August 30, 2010
I’ve had the incredible pleasure of studying with Asheville’s gifted Anusara teacher, Joe Taft and Ayurveda & nutritional expert Joseph Immel over the weekend and finding myself practicing more mindfulness when it comes to how I feed my body. Having good eating habits help us to feel vital, light, energetic and aids in the function of proper digestion. Want to share these simple tips from Joseph Immel:
1. Drink your solids and chew your liquids. (Your body uses 60% of it’s daily energy for digestion, help to honor your belly by making everything liquid before it goes down.)
2. Give yourself 15 minutes to rest after eating.
3. Do not drink cold liquid with meals. (warm instead)
4. No activity after eating (includes talking, driving, thinking)
5. Eat at the same time every day.
6. Wait for signs of true hunger. (no comfort eating)
7. Breakfast = Spiritual meal, Lunch = Playful meal, Dinner = Gentle meal
8. Eat simple food combos. (3 major ingredients)
9. Baby digestion with soup for dinner. (light & nourishing)
10. Fill stomach 1/3 food, 1/3 water, 1/3 empty.
11. Pray before you eat. (we need Divine assistance to digest)
August 18, 2010
Sometimes there are just some very exciting local yoga events going on, and I have to share the news! This weekend:
Friday, August 20th:
Join fellow yogis to a night out to the movies! EAT, PRAY, and LOVE. Either meet at Balance Wellness Center at 6pm for a gathering, or meet at Concord Mills Cinema for 7pm showing.
Saturday, August 21st:
Creative Flow Workshop with Julia Koch. Connect with the fluidity inherent in each cell of our being. Sounds incredible! Gotta Yoga Studio 2:30-4:00. Register now to hold yourself accountable. Rate is $25, call the studio at (704) 688-7256.
Sunday, August 22nd:
Lunar Flow with Carrie Williams at Gotta Yoga Studio 6:30-8:00. A slow flow class based on Chandra Namaskars, or moon salutations in honor of our full moon and yin qualities. Regular class pass.
August 16, 2010
Prana is the active principle of life. We all live in an ocean of prana; night and day we are engulfed in this free-flowing universal life force energy. It stems from yogic tradition, and is the subtle energy, the vital essence found in all things.
By learning ways to absorb and store prana in the body, we can promote outstanding physical health, mental tranquility, and spiritual clarity.
In addition to getting adequate sleep, exercising regularly, eating healthful foods, abstaining from alcohol and drugs, limiting exposure to television and internet, getting regular light and sun exposure, and taking time to relax; we can practice the prana mudra, to help support the flow of prana in the astral body.
A mudra is an energetic seal; a specific hand and finger position used in yoga to produce positive states of awareness. To practice the prana mudra, first find a quiet place to sit, and make yourself comfortable, then follow the steps below:
1. Place your hands in front of you so that you can see your palms. Extend the index and middle fingers. Bend your thumb, ring finger, and little finger, and gently bring together the tips of these three fingers so that they form a circle.
2. Assume this finger position with both hands. Rest the backs of your hands in your lap, and stay in this position for at least five minutes.
3. All you have to do is relax, breathe, and observe what sensations come up. You may notice that through practicing the prana mudra, your body charges itself with energy.
August 9, 2010
This is refreshingly delicious this summer, must share:
Cold Summer Quinoa Salad
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup apple juice
- 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 cup quinoa, rinsed & drained
- 2 large red apples, diced
- 1 cup chopped celery
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup chopped almonds or walnuts
- 1 cup nonfat vanilla yogurt
1. Place water, apple juice, cinnamon & rinsed quinoa in saucepan & bring to boil over high heat.
2. Reduce heat, cover & simmer until all liquid is absorbed (approx. 15mins)
3. Cool, transfer quinoa to large bowl & refrigerate, covered, at least 1 hour.
4. Add apples, celery, dried cranberries & nuts. Mix well. Fold in Yogurt. Top with cinnamon & nutmeg, if desired. (similar to waldorf salad)
August 5, 2010
Laziness (Alasya) and discipline (Tapas) are both healthy when expressed in appropriate situations. The key is to discover what is needed and when, in order to bring about individual balance.
When we think about discipline and laziness from the perspective of non-violence, you may ask yourself “when does discipline cause violence to you or others?” Many yoga students can be very kind to others, while often being very critical of their own actions. If you give yourself a hard time for missing a yoga class, you may need to develop more discipline. Yoga is a practice where consistency creates harmony, and you may feel that when you lose your steady practice, it takes much more of an effort to get started again and you may allow self-judgment to take over. Beating yourself up over it does little good, and causes imbalance. Just as we let go of random thoughts in our meditation practice, we can also let go of this criticism and simply create more discipline.
The opposite of discipline, laziness can also disrupt balance in the mind and body. For example, being too lazy to practice yoga decreases its benefits all the way around. Laziness is positive when it fosters balance, like having a relaxed approach to life, making time to sit, play music, socialize, or take a walk. Somewhere between rigid discipline and laziness lies balanced discipline. This requires a certain fire from within, and this is what motivates a daily yoga practice.
In each yoga pose, there is a delicate dance between effort and surrender. This process is often called “finding your edge” in a pose, like practicing heat-producing asanas. The ability to go deeper in a yoga practice often has more to do with relaxation than effort. By relaxing into a challenging pose, you surrender to sensation all around you and you go deeper into pure consciousness.
Pay attention to your behavior, be non-judgmental and honest with yourself. Discover your motivational blocks, and notice your thoughts. Be aware of your ego, and how it justifies behavior that isn’t healthy or balanced. Keep your yoga practice disciplined and fun, just as you would any artistic venture.
August 3, 2010
Ever feel so stressed that you wanted to scream? Letting it out can literally help you blow off steam, releasing pent-up frustrations and leaving you spent, relaxed, and calm. We are often taught, in our society, to hold all our emotions in and to betray no trace of frustration or exhaustion. But it can be much healthier just to let it out!
In yoga we sometimes mimic the roar of a lion in particular, but any roar or deep breath release will help you reduce stress throughout the day. You could practice this lion’s roar virtually anyplace, including the shower, or even in traffic. If others are around, it’s helpful to let them know first—because it can sound alarming! And if you’re driving, of course, make sure to watch the road as you practice, as stretching your entire face is involved.
Take a deep inhalation through the nose. Then simultaneously open your mouth wide and stretch your tongue out, curling its tip down toward the chin, open your eyes wide, contract the muscles on the front of your throat, and exhale the breath slowly out through your mouth with a distinct “ha” sound. The breath should come from deep in the belly and pass over the back of the throat, making a “raspy” roar.
Some texts instruct us to set our gaze (drishti) at the spot between the eyebrows. This is called “mid-brow gazing” (bhru-madhya-drishti; bhru = the brow; madhya = middle).Other texts direct the eyes to the tip of the nose (nasa-agra-drishti; nasa = nose; agra = foremost point or part, i.e., tip).
Once you’ve learned to create a deep-releasing sound with your breath, experiment with different places for your gaze (drishti) to see what feels best for you. Remember, if you are driving, be sure to remain aware of the road ahead, and save the gazing for another time.