Part of living simply for me is DIY rather than buy.
Our skin is our largest organ and what we put on it is just as important as what we put in our bodies. For the last several years, I have stopped using synthetic lotions and solely use oils to moisturize and what a difference it makes!
It's literally 2 ingredients...Almond Oil & Essential Oil -->
~ Find a fun bottle
~ Fill it with Sweet Almond Oil
~ Measure out 10-20 drops of your favorite essential oil and voila!
- Put it on right when you get out of the shower for quicker absorption
- You can find Almond Oil at Wegmans or Green Hut in Spencerport, but any carrier oil will work (Olive Oil, Grapeseed, Jojoba, Apricot Kernal)
- Be conservative with the essential Oil -- it is potent! Keep smelling until you get the aroma you like
- Add sugar or salt to a slushy consistency and you've got yourself an exfoliating scrub :)
(If you use this in the shower, USE A PLASTIC CONTAINER)
**Here's an article on Skin and How to Care for it that I found interesting...you might too!
When I think about what I want to share with you, what feels the most authentic is living a simple lifestyle. Also, with all of the information out there, sometimes I feel overwhelmed and I'm sure I'm not alone in that, so when I add more to this blog, I promise it will be short and to the point!
Being a Simple Yogi brings the most meaning for me and as I think about what this means, the first question that comes to mind is 'What is a Yogi?' Is it physically practicing yoga? Not really, no. I think what makes you a Yogi is to "practice" what you preach and from personal experience let me tell you, it is not easy!
One of the biggest things I preach is Ahimsa - Nonharming in thoughts, words and actions. I struggle with negative thoughts about myself and others, but because I make it a practice to do this less, I am very aware when those negative thoughts enter. Most of the time I catch it and choose not to speak because even though I've hurt myself with these thoughts, I don't want to hurt others and I have control over that. Here's the kicker - After years of practice, I have lessened these negative thoughts, heck I've lessened all of my thoughts :) but even though they aren't completely gone, I experience less suffering and more quality conversations.
SO with the definition of Yogi, my 1st question to you is - What do you preach? My 2nd question is then - Do you practice it? Consider this as you move throughout your day and maybe you'll make different choices, change your thoughts and be happier!
We all know when we feel grounded and we all know when a piece of our lives is shattering, so why do we continue to grasp? Why can’t we just listen, hurt and let go?
Durga is the Hindu Goddess of emotional strength and protection. I first learned about her a few years ago in Sally Kempton’s ‘Awakening Shakti,’ a book about the Tantric Goddesses and how bringing them into your life can transform your life. (A great read for Yogis, Meditators and Tantrikas!).
I began doing visualization meditations on Durga when I needed an emotional boost or when I was wavering on a tough decision and then last July, I experienced the following meditation:
I was in Durga’s garden, surrounded by wild flowers and towering mountains, meditating on the rim of her fountain and she gestured for me to come in the water with her. She started talking about the water and that life is about balance and that we all know water’s current can destroy, so it’s about being grounded, steadfast in the flow, but also the ability to go with the flow. I asked when to know the difference – when to hold on and when to let go. She said when you can feel the ground beneath you begin to shift it’s time to just go with it.
This meditation came at a time of heartbreak last July…I was feeling the shakiness of the earth with a certain someone many months before, but I held on tightly where I should have let go and because I was grasping, it felt like my earth actually cracked – I didn’t go with the natural order of things. The scary thing is that I knew I had to stop clinging (I teach this for goodness sakes!), but when someone tells you they love you and they’re going through a hard time, you believe them. The truth is that if someone truly loves you, they wouldn’t hurt you, ignore you or try to make you feel guilty for their shortcomings.
My writing this is to remind you to trust yourself and the solidity you feel when your life is on track, to listen deeply to your soul and when your ground is starting to shake, let this be the time to go with the flow, lose your ground and it will hurt less in the end. I PROMISE.
This was my light bulb and I hope it helps illuminate your path.
The Winter Solstice is Tuesday, December 22nd. It is a time for deep reflection, but also a celebration of light!
The Winter Solstice is the longest night of the year and it is within this darkness that we turn inward and reflect on how the previous year has been for us. We know that the light will return and it is with this knowledge that we plant a seed for new growth in our lives and what we would like to change from years past.
Here are some tips to bring the celebration to your home:
- place objects from nature on a table where your family gathers
- light a candle or as many as you would like on the Solstice
- refrain from using a lot of electricity on the 22nd
- visit a special place outside
- meditate on your life this last year
- journal on what new things you will bring to your life
- feed the birds
- cook a meal and share it with others
All of this brings more meaning into your life and is a way of honoring nature.
Enjoy the darkness; For the light will retur
Breathing is not just about creating length in your spine up and down (which ultimately affects your posture!), but it’s about sideways expansion in your body, in your rib cage. We all have these muscles called the internal and external obliques and those turn into our intercostal muscles in between the ribs. These muscles, along with the diaphragm, help us to breathe, BUT if these muscles are tight, they compress the rig cage, not allowing it to expand, lowering our ability to breathe fully. SO think about it…if these muscles on the side of our bodies and rib cage could be warmed up and expand, how much more breath would you be able to take in?!
Simple exercise – Place your hands below your breast area, on each side of your body and focus on breathing in that space. Try to get your hands to move sideways. This type of breath will strengthen those muscles, warm them up to increase flexibility and ultimately up the amount of breath you’re taking in to feed your body and brain!
An achievable goal – Once you can reach this place in your body, and this takes A LOT of practice (so don’t get frustrated with yourself if you’re not experiencing anything at first), try taking a big belly breath, then expanding sideways in the middle of your chest, and finish off with a breath in the upper chest, letting the shoulders rise…a full breath, aahhh