Without a doubt the role model I want for my daughter. She’s the best…
I just came upon this wonder of ergonomic meditation design at a recent yoga retreat… there I was meticulously arranging mat, blanket, bolster and my block in a flawlessly manicured stack upon which to rest my behind, pelvis perfectly angled, knees bent beneath me when, from across the room a retreat-mate, watching my ministrations with self-satisfied bemusement, whispers, “Ohmigod, you have to try this….”.
With only slight hesitation- once I’m situated, I’m hard-pressed to move, I stood from my intricately arranged props, and in one swift placement of my buttocks upon the smooth, flawlessly arched wooden seat… I was sold. 1 stop shop: no bolster. No blanket. No block.
It’s like it was made for my ass!
As soon as I had internet, it was ordered.
My ticket to meditation heaven just arrived waiting for me to pick up at my local small town post office. I’m counting the minutes….
A full review to come after I’ve had a chance to warm my new seat!
I wonder, if Dr. Oz and Oprah and oh, I dunno, Gwynneth, over at GOOP, were to tell us that we could get rid of our wrinkles by rubbing our faces with our own feces… would we do it?
Damn rights… I would totally have a strainer sitting beside the loo to catch the nasty bits.
Well, while it might look a little like fecal matter, this elixir has been around for a millennia and, as always, I’m late to the party… just like with the tech bubble and acid wash jeans.
It’s called Kombucha, a fermented tea, and it’s looks only a little gnarly to actually get down. It’s heralded as the elixir of all health elixirs, so much so that it’s been coined the ”Immortal Health Elixir” – oh, how I love to say “elixir”- and it’s my newest thing to combat this thing called evolving into wrinkly old dried out tomato. Here’s the deets:
One tough mother… or SCOBY: The kombucha mother, or SCOBY (Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast) is basically a floating piece of fibrous cellulose with these beneficial microorganisms. G. xylinum bacterium makes up most of the physical structure of the kombucha mother. The presence of the mother is a sign of an active and alive Kombucha. No mother is a sign of pasteurization or processing.
The acidity of the ready kombucha product prevents contamination by airborne mold and bacterial spores. The bacteria and yeasts in the kombucha are also thought to produce antimicrobial defense molecules to protect from contamination as well.
Loaded with goodies: Kombucha is full of organic acids, active enzymes, amino acids and polyphenol anti-oxidants. The most common elements include various organic acids such as acetic acid, butyric acid, usnic acid, oxalic acid, malic acid, gluconic acid and lactic acid. It also contains active enzymes and probiotics. Yum!
Kombucha is mostly produced in a sweetened green, white or black tea. The most effective fermentation process utilizes organic evaporated cane juice or honey… although watch with the honey as too much can interfere with the stability of the culture. Most of the sugar will be transformed into organic acids that dull the blood sugar response so it is very low glycemic and non-inflammatory. If you are going to buy Kombucha from the store, make sure to get a brand that doesn’t add sugar to it, otherwise fresh at home is best!
The benefits: Improves joint function… Kombucha is rich in glucosamines which helps preserve cartilage structure and prevent joint degeneration. Glucosamines increase hyaluronic acid production within the joint which binds moisture thousands of times its weight in the joint cavity. This provides the joint with structure, moisture, lubrication and flexibility while protecting against free radical damage.
Improves digestion and immunity… Kombucha is loaded with probiotic bacteria and yeast that make their way into the gut and ward off parasites and pathogens. It is particularly good at minimizing Candida and improves digestion and nutrient assimilation. Kombucha enhances immunity by inoculating the gut with healthy microorganisms and providing anti-oxidants and enzymes. Helps the body cleanse…
This beverage is loaded with enzymes and organic acids that help to detoxify the body. This reduces the load on the pancreas, liver and kidneys and helps the body rid itself of unwanted wastes and destroy cancer cells. Kombucha is rich in glucaric acid which has potent anti-cancer activity.
In fact, Nobel Prize winning Russian author Alexander Solzhenitsyn attributed drinking kombucha throughout the day, each and every day, to helping him beat stomach cancer. This was during his time in the soviet labor camps. President Ronald Reagan was so moved by Solzhenitsyn’s testimony that he used kombucha to help him stop the spread of his cancer in 1987. I guess that’s sayin’ something…
If you’re wanting to make Kombucha yourself, you may want to give this a try: http://everydaypaleo.com/how-to-make-kombucha-by-katie-of-wellness-mama/
Otherwise, if you’re not able to readily find a SCOBY, a good mother is hard to come by, word on the street (or at least word on GOOP) is this is the store bought version that’s the best: http://www.synergydrinks.com/
You know how folks who questions the science of global warming always turn to the cyclical nature of things? How, when you’re talking about that expanse of time there’s all kinds of shit happens, going unrecorded for millennia, and that this is just another of those examples except now, like, we’ve got the technology to keep track?
I think yoga is sort of like, you know, nature. It’s been around forever, and has gone through any number of crazy iterations. It’s just now, in this age of endless record- blogging, social media, 24-hour news cycle- that we get exposed to every single one of them.
Perhaps when you’ve been around for thousands of years, there’s always some evolution- or revolution- required to keep things interesting and humans engaged, particularly in an era where engagement can be so very momentary. There’s always gotta be something new to keep things exciting.
‘Cuz yoga is all about the excitement.
And sitting, being, here in this present moment with my body is not quite enough… I need to be lifted, twirling and flipping on merely the soles of the feet of a VERY strong partner in this moment to be in full appreciation of what it, and my body, brings.
This new trend, AcroYoga, is taking the yoga world by storm. OK… maybe not by storm, but when you see the images, or the videos, of yogis and yoginis performing this brand of yoga, it’s really quite something to watch. In addition to the discipline and skill, the sheer strength- oh, and did I mention trust?- is really quite something to behold.
There are some yoga trends I’ve covered, such as Paddleboard Yoga, that I want to be a part of- the idea of yoga on water is a lovely one to me- and I do what I can to incorporate into my practice. Past the characterization of trend, perhaps, but still a little off his rocker, Bikram was total surprise to me- I love it!! But AcroYoga? This remarkable combination of yoga and acrobatics is likely one trend that may of us will never partake but it is still truly something beautiful to be admired.
In short, while at first blush it may appear simply a matter of strength and flexibility, there’s actually more to it. Co-founded by Jenny Sauer-Klein and Jason Nemer in 2003, “AcroYoga blends the wisdom of yoga, the dynamic power of acrobatics, and the loving kindness of healing arts. These three lineages form the foundation of a practice that cultivates trust, playfulness, and community.”
Remember when your dad used to lie down and balance you on his feet? I would let go his hands and pretend to fly… I do the same for my kids. I often yearn to be the one balancing.
Maybe I shouldn’t be soquick to set this idea aside…..
It comes in the form of my bed and a roster of cable movies… yes, I know there’s Netflix, but I can’t adequately describe the particular brand of glee that comes from seeing a long list of romantic comedies or period pieces on my cable guide… with a particular penchant for my Big 5: Hugh Grant, Sandra Bullock, Emma Thompson, Julia Roberts and… wait for it… Gwyneth Paltrow.
I’ve admitted to a few things here: 1. that I watch T.V in my bed; 2. all weekend; 3. have a remarkably high tolerance for fops and the british- real, fake, no matter- and; 4. lean decidedly towards brain candy in my weekend viewing… dear Emma excepted of course.
That said, it should seem all the more appropriate that in my equally vapid surfing over to Goop this should catch my eye.
In collaboration with Beyond Yoga, Gwyneth presents the Quilted One Shoulder Top.
I actually think that, with my fried eggs, I could pull this off, and will add it to my list to Santa. But for most women with real breasts, I’m not sure how practical this might be if you have intentions of actually practicing yoga in it.
I know Gwyneth makes it look oh so practical and practice-friendly- I mean, she’s sweating!- but, as you know, that’s what Gwyneth does… makes everything look just so easy.
Millions are spent each year by otherwise sane folks injecting neuro-toxins and synthetic Hyaluronic Acid (sounds bad, but its natural counterpart is actually found in a youthful face) into their faces and other body parts to stave off the ravages of time.
And, while the ravages spare no one, perhaps, like me, the idea of needles filled with sickness and goo being injected into into your body is even more oogie than the perpetual frown that is steadily developing… “Are you mad, mommy- why do you always look mad, mom?”
But, hey! All is not lost to those of us who reject the costly, rather frightening and, let’s face it, frustratingly impermanent medical solutions.
Thanks to the drive to stay looking younger naturally there is a cheaper, non-medical, and let’s face it, frustratingly impermanent, yogic alternative!
As with yoga as a regular practice to keep our muscles strong and limber, staving off the inevitable fraying with time, the age-old practice is effective with our facial muscles as well. It can be the alternative to the more invasive needle procedures that can be financially prohibitive not to mention just plain gross.
Developed by Annelise Hagen, of New York Yoga, who wrote a book on mastering what she calls the ultimate facelift, facial yoga provides a wonderfully natural and invigorating way to stay looking younger.
As Annelise explains, there is a particular technique to making the faces that make up the unique practice.
In an interview with “Good Morning America, “If you just made weird squirmy faces randomly you’d get more wrinkles,” she said. “We’re trying to tone and lift the muscles of the face. It’s been scientifically proven that the muscular activity helps to prolong the production of collagen and elastin, which makes your face firm and springy.” Hagen maintains that this practice of yoga for the face allows people to guide the way their face ages from the inside out.
In addition to the regular needle treatments and other procedures, Dr. Neil Sadick, the lucky go-to dermatologist to some of the wives of “The Real Housewives of New York,” does, in fact, also recommend yoga for the face to his patients, saying it promotes the production of collagen.
Face yoga stimulates muscles, Sadick said, adding that “although there’s not great science around it compared to other technologies like chemical peels or Botox, we know that by stimulating any component of your face like your muscles you’re going to have a beneficial effect in terms of your overall appearance.”
And there you have it…. looking younger may not have to mean endless costly visits to the cosmetic surgeon or dermatologist, numbing and plumping with disease and fillers. There may actually be an alternative that promotes not only looking younger, but actually doing it gracefully… for free!
I like birds OK… I admire the little hummingbirds that flit and feast from the feeder at our window and I will always stare in awe when I see one of the lovely birds of prey and the herons… well, their long legs dangling, gangly, from their otherwise graceful bodies always make me smile.
That said, there is one bird that drives me a little crazy… The Pigeon!
It could be said, I suppose, that Pigeon is probably the posture from which I can achieve my greatest growth and expansion, both physically and spiritually.
And I get that. Really… but damn, it hurts. I breathe. I adjust. And I breathe some more. Like I said, I endure. Despite my willingness to expand my yogic horizons through this posture, my hips are not as amenable. They continue to resist.
So, the trick is to respect the perspective of my tight hips, but slowly, gently ease them into opening just a little further each time. It means managing my own expectations, of course. I don’t get to tell them what to do.
It’s yet another exercise in surrender… for both of us.
Pigeon is a posture I would just as soon avoid, in favour of others I prefer (hello, Child’s Pose!) but I don’t.
I don’t let either of us off the hook!
For the low-down on how to get your pigeon on, here’s a lovely variation.
I’m sure this would come as no surprise to Swami Vivekananda, but yoga is finding its place among the popular training methodologies for elite athletes in their quest for a competitive edge.
When you consider the mental, emotional and physical benefits of yoga, it’s really no surprise!
Athletic pursuits such as running and jumping, not to mention getting thrown off your feet at a full run by a 350 pound gorilla, tend to tighten and shorten the muscles, inhibiting flexibility and increasing the likelihood of injury. Health and longevity in any sport are enhanced when the muscles are limber and loose and those of us who practice regularly know that there is nothing like that blissful feeling of length that comes from a session of yoga.
NBA star Blake Griffin attests to the benefits, ”For me, flexibility is huge,” Griffin said. “Staying loose and healthy and staying limber–you can tell a difference when your muscles are tight or when you’re stretched out and completely relaxed. I’ve heard from a lot of guys that flexibility is the key to longevity in this league,” Griffin said. “For those guys who want to play a long time, I think it’s important.”
Along with the physical and medical benefits are the mental and emotional effects as well. According to a German study published in 2005, 24 women who described themselves as “emotionally distressed” took two 90-minute yoga classes a week for three months. Women in a control group maintained their normal activities and were asked not to begin an exercise or stress-reduction program during the study period. At the end of three months, women in the yoga group reported vast improvements in perceived stress, depression, anxiety, energy, fatigue, and well-being.