Thursday, July 21, 2011

Natural... Benefits

Natural Resources
Skin Deep Cosmetic Database - provides you with easy-to-navigate safety ratings for a wide range of products and ingredients on the market

Scotch Naturals - Non-Toxic Nail Polish that I LOVE!!

Health Benefits
Yoga Lowers Cholesterol & Body Fat

Meditation Eases Hot Flashes

Yoga Benefits for the Heart

Progressive Muscular Relaxation

Progressive Muscular Relaxation (PMR) is useful for relaxing your body when your muscles are tense. The idea behind PMR is that you tense up a group of muscles so that they are as tightly contracted as possible. Hold them in a state of extreme tension for a few seconds. Then, relax the muscles to their previous state. Finally, consciously relax the muscles even further so that you are as relaxed as possible.

By tensing your muscles first, you will probably find that you are able to relax your muscles more than would be the case if you tried to relax your muscles directly.

Experiment with PMR by forming a fist, and clenching your hand as tight as you can for a few seconds. Then relax your hand to its previous tension, and then consciously relax it again so that it is as loose as possible. You should feel deep relaxation in your hand muscles.

Strength & Courage

Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.
-Winston Churchill

Some of us think holding on makes us strong; but sometimes it is letting go.
-Hermen Hesse, was a Nobel Prize winning German-Swiss poet, novelist, and painter.

Quick & Easy Ideas

Rub your Hoku. Your "hoku" is that flap of skin on your palm that connects your pointer finger to your thumb. It's also an acupressure spot related to upper body tension that, when squeezed, can minimize stress by up to 39%-- that's according to scientists at Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

Extend your Exhale. An exhale that is slightly (one to three counts) longer than your inhale will induce a relaxation response in your body.

Share your Smile. Smoke & mirrors not needed when you smile. A smile boosts your immune system, lowers your blood pressure, releases yummy endorphins, relieves stress and is contagious. And for a deep belly laugh check out DamnYouAutoCorrect - not for children.

Smoke & Mirrors

A couple things before I share the smokes & mirrors... First, I am super excited to be teaching 300+ yogis at Yoga in the Park this Saturday and would love to see you (& introduce you to my almost 5 yr old sister - a yoga teacher in her own rights)!

Next, I had to laugh when I checked the statistics of one of my newsletters... the link you all clicked the most... Morning Mojitos. I'm guessing many of you were surprised (and maybe disappointed) to see no alcohol in the recipe. Well this time I raise a glass and share a Red Sangria recipe I think you will enjoy. Cheers!

All too often I hear about the need for flexibility in order to "do yoga". When really the smoke and mirrors of yoga is the balance between strength and softness. I know you have seen that gal doing an incredible pose ... and with a smile. What you don't see is the muscle power behind the pose. I see it everyday in my classes and on my own mat, strength opens the door to flexibility... never the other way around. What still amazes me is the surprise and shock I see in you when you complete an action that seemed so impossible. You have the strength and therefore the ability to do so much more than you can even imagine! I believe in you!

Remember I said it is with a balance of strength and softness we practice yoga. If we over contract our muscles or bring unnecessary tension into the body, we end up holding ourselves back. We become rigid. Can you see how the lesson extends off the mat?

I have encountered several major life challenges the past 18 months and have taken the opportunity to explore this balance of strength and softness. You may have seen the strength and at times you may have witnessed the softer side. Whatever you have seen, I want you to know that you undoubtedly have shared with me wisdom, love and friendship. The many gifts you have shared fuel me to journey with grace. It is with a soft heart that I extend my gratitude to you.

Yoga in the Park

Lynn DuBord & Olivia Cunningham in Lotus
My beautiful, little sister Olivia shared with us that when she grows up she wants to be a yoga teacher. It is with great joy that I extend an invitation to celebrate her 5th birthday with free yoga. Each year I share her favorite pose with the group gathered at Yoga in the Park. In 2010 Warrior II & 2009 Dead Bug. What will it be this year?

Join 300+ yogis including Olivia, as I teach the free community yoga class 9am Saturday, July 23. This class will be held under the canopy of trees in the Southeast Corner of Gray's Lake Des Moines. All levels of experience are welcome. For additional information follow this link.