Friday, October 31, 2008
Whether I am buying groceries at the store, picking up some dry cleaning, or settling into sadhana on my yoga mat I am always met with the same inquiries. It's always the big questions: who am I? what am I doing here? am I doing enough? is this all good enough? A lot of striving in all those questions, and that is the nature of Mind. To grasp, to avert. The quality we are looking for in yoga is neither; it is the simplisity of just being here, moment to moment, breath by breath. In a posture we look for the qualities of sukha (sweetness, or comfort) and sthira (steadiness), but we find neither while we are stuggling and searching, doubting and criticising.
In your practice today, whether it takes form on or off the mat, let your inquiry be to "Let it be." Whatever the occurence, moment by moment, breath by breath, simply note your reaction, and then say to yourself, "Let it be."
Let me know what you discovery in your inquiry.
For more food for thought on this topic, you must visit a beautiful blog, by a lovely lady that got me thinking about all this today. The Wellness Journey, and author Traci Trainer,
has a wealth of information on yoga, excercise, nutrition, and much more. Enjoy...
As for me, I am off to the mountains to get married! See you all next week...
May you all be free from suffering, may you all be surrounded by love.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
– Swami Kripalu
This quote from Swami Kripalu is one of my favorites. It encapsulates the essence of what the journey of yoga is all about. It is a journey into ourselves. It is a long, and sometimes arduous journey, full of great joy and many sorrows, but it is, I think, always a worthy adventure.
Take a moment with me?...
Close your eyes and take a deep breath.
Observe the breath moving in and out of your body.
Make the offering of this mantra to your self:
In this moment I breathe, in this moment I am perfect. At all times, in every way possible, I have everything I need.
As you move into your evening keep these phrases in mind, and take some time to contemplate the words of Bapuji (Swami Kripalu). How can you move along this great adventure of life making it an inquiry of self-observation, without entering into the harshness of self-criticism?
Leave a comment, or drop me a line.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
My awesome niece Ava says,
"Quinoa rocks! I may have only been on this planet for 7 months, but I know good eats when I taste them! If you aren't eating Quinoa, then honey, you just aren't living!"
Want to find out more about Quinoa, Ava says, try this link.
Don't believe it's good for you? Better check this link!
Ava also strongly endorses her other favorite food, breastmilk, straight from the tap, it really does a baby body good.
Want to get your mom a cool t-shirt honoring her milk-making "super power", it's here!
Auntie Teal making homemade baby food that Ava loves: spinach, broccoli, squash, peas...you can make your baby some yummy, healthy baby food too, and for pennies on the dollar compared to the commercial stuff. Here's two good places to start http://www.wholesomebabyfood.com/,
Enjoy! And check back for my yummy updates from Ava: Baby Nutrition Blogger (typing assistance provided by Auntie Teal.)
Monday, October 20, 2008
Jai Bhagwan my beloved. A quick post for you this morning.
If you've been reading this blog you know I am a huge fan of Kundalini yoga (Kripalu actually comes from this lineage, Swami Kripalu was a major Kundalini Yoga practitioner.) I encorporate a lot of it into my teaching, and I practice many kriyas as part of my sadhana every morning. When I want to take a Kundalini class and can't get to one, I do this DVD:
It is SOOOO great and only 60 minutes long. The exercises completely clear and balance my energy and always set me on the path for a great day. I was feeling so tired and scattered this morning (results of a poor night sleep, because my poor Michael has got a terrible cold and was tossing and turning like mad) and now I feel focused and 100 % better.
Give this one a try, you won't be dissapointed.
Sunday, October 19, 2008
Well, my friend Maura saw my FB post that I was making soup and said, can you post the recipe?? She has the two CUTEST little twin girls you have EVER seen. She makes them squash with macaroni, and they think that it is "mac and cheese". Are you listening mammas??? THAT is a great idea to keep your kids out of, or get them off, the fatty, salty, artery clogging Mac-n-Cheese merry-go-'round.
It always amazes me how many American children eat nothing but Mac-n-Cheese, pizza, chicken and fries...crap, basically. I hear parents say, "Well, that's all they'll eat, that's just what they like." Sorry, not buying it folks.
Kids will eat what you TEACH them to eat, and what you train their taste buds to respond to. Start them early and give them greatest gift you can give; the gift of a beautiful culture of healthy nourishing food that will feed their bodies and minds. The childhood obesity and health issues in this country are already reaching critical mass. Children's health is a passion of mine, please, please make it a passion of yours. If you are looking for more healthy foods for your children, check this post.
So, Maura knows me well enough to know I don't use recipes, I'm way to random vector for that. It all just kind of evolves in a messy, mad-scientist sort of way.
So here is my process for this tummy-loving, heart-chakra warming autumn soup...Enjoy!
Teal's Yummy-In-My-Tummy Butternut Squash and Sweet Potato Soup
What you need:
1 medium butternut squash
2 sweet potatoes
1 small onion
2 cloves garlic
3 Tbs. olive oil
2 cups low-sodium/low-fat organic veggie, or chicken broth
3 cups of water (approximately, I add a little at a time to get the texture I want)
¼ tsp fresh finely chopped ginger
¼ tsp ground sage
¼ tsp ground coriander
¼ tsp thyme
cracked pepper, and salt to taste
How to make it:
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
Cut open the squash and take out the seeds. Cut the squash, potatoes and onion into chunks (about 3x3”). Place all of that on a roasting pan with the two peeled cloves of garlic. Coat with the olive oil and cracked pepper (salt if you like). Roast for about 35 minutes, or until everything is tender and roasty looking.
Take the veggies out of the oven and let them cool a bit. Now you can just peel the blistered skin of the butternut off (and eat it for a treat!)
Chop up all the roasted veggies and place in a large soup pot with the broth. Mash everything up with a potato masher, and then add the ginger and other spices, and enough water to make it a good texture. I like it a little on the thick side.
Let it simmer for about 10 minutes then puree with a hand mixer.
Adjust liquid and seasoning and let simmer another 10 minutes.
Rise and Shine!!!
It's morning, and a new day full of possibilites is before you. Wake up your brain, raise your prana, and get ready for a beautiful day with this seated variation of Sun Breath.
1. Sit in Sukhasana (simple cross-legged pose), or Lotus Pose.
2. Start with your hands by your hips, palms turned out. Inhale and sweep the arms overhead – reach out through your finger tips as if your arms are the rays of the sun – keep stretching upwards to the sky, and bring the palms together over your head. Exhale.
3. Keeping your arms raised, look up at the sky, lift your heart to the heat and light of the sun – inhale the prana of our ancient sun – feel this new expansion in the chest. Turn the palms out, reach through the finger tips and exhale the arms down.
4. Repeat on the next inhale, and use the mantra:
Breathing out, I give the light of the sun to our world.
5. Repeat at least 3 times.
Namaste, and may you have a radiant day!
Go out and shine!
Saturday, October 18, 2008
Graciously bestowed open me by the Great Kate 8, author of the hilarious and warm-spirited blog, From The Mixed Up Files of the Siegels.
The Oops! Award was started by Amy Oops! is
"given to bloggers who inspire others with their humor and their talents, also for contributing to the blogging world in whatever medium."
Part of being chosen to receive this award is "paying it forward" by bestowing the award on five more ::awesomesauce:: blogs. So first, here are my five pics, and second, if you win, check the guidelines below so you'll know how to pass on this special bit-o-praise to blogs that you love.
This is my very favorite blog. The author Brian Schell, is a religion scholar and does an outstanding job making Buddhism clear, interesting and even entertaining. I wait with baited breath every week for the podcast, and scour the site when ever I get a chance. Terrific, insightful stuff you will enjoy, even if you just have an academic interest in Buddhism.
Because the author, Christine Reed, is a fellow Blissologist, bringing you the best in all things blissful from her own experience and through great resources. Check this post on secrets of extraordinary living, for a small sample.
Jaelyn's Fairy Dust Cupcake Blog
Do I really even need to explain why this woman must get an award...many awards. Fairy dust? Cupcakes? Oh, and she teaches yoga too! Everything she does is a work of art...and makes me HUNGRY! Pay this site, and author Jaelyn Williams, a visit.
The Roaming Lily
Live vicariously through author, Sarabelle, as she travels this earth, sending us back postcards and stories of art, architecture, cultures and the beauty that is roaming free.
Treehouse Jukebox: Adventures in Earth
Well, first of all the author, Emma, likes brussel sprouts and yoga, so that puts her mighty high up on my list. Second, she finds the most wonderful things to share that enlighten, inform, and make you feel good.
Created by Isa Moskowitz, it's not just a blog it's a show! Full of the spirit of punk rock and cruelty-free, Vegan good eats, all from "Boo-ti-ful" Brooklyn, NY. Check it out!
Congrats winners! Thank you for all the time, effort and love you put into your blogs. They are a great gift.
::PASS IT ON::
1) Pick 5 blogs that you would like to award this honor to; 2) Each award has to have the name of the author and also a link to his or her blog to be visited by everyone; 3) Each award winner has to show the award and put the name and link to the blog that has given her or him the award itself, unless they don't feel like it; and 4) Award-winner and the one who has given the prize have to show the link of “Oops” blog, so everyone will know the origin of this award.
Snatam Kaur - Shanti the Yogi « Treehouse Jukebox: Adventures In Earth
Found this on a GREAT blog Treehouse Jukebox: Adventures In Earth.
Is this not the sweetest thing ever?
What a gentle offering, and beautiful way to bring yoga to your little ones.
Friday, October 17, 2008
For all my readers who LOVE the Blissful Body Yoga designs (yoga inspired, funny s-shirts, great gifts) on Cafe Press, here is the sweet FREE shipping deal for the weekend.
Blissful Body Yoga Store : CafePress.com
CAFE PRESS FREE shipping this weekend! coupon WEEKEND50. http://www.cafepress.com/blissfulbody/
Here's a little bit of what you will find on the site...
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Her book The Eight Human Talents is one of the most beautiful and useful books on yoga I have ever read. She also does amazing prenatal yoga classes, and DVDs. I have taken her classes at Golden Bridge in New York City, and they are transformational.
Kundalini Yoga is an invigorating tradition of yoga. It will get your prana flowing, leaving you energized and cleansed. I include Kundalini kriyas as a part of my morning sadhana every day (check back soon for a post detailing my favorite kriyas.)
The exercises may look at little funny, but let me tell you they are amazingly effective, and not easy! Don't be discouraged if you find them challenging; they are well worth your time and commitment.
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Saturday, October 11, 2008
The Teal Designs Art Studio Blog: It's BACON!!! Sure it's bad for you...but it makes a great t-shirt.
Veggie Folks will want to pass on the bacon...but there is lots, lots more...
Friday, October 10, 2008
Picture of my hand with my cool ring to come soon...:-)
Operation NICE: NICE Giveaway #3: And the winner is!
Purchase the Sun/Moon Astrological Meditations download $9.99 and receive the brand new, Goddess in the Chakras download for free! This download will be sent within 24 hours of your purchase.
All downloads have been successful or your money back! No worries and it's all green!
Visit the store today!
Thursday, October 9, 2008
Continuing our series on supporting your body and spirit as we transition into the fall and winter seasons I have a few tips and products that will support your respiratory system.
Both autumn and winter can be very challenging to sinuses and the respiratory system. The changing climate, seasonal allergies, and dryer air are a few things that contribute. The good news is an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure; if you do the right things to support and build your immune system you will be much less likely to get sick. So, here are a few things to try:
Give Your Sinuses a Bath with a Neti Pot
If you don't already have a neti pot, I HIGHLY recommend that you get one. I use mine every day, sometimes twice a day, and I almost NEVER get sick. If I do get something it is always the lightest little version and it goes away quickly. Using a neti pot regularly has also decreased my seasonal allergies by about 90%. I have very little symptoms anymore. Neti pots have been used in India and in Ayurvedic medicine for a very long time; the term comes from the Sanskrit, jala net out of the back of my throat as well. This may seem really gross at first, but I promise you the results are worth it! i, which literally means "to irrigate with water", and this practice keeps the sinus cavities clean and clear. To use a neti pot dissolve a teaspoon of sea salt in 2 cups warm water (don't use tap water that is unfiltered, the chlorine content tends to burn the nose a bit), and pour into the net pot. Go to a sink and tilt your head to one side. Place the neti pot in the opening of one nostril and begin pouring the water. The solution will go up into your sinus, give them a flush, and then pour back out the other nostril. Repeat on the other side. If you tilt your head back slightly, the water will head toward the back of your throat and then you can kind of hack it out. Sorry, no other way of saying it. I find that helps to clear the gunk at the back of the throat. Youtube has A LOT of videos on this, and I know Oprah featured neti pots at some point so you many be able to find some video of that out there. Here is one to get you started:
You can purchase neti pots from The Heritage Store, and they have another product that I highly recommend for respiratory care, called Alka-Thyme. It is a wonderful, refreshing mouthwash and gargle that really cleans and alkalizes the mouth. It can also be used as a topical pack if you feel a sinus or respiratory infection coming on. Just soak a wash cloth in Alka-Thyme and place over the sinus/forehead area, or over the glands on the throat, and on the chest. This is also a gentle and appropriate remedy for children, especially right before they go to sleep to help relieve congestion. I have started adding a 1/4 tsp of Alka-Thyme to my neti pot saline mixture and it is very refreshing. Alka-Thyme contains sodium bicarbonate which is another substance recommended for sinus irrigation.
Support Your Respiratory System Naturally with Mother Earth's Respiratory Tonic
This is another favorite of mine from The Heritage Store. It is a great support for the respiratory system and really helps relieve the congestion and tightness associated with allergies and colds. Their product description explains the active ingredients:
"Mother Earth's is a therapeutic combination of horehound, which soothes irritated mucous tissues, wild cherry bark to alleviate respiratory distress, rhubarb, which cleanses the system, and elixir of wild ginger for toning the digestive tract, preserved with grain alcohol in a honey and syrup base. This gentle, pleasant-tasting tonic is safe and effective for children and adults, just as Mother Earth intended."This is the kind of product I seek out and use because it supports the body in it's own wisdom and healing process, instead of bombarding it with chemicals that only treat symptoms and often lead to rebound effects worse that the original illness!
Humidify, humidify!...and Open Your Windows
One of the reasons colds and flus increase in the fall and winter seasons is that as it gets colder we tend to close up our houses, thus locking in stale air, dust and germs. Even during the coldest months if you can air out your house for a few minutes each day, you can prevent this stagnation.
Running a humidifier, at least at night when you sleep, is another big one. We do this for babies all the time, and it is one of the best ways to keep from getting sick. When sinus passages dry out the friendly mucus that provides a barrier to germs is reduced. Keep your mucus healthy! Humidifiers are very inexpensive and can be found online or at any drug store or department store near you.
Well, I hope you find these tips useful. Please share in your comments any favorites you may have for keeping the body and spirit healthy during this turn of the seasonal wheel.
Also, for more good information check out this episode from Vitamin Junkeys 5 Tips to Survive Allergy Season Ep 19.
And don't forget about drinking lots of Yogi Tea! it is a great support for the whole body. Find ideas for nourishing, warming meals for the winter months, here.
May you be happy, may you be filled with radiant health!
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
Yoga Journal - Yoga Basics Column - The Swing of Things
Be brave! Lift off in Lolasana. By Richard Rosen
Monday, October 6, 2008
Jennifer Lyall and Naturopath, Dr. JJ Dugoua as they have fun exploring
alternative therapies and healthy living. Weekly episodes are released
every Tuesday. This week's episode is wonderful! All about seasonal allergies and how to keep them from keeping you down! Try the hot and cold compresses, they work wonders!
Sunday, October 5, 2008
But you don't need a lot of space, or a spectacular vista for a morning practice; and you don't need an hour and a half. All you need is a yoga mat or a towel, a quiet spot, and 10 or 15 minutes. The key is consistency; commit to doing a short sadhana every morning for 40 days and you will be amazed at the changes that occur in all areas of your life.
Here is a short sequence for you to try:
Sukhasana (easy pose): Sit with your legs crossed (you do not need to bring one leg up into half-lotus as in the picture, you can just cross the shins) and follow your breath for a few minutes. As you inhale say, "I am breathing in," as you exhale say, "I am breathing out." This will help you to stay focused on the breath. Make your inhales slow and deep, letting your belly swell like a balloon; pay special attention to the exhale, making it longer and slower with each breath. The longer the exhale, the more relaxed your body will become. This sort of breathing awakes and freshens the body, but it also quiets the nervous system and helps to lower stress hormone levels, like adrenaline and cortisol.
Table-top pose: Come onto your hands and knees. Press your palms into the floor, and gently do the same with your knees and lower leg. As you inhale, look up and arch the back so that the tail bone reaches toward the sky (dog stretch); on the exhale, look down at your knees and tuck your tail bone under so that your back arches up in the other direction (cat pose). Repeat this linking of movement with breath ten times. This will gently wake up your spine.
Adho Mukha Svanasana (downward facing dog): From table-top pose, turn your toes under, press through your palms as you begin to straighten your arms and legs. Keep a little bend in the legs a first, and you can keep it the whole time if straightening the legs bothers your hamstrings or knees. Never lock the knees back. Remember that as you are pressing down, the energy is also rising back up into you from the ground; do not sink into your joints. Completely release and surrender the head between the arms so it moves towards the floor. The arm pits hollow, and the inner heals move toward the floor. You are now in Downward Dog, and should look something like an upside down 'V'. Remember everyones posture will be different. Stay here for three deep breaths. If the posture is too difficult, bend your knees more, and shorten the number of breaths. This posture is an inversion and nourishes the brain with fresh blood and oxygen. It also helps to relieve depression and balance hormones.
Ustrasana (camel pose): Come down to sitting on the heels and take a few breaths. Then come up to standing on the knees for Ustrasana. Inhale and place the hands on the lower back as you lift the heart to the sky. Really, lift the heart strongly, and lift out of the lower back and you will not feel compression or strain in your lower back. Arch back slowly as if you are going up and over a ball, and only as far as you can without feeling strain in the back. You can keep the hands on the lower back, or bring them down to the heels if you are very strong and flexible. DO NOT push yourself. Be kind to your body and let the pose unfold bit, by bit. You can drop the head back for more extension; if that hurts your neck, bring the chin downwards the chest a little. This pose increases flexibility and strength of the neck and spine, and aids with digestion.
Ardha Matsyendrasana (half spinal twist): Carefully come back to sitting on the heels. Lean your left hip to the ground, bend your left knee and bring your left heel toward your right buttock. Adjust yourself so that both sit bones are on the floor (the right one is going to lift slightly, but try to keep the energy moving it downward). Cross the right foot over your left bent knee and place it down on the outside of your thigh. Place your left finger tips behind you on the ground. Inhale your right arm up and lengthen through your torso as you keep the hips moving down. Twist to the left and bring the right arm to the outside of the left knee (this will give you a little leverage.) On you next inhale move a little further into the twist, and deepen even more on the exhale. Stay here for 3 breaths and repeat on the other side. Twist are extremely detoxifying. The ring out the major organs of the body, and assist in digestion and elimination.
Sivasana (corpse pose): (NOTE: You may want a blanket if you are going to lie in sivasana pose for a while as you make get a little chilly.) Slowly come out of the twist and gently move down to the ground so that your are lieing comfortably on your back. Your feet should be about 6 inches apart with toes flopped out to the side, and the arms should be about 4 inches away from the body. Make yourself as comfortable as possible. Lie here for at least 3 minutes (10-15 is better) and do nothing but breathe. Sivasana is a critical posture in yoga. It gives the body, mind and spirit time to integrate, relax and restore.
I hope that you will give yoga a try, even beginning with 5 minutes of breathing a day.The benefits will amaze you. You can learn more about the important components of a yoga class, here.
May you be full of peace. May your body be healthy and strong.
The illustrations used above are © and licensed from the Iyengar Institute of San Francsico.
Thursday, October 2, 2008
Is this the cutest ring ever? I want one so much (going immediately on my Christmas list, and I am trying to be really good this year.) And a beautiful new twist on an old way of helping us to remember to be things like...
Some days, I probably need one of each of these on each finger! Check them out, here.
And, while you are at it PLEASE go meet the NICE people at Operation Nice...they really are so nice, and they inspire niceness...and...if you tell them your story of nice, you might win a String-Ring!
Be nice to someone you day. Go a step further, be nice to someone you really don't like. Find yourself, inside of them, and open up the doors of compassion and love.
"Through compassion you find that all human beings are just like you."
– HH The Dalai Lama
Enjoy, and namaste all-
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
I recently recieved this bit of research in an e-letter from Amy Weintruab. Amy is a fellow Kripalu Yoga Teacher and leading expert in the use of yoga and meditation in healing depression. Her book, Yoga for Depression: A Compassionate Guide to Relieve Suffering Through Yoga, is an absolute must have for any yoga teacher, and for anyone who is suffering through depression, or has loved ones that struggle with depression. Unfortunately, I suspect that covers just about everyone.
Her book and her teaching are so compassionate. I can tell you, if you are suffering in the depths of depression right now, Amy's book and her healing work with yoga will bring you a profound sense of comfort, and a new, powerful way to heal yourself. Learn more about her current workshops here.
Amy is also an amazing researcher and brings forward in her writing, and through her workshops, a lot of the cutting edge research being done with yoga in the treatment of depression, bi-polar disorder, PTSS, and other debilitating conditions.
Some of the best news to come out of research is that not only does yoga help you to feel better, it seems that it may also actually help to repair the damage done to genes as a result of depression and stress.
Consider this quote from Amy's newsletter:
In the 70's, Dr. Herbert Benson made headlines when he reported on his research at Harvard, showing the benefits of Transcendental Meditation and what he called "The Relaxation Response" in ameliorating or reducing all kinds of stress-related symptoms, including high blood pressure, heart disease, different kinds of pain, infertility, rheumatoid arthritis, insomnia, and a range of psychological symptoms. The professor is still at it, reporting as senior co-author in the journal PLoS One a significant advance in the understanding of how relaxation techniques such as meditation, prayer and yoga improve health: by changing patterns of gene activity that affect how the body responds to stress.In the first comprehensive look at how mind states can affect gene expression, Benson and his colleagues compared gene-expression patterns in 19 long-term practitioners, 19 healthy controls and 20 newcomers who underwent eight weeks of relaxation-response training. In both long- and short-term meditators, it appears that gene damage from stress may be reversed.
Further genetic analysis revealed changes in cellular metabolism, response to oxidative stress and other processes in both short- and long-term practitioners. All of these processes may contribute to cellular damage stemming from chronic stress.
"It's not all in your head," said Dr. Herbert Benson, president emeritus of the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind/Body Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital and an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. "What we have found is that when you evoke the relaxation response, the very genes that are turned on or off by stress are turned the other way. The mind can actively turn on and turn off genes. The mind is not separated from the body."
You can sign up for Amy Weintraub's newsletter, here.
Depression is not a life sentence, and it isn't something you have to suffer through alone. If you are struggling with depression I urge you to bring yoga and meditation into your life. Give it a try!
There are two more great articles below...
May you be happy, may you be filled with great peace,