Tag Archives: January 2011

13
January

“Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans”

Written by Sandy. Posted in: Off-the-Wall Musings
Comments Off on “Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans” Tagged with

Each month, “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 2011 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 newsletter, 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 this issue: Yoga quote, Practice yoga pose, Meditation on the go, Chakrascope, Hand Mudra, Featured Card Deck and Quote, 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

“Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans”—John Lennon.

I’ve been dwelling on Lennon’s quote a lot lately. When I first heard it, I was obviously younger and I recall thinking “that’s probably true” and then dismissed it without much analysis.  Fast forward several years (let’s not count) and a lifetime later, and this quote has come to have more validity for me.  It’s been hitting home for me lately.  Perhaps I’ve just had a run of things not going according to plan, or perhaps the older I get, the more I dwell on “the plan” and how it’s going.  Sometimes I forget to add flexibility into the plan. How about you?  I think whenever you have an idea of how things should go, and it doesn’t go exactly according to the plan, that’s life. We can tend to get attached to the exact outcome we are looking for, though, can’t we?

For starters, let’s take Christmas.  For me, Christmas has always been a special time of year which holds a unique magic.  So expectations are high.  Even in the midst of unhappy family Christmases growing up, I found joy in the season.  As mentioned in my last newsletter, I even gave a speech in college on believing in Santa. We have an annual Christmas party (28th annual this year!) where our house is decorated to the max.  I like to say I’m either Santa’s elf, Mrs. Santa Claus, or the representation of Scrooge’s ghost for “Christmas present”.  Have you ever seen that room the ghost first appears in?  That’s our house at Christmas.  We start decorating right after Halloween so we have plenty of time to get the job done without panicking.  So this year when the blizzard decided to land on our party date, I was among the many regrouping.  Shortly after that, we watched a Christmas movie that kept saying “Things always work out at Christmas”.  I held on to that mantra.  I’ve decided to use it all year with a little adjustment—“Things always work out.”

I get regular emails from Mike Dooley’s “Totally Unique Thoughts from the Universe” http://www.tut.com/theclub/.  When you subscribe to the newsletter, you get to input your name and a goal so the emails are personalized. This one came to me today, and I thought it was appropriate: “Whenever something doesn’t work out the way you thought it would instead of thinking that something went wrong, see it as something that went unexpectedly well, but for reasons that are not yet apparent.

Everything plays to your favor.

Score!
The Universe”

There are several quotes along these lines, and since you know I love quotes, here are a few of them:  “Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while here we may as well dance!”  Or, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade!”  And then there’s “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”  I couldn’t change the weather.  Nor could I change the fact that most people wouldn’t be able to reserve two weekends in a row in December for attending our party.  So I rescheduled it and moved on from there.

Rescheduling the party the week after the blizzard created a whole domino effect of rearranging, delaying, and canceling in other areas—not the least of which was a delay in this newsletter getting done.  Moving the party out to the next week meant more time spent preparing for the party (repeat the cleaning, cooking, etc.); less time available to be spent on “regular” Christmas stuff like shopping and wrapping—that’s life.  “It is what it is.”—My ultimate favorite.

In retrospect, it sounds like I took it in stride. Well at the time I didn’t, but I came around as we all do. We can all make the best of it.  We can all make it work because what are our options? “Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning how to dance in the rain.”

This reminds me of the story of the Taoist farmer:

This farmer had only one horse, and one day the horse ran away. The neighbors came to condole over his terrible loss. The farmer said, “Good, bad—who’s to say?”

A month later, the horse came home—this time bringing with her two beautiful wild horses. The neighbors became excited at the farmer’s good fortune. Such lovely strong horses! The farmer said, “Good, bad—who’s to say?”

The farmer’s son was thrown from one of the wild horses and broke his leg. All the neighbors were very distressed. Such bad luck! The farmer said, “Good, bad—who’s to say?”

A war came, and every able-bodied man was conscripted and sent into battle. Only the farmer’s son, because he had a broken leg, remained. The neighbors congratulated the farmer. “Good, bad—who’s to say?” said the farmer.

Who’s to say that the party rescheduling was good or bad? It just was. No labels needed.

Have you heard Jerry Seinfeld’s skit on how close “sucks” and “great” really are?  Hang in there through to the end of the skit.  The hot dog analogy is great:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9fgowvzfQ9U Yes the very best lesson you can learn in life is that “sucks” and “great” are pretty close or who’s to say if they’re not the exact same thing?  “Good, bad—who’s to say”?

In the midst of all this regrouping and rearranging, I started down the “oh, woe is me” line of thinking until I realized that if there was to be a blizzard, the weekend was probably a better time to have one than a typical work day.  There were less people needing to travel.  Likewise, I planned on bringing the 3rd of eight weekend yoga trainings I had to miss as a stand-alone workshop to my own yoga studio’s location in April (http://betterdayyoga.com/schedule/special-events) since it’s on one of my favorite subjects—the energy of chakras!  (Read the Chakrascope section intro below for a crash summary on chakras.) So I was actually saving myself some money by not paying for the class twice.  We also had already moved tickets to a play we were scheduled to see from that weekend to another date due to the yoga training conflict.  So when the blizzard hit, we already had the play moved to a different weekend—yet another “save”. Just like the “TUT” email said, everything really does play to your favor.  It’s all a matter of how you look at it.

The domino effect caused by the storm didn’t have to be labeled “good” or “bad”.  It just is (what it is).  I’ve often read “you are exactly where you’re supposed to be”.  My husband often offers a similar sentiment:  “It is what it’s supposed to be.”  At the time I hear these expressions, I’m not always ready for their message, but in retrospect, they are as comforting to me as “Things always work out.”  Perhaps it is in their expression that the turning point from “sucks” to “great” can occur. Polar opposites, after all, exist on the same plane. You just need to shift your position. It isn’t the situation that needs changing; it’s your view of it.

“Just know that every single person is exactly where they need to be to learn exactly what they need to learn. We can’t be in the wrong place.” –Andrea Smith, Andrea Smith Gallery.  (She also has a weekly “Enlighten up” message.  Her gallery is filled with Quan Yin’s—the Goddess of Compassion—a personal favorite.  So I love to “window shop” through her emails and Website:  http://www.andreasmithgallery.com/index.php.)

What lessons did 2010 provide for you? I think I learn the best lessons are when things don’t go according to plan. Your biggest problem is your best teacher.  The person that bothers you the most holds your greatest lesson.  That sucks, but it’s great.  After all, we can easily pick that which bothers us the most.  So then all that’s left is to find the lesson—the greatest lesson.  It’s like life gives us a map to find our greatest lessons by presenting them first as the loudest annoyance.

My April 2010 newsletter featured the card deck, The Power Deck, Cards of Wisdom, © 1991 by Lynn V. Andrews.  It has a “Strength” card that expresses this sentiment beautifully:  “The person who upsets you most in your life is one of your best teachers.  If that person can get inside your head, turn you around, and confuse you, you know that you still don’t understand what you are doing. You need more strength.  Learn by seeing that your life is a teaching.  Like the red lotus healing its pain in inner solitude, gain strength from entering your wounds, and learn from them.  The magician remembers the trail and takes a different one, even if it is more difficult.  In this way, you build strength.”

What was your loudest annoyance in 2010?  Find the lesson. Remember “sucks” and “great” can be pretty darned close, if not the same. Did something not go according to “plan”?  Maybe it’s the “plan” that needs altering. Happiness is loving what you have.

Maybe it’s the measuring stick of your plan that is all wrong.  I am realizing that the monetary measure of success is over-rated, and you probably won’t believe me when I tell you that this thought was already in my newsletter draft when I got another email message earlier from the “Totally Unique Thoughts from the Universe”:  “The pursuit of money as a means to anything usually means (almost always means) that someone, somewhere, at least momentarily, has taken their “eye” off of what it is they really want.

Tricky that way, huh?

Yours,
The Universe”

Yes, monetary success is important, but only one possible measure of success is monetary.  There are many others—such as did you do all that you could to grow?  Did you connect with some wonderful people along the way?  Did you get up again each time you fell?  If you answered “yes”, then that’s great. If you answered “no” that sucks, but all it takes to turn it back into “great” is to get back up again.  After all, it’s the getting up again that’s life.  It’s the “dancing in the rain”, referenced earlier, that’s life.

I’ve spent my life working for other people.  Now I’m working as the owner of my own business. I keep looking behind my shoulder fearing disapproval from the powers that be, but I am slowly remembering to  remind myself I’m my own boss. When it comes down to it, we are all our own bosses.  We all answer to “the person in the mirror”. That can be great, but it can also suck.

Others can view your attempts as failures or misfortunes, but it’s your own view that counts. If you choose to let it be neither good nor bad, that’s great, because it will never suck. Remember, you get to choose the measuring stick.

I consider each and every yoga student I’ve had the honor to teach as a blessing in my life.  I end each yoga class with a couple of silent prayers. The first one is a hope that I’ve filled my student’s cups with what they personally needed at that moment, be it a work out or a “work in”.  Sometimes I am left wondering how well I did.  I worry that I may not have provided exactly what they were looking for perhaps, and that sucks.  Sometimes they tell me I’ve given them just what they needed, and that’s great.

I’m slowly remembering to remind myself I’ve done my best and it doesn’t need to be labeled good or bad—so it should never suck.  This idea of perfection we are all striving for is setting ourselves up for disappointment because just what is perfection?  Is it even achievable?  Or put another way, will you honestly ever let what YOU’VE done be labeled perfect?  Our egos like being in control. We need to detach from that inner judge.

One of my favorite authors, Wayne Dyer,  has a new book called The Power of Intention, Learning to Co-create Your World Your Way. The day after I was writing the above, I found myself randomly opening this book to the following:

Let go of your reputation. Your reputation is not located in you.  It resides in the minds of others.  Therefore, you have no control over it at all. If you speak to 30 people, you will have 30 reputations.  Connecting to intention means listening to your heart and conducting yourself based on what your inner voice tells you is your true purpose here.  If you’re overly concern with how you’re going to be perceived by everyone, then you’ve disconnected yourself from intention and allowed the opinions of others to guide you.  This is your ego at work.  It’s an illusion that stands between you and the power of intention.  There’s nothing you can’t do, unless you disconnect from the power source and become convinced that your purpose is to prove to others how masterful and superior you are and spend your energy attempting to win a giant reputation among other egos.  Do what you do because your inner voice—always connected to and grateful to your Source—so directs you.  Stay on purpose, detach from outcome, and take responsibility for what does reside in you:  your character.  Leave your reputation for others to debate; it has nothing to do with you.  Or as a book title says:  What you Think of Me is None of my Business!” This ties in well with my second silent prayer:

My second silent prayer is a prayer to “stay centered in my comment to learn, grown, and teach with a positive intent and positive energy”.  Because as long as I can stay committed to THAT, I am able to release the work to the Universe. Good, bad, who’s to say?  I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be right now.  It is what it’s supposed to be.  Things always work out.


12
January

This newsletter focuses on change—both the kind we invite, like new year’s resolutions and goals; and the kind we don’t necessarily like, like unexpected snow storms.  Since this is the time of year we invite change into our lives, I thought an inversion, like legs up the wall pose, would be appropriate. This is my favorite inversion, and has fast become a favorite among my students once I introduced the bolster to class!

“Psychologically, inverted yogic practices …make us feel that the world is turned upside down.  If we could get used to that feeling, we could adapt to change when it happens without warning.” Guiding Yoga’s Light, by Nancy Gerstein.

Now for the pose:
Just like it sounds, simply scoot yourself next to the wall placing one hip against the wall

Then roll back and simultaneously swing your legs around, keeping your thighs together, and up against the wall

You can also start in “knees to chest pose” and roll over onto your side with your glutes touching the wall (Not shown).  You’d then use yourhands to roll over onto your back, swinging the legs up against the wall. Wherever your legs are comfortably straight is your ideal distance from the wall. 

Beginner’s tip: Still unsure on your form or new to yoga? You can try a practice pose or suggestion.

If you have a yoga mat, you can lay on the mat folded in half with the loop at the end where your head will be. Then after you swing your legs up the wall, you have that loop to use as leverage to reposition your body using your fingers inside the looped edge of the mat. (See Photo #2).  Your ideal distance from the wall can be attained easier with this little trick.  (You can remove your hands from the mat once you are placed where you want to be and let them rest on the floor either at your side or over head.)

If your neck feels like it needs some support, you can always add a rolled blanket under the neck (not shown).  Be careful not to jam your chin into your chest.  You want to preserve the natural curve of the neck.

A simpler, at-home version of this pose would be to lie on the floor in front of your couch and swing your legs up over the seat.  Rest here for as long as you like (5-15 minutes is ideal) enjoying the passive effects of this healthy inversion. Adding an eye pillow adds to the relaxation effect.

When coming out of the pose, slide the feet down the wall and slowly roll to the side.  Stay on your side a few minutes before getting up.  Aside from lowering your blood pressure while you are in the pose, this pose also reduces anxiety, eases digestive problems, helps prevent varicose veins, and brings fresh blood to the face, brain, thyroid, etc.  It’s better to experience it than read about it.  It is said by some to “cure all that ails you”.  You decide.  Try it for five minutes and notice the effect.

Leg options: There are several stretches to try while in the pose.  I’ve pictured a couple, and mentioned others:

Straddle splitsAllow the heels to slowly slide out toward the ground into a “V”, allowing gravity to do its work

If you are hyper-flexible, you may want to press your heels into the wall, or you can also bind your feet together—not too tight—with a strap, (not shown) so that the legs don’t fall too far out and rest into the strap.  Remember to keep the buckle in a position that’s not irritating.  You could also try pressing the soles of your feet into the wall as though you are in a “happy baby/dead bug” variation (not shown).

Butterfly—Bring the soles of the feet together and let gravity bring your knees down bringing the heels toward the pelvis,

or you can add props under the feet and knees so the hamstrings can relax (not shown).  Another variations would be “Half a butterfly”, which is basically tree pose (not shown).  If your feet begin to tingle during this pose, the butterfly version is recommended.

A deeper hip opener would be to do “Figure 4” or “Pigeon” on the wall.  I’ll cover that in another newsletter!

Benefits:

  • Lowers blood pressure while in the pose
  • Reduces anxiety, calms nerves, quiets the mind
  • Soothes the central nervous system
  • Eases digestive problems
  • Helps prevent varicose veins as well as beneficial for those who do have them
  • Brings fresh blood to the face, brain, thyroid, and pelvic organs
  • Relieves cramped legs as well as water retention in the legs
  • Stretches glutes, hamstrings, and if legs are apart—hip adductors.
  • Eases physical and mental fatigue
  • Balances endocrine system

Advanced options / Add a bolster or blanket: I’ve used a bolster as my prop here.  You can also use a firm blanket or two (or more depending on the size of your blankets).  I have my bolster tighter to the wall than you might.

The distance from the wall is personal and dependent upon the tightness of the back of your legs.  As mentioned above, you want to be where your legs are comfortably straight. The tighter the backs of your legs are, the further from the wall your props will be and the lower the support should be.  Likewise if you are shorter, you’ll obviously be closer to the wall and vice versa.  Doing the pose without the bolster a few times helps you figure out the distance from the wall that’s right for you.

Likewise the height of the bolster or blankets is going to be personal as well.  Rarely is the prop too low.  It’s usually too high.  You can always remove a blanket from a blanket-only prop, or add a blanket to the bolster if you need to adjust the height.  Make sure your lower back is supported.  Also, most people also feel best when the ribs closest to the waist are also supported by the bolster.

Similar to starting without the bolster, you would sit on the end of the bolster with one hip against the wall as in Photo #1.  Roll back and simultaneously swing your legs up the wall, keeping the thighs together.

Your hips should still be level

Your legs are “almost” vertical in the pose.  To come out of the bolstered pose, bend your knees, press your feet onto the wall, and lift your pelvis slightly.  Slide yourself away from the wall while simultaneously pushing the bolster toward the wall.  Using the bolster as support for your legs, lie on the floor for a few moments before you roll to your side and get up slowly.  Be sure not to twist off the support when coming out of the pose.

In the version without the wall, you can experiment with the angle of your legs to find the most comfortable position for you.

If you don’t have a bolster or wall space (or perhaps you want to save the time of having the class move to the wall), you can also use a strap to rest the heels into.

I’ve mentioned the benefits of legs up the wall pose earlier.  I found this great reference from Yoga Journal: Modern teachers believe that Viparita Karani is good for most everything that ails you, including:

  • Anxiety
  • Arthritis
  • Digestive problems
  • Headache
  • High and low blood pressure
  • Insomnia
  • Migraine
  • Mild depression
  • Respiratory ailments
  • Urinary disorders
  • Varicose veins
  • Menstrual cramps
  • Premenstrual syndrome
  • Menopause

Contraindicated for:

  • Individuals with hiatal hernias, eye pressure, retinal problems, heart problems, neck problems, and some say menstruating women.  (Always discuss any concerns with your health care professional.)
  • If your lower back is uncomfortable in the prop version, try the “happy baby” version described above with the soles of the feet to the wall instead, or cross your ankles loosely and let your wall support your legs and feet.
  • Do not practice this pose if it creates pressure in the head
  • Do not practice this pose after the third month of pregnancy or if at risk for miscarriage

Sources:  Relax and Renew by Judith Lasater, PhD, PT, and Beth Shaw’s YogaFit

11
January

Meditation for a Happy New You by Rev. Vic Fuhrman & Barbara Biziou:

Written by Sandy. Posted in: Magic of Yoga and Meditation
Comments Off on Meditation for a Happy New You by Rev. Vic Fuhrman & Barbara Biziou: Tagged with

Meditation for a Happy New You by Rev. Vic Fuhrman & Barbara Biziou:

Take a few deep breaths and allow your body to take in all the air that it needs. Imagine your entire body softening.

Begin by thanking the divine for all the gifts in your life right now. Appreciating where we have been is a magical key to moving forward. Every situation and relationship from your past has taught you something useful, and has made you who you are today.

Now notice those things that have outlived their usefulness. What keeps you stuck? What stops you from living your deepest dreams? Recognize the obstacles to achieving the changes that you choose for your life. Begin to make mental notes of all of those things that you are ready to release.

Where are you still holding resentment toward another?  Toward yourself?

Let all your fears, worries, doubts, disappointments, and anger surface in your mind… envision them as a muddy stream which flows out of you as you breathe. See yourself releasing old hurts, sadness, imbalance, and injustice in your life from the past and present. Feel them dissolving, pouring out of your body.

Just let them go. Release all the “should haves,” “could haves,” “if onlys.” There are many layers to let go of, so for now, let go of those things that you are able to. Just let them go.

Now see what items, relationships or situations you have outgrown or that need to shift in some way. Take the time to express gratitude for the lessons learned, and then visualize them gently leaving or changing to promote your new reality.

As you free yourself from the past you open up space for fresh, honest relationships and exciting new opportunities to come into your life.

As the old energy flows out, experience a new lightness, feel a new power and vitality entering into your mind and body opening up space for compassion, for forgiveness, for health, for prosperity and success. Invite in those people who are able to respect and honor your growth and change.

Dwell in this new space for a short time, opening your heart and expressing gratitude for the opportunity to grow and move forward. Honor and acknowledge yourself for the courage to clear house and let go.

Now imagine that you can breathe in the qualities that you need for this new part of your life. Breathe in courage to be true to yourself. Just breathe it in. Breathe in patience, discipline, spontaneity; anything that you feel would assist you in this new beginning. See yourself as strong and positive.

In your mind’s eye, picture what you would like to receive in your life and imagine yourself easily receiving these gifts. Feel yourself radiating with positive energy as you attract new people, ideas and situations.

See yourself joyful and content with this new reality.

Slowly begin to deepen your breaths. Gently move your fingers and toes. Gently begin to turn your head from side to side. Keeping your eyes closed, take three final deep breaths. When you are ready, you may open your eyes.

Many blessings for a “Happy New You!”  (wwwbeliefnet.com)

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

10
January

Use your will power and express your excitement in 2011!

Written by Sandy. Posted in: Chakrascope ~ Your Vital Energy Centers
Comments Off on Use your will power and express your excitement in 2011! Tagged with

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.

January is “Etch n Sketch” month!  Do over time!  Clean slate!  I know we are already well into January. So you’ve probably already started your New Year’s resolutions, right?  Perhaps they’ve already gone to the wayside.  If, as you read this, you are realizing what “one day at a time” really means, recognize that the present moment is the perfect time to make a change.  So maybe this late newsletter will help inspire you to get back on track!

What does January invoke in you?  For many of us, it is traditionally a time of change.
A new year means new goals right?  We all want to set goals, but historically the majority of us don’t stick to our plans to achieve them.  It’s not so much that we aren’t happy with where we are at; it’s more that we always see room for improvement. We want to make our mark upon the world—regardless of our age.

As we embark upon our own personal versions of “improvement”, remember that any type of goal, resolution, or intention brings with it change.  Change is hard sometimes—hence the historical lack of sticking with those New Year’s resolutions.  We tend to like to keep things as they are.  But if you keep doing what you’ve been doing, you’ll keep getting what you’ve been getting.  How’s that working for you? “You will not develop your power by having others take risks for you, or by making sure the outcome of a venture is guaranteed before you begin.” Chakra Balancing by Anodea Judith.  It is said that insanity is doing the same things over and over but expecting different results.

So we’re here to explore using the chakra of expression and the chakra of will power to bring about the changes/progress we desire. Increase the chances of succeeding in this year’s intentions by honing in on the end result you desire with excitement.  Use that feeling as you visualize yourself having achieved what you intend in 2011.  It’s the feeling of excitement at having already achieved your desire that manifests—the Law of Attraction at work. If you’ve been affirming something in particular, but feeling its opposite as you affirm, you will manifest the feeling. And just when you think that any type of change is hard, remember, life gets easier and more exhilarating when you are excited about it.  Use your will power and express your excitement in 2011!

While sometimes I think we are harder on ourselves than we need to be in the area of self-improvement, this is a great time to use the January energy as an impetus to create the life we love. It’s a literal “kick in the pants” energy surrounding January.  So let’s use it!

The throat chakra is about expression and the solar plexus chakra is about using our will to achieve the results we desire.  I can think of no better energy partners to call on to help us “make our mark” in 2011 and “be what we will to be”.

My March 2010 newsletter had highlighted a wonderful yoga teacher/consultant that also happens to be able to see chakras and auras, TeriLeigh Schmidt.  (Want to experience some of her expertise with chakra energy? Come to her workshop at Better Day Yoga April 8 – 10, 2011 where she is presenting her “Energetics of Yoga” weekend intensive! ) She had informed me that my throat chakra was my dominant chakra, but added it’s been a bit blocked as I grew up. Now with my own yoga instruction and the other classes that I teach, I am working on that energy. One of the things she’d recommended was to work with my throat chakra energy by using my voice.

How can you use your voice to express in 2011? That’s not as scary as it sounds.  We all can sing in the shower or the car without facing any fears of doing so in public!  If the simple practice of singing to myself can help loosen and release my throat chakra energy for better expression later, then why not?  Clear out your throat chakra energy regularly and watch your true expression come to life.

Not sure about singing in the shower?  Do you have a favorite peaceful song that makes you feel calmer when you sing or hum it?  My go-to song all year round is Silent Night.  Typically when I’m stressed as I’m driving, I start humming it rather than listen to the radio.  It calms me down in no time and helps me concentrate on the road better too.  Turns out the fact that Silent Night is a well known song actually helps with the calming effect according to the following :

“If you will hum five minutes daily neuroscientists state you will improve your physical and mental health. We have tested the power of humming with students and executives to increase long-term memory and learning skills. Discover for yourself what it means to your career.

Humming is so healthy for you that we suggest you hum while sitting at your computer. A lousy five (5) minutes daily will do the following:

a) Increase airflow to your lungs up to 38%.
b) Improve the health to your sinuses (hollow air-filled spaces in back of your nasal cavity) by reducing infection up to 32%.
c) Reduce pain, headaches and congestion from sinusitis.
d) Cause brainwave rhythms (electrical cycles per second) to change
from Beta (13-40 Hz) for alert concentration to Alpha (8-13 Hz)
for deep relaxation integrating left and right hemispheres of brain.

When you hum for a minimum of five minutes you begin to increase Nitric Oxide (NO) in your paranasal sinuses. NO is 15 to 17 times higher – than those not humming. Please read it again: 15-17x greater – compared to non-hummers.

Humming causes improved sinus ventilation (purified air) by circulating oxygenated blood into your lungs. OK, Nitric Oxide signals the smooth muscles in your body to relax. It causes vasodilation (widening) and increase blood flow.

Dr. Louis J. Ignarro (UCLA) said, “The research indicates Nitric Oxide helps prevent heart attacks and stroke.” Dr. Lungberg was quoted, “Healthy sinuses have a high concentration of NO.”

Conclusion: Humming appears to be more than just replacing the words we
forgot to that song. We know you know how to hum, but here is what we found teaching this strategy to students and executives. It takes 5-10 minutes of daily practice
humming for 21 days for the benefits to kick-in and become a habit (autopilot).

We teach this humming strategy to students and executives to increase their
learning skills, and in particular long-term memory and speed reading.

Can you remember the tune of Happy Birthday (Or Silent Night, for that matter)? Right, stick to humming Happy Birthday compared to a new song or humming random sounds. The reason is to ignore the entire process and permit it to go on automatic.

You do not have to analyze the humming rhythm of Happy Birthday; it has its own neural network in your brain through repetition since you were a little kid.

1. Sit at your computer: eyes open, now start humming.
2. Discover you can hum to Happy Birthday while reading
text and even when typing on your word processor.
3. Do one-minute of conscious humming and stop.
4. Put an intentional SMILE on your face and hum H.B. for
another one-minute. It doubles the humming effectiveness.
5. Roll in a circular pattern in your seat and hum H.B. for
just one-minute. Move left-to-right in a circular orbit.

Can you hum with your eyes closed? And chew Wrigley’s gum and walk at the same
time? Sure you can. When you hum with your eyes closed you begin to daydream and get drowsy. Is that bad?

Humming for even a couple of minutes switches your brainwave rhythms from
your left-brain activities to your right-hemisphere automatic functions. You go from
Beta to Alpha and even to Theta as you hum and daydream.

It appears that in Theta (4-7 Hz) cycles per second, your brain is better at learning,
memory and speed reading. It consolidates into long-term memory what you have
previously learned.

When Homo sapiens read they hear the words in their brain through their larynx
(voice box). We hear each and every word pronounced and it slows us down to a
snail crawling. Ready?

Humming while you read activates your Peripheral Vision and inhibits your foveal (central, narrow) vision. You visually take in more letters and words with each eye-fixation with Peripheral vs. Central vision. You can save up to two hours daily in reading time by Humming while you read articles, reports and books.

Our research with students and executives indicates humming to Happy Birthday creates peak performances of learning and analysis. Your brain goes into your zone, also called In-The-Flow. You may discover how to ace exams and produce better presentations. Oh yeah, humming is a low sound only you should hear.

Remember you do not have to concentrate or pay conscious attention to humming to the tune of Happy Birthday. H.B. is flying on autopilot and appears instantly when you think of it using your will power (volition). It is like reaching your hand out to grab an apple. Thinking alone creates the desired behavior.

Make-believe you are preparing for an interview, presentation or a test. Find a corner and take 1-2 minutes humming with a smile on your face. Our results based on graduates from our workshops is relaxation and loss of stress.

Your self-confidence expands based on homeostasis (equilibrium); the familiar tune creates mental and physical harmony. The Law of Association of the tune you hum and past experiences of joy and happiness, produces positive thinking and positive behaviors in the present.

Happy Birthday is the tune everyone carries in his or her long-term memory for instant activation. No one ever says, How does H.B. go again? You get instant replay, right? Our brain likes the familiar and routine because it feels comfortable.

Do a Mind Experiment, be your own scientist and discover the power of humming. A. Einstein recommended Mind Experiments for personal creativity. You decide.

There are so many reasons to test and discover the power of intentional conscious humming. We recommend it to all our students for improved health and learning.
You might want to invest five-minutes daily and discover it for yourself.”

For more on humming and its benefits go to:

http://www.wellsphere.com/mind-body-article/the-12-instant-benefits-of-humming-daily/761592

Another fun version of humming to try was referenced earlier in my May 2010 newsletter—“Bumble-Bee Breathing”.  Since I haven’t archived all of my old newsletters onto my new Website, I’ll copy it here for ease of reference:

“Bumble-Bee breathing” is a vocal meditation that resembles the buzzing of a bee. It balances the throat chakra as well as improves your concentration, memory and confidence. It also helps banish feelings of self doubt. Practicing this breath is said to bring “indescribable joy” in your heart. (Hatha Yoga Pradipika, 2.68). It is perfect for working with both the throat and heart chakra.

This breathwork can be done in a seated position, or sitting in a kneeling position with your buttocks on your heels. Use your index fingers to plug your ears. Inhale through the nose and exhale humming softly. Repeat as many times as desired being aware of the vibration in the throat, mouth, cheeks, lips, sinus and forehead. Notice how the humming helps regulate your breath and lengthen your exhalation making the exhalation more complete. It is recommended for singers, teachers, public speaking, as well as for helping with throat problems.

Finally, you might try chanting as another alternative to releasing blockages in your throat region. Mantras are believed to contain a vibrational power.  Chanting ‘OM’ is said to have “positive effects on the nervous system, to strengthen the respiratory system and to energize every part of the body.  Chanting its three syllables (A-U-M or “Aaah, Ou, Mmmmm”) sets up rebalancing vibrations in your body while awakening latent psychic and mental powers.”  Chakra Meditation by Swami Saradananda.  See my “Healthy News” section below for the possible physiological benefits of chanting.

Other ways to “use your voice” of expression might be to practice standing up for yourself in one area of your life that has been neglected. See, it’s not just about vocal chords.  And “standing up for yourself” doesn’t have to mean a conflict with anyone.  It’s about expression.  Expression isn’t wrong. And when you add your will power (solar plexus chakra) to enabling that expression, you’ve got a winning combination!

So how can you express yourself more, if even subtly, in 2011?  Maybe you just need to carve out some time to do something special for yourself like take 15 minutes a day to do yoga, meditate, read, or breathe. I can’t remember where I read it, but I’ve quoted it in my yoga class:  “The inside you needs the outside you to take care of you.”  That is what standing up for yourself means.  Taking care of what the inner you craves is healthy—is necessary for health. “Taking care of your emotional health and well-being can make your RealAge up to 16 years younger. http://www.realage.com/

This might be a new motivation for your New Year’s “goal” or “resolution”—one that is nurturing vs. demeaning.  Perhaps choose another descriptor for your “resolution” and call it an “intention”.  Make your motivation be an intention to improve your well-being vs. a resolution to lose weight or diet. Your chances for successful change and growth can depend upon your motivation for change.

Rather than have a goal that revolves around deprivation and neglect, why not choose to approach it with self-compassion?  There’s a new book out called The Self-Compassion Diet by Jean Fain, LICSW, MSW.  Her diet focuses on kindness, not criticism:  “..when you treat yourself with self-compassion, when you treat yourself like a friend or a loved one with love and kindness, you’re more apt to eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full; rest when you’re tired and move when you feel energized; and when you do that, you lose weight naturally.” http://articles.mcall.com/2011-01-10/health/mc-weight-loss-20110110_1_weight-loss-plans-weight-loss-newest-weight-loss

Is there something you’ve always wanted to do or try but never taken the time to do it because you just aren’t on your list of priorities?  Or maybe it’s easier to view this as simply writing down three things you feel are missing from your life and commit to doing them for yourself. Perhaps that 15 minutes a day can be dedicated towards THAT. Express yourself!

This is where the throat chakra of expression and the solar plexus chakra of will power meet.  Use the power of your will to do what is yours to express. We all have time for a small 15-minute step per day.  There’s only one of you.  The world needs your expression to complete itself.

Without your expression, there’s a hole in the world, a void.  To quote Clarence on It’s a Wonderful Life: “Strange, isn’t it? Each man’s life touches so many other lives. When he isn’t around he leaves an awful hole, doesn’t he?”

When you don’t express what’s inside of you, it’s like you aren’t around. Don’t let your personal expression go unexpressed. Don’t let your song go unsung.  Let it out!  “If you do not bring forth what is inside of you, what is inside of you will destroy you.”–The Gnostic Gospel of St. Thomas.

Remember to choose something you really want to do or try.  As obvious as it sounds, if you aren’t excited about it, you already have two strikes against you. As mentioned earlier, if you’ve been affirming something in particular, but feeling its opposite as you affirm, you will manifest the feeling.

When I decided to teach yoga full time and quit my “normal” full time job, it was after many years of something inside of me wanting to get out.  It was after many years of knowing that what I was doing with my days was not what I was meant to do.  I knew that any time I practiced yoga, taught yoga, read about yoga, or even saw the word “yoga”, I got excited.  So I chose to put more yoga into my life.

Doing what you love is empowering and even health-enhancing.  Even picking something as simple as adding more time to listen to your favorite music, plant more flowers, cook more homemade meals—if that’s what trips your trigger—will make you feel loved and cared about.  (I love music in my life.  It can lift me out of a bad mood instantly.  Try this new unreleased song.  Here’s the refrain:

May the Grace of God be with you always, in your heart
May you know the truth inside you from the start
May you find the strength to know that you are a
Part of something beautiful…

Adding more time to listen to music that uplifts you—priceless.  At the very least you’ll be happier and more content, but you never know.  Putting more of what you love into your life may lead you to something bigger.  Remember the “Self-Compassion” diet book referenced above?  Your body, and therefore your life, responds kindly to acts of self-compassion—another reference to my quote from earlier—“The inside you needs the outside you to take care of you.”

“According to a new study by a University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill psychologist and colleagues, people who seed their life with frequent moments of positive emotions increase their resilience against challenges….As with changing one’s diet or other lifestyle areas, it’s simpler and more effective to add what you want more of (whether it’s recognition of positive events in your life, or a diet richer in fruits and vegetables) than to focus on ‘giving up’ things that are hard to relinquish (from moods to foods).“  http://stress.about.com/b/2009/08/24/positive-emotions-and-resilience.htm?nl=1

I still have that drive to continue finding the exact expression of my life.  We all have that drive to continually adjust our course toward that which is more fulfilling—towards that which expresses us best. But it won’t be found without your voice, and it won’t be found without your will power.

Not sure what your expression should be?  Try meditating for those 15 minutes a day. Just taking time to be present, breathe, and not do another thing can let your most important dreams or callings rise to the surface.  How can the Universe speak to you if your mind is cluttered with so much else?

There’s a reason that the time between sleep and awake, when your mind is naturally unhindered by the outside world, is when your subconscious is most open insight.  This stage of sleep and meditation’s effects on your brain has something in common.  There’s a reason they tell you to “sleep on it” when facing a decision. What is an intention if not a decision to do something?

To quote my March 2010 newsletter:  Everyone has the ability to listen to their inner voice. Many cultures have considered the “between times”—the time between sleep and awake, dawn and dusk, or any time that is neither one nor the other—“times of greatest inspiration and power” when “You will find yourself more effective in all of your activities.” Animal Speak, Ted Andrews. If that doesn’t hit home for you, remember Albert Einstein developed his theory of relativity through a dream. Enough said.

There are five stages of sleep.  Stage one can be considered a transition period between wakefulness and sleep. In Stage one, the brain produces high amplitude theta waves, which are very slow brain waves. http://psychology.about.com/od/statesofconsciousness/a/SleepStages.htm

How does that relate to meditation?  “During meditation, theta waves were most abundant in the frontal and middle parts of the brain.

‘These types of waves likely originate from a relaxed attention that monitors our inner experiences. Here lies a significant difference between meditation and relaxing without any specific technique,’ emphasizes Lagopoulos.

Previous studies have shown that theta waves indicate deep relaxation and occur more frequently in highly experienced meditation practitioners.” http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100319210631.htm

As my March 2010 newsletter highlighted, you can use the time between sleep and awake to focus on your intentions and the direction you should take.  Or you can use the power of meditation to do that and so much more. Wondering if meditation can really help?  Try it.  At the very least you’ll be less stressed and able to handle the negative effects of life better.

Please refer to the archives for my past “Meditations to Go” for ideas on how to get started adding meditation into your life.  It doesn’t have to be complicated.  Just breathe. It doesn’t even have to be a sitting meditation. Nature walks can be very meditative too. (See my August 2010 newsletter for a great reference to a “Silent Walk” in nature by one of my favorite authors, Ted Andrews.)

Remember, life gets easier and more exhilarating when you are excited about it.  Use your will power and express your excitement in 2011!

Breathwork and Visualization:

You can combine both the throat chakra and the solar plexus chakra in the following Three-Part breath.  If you incorporate “Ocean breath—or Ujjaayi breath” as you breathe, you’ll be hearing the sound of your breath in your throat chakra area.  As you fill up the full capacity of your lungs breathing deep into your belly, you are filling up the solar plexus chakra area.  Visualize both chakras connecting with each breath:  As you breath in, picture a sky blue energy ball circulating in the throat chakra area and continuing down your throat, turning into a green heart chakra energy ball in your chest and then into a bright yellow solar plexus chakra energy ball as it raises your belly at the end of your inhalation.  As you exhale out, send the energy down your body into the ground like roots of a tree grounding you into the present and releasing stress along the way.

Once you feel centered, end with a visualization of yourself doing your 15-minute daily exercise toward something you’ve always wanted to do or try. Make it as vivid and real as you can.  Involve all the senses—sight, sound, taste, touch.  Notice all the details.  Put yourself into your visualization and see yourself living it.  Remember it’s the feeling that manifests.  So feel yourself living it.  Use the power of your will to express yourself in 2011.

Three-Part Breath is also known as the “complete breath”.  It is both detoxifying and energizing. Done slowly and evenly, it will center you and produce a sense of peace. We typically only use the top part of our lungs.  Three-Part Breath gets to the lower part of the lungs, using our lung’s full capacity from top to bottom—i.e., the “complete breath”. 

Start by breathing deeply into the lower abdominal area, continuing to inhale filling the entire torso with breath on up to the upper collar bone area—belly to ribs to chest.  Then release the breath in reverse order—chest, ribs, belly—squeezing your abdomen to remove as much old air as possible.  This “squeezing out the old air” facilitates an even deeper inhale on the next inhalation.   It’s also a great time to visualize “letting go” of stressors on the exhale, and “welcoming in” all that life has to offer on the inhale.

Affirmations:

  • I live in my truth, I communicate my truth, I am truth.
  • I develop will each time I meet a life challenge.
  • I express my truth quietly and clearly and I am heard.
  • My willpower is aligned with my spiritual purpose in life.
  • I express my truth as creatively as possible.
  • I learn to listen to myself and trust my inner voice.
  • I express love and goodness each time I speak.
  • My Spirit rests in peace and silence.
  • I trust the whisper of angels’ voices as I sit in silence.
  • I love and respect myself at all times.
  • I am worthy because I exist.
  • I am worthy of the life I say I want.
  • I am confident in my ability to make my life work.
  • I choose the power of life.
  • I choose health, healing, and happiness.
  • I choose the best for myself.
  • There are no failures.  I learn from everything I do.
  • I believe that everything is for my highest good and greatest joy.
  • I release judgment and let my life flow.
  • It is now right for me to express the best of who I am now.

Sources:

The Book of Chakras, Ambika Wauters.

http://www.1lovespirit.com/affirmations-chakras.html

Diet and the Throat and Solar Plexus Chakras: Solar plexus chakra is related to the “fire element”. To increase this energy, think hot, spicy foods and hot teas. Avoid cold drinks.

A possible diet for the throat chakra would be light foods such as grapes, salads, herbs, and plain yogurt with a teaspoon of honey for the throat. Slippery elm in tea or lozenge form is a treat for the throat as well. “The throat chakra is associated with the thyroid gland which requires iodine, tyrosine (an amino acid), zinc, vitamin A, vitamin E, copper, selenium, and the omega-3 fatty acid and oleic acid. Adding sea vegetables to your diet can be helpful for supplying some of the ingredients listed above.”

Source:  Chakra Balancing by Anodea Judith.

Aromatherapy and the Throat and Solar Plexus Chakras:

Throat Chakra scents:Bergamot helps you to calmly express truths that arise as your heart chakra opens.  Chamomile allows you to voice truth without anger or resentment.  Eucalyptus helps if you feel ‘frozen’; aids spontaneous expression.  Sandalwood motivates your creative energies at your throat chakra, helping you to come up with fresh solutions; encourages wider vision.  Tea Tree shifts throat chakra energy; helps you to reach your potential.  Peppermint stimulates you to lead a more ethical life.”  Chakra Meditation by Swami Saradananda.

Solar Plexus scents:  “Chamomile eases expectations and tension that can build at your solar plexus as a result of frustration; promotes a “sunny” disposition.  Bergamot helps you to release stagnant energy, Juniper soothes if you feel uncomfortable or frightened, Fennel is a spiritual shield, Peppermint brings the Solar Plexus energy into balance, calms excessive pride and the inferiority it can mask, enables transition and transformation.”  Chakra Meditation by Swami Saradananda.

Notice that Chamomile, Bergamot and Peppermint are common to both chakras.  Perhaps combining them would be a fun experiment?

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.

Gem therapy and the Throat and Solar Plexus Chakras: 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 Throat Chakra gems are: Throat chakra stones include all the blue stones: sapphire, lapis lazuli, blue topaz, aquamarine, turquoise, chrysocolla and sodalite, among others.

Some Solar Plexus Chakra gems are: Green Jade, Blue Sapphire, Aventurine Quartz, Topaz, Yellow Citrine, and Ruby, among others.

Blue sapphire is on both lists.  Sapphire stones are thought to be able to maintain the hope needed in order that our deepest desires and dreams will be fulfilled one day.  http://www.sunnyray.org/Sapphire-properties-and-meaning.htm

If gem therapy interests you, you can find a great selection at www.crystallinelight.com or you can also link to her Web site from my links page at www.betterdayyoga.com.  I’ve known Jennifer, the owner, for many years and love her products!

Yoga poses for stimulating the Throat and Solar Plexus Chakras: As mentioned earlier, all yoga poses work each of the seven major chakras with specific ones addressing specific chakras.

Poses to strengthen the Solar Plexus Chakra: Stomach crunches—a strong core contributes to a sense of will power and purpose—Belly rolls, Plank pose, and poses with spinal twists.

Poses to strengthen the Throat Chakra: Neck stretches, Lion Pose, Legs up the wall pose.  Also Ujjayi breath helps strengthen the throat chakra.  My favorite throat chakra pose is supported fish pose using blocks. Others would be shoulderstand, cow pose and bridge pose.

09
January

Mudra for Detoxification

Written by Sandy. Posted in: Hand Mudra
Comments Off on Mudra for Detoxification Tagged with

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.

Mudra for Detoxification

Since this time of year falls on the heels of some over-indulgence, I thought this Mudra would be appropriate.  There are some experts that recommend regular detoxification of our diet.  Here’s a great article from Dr. Mehmet Oz and Dr. Michael Roizen about detoxing your kitchen instead:  http://www.realage.com/blogs/doctor-oz-roizen/the-cleanse-that-really-works?cbr=fd1101_mn&eid=9123&memberid=5734411.

Yoga poses for the solar plexus mentioned above are also great detoxifiers. Here’s a more subtle method of detoxification to try.  This mudra is said to remove toxins from the body—both physically and mentally.

How To: This mudra is done with both hands.  Place your thumbs onto the inside edge of the lower joint of the ring fingers.  All the others fingers are relaxed and extended, as shown. Hold this mudra for as long as you like.

“It is important to consider the things, in addition to waste materials and toxins, that you are willing to let go of—bad memories, old grudges, negative character traits, fears, etc.  This will make room for something new.  What should it be?”
Source:  Mudras Yoga in Your Hands by Gertrud Hirschi

08
January

Healing the Mind and Spirit Cards

Written by Sandy. Posted in: Featured Card Deck and Quote
Comments Off on Healing the Mind and Spirit Cards Tagged with


I love affirmations and use “oracle” decks to provide a positive boost in the morning or whenever I need a lift.  It’s my way of telling the Universe I’m open to listening to their message:  “Have at it!”  “I’m listening!”  “Tell me more!”  I hope you enjoy as I introduce some of my favorite cards and quotes in my newsletters!  These make great gifts for any occasion as well as can be used as inspirational hand-outs in class if you are a yoga instructor.

I purchased this book at the Edge Expo a few years ago in Minneapolis, MN at the
Intentional Serenity booth.  I chose the two examples to highlight since they resonate with topics I covered in this month’s newsletter—releasing attachment to the results of your actions when you’ve done your best, and how meditation can help you remember what your heart already knows is your path.

Since the photos turned out a bit blurry, I’ll repeat their quotes here for ease of reference: 
Card 1: To reach out with love, to do your best and not be so concerned with results or outcomes—that’s the way to live. Flip side to Card 1: I release any attachment to the results of my good actions.  Card 2: Your heart knows the path to happiness and inner peace.  Spiritual practices such as meditation and prayer remind you of what you already know.  Flip side to Card 2: I already know how to achieve happiness.

Enjoy!







Description:

Brian L. Weiss, M.D., the bestselling author of Many Lives, Many Masters, brings you 50 cards that will help you heal your body, mind, and soul. The wisdom you receive from these beautifully illustrated cards will give you the impetus to keep moving forward on your spiritual path with confidence and compassion. These cards are a lovely gift for the loved ones in your life—including you!


You can buy your very own deck at:

http://www.amazon.com/Healing-Spirit-Cards-Brian-Weiss/dp/1561709484


In my first newsletter, I highlighted one of my favorite decks—a wonderfully whimsical, inspiring, thought-provoking Enrichuals© deck, created by local author, artist and creativity coach, Suzanne Vadnais Monson.  Refer to the November newsletter archive for a sample card.  Suzanne has graciously agreed to let me make them available on Better Day Yoga’s product page online!  http://betterdayyoga.com/products.htm

















07
January

Sing to Your Health!

Written by Sandy. Posted in: Healthy News
Comments Off on Sing to Your Health! Tagged with

Sing to Your Health!

Scientists recently discovered that mantra and rosary recitation have possible physiological benefits for the heart. Reciting either Sanskrit mantras or the Ave Maria prayer regulated the breath and synchronized the heart rhythms of 23 participants in a study conducted by Italian researchers. The research team speculated this happened because prayer and mantra slow the breath rate to an optimal six breaths per minute.

Both the Buddhist mantra Om mane padme hum and the Ave Maria prayer were used in the study and are generally recited in a single 10-second breath cycle, corresponding to six breaths per minute. In contrast, the average person’s breath rate is 16 to 20 breaths per minute, according to Mehmet C. Oz, M.D., a cardiac surgeon at New York Presbyterian Hospital and the director of the Heart Institute at Columbia University, who has pioneered the use of complementary therapies for cardiac patients. “When your internal metronome slows, you get a variety of beneficial effects,” he says, “and you also lessen the risk of catastrophic events like heart attacks and strokes.”

To read more about the study and chanting go to:  http://www.yogajournal.com/health/731?utm_source=DailyInsight&utm_medium=newsletter&utm_campaign=DailyInsight

http://www.healthandyoga.com/html/news/meditation/power_mantras1.aspx

06
January

Chicken Wild Rice Soup

Written by Sandy. Posted in: Delicious Recipes À la Christine
Comments Off on Chicken Wild Rice Soup Tagged with

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!

Whether it’s cold outside or you’re feeling a little under the weather, soup can be a comforting and beneficial remedy. In addition to its taste, it can give you a number of vitamins, minerals and other beneficial elements to help you feel better—especially when it’s homemade!

Chicken Wild Rice Soup
4 carrots cut into I inch pieces
3 stalks of celery in 1 inch slices
1 large leek (or onion can be used) slice
4 sprigs of fresh time (or 1/2 tsp dried)
1 Box Uncle Bens wild rice mix (you can use the seasoning packet for more flavor)
1-2 cups of roast chicken or turkey (this is a great way to use leftovers from store bought roasted chickens)
1 Quart Chicken or turkey stock. (another great use for leftover chicken carcasses)
1-1 1/2 cups of 1/2 and 1/2 or milk (depending on how creamy you want it)

Sauté the carrots, leeks and celery on medium-low heat for 8-10 minutes. Add the chicken stock and bring to a simmer. Add the wild rice mix and Thyme. Cook for 1 hour. Add the cooked chicken and the cream and bring to a simmer.

ENJOY with cracked black pepper.

05
January

Om Namaha Shivaya

Written by Sandy. Posted in: Featured Yoga Music/DVD
Comments Off on Om Namaha Shivaya Tagged with











This CD, as well as the last two featured CDs, was bought at my old stomping ground off State Street in Madison, WI at Mimosa’s.  http://www.mimosaspirit.com/.

Description: This tenth anniversary deluxe edition of this new age classic is a must for anyone who appreciates the power of chant. The warm and vibrant voices of the renowned singing group, On Wings of Song, carry the listener into deep relaxation and inner peace with this well-known Sanskrit chant.

The New Age Journal sites this recording as one of the twenty most influential recordings of the last two decades.  The new release has a bonus track–an extended chant of the ancient Sanskrit syllable Om, including Tibetan and Mongolian styles of overtone chanting.

You can hear the full CD during one of my yoga classes, or listen to clips and purchase it for your own listening pleasure at:

http://www.amazon.com/Om-Namaha-Shivaya-Deluxe-Anniversary/dp/B000006Q4B/ref=ntt_mus_ep_dpi_1

While the above CD is not downloadable from Mimosa’s, for those of you not near Madison, WI, Mimosa is now selling music downloads. They specialize in New Age music, but also offer a variety of World/International music, Drumming/Percussion music, music for relaxation, guided meditations, and more. Mimosa partners with iTunes and offers downloadable media (music, audio books, and more).  To browse visit http://www.mimosaspirit.com/ and browse the “Downloadable Media” section of their Website.

04
January

Energetics of Yoga Weekend Intensive April 8-10, 2011 CEU’s for teachers!

Written by Sandy. Posted in: Magical Events at Better Day Yoga LLC
Comments Off on Energetics of Yoga Weekend Intensive April 8-10, 2011 CEU’s for teachers! Tagged with

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; healing touch; massage; yoga; meditation classes; facial exercise classes; individual, family, couples and group therapy; and poetry therapy.

  • April 8-10, 2011The Energetics of Yoga Weekend Intensive with guest presenter, TeriLeigh! At Vita Bella Health & Wellness!

TeriLeigh was barely ten years old when she performed her first yoga pose and discovered that her ability to see energy, auras, and chakras was a unique gift. By gaining a deeper awareness of the development and expression of the Chakra System, we can use our mind to create a reality within our body. In yoga, alignment of postures helps to open the energetic channels within the subtle body while at the same time producing physical benefits. Thus, aligning the physical body opens the energetic channels and creates a union between the spirit and body through the mind. Mind-Body-Spirit connection.

In TeriLeigh’s Energetics of Yoga Weekend Intensive, students will develop an awareness of the subtle energetic body through fun and simple energy activities, discussion and lecture, and experience in asana practice.  Friday Night: Master Class, Saturday: Chakra Flow Workshop, Sunday: Body Wisdom Workshop.

$250 for the weekend or $15 per hour pre-registration.
***CEUs available for Yoga Teachers!***
Payment due by March 1, 2011 but
SPACE IS LIMITED to eight—
So reserve your spot with payment ASAP!

(See http://betterdayyoga.com/schedule/special-events for detailed breakdown.) Contact Sandyk@BetterDayYoga.com or call (612) 708-6900 to register “per hour” or use the link below to register for the full weekend.

Private Consultations with TeriLeigh are available the week following the workshop. Please contact her directly: (651)357-4658. For more information please visit her Website: http://www.terileigh.com/.

  • Gathering interest for a Restorative Yoga class. Sometimes slowing down the practice, going deeper in poses, and just feeling the restorative power of them does wonders for the body. Restorative Yoga focuses on relaxing the body in restful postures. Note that ‘rest’ is different than sleep. Rest provides the body an opportunity to renew and heal. Countless studies have proven the physical and emotional benefits of this.

    Restorative yoga, as well as other forms of yoga, helps to trigger the Parasympathetic nervous system which is responsible for balancing the body and bringing its response system back into equilibrium. Stimulating the PNS helps to lower heart rate, blood pressure; it helps to healthily stimulate the immune system and keep the endocrine system operating healthily.

Please contact me if you have an interest:  call:  (612) 708 6900 or email sandyk@betterdayyoga.com

Please refer to my class schedule link http://betterdayyoga.com/class.htm for class times.

Yoga Party / Yoga to go?

Yes, a yoga party!  Yoga birthday parties, yoga cocktail parties, yoga bridal parties, yoga book-club parties—you fill in the blank!  If you have space in your home or group meeting place, all you need to do is show up in comfortable clothes, and I bring everything else — the music, candles, incense (if you like that sort of thing), and mats. After a yoga party, people have so much energy, and they communicate with each other at a totally different level.  Please call to discuss your perfect stress-relief package!

Other possible services to add to your yoga party—pending availability and provided by my favorite colleagues—include:

  • Therapeutic massage
  • Acupuncture
  • Hand-made jewelry available for purchase

    or I can also add my two other class offerings:

  • Facial exercise/acupressure and facial self-massage class
  • Meditation/Breathwork class

Julie Jacky Jewelry

Many of you probably remember Julie Jacky as an exhibitor at our Vita Bella open houses.  She has been kind enough to help me grow my yoga business by including free yoga class coupons (for those new to Vita Bella Health & Wellness Center) in her boutique gift baskets.  So send your friends who have been meaning to try a yoga class to one of Julie’s many boutiques!  Check out the link below for her “events calendar” and the next boutique located conveniently down the road from Vita Bella at the Caribou Coffee in Little Canada: 
http://www.juliejacky.com/wheres-julie/jewelry-events-calendar.html

“Whenever something doesn’t work out the way you thought it would instead of thinking that something went wrong, see it as something that went unexpectedly well, but for reasons that are not yet apparent. Everything plays to your favor. Score!
The Universe”—Totally Unique Thoughts from the Universe