Tag Archives: January 2012

30
December

Always try to see life around ya as if you’d just come out of a tunnel.” ~ Jefferson Smith (Jimmy Stewart) quoting his dad in the movie, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

Written by Sandy. Posted in: Off-the-Wall Musings
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“My Better Day” newsletter contains tips for your yoga practice, yoga quotes to bring yoga off the mat and into your life, affirmations to brighten your day and motivate, and more!  It is my wish for your well-being that I send this newsletter to help make your day a Better Day!

My primary goal for 2012 is to continue to share the transformative power of yoga and wellness with you. Can you help me with this goal? Here are a few ways that you could help:

  1. If you have enjoyed my offerings this past year including classes or newsletters, please let me know via an email testimonial or suggest new ways to improve my offerings.
  2. Spread the joy and wisdom of yoga and wellness by sharing my newsletters with friends and family
  3. If your company is interested in an on-site program, please inquire for details.  Better Day Yoga LLC offers On-Site Corporate programs like Yoga,  Meditation/Breathwork, and “At-the-desk” classes to fit your budget and benefit the physical and mental health of your employees.  Let’s talk about the many benefits to both the employer and employee that Corporate On-Site Programs offer.

In response to reader feedback, as well as my own “New Years Intention” to spend less time glued to the computer, I am shortening the format by eliminating the “Featured Deck and Quote” section, and changing the timing of my newsletter to every two months versus every month. If I have something important to relay to you, I’ll send a dedicated email vs. a full newsletter, if need be, on the off months.

I will continue to stock and sell one of my absolute favorite decks from local artist, Suzanne Vadnais Monson on my product page!  I hope you’ve enjoyed these highlights for the past two years and found them useful! Thanks for your continued interest!

In this issue:  Yoga quote, Practice yoga pose, Meditation on the go, Chakrascope, Hand Mudra, Healthy News, Featured Recipe, Favorite Yoga Music / DVD, Happenings at Better Day Yoga LLC, Final Relaxation Quote.

Namasté,

Sandy Krzyzanowski

Founder, Better Day Yoga LLC

“Have you ever noticed how grateful you are to see daylight again after coming through a long dark tunnel? Always try to see life around ya as if you’d just come out of a tunnel.”

~ Jefferson Smith quoting his dad in the movie, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, as played by Jimmy Stewart.

I love this month’s yoga quote. First off, I simply adore Jimmy Stewart. I always have. I know I’m not the only one. I also love that this is a quote Jimmy’s character remembers from his dad. I think each of us has some words of wisdom or piece of advice given to us by someone special that brings us strength when we recall it.

The favorite one from my dad is similar to one YOU might recall Winston Churchill having said. “Never, never, never give up.” I think my dad said to never, never, never quit. I’m sure my dad didn’t know this was a famous quote from Winston Churchill when he shared it with me. I mean, Winston Churchill doesn’t have the corner on telling someone not to give up, right? This quote from my father has carried me through many trying times and continues to be a source of comfort and willpower.

Jimmy Stewart’s quote is a unique reminder to appreciate and celebrate life—each and every precious, moment. Sometimes the stress in our lives makes us feel like we are in a tunnel, unable to see anything but the darkness of the moment.

By adopting a view of life as if you have always just come out of a tunnel, you learn to have what many Zen meditation books refer to as “beginner’s mind”. Beginner’s mind means you have no preconceived notions about what you are experiencing. It’s all fresh and new. Every day and everything in it is a new experience waiting to be enjoyed.

“In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few.” ~ Shunryu Suzuki-Roshi

If we had no preconceived notions about how things “should” be, we’d simply let things “be”. There would be no comparisons to an idealized perfection. Remember it’s our thoughts that dictate our reaction to a situation—good or bad. “It is what it is.” It is neither good nor bad. Adopting this attitude gives you a better chance to take on anything in your life. If you don’t label it as a stressor, maybe, just maybe, it won’t stress you. You can view the light at the end of the tunnel in two ways: as a reminder that “this too shall pass”, or as a possible oncoming train. Only you can decide.

“There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so”. ~ William Shakespeare

With a beginner’s mind, you have many possibilities available to you on your journey in life. You are not your age, your job title, your physique, or your possessions. When you are not defined by those things, you can be or do whatever you decide. When you don’t label yourself as good or bad, better or worse, too this or too that, you have unlimited potential. When you appreciate all of it, you have unlimited joy.

I’d read a story once about a mother who’d gone through tough times. She was out of a job, and had no money to pay rent. Rather than view her life as being in turmoil, she viewed it as having full potential because she was free—totally free—to do whatever she wanted to do. She shared a proud parent moment later in the book when her young adult son experienced several setbacks at once and announced his sudden realization that he, too, was “totally free!” What a gift she gave her son, and what a lesson to share in her book.

Perhaps it’s the time of year that invites seeing your “ordinary” life with fresh eyes. It’s a clean slate and a “do over” opportunity as we start a new year. Just as you don’t need Christmas or the holiday season to create the magic that always resides within, deep down you don’t need a date on a calendar to clean your slate or declare a “do over”! We are all always “totally free” to do whatever we want to in our lives. Sometimes it takes hard times to realize it. Why not realize it regardless of life circumstance?

If this time of year gives you a “clean slate” feeling, why not take advantage of that impetus? Accomplishment is fostered by the feelings and beliefs you hold inside. So run with it! With beginner’s mind, your mantra is always “begin again!” No matter what life hands you, begin again!

 “Live …like someone left the gate open!” ~ Christine Jobe’s Photos

 

 

I think I will…Happy New Year!

29
December

This time of year we are “bridging” into the New Year, opening to our heart’s desires. In the Northern hemisphere, it is also a time of possible seasonal depression from lack of sunlight. I chose this pose with both in mind. Enjoy

Benefits:

  • Strengthens: Glutes, Hamstrings, Hip Adductors, Lower Back
  • Stretches:  Hip Flexors, Abs, Chest, Shoulders, Neck, Spine
  • Calms the brain and helps alleviate stress and mild depression
  • Rejuvenates tired legs
  • Improves digestion
  • Stimulates thyroid and thymus glands which regulate your metabolism and immune system, respectively
  • Reduces anxiety, fatigue, backache, headache, & insomnia
  • Beneficial for asthma
  • Energetically opens the heart center helping you to open up to the world

Alignment Cues:  Lie on your back, palms down on either side of the glutes.  Knees bent, soles of the feet to the floor. Fingers should just touch the heels or be close to it.  Keeping the top of the head pressing gently into the floor to protect the cervical spine, and the nose toward the ceiling, lift the hips.

Another arm position that gives more power to your lift uses bent elbows with palms facing in.

For a greater challenge: Externally rotate the shoulders as you walk them inward and interlace the fingers underneath your body.  Your body should be resting on the outside edges of the shoulders. Stack knees over ankles and slide shoulders gently away from ears. Keep your nose to the ceiling, the head centered and still. Engage inner thighs to keep knees stacked and over ankles. Toes in, heels out. This increases the lift providing even more safety for your cervical spine and more stimulation of the thyroid and thymus glands.

Or:  Turn your palms up to focus more on the core and on opening the chest. (Not Shown.)

Variation: One legged Bridge / Eka Pada Setu Bandha Sarvangasana:  Exhale and lift right knee in toward chest. Inhale and extend the right leg to the sky, perpendicular to the floor. Release on an exhalation.  Repeat other side.

Add a prop:  If you have difficulty holding the pose, add a block or bolster underneath the sacrum to support you.

You can also add a prop between the thighs to engage inner thighs inward spiral and build inner thigh strength. This use of a block also is very grounding, activating your root chakra.

Contraindicated for those with neck injuries.

Spiritual aspects of bridge pose:  True to its name, bridge pose is a great reminder that yoga bridges the mind with the body with the spirit. As you open your heart to the world in bridge pose, you are also reminded that the heart chakra bridges the physical chakras below with the spiritual/energetic chakras above. Spiritual/energetics/physical—all connected. This pose is not only a heart opener, but also a back bend. Back bends are known to help alleviate depression. With an open heart, you shine your essence for all to see. Bridge pose reminds us that we have the capacity to beam our aura out. Your spirit is transformed through yoga just as your physical body is transformed. (See the HearthMath tip below in the “Meditation on the go” section for another way to beam out through your heart.)

Bridge the wisdom gained from past experience with an openness to learn something new.  Moments of effort accumulate, creating new paths for energy to flow.”  Setu Bandha Sarvangasana / Bridge Pose card from Yoga Path Cards by Susan Woldman.

Sources:  http://www.yogajournal.com/poses/472
Beth Shaw’s Yogafit®. The program for a more powerful, flexible, and defined physique, by Beth Shaw.

 

 
28
December

HeartMath Attitude Breathing® tool

Written by Sandy. Posted in: Magic of Yoga and Meditation
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A HeartMath Tip: Take five minutes several times a day, whether or not you’re feeling especially stressed, to try these simple steps adapted from the HeartMath Attitude Breathing® tool.
• Focus on your heart as you breathe in.
• Concentrate on a positive feeling or attitude as you breathe out.
• Lock in this new feeling as you continue to breathe it in and out through your heart.
• As you become adept at using this HeartMath tool, select new feelings and to help you “de-stress” as needed.

Reduce Stress, Stress Management, Improve Health and Well-Being, Institute of HeartMath

www.heartmath.org

If you found the above interesting, please consider taking my meditation “how to” classes.  Visit my Web-site, www.betterdayyoga.com, for details.

27
December

Chakra: Heart Chakra (Sanskrit term: Anahata Chakra)

Written by Sandy. Posted in: Chakrascope ~ Your Vital Energy Centers
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If you are familiar with chakras, then you can tell from my logo that I love chakras.  The rainbow-colored spheres within my logo are representative of the chakra system within the body.

If you are unfamiliar, here’s a quick lesson:  There are seven energy centers called chakras (literally “wheels”) that store energy/life force/prana.  They are along the spinal column and correlate to major nerve ganglia branching forth from the spinal column.  Each has a different relationship to a gland in the body’s endocrine system.  Each stimulates different organs and systems in the body.  Hatha Yoga activates these energy centers releasing the energy that flows through the spine.  Yoga helps these energy centers/nerve bundles to function correctly clearing blocks that may be there.  Each chakra also is associated with a mental/emotional focus.  In each newsletter I’ll highlight how you can work with a particular chakra to correspond with the season. In 2017 I’m adding doshas (or Ayurvedic body types) to the Chakrascope to deepen our understanding of

green_chakra
The Heart Chakra

The yoga pose I highlighted when this section first appeared in my January 2012 newsletter was on bridge pose which stimulates the heart chakra. January is a time of new beginnings as we listen to our heart. February focuses on Valentines day with a different “heart” focus. We look at the past year and asses where we’ve been and decide where we want to go. Our “resolutions” may or may not get us there, but it’s in our effort to shine our best selves forward that we create “new paths for energy to flow”. Shining our best selves forward is heart chakra territory.

Bridge the wisdom gained from past experience with an openness to learn something new.  Moments of effort accumulate, creating new paths for energy to flow.”  Setu Bandha Sarvangasana / Bridge Pose card from Yoga Path Cards by Susan Woldman.

The Institute of HeartMath tell us that the heart affects mental clarity, creativity, emotional balance, and personal effectiveness. (See their homepage for free resources!)

When you “put your heart into it”, and head and heart are aligned, nothing can stop you. A strong heart chakra will fuel your success. Whether you are reassessing your resolutions, or better still, your intentions, your heart knows what you need. Connecting to your “heart’s desire” becomes more important as we journey through life. If you aren’t taking time to shine, you are merely existing.

“It is better to be happy for a moment and be burned up with beauty than to live a long time and be bored all the while.” ~ Archy and Mehitabel, by Don Marquis.  

A strong heart chakra means we are able to freely give and receive love. The more heart-to-heart connections you have, the brighter your world!

ASCII

What makes your heart sing? Love yourself enough to find out what that is. The world is waiting for it. If you already know, great! Do more of that!  If you can’t right now, for whatever reason, use your heart’s desire to support you until you can. Set a date and time when you will dedicate yourself to your heart’s desire, even if it’s only for a few minutes. Then look forward to it whenever you can. Looking forward to something—anything—that makes you smile will bring joy to all of your moments.

Don’t worry if you are still discovering what makes your heart sing! That’s life! It’s all about discovering “your sense of personal significance”!

“Vision emerges from goals, and these goals change, especially if you are in the midst of a transition. The clearer you can be about what you want, even if it changes a million times, and the less you leave to stumbling along with chance, the more fulfilled you are likely to become. Your brain likes it better that way and cooperates much more.

The bottom line is simply this. You are made to know a sense of personal significance that emerges from the way you make meaning in your life, all of your life. There is always vision for you if you will cooperate with life and not give up living it fully, high in the UpSpiral.

From “Totally Unique Thoughts from the Universe”:

“You don’t even have to know what you want. I’ll take care of that.

Just enjoy that you received another day, and the 10,000 miracles within it.

It’s on me,
    The Universe”

“Your goal is to LIVE YOUR DAY 5 TIMES AS POSITIVE AS IT IS NEGATIVE. That unleashes the genius in you and you begin to discover the zone of the ‘super you’. You dream of it. Why not do it?

Find your good and increase it by putting your energy there. Spend as little time as possible correcting weaknesses. They’ll self-correct as you increase your good.” Applied Neuroscience Institute

Now there’s a thought. “Spend as little time as possible correcting weaknesses.” Isn’t that a relief?! What if we all quit focusing on our weaknesses, and only focused on what makes us happy—on our good? I think we are all way to good at beating ourselves up, aren’t we? Let’s stop the madness! Our heart chakra grows with self-love.

“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and appreciation.” ~ Buddha

Worried that your “heart’s desire” isn’t grand enough? You are the only one who knows what makes you smile. So don’t negate the small things, like reading a book, hugging a loved one, taking a nap, or enjoying a few minutes with your favorite hot chocolate drink. Our heart’s desire doesn’t have to be defined by someone else’s definition of grandeur. It’s while you are enjoying the small things, that you discover other joys. It is in your happiest moments that you let life in. Let life in through small joys, and those small joys will multiply. It’s in the accumulation of small joys that life becomes a joy. Remember? Live your days five times as positive as it is negative! What you focus on expands. Energy follows thought. Make it heart-felt energy.

What do you believe you can’t do?  Have others done it?  “Realize that you have it in you to be as great as they.  Realize that all that they did, all that they learned, all the skilled they acquired is stored safely away in Universal Mind and that through your subconscious mind you already have access to it.”  Secret of the Ages, by Robert Collier.

 

Breathwork and Visualization: 

Inner-Ease™ Technique

A quick and easy-to-learn way to add ease to your life is by practicing the Inner-Ease™ Technique. It takes only a short amount of time.

  1. If you are stressed, acknowledge your feelings as soon as you sense that you are out of sync or engaged in common stressors such as feelings of frustration, impatience, anxiety, overload, anger, being judgmental, mental gridlock, etc.
  2. Take a short time-out and do Heart-Focused Breathing:
  • Breathe a little slower than you normally would.
  • Imagine you are breathing through your heart or chest area.

This has been shown to help create coherent wave patterns in your heart rhythm and help establish balance and calm in your mental and emotional nature while activating the affirming power of your heart.

  1. During Heart-Focused Breathing, imagine with each breath that you are drawing in a feeling of inner ease and infusing your mental and emotional nature with balance and self-care from your heart.
  2. When stressful feelings have calmed, affirm with a heartfelt commitment that you want to anchor and maintain a state of ease as you re-engage in your projects, challenges or daily interactions.

From The State of Ease, by Doc Childre.

Affirmations

  • I love and approve of myself.
  • I am loved, loving, and loveable.
  • I am adequate at all times to do that which is required of me.
  • I love who I am.
  • I am willing to love everything about myself.
  • I trust in love.
  • I open my heart to love.
  • I forgive myself.
  • I forgive those who need forgiving for not being what I wanted them to be.
  • I acknowledge my own loveliness.
  • I am pure, good, and innocent.
  • Love is the purpose of my life.
  • Love is everywhere.
  • I open myself to the healing powers of love.
  • I follow the path of the heart.

Diet and the Heart Chakra: 

  • Leafy vegetables: spinach, kale, dandelion greens, etc.
  • Air vegetables (the heart chakra is associated with the “air” element): broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, celery, squash, etc.
  • Liquids: green teas
  • Spices: basil, sage, thyme, cilantro, parsley

Source:  http://healing.about.com/od/spiritualdiets/a/chakrafoods.htm

 
Aromatherapy and the Heart Chakra
:

Geranium, Jasmine, Lavender, Orange, Rose, Sandalwood, Tangerine, Ylang Ylang, among others.

If aromatherapy interests you, I use Young Living Essential Oils™ which are therapeutic, food-grade oils.  Please inquire if you are interested in purchasing a favorite scent and I can add your request to my personal monthly order.  Essential oils raise the vibrational frequency of the body. When the vibrational frequency of the body drops, we become more receptive to ill health: http://justalist.blogspot.com/2008/03/vibrational-frequency-list.html. Therapeutic-grade essential oils are great to have in your arsenal of health promoting natural products.

Gem therapy and the Heart Chakra: 

Gemstones amplify the energy when placed in contact with your chakras.  For those of you unsure on this subject, consider that it’s scientifically proven that everything is energy.  Nothing is really solid.  Why wouldn’t the energy of a stone work effectively with the energy in our bodies just as some research speculates that the energy of computers, cell phones, and microwaves may affect our bodies?  At the very least, I find that holding a favorite stone is like a talisman for me, or a “worry stone”.  As my favorite author, Wayne Dyer, likes to say, “If it’s a placebo effect, I’ll take two”.

Some Heart Chakra gems are: 

Green aventurine, Bloodstone, Verdelite, Jade, Emerald, Moss Agate, Rose Quartz, Watermelon Tourmaline, Pink Tourmaline, Pink Calcite, Rhodochrosite, among others.

If gem therapy interests you, I highly recommend www.crystallinelight.com!

Yoga poses for the Heart Chakra:

All yoga poses essentially activate the chakras. Some yoga poses to stimulate the heart chakra include: Bridge pose (highlighted above), passive backbends as when we arch gently over a bolster, yoga mudra arms, fish pose, camel pose, among others.

The following section did not appear in this Chakrascope when it was first published. I’m expanding upon my past Charkascopes as well as creating new ones going forward!

Your dosha (constitution/body type) and the Heart Chakra:
~

What is a Dosha?

The term “dosha” comes from the sister science to yoga, Ayurveda. Ayurveda means the science of life. Some say the science of self-healing.

Your dosha, or Ayurvedic body type, is associated with the elements—air, ether, fire, water, earth. Those elements combine to create three different doshas/body types. We all are made up of varying quantities of these three doshas. Most of us have a dominant dosha with another one that’s secondary and a bit of the third. The three doshas are Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. From either and air comes Vata, from fire and water comes Pitta, and from water and earth comes Kapha.

Vata is associated with characteristics such as “dry, cold, rough, light, mobile/moving, irregular, sensitive, imaginative, spontaneous, resilient, talkative, and expansive/infectiously happy.”  Pitta is associated with “hot, sharp, intense, impatient, intellectual, confident, outspoken/brave, ambitious, combative, jealous, spreading/fluid. Kapha is associated with “calm, wet, heavy, slow, dull, static, enduring, sympathetic, relaxed, forgiving, loving, stable, dense”.

Knowing your particular body type/constitution empowers you to know literally “what you’re made of”—what makes you tick. You know your dominant characteristics. Getting curious about what’s going on inside your body is my main theme in my yoga classes. Why not make it the main theme in your whole life? Once you know your dominant constitution, you can make choices in your lifestyle to stay in balance, to become whole. Wholeness means healing. Becoming whole means you are giving your body what it needs. You’ll know immediately what throws you off and what centers you. You can use this knowledge to get to know yourself better, to get to know yourself deeper. Looking at the characteristics associated with each dosha, keep in mind that your personal “rain barrel” is already filled with those characteristics so adding more of the same into your life will take you off balance. Your rain barrel will overflow. Adding the opposite characteristics into your daily regimen will keep you centered.

So if you’re a Vata, like me, you know that warmth, moisture and ritual/routine in all forms (be it food, clothing, or environment) will be soothing to this cold, dry, mobile body. Get the idea?

Getting back to the heart chakra

In yoga, as in Ayurveda, the heart is considered the energetic hub of the body. The heart chakra is the bridge between the bottom, more physical chakras, and the upper, more spiritual chakras. As mentioned earlier, the heart chakra element is air. The area where our heart chakra is located contains our lungs and breathing muscle, the diaphragm. Knowing that Vata is associated with the air element makes the heart chakra associated with Vata. (Vata is also associated with the throat chakra.)

Just as the heart chakra deals with compassion, the sensitive Vata responds well to compassionate natures. Surround yourself with friends who leave you feeling better vs. drained and activities that correspond to your heart’s desire as we talked about earlier.

Vata governs all movement in our bodies such as blood flow and circulation, another deep connection to the heart. As mentioned earlier, Vatas respond well to warm, moist foods and as well as ritual and routine. So planning is helpful! Routines and rituals help to ease stress. Probably Vata’s most important function is that it governs the nervous system. We all know what stress can do the heart. One of the signs of an imbalanced Vata is anxiety which can be caused by too much chaos, too much movement. Instilling slow, grounding rituals like yoga, breath practices (like the one above) and meditation will go a long way toward soothing Vata and balancing your heart chakra.

Want more of this? Stay-tuned for my next Chakrascope! Want to know YOUR dosha and start to use the power of your dosha to gain health and vitality? Check out my YogaLean 12-Week Transformation Workshop! We reference the doshas throughout the 12 weeks and empower you to create wholeness by befriending your body. Here are some links to various quizzes to determine your own body type: The Chopra Center, Dr. Oz, the Ayurvedic Institute, and Banyan Botanicals are just a few that are on the web. Enjoy!

 

26
December

Kubera Mudra for Confidence, Achieving Goals, Finding Objects, and More

Written by Sandy. Posted in: Hand Mudra
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Mudra means “seal” in Sanskrit.  It’s a symbolic or ritual gesture using primarily the hands.  Each position is believed to have a specific effect.  Specific positions can lead to specific states of consciousness symbolized by the hand positions.  For example, if a person frequently and with feeling does a position of fearlessness, they will also be freed from fearfulness in time.  Mudras are said to engage areas of the brain and/or soul influencing them, sometimes physically, by their use—not unlike an affirmation, or reflexology for that matter.

“One way that all of us can better care for ourselves is by developing techniques for coping with the irritations and anxiety that are part of life…

Think of these gestures as self-talk for your hands. These simple movements, the gestures that we often make unconsciously, can help us focus on our work, calm ourselves, release anger and energize us. Used for centuries by many different cultures, mudras are seen in Eastern dance and meditation, in ancient Egyptian friezes, even in Byzantine icons of Christ. Most of us use them today, too: we wave goodbye, we press a hand to our chest in distress, we wriggle our fingers to release energy, or press fingertips together to calm ourselves.

Easy to learn, mudras can be done anywhere, at any time: at traffic lights, in meetings, in airplanes, when we’re arguing, when we’re grieving, when we need to prepare for sleep. The word mudra can be translated from the Sanskrit as that which brings inner peace, and that s what mudras are: a physical means of quieting our bodies.”  Product description for Mudras: Ancient Gestures to Ease Modern Stress by Emily Fuller Williams.

A great video about mudras:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e7-iXzMdfIs&feature=player_embedded#at=147

Kubera Mudra for Confidence, Achieving Goals, Finding Objects, and More

Since this newsletter is focusing on new beginnings and discovering your heart’s desire, a mudra that helps you put some oomph behind your future plans and setting intentions is in order!

Benefits of Kubera Mudra:

  • Focuses and concentrates energy for something strongly desired.
  • Puts powerful strength behind future plans (goals and what you want fulfilled)
  • Confidence, calmness and peacefulness
  • It can also be used to find something (lost object, parking spot, etc.)
  • Physically, it opens and decongests the frontal sinuses

How to do Kubera Mudra:

  • Touch the tip of your thumb, index finger and middle finger together.
  • Bend the other two fingers in toward the middle of your hand.
  • Do this with both hands.
  • Hold for several minutes and repeat 2-3 times throughout the day.

Source:  http://wholesomeresources.com/1752/kubera-mudra-for-confidence-achieving-goals-finding-objects-and-more/

“The practice is simple. In your mind, formulate your wish or goal very clearly into words. Ask your heart whether this is good for you and whether it enriches your surrounding world. Now place the three fingers together, phrase your wish in a positive way as you say it out loud three times. Press your fingers together while you do this. Done! If this concerns a parking spot or a new dress, then the mental preparation isn’t as important, otherwise, there are no shortcuts.

The following meditation and the affirmation should be done one to two times daily for several days or weeks:

Visualize your goal, your future, your special wish, in all of its colors. At the same time, develop the feeling as if it already were reality. The thought is the procreative power, the father, the feeling is the form-giving power, the mother. Just like large plants need longer to achieve their full bloom, the same applies to our goals and wishes. It is also obvious that we must make our own contribution to this process.

Affirmation I give my best, and I let the rest be given to me.

Many people already know this mudra as the ‘Three Finger Technique’ from Alpha Training* and use it when they are looking for something specific—a free parking space, a certain dress, the right book, the necessary information, etc. Others use it when they want to put more force behind their plans for the future. It always involves goals that people want to reach, or wishes that they would like to have fulfilled. With the three closed fingers, additional strength is given to the matter and/or thought.

Putting this mudra to specific use in everyday life is quite fun. It also gives us inner repose, confidence, and security.

*Mental Training, which has been developed by Gunter and Margarete Friebe. In 1973, this couple studied the methods of Mind Control, Mind Development, and Alphagenics in the USA. During the past twenty years, they have refined these methods so that they now have an independent, very efficient mental training program.”

Source:  Mudras. Yoga in your hands, by Gertrud Hirschi

24
December

Listen to Music for a Better Brain and Body

Written by Sandy. Posted in: Healthy News
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Listen to Music for a Better Brain and Body

Research suggests that listening to music bestows mind-body benefits in the following ways:

  • Music improves your brain. Music — of any kind — fires neurons in the brain that in turn boost memory and mental powers. Got kids? Take them to concerts. They’ll do better in reading and math.
  • Slow tunes lower blood pressure. To dial down high blood pressure, spend 30 minutes a day breathing along to the beat of slow, soothing numbers (think Norah Jones or Frank Sinatra, not Lady Gaga or Ice Cube).
  • Music keeps your ears young. Older musicians don’t experience typical aging in the part of the brain (the auditory cortex) that often leads to hearing troubles. But you don’t have to be Bono to benefit. It’s never too late to start taking, oh, guitar or piano lessons and preventing age-related auditory changes. How reliable are your ears?
  • Music relieves stress. Listening to music lowered heart rates by as much as 5 beats per minute in critically ill hospital patients hooked up to breathing machines — enough of a drop to significantly ease anxiety and help them heal.
  • A good beat keeps you moving. Pick motivating music for your workout and you’re likely to exercise harder and longer, bolster heart health, and lose more body fat.

http://www.realage.com/blogs/doctor-oz-roizen/does-music-make-you-smarter-and-healthier?eid=1010656967&memberid=5734411

23
December

Pasta Fagiolo

Written by Sandy. Posted in: Delicious Recipes À la Christine
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One of my dearest friends cooks, bakes, and grills like a professional chef.  She loves to chop vegetables, says things like “ramekins” and has her own tablecloth named after her—The Christine—for purchase at The Palate in Stockholm, WI:  http://www.thepalate.net/.  Preparing food has been her passion since before my husband and I met Christine and her husband, Mark, over 15 years ago.  It has been our good fortune to be the lucky recipients of many delicious meals and absolutely wonderful times in their home.  Since I am all about following our passion, this is my way of letting her have an outlet for hers.  Enjoy!

~

“Pasta e fagioli or pasta fagioli, (or fagiolo) meaning “pasta and beans”, is a traditional meatless Italian dish. Like many other Italian favorites including pizza and polenta, the dish started as a peasant dish, due to being composed of inexpensive ingredients. Today it can be widely found, even in restaurants that do not specialize in Italian cuisine. It is often pronounced pasta fazool in the United States.

The word for “beans” varies in different Italian dialects, e.g. fagioli ([faˈdʒɔːli]) in standard Italian, [faˈsuːl] in Neapolitan, and [faˈsuːlu] in Sicilian. Pastafazoola, a 1927 novelty song by Van and Schenck, capitalizes on the Neopolitan pronunciation in the rhyme, “Don’t be a fool, eat pasta fazool.”  The Dean Martin song ‘That’s Amore’ also rhymes “When the stars make you drool, joos-ta like pasta fazool, that’s amore”.”  (Hah!  I always wondered what the words were for that part of the song!) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pasta_e_fagioli

Pasta Fagiolo

2 stalks celery medium chop
1 onion medium chop
2 carrots small chop
3-4 cloves of garlic chopped
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper to taste
4 cups chicken stock cup water
1 16 oz can of chopped tomatoes ( do not drain)
2 cans cannellini beans
3/4 cup elbow macaroni

  • Sauté celery, onions and carrots in Olive oil in large saucepan for 3-4 minutes until they start to get soft.
  • Add garlic, Italian seasoning and red beeper flakes and sauté over medium heat for 1-2 minutes. Be careful to watch so that garlic does not burn. Sautéing the seasoning will help to enhance the flavor.
  • Add the chicken stock and water and bring to a boil.
  • Turn down heat and simmer for 10 minutes to cook the vegetables.
  • Add the beans, canned tomatoes and macaroni and bring to a boil.
  • Cover the pot and cook for 8 minutes. Add salt and pepper if necessary.
  • Serve with grated Parmesan cheese on top.
  • Add a sald and you have a hearty, healthy winter meal!
22
December

When I started to write my humble review of this CD, I started to cry. I have such deep, sincere respect and admiration for Billy McLaughlin—our local, internationally known musician. I felt the weight of the world to do justice introducing him to any of my readers who don’t know him. I loved Billy’s music before he went silent due to dystonia, as many of his fans did. He plays “fingerstyle guitar”, doing mostly “fretwork”, playing on the top of the guitar vs. strumming at the bottom—in my own pure layman’s terms. To hear his music is thoroughly enjoyable and entertaining, but to see him perform—well, that is priceless! http://www.billymclaughlin.com/videos.php


 “Billy McLaughlin is a guitarist and composer. For twenty years, he astounded audiences around the world with his complex and rhythmic music. In 2001, Billy was diagnosed with Focal Dystonia, an incurable neuromuscular disease that rendered him unable to play his own music. By 2002, Billy McLaughlin’s career was over. In 2006, Billy began a comeback. He was doing the unthinkable – relearning his songs left handed. Billy McLaughlin is astounding audiences once again with both his story and his music.” http://www.billymclaughlin.com/

The PBS documentary equated what Billy has done to say that it was like re-learning to perfectly speak the English language backwards. Having seen his performances both before and after, and having watched the PBS documentary as well as his Coming Back Alive DVD, I can only say that I am in total awe of the genius, talent, and perseverance of this man.

So I offer this highlight as an inspiration for those of us struggling to overcome and conquer in 2012. The PBS documentary said that for a musical talent like Billy, music was his identity, which is why one of his comeback songs is entitled, “Don’t know how to die” and his comeback DVD is titled Coming Back Alive.

“Of his piece ‘Don’t know How to Die,’ he says, ‘It’s a song about not giving up, about not knowing what to do with yourself if you aren’t doing what you know you’ve been put on earth to do.’ He describes the piece as ‘deeply emotional,’ and one he would not have written had he not gone through his struggle to keep playing music.” http://thehandiestone.typepad.com/blog/2010/09/guitarist-billy-mclaughlin-discusses-being-diagnosed-with-focal-dystonia.html

Don’t let your 2012 mountains extinguish your spirit, climb above them and dance, perhaps FingerdanceInto The Light. http://www.myspace.com/billymclaughlinmusic  

Into the Light CD

Description: 

Billy’s remarkable left handed return to the stage. This long awaited new recording from Billy’s recent comeback performance features chamber orchestra arrangements by Eugenio Toussaint that envelope Billy’s signature acoustic guitar compositions. You’ve never heard anything quite like this!

Available at:  http://www.billymclaughlin.com/cd-into-the-light.php

Coming Back Alive DVD


Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/libbydorazione/4988669291/sizes/m/in/photostream/

Billy’s comeback concert featuring string orchestra and The Entire Band. 99-minute single DVD concert video directed by David Taylor.

Available at:  http://www.billymclaughlin.com/concert-dvd.php

Also see the CBS new video: http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2011/05/27/earlyshow/main20066772.shtml

FlipSide a documentary about Billy’s struggle with dystonia and features concert footage from Coming Back Alive, scenes from Changing Keys and new interview footage shot in-studio.
http://www.kpbs.org/news/2011/aug/10/billy-mclaughlin-flip-side/



21
December

My second in the series of “Cosmic Numerology” articles for Yogamint has been published!

Written by Sandy. Posted in: Magical Events at Better Day Yoga LLC
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At Vita Bella we offer a holistic approach to revitalize your whole being by addressing the mind, body, emotional and spiritual self.  Services include: aromatherapy, brain gym, emotional release, yoga, meditation/breathwork classes, and facial exercise classes.

  • Catch me exhibiting at the Maria Shaw’s Winter Fun Fair!
    Date: February 25-26, 2012
    Time: 8 AM – 4 PM
    Location: Radisson Roseville (same place!)
  • Exciting news!  My second in the series of “Cosmic Numerology” articles for Yogamint has been published! Here’s the link:  http://www.yogamint.com/_webapp_4105606/Three%E2%80%99s_a_Charm
  • I am partnering with TeriLeigh Schmidt on the “Prana Pages” blog. Take a peak at:  http://terileighblog.blogspot.com/
  • Want to have me work one-on-one with you on correct alignment?  Maybe you have questions you want to ask but can’t during class time?  A private physical assessment will help me to recommend particular yoga poses for your body after we discuss your questions and history. Feel better about your practice! 
    Schedule a private consultation
    at (http://betterdayyoga.com/products/services)
  • Vita Bella Health & Wellness is expanding!
    Do you need a home base to provide your holistic health service to the community?  Do you have a passion for health & wellness?  Vita Bella Health & Wellness Center offers beautifully decorated, fully furnished common areas, ample free parking, easy on/easy off highway access in a quiet, Little Canada neighborhood.
    Ideal for acupuncturist, ayurvedic practitioner, chiropractor, massage therapist, etc.
    Come meet your future colleagues and start or expand your holistic health career today! 
    Serious inquiries only
    ,
    please contact Sandy at 612 708 6900 or Kari at 763-785-4600. 
    Rent starting at $250/month
    .

“Live …like someone left the gate open!” ~ Christine Jobe’s Photos