The Pigeonhole

Comment

The Pigeonhole

One of my favorite aspects of yoga is that it provides me with a way to step back, contemplate, and track whether the choices I am making off the mat are life-enhancing or life-detracting.
 
One of the most impactful awareness on the mat has been how I sometimes use outdated stories or beliefs about my body to influence my practice, and how much can shift when I engage my postures from a place of present moment intention. The same is also true in my interactions with others.

READ MORE>>>

Comment

Slow Motion

Comment

Slow Motion

I went to a yoga class with mom the other day called “Yoga Therapy.” It was a sweet experience of many basic movements, but what I appreciated even more was the very very slow pace of the practice.

In our fast moving culture, even much of yoga has jumped onto the bandwagon of high speed. Slowing down in my body was so soothing, it built ample heat, and it brought so much increased awareness to various parts of my physical structure.

READ MORE>>>

Comment

Body Acoustic

Comment

Body Acoustic

WARNING: If you are very uncomfortable with, or offended by, the conversation of sex, touch, and the physical body DO NOT READ FURTHER.

One of the gifts of practicing yoga is that it has made my senses more refined and awakened. While this provides a ton of benefit on the mat as I notice my body and can adjust in postures with greater awareness, it also has added to my experiences off the mat as well.

Part of this added sensitivity is coupled with a desire to know more and wondering how and why certain things function they way they do.

READ MORE>>>

Comment

13 Actions to Counter Depression

Comment

13 Actions to Counter Depression

Yoga is a an extremely potent practice to support mood stability, stress relief and reduction, and improving overall wellbeing, but sometimes more is needed to bolster our internal experience.

Depression is something that runs in my family so I have had plenty of experience with down days. If you’ve ever been extremely blue, you know the struggle. Feeling helpless, powerless, unmotivated, stuck, frustrated, sad, alone, and wondering when it will end.

READ MORE>>>

Comment

The Yoga of Saying No

Comment

The Yoga of Saying No

One of my favorite aspects of the practice of yoga is that it invites me to create boundary within the postures. I can use my engaged muscles in different postures in different ways to generate a strong boundary in one place for the sake of creating a greater opening somewhere else.

While I find this process simple on the mat, when I encounter a situation that requires saying no off-the-mat, things become a bit more interesting.

READ MORE>>>

Comment

Feel Fully

Comment

Feel Fully

Last night I got home after a very full and sweet day: teaching yoga in the morning, a stroll through the farmer’s market with a friend, a tasty lunch starring spectacular veggies from the market, a nap, a catch up conversation with an out of town friend, taking a yoga class, yummy home cooked dinner, and a shower to rejuvenate and complete my day.

READ MORE>>>

Comment

Support Team

Comment

Support Team

When I get on my mat, I love that often it is in the company of others in a class setting. But even when I practice alone, I always have my block, tie, blanket, and eye pillow to fully support the experience of my practice.

Whenever I gather these items I am always reminded that I don’t have to do everything alone, and that my practice on and off the mat is enriched when I call upon my support team.

READ MORE>>>

Comment

Yoga Essence

Comment

Yoga Essence

One of the perils of being involved in training yoga teachers, coupled with the fact of being a Virgo, is that I notice everything as I take a class. While there is a wide range of diversity and belief in how a yoga class can be guided, there are also elemental base skills which are either present or sometimes missing from a teacher’s repertoire.

READ MORE>>>

Comment

Yoga Diverse

Comment

Yoga Diverse

I am grateful that my yoga education has been informed by many diverse traditions which are all open to more than one way of seeing the world. When I get on my mat, this background gives me permission to move in more than one way, feel more than one feeling, and celebrate the multifaceted experience of practice and day-to-day living. But is this the case for everyone?

READ MORE>>>

Comment

Play!

Comment

Play!

When I step onto my mat usually my intention is to ground, calm, and connect to my body through movement and breath. I love the intent and focus that comes along with the practice of yoga, but there are times when even my practice becomes way too serious...

READ MORE>>>

Comment

Seize the Day!!!

Comment

Seize the Day!!!

Once again I seem to find inspiration while flying on a plane.

On my air ride from New York to San Diego, I was originally booked in a middle seat. The flight was sold out and I was dreading the prospect of tight quarters for six long hours.

A few days before departure, I checked the status online and was amazed to see several aisle seats up for grabs. I changed my location right away.

READ MORE>>>

Comment

How Can Yoga Help You Understand Your Emotions?

Comment

How Can Yoga Help You Understand Your Emotions?

One of the reasons I love the practice of yoga is how it has taught me to welcome every flavor of emotion and feeling on my path.

In one class I remember wanting to stab the teacher after she was guiding all of us to sustain Goddess/Horse Pose for what seemed like an eternity. I felt angry, even though she weaved in permission for us to release the posture whenever we wanted.

READ MORE>>>

Comment

How to Live Your Life at 4000 Watts

Comment

How to Live Your Life at 4000 Watts

While I was leading yoga teacher training last week, I was browsing through my notes and came across one of my favorite metaphors presented by one of my teachers, Dinabandhu Sarley.

The basic idea is that most people live their lives at the brightness of a 40 watt lightbulb — don’t worry it’s LED and very eco-friendly — but those who are living yoga are able to amp up from 40 to 4000 watts. Doesn’t that sound amazing?

READ MORE>>>

Comment

Using Yoga to Navigate Your Life

Comment

Using Yoga to Navigate Your Life

The physical practice of yoga has been a potent gift which has expanded my body awareness beyond my original expectations. What I do on the mat is a reflection of how I live the rest of my life, and vivid metaphors from the yoga tradition always help me better understand my process and journey.

READ MORE...

Comment

The Art of Self-Care

Comment

The Art of Self-Care

When I carve out time during my week to get on my mat and practice, it often feels like a breath of fresh air. Even 30 minutes of coordinated movement and breath help me feel clearer and more energized.

Yet, often the mounting to-dos start to get in the way and instead of taking care of myself, I dive into taking care of everything and everyone else.

READ MORE...

Comment

Why Your Life is Falling Apart (and Why That’s a Good Thing)

Comment

Why Your Life is Falling Apart (and Why That’s a Good Thing)

Have you ever had that blissful moment when you look around your organized and clean living space in great celebration, and then a few hours later or the next morning you wonder how the hell chaos and mess returned so quickly?

What if you found out that it isn’t out of the ordinary at all, and in fact it’s the core of how the universe is designed to function?

READ MORE...

Comment

Tantra Outside the Bedroom

Comment

Tantra Outside the Bedroom

Tantra is a word commonly thrown around in the yoga world, and let’s face the facts. What do you think about when someone says, “Tantra?” Sex.

There is nothing wrong with this association, as the Tantric worldview encompasses physical intimacy and connection, but it is also very limiting as the tradition contains much greater texture and dimension.

READ MORE...

Comment

Non-Toxic Home

2 Comments

Non-Toxic Home

Moving to Seattle has been exciting as I step into a new chapter in my life. 

While I don't indulge in retail therapy often, I didn't own much walking in the door of my apartment so I have been shopping everyday. 

Since my health is important to me, I have bought specific things to ensure my home is a part of my healthy living journey. Whether you are already settled in your home, moving somewhere new, or setting up your son, daughter, or nephew in their first apartment/home, I hope some of these tips will support you and loved ones to live in a non-toxic healthful home! 

I want to be clear that I am not a saint and have had to make certain decisions based on finances, so we all have to try to do our best while minimizing toxicity in the space we live.

Living Room:

  • Jute Rug: Natural fiber rugs (jute, seagrass, sisal, coir, abaca, etc.) are biodegradable and do not off-gas chemicals. 
  • Reclaimed Wood Table: Saves virgin wood, has an eco-friendly non-toxic wood finish, and looks amazing! 
  • Couch: Here we enter a bit of a challenging area. Most couches (and mattresses) these days are made using polyurethane foam. While the EPA and industry claim that the foam doesn't off-gas, some beg to differ. Polyfoam is made from potroleum, is pretty toxic to produce, and if it catches on fire (keep your candles far away) it creates a toxic smoke which is very dangerous. The bad and good news is that most couches produced in 2015 and after are no longer sprayed with chemical flame retardants which disrupt the endocrine system responsible for hormone production in the body. The challenge is that couches using latex foam (more on this in a moment) or wool can cost $3,000 and up for a seven footer. If you have the money do it, if you don't opt for a couch that isn't sprayed with flame retardants, make sure to clean your space often (dust mixes with chemical residue and sticks around longer), and even in the winter open windows and air out your living room space every three or so days. 
  • LED Light Bulbs: Save a ton of energy and money, mercury free (compared to CFLs), and reduce energy use which equals less CO2 emissions from coal power plants. Obviously these are not just for the living room. 

Bedroom:

  • Mattress:  How many hours do you sleep a night? While sitting on a couch a few hours a day made from synthetic materials is one thing, sleeping on a toxic polyfoam mattress is bad news. Opt for latex mattress (but beware natural latex made from the rubber tree is what you want, synthetic latex is a fake full of toxicity). Wool is also an option but more expensive. Especially if you have children invest for their sake as the younger the human body is the more it will be affected by chemicals.
  • Bedding: Same as above, spend the money especially on pillows for wool or buckwheat hulls. Think how many hours you breathe with your head on a pillow. I also invested in a wool duvet (real down feathers results in many geese dying and many duvets are synthetic), organic sheets, and an organic cotton duvet cover. If I am going to spend 1/3 of my life in bed I might as well by eco and cozy.
  • Bed Frame: While many furniture manufactures are shifting to be more responsible it is taking time, trees are the lungs of our planet. Look for FSC sustainably managed wood or products approved by the sustainable furnishings council.

Bathroom:

  • Shower Curtain: If you use one this is one of the greatest sources of toxicity, especially when it interacts with hot steam. Choose chloride-free PEVA vinyl which doesn’t emit harmful chemicals into the air. 

Kitchen:

  • Glass: Bowels, tupaware, cups, pitcher, blender, jars, and anything else glass.
  • Stainless Steel: Knives, utensils, serving spoons, measuring cups/spoons pots and pans (cast iron pan is also good and to clean your stainless steel pan use a stainless steel scrub brush, makes it just as easy as non-stick, and Teflon is toxic).
  • Wood: Bamboo is a good sustainable choice for cutting boards, dish rack, and large cooking spoons.
  • Real authentic old-school ceramic cookware is also non-toxic but beware of the new nano version, not enough data.
  • Notice that my kitchen doesn’t have any plastic, simply no need and plastic leaches chemicals with heat, no thank you!
  • Cleaning Supplies: Yes most conventional cleaning supplies have a ton of unnecessary chemicals. Buy or make your own green options, just as potent but no harm involved.  
  • Water Filter: While I prefer tap water over bottled it is vital to filter water especially if your city uses fluoride (now clear it is effective topically but creates problems for the thyroid when ingested). Reverse osmosis or a counter top option like the Berkey are ideal, basic filters like Britta don't do enough. 

This conversation could go on forever but these are some big keys to a non-toxic home especially in the bedroom where we spend a ton of time sleeping. Remember, that besides the big priced items (which are an investment for the long term) most of these choices are extremely affordable and you can find good options at places like Ross (great stainless steel options), Goodwill (or other thrift shops, amazing kitchen supplies), Whole Foods (have these amazing  biodegradable green sponges to replace paper towels), and other stores.

One purchase at a time you can have a non-toxic home or apartment as well!!!

2 Comments

Simple

Comment

Simple

After reading articles on nutrition I am both happy and at times overwhelmed by all the immense data. 

To counter the feeling of "is anything I am doing really healthy?" I have to remind myself for the most part keeping it simple is the way to ensure optimal health and sanity. 

You have probably have heard all of these recommendations before, but just in case your overwhelmed. 

  1. Stay hydrated. 
  2. Eat unprocessed organic/local non-toxic foods. 
  3. Rotate the foods in your diet so your body gets nutrient diversity. 
  4. Reduce your consumption of refined grains and processed sugar. 
  5. Don't be afraid of high quality fats (grass fed butter/ghee, coconut oil, avocados, poached eggs, olive oil, nuts & seeds-in moderation) 
  6. If you consume animal foods ensure they are pasture raised. 
  7. Get restful and deep sleep. 
  8. Move your body in some way 4 times a week (walks count, but its also important to ramp things up to work your muscles and heart) 
  9. Reduce your consumption of refined & and high in Omega 6 vegetable oils (canola, sunflower, safflower, soy, and corn). 
  10. Increase your consumption of Omega 3 through low mercury fish (sardines, anchovies, salmon, halibut, sea bass, etc.)
  11. Manage your stress. 
  12. Reduce your exposure to toxic chemicals (hello teflon, cleaning products and personal care products). 
  13. Increase your intake of anti-inflammatory veggies, herbs and spices. 
  14. Tell your close family and friends how much you appreciate them. 
  15. Laugh and have some fun! 

Comment

Sulfur Baby

Comment

Sulfur Baby

I often find myself attracted to subject matters that defy my Virgo nature to box things up and reach a final conclusions. Its probably the reason that I love nutrition. 

Just when I think I have a grasp of something I discover more about how food and the body interact.

In my latest exploration I have been reading and listening about the role of sulfur in regards to health. 

Sulfur works in the background and is key in:

  1. Biological functioning and shape of proteins.
  2. Enzyme functionality.
  3. Detoxification.
  4. Hair, nail, and joint health. 
  5. Maintenance and integrity of cellular systems. 

How can you get enough sulfur in your diet?

  1. Eat more onions, leeks, shallots and garlic (if you find raw too pungent, steam them lightly). 
  2. Consume more cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, bock chop and other members of the Brassicas family (again lightly steamed is best for sulfur availability). 
  3. Explore grass fed beef, pastured eggs, and omega 3 rich fish.

Especially if you find yourself struggling with depression, fatigue, or high stress add in some sulfur foods and notice if they make a difference. 

Comment