Sunset Yoga

Yoga is not just repetition of few postures – it is more about the exploration and discovery of the subtle energies of life. ~ Amit Ray

Yoga is a light, which once lit, will never dim. The better your practice, the brighter the flame. ~ B.K.S lyenga

Yoga is the journey of the self, through the self, to the self. ~ The Bhagavad Gita

Yoga is the fountain of youth. You’re only as young as your spine is flexible. ~ Bob Harper

Namaste

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Earth Day Meditation & Mermaid Smoothie Bowl

I’m doing a chakra clearing meditation today. And any meditation is better when you’re getting a little healing tree energy at the same time.

Here’s what you do to clear and balance your first chakra:

Get grounded into nature ~ actually being in nature is best but you can do this at home too.

Tune into your 1st chakra at the base of your tailbone and imagine the bottom of your chakra opening up and a cord going deep into the earth from your 1st chakra. Now take a deep breath and think about all the old, stagnant energy that may be around this chakra that needs to go.

The first chakra is all about safety and security, so think of all of your fears around these areas, along with any old memories or painful feelings that surface, and imagine them leaving your body and going into the beautiful earth to be transformed. Keep going, imagining all of this old energy and old fear and sadness draining out of your body.

Make sure to honour any memories that come up in this process and stay with them as long as you need to. Don’t rush it. Let everything flow, knowing you can come back to this another day if you’re feeling a lot of emotion.

When the meditation is done, imagine the cord filling you up with energy from the earth. Then imagine closing the chakra and take three deep breaths to close the meditation, breathing in the new and sighing out the old.

This meditation could be done once or could be done every day for months, depending on how many issues come up for you. Repeat the meditation daily until there is nothing left to clear and then move on to do the same meditation with your second chakra, then third, then fourth etc. Expect amazing things to happen along the way.

And, after the meditation, I made a vegan, earth friendly snack that’s nutritious and delicious.

Mermaid bowl

  • 4 bananas
  • 1 avocado
  • pinch spirulina
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cashew milk

Blend together and top everything with coconut dusted blackberries.

This rich, yummy bowl is full of good fat from the avo, anti-aging antioxidants from the berries and good carbs, minerals and vitamins from the bananas.

Happy Earth Day

Biohacking

 

What exactly is Biohacking? You may have read about Silicon Valley exec’s biohacking themselves by excessive fasting and compulsively measuring their body states to have a competitive edge. The definition of the word, however, is to make changes to your lifestyle in order to “hack” your body’s biology and feel your best. Everything we put into our bodies – food, thoughts, exercise ­– all affect how we feel and behave. By biohacking yourself, you can transform your body to become more energized, productive and healthy, and you can do this in a very gentle way.

Five Ways to Biohack Yourself

  1. Go Sugar Free

Giving up refined sugar is one of the best things you can do for your body. Overconsuming sugar leads you down an unhealthy path lined with the following:

  • Increased risk of type 2 diabetes
  • mood swings
  • increased inflammation in your body (which lead to an array of diseases)
  • lowered energy

Also you don’t have to give up natural sugar in fruit and dairy. Added sugars are the ones to say goodbye to.  Soft drinks, processed foods, desserts, flavored yogurt, condiments (barbecue sauce and ketchup are the worst) and energy drinks will all be off of the menu. Also look for hidden sugar in processed food (ie: anything ending in “ose”). It’s shocking just how many places it turns up.

Giving up sugar can be a pretty tough biohack, but is also the one with the most rewards.

  1. Sleep More

If you’re not sleeping between 7–9 hours a night, you can have a touch of sleep deprivation and be putting yourself at risk for health issues. These issues include a weakened immune system, depression, trouble concentrating, irritability, an increased appetite and out-of-whack hormones.

So, what can you do to sleep more soundly? Keeping electronics out of the bedroom is key. The glowing lights from your smartphone/computer/TV tell your brain it’s time to wake up, not drift off into a deep sleep. Also turning off the TV and computer at least an hour before bed is also important as a way to wind down for a good night’s sleep. Last but not least, try turning your bedroom into a relaxing sanctuary. A pitch black bedroom (blackout blinds) with comfortable bedding and a diffuser filled with lavender essential oils is the ultimate setting for a good night’s sleep.

  1. Meditate

A meditation practice can reduce pain, increase sleep quality, lower inflammation and boost productivity. If you’re suffering from stress or anxiety, meditation can also be a really effective way of naturally dealing with symptoms. Establishing a daily meditation practice is one of the best things you can do for your mental and physical health – and it’s a great way to get ready for a good night’s sleep.

There are dozens of smartphone apps you can use to learn how to meditate. Some even have specific meditations for different purposes, like starting the day with a clear head or helping you unwind. Headspace is a great app to check out.

  1. Eat Probiotics

Ever wonder if those expensive probiotics at the health food store actually do any good? They might not. Probiotics are only regulated at time of manufacture and may not have any living cultures at the time of purchase.

Since a healthy gut is so important for, well, everything, adding probiotic rich food (sauerkraut, miso, kefir, plain yogurt) can have huge health benefits, especially when cutting down or giving up sugar at the same time, as sugar is an enemy of gut health.

Adding a couple of servings of probiotic rich food every day can help reduce belly fat, keep your skin healthy, improve depression and anxiety and boost your immune system. And it’s as easy as having a cup of yogurt for breakfast, miso soup at lunch and a serving of sauerkraut at dinner.

  1. Move your Body

For some people, an average day looks like this:

  • Sit in a car to drive to work
  • Sit at a desk all day
  • Take the elevator to sit in a restaurant at lunch
  • Sit in the car on the way home
  • Sit in front of a television set all evening

Studies are now showing how all of this sitting is really bad for our bodies.

The fix? Stand more and walk more. Biohack your way to better health by getting up and talking to co-workers instead of sending an email. At lunch or before and after work, take the stairs instead of the elevator. Stand up and walk around during long phone calls and set a reminder on your phone for every 60–90 minutes to take a quick lap around the office.

These six changes aren’t huge but they all work together to create a healthier, happier life.

Happy Hacking!

Angels

I receive a daily email from a meditation guru named Light Watkins and one day a few weeks ago, the email that landed in my inbox said this:

“I had a conversation recently with someone who left her job and became a successful (and happy) entrepreneur.

Long story short, she had always envisioned leaving her office job, but was afraid of the unknown, and it never made sense to give up her stability to follow a dream—until she had multiple run-ins with her new passive-aggressive boss. Then she knew she couldn’t stay another day.

I’ve had similar situations with ex-bosses, ex-landlords, and ex-girlfriends, where the situation became so intolerable that I had no choice but to take a leap of faith into the unknown. And every time it worked out for the best.
I’m now convinced that these people who force us to take a leap of faith by making our lives a living hell are the real angels, sent to help us evolve and grow.
The Universe isn’t stupid. It knows that we don’t grow and evolve as much when we’re comfortable, and most of us aren’t going to leave a comfortable situation on our own accord—not without a “divine” push.”

Very interesting perspective and I thought of times in my life where this kind of dynamic had to happen for me to move forward. A situation literally had to become unbearable before I would take the sometimes painful steps toward growth. And then I sheepishly thought of times that my bad behavior had made me an “angel” to someone in my life.

A humbling thought but also a thought to spark some healthy self awareness and growth.

Mindfulness over the Holidays

As beautiful as the Holiday Season is, it also can be a time of hectic schedules, overeating and drinking at holiday parties and occasional family frustration. All situations that mindfulness can help with.

What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is a state of active, open attention on the present. When you’re mindful, you carefully observe your thoughts and feelings without judging them good or bad. Instead of letting your life pass you by, mindfulness means living in the moment and awakening to your current experience, rather than dwelling on the past or anticipating the future.” – Psychology Today

How do I practice Mindfulness?

There are many ways to practice mindfulness and all techniques are a form of meditation, but the goal of any technique is to achieve a state of focused relaxation. You achieve this by sinking into your body and paying close attention to thoughts and sensations – without any form of judgment. This allows the mind to completely focus on the present moment.

Basic mindfulness meditation:

Sit quietly and focus on your natural breathing or on a word or “mantra” that you repeat silently. Allow thoughts to come and go without judgment and return to your focus on breath or mantra. Notice each part of your body starting at your heads and ending at your toes. Allow any emotion to be present while doing this without judgment. Practice a relaxed naming of emotions: “joy,” “anger,” “frustration” etc. as your mindful meditation continues. Accept the presence of the emotions without judgment and let them go.

What are the benefits of mindfulness?

  • Higher brain functioning
  • Decreased stress
  • Increased immune function
  • Lowered blood pressure
  • Lowered heart rate
  • Increased awareness
  • Increased attention and focus
  • Increased clarity in thinking and perception
  • Lowered anxiety levels
  • Experience of being calm and internally still
  • Experience of feeling connected

Gaining these benefits can be as simple as closing your eyes and being silent for ten minutes a day. This is a practice that is so easy, anyone can do it!

Beginning a Meditation Practice

I tried meditating once about 7 or 8 years ago. All I remember about the experience is sitting in a candlelit room with a bunch of strangers and having the instructor softly tell us to “empty our minds” over and over again. Every time she instructed us to do this, my teeth clenched a little tighter. You see my mind was full of random thoughts that were ping-ponging all over my brain and refusing to go away, no matter how hard I fought against them. It was a very frustrating experience so I proclaimed myself “bad at meditation” and didn’t try again. Until now. I’m not sure what sparked it but I have become fascinated with meditation recently and I now know that emptying our minds is not necessary, or even necessarily recommended, for a fulfilling meditation practice.

Why have I finally started flirting with meditation? For so many reasons but I guess a few of the main ones are these:

  • The feeling that so many of us live in our heads, cut off from the signals that our bodies are valiantly trying to give us.
  • Sleepwalking through so much of my day, not feeling present and not fully experiencing my life.
  • Internet addiction. The opposite of being mindful and present. Next time  you’re out in public, on transit or just walking down the street, really observe how many people are glued to their phones, missing out on the real world around them.
  • I’ve heard it can be anti-aging (anything to keep the botox and fillers at bay!)

And I’ve been practicing on my own in my little living room. I’ve been lighting candles and playing rainforest music in the background to set the stage. Every time I meditate, I find it easier to sink into my body. Memories of old pain come up once in awhile and I sit with it and accept it and listen to what it has to tell me. Sometimes the pain comes up several times before it goes away. I’m patient and loving and stay with it until it transforms into something else (even if this takes days or weeks).

Also, I’ve recently learned how to do a Loving Kindness Meditation and I’ll like to share it with you:

Loving Kindness Meditation

This practice involves silently repeating phrases that offer good things to yourself and to others.

  1. You can start by thinking about your own goodness—remembering things you have done out of good-heartedness and celebrating the potential for goodness we all share.
  2. Silently repeat phrases that reflect what we wish most deeply for ourselves (and others). Traditional phrases are:
    • May I live in safety.
    • May I have peace and joy in my life.
    • May I have good health and freedom from pain.
    • May I live with ease.
  3. Say the phrases with enough space and silence between so they fall into a rhythm that feels natural to you.
  4. Each time you notice your attention has wandered, be kind to yourself. Notice the distraction and either let it go or realize that it is here for you to stay with and, think about. When you’re ready, come back to repeating the phrases without any judgement toward yourself.
  5. After some time, visualize yourself in the center of a circle composed of those who have been kind to you, or have inspired you because of their love and guidance. They are your circle. As you visualize yourself in the center of it, experience yourself as the recipient of their love and attention. Keep gently repeating the phrases of loving kindness for yourself.
  6. To close the session, let go of the visualization, and simply keep repeating the phrases for a few more minutes. Each time you do so, you are transforming your old, hurtful relationship to yourself, and are moving forward, to a presence full of love.

And that is it. A simple, loving-kindness meditation. If you try it, please let me know how it goes in the comment section. Namaste xo