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Self Care is the New Healthcare

  The early morning sun peeks through my purple curtains these days with a certain kind of spring morning hue.

 

With the sound of the dawn chorus chirping outside my window, I stir, sensing the break of a new day. The intoxicating fragrances of spring stoke my senses, and the lush green foothills of Boulder are beckoning me to come and play.

 

self-care-tulip

 

For me spring brings busy weeks of parenting teens through final exams, travel planning, family dinners, school performances, creek festivals, memorial day picnics, graduations, work and friends.

 

It’s full, it’s dynamic, and the weeks can fly by faster then ever.

 

Do you make time for everyone else, but you?

 

Self care – the art of listening to our body’s needs and wants from a deep soul knowledge of the self – is simple yet complex.

 

Self care is simple because it is applicable to humans across all times and necessary to our fundamental human needs.

 

Self care is complex because in today’s world, we are most often overwhelmed by getting everything done in our days, to then fall into our beds at the end of the day exhausted.

 

Spring brings fresh energy, possibility and the chance to begin anew. Now is your time to cultivate and create all that you need to THRIVE in your life.

 

You will know you’ve recognized what you need when you feel the flame of excitement, inspiration and passion growing in your heart and maybe you will even feel a sigh of relief.

 

Think of having an afternoon nap, taking a warm bath, having time to read your favorite book, a walk in nature, or sipping tea with a friend in the garden. Self care doesn’t have to take up much time, but even just 5-15 minutes a day will change everything for you.

 

5 things that happen when you practice self care DAILY

 

 

  1. You start to prioritize yourself (halleluiah)

 

Just like any other habit, once you get your self care rolling you gain momentum.

 

For the next week, what would happen if you made it a point to prioritize yourself every day?

 

I know this can sound edgy, especially if you have small children, you do service work, or your friends and family really NEED you.

 

The thing to remember (and this has helped me a lot) is that we aren’t much good when our “CUP” is empty. Try filling up your own cup first, and watch how giving back to your circle of life becomes easier.

 

  1. You feel more energized

 

When we take better care of ourselves, we nourish ourselves better, and this creates a surge of energy in our often tired, overwhelmed, and busy lives.

 

Exercise is energizing. Naps are energizing. Relaxation and down time are energizing. Gardening and nature are energizing. The sky is the limit on how YOUR self care looks.

 

I promise you that dedicating 5-15 minutes a day (or more) to self care will improve your quality of life and your energy throughout the day.

 

  1. You get sick less

 

When we practice self care daily, our immune systems are less taxed, we are more rested, and we attune to what we need to stay healthier.  Your daily self care has a direct impact on your health today, and also  on the future of your health.

Simply Psychology states “When we’re stressed, the immune system’s ability to fight off antigens is reduced. That is why we are more susceptible to infections.”

 

Try thinking of self care as your essential “Vitamin S”

 

  1. Your relationships improve

 

Not only will your relationship to yourself improve, but also, when you are feeling more connected and balanced in yourself, your relationship with others flows more smoothly.

 

We are better listeners, better mothers, better lovers and better friends when we are well resourced, rested, and harmonious with our day-to-day life.

 

If you have a hard time doing it for you, do it for the others in your life 

 

 

  1. You fine tune your intuition

 

The art of listening to yourself gets easier and easier with practice.

 

Your body is always your ally.

 

When we move through life so fast, always trying to take care of everyone else, we loose the connection to our inner voice of intuition and wisdom.

 

Don’t worry –YOU are still there.

 

Tuning into what we need is an important practice for health and well-being – body, mind and spirit.

 

Eventually, this inner voice of wisdom will guide us gracefully to knowing exactly what we need to be in balance. We begin to trust. We take better care of our beautiful selves, and our quality of life escalates to new levels.

 

Self care is an act of SELF-LOVE

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Mimosas, Marigolds, and Mothering yourself

  Do you MOTHER yourself ?

The ambrosial scents of spring have been rolling over me like ocean waves this week.

Instant BLISS.

 

marigold-bali

 

With a little (or a lot) of spring fever lighting me up, I decided to park my entire mobile office outside on my back deck. Usually, when I notice any resistance to my usual day-to-day stuff – writing, finances, paperwork – I ask myself the question: "What would it take to inspire me?"

 

This week my answer was SPRING.

 

Not only did my move outside to work uplift my motivation, but it actually had me looking forward to the writing hours I had allotted for myself this week.

 

This is one way I MOTHER myself

 

To really take care of ourselves and tend to ourselves, we have to give ourselves the love we want and deserve first and foremost.

 

Self Love.

 

As we embark on Mothers's Day weekend, this year I invite you to practice MOTHERING yourself.

 

No matter where we are in your lives, what our relationship is like with our mothers, or whether we are a mother, mothering ourselves is the best way to love ourselves this Mothers Day.

 

Mothering ourselves reminds us we are our own best friends, our own fierce protectors, and our own wise teachers.

 

Do you have your own back?

 

Intuitively we know what we need.  It takes a little practice – like strengthening a muscle over time.  The practice is in the PAUSING, being curious, and self inquiry into what we really need and want.

 


 

Here are 4 easy and quick 'MOTHER YOURSELF' questions:

What does your physical body need to be nourished?

What does your heart need to be fed with happiness and joy?

What does your mind need to be free, clear, and inspired?

How can you feed your spirit with peace and calm?


 

If part of mothering yourself requires a little hand holding, don't be afraid to ask.

 

If mothering yourself involves aligning your health from the inside out with the energetics of SPRING, check out my Spring Fever Cleanse Programs below.

 

 You can read ALL about the Spring Fever programs HERE.

 

Here's to all the mothers that have come before us, mothering ourselves, and celebrating the beauty of spring...oh and Mother's day mimosas.

 

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5 Ways to TUNE In

   

This past weekend, as I prepared to send my youngest son off on a plane to Mexico for a spring break vacation with his friend’s family, I noticed I had this anxiousness and tightness in my body.

 

I wasn’t thinking about it much, but when I finally got home after a busy Monday at the office, I had to sit for a minute and ask: What is this feeling about?

 

It is his first international trip without me, and even though I consciously felt so excited for him, somewhere inside I was having a hard time letting go.

 

 

If you find it a challenge to control your thoughts and feelings some days, you are not alone.

 

5ways-to-tune-in

 

 

These types of feelings, thoughts, or body messages offer us a lot of information when we pay attention. The problem is, often we don’t. Our days are busy, bustling, and full of to-dos that can easily disconnect us from our true inner experience – body, mind and spirit.

 

When we ignore our inner selves, we learn behaviors to repress the more intense thoughts and feelings. This often leads us down the road to numbing, checking out, over eating, and often self-medicating in a variety of ways.

 

When we practice TUNING IN, we can actually give ourselves the space to feel what is occurring, give it time to make sense and tend to ourselves in the ways we need in order to free ourselves from the common pattern of repressing our truest nature.

 

Connecting with ourselves more deeply helps us to connect with others more deeply.

 

Understanding ourselves – our wisdom and our intuition – helps us to honor the same in another.

 

Thoughts have information

 

Feelings have information

 

Bodies have information

 

We need a language to understand the insights that come through our body, mind and spirit. This is the language that gives us permission to listen to our subtle bodies, and then take action based on our highest good.

 

Cultivating a relationship with our WHOLE self is the best relationship on which we could ever spend our energy.

 

Our true self is our path to happiness, harmony, peace and deep understanding of our fullest selves.

 

 

5 ways to TUNE IN

 

 

 

  1. Find Stillness

 

As you know, our minds can get quite cluttered, full, and busy. We spend so much time exploring and experiencing our outer world, our work world, our family world, that we are rarely called to get to know the universe within us.

 

Can you sit with yourself without any distractions? If you’re like most people, it’s probably been quite some time. Find a quiet space to sit, pause, and breathe. What does it feel like to slow down, and find stillness? If you are uncomfortable, you are in the right place.

 

Practicing slowing down and finding stillness is often foreign to us, therefore we need some practice to feel more familiar and comfortable. Eventually stillness can become like an inner anchor that we can count on.

 

 

  1. Become A Witness

 

Living in this super busy world creates stress and overwhelm for almost everyone. It is not our fault. The ways we have lived through struggle, hardship, heartbreak, loneliness, or overwhelm are part of who we are, and the ways we have gotten stronger are assets gained from the past, that are applicable in the present moment. It is just taking time to witness them. No judgment, no shame, no blame. Our inner dialogue can give us information about the current state of our being.

 

What stories, phrases, and negative thoughts do you repeat to yourself constantly?

 

Where do you feel it in your body?

 

How do you want to treat yourself ?

 

It is a rich practice to become the witness to which internal conversations come up often.

 

  1. Name the Inner Experience

 

When we identify what we are experiencing, we give our inner landscape a voice and a space to move through us freely. Use a word that describes what you are experiencing. Do you feel afraid? Angry? Treated unfairly? Scared? Lonely? Bored? Give the feeling a name. Come up with a word that describes the current experience, positive or negative.

 

  1. Create Spaciousness

 

For centuries, many traditions, many teachings, many cultures far and wide have referred to creating spaciousness regarding the mind-body connection. Allowing our inner experience to move through us freely gives us a feeling of lightness and freedom.

 

Breathing is powerful and an effective vehicle to create spaciousness. Even just one conscious breath brings some spaciousness to the inner body. Following the breath with your attention is a simple, effective and easy practice to fit into even the busiest of days. You can do it while driving, while at work, or while in the midst of just about anything.

 

Simply pause and breathe.

 

 

 

  1. Ask a question

 

Once you identify what is occurring in your subtle inner bodies, you can then begin the process of self-care, spaciousness, and honoring what is.

 

Beginning with a question helps to initiate the process of taking care, tending to, and nurturing you.

 

Try these:

  • What is my hearts desire?
  • What do I really want?
  • How can I love and accept myself today?
  • What do I need to be nurtured?

 

 

 

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5 SCIENCE BASED REASONS TO TAKE A BREAK

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5 SCIENCE BASED REASONS TO TAKE A BREAK

5 SCIENCE BASED REASONS TO TAKE A BREAK

 

 

I was exhausted. 

 

 

Life had handed us some big challenges.  I had to discover a whole new kind of parenting, that I was not ready for (or so I thought). All I could do is keep on holding the space and taking care of everyone, but truthfully, I really had little left for myself.

 

 

 

It’s not that I wasn’t doing what I could with self-care each day – evening baths, shutting myself in my room with a good book, of course spending time with close girlfriends – but I knew what I was going through was intense, and I was needed – my 100% was needed.  

 

 

 

Last summer (June 2013), my son lost his best friend in a Boulder tragedy – one that made the front page of the newspaper multiple times, and one that left us all completely traumatized, broken hearted and lost.  

 

 

 

We have had a lot of support, a lot of time at home, and a lot of time to go through the various stages of grieving in a sacred and loving way.  At times, the personal needs of our families get even more all-consuming and full.  Nearly eight months later, we are just beginning to come up for air.  

 

 

 

It happens this way sometimes in life. Often, parenting, working, school, living, and taking care of everything that needs to happen for our lives to run somewhat smoothly can be very overwhelming - especially amidst particularly challenging times.

 

 

 

 

I knew my time (Sue time) was coming. I could see it on the horizon, and it helped get me through. It did...

 

 time i needed to breath, restore, pause, and reflect on one of the toughest years of my life.

 

 

 

I looked over my packing list multiple times this particular morning. I checked that I had my passport probably seven or eight times (a habit I have), made sure I had a couple important things in my carry on bag – journal, headphones, novel, essential oil, snacks, and of course my tooth brush (I like to brush on long flights).

 

 

I got all of my travel goodies to the front porch just in time for my ride to the airport.

 

 

 

Each year I take a group of women to somewhere exotic for a pilgrimage of deep relaxation, personal inquiry, space, rejuvenation, connection and time to unwind.  

 

 

 

If you are like most of these women, you might understand their overwhelm in the business of the day-to-day.  I sure do. Tired, stressed, burnt out.  This seems to be one of the big reasons women decide to come along on our annual retreat. With all we hold in our lives, it is so therapeutic to take a break, reset, assess, and give ourselves some time just for us.

 

 

 

We make excuses, avoid change, get stuck in our outdated habits, and resist putting ourselves first, but is that really how you want to live?

 

 

 

This week I am going to share with you some very specific health benefits that happen when we give ourselves a break. They are important to know about, part of an important conversation for women, and something most of us could work on, as we are often the last ones on our own priority list.

 

 

 

5 Science Based Reasons Why You Should Take a Break

 

 

 

1.. Sleep more deeply

For most of us who are holding a lot in our days, it is a challenge to “let it all go” at night.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, 48% of Americans report a sleep disorder (most commonly, insomnia) and women are 1.3 times more likely to report a sleep disorder than men. The biggest contributors to sleep issues are stress, anxiety, depression or poor sleep habits. 

When we take a break, we retrain our sleep cycles and studies show these new habits most often continue even after we return home.

I recently learned from a master teacher that the best way to release stress, trauma, and pent up emotions in our nervous system is to rest.  It sounds so simple, and yet many of us find it so hard to make the time to rest.

 

2. Gain perspective

Underneath a lot of our suffering are our outdated old habits, the way we sabotage our happiness, and the age-old way that women forget to take care of themselves.

Our inner voice that tells us to listen, to slow down, to nap, to take some downtime – most often get overridden with turbo gear, muscling through, and our fast paced world.

Something has to change.

I spent years silencing that voice. Then one day, that voice said, "I can't do this anymore."

The pain of staying the same became greater than the pain of change and I dove into spending time on giving myself a break and creating downtime.   It was time to break out of old patterns and into a life where I felt free, connected and could become my own priority.

 

 

3. Lower your body mass index

Yes, it’s true. The stress hormone, cortisol, does no good for your waistline. High cortisol levels lead to higher insulin levels. Both of these sneaky hormones store body fat when they are out of balance.

When you give yourself time to slow down, rest, and release your stress and overwhelm, you biochemically tell your body to release excess weight around your mid-section.

Not only is this pleasing to most women, but it also creates a healthier body composition for the long term.

 

 

4. Balance your hormones.

According to the Chopra Institute, doing fifteen minutes of deep belly breathing twice daily has been shown in several clinical trials to increase balance of the female hormones, as well as improve a woman’s sense of well-being. 

Learning a mind-quieting technique such as meditation or yoga, will help decrease stress hormones and allow the body to function more efficiently.

Imagine how much time you have to breathe deeply, meditate, and rejuvenate on vacation or retreat.

 

 

5. Improve your longevity

"It is important to engage in multiple leisure activities, both as a way to enjoy life more, but also to potentially have a benefit on increasing long-term health and decreasing long-term stress" University of Pittsburgh's Mind-Body Center.

Your long-term health will thank you.

Understanding that stress, fatigue, and burnout are responsible for most degenerative disease, often helps us to take our prescription for peacefulness a little more seriously.

 

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3 Ways to Say I LOVE YOU

  Last night I spent Boulder's snowy evening with the CU women's group called FEEDING FEARLESSNESS.  These amazing young women are dedicated to healing their relationship to food and body with their whole hearts.

 

As the falling Colorado snow flakes began to cover the roof tops and tree tops around time, our heart opening conversation led us to our vulnerability and our depths.

 

One aspect of our conversation determined how, almost always, these unique struggles many women experience come from bigger root issues that are unresolved, overwhelming or scary to feel.

 

Most of us don't like discomfort.

Loneliness, guilt, heartbreak, shame, anxiety, sadness, grief, anger and sometimes even joy can feel like too much for us to hold.

 

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This week I want to share with you 3 ways to say I LOVE YOU (to yourself) so that you can cultivate more SELF LOVE and SELF CARE while expanding your ability to feel and accept all that you are.

 

1.  Equanimity:  Often referred to as being in balance, there is actually a little more to the true definition of equanimity.

The fullest expression of the word includes the ability to be at peace and remain calm in the face of uncertainty or a difficult situation.

The human psyche doesn't normally like uncertainty or difficulty.  This is a practice where, over time, we can build our fortitude.

Start with baby steps, start where you are, and remember...

 

This too shall pass

2.  Compassion:  Being self-compassionate means that whether you win or lose, or surpass your sky-high goals, you still extend the same kindness and sympathy toward yourself, just like you would a good friend or a child.

 



Compassion towards the self is a deep breath, a self-care practice, or a positive affirmation that fills up your self love cup.

 
 

How you speak to yourself changes everything.  Embrace your imperfect self.

3.  Acceptance:  According to the work of Byron Katie, learning to LOVE WHAT IS, is about dismantling our current state with the exercise of revealing how our deepest beliefs are often based in misunderstandings with ourselves.

It takes courage to face reality without telling ourselves a story that things should be different. Ultimately, it means living in a state of love — a lot more of the time.

Be sure to check out the 3 offerings I have for you below,  so you can continue to build your SELF LOVE and your PLEASURE POWER this month.

 

 


 

The FREE #7 DAY SELF LOVE CHALLENGE starts Monday!

Join the #7 day Self-Love Challenge: Online FREE Course We begin February 8th. Have a love affair with yourself.

Through daily efforts learn to forgive yourself, put yourself first, recognize your strengths and do something you love each and every day!

Self-love-challenge-sue


Eat Clean ~ Talk Dirty Online Workshop February 12th!

The Power of Pleasure Explore your relationship with food, pleasure and SEX. With Sue Van Raes, Costen Aytes and Leslie Jones.

Eat Clean Talk Dirty


Care for a little Bali MAGIC?

When going away is the first step towards coming home...

EatPrayYoga Bali

 

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10 Consciousness and Kitchen Quickies

  With the warm Colorado sun warming me through window at Boulder’s local tea shop – Pekoe Sip House –  I sit this morning, (with my Mate Latte)  and start to clear off my emails from the past month.

 

My email is, as usual, overflowing with my favorite writers and bloggers, and today, almost all themed with the new beginnings of 2016.

 

The New Year is always full of so many opportunities to renew.

 

Whether you are a goal setter, a resolution lover, or one who strives to live with intention each day, we are bombarded with hundreds of ways to create a fresh start, even if we are half way through January.

 

Social media, emails, articles and advertisements are rolling in with a brilliant range of options.

 

So today, I decided to offer you a perfectly FREE and favorite way of mine to remember #healthisourgreatestwealth.

 

Center of Health Quote

 

In the spirit of supporting you in your health goals for the year, whatever they may be, I want to share with you my top 10 ways to setting up your sacred space, the center of your health, with just a little more mindfulness.

 

I have found after working for over 12 years in the field of mind-body health and nutrition, that there are a few  “set yourself up for success” gems that I want to be sure you know about.

 

"The CENTER of your HEALTH is in your CONSCIOUSNESS and in your KITCHEN"

 

Creating sacred space for yourself crafts the energy to expand our visions into in reality.

A sacred space brings forth a container for your coming year of self-care, nourishment and vitality.

Creating a sacred space for our lives and our health can be two fold:

 

  • Living in alignment with our true nature, and our body’s most authentic needs.

 

  • Keeping our thoughts about ourselves supportive, loving, and kind.

 

My top 10 ways to create sacred space for vibrant life and health:

 

1.  Eat nourishing whole food that is free from processed sugars, additives, preservatives, and refined ingredients.

2.  Create mealtime rituals that give you the time  to sit down and enjoy a peaceful meal.

3.  Craft a positive affirmation about your body.

4.  Take some time each day to nurture yourself.  Try asking the question: “What can I do to nurture myself today?".

5.  Sit peacefully and reflect each morning on how to customize your day to match your health goals, your energy and your to-do list.

6.  Listen to your body – it is always your ally.

7.  Drop the guilt - I know this one is tough, but living wrought with guilt is even tougher.

8.  Give yourself down time each day, leading up to and including a good night sleep.

9.  Give yourself permission for pleasure. (all kinds of pleasure)

10.  Make YOU your #1 in 2016.

 

 


Join us for a MAGICAL week in BALI this spring.

EPY-Bali-2016

 

 

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A BRAND NEW Year

  After sleeping in and slumbering around for the 5th morning in a row, I was reflecting on how I had barely checked my email all week.

I have enjoyed some of these darkest (and coldest) nights so far by cooking yummy winter meals, snuggling up by the fireplace, sharing in heartwarming conversation and reflection of the past year, and visiting with friends and loved ones.

These dark wintery nights around the holidays are a time I gift myself this slow and peaceful pace.

Long winter walks and snowshoes under the blue bird sky, personal reflection, and this slow revealing of what my visions are for the coming New Year feel like an appropriate focus.

This week's Dark Night Delicacy (week #3) is coming to you from my pajama palace, where much creativity and care has been born.

From my restful slumber, much clarity and cuddled-up contemplation emerges in this week's dark night delights.

Dark Night Delicacy #3 is HERE for you
Want PEACE?  Live PEACE
.

The Dark Night Delicacies are my holiday treat for you this year.  A candlelit path into the darkest nights of the year, a taste of the Eat.Pray.Yoga Online Course and Community that begins this January, and a wintery-wise wanderlust that will keep you connecting inward to your winter warrioress.

 

Want Peace?  Live Peace.

 

Each year around the New Year many of us contemplate what we are striving for in our lives, how we want to achieve certain goals, amend bad behaviors with resolutions, and turn over a new leaf.  It is natural for the mind to crave a fresh start.  The gyms get busier, diets or cleanses become all the rage, and often we focus on the bad habits that we hope to no longer do.

This year when you are contemplating what it is you are wanting, I invite you to join me in the remembering that in creating our NEW YEAR as we wish for it to be does not come from self criticism, chance, or something outside of you.

This year as we contemplate what it is we are yearning for in our hearts and minds, try to imagine how we can align both our thoughts and our actions with this desire.

If you are wanting PEACE, begin by focussing on your thoughts being more peaceful.  See if you can find more peace in your actions, in your way of relating to others and in your way of loving yourself.

If you want more prosperity, try practicing abundant thoughts, giving more to others, and finding gratitude for what you have.

If you want more happiness, keep choosing unconditional happiness that is not based only on certain circumstances lining up just right, but rather seeing happiness and joy in how you think and how you move through the world.  Try spreading more happiness in your interactions with others. 

 

Wintery Wise Recipes

 

Roasted Spagetti Squash with Wild Mushrooms, Savory Chicken and Kale

spaghettisquash-mushroom

Serves: 2-4

Ingredients:

1 medium-sized spaghetti squash, roasted

2 TBS olive oil

6 large gloves of garlic, minced

3 cups baby portabello mushrooms, chopped small

2 tsps fresh thyme, chopped

1 or 2 large chicken breasts, sliced into strips

4 cups dino kale leaves, packed

¼ tsp kosher salt

1/8 tsp cayenne pepper, or to taste

Zest of 1 lemon

Instructions:

Roast the spaghetti squash and set aside for later use.

In a medium-sized skillet, add the oil and heat to medium. Add the minced garlic and mushrooms. Saute for 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until garlic is fragrant and mushrooms have browned.

Add the chicken strips, and cook for about 30 seconds before adding the chopped kale. Cook 3-5minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.

Add the lemon zest, salt and cayenne pepper. Stir well and cook for about a minute. Remove from heat.

Strip the spaghetti squash into spaghetti strands and place in a medium-sized serving bowl.

Add the chicken/mushroom/kale mixture and toss together.

Serve with fresh grated parmesan and enjoy.

 

New Years YOGA Pose

anahatasana-guide

 

Open your heart and free your mind this New Year.

 

  • Anahatasana (heart chakra pose) is a nice opening for the upper and middle back
  • Release tension in your neck and shoulders
  • Softens your heart.

 

Find your way into Anahatasana

  • On your hands and knees, walk your hands forward, allowing your heart to drop toward the floor. Keep your hips right above your knees. If possible, keep your hands shoulder width apart.  Bring either your chin or forehead to the floor and breath into both the front and back of your heart.

 


 

Sign Up for the Eat.Pray.Yoga 2016 online Course and Community Right HERE

We begin January 18th, 2016.Become a VIP early bird and sign up before January 1st.  You will receive these delightful extras to explore until our circle of women meets officially on January 18th.

Set your SANKALPA:  A virtual intention setting workshop with Sue for the New Year (January 1st, 2016). Join me for this special bonus 1 hour virtual workshop where I will share with you some of the most potent and powerful yogic practices around setting clear and precise intentions for your upcoming year.

       

Sync up with the seasons: with the Winter-Wise Whole food purification program.  With each season come unique currents and energetic rhythms that we can specifically tap into with our eating and our self-care.

Health Wise:  A hard (and signed) copy of my most recent book to offer you just a few more supportive strategies for a healthy, happy and whole living.

Eat.Pray.Yoga BALI 2016:  Take an additional $200 dollars off of our magical women's week in Bali this spring. Check out all of the details HERE.

EARLY access to Module 1:  Right off the bat, you can log in to the first Module of Eat.Pray.Yoga.  Early access is only offered to the VIP early registrants.

 

If you missed any of the previous Dark Night Delicacies, you can check them out HERE.

 

 

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Happy Solstice Weekend

  It was just a few days ago when Ari, my 15 year old son, eagerly hopped in the car after school.

 

He is my spirited Solstice tree elf.  We always pick out a tree together, and proceed to bring it home to have a overwhelming time getting it to stand straight in the tree stand.

 

As we looked through all the different kinds of trees, I found myself asking a fellow customer which kind she thought "smelled" the best.  She ironically looked at me like I was a little crazy.

 

"Which one SMELLS the best?" she asked.

 

I quickly realized not everyone is going for the best smelling tree.

 

After some crazy sawing and a few too many pine needles on the floor, we managed pretty well this year.

 

My favorite part of the solstice is sitting in the dark with my very fragrant tree, it's white lights twinkling in my living room creating that oh so sweet glow.

 

I love the Winter Solstice.  It always feels so mystical to me.  The darkest night of the year, the most inward introspective time, the returning of the light, and a sense of holiday shimmer in the air.

 

This year, take the journey with me in these dark nights, and let's find some magic to enjoy in our lives together and some ritual to ignite our hearts.

 

Dark Night Delicacy #2 is here for you.

Solstice Rituals and Relvelry

solstice-ritual-candle**

 

  • Learn WHY rituals are so potent in our lives
  • Check out some of my favorite Solstice rituals
  • Enjoy some new wintery recipes over the holidays.

 

The Dark Night Delicacies are my holiday treat for you this year.  A candlelit path into the darkest nights of the year, a taste of the Eat.Pray.Yoga Online Course and Community that begins this January, and a wintery wise wanderlust that will keep you connecting inward to your winter warrioress.

 

 

 

Winter Solstice Rituals and Revelry

Ritual is one way the soul often craves connection, presence and sweetness. We have been doing ritual in so many realms throughout time to fulfill this part of our souls desire.

 

Cultures far and wide have included rituals for centuries and now much research is showing that the human ENJOYMENT and CONNECTION is heightened through ritual.

 

Some rituals are small - like lighting a candle before a meal.

 

Some rituals are super involved like a Japanese Tea ceremony, or a pagan May day Beltane celebration.

 

We are going to start with just a few of my favorites for the darkest night of the year.  Feel free to customize these ideas into rituals that work for you and your family.

  1. Solstice lantern lighting: Embrace the dark by leaving lights off + lighting lanterns or candles at dusk. Decorate mason jars and place a small candle inside OR try the shimmery candles that clip onto your holiday tree and safely light them. As you sit by candle light, set your intentions for the returning of the light.  You can find the clip on candles HERE
  2. Create a fire releasing ceremony: Write down what you wish to release. One by one, as you write each one down, burn them in the fire.  You can use a fire place, wood stove, or outdoor bonfire.  I have done variations of this over the years with my women's programs and retreats.
  3. Commune in nature: Take a long walk in the woods, and consider bringing a headlamp if you wish to explore the dusk or dark.  Leave an offering of seeds (such as sunflowers), flowers or herbs out for the birds and other wild creatures.
  4. With the returning of the light it is often said to be a powerful time to set new intentions, goals, or put visions into motion.  Some consider this time to be the true New Year.  Write a list of all or your burning desires, and visions for the upcoming year and the returning of the light.  Meditate on the clearest path to see them come to fruition.

 

Wintery Wise Recipes

Butternut and Buffalo Paleo Stew

buffalo-butternut-stew

Ingredients:

 

  • 1 lb buffalo cubes for stewing
  • 1 butternut squash, peeled, de-seeded and diced;
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 carrots, diced
  • 6 oz. mushrooms, sliced
  • 6 oz. spinach, chopped
  • 1 cup chicken/beef/mushroom stock
  • 14 oz. diced tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano or 2 drops oregano essential
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

 

Warm up a skillet over a medium-high heat. Brown the buffalo cubes in the skillet for about 1 minute per side. Transfer the meat to a crock pot. Add all the remaining ingredients, except for the spinach and the mushrooms, to the slow cooker. Give everything a good stir, set the slow cooker to low and cook for 6 hours. Add in the mushrooms 30 minutes before the stew is done. Add the spinach just before serving.

 

 

Yoga Pose of the Week

agnistambhasana-guide

Light your hips on fire with this yummy hip opener this week. No matter how flexible your hips are, you can find some sensation in your body and warm your entire hip socket and pelvis up with a little Solstice warming fire.

A few things to remember about Fire log (or double pigeon):

  • Sitting up on a blanket can help. Propping a block under your top knee will give you some extra support.
  • Flexing your feet will help to protect your knee joint.
  • As you inhale let your torso rise and expand your chest. As you exhale let the knees become a bit heavier and draw more sensation into your hips.
  • Bow forward if your hip flexibility allows. Remember to breath and track the warmth and sensation in your body.

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Begin your Descent

  The Tugboats crashing upon the waves as they crossed through the city was the perfect backdrop for a festive dinner out in the city of Williamstead, on the island of Curacao.

 

This particular night was even more significant for the townspeople (and lucky for us) as it was the night (December 1st) when Williamstead lit their holiday lights on the floating bridge that so beautifully lit up the water with its colorful reflections.

 

Dark nights and winter holidays are celebrated worldwide.

 

Sun kissed after a glorious Caribbean vacation with my sweetie, we are returning home to embrace the dark nights before us, and the holiday festivities to be had.

 

When the dark nights come each year, I have finally begun to look forward to my personal descent into the darkness. What I used to consider cold, stressful and tender has now become a time I cherish each year.

 

When I say descent, what I mean is my descent into my inner landscape - through all her peaks and valleys – where the darkest nights of the year have become a great teacher and revealer of my own insight and vision.

 

Some would say this descent is known throughout time, myth, and story as a descent into the underworld. Others see it as the most potent nights to pray. Many share insights on how to vision with clarity and precision for the upcoming New Year. The dark nights expand to cultures worldwide with unique and diverse wintery wisdoms and rituals.

 

For the next 5 weeks the Dark Night Delicacies are designed to share with you some of my most favorite winter recipes, rituals, and ways to reset and replenish.

 

Dark Night Delicacy #1 is here for you.

Solace and Self Care

 

darknightdelicacies

 

 

  • Learn the biggest challenge women face over the holidays.
  • Three ways to begin your own dark night descent embracing winters wisdom.
  • How to restore your life force and your energy easily.

 

This is my holiday treat for you this year. A candle lit path into the darkest nights of the year, a taste of the Eat.Pray.Yoga Online Course and Community that begins this January, and a wintery wise wanderlust that will keep you connecting inward to your winter warrioress.

 

Dark Night Delicacy #1

 

 

Have you been busy bustling and hustling to get ready for your holidays? Amidst all of the gift buying, holiday parties and decorating things can get pretty zany out there.

 

I hear about it all the time from my clients, my friends, and my family. The most common complaints we all know: tired, drained, doing too much, over extended, and trying to please everyone else.

 

This is the # 1 challenge women face each holiday season.

 

The energetics of winter remind us to hunker down, slow down, and restore our prana (life force). We benefit from cooking our food slow and long, finding coziness and warmth together in our families and communities, while warming our hearts with connection to ourselves and others we love.

 

RESTORE

 

This year, turn over a new “snow flake” and give to yourself first. You will have plenty more to give to those you love when you do.

 

How you might ask?

 

That is exactly what The Dark Night Delicacies are for. Little winter weekly wisdoms to inspire you and remind you that you can live as your own winter warrioress.

 

Spend some quiet time each day.

 

This commitment to yourself  is simple yet totally profound. Quiet time does not involve the TV or computer. It does involve a long cozy walks in nature, a warm ritual bath, a quiet place to meditate or journal, or your favorite juicy novel and a bowl of sumptuous organic popcorn.

or...

Join us this weekend: The annual Women’s Winter Wanderlust Day Retreat right in downtown Boulder CO.  

Come and join us as we retreat for a day nourishing ourselves, indulging in a women’s circle of intention, connection, and practice as we find our clarity, grace and power within - at Shine Restaurant and Gathering Place.

winterwanderlust 

 

 

REJUVENATE

 

Our mats and our practice can act as a perfect reflection for the inner witness. It is helpful to come to your mat with a specific intention that will customize your practice. Allow your focus to turn inward with every breath tuning into the subtle body and the inner observer. Listen for intuition, insight, physical cues, and sensation that are rich with information and winter’s wisdom.

 

Pose of the week

Malasana

 

malasana-guide

 

 

 

Malasana has a descending and grounding quality and is a good pose to practice whenever you need to foster a focus of inner listening and serenity. Try B position: reach your palms back behind you, palms to the mat, with your upper arms in between your legs. Drop your chin to your chest and focus your breath on your back body. As you turn your gaze inward and calm your nervous system, begin to listen inward to the messages of intuition that come through your awareness.

 

 

REPLENISH

 

Winter eating entails preparing seasonal whole foods that can be stored, canned, or kept for the colder days of winter. Emphasize warming foods that stimulate digestion, circulation, and immunity.

 

Soups and stews

Root vegetables

Beans (especially adzuki and mung beans)

Miso and seaweed

Garlic and ginger

 

 Thai Carrot Soup

carrot-thai-soup

  • 1 yellow onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 lb carrots (approx 4 cups)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 2 cups veggie stock + 2 cups water
  • ½ cup almond butter
  • 2 tsp chili sauce or sriracha
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • Coconut oil to sauté

Heat in a large pot over medium heat

Dice onion, garlic and carrot. Saute veggies with coconut oil. Add veggie stock and water. Season the pot with salt and pepper. Bring to a low boil and cook for 20 min or until veggies are soft.

Transfer to blender, or use submersion blender. Add almond butter and chili paste/sriracha and blend until smooth. Sitr in coconut milk. Optional – add a smidge of honey.

 

 

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Feeding Fearlessness

  Some inspiration for you today:

 

Over the past few months I have been a busy bee restructuring a lot of my business so I can better serve you.

 

This process has led me to finding new partnerships and collaborations that feed MY inspiration, match my mission, and better fuel my TRIBE mentality. It has left me feeling so powerful and uplifted.

 

tribes

 

This past month in particular, I have really been diving into this idea of collaboration, cooperation and win-win type relationships that can create an energy and support system like never before.

 

You see, I am a gal who has leaned towards (over) independence, always doing things all by myself.   My asking for help felt like a burden.

 

WHOA was I wrong...

 

What I am realizing is that most of my life I have forged ahead without the TRIBE mentality.

 

Having spent a lot of time on this lately (personally and professionally). I am realizing that not only can we be more supported in collaborations and cooperative efforts, we can also be more powerful in our own lives.

 

My mantra lately has been ..."Lean In"

 

Thanks to my awesome business coach, this month I have hired an assistant (go Ashley!) a new (bookkeeper (thank you Bettsee), and kindled some amazing partnerships with awesome organizations such as LuLulemon, Isagenix, and Radiance Power Yoga.

 

(p.s.  This has also been very good for my relationship.)

 

Today with that in mind, I am going to share with you a very special collaboration I am working on because this one really pulls at my heart strings, fires me up, and leaves me so excited and energized at the powerful work people are doing in the world.

 

Feeding Fearlessness is just that.  

 

This week I chatted over tea with one of the founders of Feeding Fearlessness, Kaitlin Mulligan.

 

Feeding Fearlessness is a student run support group at CU that aims to both provide a safe space for open conversation regarding eating disorders and body image, as well as help educate the surrounding community about the prevalence of these problems.

 

These women are extremely passionate about personal transformation, the TRIBE mentality, and women finding their power with eating and body!

 

Last week they were on the front page of the Daily Camera!

Here is all the details:

Feeding Fearlessness is open to both men and women, and isn’t exclusive to just those struggling with defined “eating disorders,” but to anyone who may be struggling with food, weight, body image, etc.

FF holds weekly support meetings, where members are encouraged but not required to share a bit about their successes and setbacks.

FF maintains an atmosphere of positivity, as we are all striving to achieve better health and happiness.

Feeding Fearlessness also participates in fundraising events, such as walks for the National Eating Disorder Association, and helps to raise awareness throughout Boulder by participating in National Eating Disorder Awareness Week, and the like.

Unhealthy relationships with food, weight, and exercise are often overlooked, especially in the Boulder Colorado community, and we aim to bring more attention to these relationships, and support each other in bettering them.

You can find them on Facebook HERE, email the leaders HERE, and read the exciting article from the Daily Camera HERE.

 

20151030__02DCAFEEw~1

Rachael Quirke, left, and Kaitlin Mulligan, have started a new club at the University of Colorado that focuses on eating disorders. (Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer)

 

Thanks for spending a few minutes of your day with me ...

 

Stay tuned over the next few months, and I will share with you some stories of other amazing TRIBES that may also stoke your inner passions. I am so excited.

 


Join Us This Spring in BALI

EPY-Bali-2016

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The Art (and science) of Curbing your Cravings

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The Art (and science) of Curbing your Cravings

THE ART (AND SCIENCE) OF CURBING YOUR CRAVINGS

 

Like you, I’m no stranger to cravings. I know how they can feel overwhelming, out of control, and truly crazy, when it comes down to it. I’ve been there. I spent years living off coffee and carbs.  My cravings were running the show, all day every day.  Not only did I not feel satiated, energized or content, but I also had intense bouts of hypoglycemia, migraine headaches and brain fog. I learned some important strategies for more success and now I can authentically say “It doesn’t have to be this way.”  

 

Are you also stuck in sweet seductions, carbohydrate coddlings, and bread-y binges? We often feel stuck thinking our personal will should be strong enough to battle the craziness of these common cravings. The reality is that most of our cravings have nothing to do with our personal weaknesses, our emotional favoring or even our habitual madness. What’s really going on has much more to do with our biochemistry.

 

Check out the most important things to know about cravings, and free yourself from the craving craziness once and for all with these six steps below.
 

 

1.     How LOW can you go?
If you can start off the day with a low glycemic breakfast you will conquer your cravings much quicker.  One particular study showed when you eat a low glycemic breakfast, you crave less food in the form of carbohydrates and sugar throughout the day (Ball et al.). Your steady insulin and blood sugar will insure your cravings are calm throughout the rest of the day. It is not really magic at all, but it does feel like a miracle.

 

2.     Smart Snacking 
When snacking, try eating foods high in protein and fat instead of carbohydrate heavy on-the-run snacks. Foods like nuts, avocado, whole milk unsweetened yogurt, organic meats, cheeses, and protein shakes will keep your insulin so happy in between meals.

 

3.     Healthy, Happy, WHOLE
Carbohydrate quality is a big culprit in how our cravings unfold. The more processed the food, usually the more of a blood sugar bomb. If we can eat carbohydrates in their whole form (such as brown rice, sweet potato, steel cut oats, quinoa, or a tart apple) we will find these whole carbohydrates are much more gentle on our blood sugar. Cleaning up our carbs makes all the difference. Go for the good stuff.

 

4.     Consistency is KEY
When we wait too long between meals, we are taking an insulin risk that usually ends up in us getting too hungry, and making a choice that is more impulsive. Planning on little dense snack bites often will keep you satiated and satisfied and beyond the crazy cravings. Eating regularly throughout the day creates a healthy metabolism, and happier hormones (aka Insulin).

 

5.     Intuition Is More Powerful Than Intellect.
The body is wise. We inherently know what we need and by taking just a few seconds to listen, check in, and inquire as to what would be the next best food move. As we start to balance out and fine tune, we will notice we can trust our food intuition more and more. Try to take a few moments to slow down, take space, and check in. Make your plate your practice.

 

6.     The Flavors Create the Fervor
In both Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda there is a distinctive art and science to balancing the 5 flavors. Each flavor is known to bring a different quality and energy to your body and mind. We so commonly find our plates are full of sweet flavors swinging the balance of flavors way off center. Check in with each plate of food, and see if you can find a representation of the majority of these flavors: sweet, bitter, salty, sour and spicy (pungent). In the intricacy of balance of flavors, your palate will be pleased.

 

Works Cited

Ball, S.D., K.R. Keller, L. J. Moyer-Mileur, Y.W. Ding, D. Donaldson, and W.D. Jackson. “Prolongation of Satiety After Low Versus Moderately High Glycemic Index Meals in Obese Adolescents.” Pediatrics 111. 3 (2003): 488-94. Web. 22 Feb. 17. 

 

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Mystical Magical Mornings

   

Waking up this week in the darkness of the late fall mornings, I have had a few moments where it feels just too dark to get out of my cozy bed.  That little bit of full moon light peaking through my bamboo shades hasn't been enough to wake me up before my 6:30 alarm.

 

fullmoonsunrisetxt

 

I have been rolling over and pulling my big purple comforter over my head to hide, not quite ready to get up in the darkness.

 

When I finally gather my energy, I creep downstairs to make my morning tea - and see if my teen has stirred yet in time for high school - I have been so lucky to watch the full moon still shining bright as the sun comes up, lighting a burning fiery red in the sky that turns glorious pinks, purples and oranges.

 

When my warm tea is steeped and ready, I head up to my sacred space, the one I call home for these early mornings.

 

The mornings are magical to me.

 

For years I have said that getting up before my kids and taking some space for myself, has been my secret to parenting.

 

My morning routine is my favorite part of my day.  I guard it fiercely, I revel in it, and I watch it transform with what I am going through, what the season is doing and how I am connecting with my INNER world.

 

Having time for just ME before I start my day is (what I think of as) essential.  At times I have only been able to squeeze out 5-15 minutes before getting both kids up and out the door to school.

 

Lately, I have had more time.  My kids are getting older, and this is the FIRST time in 18 years that I don't have to drive across town to drop them off at school.

 

In many yogic traditions the 2 1/2 hours before and up to sunrise are known to be the most potent time to connect to the higher realms.

 

This time is known as the Amrit Vela, or the time of day when the veil is the thinnest to the Divine.  Anything you do during this early morning time is considered to be 40x more powerful.

 

I have some special morning magic secrets to share with you this week + a free recording for you.  AAANNND…I would love to hear how your morning magic metamorphosizes your life.

 

 

MORNING MEDITATION

 

There are many, many styles and traditions around how to meditate. I appreciate and honor each of them. Some are very simple and some much more elaborate.

 

For the sake of reaching out to all of you, I am going to tell you about a very simple style of meditation that anyone can try at any level of experience, and that is not related to any particular lineage.

 

SoHum meditation

 

 

If you want to check out a recorded audio version sample of this meditation, you can listen HERE. This is a recording from my online program.

 

 

MORNING PAGES (journaling)

 

I adopted the morning pages practice back in the late 90’s when I first go to Boulder, from Julia Cameron and her book The Artist’s Way Morning pages are the practice of writing for approximately 10-20 minutes, stream of consciousness, first thing in the morning.

 

There is no way to do morning pages wrong. Morning pages are designed to be a way to cleanse our minds (conscious and subconscious) just like we would take a shower to cleanse our bodies first thing in the morning.

 

There is no need to worry about structure, grammar, or how it would read back to you at a later date. Morning pages are like a chance to purge whatever is on your mind. Be sure to not over think it, just get it out, on paper and feel yourself lighten in the process.

 

 

CONSULT YOUR ORACLES

 

Often in the early mornings, either before or after I meditate or journal, I consult my oracles – AKA my Tarot deck.

 

I have carried around one of my favorite Tarot decks since the days of backpacking though Central America in my early 20’s. I acquired this particular deck on the beaches of Guatemala in 1993. Since then I have gathered some other oracle type decks and I play with each of them regularly.

 

Each morning I pull a card and receive a divine message to work with for the day. This helps me to tap into some intentions, some personal inquiry, and some mystical insights that keep things interesting and inspiring. At times I will expand my readings to longer more multi card spreads with more time and ritual involved, especially on certain holidays, solstices, full moons, birthdays etc.

 

I always appreciate the little (or big) messages I receive this way.

 

 

MEDITATIVE WALKING

 

One of my favorite morning practices is to take my warm cup of tea, bundle up (depending on the time of year) and take a silent walk on the creek path next to my house. The early morning sun is so special, the outdoors is so peaceful, and the movement through the often brisk air, is a good way to wake up my senses.

 

If taking a walk is part of my morning practice I will usually stay quiet, inward, and focused on my breath, intention, and connection to nature.

 

I love to hike with my kids, friends or my sweetie, but I do reserve this sacred magical morning time just for me.

 

 

Now it’s your turn…

What mystical magical morning practice speaks to you?

If you have your own, I would love to hear about it so I can give it a try.

You can share you favorites and your morning intentions in the comments below.

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When you listen to her WHISPER...

Divine Feminine, Shakti, Goddess, Inner Voice, Intuition, Woman's Wisdom, Truth, Subtle Body... call her what you will.

 

We all have her voice inside, guiding us.  I find her often on my meditation cushion, in my journal, or on my long daily hikes up my favorite mountain.

 

whenyoulistentoherwhisper

 

When we ignore her, things tend to go awry.

 

If we ignore HER for too long, tune her out, or override the whisper carelessly, overtime the inner scream builds up, gets uncomfortable and even explosive.

 

Sometimes it comes in the form of exhaustion, sometimes overwhelm, sometimes heart ache.

 

Often, we totally SHUT DOWN, get out of balance, and feel FAR away from who we want to be.

 

Emotional eating, self-medicating and barely coping can and does happen.

 

Checking out of our lives, our relationships, and our purpose, becomes routine.

 

Are you with me?

 

Even if we don't like what we hear her whispering she doesn't seem to care.

 

Sometimes, we need to do the unspeakable:  take a nap, have a hard conversation with our partner, friend or family member, SLOW DOWN, go inward, …or maybe even take the day OFF.

 

This week, I lay in my purple bed resting, and fighting with myself.  Can I give myself permission to stay here, feel into, and honor myself in the darkness?

 

OR ELSE.... or else what?

 

To be truly FREE and living in a way that creates harmony with the universe - inner and outer - there is work to be done.  The most important job we will ever have.

 

There is listening to be heard.  There is honoring to be held.

 

Your inner quest is unique, delicate, and personal but I am sure we have a few things in common. Let's explore how the roots of our suffering are also the doorway to the temple of our hearts.

 

Whisper Wisdom #1

Accept

 

The feminine can be fluid, free, accepting, and unconditionally loving in all her beauty. She can also be self critical, shameful, and stubborn.

 

When we are able to truly BE where we are, accepting HOW we feel, there is an opportunity to both SIT in the present moment and LOVE what is.

 

Stress is when we oppose what is happening in the present moment, and wish it were different.

“Loving what is” (from the work of Byron Katie) is the first step to accepting the current situation exactly how it is, and seeing life as our teacher.

 

“Serenity comes when you trade expectations for acceptance”

 

Whisper Wisdom #2

Devotion

 

Taking care, nurturing, and tending to your inner world is an essential part of freeing the feminine into power and grace. Devotion to your inner whisper is devotion to your truest self and most authentic needs.

 

When the whisper says “I’m tired”…rest.

When the whisper says “I need to cry” …let the tears flow.

When the whisper says “I am goddess” …adorn her.

When the whisper says “ I am stuck” …grant her movement.

 

“Love is a constant devotion, not a passing emotion”

 

Whisper Wisdom #3

Allow

 

Giving yourself permission to expand into your fullest expression is a priceless gift. Being who you ARE is your divine right. Your uniqueness is your most cherished offering.

 

With every expansion there is the beauty and the pleasure, along with the shadow and the fear. They all deserve a voice.

 

Can you sit in the uncomfortable? Can you feel into your darkness? In the darkness we often find our richest gems and jewels for growth.

 

 

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside of you”

~Maya Angelou

 

Whisper Wisdom #4

Gratitude

 

Often in the uncomfortable, the disappointment and the fear, there is a rich and colorful teacher. We may avoid, turn away or resist her, but most often we are called in deeper to listen.

 

When we allow her exploration – listening to the whisper - we are most often graced with the wisdom and gifts of our heart’s deepest challenges.

 

In my darkest hours (of which I have had many) I have been blessed with a deeper love for myself, creative explosions, powerful truths, or a rawness that has built my inner Queendom into a palace I now can embody and embrace for her beauty more than ever.

 

The trick is to find the transformation, the silver lining, the life lesson that leaves us awe-struck in our inner strength and resilience.

 

Many of the common female archetypes express a similar female inner discovery. As we see in the stories of Persephone, Inanna, Lilith and Kali, they dive into the darkness of the feminine psyche, only to be stripped down of all knowing and all comfort, baring the darkness and holding the fear, to then find the jewels of their own nature. Each in the name of divine love and the shedding the old outdated self.

 

I am grateful for my soul gifts, my personal evolutions, and my most heart opening moments that have changed me forever.  What are yours?

 

“Gratitude opens the door, the door to the power, the wisdom and the creativity of the universe”

~ Deepak Chopra

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Nobody Loves me, I hate my body...

   

If you are like most women, you have heard a similar voice in your head before.  The one that looks in the mirror and cringes, or the voice who tells you you are UNLOVABLE because of your many imperfections.

 

mirror-text

 

This type of internal dialogue might drag you down.  Some days it’s likely louder than others, some days it runs the show, and some days it may even have you in tears on the phone talking to your best friend, your sister or your mother saying “What is wrong with me???”

 

MOST women struggle with this voice at least some of the time.  Feeling less than, not pretty enough, not fit enough, not good enough, and ... unlovable.  This is an epidemic of our time, our culture, and women everywhere.

 

I have been there plenty.  An off day, a rough night of sleep, PMS, or one of the many triggers that can pop up in my day-to-day.

What has changed for me is not making the voice go away entirely, but rather my relationship to my self sabotaging voice.

 

Do I give it POWER?

 

Do I BELIEVE it?

 

Do I spend the day LISTENING to it?

 

Can I TURN IT AROUND, change my reaction to it, or even love it as part of being a woman?

 

I have a few favorite FEMALE FRIENDLY ways to fine tune - from the inside out - that have been working for me.  I find these important to share, perhaps they can help you too.

 

It is never totally EASY, but with consistency and practice it is surly EFFECTIVE and ENGAGING.

 

YES, this CAN mean your  voice QUIETS.

 

Don’t miss this.

 

These simple yet profound tools may be just your ticket to more inner freedom and self LOVE.

 

 

 

MOJO MOVEMENT

 

One of most effective ways to connect with your beautiful body is through energizing movement. How is your MOJO? Practices such as YOGA, BRISK WALKING/HIKING and DANCE can move energy in big ways. Get yourself out of inertia and MOVE IT, SHAKE IT, GROOVE IT. Enliven your spirit and up your MOJO with some juicy movement of your own.

 

“Daily practice becomes more and more relevant for the modern woman as she sits at a tiny desk, eating food on the run, all the while performing the dance of mother, sister, lover, wife, and many more roles. Now we reclaim the feminine by running in nature, nourishing by a satiating meal, sitting on our meditation cushions and dancing our bodies to our hearts content. ”

Angela Grace

~Eat Pray Yoga Guest Teacher

 

Have your own private dance party, take a walk in the beautiful fall leaves, or inspire yourself with your favorite yoga teacher. Learn to FEEL good in your body to then LOVE your body.

 

 

 

EMPOWERED EATING

 

Feeling empowered around food is almost every woman’s dream. We are so often known to take everything out on our relationship to food: the good, the bad and the ugly.

 

Empowered eating means we clean up our relationship with food and who we are as the EATER using mindful practices such as making your eating an awareness art of it’s own. We STOP abusing our bodies with food, and START loving ourselves with every bite.

 

Food is a faithful resource for love, but things become problematic when we expect food to compensate for a lack of love.”

Marc David

~ Psychology of Eating

and Eat.Pray.Yoga Guest Teacher

 

 

ATTENTIVE ADORNMENT

 

How do you feel when you take a little time to adorn your goddess self? What is it like to tend to yourself in attentive beauty and reverence? The practice of adorning yourself daily can dramatically change how you feel in your body and about your body.

 

“Where we're at with who we are, is how we dress. How we dress is a direct reflection of our multi-faceted inner landscape . . . This beauty has the power to heal, balance and renew.  Cultivate the qualities of beauty in your thoughts and actions. “      

Colleen Vistara ~

Vistara Designer

Whether this means putting on a special necklace as a meaningful ritual, buying a sexy new pair of panties or rubbing some of your favorite lotion or essential oil all over your skin – attentive adornment brings you closer to the beautiful body that is yours. Sacred ritual and loving touch for your body is breakthrough material.

 

 

 

FEMININE FELLOWSHIP

 

Do you have a supportive group of women in your life? Are you able to find connection, like mind, and the art of the feminine healing in your circle?

 

When we are able to connect outside of our marriage, relationship and family to women of like mind we begin notice our needs being met in a whole new deep and fulfilling way.

 

“As women begin to find our way back home to each other ­– to the divine feminine, and to our sisters ­– things begin to align all around us. Energy shifts in large waves, and we find ourselves with more courage, more trust, and more support to do what it is we are called to do here on the planet.”                                                      

Sue Van Raes~

Quote from Health WIse

 

No other support can replace the way that women tend to each other. You don’t have to do this alone. You can give, you can receive and you can bask in the beauty of women coming together in support of each other in pure radiant living. Check out our upcoming online program:

Eat.Pray.Yoga HERE.

 

 

 

GIRLY GUSTO

 

Did you know there is no faster way to restore vitality to the body then some healthy sustainable pleasure. You can call this joy, laughter, GUSTO, or inspiration.   Many women do not know how to find enough pleasure in their lives. Is that you?? If you are stuck, restrictive, blah, or feeling uninspired, this may be the perfect remedy for you.

 

Pleasure is the way we thank the universe for what we are grateful for. Pleasure is the expression of self-love.

 

 

Sex, chocolate, shoes, laughter, tea dates, time in nature, and meditation are just of few of the infinite ways we can find pleasure. RECEIVE, ENJOY, and REVEL in your own personal pleasures.

 

 

“I want you to know that it is pleasure, not pain, that is your birthright.” 

 

Dr. Christiane Northrup

~ Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom; Goddesses Never Age ; The Wisdom of Menopause 


pink-yoga-epy-graphci

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Sync up with the SEASON

I sat in bed Sunday morning drinking tea, reading, and savoring the coziness of my down comforter.  

I made soup.

 

I took a long walk in the woods to see the brilliant trees changing to vibrant oranges and reds.

 

falltreeamber

 

I adore AUTUMN.

 

You may feel the desire to pull inwards and reflect, rest, and restore a bit more as well.

 

You may have noticed that urge for more warming fall foods to nourish your body as well.

 

Now that another fall season is upon us, you may feel ready to let go, forgive, and heal as you watch the leaves fall to the ground yet again.

 

All of these intuitive knowings are exactly why SYNCHING up with the SEASON is a brilliant practice.  When we SYNC up with nature we also maximize our MOJO.

 

Our life force lights up.

 

Each season in Traditional Chinese Medicine is linked to a specific energy, organ, color, sense and element.

 

Fall is the season of downward and inward energy, lungs and large intestine, letting go of sadness and grief, the metal element, our sense of smell, and the color white.

 

As we descend this fall, we have the opportunity to both let go and purify physically and energetically for the rest of the season to bring us more vibrant health and radiance.

 

The trees are about to show us how lovely it is to let the dead things go.

 

Here are my favorite 5 HEALTH HABITS to SYNC up with the SEASON to make a magnificent impact on your health, harmony and happiness.

Warm

 

Keep you lungs and chest warm (and the rest of your body). You can try:

 

Warming foods: Foods that are slow cooked, root veggies that carry the downward and inward energy such as ginger, onion, leak, garlic and beats.

Herbal Teas: Many herbal teas are good for their lung support, immunity and warming qualities. (ginger, nettles, cinnamon spice, chai, osha root, spiced mate, or mullein)

Essential oils:  Oils are great to use during the fall season. You can difuse the oils, use topically, or even in your cooking: Frankinsence, vitiver, cedarwood, sage, fennel, or oregano oil

Wear Warm clothing: To insulate and nourish the lungs we must be warm. Even if the weather is warmer than an average fall day, stay attentive to the season, the cooler nights, and the need to take deep care with warming up the core.  Your immune system will thank you.

 

 

Breathe

 

As I mentioned, fall is known as the season associated with the lungs in Chinese medicine. It is often a time when children come home from school with upper respiratory coughs and weakness as the weather changes. It is important to strengthen the lungs in the fall. This can be done in a variety of ways but here are a few of my favorites:

Make sure you and your family exercise regularly. Pump the lungs often so they are strong and cleansed with rigorous life-giving breath.

 

Many foods in the fall are known to support the lungs. Root vegetables such as onions, leeks, and ginger are supportive to the lungs. Fruits such as apples and pears care for the lung tissue as well. Eating with the season is the perfect way to maintain healthy lungs.

 

 

Detox

 

The season of fall is the perfect time to gently detoxify and cleanse our bodies, our homes and our minds.

We all come across toxicity each day in our foods, in our environment, and with our daily stresses.

When we cleanse our body, you strengthen your immune system for a healthier fall and winter season.  (Check out the Fall seasonal SYNC up here)

 

When we cleanse our homes and our environment by cleaning with natural cleaners, letting go of old clutter and creating a sacred space in our home, we have the perfect place to rest and restore as the season often pulls us to spending more time at home resting and restoring.

 

When we cleanse our minds through meditation and mindfulness practices, we create a healthier and more calm relationship to daily stressors that can throw us off balance. We deepen our connection to ourselves, and we stay more centered in our lives.

 

 

Ground

 

As you watch the leaves falling from the trees and becoming the earth‘s nutrients for next year’s planting, it becomes obvious that fall has an energy that flows downward and inward (as opposed the upward and outward energetics in the spring). What are the aspects of your life that ground you? Make a list and practice these grounding activities regularly in the fall.

 

It is a nice time to take long walks in the colorful forest and feel the leaves crunching under your feet. Consider collecting nuts, pinecones and fall treasures for an altar or a fairy garden with your children. These small autumn rituals and habits help us harmonize ourselves with autumn. It is natural to sleep more, rest more and begin to turn inward towards introspection and healing.

 

 

Gratitude

 

Lush sunflowers, tucked in with the plump orange pumpkins, are an abundance to celebrate. The colors, foods and celebrations of fall are profuse. Feel gratitude for the beauty of the harvest. Set a seasonal outdoor table rich with a cornucopia of color and nature’s gifts to warm the heart for any celebration. Share a gratitude blessing before your meals, as it promotes health and happiness.

Light a bonfire to take away the chill of the evening and join in a circle of friends celebrating fall in its glory.

Take it in! The abundance is around you and within you. Your only job is to notice and appreciate its radiance.  Remember all you need exists within. You are the strength, you are the love.


Want to take your FALL practices a little deeper?

 Check out the FALL COZY Seasonal Sync up (Local or Remote)

If you want to join our group, we start October 12th (introduction October 11th). If you are ready to begin on your own, just let me know, we have you covered.


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The Science of Serenity

  Most of us are incredibly busy, some what overwhelmed or juggling to keep everything afloat in our personal and professional lives.  Life is full, rich, and more dynamic then ever.

 

These past few weeks, whether it’s the change of seasons or the interesting and intense astrology we have been experiencing, I have noticed day-to-day stress and overwhelm seem to have gotten more intense than usual.

 

My clients are showing up more frazzled, my friends are more overwhelmed, busy, and out of balance, and I feel like we rarely get a break from the challenges of day-to-day.

There is more runaway stress than usual. 

 

pinkbudha

 

I, like most of us, oscillate on the stress spectrum regularly -  parenting 2 teenagers, running my business and intending to fit in enough personal and self care time.

 

My biggest lesson from my times of intense stress and overwhelm have helped me to realize that the only thing I really have control over is my response to the stress, and how well I take care of myself in the face of a colorful, emotionally rich life.

 

In the midst the stressful storms, I realize I spend A LOT of time working on creating my personal strategies for SERENITY.

 

I am so deeply committed to keeping my CALM that on some days; it is all I can focus on.

 

Serenity is not freedom from the storm, but peace within it..

 

So, in the name of finding our SERENITY SECRETS collectively, so we can live into the most balanced version of ourselves, I put together my favorite STRESS REDUCING, SERENITY INDUCING practices and tips for you to check out.

 

Your hormones will be happier (for sure), your eating will improve (hallelujah), and you will sleep more deeply (thank Goddess).

My favorite strategies to do (and not to do) to source my serenity.

 

MEET MINDFULNESS

 

As I mentioned, there is not always much we can do about a stressful situation.   The only thing we can control is our reaction to it. My favorite equation, courtesy of Jack Canfield – author of Chicken Soup for the Soul, goes like this:

 

Event + Response = Outcome

Most of us spend a lot of time trying to change the stressful events in our lives. This often leaves leads us in a futile effort that is not so effective.

 

Where we really have the power in our RESPONSE. The reason I consider this a mindfulness practice, is because to change our response takes awareness, intention, and discernment.

 

 

MOOD FOOD

 

What you eat has a big impact on your serenity success. First, food supplies many of the precursors and building blocks to both our hormones and our neurotransmitters. Second, the state of our GUT (our second brain) has an even bigger impact on our mood, and serentiy.

Yes, if we eat stress-reducing foods, those precursors will boost stress reducing hormones and neurotransmitters, or vice versa. AND… our stomachs will also be happier – literally – because 90% of our serotonin is made in our digestive tract.

 

My favorite stress-reducing foods are:

 

Dark Chocolate – In one study, dark chocolate was shown to reduce cortisol levels in women

 

Avocado – Full of good fats, and known to regulate your blood sugar and your mood – keeping stress down!

 

Root Veggies – In food energetics, foods that grow down in to the earth, bring us down into the earth as well. This is good when it comes to stress. Downward energy is the opposite of being stuck “in our heads”, thinking too much, and especially, worrying too much.

 

Wild Salmon – full of omega 3 essential fatty acids, and you will find that eating a regular serving of wild salmon improves your mood, and decreases anxiety by up to 20% (Brain Behavior and Immunity)

 

Fermented Foods – As I mentioned, your GUT is your second brain. When you fill up on good probiotic rich fermented foods, you boost your serotonin producing gut flora, transmitting good stress and behavior regulating signals to the brain via the vagus nerve.

 

BEWARE of these food tricksters:

 

Sugar – Sugar depletes the good feeling minerals in your brain such as the natural mineral, lithium. Sugar also messes up your blood sugar levels making any anxious feelings much worse.

 

Stimulants – Stimulants are known to directly communicate with your adrenal glands to and boost up anxiety producing hormones to0 much, creating higher cortisol levels and more sensitive blood sugar over all. Be careful when you are going through a stressful period to keep your coffee intake down to 1  cup or less  per day.

 

 

SERENITY SUPPLEMENTS

 

Many supplements will boost up your calming neurotransmitters and simply make your RESPONSE (see #1) easier to manage.   Here are my favorites.

 

Omega 3’s – Omega 3 oils offer the most potent dosage of stress reducing oils to the body. Women who take up to 4000 mg per day have been shown to lower cortisol levels and increase lean body mass, and feel more calm and serene.

 

Lithium Oritate – Lithium, in its natural form, boosts up oxytocin (our feel good hormone) in the brain, calming anxiety and stress.   You can take the natural trace mineral supplement (without worrying about any of the side affects of the medication form). This is the salt, a trace mineral, and totally natural.

 

Vitamin C – high doses of C, up to 3000 mg/ day are shown to lower cortisol levels.

 

Phosphotidal Serine – PS is known to lower stress-related rises in cortisol.

 

PLEASURE

  Seriously… Have an orgasm. When our bodies release the hormone oxytocin, (released during orgasm and other pleasurable activities) we CANNOT experience stress, the two cannot co-exist.

 

Oxytocin cancels out stress.

 

The lingering stress causing issue may still be there when the oxytocin wares off, but you will be feeling better, more calm, and better able to manage the situation.

 

 

AROMATHERAPY

 

I find that certain essential oils really help calm my nervous system, allow me to sleep better, and treat chronic stress and high cortisol levels.

 

Lavender – I put this in my bath or diffuse in my room before bed.

Vetiver – I put vetiver on my feet to promote a good night sleep.

Ylang Ylang – Ylang Ylang helps to release negative emotions like irritability and anger.

Chamomile – Used often as an herbal tea, the essential oil is similar in its effectiveness but a little stronger. Use for calming and relaxing effects.

 

 

Find your HAPPY PLACE

 

Do you have a place you go when you just need to CHILL? It is time to consider creating your very own HAPPY place just for that. Whether it is your favorite trail, coffee shop, spot near the creek or ocean, or even your car, find and use your HAPPY place for time to sit, release stress, breath, and reset.

 

Next time you find yourself there (on purpose or by accident) take some time to savor a stress free moment and soak up your serenity.

 

 

SERENITY YOGA

 

Yoga is known for calming qualities, the connection of breath and body, and the interesting postures that address different imbalances in the body. My favorite stress reducing posture is called Viparita Karani, or feet up the wall pose (see picture below).

This pose has SOOOO many benefits and they can be achieved in just few minutes holding this restorative pose.

  • Your adrenals will love you - they get a chance to rest, restore, and they love the inversion factor of this pose.
  • Your blood pressure will drop (sweet!)
  • You will feel a sense of calm wash over you that creates serenity from the inside out.
  • Anxious feelings will diminish
  • Cortisol (your stress hormone) will decrease in the body.

(no need to worry if you don’t have a bolster for under your back, you can just lay flat.)

Get comfy, cozy and settled up to the wall, and enjoy.

viparita-karani-guide

 

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FALL COZY Breakfast Breakthroughs

 

Good Morning Sunshine.

 

If you have been a Boulder Nutrition reader for a while, you probably already know how I feel about breakfast.

 

This summer I published a summertime breakfast blog called Breakfast Bliss and Blood Sugar that became the most read blog in the history of Boulder Nutrition. I am so glad you all liked it!

 

What I am really interested in is WHY? 

 

I have a good hypothesis as to WHY for you today, and an even more exciting breakfast menu for you to explore this fall.

 

Listen, I would be surprised if your mornings are totally serene, peaceful, and quiet.

 

I know some of you are the exception and have your morning routine down, but if you are like most of us, mornings can be hectic, scattered, and rushed .I have focused my attention on my morning routine for years.

 

As I have shared before, the mornings when I am on my game I am good at giving myself at least 30 minutes to rise and shine before my kids, to have some time to meditate, practice, and nourish myself well.

I have found mindful mornings tend to make ALL the difference.

 

The truth is, sometimes it just doesn't go that way.  Did you forget you were out of milk?  Push the alarm one extra time? Have a teenager whose hair just wasn't working out? Or forget about that extra stop  you have to make for gas on the way to work or school?  All it takes is something small to throw our mornings into a tail spin.

 

Can you relate?

 

These reasons (plus many more) might be why breakfast is the most challenging, rushed and stressful meal of the day.

 

So with the idea of giving you more of what you seem to really like reading, here are my 5 favorite FALL COZY breakfasts to settle into this fall.

 

Each of these breakfasts have a little flavor of the weather changing, fall seasonal energetics, and of course you can trust me to keep the glycemic index LOW and your blood sugar BALANCE and BLISS in mind.

 

 

Quinoa Apple Pie Bowl

Health Nugget:  What I love most about quinoa (pronounced KEEN WOA) is that it is a complete protein and the highest protein content of any grain.  It is also known to dry up dampness in the body according to TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine).  What does that mean?  Well, dampness is like a code word for inflammation or phlegm.  The less we have of this during the fall season - the season with the most coughs and colds - the better.

1 Cup Cooked Quinoa (easiest if cooked ahead of time for morning efficiency)

1 Steamed apple warmed with cinnamon

1 Tsp butter or coconut oil

1/4 cup pecans

Pinch of sea salt

1 tsp maple syrup or raw honey (optional)

Toss all ingredients in a bowl and enjoy.

apple-pie-quinoa-bowl-

 

 

Chai Chia smoothie

Health Nugget: Smoothies are one of my favorite ways to pack your breakfast of all the food groups and super foods you want to add to your breakfast.  Smoothies are also easy to transport to your office.  My favorite feature in this smoothie is that it is not frozen but rather warming as the weather changes those brisker fall mornings.  The warm chai tea and warming spices are perfect to synch up with the fall season.

2-3 leaves of romaine lettuce

1 TBSP Chia seeds

1 fleshy fruit of choice (i.e. 1/2 banana)

6-8 cups Herbal Spice Chai tea (warm)

Vanilla protein powder or raw egg

1 T chopped ginger, cinnamon, and cardamom (optional)

1 T fresh grated ginger

Place ingredients in the blender and mix well.

chaichiacinnsmoothie

 

Paleo Zucchini Muffins

Health Nugget:  These high protein muffins, disguised as a carb, are a quick and easy breakfast for on the go mornings.  Spread with some organic butter or almond butter for another boost in good protein and fat and you will notice that your energy is even keeled all day.  Pack all of that nutrient dense zucchini in there and get an extra couple servings of veggies.  Prepare them ahead of time, freeze if you like, and enjoy.

1 cup of garden fresh zucchini

3 organic eggs

1 1/2 cups almond flower

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 Tbsp ground cinnamon

1/2 organic chocolate chips (optional)

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/3 cup raw honey or coconut sugar

Mix ingredients and bake at 375 for about 45 min or until golden brown.

 

paleozuchinni

 

Pumpkin Protein Pancakes

Health Nugget: These pancakes are a great way to get a sweet breakfast without sacrificing your blood sugar in the process.  Adding in the scoop of protein powder is a trick I have been using with my kids for years to ensure pancake breakfasts still include a healthy dose of protein.  Along with the yummy seasonal pumpkin, a great source of vitamin A and beta carotene, full of fiber, and potent antioxidants, these make for a great fall breakfast.

2 cups gluten free pancake mix

2 scoops vanilla protein powder

2 organic eggs

1 cup pumpkin puree

2 Tbsp coconut oil

1 1/2 cups liquid (milk, almond milk, coconut milk or water)

pinch of salt

1 TBSP maple syrup (for top)

Mix together ingredients and fry up in your ideal pancake size in a cast iron pan until golden brown.  Top with organic butter and maple syrup.

PumpkinPancakes1

 

Caprese Scramble

Health Nugget:  Organic eggs are chock full of the amino acid, tryptophan, which is a key player in a good mood and inner calm.  The protein in eggs is one that will not only satiate your blood sugar due to its delicate balance of protein and fat, but will also keep you feeling brighter and cheerier all day long.

 

1 small organic tomato

1 3-5 basil leaves chopped fine

3-4 slices of raw mozzarella cheese

2-3 organic eggs

Pinch of salt

Saute the tomato and basil in a pan in butter or olive oil.  Stir in the eggs to scramble.  Toss in raw mozzarella at the end until it begins to melt slightly.  Serve up.

capresescramble

 


Want to take your FALL practices a little deeper?

Check out the FALL COZY Cleanse Program (Local or Remote)

If you want to join our group, we start October 12th (introduction October 11th). If you are ready to begin, you can start anytime you are ready.

Check out the details HERE


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Crazy for Coconut Oil

Coconut oil has become all the rage.  I am sure you have seen, read, or even dove into your own jar of coconut oil by now.There is a lot of press promising you elaborate healing with this divine substance, so I am going to name just a few that I find to be TRUE.

My jars of coconut oil have multiple locations around my house - in the kitchen, in the bathroom and beside my bed (ooh la la)

 

While the dry weather of fall (in Colorado for sure) comes with the need for a little beauty and skin attention, there are many brilliant and simple uses for this super food that I want to share with you that you can use all year long. 

First, before we get to the miracle makings of my favorite of natures remedies, I want to be sure we clarify just a bit on the confuse about coconut oil:

  • YES, coconut oil is a saturated fat.  Studies now have shown that our bodies need saturated fat to burn fat, to keep our metabolism strong, and to keep our blood sugar balanced.

 

  • Although coconut oil is all the rage, coconut oil is nothing new.  Coconut oil has been used for centuries in tropical climates in a variety of health remedies, foods, and skin care. This age old super food has a health history far and beyond most trendy health foods.

 

  •  There are plenty of studies on coconut oil in native populations showing that this saturated fat has never been proven to cause heart disease. Sadly, the heart disease myth that has been around a long time and still persists today, even though it is scientifically proven to be untrue! You can trust coconut oil for your health.
Let's get onto the captivating coconut concoctions next and explore how you can enhance your health, and a few other goodies that you don't want to miss.
 
7 Crazy Cool Uses for Coconut Oil (I like number 5 the best)
  1. Cooking

Cooking with coconut oil is safe, nutrient rich and tasty. Coconut oil is a saturated fat, making it very stable to light and heat. Use coconut oil in your sauté, stir fry or baking.

Additionally, coconut oil consists almost entirely of medium chain fatty acids.  These fatty acids go straight from the digestive tract to the liver, where they are likely to be turned into ketone bodies and provide a quick source of energy.

  1. Skin Care

Coconut oil has many health benefits when used on the outside of the body as well. Known for it skin repair qualities, as well as its perfectly balanced PH naturally, coconut oil is a wonderful addition to your skin care regiment.

High in both vitamin E and medium chain fatty acids, your skin will thank you for the moisture, softenss and long term wrinkle control. I use coconut oil regularly on my skin especially during the warmer and dryer months of the year.

  1. Smoothies

Put a dollup of coconut oil right into your morning smoothie, and you will notice your blood sugar remain stable for longer, a boost in your energy, and a nice smooth texture and flavor. If you have a blood sugar related health issue such as hypoglyciema, diabetes, PCOS, or acid reflux, coconut oil might be just the right addition to your morning smoothie.

Coconut oil in your breakfast is a great way to increase brain function, minimize sugar cravings, and keep your digestion healthy and strong.

  1. Oil Pulling

 Oil pulling is an age-old remedy that uses natural substances to clean and detoxify teeth and gums. It has the added effect of whitening teeth naturally and evidence even shows that it is beneficial in improving gums and removing harmful bacteria!

For now take about 1-2 tsp on a spoon and place into mouth. Swish for about 20 min. You will want to find something to occupy you like a meditation, folding some laundry or getting dressed. After about 20 min, spit oil into the sink ridding your mouth of toxins and bacteria. ** DO NOT SWALLOW.

  1. Sensual Massage and lubrication

YES! Coconut oil is great for your YONI ...and beyond. Coconut oil is by far the most natural, the most effective, and the most safe for lubrication and we know how good it is for your skin.

Keep a jar on your night stand for sensual massage, lubrication, tasty fun and delights to the senses. Bonus: because coconut oil is also an antibacterial remedy, you will find it helps with candida, yeast infections and other bothersome imbalances in the body.

  1. Coffee it up!

I was never much of a coffee drinker, because coffee would  mess up my blood sugar and leave me feeling wired, hyper and slightly ADD. The recent trend of bullet proof coffee (adding butter and coconut oil to your coffee + a few other goodies) has made my weekend coffee ritual very exciting.

Adding coconut oil to your coffee (or tea) will sustain your blood sugar and your energy much more effectively, while also boosting up the nutrient density of your favorite morning beverage.

  1. Wound Healing

Coconut oil is known to effectively support wound healing due to its medicinal antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, moisturizing and healing properties. Coconut oil can also keep infections at bay and prevent scarring with its perfectly balanced and moisturizing qualities.

Be sure to clean the would thoroughly first.

  • Apply coconut oil on the wounded area.
  • Place a eco friendly bandage over it to seal in the moisture.
  • Reapply coconut oil 2-3 times per day.
  • Follow this regiment for several days to prevent scarring and encourage healing.

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Make Body Positive Your Practice

After a full week of working, parenting, and striving to keep balance in the business of life, I look forward to my BODY POSITIVE Friday ritual each week.
Living BODY POSITIVE is a practice I strive to engage in regularly. Fridays are one of my biggest days to focus on myself and my self care.

body-positive-gram

Each Friday, I wake up and head over to teach a morning yoga class filled with the amazing women whom I look forward to seeing each week. Friday then becomes my day to catch up on 'Sue self care' and some 'Sue self love'.

As women, many of us struggle with BODY NEGATIVE thoughts all day long.  We find ourselves in a battle with our bodies constantly seeing the negative and looking at ourselves through the eyes of the inner critic.

Hating our bodies has many repercussions.  Living this way can truly bring us down, distract us from our authentic selves, and keep us stuck in thought patterns that surely do not serve us or others in our lives.

It is a challenge.  I see it in myself as well. Staying in a BODY POSITIVE space takes commitment and focus.

Whether it is your thighs, your stomach, the number on the scale, how your skinny jeans fit, or how you see yourself in the mirror, this BODY NEGATIVE lifestyle is never going to feel good.

We all deserve to feel good in our bodies.  We deserve to be free to be who we are in all our expressions of the feminine, regardless of what our culture dictates.  Valuing ourselves in a way that goes beyond outer beauty and size is a mission worth pursuing.

If you are ready to LOVE your body no matter what you see in the mirror, check out the 5 BODY POSITIVE practices I have for you below.

Change may not happen overnight, but with these consistent practices, you will find you can overcome your old patterns and make living BODY POSITIVE your practice.

 

Observe How You Feel

Our bodies are wise.

How we feel after we eat, after we exercise, of even after spending time with a friend or family member is important to note.  Observing gives us information.  If we consistently eat something that sits in our stomach giving us digestive upset, bloating or pain we are not going to find it easy to be body positive.  If we over exercise or under exercise and feel tired, lethargic or stuck in our bodies it is hard to stay body positive.  If we are eating out of alignment from what we know to be healthy, ethical, and energy producing we are going to find it hard to be body positive.

Aligning your with your health and your body from the inside out creates BODY POSITIVE living.

Question:  What are the things you do in your day that leave you feeling GOOD?  What are the things you do in your day that leave you feeling less than GOOD?

 

 

Create an Intuitive Self Care Plan

Each of us has a unique personal recipe for success and self care.  Some of us need 9 hours of sleep, whereas some of us need only 7.  Many of us love to take long baths, whilst others would rather drink a cup of hot tea.  There is no need to conform to self care that is not right for you, but what is important is examining what would serve you as intuitive self care.

Are you a retreater, a spa gal, a nature forest fairy or a backyard babe?  Do you enjoy reading juicy novels, getting your nails done or taking spontaneous naps?

Question:  What is your personal recipe that leave you feeling refreshed, rejuvenated and restored?

 

 

Let Go of What Does Not Serve

To let go of our old thoughts and habits surrounding body image and replacing them with a positive mind makes us ask, “Well, that’s easy to say, but how do I DO it?”

We are so emotionally attached to these negative thoughts that the best way around is to simply imagine letting them go; whether that is focusing on certain parts of ourselves or our bodies that we dislike, mirror-checking, overusing the scale, or using food to deal with stress, the list goes on.

Once we can observe our negative and harmful thoughts, we can work to replace them with self-love and positivity. Instead of looking at our thighs in disgust and calling them fat, we can appreciate the power and ability that our incredible legs give to us: the ability to walk, to run, to jump, to climb, to play.

We need to begin to thank our bodies for the amazing things they can do for us and look beyond what we dislike on the surface, instead focus on the parts of our bodies that we love, even if it’s something as small as our eyes, nose, hair, even pinky finger.

Be mindful of negative thoughts surfacing and counter them with loving thoughts, even if we need to say it out loud. (more on this below)

Quickly, we love ourselves more and more, while negative thoughts and habits become rarer and rarer. And now our beauty and confidence shines into the world for all to see.

 

Affirm your Positivity

Daily beauty and body positive affirmations are an important piece to get yourself replacing those old negative thoughts with positive ones.  As with any transformation, practice and consistency is where we are going to see sustainable lasting changes.  Trying to subtract a thought or habit with no substitution usually leaves a lot of room for old habits to creep back in.  Substitution is the secret.

Once you have decided on your positive affirmations, be sure to put them in very well viewed locations.  The bathroom mirror, the refrigerator, your meditation alter, your car dash board or your computer to name just a few.  Surround yourself with the positivity you so deserve.

Question:  What are your most common negative thoughts or internal dialogue?  How can you replace those negative thoughts with positive thoughts?  

 

 

Surround Yourself Intentionally

We all know that we feel better when we surround ourselves with positive people.  Even better when these folks understand what we are up to, and lend a bit of accountability or reflection.  It is helpful to feel safe, secure, supported and even boosted up by those in our lives.

Creating a community of women that align with you and your body positive intentions will drastically impact body positive practices more than you would think!

Question:  Who gives you the most support and security when it comes to body, health and lifestyle?  Who doesn't?

 

 

If you want to practice the art of BODY POSITIVE living and being...join us this August for the Eat.Pray.Yoga Colorado weekend retreat.  Give yourself a gift of self love and care that will rejuvenate your body, mind and spirit.

EPYCO-Yurt


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Selectively Numb

Time to nurture, listen, love and BE is time that is well spent when we are on a path to inner freedom. The quiet of nature, inner connection, and rest allows us to notice what is arising, listen to the messages from our bodies and choose how to navigate through them wisely. When we get to busy in our day-to-day life, overwhelmed by our to-do's piling up, stressed that things aren't going as planned, we often resort to our habitual numbing – ways of coping.  We tend to move away from the uncomfortable feelings in order to avoid them.

Sometimes these feelings do not have enough space to be felt, listened to, or even healed.

 

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Shooting for SELECTIVELY NUMB is a coping skill many of us buy into - often without even realizing it. You know... choosing to feel the good stuff, while ignoring the bad.

It is temping isn't it?

It IS tempting, because who wants to feel those old negative or traumatic or stressful feelings that seem to weigh us down?  The ones that curl us up in the fetal position in our beds, make us nauseous, or even trigger our past trauma.

As we adventure down the pathway to freedom, it is often found that those old icky beliefs and feelings from the past can come up for a couple of reasons:

 

First, to be felt and listened to in a way that they were possibly never honored before.  

Second, so they can be released, cleared, dumped from our energy bodies altogether.

 

The truth is SELECTIVELY NUMB does not exist.

When we turn away from suffering, ignore our pain, or just simply numb ourselves out with our usual vices – food, alcohol, busyness, or a variety of other addictions – we actually numb ourselves completely.

Our level of pain and suffering may feel numbed in the moment, but so is our joy, bliss, and happiness.

The path to freedom teaches us to embrace it all.  To sit in the uncomfortable and to also expand into our pleasure and bliss (both of which can be challenging).

Here are my favorite personal strategies (the ones I use regularly) for more FEELING, FREEING, and FINDING my power so that I can expand into my FULLEST.  Perhaps some of these will work for you as well...

 

Breath

When we build our life force or prana, in any awareness practice, we enliven whatever is already happening. Prana is non-discriminating.

Strong feelings of stress, anxiety, overwhelm, sadness, or fear can be daunting and we surely do not want to exaserbate what already exists in the mind-body if it is unpleasant of challenging.

When you give yourself time to sit, center, breath and calm your system, you are in fact strengthening the calm.

Balancing our your breathing so that the inhale and the exhale mirror each other in length and quality will in fact calm your entire system, engage your parasympathetic nervous system, slow down your brain waves and tame your strong emotional feelings.

Breathing is often thought of as the vehicle into the subtle body in the yoga practice. The ancient yogis believed that if you can regulate your breath, you can regulate your mind.

**I find a quiet space to sit for 10-15 min and practice balanced breathing. I focus on the quality and rhythm of your breathing.

 

Somatic Serenity

One of the most effective tools I use when strong emotions arise for me is doing a body check in. Once I can see where my body is holding the emotion I place my hand over this area.

Often when we experience strong emotion our bodies experience physical sensations such as tingling, clenching, or heat. There is wisdom here.

When we tap into the bodies physical sensation, we are able to get out of the mind spin and drop into the body. This practice is calming, nourishing, and helpful in our inner listening.

*I find a quiet place and do a body check in or body scan, searching for strong sensations associated with the emotion at hand. I then place my hand over that part of my body in a gentle and nourishing way. I return to the breath and ask for any information that my body is ready to reveal regarding this emotion. I ask for healing, peace and calm.

 

Become a Flower Fairy

Flower remedies are used to work on the emotions of the body bringing back balance and taking us out of a fight or flight stress response.

There are a wide array of flower remedies available in your local health food store. Each remedy is designed to support a different emotional imbalance restoring equilibrium and balance back into the body and soul.

**I venture to the flower remedy section of the wellness area of the health food store or natural pharmacy and I ask for the best remedy for my current emotion. I hold the bottle and ask myself if this is a good remedy for me. I may try a few before I decide. I keep the remedy in my purse and I use whenever the emotion arises. I also use it in my daily meditation practice.

 

Take a Ritual Bath

Aside from the warming and relaxing qualities there are also deeper support from certain types of baths.  Just like you make yourself that intentional cup of herbal tea, you can soak away your sorrows in a intentional ritual bath with herbs and tonics that will fine tune your energy and emotional bodies.

You can always resort to the simple Epson salts bath if you like, but here I am going to provide you with some specific and unique baths to use to cleanse your energy and emotions – mind, body and soul.

*Sweeten up your mood with a “sweet like honey” bath.  Add a cup of raw honey to your bath and watch your sweetness return.  Honey baths remind us of the sweetness of life.

*Purify your energy body with lemon juice in your bath.  Add one cup of lemon juice to your bath for a gentle clearing and supportive shift of old beliefs and emotions.

 

Get Naked with Nature

One of the quickest ways I know to clear my mind and reset my thoughts is taking myself right into the foothills of Boulder.

For 20 years now, I have lived here in Boulder CO, and I have to tell you I will always be in awe of these mountains. Over the years, nature has held my sorrow, my pain, my trauma, my confusion, my self hatred, my heartbreaks and everything else that I have gone through.

These mountains truly hold a blueprint of my life.

So, when I say 'GET NAKED' with nature, what I really mean is to shed all that is not serving you, and SHE will hold it for you.  Reveal your truth, and SHE will guide you. Let go of what is blocking you, and SHE will lead you into the light.

 *I go into the woods and hike with the intention of nature holding a healing space for me.  I give myself time and permission to heal, and I let go into the great mother earth.  This is a time of surrender, release, trust, and clearing for me.

 

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