Monthly Blog

Finding Balance Requires Body, Mind & Spirit

We talk a lot about finding balance in our life, usually this refers to juggling work, family, and various responsibilities etc. However true balance starts with our state of being. If we are off-balance so is the rest of our life to some degree or another.

True balance can only be achieved when we focus on body, mind and spirit separately. Even though they’re interconnected there are aspects of each that require attention.

Let’s start with body, which is the obvious one. Everyone has a body. We have our basic general self-care grooming routines, than there’s nutrition, making sure we nourish our body with wholesome foods. Foods that help us thrive! Exercise is another important part of maintain a healthy body. However if your beating your body up with extreme forms of exercise, you’re not doing yourself any favors. Exercise is meant to be enjoyed not a punishment for having a body. There’s nothing wrong with pushing yourself, but pushing yourself to the point of creating physical handicaps is insanity.

Let’s move on to our mind. Let’s get honest, the incessant mental chatter in our heads is exhausting. Our brains produce upwards of sixty thousand thoughts a day. It sounds impossible but that’s what a lot of science professionally say. Ninety percent of the time we’re not even aware of it and according to Dr. Chopra most of it is repetitive. Just thinking about it makes my head hurt…lol. Start practicing meditation and mindfulness. You have no idea how good it feels to have moments of mental stillness. You begin to understand the beauty of silence. Incessant mental chatter is like pollution. If you were raised in a very polluted city, you don’t know how good clean air is, until you move to a place with no pollution. 

Finally there’s the spirit. Many people equate spirit with religion. No, spirit is the energy that animates our body. Spirit is synonymous with breath. We enter with an inhale and we depart with an exhale. I was at my grandmother’s side when she took her last breath. All that was left was her body, the container that held her spirit, her energy, her being. Rumi (a thirteen century Sufi poet) said “Do you make regular visits with yourself?” This is domain of the spirit.

Cultivating a basic spiritual practice is simple. Start with practicing gratitude, non-judgment, compassion, acceptance and forgiveness. It helps connect us with the best of humanity, and in turn, it helps create a better world. As Gandhi said, “be the change you wish to see in the world.” It’s not complicated and its worth it, otherwise we stay stuck in low-energy emotions like jealousy, envy, greed, hate. These emotions do not create balance, they create dis-ease. Nothing good comes of them.

There will always be an ebb and flow between these three areas. It’s the organic state of our existence. Nevertheless the more aware and focused we are in these separate areas, the more balanced we will be.

Is Your Body Screaming for a Detox? 11 Tell-Tale Signs!

Written by Laurentine Ten Bosch

When you hear the word ‘detox’, a range of ideas may come to mind. Perhaps immediately your thoughts wander to strange herbal concoctions or pungent wheatgrass shots! Perhaps you’ve tried a detox program before and found the initial symptoms to be unpleasant. Or perhaps you have experience with detoxing on a frequent basis and are aware of the incredible physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual benefits of a deep cleanse. Either way, it’s important to dispel common myths around what a detox is, and to truly understand why it’s important to give your body a break from time to time.

So, Why Should I Detox?

Our body is constantly working to dispel toxins and unwanted matter from its various systems. Over time, the body gets run down from unhealthy food choices, alcohol, caffeine, drugs, stress, and environmental toxins that are a part of modern-day life. No matter how healthy your diet or lifestyle may be, external factors still require us to give the body a chance to recharge and dispel anything that may be holding us back from experiencing superior health and long-lasting vitality. When our vital organs are placed under too much pressure and unable to work efficiently, this is when illness and disease can appear. Taking time to cleanse the body and nurture these vital organs goes a long way in prevention, and also has immediate effects – greater energy, clearer skin, better digestion, mental clarity, and so much more.

Is Your Body Screaming Out For A Detox?! Here Are 11 Tell-Tale Signs:

1. You constantly feel fatigued, stressed and overwhelmed

2. You experience frequent headaches and/or lack of mental clarity

3. You often have skin breakouts and blemishes and/or a tired, dull and lack-luster complexion

4. You seem to pick up colds, flu, bugs, and viruses easily and are often on medication

5. Your digestion is troublesome, uncomfortable and irregular

6. You slip into making less-healthy food choices and often have fried foods, processed meat, dairy, gluten, processed foods, refined sugar or fast food

7. You frequently have coffee, alcohol, drugs (prescription or otherwise) or cigarettes

8. You are exposed to common environmental toxins such as carbon emissions, cigarette smoke, herbicides, pesticides, artificial fragrances, and household chemicals

9. You are carrying excess body weight

10. You often feel emotionally unstable, depressed, unmotivated and lacking energy and enthusiasm for life

11. Your breath and BO seem to have an alarming stink, no matter how much deodorant or toothpaste you use 

A detox is your opportunity to give your body a break and allow your own self-cleansing and self-healing processes to kick into gear. Your body is innately intelligent and a period of cleansing is the perfect way to hit the reset button and start on a path to a healthier, happier, more vibrant you!

Here Are Just Some Of The Benefits Of A Holistic, Natural Detox:

  • Prevention of chronic diseases
  • Stronger immunity
  • Assistance in losing stagnant weight
  • Improved quality of life
  • Increased energy
  • Radiant, glowing skin
  • Bright, clear eyes
  • Mental clarity
  • Balanced emotions
  • Improved self-confidence and empowerment
  • New healthy habits and routines
  • Improved longevity

What Is A Detox?

Most of us tend to agree that detoxification or ‘detox’ diets are short-term interventions designed to eliminate toxins from the body, promote health and assist with weight loss.

But in essence, it is really just creating the perfect conditions to support our body in doing the job it was already made to do… “Detox”.

Here are some great tips to help you out when doing a total body detox and why these tips are so important for your overall, long-term health:

Hydration

Importance: Elimination of toxic particles and the rejuvenation of cells.

Tip: Aim to drink between 4-12 cups of water per day.
How to make this happen:

  • Use meal times as a reminder to hydrate. Drink 500ml water (with lemon juice if you prefer) upon rising, and repeat half an hour before lunch and dinner. Carry a water bottle with you throughout the day.
  • Replace your 3pm coffee with herbal tea.

Exercise

Importance: Strengthen your lung capacity/ability.

Tip: Aim to move your body regularly throughout the day
How to make this happen: 

  • Break exercise into smaller chunks of time. Take 10 minutes in the morning to stretch, go for a half-hour walk before heading to work, or take the stairs instead of the elevator in your building.
  • Incorporate being active into your social life; catch up with friends for a walk, run or gym session instead of a coffee or cocktails.

Real, Live FOOD!

Importance: Specific foods assist with deactivating toxins and removing them from the body (specifically heavy metal build-up).

Tip: Aim to incorporate as many fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet as possible.
How to make this happen:  

  • Juices, smoothies and salads are a perfect place to start. Incorporate chlorophyll-rich foods such as wheatgrass and barley grass, as well as herbal teas and sea plants such as nori.
  • Coriander, and foods containing citric and malic acid (grapes, oranges, lemons and other citrus fruits) as well as selenium-rich foods (such as Brazil nuts, mushrooms and sunflower seeds), have been shown to assist with the removal of heavy metal build-up within the body.

Sleep

Importance: Sleep assists with the rejuvenation of cells and helps with the healing and repair of your heart, muscles and blood vessels.

Tip: Aim to sleep 7-8 hours per night
How to make this happen: 

  • Be aware of the importance of sleep hygiene (avoid caffeine before bed, allow 2 hours between your last meal and bedtime, use dim lighting).
  • Make a conscious effort to wind down before rolling into bed. Put your phone down, turn off the TV, free yourself from distractions and make your sleep space as comfortable as possible.

Get Outside

Importance: Breathe fresh air into your lungs; receive your daily dose of vitamin D and boost your mood.

Tip: Eat more meals outdoors; every once in a while, exercise outdoors instead of in a gym or studio.
How to make this happen: 

  • If you’re going to be inside all day, take your breakfast outside to a sunny place.
  • Instead of eating lunch at your desk, go for a walk outside and sit in a comfortable, relaxing space.
  • Breathing in the fresh air and feeling the sun’s warmth on your skin can help to both clear your lungs and boost your mood.

So there you have it! Detoxing is not as confusing or restrictive as you may have thought. By assisting your body’s natural detoxification system, chances are a little boost of self-care will be a relaxing and enjoyable experience for you! Plus, the benefits of feeling amazing afterward make it all so worthwhile.

Join us for our 2021 Spring Cleanse & Detox! It is a holistic, whole food cleanse & detox.

Good Vibes: What Does It Really Mean?

Years ago, when I was a designer, another designer used my workspace for the day while I was traveling. We met the next day and she said “…your space has such good vibes”.  I looked around and thought “…how so?  It was interesting because we had never met. There was obviously an energy you can feel in the space, but what exactly created that?

I became interested in understanding Einstein’s theory E=MC2, which shows that everything is energy. The part that says E=M means that energy and mass can be converted into each other, and not only is everything made up of energy, but energy is always actively vibrating. Every single thing, living or inanimate, is made up of energy and it’s constantly vibrating. This is the law of vibration. How cool is that?!?!

Vibrations have frequencies. A frequency is a vibrating object that moves back and forth from its normal stationary position. The number of cycles that a vibrating object completes in one second is called frequency. The higher the frequency, the more energy.  I am not a scientific scholar and this is a simplistic overview. Nevertheless, it’s incredible if you really think about it. We can’t see energy, vibrations or frequencies for the most part, but we can feel them.  

We all know how it feels to be around someone with good vibrations. It feels good to be in their presence, sometimes they lift the energy in the room. Some people have very high vibes. We also know what it feels like to be around people with low vibes. They’re usually surround by negativity. They can’t get out of their own way. It can be a downer. This is not intended to be a judgement. Everyone has a right to be vibing exactly where they are, good or bad. However, one thing is true, we have the power to raise our vibrational energy and it benefits everyone, especially our self.

Raising your vibration does not happen overnight. It takes a lot of work. It’s a constant practice of paying attention to the quality your thoughts, your words, your actions, the foods you eat, your interactions, your emotional baggage, your self-care, your spiritual practices, your home etc. All of it matters! Everything affects energy.  You have to practice mindfulness (conscience awareness) in every aspect of your life.  This is not about obtaining perfection, perfection doesn’t exist in a constant state of motion, rather it’s about continuously reshaping your self  with the conscience choices you make. 

“Perfection requires an environment that is static and highly controlled. Trying to achieve that state is like trying to stop nature from growing and evolving – our lives simply cannot work that way successfully, at least not for long.”
~Dr. Kathleen E. Allen

Personally I love this journey. Raising my vibration is part of my spiritual practice, it is the road towards self-realization. The higher my energy vibrates, the more I feel like I’m floating through life. The most important thing I discovered is it feels good to have others enjoy my company, more than that, it feels good to be in my own company…finally.  

    “Your always with yourself, so you might as well enjoy the company.”
~Diane Von Furstenberg

Here’s a good article from Spiritualty & Health called 10 Ways to Raise Your Vibration.  I have been practicing these suggestions, gradually, for many years. Set your intention on raising your vibration, pick a few of these suggestions and start practicing. You may already practice most of them because it feels good! A small shift in your awareness can create good vibes in no time.    

 

4 Plank Mistakes You’re Making—And How To Fix Them

Plank

“When you have the strong foundation of a good plank pose, then everything else you do in a fitness class is going to be more effective—the key is to get it right,” says Bria Tavakoli, a NYC-based yoga teacher and retreat leader.

Planks may be a common move—you’ve probably done them countless times in boot camp classes—but that doesn’t make the pose any less challenging. All sorts of wonky alignments are possible, and a sloppy plank can cause a slew of ailments including wrist, neck, shoulder, and lower-back injuries. The key to avoiding these injuries is moving mindfully—if possible, do plank pose in front of a mirror to see exactly where your body is in space. And be on the lookout for these 4 common plank flubs:

1-Sagging hips

sagging hips

Instead, keep your hips in line with your shoulders, lift your thighs away from the floor, and draw your navel toward your spine. If it is too difficult to keep your hips up in high plank, place your hands on a bench or a wall. Or keep your hands on the floor, but shorten the duration of your hold. If your hips sag in forearm plank, lower your knees to the floor.

2-Wandering arms

wandering arms

Does your plank feel wobbly? Many people set their hands too wide or too far away from their bodies. “This can lead to additional strain in the shoulders, wrists, and neck—especially in a side plank variation,” says Aguiar.

When setting up your side plank, align your shoulder directly over the top of your wrist. Create a “T” shape with your body. Actively press your bottom hand into the floor, and lift your hips toward the sky—this will ensure you are using your arm muscles to support your body and will lessen tension in the shoulders and wrists, says Aguilar.

For the perfect plank position, align your hands directly underneath your shoulders, keeping your hands shoulder-width distance apart. If your shoulders are tight, place your hands slightly wider than your shoulders, adds Tavakoli.

3-Chicken neck

plank

Is your neck jutting forward? People frequently make this mistake because they’re already in the text-neck posture throughout the day, says Tavakoli. This low plank no-no is detrimental to the cervical spine, since the compromised position of the neck increases tension in the upper spine, back of the throat, and base of the skull. Letting your neck jut forward during planks can also lead to headaches and neck pain, says Aguiar.

To avoid this misalignment, think of your head as an extension of your spine. “Draw the chin slightly back, keep eyes down, and keep the back of the neck long and in line with the rest of the spine,” says Aguiar.

4-Knock-knuckled

Knock Knuckled

Are your hands angled in toward the center of your body in high plank? If so, it can cause your chest to collapse, making it difficult to stabilize your shoulders. It’s also fairly common for your thumbs and index fingers to peel away from the floor—which can cause the wrists to become achy, says Tavakoli.

Instead, place your hands parallel to one another or slightly turn the fingers out. This will help you broaden your collarbones and stabilize your shoulders to prevent injuries, says Tavakoli.

 

2021: Radical Acceptance Resolution

Last year at the end of my 300-hr yoga teacher training, our teacher, Katie, went around to each person and gave them a word she felt best described them, during our time together. She gave me the word Svādhyāya.

Svādhyāya is one of the Niyamas in the eight-limbs of Yoga. It is a compound Sanskrit word composed of svā + adhyāya. Adhyāya means “a lesson, lecture, chapter; reading”.   Svā means “own, one’s own, self, the human soul”. Therefore, Svādhyāya literally means “one’s own reading, lesson”, in short, it is the practice of self-study.

While contemplating this word I realized that I had been engaged in self-study for over twenty years! It’s the process of being aware of your actions and reactions. It’s the work of trying to understand why you respond to life the way you do without judgement and with compassion. It is a way of uncovering the truth of who you really are when all the layers are removed.

It can be a tumultuous journey. There are things you find you don’t really like about yourself, and then there are things you start to understand and eventually even love. What a novel concept; to love yourself.

This year my resolution is to practice radical acceptance and to start with myself (we cannot give, what we do not have for ourselves!).  The idea of radical acceptance is to love yourself unabashedly, perhaps even with reckless abandon. Everything inside and out without making excuses. It includes forgiving yourself every time you make a mistake, learning to be your own best friend and being kind with yourself.

Radical acceptance is about letting go of the person you were in your teens, your twenties, thirties etc., and accepting the person you are now, today.

So, this year make all your resolutions for self-improvement, but do them with kindness, love and radical acceptance. You/we deserve that much!

Happy New Year!