Sunday Inspiration 34 April 29, 2012

“Life takes on meaning when you become motivated, set goals, and charge after them in an unstoppable manner.”

Les Brown


The YOGA BREATH – a microcosm of all we are April 23, 2012

Breath is the most basic of all life functions – it’s the first thing we do on earth, and the last thing we do when we leave this world. It is what nourishes every cell, what makes us alive, yet we are too often so unaware of the quality of the breath and it’s power to influence how we feel, how we move, how we are. When we concentrate hard or are in pain, we tend to hold the breath, but breathing into the pain and through the challenging movement or situation is so helpful! It’s a gift to give ourselves – breath awareness.
I found this lovely simple deconstruction of what makes up a breath, and how each breath is a microcosm of all the elements of our lives. 
Breath really is the basis of all yoga… uniting mind to body, movement and breath, and so uniting body and spirit, and so reaching for enlightenment.
“The inhale is an expression of Self, of receiving, of making a place for me on this earth
The rest at the top of the breath is an expression of strength
The Exhale is about the Other, about giving, sharing
The rest at the bottom of the breath is about trust. Trusting in silence, trusting in the body, trusting in the world.”
 -Bersma and Visscher (Yoga Games for Children)

Lymphatic System Cleansing Breath April 19, 2012

As I went through my Chair Yoga Certification with Lakshmi Voelker, one of the things I found most interesting was the process of our Lymphatic System and how much it needs our attention to function at its best.  I’ve shared this breath with my students, and I like to pair this breath with Eagle Pose.  Eagle Pose squeezes the lymph nodes found under the arms, and in the groin.  This helps to emphasis the action of the breath by forcing the toxins away from the glands. 

I invite you to read the following information from Lakshmi.  Take the time to understand it, and then take the time to apply it.  You’ll reap the same benefits whether your on the mat, or on the chair.  It’s simple and takes a minimal amount of breathing with awareness to help you body function properly with less toxins,  and the only side-effect is calm and clarity! 

Be well!  Ericka




Understand the power of the breath. Your body is as healthy as its cells. Healthy cells mean a healthy blood stream (circulatory system). Breath is the control system that cleanses the blood stream. It gives oxygen to cells and controls the flow of lymph fluid in the body, which contains white blood cells that protect the body and cleanses the system.

The lymph system is the body’s sewage system. Every cell is surrounded by lymph. We have 4 times more lymph than blood. Blood is pumped form the heart through the arteries to thin porous capillaries. The blood carries oxygen and nutrients to the capillaries where they are then diffused in to the fluid around the cells called lymph.

Cells take necessary nutrients and oxygen for their health right out of the lymph and excrete toxins back into the lymph. Dead cells and toxins then go into the lymph system to be drained out of the body. If the lymph system shut down for 24 hours, we would die as a result of trapped blood proteins and excess fluid.

The blood stream has a pump, the heart. The lymph has only deep breathing and muscular movement as its pump. We must breathe deeply to help stimulate lymph movement.

Learn how to breathe first. (Then, look into your eating habits and body movement. For those of you more interested, visit my Web site to learn about The Rebounder.) Deep breathing creates a vacuum that literally cycles the lymph thorough lymph nodes and, thus, the blood stream; it multiplies the pace at which the body eliminates toxins.

Deep breathing and exercise accelerate this process of cleansing 15 times its normal pace. Fully oxygenating the body has got to be our number one priority. One out of three Americans get cancer. Only one out of every seven athletes gets cancer. Why????? Athletes are giving the body oxygen regularly. They are firing off their internal vacuum—the lymph system—that is then cleansed through the circulatory system. More oxygen gets to the cells and fewer toxins stay in the body.

In the lymphatic system cleansing breath we need to breathe at the 1:4:2 ratio.

We hold the breath four times as long as the inhalation so we can oxygenate the blood.

We then need to exhale twice as long as we inhale because exhaling eliminates toxins such as excess carbon dioxide from the blood and activate the lymphatic system.




The lymphatic system cleansing breath goes as follows:

Start the breath deep within the abdominal area

Inhale for the count of 1

Hold the breath for the count of 4

Exhale through pursed lips slowly for the count of 2.

Conclude each ratio with one inhalation through the nose and one exhalation through the mouth.

Continue the ratio 9 more times for a total of 10 rounds three times a day.

Gradually increase the ratio as the days and weeks pass going to 2:8:4 then 3:12:6 and on till you can comfortably get to 7:28:14. This may take a few weeks to a few months to obtain


UNLESS April 18, 2012


After a long-anticipated wait, my children and I finally went to see one of our favorite books-turned-big-screen:  The Lorax.  It is a cute movie, and the kids and I enjoyed it.  But it was the moral of the story that is playing over and over in my head like a mantra:  UNLESS.  That night I realized this simple yet powerful word is the pivot for many of the decisions we make.

I have been reading a lot of disturbing data lately about the “pink slime” and GMO’s in food.   It would be naïve to assume that food manufacturers necessarily have human health or repercussions in mind.  Unfortunately, “wholesome” is not always the most cost-effective way to produce food.  The Uncle Ben character in the Spiderman movie famously said, “With great power comes great responsibility”. The simple truth is that money often trumps a truly “healthy” product.  Unless we pay attention, we could blindly consume foods barely fit for a dog.

In Monday night’s yoga class, Ericka shared a startling fact, quoting that approximately 75% of all illnesses are brought on by stress.  As she pointed out, today’s American society is all about “bigger-ing” ourselves:  being a supermom, having the best yard, the cleanest house, working tons of overtime to be the best employee, etc.  Idle persons may be viewed as unproductive or lazy.  When in reality, a little daily downtime is extremely beneficial.  For our own health, it is better to concentrate our efforts on just a few things that are most important to us.  Ericka said that taking a few moments out of every day to breathe in deeply and exhale completely will help to relieve some of the tension.  It then dawned on me that “UNLESS” not only applies to external obligations, but also to our inner selves as well.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am just as guilty as anyone else of overloading my proverbial plate and ignoring healthy habits.  However, now I plan to ask myself “Unless” often, and try to make a conscious effort to make necessary changes.  Unless I choose to eat foods that nourish my body I may feel sluggish.  Unless I exercise regularly, I will lose strength and stamina.  Unless I monitor my stress levels, I can make myself sick.  Unless I allow myself a few moments for deep cleansing breaths every day, I am not only cheating my over-all health, but also of a life I deserve. 

“Unless someone cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better.  It’s not.”  – Dr. Seuss

Yours in Health,



Sunday Inspiration 33 April 15, 2012

“Attitudes are contagious.  Make yours worth catching.”



Pasta with Sausage and Tomatoes April 11, 2012

'Real Simple Magazine" Pasta with Sausage and Tomatoes

My goodness it’s been way too long since I’ve shared a recipe with you all!  The growth of YOUYOGA has kept me away from the stove, but I can’t say that I’ve been disappointed with not having to clean the kitchen; however, from time to time you just want something that taste like home.  So, I looked through my stack of “healthy eating” magazines for some new inspiration.  I came across a recipe from Real Simple magazine that caught my attention……mostly because I had all the needed ingredients right at my finger tips.  Never underestimate the power of a well stocked pantry and how it makes it ” real simple” to get a quality meal to the table. 

I always keep a variety of canned tomatoes, canned beans, dried pastas, along with low-sodium, boxed broths on hand.  Then all I need to do is add some fresh veggies and some spices…….presto, dinner is ready!!!  That pretty much sums up my recipe selection tonight, and whenever I can get it all into one pot the deal is sealed.  Whenever I can pack it with spinach and beans I’m even more happy.  So tonight we’ll be serving Pasta with Sausage and Tomatoes.  I used a pre-cooked chicken sausage, but I so no reason why you couldn’t use a vegan substitute, or just omit the meat all together.  I also modified a couple of the steps to save on time, and the quality of taste wasn’t effected in my opinion.  Let’s get to the YUM! 

You’ll need the following the ingredients:

1 tablespoon of Olive Oil

1 14.5 oz can of diced Itialian tomatoes

1 15.5 oz of Great Nothern Beans (drained and rinsed)

2 gloves of garlic, minced

3/4 lb of pre-cooked chicken sausage,  vegan subsitute, or nothing!

12 oz of your choice of short, whole wheat pasta (I used about two handfuls to reduce calorie content.  I seleceted Rigatoni, because I had it on hand)

3 cups of pre-washed baby spinach

salt and pepper to taste

grated Parmesan, for serving

Thinly, slice sausage on an angel.  Add to pan with olive oil and minced garlic on medium-high heat.  Cook until warmed through and slightly golden.  Meanwhile, boil water with olive oil and salt for pasta.  Add tomatoes to pan with sausage and warm through.  Layer spinach ontop of pan mixture, then add drained and rinsed beans to pan.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Cover with lid and let simmer.  Cook pasta to al-dente ( 1-2 minutes less than recommended on instructions, because it will continue to cook once placed in pan with sausage and tomatoe mixture)  Once pasta is cooked, drain off reserving 1/4 cup of pasta water.  Add pasta and water to pan.  Continue to cook without lid to allow sauce to thicken.  Serve with grated Parmesan if desired.



YOUYOGA Kids: Junior Yoga Instructor Program with Danelle Drury April 9, 2012

We’re looking forward to having your child(ren) participate in YOUYOGA Kids:  Junior Yoga Instructor Program.   You might be wondering what exactly is Kids’ Yoga?   Well, at YOUYOGA we believe it’s a combination of many things, and over the course of 6 yoga practices your child will experience the following:

First, we tap into your child’s creativity by pretending we’re animals or elements that occur in nature; such as  large mountains.  When we use our creativity we also learn to think for ourselves, and challenge our minds.

Movement is another aspect of YOUYOGA Kids.  By practicing asana, also known as yoga poses, your children will build strength and focus. They’ll also learn to appreciate their bodies, and what they are capable of accomplishing through consistent effort and awareness.

We’ll also focus on your child’s love of sound.  Connecting movements through song helps to build brain power, which is great way to increase memory.  The children will also learn the names of poses along with various breathing techniques.

The best part about YOUYOGA Kids is: During the 6th session each child will lead part of a yoga practice sharing with their families what they’ve learned.  That’s right……they’re going to teach YOU!  At the end of their instruction they’ll be presented with a Junior Yoga Instructor Certificate.

At YOUYOGA, we believe that sharing yoga with your child  can help promote self-awareness, discipline and self-confidence. It’s the ultimate learning through play!  We can’t wait to get started!  Here are the dates for the summer session, and we’re looking forward to seeing you there.  Each class is limited to 12 students, so don’t delay:

Summer Sessions:


Wednesdays, May 9 – June 6

4:00 – 4:45 pm, Ages: 5-8

5:00 -5:45 pm, Ages: 9-12


Wednesdays, June 13 – July 25

4:00 – 4:45 pm, Ages: 5-8

5:00 -5:45 pm, Ages: 9-12


Cost: $54 for each 6 week session