Generate Your Best Self

A new move to a new town in a new year has undoubtedly brought me a fresh perspective. By now we have unpacked the boxes, at least most of them, and the excitement of reestablishing a home and all that goes with it has dwindled. I am beginning to look ahead to my next “phase.” 

Before my transition, I researched materials for planning this next journey because I’ve learned, from previous moves, that a new environment is a great opportunity for reevaluation and fresh prospects. I knew that my latest transition would need reassessment and I wanted to start out with a good system for designing and organizing my new intentions. 

I ended up purchasing a MaxOut planner.  Its selling point was that it could help me “unlock my full potential, set meaningful goals and succeed in accomplishing my biggest dreams.” This particular journal/planner is complex with pages for goal setting, affirmations, reflection, tracking and, of course, planning the months, weeks and days. However, the first step to beginning the process is to ask yourself the big question: 

What do you want in life?

Continue reading “Generate Your Best Self”

When does Binging Become Addiction?

If you have a strong desire for something, is that necessarily wrong or bad for you? The way I see it, nearly everyone indulges in pleasure from time to time. And, as I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, indulgences, like everything else, are fine in moderation. 

Indulgences are usually things we can live without and may even be considered unhealthy – like alcohol, smoking, and sugar. But there are times when we have to go on our computers and phones or shop for an item and, certainly, we all have to eat – these activities are not considered indulgences or luxuries but they can still lead to binging and addictive behaviors. 

What is the difference between binging and addiction? 

Continue reading “When does Binging Become Addiction?”

The Simple Things in Life

What is your object of desire? What do wish you had that would make things so much better for you? More importantly, what do you already possess that you can learn to appreciate more?

Moving is always a good time for reevaluating your possessions. Do you really need #$@&%*! pairs of shoes? And, is it worth packing and unpacking all of those dishes and glasses and coffee mugs?

Continue reading “The Simple Things in Life”

You Are What You Eat

This phrase is a simple way to state that what you put into your body truly creates the individual you will become. What you eat (and drink) not only affects your physique but your outlook, your productivity and how you relate to those around you. It is especially significant when you are trying to establish a steady yoga practice.

Continue reading “You Are What You Eat”

Tips to Stay Disciplined

photo-1510894347713-fc3ed6fdf539As you bring more self-discipline into your practice, you will increase your level of confidence. This “I can do it” attitude leads to greater contentment. Ultimately you will find that when you persevere in your practice (and your life), you feel more balanced, purposeful and joyful. A little work will release your attachments and free up your consciousness for higher realizations.

Just like the daily practice of yoga, the process of writing requires discipline.  As I continue to edit my book, I have found some crucial ways to keep focused. Here are my tips: Continue reading “Tips to Stay Disciplined”

Making a Schedule to Stay On Track

wood-3157395__340“In the beginning, you will have to make room for yoga in your daily life and give it the place it deserves. But after some time, yoga itself will pull you up by the hair and make you do it.” ~ Vanda Scaravelli

The best method I have found for making room for yoga in my life is to reserve specific days for specific tasks. In previous posts, I have remarked on how effective it has been for me to label my yoga days in order to remain faithful to the practice. Since then I have slightly altered the way I incorporate yoga into my schedule as you will see below.  Continue reading “Making a Schedule to Stay On Track”

Creating Space to Be Present at Home

Young woman exercising at home, stretching arms.

To be in this surrounding is to have permission to grow.  I find myself or at least find time for myself here – unbothered, unchallenged and uninhibited.

Whether you are practicing yoga or constructing a piece of writing, establishing a space to hone your craft is essential. The actual location you utilize is insignificant. It could be a formal studio or office, a smaller section within a certain room or even a chair or place on the floor. What is important is that your mind has clear purposeful space for the energy that you will be employing.

My typical day begins here – at my desk.

It sits in my living room with plenty of light and a nice bookshelf behind to access my resources. Normally, Chloé, my Chihuahua, is napping nearby; otherwise I pretty much have the place to myself. Continue reading “Creating Space to Be Present at Home”

YOLY Challenge #43: The Art of Releasing Tension

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As we progress through life, we periodically encounter times of stress and bouts of physical, mental and spiritual imbalance. Although this blog primarily focuses on the system of yoga, there are various modalities available for releasing tension – methods that can direct us back to balance so that we may reconnect with our true nature. Most of these techniques complement the practice of yoga, making its effect even more beneficial.

Jin Shin Jyutsu is one such method of healing. Known as the Japanese art of harmonizing life energy, it is a noninvasive approach to restoring the body that utilizes energy channels or meridians to unlock stress and pain.

The sessions involve light touches on certain areas of the body that correspond to specific energy pathways. Although many times a practitioner facilitates the flow of energy for re-opening, it is the participants themselves who are the true intuitive healers through this sensation of touch.

Jin Shin Jyutsu has the potential to correct many imbalances that we experience. There are several flows or holding sequences that are centered around the organs of the body and the major meridian channels. These are best introduced with the help of a practitioner. Currently, I am undergoing sessions for assistance with trigeminal neuralgia at A Spa For You here in Sedona.

There are also basic finger flows that can be self administered.  Your challenge this week is to use the chart below to locate any area(s) that may be valuable and healing for you.  1bfb56fbfa169d2397ec937e068a4ea0

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YOLY Challenge #33: Get Clean

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When I chose to focus on purification as a theme for my classes and the blog this month, I really had no idea that the word February (in Latin februare) meant “to make pure.”

Perfect!

Now, what do I mean by purification?

In general, I view purification as a method for letting go of the old and unnecessary to allow space for nourishing breath, clean food, and new energy. Purification is a way to rid the body of irritation, congestion and toxins so that you can regenerate.
We have transitioned from our month of restoring, resting and reflecting in January. Now is the time for replenishing and energizing.

Here is your challenge this week. Get started on the road to freshening up with these daily practices:

Clean up your diet

Try to eliminate caffeine, sugar, alcohol and any extreme aspect of food intake. Drink clean water, green tea and take in more vegetables and fruit in your diet. This is not a cleanse but an awareness exercise. Try this for one week if you can and evaluate your energy level on day 7.

In my experience with caffeine withdrawal, it only takes a few days to transition. I went to an organic water processed decaf and feel that I have more energy than ever before! I hope to use this opportunity to transfer my morning cup to tea – the cleansing qualities of tea would be much more beneficial.

Clear the Mind

Start a Meditation Practice. Keep it simple and find a technique that invites you to your mat each day. Meditation can be done at any time so choose a segment of your day when you will have no interruptions. Last week, I posted the Hong-Sau technique. Its simplicity will be enlightening.

Filter Your Toxins

Incorporate a twist into each yoga practice this week. The Supine Revolved Belly Pose will serve to squeeze out the unwanted toxins and provide room for fresh nutrients and oxygen to enter the body.

If you are looking for additional ways to purify this month, the Shat Kriyas or yogic purification techniques might be appropriate. You may have heard of Jala Neti (nasal cleansing) and Chandra Dhauti (tongue cleansing). These are important methods for vanquishing toxins and clearing energy channels.

And finally, some purifying food for thought on the practice of yoga from this translation of an ancient Sutra of Patanjali:

“Effective practice of yoga produces physical purity so that attachments to toxins and corruptive forces disappear naturally…allowing both internal and external purity (saucha) of the body, psychic environment… through the removal of the occlusions of consciousness, there is achieved balance, cheerfulness, one-pointedness, harmony of the senses, and yogic vision. Here one is no longer attracted by corruptive influences because one has established (and is happily rooted within) an inner energetic freedom.”
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Green Tea in the Morning

teapot-1138913__180 While it doesn’t exclaim “Wake Up!, a cup of green tea first thing in the morning has helped me to find clarity and purpose.  I love its soothing quality and that it virtually paves the way to my yoga practice.

I am not shunning coffee.  I adore the taste and the luxury of the drink. However, first thing in the morning, it’s nature can be aggressive and irritating for me. I’ve realized that drinking coffee tends to sway me away from what is nurturing.

I looked for proof of this and discovered that there is a natural chemical called theanine found in green tea that provides its calming effect. Life Extension Magazine reports that “It leaves people in a better mood. Knowing that L-theanine can cross the blood-brain barrier and positively affect brain chemistry, scientists investigated its mood-modulating effects. The results of those studies have led to L-theanine being patented as a mood enhancer. How it works is not completely understood, but one thing researchers have discovered is that L-theanine changes levels of amino acids affecting serotonin and other neurotransmitters in the brain.”

Unfortunately, there is a bit of a catch 22 for the other qualities of green tea. In order to clarify, I’ve created these terms:

Keep the Catechins

The largest of green tea’s benefits is that it contains catechins. Catechins are antioxidants that fight and may even prevent cell damage. The quality of the tea, whether it is powder (best), leaves (better) or bagged and the temperature of the water (hot to boiling) all determine a tea’s catechin content. It is also advantageous to add lemon. Vitamin C makes the catechins easier to absorb. Dairy, on the other hand, competes with it’s absorption.

Tame the Tannins

Green tea also contains tannins which can decrease the absorption of iron and folic acid. To counteract this effect, be sure to drink green tea in between (not with) your meals. Although it does not work well with catechins, you could add milk. The calcium tends to bind to the tannins in the tea before they can bind to your iron. Or, once again, squeeze some lemon into your cup (because vitamin C increases iron absorption).

Keep in mind that green tea may not be beneficial to all.  If you are taking medication and/or pregnant, please consult with your doctor.