A beautiful client of mine introduced me to NYC's Curandera (Mexican Healer), Chloe Garcia Ponce, and insist that I connect with her on my last trip to NYC. Boy am I forever grateful. Upon walking into Chloe's space, I was instantly in awe of the beauty she creates in everything she touches. Her divine energy, groundedness and lightness completely filled up the air, and her warmth was otherworldly.
But it wasn't until she began channeling that I was in tears within minutes. Her intuition was so strong and on the point. My jaw was on the floor. When we entered her healing room, I underwent a completely transformative experience. You'll learn about it in detail below, but through song, drums, ceremony, reiki, crystals and more, I walked out of her space a different person. More innocent, open, loving, clear, and balanced. It was especially alarming, for me, when she was doing reiki over my heart chakra and I could actually feel her opening up my heart from the tight clench it has on trying to remain protected and closed. The release was beyond anything I've ever felt.
From the rooftops, I shout, everyone MUST visit Chloe. Transformative is an understatement. You'll leave having shifted. But most importantly, you'll leave having been in the present of a being that is filled with pure light.
I was born in Mexico City, where my formative years were in a loving and nurturing environment, surrounded by laughter and joy. My father Luis Alberto passed away when I was eight. He prepared me for my journey. The bond between us has always carried me through life. My initiation with the spirit world manifested with his passing. I was fascinated with death, never fearful, but always felt the presence of the spirits that were stuck in this plane. As a child I would spend time in cemeteries singing to the tombs. Bringing flowers to the abandoned souls. I had an ally - a wise willow tree. That tree taught me so much, for she protected and healed my soul. I later found out that willow trees aid in divination. They sweep away tears and bring peace. They teach us to be flexible, loyal, kind and good listeners. The Seneca people call the willow “whispering one”. In the Lakota tradition, tobacco and willow are smoked together in ceremony. The willow’s energy helps the tobacco to rise to the heavens. A tree of gentle humility and grace.
My stepfather Manuel Tello was the Mexican ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, Paris, London and New York, as well as Secretary of State. My childhood and adolescence were formed in very cosmopolitan cities. I was exposed to a very privileged education. I am grateful for the exposure, and the languages that opened many doors in my life. But my longing to be back in Mexico was immense, I felt divided most of the time. Growing up I was wild and free, like the spirit of a horse. I always dreamt of ancient systems of communication between humans and nature. When I lived in Switzerland, I spent my days climbing pine tree’s gathering berries. I would find dead birds and bury them under the willow tree. My spirit was restless, “hambre del alma” - the starved soul.
Music and dance were my salvation, my instinctual nature was unleashed in the sweet union of sound. My older sister Octavia passed away when I was eighteen, Great Spirit was preparing me for the next initiation. As I look back, every death in my life was a teacher. I spent my twenties rebelling and repressing my gift of healing. The dreams and psychic connection were numbed. I was dancing with my shadow self, and I needed to experience the darkness of humanity to better understand the transformation and liberation my work would be based on. I became the wounded healer, experiencing the death of my soul, fighting to gain calmness and serenity. My quest for knowledge came as I entered my Saturn Return at twenty-seven.
When I entered my Saturn Return, an undeniable sadness came over me. Those seven years brought me back to life. Allowing my old skin to shed, being exposed and vulnerable, naked to the process was painful, lonely at times, but so rewarding. I reconnected with my divine Self, and I started to understand what my purpose in life was. I allowed the life-force energy to open my heart, flowing through me. During this period I called in my teachers, and I spent this time in India and Asia gathering knowledge about the healing modalities of eastern traditions. I studied Ayurvedic Nutrition, for seven years, Yoga for fifteen years. I got certified in Reiki, but I still felt like this was not my medicine. I met Robin Rose Bennett in New York and studied herbal medicine with her for four years. My quest for wisdom kept expanding. This profound time of exploration was necessary. As I healed myself, I was going to be able to heal others. My faith was being restored - all the challenges and deepest wounds had become blessings.
My Cherokee grandmother Hazel was a huge teacher in my life. She taught about forgiveness, grace and humility. My Shamanic teacher, Irma StarSpirit, taught me the toltec traditions of healing. Susana Tapia León taught me the importance of Icaros (prayer songs) and sound healing. My drum and voice became an extension of my heart.
I am a Mexican “Curandera” healer, a “Yerbera” herbalist and “Oracionista” working through the power of prayer and candle work.
The Spiritual cleansing, or “Limpia” with an egg, is done with an auric fan reading, herbal bath and extraction if needed. I balance the chakras (vital energy center that reside in our bodies) with Reiki and crystals. Through the use of these techniques, I am transferring “universal energy” allowing for self-healing and a state of equilibrium. This holistic therapy works on the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual levels.
The egg is believed to be the purest form of energy, as it is an embryo. Rolling it on the body with prayer is believed to release all that is not needed in our energy field. The egg is essentially a psychic vacuum that is picking up, and releasing unwanted energy.
Spiritual baths, “Banos”, are used when the energy field is damaged. Herbs and Essential Oil Therapy cleanses and strengthens the system. Herbs are used primarily for physical symptoms, and the essential oils have the power to cleanse and heal the auric body in a profound way. They neutralize irradiation in the energy field and heal the weak areas. These healing baths catalyze the clearing of negative mental debris, and emotional blockages.
My work is an extension of my heart. I feel very blessed to be able to be an instrument of the light. Every soul that I encounter is a gift. Opening doors for people to get strong and heal, and restoring integrity and faith in them selves is a humble and rewarding practice.
I am guided by my teachers. I am a humble servant guided by faith, grace and beauty, honoring these sacred teachings with impeccability.
My Ayurvedic background helps me diagnose the different body types, Doshas (Vata, Pitta and Kapha), which make up a person's constitution. We are all born in a state of balance, or prakriti. Doshic imbalances begin to block the movement of free-flowing energy in the body. The stagnation opens the door to physical and mental discomfort and disease. I studied marma-point massage as well, in Ayurveda, marma points are thought to house the three pillars of life, known as the doshas. Massaging the marma points we clear blocked energy, by either arousing or calming the doshas. Hundred and seven marma points cover the human body, bridging the gap between the physical and energetic bodies by carrying energetic information between the mind and the body's organs and tissues. The points were mapped out in the Sushruta Samhita, a classic Ayurvedic text. Major marma points correspond to the seven chakras, or energy centers of the body, while minor points radiate out along the torso and limbs. The points cover both the front and back body, including 22 on the lower extremities, 22 on the arms, 12 on the chest and stomach, 14 on the back, and 37 on the head and neck. This knowledge helps me to understand the body in a deeper way. The skin is an expression of what is happening internally. I can detect hormonal imbalances, digestive imbalances, and emotional imbalances, such as excessive anger, depression and lethargy.
Depending on my client, I recommend different infusions to rebuild and nourish the nervous system, digestive system, endocrine system, lymphatic and immune system, muscular and skeletal system, reproductive system, respiratory system, renal and urinary system, cardiovascular and circulatory system.
I have my herbal favorites: nettle, oatstraw, red clover, dandelion, elderflower, elderberry, echinacea root, slippery elm, skullcap, rose and violet. Artemisia vulgaris (mugwort) is great for dream work. I have become fascinated with healing mushrooms like maitake, shiitake and Reishi - as well as different seaweeds. Turmeric, fennel seeds, cumin seeds, Tulsi, and ginger are part of my ayurvedic training. Ashwagandha for stress and energy, Boswellia for joints, and Triphala for digestive support.
The herbal world is the most profound medicine cabinet. The most important lesson I learned in my herbal training was that food was the highest form of medicine. You cannot depend on supplements they will overwork your liver, kidneys and pancreas.
I also learned the importance of Prana, the Sanskrit word for "life force”. Pranayama is the science of breath work, a series of exercises intended to keep the body in vibrant health. It is the only means to supply our bodies and its various organs with the supply of oxygen, which is vital for our survival. The second function of breathing is to get rid of waste and toxins from the body. A healthy gut, intestinal flora will stabilize all systems in the body, raise your immunity and alkaline your body, it’s all about prevention.
Yoga’s healing power is immense. I always encourage my clients to start their practice. It’s really about a lifestyle, making healthy changes that bring happiness, balance and expansion into your life. Creating awareness on all planes, starting your day with meditation, igniting a positive intention. Finding the time for your yoga practice, and mindful eating, will heighten your quality of life. And of course surrounding yourself with laughter and joy that’s the most beautiful medicine!!
PLANTS IN SESSION
For the herbal cleansing I always use my warrior plants for protection and clearing. These are rue, basil, rosemary, mint and sage. For the flower cleansing I use white roses and white carnations, invoking sweetness and grace back to the bodies energy field.
Art is an act of communion with the divine. A silent meditation, being able to concentrate for several hours as you are guided by your intuition, takes dedication and patience.
As a classically trained dancer, I was taught the art of listening. Timing and rhythm was essential to each art form. Studying painting and intaglio printing in college gave me a heightened sense for color, texture, balancing shadows, and capturing light. All of this was training.
When I scan the body in my healing sessions, I remember my nude drawing classes. How I was taught to observe the human body, the shape, texture of the skin, and movement of each bone. Observing the model breathing quietly, sensing the heartbeat, it was a very intimate experience. My love for sacred spaces and altars came from my background of composing compositions with objects. I would make sculptures out of driftwood, dried flowers, and feathers. I became an alchemist mixing textures. I think it's so important to use your hands and feel the materials. My understanding of consistency as I dilute a healing oil, or measuring the amount of herbs for a tincture and infusion all come from my artistic background. Art is a language that allows people to engage. It transmits emotions, opens the heart, and inspires movement. It’s an exchange of energy. When you are creating from your heart, your engagement is authentic, for it transcends in everything you activate.
Walking in a path of beauty means being balanced and whole. When you consciously choose to walk in beauty and feel gratitude for it, your life is filled with immense splendor. I spend most of my time seeking natural, wild spaces. In the Navajo tradition, “Hozho Naasha” means being in balance with the natural way of life. When we are in harmony with nature, sensing its profound beauty, we are truly connected to the source. We are taught to cherish the luminescence within ourselves. That’s why creating harmony in the home environment in small ways are important, I always have freshly cut flowers to invoke beauty and grace in my life. My altars ignite my spiritual connection, thanking all the elements that reside in my body. By lighting a white candle, I honor myself and activate being grateful.
By acknowledging your grace and radiance, you begin to shine even more brightly. The world becomes more beautiful, when you are the artist of your destiny.
I will speak about the Temazcal, because its tradition and medicine is the foundation of my work. This humble ceremony illuminates the principle of my practice.
When I first entered the Temazcal, I was twenty-seven. It was a life changing experience. I felt closer to my country. I could smell the jungle, feel the aliveness of the sea, I could listen to the wings of a bat, taste the sensuality of a papaya, and the sweet nectar of melipona honey. I was comforted by the familiar warmth of grounded maize and cacao. I was connecting with the Mayan wisdom and teachings.
All my journeys around the world, searching for teachers and teaching, were right in front of me. I was coming back to my heart - to my roots. I was returning home to myself, Yucatan, and Tulum is where I found my healing voice.
The Skeleton of the Temazcal is built with Willow tree, known as the tree of the moon. The Willow is associated with the element of water. Her qualities of femininity and love, aid in protection and healing. The lesson of Willow is her flexible nature. She speaks of unconditional love. Making the Temazcal (sweat lodge) out of this sacred tree, is symbolic as she allows us to embody her healing nature as we nurture ourselves in the house of healing. Flowers and guardians are placed at the entrance of the Temazcal for sweetness and protection. The Temazcal symbolizes the womb of the earth. When we enter her, we are reconnecting with Great Mother's teachings. Volcanic rocks are heated by the fire, and they symbolize the Grandmothers of the Earth. They will be placed inside the Temazcal (the womb).
Las Abuelitas, “the Grandmothers”, allow us to purify our bodies, mind and spirit. Healing plants are used during the ceremony. We call them the warrior plants: basil, rosemary, thyme and rue are used for protection, harmony and balance. Chamomile and lavender for sweetness and self-love, and Grandmother Cedar for wisdom and knowledge. They bathe the grandmothers (volcanic rocks) in the Temazcal as well as our spiritual body. Copal is burned. This sacred resin cleanses and clears each person that enters the Sacred Temazcal.
We invoke the spirits of the East, South, West, North, Father Sky, Mother Earth and the spirits within. Drumming and singing to them, we open the veils, allowing the spirits of the Elders to participate in this sacred ceremony. Each direction has its medicine and element. The East is the direction of sunrise - represented by the element of wind - invoking illumination and renewal. The South is the direction of transformation, represented by the element of fire - invoking rebirth. The West is the direction of healing - represented by the element of water, invoking the womb. The North is the direction of completion - represented by the element of earth - invoking the wisdom and knowledge of our Elders. Father Sky and the star nation, thunder, rain and cloud nation blesses us, Mother Earth blesses us with her flowers, trees, plants, minerals, insects and animals. Invoking the spirits of within, we thank them for their support, love and health during the ceremony.
The Temazcal is a sacred ceremony, tapping into the earth’s wisdom, allowing us to share our sweat, tears, songs and prayers with Great Spirit - creating harmony and balance with ourselves and all our relations. The Temazcal allows us to go within, purifying our body, mind and spirit - surrendering to our fears, and limitations. Letting go of expectations, and bringing us closer to our heart and authentic Self. It’s a space where we connect with our divine truth.
AGUA VITAL PURIFICAME (Water purify me)
FUEGO DEL AMOR QUEMA MI TEMOR (Fire of love burn away my fears)
VIENTO DEL ALMA, LLEVAME AL ALTAR (Wind of the soul take me to the altar)
MADRECITA TIERRA DEVUELVEME AL HOGAR (Mother Earth return me to my home)
EN EL TEMAZCAL (in this Sacred Sweat Lodge)
CANTO DE SALUD AL TEMAZCALLI (Song of Healing in the Sweat Lodge)
This humble ceremony personifies my healing practice in Tulum, my community and tribe, connecting us to the Earth’s integrity. Teaching us to listen, and live in symbiosis with all the elements. Being mindful and respectful of all living creatures. I spend five months out of the year in Tulum, this magical place is a powerful healing vortex. Its waters, lagoons and cenotes are medicinal. As I get older, I see myself connecting more with the wisdom of indigenous plants, and healing properties of the honey made in this region. I think it's so important to keep the wisdom and knowledge of these ancient teachings alive and active.
I refuse to have a political voice in my country, for its corruption saddens me. I got very sick when trying to change political structures and dogmas. My contribution to bring awareness and change, to ameliorate the living conditions of people is through education. Through kindness and patience you can heal any broken heart. When you work on restoring the heart’s integrity, everything starts shifting in the right place. Mindfulness and non-attachment are key life lessons.
It is because of my practice with meditation that I have been able to nourish and protect my spiritual energy, and continue on my path of healing. The most basic work for peace is to return to ourselves and create harmony among the elements within us. Whenever there is understanding, compassion is born. When we are mindful, touching deeply the present moment, we can be open to receive healing and transformation. The most precious gift we can offer our community is our presence. I spent twenty years outside of my country, and the last twenty years have been about reconnecting with my heritage. I just turned forty and I have never felt so much in peace, groundedness, and expansive energy.
When you live from your heart, every action, connection is divine. You become fearless and empowered, expanding and releasing energy encompasses you.
When I have a client in Manhattan, I love starting my day at Stanton Street Yoga on the lower east side with founder Dhyana Masla. “She brings the depth of inquisition into her classes offering the opportunity for her students to cultivate intimate relationships with their multi-faceted Humanness while simultaneously taking a step back, a step deeper into the Truth of WHO and WHAT we really are; beyond the stories, the fears, and the limitations. Her teaching style is a unique blend of “challenging yet nourishing” Vinyasa inspired sequencing with fluid movements and powerful breath.”
Integral Yoga Institute offers classes, workshops and retreats in Hatha Yoga. I love the bookstore and natural food and apothecary.
The Butcher's Daughter in Nolita has a great selection of vegetarian dishes, supporting local farms.
Dimes restaurant and market in chinatown is inspiring and nourishing. A playful approach to holistic cooking.
Flower Power in the East Village has organic top grade dry herbs to make my infusions and tinctures.
Open Center is a wonderful urban holistic learning center in Manhattan. Offering holistically-based educational programs to create positive transformation in individuals.
Live Live & Organic: Is an Organic Raw Foods and Natural Skin Care store in the East Village. Bee Yummy skin Cream is the best-kept secret in the natural skin care world. This is edible, hand-made, live, signature product. Real food for skin can be used as a moisturizer or rejuvenative and nutritive cream. It’s superior for healing numerous skin conditions without preservatives, synthetics, chemicals. Made from Wildflower Honey, Honey Cappings, Bee Pollen, Propolis, St. John’s Wort Oil, Royal Jelly, Purified Water, and Balsam Fir Needles as fragrance.
The Shibui Spa at the Greenwich Hotel is my favorite place to restore and unwind. I recommend the Healing Birch massage.
Cha An Tea House is a favorite of mine. I always feel like I am in Japan sipping Matcha and eating mochi. Hasaki and Sobaya are my favorite Japanese and Soba restaurants.
I always stop by Matta, ABC Carpet, 45rpm INDIGO AND JAPAN BLUE, Dosa, Creatures of Comfort, Warm, Love Adorned, Opening Ceremony, Maryam Nassir Zadeh, and Dover Street Market, for retail inspiration. My favorite kid shop is Yoya, in the west village.
The Rubin Museum of Art, in New York, is dedicated to the collection, display, and preservation of the art and cultures of the Himalayas, India and neighboring regions, with a permanent collection focused particularly on Tibetan art.
The Neue Gallery New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Guggenheim Museum, Renzo Piano designed Whitney Museum. The Park Avenue Armory Conservancy is a not-for-profit organization used for artistic collaborations, always a source of inspiration.
I live in Cobble Hill Brooklyn. I love taking the water taxi to Williamsburg, walking to Red Hook or Dumbo. Prospect Park is a lush green paradise. Brooklyn Heights is an historical gem, the promenade has a spectacular view of Manhattan. There is a little Sardinian restaurant that we love called River Delhi.
I love getting my facials with Emma at Brooklyn Herborium. Between You & The Moon and Brooklyn Herborium Goods give you a complete line of healthy skin care and home care products. They work together synergistically and compliment the natural balance of your skin and your environmental peace.
I love Getting my massages by Judy at Element Natural Healing Arts. Offering a variety of holistic therapies including: acupuncture, herbology, reflexology, lymphatic drainage, Thai bodywork, rolfing, chiropractic, facials and skincare, nutrition, reiki, craniosacral, Alexander technique, Feldenkrais, MELT Method, yoga, meditation, personal training, and more.
Remedies Herb Shop is my local favorite!! I can find loose herbs, roots and spices, essential oils, flower essences and tincture, a true gem.
Vinegar Hill House is a great restaurant near Dumbo.
Pioneer Works is a center for research and experimentation in contemporary culture in Red Hook.
BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music) for concerts, movies and dance performances.
Brooklyn Botanical Gardens and Brooklyn Museum are amazing.
Oroboro is a Williamsburg boutique and art space dedicated to supporting authentic creative expression, sustainability and individual integrity.