life is trying to teach us. We begin to identify with the “packaged individual” versus our own essential being. We forget who we are.

Svadhyaya is the process of understanding who we are behind these walls, unpacking ourselves and finding solace in this process of self-discovery. We can release the ego mind when appropriate and become a witness of self and experience the beauty of self-study.  

The process may be difficult; it may be uncomfortable or cause momentary pain; however, it is worth it. When I discuss this concept, I am reminded of a book about a bear that I would read to my son when he was a baby. The bear was trying to explain to his parents that in order to get to their desired destination, it was necessary to go through the challenges; not around them, not under them and certainly not over them. 

Healing begins when we literally go through the difficult process of self-discovery, and who we are on the other side of this process opens us to the possibility of knowing and being present with our true self. 

Nicole Zornitzer, ERYT 1000, yoga therapist, founder of Niyama Yoga & Wellness Shala, located in Randolph, New Jersey, and Upper Lake Mohawk in Sparta, New Jersey.

Tick Talk

Spring officially sprung on March 21. We have turned our clocks ahead. We are looking forward to warm winds, sunny skies and the smell of fresh cut grass. The daffodils and tulips have recently bloomed and we are just starting with the yard work that comes with the warmer weather.  Sadly, another season has started ramping up.  Tick season.

•             The best form of protection is prevention. Educating oneself about tick activity and how our behaviors overlap with tick habitats is the first step.

•             According to the NJ DOH, in 2022 Hunterdon County led the state with a Lyme disease incidence rate of 426 cases per 100,000 people. The fact is ticks spend approximately 90% of their lives not on a host but aggressively searching for one, molting to their next stage or over-wintering. This is why a tick remediation program should be implemented on school grounds where NJ DOH deems high risk for tick exposure and subsequent attachment to human hosts.

•             Governor Murphy has signed a bill that mandates tick education in NJ public schools. See this for the details.  Tick education must now be incorporated into K-12 school curriculum. See link:

•             May is a great month to remind the public that tick activity is in full swing. In New Jersey, there are many tickborne diseases that affect residents, including Anaplasmosis, Babesiosis, Ehrlichiosis, Lyme disease, Powassan, and Spotted Fever Group Rickettsiosis.

•             For years, the focus has mainly been about protecting ourselves from Lyme disease. But other tick-borne diseases are on the rise in Central Jersey. An increase of incidence of Babesia and Anaplasma are sidelining people too. These two pathogens are scary because they effect our blood cells. Babesia affects the red blood cells and Anaplasma effects the white blood cells.

•             Ticks can be infected with more than one pathogen. When you contract Lyme it is possible to contract more than just that one disease. This is called a co-infection. It is super important to pay attention to your symptoms. See link.

A good resource from the State:


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