Welcome to My Better Day September 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, Final Relaxation Quote.
Founder, Better Day Yoga LLC
Remember when you were five, and anything was possible? Happy 5 th birthday, again. AT & T Rethink Possible commercial
What is your motto? Do you have a slogan for yourself? With my background in marketing, I tend to enjoy and analyze slogans and company mottos. Ive often thought we could take a lesson from the various slogans we see in all of those advertisements that keep coming at us. Dont you just love some of them? You may not always want to buy their product, but dont you just love the messages that hit you? Lets look at some slogans/trademarks and meditate on what it might mean for us personally.
I start with my absolute favorite which is why I chose it for my opening quote: The AT & T Rethink Possible slogan/trademark, and the commercial I quote next, is probably one of the few commercials I dont mute out when I do happen to be watching TV. Remember when you were five, and anything was possible? Happy 5th birthday, again. How can you not like that message? The magic of being five and having the world in front of you to do with what you wishedI will always be a believer in that magic and in keeping it alive throughout life. Oh, if only we knew then what we know now! Well, go back there and reclaim that world. Its still in front of you to do with what you wish. Go ahead and rethink possible! If you want to view paradise, simply look around and view it. Anything you want to, do it. Want to change the world? Theres nothing to it. Need a little fodder to travel in the world of your creation? Just peak at the long version of their magical commercial: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CEcvi9hzWXs.
Release the magic!
After youve rethought whats possible and viewed life like you were five again when the world was your oyster, find your own unique ways to Release the MagicSC Johnsons, Glade® trademark/slogan. We all have magic inside of us. Realize that! Todays daily reading from the Science of Mind magazine (remember this magazine is one Id take to my desert island!) reminds us that life is amazingyour life! We all have something unique to offer, something that is truly our own unique magic. There is no one on the Earth quite like you. No one can do things exactly the way you can do them. There is no competition and no comparison! You have come here to do some amazing things. The amazing gifts you came to share are supported in ways you cannot yet imagine. Science of Mind daily quote for August 26, 2010 . So Release the Magic! Release the Magic inside of YOU!
Just do it!
One of my oldie favorites from the past is Nikes, Just do it. Ive loved that slogan/trademark since I can remember. Being physically fit has been a lifelong passion of mine, and weve all faced the moment when we should be exercising, and were wondering about whether or not to do it. The answer is always Just do it! Quote from their Facebook page: The body says quit. The heart says never. Song quote from one of their ads showcased on Facebook: Everybody gets knocked down. How quickly you gonna get up? http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=1226985554850
The Just do it trademark can apply to going after your dreams or some long held goal. As Ive mentioned in past newsletters, who cares how old you are? Just do it! Who cares how you do or dont look perfect for that? Just do it! Who cares what theyll say? Just do it! Its the perfect anecdote for what ails yoube it your mental thoughts or your physical condition. Just do it! Wouldnt you like to be the person people equate with that phrase? I know I would! No procrastinationjust take that leap off the cliff into your dreams. What would YOU attempt to do if you knew you could not fail Robert Schuller. Just do it!
Impossible is Nothing!
Not to be outdone, Adidas® also has a slogan/trademark that hit home because I first became acquainted with it from an ad in a Polish magazine I purchased while visiting Poland for my 25th wedding anniversary. I saw the same ad depicted on an Adidas® window in a mall in Poland, and had my husband take a picture of it while I stood in front of it. It shows a yoga instructor in the ad with the now famous Impossible is Nothing trademark. It spoke to me on many levels since I ran into the ad more than once while on a trip of a lifetime to my parents home country, while celebrating the love of my lifetime, and the subject of the ad was a yogimy lifetime passion. Most importantly, impossible is nothing grabs you up from the bootstraps and literally screams that you, too, can defy all odds. Are you telling yourself that something is impossible for you to do? Impossible is Nothing! Because the word itself says Im possible. Muhammad Ali, an American Heavyweight boxer said: “Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live the world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It’s a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.” There are many wonderful Adidas® ads online. I couldnt find the one I saw in Poland , but here is one that is from your motivationlisten to your motivation talking and get inspired: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c4k_5mOKRRo
Imagine Greater !
There are days when we just want to watch something entertaining thats not a rerun, or reality TV. Our friend suggested the SyFystation. Weve found some thought-provoking shows there. Ever watched Warehouse 13? Well if their future is anything like ours will be, youll only need to imagine what youll need and it will be there. Wait a minute we can do that now! The law of attraction emphasizes that thoughts become thingsthat the way you feel is your point of attraction. As you think your powerful intentions, you attract into your experience what you want.
There have been many books on the subject such as The Secret by Rhonda Byrnes. She does a great job researching the ancient history of this universal law. So remember, this is not new age this is ancient truths discovered by people we all respect and admire such as Albert Einstein, Ludwig Van Beethoven, Alexander Graham Bell, Andrew Carnegie, Winston Churchill, Thomas Edison, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry Ford, Martin Luther King, and others: http://thesecret.tv/behind.html#GREATS . Esther and Jerry Hicks also has several books and card decks on the subject, http://www.abraham-hicks.com/lawofattractionsource/index.php, and my January newsletter highlighted the Universal Laws deck of cards which is a great resource on the subject http://betterdayyoga.com/jan10.htm. Thats just to name a few.
So become a being who thinks only of that which you are wanting, who speaks only of that which you are wanting, and who does only that which you are wantingand therefore brings forth only joyful emotion. (Quote from The Law of Attraction Cards by Esther and Jerry Hicks).
Wondering how to speak only of that which you are wanting during the day? Heres a great video on phrases to say during the day: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fbQL-5agBLU,
or make a list of things to feel good about. Next time youre stressed, grab that list and pick a happy topic to focus on. It will get you through the rough patches. Quote from Stepping Stones deck, by Lisa Hammond, with the backside quote as A daydreamer is prepared for most things.Joyce Carol Oates. http://search.barnesandnoble.com/books/product.aspx?r=1&isbn=9781609251161&cm_mmc=Google%20Product%20Search-_-Q000000630-_-Stepping%20Stones%20Cards-_-9781609251161.
Have you been getting a smaller life than youd imagined? Well, take a lesson from the SyFy stations slogan/trademark: Imagine Greater! The biggest mistake people make in life is not trying to make a living at doing what they enjoy most.Malcom Forbes. Shakti Gawains book, Creative Visualization, is a great book on visualization tools to Imagine Greater. I highlighted her deck of cards from that book in my May newsletter, http://betterdayyoga.com/archives.htm.
Live life to the youngest®!
My June and July newsletters, drove home that age doesnt have to be a player in your life decisions. Age is a matter of mind. If you dont mind, it doesnt matter!Mark Twain. Thats so true! I often take quotes from http://www.realage.com/. Its a great resource for ways to Live life to the youngest®. What we do with our days is determined by the doing, not by the age on a calendar. When did we start letting a number dictate what we can and cant do? Im not buying into that anymore! Ive seen way to much documentation that we really are as old as we think we are. George Bernard Shaw has it right: Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away. And he recommends to Always do what you are afraid to do as a means of living that breath-taking life. How can you start living YOUR life to the youngest? If you want to be different from today, youll need to take yourself off autopilot and make different decisions today than the ones you made yesterday.
Make today famous!
Turn on tomorrow!
So take a cue from Famous Footwears slogan/trademark and Make today famous. Do something, anything, different today. Mark it on your calendar as something to celebrate. Make today famous! Decide that it doesnt have to be the way its always been. Making today famous by doing something different today will then Turn on tomorrow!Samsungs slogan/trademark. Remember, if you keep doing what youve been doing, youll keep getting what youve been getting! So take a cue from Samsungs recent commercials and relentlessly pursue a better tomorrow with an optimism that says its all possible to open new doors for YOU. Fill your life with richer experiences that let you shine. Be a passionate believer in making it all possible by making tomorrow your best day yet!
“20 years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”Mark Twain
Life is short. Stay awake for it!
If you are to live life to the youngest, you start by living in the now. Remember our appointment in life is with the present moment. Its the only moment we have to live. Life is short. Stay awake for it.Caribou Coffees slogan/trademark. Minnesota s own, Caribou Coffee has also recently come out with what I like to call their manifesto. It has inspired me more than I can say. They have the quotes printed on their cups. One quote was to learn how to say thank you in ten different languages. Have you tried that? It became a fun assignment for my husband and I while visiting my step-mom. We got her friends involved, who asked their friends. Were good to go! I love each and every comment in what I have been referring to as their manifestoDo it for love, not for profit, Do something that scares you, Make Time for Silly, Dream big, Act Bigger, Hold hands, not grudges, Laugh so hard you cry, Spin the globe then pack your bags, Grow older without growing up (My personal motto). I could go on and on and on. Their manifesto outlines THE ways to live their priceless trademark: Life is short. Stay awake for it. Hey, theyll even let you contribute to their quotes, if you have a favorite. Maybe yours will appear on their next cups! http://www.cariboucoffee.com/page/1/make-the-cup.jsp.
Made like no other!
Find yourself in it!
Really real, no really!
Ill end with a couple that expose two of my fetishes. Are you having trouble figuring out your purpose? Are you still looking for what makes your heart sing? How many cares one loses when one decides not to be something, but to be someone. Chanel. That quote has been on my personal bulletin board for years. It was on a calendar I had at the time with a statement at the bottom that read: What you are doesnt really matter if you dont like who you are. This beautiful Coco Chanel quote also appears in the aforementioned Stepping Stones deck by Lisa Hammond. On the reverse side theres a suggestion I like: For a day, a week, a month, try putting yourself first. Notice what gets in your way and try to remove your obstacles.
Remember that you are unique. No one can do things exactly as you do them so there is no competition and no comparison. You are who you are for a purpose, and your individuality serves the whole. Your existence serves life, whether or not you are consciously aware of how you do so. Remember that who you are today is perfect and serves a higher purpose. As an individual, you also have the power to consciously choose a purpose. Choose a purpose that serves the whole and you will align with the Universe. Whatever purpose you chose, hold it in your heart and mind as you go about your day. Infuse your thoughts, feelings, and actions with your purpose. Hold your purpose in mind as you act, and put the feeling of your purpose into each action. The Universe will support your purpose with ease, grace, and synchronicity. All of the above quotes are from the Universal Laws deck, Law of Purpose.
You are Made like no other Häagen- Dazs® slogan/trademark. Remember that, believe it, and if you are going to go after something, Find yourself in itSilpada® Jewelry trademark. If you cant find yourself in it, its not calling you. If time doesnt fly by when you are doing it and you arent overjoyed with it, its not really real, no really. (Sonic® Drive-In Ice Cream billboard I saw: Really Real Ice Cream, No really.)
So whats your manifesto? Your slogan or trademark? Your motto? Write it down on several notes and place them where you can see them regularly. The more you become aware of your intentions, the stronger they reflect in your life. Write a mission or vision statement. Here are a few Web-sites to get you started. http://www.nightingale.com/tmission_examplestatement.aspx
Place your mission statement where youll see it regularly. I have an affirmation that I use as a vision statement using the words of Doreen Virtue from her Daily Guidance from your Angels book: I stay centered in my commitment to learn, grow, heal and teach with a positive intent and positive energy. After reviewing those Web-sites I just mentioned, I know I need more detail; but for now, I have been using that affirmation to keep me centered on staying centered!
Advertising campaigns arent going away any time soon. Neither is that voice inside of your head telling you to be someone instead of something. Its always great to have reminders of thatkind of like a personal trainer knocking on your door. Why not let your next ad slogan be your reminder? Why not relook at those slogans and Taste them again for the first timeKelloggs® Corn Flakes slogan. Let them speak to you instead of through you. Put as much thought into them as those minds that created them. After all, if they hit home for you, theyve Reached out and touched someone.®AT & T.
Warrior I (Sanskrit terms: Virabhadrasana I)
The three forms of Warrior (Virabhadrasana) are named after a powerful, auspicious warrior, Virabhadra, from Hindu history. When you perform one of the warrior poses, feel the strength of this pose and imagine yourself capable of anything that needs to be accomplished — because you are! “Think of the strength, balance, and nobility of a warrior. Feel the power as your hands stretch up to the sun and your feet root to the earth.” The new guide to relaxation, Pilates, yoga, meditation, stress relief, Paragon Publishing. This pose helps you realize that no matter what you facing in your personal life, at your core you are balanced and strong.
“The warrior is an empowered person with a definitive sense of selfhood. Warriors know who they are in themselves and in relation to the world. Their sense of self is neither inflated nor weak. They have the inner strength and resilience to see their dreams materialize into reality and the stamina to meet physical and emotional challenges.” The Book of Chakras, Ambika Wauters. This is a quote from the Solar Plexus chakra section as the positive archetype for this chakra—one of the two chakras I focus on in my Chakrascope below.
From Mountain Pose, step the right leg back, aligning the heels. Turn your back toes to angle slightly forward making your back heel the furthest part away from your body. Bend the left knee to 90 degrees and reach the arms actively overhead, keeping them parallel, with palms facing in and elbows lining up with the ears. Keep your elbows straight activating dynamic tension in the upraised arms and hands, stretching from your elbows to your fingertips. Relax your shoulders down and back away from the ears, firming your shoulder blades to the back. Your tailbone points down and your spine is long.
Your gaze is straight ahead. (There are some who instruct looking up toward the hands, as well as bringing the hands together. This places unnecessary tension on the neck and shoulder joints, respectively; and the upward gaze can misalign the vertebrae in the neck.)
Make sure your front knee stacks directly over the ankle, and not beyond, making your shin perpendicular to the ground. Your right thigh should come no lower than parallel to the ground. Your waist is lifting up off the hips. Focus on keeping your arms and upper torso lifting towards the ceiling, engaging your abdominals, while your bottom torso and legs ground down into the floor. Both feet are pressed evenly into the floor.
Square your hips and shoulders lining them with the front edge of the mat. Keep the back leg straight by pressing the back foot strongly into the floor and sink into your forward leg. A strong warrior will be just as exhausting on the back leg as the front leg, Photo #1.
There are several schools of thought on foot placement:
Aligning the heels helps to square the hips forward and adds a stretch to the back hip flexor. This is the most common cue I’ve seen, and it’s how I was taught, so it’s how I cued it above.
Stepping directly back keeping the legs spaced left to right hip distance apart allows for the greatest ease of comfort in the low back, as well as aids in balance, (not pictured). When I am going to do the Waterfall Warrior flow, highlighted in the advanced pose flows below, I instruct to widen the hips a little more than usual left to right to allow for extra balance as we add a flow to the pose.
Aligning front heel to the inner arch of the back foot is another foot placement possibility. This opens the hips a bit more. http://yoga.about.com/od/yogaposes/a/warrior1.htm. Photo #2.
You can also come into this pose by stepping forward from mountain pose. See the advanced options for another, more challenging way to come into this pose.
Beginner’s tip: Still unsure on your form or new to yoga? You can try a practice pose.
Arms: Bring the arms to the front thigh, Photo #3 or bring the hands to heart center in Namasté position, if you are taking care of your shoulders or to lessen the intensity of the upper body, Photo #4. If your shoulders don’t have the range of motion to bring the elbows in line with the ears when the arms are raised to the sky, try cactus arm position Photo #5, keeping the hands back in line with the shoulders.
Legs: You can put less of a bend in the front leg or shorten your stance between the front and back leg to decrease the intensity of the pose, Photo #6.
Tip: Beginners tend to tilt their pelvis forward. Make sure your tailbone floats down and your pubis bone lifts toward the naval as you sink into the pose. This keeps the pelvic girdle relatively parallel to the floor and the lower back elongated.
Advanced options: For more challenge, you can come into Warrior I from Down Dog by stepping your right foot forward into a lunge and using your core strength as well as the grounded front leg to lift the torso up to standing while raising your arms overhead to the sky.
Not ready to lift the upper torso from the ground just yet? You can try walking up the front leg with the hands bringing one hand to the knee and then the other Photo #7, regaining any lost balance, and then reaching the arms to the sky!
Adding movement to a Warrior I amps up the volume on building muscle! Let’s try a few of these options:
Yoga Mudra arms: Once in the pose, clasp the fleshy palms of your hands together behind your back and lift up the arms, opening the heart center, Photo #8. If your shoulders are tight, and the hands don’t connect to the palms, you can hold a strap between your hands. See below for a version of this pose that takes it one step more—Waterfall Warrior.
Humble Warrior flow as well as holding humble warrior and adding arm rotations up and back: I use Humble Warrior, Photo #9, as an option when I’m teaching Waterfall Warrior below. You bring your hands to heart center in the Namasté position and hinge at the hip engaging your abdominals as you lean forward slightly toward the front, bent knee. Inhale up, exhale down for a flow.
Humble Warrior hold with arm rotations up and back: Holding the Humble Warrior base, as described above, inhale the arms up to the sky, palms facing the sky, Photo #10. Then exhale as you rotate the palms down and swing the arms up behind you reaching the arms back so that the palms again face the sky, Photo #11.
Waterfall Warrior flow: Clasp your fleshy palms together behind your back in Yoga Mudra, as described above. Engage your abdominals as you flow exhaling down and inhaling up waving your spine as in Cow/Cat pose, respectively. As you exhale down, your spine waves into a “Cow”—baby backbend pose as you aim toward the inside of the front, bent knee, Photo #12. As you inhale up, your spine waves into a “Cat” pose, arching the back toward the sky, Photo #13. The power of your activated core drives this pose keeping your low back protected. The distance you go toward the front bent knee on the down flow is totally dependent upon your individual level of both comfort and flexibility. You can end on the down flow and go deeper toward the ground flowing into a “runner’s” low lunge and on from there to your next pose; or end on the up flow—Yogi’s choice.
Yoga Mudra coupled with the forward fold motion described here loosens the shoulders, arms, and spinal column, and improves posture and back problems. I first learned of this flow from Sadie Nardini, http://www.sadienardini.com/. I’ve also seen it referred to as the “Silver Surfer” on the Power to the Peaceful Yoga DVD by Jivamukti Yoga co-founders, Sharon Gannon and David Life, http://www.amazon.com/Power-Peaceful-Yoga-Sharon-Gannon/dp/B000X73NH2. The Vinyasa clip from Power to the Peaceful Yoga that I saw was actually a bonus clip on Sharon ’s excellent DVD, Chakra Balancing Yoga, http://www.amazon.com/Chakra-Balancing-Yoga-Sharon-Gannon/dp/B001JXPBQU/ref=pd_bxgy_d_text_c.
Cactus arm flow: I’d already mentioned using cactus arms as an option if your shoulders don’t have the range of motion to bring the elbows in line with the ears when you raise your arms to the sky. Cactus flow is a nice addition to add to a Warrior I flow. When I use Cactus arms in a flow, I exhale the front leg straight and drop the arms down to the side, Photo #14, and inhale the arms into Cactus arms as you bend the front knee again, Photo #5. Option: Pull the hands behind the shoulders/ears to work with those that have an overly emphasized thoracic curve, or simply to open the chest more and unfurl those curled shoulders, Photo #15. This flow as well as the Viniyoga flow below was introduced to me in the books referenced below. Sometimes I inhale the arms to the sky, as in classic Warrior I, while straightening the front leg and exhale into Cactus arms…this is my own version of that flow that works for me too.
Viniyoga Warrior I flow: Gary Kraftsow’s Viniyogatherapy for the low back, sacrum and hips DVD as well his Yoga for Transformation and Yoga for Wellness books, http://www.viniyoga.com/, introduced me to this flow. In Warrior I, as you inhale rest the left hand on the left thigh, and lift the right arm to the sky as you bend the left knee. The lifted right arm comes back even beyond the right ear a bit emphasizing the Psoas muscle stretch along the right side of the body, Photo #16 (I could have gone a bit further than pictured!). Exhale as you straighten the bent leg and bring the raised arm down, Photo #17. A tight Psoas muscle can be the cause of back pain—so I love this flow, and all of Gary Kraftsow’s work!
There are many other arm holds without a flow that we can incorporate with Warrior I, such as cow-face arms (which I’ll cover another day!); and, alternatively, simply holding the elbow with the opposite hands behind the back, (not pictured).
The Solar Plexus Chakra (one of the two focus chakras highlighted in the Chakrascope below) is related to the fire element which is why I chose the following meditation this month.
Strike a match* and hold it a foot away from you and look at the flame. Be aware of the flame. Focus your full attention on it. I’ve heard this type of focus being similar to immersing yourself into the flame as you would with your ears listening to a piece of music. With intent focus, experience the flame so deeply that you become one with it. That most likely won’t happen on the first try, but it is your aim.
You can do the same exercise, when you are ready for longer meditation time, with a candle, or perhaps that last summertime (or first autumn) fire. Place the candle on a table about two feet away from you at eye level. *Make sure you have a fire-proof place to drop your match quickly and make sure the surrounding area is fire-proof as well!
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.
Being my birth month, I have loved September my whole life. I suspect that many of you feel a “call to action” when September hits. Summer is over and it’s time to get it done! The amazing Simple Abundance, A Daybook of Comfort and Joy, by Sara Ban Breathnach, has been a frequent companion of mine as I “come to the source” each morning to fill my cup for the day. The following is one of my absolute favorite readings since it heralds the beginning of September and speaks to the September doer in all of us. I’ve copied it for many friends since I find it so inspiring. It’s called “Turning over a new leaf”. Enjoy!
“Since ancient times, September has been viewed as the beginning of the new year, a time for reflection and resolution. Jews observe the High Holiday of Yom Kippur, the day of public and private atonement, a sacred withdrawal from the world for twenty-four hours in order to become right with God and others, so that real life might be renewed with passion and purpose.
Change in the natural world is subtle but relentless; seasons seem to give way gently to one another, even if the monthly motion is so swift we don’t realize we’re moving. But when the leaves start turning colors, it’s time for turning over a personal new leaf so that our lives might be restored. ‘What we need in autumn is an emotional or spiritual shot in the arm,’ Katharine Elizabeth Fite wrote in Good Housekeeping in 1949, urging the beginning of a new tradition for women: personal and positive resolutions in September. ‘Why do you suppose so many of us waste the autumn? Why don’t we make the effort that would provide something new in our lives?’ January’s negative resolutions ‘are made when we are worn out in spirit, body, and pocketbook, and have no real urge to do anything but rest.’
It seems to me that January resolutions are about will; September resolutions are about authentic wants. What do you want more or less of in your life, so that you can love the life you’re leading? It could be as simple as seeing friends more often, setting aside time to have adventures with your children while they still want your companionship, rekindling romance in your daily round, calling a solitary hour a day your own, or just taking more walks in the dazzling sunshine.
The beauty of autumnal resolutions is that no one else knows we’re making them. Autumnal resolutions don’t require horns, confetti, and champagne. September resolutions ask only that we be open to positive change. I can try that. So can you.”
Don’t you just love the call to action? And like the quote from the movie, You’ve got mail, September “makes me wanna buy school supplies.”
That being said, I think that while Sara Ban Breathnach says January resolutions are about will, and September’s are about authentic wants, this is the perfect time of year to combine the two. Because without your intention and will your authentic wants just won’t happen.
Intention and authentic wants—sounds to me like the third, Solar Plexus chakra and the fifth, Throat chakra are the go-to chakras for our September call to action! “When the Solar Plexus chakra is healthy you become more aware of your own internal energy and how you feel about the world and events around you.” And the fifth chakra “is the energy hot spot that tells the world how we are feeling and allows us to ‘talk our talk’, express our beliefs, and share the teaching we each have to give.” Crystal Chakra Healing—Energy medicine for mind, body, and spirit, Philip Permutt.
“Your own internal energy”—that’s your intention and spirit. “How you feel about the world and events around you”—that’s your authentic wants talking. Taking responsibility for our authentic wants, deciding that they will happen—that’s third chakra work, that’s the strength, confidence, and self-esteem your Solar Plexus energy brings. The Solar Plexus chakra is where you build your strength and develop your will. “Telling the world how you are feeling and talking your talk”—that’s expression that’s fifth chakra. It’s speaking and living your truth, releasing your voice and letting your creativity out.
“Our ability to communicate clearly determines the quality of our experiences. It also reflects the degree of intention we have to be understood and supported in life.” That’s a direct quote from the Throat chakra section in The Book of Chakras, by Ambika Wauters, but I also think it’s a great summation of how the Throat and Solar Plexus chakras relate to one another—intention and communicating that intention.
The third chakra is located at the Solar Plexus, in the middle of the body just below the breastbone. It is where our “gut feeling” is, our “internal pendulum”—our personal power, ambition, desire, and emotion. The Solar Plexus chakra is where we put our beliefs, ideas, and our creative inspirations in to action. Balancing this chakra gives you direction and your actions purpose. It’s honing your focus in on what you are going after. It’s our sense of self.
The fifth chakra is located in the middle of the neck above the collarbone. It is our communication center for our creative expression. We express in many ways—verbally, mentally, and physically. The Universe is always listening. “What’s the Universe doing right now? It’s eavesdropping on your every desire.” Deepak Chopra.
“Pretend that you are happy and you will feel happy, pretend that you are angry and you will feel angry. Well known to actors (e.g., Dolman, 1949) this effect has been extensively studied by psychologists following the tradition of William James (1890) and self-perception theory (Bem, 1972; Laird, 1974). According to self-perception theory, we are like external observers of ourselves, because we must infer our internal states from our actions. Our emotional and other feelings are derived from our bodily experience of facial expressions, postures, levels of arousal, actions, etc. In that sense, feelings are the consequences of behavior, not the causes: We feel happy because we smile, and angry because we scowl.” http://www.psy.plymouth.ac.uk/research/ece/publications/pdf/keep-smiling.pdf
So we’ve decided our authentic wants are happening. How do we let the world know about that decision? That’s our communication chakra—the Throat chakra! If a creative inspiration comes to mind, it will only manifest when you express it! Our fifth, Throat chakra is all about following our dreams (another word for authentic wants) and then creating and expressing them. It’s about having the faith in our decision to have those authentic wants.
I think we’re all guilty of wanting a dream to come true, but doubting the possibility. It’s the doubt that gets in the way of accomplishing your goal. If you don’t have faith in it, the Universe won’t either. There’s that Law of Attraction again. Your thoughts and feelings turn into your reality. A lack of confidence and energy is a sign of a deficient third chakra. “When you argue for your limitations, all you get are your limitations.”—Wayne Dyer. The ability to take risks with a positive, confident sense of self is the sign of a balanced third chakra. “No-limit people are so in charge that they can trust their instincts, be childlike, be creative, and do anything that makes sense to them.” –Wayne Dyer.
Taking those risks requires speaking your truth (another word for authentic wants)—fifth chakra work. Speaking your truth also means you are communicating well with the self—yes the self. YOU know what YOU want. You exercise your power of choice. That’s a balanced fifth chakra.
How many of us know the ins and outs of our loved ones, but haven’t a clue about ourselves? How do you get to know someone? What types of questions do you ask? How important is it to be a good listener if you want to get to know someone? Ask those same questions of yourself, and listen to the answers. Then live YOUR life creating from what you heard. Love yourself enough to know yourself well. Self-worth is the primary quality of the Solar Plexus chakra.
As Sara Ban Breathnach’s September first quote asks: What do you want more or less of in your life, so that you can love the life you’re leading? Free your creativity!
So how do we unite the energies of the Solar Plexus chakra and the Throat chakra? Taking just one small step in the direction of your dreams tells the Universe you are ready for action and opens the floodgates for all systems go in Universal support. You receive in proportion to what you give, so the saying goes. This is a universal truth.
One small step—you wonder, what will that be? Only you can answer that. I tell my students that if they aren’t sure of the Yoga pose, they can try only a portion of it. To try only the portion they are sure of—always—One small part. So instead of full crocodile pose (low plank or push-up pose), just do a “little dip”. That’s safe. Then you approach it with an “I can do that” kind of attitude. What’s that saying about putting one step in front of the other? Soon you’ll be walking out the door. I’ve talked about this in other newsletters. Your one small step can be any number of things. If it feels right, go for it….”Just do it!™” to recap one of the opening slogans.
It’s the build-up to something bigger that needs the steps in between to make you feel comfortable with going for the end result. Those steps in between are required as your foundation. Remember you can’t build only the top level of your high rise because you only want the view. You need all the other floors! You need that foundation.
Yes, even the steps in between—the one small step—can be scary. If you go into it knowing that it’s okay to fail so long as you are failing forward, that’s safe, isn’t it? “ Change how you see failure. Look at it as a teacher, fine tuning your success . Rule of thumb: success is always a horrible teacher but a very good drinking buddy.”
It’s a cliché, but Babe Ruth is famous for his home run record without most of us even realizing that for decades he held the record for strikeouts. For more fun facts about other famous people who did not give up, go to: http://des.emory.edu/mfp/efficacynotgiveup.html.
Remember to be comfortable with change. No, change is not meant to be comfortable, but it’s your ability to go ahead and take those risks and being responsible for the end result that builds a strong Solar Plexus chakra. Some refer to the ability to take risks as being spontaneous—playful even. Those people are comfortable with change. They have changed their relationship with the possibility of failure. They don’t view it the way many of us view it. They fully expect to achieve their goal no matter how many steps it takes. It’s not a failure if they don’t stay down. They’ve balanced their third chakra. They’re living creatively letting their full expression come to life because they fully believe that everything in the universe is conspiring for their full expression. They believe they are deserving and they expect the best—a balanced Throat chakra.
Trust your decisions. That’s a big part of what some people might refer to as taking risks. Your heart knows what you want to do. Do it. Trust and follow its direction. No more second-guessing. “Move on”, as my husband often tells me when I’m wrestling with a decision I’ve literally already made. This is a chakra I am personally working on strengthening.
So take that one small step, whatever that is for you, and let us know about it on the Better Day Yoga Facebook page. Live your authentic wants and speak your truth! http://www.facebook.com/pages/Little-Canada-MN/Better-Day-Yoga-LLC/495055625435?ref=ts
Breathwork and Visualization :
Begin by relaxing and feeling comfortable. The solar plexus area holds a lot of tension. To ease any tightness and pain in that area, gently massage the abdominal area as you do the following breath exercise. Take several deep belly breaths exhaling slowly, elongating the exhale and enabling your upper back and chest muscles to begin to relax. Return to equal ratio breathing setting your intention to let go of any tension in your body. Feel tension release from your scalp and feel your eyes pulling inward.
Focus your attention first on the solar plexus area and visualize a golden yellow ball expanding in your belly, filling your entire abdomen. See the golden yellow light releasing tension in your stomach and surrounding areas as it fills you with light. With each breath you are releasing more and more tension.
Next, travel up the body, focusing your attention on your mouth and throat. Send your breath into that area, releasing tension and congestion by breathing deeply into it. Visualize a turquoise/sky blue ball of light filling your jaw area and throat. As you visualize and hold this image, let the colors deepen in intensity, bathing your mouth and throat with healing blue energy. Feel the coolness of this healing energy as it relieves all tension at the back of your neck, your throat lining, and tongue. Feel the radiating, cooling energy expanding and filling your mouth and throat.
Feel your creative inspirations dwelling in your center waiting for expression. Sense them rumbling, ready to come alive. Now visualize your best self, taking action in one small way towards your most pronounced creative inspiration. Visualize as many details about that action step as you can. What kind of day is it? Is it a bright, sunny day? Or is it a stormy day with clouds on the horizon? What are the tools you’ll use to put your creativity out there? How do they feel when you pick them up? Can you smell the anticipation in the air? What do you hear? Create a sensory experience in your mind of what would need to take place for your one small step and visualize that experience daily.
The Secret by Rhonda Byrne emphasizes that adding movement to your visualization is essential to speeding up the manifestation of it. So visualize an active scene adding movement where you can. Discover within yourself that you are the source of your manifestations. Ask the Universe for what you want and keep on asking by visualizing it. Never give up. Impress upon the Universe what your ideal is.
Excerpt from Psycho-Cybernetics, by Maxwell Maltz (another excellent book I’ve owned since childhood, thanks to my big sister—you sisters never know how you’ll influence your younger siblings):
“Key Practical Points
1) Understand the basic psychology of mental imagery first.
2) You get what you put in; don’t be a dabbler. Put your heart into what you picture and
work systematically and with self-discipline and focus.
3) Work on your self-image as often as you can; ideally, at least 10 min. per day for 2 weeks.
4) Verbalization greatly enhances visualization. Discuss your image with others, write down the details each day in a journal, mentally describe it as you meditate on the details.
5) Everyone can do it. Worry is negative mental rehearsal. If you can worry you can goal visualize. Turn the problem-focus into solution-focus, the negative into a positive.
6) If you are a beginner, persevere. It gets far, far easier to visualize after the first few stages of your practice.
The Opposite of Worry
Everyone can have a positive vision of their goals. Just do what you do when you
worry, but substitute a positive image for a negative one. Maltz: “anti-worry.” If you can
worry, you can goal visualize. If you couldn’t visualize positive images, you wouldn’t be
able to worry about the negative ones. Everyone can do it.
Relaxation aids Visualization
When people become tense, stressed, or anxious they struggle to picture positive images. When people fall asleep they are very relaxed, and yet even the person who believes themselves to be the world’s worst visualizer will dream, and hence picture things so clearly they take them for reality while they sleep. The more you relax and stop “trying too hard” the more easily you will picture your goal images.
The Ease of Non-Effort
In order for you to feel you can picture images without force or effort you must assume that it is easy. Keep it simple. Tell yourself that what you are doing is simple, natural, and easy and it will be so.
Building Belief in your Goal
1) “Just suppose…” Begin simply by exploring the idea of your goal. Refining it’s implications and consequences. Define what you want to happen.
2) “It’s possible this could happen.” Remind yourself that it is possible, continually reinforce your focus on the fact that it could happen, feeling that it is a realistic possibility.
3) Picture goal “as if” it is happening now. Picture your goal as happening right now, picture it over and over again, strengthening it, and adding more detail. Build belief by telling yourself that it will happen”
One more thing to keep in mind as you are doing the asking: “If you can perceive your goal in the context of serving mankind, it will enable you to generate more power. If you always come back to your center for direction and inspiration, and act with unconditional love, you will be assured of manifesting your desire.” The Oracle Within, Dick Sutphen.
Take your visualization to the next level. Visualize yourself communicating your accomplishment to the world. Sense your pride and excitement at having completed your goal. Notice the confidence in your voice and how you carry yourself. Hold onto that energy for as many breaths as feels right. You’ll know when your visualization feels complete.
Sources: Power Mudras, Yoga Hand Postures for Women, Sabrina Mesko.
Science of Mind, August 2010, August 26 th reading for the day by Eugene D. Holden Universal Laws of Conscious Creation deck, Lara Solara, Dana Da Ponte, Marlene Chapman The Book of Chakras, Ambika Wauters
Daily Guidance from your Angels, Doreen Virtue, PhD
Diet and the Solar Plexus and Throat Chakras:
Past newsletters (April for the Solar Plexus Chakra, and May for the Throat Chakra http://betterdayyoga.com/archives.htm) remind us that Solar Plexus Chakra is related to the “fire element”. To increase this energy, think hot, spicy foods and hot teas. Avoid cold drinks. A little more on this chakra and how it affects our physical body comes from Healing with Crystals and Chakra Energies, Sue and Simon Lilly:
“The physical attributes of the solar plexus chakra fall into three main areas: the digestion, the nervous system and the immune system.
Digestion: The process of digestion and assimilation of nutrients is vital to sustain life. The organs linked to the solar plexus chakra are the stomach, liver, gallbladder, pancreas, duodenum and small intestine. For Digestion and the assimilation of nutrients to be successful, all these organs have to work in harmony. Failure to digest food efficiently means that nutrients are not absorbed.
Immune System: The solar plexus chakra is put under great pressure by the way we live today. Its physical functions are strained by the types of food we eat, the pace of life and new toxins in our environment. It is not surprising that many of the diseases in our society today are a sign of some dysfunction in the solar plexus chakra.
Nervous System: The solar plexus chakra is often referred to as the fusebox of the body. In this area are large concentrations of nerve tissue that, if disrupted, can affect the whole nervous system.” For more, please refer to Healing with Crystals and Chakra Energies, Sue and Simon Lilly.
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.” Chakra Balancing by Anodea Judith.
Aromatherapy and the Solar Plexus and Throat Chakras :
Solar plexus chakra scents include neroli, peppermint, chamomile, bergamot, juniper and lavender (the universal scent of all chakras).
Throat chakra scents include bergamot, chamomile, eucalyptus, peppermint, myrrh, and lavender.
Why not try a blend taking a favorite scent from both categories? Chamomile, Peppermint and Lavender are all scents for both chakras. I think that would make a soothing combo!
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 Solar Plexus and Throat 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 solar plexus chakra gems are: Topaz, citrine, amber, tiger’s eye, yellow jasper, ametrine, sulfur, and, golden calcite among others.
Throat chakra stones include all the blue stones: sapphire, lapis lazuli, blue topaz, aquamarine, turquoise, chrysocolla, blue lace agate, hawks eye, blue quartz, blue fluorite, azurite, blue opal, and sodalite, among others. (Blue Sapphire is also the birthstone for September!)
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 Solar Plexus and Throat Chakras : As mentioned earlier, all yoga poses work each of the seven major chakras with specific ones addressing specific chakras.
My favorite Throat Chakra pose is supported fish pose using blocks. Others would be shoulderstand, cow pose and bridge pose, among others.
Yoga poses for stimulating the Solar Plexus chakra : Revolved triangle pose works with the Solar Plexus chakra. Twists, in general, work with the Solar Plexus chakra, as do poses that work the abdomen such as belly rolls and stomach crunches. Plank pose is a great one for the power of our will, as are all the Warrior poses—Warrior I being the Yoga pose highlighted this month!
Please refer to the archives of April and May newsletters for more on these two chakras: http://betterdayyoga.com/archives.htm.
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 Powerful Energy
Sabrina Mesko, Power Mudras, Yoga Hand Postures for Women, uses this Mudra to evoke your power of love and beauty. I was attracted to this mudra’s emphasis on powerful energy after contemplating the powerful energy of the Yoga pose for the month—Warrior I. When I saw that she associated it with power of love and beauty, it was a perfect reminder that a peaceful warrior is a powerful warrior. Lesson learned.
This Mudra emphasizes ring finger contact in the straight position. I found this interesting reference to Yoga Mudras that details more of the science behind Mudras, as well as gives some meaning to the fingers emphasized:
“ A scientific look
Any living body is made of 5 distinct elements:
FIRE WIND ETHER EARTH WATER
These are not as per science’s definition of elements but refer to the five building blocks that go into the formation of any living body. Several ancient health systems are based on the concept of the balance of the five elements. Indian Medical science according to Ayurveda and metaphysics affirm that distortion or impairment of the 5 elements create outer disturbance and inner sickness in the body.
The 5 fingers of the hands represent these 5 elements:
symbolizes the Fire
symbolizes the Wind
The Middle finger
symbolizes the Ether
The Ring finger
symbolizes the Earth
The Little or small finger
symbolizes the Water
The finger tips of every living being have many concentrated nerve root endings which are free energy discharge points. Science also confirms that around every tip there is a concentration of free electrons. By touching together of the tips of the fingers or the finger tips to other parts of the palms this free energy (Prana) is redirected back into the body along specified channels, back up to the brain. The redirected energy traveling through the nerves stimulates the various chakras. Keeping the hands on the knees stimulates the Gupta Nari and makes the energy start from the Mooladhara Chakra (Root Chakra).
Thus, the tension applied to the nerve/s and/or the neural or psycho-neural circuits formed by the mudras help in balancing the five basic elements (or building blocks). This balancing of the tension and redirection of the internal energy effects the changes in veins, tendons, glands and sensory organs, to bring the body back to a healthy state.
Keeping specified nerves stretched for specified periods tones up of the nervous system. The fingers of each hand are held folded in certain specific postures and this provides the required tension on the nerves.
The fingers of each and every individual in the world are different in their shapes and sizes. These are determined and provided by nature as a tool to bring the nerves into prime condition when affected adversely.
Thus, they provide a different ‘end tension’ on the nerves when different individuals fold their fingers or the same individual folds the fingers by different methods in different Mudras. This is exactly the tension required by that individual for that particular application. Nature has already bestowed us with the tools to be used to keep us healthy.
Compare this with Acupressure where the nerves are influenced by the application of pressure on certain points or Acupuncture, where slight electrical impulses are conveyed through needles inserted in the body. The advantage in Mudras is that the pressure to be applied on the nerves is automatic and controlled by the shape and size of the fingers and not by external agencies.
Because the Mudras work on the nerves, they are a NEURAL SCIENCE.”
I love the connection between Warrior I and the groundedness it brings, and the earth energy of the ring finger in this month’s Mudra. Enjoy!
Sitting in “easy-seated pose” with a straight spine, raise your hands to your Solar Plexus area. Clasp the hands with the ring fingers straight and pressed flat against each other, and all the other fingers interlaced. The right thumb rests on top of the left thumb, and the left pinky finger is the last finger at the bottom facing our lap, Photo #18.
Practice this Mudra for three minutes and then sit in silence with the breath long, deep, and slow. This Mudra works with the heart, throat, and third eye chakras which vibrate to green, blue, and indigo. If you want to add a mantra to this practice, Sabrina suggests “OOOOONG” which translates to “God as Creator in Manifestations.”
She adds affirmations in line with beauty and love:
Source: Power Mudras, Yoga Hand Postures for Women, Sabrina Mesko.
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.
Today’s newsletter chakras focus on the ability to take risks, to trust your decisions, and not be afraid to take action on them. One of my absolute favorite authors is Sonia Choquette. She has written many books about developing your own sixth sense and trusting your vibes. She is my go-to author for connecting to my “higher self” and letting that voice out (fifth chakra!). This month’s featured deck is called “Trust Your Vibes” with “tools for awakening your sixth sense”.
About the deck: Take the guesswork out of your decisions and use your sixth sense instead! This powerful card deck by vibrational healer and revolutionary teacher Sonia Choquette, the author of Diary of a Psychic and Trust Your Vibes, is designed to activate your psychic voice and show you how to live the six-sensory life. Each of the 52 cards in this deck is a creative tool for using your psychic muscles. These cards will give you access to your Divine support system and deepen your connection to God, your Higher Self, and spirit helpers from the Other Side.
Use the card deck and the accompanying guidebook daily, and you’ll learn to trust your vibes and experience the ease and flow of six-sensory living.
Connecting to your higher self is connecting to your intuition. In the opening section I ask if you are having trouble finding your purpose. In the Chakrascope section I mention “taking one small step” and that knowing what that one small step will be is up to you. Listening to your heart, your higher self; and trusting your decisions—perhaps faking it until you make it—is the way to do that. Here’s a couple of fun ways to do that:
I am only showing the message side of the two cards highlighted here. The back side of the cards shows a beautiful drawing of a flying heart with wings and two shadows of face profiles facing each other below the heart.
The readings below are from the accompanying Guidebook for each card’s message.
Card No. 34: Make a Note of it
“You may be intercepting vibrations from your guides regularly, but having the confidence to trust your vibes fully may still be a challenge. Don’t worry. Trusting your vibes takes time. With a little extra effort, however, you can accelerate the process and not miss a single golden nugget of guidance from your Higher Self. The way to strengthen your confidence and better receive guidance is to carry a small notebook throughout the day and write down every vibe you get, no matter how subtle, including hunches, inspiration, bright ideas, wonderings, vague notions, and many others. The more you write down your vibes, the more tuned in to them you’ll become. You’ll also have a mass of concrete evidence that they’re real, accurate, and trustworthy. This does wonders for your confidence and increases your psychic awareness at the same time. Try this for a week and see for yourself.
Card No. 45: Fake It Till You Make It
A terrific way to access your sixth sense immediately and get your psychic engines up and running is to apply my favorite psychic rule: Fake it till you make it! That’s right. Pretend you’re psychic and trust your vibes implicitly. Give it a try. If you were psychic, what would your vibes tell you about your health, your business, your relationships, your love life, and especially about what you want to know right now? Let your imagination run wild and tap directly in to your psychic system and set your vibes free. You can take this a step further and invent a secret self, a psychic persona, a six-sensory genius who speaks through you when called upon. Have fun with her (or him) and give her (or him) an exotic name like The Wizard, Dr. Know, or simply Genie. (Note from Sandy : My favorite Halloween costume growing up was of a gypsy…guess what my name for my “psychic persona” is…makes me smile.)
Anytime you want to tap in to your vibes, pretend that you’re incredibly psychic and allow your inner psychic to speak. Don’t think twice about what you’ll say—just make it up. But do listen, because even when pretending you tap into your sixth sense. It doesn’t matter how you open the door to your inner voice, as long as you do open it. Fake it till you make it work—and enjoy!
You can buy your very own deck at: http://www.soniachoquette.com/store/site/product.cfm?id=5DFA04D6-3048-2897-56D7C7E750ED62F2
Back in November, 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
Stressed out skin? Stress is one of the main causes of acne. Calming yoga poses can combats stress and promote circulation to the face!
We all know that yoga can help with a host of ailments, from promoting weight loss to alleviating depression. But what about acne? Can you stretch your way to smooth, blemish-free skin?
Like most health conditions, acne has more than one cause. Gary Kraftsow, founder of the American Viniyoga Institute and author of Yoga for Wellness, says that while yoga can’t address all of acne’s causes, such as a genetic predisposition to breakouts, a targeted yoga practice can help with others by combating stress and promoting circulation to the face.
One of the main causes of acne is stress, says Kraftsow. Or, more specifically, an imbalance in the autonomic nervous system (the system that controls breathing, heart rate, digestion and sexual arousal). Stress — whether physical, emotional or even dietary — creates this imbalance by stimulating the sympathetic subsystem, often referred to as the “fight or flight” response. The sympathetic response makes your heart beat faster, floods the body with hormones (including adrenalin) and diverts blood away from the digestive system and the skin. This can trigger acne outbreaks.
But what if “stressed out” is your status quo? That’s where yoga comes in.
“There are many calming postures that encourage the parasympathetic or ‘rest and repose’ response instead,” says Liz Lark, a yoga teacher and co-author of Healing Yoga.
For suggested poses, and to read more: http://life.gaiam.com/gaiam/p/Yoga-and-Acne.html
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!
Substituting this month for my friend, Christine is “Cooking Light” magazine!
A little bit of almond flour (also labeled almond meal) makes the dough more tender. Look for it on the baking aisle or in the gluten-free section.
Yield: 8 servings (serving size: 1 wedge)
1. Preheat oven to 400°.
2. Lightly spoon 1.1 ounces (about 1/4 cup) all-purpose flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine 1.1 ounces all-purpose flour, ice water, vinegar, and almond extract in a small bowl; stir with a fork until well blended to form a slurry.
3. Combine remaining 5.1 ounces (about 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons) all-purpose flour, 2 tablespoons sugar, almond flour, and salt, stirring with a whisk. Cut in butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add slurry; stir just until moist. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface; knead lightly 5 times. Gently press dough into a 4-inch circle on heavy-duty plastic wrap. Cover with additional plastic wrap. Carefully roll dough into a 14-inch circle; freeze for 10 minutes.
4. Remove dough from freezer; remove top sheet of plastic wrap. Let stand 1 minute or until pliable. Place dough, plastic wrap side up, onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper; remove remaining plastic wrap.
5. Combine cornstarch and 2 tablespoons sugar; sprinkle over dough, leaving a 2-inch border. Arrange apricots spokelike on top of cornstarch mixture, leaving a 2-inch border. Fold edges of dough over apricots (dough will only partially cover apricots).
6. Combine jam and honey in a small microwave-safe bowl; microwave on HIGH 45 seconds. Brush jam mixture over apricots and dough edges. Sprinkle with remaining sugar. Bake at 400° for 35 minutes or until crust browns. Remove from oven; sprinkle with thyme. Cool 10 minutes.
I bought this album over ten years ago locally at the Aveda spa in Nicollett Mall in Minneapolis. It has been one of my favorites ever since, and gets many compliments when played during my yoga classes. Enjoy!
Chris Spheeris, Paul Voudouris
Since its release in the early 90’s, Enchantment has firmly established itself as one of the great New Age instrumental classics. The CD has gone platinum in Europe, and has been used in several Olympic competitions, as well as innumerable film and television soundtracks. The melodies are timeless, the influences varied, and the orchestrations are rich and transporting.
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://store.chrisspheeris.com/index.php?route=product/product&path=36_37&product_id=58
Paul Voudouris has a Facebook page as well: http://www.facebook.com/paul.voudouris
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:
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 as well as the “events calendar” in the left-hand column once you get there! Here’s the next one located conveniently down the road from Vita Bella:
“If you want to view paradise, simply look around and view it. Anything you want to, do it. Want to change the world? There’s nothing to it.”—Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley from their song, Pure Imagination. (Song used in the AT & T™ commercial quoted in the opening section.)
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