Little Revelations

At age 20, I was given the feedback that I didn’t get my first internship because I was wearing sparkly brown nail polish. “Interview was great, but nail polish was unacceptable.” This was the feedback the interviewer gave the career counselor at my college.

Ever since then, my nails have been impeccably polished with “acceptable” colors. Thirty plus years of nail polish and a pandemic later, I’ve come to love my natural nails. I rub organic castor oil into them 1-2 times a week and that’s it.

It’s liberating. I feel like I’ve shed that stigma of the past. Loving yourself means your whole self and not cherry-picking certain things.

What is your little revelation? How are you loving your whole self? If you’re not, why not? This is worth some contemplation.

❤

Mindful Moment

“Too many of us move through our lives with our true selves

buried below layers of repressed emotion. With so much

energy channeled toward sustaining the repression,

there is little left over for the deeper questions.

The consequences of our evasion are profound.

Our stockpiles toxify into a cache of weapons

that turn inward against the self:

quick fix, long suffering.

As Rumi said, “Most people guard against the fire,

and so end up in it.”

This is the power of then. If we don’t deal with our stuff,

it deals with us.”

― Jeff Brown, Soulshaping: A Journey Of Self Creation

Mushrooms for Health and Well-Being

Guest Post and photo by: Conny Jasper

Mushrooms are an amazing superfood packed with vital nutrients and healing benefits. They are a great source of antioxidants, amino acids, minerals, vitamins, and other health promoting substances.

Many delicious and nutritious varieties include the shiitake, maitake, lion’s mane, oyster, and porcini. They are often available at most natural and gourmet food stores. However, there are hundreds of others that grow wild in the fields and forests. Naturally, it is necessary to properly identify wild mushrooms, and know exactly what they are, in order to avoid any problems.

Lion’s mane is one of the most interesting mushrooms with an array of health promoting properties. Much evidence based research has been conducted on this mushroom, and it has been shown to be beneficial for: mental health, boosting immunity, improving energy, and combatting inflammation.

Mushrooms should be thoroughly cooked and not eaten raw. Uncooked mushrooms can cause digestive upset. This is because they consist of a fiber called chitin. Cooking breaks down the fiber and makes it easier to digest. Some mushrooms cook within 30 minutes, while others can take as long as 90 minutes. It depends on the freshness and density of the mushroom. They are best cooked with light oil or organic butter. To fully enhance the flavor, add some white wine, vegetable broth, and a pinch of Himalayan pink salt. Bon appetit!

Conny Jasper is a holistic life coach, certified yoga instructor, certified Reiki Master, and certified massage therapist. She has a Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology and helps people to heal and balance their body and mind. https://connyjasper8.wixsite.com/artist

Effort versus ease

By Guest Blogger: Eva Montalvo

Sthira Sukham Asanam

We may think that ease (sukha) is better than effort, because it just sounds so, well EASY.  Yet without effort (sthira) there is no strength or stability.  On the other hand, we can overdo effort and feel as if we are straining and stressed.

In yoga we come into poses (asanam) that may be relaxing, and others that feel more strenuous.  Practicing Sthira and Sukha really isn’t an either/or, though.  It is balancing both at the same time

For example, even in a relaxing stretch like child’s pose we can find a steadiness in our breathing and thoughts.  In a stronger pose such as Warrior II, even while feeling the effort of the body’s muscles used to hold the pose, we can still look for a lightness and comfort by letting the shoulders relax down away from the ears and softening the muscles of the face.

Often, we can find ease or contentment simply by letting go of expectations – what we think “should” be – and simply acknowledging what IS.  We can feel the pose and use the breath as a guide to that sweet spot of harmony within.

As you step off your mat and into your life, can you find this same balance of effort and ease?  For example, even while performing a task such as preparing dinner, I find a sense of ease by putting on my favorite music and reflecting on the day with gratitude.  

More about our guest blogger:

Eva is the Owner/Founder of Nourish Yoga & Wellness. Her mission is to inspire adults to live more energetically and vibrantly by helping them incorporate simple changes in their lifestyle, especially in learning how to move and breathe to connect to their body through yoga. She believes strongly in making yoga available for EVERY BODY and specializes in working with beginners and older adults. To learn more click here: https://www.nourishyogawellness.com/

Saffron For Health

By Guest Blogger: Rae Steinbach

Have you considered the health benefits of adding saffron to your diet?

A range of health benefits may flow from simply consuming natural ingredients. Consider saffron. Research shows it can boost health in numerous ways when taken as a saffron drink or ingested with food. Here’s more:

It helps protect the heart

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S.  Saffron might help. This is because it reduces the stress on arteries and blood vessels. What this means is less risk of heart attack and similar cardiovascular health problems.

Managing anxiety

There’s evidence that saffron can improve mental and emotional health. Specifically, saffron has been shown to reduce anxiety to a degree. Its mood-boosting qualities also make it a powerful aphrodisiac for some. 

Improving immunity

Just as important as treating illnesses properly, is guarding against developing illnesses in the first place.

Saffron may help in this capacity: Research indicates it boosts the immune system. This makes colds, viruses, and similar illnesses less likely.

Adding saffron to the diet can be very beneficial for health and wellness.

Possible option if looking for a saffron drink

Please note: With the introduction of any new product, herb, or supplement, please consult with your healthcare professional before partaking, to ensure there aren’t any contraindications.

More about Rae Steinbach:

Rae is a graduate of Tufts University with a combined International Relations and Chinese degree. After spending time living and working abroad in China, she returned to NYC to pursue her career and continue curating quality content. Rae is passionate about travel, food, and writing. Twitter: @araesininthesun

Advice From A Tree

by Ilan Shamir

Dear Friend,

Stand tall and proud.

Sink your roots deeply into the Earth.

Reflect the light of a greater source.

Think long term.

Go out on a limb.

Remember your place among all living beings.

Embrace with joy the changing seasons

for each yields its own abundance.

The energy and birth of Spring.

The growth and contentment of Summer.

The wisdom to let go of leaves in the Fall.

The rest and quiet renewal of Winter.

Feel the wind and the sun

and delight in their presence.

Look up at the moon that shines down upon you

and the mystery of the stars at night.

Seek nourishment from the good things in life.

Simple pleasures

Earth, fresh air, light

Be content with your natural beauty.

Drink plenty of water.

Let your limbs sway and dance in the breezes.

Be flexible.

Remember your roots.

Enjoy the view!

Essential Oil and the Limbic System

By Guest Blogger: Beverly McGivney

Ever wonder why a certain smell can bring up memories and even elicit a physical response? Our sense of smell effects the limbic system in the brain — it has powerful healing capacities!

Our limbic system is a combination of higher mental functions and our emotions. It is directly linked to parts of the brain that control heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, memory, stress levels and hormone balance. It’s because of this, that the smell of essential oils can produce profound positive effects. Essential oils can help support overall wellness. They consist of over 100 different natural organic compounds that supply support for every system in the body. When inhaled, the aromatic molecules of an essential oil interact with sensors in our nasal cavity, lungs, and pores. Once engaged, the sensors emit strong emotional signals starting from the limbic system, then the hippocampus, and spread throughout the rest of the body to places like the heart and the digestive tract.

Some essential oil examples are:

Citrus oils: orange, lemon, lime or grapefruit. Known for uplifting aromatic qualities.

Floral oils: geranium and rose. Known for an aromatic quality that encourages peaceful feelings. Does all this make scents?

Read more about Beverly McGivney (YL # 1149206) here:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/thebodhiseed1121; Instagram: @thebodhiseed1121
Beverly, the creator of the Bodhi Seed, has a passion for whole person wellness. During her personal exploration of whole person wellness body, mind and spirit, Beverly was inspired to create The Bodhi Seed. The Bodhi Seed is a platform to educate and advocate on wellness using nature’s energy while inspiring purpose and abundance! She believes in creating non-toxic living mentally, spiritually, emotionally and physically!

Should?

Just because you CAN do something, does it mean you should? I recently realized while practicing yoga, after years of thinking I can’t do Camel Pose (Ustrasana), I actually can. Imagine that! I felt accomplished, proud of myself. All from a discovery that if I widened the space between my knees, I’m able to bend back just a bit deeper and take hold of my ankles. Prior to this discovery, I’d been priming my back with other poses which created some space. So I was ready at that time for this epiphany.

Fast forward about 2-3 weeks and I decide to teach it in class. First I demonstrate the gentle version of it, which I really like. And then for those who want to try a fuller expression, I demonstrate. The next day, I noticed sensation in my mid-back. The only explanation is that I should have stayed with the gentle version knowing that when I teach, I have a harder time being mindful of myself, because I’m focused on students. I did not, in that moment, have the ability to discern my best course of action. The Sanskrit for the concept of discernment is Vivek. I’d been learning about Vivek in a weekly class through the Princeton University Hindu Life Program. I had discovered the perfect lesson in Vivek (the hard way).

How can we take this lesson into our every day lives? Discerning how much we want to take in. One more news segment? One more Netflix series? Reaching, striving. One more commitment on the calendar? Should? Should not? Pause, breathe, think, weigh, assess…

Read more here about Camel Pose: https://www.yogajournal.com/poses/camel-pose

Don’t Blink…or you might miss what’s coming up!

There has never been a better time to close your eyes or soften your gaze. To look and to feel deeply within yourself at the center of consciousness and your being. Where a divine light exists and every answer to every question about your truest self lives. ~LLS
Coming soon:

Virtual Gentle Yoga for Computer Users – Saturday, May 30th 9:00-10:30. Looking to counter the effects of heavy computer/device use? Are your shoulders, neck, upper back bothering you and maybe even your wrists or eyes? Look no further, this Gentle Yoga class is for you! Cost $10. Registration is open. Join from anywhere in the comfort of your own home.

The Basics of Meditation – Saturday, June 27th 9:00-11:00. There has never been a better time to begin a meditation practice. Have your heard about the many benefits of meditation for your health and for anxiety? Come learn the background, benefits, and practical techniques in order to get started right away. Cost $25. Registration is open. Join from anywhere in the comfort of your own home.


Weekly Programs (open registration):

Virtual Gentle Yoga and Meditation – Friday Mornings at 9:00. New session beginning 6/12 (five classes: 6/12, 6/19, 6/26, 7/3, and 7/10). Registration is open. Cost $40. Classes left in the current sesson are: 5/29, and 6/5. There will be subsequent sessions, so please reach out if you’re interested. Join from anywhere in the comfort of your own home.

Virtual Mindful Chair Yoga and Meditation  – Tuesday mornings at 10:00 a.m. beginning 5/19 (includes 5/19, 5/26, 6/2, 6/9, and 6/16) Cost: $40.
 There will be subsequent sessions so please reach out if you’re interested. Anyone who lives anywhere can join from the comfort of home and even in PJs!

For a limited time, I am offering a free virtual Yoga Nidra and Meditation experience. Gather your props in advance: mat, cushion, blanket/s, pillow/s. Meet me in cyberspace!

~Virtual Yoga Nidra (Deep, Profound Relaxation) and Meditation – Tuesday evenings 7:30-8:15 p.m. This can be practiced reclining or seated. Yoga nidra takes the student on a journey within connecting the mind/body through a series of steps to a quieter place for meditation. Ongoing until further notice.Register for Yoga Nidra/Meditation with this link: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/v5Akde-ppzsid3XXbWe7mZw1DtClCDlp8Q

Clear the Path

It’s the time of the year for stuffiness, allergies, and blocked sinuses. There are many great methods to cleanse the nasal passages – saline sprays and gadgets galore! My favorite is very simple. It is one that a dear friend introduced me to years ago that I never thought I could use – a plastic netipot. Now, please do your research about the use of netipots. Learn how to use them properly. Learn how to clean them and what type of water to use. The best way to describe the feeling after using one is this: Image stepping outside on a snowy winter’s day and inhaling deeply (sorry, if you’re in a warm climate!).

Another practice I’ve come to love is the use of organic oil in my sinuses. Ayurveda (yoga’s sister science) recommends using nasya oil, or putting oil drops in your nose. Here are some of the many benefits:
  • It’s balancing and calming.
  • It soothes and moisturizes dry sinuses.
  • It is said to improve the quality of your voice, strengthen your vision and prompt clarity. It helps to release tension in the head and mitigate the build up of stress.
  • Nasya promotes clear breathing and supports the flow of prana (life force).

You can find netipots and nasya in stores and online. It’s something worth experimenting with. Who nose?

Please note: As with any new practice or substance used in your body, please check with your medical professional to ensure there are no contraindications or issues with use.

Oh Smudge!

By Guest Blogger: Beverly McGivney

The sacred art of smudging refers to burning herbs to purify the air and cleanse a space energetically. The intent is to clear away negative energy, therefore providing positive vibes and clarity. Smudging your own personal space can help you with relaxation and concentration.

Herbs have been used throughout cultures and religions since ancient times. They are typically dried, bundled, and burned during sacred or spiritual practices, meditation, ceremonies, and rituals. Some commonly used herbs are: 

Palo Santo- Native to South America translates as “holy wood” and is related to Frankincense and Myrrh. The inspiring woodsy and citrus, minty fragrance helps create a refreshing and clean atmosphere. 

Rosemary- Originating from the Mediterranean region, its robust woodsy scent can help create an energizing environment and promote a sense of clarity. 

Sage- Also originates from the Mediterranean and is traditionally used for its strong uplifting aroma and its clarifying properties. It’s the most common herb used for smudging. 

You can create your own smokeless smudge spray using essential oils! Each of the herbs listed are available as an essential oil. Here’s how to do it: 

Ingredients: 2 oz. Glass Spray Bottle; Water; Witch Hazel; Essential Oils (one or a blend)

Choose one essential oil and add 10 drops into spray bottle. I prefer to combine 10 drops of each essential oil (Palo Santo, Rosemary, & Sage) creating a blend. Fill bottle 1/2 way with witch hazel and fill the rest with water. Holding your smudge spray, set your intention for your space. Shake well and spray away. Be careful not to spray near your eyes!

Read more about Beverly McGivney (YL # 1149206) here:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/thebodhiseed1121; Instagram: @thebodhiseed1121
Beverly, the creator of the Bodhi Seed, has a passion for whole person wellness. During her personal exploration of whole person wellness body, mind and spirit, Beverly was inspired to create The Bodhi Seed. The Bodhi Seed is a platform to educate and advocate on wellness using nature’s energy while inspiring purpose and abundance! She believes in creating non-toxic living mentally, spiritually, emotionally and physically!

Yoga In Place

While we’re sheltering in place (and even afterward), virtual yoga can be accessed from anywhere. If you’re enjoying the content I share, you may enjoy my virtual classes as well! If you’d like to be added to my email list for regular updates of virtual and in person offerings (some are free), it’s easy. Just email me at: lyn.sirota@gmail.com. See below:

For a limited time, I am offering a free virtual Yoga Nidra and Meditation experience.  Please ensure your account and device are set about 15 minutes in advance and gather your props: mat, cushion, blanket/s, pillow/s. Meet me in cyberspace!

~Remote Yoga Nidra (Deep Relaxation) and Meditation – Tuesday evenings 7:30-8:15 p.m. This can be practiced reclining or seated. Yoga nidra takes the student on a journey within connecting the mind/body through a series of steps to a quieter place for meditation. Ongoing until further notice.

~*New* Remote Mindful Chair Yoga and Meditation  – Tuesday mornings at 10:00 a.m. beginning 5/19 (includes 5/19, 5/26, 6/2, 6/9, and 6/16) Cost: $40. There will be subsequent sessions so please reach out if you’re interested. Registration is now open. Anyone who lives anywhere can join from the comfort of home and even in PJs!

~Remote Gentle Yoga and Meditation – Friday Mornings at 9:00. New session beginning  Friday, May 8th (five sessions: 5/8, 5/15, 5/22, 5/29, and 6/5). There will be subsequent sessions so please reach out if you’re interested. Cost $40. Registration is open. Join from anywhere in the comfort of your own home.

~*Hurry* Remote Gentle Yoga for Anxiety and Busy Minds – Saturday May 16th, 9:00-10:30.  In this class we’ll practice poses to calm the nervous system blended with mindfulness practices for anxiety. Cost $10. Registration is open. Join from anywhere in the comfort of your own home. This class is free for Healthcare professionals.

~Remote Gentle Yoga for Computer Users – Saturday, May 30th 9:00-10:30. Looking to counter the effects of heavy computer/device usage? Are your shoulders, neck, upper back bothering you and maybe even your wrists? Look no further, this Gentle Yoga class is for you! Cost $10. Registration is open. Join from anywhere in the comfort of your own home.

Enlightened Readers Book Group – Lyn/Lilavati leads these discussions on mostly historical fiction titles (with some exceptions). Next meeting TBD in June via Zoom. Princeton Integral Yoga Community Center, 12:00. Book discussion:  The Rules of Magic. This is a free offering.

Testimonials

“Chair yoga is a practice that nourishes the mind, body, and soul! I have found it outstanding “exercise” for arthritis as well. Instructor, Lyn Sirota understands joints and how movement and breath can relieve pain. For me, chair yoga is gentle impact and far better rehab than any physical therapy I’ve done. Give it a try!”

~Lynn R

“I’ve been a student in Lyn Lilavati Sirota’s Gentle Mat Yoga classes for several years now, and can’t imagine a week without this type of yoga practice that stretches my body and mind. During her class I can just focus on myself, learn breathing practices that help me cope with life and stress, practice staying (and living) in the moment, and of course stretch out my body. I feel renewed, less tense, more flexible, for the whole day!”

~Stephanie C

“I just wanted to thank you one more time for that amazing class this morning. You are truly so talented and I feel like this is the class I’ve been looking for all my life LOL! I loved the little extras that you added like explaining what each pose was and the reason for doing it, the reading of the passage, incorporating scents like lavender and eucalyptus. I defuse it with essential oil’s, but I really loved how your house smelled and so many other little things that really made it the perfect class. I look forward to joining more in the future.”

~Joanne H

“Thank you for giving so much of yourself to your students. I feel so calm and safe in your classes.”

~Tamar B

Mindful Eating

For our bodies to get the most out of the food we eat, it’s not only about what we eat, but our experience as well. Enjoying a meal using all of our senses will make a big impact on absorption – smell, taste, touch, sight, sound. Here are some additional helpful tips:

~Eat in a settled atmosphere.

~Ayurveda (the sister science to yoga) suggests we should include all 6 tastes in our meals: sweet, sour, astringent, bitter, salty, and pungent.

~Only eat when hungry.

~Enjoy a meal at a moderate pace. Like Goldilocks, not too fast, not too slow…

~Don’t eat when you’re upset. Your emotions are directly linked to your gut.

~Always sit down to eat (don’t eat while driving, typing on the computer or phone)

~Minimize raw foods, which are harder to digest than cooked ones.

Source: The Chopra Center

Immunity Nutrients

By Guest Blogger – Nicole Printon

Our immune systems need to be fully functional at all times, particularly during a global pandemic.  Lifestyle habits are essential: regular exercise (active and passive, for balance), good sleep habits (regular bed time-before 10 pm for melatonin/cortisol ratios), and daily self care.  Good nutrition is key.

Incorporate these specific nutrients to boost immune function:

Vitamin A – plays a regulatory role in immune responses 
Foods rich in vitamin A: carrots, sweet potatoes, iceberg lettuce, king mackerel, salmon, goat cheese, cheddar cheese, hard boiled eggs

Vitamin C – a powerful antioxidant, squelching free radicals in the body that cause chronic inflammation.  Recent research suggests C protects against bacteria linked to ulcers and stomach cancer.  C supports cellular functions of both the innate and adaptive immune system
Foods Rich in Vitamin C: cantaloupe, bell peppers, broccoli, kiwi, tomatoes

Vitamin D – Research has shown that people with adequate D levels get sick less often.  For adequate amounts of Vitamin D, consuming foods rich in D is NOT enough.  Daily exposure to sunlight – sunscreen free; about 15 minutes daily is critical.
Foods rich in Vitamin D: salmon, sardines, egg yolk, shrimp, fortified milk (drink whole milk), yogurt (full fat)

Vitamin E – a powerful antioxidant, protects cell membranes from oxidation and combats free radicals in the body.  Supplementing Vitamin E is NOT necessary unless you have been diagnosed with a true deficiency.
Foods rich in Vitamin  E: spinach, almonds, sweet potatoes, pine nuts, brazil nuts, sunflower seeds, avocado, peanuts, butternut squash, olive oil, wheat germ

Zinc – critical for development and function of immune cells and accelerates wound healing.  Plays a critical role in collagen synthesis, immune function, and inflammatory response.  Zinc is an essential player in over 300 enzymatic reactions in the body.
Foods rich in Zinc: oysters, beef, oatmeal, mushrooms, chicken, hemp seeds, lentils, seeds, yogurt

Guest Blogger Nicole Printon holds certifications through WITs (personal training), ACE (Certified Health Coach with Behavior Change Specialty, and Group Fitness), and is currently pursuing a Master’s in Holistic Nutrition Therapy through Nutrition Therapy Institute.  She is completing her first 200 hour yoga teacher training mid May. She truly believes that fitness is the gateway to confidence, personal growth, and endless possibilities to live our most vibrant optimal lives. Nicole resides in Franklin Park with her 4 kids, 3 cats, and husband.

www.nicoleprinton.com

What is Your Dharma?

There are many interpretations of the meaning of the word, Dharma. For this purpose, we’ll call it truth. What do you hear when your thoughts become silent? What visions do you see? Have you come to the full realization of your true gifts?

We all have these labels: Mother, Father, Daughter, Son, Wife, Husband…but what is left when these labels fade away? What IS your true essence? Your destiny. You may be searching. But the answer isn’t very far away. Just listen.

It’s possible I was born a yogi. Or, maybe it was a past life? When I was about 12 years old, I wrote this poem. Questioning, seeking…

Am I Really Here?

A figment of reality.

A belief within the mind.

A true to life suggestion,

that truth is really blind.

A plan of people living,

a sight that isn’t seen.

My life I see before me.

Am I really here?

Sharing a Beautiful Poem

~ By: Jeannette Encinias

Silver


“How many years of beauty do I have left?
she asks me.
How many more do you want?
Here. Here is 34. Here is 50.

When you are 80 years old
and your beauty rises in ways
your cells cannot even imagine now
and your wild bones grow luminous and
ripe, having carried the weight
of a passionate life.

When your hair is aflame
with winter
and you have decades of
learning and leaving and loving
sewn into
the corners of your eyes
and your children come home
to find their own history
in your face.

When you know what it feels like to fail
ferociously
and have gained the
capacity
to rise and rise and rise again.

When you can make your tea
on a quiet and ridiculously lonely afternoon
and still have a song in your heart
Queen owl wings beating
beneath the cotton of your sweater.

Because your beauty began there
beneath the sweater and the skin,
remember?

This is when I will take you
into my arms and coo
YOU BRAVE AND GLORIOUS THING
you’ve come so far.

I see you.
Your beauty is breathtaking.”

Lose the Lizard Legs

It doesn’t take much to really nourish your skin and it’s a powerful practice in reducing anxiety. Your skin is a system of the body called the Integumentary System and needs care just as much as the inside of your body.

I keep this do-it-yourself (DIY) scrub in the shower for when my skin is calling for attention. Today was one of those days. I had lizard legs this morning, so I reached for this scrub.

Take care of the skin you’re in, save money, and make use of something that would otherwise go to the compost or trash. Trifecta!

DIY Body Scrub

Mix together:

1/4 C organic coconut oil

1/4 C sugar

1/4 C coffee grounds

1 tbsp ground cinnamon

A small jar or container with a lid (I use a small plastic container since I leave it in the shower and wouldn’t want broken glass). Also, note, the coconut oil will make the floor of the shower slippery, so please be careful.

AND, it smells and works great!

Pause

I don’t know about you, but speaking candidly, I’m having a hard time staying focused these days. Starting, stopping, starting again, maybe finishing, maybe not. I’ve accepted that this is my current state of mind. What I do find helpful in the midst of moving, but not actually going anywhere, is taking time to pause. Pausing to look at how beautiful the clouds are especially against the bright blue sky, pausing to feel the sun on my face, pausing to inhale the outdoor scents of blooming trees, bushes, and flowers, pausing to notice patterns in the stone tile in my house I’ve never noticed before and taking time to just be in that moment.

Each day I think about all the things in my life I am grateful for. I try not to focus on what I don’t have, but turn toward the abundance that I do have. What do you notice when you pause?

#thistooshallpass

Toning Your Immune System

During this season of awareness of our immune systems, there are practices and suggestions quite helpful for keeping the immune system toned. Sharing some of the many:

1. Reduce and regulate your exposure to stress. Stress affects the entire body and weakens the immune system as well as the digestive system. This involves the way you process stressful events in life as well.

2. Evaluate your lifestyle. Eat and sleep well. Focus on foods that are anti-inflammatory. Manage time and don’t over book or over burden your life. Being well rested helps your immune system fight and repair. It also helps the liver do its job detoxifying. Check out the Love your Liver Workshop coming up in April at this link: http://feelthepeaceblog.lynsirota.com/about/

3. Keep hands clean and away from the face. Sanitizing is good, but it is possible to overdo this. We need good bacteria too.

4. There are many foods, spices, herbs, and supplements that help the immune system. One of my personal favorites is Black Elderberry Extract. You can find it in stores under the name Sambucus and online. Try looking for a brand that is organic with little to no sugar.

4. Stay tuned in to your body and what it needs. Cultivate balance in the body and in life by staying deeply connected through physical movement especially yoga. Balance the body/mind through meditation.

Always check with your medical professional if you are concerned about your immunity or if you are thinking of trying new herbs and/or supplements to ensure no contraindications.

Sunday Deep – Sharing some profound quotes from Pema Chodron:

1. “Learning how to fail will help us more than anything else in life.”

2. “Protecting ourselves from pain—our own and that of others—has never worked. Everybody wants to be free from their suffering, but the majority of us go about it in ways that only make things worse.”

3. “When our main goals are to gain comfort and avoid discomfort, we begin to feel disconnected from, and even threatened by, others. We enclose ourselves in a mesh of fear.”

4. “Some people work hard, day and night, in the field of helping others, but their strongest motivation is to stay busy so they can avoid feeling their own pain.”

5. “It’s said that if we want to learn about our past, we should look at our present circumstances, for they are the result of our past actions. If we want to learn about our future, we should look at what we’re doing now.”

6. Though we can’t predict or control what will come up next or how we will feel about it, we can do something about how we react. We can work on how we relate to whatever comes up.”

7. Every time we catch ourselves going down the rut of a habitual reaction, we have a chance to interrupt the momentum and discover a whole new direction and depth to our life.”

8. “To the degree that we can open to our own discomfort, we can open to others’ as well, and vice versa. This is so because in reality there’s no difference between our pain and that of others.”

9. “When you become conscious, the first thing you discover is why you stayed unconscious all those years. Being conscious means you really have to feel what you feel, which is frequently very vulnerable and raw.”

10. “The interesting thing is that the more willing you are to step out of your comfort zone, the more comfortable you feel in your life. Situations that used to arouse fear and nausea become easier to relax.”

11. Accepting something, by the way, isn’t the same as liking it. To accept a feeling that we habitually associate with discomfort doesn’t mean we immediately turn around and start enjoying it. It means being okay with it as part of the texture of human life.”

Need a Little Kelp?

Kelp or seaweed is a rich source of minerals and vitamins. There are many types growing naturally in the ocean in thick forests. Marine life depends on it for their habitat and as a food source.

What most don’t realize is that it’s extremely healthy in our diet. It’s filled with calcium (plant based), vitamin K (not easy to find in most foods), vitamin A, vitamin B-12, iron, and magnesium. Seaweed is good for metabolism, eye health, bone health, and the immune system.

Kelp is great for the skin because it’s high in antioxidants. It’s an effective moisturizer and can help keep skin bright and clear. I’d been putting it in dog food as a supplement for my fur babies and now I’m grabbing some for myself.

*Note: As with anything dietary, please check with your physician first to ensure this is not contraindicated.

Address Your Stress

Stress and anxiety are pervasive issues that compromise health in very deep, significant ways. There is endless research about the connection. It may seem like there isn’t much to do about it or any choice, especially if the perceived source of stress isn’t anything that can be changed. But…there are many ways to balance and mitigate stress/anxiety. Here are just a few tips I’ll share from my class, Gentle Yoga for Stress, Anxiety, and Busy Minds. To have a fuller experience with this using Mindfulness and Subtle practices, join my next class and/or my email list for classes/programs:

-Important! Look very closely at screen time. Anxiety was never as prevalent as it is post smart phones.

-Eat mindfully. Taste your food. Eat slowly, chew well, and stay present with beautiful, calm things around you, if possible. Your body will absorb nutrients better and process the food more effectively.

-Take care of your body including your skin by using essential oils, massage oil, organic oils, etc. Look at the ingredients of what you put on your skin including make-up and deodorant. There is a great DIY easy, natural recipe for deo on this site, Feel the Peace, as well as body scrub. There is also a great post on this site about this topic. Your skin is part of your integumentary system, one of the 11 body systems.

-Address your strong emotions, don’t stuff them. Emotions, pain, and loss will find a way into your body and create issues. Find productive ways to address this through all modalities including counseling and medication (if necessary). Slower, gentler, more meditative yoga classes are very beneficial for this. Sometimes classes aren’t what they actually say they are so be careful, but in general, look for labels like Gentle, Restorative, and Yin.

-Stay in the present. There is a saying by Lao Tzu “If you are depressed you are living in the past. If you are anxious you are living in the future. If you are at peace you are living in the present.”

 

 

 

Don’t Miss This Unique Opportunity

Happy almost New Year! You’re invited to kick off the new year with a blended class of Beginners Mind/Winter Qigong and Yin Yoga. Beginners are most welcome and do bring friends and family! Here are the details: 

Class: January 1st from 2:30 to 4:30.

Where: Sand Hills Wellness Center, 57 Sand Hills Road, Kendall Park

Cost: $40 (cash only) at the door. Pre-registration required. RSVP to lyn.sirota@gmail.com. If anything changes, do let us know ASAP, space is limited.

Beginners Mind: Winter Qigong (Chinese Medicinal Movements)

The kidney is the predominant winter organ and it needs to flow when it is cold outside. The kidney area in Chinese Medicine is called the Jing, which means germ or essence. In the Chinese belief system we all originated from water and this liquid carries our original template – our very essence. The kidney holds the mystery to our lineage and the capacity for refining our lives. Using gentle, graceful, and deliberate Qigong forms, the kidney is reminded to flow, even though the cold winter may create some icy conditions.

Yin Yoga: A more passive and meditative form of yoga where students are fully supported in poses with various props. Our yin practice will also focus on the kidney in a quiet practice that allows the body to sink deeply into poses. Yin opens and stretches the body along the organ meridians of Traditional Chinese Medicine while the student is still/quiet. This allows the practitioner to stay in the body and feel, without being overtaken by the “thinking mind.”

Bio: Dr Robin Shapiro, a Neuro Scientist, has been a pioneer in the field of Integrative Medicine for almost 40 years. Exploring methodology to blend Eastern and Western Medicine has been what she has dedicated her practice to for her entire career. A holistic thinker, ROB believes that healing is a process, not an event. Her studies in Qigong, Moving Medicine is the under pinning of her health and wellness approach. Her current work includes the development of UBWell Associates where Medical Diagnosis Advocacy is offered. 

Bio: Lyn Lilavati Sirota is a certified 200-hour instructor who teaches Gentle Yoga, Chair Yoga, and Meditation. Lyn completed a 180-hour Therapeutic Yoga Teacher Training program, a 100-hour Yin Yoga teacher training as well as a program in Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction. She authors a Wellness Blog called Feel the Peace. Please visit/subscribe at: http://feelthepeaceblog.lynsirota.com/. Lyn is also an author of non-fiction children’s books and articles with 30+ books in print. 

Shower Power

Invite the practice of mindfulness into your morning or evening shower. Stand in Tadasana (Mountain Pose) and feel the sensations of the water on all sides of the body. Alternate left/right shoulders, front body/back body. Inhale the steam and smells of soap and shampoo. Listen to the rhythmic cadence of the water for a few slow, deep breaths. Notice your shower habitat as if it’s the first time you’re seeing it. Can you find something you hadn’t noticed before? Stick out your tongue and let the shower water bathe and cleanse your palate. Pause after you shut off the water and feel the very moment the comfort of the heat turns to chill. Feel the chill. Give yourself a hug and start the day with the affirmation, “Today will be a good day. I’m grateful to be alive to experience this new day.”

Carpe Diem – Seize the day, peeps!

Your Friend Frank

Guest post by Beverly McGivney


Meet FRANKinscense (Boswellia Carterii). Considered a Holy Oil, it dates back to ancient Egypt (16th century B.C.) as being used in prescriptions and recipes. When used regularly — topically and internally — it may support overall well-being and healthy immune function. Note: if you are ingesting, ensure your essential oil is 100% therapeutic grade.

Frankincense has a visual tightening effect on the skin and may benefit mature skin and slow signs of aging.  A drop can be added to daily moisturizer. Research indicates that when inhaling the pure properties in essential oils, they stimulate the olfactory receptors and activate regions in the brain’s limbic system associated with memory, emotion, and state of mind. In Frank’s case, its earthly and uplifting aroma has wonderful therapeutic benefits!

The pineal gland in the brain loves Frank! This gland is considered “the seat of spiritual connection.” Frank can be used to enhance practices such as prayer and meditation. It’s grounding effect can promote feelings of relaxation and tranquility. The pineal gland also loves to be stimulated by frankincense because it aids in its production of melatonin, a serotonin derived hormone that regulates sleep patterns. Diffuse or spray Frank during bedtime as a great sleep aid. Quite Frankly, you’ll feel happy you did.

For Spray: and add equal parts of filtered water and witch hazel with 15 drops of Frankincense Essential Oil.


Read more about Beverly McGivney (YL # 1149206) here:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/thebodhiseed1121; Instagram: @thebodhiseed1121
Beverly, the creator of the Bodhi Seed, has a passion for whole person wellness. During her personal exploration of whole person wellness body, mind and spirit, Beverly was inspired to create The Bodhi Seed. The Bodhi Seed is a platform to educate and advocate on wellness using nature’s energy while inspiring purpose and abundance! She believes in creating non-toxic living mentally, spiritually, emotionally and physically!

Dinner for Breakfast

It’s not unheard of to have breakfast for dinner. But, what about dinner for breakfast? I was recently on a lovely retreat and each day for breakfast, we had Miso Soup with various toppings. The Miso is fermented making it a great choice for the digestive system as a probiotic. And, it’s tasty and really easy to make.

Miso Soup

8 C water

3-4 scallions Chopped and save some as a topping

1/2 C grated carrots

1/4 C chopped celery

1/2-1 sheet chopped wakame or kombu sea vegetable (I just used snacking seaweed from Costo)

1/2 tub Miso (or Miso to taste-I bought Mellow Miso from Whole Foods). There are various types and some that are non-soy.

Options: Add Mushrooms Toppings: Sauteed Kale with garlic and ginger, Almonds, Sunflower Seeds, tofu, tempeh, sesame seeds, use your imagination

Boil water and remove 1 1/4 C before adding scallions, carrots, celery and seaweed to partially cook (about 5 minutes). Mix miso paste with hot water. Important, turn off the heat before adding paste mixture to the pot (if you boil the miso it kills the healthy properties…also don’t boil when reheating. Just heat till warm to the palate.)

Trikonasana-Triangle Pose

Trikonasana (TREE-kone-AA-SUN-aa) — is an asana (posture) that activates and moves energy through the entire body by stretching the side body and challenging the balance. This asana is named from the Sanskrit words, Trikona, meaning triangle, and asana.

Some of the benefits

Stretches and opens the hips, chest, and lengthens the spine.

Opens the hamstrings, groin, calves, and shoulders.

Stretches and tones the muscles of the legs.

Stretches the intercostal muscles of the rib cage.

Strengthens the neck. Note: ensure the head isn’t droppping down to the shoulder.

Can bring relief to backaches and menstrual cramps.

Gives a deep, full, nourishing stretch to the sides of the body.

Strengthens the legs, knees, ankles, arms, and chest.

Increases mental and physical balance.

Improves digestion.

Reduces anxiety, stress, back pain, and sciatica

Try Something New

Now I can hear some saying, Ew. And what’s more, I know exactly who is rolling their eyes at me!

While browsing the yogurt section at Shoprite, I came across two new brands of yogurt I hadn’t heard of and this was one of them. I’m always looking for yogurt that has less sugar than what is typically available and non-dairy. This one was a surprise! Not only non-dairy, less sugar, but Golden Milk yogurt? For those of you not familiar with golden milk, it is a drink with turmeric that is great for insomnia and inflammation. The chia is packed with protein and omega. Having it for lunch is pretty great too. Added some blueberries and gluten-free coconut granola. Voila!

Yawning

Many of us lead stressful, hectic lives and exist in a sympathetic state. This means the sympathetic part of the autonomic nervous system (ANS) — the “fight or flight” response — is more active that the parasympathetic nervous system. This is the part of the ANS that is linked with rest, digestion, and relaxation.

While yawning seems to be associated with fatigue or boredom, it also plays a role in transitions from waking to sleeping and vice versa. Yawning increases the circulation of cerebrospinal fluid and helps relax the body and reduce stress levels.

Our scientific community is looking at the importance of yawning. It’s crucial to our overall well-being. Repetitive yawning helps lower the temperature of the brain and assists in balancing inflammation and combating other harmful effects on the nervous system. Frequent yawning releases many neurologically beneficial processes.

While yawning is involuntary, you can bring about a yawn by just trying it. So… fake it till you make it!

Finding Savasana

Savasana, or more fondly, Corpse Pose is not an easy pose to find. According to the yoga masters, the hardest pose to practice. Letting go and being in stillness is a tall order. Life gets in the way, but it doesn’t have to.

Take a few moments of your day to connect with the earth through your body. Walk barefoot and really feel the earth with mindful, slow steps. Connect through your eyes, through your nose. Watch a beautiful sunrise or sunset. Inhale deeply and exhale slowly. It’s a great start!