What is a Lifestyle & Wellness Coach?
How can I help you?
My name is Laura Tulumbas and I am a Lifestyle and Wellness Coach. I use my knowledge of Ayurveda, Reiki, subtle body, nutrition, Tantric Philosophy and yoga to coach you through your life, through the thresholds of transition and transformation.
You are energy, having taken form as a physical being. The vessel you live your life in is your body. You have a body. You have embodied. We live our entire lives in this body. You don’t get another one…at least not this time around. What you do matters, in your body and to your body. What you do to your body and what is done to it, effects everything. It impacts you physically, and also your spirit, your emotions, your well-being, your presence, and your ability to be in the world, to stand confident in your skin. Your actions have consequences.
This is essentially karma. Karma means action, but it also means ritual. The thing about Karma is that it does not act alone, there is Leila, play. This play is not always fun…it’s just what happens. You can do all of the right things, and still get sick and experience pain. I don’t want to play into the new age idea that there is some neat and tidy prescription for perfect living that will solve all of your problems. That’s called delusion.
Sometimes the play of the universe simply does what it does, and we cannot control it. But there are ways to optimize your embodiment. There are things you can do, for yourself, that will support and nurture your daily life. In society, most people are not even present in their bodies. What? I know you are wondering how that is possible. Obviously, you are still moving through space in your body, but most humans are completely disconnected. Most of us are in so much pain, whether it be physical, mental, or emotional, that we are constantly looking for ways to disassociate. Don’t feel bad, we all do it in one way or another. Having a body and being conscious on this planet is not easy, but it’s worth it. At least, it can be if you make the choice.
I have been teaching yoga since 2002. Through my many years of practice and teaching, I have come to understand that the physical practice is only one part of the equation. I began to study Ayurveda in 2008, prompted by my misery, and the need to seek out a solution to my postpartum reality.
I had a miscarriage before I carried my first son to term. I was about 10 weeks along when I went to my appointment, and…there was no heartbeat. There had been a heartbeat the time before. When I got pregnant again, three months after the miscarriage, I was riddled with fear. I gave into every craving, thinking it was going to save this baby, save me from doing anything wrong. It was huge mistake for me. I ate so much Rice Chex cereal because I was so nauseous, it was sometimes all I could stomach. I ate pizza, bread, croissants… I had been gluten free before I got pregnant. Previously, when I ate gluten, I would break out in a rash. When I was pregnant, my body was not responding that way, so I thought I was safe. Later, I learned that the heat and inflammation wasn’t revealing itself through my skin when I was pregnant. Instead of taking form as an outward expression, it was clogging my whole system. I was inflamed from the inside out.
In Ayurveda, we know that it is often our toxicity that has the craving, not our wisdom. Until our cells are restored to their state of wisdom, we cannot always trust our cravings. After I gave birth to my first son, Luke, I struggled with nursing, excess weight and postpartum depression. I couldn’t, for the life of me, understand what all the hype was about having a newborn. The whole world made me feel like there was something completely wrong with me. I was not over the moon having this new little being to take care of, nothing felt right and nothing felt like it was working. I eventually got him to nurse sufficiently two months after he was born. I am stubborn. Can you tell? In retrospect, I was torturing myself. My sadness and misery also had nothing to do with him. His birth may have revealed it, but it had been there for some time, and my current reality revealed more than I wanted or was ready to see.
Women always talked of the ecstasy of nursing, the oxytocin rush and of bonding with the baby. My experience was the opposite. He was three weeks early, he wouldn’t suck, and when I tried to pump in the hospital…nothing. I mean literally nothing came out, no milk. After 11 hours of hard labor, no drugs, and a beautiful, healthy baby, I just felt like a complete failure because I could not feed my child. I wasn’t enough and everyone had an opinion about it. If I had listened to my own wisdom, I would have realized that it was okay for me not to nurse, that it may have been better for me and for him. I could have had my body back after being an incubator for nine months but I didn’t listen. I nursed and bottle fed Luke because he needed to eat, and I needed to feed him. I went back to work six weeks after he was born, even though I almost hemorrhaged the week after he was born. My baby weight stayed…and then I gained even more. So much for that fairy tale about losing all of the baby weight via nursing. I eventually lost the weight from my first pregnancy once I stopped nursing…and then I got pregnant again.
My second pregnancy was less terrifying than the first. I was not making the same mistakes. I stuck to a whole foods diet, I kept drinking green juice and smoothies, and I did not give into the cravings that I knew were going to clog up my channels, my system and the internal wisdom of my body. I only gained 25 pounds with this one and I had a much easier time. However, shortly after I gave birth, I began suffering from a horrendous outbreak of eczema on my hands. They were a weeping, bloody, mess. I bow to all of the people that continued to let me adjust them in yoga when I was in this shape. It was not pretty.
I tried everything to heal them, but my hands were a physical manifestation of my emotional pain. In that moment, I refused to see it as such and I was not ready to process it. I was a mess. I wasn’t sleeping, I was working more than I could handle and I was absolutely miserable. I was trying to manage life, my work, two children, a marriage that was falling apart, and my rage. My rage. I was enraged. I still am.
I was enraged that I had to struggle the way I was struggling, that I had two babies to take care of, and I did not feel taken care of. I couldn’t do what I wanted to do for them, I couldn’t be with them the way I thought a mother should be, and I kept thinking that someone would save me. I would go to work in the morning, come home for a few hours, and then go back out and work again in the late afternoon or evening. Commuting back and forth between Astoria and Manhattan, Astoria and Manhattan. My parents helped, a lot, as much as they could. Chris, my ex-husband, and I worked opposite schedules, so we were constantly juggling the kids and our other responsibilities.
Motherhood holds the ultimate paradox of love and hate. I never truly understood what it was to feel such a paradox until I had my children. Most people are afraid to admit that, even to themselves. This acknowledgment is not an easy one. I hope my children will be better for understanding that the world and our human experience isn’t one of perfection, at least not the way we imagine it. The only thing that is perfect is the opportunity to be perfectly you. It is a multi-layered experience, and very often, it isn’t pretty. In general, our humanity is not pretty but we don’t want to see ourselves. In order to heal, we need to be willing to see who we really are.
I finally woke up, but it took the horrific news of my Dad’s lung cancer diagnosis to jolt me into action. That was the turning point. The moment that I knew I could not handle things on my own and that I needed help. I did a 21 day cleanse, hoping that I would somehow heal my Dad while I healed myself. Crazier things have occurred, but that is not what happened. I also started therapy with my genius therapist. I never thought I needed any help. I always felt like I could handle whatever came along. Mostly, I could, but what I didn’t realize was how I had abandoned myself over the years. I thought I was supposed to be able to handle everything on my own. I didn’t have the tools to process my experience. The unraveling process is still occurring, because it never ends. Our brains always come up with a reason why, and that is a very creative way to survive in the world. But it won’t save you from yourself when your hands are bleeding because you can’t stop scratching them and you aren’t sleeping and your Dad is dying.
When we are out of sorts, disconnected, dysfunctional, anxiety ridden, depressed, sick, and uncomfortable in our skin where do we turn? How do we deal with our pain? I will use pain as the general idea that we are trying to escape from. The reality is, we don’t want to feel our pain, and society tells us not to. All you need to do is watch a commercial for the latest pharmaceutical drug on television and you can see how anything is supposed to better than the pain you are in. Some symptoms include bleeding out of your eyes, your head spinning around like the exorcist, anal leakage or even death. Maybe I’m exaggerating a little but only one of those symptoms is made up (I’m sure you guessed that it was the one about your head spinning). Then, the drug you are taking leads to another symptom and you take more drugs for that, again, and again. It is a vicious cycle, and all we do is trade our pain for another kind pain. Sometimes pharmaceutical drugs are necessary, so I’m not saying there isn’t a place for them but they are given out like candy in the United States thanks to big pharma, insurance and medicine being a multi-billion dollar business. Maybe you do not take medication for pain. Instead you are eating too much, drinking, doing recreational drugs, shopping, gambling, gossiping, complaining, or finding another way to conceal your life and your truth.
Does any of this sound familiar? This is avoidance, or denial. This is masking our own pain so we don’t have to feel ourselves, or have our experience. It’s a distraction. The only way to deal with the pain is to stand with it. To let yourself feel it. The pain is information; it tells you something about yourself. It can also be grounding: to get real, to be authentically you. It’s truth serum. The pain is part of it, but certainly not all of it. The pain is your body’s wisdom trying to tell you something. What is it trying to tell you?
Working with me is a process of unpacking. We can look at the way you are living, to see your choices and habits and how they effect you. We can work together so you can feel connected to how you are living, instead of numbing your experience. We can look at the habits that have formed around your pain and trauma, and how they have formed you. It is a physical, mental, energetic and emotional process. It is more fun than it sounds, but there is no magic pill. It all takes work, and your willingness. I promise, it’s worth it. You are worth it, and you are the only one that can save yourself.