Sunday Inspiration 14 October 16, 2011

“If you put yourself in a position where you have to stretch outside your comfort zone, then you are forced to expand your consciousness.”

Les Brown


4 Ways To Increase Your Balance: Part 1 October 14, 2011

The second most common reason I hear people say they can’t take part in a yoga class is…..”I can’t balance.”  My response….. that is the second most important reason why you should begin a yoga practice.  Our ability to balance peeks at the age of 25 years, and then slowly diminishes as we age.  Signs of losing balance may not appear until around the age of 40.  My mother always told me that things begin going down hill after 25…..I guess in some ways she is right. 
The good news is we can keep pushing our way up that hill with a little knowledge and practice.  It’s most important that we work towards keeping our balance.  Having balance can translate into better posture, improved sense of self, reduced risk of falling, and maintaining independence in our later stages of life.  Keys to improving balance requires attention on 4 parts of the body:  the feet, the thighs, the core (stomach muscles), and lastly the brain.  Espouse a true belief that your balance can improve.  If you keep thinking you have bad balance…..guess what?  You’ll keep having bad balance!  What we believe usually correlates with what we experience in our lives.  It’s time to change our thinking.
I will share with you some simple exercises during this month that you can begin now to help improve your  balance.  We’ll first begin with the feet.  You will need a towel; hand-size towel will work fine, and a stable chair. Let’s get to work!
Foot Exercise: Towel Scrunch
Begin seated in your chair.  Lay the towel out flat in front of you with the short edge of your towel facing your toes.  Move forward bringing your sitting bones to the edge of the chair.  The feet face forward, while the legs make a 90 degree angle by stacking knee over ankle.  Draw the bellybutton to the spine, as you move your shoulders over hips.
Pick up your right toes while the heel of the foot maintains contact with the floor.  Try to spread the toes.  Place them on the edge of the towel, and with your toes alone; heel of foot rooted, begin to scrunch/gather the towel towards you.  Repeat the action of extending the toes to gather the towel, and contracting the toes to pull the towel towards you. 
Once you have gathered all of the towel begin the opposite action of pushing the towel away with the toes alone.  While you are working with the foot try to maintain body awareness, and don’t forget to breathe.  Once it becomes more easy to perform this exercise increase your repetitions.  Gathering the towel towards you, then pushing the towel away from you is one set.  Eventually, work your way towards 3-5 sets with each foot. 
As you perform this exercise know, and believe that you’re working your way towards better balance.  This exercise can be done every evening while you’re watching your favorite shows.  Have fun with it.  Set a goal and challenge yourself.  Get your family involved……who can scrunch the towel the fastest?  Most importantly, remember that the smallest steps lead to the greatest results. 
Check back this month for more exercises to help you improve your balance. 
  To Read Part 2 Click Here

Community Yoga For The Girl Scouts of America October 10, 2011

Filed under: YOUYOGA — YouYoga @ 1:39 pm
Tags: , , , ,

This coming Sunday, October 16 at 11:30 a.m. YOUYOGA will be hosting its monthly community class.  All donations will be given to The Girls Scouts of America in honor of  Taylor Jackson.  Miss Jackson was a student at AKKA…..unfortunately her young life was taken in a house fire this month.  She was a member of the Girls Scouts, and her family requested that funds be given to the organization in memory of their daughter……YOUYOGA is happy to be a part of helping that request be fulfilled.

Such events are a reminder that life is fleeting, and there are no guarantees for the promise of another day.  So, each morning you arise have gratitude in knowing that the new day is a gift.  Be sure to do something, no matter how small, meaningful for yourself.  Remembering that when you do good for you……it’s easier to do good for others.  We hope to have your presence this Sunday, but if you’re not able to attend and still would like to contribute please feel free to leave donations at AKKA, 9653 W. 87th St., Overland Park, KS. 



Inspiration 13 October 9, 2011

“Those who cherish a beautiful vision, a lofty ideal in their hearts, will one day realize it.”

James Allen


Itchy Throat? Well, Inhale Deep….Then Hum! October 5, 2011

With allergies still upon us…many of us are looking forward to the first frost.  It’s not that we desire a long winter, but we just want some relief!  Often times when I get an itchy throat I reach for antihistamines, crunchy foods, or I make a terrible throat sound that startles the kids, as well as the dog.  Luckily for my family, and myself I have come across a new approach.

It’s known as the yoga humming breathe, or Brahmari.  As the exhale is released through the form of a hum the vibration soothes the throat, along with the ear canals.  This style of breathing is also thought to loosen congestion in the chest.  And just like all forms of conscious breathing, the humming breathe improves blood circulation helping to create a meditative state of mind. 

To accomplish this technique come to a comfortable seated position with shoulders positioned over the hips.  Draw in a deep breath, then release the breathe with sealed lips through the action of a hum, you should sound like a bee, until all of the air is emptied from the lungs.  If you notice any tension in the face, slightly separate the teeth while keeping the mouth closed.  For optimum benefits repeat Brahmari breathe 10 times, or for 3-4 minutes. 

I have been using this technique for the last several days….it has been working for me.  Not to mention, it takes me back to nice memories of humming in my childhood backyard as I played outside on long summer days.  May the humming breath bring you some relief, and just maybe a little nostalgia too.


Zesty Spinach Soup October 4, 2011

I’m so grateful that the temperatures are cooler….fall is truly my favorite time of year.  It’s also the time when I bring out my big soup pot….another one of my favorite things is a meal that can be made in one pot.  Simple ingredients, minimal time, and oh so good yummines that just gets better as the week extends.  The first soup made this season in our family kitchen was Zesty Spinach Soup from Tosca Reno’s Eat Clean Cookbook.  This soup is great for a quick meal packed with vital nutrients, and most of the ingredients may already be in your pantry.  If you’re real hungry it’s nice to pair it with a green leaf salad, or a grilled provolone cheese sandwich on seeded bread.

This soup includes a hearty helping of spinach which contains high levels of readily absorbed calcium.  And let’s not forget the quinoa, which is a relative to the green leafy vegetable.  Quinoa  is a complete protein, which simple means it includes all nine essential amino acids. Quinoa is also well-endowed with the amino acid lysine, which is essential for tissue growth and repair.  It’s also a good source of magnesium, iron, copper and phosphorus.  But, even with all of that good health news….the bottom line is its good, and very satisfying. 

Let’s get to the YUM!  You’ll need the following ingredients:

2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 red onion, peeled and coarsely ( if the onion is large, half will work fine)

1 thick carrot, peeled and coarsely chopped ( 1-2 handfuls of baby carrots sliced on an angle will work fine)

3 cloves garlic, passed through a garlic press, or finely chopped

1 tsp of sea salt

Pinch of black pepper

6 cups low-sodium chicken, or vegetable broth

1 14.5 oz can of low sodium, petite diced tomatoes

1/2 cup of quinoa

2 cups white kidney beans, well rinsed and drained

1 tsp curry powder

Pinch of ground nutmeg

3 cups baby spinach

Heat oil over medium heat in a large soup pot, add onion and saute until translucent.  Add carrots, garlic and salt.  Saute until vegetables are golden, about 5 minutes.  Add stock, tomatoes, quinoa, beans and spices.  Bring to a boil, cover and simmer over low heat for 15-20 minutes, or until the quinoa is tender.  Add the spinach and cover.  Season with salt and pepper and serve hot.


Want more info on Quinoa?  Visit: WHFoods: Quinoa – The World’s Healthiest Foods


Sunday Inspiration 12 October 2, 2011

“Don’t confuse being busy with being productive.  Achievement and purpose can’t be rushed.”

Whole Living Magazine, October 2011, p. 95