Reiki

30 12 2013

The first time I experienced Reiki, I was hooked. I went in knowing nothing. I wanted it that way. An open mind would keep me from expecting to feel something, anything.

Yoga is known to assist in balancing the chakras, so the concept of these energy centers was not new to me. In fact, I design yoga classes to concentrate on a specific chakra or to align all the chakras, when needed. Certain poses, along with the breath, affect specific chakras to keep the energy flowing throughout the body. If one chakra is blocked, it can hinder the flow and may show physically in the body and/or our thoughts and feelings.

I always feel better after practicing yoga. Even when my focus is not on the chakras, the chakras benefit from the practice. After my Reiki experience, I felt there was more I could give to those looking for a way to receive greater relaxation, reduce their stress and balance their chakras.

Peace and gratitude are part of my daily life since I started practicing Reiki. Before Reiki, I strove to feel a closer connection, incorporating yoga, meditation, and prayer into my day. The connection was attainable though more effort was needed and the sense of connection was not as strong.

My journey continues, opening my eyes and my heart to more than I could ever have imagined.

Namaste’





Leafy Greens

3 01 2013

I’ve been experimenting with leafy greens. How could I include more into my daily diet?

Why would I want to add dark leafy greens to my diet? The concentration of nutrients: fiber, calcium, iron, vitamins K, C, E and folate found in leafy greens have been found to protect from heart disease, diabetes, and maybe even cancer. Wow, I want those benefits!

Okay, so what is actually considered a dark leafy green? This is a list of greens in order of nutritional value.

1. Kale is a nutritional powerhouse! It is a great source of vitamins A, C, and K, calcium, folate, and potassium.

2. Collards are similar in nutritional value to kale. Collards have a chewy texture and a heartier taste. Try using a collard leaf as a tortilla wrap!

3. Turnip Greens are loaded with vitamins A, C, K, and calcium. The leaves are more tender than some other greens, with a sharp flavor.

4. Swiss chard is a good source of vitamins A and C and has a beet-like taste. The texture is soft and good for sauteeing.

Before cooking, clean the kale, collards, turnips, and chard leaves by rinsing in a sink of water, draining and repeating until the leaves are dirt-free. Try rubbing the leaves with olive oil and cook for five minutes with garlic, olive oil, and broth.

 5. Spinach is loaded with vitamins A, C, and folate. Spinach can be eaten raw or cooked, but did you know that heat frees up the dietary calcium, giving you more nutritional value? Think about adding spinach to soups, pasta meals, and casseroles.

6. Mustard greens have the same nutritional value as turnip leaves, collards, and mustard greens. Their taste is more peppery and may have a mustard smell when cooking.Try adding a little vinegar or lemon juice toward the end of cooking to tone down a slight acid taste.

To store, the greens should be dry and placed in an air-tight bag, with as much air as possible pushed out. Try adding a damp paper towel for moisture. Place in fridge in vegetable drawer.

 7. Broccoli, high in vitamin C, A, potassium, and folate, is usually eaten raw with a vegetable dip or steamed. Broccoli florets can also be added to pasta, casserole, and stir-fry dishes.

 8. Red and Green Leaf and Romaine Lettuce are crunchy, while the leaf lettuces are a little softer in texture. If you are commonly using leaf lettuce in your salads, try adding romaine leaves as they are higher in vitamin A and contain more folate.

 Be careful of the salad dressing, the creamier the dressing the higher in fat and calories. Try the dressing on the side and dip your fork before adding the salad.

9. Cabbage is considered a leafy vegetable as well as a cruciferous vegetable, known as a cancer-fighter. Cabbage is also versatile in the kitchen by fixing it cooked and made into sauerkraut, adding to stir-fries, or using it raw in salads or slaw.

10. Iceberg Lettuce is the most popular leafy green consumed in the US, although less and less is being consumed each year. Another sad note: it is very, very low in nutritional and health benefits. Consider adding other greens to your iceberg lettuce salads.

Our daughter has been juicing with leafy greens, so she gave me the incentive to try it. Some of my experiments have been successful, by that I mean tasty enough to finish, and others not so much. I am learning the combination of foods with the greens is the key, just like in any other recipe. So, I Googled juicing recipes and took others’ advice on what might tempt my palate. Here is one I like:

 

Purple Kale Potion

Ingredients:

4 oz. Kale

2 celery stalks

½ lemon

1 cup baby spinach

1 pineapple spear (rind removed)

1 cup blueberries

 

Instructions:

Juice all ingredients. Note: Always juice berries first. Serves 2.

Source: Jack La Lanne’s Power Juicer, Juice for Life

 

Did you know the darker the leaf, the better for your health? This is due to their high phyto-nutrient content. Phyto-nutrients are not essential for life, but help to boost our health. I could use a boost! How about you?

 Tammy’s Challenges

Mind: Wear a color that makes you feel good.

Body: Find a recipe for a new dark leafy green, purchase it at the grocery, and give the new taste a chance.

Soul: Love your body and concentrate on what you like about your body: strong back to carry a child, beautiful smile to pass on, eyes to see that smile…

I would love to hear from you.  Contact me through email at Tammy@TammYoga.com and Facebook at TammYoga and Twitter @TammYoga.

 

Namaste

Tammy

 





Mindful Eating

19 11 2012

“Food and emotional nourishment are intimately bound together in the depths of our unconscious. Just as you might fill an inner emptiness with food, so you can reject or deny your needs, and therefore reject food, in the misbelieve that the smaller the body the less the longing for love.” Deb Shapiro, Your Body Speaks Your Mind

Eating mindfully is not a diet or special formula for weight loss, but a way to live in the moment and notice behaviors that may not be serving us. Most of these behaviors have become habitual reactions to common triggers we encounter throughout our day.

One trigger may be stress. Stress is our body’s way of redistributing energy: our hearts start to race, our blood sugar rises, and we are more alert. This is good if it is for a short period of time, but our lifestyles have put our body’s stress mode into overdrive. This causes the adrenal glands to produce higher than normal levels of cortisol, which has been linked to increased weight gain, particularly in the abdominal area.

Sleep may be a cause for some that deal with weight problems. Too much or too little sleep has been proven to increase hormones that affect our ability to read the signs of hunger and fullness.

There is no easy or quick way to lose weight and maintain a healthy lifestyle. You may need to go deeper into your current patterns for dealing with stress. Do you eat to feel better? What feelings do you associate with certain foods? What foods do you eat to suppress feelings of anger or loneliness? What is preventing you from breaking through these habits?

Tammy’s Challenges

Mind: Examine your feelings about your body, relationships, and other areas of your life. Are these feelings true? Begin to notice negative thoughts running through your mind and replace them with life-affirming thoughts to heal those feelings. It may not be easy at first, but you may be surprised at the thoughts that may be keeping you from being the person you would like to be.

Body: Focus on a healthy body. Find exercise that you like to do. Realize that what you are capable of may not be what your spouse or friend is able to do. Your body is built different, you are at different places in your life, but you are doing what you know to be best for you.

Make room for plenty of rest.

Explore ways to reduce stress: yoga, meditation, journal, etc., and incorporate them regularly into your daily life.

Soul: Spend time to discover your passion. What do you enjoy doing? What do you do well? Explore your passion and share it with others. Send that positive, loving energy out into the world.

How are you taking care of yourself?

Namaste

Tammy





Legs Up the Wall Reduces Stress

19 08 2012

It just takes five minutes in Legs Up the Wall pose to relieve stress. Sometimes I like to end my yoga session with Legs Up the Wall, or midday to rejuvenate my body and mind. This pose is considered an inversion pose and all inversion poses help to clear the mind. Situations, relationships, and we take on a new perspective when we are looking up, rather than down.

Practiced regularly, Legs Up the Wall may help to:

 Calm the mind

 Relieve low back tension

 Aid in relieving minor anxiety and depression

 Ease stress on the adrenal glands

 Reduce swelling and cramping in the legs and feet

 Aid in digestion

 Relieve minor headaches

 May help regulating blood pressure

 Insomnia

 May relieve some symptoms of menopause and PMS

CAUTION: Legs up the wall is generally not recommend for those menstruating, with eye problems, with neck or back problems, after third month of pregnancy, and anyone with heart problems. Check with your yoga teacher first. during this pose, bend your knees, touch your soles together, and slide the outer edges of your feet down the wall, bringing your heels close to your pelvis.

Moving into Legs Up the Wall:

Before beginning, you may want to have a blanket or two handy to use, if needed for support. Remember, comfort is important.

1: Stand next to wall with your left shoulder and left hip against the wall. Sit to the floor with the shoulder and hip remaining against the wall. (Option: place a folded blanket close to the wall and place buttocks on blanket when sitting.)

2: Swing around to bring your bottom up close to the wall and legs reaching up the wall towards the ceiling. Lower back and head to the floor. (Option: If using a blanket, position hips comfortably on blanket to relieve any back or leg discomfort.)

3. Move hips away from the wall if hamstrings are tight or lower back is uncomfortable. (Option: Bring soles of the feet together, bend knees out to the sides, and slide outside edges of feet down the wall towards the pelvis.)

4. Make sure the neck is comfortable. A folded towel under the head or neck may be helpful.

5. Arms are placed out to the sides away from the body with palms up. (Option: Body temperature may drop slightly. A blanket to cover up with may be helpful.)

6. Close the eyes and breathe deeply. Inhale and exhale slowly, filling and expelling the lungs.

7: After 5- 10 minutes, bring knees toward chest and roll to your right side. Remain on the right side and take 2-3 deep breaths before sitting up slowly.

Experiment with the blankets and positioning of the hips and legs.

Need to de-stress before going to bed? Grab a blanket and head for the nearest wall.

Tammy’s Challenges

Mind: Do what is necessary to be able to sleep 8 hours each night.

Body: Trade workout DVDs with a friend or borrow one from the library. Ask a friend to join you!

Soul: Smile at yourself each time you look in the mirror. You must love yourself before anyone else is able to love you.

Namaste

Tammy





YogaFit for the Brain with Dr. Bill Larkin

6 05 2012

Post from YogaFit Newsletter:

Grow the Peanut; Shrink the Jelly Beans

At the Palm Springs Conference last May I had the great opportunity to speak to another totally tuned in YogaFit audience who get the significance of what I talk about.

I gave the group three pieces of aluminum foil, two jelly beans, and a peanut.

The participants put two jelly beans in the palm of their hand and closed that hand. The jelly beans are the amygdalae of the old, first to be created, reptilian brain. They are full of emotion, flight-flight, fear, anxiety. This part of the brain has had millions of years to develop in evolution to guard and protect us against tigers and other big harm. These are strong emotions we have inherited.

Wrap one sheet of aluminum foil around the closed hand and there it was, the reptilian brain. Wrap another sheet of additional millions of years of development around that same hand and you have a brain wrapped in millions of neuropathways connected to those jelly beans. Then on top of this brain we put a peanut that is the anterior cingulate; the emotional heart of the brain. It is a switching station that takes all of the signals of the brain that are positive and good and turns down the power of the amygdala from creating way too much negative emotional reacting. Our “peanut” anterior cingulate sits right above the insula of the brain which has mysterious connections to addiction that we are only beginning to understand.

Now add the last layer of aluminum foil that represents another few million years.  It is the frontal lobes. This part of the brain communicates with the anterior cingulate what we think and reason. This part of your brain is just behind your forehead.

But it is the peanut that is in the central position of modulating the thoughts of the frontal lobes and the reactions of the amygdala.

Here is the short of it, grow the anterior cingulate (the peanut) through yoga and it will dump chemicals on the amygdala and cool it down.  Super simple but this is what happens when YogaFit increases the growth of neuropathways that enforce and strengthen the work of the anterior cingulate.

Yoga affects the “heart” of the brain that is the anterior cingulate. It adds to the synchrony of the mind and body and elevates mood. Grow the peanut, shrink the jelly beans; do yoga.

Add to that consciously feeling the better feelings you feel, intensify them, feel more peace, more gratitude, more joy, more hope.  These are all states of mind you produce when you engage in the disciplines and direction in which YogaFit takes you.

Make a conscious effort to increase the positive emotions that the YogaFit experience creates. These emotions that elevate mood affect the “heart of the brain” that is the anterior cingulate we have simulated with a peanut. You are releasing a host of positive chemicals and hormones in the work you do.

Two things are extremely helpful increasing the growth of the anterior cingulate.

1. Believe that it’s happening. Plug-in your belief system to know that you are growing your brain and directing its development in a healthy way. Believing well adds to the elevation of mood and good feeling.

2. Capitalize on the good feelings your magnificent movements, filled with centuries of wisdom create for you. Intensity the good feeling you feel; just feel them more, make them last longer. Recreate these feeling states at other times during day by memory. Carry these states of better feelings with you. You are, all the while, growing the peanut that is the anterior cingulate, the heart of the brain.

Grow the peanut, shrink the jelly beans, do yoga and carry it with you in your memory throughout the day.

The significant breadth of the YogaFit program grows your “peanut” across time and significantly cools down your “jelly beans”.

Dr. Larkin is Director of the Applied Neuroscience Institute and author of Growing the Positive Mind and 12 New Steps for a New Millennium: The UpSpiraLife Group





Tree Pose

10 01 2012

I love Tree Pose. Whenever I need to calm my mind and re-ground myself, I move into Tree Pose. I can do it anywhere.

Try Tree Pose:

Stand with feet hip-width apart, feeling the feet grounded into the floor. Body weight is distributed on both feet. Find a focal point and shift weight to the left foot. Bring the sole of the right foot to the left ankle, big toe touching the floor and heel near right calf. Stay here until you feel comfortable to move on.

Tree Pose with Toes

You may bring the sole of the right foot up to the calf or inner thigh, avoiding the knee. Bring hands into prayer at your heart. Lengthen the spine up through the crown of your head, while keeping the foot grounded.

Press the sole of the foot into the thigh and press the thigh against the sole of the foot.

Repeat on the other side.

Tree Pose

Benefits:

* Strengthens thighs, calves, ankles, and spine

* Improves concentration and balance

Try not to judge yourself. One side may be easier than the other. One day may be easier than another. Accept what your body can do today.

Namaste

Tammy