Yes And…

Through Back to 2013 when my roommate helped me put together this beautiful video for my final in my Yes and…Improv class my freshman year at Ithaca College.

It was an amazing experience, the class was centered around the reading of The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. Julia recently gave a talk at the Health Coaching program that I am in and it inspired me to share this video with you all.

Hope you enjoy ❤

A Change In Perspective

  

“Yoga is the uniting of consciousness in the heart. 

The lotus flower has long been a symbol for the unfolding of spirituality. It is one of the most elegant illustrations of the meshing of our human and Divine natures.  

The lotus seed is planted and grows in muddy waters, below the surface of the lake, far from the light. Though the light is murky and clear, the flower blossoms by drawing energy from within. As the bud passes through the muddy waters, it lifts its face to the sunlight and finally emerges. Miraculously, not a trace of soil remains on the flower. It lives in the mud yet it is not affected by it….

Yogah Citta Vritti Nirodahah. Yoga is the uniting of consciousness in the heart” (Devi 16).

I am happy to report a change in my life. For the past two months or so, everyday has seemed to bring new horror and drudgery, leading me into the shadow-self. It didn’t take much, just a few changes and suddenly I was able to see the beauty around me and the amount of abundance I have to be grateful for.

There were so many people I encountered in the last two months that were so blissful and grateful for the life they had. I saw them and thought to myself, I want that kind of bliss and contentment. It’s hard to feel happy all the time or even grateful for one thing in your life. Yogis are often painted as figures who see the world in technicolor all of the time because they are supposed to have some mystical secret told to them by the yoga gods, but that’s not true. Yogis are human, just like everyone else. We each have the opportunity, like the lotus flower, to be affected by our circumstance, to blame what has come before. However, we can also choose to see each day anew and gather strength from within. Instead of looking at all of the mud we are surrounded by, we can take our gaze to the sun; to the infinite.

So today I shed gratitude for all of the circumstances of my life, they bring to to new depths and new challenges, but they also bring me to new heights and new joys.

“Everything will be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end.”

-John Lennon

Mistakes: A Step In The Right Direction

It is a misconception to think any one of any stature is ever free from the capability of making mistakes. Mistakes can arise from even the most sincere intention or the smallest lapse in judgement. The importance of mistakes is that they give you feedback and new direction.

Growing up, I was a girl who strived for perfection and deeply criticized myself, my worth, and my merits if I did not meet the impossibly high standard I had set for myself. Interestingly enough, I did not have parents who pressured me to act this way nor was anything else in my surroundings urging me to do this to myself. It came from with in. This unfathomable fear of being wrong. I would say today I can at least pat myself on the back for not being a perfectionist, but I still do strive to answer the question, “What is the most right?”.

I remember this summer, I briefly took a job as a barista at my favorite coffee house. I really had no business being there, however. I knew nothing of coffee, nor did I even drink it myself. On one of my first days, I kept making a series of mistakes that lead to lots of spilling and clean up. I was so embarrassed, but relieved when I apologized to one of my co-workers who replied, “That’s okay. Mistakes are where life happens.”

Even recently, when I moved in with my partner — a move I may not have truly been ready for in my heart, but quickly learned to adapt to — he said to me a quote of similar nature: “Mistakes are unavoidable so you might as well have fun and enjoy the ride.”

Naturally, the part of my brain that has in some way or another programmed itself to strive for perfection was being overrided by the notion that a mistake could possibly been a good thing.

Mistakes are bound to happen. They hurt ourselves and they can hurt others, but they are ultimately how we learn, where we grow, and are what makes our journey unique. I recently lost a job I cared about deeply for a careless mistake, a mistake compatible to that which you make on a math test and think to yourself, “Really? I can’t believe I forgot to do that!”. It’s with a heavy heart that I step away from there, deeply regretting my actions. But I’d like to think that nothing happens without reason. Even mistakes. Yes, even mistakes are divinely orchestrated and can lead you to exactly where you need to be.

This post isn’t to say that you should purposefully make mistakes, but, perhaps, when you do make them, give yourself some room to breathe. Give yourself permission to mess up because that’s where life happens. When you find yourself in the midst of self-ridicule try to change to tone to one of self-compassion and have a little faith. Even though, you may feel deeply sorry for your actions, trust that all is as is because the universe is as is. And, ultimately that it will be okay. Have trust in your actions and faith in your merits. ❤

Yoga for PMS

Here’s one for the ladies! ❤ We’ve all been there. They are so so painful! here is a sequence to help relieve some of your period pains.

For more information on things you can do to get rid of/relieve menses pains, recipes, and more follow the link here

My Philosophy

We live in a world today where our relationship to food is largely augmented and unhealthy. Now, I live in a tiny town in Colorado where mostly everyone is fit, healthy, the ratio of yoga instructors to non is practically 3:1 and we have three health food stores with a plethora of local, organic, farm-distributed options. But I know that is not the reality for most people.

There something in particular that strikes me to be odd about our culture of eating. This is that many people eat for taste and not nutritive properties. When most people don’t realize that you can be eating a nutritious, healthy, well balanced diet, AND it can be tasty too. It does not have to come down to an either or. One of my missions on this blog is to raise awareness of our eating habits and how they affect more than just our taste buds.

It’s voting season, and I have to heard a lot of people say things like “There’s no point in voting.”, “None of these politicians are going to change anything.”, or “My vote doesn’t matter.” However, that is not true. You have a  have a vote and you get to make it three times a day, every day for the rest of your life. What you buy and what you spend your money on, ends up influencing industrial companies, farmers, livestock, and the environment. What you eat is more than just a friendly encounter you have at the cash register, it impacts your entire global community.

With this in mind, I want to advocate for responsible, sustainable, organic eating that comes from small, non-industrialized farms. I recently read an article about the Orangutans in the rain forest right now. Apparently, the span of 300 soccer fields in the rain forest are destroyed per hour. And, depending on location, 3-14 Orangutans are killed each day. orangutan_with_babyWhich puts them in a disposition where they are likely to be extinct for the year 2023. The reason that so much of this deforestation is occurring is because big companies are looking for ways to harvest palm oil. Palm oil is found in a large variety of products from nut butters to Pringles to marshmallow bunnies. However it can be sustainably cultivated and should be if the price of nonsustainable harvestation is the result of killing one of the largest biospheres in the world and some of the most beautiful, intelligent and miraculous creatures to ever walk this planet.

You know the phrase that says you are what you eat? I’m sure you do. Well many of us also know we shouldn’t be eating sweets, we know they shouldn’t be eating processed foods, or things that are placed in the colorful packets and advertised on TV. But what some people don’t know is that when you are what you eat, what you’re eating could mean that you’re a killer. It could mean that you support the death of innocent animal, or the loss of trees, or the loss of beauty with out even knowing it. And that is what is so truly sad: You have a vote and choice, but you may not even be awe are of the ballot your submitting. I do not mean to place blame in this post, sureley for every finger I point, three point back at me. I’ve never been 100% perfect in my diet, nor will I probably ever be. But there is good food for thought in this message to consider what you’re eating and how it impacts others. Think about the farmers. Think about the animals. Think about the rain forest. Your dollar can support every tree chopped down and every life taken away. But I can also support every farmer, sustainably cultivated product, and it can support the preservation of life rather than the obliteration of it.

Want to do something about it? Stop buying unsustainably cultivated palm oil from these companies: http://www.ucsusa.org/global-warming/stop-deforestation/palm-oil-scorecard-2015#fast

And vote here: http://www.saynotopalmoil.com/What_can_i_do.php
orangutans

Sources:

“Palm Oil and How It Threatens Orangutans.” The Orangutan Project. Just One Planet, n.d. Web. 27 Oct. 2015.

Mayell, Hillary. “Wild Orangutans: Extinct by 2023?” National Geographic. National Geographic Society, 9 Mar. 2004. Web. 27 Oct. 2015.

Be Here Now

being

Being is not knowing. I first heard these words from Harville Hendrix, PhD and it struck a chord in me. As a yoga teacher and someone who wishes to pursue a spiritual path I have found that spirituality has seasons. There are many days where I don’t want to practice yoga or I don’t want to sit and meditate. That’s just human. But knowing is not being. So knowing the Sanskrit of a pose and all of the minute mechanical movements of each asana, is not the same as showing up on the mat with an authentic, devotional heart. It’s not. I know because I have spent so much of my life living outside of the present that I have become so cerebral in my practice that I sometimes practice without heart. Knowing is not being. Yet, being is knowing. To show up in your life in each unfolding moment is a beautiful and challenging thing. Become what you seek. For what you seek is surely seeking you. It may not find you through the mind however, but through the heart instead. How do you become what it is you are seeking? I once asked this question through the lens of spirituality having seasons to a guru of mine. I said, “It seems to me like spirituality has seasons. Some seasons are abundant and I feel a deep connection to source and my practice. Other seasons feel depleted and I don’t want to practice at all. How do I continue to flourish when my practice is full and honor it when it is weak?” And he replied, “Spirituality is like a tree. It does not bare fruit in every season, but it needs to be watered every day.” Where can you water yourself more in this life? How can you become the most authentic version of yourself? 

Knowing is not being, but to be is to know. ❤

Let Food Be Your Medicine: Candida Cures

Candida Cures

During the Fall and Winter I tend to eat lots of sweets, basically from Halloween through New Years. And I think so do a lot of other people…. Unfortunately, in addition to exciting your taste buds, these seasonal eating habits add unwanted weight to the body and unwanted bacteria to the gut which can lead to imbalances in the body, namely Candida. So many people experience symptoms and side effects of Candida but they don’t even realize they have it. Common symptoms include: depression, anxiety, crying spells, low libido, poor memory, nausea, indigestion, stomach aches, athlete’s foot, hives, persistent cough, mucus in throught, sore throat, blurred vision, sensitivity to light, PMS and menstrual irregularities, yeast infections, and much much more1

The harsh reality is that everyone has Candida and most people experience one or more of these symptoms. In my unprofessional opinion I recommend doing the diet for one week to one month this holiday season will dramatically improve your health, your gut flora/bacteria, and your overall happiness in your body.

I, myself, recently found that I was experiencing a variety of Candida symptoms and am going on the diet for the next month. It’s a bit challenging as a vegetarian, and I will admit some rules will be broken for the sake of improving my health. But if you’re a strict vegetarian who may be experiencing these symptoms, don’t be scared away! You can still do the diet and be a vegetarian.

I’ve noticed that there is a huge emotional battle that happens when you try to rid the body of Candida, so just be aware of that. It’s like have the devil sit on your shoulder and tell you that not eating sugar is wrong. My guess is that this happens because your body is going through sugar withdrawals and sugar is 8x more addictive that cocaine.

Up above I took a picture of my groceries for Candida Care:

(From the left) Celery, Broccoli, Vaginal Yeast Suppositories, Salmon, Artichoke Heart, Olives, Sesame Seeds, Almond butter, Kyolic Garlic Supplement, Free range eggs, Plain Kefir, Zucchini, Zucchini squash, Lemon, Spinach, Candida Care, Licorice & Peppermint tea, Miso Soup, Quinoa, and Plant Based Abult Probiotic.

Being on the Candida Diet means not only avoiding sugar, but anything that can turn into sugar including: Rice, Sweet Potatoes, Honey, Wine, Alcohol, Bread, Oats, Pasta, Fruit, Carrots, all cured meat products, and so on. If nothing else, getting on a good probiotic will help a ton, but unfortunately not as much as giving your body a break from the sugar overload.

The only two things that are not food are the vaginal yeast suppositories and the Candida Care Tincture. The suppositories are for women, they are made up of boric acid and tea tree in gelatin capsules. They are inserted vaginally as needed. As a women, let me tell you, in my experience, they are the fastest relief to any irritation downstairs. The Candida Care Tincture promotes healthy intestines, heals the body of Candida albicans overgrowth, and supports the immune system and contains, Desert Willow, Usnea, Echinacea, Milk Thistle and Chaparro Amargosa. The tincture is taken orally and is a great addition to the other supplements useful on this diet/cleanse.

Yeast Suppositories:http://dancingwillowherbs.com/vaginal-yeast-suppositories.html

Candida Care: http://dancingwillowherbs.com/candida-care.html

To get recipes, Do’s & Don’ts, and more information about Candida follow the link bellow:

http://www.thecandidadiet.com

Sources:

  1. “The Candida Diet.” The Candida Diet. Perfect Health, n.d. Web. 20 Oct. 2015.

Please note that any and all posts on this blog do not substitute for professional medical help, diagnosis or treatment.I am not a health care provider my any means. The content provided on this site is designed to be used for informational purposes only. The content is based on personal experience and outside research. 

Gratitude: An Infectious Way of Thinking

gratitude

When I was younger, I used to suffer from severe depression. I expressed my sadness to my father one day and said, “I feel so depressed all the time and I don’t know why or how to stop it.” With loving eyes he handed me the sandalwood Mala you see in the corner of my yoga mat. He said,”take this and every time you feel sad, hold a bead and think of one thing you are grateful for. Keep moving through the beads and your saddness will go away.” And he was right. So now every time I practice I keep my Mala in the corner of my yoga mat to remind me that happiness is a choice and gratitude is the key component in making it a part of our everyday life. I’ll admit, I still struggle with depression. It haunts me all the time. When I drop into that place it’s nearly impossible to be grateful or find anything to have gratitude for. But, for me, it’s just another part of the practice. Being a yogi doesn’t mean happy all the time. Being a yogi means making a continue choice and using continual effort to express truth and find divinity within the aspects we find to be most human and banal.

How to Move Forward: An Open Letter to Finding Comfort in Discomfort

Potensial

They say that the two of the most stressful things a person can endure are moving and the loss of someone close to you. On September 7th of this year my grandmother, a women whom I loved dearly and will miss eternally passed away. The grief still unfolds new for me everyday, unveiling a new layer of knowing the absence of her presence. Each day it becomes more clear that I can’t pick up the phone to call her, that I will never hear her Brooklyn accent, eat her roast beef, ride with her in the back of her cherry red car, or share my life with her. She was the most amazing listener and the dearest of grandmothers. When she passed, our cousin who lived near her said, “I want you to know that even though you live so far away, she breathed you everyday.” I remember hearing that and thinking to myself, “Wow. What a sacred thing to breathe someone.” To breathe someone, to know that no matter the distance, no matter the situation you are loved by one another. You are held by one another in a way that is as permanent and as impermanent as the breath.

In the coming weeks, I signed a lease with my boyfriend, Josh. We ended up in a beautiful little apartment right off Main St. I knew that it was because of her that we got the place. I just had a feeling: The odds of a college student with no credit and a mother as a second reference with a post-grad swamped with debt made us unlikely candidates. Yet here we are.

The idea of moving in together was not a new one, nor did it come into play silently without any debate. Very early in our relationship I decided moving in with Josh was something I wanted. For eight months I continued to nudge and ask for this move. Finally, Josh said yes. He saw part of him wanted to pursue our relationship in this way and that he needed to get away from his current living situation.

I have never lived with a partner before. Needless to say, everything feels entirely new and not entirely how I thought it would be. Everyday since we’ve moved in I have felt heavy in my heart, feeling as if I broke something that didn’t need to be fixed. I have yearned and yearned for my old room, my old house, and my old roommates, simply for the fact that they were familiar. Last night, my partner looked at me and said, “When are you going to arrive? I feel like I have been living here a week and my roommate hasn’t showed up.”

Crushed by my self guilt and the notion that I am letting him down, I recalled a conversation I had with my mentor earlier that evening. With loving eyes and little detail of my situation she said, “Expectations take you out of the present. You cannot find happiness where expectations lie. Furthermore, you’ve signed a year-long commitment with this person so you need to give it your 100%. By the time your lease is up you will know what you need to do.”

All of this leads up to writing this post this morning. I flashed back to the moment another yoga mentor of mine told me in the most arduous of poses, “This is life, right? It’s so painful and uncomfortable, but it’s all about how you approach it.”

So yes, happenings like death and moving may be some of the most stressful things one can endure, amongst many others. However it is not our circumstances that define our quality of life, but the way we choose to navigate them that counts. I noticed, the most painful things require a great deal of adaptability, for it is great change, I believe, that haunts us most in this life. Still, each day is a choice to stay in Duhka (suffering) or find Dharana (contentment). Finding contentment is a continual practice, one that takes conscious and undivided effort. It begins with showing up in the midst of discomfort and knowing that is shall pass. Knowing that change will change again and it’s all about how you approach it, so you may as well enjoy the ride.

grandma

Dedicated to Shirley Klein Harwood

Quit the Midol: Alternatives to Menses Pain

truth about midol

This one is for the ladies. After having one of the most painful first days of my life, I felt inspired to write this post. When I was younger, I used to take Midol for period pains. It was the only thing that helped, but I couldn’t help feeling like I was doing my body harm for the price of taking away discomfort. Even just the few seconds it was in my mouth, it tasted like I was swallowing poison. I figured anything that tastes like that can’t be good for you. So I started doing a little research….

Basically, Midol is a version of Ibuprofen. Depending on what type of Midol you are using, you may be putting your body at risk, mainly the liver and kidneys. For example,”Midol Maximum Strength Menstrual may harm your liver,” Midol Complete research says, “Severe liver damage may occur if you take this product with other drugs containing acetaminophen or if you consume 3 or more alcoholic drinks every day while using this product”(Midol Maximum, Midol Complete). Even regular Ibuprofen “and other NSAIDs inhibit prostaglandins, and that can cause a problem [in the kidneys] because prostaglandins dilate blood vessels leading to the kidneys. Inhibiting prostaglandins may lead to kidney ischemia (dead tissue from decreased blood flow) and thus acute kidney injury”(Orrange).

So here are some alternative ways to make peace with the pains:

smoothiePeriod Smoothie:

2 bananas

1/2 cup strawberries

1-2 tbsp Cacao powder

1/2 cup of spinach

1 coconut water

Optional:

2 tsp Chia Seeds

1 tbsp flax seed oil

Bananas contain B6 and potassium, both of which can help ease bloating and water retention, while adding strawberries “helps to reduce a heavy menstrual flow, stress and irritability, and prevent anemia by increasing iron absorption” due to its vitamin C components (Orenstein, Merriment). Fresh fruits in general are good for fatigue and irritability during menstruation because of their natural fibers which are introduced slowly to the body and then converted into more energy (Merriment). Spinach is the go-to for menstrual cramps since it’s chock full of Folic Acid, Vitamin E, B6, and Magnesium (12). Coconut water is a great flavor in any smoothie, plus it’ll help to keep you hydrated. Surprisingly, coconut water is more hydrating that regular water because its chemical structure is similar to our blood. I also like to add in a little bit of chia seeds and flax seed oil to get some good oil, Omega-3, and antioxidants in the body. Chia seeds are full of protein, Vitamin B1, B3, E, zinc, copper, iron, flavinols (such as quercetin, myricetin, kaempferol), phenolic acids (such as caffeic acid), and lignin. Plus, Chia seeds have an antioxidant rating higher than “blackberries, mango, noni fruit, grapes, pineapple, or carambola” (Why). Allow your food to be your medicine, I promise it will serve you longer in this life than anything else.

IMG_2646In addition to the smoothie, treat yourself lady!

Get your butt into a bath, and scent it with essential oils like lavender and tea tree — or whatever your favorite scent is — even add bubbles and candles if you’d like! You may be surprised to find that this is the quickest relief to any of your pains and it’ll take away the physical stress on the body in no time. Set yourself up with a tall glass of water (of which you should continue to refill through out the day to keep your body hydrated and feeling good) and Chamomile or Peppermint tea. Chamomile can “relieve muscle spasms and reduce the severity of menstrual cramps” (Orenstein). In general, this will help reduce anxiety and stress that can and often does occur during menstruation. Peppermint tea is also good because it can help relax constricted muscles, especially the ones located on the uterus’ wall (Goodwin).

When you’re not in the bath, set yourself up with a hot water bottle to place on your stomach. These bottles are a lifesaver and deeply help to reduce pain, especially in the night when it can be hard to fall asleep.

Additionally, a lot of women crave dark meat on their period, however, this is not the best time to consume it. Really, what your body is craving is the vitamins and minerals that can be found in the smoothie above. The reason you want to avoid dark meats is because they can contribute to your hormones, therefore increasing your moodiness and pains. An alternative is to cook yourself up a nice salmon meal (follow link to find recipe) as it is full of omega-3, B6, and vitamin D (Orenstein). All of these components will will help to relieve breast pain, irritability, and fatigue.

IMG_2473 salmon salad

And if that’s not enough, and you find yourself tempted to reach for that bottle of Midol, here’s something different you can take. I am fortunate enough to work for a Master herbalist in my home town. She makes a variety of herbal formulas for just about everything. However, for the pain I just can’t beat, I take her Mense-Soothe. Works like a charm! (She also carries a formula for PMS). And good news: We ship! Just go to www.dancingwillowherbs.com and you can order a bottle of your own to see for yourself.

Mense soothe

So here’s a list of things to try next time your cycle comes around! Mainly, just go slow, take care of, and be kind to yourself! You work so hard the other 28 days, give yourself the space to be unruly, angry, tired, and crampy. Hopefully these help! As always, feel free to leave a comment bellow! Let me know what you think and if you thought this was helpful ❤

Oh, ONE MORE THING! Speaking of periods…If you haven’t, you should watch this video of a poem written by an amazing women… it’s titled The Period Poem. It’ll change your view of periods forever. Blessings to Dominque Christina for writing and inspiring all women: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4vu2BsePvoI

Much Love ❤

Sources:

“Midol Maximum Strength Menstrual: Indications, Side Effects, Warnings – Drugs.com.” Midol Maximum Strength Menstrual: Indications, Side Effects, Warnings – Drugs.com. Drugs.com, 31 Aug. 2015. Web. 26 Sept. 2015.

“Midol Complete – (Acetaminophen) Side Effects, Dosage, Uses, Interaction – PDRHealth.” Pdrhealth. PDRHealth, 2015. Web. 26 Sept. 2015.

Orrange, Dr. Sharron. “Is Ibuprofen/Advil Bad for My Liver and Kidneys?” GoodRx. GoodRx, 30 July 2013. Web. 26 Sept. 2015.

Orenstein, Ben. “8 Foods That Help Fight PMS.” EverydayHealth.com. Ed. Niya Jones. Everyday Health, 2015. Web. 26 Sept. 2015.

Merriment, Mary. “Food Remedies That Reduce Symptoms of PMS.” HubPages. HubPages, 4 Nov. 2012. Web. 26 Sept. 2015.

“12 Best Foods for Fighting Menstrual Cramps.” Heal With Foods. Heal With Foods, 2015. Web. 26 Sept. 2015.

“Why Chia Seeds Are Good for You (and the Healthiest Way to Eat Them).” Heal With Foods. Heal With Foods, 2015. Web. 26 Sept. 2015.

Goodwin, Lindsey. “Peppermint Tea Health Benefits and Side Effects.” About Food. About Food, 2015. Web. 26 Sept. 2015.

Image from: http://diannemalone.com/blog/?p=1950