Happy Holidays!

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Don’t let tension and stress dampen your holiday excitement.

Even if you’re having fun, adding just a few extra activities and commitments to an already full plate can be stressful. Remember that during all the holiday hustle and bustle it’s important to take care of yourself.

I’ve talked a lot about self care this year, I have felt a need to look after myself more lately and to fill up my cup, before serving others. That’s a really difficult thing to do. Self care can feel selfish or like your neglecting other people or other tasks. Have you ever laid on a massage table trying to relax only to find yourself thinking about all the things you should be doing instead? I have.

But I hope you know that true self-care is an act of love. So keep your cup full – You cant serve from an empty cup. You can’t take care of others if you’re sick, burned out, or just too cranky to care. Filling up your cup doesn’t have to be time consuming or do damage to your budget.

Being relaxed, in body and mind, makes it easier for you to accomplish all the wonderful things you want to do for family and friends. So here are some tips for making the holidays a little less stressful.

Breathe –  (you knew I was going o say that didn’t you)Take long, rich, centering breaths throughout the day. Spend just a few minutes in quiet breathing can help relax your body and mind.

Listen to your body – And not just in Yoga class. Many people ignore or even override their body’s needs. Doing that can lead to injury or illness and nothing is worse than being sick over the holidays! To increase your chance of staying healthy during the holidays listen to your body. For example, take time to eat if you feel hungry and nap if you are tired. Seriously Napping is my happy place!

Laugh it up people –  Humor is great for stress reduction. Do something that makes you laugh. Watch your favorite funny movie or check out comedians on Netflix or Youtube. Go hang out with friends and tell each other the stupidest jokes you know. You know the ones that make you groan….. Here I’ll start ..

 How many yoga teachers does it take to changes a light bulb?  ….. Only one, but she’ll need four blankets, a bolster, six blocks, and two straps

Listen to calming music – Soothing music helps relax your body. Nature sounds can also help reduce stress.

Take a holistic health approach – Self-care means paying attention to more than how much you eat or exercise. It also requires paying attention to your thoughts, feelings, expectations, and interactions.

Do something creative – Write a poem, start a book, get out the finger paints and a big piece of paper, and express yourself. Make. Create. Enjoy the process with no expectations.

Give – There are so many opportunities to give, so many people and organizations in need. Pick something close to your heart and give the way you can and remember most organizations get a lot of financial donations this time of the year but what they really need are your helping hands!

Be grateful – The day after Thanksgiving, Giving thanks seems to go right out the window! Keeping up with your gratitude practice  can help you stay upbeat, optimistic, energetic and less stressed.

Take a walk – I know I’ve talked about this before but the Japanese call it ‘Forest bathing’. I Love that! Go outside, bundle up if it’s cold and head out with the your only intention of just noticing the beauty around you. Don’t worry about burning calories or tracking steps, just enjoy yourself. Breath the fresh air and get that blood pumping.

Respect your budget – The old finance, banker lady in me is all about a budget. Once you figure out what you can spend on extras like holiday gifts, events, and other holiday things, honor that. If you splurge now, you pay even more later. And later comes sooner than you think.

Alright there you go a few ideas for staying happy and helthy during the holidays. Do you have any special things you do for self care? Let us know share your ideas in the comments or on my facebook page. I love hearing for all of you.

Namaste and have a wonderful Holiday season.

Om Shanti

Cheryl

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Rock your Paripurna Navasana

 Rock the boat

Let’s talk about Paripurna Navasana aka Boat Pose, just a few quick tips for finding balance and connecting to your core strength.

In Sanskrit, “paripurna” means ‘full’, or ‘complete’, “nava” means boat, and “asana” means pose;  Full Boat Pose.

This is one of those poses that can truly challenge people even those that have been doing yoga for some time.

Getting Into Full Boat Pose:

Sit on the floor with knees bent, feet flat, and legs together. Slide your hands a little behind your hips, and lean back slightly on your ‘sit bones’ without putting to much weight on your hands.

Draw the navel center in and up (uddiyana bandha) and lift your feet a bit off the floor.

Try putting your hands on your thighs and make sure your front body stays open and that your back does not round. Try to maintain length in the spine throughout this pose.

Draw your shoulder blades back to open your chest and broaden through the collar bones. Keep the knees at about a 90 angle, parallel to the floor.

If you’re stable and comfortable you can slowly begin to straighten your legs.

Now, try reaching your arms forward alongside your legs, palms facing down. If you are unable to raise your arms while in Paripurna Navasana, you can gently hold the back of your thighs.

Breathe steadily and hold for a few breaths.

Taaa Daaa Boat pose!

Have fun with this and let me know how you do~

Benefits of Full Boat Pose:

  • Tones and strengthens your abdominal muscles
  • Improves balance and digestion
  • Stretches your hamstrings
  • Strengthens your spine and hip flexors
  • Stimulates the kidneys, thyroid and prostate glands, and intestine

bost cropped If I look very serious here it’s because I set the camera on a timer and I set the timer for what felt like 20 minutes LOL

Om Shanti

Cheryl

Daily Cup of Gratitude………. Working

I am grateful I have a job (several actually), we live in economically precarious times, as I write that previous bit the little voice in my head ( aaa shud’up, you have one too) pipes in with ‘but havent we always’, and yes I suppose we have, but the situation seems much worse now, economic collapse, high unemployment, retirement funds derailed, wow I have to stop watching the news. But I digress, yes I have several jobs, I teach yoga in a few different places, I train a few private clients and I work part-time at a bank. And I am grateful for each gig.

I am grateful that I am able to work, I know there those, who for one reason or another can’t work, So I am grateful my body is healthy enough to allow me to work.

I am grateful that I love what I do, yep folks I’m one of the lucky ones. I actually LOVE what I do, I love the folks I work with at the bank and the job allows me just enough freedom that I don’t get bored (the kissofdeath for me),  and Iconsider myself blessed to have the opportunity to teach yoga and to use what I know to help people get out of pain.

Nothing is perfect, no job is perfect, and no body is perfect. We just have to get up everyday and look for the joy, the laughter and at least some bliss in the things we do. If you have a sense of humor and an attitude of joy, then joy will find its way to you. In all that you do.

Om Shanti

Cheryl

PS having said all that I am sharing a very funny ‘Cat in the Hat’ poem about work 🙂 That should make you smile.

Butternut Squash Soup YUM!

I make a mean Butternut squash soup and I have tried to write down my “so-called” recipe. But when you write the way you cook it sounds like this…..

Peel and chop up squash, roast it , oh wait toss it with EVOO  and a little salt, then roast it. Oh and along with the squash roast a small sweet onion, a couple of smallish carrots, a sweet potato and a couple of apples. No garlic, yes I know your thinking WHAT! She puts garlic in everything. But really, it just doesnt work in this soup, the garlic over powers the squash. Maybe some day I will try it will a mild, roasted, sweet elephant garlic but until then leave it out. Trust me. So the stuff roasts until, well …when it’s done. When the veggies are golden brown and have rendered some sweet veggie sugars into the bottom of the pan. OH WAIT, go back. Before you put the veggies in the oven, line your roasting pan with foil. As I was saying, when the veggies are fork tender put them into a soup pot with just enough veggie broth to barely cover the top of the squash. Use a little of the broth to deglaze the roasting pan of all the veggie goodness. Set your stove on medium heat and get out your immersion blender. Blend to your little hearts content. Sometimes I like my soup creamy and sometimes I like it with more texture, it is all up to you and your taste buds.  You have an immersion blender right? Well if you don’t you can just put the veggies in a blender, in batches, and wrrrrrrr away until they are smooth adding just enough broth to make it easier to blend, add it all back to the soup pot. Voila! Soup! Add salt and white pepper to taste. To serve it sprinkle the top with a little curry powder or cayenne pepper. Maybe swirl in some sour cream, Creme fraiche or greek yogurt. You can also top it with fresh herbs.

This goes great with a side salad of autumn greens top with slivered almonds and garlic cheese toast on the side. You know I had to bring garlic to the table somehow. What kind of cheese toast you ask? Well how about a nice mild camembert or creamy goat cheese, lightly browned under the broiler.

There you go, a great vegetarian (vegan if you leave out the cheese and wrrrr some garbanzo beans into the soup, but thats another post) dinner or lunch, heck I’d eat it anytime YUM.

Om Shanti

Cheryl