Do You Love Your Feet?

written by Alison Klektau Special thanks to fellow classmate Robyn Miller for filming this segment.

Honouring Our Feet

Our feet do so much for us, yet they are often forgotten about and overworked. I recently teamed up with personal trainer, and professional dancer, Sasha Rochon for this video where she shares some tips on barefoot training to help get our feet in tip-top-shape.

 

Besides helping with articulation, and strengthening muscles in our feet, these exercises can also help prevent injury.

 

http://youtu.be/3WW3uQlIawg

 

PS- Want to WIN A WELLNESS TEA?!

Check out the contest to win a soothing, delicious tea from Tealish.  Contest ends at midnight EST on Friday, August 31st.

 

Stay tuned, as Sasha and I have a few more videos in the works to share. In the meantime, if you’re in Vancouver BC and want to train with Sasha you can find her on her Facebook Page, or visit her website!

 

Sasha Rochon on Facebook

Sasha's website

Alison Klektau is a Nutritional Muse. She is here to inspire and guide you to live your life optimally, through incorporating simple, practical and most importantly, holistic lifestyle choices to release that incredible being within each of us. Alison is currently studying at The Institute of Holistic Nutrition (IHN) where she is working towards being a certified holistic nutritionist. Prior to enrolling at IHN, she earnedher BFA in theatre and film studies from the University of Victoria.

Checkout the Nutritional Muse on Facebook

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Hips Don't Lie

by Sam Hall

 

Those Rough Days

It never ceases to amaze me how yoga can truly and completely heal. There was one particular day a couple months ago that was pretty bad.  I was completely drained, emotional, and anxious, and really all I wanted to do after work was curl up in a ball in my bed and never leave.   But I ended up walking towards my studio, and despite the tears streaming down my face, and the shortness of my breath, I found myself entering the studio, laying down on my mat, and completely succumbing to the overwhelming emotions that were filling up in my body.

 

My practice began quite roughly. I had short shallow breaths, I was crying (probably freaking out the girl next to me) and I literally couldn’t just be.  During the first few poses I felt impatient and my inability to focus was tremendous.  But even if I was crawling out of my skin and wanting to curl up in a ball in my bed, I knew that this was better than sitting in my room wallowing in my sadness, and I knew it was better than going for that glass of wine and ice cream that I much would have rather indulged in.  Feeling vulnerable on my mat just resulted in me going deeper and becoming more introspective in my practice.

The Junk Drawer

As fate would have it, I realized quickly that my teacher decided to choose this day, this particular class that I reluctantly walked into, to focus on hip opening positions.  There are so many physical reasons to do hip-opening poses: limber hips can ease back pain, give you a more agile walk, and even improve circulation in your legs.  But there’s also a more sublet benefit as well: typically hips are the center of a lot of emotions.  Most yoga teachers I have practiced with, or any articles I have read on the subject, all agree that we hold our stress and negative emotions – fear, guilt, sadness – in our pelvis and hips. So it is extremely important to do poses that move prana (life force) through that area.  One teacher even said once that “The pelvis is like the body’s junk drawer. Whenever you don’t know what to do with a feeling or experience, you put it there.”

 

While I certainly do feel frustration in hip openers, and know that this is a very tight part of my body, I had never had a particular emotional experience in any hip opening poses. But let’s just say that after that night, I totally get what all the hip-fuss is about.

 

This was exactly what I needed that night.  And while I certainly had an emotional practice that began quite panicky and sad, slowly throughout the class I started to relax, my breathing deepened, and my focus completely centered.  Isn’t that so amazing? Walking out of the studio I almost couldn’t believe how a short 90 minutes completely readjusted my attitude and simply made me feel just so much better.

 

I strongly encourage anyone who is having an anxious, sad, angry, or stressful day to go to a yoga class, open your hips, and release your pent up energy and emotions, refocus your mind, and I guarantee you will leave feeling completely released and free.

 

And then AFTERWARDS you can go indulge in that ice cream and wine

 

Good Hip Opening Poses

(that you can do in the comfort of your own home):

 

Eka Pada Rajakapotasana (Pigeon) Utthan Pristhasana (Lizard Pose) Ananda Balasana (Happy Baby) or simply sitting cross legged, breathing deeply into your hip flexors

 

Sam Hall is a recent graduate of the Yogaspace Teacher Training program who specializes in Vinyasa and Hatha flow.  Having been drawn to yoga initially to help deal with a stressful personal experience, yoga has now become an integral part of Sam’s daily life.  It has not only opened her body but it has truly freed her mind, and she is extremely passionate about sharing this with any individual she works with.  Sam hopes to inspire those beginner and advanced yogis alike to step out of their comfort zones and try something new!

The 7th Inning Stretch - The BEST chair yoga to invigorate you at the office (or at any place that has a chair)!

Everyone has hectic lives, and often we completely forget about stopping for a moment to find some time for ourselves.  Whether it be, cooking yourself a meal, reading a chapter of your book, or practicing your yoga, everyone should allocate at least 15 minutes (which really is nothing) of your day to do something that just feels good.  

 

Working full time, I find myself seated at a desk, hunched over papers or my keyboard for the majority of the day.  This tends to result in a 3pm crash and burn!  Since I’m not the only one in my office who experiences this, I decided that I was going to initiate a 15 minute office yoga break.

 

Mid-afternoon is usually that time of the day where you’ve already eaten lunch, had one or two coffees, and are starting to check the clock at the corner of your computer screen.  There's no better time than this to take some time to re-energize and work out the kinks in your neck, shoulders and wrist...especially if you're someone like me who spends the majority of their day reading and writing.

 

The easiest office yoga break that you could do are really simple “chair yoga” stretches.  You don’t even need to change into  your work clothes, and they will give you that much needed boost of energy for those last few hours of your afternoon.  You can do these at your desk, in the boardroom, in the kitchen, or even at home while waiting for dinner to cook!

 

 

CHAIR YOGA TO THE RESCUE!

 

  • - Grab a chair, preferably one that doesn’t have wheels (or else comedy will ensue), and sit at the very edge of the chair.
  • - Remove the flesh from your buttocks so that you are sitting directly on your sitz bones. Feet are hip-bone-width apart, shoulders are back, and hands are resting on your thighs.

 

NECK

  • - With your right hand planted down on the chair next to your hip, draw your left hand over the right side of your head, and gently guide your neck to the left.
  • After a few breaths, switch sides.

 

WRIST

 

  • - With your left elbow bent, and palm facing your face, gently grasp onto your left wrist with your right hand.
  • - As you lightly pull down with your right hand, pull up with your left hand at the same time for counteraction.  Wiggle your fingers a few times, and then switch sides.

 

SPINE (CAT/COW STRETCH)

  • - With your palms resting on your thighs, inhale, arch your back, gaze towards the ceiling
  • - Exhale and round your spine like a halloween cat and let your head drop, gaze towards belly.
  • - Repeat 5 times to your own breath

 

SHOULDER (EAGLE VARIATION)

  • - Inhale your arms out to shoulder level, and on the exhale cross your right arm over your left, bending your arms to cross at the elbows, palms coming together.
  • - If your shoulders are tight (as many people's are) and you are unable to meet palms, simply hold on to opposite shoulders.
  • - Take 5 breathes, unwind, and switch sides

 

SPINAL TWIST

 

  • - Bring your right hand to your left thigh, and your left hand planted on the chair next to your left hip.
  • - Inhale get length in your spine, and exhale gently twist over to the left.
  • - Make sure that you are twisting first from your belly, then from your middle back, then upper back, then neck and head last.  This is a twist for your thoracic (middle) spine.
  • - Hold the twist for 5 breaths, and after your last exhale slowly unwind and switch sides.

 

HIP OPENER (PIGEON VARIATION)

  • - Cross your right ankle over your left thigh, flexing your right toes and activating your foot (this will protect your knee)
  • - Take a breath in, and on the exhale, gently push your right knee down with your right hand.  You should be feeling this stretch in the outer right hip (Piriformis)
  • - Hold for 5 breaths, and switch sides.
  • - After you are finished simply sit, close your eyes, and breath in and out five times to close your mini-practice.
  • - Bring your hands to prayer at heart centre, bow your head slightly, and namaste.

 

Sam Hall is a recent graduate of the Yogaspace Teacher Training program who specializes in Vinyasa and Hatha flow.  Having been drawn to yoga initially to help deal with a stressful personal experience, yoga has now become an integral part of Sam’s daily life.  It has not only opened her body but it has truly freed her mind, and she is extremely passionate about sharing this with any individual she works with.  Sam hopes to inspire those beginner and advanced yogis alike to step out of their comfort zones and try something new!

Honor Your Body and Set Your Spirit Free

Today, we bring you a guest post from our very dear friend and inspiring musician, Chris Assaad.  This post is part of the Nutrition and Intuition Blog Event.  Let us know if you want to take part in our next blog event and contribute your writing, stories, recipes and creative expressions!

 

I am writing this blog on Day 28 of a 30-day cleanse that has been one of the most profound spiritual experiences of my life. The cleanse has involved a strict alkaline diet consisting of no caffeine, no dairy, no wheat, no sugar, no alcohol and approximately 80% of every meal consisting of green vegetables. It has also included a component that inspirational blogger and founder of The Daily Love, Mastin Kipp, calls a “love cleanse”, which means no engaging with the opposite sex (i.e. no sex, no dating, no flirting and no communication with exes). Lastly, after ten years of being a smoker, I also quit smoking five days before the beginning of the cleanse.

 

Before the cleanse, I was pretty loose about my diet and there is no question that I was highly addicted to sugar and nicotine. I’ve also spent my fair share of time and energy partying, drinking, smoking, chasing women, all of it.

 

Knowing all of this, you may find it interesting that I chose the word ‘spiritual’ to describe the experience of the past 28 days. I have learned a tremendous amount about myself during this time but the single most important lesson I’ve learned is that it is by honoring your body that you can truly set your spirit free.

 

The idea of honoring your body may sound obvious or even cliché but the fact is, it is something that I have completely overlooked for a long time. Perhaps this is easy to do because in many ways, our body doesn’t immediately reveal to us the true impact of our choices. Only sometimes, when we really abuse our body, like when we drink to excess or overeat, it lets us know we’ve gone too far. Also, working on the mind and spirit promises the greatest rewards and can lead us to skip the all-important step of readying ourselves to receive the gifts of our practice.

 

This is an accurate description of my experience to date. I have spent the last 9 years investing my energy in reading self-helps books, practicing meditation and prayer, journaling, attending personal development workshops, trying yoga and healing treatments, going to church, you name it. I have developed a pretty well-rounded spiritual practice but have always felt as though something was missing. Deep down inside, in my heart of hearts, I knew what it was.

 

I wasn’t honoring my body. I wasn’t honoring the gift of life that I’ve been given. As a result, I wasn’t really getting the true benefit from my spiritual practices.  I now see that my body is a true gift and the vessel through which I experience life. In order to get the most out of that experience, it’s crucial to take care of that vessel, love it and nurture it. Another way of looking at it is that life is like a beautiful song and we are the instruments. If our instruments are not well kept and in tune, the music won’t come out sounding the way it is meant to.

 

So what’s the point of all of this? Well, it’s simple. When we don’t honor our body, we don’t get to experience the joys of life to the fullest. The Uni-verse has so much it wants to give us but we need to be ready to receive it. Our dreams are waiting to be realized but if we keep our spirit bound by addictions and unhealthy habits, we will not have the energy or the focus to bring them to life and we will not be able to take flight.

 

For me, I know that the completion of this cleanse is far from the end. It is a new beginning. It will take commitment to keep it going but I now have a deeper incentive to do that. During these past few weeks, I have gotten a glimpse of what’s possible if I live a life that honors my body as my instrument, as sacred. I have been more spiritually connected than ever, more focused on my goals, more inspired and have had more energy to take whatever life has thrown at me in stride. And of course, physically, I have felt better than I have in years. It’s been nothing short of amazing.

 

Don’t get me wrong, it hasn’t been all sunshine and roses. There have been rough days and going forward, I know there will be many more challenges to come. I will fall and get back up again, probably many times. Nonetheless, I am thankful for the lesson that I’ve learned and for a glimpse into what I’ve been missing all this time.

 

If you’re reading this and feeling overwhelmed, take comfort in knowing that wherever you are is a great place to start from and that the solution happens one small step at a time.  So today, do something loving for your body and honor the gift of life that you’ve been given. Drink some more water, go to a yoga class, do some push-ups, have one cookie instead of two for dessert, skip that cigarette or that drink that you don’t really want. The more you do these things and tune in to the gift that is your body and the beautiful music of your life, the more ready you will be to accept the greater gifts of peace, love, joy and creativity.

 

May the force be with you!

 

If you want a yummy recipe that is full of love and sweet...but also super nourishing for your body, check out Love Tarts

 

Let us know what you do to love yourself!  Leave a comment below please!  We love getting new ideas for how to love ourselves more and spread the love around to everyone.

Don’t Kick The Habit

Today, we are so excited to bring you a guest post from Lissa Rankin, MD, the founder of the inspiring, fantastic Owning Pink.  We are including this post in the Nutrition and Intuition Blog Event.

I  know you just made resolutions, but don’t try to stop smoking. Don’t give up booze. Don’t throw out your pot. Don’t ditch the donuts.

 

While you’re at it, don’t join the gym.  Don’t try to meditate every day.  Don’t promise to get over your money issues. Don’t resolve to lose twenty pounds.

 

Don’t quit the job you hate. Don’t leave your deadbeat boyfriend.  Don’t try to be a better mother/ daughter/ friend. Don’t give up internet porn.

 

Don’t finish that novel. Don’t sign up for that art class. Don’t declutter your house. Don’t get out of debt.

 

When you make promises to yourself before you’re ready to make big change, you just prove to yourself what you’ve suspected all along - that you don’t have the willpower, you’re not trustworthy, and you never follow through on your word.

 

You pay big bucks to Jenny Craig, but you never follow the program. You sign up for the art class, but you don’t start painting. You look at your computer, but you don’t write your novel. You look up 12 step programs but then you never go. You sign up for that green juice cleanse and then you never cleanse. You pay the $99 every month, but you don’t actually go to the gym. You make a budget but then you don’t follow it. You break up with your boyfriend and two days later, you sleep with him. You try to quit your job until they offer you a raise and you get sucked in again.

 

Every time you make a promise to yourself that you don’t keep, you feel like shit. And when you feel like shit, what do you do? You smoke that cigarette/ eat that ice cream/ start jonesing for that drug or that sex or your couch potato lifestyle. When you make promises to yourself that you don’t keep, you make the habit worse.

 

Instead, wait until you’ve decided it’s really time.

 

Draw the line in the sand.

 

Refuse to accept anything less than 100% recovery.

 

Know that this time, it’s for real. And mean it.

Trust that once you decide you’re really ready, it will be easy. You’ll break the habit in a blink. You’ll never look back.

 

But until you’re 1000% on board with your decision, don’t kick the habit. Give yourself permission to buy that pack of cigarettes or that bottle of wine or that blunt. Love yourself as you smoke or drink or get high. Love yourself as you lounge on the sofa and binge on potato chips. Love yourself as you overspend, overindulge, oversex, overgive, overprocrastinate. Cancel the gym membership. Drop out of the art class. Close your computer.  Get off the scale. Inhale all the way.

 

And love yourself just as you are, for every little flaw that makes you who you are, for better or for worse.

 

When you do, something magical will happen. At some point, when you least expect it, in the midst of this lovefest, a spark will catch fire. The flame will grow. The light will outshine the darkness. The darkness will no longer be able to resist the light.

 

When you love yourself so much, in spite of your imperfections, you will hit a point on some future day, and it will come when you least expect it. It won’t be a resolution or a promise or anything they make you do in rehab. It will come from within, and it will be easy, and it will be permanent.

 

One day, you will love yourself so much that you will decide you’re done with the habit, you’re ready to accomplish the goal, and the time is now.

It will happen effortlessly, and you will never look back.

 

If that time isn’t here yet, you will never succeed in quitting, no matter how much you try to convince yourself you want to quit. Your failure will be guaranteed, and then you will prove to yourself - once again - what a loser you are.

 

But you’re not a loser, my love. You just haven’t decided yet. And that’s okay. I forgive you, so please forgive yourself.

 

Until you decide the time is now, you might as well give yourself permission to enjoy that cigarette, to breathe it in, to breathe it out, and to throw your arms out as you do…

 

Is now the time?

 

Loving you just the way you are,

Lissa

© Copyright Lissa Rankin 2011

Lissa Rankin, MD: Founder of OwningPink.commotivational speaker and author of What’s Up Down There? Questions You’d Only Ask Your Gynecologist If She Was Your Best Friend and Encaustic Art: The Complete Guide To Creating Fine Art With Wax.

The part of you that you can trust no matter what

Today, we are so excited to bring you a guest post from Kate Northrup, who you can check out over at KateNorthrup.com.  This post is part of The Nutrition and Intuition Blog Event.

 

My body is my strongest barometer for truth. When something is off she tells me. I’m blessed to have grown up with a mother who taught me to listen to my body and that it, above all else, would point me in the right direction without fail.

  I’ll never forget my dad pressuring me to go and visit our local private school, North Yarmouth Academy. My dad was on the board of directors and my sister went there and he wanted me to go to the prep school too. But all of my friends were at the public school and I was totally happy there, thank you very much. The morning of my scheduled visit I begrudgingly readied myself. I didn’t even make it through the first class period before I had a raging headache and a temperature. My cheeky body wisdom saved the day. When I wasn’t able to stand up for myself verbally, my body swept in and stood up for what was ultimately the best decision for me.

 

My body never lies. When I’m going too fast and doing too much she gives me a gentle nudge to slow down that manifests as a cold. When I’m headed in the wrong direction, she makes me nauseous. When I’m thinking too hard, she manifests a headache so I remember to let my mind relax and reorient to my heart.

 

There is this funny myth that pervades the Western world that we catch disease by some inexplicable, random Russian roulette-type chance. What a lovely excuse to not take responsibility for our life stye choices and for our emotional lives. Cancer doesn’t just hide in the closet and come out and “get” the first person walking by. Viruses aren’t lurking around every corner deciding to enter your blood stream at random. Our consciousness, state of emotional health, and every day choices lay the groundwork for whether or not we will become diseased. It’s not random. Our bodies never lie. We become diseased because something is “off” in our relationships, our self-care (or lack thereof), our work lives, our spiritual well-being, or our health habits.

  So the next time you feel a tickle in your throat and want to lay in bed all day, see what might happen if you open your ears instead of your medicine cabinet. Obviously your body won’t speak to you in language you can hear, but she’s communicating with you nonetheless. With gratitude and an open heart and mind, ask her what she’d like you to know. Is there a relationship in you life that’s not serving you that you’ve been ignoring the consequences of? Is there a way you’re treating your body that, if not addressed now, may turn into a bigger health issue down the road?

  We spend so much time hating our bodies, wishing they were smaller, more toned, less achy, or more energized. But that lovely bottom you’re sitting on right now is the only one you’re ever going to have (at least in this lifetime.) Your body is your friend, your biggest ally, and the only one you can trust no matter what. She holds treasures of wisdom that, if you listen, will guide you not only to vibrant health, but also to create a life so gorgeous you may need to pinch yourself from time to time just to make sure you’re not dreaming.

 

Take some action and leave a comment!

• What are you grateful for when it comes to your body? • Have you ever had a time where your body was telling you something? How did she tell you? What was the message?

 

Kate Northrup is a writer, professional freedom seeker and creative entrepreneur. She is the co-creator of a group of wellness entrepreneurs 800 strong, Team Northrup. Find out more and download her free guide, The 5 Things You Gotta Do to Create Financial Freedom, at http://www.katenorthrup.com.