Saturday, March 29, 2008

Tongue Cleaner

One more item to list for my daily morning regimen! Behold, the tongue cleaner:

This is an Ayurvedic practice. Tongue cleaners help to reduce bad breath (brushing your tongue is not very effective!), activate digestion, improve the detox process through the tongue, and decrease plaque. They are very cheap too!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Neti Pot

A few posts ago, I listed my ideal morning routine and I forgot to mention one of the most important parts! The Neti Pot! I love my neti. The Neti Pot is an Ayurvedic cleansing tool that is easy to use and very affordable. All you need is a plastic or ceramic neti pot (can be found in pharmacies, health food stores, and spiritual/new age bookstores/gift shops), warm water, and sea salts.

This You Tube video shows you exactly how to use the Neti:

It may feel funny at first, but it will become second nature. It is not painful at all and should only take a few minutes. I always feel refreshed afterward. This cleansing method allows you to breathe more deeply, it awakens your senses, and helps to clear your mind. Make sure that you use non-iodized salt (not table salt!) and the water should be body temperature. If you have any questions, let me know!

Be Well,

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

My Vision Board In-Progress

I had so much fun yesterday creating my vision board. Its not done yet, but it has already helped me work through some questions that I've had recently. Although I didn't know exactly why I chose some of the images, it all came together when I sat down to organize the board. Every time I look up from my computer, I am reminded of the strong women entrepreneurs that I am striving to join! Their journeys help me keep a positive attitude that I can make a difference if I stay positive and focused. The board also reminds me to have patience for certain things in my life (ex. writing a book, planting a garden) because these things take time and I shouldn't give up! The vision board also reminds me to focus on my own wellness and the wellness of our planet. I'll post another picture when the board is further along. I hope that others will start thier own vision board! It will help you manifest your dreams by focusing your attention and energy on your desires.
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Monday, March 24, 2008

Vision Board

I've been thinking about creating a vision board for many months and today is the day I will begin. Although there are countless reasons to make a vision board, I am focused on developing a clearer understanding of my purpose: how can I focus my strengths and contribute in a greater way to the universe (the whole, or whatever you want to call it)? Although I am doing many things that make me happy (yoga, teaching, writing, etc.), I feel scattered and at times, isolated. I know that I want to continue my focus on mind and body wellness, but I hope to find a way to do this on a deeper level through more education and collaboration. How will this happen? I have faith that if I stay focused, motivated, and present that I don't have to have an exact plan. The vision board (hopefully) will help me cultivate these goals. Here are some resources that I found:

How To Make A Vision Board by Christine Kane
How To Use A Vision Board To Activate The Law Of Attraction by Tristan Loo

Anyone out there have experience making a vision board?

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Wheat Grass Powder

I had my first wheat grass shot at Liquid Earth a couple weeks ago and I'm not going to pretend that it was easy getting it down. Regardless of the taste (which really wasn't that bad), I know how wonderful it is for you and I would like to integrate wheat grass juice into my diet. So, when I saw a packet of Amazing Grass Wheat Grass Powder at Whole Foods yesterday, I decided to pick it up. I've been making a smoothie everyday a few hours after juicing, so I decided to add the powder while blending my daily smoothie. The end product is pictured above. I could taste the difference in the smoothie, but it was still enjoyable (I am trying to develop a wheat grass palette).

I have decided to move away from fruit smoothies. They appeal too much to my affinity for sugar and I find myself becoming addicted to them. Until I get my Vitamix and start blending some serious veggie smoothies, I think I'll stick to my green juice:) I'm learning about how my mind reacts to my diet and I can recognize when I'm developing an unhealthy relationship with certain foods. Too much of anything isn't a good thing. I am committed to developing a diet that consists of foods that I enjoy consuming in moderation.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Spring Officially Begins In Two Days!

Spring is almost officially here, although you wouldn't know it by looking at my backyard:

I am determined to transform this wasteland into a veggie garden. But where to begin? Here are some resources that I've found through the Gardening Group at the Crazy Sexy Life Forum:

You Grow Girl Website
You Grow Girl Book
University of Florida Organic Gardening Guide

Anyone out there getting started with their gardens?

Monday, March 17, 2008

A Peak Into India

A yogi/photographer friend of mine, Ana Grillo, is on a journey in India. She is documenting her travels through a blog and photo-journal. It is very inspiring to read about her experiences! Check them out here. She is traveling with Uli, who is also chronicling their journey through a blog hosted by Baltimore City Paper. You can check out her blog here. I have never visited India, but the words and photos of these women are bringing the country alive for me! I hope you'll take a peak:)

*This is not one of their photos, it is from

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Starting Your Morning On The Right Foot

The way that I start my morning influences the rest of my day. During yoga teacher training, the swamis talked about the tamasic energy that builds up during the night while we sleep. Although tamas allows us to relax, if it manifests, we continue to feel sluggish, heavy, and negative as the day moves on. Showering in the morning and other simple practices help to reduce the tamasic energy in your body. The three gunas of yogic philosophy are tamas (inertia), rajas (activity), and sattva (purity). These energies are always present, but one is usually stronger than the others depending on our diet, lifestyle, and state of mind.

Here is my recipe for getting up on the right side of the bed:

As soon as you rise...

(1) Dry Brush entire body (small counter clockwise circles from the bottoms of your feet to your shoulders with a natural bristle body brush)
-if you have extra time, put on an all-natural organic face mask before you dry brush (its like a mini-spa treatment!)
(2) Shower (try to be in the moment and enjoy the shower, focus on your breath, try to set a positive intention for the day)
(3) After showering, moisturize your whole body with organic, cold pressed coconut oil (run container under warm water to liquefy)
(4) Floss, brush teeth, and gargle
(5) Make some Green Juice!

Beginning my day by taking care of myself, rather than laying on the couch and watching t.v., helps me to live the rest of my day consciously. Otherwise, I get stuck in a lazy, ho-hum mood and it becomes more difficult to break that state of mind. It only takes me an extra 30 minutes to do these steps.

Is there anything that helps you start your day in a positive way?

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Check Out The Latest Summerset Review

A talented writer friend of mine was recently published in the Summerset Review! Check out her short story, Bathtub Mary. It moved me to tears! Congratulations Allie!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Meditation Pledge and more on A New Earth

I'm still loving the A New Earth Webcasts. Chapter two is ready for viewing. I also love this quote from the book (its one of Oprah's favorites):
"Life will give you whatever experience is the most helpful for the evolution of your consciousness. How do you know this experience is what you need? Because you are having it right now." Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth
Whenever I feel frustrated, bored, or spaced out in the moment, I remind myself of this principle and it helps me to honor the present. I realize that its a lot of work trying to be present all the time, but I have hope that it will become a way of life.

Over at Crazy Sexy Life, we are doing a meditation pledge. 5 minutes a day for 21 days. For me, its been that extra push I needed commit to a meditation practice. Join us (you'll find the pledge in the Yoga Group)!

I love this blog: Lola B On The Move
Lola B has dedicated a blog to 101 things that she plans to complete within 1001 days. Her list is inspiring and I love reading about her journey! Check it out, maybe you'll start your own.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Green Juice, Kris Carr's Documentary, and A New Earth

I am drinking my Green Juice as I type this entry. Today's juice consists of:
1/2 cucumber (peeled because it is not organic)
1 head of celery
3 handfuls of Mixed Spring Greens
1 Lemon
1 Apple
1 Mango

I forgot the ginger this morning! Side note: I find mixed spring greens to be more palatable than Kale or Romaine (alone), so if you are struggling with drinking your greens, try this option. Extra tip: It is best to drink your green juice within 15-20 minutes of juicing. The juice will begin to oxidize and lose much of its nutritional value if you let it sit longer.

I feel like I'm back on the juicing band wagon. I received Kris Carr's documentary yesterday in the mail and watched it with my husband last night! It reinforced many of the habits I've adopted over the past year (juicing, dry brushing, yoga, eating raw as much as possible, meditation, etc.). This is a documentary for everyone! It will open your eyes to so many ways of improving your mind and body health.

I also would like to share a passage that I was reading yesterday from A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle:

"A vital question to ask yourself frequently is: What is my relationship with the present moment? Then become alert to find out the answer. Am I treating the Now as more than a means to an end? Do I see it as an obstacle? Am I making it into an enemy? Since the present moment is all you ever have, since Life in inseparable from the Now, what the question really means is: What is my relationship with Life?The question is an excellent way of unmasking the ego in you and bringing you into the state of Presence." (Tolle, A New Earth, p. 203)

I find this "exercise" to be very effective and I wanted to share it with you.

Be Well,

Monday, March 10, 2008

Jivamukti Class at Flow Yoga Center

I made it to Jivamukti yoga class yesterday at Flow Yoga Center in Washington, DC. I brought a friend along with me, which is always a great way to motivate yourself to practice yoga. Having a "yoga buddy" will add accountability to your practice and can make it more fun.

The studio is on the second and third floors of a rowhouse in Dupont. The atmosphere is friendly and relaxed. I loved the long benches with soft, red cushions lining the walls. The lounge was an inviting place to spend a few minutes relaxing and chatting before class. The picture to the left is not me, nor is it Flow Yoga Center, but it is a pose ("downward dog") that you will often find yourself in, if you decide to try this style.

About ten minutes before class, we went upstairs and set up our mats on the bamboo floors. There were 20-25 people in the room for class. Our instructor, Agitha, began practice by discussing the theme of the month-listening, and how we could integrate this principle into our practice and everyday lives. She also asked us to dedicate our practice to someone we love, which I really enjoyed. The class was challenging, I definitely worked up a sweat, but it was also fun and powerful. Jivamukti is very different from Sivananda (music, flowing movements, very little relaxation between poses) but I can appreciate the practice for its differences. I felt strong, happy, and clear-minded after class. My friend mentioned that it reminded her of Ashtanga yoga.

Before class, I had the opportunity to meet Cory, Food Karma Alert blogger, and he mentioned a free Jivamukti class in Clarendon each Sunday. Cory and Agitha teach at Lululemon from 10-11am. The class is free!

Anyone else have experience with Jivamukti? Any studios that you would recommend?

Friday, March 7, 2008

A New Earth and the "Voice" in Our Heads

Even if you haven't read the book, I highly recommend watching the webcasts of Oprah's talks with Eckhart Tolle, author of A New Earth. Oprah and Tolle discussed the first chapter of the book this past Monday and they will be talking about Chapter two today.

Tolle writes a lot about that "voice" in our heads, also know as our ego. For years, I believed that voice, which caused unnecessary guilt and sadness (I still get tricked by it sometimes). I'm not talking about a "voice" that tells me that aliens have landed on earth. This "voice" is one that could be mistaken as my own. It is the voice that says things like: "You're never going to get that job, you're fat, you're not worthy of this happiness, you should feel guilt about this or that", and so on. Tolle gives simple insight into how to separate from the ego. He suggests that we observe these voices, step away from their harsh judgments, and bring our focus to the present. Sounds easy, right? Well, not for me at least.

As I awoke this morning the first thoughts that came to me were: "Get out of bed! Your wasting your time! You're never going to get everything you need to get done today!" Rather than enjoying those last few moments in bed, my heart was racing. Luckily, I recognized these "voices" and was able to observe them and push them aside, savoring a few more cozy moments. I am going to start writing these thoughts down and see if I can find some patterns. Writing them down also helps you to separate your true self from the ego (voices).

Anyone else recognize a similar voice in their head? How do you cope with this negative thinking?

Spicing Up Your Yoga Routine

I teach and practice Sivananda Traditional Hatha Yoga and I love it. I also think there is something to be said about exploring other styles of yoga. I've been spending a great deal of time on Kris Carr's Crazy Sexy Life Forum, which inspired me to purchase a Jivamukti DVD (I also purchased the newly released Crazy Sexy Cancer documentary and I can't wait to watch it in its entirety when it arrives in the mail!).

I think its important to watch a yoga DVD before you physically engage in the practice, so that was my first step. Thursday morning, I did the entire practice and it was quite enjoyable. I could tell that I was using different muscles because when I was in the Sarvangasana (shoulder stand) my legs were shaking! It felt good to challenge myself. Based on my limited experience, I would say that Jivamukti is a mixture of Vinyasa and Traditional Hatha. The meditation and relaxation in the end provided a well rounded practice, although I would have liked some breathing exercises as well. The Traditional Indian music provided an enjoyable atmosphere for the practice. I found the verbal instruction to be helpful and complementary to the experience.

This weekend, I'll be visiting Flow Yoga Center in Washington, DC to take a Jivamukti class. I'll let you know how it goes. Anyone have yoga DVD recommendations?

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Monday, March 3, 2008

Being Thankful (even when you're bored)

Sometimes I get bored. One of my odd jobs (I have many) is pretty mundane. No computers, no stress, no demands, sounds great right? Usually when I get ready to leave the house for this job, I'm panicked. I scurry around the house trying to fill my bag with reading, papers to grade, editing assignments, my calendar, books, and anything else I can put my hands on that will fill the time.

Today I looked boredom in the face and said, "Thanks". I took a moment to notice how my body felt. No pain, no ailments, no aches. Was anyone that I love in a crisis? In pain? In distress? Nope. Was there a crisis going on in my life? Nope. It usually takes a painful physical or emotional moment to wake me up. Why wait until those moments to honor health and serenity? It makes more sense to be thankful in the moment, when you can enjoy those sweet moments of just being.

It also helps to write down what you are thankful for in the moment. Just start writing and record anything from finding matching socks that day to waking up next to the person you love. It will make a difference in your mood and perspective because you are shifting your awareness from a negative or passive focus to a positive one.

What are you thankful for?

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Groggy? No More!

If you've been reading this blog for more than a few weeks, you know that I was struggling with the morning blues. I had to peel myself out of bed in the morning (kicking and screaming in my head). Lately, I wake up naturally, around 7:00 or 7:30 am. Mostly, I credit my diet (and juice!). I've been faithful to juicing each morning, cutting out refined sugars and flour, and eating lots of greens. Plus, I've added a B12 vitamin. I have even resisted my late-night sugar cravings (which does get easier). These are not easy modifications, but necessary to my long-term health and happiness (inside and out).

There are a few wonderful resources that I attribute these changes:

Kris Carr and the Crazy Sexy Crew. The Crazy Sexy Life Forum is up and running and it will change your life if you open your heart and mind to it! Whether or not you are a cancer survivor, this is a place for anyone wanting to nourish their body, mind, spirit, and the planet. It is packed with priceless knowledge and positive people from all over the world!

YOGA! Traditional Hatha Yoga (Sivananda Lineage) guides my practice, but there are hundreds of styles to choose from:)

BOOKS! Michael Pollan's In Defense of Food, T. Colin Campbell's The China Study, Kris Carr's Crazy Sexy Cancer Tips...much more on my nightstand:), including Fast Food Nation.

BLOGS! Allie's Answers (helps me learn about how I can care for the planet and protect my family from harmful chemicals, etc.), We Like It Raw has taught me about raw food living, Radical Radiance has taught me about juicing, and Kris Carr's blog-need I say more about Kris?

VEGAN! I've cut out all meat and dairy from my diet and it feels great!

Also, dancing, journaling, and nice long baths have helped to reduce stress:) When you have a toolkit filled with these positive habits you are never alone or lost. Try adopting one new healthy habit a week and soon you'll see and feel the difference. The sky is the limit:)

What healthy habits have you incorporated into your life that have made a difference?