A Student Intern Finding Balance

As a fourth year college student, soon-to-be grasping my diploma in hand, I am at a point in my life where everyday is a struggle to find balance. I am caught at a constant crossfire as my agenda piles up with what seems like an endless amount of work while I try to enjoy the time pegged as ‘best years of my life.’ I often find myself giving in too much to one side and failing to meet the bare minimum for the other. Whether it be school, work, health, or any of life’s obstacles, I know many find themselves in the same predicament.

It was about a week ago when I laid down in shavasana pose at my first yoga class. This was my attempt to reconcile this angst of instability. I listened to my instructor's voice as she softly spoke, “the only requirement for tonight is that you breathe.” For the first time in a while, I focused solely on my breathing and left my mind at ease, away from both the work and the play. I'm not sure if I'll become a regular yoga attendee but I definitely found solace in the moments of meditation where I managed my breathing rather than my schedule.

If you’re like me, forever struggling to find a happy medium, you have some options at your disposal. In order to find what works for you, I recommend delving into Puja Thomson’s upcoming book titled Track Your Truth.

Below is an example of what Puja Thomson is offering you through Track Your Truth:

“There is always a tipping point where you will lose your balance if you lean too much in any direction to the left, right, back, or front. It is easy to notice when you lose your physical balance. But losing your mental, emotional, or spiritual balance is perhaps harder to notice when you are no longer centered in yourself. And imbalances come in many ways, such as hidden or blatant addiction- indulging in obsessive thoughts, wallowing in emotional negativity, abusing substances such as alcohol, engaging in repetitive actions like excessive cleaning or feeding a sense of spiritual self-righteousness. Over-using what you perceive as strength and avoiding the use of a weaker part of yourself may also lead to increasing imbalance. Similarly, stay glued to what you perceive as your perfectly balanced, comfortable place won’t work either.”

Written by Roots & Wings Intern Samantha Scaglione

How Modern Science and Holistic Healing are Working Together*


  My name is Heather Salerno and I am an intern from SUNY, New Paltz, interning at Roots & Wings. This is giving me insights into more forms of natural healing. I started to think of how people could combine both natural and scientific medicines. I interviewed my friend, Diane*, who has both anxiety and depression to see if mixing both forms of healing could be helpful. She is in her twenties and is a college student. 

                There are many challenges one faces when dealing with a disease. Whether it be physical or mental, the strain it causes on a person can be damaging. Luckily, with the advanced science that is available, medications are out there that can help with these diseases. However, there is also natural forms of healing that can also benefit those who are in need.

                Diane was given medications to help her deal with the symptoms but came to realize that a holistic approach could also benefit her. She was diagnosed when she was in middle school but she knew she had it for longer than that. “I had trouble getting motivated and was constantly anxious,” she told me.  “People don’t realize how this can seriously drive a person crazy…I don’t have the motivation to get out of bed but then I feel anxious knowing that I should be out doing things.” It was hard for her to find balance in her life. However, after she was diagnosed, people started to understand her better. “…people, like my family, started to understand why I acted the way I did,” she explained. They realized Diane wasn’t just being ‘lazy’ but had a legitimate disease that held her back from doing things.

As time went on, Diane came to realize that certain things helped her to overcome these challenges. She pointed out that the medication she’s on does help but she does other things to get her through the day. “I usually try to just get outside as much as I can. Just getting some sunlight helps,” she explained. Diane also came to realize that yoga and meditation could also calm her down when she was feeling stressed. She never had any real formal teaching when it came to yoga but just going through the motions helped her body release stress and clear her mind. She does a form of meditation that involves full focus on her breathing. “I go into my room and make sure everything is quiet,” she said.  “I sit on my bed and close my eyes and just listen to myself breathe…It was kind of hard at first because my mind would start to wander. After a while, I got kind of good at it. It just helps me relax and concentrate on the present”. Doing this also enables her to regulate her emotions. This also helps her avoid trying to escape her room and she can now be comfortable being alone with herself. 

Diane believes that these things help her just as much as her medications. Without the yoga or the meditation, she would have a harder time to keep her emotions balanced. As long as she keeps moving throughout the day, she tends to feel much better. Even just social interactions will put her in a better mood. 

At the end of this interview, I brought up a self-care example from “After Shock: From Cancer Diagnosis to Healing”, that of keeping a personal journal which can be suitable for anyone. This   involves writing down one’s thoughts, feelings, and events that happen throughout the day. In doing so, one has the time to reflect on one’s experience. Diane admitted to never keeping a journal before but decided that she would try it out. “It’s always great to see what I did throughout the day,” she said, “and I can see how writing down my thoughts and feelings could be therapeutic.”


* For confidentiality, Diane is a pseudonym.


Rejuvenation Break: Quality Alone Time

Among the many challenges facing you is the need to "be" not only to "do." By putting aside periods each day to slow down, you will be able to give yourself the opportunity to become more fully aware of what you are actually experiencing from moment to moment. 

Quality time for "being," can open the door to your heart and your own ways of knowing. 

Here are some tips from my book


 that will improve the way in which you spend alone time:

  • While at home, turn off the telephone, your cell phone, TV and computer
  • When you wish to have uninterrupted time for something you love to do, hang a sign on the door handle, saying: "Please do not disturb"
  • Look for a place or several different places in your neighborhood to sit or walk without intrusion
  • Think about the rhythm of your week. Are there natural breaks in your schedule where you can put aside routine tasks? There's great wisdom in the ancient practice of taking a complete day of rest every seventh day
  • Become involved with a group that has little or nothing to do with the stress you have to go through daily. Sometimes it helps to change perspective and consciousness by changing the environment

It may be difficult to carve out time for yourself when you are caught up in the many activities and worries that consume your week, but it is a lifeline to health. Create your own wellness prescription by experimenting with the suggestions that appeal to you and you may feel better because of it. 

Written by Altimont Parker, SUNY New Paltz Intern for Roots & Wings

Get Organized Workshop*

Puja had the pleasure to administer a lecture in hopes to help those who attended become more organized. The lecture was held at the lovely Desmond Campus at Mount Saint Mary College.

The turn out was great and the participants seemed blown away by the information they were receiving during the discussion. The lecture closely focused on her book designed to help manage medical visits and paperwork: 

My Health & Wellness Organizer.

Puja explains the ways the Health and Wellness Organizer can be used 

The participants provided wonderful inquiries and feedback to better be prepared for organizing their future paperwork. The book is comprehensive and covers topics such as a personal "yellow pages" and how to manage insurance, bills and legal records.

Participants were thankful for the well structured information they had at their fingertips that would help them become more organized. "It was spectacular - over the top!" Eleanor Sugerman says when asked if the content of the book was satisfactory.

Puja takes questions and engages in discussion

If you're interested in possibly purchasing the book or want to find more information about it you can visit the

Roots & Wings


Written by Altimont Parker, SUNY New Paltz Intern for Roots & Wings

Rejuvenation Break: Be Open to Creativity

Whether you appreciate the beauty  others have created or create beauty as an expressive outlet for your own imagination, it is now known that such activities have great nurturing power.

Through creativity you can become more aware and connected to the beauty or wonder of the world - and yourself. Your creativity need not be beautiful, artistic or perfect. Many people enjoy the sensation of molding clay, mixing colors together with wet pain or playing their favorite instrument.

Here are some tips from my book


 that can help you become more open to creativity:

  • Remember a hobby or some kind of creativity you enjoyed as a child. Let yourself play with that again in the spirit of a child
  • Find a creativity group you'd enjoy in which you will learn something new
  • Play waltz music and allow it to open your heart. If you can, dance
  • As you listen to classical music allow it to flow right into you and the areas of your body that are most in need of healing   
  • Every day choose some colored crayons and let your hands freely express your mood
  • Sing along to the  music that you love

Written by Altimont Parker, SUNY New Paltz Intern for Roots & Wings

Know Your Chakras

The earliest discussion of the chakras, 

or energy centers, 

in the body was found in the 


, a Hindu large body of texts originating in ancient India (1700 BCE- 1100 BCE).  ‘


 comes from the Sanskrit, meaning ‘wheels of light.' 

Our energy levels affect our everyday lives. Lack of energy, or blocked energy, can lead to stress, the feeling of illness, and actual illness.  Being in touch with your 7 key chakras or energy centers is important to keep positive energy flowing through your body, and to maintain and improve one’s health.


The Root Chakra

- Located at the base of the spine, the first chakra represents our foundation and connection with our bodies, the surrounding environment, and the Earth. It is the chakra that initiates our fight or flight response.


The Sacral Chakra

- The second chakra is more focused on pleasure and enjoyment. It is located 2 inches below the navel in the lower abdomen. It is considered the center for feeling and emotion.


Solar Plexus Chakra

- The third chakra is all about the individual. Located in the upper abdomen in the stomach area, the Solar Plexus Chakra is the center of our personality, identity, and ego. It effects our ability to be confident and in control of our lives.


Heart Chakra

- Located in the center of the chest, right above the heart, the Heart Chakra deals with our ability to love. This chakra deals with the love one has for other people, but also with the love of oneself as well as one’s inner peace.


Throat Chakra

- The fifth chakra deals with one’s voice and communication. The Throat Chakra is not just focused on speaking to others, but also on self-expression and genuine expression of one’s truth. Accepting our uniqueness  and what is true can help remove troublesome doubt and negativity from our lives. It is located in the throat.


Third Eye Chakra

- Also called the “Brow Chakra”, the sixth chakra allows us to see more than what is in front of us physically. It calls to our imagination and inner vision to help us focus on what matters most to us. Located on the forehead, right above the nose, the Third Eye Chakra allows us to see the deeper meanings of life’s experiences.


The Crown Chakra

- Located at the top of the head, the seventh chakra is at the top of the chakra chain. It represents our ability to be fully connected spiritually. It helps us realize that everything is connected spiritually at a selfless level. We develop an understanding of both inner and outer beauty as well as a pure connection with our own spirituality.

Although very basic, this list of the 7 chakras can help you ultimately come to peace  with all the aspects in your own life. This peace will create positive energies flowing throughout the body with fewer energy blocks, allowing you to feel better physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally. There are many other minor chakras that affect our bodies, but these are the main 7 that connect us with ourselves, the world around us, and other people.

Check back in for more about each chakra!

More Ways To Relax At New Paltz*

We have two more ways to make a stay in and around New Paltz an unforgettable one. Last week we suggested you personalize your Country Getaway experience and get moving physically by enjoying the outdoor activities the area has to offer. This week we suggest:

Explore New Paltz 

New Paltz is a charming and historic college town with restaurants and shopping galore. Perfect for antiquing, only seven miles from Roots & Wings. Walk down historic Huguenot Street for views of historical housing built in the late 1700's into the early 1800's that are still standing today. You can visit their website for more information: 

Historic Huguenot Street

Check out the Shawangunk Wine Trail

Enjoy nine family owned wineries nestled between the Shawangunk Mountains and the Hudson River. Taste fine wines made in the tradition of the early French Hugenots and Walloons who settled in the valley over three hundred years ago. 

There are 14 wineries between the Shawangunk River and the Hudson River. You can find move information about visiting them here: 

Shawangunk Wine Trail

Written by Altimont Parker, SUNY New Paltz Intern for Roots & Wings

Rejuvination Break - Lighten Your Mood

If you take care of yourself in ways that give you joy, you'll be stronger for all the hard work surrounding your daily life. Weaving pleasure in your life, is life-affirming. Garden, swim, play chess, watch a ball game, embroider, sing or choose any other activity that sparks your passion.

Like natures gifts that cost nothing, a smile, a hug, a word of thanks and "random acts of kindness"are free and easy to do. They can lighten the spirit of both the giver and receiver. 

Laughter too has long been recognized to be enormously healing. A good belly laugh can boost the immune system as it decreases stress hormones. It can also be good for the cardiovascular system.

Here are some tips from my book 


that may help you lighten your mood through giving yourself pleasure:

  • Pamper yourself - treat yourself to a manicure pedicure, or something else that will make you feel good
  • Rent, or go to a movie that will make you laugh
  • Take a friend out for a special dinner
  • Do something out of character that you may suspect might be a lot of fun
  • Slow down and enjoy whatever is around you. Pet your cat/dog
  • Ask for a hug; give a hug
  • Connect with a child
  • Dream

Written by Altimont Parker, SUNY New Paltz Intern for Roots & Wings

Rejuvenation Break: Getting A Good Nights Rest*

Getting enough sound sleep has a profound impact on your stress levels, immune function and disease resistance. Lack of sleep can leave you feeling sluggish, irritable, forgetful, accident-prone, and will cause you to have difficulty concentrating or coping with life's daily aggravations. 

Long-term sleep loss can also result in heart disease, stroke, hypertension, depression, and anxiety. While asleep, your body and immune system do most of its repairs and rejuvenation. A good nights rest is essential to making sure your days are as productive energy filled as possible.

Here are some tips that may help you get a better nights sleep:

  • Turn off all monitors that may distract you from relaxation at least one hour prior to getting ready for bed
  • Recall winding down techniques you practiced as a child to help settle yourself in for sleep. Read a book, brush your teeth, etc.
  • Avoid eating junk foods too close to bed time. It takes a lot of energy to break these foods down and may disrupt your ability to fall asleep
  • Try to get into a sleep schedule that allows you to maximize the hours you're asleep that will you leave you the most refreshed in the morning 
  • Incorporate exercise into your morning routine so you begin the day with more energy. It also makes you more prepared for sleep as you are more exhausted at the end of the day

Written by Altimont Parker, SUNY New Paltz Intern for Roots & Wings

Rejuvenation Break: Keeping Your Energy Flowing

Like a stream that no longer moves, energy can become stagnant and polluted. This is not good for health.

Many complementary practitioners believe that it is a healthy practice to invite a strong current of "life-force" or "chi" to move through the body since any depleted, stuck or blocked energy cab manifest in symptoms of illness such as depression, back pain, cancer or anxiety.

Unfortunately we now live in an inherently unhealthy environment. The air is not pure, the water is not clean, and our cleaning products, cosmetics and food are largely contaminated. These contaminants stress the body's ability to function at optimum capacity. None of us can escape this planetary health crisis, but we can make healthy choices whenever possible.

Here are some things you can do to maintain a healthier lifestyle taken from my book


  • Do simple stretching when you get up in the morning
  • Walk every day. Include some brisk walking
  • Join a yoga or tai chi class. Or choose some form of aerobic exercise
  • Drink 6-8 + glasses of water a day
  • Cut back on sugar and processes food. Instead, try to go organic
  • Read labels of food, cosmetic and household products for synthetic and artificial ingredients, and genetically modified foods. Buy accordingly 
  • Become aware of the vitamin and mineral supplements your body needs. To be safe, consult a doctor

Trying these things can lead to a healthier lifestyle which can dramatically improve your happiness as a whole. Remember, activities that keep your energy flowing are good for you.

Written by Altimont Parker, SUNY New Paltz Intern for Roots & Wings

Rejuvenation Break: Taking A Hike*

Now that Daylight Savings has come this past weekend, we have a limited amount of time before the winter season rolls around bringing with it limited opportunities to explore nature comfortably.

One of the best ways of maximizing your time outdoors before you are no longer able to, is by taking a hike. Being engulfed in the beautiful colors of autumn while breathing in the fresh brisk air surrounding you, will send you into a state of peace and tranquility. 

There are a number of great hiking destinations in the Hudson Valley area including 

Mohonk Mountain House


Lake Minnewaska

. Both areas offer vast views of the mountains surrounding them with a variety of different trails available for all kinds of skill sets.

Here's a list of things you may consider of you intend on taking a hike:

  • Wear comfortable shoes that you don't mind getting dirty
  • Bring your lunch and plenty of water to drink
  • Plan to spend 3+ hours as most trails tend to be long
  • Bring cash with you. Most worthwhile hikes aren't free
  • Be sure to have your camera fully charged. You'll want to see this again later!
  • Don't forget to stop, breath and take in your surroundings
  • You can go alone or with a group but make those who come along are ready to adventure

Taking a hike can be a rejuvenating experience, especially during the beautiful fall season. Get out before the snow starts to fall before it becomes impossible to do so.

Written by Altimont Parker, SUNY New Paltz Intern for Roots & Wings

How To Organize Your Medical Paperwork*

Disorganization is hazardous to your health.

Good record keeping is essential, especially when you are faced with a health challenge.

Puja Thomson will be giving a practical workshop in which you will learn how to use her organization tools in order to simplify and track your record keeping. What matters is that you can find everything without fuss or stress, s

ave lots of time and contribute to your sanity

and health. 

Puja will provide tools and tips such as:

  • How to create your personal "yellow pages"
  • How to make personal support and treatment decisions
  • How to make the most of your medical appointments. ex. preparing detailed questions in    advance and following up after appointments
  • How to organize your bills, insurance and legal records
  • How to keep your resources and information

The workshop will take place on Tuesday, November 18th at the Desmond Campus of Mount Saint Mary's College, 6 Albany Post Road, Newburgh, NY 12550 from 1:00 - 3:30 PM.

Prior registration is requested by calling Mount Saint Mary's College at 845-565-2076. Material fee; $12 payable to instructor for the documents you will be receiving.

Written by Altimont Parker, SUNY New Paltz Intern for Roots & Wings

Organization Through An Intern's Eyes*

Recently I had the pleasure to attend Puja's organization workshop and I had an interesting experience. I'm a senior and at 22 years old, most people my age aren't as concerned about their health as they should be. I had not a clue all of the steps necessary to effectively manage your medical paperwork before attending this workshop.

Puja went through her Health and Wellness organizer workbook which thoroughly outlines the steps necessary to manage documents and handle doctors appointments. I'm just now beginning the time of my life where I have to keep account of these things if I want to be on top of my health for years to come. Puja highlights six categories designed to help better organize yourself.

The yellow pages section discusses how to effectively organize your emergency and medical contacts. Including directory style contact list and steps outlining how to use it, this can be a time saver.

The next section informs you how to make medical decisions including how to reach out to those you'd like to include in your support system. I thought this section made it easier for you to access information you may need but may slip your mind when faced with medical emergencies. 

The third part in the organizer focuses on teaching you how to access your medical appointments. Visiting the doctor can sometimes be overwhelming and you may not always be ready to ask the appropriate questions. This section focuses on having a plan before you go into your appointment. 

Puja outlines the best methods to be used when following up with your doctor after your appointments. I didn't know this was an important step and the organizer sheds light on how that process can be effective. 

Steps on how to effectively organize bills, insurance and medical records. Puja outlines the best way to manage these materials and how to store them. I found that it was much easier than I would think and would help with later confusion.

And lastly "my reference library" focuses on how to organize research and materials needed that you may need for future reference.

The Health & Wellness organizer is perfect for someone like myself who is not experienced with organizing but values the importance of having important documents placed away efficiently. Having this information and workbook gives me a head start making me more confident on doctors visit. 

If you would like to order to Health & Wellness organizer for you or someone you love, you can visit the Roots & Wings website here:

Roots & Wings

Written by Altimont Parker, SUNY New Paltz Intern for Roots & Wings

Gratitude Opens Your Heart

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity.... It turns problems into gifts, failures into success, the unexpected into perfect timing, and mistakes into important events. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.”

We can't remind ourselves enough of the power of giving thanks.

To read more, click on the link below:

Gratitude Opens Your Heart: