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Natural Awakenings Westchester / Putnam / Dutchess New York

Heart-Centered Living

This time of year when hearts and love imagery abound, I’m reminded of the sad fact that heart disease runs in my family. My mom, who was diagnosed with AFIB and congestive heart failure, passed away last year. Granted, she lived a long life; however, her mother, her grandmother and brothers were not so lucky. I was concerned, so I acted and made an appointment with a cardiologist. Thankfully, he confirmed I did not inherit heart disease. My numbers are good, so it is up to me to continue to keep my warrior goddess healthy.

As I navigated all the advice coming at me (watch your weight, monitor your cholesterol, check your blood pressure, eat low-fat, eat more whole grains, go vegan, eat organic, free-range is better, do more cardio, incorporate weight-bearing exercises, know your family history), I’ll admit it was overwhelming.

What I’ve learned over the years is that for me mindset is key. I begin my day with gratitude and a few minutes of reading, and then I meditate and journal. This daily practice allows me to stay present, continue to learn and let go of stress physically and emotionally. My favorite morning activity is walking in nature; as naturalist and environmental philosopher John Muir said, “Into the forest I go; to lose my mind and find my soul.” On days when the weather isn’t cooperative, I stretch and enjoy 15 to 20 minutes of yoga, cardio or light weights. Switching up my morning routine like this keeps it challenging both mentally and physically.

It has taken me years to find what works best for me physically, emotionally and spiritually, and I continue to adjust my path to wellness with mindfulness, self-care, healthy lifestyle choices and the support of talented wellness practitioners from our Natural Awakenings community. Last month, I completed a seven-day cleanse/detox to reset my gut, help curb cravings, clear my foggy brain and start the new year fresh. This month, I plan to try four new healthy recipes, do plank exercises, drop a few more pounds and enjoy my life moment by moment. My goal continues to be more joy, and I know I enjoy life more when I feel better.

This month, I invite you to deep dive into your own heart health to find what works best for you. We have connected with various locals that share their knowledge on everything from meditation to cardiovascular health to healthy recipes to making your lips more kissable. And to help celebrate Heart Health Month and Valentine’s Day, we have included a selection of musings from a former pioneer in holistic healing, Dr. John Diamond.

Are you ready to pivot your mind, body and spirit to a healthier, more balanced and joyful life? I hope so. I encourage you to keep reading because our February edition is chock-full of heart-healthy articles and exciting happenings for you to enjoy. Please be sure to connect with us online also at, as we provide even more information, exclusive online offers and additional resources to support you on your wellness journey.

Do all with love,


Dana Boulanger, Publisher

“True belonging is the spiritual practice of believing in and belonging to yourself so deeply that you can share your most authentic self with the world and find sacredness in both being part of something and standing alone in the wilderness. True belonging doesn’t require you to change who you are; it requires you to be who you are.”  

~Brene Brown, from her 2021 book Atlas of the Heart