Welcome to “My Better Day” July newsletter!
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 deep wish for your well-being that I send this newsletter to help make your day a Better Day!
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.
Founder, Better Day Yoga LLC
We’ve all experienced the bliss of being on vacation. That feeling where everything is wonderful and life is good, right? How many of us have vowed as we returned home NOT to let that feeling go away? Somehow we were going to hold onto the bliss. Well, I can recall too many failed attempts at this. All it takes is one look at your to-do’s upon returning to work and the work stress you left behind comes back to you as if you’d never left.
I used to have the California territory when I worked for Rayovac several years ago. So my job took me out there throughout the year. Old Town, San Diego has this wonderful Mexican restaurant where you can eat outside. My husband and I took a long weekend there a couple of times. We loved Old Town.
The other day my husband and I were eating at a wonderful, local, fast-casual, Mexican dining place called La Fagota’s in Brooklyn Park, MN. La Fagota’s Mexican restaurant is decorated with hand-carved walls, chairs and tables in vibrant colors picturing jungles, birds, flowers, and Mexican architecture. The atmosphere brought back that “Old Town, San Diego” feeling for me that day. The couple of times we went to Old Town, San Diego, it was a celebratory vacation commemorating something we had just achieved in our personal lives. That feeling was revived as well as the usual vacation “life is good” feeling as we walked in to La Fagota’s.
Each booth table and bench is uniquely decorated so each visit provides a different view and experience—if you let it. The booth wall behind my husband displayed an image of a brown horse. Immediately I started thinking of our trips to Custer, South Dakota (a great weekend trip by car for us) and the Dark Horse Steak and Brew restaurant. The Dark Horse restaurant has paintings of horses decorating each booth, so staring at the one behind my husband easily put me back there. We always have fun in South Dakota and are always in a casual, laid-back kind of mood at this low-key restaurant. To steal a keyword from Emeril: “Bam!” I was back in South Dakota with that moment’s memory.
At this point I was thoroughly enjoying the great mood I was creating by using “props” in my view. I noticed the carved decoration in the booth to my left featured architecture similar to a chapel like the one we saw on yet another trip to New Mexico a few years ago in Chimayó. “Chimayó is also believed by many to be the site of a miracle which occurred about 200 years ago.
Miraculous healings are believed to have occurred at the site where a wooden crucifix was unearthed. Because of this, a chapel was built in 1816 called el Santuario de Nuestro Señor de Esquipulas. This chapel, now commonly called el Santuario de Chimayó, is the destination of thousands of pilgrims and travelers each year who come for various reasons; some hoping to be healed, some simply for curiosity, and some hoping to be restored spiritually by the tranquility and hospitality of the surroundings.” http://chimayo.us/
I still have a little medallion souvenir I bought there that I often wear. It’s a magical place. I started to chuckle as I realized I had three different vacation spots coming into mind along with their subsequent “vacation state of mind” moods (and no, I had NOT had a drink yet!). The shift into this excellent mood was quick and sustaining for the rest of the day. I marveled at how easy it was and thought, “THIS is something I want to remember to do more often”!
Keep in mind I had been to this restaurant before and always had a good time because the food and service are great. Perhaps I had always had these underlying “vacation state of mind” moods but didn’t identify them while I was there. I don’t know. Now all I need to do is close my eyes and visualize those places, putting myself there again, and “Bam!” – Vacation state of mind mood at my calling! What props can you use right now to prompt your personal vacation state of mind mood?
Maybe it’s something you bought on a trip. Maybe it’s a special meal you can prepare at home, or even a hot bath. Maybe it’s the act of going to a movie locally, or ordering Netflix with homemade popcorn. Maybe it’s looking at photos from a fun day on vacation. It might help to practice this exercise of thought as you begin a weekend. That itself can be one of your “props”—using the time of day or week.
So try putting your own little umbrellas into your drinks (be they alcohol or Kool-Aid), putting on that Hawaiian shirt you bought on your beach vacation, and spritzing on that favorite cologne from the hotel lobby or restaurant gift shop you were at on that memorable trip (mine was one of the first trips we took as a married couple in Ft. Lauderdale, FL many moons ago—the cologne was “Wicked Wahine” and the restaurant was MaiKai, http://www.maikai.com/ …think I’ll go online and see if they still make it: http://www.wickedwahineperfume.com/).
The sense of smell is the quickest trigger of memory, so it makes an excellent “prop” for your vacation state of mind. “ A smell can bring on a flood of memories, influence people’s moods and even affect their work performance. Because the olfactory bulb is part of the brain’s limbic system, an area so closely associated with memory and feeling it’s sometimes called the ‘emotional brain’. Smell can call up memories and powerful responses almost instantaneously.” http://health.howstuffworks.com/smell3.htm
Music also helps create a mood, so try putting on one of your favorite feel good songs (vacation-oriented or not). I have several. Remember the Growing the Positive Mind book I referenced in my May newsletter? (http://betterdayyoga.com/archives.htm). This book recommends creating your own CD of “upspiral” songs that will lift you into a good mood. My list keeps growing!
If I want to relax, I have many relaxing songs to choose from. I love mellow music, but there are days when too much of a good thing like mellow music coupled with a bad experience just starts to bring me down. So then I use more lively music.
When I was 17, I was driving to high school and the song “Don’t stop thinking about tomorrow” by Fleetwood Mac came on the radio. I knew right then I’d remember that moment and that feeling forever as I tapped my non-gas-pedal foot to the floor in time with the song and sang at the top of my lungs. This song will continue to make me look happily toward the future for the rest of my life! The following version has the added benefit of including the University of Southern California’s Trojans Marching Band. “Gotta” love band music! Enjoy the listen!
You know it doesn’t have to be a vacation memory. This just happened to work for me. That total “letting go” feeling is best induced during vacations for me. It might be different for you—lucky you! The point is you have the ability to change your mood at a moment’s notice/thought. And for me, once I mastered it so easily in the restaurant, I’ve been practicing it regularly since.
So if you see me in person with that far away, relaxed look in my eye, you’ll know where I’ve just been mentally! Try it—the worst that will happen is you’ll induce a good memory for a moment. But I bet the more you practice, the longer that memory stays with you and influences your current mood.
Remember, it’s not the material thing you bought that makes the mood. It’s the experience that came with it that makes the mood. Go for the experience. “Recent research suggests that spending your spare change on transitory experiences — like a trip to the theater or a relaxing vacation — will bring stronger and longer-lasting satisfaction than if you’d spent the extra moolah on material objects.” http://www.realage.com/tips/the-buying-decision-that-makes-you-happy?eid=7192&memberid=5734411
There are other ways we can use this “state of mind” mood enhancer. For those of you who aren’t 30 yet, the following probably won’t make sense. Remember when you hurt yourself physically in your younger years and thought “Yes, this hurts”, but you knew it would go away? The body always healed easily then. Well sometimes as we get older, we quit believing the body will recover when we have a pain. We begin thinking, “uh-oh, what new pain has today brought me that comes with age” as though we have no say in the matter.
What if we tried to sustain that optimistic, youthful state of mind of being easily healed—that all will be well because the body knows what it’s doing? When did we quit believing that? So you don’t believe that recreating an optimistic, youthful state of mind will affect the physical health of your body? Have you heard of the “Counterclockwise experiment”?
“The ingenious counterclockwise experiment was conducted in 1979. Langer and her students recruited two small groups of elderly men to spend a week living in a secluded New Hampshire monastery. Those in the control group spent the seven days reminiscing about the past, while those in the experimental group effectively re-entered the past. Their environment was designed to convey the impression they were living in 1959. They watched movies, listened to songs and read magazines from that era and discussed “current events” such as the first U.S. satellite launches.
Both groups came out of the experience with their hearing and memory improved. (It appears our bodies respond to being intellectually and emotionally engaged.) But members of the experimental group experienced more dramatic benefits. They were more likely to improve their scores on an intelligence test; more likely to show improvement in joint flexibility and dexterity; and more likely to look younger, as judged by a group of outside observers who compared before-and-after photos. Also, their fingers were longer. Since their arthritis declined in severity, they were able to extend their digits past the point they could a week earlier.
A fluke, perhaps? Well, Langer offers plenty of other data suggesting a strong link between self-perception and health.” http://www.miller-mccune.com/culture-society/botox-for-the-brain-3507/
There appears to be a Hollywood movie in the works focusing on the counterclockwise experiment, starring Jennifer Aniston as the research psychologist. It’s on my list of things to watch for!
We’ve all heard of Norman Cousin’s laughing himself back to health, right?
“Certain emotions and attitudes — such as pessimism, aggression and anxiety — are being identified as detrimental to sustaining good health and to recovery from illness. Others, such as optimism and emotional closeness to others, have been found to be conducive to physical well-being.” http://www.mindandlife.org/conf90.html. Perhaps Oliver Wendell Holmes is right—“ We do not quit playing because we grow old; we grow old because we quit playing.”
This optimistic, youthful body image of being easily healed is a bit harder for me than the vacation state of mind because I’ve been through some physical injuries (hence I sought out the healing benefits of yoga and the rest is history!). Remembering how it felt to trust in the body’s innate healing abilities was recreated during one of my recent dreams. The dream simply put me in that state where I had faith in my body’s ability to heal like I did when I was younger. I don’t remember if I was younger in the dream than I was in reality, (we won’t go into all that!), I only know when I woke up I held onto that feeling and thought, “Why not try to hold onto that feeling all the time?” It felt so good, so why not?
This feeling slips away for me at times, but the way I see it, if I felt it once, I can recreate it again. So I practice. I’m not saying you can “positive think” a serious illness away (although there are some that have done exactly that); I’m saying that when you remove positive thinking and the belief in your body’s natural ability to heal, you’ve lost the most important member of your get-well team—yourself! Why would you knowingly do that? Again, believe what you will, but if feeling positive about my body’s inherent healing ability makes me feel better, it’s on my list of worthwhile practices! So what props do you need to feel better about your body’s ability to heal?
It may be a removal of props, like unsupportive people. I have a wonderful, supportive husband who makes my life a joy. He is my best moment and my most wonderful times. A smile from him puts me into a state of joy no matter where I am or what I’m doing. So I have a leg-up with him around. He’d tell you the feeling is mutual. So there’s a clue—to have a good friend, be one. I also incorporate many healthful practices into my life, many of which are outlined in my monthly musings here. You can access past newsletters by hitting the archives link at the top of the current newsletter page: http://betterdayyoga.com/archives.htm
So put on your favorite old song, watch TV Land instead of the latest “reality” shows, and remind yourself that the human body was created to heal itself. There’s a great quote by Wayne Dyer that fits well here: “You don’t need to work at getting healthy; health is something you already have if you don’t disturb it.” Here’s a GREAT link of old TV memories. For those of you who didn’t live through this early TV, you are in for a real treat! For those of you who did, you’ll enjoy remembering when TV was really fun: http://rootsgpk.blogspot.com/2010/04/lane-each-one-of-these-are-film-clips.html
“Science has proven that our bodies, at the atomic level, recreates 98% of itself in slightly less than one year.” http://www.frequencyawareness.com/articles/health/is-my-body-unchangeable.html
“On the molecular and cellular level, the body that you had four years ago no longer exists. It has been entirely replaced, atom by atom.” Deepak Chopra , MD. In his book, The New Physics of Healing, Chopra discusses how specific emotions influence your biochemistry and your health and how imagination affects the course of an illness. He discusses that ingrained belief that we have limited healing potential which I’m trying to get at here. Study after study shows what we think and feel affects our health. Maybe it’s about time we made THAT our ingrained belief.
So immerse yourself into an optimistic youthful state-of-mind and body. I know that by believing in my body’s undeniable ability to heal, the hope that tomorrow will be better will never leave me. There’s nothing wrong with that belief. It doesn’t blame me if I still hurt tomorrow. It doesn’t mean I caused any of my physical ailments. It simply means that I believe “time heals all wounds” regardless of age— that tomorrow holds the hope of “better”.
You might call me a “Pollyanna”, but there are others like me! Just remember, that optimistic, youthful state of mind never left you. It’s still there as the “Clockwise experiment” proved. All you need to do is reawaken it. “Hope never abandons you, you abandon it.” ~George Weinberg
Gate pose “encourages transformation. Practice of this intense side stretch takes us beyond our daily lives, stretching our boundaries so that we can move past limitations. Kneeling with one leg firmly on the earth, parighasana (gate pose) teaches us how to remain grounded while reaching for our dreams. The arc of the body is a passageway between the earth and sky connecting the elements of nature that are present within us. Through yoga practice the gate within opens. Obstacles on our path dissolve and spirit soars. In this posture the peripheries of the body/mind are expanded—taking us into new territory and into new consciousness.” 365 Yoga daily meditations, Julie Rappaport.
After reading the beautiful quote above for gate pose, I thought it was a perfect pose to highlight connecting with those states of mind that we are reaching for in my opening musings. We connect with “the elements of nature that are present within us” and “open the gate within” expanding into “new consciousness”.
We begin in a kneeling position with the knees hip-distance apart. Use a blanket, or double-up your mat as a cushion for the knees for comfort, if desired (Photo #1). Extend your right foot out to the side in line with your hips and place the big toe side of the foot on the floor with sole of the foot facing the wall to your right. Then lower the sole of the foot flat on the floor (or use a prop underneath it—see practice pose referenced below), toes pointing forward in the same direction as the knee and pressing into the floor.
( YogaFit ® instructs the knee and foot position this way. I have also seen this pose taught with the knee pointing to the sky and toes pointing toward the wall to your right.) Make sure your right leg and foot are in the same line with the left knee. Keep your hips squared forward. The foot of the bent knee can be flexed or pointed—whichever is your preference. Tighten the muscles on the extended right leg keeping a micro-bend in the extended knee avoiding a locked knee. There is no weight being placed on the extended knee.
Next, place your right hand on the right leg and begin sliding it down the leg as far as is comfortable. On an inhalation, extending up through the spine and out from your waist, lift the left arm up and over the head with the palm facing down. Keep the shoulders in line with each other so the top shoulder doesn’t come forward of the bottom shoulder and the chest continues to open up to the sky, as in triangle pose. (This is a great prep pose for triangle!) Feel the stretch on the left side of the body. Your gaze is gently forward or down toward the resting foot in the first part of the pose.
Hold the pose breathing deeply expanding into the belly, ribcage and chest. See the “advanced option” below for the full gate pose if you want to continue working toward that here*.
To come out of the pose, inhale as you reach up with the upper arm drawing your upper body upright. Bring the right knee back in to kneeling, and repeat on the other side. Benefits:
“Full” gate pose is a deep side bend that needs to be done slowly and with concentration. Continuing from the final hold of the pose above, use your steady exhalations to gradually deepen in the pose bringing your upper body as close to the straight leg as you comfortably can (Photo #3). The goal is to bring the bottom hand to rest palm up on the foot and bring the top arm with elbow over the top ear reaching toward the bottom arm and clasping the palms together—closing the “gate”. I am not quite there yet! If it’s comfortable for your neck, and you feel steady, bring your gaze to look up toward the raised hand.
Beginner’s tip: Still unsure on your form or new to yoga? You can try a practice pose.
For those unable to bring the sole of the foot on the straight leg to the ground, use a folded blanket (Photo #4) or wall (not pictured) as a prop under the foot.
For those with knee injuries or who are new to yoga, you can try a practice pose on a chair (Photo #5).
Keeping the gaze forward instead of up toward the arm/elbow is better for those with neck issues.
How to Refresh Your Browser
A very short meditation
Close your eyes and shift your focus from
what you were looking at to what you can hear.
As you listen to the sounds around you, without judging
them or even identifying them, breathe deeply.
Then open your eyes and shift your focus back
to what you can see … now with fresh eyes.
You have refreshed your browser.
If you found the above interesting, please consider taking my meditation “how to” classes. Visit my Web-site, www.betterdayyoga.com, for details.
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.
Summer is finally here! There is an abundance of light with longer days which means we need more energy to take full advantage of the extra daylight. Let’s use the increased energy of the last chakra which vibrates quicker than all the others. As we climb up the chakra ladder from the base/root chakra to the crown chakra, the chakras vibrate quicker and quicker. The seventh chakra relates to the general intelligence of the body—the divine within—and vibrates to the color violet. If we stay out of the way of the general intelligence of the body, it is designed to naturally stay healthy, constantly regenerating.
According to A Handbook of Chakra Healing by Kalashatra Govinda, “Normally a strong, healthy crown chakra ensures a long, healthy life. Chakra work can stimulate the crown chakra, thereby protecting against chronic illnesses and promoting the body’s own natural healing processes.” She lists a weakness in the immune system as being an attribute of a weakness or block in the crown chakra. She reminds us that all the chakras work together toward a healthy body, and that the best way of enhancing the crown chakra through natural healing methods is to engage in intensive work on all the other chakras.
One of the ways our seventh chakra can get out of balance is when we become attached to results and outcomes. Then we have rigid belief systems—such as believing in the body’s inability to heal as we get older, and have a closed mind to thinking anything else is possible.
Having an open mind and the ability to question the status quo is an example of a balanced seventh chakra. When our seventh chakra is balanced we experience our own limitless nature. We are connected to spirit, but not addicted to that connection. “The seventh chakra is about opening ourselves up to the spirit of creation living our lives through divine guidance and seeing the world with a sense of wonder, love, amazement, and unity, as we did as a small child. When you reach this ultimate balanced state, you are truly at peace with yourself and the world. You emanate love, wisdom, and compassion.” Anatomy for Yoga, Nicky Jenkins & Leigh Brandon. I can only reiterate that as a child, I had an undeniable belief in my body’s natural ability to heal.
Most texts on the seventh chakra mention that few achieve this ultimate freedom, but we all have some enlightened moments. I don’t know if my dream state mentioned earlier where I was aware of my body’s natural ability to heal was one of those moments, but it’s the closest thing I can equate it to.
The visualization practices I suggested using in the opening of this newsletter is working with the sixth chakra which was covered in detail in last month’s newsletter: http://betterdayyoga.com/archives.htm. Using visualization, you can create your own good mood and healthy states of mind, health, and energy. If you’ve been working on your visualization skills from last month, then you have a leg-up this month to create your own vacation state of mind whether you’re on vacation or not; and you are your own body’s best partner in creating health and well-being. This is the sixth chakra working with the seventh chakra.
Since we are focusing this month on using our attitudes and beliefs to enhance our health, well-being, and energy, I’d like to introduce a “minor chakra” that specifically encourages a healthy immune system—the thymus chakra. According to Mary Horsley, author of Chakra Workout, each acupuncture point is a mini-chakra. The thymus chakra is in the center of the chest above the thymus gland.
I’ve taught a “thymus pump” in both my yoga classes as well as my facial exercise classes: The thymus lies just beneath the upper part of the breastbone in the middle of the chest, and it plays a vital role in the body’s immune system. Because it is the link between the mind and the body, the first response to emotional or physical stress is shrinkage of the thymus gland and a reduction of life energy. The thymus thump stimulates the immune system and the vitality of the body, and boosts metabolism.
Find the U-shaped notch between your collar bones and then go directly below it about an inch to find an indentation. That’s where you’ll thump. Thump the chest with your fingertips. I do this every day 90 times.
The thymus tends to atrophy as we get older—which begs the question, did it atrophy because we don’t believe in our body’s natural ability to heal? Who knows? According to the Chakra Workout book, in former civilizations that were more spiritually attuned, it is thought that the thymus gland remained fully functioning. This chakra is considered “another higher level heart chakra” where we “embody divine love, and act from a truly compassionate nature.” Physically it links with the pituitary gland and generates energy.
As mentioned, summer’s extra energy requirement means we will be expelling more energy. Stimulating and working with the thymus chakra is a great way to increase the well-being and energy of the body. Working with your compassionate nature increases your health and well-being as well. Healing of all kinds begins with love. That’s working with the heart and thymus chakras.
Remember from our February newsletter, http://betterdayyoga.com/archives.htm, the heart chakra is devoted to love and compassion. Working with the heart center chakra begins the process of self knowledge and healing. It’s being your own best friend. That includes using your attitude and visualization skills to benefit your health and well-being.
”Happy people have younger hearts, younger arteries, and a younger RealAge. Happy people recover more quickly from surgery, cope better with pain, have lower blood pressure, and have longer life expectancy than unhappy people.
Studies also suggest that happy people may have stronger immune systems — they’re less likely to get colds and flu viruses. And when they do, their symptoms tend to be mild.
Not surprisingly, happy people are better at looking after their health, too. When people’s happiness levels improve, so do their health behaviors. They exercise more, wear sunscreen, and go for regular checkups.”
Another “RealAge” gem reminds us that expressing compassion and gratitude to others (heart chakra) increases your own happiness. “ When a group of students wrote a series of one-page thank-you letters every 2 weeks for 6 weeks, measurements showed that their baseline happiness levels increased by 20 percent. The students expressed gratitude in writing, and their happiness increased with each letter. Every month, try writing a couple of thank-you notes to people who did something nice for you.“ http://www.realage.com/tips/get-happy-quickly-by-writing-one-of these?eid=7194&memberid=5734411
All of this ties into the opening theme of building your health through your state of mind, and of being happier through your state of mind. So we combine our compassionate, loving nature (heart chakra) and our immune-boosting ability (thymus chakra) with our visualization/vacation state-of-mind mood creation skills (sixth chakra). Then we stay out of the way of the general intelligence of the body and let go of our attachment to rigid beliefs in aging (seventh chakra). This is our recipe for enjoying the long days of summer—and our lives—to the fullest! Now where’s my sunscreen?
Breathwork and Visualization:
The seventh chakra can also be gently stimulated and harmonized using the technique of chakra-energy massage:
Source: A Handbook of Chakra Healing, Kalashatra Govinda
Thymus Chakra meditation:
“Sit in a comfortable meditation position and close your eyes. Breathe quietly, and picture someone, or somewhere in the world, where there is suffering. Visualize green/blue healing light pouring from your thymus chakra to that person or place. Visualize the light growing stronger and stronger with each breath, and being replenished in a constant flow from the cosmos. End when you feel intuitively that the exercise is complete.” Source: Chakra Workout, Mary Horsley.
Sources: Power Thoughts 365 Daily Affirmations, Louise L. Hay (must have book!)
June 26, 2010 Sierra Bender e-newsletter, www.SierraBender.com
A Handbook of Chakra Healing, Kalashatra Govinda
Diet and the heart/thymus, third-eye, and crown chakras:
Past newsletters (February and June: http://betterdayyoga.com/archives.htm) remind us that green leafy vegetables, green teas, and immune-boosting oregano are all heart chakra nourishing foods. Eating intentionally was an important element of diet for the third-eye chakra, as was dark blue/purple foods containing antioxidants which destroy free radicals in the body include eggplant, purple kale, blueberries, figs, plums, purple grapes, raisins, among others. The crown chakra enjoys a pure, light vegetarian diet.
Aromatherapy and heart/thymus, third-eye, and crown Chakras: We’ve been talking about energy with the crown chakra being the chakra that vibrates the quickest. 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.
Previous newsletters highlighted the aromas best for the heart chakra: Angelica, jasmine, rose, geranium, and bergamot. There’s also lilac, lavender, orange blossom, neroli, and ylang ylang. For the heart chakra’s influence on the lungs try eucalyptus and peppermint, among others.
Scents that stimulate the third-eye chakra include: Hyacinth, Rose Geranium, Lemon, Vetiver, Basil (surprisingly relaxing), patchouli, rosemary, mint, and juniper, among others.
The crown chakra enjoys frankincense, lavender, and rosewood, among others.
Why not try a blend taking a favorite scent from all three categories?
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 heart/thymus, third-eye, and crown 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”.
A quick review of gem therapy for heart and third-eye Chakras includes: Rose quartz, malachite, green tourmaline, ruby, green emerald and aventurine, among others, for the heart. Then there is Amethyst, Sodalite, Lapis Lazuli, Cat’s Eye or Tiger’s Eye, and Azurite, among others, for the third-eye.
Crown chakra gems include Amethyst, Diamond, and Alexandrite, among others.
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 heart/thymus, third-eye, and crown Chakras: As mentioned earlier, all yoga poses work each of the seven major chakras with specific ones addressing specific chakras.
A review of past newsletters reminds us that poses that open your heart center area include: Fish pose, Bow pose, Camel pose, Yoga mudra pose done while standing and cobra pose, among others. Yoga poses that stimulate the sixth chakra include, headstand prep/dolphin pose; and if headstand is in your practice, headstand pose, among others. Please refer to the archives of February and June newsletters for more: http://betterdayyoga.com/archives.htm.
Crown chakra yoga poses focus on pranayama, or breathwork. Yoga without the connection of breath awareness is simply a stretching practice. So a consistent yoga practice stimulates all the chakras, as does the many breathwork practices outlined in the current and past newsletters. Although not necessarily yoga, “dancing connects us with the higher realms of the divine.” And “Meditation can help you connect with your inner self.” The Book of Chakras, Ambika Walters. Hare pose, Half Shoulderstand as well as Headstand—if they are in your practice, are also stimulating to the crown chakra.
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 Protecting your Health
In keeping with self-empowering our body’s to do what comes naturally—stay healthy, this month’s mudra focuses on protecting our health. Practicing this mudra is said to balance the distribution of red and white blood cells and defend your overall health.
Sitting in “easy-seated pose” with legs crossed and back straight, raise the right-hand as though you are taking an oath. Hold the index and middle fingers together and pointing straight up while you curl the ring and pinky finger down and bend the thumb over them. You hold the left hand in the same fashion with the palm facing the chest and your straight fingers making contact with your heart area. The straight fingers are to be “as straight as possible to create a strong electromagnetic field around you.”
Coupling the mudra with the following breath adds to the benefits. If you have any health concerns regarding holding your breath, please do not do the following breath practice. Inhale for 20 seconds, hold for 20 seconds, and then exhale for 20 seconds. Do this for a few minutes while pulling your navel in as much as possible and then relax.
Source: Healing Mudras. Yoga for your hands, Sabrina Mesko
I love affirmations and use oracle decks to provide a positive boost in the morning or whenever I need a lift. Its my way of telling the Universe Im open to listening to their message: Have at it! Im 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 love to be self-empowered. This months deck of cards is called Empowerment Cards For Inspired Living. Theyre by Tavis Smiley. I picked this gem up at the Minneapolis Edge Life Expo held in November each year. http://www.edgelife.net/Edge_Life_Expo_Mpls_10/main.html (Fun stuff!).
You can buy your very own at: http://www.hayhouse.com/details.php?id=2253
Description: Expanding on the themes that connect us all, talk-show host and author Tavis Smiley pours his passion and commitment for promoting positive change into these 70 personalized empowerment cards. Tavis’s words of introspection, wisdom, and encouragement will help you to think and decide critically, enabling you to improve both your own life and the lives of those in your family and community. Keep the Faith!
Back of card text: I chose Build and Real to go with the theme of my newsletter this monthSurrounding yourself with positive, supportive people to strengthen yourself. (Thats the message behind the Build card.) And not overestimating what many would like us to consider realityour bodys lessening ability to heal as we get older. The Real card says to empower your creative mind to defy logic. That message hit home for me as a way to defy the so-called logic of a body that slowly quits healing itself as we age. THAT is not self-empowering!
Back in November, I highlighted one of my favorite decksa 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 Yogas product page online! http://betterdayyoga.com/products.htm
What do to heart disease, stroke, arthritis & type 2 diabetes have in common?
Hatha yoga lowers risk for them all! People who practiced yoga regularly had lower blood levels of interlukin-6, a component of the body’s inflammatory response that contributes to heart disease, stroke, arthritis & type 2 diabetes. People who practiced one to two times a week for at least two years and at least twice a week for the last year had lower inflammatory responses to stress.
To read more: http://researchnews.osu.edu/archive/yogastress.htm
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!
This is an excellent dish for a light meal in the summer or it can be used as a side dish. You can substitute 10 oz. of broccoli or zucchini if you want.
2 eggs lightly beaten
1 cup low fat cottage cheese
1 cup shredded low fat mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
1 tbsp. flat leaf parsley
1 tsp canola oil
8 oz fresh mushrooms
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp ground pepper
10 oz fresh spinach chopped
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1 tbsp minced fresh chives
1/4 minced fresh dill
1. Preheat oven to 350
2. In a large bowl combine eggs, cottage cheese, mozzarella and parsley. Mix well.
3. In a large skillet heat oil over medium heat. Add the mushrooms, lemon juice and pepper. Sauté until liquid is evaporated. Add the spinach and nutmeg, cover and sauté 1 minute. Remove cover and sauté another 2 minutes. Remove from heat and add chives and dill. Cool slightly.
4. Add the vegetable mixture to the egg and cheese mixture and pour into a 9 inch slightly greased pie pan.
5. Bake for 25-35 minutes, until browned on top.
Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes before serving. Cut into wedges and serve.
Artist: Music by Peter Davison
About this Item: Created to inspire your yoga practice, this special collection is offered in the healing music spirit in which it was created. Yoga music for life.
You can hear the CD during one of my yoga classes, or listen to some clips and purchase it for your own listening pleasure at http://www.peterdavison.com/yogamusic_cds.html or
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; skin care; individual, family, couples and group therapy; and poetry therapy.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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. Now that it’s warm outside, we can even do class outside enjoying nature in all its glory! 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:
or I can also add my two other class offerings: