Who am I?

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Jefferson, Georgia, United States
Hello everybody, I am Heather. I love yoga, food and loud rock shows. I am here to lead you on a lifestyle that will have your soul shining! P.S. Cancer Sucks!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Dear Sugar,

Dear Sugar,

I want you to know that I really enjoyed our time together during the holidays. It was great being with you again, and yes, it brought back fond memories of old times. But I'm afraid I gave you the wrong idea, and I want to make it really clear: things cannot go back to the way they were. What I mean is I can't see you anymore, Sugar. Despite all that is so good between us, our relationship is bad for me. When we were together, I was depressed and tired and I gained weight - yeah, I know you like me with "a little junk in the trunk" (your words, not mine), but this time, it's about me and what I want for myself. I can't always be defining myself by what you see in me, you know? So I need for this to be our last communication. If you care for me at all, please respect this and don't even think about showing up for dessert tonight - we already said our goodbyes last night. And this morning. :-) I'm sorry if this hurts you - some part of me will always love you. But from now on, when we see each other at the coffee shop, the bakery, the candy aisle - those special places where we always used to find each other - let's just look the other way, okay? And move on.

Sincerely,

Heather

* * * * * * * * * * *

Dear Alcohol,

R U busy 2nite? Call me! XXXXXX00000000

-H

PS - I can not claim this one, found it on FB - too funny (and true) not to share!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Holiday Cheer

Well, Hailey is out of the hospital and will be out until she goes back to Texas in January! Whoo Hoo!
She is feeling pretty good, gets tired easy, but she was able to go shopping with Mom and Colleen yesterday. I am taking her to finish up tomorrow. She can not walk around, so we get to wheel her around in a wheel chair. She is getting used to that, but she still does not like it.
We are going to drive around and look at Christmas lights like we did when we were kids tomorrow night :)

So, hold your dear loved ones close, cuddle up next to the fire, watch classic Christmas movies and drink some Irish Coffee. Tis the season! Enjoy it, do not stress over the details, you never know what next year will bring.




Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Friends

Wow, its been 10 days since I have blogged! That is too long. Its amazing how time gets away from you during the holidaze. Honestly, I have spent a lot of time on the couch. Its been a rough 2 weeks. Since Hailey's seizure, I really have just not been "right," just a little off, if you know what I mean. It really freaked me out. Since her seizure, she has already had another round of chemo and is now resting at my parents house. We hope that she can stay well and stay out of the hospital this week. Usually she gets a fever and has to go back into the hospital for IV antibiotics and medication. I find it just plain crazy that someone with cancer can die of a cold because of the chemo. Just plain crazy.

Anyway...enough about cancer. I want to talk about friends. When you are stuck in the muck of depression and you feel like you are in a fog, you need some sunshine in your life. This is when friends become very important. I have never been one to have a large group of friends, particulary girlfriends. But in my mid 30s I have finally found a beautiful group of women that have come into my life at just the right time. We had a girls night this past weekend and it was so healing, so fun and just what the doctor ordered. I guess what I am trying to say is that for a long time, I have been trying to "do life" on my own, Mrs. Independent. But now, I have people I can call when I am freaking out and I don't feel like a failure. This may sound silly, but I bet some of you out there know what I am talking about. We don't like it when people see us at our weakest. We feel like a burden, a failure and maybe a little crazy. This is a trick of the ego - stupid ego! We need community! We were created for community and friends. God did not create us to be loners. He created us to be together, to hug each other and to wipe away each others tears. Why do we hide our faces when we cry? or run to the bathroom? or hide under the covers? What is the shame factor in crying? Have we be conditioned this way? "Jesus wept" - shortest verse in the Bible and it says so much. Geez...even God cries! So why do we hide? I want to say that I am so happy that I have people in my life that I will allow to see me all red faced, puffy, snotty and crying. I know that they will wipe away my tears and bring me a tissue. They don't think I am crazy, and even if they did I think they would love me anyway.
I know that some of you will read this and think, "wow, Heather, you have plenty of reasons to cry." but here is the thing, something inside of me (and I bet you too!) has this urge to "be strong." We are told that we "have to be strong for so and so." What a load of poo. No, I am not going to freak and cry in front of Hailey all the time and weird her out, but I do not have to "be strong" for my friends. My friends don't have to "be strong" for me, they can cry with me if they want.  I love them and they love me!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Update on Hailey

I just wanted to let everyone know that Hailey is at home and resting. They did keep her over night and did a CT scan, and a MRI and both of those came back OK, so no damage or (gulp) tumors in her noggin.

She is now on anti-seizure meds and the docs do not know what caused it. We asked all the questions, was it the prescriptions? chemo? the full moon? They don't know what happened or why which is pretty scary - but the good news is that she is on meds and hopefully won't ever do that again.

Thank you all for all your support, prayers, vibes and love. When we are having a tough day/week/moment...your love is felt and the prayers are working miracles on my heart.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Bad, bad, bad day

December 3, 2009
Well...today sucked.

The beginning of the day started out normal...shower, drive, work, blah, blah, blah
then I got a call from my mom at 3:15 saying "its not good, this is not good" that is seriously the first thing she said, my mother, and she was breathing really heavy and I could hear yelling and commotion in the background.
then she said that Hailey was having a grand mall (is that how you spell it? who knows?) seizure and that they (meaning the paramedics) were bringing in the crash cart
At this point I am saying "What the f*$@) do you mean they are bringing in a crash cart!??"
WTF is going on mom!!!
This has to be the scariest moment in my life. I kid you not, I was sitting on the floor in my office yelling WTF is going on mom!? in an attorney's office.
Times like that do not call for any sort of manners.
Thankfully the attorney I work for is awesome...anyway...
Then my dad gets on the phone, this is when it gets really bad
My strong as an ox, stubborn as a mule, Bad Ass Airborne Ranger, Dad is hyperventilating. Literally. He had a heart attack 2 years ago, and I am freaking out because NOW I am not only worried about my sister, but my dad is about to fall out while I am talking to him...
I just kept saying "daddy, just breathe, just breathe"
He just said "She quit breathing"
Jesus.
I am now sitting in the floor of my attorney's office rocking back and forth and ready to puke on the floor. My poor boss grabs me some water and stands in the corner... probably feeling like he is going to puke because he had to get some tums.
So after my dad finally settles down he says that Hailey is breathing, so they are putting her on the ambulance and taking her to Athens. This all happens so fast I really do not know where I am or what I am doing anymore, almost an out of body experience.

My dad rides with her in the ambulance, AFTER they check him out to make sure HE was stable.
Jesus. (I am not taking his sweet name in vain, he is the only answer to such tragedies, so I may as well just interject Him in here)

I get off the phone with my hysterical mother right after she tells me that James does not know.
Great, James does not know???!!! her husband? are you kidding me?
"Will you call him?" she said, well....yeah...DONT YOU THINK SO?!
So I call him, and let him know. At least he did not have to hear the blow by blow in the back ground like I did. However, he kept pacing back and forth at work saying "I can't work, what do i do, I can't work..."
Thank you Andrea for kicking his repetitive blundering butt out of the restaurant and making him get into his car.
What is it about tragedies that turn you into some freakish robot? I am rocking back and forth on the floor of my office about to puke and poor James is pacing and mumbling....not pretty.

Anyway...
We all finally make it to the hospital. And if any of you are wondering about the sweet one, Colleen, she unfortunately did see a little bit of this happen today but was whisked away to a neighbors house and fed cookies and cake. So she was well hidden from most of the horrors.

Finally...Dad, James, me and Mike were at the hospital with poor Hailey. She is talking, BREATHING, and seems pretty normal really. The CT scan showed nothing on her brain. THANK GOD. The ER docs said that they do not know why she had the seizure, so they are doing an MRI on her and then maybe we will know more. It may have just been a fluke...who knows.

The end of this episode is that she is OK, eating fries and going to bed. My parents will probably never be the same after having to hold down their child while she is having a seizure like that and Colleen saw some of that horror. I just heard the background chaos and I was a bumbling idiot. Please pray for the 3 that had to see it.

Cancer sucks. It IS the devil. I f'ing hate it and I want it to leave my sister's body and leave her alone. She may be weak, but (f*u cancer!!!!!) she IS strong. Cancer, you are in for a fight. You have not met the Gill's yet. We may be crazy, but we are strong. So take that cancer...we want you to leave. I am after my sister...and we are going to fight like crazy Irish freaks with God on our side to get her back.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Blood, Hot Showers and Breathing



My sis, Hailey, finally went home after recovering in the hospital from chemo for a week. She finally got the blood transfusion that she needed. She was not even making red blood cells anymore, her white blood cells were long gone. She had the biggest racoon eyes I have ever seen, and she had no color to her skin. She looked like a vampire, minus the sexy. After she got the blood she looked better. She perked up and was ready to GO. My hubby and I wheeled her out of the hospital at 10:30 PM and she was so happy to be free. We called mom to make sure that the heaters were on in the bathroom so she could take a really hot shower when she got home. Unfortunately, her beautiful hair is starting to fall out already. I hate that. I love her hair, I always have. She hasn't but that is what happens when you have wild curly hair and all you want for it to be is straight and shiny. Believe me, she loves it now. She hates being bald and she is going to need a lot of sock hats for the winter. Poor baby.

There are some interesting things I am noticing through this process. There are 2 common denominators in our life, no matter who you are, what color you are, sex, creed, age, etc...

1. Blood - I find it fascinating that my sister may have been getting blood from a man, a man of a different race, that grew up in a totally different city, with totally different parents...and her body just accepts it. It makes me think that our brains should be the same way. God made our bodies to accept just about anybodies blood, the life force in our veins, in order to keep us alive - and when it comes down to it all the other junk and funk we get so tied up in as people just dissapears when it really matters. We are all the same underneath. Makes me think of the U2 song One "we are one, but not the same, we carry each other...one"

2. Breath - you guys know that since I teach yoga, I focus on the breath a lot. I tell Hailey to just keep breathing, just keep breathing. I know it hurts, but just keep breathing. When all else fails, our breath is still there. Its automatic, but so vital yet we never think about it. Practicing pranayama (breath exercises/control) will show you how very important and life changing our breath can be.

3. Sometimes a really hot shower is the best thing on the planet.

Monday, November 23, 2009

From the front lines...

The war on cancer...maybe if we did not associate cancer with fighting, war and hostility we would have a better attitude towards it.
Right now I do not have a good attitude at all. This sucks. There are no two ways about it. I will try to put my cheerleader outfit on and plaster a smile on my face, but I am just not feelin it today.

Here is the update on Hailey. She is home from her first round of chemo. She is in pain. She is sad. The pharmacies in town do not have the medication she needs in order not to feel the pain. She is staying with my parents. We hope we do not spend Thanksgiving in the hospital. I am going over to my parents on Wednesday and staying there until I feel like coming back to Hoschton.


I have not practiced yoga in about 5 days because I have been sick, and it shows. I plan on releasing this negative energy tonight by doing some good asana work, pranayama and if I can muster it up, some meditation. Maybe that will help me feel the light I am missing right now.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Random Thoughts...

Peace and sadness are not mutually exclusive
Sometimes living life to the fullest means fully feeling your pain

Cancer is where the Light can not shine, I see it not only as a physical battle but a spiritual one

Prayer is very powerful, do not doubt that God is listening and his angels are at your side

We are all terminal, some of us just are much more aware of that fact

Do not postpone joy

Abba did not give my sister cancer, but he could cure it if its in his plans - I really wish he would

Crying is good but it gives me a headache

Accepting grace is hard

People are awesome - I love them

I used to say "life sucks, wear a helmet" but I am going to change that to "when life sucks, wear a belt, shoes, a helmet, armor, a shield and bring a sword"

Stop thinking about the future, stop worrying about all the damned details and start living your life now: "life is what happens when your busy making other plans" Lennon



Hailey starts chemo today. Again.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Yikes

Well - the latest update is that there are 2 more tumors already in Hailey. Its only been a few weeks since her surgery. The next step is 6 (count 'em - SIX) rounds of chemo that last a week each. 
She will also be going to Texas once every 6-7 weeks for check ups there. 
She is taking the news pretty well, she is out therapy shopping right now. 
I am really much angrier and sadder than I want to talk about right now. 

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Hails Naaah Update


Howdy everybody!

My sister and mom send their love from Texas. They are tired, but doing well. Here is the low down...

Hailey is working with THE doctor that is doing a huge research project on her type of cancer. He told her that it will probably never go away, but its treatable. So, first things first he is ordering 2 rounds of chemo. They will do scans while they are doing the chemo to see if the cancer is growing even with treatment. If the chemo does not work, then on to plan B which is more medication and treatment, I have no idea what that means or what that is...but its a different plan...then there is plan C which is even more medicine and treatment...nope, don't know what that means either...then on to plan D...experimental treatment. Hailey is not too keen on that and we hope that we don't have to go there, but at least its an option. I do not think that it would be an option with out her being at MD Anderson.

Today she has scans from her neck down to her pelvis, including her heart, lungs etc...so I pray that there is nothing in there!!!

Hails and mom are keeping it real, they are going shopping for cowboy boots today. Giddy'up...

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Cancer Prevention

Since cancer has invaded my family I have radically changed my life. My diet has changed and my faith continues to grow. I truly believe your outlook on life will change your life. So...besides the obvious, like quitting smoking, how can we prevent cancer? Well from all of my research regarding this topic, all roads lead us to these things: strengthen your immune system, alkalize your diet and stay away from sugar, processed foods and toxins.

Lets take these 3 facets and examine each one of them.

How to strengthen your immune system: detox your body by eating high fiber foods or doing a cleanse (talk to your doctor about the best cleanse for you) to get rid of the toxic sludge living in your intestines, eat lots of greens, foods high in antioxidants and learn how to deal with stress in a healthy way, stress will make you sick quick! Ever notice how you feel run down or get a cold when stress takes over your life? This is where yoga, exercise, friends, meditation and taking time for yourself come in. You really need to find a way to de-stress. PLEASE get it out of your head that it is selfish to do something for yourself, you can not take care of others unless you are healthy. This is where I think your outlook on life comes into center stage. If you feel like you can not take time for yourself, then you are not going to enjoy it even when you do. This takes changing your belief system, and that takes a lot of work! Talk to a counselor, pastor or close friend that you trust about this and maybe some light will come into your life.


Alkalize your diet!
Cancer feeds off of acidic foods. Cancer can not live in an oxygen filled environment. Cancer is death, oxygen is life. So fill your plate and juicer with these foods:

Long story short: eat lots of greeeeeeeeeen food such as cucumbers, spinach, and kale - lots of fruits, including lemons and grapefruit (they are alkalizing weird huh?) and tofu, most nuts, legumes etc...are all on the alkaline food list. Does this sound familiar to anyone? We have always been told to "eat our veggies" but I do not think that anyone has ever really, truly, deeply, thought about the health implications of NOT eating them.


Stay away from sugar, processed foods and toxins.
Yeah, cancer lives off of sugar. Sugar. It loves it, it also loves dairy. Case in point, my sister has major sugar and dairy cravings now. She did not before cancer invaded her body. We also need to detox by cleaning out our bathrooms of most of the items that have parabens, aluminum, Amines, Dioxane and more. For more info on this topic check out the blog about cosmetics from a few days ago.

None of us can see into the future, maybe even if we do all of this and never take another drink of soda we still may get cancer. I am not naive enough to think that doing all of this will make you invincible. However, I think that its worth the effort to detox our minds, bodies and spirits and renew ourselves with life! Healthy, abundant, happy life! We are not going to live forever, but I want to be healthy and full of vibrant life while I am here on this beautiful planet.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Off to Texas...

Well, Hailey is off to Texas right now. She is on an airplane and heading to MD Anderson in Houston. We had a little send off BBQ for her last night and she was holding up pretty good until she had to leave. She did not really break down until she got in the car. She is scared - but she also knows that she is going to the best place possible for her cancer. We also had a prayer service for her after church yesterday, it was very moving with lots of tears and praise and begging. It was good. 
Please take the time to say a prayer for Hailey, Colleen and my family (esp. my mom!) today if that is your thing. I really do believe in the power of prayer! 

Love and Light!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Sweet, Pink, Chemical Laden Kisses...

Don't get me wrong, I completely support anything that brings money to any kind of cancer research. However, the whole breast cancer awareness that gets alllllll the attention by the large companies out there does kind of annoy me. What about other cancers? Is it just not as cute to have purple stuff everywhere instead of pink? Maybe its because its just for us girls (even though men do get breast cancer) and the big ol' companies out there know that us girls do most of the shopping. Its also annoying to see breast cancer awareness linked to companies that use cancer causing agents in their products, or they are promoting a food product that is NOT good for you. I don't see any kale farmers changing their packaging to pink...

Anyway...here is a great blog that I copied from Crazy Sexy Life. I think Stacy Malkan nails it. Bravo.


P.S. I have been thinking of putting a huge stripe of purple or yellow in my hair for awareness of all cancers. :) What do you think?

From Crazy Sexy Life:

Before you Kiss for the Cause: What’s in that pink ribbon product?
It’s that time of year again, when you can’t walk five steps without finding some new opportunity to spend money for breast cancer. We can “Kiss for the Cause” with Revlon lipstick, “shower for the cure” with Philosophy Pink Ribbon Gel, dust our cheeks with “Hint of a Cure” blush by Ramy, and “Kiss Goodbye to Breast Cancer” with Avon products.
Before I rush out for a pink-ribbon makeover, I have some questions for these companies: How much money are they actually contributing to breast cancer charities, and what is the money being used for? And most importantly, are they willing to stop using chemicals linked to cancer?
The big beauty companies don’t want such questions raining on their pink parade. After all, Revlon reaps a lot of good will and positive press from its pink-branded products and efforts to raise money for breast cancer charities through the Revlon 5K Run/Walk.
Yet ironically – outrageously – many Revlon products contain chemicals linked to cancer. In fact, Revlon’s Colorsilk brand is ranked as the most toxic brand of all in the Environmental Working Group Skin Deep database, with an average toxicity score of 8.6 (with 10 being the worst).
Pink ribbon giants Avon and Estee Lauder don’t fare much better; each company makes more than 100 products with a toxicity of score of 8 or above, according to Skin Deep, and many of the products contain chemicals linked to cancer. (You can check the score of your favorite products at http://www.cosmeticdatabase.org/.)
This is unacceptable – to say the least! As leaders in the pink-ribbon parade, Revlon, Avon and Estee Lauder have a special responsibility to be champions for women’s health by refusing to buy carcinogens from the chemical companies. As major (and influential) customers of the chemical industry, these companies have the power to shift the market away from harmful chemicals, and toward safer, non-toxic alternatives.
Instead, what we get from these companies are lots of cute pink-ribbon products, with an undisclosed portion of proceeds going to breast cancer research, almost none of which is focused on environmental causes of the disease such as cancer-causing chemicals and pollution. They want us to “hope for the cure” and get our mammograms, rather than having a serious discussion about how to prevent breast cancer, because prevention requires changes to the status quo.
For more about the not-so-cute history of the pink ribbon (which was co-opted by a beauty magazine) and Breast Cancer Awareness Month (which was started by a pharmaceutical/chemical company), see chapter 6 of my book “Not Just a Pretty Face: The Ugly Side of the Beauty Industry.”
After these stories, trust me, you’ll never look at a pink ribbon in quite the same way again. So then what? The good news is, we have a lot of power too, because we get to decide which companies we support with our money and which products we put on our bodies. We can educate ourselves and our friends about what’s really going on, and take meaningful action for change. Here are four things you can do today:
Think Before you Pink: Share this website by Breast Cancer Action with friends and encourage them to ask critical questions about pink ribbon promotions. Another great resource on this topic is the book and film No Family History, by Sabrina McCormick.
Just say No to Toxic Beauty Products: Choose products that are free of carcinogens and other harmful chemicals by using the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep database. Spend your money on companies with products consistently in the green zone (0-3 toxicity score).
Donate to Breast Cancer Prevention: Support The Breast Cancer Fund, the only national non-profit organization focused solely on prevention of the disease. Also check out BCF’s annual report, The State of the Evidence, a compilation of science about the environmental links to breast cancer.
Help Give the Beauty Industry a Makeover: The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics is working to pass legislation that will require cosmetics companies to eliminate chemicals suspected of causing cancer, birth defects and other health problems. Visit our website and join our email list to get involved.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Baby, Let's Do the Twist...

If you have ever taken a yoga class with me, you know I loooooove twists. Twisting your spine is like taking a dirty wash cloth and ringing all the dirty water out of it. You are literally slowing circulation to certain parts of your body then WOOOSH filling them back up with fresh blood and all the good juices your organs need.
Twisting postures create rotation between the vertebra in the spine which build strength and flexibility in the spine and abdominal muscles. Twists also maintain the elasticity of the spinal disks and ligaments - which are harder to stretch, and you do NOT want to over do it when it comes to your ligaments. Twisting also compresses and stretches the chest which stimulates respiratory function, kidneys, adrenal, liver, gallbladder, pancreas, spleen and stomach. Twisting also aids in stimulating digestion and elimination.

For our structure, our primary intention of a twist is to rotate the spine and the secondary intention is to adjust the relationship between the pelvis and/or shoulders and the spine. Twists are especially good if there is an imbalance in the relationship between the shoulders and the pelvis, twists can bring back balance.
The key technique when twisting is to control the spinal rotation from the muscles of the abdomen rather than through force of leverage by using our arms to force the twist. In order to appropriately use our abdominal muscles in a twist, we must be mindful of our exhale and remember to contract our abdominal muscles on exhale while twisting. That is, the KEY to spinal rotation and twists is exhale. For my students, it may be a good idea to do some breathing exercises that focus on contraction of the abdominal muscles on exhale before performing twists so that they can feel the difference of passively exhaling and by exhaling with a contraction.


Kinds of twists:
Twisting the lower lumbar: rotate the pelvis and stabilizing the spine or rotating the pelvis and the spine in opposite direction.
Twisting the thoracic spine: Stabilizing the low back area and then rotating the shoulder-thoracic area, or by stabilizing the shoulder-thoracic area and rotating the pelvic lumbar area or by rotating both in opposite directions.
Twisting the cervical spine: Has the greatest range of motion for most people. Twisting the neck is generated either by stabilizing the shoulder sand rotating the head, or by rotating both in the opposite direction.
Things to be mindful of while you are twisting , please do not do the following:

  • Twisting by forcing with levers(your arms or legs), or initiating the action of the twist without engaging the abdominal - again - exhale is most important.

  • Displacing the stable part of the body in the direction of the twist in order to avoid the twisting of the spine. However, allowing some displacement may be helpful for someone who is very tight or overweight.

  • Collapsing the chest over the belly also inhibits the twist, so the key to avoid this is the inhale and to make sure I tell my students to lift their chests before exhaling and don’t let it collapse. I see this one a lot in class, people drooping their shoulders etc...in order to avoid actually twisting.

Happy twisting!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Sweet Stuff

You may have seen some new sweeteners out on the market lately containing something strange called stevia. What is stevia? Huh?
Its an herb, and its natural and its very, very sweet and it has no calories.

Natural AND No Calories! I have died and gone to food heaven!
I have been using stevia for a few years now and it was not FDA approved as a food, so it was sold as a supplement, so you did not see it in a lot of products, until now. It seems that the FDA has approved stevia as a food (thanks to big companies like Coke and Pepsi) and its now popping up under the new name of Truvia, PureVida, Sun Crystals, and Sweet Leaf.

The OG (I'm so gangsta, ha!) is Sweet Leaf. That is the one I have been using for a long time. Its also the purest one as far as I can tell. It is very sweet, and has a kick of fiber as well. It works very well in drinks, smoothies and such. I have never tried to cook with it and I really don't plan on it. If I do bake, I will use raw sugar or agave nectar. But for your coffee, tea or smoothie - Sweet Leaf is perfect. They also have it in liquid form in lots of different flavors such as vanilla, lemon and chocolate. I loooooove the vanilla one! This one is produced by Wisdom Natural Brands and they only make 3 products, Sweet Leaf, a Mate Tea and Sweet & Slender. I tend to trust smaller companies more than the big guys, so this is my #1 choice.


Now lets get to the others...

PureVia is distributed by Pepsi. It will be put in all kinds of beverages and the first will be SoBe Life. I have not tried this one yet, but from the description it looks like its been more refined than Sweet Leaf and I automatically get suspicious when a huge company like PepsiCo is involved. But, hey, I may be wrong and it may be better than Sweet Leaf. I am open minded enough to give it a shot.


Sun Crystals...I have tried this one and I loooove it too. It does have some sugar in it, so the texture is almost the same as real sugar. This one is distributed by Johnson & Johnson. So, yeah, I get suspicious here too. However, the ingredients are sugar cane and stevia. That is it, and apparently you can bake with it - goodie!


Truvia...this one is made with stevia AND sugar alcohols. Sugar alcohols are very hard to digest and are not good for your tummy. So I have totally avoided this one. Its marketed as "Truvia - Natural Sweetener" not ALL natural sweetener. This one is manufactured by Cargill (a huge food company) and is being used by Coke. I am wondering if some fancy marketing shuffle is going on here with all of the sugar alcohol and such.


I do think that this is a move in the right direction. I just hope that the big guys don't mess up a good thing.
ALSO - the best option yet, and one I plan on doing ASAP is grow your own stevia! Its as easy as growing any other herb and then you know the source better than anything you could possibly buy in the store.
LOVE, LIGHT AND SWEETNESS!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Brrrrrrr....

So, my cleanse has taken a turn from internal to external. Since moving into the tiny "grandma" house I have to make the most of my space. In that spirit, this weekend I pulled out all of my tank tops and shorts and boxed them up as we wait for the warmer days of spring. I started to gather all of my cozy sweaters and cords to add to my tiny closet. And guess what, I am still purging clothes! I can not believe that after I have purged my closet 2 times, I am still at it. I am really letting go of things I do not need. Why do I need to hang on to that purple sweater my mom gave me 5 years ago? I keep it because my mom gave it to me and for some reason I actually feel guilty for donating it to someone who might like it! There is something fundamentally wrong with that, do you agree??? So - be gone guilt! be gone purple sweater! You are going to a home where someone will love you and you will keep somebodies arms warm and cozy.

Physically speaking the cleanse was much harder over the weekend. I ate OK, but I did indulge in some organic wine and I forgot to take my vitamins. I did dance around my living room doing NIA and some free style belly dancing and that was so much FUN. I sweated a lot, so I felt cleansed and happy. I will give myself a 5 out of 10 for the weekend. I am making up for it today! I had a wonderful juice of carrot, cucumber, spinach and a small apple for breakfast. Tonight I am making brown rice with peas and a spinach salad. The brown rice will give us the cozy warmth we are craving plus lots of fiber, the peas will give us more fiber and some protein and the spinach salad will give us iron, vitamins, minerals and energy! Mike and I are practicing yoga in my cool yoga room and then we plan on watching Dexter :) Part of the cleanse is to take fun time for you!

On a more serious note regarding Hailey - she is going to see her Oncologist this morning. She will get the low down on her prognosis. I hope we can get her to MD Anderson soon. I have great hope with that hospital. So please pray for peace, healing and wisdom for us during this time if you want. Thank you so much.
Love and Light,

H

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Cleanse Challenge Day 2


Well, day one went well and now I am on day two of trading my beer for a glass of green juice. I already have more energy and I have not even had any caffeine today! That is HUGE for me!


This morning's juice consisted of 3 big hand fulls of spinach, a small red apple and a carrot. It was gooooood. Carrots tend to overpower any juice, so if you do not like carrots, skip it. Just make sure you have tons of greens in there! That is where the goodness is! I also had a handful of almonds for some protein and fiber to start my day. For lunch I had organic butternut squash soup, a spinach salad with cranberries and oil & vinegar, and some more almonds.


Dinner tonight may be more vegan chili - Mike made it the other night and its so good. Yea, Mike made vegan chili. You did read that right. He made it darn good too.


Tonight's exercise (after I teach yoga) will be NIA - a free dance style of exercise. I lovingly call it hippie aerobics. Its SO much fun. Lots of drums and free movement is encouraged. I need to work out some negative energy that is creeping in with the stress of Hailey's pending move to Texas. Its all so up in the air, we have no idea when, or how long she will be gone, or who is going with her for that matter. Please pray for us! We need all the strength from the Good Lord we can get.


Its getting chilly out there and its time to bust out the socks and sweats. Keep warm out there my fuzzy-wuzzy darlings!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Anyone up for a challenge?

Anyone up for a challenge? I am.

As a yoga teacher I get asked all kinds of questions about health, well being, diet, and as a vegetarian people get annoyed with me at the dinner table. But believe me, I am not sitting up on my shiny, eco-friendly, green, vegetarian, yoga throne looking down on everyone who eats meat, drinks milk or does not know what down dog is. Seriously, we live in the real world here!


I also have a confession to make, I am not all that healthy. I really do make an effort to eat healthy, practice yoga daily; but beer, fried shrimp, sugar and chocolate all have a foothold in my life. So in an effort to practice what I preach - I wonder what it would really feel like to be as healthy as I can be for the next 21 days? It takes 21 days to integrate a new habit in your life, so this will be the 21 day healthy as I can be challenge!


I am always on Hailey's case regarding her diet, but who am I to talk the talk if I do not walk the walk? And I mean, really walk it - get down and dirty with it. Granted, I do not have cancer, but we all have the potential to get it and I DON'T want it. I started this journey yesterday by taking a "mental health" day off. I did not go to work, I read a Twilight book and sat on the couch for most of the day. Sounds very couch potato-e, but it was much needed! I also ate very healthy and took all my vitamins. I did a great yoga practice even though it was hard to peel myself off the couch and I went to bed at 10:00.


I am going to do my best to do this even with Hailey in the hospital, and me possibly going to Texas in the near future. What is the point of being healthy and good to your God Pod if you do not do it when you need it most - when you are under tremendous amounts of stress?


Here is my plan for the next 21 days and feel free to jump on board if you want.


1. Juice a very very very green juice every day

2. Add lots of fiber

3. Cut sugar out completely

4. Gradually go dairy free - ugh, we are the only species on the planet that eats another species milk, that should be enough to get you thinking about that one. I will even try vegan cheese and let you know if I die from gagging or if its as tasty as the reviews make it out to be.

5. MOVE every day! Yoga at least 4 times a week and incorporate dance, walking and hooping etc... Yoga is the best all around exercise - but I love to boooogie so I want to nurture that side of my spirit as well. What do you like to do? Bike, hike, dance? DO IT!

6. Prayer and meditation daily - reading the Bible and finding what God wants me to know right now in my life. If the Bible is not your thing, then please find something that inspires you and brings you closer to God. This will make the biggest difference in your life!

7. Less time on the computer and in front of the boob tube (I really feel my brain turning to cottage cheese some nights)

8. Eat TONS more veggies - eat the rainbow every day! Fiber, vitamins, delicious food...enjoy God's bounty!

9. Take more QUALITY time for ME

10. Use the support from friends, family, church family, my hubby and online community

11. NO more beer, its just not good for you on any level. If I do have an adult beverage, it will only be organic wine.

12. Drink 64+ oz of pure water a day

13. Phase out processed foods as much as possible, if processed food makes it into my body its going to have a very short list of ingredients

14. Take all of my vitamins and supplements

15. Alkalize my diet as much as possible (cancer loves an acidic body!)

16. Don't give up but do pamper myself when things get tough

17. Daily affirmations


I hope that this will cleanse my body of toxins that are hiding out in my system, give me more energy and balance my mood during this stressful time.


I will blog as much as I can and give you encouragement, feedback on food, recipes, yoga info, new ways to shake your groove thang and much more.


Any ideas, recipes etc...are welcome!


Love & light


Monday, October 12, 2009

New Life Now

As most of you know, Hailey's cancer is back. She has had MAJOR surgery to remove all of the tumors from her abdomen and is recovering at Athens Regional now. Her spirits are up and down, but the best thing she said to me all week is that "I know Jesus loves me!" That made my week. She knows that God does not want this life for her, the cancer is a product of the world. 

Last year I was a freak, totally trying to control the situation and make Hailey eat what I read she should be eating, drink what she should be drinking etc...and I was really trying to control a situation that I had no business trying to control. Now I have a "Peace that goes beyond all understanding" and its wonderful. This does not mean that I am not sad, or that I am not emotional about it, but at my core - I feel peace. This is a gift that I can only explain as something spiritual, beyond human comprehension and I am at a place where I can accept this gift. Its free, and nothing is expected in return. Go get you some. 

Monday, September 28, 2009

$UGAR

I always tell my clients that are looking to lose weight that its 90% what you eat and 10% exercise. The amount of sugar we eat is insane and it needs to be stopped! But, I am trying to eat a low sugar diet and its darn near impossible. Forget any convenience foods...or soup...or even my favorite hummus. I about keeled over when I saw that my favorite hummus had high fructose corn syrup in it...gag.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Balance

Balance postures have the value of strengthening the body, improving its structural integration, developing mental stability and focusing attention. Balance postures are organized into two classes, the first are leg balances and the second are arm balances. For example, Crow pose (see picture) is arm balance (not easy! but so good for your self esteem when you get it!). Leg balances strengthen the feet, legs and hips, and also help us refine the way we hold and move our body weight. Arm balances emphasize strengthening the muscles of the arms, shoulders, back, abdomen and pelvis. All balance postures give us a sense of increased mastery over our body and boost our self confidence. When we accomplish a balance pose, we feel focused, good about ourselves and possibly realize our potential as Yogis in both the areas of the mind and the body.

In balance postures the base our body is situated on is normally small and relatively unstable. The larger the base our body is balanced on, the more stable we become. The key to achieving balance postures is the ability to achieve equilibrium on an unstable base, using the displaced body weight as a counter balance. If we have tight ligaments or muscles it will be difficult to move the body weight sufficiently to create the counterbalancing effect necessary to maintain the posture. However, if we have loose ligaments and muscles it will be difficult to stabilize the joints where the body weight is transferred. Through study and practice of an asana sequence that addresses these particular issues in the Viniyoga tradition we can develop strength and flexibility where needed in order to maintain a balance posture.


It is very important to note that the breath plays an important role in balance postures. The breath will help us make the subtle adjustments necessary to achieve balance. Also, the eyes are very important in balance postures. We need to focus our eyes on a immobile spot in front of us and this will help us maintain equilibrium and focus. Focusing our eyes will also help our minds stay free from distractions.


Balance postures can have the components of forward bending, backward bending, twisting, lateral bending, extension and inversion. For example Tadasana is a classic extension posture, but when we add back bending, twisting or lateral bending, we displace our weight and then we are in a balance posture. These postures are great for strengthening the legs and feet.


In leg balances we need to watch out for lateral or backward displacement of the hips, collapsing the chest, twisting of the torso, excessive rotation of the supporting leg, jutting the chin forward or collapsing the head backward. In arm balances we need to watch out for collapsing the chest over the belly, ears toward the shoulders, sinking the pelvis into the arms, increasing the lumbar curve in inverted back bend balances.


There are significant risks to the joints in balances. In standing postures strain could come from trying to get the balance and contracting excessively in the neck and shoulders in order to achieve the balance. Also, in standing balance there is risk to strain in the low back and stress in the hips, knees, ankles and sacroiliac joints. In arm balances there is significant risk to the wrists, elbows, shoulders, neck and upper back. These risks can be minimized by adequate preparation for the postures and avoiding any force.


Try out some balances in your practice and feel the strengthening mental focus qualities of these beneficial postures!


Love and Light,

Heather

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Why Yoga?

Out of all the exercise programs out there, bootcamp, walking, aerobics, weight training...why choose yoga? Out of all of these styles of exercise, yoga is the only one that addresses the mind, body, breath and spirit. Its not just an exercise for your abs - its for your entire being. If you want to focus on your body's entire well being, yoga is a perfect addition to your fitness routine. I do see the value in other types of exercise, walking and light weight training is great for muscle tone and weight loss, but yoga is just...well...different! Try it out and see for yourself, you may be surprised at the results. Lean muscles, better balance, more flexibility and a happy immune system are just a few of the benefits of a yoga practice. Check it out:

Physiological Benefits of Yoga
Stable autonomic nervous system equilibrium
Pulse rate decreases
Respiratory rate decreases
Blood Pressure decreases (of special significance for hyporeactors)
Galvanic Skin Response (GSR) increases
EEG - alpha waves increase (theta, delta, and beta waves also increase during various stages of meditation)
EMG activity decreases
Cardiovascular efficiency increases
Respiratory efficiency increases
Gastrointestinal function normalizes
Endocrine function normalizes
Excretory functions improve
Musculoskeletal flexibility and joint range of motion increase
Breath-holding time increases
Joint range of motion increase
Grip strength increases
Eye-hand coordination improves
Dexterity skills improve
Reaction time improves
Posture improves
Strength and resiliency increase
Endurance increases
Energy level increases
Weight normalizes
Sleep improves
Immunity increases
Pain decreases
Steadiness improves
Depth perception improves
Balance improves
Integrated functioning of body parts improves
Psychological Benefits of Yoga
Somatic and kinesthetic awareness increase
Mood improves and subjective well-being increases
Self-acceptance and self-actualization increase
Social adjustment increases
Anxiety and Depression decrease
Hostility decreases
Concentration improves
Memory improves
Attention improves
Learning efficiency improves
Mood improves
Self-actualization increase
Social skills increases
Well-being increases
Somatic and kinesthetic awareness increase
Self-acceptance increase
Attention improves
Concentration improves
Memory improves
Learning efficiency improves
Symbol coding improves
Depth perception improves
Flicker fusion frequency improves
Biochemical Benefits of Yoga
Glucose decreases
Sodium decreases
Total cholesterol decreases
Triglycerides decrease
HDL cholesterol increases
LDL cholesterol decreases
VLDL cholesterol decreases
Cholinesterase increases
Catecholamines decrease
ATPase increases
Hematocrit increases
Hemoglobin increases
Lymphocyte count increases
Total white blood cell count decreases
Thyroxin increases
Vitamin C increases
Total serum protein increases
Yoga Health Benefits versus Exercise Benefits

Yoga Benefits
Parasympathetic Nervous System dominates
Subcortical regions of brain dominate
Slow dynamic and static movements
Normalization of muscle tone
Low risk of injuring muscles and ligaments
Low caloric consumption
Effort is minimized, relaxed
Energizing (breathing is natural or controlled)
Balanced activity of opposing muscle groups
Noncompetitive, process-oriented
Awareness is internal (focus is on breath and the infinite)
Limitless possibilities for growth in self-awareness



Exercise Benefits
Sympathetic Nervous System dominates
Cortical regions of brain dominate
Rapid forceful movements
Increased muscle tension
Higher risk of injury
Moderate to high caloric consumption
Effort is maximized
Fatiguing (breathing is taxed)
Imbalance activity of opposing groups
Competitive, goal-oriented
Awareness is external (focus is on reaching the toes, reaching the finish line, etc.)
Boredom factor (who does not get bored on the treadmil for an hour!?)




I would love to see you in class. Don't forget your first class is free and I have added 2 more classes to my schedule.




Love and Light!!!!!




Some of this article was contributed by abcofyoga.com

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

You...my students


Hello!
My goal as a yoga teacher is to teach students the amazing benefits of yoga. I want to reach people who would not normally take yoga, be able to afford yoga and those who have a passion for yoga. In this spirit - I am having a Fall sale on yoga classes. All drop in classes are now only $10 per class for a limited time. Also, all punch cards are on sale as well - you can get 12 classes for only $100!
Also, I wanted to ask you some questions...

Scheduling... what works best for you? Day classes? Evening classes? What time works best? Also, what days would you be most likely to come to class? Is it me or do most people start to check out later in the week? ;) Would you be more likely to come to a Monday morning class or a Tuesday evening class? I know for a lot of you, evenings are crazy busy, so I am thinking of adding some day classes to accommodate you.

What type of classes appeal to you the most? Restorative Yoga, Classical Yoga, Intermediate Yoga, Yoga for Toning, Beginner Yoga, Yoga for Stress Relief, Private Lessons

Let me know what would make classes more accessible to you...I want to know!

Much love and many blessings,
Heather
www.jacksoncountyyoga.com

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Yoga in Helen, GA

This past weekend I had the awesome opportunity to teach a group of people in Helen, GA. I had a blast! The weather was perfect, the rain held off and it was cool outside. We were on the deck at Smithgall Woods surrounded by lush greenery and a river of clear water. I hope to do more groups like this in the future.

It was a very interesting group to teach as some of the students had never taken yoga before, some had lots of experience, some were older, some were younger...and I had one student that declared at the beginning of class that she needed a cigarette and beer before we started! Ha! It was a fun group to say the least and lots of laughter was mixed in with our blissful surroundings. Viniyoga is perfect for everyone, as a viniyoga teacher I had the tools to teach everyone and offer several options for poses to make it doable by everyBODY.



Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Mmmmmm....breakfast

I love breakfast, its my favorite meal. However, I tend to skip it or just grab something sweet like a granola bar or a high fiber cookie. Yeah, a cookie. Its one of those TLC cookies with like 5 grams of fiber in it, leave me alone!


Anyway...really...we need to eat a good breakfast. We alllllllllllll know this. We have heard it all our lives, but who has time to whip up a good for you breakfast when you are not sure if you put mascara on both eyes or just one???

Well, I have come up with some solutions. I will share with you some great, quick, easy recipes that will get your digestive fire going in the morning and give you good, consistent energy until lunch.

The first recipe is for a yummy to the tummy oatmeal. This will take some prep work, but only one night a week.

Ingredients:


2 - 3 apples (depending on size)


1 teaspoon of grated ginger (fresh only please!)


1 teaspoon of cinnamon (honestly y'all, I am only guessing on the measurements, play around)


1/4 cup of dried cranberries (see if you can find the unsweetened kind)


water (or soy milk)


oatmeal


pinch of salt


butter


PURE REAL *NOT HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP* MAPLE SYRUP (I abhor high fructose corn syrup)

On a night when you are already cooking (this will save you time) cut up your apples, grate your ginger and throw about a pat of butter in the pan. Then throw the apples, ginger, cranberries and cinnamon in there...let it get all nice and soft. Turn the pan down low and let them go for a while. We are stewing the apples, not frying them.

Put your apple goodness in a bowl and store it in the fridge till the next morning.


Also, while you are at it, you can pre-measure out your oatmeal, salt and a dash of cinnamon for the next day, put it in a Tupperware bowl and have it ready for you in the morning. Maybe this will take some pressure off and you will actually get mascara on both eyes.

In the morning - if you have time - boil your water and cook your oatmeal the old fashioned way - on the stove. Mix in your apple goodness, a little pure maple syrup and enjoy.


If you don't have time for all of that, add water to the oatmeal, add your apples and stick it in the microwave until its done. I find that you have to add more water when you cook it this way, or it will turn out like a mass of goo that is not very appetizing. Go with the stove top if you can.

Hope this help with your morning rush! And don't forget to get all your makeup on and shave BOTH legs.

Love and Light,

Heather

Just Breathe...

How many of us think about our breath on a daily basis? Unless you have some kind of breathing disorder like COPD, you probably do not think about your breath too often. It's automatic, natural and we do not have to think about it. However, our breath is the bridge between our mind, body and spirit. So, our breath is vitally important to our inner being. In a yoga class you typically hear the teacher reminding you to breathe through the poses and make sure you do not hold your breath. Sometimes, more detailed instruction such as when to inhale and when to exhale in a pose are used as well. We also have something called pranayama in yoga. This is breathing exercises you can do either while performing a yoga posture (asana) or after your asana practice while seated. Pranayama is very powerful. It affects our deeper structure, our organs, helps with anxiety, depression and can balance our entire system. Think about it, when we get all frazzled and really stressed - our breathing gets all out of whack and we breathe faster, shallower and we may start sweating etc... When we are relaxed, we tend to breathe slower and feel a sense of calm. Also, animals that live longer, take fewer breaths per minute than animals that have a shorter life span. Take an elephant vs. a dog, a dog pants and breathes faster than an elephant, the elephant takes much fewer breaths per minute and lives longer. To see a great blog on this topic click here.

The breath is of utmost importance in yoga. The breath is called our prana, our life force. Without it, we will die. There are no ifs ands or buts about that fact. Our breath is a gift from God.

The breath is very important in the Bible as well. Take this passage from the book of John:
Again Jesus said, "Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you." 22And with that he breathed on them and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit.
In the KJV of the Bible the word - breath - appears 42 times, breathe - appears 4 times, breathed - appears 4 times, breatheth - appears once, breathing - appears twice.

So, take a deep breath, relax and possibly live longer. Sounds nice, right?

Namaste and deeeeeeep, long, cleansing breaths to you all.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

I know you do not want to hear it...

I know, I know...but you really need to read this one.
You do not have to become a vegetarian or start juicing - just start making better choices about your meat and you will feel better and make the world a better place for all of our animal friends, the water, the air YOU breathe and all plant life. Lets get back to eating the way God intended us to eat and I think that our world will be a better place!

Love & Light - Heather

Click the link below for a great article from Time about our food and how its manufactured.
Getting Real About the High Price of Cheap Food

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Good Eatin'


I made the best vegetarian stew last night, if I do say so myself. For most of us, vegetarian and stew do not go together, beef and stew - yes, but veggie stew - not so much. Well, let me change your mind with this delicious creation that Mike and I gobbled up last night. Today I ate the rest, now I feel like I am going to explode, but it was so tasty I could not help myself.

Coconut Sweet Potato Stew:

1 baking potato
1 sweet potato
1 can of garbanzo beans
2 cans coconut milk
1 can vegetable broth
1 zucchini
1 yellow squash
1 tsp - 1 tbs of flour
salt
pepper
curry powder
garlic

Crank up the oven to 400. Dice the potatoes into chunks, bake the chunks on a baking sheet, and put a little oil on the pan so the potatoes do not stick. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until tender but not mushy.

In an big ol' pot saute for just a minute or two the zucchini, squash and garlic, just to get them a little soft and to bring out the flavor of the garlic.

Drain the can of beans and rinse. Add the beans to the pot, and add the coconut milk and broth.

Now add salt, pepper and curry powder to your taste. Be careful with curry powder, too much can be overpowering. Taste as you go, then see what you need to add.

When the potatoes are finished baking, mash 1/2 of them and keep the other half chunky. Add the potatoes to the pot. Stir to break up any chunks of the mashed taters.

Let it all simmer for a bit on the stove top on medium until its bubbly. Taste for seasoning again and see if you need more salt or curry.

Sift about a tablespoon of flour or nutritional yeast (can be found at health food stores) over the top of the stew and stir like crazy. This will thicken the broth. Turn it down to low and let it simmer for another minute or two.

We had traditional flat bread with this meal, a light salad would have been nice too.

Enjoy!

Monday, August 24, 2009

De-mystifying Yoga Styles


Yoga is yoga, right?
Yes and no.
The definition of Yoga means to unite, to tie strands together, to bind, to unite the mind body and spirit. Obviously this theme should reign over all yoga classes and styles. That being said, every yoga class is different and different styles have different approaches. Here is a list of styles and a short description of each.

Viniyoga: This is the type of yoga I have studied for the past 18 months. My instructor, the wonderful Cheryl Zak, also studied Iyengar for years, so I got tastes of Iyengar as well. The practice of Viniyoga is focused on bringing out the best in each individual no matter what your current condition is. If you have old (or new) injuries, Viniyoga may be the best approach for you because this style takes YOUR body into consideration and the teacher does not look at you like member of the heard. Viniyoga is adaptable enough to be a vigirous practice, or a calming practice. Viniyoga gives you the tools to discover more about yourself and enables you to transform through yoga.

Iyengar: Props, props, props. The class I teach on Thrusday evenings, Restorative Yoga, is actually an Iyengar style of yoga. Viniyoga and Iyengar are similar, yet different. In an Iyengar class, you may do more headstands etc...than a Viniyoga class. Iyengar focuses on alignment, the differences in each persons body, and using props like blankets, blocks, straps etc...to correctly align the body and make sure the student is safe in the pose.

Ashtanga: Ashtanga literally means the 8 limbs of yoga. The classes marketed as Ashtanga yoga are a vigorous, athletic style of practice. It appeals to those who like a sense of order and who like to do things independently. There are several different "series" of poses that do not vary from class to class. This style focuses on purification and building stamina.

Bikram's Yoga College: Bikram yoga class is a twenty-six asana series designed to scientifically warm and stretch muscles, ligaments and tendons, in the order in which they should be stretched. This style of yoga is also sometimes called "hot yoga" because it is taught in a room that is 95 - 102 degrees. Expect pools of sweat! Due to the sweaty nature of this type of class students usually do not wear much, and Bikram has his own line of clothes to sell for these classes.

Kundalini: This is a more spiritual side of yoga. It is a physical asana practice but it is designed to awaken energy that is trapped a the base of your spine. Awakening this spinal energy is said to awaken your inner knowledge. The path of Kundalini is said to proceed from the Muladhara Chakra at the lower end of the spinal column up to the Sahasara Chakra at the top of the head. But its awakening is not thought to be a physical occurrence; it consists exclusively of a development in consciousness. According to some sources, awakening of kundalini brings with it pure joy, pure knowledge and pure love.

CLICK HERE for a cute quiz on which Yoga style is right for you.

There are more styles out there, but this covers the main ones we see today in studios, plus I am running out of time! Hope this helps!

Love and Light,
H

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Juicy Juicers

Many of you have asked what kind of juicer I am using and I am using this one:





This is a Hamilton Beach Big Mouth Juicer. It does not have that big of a mouth, you do have to cut an apple in quarters to get it in. Its a cheaper model, only around $75.00 and it has a pretty good rating on amazon, but its not the best by any means.

Drawback = wastes a lot of leafy greens, and some fruit, lots of foam, sounds like a plane taking off in my kitchen

Bonus = I can put a plastic grocery bag in the pulp catcher and it makes clean up much easier, and it was free so I can not complain

Result:it is doing the job right now, but I am planning on upgrading soon

Here is the skinny on juicers, I did the work, so you do not have to.

Juicers come in two types, masticating and centrifugal juicers. The one that I have now is a centrifugal juicer, which means that I turn on a motor, stick the fruit in the feeder and this mesh strainer spins and cuts the veggies then strains the juice out. The masticating juicer is manual, usually cranked by hand, and this screw looking thing inside squeezes the heck out of greens, wheat grass, sprouts etc...until the beneficial juice is extracted. Most serious juicers use the masticating juicer because it does not waste the food, heat up the juice (which can kill some of the enzymes even at a low heat) and you can juice wheat grass, sprouts etc...and actually get juice out of it. Right now when I juice sprouts, I have to use a lot to get anything out of them with the juicer.

If you have a serious disease like cancer, its important to get as much as you can out of the juice. In this case I would recommend that you spend the cashola and get a masticating juicer like this one:



I present to you the Greenstar Juicer recommended and used by Kris Carr and many other health goddesses. It costs around $45o and has very high ratings across the board. You can make nutbutters, raw ice cream and juice wheat grass with this baby. I however do not think this one is for me because of the cost and I think for my relatively healthy God pod, I can do with something more reasonable.



Something like this...

This is the Brevelle Juicer Pro and it goes for about $270.00. It gets awesome 4 - 5 star ratings across the board and Breville also has 2 other models that have variable speeds, pulp baskets, wide mouths etc...all at reasonable prices. The 900 watt one is only $160.00 and the smaller Juice Fountain is only $99.

For a link to juicers on Amazon - click here

Happy juicing y'all xoxoxo

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Cucumbers, Kale and an Apple, oh my!

So far juicing has been great! I have not been doing it long enough to see any real results, but what I notice immediately after drinking my fresh juice, I have some pep in my step. I honestly do not feel the need for caffeine like I normally do in the morning. Considering the ingredients sound less than delightful, let me assure you, even Mike liked it. After I forced a sip down his throat and he actually said "not bad!"
Take that into consideration as you read the following recipes. These are the two combos I have been drinking since Sunday.


Green Monster:

1 pear

handful of each:

kale

sprouts

spinach


Green Apple:

1 apple
1 cucumber

handful of each:

kale

sprouts


Seriously, its good and the fruit takes over the drink. I am going to try beet juice tonight...



Thursday, August 13, 2009

Crazy, Sexy goddess..

I love this woman. She has been an insperation to my sister through cancer, and I have learned so much from her its amazing.

Time to clean out the pipes...and the blood, and the liver...

I have cleaned out my house and my closet...its time to clean my temple.

After a summer of stress, about 100 Fat Tires (and bud lights), more fast food than I'd like to admit, lack of sleep and lack of a standard yoga routine, its time to cleanse! I am starting a month long cleanse on Sunday. Giddyup!

I have stolen my sister's juicer (insert evil laugh - muahhhaaa) and I will using this sucker every day. I will juice greens, veggies, some fruit, grasses, ginger etc...I will also be eating more "whole" foods and much less processed food.

Juicing has amazing benefits according to those who do it regularly. The enzymes from the raw veggies make your skin glow, remove toxins from your body, give you a "boost" with out caffeine, and totally do a body goooood. The over processed veggie juices in the grocery store are nowhere near the same, they are loaded with sugar, additives etc...to make them taste good. I will hopefully find some combos that do taste good so I can stick to this plan. I will be sure to share recipes and blunders along the way.



On this cleanse I am also giving my poor worn out liver a break, so no alcohol for 30 days, at least. I am also (since I am finally settled in the new casa) going to start practicing yoga asana at least 6 times a week if not every day. Yoga is a lifestyle for me, so I do practice some form of yoga (part of the 8 limbs...another blog for another time) every day - but asana is the fire that gets the toxins OUT of your precious, beautiful body.

Wish me luck, and have you ever cleansed? Tell me about how you cleanse. How do you feel different? What has worked for you? Anything really nasty and stupid that you have tried?



PS. My sister NEVER uses her juicer, if she did I would have never taken it. Maybe if I find some good juicing recipies she will start...

Yoga in the Evening...

Last week I talked about a morning yoga practice and how it can change the whole outlook of your day. A morning yoga practice can really give you extra pep in your step and make you even more pleasant to be around (if that were possible, I know you all are super perky and niceness goddesses at all times!)

So in the effort to balance our lives we would also need to practice some yoga in the evening. I recommend practicing pre-dinner or at least 2 hours after you eat so you don't get nauseous. A gentle approach works best for evening yoga so we do not over excite our systems before we catch some ZZZZZZZZs. Start with some gentle warm ups like Apanasa (knees to your chest), then move to some gentle twists and some more postures that keep you grounded on the floor. You can add a standing asana or two like Uttanasana, but I would not recommend you do anything too energetic like a bunch of Triangle poses or Warriors...remember we are trying to get some good sleep! I highly recommend Viparita Karani (legs up the wall) for a good 5 - 10 minutes. This pose is awesome if you have trouble sleeping, it calms the nervous system, very soothing, and its just an all around great posture. Take your time getting up from this pose especially if you have high blood pressure. Use caution with any inversion if you have high blood pressure or any eye problems. I highly recommend using an eye pillow when in viparita karani and just let yourself MELT into the pose.

Night, night...sweet dreams and don't let the bed bugs bite...

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Less is more


Less is more v2
Originally uploaded by gawy.gawy
Less clothes, less space, less stuff = less laundry, less vacuuming, less cleaning = more time, more reading, more yoga, more conversations, more games, more laughter, more rocking on the front porch, less decisions to make and so much more!

Also, not having a dishwasher = less time doing dishes believe it or not...plus I never run out of spoons or mugs. At our old place we ran out of spoons and mugs all the time...now, we just drink, eat, wash and dry...finito!

I never knew I would enjoy less so much.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Be transformed...


Solitude at Iona Abbey
Originally uploaded by VaMedia
Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. - The Book of Romans

Many people think yoga is just about stretching and practicing headstands, but yoga is not about learning poses, its about learning about ourselves. By learning about ourselves, we can break old habits (patterns) and therefore transform our body, mind and spirit.

Yoga allows us to take time out of our busy schedule that is always screaming GO GO GO and take time to reflect, renew and maybe even begin to see what God's will is in our lives. We can achieve this by practicing asana (the physical part to balance our energy), reading sacred texts and then taking quiet time to reflect. If we do not take time out of this world that is always screaming at us to do something, buy something, invest in something, clean something, eat something, watch something, play something...then how can we hear what God's will is?

How does the passage from the Book of Romans above affect you? How do you think a consistent yoga practice can help us no longer conform to the patterns of this world and help us renew our mind?

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Morning Yoga


Morning Yoga
Originally uploaded by Peter Bowers
Yoga in the morning...what a delicious way to start the day. I am an admitted sleepy head in the morning, so sometimes I sleep too late and I do not have enough time to squeeze in a morning practice. On the days I do get up and leave at least 45 minutes for a well rounded practice - I feel like singing all day! Good Day Sunshine! I have more energy sans the caffeine, and I am more peaceful throughout the day.

Your morning yoga practice should be different than our evening yoga practice. In the morning I typically to do more standing poses, some sun salutations, and more back bends than I do for an evening practice. This is because back bends, standing postures and dynamic series like sun salutations tend to be more stimulating.

I follow up my asana practice with some pranayama (breathing exercises) and a short meditation...short only because I know I need to let the dogs out, get in the shower and get on with my daily routine. Evening tends to lend itself more to a longer meditation time.

Morning yoga makes the grind of a typical work day a bit more peaceful and centered, tempers do not flare as quickly, the day seems to move at a reasonable pace, and the mind is sharp.

If you practice yoga at home regularly, I recommend you try getting up a bit early and do some morning yoga. See how this practice influences the rest of your day.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Tiny Closet

In my old monster house I had a master closet that would make most women and some men drool. I could do a cartwheel in it. I had visions of turning it into a diva-esque space complete with a chandelier and a jewelry cabinet. The diva closet never came to be, but the point is I had room for it.

The hubby and I went to check out our new casa again over the weekend and we took a hard look at closet space...or lack of it. I am going to need to purge even more in order to make this work. This time I am going to take clothes to Plato's Closet and see if I can get some $$$ out of it. So far, I have donated so much to the clothing closet at our church, he said that he will not get to all of it for a month or two.

Do any of you live in houses with smaller closet space? If so, do you have any suggestions on how to keep it organized? Also, we do not have a linen closet, and the full bath is tiny, so no room there for a towel rack or storage shelf. Any ideas on what to do there?

All suggestions are appreciated!

Love and Light
H

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Down Dog


Down Dog
Originally uploaded by Allen81
Lets talk about yoga.
Specifically, lets talk about the posture called down dog. If you have ever taken a yoga class or watched a yoga DVD, you have seen down dog because it seems like every yoga teacher on the planet thinks that this is the "base" pose for yoga. I tend to disagree with this theory because it is a difficult pose to do, much less master and it's very challenging for beginners. This leads to frustration and can make someone just check out of yoga for good when a student hears "now your heels should be touching the floor." Wait, what? Are you kidding? I can't do this yoga stuff! Argh! Then the mat and video they purchased is sitting around with dust bunnies gathering because they have been told by someone that they are not doing it right.

Let me set the record straight if I may...
Your heels do not have to touch the floor in down dog. Actually, your legs do not even need to be straight. As a beginner, you can practice down dog at the wall, with a chair and then move to the mat. The trick to this pose is to get a light feeling in your hands and take the pressure off of your wrists. How do you do this you ask? By lengthening your spine and lifting your hips!

If you can not picture what I am talking about, just watch your dog stretch in the morning. They do down dog and up dog several times a day - and there is hardly any weight on their paws. All the energy is going into their hips and spine.

Also, for those of you who know me and my pooches, that picture (believe it or not) is NOT Blue Girl! It was the first picture that came up on flicker when I typed in down dog...how funny! :) I love the universe!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Can mass produced food be healthy?

I have a confession to make, I eat lots of mass produced food, mass produced, frozen "healthy" food. I also cook a lot, but most of the time that includes something from the freezer and maybe some fresh veggies. The question that has been rumbling around in my head lately is: can mass produced food be healthy? I am a vegetarian, so I eat a lot of frozen veggie burgers, "chicken" patties, protein bars and the like...and I love them. However, even if its vegetarian and marketed as "good for you" is it really?

I could easily spend an afternoon and make delicious homemade veggie burgers in a big batch and freeze them, I could also make my own protein bars for when I am on the go. This is another one of my goals, to start making the mass produced stuff I normally eat myself.

What are your thoughts?

Thursday, July 23, 2009

And you thought oregano was just for spaghetti...


oregano ----
Originally uploaded by rbyers_nc
Since I have been cleanising my outside world, I thought it was time to do the same for my insides. I am starting a month long cleanse today. I could shorten it to two weeks if I wanted to double up on the doseage, but I think I will wait to see how it goes for a week on the 1/2 dose. This cleanse targets candida in your gut. Symptoms of having too much candida in your gut can range from craving sweets, headaches, cold hands and feet, bloating, sinus problems, panic attacks, depression, chemical (smells) sensitivity, hives and much more. I know that this covers a lot, and sounds like we could all have this issue, and I bet most of us do. The treatment is either a diet where you don't eat anything that causes yeast to grow and that includes: sweets, simple carbs, vinegar, dairy and any fermented products including alcohol and soy sauce...I have actually done this one before and I do NOT want to do it again, so this time I found a cleanse that includes herbs that get rid of candida such as oregano oil, pau d'arco bark and lots of other good stuff.

Hopefully I will not be too cranky or tired, but the pay off will be worth it! I gurantee I will feel MUCH better and have lots more energy. My tummy will be happy and my mind will be clear. Speaking of the tummy and mind...did you know that over 90% of seratonin lives in your gut? Its true! So if your tummy is not happy, you will not be happy.

Wish me luck.

Monday, July 20, 2009

To microwave or not to microwave...


Microwave incident
Originally uploaded by celestehodges
In our new casa, we do not have a built in microwave, or a dishwasher...

So, Mike was at Target yesterday (he has not taken the no-shopping pact with me) and called me to say we needed to get a new microwave for the house. Well..he hates the microwave, so it struck me as kind of funny that he would be the one to bring this up. He is convinced that it causes cancer and will burn out your eyes if you stare at it too long...and he may be right...

So, I said lets try life with out one for a bit...what are your thoughts on the microwave? Is it a good thing, or a bad...or neutral???