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 Thoughts on Healing, Life, Self-Care and more...


Stimulus – Response  

Do you find yourself overreacting these days? It’s hard not too!

It’s been a turbulent couple of months with all the ‘changes’ we have gone through. I know for myself I had to take a break from the news, social media and even some friends in order to regain my inner calm and balance.

Stimulus – response…Stimulus – response…we are constantly bouncing back and forth in our reactional pattern of “I like this, I don’t like that.” We are caught up in a maze of comparisons without much conscious thought, clear intention or mindful awareness.

No wonder stress, that leads to all kinds of health issues, is rampant in our society....bad backs, poor posture, digestive issues, hypertension, and poor coordination is all too common. Almost to a degree that we start thinking that it’s “normal” or at best “just a process of aging”.

Luckily, I have the Alexander Technique that continually brings me back to my sense of whole self, which then allows me to be in this present moment.

The Alexander Technique is the “best-kept secret in the performing arts world”. It is taught at all the major performance schools, from The Juilliard School in NYC to The Royal College of Music in London. The reason for this is that the performer (actor, singer, dancer, musician) all deal with the fear of performing which they call ‘stage fright’.

However, you do not have to be a performer to experience this fear reaction (scientifically known as the ‘Fight, Flight, Freeze Response’). This re-actionable pattern happens to all of us anytime we are stressed with the uncomfortable realization “that what is happening to me, is not what I want to be happening”. There is a re-actionable picture comparison in our minds between what is actually happening now and what we wish were happening. For example, you’ve spent hours preparing a special meal and at the critical point in cooking that you actually need to be at the stove...that important phone call comes in that you’ve been waiting on all day. You are being pulled two ways simultaneously creating what I call the “Oh shit!” reaction, creating tension within your body and mind.

The Alexander Technique teaches you how to observe this pattern of tension. How to stop and disengage by coming back to a balanced length throughout your whole body letting go of the stress. The moment you do this you feel better because your breath is working freely and not being interfered with. The moment your breath frees, your thinking clears up and you make a choice of either turning the food off and answering the phone or letting the phone call go into voice mail and you continue cooking. In either case, your decision is correct because it is not made out of a stressful reaction. In essence, you change your state by changing your body posture. Smart balanced posture leads to smarter balanced thinking. The Alexander Technique works and it gives you that mindful choice. Hopefully, we can all learn how to create more space and joy in our lives.            Posted 3/16/17

Spring ahead….Coming out of hibernation.

Depending on where you’re living you might be seeing signs of spring approaching. The melting of the snow, leafs returning to the branches, rivers flowing and small buds peaking through the ground. Warmer days are coming! Ok, I live in Ojai California, where the weather is pretty perfect all year round. For those on the East coast, you might have to wait a couple of weeks! 

Spring is a great time for cleansing both the body and mind from the heavy, sluggish qualities of winter. Spring naturally brings us out into the warmer days and motivates us to shed the unnecessary weight and toxins that have accumulated in the body. Think of it as spring cleaning from the inside, out. 

Spring in Ayurveda is known as the Kapha season. The Kapha dosha has the elements of water and earth which tend to accumulate throughout our system over the winter months. Thus we tend to experience more the feelings of excessive heaviness, lethargy, being set in our ways, and congestion in our chest and sinuses.

Spring is thought to be the season of transition. As the seasons change so must your daily routines so that you live more in sync with nature’s rhythms. Having this awareness can help you to be more in tune with your own physical and emotional challenges. You can help ease this transition by paying attention to the foods you eat, your sleep patterns when you exercise and your moods.

Below are some tips that may help you align with the spring season so that you can maintain a healthy balance in your body, mind, and spirit:

~ Begin to align yourself with the change in the season. As we spring ahead it’s a good time to wake up with the sun.  Do a more invigorating yoga practice or exercises program in the morning.  This will help jumpstart your digestion and get your lymphatic system moving which aids in releasing toxins. 

~ Drink hot water with a squeeze of lemon or lime and a slice of ginger every morning. This helps stimulate not only your digestion and metabolism but can help with regular bowel movements. These are key to getting rid of toxins that accumulate throughout the body!

~ Does your digestion feel sluggish? Chop up some fresh ginger (1/2 tsp.), squeeze a slice of lemon on it and a pinch of salt. Eat this before your meals to help stimulate your digestive fire. 

~ Seek more stimulation! Spring is a great time to get out and focus on a new hobby or activity that you have been putting off. It’s easy to get in a rut during the winter! Now is the time to shake it off and shake it up! Try a new dance class or a game of tennis!

~ As the warmer weather approaches get outside and do more vigorous exercise. Running, biking and hiking will help burn off the heavy, stubborn energy that Kapha creates in your body during the wintertime. 

~ Use a Neti pot daily. This is especially great if you suffer from allergies and sinus flare-ups in the springtime. 

~ Eat lighter and earlier. Having your biggest meal of the day between 12-2 is best. Eat dinner before 6:00 p.m. if you can and take a walk afterward.

~ Enjoy lighter, warm cooked foods, like soups, vegetable, and grains. Emphasize the qualities of bitter, pungent and astringent tastes. These are helpful with detoxifying the body from that winter sluggish feeling.

Here is a basic list of foods to give you an idea of what to focus on: 

Vegetables: Asparagus, broccoli, brussel sprouts, dandelion greens, mustard greens, garlic, carrots, kale, spinach

Meats: Chicken (white), eggs, fresh water fish

Legumes: Black beans, pinto beans, mung dal, lentils 

Fruits: Cherries, pomegranates, prunes, limes, lemon, apples, berries

Dairy: (Best to minimize) Cottage cheese, goat cheese, yogurt (diluted)

Grains: Barley, couscous, quinoa, millet, basmati rice

Nuts and Seeds: Pumpkin, sunflower, flax seeds

Spices: Black pepper, ginger, garlic, cayenne, (most spices are good for Kapha especially the warmer ones that can help stimulate a sluggish digestion) 

Think lighter, get moving and enjoy the longer days ahead!       posted 3/12/17