March

Hello everyone, it’s your host, Sevina. As the war between Russia and Ukraine is unfolding, I have found it necessary to pray for world peace. We have this beautiful vessel – the planet Earth and if we destroy it with nuclear conflict, there is no escape plan. We need to be wise and not let the love of power sacrifice the only home we have. Whatever your spiritual practice is, I encourage you to send love to the people who suffer on both sides in this conflict. Also, we must encourage peaceful communication between people in any form within our own country.

Namaste!

Please enjoy he articles below.

Abundance and the Vision of Yoga

By: Deepak Chopra, M. D.

Success and abundance are desirable things, yet the path to achieving them, the path that has entered popular mythology, involves struggle, arduous work, competitive drive, stress, and if you want real riches—a ruthless streak. This path runs contrary to leading a happy life, and most people therefore feel discouraged by the struggle before they have gone very far on such a path.

The Inner Path to Abundance

Butthere is an alternative, an inner path to abundance that rests upon a simple belief: “I am enough.” If you truly feel complete, your life is already abundant. How much money you earn doesn’t have to be enormous, because money isn’t where “I am enough” comes from. It comes from your own consciousness. If your underlying belief, on the other hand, is “I am not enough,” you will operate from a sense of lack that no amount of money can change.

The path of ‘I am enough” is totally consistent with Yoga, not simply the positions taught in yoga class but the larger, all-embracing system of Yoga. Yoga illuminates an entirely new reality. In this reality the things we normally keep separate are united (in Sanskrit the word Yoga means to join or unite). The two biggest things we keep separate are the two worlds each of us inhabits. One world is “out there,” the physical world of things and other people. The other is the world “in here,” where the mind is constantly active, producing thoughts and sensations. The purpose of Yoga is to bring these two worlds together. If you can do that, you will be whole, and “I am enough” will be your baseline attitude towards life.

Yoga and the View of Success

That’s why the vision of Yoga is so magnificent. It measures success by the only measure that matters: Your experience of joy and fulfillment. If you want to follow your bliss, Yoga can achieve this much more simply, quickly, and painlessly than you probably imagine. By following the principles of Yoga, you will lead the life you were meant to live, one of sustainability, abundance, and joy.

Along the way the money to support this life will come to you. Given the hard realities, particularly in these troubled times, most people would be skeptical about “the money will come” part. Money is the chief worry that pollsters find in people’s lives. Money implies hard work and struggle. To survive you must have money; to thrive you need even more. Yet even in the wealthiest Western economies, according to data gathered by the Gallup Organization, only around one-third of respondents say that they are thriving.

“The money will come” implies a very different approach to the whole subject of money. A shift in awareness is required, and no bigger shift can be imagined, because the two worlds—in here and out there—must come together. When this happens, life flows along a hidden path. You are no longer ruled by the outward path of work, finances, family, relationships, duties, and demands. All those things constitute only half of life. On the other hand, you are not ruled by inner beliefs, old conditioning, worry, whims, confusion, conflict, and the other discordant elements of the psyche. That world is also only half of life.

Connection with the Generosity of Spirit

The whole point of Yoga, when it unites the two worlds of “in here” and “out there,” is to harmonize them. The real purpose of life is the same for everyone. It is this: Connect with the generosity of spirit, and let it provide everything you need. Is need the same as desire? Will Yoga make all your wishes come true, showering you with wealth? Those are the wrong questions. Yoga brings inner joy, which is the only true measure of success. The connection with bliss also connects us to the things we most value—love, compassion, beauty, truth, creativity, and personal growth—all are available in consciousness.

In the Indian tradition one word, Dharma, harmonizes inner bliss with the life you are meant to live. Dharma is about meaning and purpose. The life you are meant to live is meaningful to you personally. Second, dharma is about working at something you love and are good at, which is what comes most effortlessly. Work that feels like a struggle isn’t your Dharma. Third, Dharma is real when you can say “I am enough.”

Become Your Own Guide 

I’ve given you the vision that Is unfolded in detail in my new book, Abundance. It outlines the inner path so that anyone can find their Dharma. This isn’t an arduous or complicated path. If you can tell the difference between a positive experience and a negative experience, you will be able to become your own guide. Your true self is always present, and it knows exactly what you need and how to achieve it.

The path does involve removing mental obstacles that maintain the belief, “I am not enough.” In Yoga these obstacles are known as Vrittis. You get past them the same way you sense how to move forward. You sense that something doesn’t feel right, and that you are blocked and frustrated. You know that feeling instinctively. There is nothing complicated to do. The simplest way to counter a Vritti is simply to be aware and centered. then the healing power of awareness takes over.

I urge you to align yourself with Yoga’s vision, because it has proven itself for thousands of years. Bliss shouldn’t be an occasional glimpse of elation and joy. It should be the baseline of how you feel, think, and act. Nothing more is needed to achieve abundance along the inner path.

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6 Ayurvedic Tips to Take Care of Your Mental Health

By: Dr.Manas S. Kshirsagar

Let’s dive deep into the importance of taking care of your mental health and shed light on the ways in which you can create a community around yourself in the digital age. In the stone age, sitting by the fire at the end of the day with your loved ones was a way to reconnect and regroup.

Physiologically speaking, it is the time when the activation of the parasympathetic nervous system is at an all-time low which allows the heart rate to slow, conserves energy, and enables blood flow to return to the thoracic cavity and increase peristaltic movement.

The Ayurvedic View of the Mind

According to Ayurveda, an individual has to have an aligned mind, body, and spirit in order to be considered healthy. Mental health and spiritual health go hand-in-hand as per the Shashtras. Sattavajaya which can be loosely translated to mean the western concept of psychotherapy has been mentioned in the ancient Ayurvedic text Charaka Samhita. Satwavajaya Chikitsa is a unique non-pharmacological approach for treating mental disorders. It is the first of its kind and if developed can really prove much useful. The effectiveness of “traditional mental health promoting practices” was identified as health regimens (Swarthvrtt), correct behavior (sadvrtt), and yoga.

Sattvavajaya as psychotherapy is what Charaka Samhita referred to as mental restraint or mind control, which is achieved through concentration, improving memory, learning about philosophy, understanding fortitude, and expanding one’s spiritual knowledge.

Ayurvedic psychotherapy combines the ancient knowledge of primordial sounds, and the discovery of the authentic self on a deeper level. Becoming aware of the nature’s laws and integrating the self with the larger universe is a crucial step in the journey towards ensuring that your mind is calm and resilient.

Ayurveda teaches us to rediscover critical knowledge and awareness about the nature forces and rhythms in nature that bolster our human experience in this lifetime. It is important to understand the psyche and tune in to our inner experiences by being mindful every day. This can only be possible if you are able to be present in your environment and in your relationships on a daily basis.

Once you start practicing mindfulness through meditation and breathing techniques, your body will automatically speak to you and let you know how different types of energies affect you.

The Attributes of the Mind

A pleasant state of mind is instrumental for your holistic health. It is the very basis of balance of all energy principles, including the doshas. An Ayurvedic practitioner asks for information related to different aspects of your life: current stressors, past stressors, lifestyle, diet, schedule, routine etc.

Since Ayurveda is such an ancient science that accounted for mental imbalances (Manovikara) thousands of years ago, mental diseases or depression, anxiety etcetera are not stigmatized, but rather are categorized by their attributes to provide distinct treatment options.

  • Vata imbalance causes anxiety and fear which can lead to phobias in cases where vata imbalance remains unmanaged.
  • Pitta imbalance can lead to anger and obsessions.
  • Kapha imbalance makes a person prone to depression.

Different attributes of the mind, Gunas, are also important to understand when trying to better grasp your own mental health.

  • Sattva is described as the natural state of mind which is the best mindspace to be in to achieve optimal mental health. It is the characteristic of the mind that lets you feel light, productive, and balanced.
  • Rajas is the ambitious quality of our mind which makes us restless.
  • Tamas is the attribute that makes us feel lethargic and dull.

All three attributes are important in their own right. However, an imbalance of any one of the three gunas can lead to anger or depression or anxiety.

Now that we’ve taken a look at the attributes of the mind and the doshas and elements that make up not only our physical being but also our mental state, let’s look at ways in which you can take care of your mental wellbeing in a holistic manner.

Focus on Building Up Your Sattva

Bolstering up the mind’s ability to be calm and in a state of rest is tough work. There are numerous stimuli vying for our attention in the course of the day which puts a strain on our capacity to process emotions and daily stressors. Building up the sattvic quality of the mind can enable you to become resilient towards life’s stressors and hence enhance your mental stability.

How do you help your body and mind build up sattva? Here are six simple changes that you can make to your daily routine.

1. Pranayama

Diligently practicing pranayama (breathwork techniques) that focus on clearing out the thoracic cavity at dawn and dusk through several deep cleansing belly breaths can work wonders. Incorporate it as a part of your dinacharya, or daily routine, in order to let your body know that there is a choice–you don’t always have to feel out-of-breath or anxious! Once your body experiences calm, it will crave more calm and attract a similar type of energy.

2. Meditation

Meditation is the age-old cure for mental instability. It rewires your brain into becoming more present and mindful. Studies on meditation practices have shown that meditators are more likely to be able to breathe through anxiety and deal with depression in a positive manner and also build better relationships and deep connections with fellow human beings.

3. A Balanced, Sattvic Diet

A balanced and sattvic diet is not only important in order to build up the immune system of the body but also to make the mind more resilient. Sattvic food items include those that are easy to digest, plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains and lentils, no processed or junk food, and avoiding white sugar, white flour, etc.

4. Selfless Service (Seva)

Seva or volunteering helps in increasing the feel-good aspect of your being and thus helps in building up your self-esteem. It not only helps reduce stress but also gives you a sense of community and a feeling of belonging which is essential for the human brain to feel safe and secure.

5. Positive Practices (Sadvritta)

Ayurveda emphasizes practice and regularity in all of its prescriptions. The key is making small changes on a daily basis so that the body gets used to those new patterns. Just like our body is accustomed to old patterns, it needs time to adjust to new patterns. It is precisely why sadvritta or positive practices are so crucial for establishing optimal mental well-being.

Self-inquiry, patience with oneself, establishing a healthy routine, regular body movement in the form of exercise and regular mental stress in the form of meditation teaches the body and mind that you are able to handle systemic stress–thus nurturing resilience.

Other positive practices include cultivating hobbies, exploring your creativity in different forms, practicing gratefulness and journaling can go a long way in helping you with introspection which in turn can bring you closer to the higher self.

6. Engaging the Senses (Aahaar)

Aahaar is not just the food that you consume. It refers to anything that you feed your senses: smell, touch, sight, sound, taste, and your dhriti, the ability to discern between the right and wrong. The news that you peruse on the internet or the shows you watch on TV or the books that you read have an impact on you and your mental health. The food that you consume needs to be digested completely, similarly, the thoughts that you “feed” your mind need to be processed in a healthy manner. If the food and the thoughts are sattvic to begin with, it is easier on your gut and mind, respectively.

The concept of the mind in Ayurveda proves a very intricate way of looking at certain imbalances within the physical as well and causal body. There is a template on how to move from a tamasic mind to a more sattvic mind, even how to reverse some of the causes for mental disorders without the use of traditional pharmacological drug interventions. When we harness the positive qualities of the mind we are able to create a state of being that is conducive to healing!

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Quinoa lentil baked empanadas with jalapeño lime sauce

Servings: 8 (makes sixteen 4-inch empanadas)

Prep time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Cook time: 15 minutes

Ingredients

Dough

  • 3 cups spelt or white whole-wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons butter (I used cashew-based vegan butter)
  • 1/4 cup water (or more as needed) 

Filling

  • 1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed
  • 1/4 cup lentils
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced dried onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Sauce

  • 2 cups fresh cilantro
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 1 large jalapeño pepper

Directions

To make the dough:

  1. Place the flour in a large bowl. Whisk in 1 teaspoon salt.
  2. Add the yogurt and the melted butter to the flour and stir with a wooden spoon.
  3. Add the water 1 tablespoon at a time. Mix until the dough starts to come together.

Knead mixture very gently and briefly with your hands until you obtain a relatively smooth dough. Don’t overwork the dough. It’s fine if the dough appears a bit shaggy and unevenly mixed (like pie crust), but it should have enough moisture to come together to form a cohesive ball. If the dough is too dry, add a bit more water. If it’s too sticky, add a bit more flour, and knead lightly.

February

Hello everyone, it’s your host Sevina. This month we are planting the seeds of self- love. ❤️ Only when we love and respect ourselves, we will be able to fully love others.

“There are so many way to respond to a situation, and if the response is love-sponsored the outcome will always be harmony.”

Sri Avinash

Please enjoy the articles below.

Namaste!

Feeling stressed from making decisions? Here are 4 tips for dealing with decision fatigue.

By: Thrive Together – newsletter Kaiser Permanente

Day after day we’re faced with many decisions both big and small — from what to wear and eat to bigger life decisions that involve family, money, and more. So, it’s not surprising that the stress of constant decision-making can wear on our mental health. If you feel overwhelmed by the thought of making another decision, then you may be experiencing decision fatigue.

Decision fatigue is the idea that our ability to make decisions can get worse after making many decisions.1According to Kaiser Permanente psychiatric social worker Leigh Miller, LCSW, “it’s when your mind feels mentally and emotionally overwhelmed from making many decisions at one time or in a row.” This can happen because the act of choosing takes mental energy. Studies have found that decision quality declines after an extensive period of decision-making.2 So, if you have too many decisions to make, you can feel drained and stressed afterward. This may cause you to procrastinate or make poor choices.

Here are a few tips to help you overcome decision fatigue and take care of your mental health.

Create simple routines

“Decisions take energy,” explains Miller. So, cut down on the number of decisions you need to make by simplifying your routine. That could mean eating the same breakfast during the week or choosing the clothes you’ll wear the night before. You could even create a daily uniform so you won’t have to decide what to wear in the moment. “By creating routines that then turn into habits, we reduce the number of decisions we need to make — and conserve our energy for bigger tasks and decisions,” says Miller.

Make a list of priorities

Writing things down helps get thoughts off your mind and onto paper. Studies show that journaling can help reduce stress, relieve symptoms of depression, and increase resilience.And writing lists by hand is a good way to organize your thoughts and keep stress in check. Try writing down the top 3 tasks you want to complete or decisions you need to make. As you cross items off your list, it can help you stay positive and productive.

Ask for advice

The pressure to make decisions on our own can be overwhelming — even emotionally exhausting. When faced with difficult decisions, it may help to reach out to a trusted friend or family member. You can talk through your choices together. Connecting with others can be a helpful way to cope and make decisions, especially during uncertain or stressful times.

Find time for self-care

Our schedules are often packed with everyday responsibilities. But it’s important we also fit in moments for self-care. Try a brisk walk outside or take a midday nap to recharge for the rest of the day. “Deep breathing, stretching, and taking a moment to focus on how we’re feeling is a good way to slow down and give our brains a rest,” explains Miller. You’ll then be reenergized and ready to make decisions with a clearer mind.

Remember, small changes to your routine can make a big impact. So, take time for a mindful moment and make tweaks to your everyday habits. It can help reduce stress and decision fatigue — and support your overall mental health.

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Transforming Our Habits Through Mindful Resolutions

By: Sarah Dunfee

For many of us, ringing in the new year with fresh resolutions is a great opportunity to bring awareness and attention to our aspirations to break free from our current unhealthy habits.

Our vices fall under a category called Prajñāparādha, which is one of the most common hetu or causes of disease according to Ayurveda. It can be described in its break down of root words meanings “Prajña” (intelligence) and “aparādha” (error, mistake, offense, sin, or crime). Prajñāparādha is a universal struggle and something we all encounter in varying degrees.

According to an ancient Ayurvedic text, Charaka describes that “Due to lack of will-power and restraint, it is not possible to control the mind from sensual pleasures of unwholesome objects.” (Ca. Śa. 99-101)

There are three types of categories under which Prajñāparādha can fall. These include excessively overdoing, deficiently underdoing, and improperly wrongdoing. Examples of each could be overuse of a cell phone, beyond its practical daily needs; avoiding eating healthy green vegetables day after day; and using social media as a platform for mocking and discriminating others, rather than for connecting with friends and family.

Whatever the category in which our current Prajñāparādha fall, with the coming of the new year, we can begin to make positive changes to our habits.

Five Ways to Let Go of Unhealthy Habits and Create Space for Positive Change

Here are five ways to help mitigate Prajñāparādha as a cause of disease by using Ayurveda and other mindfulness techniques.

1. Meditation

Intelligence helps us distinguish that which is good for us from that which is bad for us. One type of Prajñāparādha is “defective intelligence,” or mistaking poison for medicine (Ca. Śa. 99). Regular meditation helps us cultivate stability of mind, so that we can awaken our innate intelligence and become less distracted by the excessive thoughts and worries which may lead us to make poor dietary and lifestyle decisions or feed into addictions. 

For example, if a person has a nervous habit of emotional eating, meditation can be a step in nipping the root cause of the impulse that makes a person mindlessly reach for a bag of chips every time they have to meet a stressful work deadline. When we are present in our space, we can fully appreciate and experience that which we are consuming with all our senses.

2. Acceptance and forgiveness

Ruminating on past mistakes does not change that they have happened. Kicking yourself over smoking too many cigarettes will not un-smoke those cigarettes. However, using the mental faculty of memory can prevent future occurrences of Prajñāparādha. Remembering how you felt the last time you ate an entire pizza at midnight can help to prevent the same activity again. 

While denial that we indulged in something unwholesome will not allow the space to learn and improve from our mistakes, accepting our errors can become an important tool in our growth. While emotional baggage will cause imbalances in the subtle body, rather than feeling stagnated in guilt, we can stop and reflect on how we felt and why we committed that Prajñāparādha. Then, we can forgive ourselves with love and move forward with a better understanding.

3. Proactively balancing with opposites

Taking corrective steps to reduce the onset of further disease development is necessary to ensure that our Prajñāparādha does not manifest into deeply seated and long-term diseases. This can be done through observing “the law of opposites.” The 20 Gunas (attributes/qualities) can be used as medicine to reduce imbalances that have started to accumulate from our actions. 

For example, if your negative habit is criticizing others with aggressive, harsh, and sharp words, we can correct that behavior by incorporating the opposite qualities of sweet, soft, and kind speech in communication. For someone who has a habit of arriving late to appointments because of scattered time management and forgetfulness, they can improve by consciously incorporating the Gunas of “stable” and “tangible” by noting appointments on a planner or setting reminders on their phone.

4. Dinacharya and Sadhana

Our Ayurvedic and yogic practices of daily routine, meditation, hygiene, eating sattvic meals at proper times, and treating all other beings with respect, are all disciplines that help regulate the functions of our body, mind, and spirit in a wholesome manner. When these practices are followed regularly, we can cultivate cleanliness in our mind and body by facilitating persistence of our patterns of good behavior, thus creating obstacles that separate us from negative behavior patterns. 

If one has an unhealthy habit of staying up late binge-watching episodes or channel surfing, implementing a nightly routine is one way to help get to bed on time. This way, our good habits will start getting in the way of our unhealthy habits and there will be less of a sense of self-restraint in preventing Prajñāparādha. Sadhana, or spiritual practice, can help us maintain a positive demeanor and hopeful state of mind, even when we recognize our own Prajñāparādha and are in the midst of correcting it.

5. Sangha, or a nourishing community

Seeking companionship with individuals who have similar goals and interests is a significant way to know the difference between what helps us versus what harms us. Many times, in our own clouded, problematic state of mind, it can be difficult to distinguish medicine from poison, so we need a friend or mentor who we trust to steer us in the right direction. Sanghas are also a motivating factor to have accountability to continue with sometimes difficult good habits and restrain from old harmful habits. 

For example, professional soccer players may not wake up every morning ready to hit the field, but their teammates are there to motivate them and prevent them from doing anything wild that might damage their ankles. Family, communities that we are born into, and old friendships are an important type of Sangha that are beneficial to keeping our root chakra in line with our origins, identity, traditional customs, and heritage. 

Meanwhile, our new communities that we create should be with companions who are also on the path of seeking an intention as well as healing and balance, sometimes from ways of old Sanghas. That way we feel supported and accompanied in any positive changes we wish to make as our needs change, and we aspire for higher goals. As humans are social creatures, a sattvic Sangha can amplify our ability to overcome certain forms of Prajñāparādha.

Timing is also an important factor in improving habits and inviting in positive change. Let us take advantage of this time of transition into 2022 as a symbolic marker for moving out with the old and in with the new. These simple techniques can be considered as we write our resolutions for the New Year to indulge less in our vices, engage more with what we’ve neglected, and correct any improper behaviors. As we make positive changes, we can learn from our past while we apply the lessons to our present and plan for our future.

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Chickpea Curry

Servings: 2

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh ginger or 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 15-ounce can no-salt-added crushed tomatoes
  • 1 15-ounce can no-salt-added chickpeas, drained and rinsed well
  • 1/2 cup light coconut milk
  • 1 cup fresh baby spinach leaves, loosely packed, or 1/2 cup canned/frozen spinach
  • 1 teaspoon lime juice (fresh or bottled)
  • 1/4 cup cilantro leaves, roughly chopped, or 2 tablespoons dried cilantro
  • Ground black pepper, to taste
  • Salt, to taste

Directions

  1. Heat the oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, salt lightly, and sauté for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the onion is very soft and translucent. Add the garlic and ginger, and sauté for an additional minute or so. Add the spices and sauté, stirring constantly, for 30 seconds.
  2. Add the crushed tomatoes, chickpeas, and coconut milk and bring to a very low simmer. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes. Add the spinach leaves and stir to combine. The heat of the mixture will wilt the spinach quickly.
  3. Stir in the lime juice and chopped cilantro. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with brown rice.

January 2022

Hello everyone! Happy New Year! It is your host Sevina 🙂

I will use the words of Jeanie Zeiler as my wish to you because she said it perfectly:

Please enjoy the articles bellow.

Namaste!

10 Ways to Improve Health and Increase Peace this Holiday Season

By Erin Easterly

The holidays are a fun and festive time. Yet, with end of year deadlines, overextended schedules, and burgeoning to-do lists, the final weeks of the year may leave you searching for the holiday spirit. Fortunately, a little self-care will revitalize your body and mind, enabling you to get the most from the holiday season.

The following self-care rituals are designed for busy times. Each activity can be completed in less than 30 minutes and is designed to nourish the body, de-stress the mind, and contribute to overall wellness.

Let Go with Yin Yoga

Yin yoga encourages slow movement and long pose holds. Remaining in static poses for three to five minutes unblocks subtle energy channels, known in Ayurveda as nadis. When pranic pathways become blocked through stress, poor diet, or lack of sleep, vitality and enthusiasm diminish. Yin yoga flushes the energy channels, allowing prana to revitalize your physical and energetic systems.

Boost Your Immune System with Elderberry Tea

Elderberries have long been used as a folk remedy to treat colds and flu. Recent research confirms that elderberries have high levels of specific antioxidants known as polyphenols. The polyphenols in elderberries may reduce oxidative stress in the body and prevent associated pathologies such as inflammation and suppressed immunity. When stress is high and the schedule is full, it makes sense to give your body an antioxidant boost with a hot mug of elderberry tea.

Listen to the Sounds of Nature

The primordial sounds of nature soothe the nervous system and create measurable decreases in stress. Researchers at Brighton and Sussex Medical School found that nature sounds activate the parasympathetic nervous system, often referred to as the rest and digest system. Some easy ways to access nature’s melodies include opening your windows as birds welcome the sun, taking a walk near a body of moving water, or simply listening to the sound of rain as it falls outside. If nature’s sounds are covered by city noises, turn on a soundtrack of ocean waves or forest animals.

Nourish Your Microbiome through Fermented Foods

Throughout history, indigenous cultures have integrated fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, and miso into their cuisine. The rich array of microorganisms in fermented foods nourishes trillions of beneficial organisms in the intestinal tract, collectively known as the gut microbiome. Stanford researchers found that integrating fermented foods into the diet increases microbiome diversity. According to Christopher Gardner, Ph.D., director of nutrition studies at the Stanford Prevention Research Center, increasing microbiome diversity has been linked to enhanced immune functioning, happier mood, and decreased chronic inflammatory disease. Adding a small serving of fermented foods to meals is a tasty way to enhance wellness, especially during periods when your diet is less than optimal.

Perform an Aura Sweep

From a standing or seated position, ground your feet on the floor or earth. As you inhale, sweep your arms out to the sides and overhead. Touch the palms together, then exhale and pull the prayer hands to the heart. Repeat this for three to five minutes, gaining speed as you get more comfortable. Concentrate on strengthening your energy as you inhale and opening your heart as you exhale.

Enjoy a Hot Bath

Water has long been cherished in healing ceremonies. From bathing in the Ganges to baptism with holy water, the sacred energy of water has a long history of use. To release tension, increase awareness, or signal a new beginning, draw a hot bath and add a few drops of lavender essential oil. Immerse yourself in the water and feel that anything that does not serve you is being cleansed. When you are ready to leave the bath, imagine negative energy being washed down the drain, leaving you feeling refreshed and revitalized.

Plan Your Meals for the Week

Planning meals ahead of time improves nutrition, decreases stress, and ensures that healthy food choices are available when hunger strikes. Each week, preplan your breakfasts, lunches, snacks, and dinners. Try to ensure that at least two meals each day are nutritionally dense and plant centered. Preparation is the best way to circumvent poor food choices. For grab-and-go options, consider making overnight oats for breakfast, preparing cut vegetables to accompany lunch, and portioning nuts in small containers for snacks. Keeping most of your meals healthy will allow you to enjoy the festive meals and treats without guilt.

Go to Bed Earlier

Getting enough sleep has a plethora of benefits, from aiding brain functioning to increasing immunity. Yet, when late night parties keep you up past bedtime, try to rise within an hour of your regular waking time. If your body needs extra, go to bed early the following evening. This strategy will actually give you more energy in the long run by maintaining your circadian wake rhythm rather than dis-regulating it.

Buy Yourself Fresh Flowers

Fresh flowers radiate nature’s energy. They enhance mood and bring vitality to workspaces. Don’t wait for someone else to buy flowers for you, instead pick them up yourself. Choose your favorite floral varieties and each time you look at the visual feast consider that you are taking responsibility for your own happiness. Couple your flowers with an affirmation such as, “I prioritize self-care,” or “I choose to be happy now!”

Cleanse Your Energy with Singing Bowls

The vibrations of crystal or metal singing bowls can clear stagnant and negative energy. To uplift the energy in a room, walk around the perimeter while ringing a singing bowl. Then chime the bowl in the center of the room and listen until the sound has dissipated. If possible, open a window to enhance energy flow. Repeat the bowl chimes until you feel peaceful energy return to the room.

This holiday season, give yourself the gift of self-care. By prioritizing your own well-being, you will discover that you have more energy and joy to share with those around you.

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Want to Build Deeper Connections? Start with Yourself First

By Nicole Leatherman

Humans are wired to connect. That’s because, at one time, our cooperation with each other enhanced our ability to survive under the harshest of conditions. Although survival threats are far less today, people still desire and need connection.

Research shows that social connection not only improves physical health, but also mental and emotional well-being. Everyone wants to feel like they are seen and that they belong. Getting there requires understanding your own thoughts, beliefs, behavioral patterns, preferences, and processes. In essence, it’s important to first know who you are before you can deeply connect with anyone else.

Here’s why.

The Outside Reflects the Inside

It’s not always easy to “come as you are,” so to speak. You may worry that if you share your truth, go for what you want, or let it all show, you could face judgment, you may offend or upset someone, or you won’t get what you truly want. This belief may lead to you showing up as an inauthentic version of yourself and can prompt you to say “yes” in circumstances when you really want to say “no.”

This kind of internal self-abandonment for the sake of trying to please or connect with others doesn’t work because it’s not the real you. Eventually, people pick up on that and instinctually something blocks them from getting closer to you.

However, when your outside actions align with your inside values and feelings, you will naturally experience less inner conflict and display your authentic self.

In her TedTalk, psychologist Brené Brown explains how authenticity is an essential part of developing meaningful relationships. When you show up as yourself — vulnerabilities and all —you can truly connect with and feel close to others.

You Exhibit Self-Control

Everyone is motivated by different things, such as helping others, love, passion, rewards, power, the desire to be their best self, and so on.

It’s important to understand what motivates you. This requires some self-examination and getting honest with yourself about what helps you resist impulsive habits that may not serve you and what helps you develop self-control and positive behaviors and emotions.

Research shows that when you have greater self-control, you’re happier and more satisfied in relationships, particularly long-term, stable relationships built on loyalty, trust, safety, and consistency. More specifically, when you exhibit self-control, you’re more likely to be attuned to others’ needs and understand how your own needs fit into the partnership as a whole.

Decision Making Comes Easier

It’s estimated that the average adult makes more than 35,000 decisions per day.

In a given day, you deal with everything from simple decisions (e.g., “What time should I eat breakfast?”) to more impactful decisions (e.g., “Should I start a relationship with this person?”).

When you know who you truly are and what values guide you, you’re can more easily make better choices about things small and large, including the people you choose to have in your life.

You Exude Confidence

Although it might seem counterintuitive, the more self-confidence you have, the less focus you place on yourself. When you get out of your own head, you’re able to genuinely engage with people and notice things, like if a friend seems a little down or if a family member could use some help.

When have a solid understanding of yourself, you naturally exude a relaxed, confident state. This encourages others to feel at ease and helps you establish deeper connections.

Self-confidence can also breed deeper empathy.

Empathy Abounds

Empathy is a powerful interpersonal force that allows you to understand and relate to others.

It enables the sharing of experiences, needs, and desires between people and provides an emotional bridge that promotes prosocial behavior, according to research.

When you become more aware of your own tendencies and patterns, you can better navigate your relationships and how you connect with others. The results of one study showed that participants who improved at identifying the different parts of their own personality also improved their ability to empathize with others.

You’re Happier, Kinder, and More Generous

Knowing who you truly are helps you feel happier and make connections that don’t just make you feel good; they also make you do good.

Researchers link connection and altruism. In one experiment, participants were more likely to want to volunteer after reading words associated with social connection (e.g., community, connected, relationship) rather than after reading words that evoked autonomy (e.g., freedom, choice, preference).

According to the researchers, their findings underscore the basic human need for belonging.

How to Get to Know Yourself So You Can Connect with Others

Developing an understanding of your true self will help you develop deeper connections in your life. These are some steps you can take to get to know the real you:

1. Dedicate time to getting to know yourself daily. Pick a time when you can be alone in a quiet place and journal your thoughts and feelings.

2. Ask yourself some tough questions. For example: What do I value? Am I spending my time and energy on the things that matter most to me? Am I showing up the way I want to for other people?

3. Reflect on your answers. Do they resonate? Do you need to think about them more? Is there anything you want to act on?

4. Practice self-love. Be patient with yourself as you get to know yourself. If there are areas you feel need improvement, be proud of yourself for acknowledging where you’d like to grow. Forgive yourself for anything you perceive as negative and commit to moving forward with self-compassion.

5. Practice showing up as you. Don’t hide yourself. Let people know who you are and what you value. The more you practice being exactly as you are, the more comfortable it will begin to feel, and your authenticity will lay the foundation for creating more meaningful relationships.

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Healthy chicken noodle soup

Full of nutrient-dense vegies, including broccolini and buk choy, and chicken things for iron, this hearty Asian-inspired chicken noodle soup is good for the body and soul!

16 Ingredients

  • 100g dried rice vermicelli noodles
  • 2 tsp macadamia oil
  • 1 large brown onion, finely chopped
  • 2 large celery sticks, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 3cm piece fresh ginger, peeled, thinly sliced
  • 1 long fresh red chilli, deseeded, finely chopped
  • 1 stick lemongrass, cut into 4cm lengths, bruised
  • 400g lean chicken thighfillets, fat trimmed
  • 500ml (2 cups) Massel salt reduced chicken style liquid stock
  • 250g cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 bunch broccolini, cut into 4cm lengths
  • 150g snow peas, thinly sliced
  • 1 bunch baby buk choy, cut into 4cm lengths
  • 1 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • Fresh Thai basil leaves, to serve

4 Method Steps

Step 1

Place noodles in a large heatproof bowl. Cover with boiling water. Set aside for 5 minutes to soften. Drain.

Step 2

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook onion and celery, stirring, for 5-6 minutes or until softened. Add garlicgingerchilli and lemongrass. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute or until aromatic. Add chicken. Cook for 1 minute or until starting to colour.

 Step 3

Pour in stock and 750ml (3 cups) water. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low. Simmer, partially covered, for 10 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Remove chicken with tongs. Transfer to a clean board. Set aside to cool slightly. Shred. Return to pan.

Step 4

Add tomatobroccolini and snow peas to soup. Simmer for 3-4 minutes or until vegetables are just tender. Stir through buk choy until just wilted. Stir in lime juice and season. Divide noodles among bowls. Ladle over soup. Serve with basil.

December

Hello everyone, it’s your host Sevina. We lived through another year! Good or bad, 2021 added unique experiences to our lives. Here is my wish for you for 2022, which I choose to believe will be a great year!

“May Peace prevail, Love conquer, Tranquility and Success follow, and Unity and Compassion for Mankind bloom and spread like wildflowers all over the world!”

Unknown

Life really worth living because there is Love, Beauty and Compassion among people. Just slow down, relax, and let it go. Life is so precious; we just have to open our eyes to see it!

Please enjoy the articles below.

Namaste!

Greetings and Salutations, On my morning walk yesterday, I found myself wondering how many days I have been alive? Upon getting home, a quick calculation came to 27,178. That’s 652,272 hours; or 39,136,320 minutes. My guess was that each respiration encompassed around four seconds. Google affirmed this a reasonable estimate. So I have taken nearly 600,000,000 breaths while alive on this jewel of planet we call Earth.Do you believe in miracles?I have experienced around 600 million of them.For what are the odds of elements coming together to enable human life, and then sustain it?

How fortunate we are to have this opportunity!Last winter found me in Oxnard rather than in Antarctica for the first time in thirteen years. Being here was surely different, absent the stimulation and inspiration the ice continent had infused into my life for all but one of the previous sixteen austral summers. Happily, I was comfortable and content at home, though.After exclusively driving vans since getting one to travel from Florida to Alaska in 1987, I purchased a 2006 Prius in February. It’s surely quieter and smoother than my nearly 25 year old Dodge RAM 3500, with a much more environmentally kind carbon footprint. An added bonus: I’ve recouped nearly one-third of the vehicle’s cost already due to its fuel economy.February also brought me two doses of the Pfizer vaccine. (I’ve since gotten the booster, as well.) This has afforded me a sense of comfort to again do things like outdoor photo shoots and join friends for lunch; activities I had put aside for safety’s sake during the previous year.

My sister lives in Israel. March found her visiting two of her sons in Texas. Using 69,000 frequent flier miles, I was able to bring her, my brother-in-law, one of my nephews and his wife to California for a couple of days. A short but very sweet visit. (An interesting aside: I was offered a mileage credit card when booking their flights, with a bonus of 60,000 miles if I spent $3000 with it in three months. So the four flights from Houston to Santa Barbara only ended up depleting my account 6000 miles. Thank you American Airlines!)After a hiatus of 22 months, September and October found me again exhibiting my work at art shows. Both went superbly, with my sales at each being nearly double what I was accustomed to at them. This plus orders from the new website I built last spring, along with receiving pandemic assistance through the end of summer have kept my life afloat financially. Yet another addition to the long list of things for which I am grateful!Eleven months of three brisk 1.5 mile walks daily and not eating any sweets found me weighing 165 pounds for the first time since I was probably around 15 years old. I’ve continued walking (though other activities cause me to only get out twice some days). An occasional slice of pizza, bar of chocolate, and Indian or Thai meal has my weight is back “up” to 175. As this is what I weighed when I was discharged from the Army in 1969, I’m not in the least concerned about these ten pounds.

I’d not seen my longtime teacher Prem Rawat since shortly before Covid-19 became a worldwide concern. So having the opportunity to attend three special events with him in just over a month this past summer was as a breath of the freshest air. For as has been the case for the past half-century, he managed to direct my focus to that which I understand to be the essence of my life: the peace, joy and clarity which dwell within my (and every human) heart.In just over seven months I will have been alive for three-quarters of a century. This seems incomprehensible. For I feel ageless. And life continues to be extraordinarily kind to me. Somehow time has smoothed out many of the rough edges of my existence, leaving me increasingly content. This is a gift I never might have imagined in my restless, confused youth. But I believe it suits me to a T.   I suspect this well-being to be everyone’s birthright, and am saddened by the discontent which often seems prevalent in others. For I am sure this is unnecessary. If only people could understand how simple life can be, absent of the complexities we bring upon ourselves. 

Along with 600 million previous ones, experiencing the miracle of this breath brings me a deep sense of gratitude. For in the vastness of the cosmos, against all odds, everything has come together perfectly not only for us to be; but to be cognizant of our being. To know the joy. To see the beauty. To taste the sweetness. To feel the richness. To experience the wonder… of human life.Miraculousness, to the nth degree.May the holiday season and new year bring you the best of all things good in your lives… and an ever increasing awareness of how fortunate we all are.Stay safe/ healthy, always!
Ira

http://www.irameyer.com

Staying Balanced Over the Holidays

By Dr. Sheila Patel

In the Northern Hemisphere, fall is coming to an end and we move into the winter season. During this time of year, people all around the globe are also preparing for a season of holidays. Many cultures organized rituals and celebrations around seasonal transitions that honor the cycling of nature, and the end of the year brings us opportunities to connect and celebrate.

As with all transitional times, this has the potential to be a time of some turbulence and overactivity, however, if we stay balanced in mind and body, this can be a season of beauty, joy, and self-reflection as well. Ayurveda gives us many tools and practices to stay healthy and balanced during the winter and holiday season.

Mindful Eating for a Balanced Body

During the holiday season, we have the potential to fall out of the healthy eating habits that we have cultivated the rest of the year. At times, we are thrown off our usual eating habits and it can take some time after the holidays to get back on track.

Instead of deprivation and completely avoiding your favorite foods, which doesn’t work very well, or suppressing the desire to eat the meals that family and friends create, you can enjoy the delicious flavors of the holidays while maintaining balance using mindful eating techniques. Mindful eating means you are paying attention and are present with your food when you eat. You aren’t thinking about what happened in the past or planning for something in the future, but you are present with your meal, in the moment. When you do this, you slow down, enjoy your food, and listen to the signals of your body to tell you when you are full. You can make conscious choices about what, and how much, you eat because you are paying attention.

Here are some tips to eat mindfully during the holidays:

  • Pay attention to all your senses when you eat.
  • Eat slowly, chew your food, and savor the tastes.
  • Put your fork or spoon down between bites.
  • Eat until you are satisfied, but not overly full. When you eat slowly, you have a chance to feel full before overeating.
  • Feel gratitude with every bite.

In addition to mindful eating, this is a good time to keep your digestion balanced and your digestive fire burning brightly by sipping on warm ginger tea in the morning to get the digestive fire started for the day. You can also sip CCF teabetween meals to keep digestion balanced throughout the day. Be sure to include warming spices in your foods and drinks such as cinnamon, nutmeg, black pepper, and cloves.

Using these techniques over the holidays will allow you to savor delicious meals and enjoy the holidays while keeping your body in balance.

Healthy Emotions

Although we often associate the holidays with fun and laughter, this can actually be one of the most stressful times of the year. We may see family or friends that we haven’t seen for some time, or find ourselves spending time with people with differing beliefs and ideas. We also may find ourselves spending time with people with whom we have had challenges in the past. Or perhaps we are not able to see the people we love due to physical distance or other circumstances.

From a spiritual perspective, we often create our own suffering by not accepting what is, by resisting the present moment. The holidays can bring up memories from the past, good and bad, that impact how we experience the present. If we have had challenging experiences or trauma in our family relationships, this time of year can cause a resurfacing of emotions we have buried. Also, if we perceived our holidays as perfect childhood memories, we may put undue stress on ourselves to make the holidays ‘perfect’ for our current families.

From an Ayurvedic lens, we all experience things differently, depending on our primary dosha, and whether we are in balance or not. Sensitive Vatas love connecting with others but may find themselves taking in the emotions and stress of others around them. Pittas are the ideal planners, but may strive for perfection as hosts, or feel the need to outcompete. And laidback Kaphas may enjoy from afar or find themselves wanting to retreat and avoid social interactions altogether.

For everyone, keeping your emotions balanced over the holidays can be as simple as focusing on an open heart and accepting every moment as it is. Notice any emotions that may be coming up as you move through the holidays, allow them to arise, and without attaching to any particular emotions, allow it to subside. It may be useful to do a little journaling at the end of the day to release any emotions that are coming up. Here is a simple journaling practice you can use:

  • Find a quiet space at the end of the day to reflect on the day.
  • Feel emotions as they arise in your body.
  • Try to identify the emotion and the story that is attached to it.
  • Write down what you are feeling with the intention of letting the story and emotions go.
  • Once the feeling subsides, bring your awareness to your heart, and close your eyes.
  • Bring in a feeling of gratitude. Just say silently “I am grateful.” Repeat this a few times.
  • Then, write down some affirmations in your journal, such as “I accept everything as it is,” or “I surrender,” or “I love myself and others exactly as they are.” Use an affirmation that allows you to accept how you are feeling while also tapping into a more expanded perspective of your experience.
  • Do a few minutes of slow, rhythmic breathing to close the practice.

You can practice these techniques whenever you become aware of emotions arising during the holiday season. Allowing yourself to accept, be grateful, feel love and compassion for yourself and others, and fully surrender to the present moment will keep you balanced and peaceful now and all year.

Positive Reflections for Lightness of Being

One of the best ways to enjoy the holidays is to take the opportunity to reflect on the previous year. Although our minds have a tendency to remember the negative experiences, we can cultivate gratitude for all the positive experiences as well as create a new perspective on those things that we perceived as negative. After all, every experience gives us some opportunity to grow and evolve, especially the hard ones.

From an Ayurvedic perspective, our language creates our reality. What we tell ourselves about our experience shapes our experience. As Buddha said, “what we think, we become.” It is important to take some time periodically to pay attention to the good things that happen to us, the times we feel joy and peace, and the times we are feeling connected to others and our inner self.

Take some time this holiday season to reflect on some experiences that brought you joy in the last year. It could be something in nature that you observed, a fun experience with family or friends, a delicious meal, or anything else that brought you joy. As you make this a regular practice in your life, notice how you begin to create a more positive perspective on your life experiences and the expansion of joy and peace in your day-to-day life.

By having tools for body, mind, and spirit, you can stay healthy and balanced throughout the holiday season and all year long.

Cauliflower, kale and pepita soup

  • 10 Ingrediencies
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus extra, to serve
  • 20g butter
  • 1 small brown onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 head (about 750g) cauliflower, chopped
  • 1.5L (6 cups) chicken or vegetable stock
  • 150g pre-chopped kale leaves
  • 80ml (1/3 cup) thickened cream, plus extra, to serve
  • 1 tbsp pepitas, toasted
  • 20g (1/4 cup) finely grated parmesan
  • Step 1

Heat the oil and butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic. Cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes or until soft.

  • Step 2

Add the cauliflower and stock. Cover. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to low. Simmer, covered, for 15 minutes or until cauliflower is tender.

  • Step 3

Add kale and increase heat to high. Bring to the boil then reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes or until kale wilts. Set aside for 10 minutes to cool slightly.

  • Step 4

Use a stick blender to blend until smooth. Add the cream. Cook over medium heat, stirring, for 5 minutes or until heated through. Drizzle over extra cream and oil. Top with pepitas and parmesan. Season and serve.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS! 🙂

November

Hello everyone, it’s your host Sevina. It is a beautiful fall out there! The nature is changing every season and we are constantly changing as well. Let’s try to enjoy the process of change by accepting the inevitability of it, and embrace life as it is. Our goal for this month is to resist less and mindfully go with the flow of life. Knowing that everything is ok, everything is o’right. We are doing the best we can in our given circumstances.

Namaste!

Ask Dr. Sheila: Ayurvedic Stages of Life and Menopause

By: Dr. Sheila Patel

Ayurveda gives us unique descriptions of what happens in our physiology throughout the course of our lives. Just as the seasons change as we circle the sun, so do we move through various seasons of our lives. And just like the seasons of the year, these transitions come with predictable changes in our mind and body.

As we move from childhood to adulthood and then into our wisdom years, there are changes in our doshas and we experience this as changes in the qualities that dominate in our physiology. When we are aware of this, we can prepare to meet each season with more ease, instead of turbulence and discomfort.

Let’s explore the ‘seasons of life’ from an Ayurvedic perspective of the doshas:

I like to use analogies to the weather because these seasonal transitions in nature are something we are all familiar with. No matter where you live on the planet, you know, in general, what to expect as you go into new seasons. In one season of the year, there may be more heat or cold, there may be more or less rain, and the length of the days change in predictable ways.

Similarly, although we will all experience the seasons of life a little differently, there are some things that we will all experience, based on the dominant dosha qualities during that time of life. From childhood to puberty, we are in the Kapha stage of life. From puberty to age 50-60 we are in the Pitta stage of life. And we then enter the Vata stage of life.

Doshas and the Stages of Life

Regardless of an individual’s primary dosha(s), all individuals express more Kapha qualities as children. The dominant elements of Earth and Water allow for the growth of healthy tissues and a strong immune system. We are learning new information and creating cohesive memory.

At puberty, we begin to transition to the Pitta time of life, where we experience more of the Fire qualities and transformation in our body and mind. During this stage, some individuals express more Pitta qualities in their physiology by beginning the menstrual cycle. For all people, there is also building of muscle mass, skin changes, and, at times, intense emotions.

Then around age 50-60, we begin to transition out of the Pitta stage of life and into the Vata stage, where Air and Space qualities allow for the opportunity to have more expansive thinking and the ability to let go of things we have been holding onto so we can experience a lightness of being.

Each stage comes with its unique characteristics and effects on our physiology, and can also cause some turbulence as we transition from one stage to the other.

The Transition from Pitta to Vata

For individuals who experience monthly hormonal cycles, the transition from the Pitta into Vata stage is known as menopause, when individuals notice significant changes in their bodies and minds. This can be a time of emotional and spiritual growth as we reflect on our past and move creatively into the future. It is an opportunity to let go of what isn’t for our highest good and set intentions for ourselves.

This transition comes with a release of the accumulated Pitta energy from adulthood, so individuals can experience this as hot flashes, heavier menstrual cycles, skin changes, loss of muscle mass, and a change in digestion and metabolism, among other things.

As we move into the Vata stage of life, this can also be accompanied by symptoms of increasing Vata such as trouble sleeping, dryness, lightness of bones, and new food sensitivities. However, this transition does not need to be uncomfortable.

In fact, during this time individuals can begin to deepen their spiritual connection and connection to Self as they let go of some of the worldly responsibilities and move into more self-reflection, self-acceptance, and self-awareness. By recognizing these transitions, one can adjust their lifestyle practices to make the transitions more effortless.

That being said, these transition times can bring some challenges as the body and mind adjust to the next stage of life. This is when we can experience imbalances of the doshas as some are increasing and others are decreasing in our physiology as explained above. Many cultures honor this life transition with rituals and celebrations and help us accept the natural rhythms of life. If we can maintain balance through these times, we can celebrate ourselves and the changes that are occurring.

Staying Balanced Through Menopause

In order to stay balanced during this transition, and into the Vata stage of life, it is important to keep Pitta balanced to avoid some of the intense symptoms of Pitta release. We also can keep Vata energy grounded as it starts to accumulate.

Try these tips:

  • Start to create more downtime in your routine. Instead of filling your time with doing, carve out time to meditate and do breathing practices regularly.
  • Spend quiet time in nature.
  • Exercise for 20-30 minutes daily.
  • Begin to do some weight training and weight-bearing exercise to build up muscle and bone mass. This is in addition to regular walking or other aerobic exercises as well as movement for flexibility such as yoga or Pilates.
  • You may need to eat more cooked, warm food to aid digestion
  • Take note of any foods that are harder to digest than they used to be. It’s not uncommon for people to develop lactose intolerance or other issues as they enter the Vata time of life.
  • Eat a clean, plant-based diet with high fiber, whole grains, low sugar, whole soy foods, and limit salt, red meat, and animal fat.
  • Eat more of the foods that keep the hormones balanced and support the body naturally, such as cruciferous vegetables (e.g. broccoli, bok choy, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, kale), beans and legumes, flax, and chia seed.
  • Use more oil on the skin as the tissue begins to dry.
  • Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water and herbal teas throughout the day. One tea that can help calm the mind through this time is Tulsi (holy basil).
  • Get creative by trying new things such as art, music, or a new practice like qi gong, or explore some new energy work.

Improving Sleep During Life Transition from Pitta to Vata

Sleep issues are a common symptom during this transition as Pitta can keep you up, and Vata can interrupt sleep during the night.

Try these things to get good restful natural sleep:

  • Set a routine with regular sleep and wake times and be sure to get 7-8 hours of natural sleep. Although you may have gotten away with less sleep in the past, you will age in a healthier way by getting more deep restorative sleep.
  • Reduce caffeine and alcohol which can interfere with sleep.
  • Deep breathing or Breath awareness before bed
  • Soothing music in the evening
  • Self-massage with herbalized oil (abhyanga)
  • Dim lights
  • Calming teas, such as chamomile and valerian
  • Aromatherapy, using essential oils such as lavender and sandalwood

Try these herbs to support natural sleep:

  • Ashwagandha
    • Effects may not be seen for several weeks; no reported toxicities
    • Especially effective for burnout and stress-related sleep issues
  • Valerian
    • Improves sleep latency and quality of sleep
    • Especially good for people with restlessness and insomnia
  • Passionflower (Passiflora)
    • Indicated for anxiety, restlessness, overwork, muscle tension/spasm
  • Melatonin
    • Good for jet lag, shift-work disorder

For other symptoms related to menopause, you can try the following after checking with your regular health care provider:

  • St John’s Wort – 900mg daily of standardized extract improves psychological and physical symptoms related to menopause
    • Caution if also taking meds that affect serotonin; can limit the effectiveness of certain meds (OCPs, digoxin, blood thinners, etc)
  • Black Cohosh – 20mg once daily can help with hot flashes, mood swings, sleep issues, body aches
    • Not recommended to take for more than 6 months
    • Rare risk of liver damage
  • Chasteberry (Vitex) – 500mg daily for irregular bleeding (too frequent or too heavy)
    • Can interfere with some medication such as birth control pills, or medications that affect dopamine, among others
  • Shatavari – 500mg daily for heavy bleeding or hot flashes.
    • Well tolerated with minimal medication interactions

A Journaling Practice for Life Transitions

This life transition is a powerful time to set some new intentions and move into more joy and fulfillment. Some questions to reflect on:

  • What brings me joy?
  • What am I grateful for?
  • What is my purpose?
  • When have I had “peak” experiences or felt “in the flow”?
  • What makes me feel expanded and connected?
  • How do I express myself creatively outside of my work?

By doing this reflection and doing more things that bring us joy and meaning, we can honor each season of our lives.

From an Ayurvedic perspective, when we understand the changing dosha qualities within us, and have practices to keep them in balance, we can move through all of life’s natural cycles with grace and ease.

Four Practices to Reconnect with Yourself and Feel Refreshed During the Day

By Mallika Chopra

Finding ways to ground yourself is a powerful way to maintain equanimity when the world around you seems to just be a bit too much. In life, the reality is that you will face challenges – perhaps health concerns, relationship turmoil, work frustration, financial uncertainty, or general angst.

Grounding is being present, stable, and receptive to your inner and outer worlds. Tools that can help you stay anchored in spirit and presence can empower you in challenging times and feel gratitude when things are in flow.

Grounding is a practice that you can incorporate easily into your everyday life, whether it is helping you start the day with inspiration and intention or finding renewed energy during a midday slump. These practices can be done at home or discretely in the workplace.

I have found that meditationsetting intentionsphysically grounding myself with breath, body awareness and affirmations, and noticing the messages my body, mind, and surroundings are telling me, have helped me stay anchored in awareness when events around me can seem overwhelming. In addition, I find thatengaging my senses – whether through a scent, taste or sound can serve as a ritual to find the moment of serenity to get through the rest of my tasks.

Take a quiet moment to try one (or all!) of these practices to help you feel refreshed and renewed.

1. Meditation

Meditation is one of the most powerful ways to find inner stability. A mantra-based meditation practice, like Primordial Sound Meditation, helps you slow down racing thoughts and feel presence in its purest form. The daily routine of meditation practice brings awareness into all aspects of your life. You carry the moments of peace, space, and expansiveness from your meditation to the other parts of your daily routine.

SO HUM mantra meditation practice:

  • Take a deep breath, in and out.
  • Mentally, repeat the following mantra in your head as you breathe normally: SO HUM, SO HUM, SO HUM.
  • When your attention drifts away from the sound, SO HUM, gently bring your attention back to the mantra.
  • See how just one minute of this practice helps you take conscious breaths and may settle your thoughts.

2. Setting an intent

Setting an intent is a grounding practice. An intent is planting the sacred seeds of your deepest desires. Intents come from the soul and anchor you in love, gratitude, and strength. One of my most powerful daily intents is the following:

My intent is to maintain stillness in the midst of chaos.

I have written this intent down on random pieces of paper or typed it on a blank page on my computer multiple times – on those days when I feel overwhelmed, overstimulated, overworked.

Stating the intent is part of my process to anchor the idea into my psyche, remind myself I have the power to slow down, to breathe, and to witness all that is going on around me.

Create your own intent:

  • Take a few deep breaths to settle in and ask yourself, what is my intent at this moment.
  • Think about what you want to experience – calm, connection, energy, inspiration.
  • Complete the sentence: My intent is _______. 
  • You may want to write it down or silently repeat your intent to anchor you in the here and now.

3. Body awareness, combined with breath and affirmations

Affirmations, guided by body and breath awareness, are another powerful way to anchor yourself in present moment awareness.

Here is an exercise that helps me in moments when I find myself getting anxious about the future.

  • Stand tall with your arms gently falling to your sides.
  • With your feet on the ground, put your attention to your feet and to the stable ground below. Take a deep breath, in and out. Say to yourself, I AM GROUNDED.
  • Put your hands on your heart.
  • Take a deep breath, in and out. Say to yourself, I AM HERE.
  • Let your hands fall naturally to your sides again, and shift your attention to the top of your head.
  • Feel the space above your head to the skies and the universe beyond.
  • Take a deep breath, in and out. Say I AM. I AM.

4. Engage the senses

Our senses are the tools our body and mind use to process external stimuli into our internal physical and mental experiences. Herbal teas can help anchor you through taste and aromas – a calming tea – like chamomile or lavender – can help relieve stress and help you slow down. The process of making your tea and taking the time to sip it while doing nothing else can also be a ritual that grounds you in present moment awareness. Aromatherapy is also a powerful way to use dosha-balancing scents in your daily routine.

Our senses are the tools our body and mind use to process external stimuli into our internal physical and mental experiences. Teas can help anchor you through taste and aromas – a calming tea – like chamomile or lavender – can help relieve stress and help you slow down.

The process of making your tea and taking the time to sip it while doing nothing else can also be a ritual that grounds you in present moment awareness. Aromatherapy is also a powerful way to use dosha-balancing scents in your daily routine.

Ayurveda is one of the most profound sciences with simple practices that help you understand your unique mind-body type, or dosha, and how to engage your senses to find balance.

Discovering your dosha on the Chopra App is an easy way to get started and find inspiration to engage in new ways.

5. Noticing

When we are grounded and present, the universe often sends us the messages we need for any particular moment. Noticing means paying attention to your internal dialogue, to the messages your body is telling you through pain and exhaustion, or energy and vitality. Noticing also means paying attention to people, places, and circumstances you find yourself in.

A conscious approach to being present, taking a deep breath, connecting with your body, and just being (vs. doing) can give you the insight and inspiration you need at this particular moment.

Incorporate noticing during your daily activity – perhaps while doing the dishes, feeling the sensation of water on your hands, smelling the scent of the soap, and appreciating the texture of the sponge and plates as you do this everyday task. Or, consciously seek out one or two new things on your way to your car or while you take your pet for a walk. You can choose to notice your child’s body language as they tell you about their day at school. 

When you slow down to notice everyday interactions in this way, you will feel more connected to your inner being, as well as to others.


Sweet Potato Salad

INGREDIENTS

3 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed (about 2 lb.)1 small red onion, thinly sliced into half moons2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oilKosher saltFreshly ground black pepper1/2 c. dried cranberries1/2 c. crumbled feta1/4 c. freshly chopped parsley
FOR THE DRESSING2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar1 tbsp. Dijon mustard1 tbsp. honey1/2 tsp. ground cumin1/4 tsp. ground paprika1/4 c. extra-virgin olive oil


DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 400°. On a large rimmed baking sheet, toss sweet potatoes and red onion in oil then season with salt and pepper. 
  2. Distribute them evenly on sheet in a single layer. Bake until tender, about 20 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes then transfer to a large bowl.
  3. Meanwhile, make dressing: In a small bowl or in a medium liquid measuring cup, whisk together vinegar, mustard, honey, and spices. Gradually pour in oil, whisking constantly until emulsified. Season with salt and pepper. 
  4. Toss sweet potatoes with dressing, cranberries, feta, and parsley. Serve warm or at room temperatur

October

Happy fall everyone! It is Sevina, your host. Let’s have a simple, happy and healthy autumn!

Enjoy the articles below.

Namaste!

The Healing Power of Yoga

By Sevina Altanova

Hello current or future Yogi,
The practice of yoga goes far beyond just stretching, it involves physical discipline, and committing yourself to live by high moral standards. 
Let’s start a journey together to build your mind and body awareness!

How Yoga Changes Your Body
There are lots of reasons why we practice yoga. Some of us first came to yoga to reduce stress, some wanted to lose weight, tone our muscles or get more flexible. Yoga offers wide-ranging physical health benefits that get constantly proven by scientific research. Those benefits are both short and long term, which makes yoga an all-round beneficial practice.
“Here’s what happens to your body after days, months and years of yoga”


After Class:
• Lower Stress Levels. Yoga calms body and mind, reducing your stress levels. According to research, yoga’s stress-busting powers may come from its ability to lessen the activity of proteins that are known to play a role in inflammation.
• Increased Flexibility. No rocket science: the more you stretch your muscles, the more flexible to become.
• Improved Brain Function. Just 20 minutes of yoga can improve cognitive function, boosting focus and working memory.
• Alter Gene Expression. Studies suggest yoga’s ability to alter gene expression in immune cells, strengthening the immune system.


After A Few Months:
• Weight Loss. Just a few months of yoga can help decrease body mass index, even with no diet changes.
• Anxiety Relief. A 2010 Boston University study showed that 12 weeks of yoga could help to reduce anxiety and increase gamma-aminobutyric (GABA) levels in the brain (low levels of GABA have been linked with depression and anxiety disorders).
• Lower Blood Pressure. Research confirms that yoga can help to lower blood pressure levels in a more effective way than walking/nutrition/weight counseling.
• Reduced Chronic Pain. Different studies have proven the reduction of various kinds of pain after a few weeks of yoga that stresses proper alignment. In some cases, yoga can reduce pain more effectively than a standard medical treatment.
• Improved Lung Capacity. After a few months, yoga can increase vital lung capacity (one of the components of lung capacity), which is the maximum amount of air exhaled after taking a deep breath.
• Improved Sexual Function. A 2009 Harvard study showed that yoga could boost arousal, desire, orgasm and general sexual satisfaction for women.
• Steady Blood Sugar Levels in People with Diabetes. Adding yoga to a typical diabetes care regimen could result in steady blood sugar levels, according to a 2011 Diabetes Care study.


After Years:

• Healthy Weight. Research backs the fact that there’s an association between a regular yoga practice and decreased (or at least maintained) weight.
• Stronger Bones. Studies show that practicing yoga can improve bone density among older adults.
• Lower Risk of Heart Disease. As part of a healthy lifestyle, yoga may lower cardiovascular risk factors such as high blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar, according to Harvard Health Publications.

Book your class – online or in person 🙂

www.StressManagementResources.com

Natural Ways to Boost Immunity, Balance Vata, and Lean into the Joys of Autumn

By Heidi Spear

Mind-body health

Welcome autumn when school begins, the number of evening hours increase, and vata dosha characterizes the new season. September marks the perfect time to reinstate routine into our lives, as we walk in autumn air that cools our cheeks. For some, the idea of routine might sound restrictive. In reality, routines help balance vata dosha, leading to a sense of being grounded, nourished, and supported. Cherishing the differences of each season and altering our self-care routines accordingly paves the way for smooth and joyful transitions allowing us to appreciate all that nature offers.

Instead of fighting against longer evenings, we can use this time to restore energy that we expended during the summer pitta season, reflect on the year that has passed, and take our time preparing for winter. There are special ways to enjoy long evenings, and on special occasions various traditions around the world have autumn festivals that celebrate light, such as Diwali, Hanukkah, and Mooncake Festival. The candles, fireworks, and lanterns glow bright against a dark sky.

Here are practices that just might turn this into your new favorite season.

Hygge: Always in Style

Imagine walking into a cozy living room with a fire burning in the fireplace and fluffy blankets draped over comfortably cushioned loveseats. The feeling this image evokes is hygge, a term from Danish culture. Best-selling author of The Little Book of Hygge: The Danish Way to Living Well and CEO of The Happiness Research Institute based in Copenhagen, Meik Wiking believes the art of creating hygge contributes to why Denmark is known to be the happiest country in the world.

Wiking explains that creating hygge in the home doesn’t require a lot of money. It’s primarily about lighting (especially candlelight), having friends and family around, and enjoying a sweet treat while experiencing that feeling we all know so well and want more of in our life.

As nights become longer in fall and winter, it’s the perfect time for intentionally lounging around surrounded by amber hues of soft light. Wiking says that Danes are “obsessed with lighting,” and in an interview about hygge and happiness he says “describing an evening as ‘hyggelige’ is the greatest possible compliment you can give a Danish host.”

How to achieve hygge at home:

• Stop work by 5:30pm
• Change into comfortable clothes
• Light a candle (or two or three) and turn off bright lights
• Relax and enjoy a sweet treat with loved ones
• Do not feel pressure to talk, instead enjoy music or silence as you sink into the cozy feeling together.

If you aren’t used to creating this atmosphere at home, think about small changes you could make. Even in a small living space, if you clear away the paperwork and light a candle you’d be amazed at the difference. Think about other places where you’ve experienced hygge — a spa, a meditation retreat, a ski lodge — and come up with simple ways to recreate that atmosphere each night. This kind of coziness is one of the many comforting ways to balance vata.

Sipping warm drinks also induces relaxation and pacifies vata. Try a warm cup of golden milk or ginger tea any time of day and especially at night as you wind down.

For many, it will help to stay off screens at night. Listen to the sounds of nature, notice the stars and the moon, and experience how longer nights invite deeper relaxation. Or, some might find using screens helpful as a way to relax. Especially for children it might be the best way to help them deal with stress during the pandemic, as Chopra Global’s CEO Mallika Chopra mentions on Good Day New York. She also suggests meditating, dancing together, and playing games during these particularly challenging times, while noticing that different children will have different needs. When it comes time for bed, though, turning screens off one or two hours before bedtime has been known to help with sleep.

Bedtime in Autumn

Bedtime can be an auspicious time, letting go of the day and envisioning our true desires for our future that become clear once the daily distractions are behind us. By enjoying warm drinks like golden milk, practicing self-massage with oil, and sitting still for meditation, our awareness can sink into this fertile time to plant seeds of ideas that can blossom in the spring.

A practice that is known both for deep relaxation and for planting seeds for the future is yoga nidra, or yogic sleep. Said to be one of the most deeply restorative practices, yoga nidra is best experienced as a guided practice. You will be guided to set an intention at the start of the practice, then once you are deeply relaxed you will be guided to bring that intention back to mind. In that special state between sleep and wakefulness, your intentions plant themselves deeper than the level of the waking conscious mind. To practice yoga nidra, search for it on meditation apps and try this this sleep meditation guided by Deepak Chopra.

If taking time for ourselves during the evening might feel selfish, let us consider what example that sets for others who live with us or know us well. Tracee Stanley, author of Radiant Rest: Yoga Nidra for Deep Relaxation & Awakened Clarity, poses this question, “If part of your legacy were to change the relationship to rest and self-care for your family lineage, how would you begin?” We naturally are influenced by those in our innermost circle. With burnout so prevalent in our culture, we have an opportunity to do something different and think of the impact it has on future generations.

Considering hygge for our home and following Ayurvedic and yogic practices at night not only will feel nourishing, but also these practices can balance vata, reduce the effects of stress, boost immunity, and allow us to fall in line with the rhythm of nature. Befriending longer nights opens us up to the joy of the season and evening practices help set the stage for better sleep and therefore a better start to the next day.

Warm Up with Sweet Potato Black Bean Soup

By April Duckworth

This recipe is delightful as we feel a suggestion of Fall in the air.
Vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free, oil-free
Serves 8 to 10

Ingredients:

• 1 small white onion
• 1 medium-sized lemon
• 3 garlic cloves, minced
• 2 tablespoons of fresh ginger, finely chopped
• 6 organic sweet potatoes
• 4 cups organic vegetable broth
• 1 lb black beans, soaked overnight

Cashew Cream Sauce:
• 1 cup organic cashews
• 3 cups water
• ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
• ¼ teaspoon dried rosemary
• Zest of 1 medium-sized lemon

Directions:

1. Start by soaking the black beans in water overnight to improve digestion.
2. In a Dutch oven or large saucepan, heat onion (using a little veggie broth) and sauté for 8-10 minutes, or until the onions are translucent.
3. Add the garlic and ginger and sauté for 1 minute.
4. Add the sweet potatoes, soaked beans (after draining), and vegetable broth. Bring the soup to a boil.
5. Turn the soup down and let it simmer for 40-45 minutes, or until the beans are soft.
6. While the soup is simmering, prepare your cashew cream sauce:
– Add the cashews, water, lemon zest, and rosemary to a blender.
– Blend until smooth
– Stir into the soup and taste with pepper.
7. Add cashew cream sauce to the soup and stir until thoroughly blended.
8. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Enjoy the seasonal transition into fall with this delicious soup with a side of steamed greens, an excellent source of antioxidants and iron. Mealtimes can be calming and relaxing. Nourishing our bodies is of vital importance, and can be a time of peace, as we also nourish our mind and spirit through these beautiful plant-based foods.

September

Hello everyone, it is your host Sevina.

Happy September!

STRESS MANAGEMENT RESOURCES
Sevina Altanova
Board Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist,
Certified Reiki Master, HIIT Personal Trainer
& Certified Yoga / Meditation Teacher


The purpose of September’s issue is to give you tools which will help you thrive during the pandemic and take care of your physical and emotion well-being on your own.
The products below are ($10, $15, and $25) once you buy them, they are yours forever. You can save it on your device (computer or smart phone) and use it anytime you want. Also, you can gift it to anyone you want and let other people get help as well.


 Here is my gift for you – a link to a free meditation.


https://stressmanagementresources.com/product/free-meditation/


Visit www.StressManagementResources.com  
 
 
Yoga and Meditation Class


 
https://stressmanagementresources.com/shop/


 
Anxiety Relief Relaxation


 
 
 Preview:
https://vimeo.com/372243377

 
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Relaxation for Overcoming a Panic Attack


 
 Preview: 
https://vimeo.com/372245331

 
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Clearing Chakras Relaxation


 
 
Preview: 
https://vimeo.com/372242540

 
*
 
Alzheimer’s Disease Therapy with Combination of 40Hz Light and Sound


 
Preview:
https://vimeo.com/372241774
 

 
To purchase any, click the link. https://stressmanagementresources.com/shop/
 

STRESS MANAGEMENT RESOURCES
Sevina Altanova
Board Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist,
Certified Reiki Master, HIIT Personal Trainer
& Certified Yoga / Meditation Teacher
Sevina.Altanova@gmail.com or  
805-312-8708 
www.stressmanagementresources.com 
 
Go Green! Don’t print this page unless it is completely necessary,
Trees will Love you!!!
 
https://youtu.be/ouGfL58GgD4
 

August

Hello everyone, it’s your host Sevina. Happy summer! Time for vacations and getting the family together. The articles below will show you some mindful practices you can adopt so you may improve your health and the quality of communication with your kids and relatives.

Namaste!

Mindful Eating

By Sevina Altanova

We are what we’re eating! Yes, it is that simple. The food we consume is the fuel for our bodies. The way we perform depends on the fuel we are putting inside of us.

“Mindful Eating”

 it’s based on the Buddhist concept of Mindfulness, which involves being fully aware of what is happening within and around you at the moment. Mindfulness techniques have also been offered to relieve stress and alleviate problems like high blood pressure and chronic gastrointestinal difficulties.

Mindfulness is an ancient practice of “being completely aware of what’s happening in the present”—of all that’s going on inside and all that’s happening around you. It means not living your life on “autopilot.” Instead, you live your life “consciously in the present” in order to experience life as it unfolds moment to moment, good and bad, and without judgment or preconceived notions. “Many of us go through our lives without really being present in the moment,” being present in the now is the fundamental aspect of the spiritual practice to life and living.

As you start to learn how to be more mindful, it’s common and normal to realize how much your mind races and focuses on the past and future. You can just notice those thoughts and then return to the present moment. It is these little, regular steps that add up and start to create a more mindful, healthy life.

The simple techniques involved in mindful eating—eating without watching the TV or computer, eating in silence, chewing slowly, taking breaths between bites—can help us focus more on what we are choosing to put into our bodies, and why?

The Mind–Gut connection

Digestion involves a complex series of hormonal signals between the gut and the nervous system, and it seems to take about 20 minutes for the brain to register satiety (fullness). If someone eats too quickly, satiety may occur after overeating instead of putting a stop to it. There’s also reason to believe that eating while we’re distracted by activities like driving or typing may slow down or stop digestion like how the “fight or flight” response does. And if we’re not digesting well, we may be missing out on the full nutritive value of some of the food we’re consuming.

When you eat mindfully, you slow down the process of eating, turn off autopilot, and focus on the present moment. Increasing your awareness of the present moment helps you become more conscious of your food choices and requires you to use all five of your senses. This helps you truly taste and enjoy your food – without stuffing yourself. When you eat mindfully, it also makes you more aware of your body’s cues that tell you how hungry or full you are.

From Stress Management Resources “Mindful Eating Workshops”

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Other “Stress Management Resources” tools for happier living 🙂

“Anxiety Relieve” Relaxation/Meditation

“Overcoming Panic Attack” Relaxation/Meditation

“Clearing Chakras” Relaxation/Meditation

“Gamma Light/Sound” Relaxation/Meditation

Anxiety Relief Relaxation 

Preview:

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Relaxation for Overcoming a Panic Attack

Preview: 

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Clearing Chakras Relaxation

 Preview: 

*

Alzheimer’s Disease Therapy with Combination of 40Hz Light and Sound

Preview:

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Empowering Children Trough Positivity and Connection

By: Mallika Chopra

Teaching meditation, mindfulness practices, and positivity to children is fun and fulfilling. Children bring a sense of wonder and innocence to everyday practices that remind adults of the magic and smiles that come with connection.

As a parent, it is wonderful to guide your children with simple practices throughout the day and watch how they connect with their breath, feelings, body, and environment.

Here are some tips on teaching your kids practices for positivity and connection:

  • Teach by example, not just words – role model how simple practices affect you and share your feelings. When you are frustrated, take a deep breath to calm down. Express gratitude throughout the day. Demonstrate ways to be kind. Children are always watching and learning from you.
  • Make every interaction fun – bring in humor, laughter, tickles.
  • Never force your child to meditate or do a practice. Teach them simple tools and then let them experiment and see what works best. For many children, movement works better than trying to slow down or be still. This is normal, natural, and age-appropriate. (The Just Be Series has dozens of easy practices for children and the adults in their lives.)
  • Use positive affirmations and phrases to remind kids that they are strong, creative, and powerful.

In my new children’s book, My Body Is A Rainbow: The Color of My Feelings, I present colors, words, and breath to give children a fun, interactive way to explore their body, mind, and spirit. Here is the simple exercise:

  • Sit comfortably and take a deep breath, in and out.
  • Feel your bottom and imagine the color red around you.
  • Breathe in and out. Say, “I am safe.”
  • Put your hand under your belly button and feel orange.
  • Breath in and out. Say “I am creative.”
  • Put your hand on your stomach and feel yellow.
  • Breathe in and out. Say “I am strong.”
  • Put your hand on your heart and feel green.
  • Breath in and out. Say “I am loved.”
  • Put your attention on your neck and throat, and feel light blue.
  • Breathe in and out. Say “I am unique.”
  • Imagine a dark blue spreading across your face.
  • Put your hand between your eyebrows. Breathe in and out. Say, “I am wise.”
  • Now imagine purple at the top of your head spreading above you and into the skies.
  • Breathe in and out. Say “I am.”

Last but not least, take another breath, in and out.

Feel your favorite colors all over your body.

And, smile!

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Coconut Cranberry Granola

Granola is a classic breakfast staple that you can enjoy any time of day. However, many granolas are loaded with processed grains and sugars that taste good, but don’t leave you feeling good. This Coconut Cranberry Granola is full of wholesome ingredients that are delicious and healthy. It’s sweet and savory, crunchy and chewy, and everything you could possibly want in a granola. It’s grain-free and vegan too.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 2 tablespoons melted coconut butter
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of Himalayan pink salt

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 300 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper to prevent the granola from sticking. 

Mix all your ingredients together in a medium-sized bowl until everything is incorporated together and coated in coconut butter and maple syrup. 

Pour mixture onto the baking sheet with parchment paper and spread out evenly into a flat layer. 

Bake the granola for 8 minutes, stir, and then bake again for another 8 minutes. Let the granola cool and it’s ready to eat!

Use this granola over your favorite dairy-free yogurt, eat it as a snack, or use it as a topping for baked fruit.

Serves 8

July

Hello everyone, it is your host Sevina. This month’s topic will be relaxation. We are in the middle of the summer; it is the perfect time to relax, unwind, and take some time off.  But just in case you don’t have the luxury to take a vacation and rest, here are some things you can do from anywhere.

Enjoy the articles below.

Namaste!

The Ability to Relax is Essential to our Health and Emotional Well-Being.

By: Sevina Altanova

When most of society is overstimulated, overworked, and overburdened, you need a practical way to counteract the bad health effects of a high-pressure lifestyle.

Fortunately, there is practice that will let you manage your stress – Relaxation! 

Just 30 Minutes of deep relaxation prolongs your productivity for 2-3 hours.

The benefits of stress reduction are powerful. The benefits of relaxation in mental health and physical arenas are significant. By shutting off the SNS (sympathetic nervous system), you open the door to health, wholeness, creativity, etc.

  1. Happier Outlook

Research has shown that relaxation has a protective effect against depression and anxiety. In older adults, the effect has been reported to be even more pronounced. In another study, group-based relaxation skills training reduced anxious and depressive symptoms. With reported rates of depression on the rise, isn’t it nice to know that simply learning how to relax can be a protective shield against what researchers call the disease of modernity?

  1. Upgraded Memory

Scientists at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and the California Institute of Technology found that stronger and more lasting memories are created when the brain is influenced by theta waves. These brain waves are associated with relaxation. “Our research shows that when memory-related neurons are well coordinated to theta waves during the learning process, memories are stronger,” said Adam Mamelak, a neurosurgeon at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

  1. Stronger Immune System

Researchers in the field of psychoneuroimmunology concluded that your state of mind has the power to enhance or degenerate the immune system. A meta-analysis of over 300 studies revealed that chronic stress degraded all aspects of immunity, from fighting the common cold to warding off cancer. Practicing relaxation keeps the immune system operating at full capacity.

  1. Reduced Risk of Heart Disease

According to research published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, relaxation via meditation may play a valuable role in preventing or reversing heart disease. Dozens of studies performed over the past two decades have shown that relaxation simultaneously reduces heart disease cofactors such as stress, anxiety, depression, high blood pressure, and poor sleep quality.

  1. Improved Relationships

Judy Ford, a licensed clinical social worker and author of Every Day Love: The Delicate Art of Caring for Each Other says, “Stress impacts our love relationships more than we are aware of or acknowledge.” Ford compares stress to a game of ping-pong where tension is the ball that bounces back and forth between partners. “Stressed-out couples quarrel and fight more often, withdraw from each other, feel disconnected, sad, frustrated, angry.” The antidote to stress is relaxation. By engaging in activities that calm the fight-or-flight response, you are better able to connect to a partner. In a state of relaxation that you are able to give and receive love.

  1. Better Sleep

The body cannot enter into sleep when it is in survival mode. Relaxation slows down the busy mind by helping you to process the day’s events prior to sleep. There are specific relaxation routines that can be used prior to sleep to facilitate deep rest. Researchers have suggested that relaxation may help address insomnia and help you have a better night’s sleep.

  1. Increased Energy

Stress naturally uses more energy than relaxation. When you practice stress management and take frequent relaxation breaks, you can conserve energy throughout the day. Instead of leaving work drained and worn out, working in a state of relaxation allows you to leave work with energy left for leisure, family, and exercise! Relaxation breaks also carry over into your work, allowing you to access the mind-boosting benefits of a calm and centered awareness.

  1. Enhanced Creativity

The daydreamers always have been creative types. Now we know why. According to research in neuroscience, creativity occurs in moments of rest rather than while working or thinking. People who are constantly engaging their minds may hamper their creative impulses. Current research points to why meditation, which is a type of integrated mind-body relaxation, has been shown to enhance creativity.

  1. Decreased Pain

Everyone experiences pain sometimes. But before reaching for a bottle of pain relievers the next time you have a headache, try turning inward to the inner pharmacy. Relaxation in the form of mindfulness meditation has been found to be an effective and powerful pain reliever.

  1. Expanded Motivation

Have you ever felt motivated to work on your personal goals or dreams when you’re feeling stressed out about work, finances, or relationships? Most likely not. Motivation stems from inspiration, which in turn flows out of relaxation. If you want to enhance your motivation, start by carving out some time to relax your mind and enjoy life. When you are calm and connected, you will find the motivation to pursue all your worthwhile goals.

30 Minutes of deep relaxation prolongs your productivity for 2-3 hours.

Take advantage of these relaxations!!!

If you like them, please visit:

http://www.StressManagementResources.com/shop

Links to preview:

“Anxiety Relieve” Relaxation/Meditation

“Overcoming Panic Attack” Relaxation/Meditation

“Clearing Chakras” Relaxation/Meditation

“Gamma Light/Sound” Relaxation/Meditation

Anxiety Relief Relaxation 

Preview:

*

Relaxation for Overcoming a Panic Attack

Preview: 

*

Clearing Chakras Relaxation

 Preview: 

*

Alzheimer’s Disease Therapy with Combination of 40Hz Light and Sound

Preview:

Expand Your Awareness to Expand your Life

By Deepak Chopra M.D.

This year the arrival of summer coincides with the perfect time to expand your life. A difficult year has created problems that have gained publicity like increased anxiety and depression. But at a deeper level, even noticing no symptoms, almost everyone has experienced contracted awareness. When awareness contracts, you are less optimistic, see fewer opportunities, and fear that normal life has grown risky.

Constricted awareness is tense, closed, insecure, and stuck. Expanded awareness is open, carefree, secure, and flowing. That’s where you need to be if you want your life to expand, because your state of awareness is the lens through which you see the world. So how do you expand your awareness?

Here’s a seven-step program for change that you can follow without strain, choosing any recommended step at your own pace and comfort level.

1. Return to center

When you are centered, you feel relaxed, calm, and quiet inside. There were a lot of reasons this past year to feel the opposite, in a state of restlessness, distraction, and stress. It’s good to remind your nervous system what it feels like to be centered. Make it your policy, as soon as you notice that you are not calm and centered, to find a quiet place. Close your eyes, take a few deep breaths, then meditate until you feel centered again. When you open your eyes, be sure to take a moment before going back into activity.

2. Minimize stressful input

In times of crises people stay glued to news and social media even though they are feeding a person’s stress level. Anything that makes you feel pressured, threatened, or anxious automatically contracts your awareness. Make a conscious effort to reduce stressful news items and if possible do without them.

3. Practice positive time management

A very good idea is the so-called “time menu,” which gives you choices for how to manage your time every day. You already select certain items from the menu, namely work time, meal time, and sleep time. But there are other items that will help you expand your awareness. There is down time, alone time, and play time. Down time should be a few minutes out of every hour where you get up, stretch, and walk around. Alone time should be two sessions in your day when you take 5 to 10 minutes to meditate or reflect or simply be quiet, still, and alone. Play time is shared with others usually, and is marked by any activity that makes you smile and laugh. Play time is for being carefree, not for fierce competition or video games.

4. Act on your highest values

Spiritual values haven’t changed over the centuries. They are expressions of love, devotion, service, compassion, and kindness. But values remain dormant if you don’t act on them. In constricted awareness you are wound in a tight protective posture, so spiritual values have less of an outlet, or none at all. To expand your awareness, act on the values you hold most dear. No one is asking you to be a saint. But there is always an instance during the day where a kind gesture or word, an expression of affection, or a small act of service gives you an opportunity to live out your values.

5. Undo your isolation

Physical isolation has been enforced for a year, but less noticed is psychological isolation. It blocks us from emotional contact and bonding with others. As you undo your physical isolation, renew the bonds with the people who matter most in your life. Bonding occurs in person—emails and texting won’t do it. Start sharing positive emotions like hope and optimism with your friends and family. Avoid the emotions that make people contracted inside, which means avoiding stressful news, complaining, blaming, and being woeful about the state of the world.

6. Express your inner world

The most enjoyable way to expand your awareness is to express yourself joyfully. Creative outlets are one way that works beautifully, but that’s just one path. You need to express whatever you most value in yourself. This could be love, caring, kindness, or selfless service. The key is that you feel the real you coming out, because the real you is the source of bliss.

7. Renew yourself

The present moment is the only place where life is renewed. It is the location of flow. It is where invisible possibilities become real as thoughts, feelings, words, and actions. But if you carry the baggage of old beliefs, anxiety, worry, inertia, habits, and conditioning around with you, you will never experience the present moment, and therefore you will not be renewed.

There is no mystery to being in the present moment. You are just yourself, and being here feels like all you need. Being creative is very present moment, so that’s a desirable pursuit. But there is also a presence that goes deeper, call it a divine or spiritual presence. It radiates from your source in pure awareness.

If you lived from your source, you would experience life as a field of infinite possibilities, and your state of awareness would be blissful. Make that your vision. You don’t have to achieve it on a timetable, but if you are guided by a vision, you will come closer to your source, in or out of meditation. You will begin to feel that creation is embodied in you, which is actually the truth.

Life is abundant, but that’s only an inspiring notion until you experience it first-hand. When you have a glimpse of beauty, love, innocence, wonder, or joy, pause and value it. Say to yourself, “This moment reflects the real me.” These are the moments that renew you, because they are when you walk in the light.

Sweet Potato Toast with Almond Butter & Banana

Warm toast with peanut butter is a traditional breakfast treat. This recipe kicks it up a notch on the healthy chart by using sweet potato as the toast and almond butter with bananas as a topping. It’s a little sweet and savory and a filling and indulgent breakfast food you may enjoy even more than the classic version.

Ingredients:

  • 2 sweet potatoes
  • 1/2 cup creamy almond butter
  • 2 bananas, sliced thin

Directions:

Cut the pointy ends off of each sweet potato and slice them lengthwise into 1/4-inch thick slices. Toast them in your toaster or in the oven until they begin to brown. 

Once toasted to your liking, spread almond butter over each slice and top with the banana slices. 

Serves 4

JUNE

Hello everyone, it’s your host Sevina. This month we will focus only on the practice of meditation, knowing that it is the first and most important step of getting into a better health. It supports the whole unit: Body, Mind and Spirit.

Let’s dive in.

Namaste!

The Ability to Relax is Essential to our Health and Emotional Well-Being.

By: Sevina Altanova

Our body has an amazing ability to heal itself. It is a mechanism that we all have, it just needs to be turned on by activating the relaxation response in the body.

Our body has an autonomic nervous system, which is the involuntary, unconscious nervous system, the one that powers our breathing, digestion and heartbeat. We don’t think of these; the body just does those for us. The autonomic nervous system is made of the Sympathetic and Parasympathetic nervous systems. 

The sympathetic nervous system kicks in automatically in response to a threat or immediate danger, but it also activates from any stressful situation in our everyday life. So, we need to learn to have some control over it through relaxation practices such as Meditation, Relaxation, Yoga, Controlled Breathing, Reiki and Hypnotherapy. 

Please try some of Stress Management Resources mediations:

Free Meditation – For the restoration of physical and emotional well-being.

Please preview the other meditations, and if you would like to purchase any, click the link. https://stressmanagementresources.com/shop/


Preview: Anxiety Relief Relaxation from Stress Management Resources on Vimeo:

Preview: Relaxation for Overcoming a Panic Attackfrom Stress Management Resources on Vimeo:

Preview: Clearing Chakras Relaxation from Stress Management Resources on Vimeo:

Preview: Alzheimer’s Disease Therapy with Combination of 40Hz Light and Sound from Stress Management Resources on Vimeo:

Thank You!

From Stress Management Resources

You Can Do This: Why Meditation Is for Everyone

By : Adam Brady

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Possibly the most persistent myths regarding meditation are that it’s difficult, it involves struggle or laser-like focus, or that it is reserved for a privileged few who possess the mental or genetic makeup necessary to settle the mind. However, none of these beliefs are true. Popular culture has done meditation practice somewhat of a disservice by often making it appear unreachable, other-worldly, loaded with philosophical or mystical trappings, or veiled in secrecy. Fortunately, the deeper understandings of mind-body wellness and the demystification of the world’s wisdom traditions have helped to blow the dust off the outdated views of meditation that kept it out of reach of the general public.

Put simply, meditation is for everyone. It’s a process and a practice that is a natural and inherent birthright we all carry within us. When the first sages and seers of remote antiquity discovered the ability to settle their minds, they heralded a new era in humanity—the activation of our mind-body’s restful awareness response. Not unlike Roger Bannister, running the first four-minute mile in 1954, who unlocked the door to what was physically and physiologically possible, the first meditators unlocked the door to higher states of awareness that we can all experience and benefit from today.

To further illustrate meditation’s universal applicability, consider the following.

The Mind’s Urge for Stillness Is Built In

While the body is geared for activity, the mind, if given the opportunity, will naturally be drawn to settling down. The simple act of sitting comfortably with closed eyes activates the parasympathetic (rest and digest) nervous system and the mind’s tendency to go within. Whenever the input from the senses is withdrawn, the mind begins to go inward. Like a tortoise drawing in its limbs, unplugging our senses allows the mind to be calm while simultaneously expanding into higher states of awareness.

Mediate anytime, anywhere with the Chopra App. Access guided meditations on the go from the well-being pioneers.

Meditation Is Universal in Value

In other words, meditation works for all people, everywhere. As we all share common traits that are part of the human experience, the methodical practices of meditation affect all human beings similarly across time and space. Meditation’s universal effectiveness, therefore, is a byproduct of the laws of nature that apply equally to us all. In the same way that gravity applies uniformly to all humans, regardless of gender, age, or national origin, the practice of meditation is valuable for everyone on earth.

There Are No Bad Meditators 

Meditation is natural and has no biases. It can be done by anyone, regardless of background or experience. As Krishna reminds Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita:

On this path effort never goes to waste, and there is no failure. Even a little effort towards spiritual awareness will protect you from the greatest fear. 2:40

No one who does good work will ever come to a bad end, either here or in the world to come6:40

While these passages may seem somewhat esoteric and mystical, they still reflect the important truth that you really can’t fail at meditation. Take comfort in Krishna’s words of encouragement and recognize that you can do this. There are no bad meditators, only less effective ways to learn. Since meditation is a unique skill, it stands to reason that thoroughly learning both the theory and experience, taking the time to learn a practice from a high-quality source such as a book, an online program like Chopra Global’s Primordial Sound Meditation Master Course, or a meditation app will help you reap meditation’s many rewards and feel successful in your practice.

It’s important to remember that if whatever source of instruction you follow isn’t working for you: Don’t give up on meditation and don’t give up on yourself. Recognize what didn’t work, try another practice, and keep exploring until you find what suits you best.

Expectations Lead to Failure

This is a good time to mention that the illusion of failure in meditation practice is almost always the result of attachment to expectations or a specific outcome. Meditation is always healing and your mind-body takes exactly what it needs from your practice. The quickest way to frustrate yourself in meditation is to have expectations of a practice that, by its very nature, is meant to embrace uncertainty, unpredictability, and the unknown.

As long as you hold on to a particular idea of what’s “supposed” to happen during meditation, you’ll constantly think of yourself as failing whenever your experiences don’t match your expectations. Set yourself free from the burden of evaluation and self-judgment and you’ll recognize that every meditation is unique and just the way it’s meant to be.

Meditation Adapts to You

When I learned meditation from Chopra Global’s chief meditation officer Roger Gabriel, he mentioned that in the beginning, practicing meditation was like breaking in a pair of slippers—they initially feel somewhat stiff and tight, but after a little time, they become comfortable and fit your feet perfectly. In this way, meditation adapts to you—to your lifestyle, needs, karma, and dharma. Ultimately, your meditation practice should be as unique as your fingerprint. Yes, there are guidelines you can follow for when, where, how long to meditate, how to sit, how to breathe, and supplementary practices, but in the end, no one knows your life and routine better than you.

Don’t try to force yourself into a meditation mold that doesn’t fit your life. Doing so will only make you uncomfortable and you’ll end up quitting. Like asana practice in yoga, don’t force yourself into the pose; modify it to fit your body and the pose will support your health and well-being for years to come.

Still unconvinced that you can meditate? Let’s see just how simple it can be. Take a moment to read through these steps and then commit to giving meditation a five-minute test drive.

  • Find a place where you won’t be disturbed for the next five to seven minutes. Silence your phone, close the door, and dim the lights if you like.
  • Sit comfortably in whatever position allows your neck and back to remain relatively upright. Try to have both feet resting flat on the floor with your legs uncrossed. Close your eyes softly. Relax your body into the chair.
  • Take three full, slow, deep breaths.
  • On your next inhalation, silently repeat to yourself the word, I.
  • As you exhale, silently repeat the word am.
  • Inhale: I; exhale: am.
  • Continue this process for the next several minutes or as long as comfortable. When thoughts in your mind, sensations in your body, or sounds in the environment occur, effortlessly bring your awareness back to I am. Just repeat the words gently without force, effort, or struggle to concentrate.
  • When you choose to end the practice, stop repeating I am, and sit comfortably with your eyes closed for a few more moments.
  • When you’re ready, softly open your eyes.

Congratulations! You just meditated. While this first experience may have felt slightly strange, know that with practice it will become increasingly normal. Thoughts, sounds in the environment, and bodily sensations are all part of the practice. In the end, all you need to do is innocently notice when your attention drifts away from I am, and then gently bring it back. Simple, comfortable, effortless. This is meditation.

 

7 Myths of Meditation

By: Deepak Chopra

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In the past forty years, meditation has entered the mainstream of modern Western culture, prescribed by physicians and practiced by everyone from business executives, artists, and scientists to students, teachers, military personnel, and – on a promising note – politicians. Despite the growing popularity of meditation, prevailing misconceptions about the practice are a barrier that prevents many people from trying meditation and receiving its profound benefits for the body, mind, and spirit. Here are seven of the most common meditation myths dispelled.

Myth #1: Meditation is difficult.

Truth: This myth is rooted in the image of meditation as an esoteric practice reserved only for saints, holy men, and spiritual adepts. In reality, when you receive instruction from an experienced, knowledgeable teacher, meditation is easy and fun to learn. The techniques can be as simple as focusing on the breath or silently repeating a mantra. One reason why meditation may seem difficult is that we try too hard to concentrate, we’re overly attached to results, or we’re not sure we are doing it right. In our experience, learning meditation from a qualified teacher is the best way to ensure that the process is enjoyable and you get the most from your practice. A teacher will help you understand what you’re experiencing, move past common roadblocks, and create a nourishing daily practice. 

Learn how to meditate from the experts in well-being with the Chopra App

Myth #2: You have to quiet your mind in order to have a successful meditation practice.

Truth: This may be the number one myth about meditation and is the cause of many people giving up in frustration. Meditation isn’t about stopping our thoughts or trying to empty our mind – both of these approaches only create stress and more noisy internal chatter. We can’t stop or control our thoughts, but wecandecide how much attention to give them. Although we can’t impose quiet on our mind, through meditation we can find the quiet that already exists in the space between our thoughts. Sometimes referred to as “the gap,” this space between thoughts is pure consciousness, pure silence, and pure peace. When we meditate, we use an object of attention, such as our breath, an image, or a mantra, which allows our mind to relax into this silent stream of awareness. When thoughts arise, as they inevitably will, we don’t need to judge them or try to push them away. Instead, we gently return our attention to our object of attention. In every meditation, there are moments, even if only microseconds, when the mind dips into the gap and experiences the refreshment of pure awareness. As you meditate on a regular basis, you will spend more and more time in this state of expanded awareness and silence.

Be assured that even if it feels like you have been thinking throughout your entire meditation, you are still receiving the benefits of your practice. You haven’t failed or wasted your time. When Chopra Center co-founder Dr. David Simon taught meditation, he would often tell students, “The thought I’m having thoughts may be the most important thought you have ever thought, because before you had that thought, you may not have even known you were having thoughts. You probably thought you were your thoughts.” Simply noticing that you are having thoughts is a breakthrough because it begins to shift your internal reference point from ego mind to witnessing awareness. As you become less identified with your thoughts and stories, you experience greater peace and open to new possibilities.

Myth #3: It takes years of dedicated practice to receive any benefits from meditation.

Truth: The benefits of meditation are both immediate and long-term. You can begin to experience benefits the first time you sit down to meditate and in the first few days of daily practice. Many scientific studies provide evidence that meditation has profound effects on the mind-body physiology within just weeks of practice. For example, a landmark study led by Harvard University and Massachusetts General Hospital found that as little as eight weeks of meditation not only helped people experience decreased anxiety and greater feelings of calm; it also produced growth in the areas of the brain associated with memory, empathy, sense of self, and stress regulation. At Chopra, we commonly hear from new meditators who are able to sleep soundly for the first time in years after just a few days of daily meditation practice. Other common benefits of meditation include improved concentration, decreased blood pressure, and enhanced immune function. 

Myth #4: Meditation is escapism.

Truth: The real purpose of meditation isn’t to tune out and get away from it all but to tune in and get in touch with your true Self – that eternal aspect of yourself that goes beyond all the ever-changing, external circumstances of your life. In meditation you dive below the mind’s churning surface, which tends to be filled with repetitive thoughts about the past and worries about the future, into the still point of pure consciousness. In this state of transcendent awareness, you let go of all the stories you’ve been telling yourself about who you are, what is limiting you, and where you fall short – and you experience the truth that your deepest Self is infinite and unbounded. As you practice on a regular basis, you cleanse the windows of perception and your clarity expands. While some people do try to use meditation as a form of escape – as a way to bypass unresolved emotional issues – this approach runs counter to all of the wisdom teachings about meditation and mindfulness. In fact, there are a variety of meditation techniques specifically developed to identify, mobilize and release stored emotional toxicity. If you are coping with emotional upset or trauma, we recommend that you work with a therapist who can help you safely explore and heal the pain of the past, allowing you to return to your natural state of wholeness and love.

Myth #5: I don’t have enough time to meditate.

Truth: There are busy, productive executives who have not missed a meditation in twenty-five years, and if you make meditation a priority, you will do it. If you feel like your schedule is too full, remember that even just a few minutes of meditation is better than none. We encourage you not to talk yourself out of meditating just because it’s a bit late or you feel too sleepy.

In life’s paradoxical way, when we spend time meditating on a regular basis, we actually have more time. When we meditate, we dip in and out of the timeless, spaceless realm of consciousness . . . the state of pure awareness that is the source of everything that manifests in the universe. Our breathing and heart rate slow down, our blood pressure lowers, and our body decreases the production of stress hormones and other chemicals that speed up the aging process and give us the subjective feeling that we are “running out of time.” In meditation, we are in a state of restful alertness that is extremely refreshing for the body and mind. As people stick with their meditation ritual, they notice that they are able to accomplish more while doing less. Instead of struggling so hard to achieve goals, they spend more and more time “in the flow” – aligned with universal intelligence that orchestrates everything.

Myth #6: Meditation is a spiritual or religious practice.

Truth: Meditation is a practice that takes us beyond the noisy chatter of the mind into a place of stillness and silence. It doesn’t require a specific spiritual belief, and many people of many different religions practice meditation without any conflict with their current religious beliefs. Some meditators have no particular religious beliefs or are atheist or agnostic. They meditate in order to experience inner quiet and the numerous physical and mental health benefits of the practice – including lowered blood pressure, stress reduction, and restful sleep. The original reason that Deepak Chopra began meditating was to help him stop smoking. Meditation helps us to enrich our lives. It enables us to enjoy whatever we do in our lives more fully and happily – whether that is playing sports, taking care of our children, or advancing in our career.

Myth #7: I’m supposed to have transcendent experiences in meditation.

Truth: Some people are disappointed when they don’t experience visions, see colors, levitate, hear a choir of angels, or glimpse enlightenment when they meditate. Although we can have a variety of wonderful experiences when we meditate, including feelings of bliss and oneness, these aren’t the purpose of the practice. The real benefits of meditation are what happens in the other hours of the day when we’re going about our daily lives. When we emerge from our meditation session, we carry some of the stillness and silence of our practice with us, allowing us to be more creative, compassionate, centered, and loving to ourselves and everyone we encounter.

Apple Cinnamon Overnight Oats

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Apples, cinnamon, oats, maple syrup … sounds good, doesn’t it? And the flavors are just one good part of this recipe. It’s easy to make, and you can prepare it the night before so your morning breakfast will be a breeze.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups almond milk
  • 2 cups gluten-free rolled oats
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 2 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 2 apples, cored and diced
  • 1/4 cup tahini

Directions:

In a large bowl, combine the almond milk, oats, maple syrup, cinnamon, allspice, chia seeds, and half of the apples. Cover the bowl and store it in the refrigerator overnight. 

The next morning, divide the oats into bowls and top with the rest of the apples and the tahini. Top with additional cinnamon and maple syrup if desired. 

If you like your oats a little more liquid-rich, you can add more almond milk before serving. 

Serves 4