Whenever I am experiencing a challenge I know I can count on my Dad for honest and good advice. Here is some of the wisdom he shared with me this week.
Be gentle in your strength. My dad knows that I can be fiery and so reminds me to be firm but gentle and to always approach people, circumstances and challenges with love.
A poor man is one that doesn’t learn from his mistakes. My father admits that he has made lots of mistakes in his life but he regards them as lessons for growth.
Reacting to a negative situation with more negativity just make for a negative outcome. Truth!
Je t’aime papa!
Next month I will be taking a yoga course to improve my teaching skills. It’s called Wise Progression: Methodology for Power taught by Loren Crawford. The course will focus on how to sequence classes for safety, ease and heightened energetic experience. One of the requirements for the course is to write a book report on Yoga and Ayurveda by David Frawley. It was my third time reading the book and there was still information that was beyond my comprehension and other bits that now made more sense. The book gives an overview of Ayurveda and details about the similar energetics and practices of Yoga and Ayurveda.
Generally Ayurveda works at healing and purifying the body and mind while yoga focuses on Self-realization, which depends upon a purified body and mind. Therefor it is favourable to practice both.
The three most compelling points in the book for me where:
I found it important to know that the same asana can be adjusted for different doshic types. To reduce vata, asanas are usually done slowly, steadily and gently. To reduce pitta, they should be done with coolness, diffustion of energy and relaxation. To pacify Kapha, asanas should have a quicker flow and create heat and effort. Pranayama can also be incorporated to asansas to change their effects, such as heating or cooling. This information is helpful to adapt your practice to your dosha but also to the different seasons.
2. Teaching public yoga classes
It’s challenging to teach drop in classes when so many elements must be considered. We can adjust the practice depending on the time and of day and season but the other aspects such as the level of the students, their constitutions, structures and conditions can be difficult to accommodate in a large group. We must also remember that individuals of a certain doshic constitution can suffer from diseases from another dosha that might be out of balance. If this is the case the dosha that is out of balance should be treated instead of he person’s constitution. For example if a student with a Pitta constitution has congested lungs which is a Kapha condition, he or she should be practicing asanas that will treat the congestion.
Diet is hot topic these days. There are so many new diets it can get quite confusing. What if we changed our relationship to food and viewed it as medicine? We can use Ayurveda food principles to bring health and balance to the body. What struck me as important was that one should only take raw food to the extent that one’s digestive fire has the capacity or 10-20% of one’s daily diet. One should therefor focus and balancing agni so that food can be properly digested, assimilated and eliminated.
If you want to learn more about Ayurveda I highly recommend taking some training with Matthew Remski. He will be teaching an Intro to Ayurveda this November at Rama Lotus Yoga Centre.
Last weekend I attended an Ayurveda workshop at the Toronto Yoga Conference. The teacher suggested drinking CCF tea to aid digestion and internal cleansing. CFF stands for Cumin Coriander and Fennel. After doing a bit of research I found that CCF tea has many other benefits such as:
- stokes the metabolism and the digestive fire
- restores vitality
- helps to purifies the blood.
- reduces agitation and inflammation
- calms and clarifies the mind
Not only is it full of benefits but it’s also easy to make and yummy.
• Boil 3 cups of water
• Add 1/2 tsp of each seed
• Let steep for 5 minutes
• Strain and serve
The tea can be stored in a thermos or in the refrigerator. You can drink it throughout the day, up to four cups. If there is a spice that you don’t like as much you can use less of it.
For more cleansing tips, join me April 19th for Spring Detox.
Two weeks ago I ran on the treadmill for a few days because the sidewalks were covered with slush. I must have been heel striking pretty hard because I woke-up with sore heels one morning.
This condition is called Plantar fasciitis which is inflammation of the thick tissue on the bottom of the foot. If left untreated it can take a long time to recover. I made an appointment with Dr. Shank at Sage Wellness. He suggested some stetches. Here are a few:
- Stretch the soles of your feet. I like sitting on my heels with my toes curled under. If you want more sensation lean back, if you want less lean forward.
- Break up scar tissue. Freeze a water bottle and use it to roll under your feet. I love this one because it’s 2 in 1, the ice helps to reduce inflammation and the massaging of the bottle breaks scar tissue.
- Stretch your calves. Plantar fasciitis can be caused by tight calves. The simple stretches depicted in photos 2 and 3 are easy and effective. First, preform the stretch with the front leg straight and then with the knee bent to target different areas.
I was told I could keep running. I have been keeping my distances short and taking a few days off. There has been a bit of improvement so I’ll just keep doing what I am doing and be more mindful of my form on the treadmill.
The psoas muscle is a deep core muscle that initiates all of our movements. It is often tight from long periods of sitting, sports such as running and stress. A chronically tightened psoas signals your body that you are in danger, which stresses the adrenal glands and weakens the immune system.
The following simple exercises will help to lengthen the psoas.
Although these poses can be done without a yoga block or thick book it is recommend to amplify the psoas stretch. You will also need a yoga strap or belt and a timer.
To target the psoas it’s important that the foot of the extended leg maintain good contact with the wall.
- Lie on your back with your feet flat to the wall. Bend your knees and lift your hips to place a block or thick book under your seat. Adjust your feet if they have moved away from the wall. Raise your right leg and place a strap or belt around your foot. Hold the strap with both hands as you pull your right leg towards you. Keep pressing your left foot into the wall throughout. Hold for 2 minutes then go directly to the next pose.
- Keeping your left foot on the wall hold your strap with your right or left hand depending on your balance. Your free arm will rest on the floor for support. Lower your right leg to the right. Hold for 2 minutes then go directly to the next pose.
- Return the right leg up then bend your right knee and clasp your hands around it. Your left foot still presses into the wall. Hold for 1 minute.
Repeat the 3 exercises with the left leg.
To learn more about the Psoas muscle join me Friday May 3 from 7-9pm for Yoganatomy at Rama Lotus Yoga Centre. You can register online, by phone 613-234-7974 or in person.
2012 was a year of change and transition. I got a new job, home and relationship. As with any transitions there were some good and not so good moments. This blog will focus on the good.
Top 10 of 2012
- Best relationship ever!
- Management position at Rama Lotus Yoga Centre
- Moved into a brand new condo
- After 6 months on the market I finally sold my previous condo. Thank you John O’Sullivan!
- 5km race in North Bay
- Part of the Hatha Teacher Training faculty at Rama Lotus Yoga Centre
- Released an app called Runners Yoga available in iTunes
- New friends
- Got home in time for Christmas
- 31 in 31
I have read about a dozen books this year. They are listed in order of preference, the first being the one I enjoyed the most. I hope to read a book a month in the new year. I would love some suggestions.
Finding Ultra by Rich Roll
Take away: It amazes me how much abuse the body can take and still bounce back to optimum health.
Eat and Run by Scott Jurek
Take away: Sometimes you just do things.
Yoga for Emotional Balance by Bo Forbes
Take away: 1:2 breathing creates a mental state largely incompatible with anxiety.
The 5 Levels of Leadership by John Maxwell
Take away: Companies get better when their people get better. That’s why investing in people always gives greater return to an organization.
Yoga and Vegetarianism by Sharon Gannon
Take away: By eating meat, dairy and eggs we support the industry. It’s like supporting a hit man but we lie to ourselves thinking it’s ok as long we aren’t the ones doing the killing.
The Thank You Economy by Gary Vaynerchuk
Take away: Approach social media initiatives with good intent, aiming for quality engagement, not quantity.
The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell
Take away: Little things can create big changes. Small messes give permission for people to make bigger messes.
I also read Brida and The Witch of Portobello by Paulo Coelho. I have read many of his books and these were not my favourite.
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I have been encouraging my boyfriend to read Finding Ultra by Rich Roll. Last week he picked-up the book and the first thing that caught his attention was cold brewed coffee. After some research he discovered that cold brewed coffee is less acidic, less bitter and less caffeinated than regular brewed coffee making it more smooth and flavourful. He decided to make it. The method is easy.
- Place a 1 cup of fresh finely ground coffee in 3 cups of filtered water. You can use a jar or French press. Stir to combine well. Cover and let it sit for at least 8 hours, and up to 24 hours at room temperature.
- Slowly pour the coffee through a coffee filter or fine sieve. Place the coffee concentrate in the refrigerator. To serve dilute it with water or your choice of milk. A 1/3 coffee concentrate, to 2/3 water or milk is a good ratio.
The coffee concentrate will last a week in the fridge.
It’s rare that I drink coffee but I tried and it’s really good with unsweetened almond milk. You can also make it healthier by adding VegaOne Chocolate, Vanilla Chai or new French Vanilla protein powder.
Here are 3 ways to use a feather to teach awareness to children. The best feathers are the colourful, wispy ones you can find at the dollar store.
1. Meditation with a Feather
You will need a feather for each child. Sit cross-legged with your feather in your right hand and then wrap the left hand around the right. Place your feather a few inches away from your mouth. Your eyes are gazing at the feather. Experiment with your breath by blowing softly and then powerfully. Repeat each breath again and ask the children how they feel after each breath. Soft breaths are calming, power breaths are energizing.
2. Remove negativity
Use your feather to sweep negative feelings and energies away.
3. Intuition Game
Everyone sits in a circle. One person leaves the room or turns away. One of the children puts a feather under their seat. The person who left the room or turned away comes back, and uses their intuition to determine who has the feather. Those in the circle support the child’s intuition by remaining calm and quiet, projecting good energy and thoughts to that person. Explain to the children before the game that we are not trying to guess, but rather listen inside, and notice what our feelings are telling us.