Thursday, May 24, 2012

I just found this new Etsy Shop and Blog at :

I love the Cottage Style and I'd love to win that Coral Pillow and Cottage Book!

I'm excited about seeing what's in the shop, too!

Check it out and let me know what you think : )

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Self-Destruction or Self-Construction

I woke up this morning with this topic of self-destruction on my mind.  As I contemplated it, I was driven to put the words on my blog, so here you go.

I find myself often concerned about the way people, including myself, are self-destructive.  It seems to be one of my pet peeves that just won't leave me alone.  Maybe after I write this blog about it I can finally stop thinking about it so much.  Geeeez, I'd like to just have some peace about it.  I tend to take things too seriously and carry the weight of the world on my shoulders.

Anyway, we all tend to do these things that are self-destructive, and we seem to be numb and/or blind to them.  We make excuses for them and justify them, when in fact they are self-destructive behaviors that we should not be doing!

God created us as an extension of itself in order to expand its' consciousness of love and the many aspects of love.  Self-destruction has no place in this plan; in fact, it is contradictory to this plan.

So why do we self-destruct?  Because we have forgotten who we are and why we are here?  Because the perceived pain of the physical world is too much to bear and we want out?  Because we are "asleep", like the living-dead zombies, unaware that we are actually alive, awake, divine beings with a purpose and a limited amount of time in this particular body at this particular time?

Self-construction, I guess, would be the opposite of self-destruction.  It's what we all really want, some of us just don't seem to be conscious enough of it.  Let's focus on self-construction instead of the self-destructive behaviors that we employ; like shining a light into the darkness, the darkness has no option but to disappear.  

I'll examine the ways in which we self-destruct and self-construct, and then let's make your own personal list of the ones in which you personally engage.  Let's take that list and use it to wake ourselves up, remember why we are here, be who we are meant to be, and replace these self-destructive habits with self-constructive ones instead, and watch the self-destructive ones disappear. 

Tobacco Use
Alcohol Use
Stimulant Use
Prescription Drug Use
Recreational Drug Use
Unhealthy Eating
Body Tattooing
Body Piercing
Body Disfiguring
Plastic Surgery, Botox, etc.
Weight-Loss Surgery
Staying in Abusive Relationships & Jobs
Compulsive Behavior
Criminal Behavior
Distracting Ourselves With "Junk" to Avoid what's Truly Important

Healthy Eating
Building Healthy Relationships with Family and Friends

I would greatly appreciate your input on this topic; please help me add to these lists of self-destructive and self-constructive behaviors.

Peace Out,

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Yoga Therapy

I'm reading a book called Yoga As Medicine by Dr. Timothy McCall, and it is very inspiring to me. 

Most people have a lot of misconceptions about yoga and I would really like to clear those up!

#1) Yoga is for Everyone:  healthy and fit OR sick and unfit; able OR disabled.  Anyone can do yoga.  Those who are not fit have the most to gain.

Yoga was developed thousands of years ago in India by those who sought spiritual enlightenment.  They experimented and explored and observed and gradually discovered and developed the technology of Yoga that we know today.  It first came to the USA in 1893.

Yoga will change your life.  It is challenging and you'll see steady growth in what you can do and how good you feel.  Your body and mind will change for the better.  The more you put into it, the greater the reward.

It should be done as a regular, daily practice for best results; 15-20 minutes daily is a good way to start; you can fit some yoga into your day with one minute yoga breaks too.

Your posture improves, knots in your back melt away, physical problems get better, your mental outlook changes, you have more patience and tolerance, you have more faith and confidence, you become more positive in nature as opposed to negative. 
You learn to give your best effort without being attached to the result. 
You get in touch with your inner voice. 
You gain muscle and lose fat and become more flexible. 
You gain mental peace and gratitude. 
You open inflexible areas of your body and mind. 
You enjoy community with teachers and fellow students. 
You step out of the crazy world we live in and pay closer attention to the present moment; this puts you in touch with a calm place deep inside.

Yoga is an experience.  You have to experience yoga to understand it. 

Yoga is a path.  The longer you stay on it and the more heart you put into the journey, the farther it can take you.

"Words fail to convey the total value of yoga.  It has to be experienced."  B.K.S. Iyengar

"Yoga is 99 percent practice and 1 percent theory."  Pattabhi Jois

Yoga is the most powerful system of overall health and well-being.

Yoga comprehensively: 
  • Reduces Stress
  • Increases Flexibility
  • Improves Balance
  • Promotes Strength
  • Heightens Cardiovascular Conditioning
  • Lowers Blood Pressure
  • Reduces Overweight
  • Strengthens Bones
  • Prevents Injuries 
  • Lifts the Mood
  • Improves Immune Function
  • Increases Oxygen Supply to Tissues
  • Heightens Sexual Functioning and Fulfillment
  • Fosters Psychological Equanimity
  • Promotes Spiritual Well-being
  • And So Much More...
Yoga is holistic.  It optimizes the function of every system in your body from the muscles to digestion to circulation to immunity, simultaneously.  Everything is connected.  

Yoga complements conventional medical care.  Yoga is proven to be effective for a wide variety of medical issues.  But people shy away from it due to misconceptions!

Yoga is a systematic technology that creates balance that helps to improve the body, understand the mind, and free the spirit.  Yoga is Awareness! 

Yoga reduces stress. 

Yoga is strong medicine but slow medicine, although some benefits are noticeable right away. 

Yoga builds on itself.  

You relax, relieve symptoms, gain strength, balance bodily systems; it balances the whole person.  It is a union of body, mind and spirit.

Yoga's ability to bring awareness to the body and influence autonomic functions is what makes it such a powerful medicine.

#2) Yoga is NOT a Religion.  It does have a spiritual dimension, similar to Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.).  You can ignore the spiritual aspect if you choose to.  Yoga is compatible with any religion.  You can take what you can use and ignore the rest.

Yoga is much more than merely physical postures or exercises; it actually has eight main parts or aspects:

  1. Yamas:  Ethical Guidelines
  2. Ahimsa - Non-harming
  3. Asteya - Non-stealing
  4. Satya - truthfulness
  5. Brahmacharya - Sexual restraint
  6. Aparigraha - Non-hoarding (i.e., don't be greedy)
  7. Niyamas:  Spiritual Observances
  8. Sauca - Cleanliness, purity
  9. Santosha - Contentment
  10. Tapas - Discipline
  11. Svadhyaya - Self-study
  12. Ishvara Pranidhana - Devotion to God
  13. Asana:  Physical Postures
  14. Pranayama:  Breathing Exercises
  15. Pratyahara:  Withdrawal of the Senses or Turning the Senses Inwards
  16. Dharana:  Concentration, Focus
  17. Dhyana:  Meditation, Relaxed Concentration
  18. Samadhi:  Blissful Absorption

There are hundreds of Yogic Tools; here are a few of them:

  1. Mantra:  Chanting
  2. Mudra:  Yogic Seals and Gestures
  3. Bandha:  Energetic Locks
  4. Drisht:  Direction of Gaze
  5. Yantra:  Geometric Designs
  6. Kriya:  Cleansing Exercises
  7. Karma Yoga:  Selfless Service
  8. Bhakti Yoga:  Devotional Practices
  9. Imagery
  10. Diet
  11. Herbs
  12. Sangha:  Community
  13. Props:  Blankets, Mats, Blocks, Straps
  14. Hands-on Adjustments and Assists
  15. Ritual
  16. Jnana Yoga:  Yoga Philosophy
  17. Sankalpa:  Intention
  18. Faith

Yoga as Therapy or Medicine can be taught one-on-one or in small groups and is tailored to the needs of the individual.  Yoga classes are also wonderful but one should use caution if you have physical or health problems; discuss them with the teacher beforehand and make sure you are in the appropriate class for your needs and level of experience.  There are so many different varieties of yoga classes, videos, and books out there to choose from!

Yoga as Life Transformation:  we know what healthy is but the hard part is actually doing it, right?  Changing dysfunctional habits is largely a matter of the mind.  Yoga gives you greater control of your mind as well as greater understanding of the tricks it can play.  This, more than anything, leads to life transformation!

Samskaras (habits of thought and action) are like grooves on a muddy road that get deeper all the time.  Every time you do or think something, you increase the likelihood you'll do or think it again.  Practice yoga regularly and create new grooves, strengthen them, replace old ones.

"The only remedy for bad habits is counter habits."  Swami Vivekananda

Yoga of Action is Kriya Yoga and has three important elements:

1.  Tapas:  heat, fire, dedication; regularity of practice is fueled by the fire/heat/dedication.  It keeps you going.  It grows over time.  It extends to other aspects of your life too!

It's amazing how the strength can be found when the mind wants something.  Once you understand that you can redirect your mind, you discover that even though your mind can make all kinds of excuses for not doing something, you can overrule those objections and decide to do it anyway.  This is Tapas.

2.  Svadhyaya:  self-study, sense what's happening in your body and mind, monitor body/breath/emotions; extends to other aspects of your life too.  You end up wanting to make different choices when you start to notice and realize and acknowledge how certain choices are affecting your life and your body.

3.  Ishvara Pranidhana:  devotion to God, faith in a higher power, giving up the illusion of being in control of what happens; you realize you can give your best effort but you can't control the result.  That's in God's hands.  You set goals that you can intend and do (Sankalpa), setting an intention and formulating a plan of action, as opposed to setting goals that have a generic outcome that you have no control over.  For example:  instead of intending to lose 50 pounds in 5 months, intend to walk 1/2 hour each day and eat smaller portions of food.  

"Take care of the present; the future will take care of itself."  Ramana Maharshi

The best scenario is to attend classes weekly or one-on-one training and practice at home daily and regularly.  Early in the morning is a great time to practice your yoga.

Some Keys to Success with Yoga:

1.  Repetition
2.  Do It Daily
3.  Be Realistic
4.  Start Slow and take baby steps even if that means starting out with simply doing a daily conscious breath for a while and then adding something else and so on until you have a nice daily practice of a few minutes or 15-20 minutes and up to 1-2 hours depending on how much time you want to devote.
5.  Enjoy Feeling Better
6.  Make That Time for Yourself Every Day
7.  Gradually increase the time spent doing yoga daily
8.  Enjoy the transformation that is underway and ongoing for a lifetime
9. Go easy on yourself; you might not live up to your intentions; that's okay; one of the first steps is to simply see "what is", to acknowledge where you are now; change might not come immediately but all change begins with seeing clearly.
10.  Scale it back if you need to
11.  Step out on faith and try it; you've got nothing to lose and everything to gain.  It feels good; it's safe; it's fun; it's effective and powerful.
12.  The more you do it, the better it gets.
13.  Yoga makes your life better in so many ways!  some of those improvements will surprise you too!
14.  Don't take anyone's word for it; try it for yourself and see what you think.  That's the Yogic Way : )

Sherine Ajai Kaur

More to come soon... stay tuned : )

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Yogi Mung Beans and Rice

Here is the recipe for Yogi Mung Beans and Rice; it comes from my Aquarian Teacher Kundalini Yoga Instructor Textbook by Yogi Bhajan.  It's a perfectly balanced vegetarian protein dish, easy to digest, and very satisfying.

4 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup mung beans, soaked overnight and rinsed
1/2 cup basmati rice, rinsed
1/4 cup fresh ginger root, finely minced
1 fresh onion, chopped
3 cloves fresh garlic, minced
3 cups fresh or frozen chopped vegetables
2 tablespoons ghee or olive oil
3/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon crushed red chiles
1/4 teaspoon ground black or cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground garam masala
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon cardamon seeds (2 pods)
1 bay leaf

Add mung beans to boiling water and cook until beans begin to split.  Add rice and cook another 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Now add the vegetables.  As the mixture cooks, it will start to thicken.

Heat the ghee or oil in a frying pan.  Add onions, ginger, and garlic and saute until clear.  Add spices and cook 5 more minutes, stirring constantly.  Add a little water if necessary.  Add this to the rice and beans.  The final consistency should be like a thick soup.  Total cooking time is about 1 1/2 hours.  Add salt to taste.  Serve plain or with yogurt.  Makes 4 servings.  I like to make a larger batch by multiplying all of the ingredients measurements by about three times.

P.S.  This dish is great for a cleansing diet that gives plenty of nourishment.  It is good for the kidneys, colon, and digestive organs, or when food is not being digested thoroughly by the intestines.  It is a good winter diet.  Eat only mung beans and rice for 30 days.  Include lots of fresh vegetables cooked into it.  You may eat fruit in between meals as a snack.  Yogi Tea may also be taken.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Yes, it has been a long time...

Hi All,
Yes, it has been a long time since I posted on this blog... I apologize sincerely : )  The past 2 years have been a true test of our endurance in this game of life.  I was planning to share the story of Scott's  intestinal obstruction/paralysis experience, but it was such a traumatic time in our life that I am having a hard time drumming up the motivation to think about it and write about it.  It's one of those things you put behind you and never want to think about again; know what I mean?  I'll do my best... please share your thoughts on the subject, too.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Coming Soon...

Okay, I've been meaning to do this for about a year now and I'm really going to start it very soon... I want to tell the whole story of our journey through Scott's intestinal obstruction/paralysis that started last year in March and changed our lives completely.  I want to share it with the world because I believe that what we experienced and learned might help someone else out there who is having the same or similar experience.  It's also some great lessons for everyone in general... I'll start working on this right away so stay tuned....
Namaste and Shanti,