Happy Friday, here is a lovely asana to give your body a nice morning stretch. Down dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana) is a great way to lengthen the body and build upper body strength, release tightness and stretch the thighs, calf’s and toes. The asana can be practiced just about anywhere you go and is perfect after sitting for long periods of time…….So unroll that mat and Drop down and get your Down Dog On!!
**Always consult your physician before beginning a new practice*
To say I’m having the time of my life is an understatement, although my life is far from perfect, things go awry, sadness visits and tears flow like a river…I’m still having the time of my life….on PURPOSE!! Unrolling my yoga mat daily, sitting in meditation and moving through asanas my body request is like a vitamin to jump start each day. Each day I’m reminded directly and indirectly how fleeting life is, I awoke Monday morning to hear a neighbor literally losing his mind, I watched as cops led him away. After inquiring what was going on I was informed the man stopped taking his medication and literally began to lose his mind….his image stayed with me all day, and my heart ached as I added him to my prayer list. You never know what another human is experiencing in between their ears, that’s why I try to live a life of loving others as much as I love myself.
Since I recently began sharing yoga tutorials with you, I’ve become much more aware of the importance of sharing yoga with you off the mat, creating a lifeof balance….living, giving, and being Love…..you see, practicing yoga on your mat is great, but we must continue to practice yoga off the mat…..living with a PURPOSE!
Cooking is something I love, it brings such a sense of peace within, and sharing what I’ve cooked brings joy within……I’ve been spending a lot of time at my community kitchen the Peterson Garden Project(PGP) (http://www.petersongarden.org/ ) volunteering and fellowshipping with my community members. The mission of PGP is to teach community members how to grow and cook their own foods, I don’t have the space to garden but always wanted to, this year I’m so excited to have a community plot to grow my own food!! After inquiring about how to obtain a garden spot I was informed the plots go quickly, I was determined to get a spot at the garden I desired, so I set my alarm to guarantee I would secure my place……registration opened at 8am and I entered my credit card information at 8:01am…..I’m so excited to have my plot and can’t wait to garden with my community members this year!! Living my life on purpose also led me to another heart desire, as a pediatric nurse who no longer works in a clinical setting, I wanted to do something positive for the children in my community, something I would enjoy and would complement my schedule….well I did not have to search long, at a recent social event, in conversation I mentioned how I wanted to work with children in my community, and just like that I was contacted….literally the next day. Now I’ll be reading with children at an elementary school a stone’s throw away from my abode!
It’s been super cold here in Chicago, and as I walked home from an early voting location, I decided I wanted to make a healthy, yet hearty soup to warm my soul…..I’d like to share this recipe with you, it’s inexpensive, vegan and vegetarian friendly packed with so much flavor, I hope you enjoy!
Chickpea and Spinach Curry
1 can coconut milk
2 cups chick peas
1 cup diced tomatoes
1-1/2 teaspoon yellow curry
1 teaspoon of each (or more, depends on your taste desired)
1-1/2 cups of fresh spinach
½ cup water
Sauté garlic and ginger in coconut oil, add the brown sugar and curry. Next add the tomatoes cook until starts to thicken, then add coconut milk and chick peas. Add spinach slowly, cook until it begins to wilt….And there you have it!! **Note these are not exact measurements of seasonings, add or decrease as you desire**
Always Live Your Life, On PURPOSE!!
Yoga is for everyone! After posting my first yoga tutorials last week, I received feedback from readers asking for beginner level asanas (poses). Thank you, as a teacher I really appreciate the feedback as my intention for these tutorials are to guide you into developing your own home practice, and prepare you for group classes you may seek out in your communities. I teach a hatha style of yoga, where you hold asanas and great focus on breathing and alignment, as a Registered Nurse I also provide health benefits of the asanas and can create an ailment specific sequence for you if desired.
Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana) is the asana we’ll practice today
I’ve received many benefits from this beautiful heart opening asana and incorporate it into my personal practice regularly, especially when my body is requesting a gentle backbend. Bhujangasana has also helped me alleviate lower back discomfort, sooth chest congestion, strengthen my upper body as well as relieving discomfort I experienced from pinched sciatic nerve, and menstrual cramping. Other benefits you may receive from Bhujangasana include;
· Improved flexibility
· Elevated mood
· Relieves stress
· Strengthen abdominal muscles
· Aid in improvement of digestion and constipation
So go ahead grab your mat and enjoy this wonderful asana! I’d love to hear your feedback!
I've also added a new visual demo video on my YouTube page for Half Moon (Ardha Chandrasana) a balance pose. It is a bit more advanced, but I wanted to show you how practice without attachment allows you to build strength and confidence on and off the mat. I work on variations of this asana and as you’ll see I stumble, fall, let go and revisit on another day.
**Always consult your physician before beginning a new practice**
Happy LOVE weekend! Although I personally live in the spirit of Valentines day, DAILY, I know there are many who celebrate the day of love with traditions. Either way Valentine's day reminds us to give, be and receive love with awareness. So wherever you are and whatever your plans are this weekend take a timeout for some Self-Love, and share these four simple ways to love yourself with someone you love, it makes a great inexpensive gift!
***Love Acronym below comes from a article I wrote for nursetogether 2014*** (click photo above to read full article)
4 Mindful ways to LOVE yourself:
Yogatones #Mindfulness tip #Thursday Each day brings about many emotions, choices, and obstacles. Whatever the day should bring to you be thankful for it......you're alive and able to learn, grow, and breathe through it.....many others are not.
I’m defiantly feeling the spiritual effects of the February 3, full moon, I’ve been bouncing all over the place, high energy, ideas and thoughts coming and going faster than a news ticker. My yoga mat has been a place of calm for me……..last week I put up my first basic mindfulness-based education videos and received such good feedback, this was a pleasant surprise, because you never know who you’re helping, and if 10 people reach about to tell you there are at least 20 others who are benefiting but will never say a word.
I’m an African American woman of a particular age (47) and a particular size (Curvalicious) standing in front of video lens creating and sharing what has led me to Be my Authentic Self…..to receive such loving feedback from men and women of various race, age and sizes, leaves me humbled…..I believe we’re all at various stages in life of becoming our authentic selves……and to get there we seek support and inspiration from others……I’m sharing these videos with you in my most vulnerable and authentic state of self. I have many people in my life that inspire me, some I know very well and some I’ve never met, so to have someone share with me how I’ve inspired them, well that actually inspires me to continue giving and living authentically…..out loud, without insecurity or apologies.
In order to gain some balance after the effects of the full moon, I honored my bodies request Saturday morning and worked on some inversions. So today I’d like to share with you a great inversion that allows me to turn life upside down and mix thing up inside my head…….bringing some clarity to all the creativity that has been stirred up…..SO, I’ll take you in and out of Headstand (Shirshasana) with some alignment tips and core strengthening variations, and a list of benefits. I hope you find them useful in your new or current personal practice, feel free to contact me with any questions or if there is something you would like to see!
NOTE-this is not a beginner level asana, but you can use the video to prep and advance as you build strength and confidence
BENEFITS of Headstand (Shirshasana)
Creates balance by relaxing and energize your mind.
Strengthens your core
Strengthens back, neck, shoulders and arms.
Increases the flow of blood to your brain.
Stimulates your pituitary and pineal glands to calm and revitalize your mind.
Decreases stress, insomnia and depression;
Improves memory and concentration
**ALWAYS consult your physician before attempting any new practice**
MOST Important….. BE Your Authentic YOU!
Backbends host many benefits, I really enjoy them when I need to make room within'. Here is a short demonstration of the asana......Note the first variation is crown of the head on your mat and the second variation is the full asana with crown off mat. Please be mindful when entering and exiting the asana, distributing weight evenly throughout your body. Pressing up through your foundation (hands & feet), avoid clinching the buttox and teeth......most important BREATHE! Inhalations fill and lengthen exhalations soften and release........
opens the heart
lengthens abdominal muscles and hip flexors,
opens accessory muscles for breathing
stimulates the nervous system,
strengthens arms and legs
****Always consult your physician before beginning a new routine.
The month has just begun, and I'm already seeing social media post about valentine’s day from those in relationships as well as those who are single……those in a relationship announcing to all ‘what they want from their partners’…..those who are single professing ‘I don't need or want a relationship’….. Ay yai yai!!! Not once have I come across a post that speaks about self-love……yes self-love…..self-love opens you up to receive all the love you ever desire…..when we live from true self-love all of the other desires of love appear. I mindfully live from a place of self-love, and let me just say, I'm full with all I desire, and continuously receive love from others.
As I continue on my self-love path, I’m challenging myself and venturing out, giving many of you what you've been asking for……Mindfulness-based care VIDEOS!! This is completely taking me out of my comfort zone, although I love the camera and never shy away from video time, it’s much different producing my own stuff. In order for me to gain confidence, I needed to fall in love with the process, my inner voice and thoughts………and now that’s been taken care of I’m ready to share with the world.
We live in a world of physical perfection, I hope to show you there is no such thing…….I remember becoming a yoga teacher and feeling ridiculously insecure about being a full figured teacher, and the first marathon I ran at 180lbs, and let’s not forget being the not so thin cyclist…….Yep, I worried what others would think…..how did they see me…..but after experiencing the best health improvements ever I began not giving a damn what others thought about me, and actually realized no one of any substance gave it a second thought. I continuously receive feedback from others who share how I’ve inspired them to begin their own journeys to a healthier lifestyle……..as a Nurse, well, that’s my goal….. help others get out of their own way and move forward into a healthier lifestyle that’s right for them.
These videos will cover all aspects of Mindfulness-based care initiatives that are supported by evidence and are useful across the lifespan. First up is an introduction to hula hooping, I created this video in my living room, with the intention of educating my readers on a simple, inexpensive way to improve your health. Understanding health is not created exclusively by using one method or becoming one size…..no……health is created by becoming mindful. Mindfulness-based care lends to healthier mind, body and awareness of self……creating a healthier lifestyle.
Enjoy the video, leave comments and feel free to request something you like to see!
**Always consult your physician before beginning a new routine.
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