5 ways to drink smart and be healthy.

Life is hectic. The opportunity to gather with friends for dinner and share a bottle of wine is a treat and a great way to slow down and enjoy life. To celebrate an achievement with a glass of champagne brings an extra glamour to the moment. Who doesn’t love the allure of a little bubbly? 

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However, when we have taken the celebrations too far, how many times have we uttered to ourselves, “I’m never drinking again!” 

As a yoga teacher, I’ve been in the wellness industry for almost 20 years. I advocate the practice of yoga, green juice, good sleep, and meditation on the regular. 

I am also a wine consultant. This means I also have the great job of helping people find the perfect wine or bottle of fizz for a celebration. Working in this field means I also sample many wines, sometimes tasting 20 or more varieties in one sitting and often before noon. 

Quick tip: “Spit, don’t swallow."

Having overindulged on the odd occasion, I know how difficult the next morning can be. Getting out of bed can be challenging when your head is throbbing, which does not leave one feeling their best. Establishing specific wellness habits are the key to enjoying a night out and thriving the next day especially when we have a demanding job or kids, or both. 

Here are my top five tips for both prior to drinking and for the recovery after:

1.    Hydrate

During the average day, regardless of weight and size, I go with the recommendation of around 1.2 litres or 6-8 ounces a day. The National Academies of Sciences suggests that women consume a total of approximately 2.7 liters (91 ounces) of water from all beverages and foods each day and that men get approximately 3.7 liters (125 ounces) daily. But these are just general guidelines and are not supported by firm scientific studies. (Source www.livescience.com)

I feel better when I drink more water and so do my students and clients. I keep track by using a glass water bottle from the company BKR. With 3 different sizes to choose from (and a range of fabulous colors), you can pick what works for you.   I'm not sponsored by BKR although I was I was; not only do I love their products but I haven't bought a plastic water bottle in over five years.

Typically, I drink close to 1-litre before noon, then another one before the day is done. When I head to a tasting, I bring a half-litre BKR and set a goal to drink it before I leave the tasting.  

We need water to maintain normal functioning of all the bodily systems. Overconsumption of alcohol will dehydrate your body, so it’s imperative that you maintain or increase your water intake (even by a glass) on the days you plan to have a drink or two. 

Start the night with a large glass of water to ensure you are hydrated. But don’t stop there. Buy a bottle of water from your server. Paying for water is one way to ensure you drink it, and your server will be happier. After each glass or toast, switch back to a glass of water. 

Will this involve more trips to the bathroom? Yes! Once you start, you can’t stop, however, your skin, liver, and kidneys will thank you. Some of the benefits are:

  • increases energy and reduces fatigue
  • improves skin complexion
  • boosts the immune system
  • flushes out toxins
  • aids in weight loss

At the end of the night, ensure you have water beside your bed. First thing in the morning, drink as much as you comfortably can, no matter how difficult it may be. Your head hurts because it’s dehydrated, so chugalug and hydrate that very important organ in your head, your brain. 

Don’t get a hangover, get hydrated.

2.    Eat.

Putting some food in your stomach before you go out will stop the drinks from going straight to your head. This is important as no one wants to turn into a sloppy drunk. With social media available at everyone's fingertips, you don't want the drunken antics captured on video. 

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By eating, and not a just salad, you will enjoy your evening. This I speak from personal experience -  let's just say when my night didn't end well when I just had a salad, thinking it was a healthy choice. I recommend starting with bread or some sort of appetizer. You don’t need to eat the whole loaf but a slice or two will slow the alcohol from entering your bloodstream.  A great alternative is a protein shake an hour before you go out. The key here is to eat. If you don’t, you may end up driving the porcelain bus at 3 A.M. Not a good look, ever. 

Don't be afraid to explore the taste sensations of wine with food. Eat slow, taste your food, savor your wine. Notice what works or doesn't with your palate. Ignore the rules of only red wine with meat and only white wine with fish. Go with your gut, just make sure you are putting something in your gut other than fermented grapes.

3.    Exercise 

As hard as it is the next day, if you have overindulged, get to a yoga class, preferably a hot yoga one. When I used to teach hot yoga in the Cayman Islands, the smell in the Sunday Morning class was pretty awful as everyone sweated out the drinks from the night before, yet everyone felt so much better after the class. Don't forget, the savasana will be worth it and there is always brunch after... 

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Hot yoga not your thing? Ensure you move your body so you can sweat a little or a lot. Doesn’t matter if it’s a brisk walk, a bicycle ride, or a swim. Just get moving. While lying in bed may initially feel better, you will thank yourself later once you get up and get active. 

4.    Greens. 

I drink greens daily and have for years; they keep me energized and super charged on life. Before a tasting or a yoga class, I will drink up my concoctions of greens. I throw in whatever green vegetables are in the fridge and try to have more veggies than fruit. Fruit has more naturally occurring sugars which combined with drinking means an increase of sugars in the body. Go for leafy greens, the darker the better, which have fewer sugars and lots of vital nutrients. 

When I teach a lot of yoga classes or a have a bunch of tastings on, I also add chlorophyll. This aids in liver detoxification and is an antioxidant. Think green power!  

5.    Awareness + Cut-Off

You have to know when to quit. The awareness of yourself that is developed over time from doing yoga, will benefit you greatly in all aspects of life. This means knowing when to say, “No, I’ve had enough.”  Yoga creates a deep connection to ourselves, our emotions and the physical aspects of the body; this aids us in making clear and empowered decisions. 

One of the most important tips I can share is this. 

How will I feel tomorrow? 

This has me putting the glass of wine down and picking up the water glass instead. Checking in with how I want to feel the next day has saved me on so many occasions. Knowing I need to be present for my daughters, my yoga students and my wine clientele means I need to rise and shine at my best. If I drink too much, don't drink enough water, nor eat enough there is definitely no shine and barely any rise. Life is too short to waste with a throbbing headache and regret. Make the most of it by asking yourself:

How do I want to feel the next day?

Put it in your phone as a reminder, and send it to yourself before 10 pm to ensure you check-in. It's easy to get carried away in the moment especially when having a good time. Remember the choices you make have consequences. Want to feel fantastic the next day and still enjoy yourself? Send yourself that friendly reminder; How do I want to feel tomorrow? 

These little tips can make all the difference between having a wonderful night out and hating life the next day. I love wine, I love yoga and I also want to thrive in daily life. Ultimately it's about balance. These tips can go a long way in ensuring you stay at your very best, enjoy all that life has to offer and still give back to those that need you. Incorporate these health tips is one small way to make a big difference. Cheers!

Double Trouble of astrological fun.

It's here. Mercury Retrograde drops December 3rd combined with Full Moon in Gemini. 

Double whammy of fun and an awesome way to finish off the year. Can you read my sarcasm?

 Full moon in Gemini.

Full moon in Gemini.

This time of year is exhausting enough already. Life is busy enough without this hurried pulsation as an undercurrent that does. not. stop. 

Added to the Christmas holidays aka stress, we move into the final Mercury Retrograde of the year. 

So how do we deal with the shit show of astrological insights that is upon us, other than running for the hills?

 I did consider moving into this hut at Glastonbury for the next three weeks and hibernating my cares away. 

I did consider moving into this hut at Glastonbury for the next three weeks and hibernating my cares away. 

Getting through Mercury Retrograde with some semblance of grace begins with understanding what it means and working it to your advantage.  This will save your sanity, check it out here

Now to the full moon in Gemini...

The full moon is about illuminating. She reveals what is hidden. It is a chance to bring to light what has been in the shadow and now in Gemini, the twins we get to experience everything in double, such as duality, light and dark, masculine and feminine and all polarities.  Oh man, it's gonna be juicy.

This means communication will be coming from many different realities which can be overwhelming in an already overwhelming season. Bah humbug. 

How to deal. 

Be Compassionate. Be Kind. Be Patient. 

Always, hold to being more compassionate with others. Be the one they can find solace in. Keep your actions kind. Be gentle with those when they are close to or already losing their shit. The Full Moon can make people feel cagey.  So many people I know, self-included, are going through the worst of times.  When someone is kind and patient with me I soften. My shoulders relax and I breathe deeper.  Let's remember to do this for each other. 

People may be struggling with articulating feelings, thoughts, emotions, ideas, you name it, it's going to get messy out there. Communication is going to be a challenge, so hold yourself to the highest and remember we are all just trying to figure this thing called life out. 

Attempt less time on the screen, more time reading actual books. Smile often.  Listen attentively to others and lend a helping hand. 

Keep breathing and focusing on your own exhale. Long. Slow. Deep. 

We are a nation starved for companionship and intimacy. Take time to gather with your beloved or bestie for a cup of tea or a lovely red wine (I suggest a lovely barbera wine, juicy and light) in front of a fire and get quiet. Turn off the phones, the TV and be with one another.

To quote Lao Tzu "Speaking with you for one night is better then reading books for 10 years."
 Let's just hang together.  

Let's just hang together.  

Go outside, take a long walk with no destination or purpose in mind does wonders for the soul. Let your body move, let the thoughts come and go. Let Nature fill you up in a way that commercialism cannot. Allow the full moon to light up your dreams and help you find the answers you are seeking. Trust in the process; Nature has been doing it right for many years.

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Eat simple foods like soups and stews on the approach to the holidays. The holidays can cause carnage on our bodies with rich food and late nights ( I CAN'T WAIT!!) so ease yourself into it gently. 

Prepare yourself for the carnage by building a strong immune with nourishing foods.

Think simple. Think bowls of goodness.

 Enjoy life outside. Nourish your body and soul.

Enjoy life outside. Nourish your body and soul.

Most importantly, be compassionate, kind, patient and loving with yourself.  Use the radiance of the full moon to let your deep dreams come to light. Use this time to wrap up any unresolved issues, to complete what is necessary to move forward into the New Year. With mercury retrograde giving us a few weeks to rest and reflect, we can literally finish unfinished business, wipe the plate clean and move forward with clarity, focus and intention from the heart.

Most importantly, slow down and be kind. It will do wonders for you.

 

 

Hang on, let go, throw up and smile.

Life mimics a roller coaster ride,  moments of raw unbelievable excitement dotted with joy,  then moments besieged with strife and trauma, little pockets of uncomfortableness that we love to avoid. 

Life has ups and downs.     Always.

More often than not, we choose to run away from the difficulties, suspending or burying them with addictions, stimulates, pills, drama, excuses, work (whatever your chosen poison is) and before we know it, many years have gone by. We then feel engaged in a life that is contracted, unfulfilling and unsure how to stop or get off the ride. 

A friend sent me a musical score that he had composed. It was haunting and beautiful, full of musical rhythms depicting that exact strife and difficulty.

It spoke to that part of me that loves being alone and fears to be alone.

It spoke to my heart-ache of past painful decisions that ripped apart my gut leaving me feeling ungrounded and a little unworthy of a world that has so much within it.

It also spoke of fresh starts,  of hard work, of grace and grit.  

It shares the journey of moving from the immense hold of the dark to the immense awakening of the light.

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That perhaps in some way, we are not defined by the choices we have made or even some of the choices others have made for us. We can still choose another path. Always. 

 It spoke to the worthiness of life in each one of us, where beauty and inspiration are not something we aspire to be, but rather, we already are.  

What comes through this composition is my friend's journey and his road-trip to hell and back; it draws you into the havoc, the secret haunts of beauty that is yet, always all around us. It spoke of the release of the carnage and the turn into achievement. To hear his story through the music is to understand what he endured to be where he is now.

Immense hardship. Immense willingness to do more. Immense drive to keep trying.

To convey feelings like that speaks of genius, heart-ache, love, will, humility and determination that exists within EACH ONE OF US. 

This is the human journey. 

My friend Ben, the composer is featured in the amazing documentary Skid Row Marathon of which I had the great pleasure to attend in London. The tales of hardship and heartache of the people featured will move you to tears and  so will their incredible willingness to keep showing up, to keep giving, to get back up when one falls and to keep offering into the world. Their courage is inspirational. *please watch the trailer.

'A journey from the streets of Downtown Los Angeles, Skid Row to walking hand in hand with the Spirit of the Sunlight. 

How destitute one becomes when one has everything yet, one becomes nothing.

 How empty one is when the miracle of redemption becomes a reality. 

For it is by “self-forgetting that one finds, it is by forgiving that one is forgiven, and it is by dying that one awakens to eternal life.” ' Ben Shirley

This is life.  This is the human journey.

Our trials and tribulations make us into what we are here to create.  It is the real haunts and trying times of life that force one to emerge into the greatest aspect of one's self.  

So hang on tight and yet throw your arms up. One a side note, I hate roller coaster rides and want to vomit immediately before, during and after.  Together, we can keep going and keep smiling through those challenging times that make us better people. 

I can't wait to see what you can do. 

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The Full Moon as Medicine

We don't think of the full moon as medicine; we know it as a time when people generally go batshit crazy. 

The full moon in her glory is to reveal.

Many of us experience the full moon with emotions of anxiety, irritability, and aggravation, to name a few. We don't sleep.  We are quick to react.  We feel something....but not sure what....

Through the moon's bright glow, she has the power to illuminate the dark, through the hidden shadows, through those fucking brick walls we put up around our tender spots.  She finds a way to the places we don't want other's to see, and those places we rarely want to visit ourselves. 

Every. full. moon. is an opportunity.

 time to illuminate...

time to illuminate...

 

We can use the radiance of the moon to slowly, lovingly and with kindness start to tread into the hidden parts of our hearts and actually deal with some of the *shitty shit that lurks there. *none of it is actually shit. It's all just emotional compost making way for our continued growth. 

This is how the full moon helps us if we allow her. She becomes a healing balm with a sliver of her light, enabling us to love all the hidden parts of ourselves. We can begin to heal the trauma of those sometimes cringe-worthy bad decisions and see we are not our mistakes, rather we are like the moon: full, expansive and radiant.   

It's learning to trust Nature. 

During a full moon phase, it's important to self-care. It's important to say no when you need it, take rest when you require it and soften your footsteps for yourself.  

  • Avoid highly stimulating areas, like shopping malls.  
  • Spend quiet time in nature, going for walks, spending time with fur friends. 
  • Get cozy, nestle in, go to bed earlier and just rest. Wrap up and hibernate. 
  • Journal, let it flow baby. 
  • Take a bath, light candles or open your window and have a full moon bath, use Epson salts and grounding oils. 
  • Eat nourishing foods, warm bowls of goodness are great. 
  • Drink water, stay hydrated and decrease fizzy drinks and excess coffee.
 Rest....relax....reveal....

Rest....relax....reveal....

Allow whatever arises, to arise...trust in the flow and let the full moon be medicine to the soul.  Remember, it will pass soon. 

 

The full moon is moving in

You can't sleep. Irritation is with you every step of the day. People are acting like demons with no coffee. Confrontations are on the regular on Facebook. 

What is it & what to do?

The full moon in Cancer is on the approach January 12th. A full moon is to reveal. The bright of the moon is revealing what you need to bring attention + awareness to in your life. With being in Cancer, think of the crab, the crotchety little crab who wears its tough exterior on the outside and is soft and delicious on the inside. The crab brings it's home everywhere and if you happen to cross it, those pinches will show you a thing or two.  The sign cancer draws power from its home. Cancer's are emotional, need the water and want everything to have a good flow. 

 

Here are my suggestions for maintaining sanity through the next passing phases of the moon. 

Wrap your neck with a scarf. Sounds silly I know, it's offering warmth and protection by keeping your energy and heat within. Think of it as extra insulation for you and your sensitive voice. If your weather conditions are as crap as mine are right now, that scarf is working over-time to keep the nervous system from over loading itself and supporting the body in maintaining strength and calm.   VITAL.

If someone  or thing sets you off on Facebook or any social media platform, pause. Pause again, and again and breathe and pause and then pause some more. Perhaps then respond or not. Wait a few days and see. If you are going unleash the verbal tiger, remember THINK. 

Save yourself the agony  of delete by remembering to pause & think. Typically during a full moon people are acting all sorts of crazy which leads me to;

For the majority of people, not us yogi's who tend to feel into everything and then analyze it to death, they haven't been taught to pause and breathe. They react. So remember their reaction has nothing to do with you, and everything to do with them. No matter how much of an asshole they are being, ignore it. This isn't to say a retaliation isn't warranted, this is to recognize that during a full moon phase people feel everything so much more: the debt, the negative words that they had with their loved one or the altercation with their boss, their kids who are flunking out of math, whatever it is, it is overwhelming. This which makes people feel more unsettled,  less grounded and all around wacky so be compassionate, be understanding and DON'T TAKE IT PERSONALLY!

With this full moon in Cancer, allow yourself to go with the flow. Need a nap, take a nap. Want some cake, eat cake. Need a walk in the woods, go walk. Personally I recommend time on the couch watching a movie like Bridget's Jones Diary.  Whatever it is that you need, don't force your agenda on anyone. They have to figure out what they will need. You are going to pay attention to what is calling you, listen to it and be in the flow. Stay away from crowded places especially if you get irritated easily. Plan your day to keep finding that easy of flow. 

Go swimming, take a bath, hydrate, do something with water. Water is soothing to the soul, allow yourself to float on the ripple of ideas and thoughts without letting anything take hold. An extra suggestion for the bath, lock the door so the kids can't come in, bring in a kit-kat and a glass of wine and for a brief 20mins, float on divinity. 

 Get close to water.

Get close to water.

 

Let yourself write your thoughts out, write and write and write some more. Cry,  laugh, write, scream, write, grunt, well, maybe not soo much of that but let the conscious mind whisper through the unstoppable steam of ideas coming through you. Remember full moons reveal so let it rip, don't hold back. Don't do anything with it other then date it, then park it for a month. Go back and see what needed to be said and read. I bet some magical stuff will be released. 

The key here is to realize that it's okay. We're gonna be okay. We just need to armour up like the crab's shell as the intensity of the full moon reveals her good stuff within us. You want to give yourself time and space to do so because we don't want to be a burden to society, we want to continue being awake leaders that can help others by not adding our own level of shite to the mix. Get what I'm saying?

Alternatively you can say fuck it and drink a shitload of whiskey and we will see you on the side of Saturday. I don't recommend going down that path; nothing good ever came out of the whiskey and full moon get together. 

Have an ease-field full moon and let her ancient wisdom flow through you, as you. Blessed be.

The ordinary is where the magic resides

I am in the industry of Spirituality. I teach yoga. I sell spiritual bling, I offer programs to help people find their Self, I can chant ancient Sanskrit and talk kale + poop for days. As a Priestess of Avalon, I chart the moon, I armour up with crystals, I drop mercury retrograde into conversation without blinking. I talk about your highest Self, manifesting and your ‘truth’ like a scientist talks research, cells and grants.

Sacred…

I know it.

I’ve sat in meditation for hours or what seems like hours. I done copious amounts of yoga and had REVELATIONS. I pray, offer blessings and intentions. I spend time in Nature, in solitude. Me and the sacred, we be tight.

 

However the continual search for the sacred can be exhausting. I mean, how spiritual do we need to be to enjoy life? What’s even more exhausting is our constant need to prove this in our online world. It’s becoming tedious with the same continual posts of yoga poses, essential oils, inspirational quotes and our #soblessed depicting our connection to the sacred, like we are part of a secret club and showcasing it on instagram is our VIP ticket.

The sacred however does not need accolades or photos or mentions or likes. The sacred needs the mundane.

In case you didn’t know, we don’t always need to be extraordinary nor do extraordinary things all the friggin time.

We need to grace in the simple and yet tedious acts of doing laundry, picking up dog shit( how to puppies manage to poop so much?) By way of cleaning the fridge and the bathroom is the opportunity to treasure up the moments that invite contemplation, which is the doorway to the sacred.

The simple ordinary acts of the house-holder create pathways for the sacred to arrive and alight its presence.

The problem is, we miss it. We are caught up in demonstrating our sacredness and our gratitude for life instead of just of being. We are so fixated about our next shot, our next tweet, our next update that will remind our peeps how connected we are. I speak from experience; there were many times my brain spoke to me in 140 characters or less and more often in what filter would look best for the ‘shot’.

I will admit, I don’t post much anymore. Its hard to find motivation over offering up another unique angle on a yoga pose; I felt like my soul within each time I posted was drifting further out to sea while I built up my online presence.

I tuned out and tuned in. I de-cluttered closets. I got into those deep dark corners of the kitchen cabinets and de-cheerioed the joint. I cleaned places the cleaner never would. I listened to music, drifted my gaze outside and let the thoughts come and go. I walked for the sake of walking with no destination, no goal, just move legs and arms and walk.

 

I paused. I didn’t hit send. I didn’t like. I just sat in the spirit of the ordinary until I could hear the tiny song of the soul call out to me again. And she did, sweetly in remembrance as these simple and yet non-sacred activities are exactly what the soul is calling out for.

“We’re so engaged in doing things to achieve purposes of outer value that we forget the inner value, the rapture that is associated with being alive, is what it is all about.” Joseph Campbell

To do, for the sake of doing is to remember the great connection you have with life, the absurdity of it, the joy of it, the shit of it, the beauty that resides within all aspects of it.

The being alive of it.

The ordinary is where magic is given an opportunity to build potency. The ordinary isn’t worried about are we doing it ‘right’ or in line with our deepest truth. It frankly doesn’t give a fuck. And that my friends, is the beauty of the mundane and the key to hearing the song of the soul again.

Using Mercury Retrograde to your advantage

If you follow astrology at all, then you will been fore-warned about Mercury Retrograde. This period when the planet Mercury whizzes by the earth, as its closest to the sun, but from our position, it appears to be spinning slowly back-wards thus,  retrograde!

The planet Mercury governs communication, travel and electronics. During these retrograde periods, one can expect all sorts of issues to arise.  Typically debit card transitions at the grocery store take twice,  my iphone/ipad screens often go blank, flights are often delayed and speaking with ease is trying. 

 Mercury can be a trickster.

Mercury can be a trickster.

 

These retrograde periods are to be taken advantage of. They are golden opportunities

to catch the fuck back up with yourself and life.  

With information spinning faster then the actually earth turning, it's hard to feel caught up. We feel overwhelmed and over-extended. How many times has your email been asked for these days? How many times have you changed your password because you've forgotten it? How many passwords do you have?   

Making mercury retrograde work for you is to take stock of where you are putting your energy.  And to ask yourself is it supporting you?

Here are a few of my tips to help you own a retrograde period like a boss. 

1. De-clutter.  Your fridge  and specifically your cupboards. De-crumb + de-cheerio the joint. Personally, I dyson the shit out of the place.  Take stock of those pickles in your fridge; when was the last time you actually ate them?  Anything old, neglected and funky, chuck it out. Those little pieces of broccoli hanging around in the fridge drive me crazy and no, I'm not OCD.

By paying attention to the containers that hold the food we eat and the food itself, we clear the way for more health and vitality to come in. Give it a non-toxic wipe, ditch the out-dated food out and breathe deep in freshness. Then stock up on great local produce from your market and binge eat on zucchini or carrots or whatever floats your boat. 

2. Finances. Are you aware of how many direct debits you have going on? Where is your money and I repeat, YOUR money going to?  

 

When I started to check into this, I realised we were paying for a VIP pet service for an animal we don't have anymore. Check into do-daddy, itunes, cellphones, credit cards, gym memberships, magazine subscriptions, everything and anything and cancel/stop/ limited your resources. *don't sign up for anything new until you sort this out. Retrograde periods are for reflection so take the time to figure out exactly what is going where and why.  Put your money back in your pocket, where it belongs. This is an empowerment exercise and trust me, it works.

3. Your inbox. Facebook, gmail, outlook, if have an email or message system, then you need to address it + clean it up. -same applies with APPS.

I'm not sure why we feel the need to keep every message but once you start to look into this, you will be amazed at the junk you are hanging onto. If you need to keep messages,  save them to a program like Evernote with title, year and date.  We are so full up with digital weight, we don't realize how much it brings us down until we actually start to delete. Deletion is fun.  A letter regarding a business deal or transaction is definitely a keeper, but past party events or a group text about attending a yoga class, no. Kick it to the curb.

4. Stuff. Magazines, old books, mis-matching socks, catalogues with shit you are never going to buy. I rock out to vintage 70's( Bob Seger anyone?) and attend business. Be strong and move it on.  There is nothing more liberating then recycling magazines from 2 years ago, giving away books and throwing out socks that don't match and are frankly, old and gross. 

 

Use any retrograde period to tune in back to your life. More input and less output. Take stock. Pay attention. Review with consideration, then reflect a little deeper.

 Take stock. Review. Reflect. Go on, you know you want to. 

Take stock. Review. Reflect. Go on, you know you want to. 

 

Ask yourself.

Do I really want that? Do I really need that? Is it supporting my  life's vision, family, goals?  . 

Get clear, slow down, make space for you to thrive and watch the magic start to unfold in your life. Know the retrograde period will lift. It always does. 

Ode To Ganesha + New Beginnings

Today begins the Hindu festival Ganesha Chaturthi dedicated to the lovable elephant headed god who rocks a fat tummy and loves sweets. He is the one to call upon when your life feels like one constant construction site with no end in sight, much like driving in Saskatchewan during the summer months.  

Ganesha is the remover of obstacles and assists you with moving forward so you can handle your business like a boss lady. Ganesha also represents new beginnings and clear insight with a real sweetness for life. He is your boy next door that will both protect you and make you laugh.

 boy next door Ganesha

boy next door Ganesha

We are also currently in Mercury Retrograde in Virgo till October 9th. The planet Mercury governs communication, travel, and electronics. During a retrograde period expect delays when on the road,  electronics that never seems to work( I can't tell you how many issues I had writing this blog!) and expressing yourself clearly is non-existent. We need to look to these retrograde periods as beneficial to our sanity + growth as they remind us to slow the fuck down, review the direction headed and make sure there is accuracy in heart, mind and intent.

 Mercury, the messenger

Mercury, the messenger

 

The double whammy of Ganesha Chaturthi + Mercury Retrograde of 2016 are to support you in figuring your shit out as we approach the next turn of the wheel. Think discovering clarity through intense review. Think operating at a new level of awareness and executing at a higher vibration in all that you do.

This festival would ask us to make a clay Ganesha for the duration of the week, then release the Ganesha to the ocean to dissolve. Since I don't have clay handy, does anyone? I use my collections of Ganesha's I've collected over the years. 

For your intention.

  • Dust your Ganesha off.
  • Clear the air with Palo Santo or Doterra peace blend.
  • Use a mala to chant the mantra, we like the Moon Magic mala.
  •  Take a few months to settle into your breath and feel into your body, mind and heart.
  • Offer your gratitude for the cosmic show we call life, for both the light + dark, your blessings and lessons and invoke Ganesha to remove any obstacles from seeing clarity in vision. 

Ask yourself what exactly do I want?   

Then continue to breathe, or start writing, or dance, or whatever is honest and rising up for you. 

Many people dread Mercury retrograde because it feels like running into a brick wall. I've learned to experience it as an opportunity to de-clutter the mind of old thoughts and patterns that are out-dated and not working.

This is the time to step back, sit down and a have the cup of 'what the fuck'  as you begin to move with a new level of mastery in your life. Expand your energy into being with yourself and what you truly want, offer gratitude to those that help you, and like Ganesha, remember life is to be sweet.   

Use the time wisely.

                         Om Gam Ganapataye Namaha

I bow to the great Ganesha, remover of obstacles. Bless me with your continued sweetness in life and that I may see the great Truth within. 

"You're the ancient tone, known as Om, 
Vibrating and illuminating all my bones. 
The enlightened One, who’s tons of fun, 
Ganapati rocks the party when he plays the drum. 
Master of Mridangam, and the tabla, 
When you're blessed by Ganesh then nothin' can stop ya. 
I trust that you can bust with just one tusk
through every obstacle, until they’re crushed. 
From dawn to dusk and from dusk till dawn, 
Removing all obstacles — 'till they're gone!"  ~ MC Yogi

 

 

Re-Post From Marc Holzman : Human Evolution

Marc is a dear friend;  I love what he has to say and writes. I hope you enjoy his recent blog!

www.marcholzman.com

INNER EVOLUTION: WHAT WOULD DARWIN SAY?

 

Human Evolution. It’s a lengthy, multi-million-year process that looks deceivingly brief when viewed through the lens of Darwin’s time-lapsed Theory of Evolution chart. You know that iconic image: a handful of hunched-over monkeys, dutifully marching through time, in line, and ultimately morphing into a modern, upright–walking Man! VOILÀ.

But new studies by evolutionary biologists have now proven that evolution is happening at a much faster pace than was previously thought. And the acceleration is linked to … stress?

The studies focused on flora and fauna that have set up camp in urban sprawls vs. rural forests. With urban centers carrying a higher degree of stress, they found that City Mice carry genes for heavy metal tolerance (since urban soil contains more lead and chromium), City Birds have a capacity to sing at a higher pitch (to be heard over the din of traffic), and even City Grass is acquiring a shorter stature due to the relentless regime of the lawn mower.

And our Inner Evolution? You know, emotional and spiritual maturity, living a life of purpose, releasing outdated beliefs and fears, expanding one’s capacity to experience more gratitude and love … do the same rules of stress apply here?

I’m not an evolutionary biologist, but I vote yes.

Every perceived hardship falls somewhere on the Intensity Spectrum, from a simple work deadline (ugh) to, say, a divorce (ARRGGHH!!). Stressors raise the bar by applying pressure. Stressors ask us–or sometimes force us–to relinquish aggrandized notions of our capabilities.

Herein lies the great paradox. While a fiery circumstance may initially contract us, the end result is that we step into a more expanded self-identity. We learn that we are way more resilient and courageous than we previously thought. And ultimately, our tiny, crawling, inner-monkey evolves into an Upright-Super-Hero-Hanuman-Monkey. Welcome to your New Normal.

This Theory of Evolution equation applies equally to non-humans.

For example, the Summer Olympics in Rio were plagued with controversy from the get-go which continued right up to the opening ceremony and beyond. And while there are still problems in the aftermath, the stress of the deadline and sheer scope of the event served as powerful catalysts for urban revitalization and improvements that might have taken another 20 to 30 years to realize.

A wonderful life coach named Gay Hendricks talks about how our happiness hinges upon moving through different zones: from our Zone of Competence (Meh!)  to our Zone of Excellence (Better!) and, finally, our Zone of Genius (Wow!). Liberating and expressing our natural genius is the ultimate life expression. It makes our hearts sing at a pitch that rivals a City Bird.

But there is one zone that we must leave behind in order to evolve into the others, and that’s the COMFORT Zone. Stepping outside of that zone often requires a fire under the ass, and it beckons us to lean into the sharper edges of discomfort.

Fire + Edges = Evolution Accelerators

You may feel that you’ve bumped up against your upper and outer limits, that there couldn’t possibly be any more evolution left in your future because you’re tired of the fire and edges. But stress will always reappear and challenge you to reexamine what your limits are.

And, as any record-breaking, gold medal Olympic athlete will testify, limits are entirely negotiable.

Clean + Green Soup

 With yummy home-made bread

With yummy home-made bread

This delicious and easy soup bring loads of green nutrition in. I like to use dry beans and cook them instead but feel free to use the canned version. 

You need;

1 head of broccoli

1 bag of spinach (200g)

1 onion

1 tin of cannellini beans, I used dry and cooked them in the vegetable stock while I prepared the rest of the soup.

a handful of coriander, I also throw in a little parlsey, if I have it.

4 cloves of garlic

2 teaspoons of cumin

2 lemons

salt and pepper

Crush the garlic and place it in a pan with the cumin, salt, pepper and olive oil or coconut oil. Let this heat until it’s softened. Then add the chopped broccoli and cook until it’s tender, stir in the spinach and let that wilt.

I throw in some chili flakes for good measure too.

At this point, I pretty much throw it all into the Nutribullet, with lemon squeezes. Include the beans in the stock or use vegetable stock if you used tinned beans. 

Pour back in the pot, adjust the seasonings and liquid and enjoy!

YUM!

Should we be taking photos in Savasana?

I’ve done it. Have you? 

As a yoga teacher, attempted to capture a moment by taking a picture of the students in savasana.

Savasana is corpse pose in yoga; it is the final posture that completes the class. The body is still, the eyes are closed and the room is quiet. Savasana allows the mind to release it's grip on 'stuff'  which will increase the healing delta brain waves at night during sleep.  Savasana calms the nervous system and fatigued muscles relax. Often of course, this is where the mind sorts out grocery lists but I digress. 

Savasana is where the real magic happens.

So why are we interrupting that process by taking a picture of our students?

And just because the students aren’t aware of the photo being taken, does it make it okay?

I’ve been trying to understand why I/we  are doing this?   

I put it out to Facebook and received some very interesting comments back; I thank everyone for contributing to the conversation.

And personally, the savasana photos are some of my favorites, because you can truly see the serenity that is floating around in the room, and no-one in particular is identifiable (unless you know them well of course). VK

and I relate to this one 

yep, because they are so beautiful and it is the only time I can get a chance when teaching. BG

I understand this. The picture below was taken for exactly that reason. I wanted to remember the incredible back-drop of scenery with such a beautiful group of yogis. 

I wanted to capture the moment

 One of those savasana shots, was I right in taking it?

One of those savasana shots, was I right in taking it?

The more I spend in Nature and especially here in Cambridge walking the meadows, I am given the opportunity to feel into the sacredness of space. It lead to the question of why we take photos during this time.

Nature in her element, just is. She is completely present in all moments. There is something so deeply magical and healing about being in Nature; it's a true therapeutic hit to the soul.

 healing power

healing power

My observations with students in savasana has shown that the same healing processes we receive in Nature show up in that all important resting posture.  People's faces smooth out, the breath regulates and the body releases tension. 

I've also considered how I would feel in savasana and find out later a picture had been taken. 

Not great. 

Apparently some studios have a disclosure agreement when you first sign up and in other studios they do not.  I can only imagine how that would go down in a class if we went around and asked our students; 

oh hey, sorry to interrupt your savasana but do you mind if I quickly take your photo? 

With the tentacles of social media reach and much of our lives online, it would seem that privacy is soon becoming a thing of the past.  Time alone, in quiet with no digital interaction is increasingly rare these days.

From student's perspective;

 I would say if the whole class consents to it maybe?  And It's likely one person at least would say no go. I personally wouldn't dig it! And I've actually seen pictures of that and felt strange about it. I'm not a big fan of prayer pictures either. Sacred moment that is captured in the soul and that's where it can stay.  BL

This also from a student;

Your eyes are most likely closed, so it seems invasive to have someone taking pics. I've been to festivals when they were taking pics, but my eyes were open and the photographers were in front of me. In that situation everyone is in the know, so I didn't mind. R

If someone has marked time out of their day for a class, then the entire practice needs to be respected. The effort they have made to be in a yoga class needs to be honoured with our full participation. The vulnerability of savasana in which you lay on your back in a room full of people you generally don’t know with closed eyes, needs the highest level of our attention. Students have shared how valuable that quiet time at the end of class is to their sanity and well-being. This is not the time for a promo shot for our Instagram accounts, no matter how serene it is.

Some of our students do want complete privacy in their yoga practice, we cannot forget this in a world of over-sharing. 

This isn’t to subtract from the teachers who do honour and respect their students, who understand what sacred space is and take the odd photo. Like I've said, I am 100% guilty of the token savasana shot and I am all about sacred space.

This is probe for contemplation.  Can we investigate a little deeper as to why we might want to take pictures in Savasana? What is it really about? I invite that contemplation into your practice with so much of our lives online.  Can we allow this special moment of serenity to remain private? Can we allow for the therapeutic wonders of savasana to be given its due process?

Imagine what may actually start to happen if we do.