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.”