Whole Life Magazine

October / November 2015

Issue link: https://digital.copcomm.com/i/578674

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Page 31 of 43

art & soul BOOKS 10% Human How Your Body's Microbes Hold the Key to Health and Happiness By Alanna Collen M icrobes, long associated with disease in the human body, have emerged in recent years as having both positive and negative ramifi cations. Biologist Alanna Collen's thoroughly researched volume, 10% Human, explores why this is so. After contracting a tropical illness in a Malaysian jungle while conducting research on bats, biologist Collen suffered from a deeply entrenched infection for many years. Following her long illness, which was addressed by a course of antibiotics "long and intense enough to cure a herd of cattle," her focus shifted from bats to bacteria. The reason? Her health had continued to deteriorate after her antibiotic regimen, and new ailments had emerged. Eager to get to the root of her problems, Collen undertook a deep study of her damaged microbiome, which she learned was responsible for her new round of physical diffi culties. As Collen explains, "Each of us is a superorganism; a collective of species, living side-by-side and cooperatively running the body that sustains us all. Our own cells, though far larger in volume and weight, are outnumbered 10 to one by the cells of the microbes that live in and on us." Because we each have nine bacteria and fungi cells for every one of our human cells, over the course of a lifetime we will carry the equivalent weight of fi ve African elephants in microbes. Rather than considering ourselves as individuals, it is more accurate to say we are a "colony." However, this colony is quite useful to us. In fact, without the appropriate numbers and types of these microorganisms, a person's health cannot help but be challenged. Collen connects the dots regarding modern ailments and inadequate microbiomes with more than just intellectually stimulating information. The data she shares and the conclusions she draws illustrate our capacity to improve our personal colonies of microbiota, and thus achieve better health and well-being. Alanna Collen writes simply and eloquently, in a way that is completely accessible to all readers, yet the timely material contained in 10% Human is academically sound and presented with depth and detail needed to ensure a clear understanding of this fascinating topic. (Harper) —Deborah Mokma By Marc Allen I f there is one word in the yoga vocabulary that immediately brings about preconceived (and often incorrect) notions, that word may be "tantra." Widely misconstrued as the "yoga of sex," tantra is actually a multifaceted, highly practical wisdom tradition that brings awareness to the fact that every moment provides an opportunity for a direct path to love, freedom, ful- fi llment and enlightenment. Author Marc Allen, co-founder of New World Library with author Shakti Gawain, explores this ancient philosophy for the modern age in Tantra for the West. Using a frank and honest voice that weaves personal anecdotes with simple, direct appli- cations in the areas of work, money, creativity, food and drink, solitude, meditation, healing and aging, freedom, enlighten- ment, sex and relationships, Allen provides ample practices for living the life of your dreams in this very moment. "The Western world is ripe for the ideas and practices of tantra," he writes. "Westerners are usually too individualistic and too worldly wise (and a lot of us are way too lazy) to accept most forms of Eastern thought and practice, mainly because they contain a great many of the cultural trappings from the countries of origin. Many Eastern traditions en- courage Westerners to go without sex, alcohol, coffee, meat and "impure" foods; to live a life of rigorous discipline; and to reject a great deal of the cultural heritage and lifestyles of the West. A study of the history of tantra revels that its power rests on the fact that it does not reject modern culture. We don't have to give up sex and meat and TV in order to achieve free- dom and happiness. We can create our lives exactly as we want them to be." The book provides an abundance of opportunities to practice Tantra for the West A Direct Path to Living the Life of Your Dreams Continued bottom, page 34 32 wholelifetimes.com

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