Corpse pose (Savasana) and the fullness it holds

4-15-10  In Savasana, I thought of dead people. The way their faces are relaxed & at rest. The form of the mouth as breath no longer moves through. And I laughed. The thought of death…being so beautiful. And I cried (somewhat common when practicing this pose). The celebration of life being so joyful.

This writing came out of me 7 months after the death of my father and 1 day after being at my first yoga training. Yet the experience is always with me. Finding my way through life experiences, aware of, yet not clinging to…

This pose is often found at the ending of a yoga class. However, it is also the pose that begins and ends each day. We lie down to rest. We wake up from rest. And yet resting is either so difficult for some to accept or so scary for some to think about that we hardly revel in the juiciness resting provides.

I was wondering what the heck to write about this week. So I step upon my mat, do a little physical work, and it comes to me while resting. As I re-read the above journal entry and experienced a nasty head cold that forced me to rest, the life experience presented itself the perfect blog topic.

The past year and a half continues to astonish me. The leaping, risking, communicating, gut-fine tuning, AND resting to name a few…the on-going gifts that are paving this journey for now. As a yoga teacher, I choose to end each class guiding others through a resting period. Presenting the opportunity to pay attention to what is arising (INSIGHT) and then letting go of attachment to arising thoughts, feelings, etc. (SURRENDER). AHA! So that the experience is always with us, try paying more attention to what is arising and then let that shit go! Sound difficult? Commit to trying it out. See what happens. Let me know by leaving a comment for this blog.

many versions of Savasana, yet the basics are:

  • lie in a neutral position, preferably back flat against floor, mat or carpet and legs extended long. IF BACK INJURY OR PAIN, bend knees and feet flat on floor, hip-distance apart or support the knees with a bolster, or stacked pillows/blankets.
  • working to dissipate the sense organs by softening the roof of the mouth, letting go of tension in jaw, relaxing eyebrows & skin of forehead, letting the eyes sink back to the back of the head
  • maintain neutral breathing
  • rest for at least 5 minutes
  • to come out of pose: with an exhale, gently roll onto either side, take a couple breaths, with another exhale, press hands into the floor and lift torso as the head gently follows
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Cleansing/Detoxing: Part 1

The new year is now 4 months in and we may start hearing the words DETOX or CLEANSE ALOT! Many people (including myself and sig other) are setting the intention to lighten the dietary load on their bodies and there is no better time to do so than SPRING almost SUMMER. “Spring cleaning” is not just for the things that build up in our closets, cabinets and such; it is also for our bodies, minds, and spirits.

A detox or cleanse is a way to LIVE and EAT cleanly, ridding the body of toxins and pollutants by introducing only high-nutrient, whole foods. Our bodies know how to cleanse and restore, so by detoxifying we are giving it a helping hand. With the MANY varieties of detox’s or cleanse’s, the goal is to get rid of toxins that have been stored (in our fat cells) for who knows how long, giving our organs (think skin and liver which play major parts in the detoxifying process) the chance to revitalize. Yet it is not just about diet. Hydrotherapy, facial exfoliation, skin brushing, manual lymphatic drainage massage, and deep breathing exercises will all help expel toxins by improving circulation and enhancing lymphatic flow. And what about the toxic thoughts and feelings that occur in the mind? Did you know adrenaline and other chemicals our bodies produce in reaction to stress cause the body to produce toxic substances and free radicals?

I first heard of cleansing while growing up with a catholic grandmother. What is known as fasting, I saw as cleansing. In my younger years I saw my devoted grandmothers ways a way of service, to her faith and her self. This thought was so inspiring to my young mind. Then in college, The Master Cleanse was brought up in discussion and I have yet to take on the challenge. Nowadays, there are juice, RAW foods only, or soup cleanses.

What I have learned and put in to practice is that there are things that should be considered before, during and after all cleanses. Below is a guide based on juice cleansing. NOTE: If you are on medication, have a serious illness or are pregnant please consult your healthcare practitioner. Here’s to squeezing out the old and letting in the new!

BEFORE:

  • Plan ahead and stock up. Whether you are making your own juices or ordering from a cleansing company, its a good idea (and cost effective for shopping) to plan ahead. Maybe make up a meal plan to guide throughout the allotted cleanse time. When shopping, stock up on herbal teas because you can have as much as you like before, during and after cleansing. Take a look at your calendar and limit social engagements. Unless you are super strong and can resist usual temptations at social gatherings.
  • Purchase a dry brush. Sound crazy? Trust me! Dry brushing is known for pumping up the lymph system and getting rid of dead skin cells. Want your skin to glow in time for summer? Start with dry brushing by removing the top dull, dead layer of skin and encouraging new cells to regenerate. There is a certain technique. Make sure your brush is one of natural bristles and has either a handle or straps to reach those hard to reach places (SEE BELOW FOR ROUTINE).
  • Purchase a journal if you like that sort of thing. Journaling will help get out your thoughts and feelings wether postive or negative just get them out! Writing shit out may also spurt creativity that has been locked away.

5-minute skin brushing routine:

KEY PARTS- Preferably in the am BEFORE showering and in a warm room. Start at feet and work upwards towards the heart.heart-hands-karl-addison

  1. Place towels underneath where you will stand or sit comfortably. Begin with the sole of your Right foot. Using firm, rhythmic strokes, brush the sole several times. Then move to the top of your foot, brushing upwards toward your ankle. Then go on to your lower leg, making sure you cover the whole surface-shin and calf. Always brush in an upward direction. Stand up and brush the area from your knee to the top of your thigh. Make sure you cover the whole area several times, using long rhythmic strokes. Brush your buttock area as far as your waist. REPEAT the whole procedure on your Left leg, starting with the sole of your foot.
  2. Starting from the top of your buttocks, brush the whole of your back several times all the way up to the shoulders.
  3. Next, brush your right arm. Start with the palm of your hand, move to the back of the hand and then brush from your wrist up to your elbow, always upward. Brush your upper arm, working from your elbow towards your shoulder, again covering the whole surface of the arm. REPEAT on your Left side.
  4. Very gently, brush your abdomen in a clockwise circle. Cover the area several times but with less pressure than on your arms and legs. If at any time this feels uncomfortable, stop.
  5. The neck and chest are also very sensitive so be gentle, always working towards your heart.

Next week, tips “during” a cleanse.

a day with green cabbage, green plants, and green(ish) music

Call me cynical. Call me a realist. Hell, call me whatever the heck you want. As a conscious-wanna-be parent, I have to find meaning in these “holi”-days. If we look up the definition of holiday, it is simply

a day on which one is exempt from work; specifically : a day marked by a general suspension of work in commemoration of an event

So what is the event of St. Patrick’s Day (using this as an example because of the calendar date yet there are so many that could take its place)? I mean, I learned about St. Patrick being a patron Saint of Ireland. Yet this meaning is SO FAR gone from what the norm celebrates these days. Don’t get me wrong, I am part Irish and will gladly celebrate the heritage and culture of the beautiful country. Yet, I cannot help but compare it to the other commercialized BS holidays.

So, let me share what was discovered today, 3/17/2013 and how it connected with the Irish. Firstly, I rode my bike to study group and on the way was greeted or greeted every by-passer! It felt amazing! To connect with strangers. To make eye contact with a stranger and sincerely say “Hello! Good morning!”. And I know from experiences, the Irish practice this daily. Always friendly, no matter what county, city, etc. Usually on bike rides I have no problem connecting with nature around. I don’t wear headphones for this purpose exactly. When I stop and think about it, when on a bike ride it is easier to connect with nature than other humans. Until today! How messed up is that?

Galway, Ireland

Galway, Ireland

Secondly, CBS The Early Morning Show did a story on songwriter, singer, guitarist Glen Hansard. Born in Dublin Ireland, he has earned many awards for the movie and songs of Once (now a Broadway show). If you do not know of this artist and his work, please take a moment and check him out. He is part of the Irish group The Frames and one of the folk rock duet The Swell Season with his wife and co-star from Once Markéta Irglová. The work of this individual and his collaborators is moving, deep, and easily accessible. My mom, Grandma, and I saw Once together and were touched by the lyrics and sounds of instruments in different ways. Please, do yourselves a favor and give a listen or watch.

Lastly, our spring garden is on its way. Finished planting seeds Sunday (3/17/13). Carrots, spinach, green pole beans, green peppers, lettuce variety, and sunflowers. A beautifully cool day in FL, we opened all the windows, blasted U2 and dug in the earth. Nothing quite like “wearing your green” by gardening. And to bring the day to a close, choosing not to eat meat, we made green cabbage soup. SUPER EASY, SUPER CHEAP, SUPPER HEALTHY, SUPER DELICIOUS.

Garden prep

Garden prep

DSCN2713

Cabbage Soup

Cabbage Soup

As a final thought, here are a few words on Irish Etiquette from a dear friend who recently relocated to Ireland. There with her husband, babe in belly, in-laws and lots of cows (they are operating a dairy farm).

http://feirmeoirchardonnay.wordpress.com/2013/03/15/irish-etiquette/

Wishing all a peaceful & productive spring!

Cabbage Soup Recipe (adapted from a few different recipes but mainly “Divas Can Cook”)

Ingredients
  • ½ head of cabbage, chopped
  • 1 cup celery, diced
  • 1 cup white or yellow onion, diced
  • 1 cup carrots, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 yellow squash
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cups broth (veg or chicken)
  • 14 oz can basil, oregano, garlic diced tomatoes (we didn’t have this on hand so used fresh tomatoes with herbs in the food processor)
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon basil
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • few shakes of black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon salt (optional)
Instructions
  1. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.
  2. Add celery, onions, bell peppers, and carrots.
  3. Saute until slightly tender.
  4. Stir in garlic.
  5. Pour in broth.
  6. Stir in tomatoes and cabbage.
  7. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat.
  8. Cook until cabbage is tender.
  9. Stir in oregano, basil, red pepper flakes, black pepper and salt (if using)
  10. Taste broth and adjust seasoning if needed.
  11. Serve and enjoy!

overwhelmed vs. stuck

Have you noticed certain themes continue to show up throughout your life? Like being titled the klutz of the family? Or maybe the unsaid voice of a friend “you were in the same situation this time last year”? You know the happenings that may repeat themselves throughout a lifetime. Well, it is when my themes come to be that I begin to dig within and take a look at what is really going on. Like putting up one of my brown eyes to a telescope and reflecting at my thoughts, intentions and choices.

January 2013 was a clean slate (so-to-speak). Making shifts in my life to open up space to begin a health coaching business. Making shifts in my intentions to get back to intuitive, healthy living for myself and family. Here we are, the end of January is upon my shoulders and I feel a bit overwhelmed.

There are a couple options when sitting in this feeling. Let it brew until the point of breaking. Or surrender to it all and then put something, at least ONE thing, into action. So today, after two days of being on edge and a little unpleasant, I went to a remote park and did yoga alone. No music, no computer or phone. Just me, the sun, a mat, the ground below and air above. Natures sounds and creatures allowed me to sit in my shit and move through this overbearing feeling that I was too late and possibly not good enough. Guess what!? I came home and had something to write about. Whereas before, I was stressing about what topic, recipes to share, etc.

So here is to action. Here is to being alive and unique. I raise my glass to having my own rhythm through life. Cheers to those of you out there that may feel overwhelmed at times and may get stuck in the rut. Let us be reminders for each other that the rut is just that. Give it a little space and clarity is often around the corner.

Bag Lady

During many times in my life, I have been known as the “bag lady”. In high school, a family friend could hardly swallow the amount of things I carried on a day to day basis. Once I broke it down for him, he somewhat understood. I had my backpack for school stuff, my dance bag for dance stuff, my casual bag for work stuff (I went to work from school) and my purse.

In college, my fiance at the time (now my ex-husband) would try to help me condense my “things”. The help did not work. There was no way to eliminate the amount of bags. So, my car became the holding place for my “things” that were all necessary.

In early days of motherhood, the bags were now full of not my things, but the baby’s things. Those of you that have experienced know what I am talking about…the diapers, the wipes, the extra change of clothes, the toys, the blankets, the toiletries, the snacks, etc. In this phase is also when my urge to empty the bags at the end of the day died. Unfortunately, this is still the case. This purse has one tube of lip balm, another purse has chapstick, and that purse I used for the wedding last summer still has the lipstick I decided to wear that day.

In wrapping up a much needed girls weekend. The topic for this blog came to me as I dropped the last of 3 friends visiting off at the airport. The weekend was absolutely complete in all possible facets. We laughed, cried, shared, reasoned, broke-down, and committed to positivity. We danced the give and take dance. We stood in our truth and took turns dissecting where our truths came from and why we chose them to be true. As the weekend came to an end, each one of us thought, “Now what? How do we leave this trip and continue to take sweet care of ourselves? to forgive? to grow and remain always in our stance of authenticity?”

Bags! THAT’S IT! I will use the bag theory so that these “things” are always with me. So that wherever I am, I am home. So that self-sufficiency is prevalent. The first bag that came to mind was my spiritual bag. We set a lot of intentions, practiced a ritual, and reminded ourselves of our own healing powers this weekend and I realized how important it all is and how easy it is to get caught up in day to day life. So I pack my intention of creating a kick a** garden this spring. I also pack my promise to continue taking the sweetest care of myself by listening to my body and feeding it only what it needs and sometimes what it wants. I pack the commitment I have to a forgiveness ritual that will begin with the new moon in February.

Preparing for a new year

There is something about cleaning…about de-cluttering…about organizing. All of these take a bit of concentration, consistency, and cooperation in order to be done well. All of these may not be a favorite chore at first, but trust me the work is well worth it. Especially when preparing for a new year.

In our house this bend of a new year, we are putting together a new desk for homework space AND purchasing a juicer. Both of these purchases have required the house to be de-cluttered to make room. These purchases are also a way to set new intentions as a family as well as individuals. This year we intend to continue practicing the technique of thinking. We hope to build our intellects and reach for the higher as the lower melt away.   We intend to continue channeling our actions towards living a healthy, active lifestyle.

THE DESK: We, as a family, set out to provide a thinking space. Concentration is a thing of the past, in my opinion. In today’s go-go society, it is easy to for the mind to worry over the past or become anxious of the future. Technology is also a heavy part of todays days. As a mother raising a child, I strive to remind the young that it is important to pause and think about our thoughts and actions…our intentions…our goals. To practice this technique of the mind holding on to the present occupation without distraction, is a life lesson that must be lived. Back to the desk. We have a small abode and so the only space for the desk is in my son’s room. Let the cleaning begin! For half a day, I rummaged through old toys that were no longer needed or played with. A pile was made to give a way as well as a pile of broken pieces (regrettably, we did throw the broken pieces away due to lack of space in our craft area). It felt so damn good to clear out the old and simplify the “things” that accumulate in a kids room! (Kind of like cleaning through emails that accumulate.)

THE JUICER: We, as a family (even the begrudged 8 year old) set out to feed ourselves the healthiest possible nutrients for our family. As we focus our actions in one direction, we realize the power of consistency. Of course the shiny metal objects or glistening cupcakes are tantilizing, yet with more consistency (daily juicing) we hope to resist and persist.

Cleaning/de-cluttering/organizing is a lot like choosing to participate in eating simple, WHOLE foods. Preparation is crucial, like preparing a list before shopping. Then organizing an action plan like planning breakfast, lunch, and dinner for the week. And last but not least, the following through with the action like getting home from store and washing fruits and veggies and putting them into containers or green bags to stay fresher longer.

As we enter this new year, let us reign in our focus and set out to live the lives we want to live.