HolisticGoddess

Holistic lifestyle, healthy eating, yoga, & Life!


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YOGI TEA

 

Yogi Tea also known as Chai tea is a vital part of yogic lifestyle.  It aids digestive health, strengthens the nervous system, purifies the blood and boost immunity.  It cleanses the liver and lungs and has even more multiple benefits. Drink this tea everyday day for optimal health! 

 

Ingredients for 1 cup of Yogi Tea:

10 oz water
1/2 stick of cinnamon
3 whole cloves
4 black peppercorns
4 whole cardamom pods (split the pods first)
1 slice ginger- 1 inch thick
1- 2 tea bags of black tea bags
Soy Milk or Almond Milk
Honey to sweeten

 

Preparation:

Boil the spices in the water for 15 minutes
Add black tea and steep for 2-3 minutes
Add milk and heat again on the stove to a boil
Add the honey to sweeten

 

ENJOY! 🙂

 

*The black tea is necessary, nothing can be replaced by it. The black tea acts as a stimulant to make all the other ingredients work to it’s maximum

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3 Ways to Cultivate and Keep a Home Yoga Practice

Here’s a short, but informative article on starting….and continuing a home yoga practice. 🙂

 

By Coraley Letcher

3 Ways to Cultivate and Keep a Home Yoga Practice

Starting a home practice can be a daunting task. When I talk to students about starting a home practice, the same topics keep coming up: They don’t have the space or the time, they’ve tried but can’t stick with it or when they try, they don’t end up doing the type of practice they would like to. A home practice can teach you to follow your intuition and how to listen to your body. It will teach you to make time for yourself and it will allow you to reap the benefits daily practice can bring.

Below are my top three tips for starting and keeping, a home practice:

1. Keep a journal, calendar, or both.  

Why? It keeps you accountable. By writing on your calendar that you are practicing that night, you’ll motivate yourself to practice so as to avoid staring at your missed commitment the following day. A missed practice can be a big kick in the pants.

I keep my journal on a shelf in my home practice space. When I was working on incorporating consistent practice into my life, having the journal there always got me to go to my practice area, even if I had told myself I didn’t have time, or was too tired to practice. No matter what, I could always convince myself that I had time to jot down what I was feeling in my journal. After a few instances of writing but not practicing, it started to feel ridiculous to be there and not practice. One new habit fed the other.

I have both a calendar and a health journal. I check my practice off on my calendar when I’ve completed it, and I write in the journal even if I don’t do a practice. Both keep me accountable and motivated.

2. Release your expectations. All of them.

Don’t worry about having the “perfect” space to practice. Don’t worry about how much time you were able to spend on your practice on any given day, and definitely don’t worry about the kind of practice you decide to do. Find a spot that’s big enough to roll out your mat and start there. If it helps, you can set up a special space where you can keep your yoga stuff. Try setting up an alter, but don’t let an imagined need for such a space keep you from starting your practice today….


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Benefits of Savasana (Corpse Pose)

shah-VAHS-anna)sava = corpse

This pose is also called Mrtasana (pronounced mrit-TAHS-anna, mrta = death)

 

Savasana is a pose of just total relaxation. It can actually be one of the most challenging of yoga poses because you are lying totally still. But it is also perhaps the most important part of a yoga practice. It serves many purposes: physical, spiritual and philosophical.

All of the practices that we do in Yoga, from the Pranayama or breathing exercises, to the physical practice, to the end at Savasana…..is all a metaphor for Life. When we begin, we are focusing on our Breath, the Beginning of Life, our birth into this world. Just like when a baby is born, the first thing they all learn to do is to breathe in air outside the womb, breathing into our belly….this is what makes the first part of the physical yoga practice.

Then we come to the second part, which is the actual body movement, the challenging poses, and balance. This represents our teen and adult years when Life becomes more challenging, requiring more out of you, to push yourself to the limit, and even then….a little further.

Then finally we come full circle, to the completion of  Life which we will all have to enter someday….Savasana. This represents the End and yet it can also represent the Beginning, when we once again come back to the Breath and become reborn fully refreshed and once again, ready for the outside world. When you begin to look at Yoga in that sense, your practice becomes more meaningful and the poses more positive.

 

 

After the exertions of the practice, Savasana allows the body a chance to regroup and reset itself. After a balanced practice, the entire body will have been stretched, contracted, twisted and inverted. These means that even the deepest muscles will have the opportunity to let go and shed their regular habits, if only for a few minutes.

Furthermore, the physiological benefits of deep relaxation are numerous and include:

  • A decrease in heart rate & rate of respiration
  • A decrease in blood pressure
  • Significantly lowers muscle tension
  • Reduces general anxiety
  • A reduction in the number and frequency of panic attacks
  • Provides an increase in energy levels
  • Increases focus and concentration
  • Decreases fatigue
  • Creates deeper and sounder sleep
  • Improves self-confidence

 

Savasana provides a perfect time for inner focus an integration. After so much time being bound to the actions of the body, the practitioner’s awareness is hopefully turned inwards and purified of sensory distraction. Savasana then becomes the beginning of deeper, meditative yogic practices. In state of sensory withdrawal it becomes easier to be aware of the breath and of the state of the mind itself. Savasana also gives the nervous system a chance to integrate that in what can be thought of as a brief pause before coming back to everyday Life.

 

There are different variations to achieving Savasana:

  • Lying flat with a folded blanket or small pillow under the head

Corpse pose

  • Placing a pillow or bolster under the knees. This position is perfect for those with back or knee issues or pregnant women.

  • Legs propped up on a chair with blanket under the hips

  • A folded blanket under the back

 

Which ever variation you choose, make sure you body is fully supported in a way that fits you so that you can be able to completely enjoy the meditative and restorative experience that Savasana has to offer. Softly begin to close your eyes, refocus on the breath, slowly deepening as you progress, and relax and allow the Earth to support you. Savasana can be performed anywhere between 2-7 mins. is sufficient time to allow the body time to restore and integrate all the energy that has been raised.

 

Remember to just breathe…….and let go. 🙂

 

 

 

 


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The “Fuzz” Speech….

As we get older, stretching becomes more and more important to maintaining good muscular health. This “Fuzz” buildup he speaks of (it’s actually filmy fascia),  can continue to collect over time, thus limiting our range of motion. The physical practice of Yoga, the gentle stretches,  helps to decrease this by consistently keeping the muscles “Fuzz” free!

If not stretched out or released through body work (such as massage), the filmy fascia begins to coagulate and intertwine. This makes people SERIOUSLY inflexible. This is also why older people are prone to injury…their limited range of motion leads to falls!

So what’s the take away? Be patient with yourself and others; sometimes the body takes time to open. But keep up with your Yoga practice and eventually you wont be so…fuzzy. This is the whole reason Yoga is so important….


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The Benefits of Mountain Pose (Tadasana)

mountain pose

It might look like your “just standing there”, but this is actually an active pose that helps to improve posture and also helps you to become calm  focused. When I’m teaching my classes, after we’ve done our meditation and breathing session, I always start my students out in Tadasana, Mountain Pose before we begin our practice. Just like the mountain is unmoved….come rain, wind, or shine…..we also must become unmoved in our everyday life. Doesn’t mean to become like a robot or unemotional, not at all! But when daily trials, stresses and all the things and situations that Life throws at us to test….and make us stronger, we must learn to keep our “foundation”, mentally & emotionally, intact.

Of course this is not by ANY means an overnight process, but with practice & patience, our physical Mountain CAN become our mental & emotional Mountain.

The benefits of Tadasana can include, but are not limited to:

  • Improves posture when practiced regularly
  • Can help reduce back pain
  • Strengthens thighs, knees, ankles, abdomen, and buttocks
  • Also helpful for relieving sciatica and reducing the effects of flat feet.

 

Practicing the pose with steady smooth breath will help relieve stress and improve concentration! 🙂

Some cautions to consider before performing Tadasana:

Due to the balance nature of the posture, do not practice Mountain Pose if you are currently experiencing headaches,  insomnia, low blood pressure, or if you are lightheaded and/or dizzy. Women who are pregnant should widen their stance as much as necessary to feel stable. Always work within your own range of limits and abilities.

 

To start, stand with your feet together…or hip distance apart and just like any mountain, we start from the ground up. Make sure you can feel all four corners of your feet into you mat, you can do this by simply lifting the toes and slowly placing them one by one starting with the pinky toes on up to the big toes. Lift the kneecaps (without hyper-extending  the knees), engage the thighs carrying this energy up to your pelvis.

Slightly tuck the tailbone and draw you navel in to engage the core. Moving up to the chest, lifting the heart-center while relaxing the shoulders down allowing the shoulder blades to rest into back body.

Keeping the neck long, tuck your chin in slightly, bring your hands into prayer or Namaste position. Alternatively, you can bring your hands down at your sides, a few inches away from your body with the palms facing front…..then softly close your eyes and begin to FEEL your Mountain.

Here, you are well grounded at the feet and at the same time, allowing the energy to be raised through the top of your head. From Earth to Sky, As Above, So Below. Begin to take deep cleansing breaths and enjoy the powerful foundation YOU built! 🙂

 


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The Benefits of Pranayama (the yogic science of breath)

Right now, bring your attention to your breath…….Ok, good!

Now take a deep inhale in…….then slowly exhale. Doesn’t that feel good? Now repeat….

Breathing is such an important part of our daily lives that we don’t even take time to notice it….it just comes naturally. Our breathing patterns are constantly changing throughout the day depending on our emotional state. When we’re feeling tense, angry, stressed, or anxious, our breathing becomes more concentrated in our chest, hence all the “huffin n’ puffin”  that goes on. When we’re in a state of relaxation however, whether we’re reading a good book, in the company of those we cherish, listening to relaxing music, or just before that moment we go into a sleep state, our breathing will be more focused in our lower abdomen.

When we breathe through our upper chest, the oxygen intake is cut short, so we’re not able to relax…and think clearly. On the other hand, if we learn to breath deep into the lower part of our lungs, the lower belly, more oxygen is being taken in…hence more oxygen to the brain. Now you get the point?

When we’re born, we all breathe the correct way. Babies don’t even think about it, it just happens. It’s when we grow and start to form words and sentences that we change this pattern and become chest breathers. The goal in practicing yogic breathing is to breathe into the bottom of our lungs, THEN carry it up into our upper chest, and breathe out. So we’re able to stay focused and centered….no matter what’s going on outside of us.

There’s a breathing technique used in yoga called Ujjayi, pronounced: OO-JAH-ee, (Ocean breath). The English translation means “To become victorious” or “To gain mastery”.  This particular style of breathing is said to enhance yoga practice and balance both sides of the brain as well as increase oxygen production in the body.

To create Ujjayi, first start with slow breaths, taking a deep inhale into the lower abdomen, flowing it into the upper chest, then as you begin to exhale, constrict the back of the throat…similar to the constriction made when speaking in a whisper. Therefore, it is an audible breath that is often compared to the sound of the ocean. Although there is constriction in the throat, Ujjayi breath flows in & out through the nostrils, with the lips remaining gently closed.

Some of the benefits include:

  • Balancing both the left & right sides of the brain
  • Keeps us in the present moment, diminished distractions and allows you to become self aware grounded
  • Instills endurance in yoga practice & creates a meditative quality that maintains the rhythm of movement
  • Releases tension and tight areas in the body
  • Additional benefits include:  Diminish pain from headaches, decreases phlegm production, & strengthening of the nervous and digestive systems

So whether you’re on or off the yoga mat,  listen to & pay close attention to your breath. It will tell you a lot about how you’re feeling at the moment. Practice relaxing the muscles of the face as you breathe. I find that relaxing the face can have a domino affect on the rest of our bodies in helping to release any tension we may be holding on to at the moment.

Remember,

Breathe…Relax…..and SMILE! 😀