Become Your Hero - Yogashero
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Want to reduce inflammation for the whole body? Here’s my product review of the CryoSauna!

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Do you experience inflammation after an intense workout, run or yoga? Would you rather have a mood boost to boot and reduce inflammation? Well, here’s my review of the top on-trend treatment for inflammation of the body, Cryotherapy. Most high end sauna places recommend you go at least twice to three times a week to get the full benefits. But, I wanted to at least try cryotherapy at least once to see if it’s worth it.

Back in the day, I was invited as a guest for a health service review of a high-end local studio. The guests were taken in groups of 4 on a tour of the entire facility. I remember ending the tour by seeing someone’s husband immersed inside of what looked like a science fiction, Star Trek-like steel chamber. It was truly something out of a futuristic dream. This chamber called the cryosauna looks similar to a stand-up tanning booth with foggy steam coming out of it. But, let’s be clear. The fog should not be confused with nitrogen gas emitted from the cryosauna. You know it’s more techie than fog. For me, the real experience took place about a month later.

I was asked to strip down to underwear and was told to put on two layers of socks and gloves. Next, put on my robe. The attendant was nice as she kept the conversation flowing for the next five minutes. The average time for women inside the cryosauna is about 2:15 seconds while the average time for men is 2:30 or more. I took off the robe and remember feeling intense coldness mainly on my arms. The attendant suggested I put my arms along the upper edge perimeter of the cryotherapy sauna. The coldness immediately felt tolerable. After walking gently around in circles, almost like a doggie trying to figure out which way to go, my two minute time was almost over. Afterwards, I felt a more alive as though I had adrenaline rush. It was a happy experience, not at all stressful. I slept better and no longer had any achy quad pain from running or biking.

Cryotherapy makes claims to alleviate the symptoms of chronic conditions such as arthritis, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, autoimmune disorder, psoriasis, dermatitis and osteoporosis. Studies even in Europe have show the whole body cryotherapy eases symptoms of mood disorders, anxiety and depression.

Temperature stress has physical benefits. Cryotherapy induces a short duration temperature stress to the body,” explains Dimitris Tsoukalas, M.D., leading expert in the application of Metabolomics and Nutritional Medicine in chronic and autoimmune diseases, as well as the author of How To Live 150 Years In Health. The hormones released during stress — cortisol, adrenaline, and dopamine — increase our ability to withstand pain, fatigue, and hunger. They also decrease inflammation and related symptoms.” Dr. Tsoukalas goes on to state that appropriate responsiveness to cold, mental stress, physical strain, dehydration, fasting, etc. is a crucial prerequisite for a sense of well-being, adequate performance of tasks, and positive social interactions. He explains that a pioneering Austrian-Canadian endocrinologist, Hans Selye first observed stress and defined it as ‘the nonspecific response of the body to any demand for change.’”

According to Mental Floss, the vagus nerve is literally the captain of your inner nerve center — the parasympathetic nervous system, to be specific. And like a good captain, it does a great job of overseeing a vast range of crucial functions, communicating nerve impulses to every organ in your body. New research has revealed that it may also be the missing link to treating chronic inflammation, and the beginning of an exciting new field of treatment that leaves medications behind. 

Here are the TOP 5 Benefits from using Cryotherapy.

  1. The Happy Boost – The cryotherapy allows the body to release endorphins into the bloodstream, and one feels their mood increasing after the session. The endorphin interact with pain receptor, reducing the perception of pain. Cortisol levels are reduced making the body happier and relatively more relaxed than entering the chamber itself.
  2. The Collagen Surge – There are facial cryotherapy session that help lessen the appearance of wrinkles, increasing the skin’s collagen. According to one of the top Cryotherapy providers, routine cryotherapy treatment can help rejuvenate the collagen matrix, improving skin’s surface and reducing the appearance of cellulite and fatty deposits at the skin’s surface.
  3. The Chronic Pain Reduction – Each person is different. For those suffering from general body pain, cryotherapy reduces pain and fatigue. Results will vary but most patrons will feel pain relief for a few hours and others will have pain relief for days. One study regarding fibromyalgia patients showed that after 15 sessions of cryotherapy, pain levels were improved.
  4. The Decrease in Inflammation – I sought out cryotherapy because of prior spine surgery of my L4-L5 lumber herniated disc. I rarely get pain from this surgery but believe in prevention as means to stay healthy. I’ve tried mung bean baths from Chinese Medicine to massages but found this cryotherapy to be most promising for my body.
  5. ICE is the best natural inflammation reducer – However, cryotherapy reduces inflammation throughout the body so the healing can take place in more than one area at a time. According to Mental Floss, the vagus nerve is literally the captain of your inner nerve center — the parasympathetic nervous system, to be specific. And like a good captain, it does a great job of overseeing a vast range of crucial functions, communicating nerve impulses to every organ in your body. New research has revealed that it may also be the missing link to treating chronic inflammation, and the beginning of an exciting new field of treatment that leaves medications behind. 
    So, go ahead and kill the pain with one cold stone cryotherapy treatment or multiple ones. Many athletes use cryotherapy because the treatment can help them recover from their sports activity. Since joint and muscle strength is increased, athletes can sports-train sooner which usually improves their outcomes. The muscles are not frozen so you can exercise sooner. Blood flows are also restored in the body through vasodilation. Unlike ice bath, muscles don’t need time to recover after cryotherapy. So, enjoy this one cold cryotherapy!

By: Dena Perry,

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Dena is a certified yoga teacher 500- CYT in the Chicagoland area, product developer and beauty executive with Beautycounter. She specializes in yoga with back care, meditation, breathing and vinyasa flow techniques. She currently teaches yoga for two large corporations in Chicago. Her passion, as a wellness blogger, is sharing ideas that improves the quality of life for human beings. It’s all about being happy, healthy and helpful! Namaste!

Top 5 Things To Think About Before Building A Small Organic Garden

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Want to commit to a healthier organic lifestyle? Why not grow a raised small garden table at home? We saw, too, that we no longer needed to buy or hire a plow, or drag a cultivator, a tiller. To dig in raised garden beds, we needed only a few tools: a fork, a rake, a shovel, dirt, wood, mesh and a hand trowel – all inexpensive. Much to our surprise and excitement, the beds of composted clay soil that we prepared and planted last spring soon produced an abundance of healthy and delicious vegetables.

Here are some considerations you should think about first before making the “deep dig” into building your home garden.

  1. Consider getting healthy plants from your local garden greenhouse or organic farmers. I typically visit all the local garden stores in the area. I am a big fan of farm to table food. I interview the head gardener to figure out exactly where the farms are located. If the plants are grown too far away in another state, the certainty of its organic status is weaker. If the plants are grown within a 50-mile radius, you know that maybe the seller keeps his transportation costs low and values local produce. Consider asking, “Are these plants grown in greenhouse?” “Do you offer any organic certification on the plants?” It’s always good to ask a lot of questions.
  2. Decide if you want a raised garden. The one thing that I love most about my personal garden is that is raised for easy accessibility. No intense back bends are required to prune or water the plants. My petite garden is about 30 inches high, 4 feet deep and about 8 feet long. Also, it’s more difficult for animals to gain access to your green garden goodies.
  3. Make the table size manageable for your and your family. If you decide to build a garden, just get 2×4 wood pieces and hammer away. Make sure to buy steel or clean metal net for the base of the garden table. Most rectangular herb gardens are about 2×4 feet in dimensions. If needed, you can buy a garden mesh material to lay on top of the metal net for added moisture retention. Think about your lifestyle. If you live in an apartment, it will be so much more convenient to have a table garden as most apartment complexes do not have an outdoor yard. LA DUH!
  4. Install some kind of DIY water irrigation system. Are you Type-A person who manages your day down to the minute? If yes, you can go ahead and water your plants daily and skip to number #5. If no, like most of the world’s citizens, we’ve got a solution you can install on your own or hire a plumber. AHH! Buying an timer based system to water your plants will be one the best decisions you’ve ever made. The one that I like the most for garden newbies –who want to take their garden game to the next level– is the Rain Bird. I’ve got this one in my raised garden too. You will likely buy the water heads and the hose system together. This small system can also be purchased from Home Depot. Get out there. Besides, if you are single, it’s a great place to meet men too. Ask the Home Depot attendant to help you or if you are an online shopper, use this link to buy the irrigation system from Amazon.
  5. Create an attractive critter-proof barrier. I use marigold flowers along the perimeter of my flower bed to prevent leaf eating critters. Second, I periodically spray the leaves with vinegar water. Third, I’ve heard from my yogi friends that lemongrass is an effective way to prevent certain bugs as well. Try adding lemongrass oil to your natural vinegar spray and let nature work its miracles. In summary, when you combine the height of your small garden with natural repellent spray, you’ve got a winning garden strategy. It’s gardening made simple!

Tell me about your success story on IG: @yogashero by @denadoddlife

Enjoy!

 

 

 

Why Do I March As A Doctor?

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This past Saturday was the heralding of a revolution. Seems like a strong term however the impact it had on me as a woman, mother, daughter and physician felt just that strong. This past year has been an interesting one to say the least however my work as an obstetrician gynecologist still drives my passion. As a women’s health provider, I have learned that women’s health issues are many times passed to the back of the line when it comes to research, technology and funding. Hard pill to swallow but has not deterred my desire to educate, empower and enhance the lives of my patients.

Saturday, January 21st was historical for many reasons, not for the causes that we all marched for, unfortunately these have been there for many years. Our marching became a global event as the rest of the world joined in. I have never been more energized by those that surrounded me as we stood in solidarity for what we believe in. Violence or contention was not in the vocabulary, just our voices calling for equality as well as equity. Equity in our health, careers and also not to be victimized for our race, religion, sexual preference or genitalia!

When I have witnessed women denied for surgery, contraception or even a well woman exam because they were not covered by insurance, these are the moments that come to mind as I placed one foot after the other on the Mall last weekend.

To deny women the ability to come make sound decisions when it comes to their bodies, this is why I raise my fists in the air to show my disdain.

I had the pleasure to march with my residents who spend hours upon hours in the hospital for their training in order to provide women with exceptional care. To think they may have to fight policies and politicians in order to perform abortions or insert IUDs is appalling to me and sad that I cannot present to them a glimmer of hope in the fight for women’s rights.

Every day that I go to work, I speak to so many women that balance being a mother, wife, having a career also with various life hardships. I march so that whatever I can do to ensure their reproductive health is complete and exceptional. The journey of my quest to embolden my community has just begun and I hope to inspire more women along the way.

By Jessica Shepherd, MD, Gynecologist Expert

How to prepare for yoga class…

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3 Ways to Stay Prepared With Your Yogashero Bag

There once was a yoga teacher who loved the look of distinctive designer bags. This same yoga teacher also didn’t enjoy the feeling of having her water bottle just out there waiting to tip over, or double checking for her keys and wallet, or looking too slouchy and having to switch bags before meetings. She had a spark of an idea and thought, “Maybe I could do this designer yogashero bag that is highly functional and fashionable.” Shocked that there were no upscale long lasting yoga organizer bags, Dena designed her own sleek yogashero bag line. She followed that passion and worked tirelessly with a select CAD designer, made edits to the design and endured late nights. The patented Yogashero was born!

Dena developed a NEW vegan, stylish, patented yogashero organizer bag that holds your 1) mat, 2) water bottle to keep you hydrated, 3) wallet, 4) phone and built-in clip and your 5) keys with extra top pockets for clothes, papers, etc. We like to call them… THE BIG 5 ESSENTIALS. The easy access 2-way single zipper opens to the shape of a heart. The yoga organizer is 32” long and big enough to hold the Manduka Mat. You can’t find it anywhere except here online.

With more than 20 million practitioners and 90% of those practitioners carrying more than two or more items to class, many yoga students including the inventor would benefit from this new lifestyle yogashero organizer.

1.PURGE WHAT YOU DON’T NEED

As soon as you get this blog, get a Yogashero organizer like ours which I highly recommend in cold climates like the Northern, and Midwestern states and all rainy states. You really do not want to have a soggy mat going to yoga or pilates class. It’s just no fun trying to clean it before class or trying to practice on a damp mat. Protect your yoga mat with a yogashero bag that fully covers all of your belongings plus the mat itself. Everything is protected. 

There are many benefits to having this kind of yoga bag. Once you get your new yogashero bag, make way for just the essential yoga items. Go to your personal everyday handbag and grab any belongings that you really need. Get your keys, wallet and phone from the handbag and gently place them into your yoga bag. Add your mat and water bottle to your yoga bag. Acknowledge all the other items in your purse and let it go. Pack everything you need and travel to your yoga fitness class. Now, you are ready for yoga and maybe back to work meetings if you need to do so. It gives you more versatility. 

2.SET YOUR INTENTION BEFORE CLASS

Figure out what matters most to you. If it is peace, then let go of whatever you don’t need before your fitness routine. Get your water bottle to stay hydrated, your keys for the car, your wallet for incidentals, your mat and phone. Set your intention on being more mindful before class by arriving early, giving a smile to the receptionist or teacher, closing your eyes and stating your intention. Then, load your belongings into the cubby or locker. Bring your mat and water bottle with you to your class. Rest into child’s pose and patiently wait to begin class. Exhale!

3. GET ORGANIZED WEEKLY

Once you go through this exercise, you’ll feel so much more at peace throughout your day, knowing where your things are. So, I encourage you to remove clutter on a weekly basis, centrally consolidate your items in your yogashero bag and take just 5 to 7 items with you to class. Wash your yoga towel daily or weekly. Get rid of old, grumpled paper receipts. Clean the face of your phone and your mat with vinegar and water or hand sanitizer. Just get cleaned up and organized for every aspect of life including your yoga practice. Always aim at organizing your day and everything will be well.

“Keep only those things that speak to your heart. Then, take the plunge and discard all the rest. By doing this, you can reset your life and embark on a whole new lifestyle.” – Marie Kondo

By: Dena Dodd, Founder of Yogashero.myshopify.com 

What are the top three poses for pregnant women?

My Top Recommended Yoga Poses for Pregnant Women

Right now, Ciara, Beyonce and Yoga Girl are all expecting. Maybe, you are or know someone who is pregnant? Being pregnant can create a little havoc on the daily routine. First, your lower belly likes to expand daily in ways it’s never experienced before now. Second, your hormones will make a metabolic shift to increase the crazy cravings for everything from ice cream to pickles. Thus, you will realize you will still have to eat, think and move so you might as well do those things to increase your overall well being. And, love yourself like nobody else’s business.

Here are the TOP three poses that will support you the most during your pregnancy. Place your back onto a wall for poses 2 and 3 listed here for even more support as your continue your yoga practice.

  1. Bhavadvaja’s Twist – it is a seated twist. Start in seated position. Then, windmill both feet towards the left. Root down on the sit bones. Place right foot into lotus by lifting the right foot onto left hip crease. Take an inhale and try to root down evenly on both sit bones. Slowly, rotate the upper torso towards the right on the exhale. Place the right hand just beyond the right sit bone and place the left hand onto the right thigh if it’s accessible to you today. http://www.yogajournal.com/pose/bharadvaja-s-twist/

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  1. Extended Triangle Pose – it is triangle lateral pose. Start in front heel lunged forward along the midline to back arch or the opposite at a 45 degree angle. Lift the chest and extend both arms along the midline in to Warrior 2 pose. Pull the back hip back and swing the torso downward until your hand reaches a block or your ankle level. Extend the opposite arm towards the sky. "triangle-pregant-pose"
  2. Half Moon Pose – it’s an extended lift of the leg pose. Place your back onto the wall. Lunge one foot forward along the midline to back arch with the opposite foot at a 45 degree angle. Lift the chest and extend both arms along the midline in to warrior two pose. Lift back leg high off the mat and pull the upper torso down. Extend both arm vertically into what feels like a straight vertical line. Lift the chest forward. Place your lower hand onto a block for added support."half-moon-pregnant-mom"

So, for the Moms-To-Be, enjoy your blissful time expecting your little baby miracle. Hope this helps you with your yoga journey with peace and love in mind on a daily basis.

Enjoy,

Dena Dodd Perry 500-CYT/MBA

How to do dreams relate to my yoga practice?

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How do we define our dreams in yoga?

“Dreams exist not just to convey one meaning, it can be meant for more than one. This has something to do with the collection of unconscious and conscious thoughts of the dreamer. Dreams inform the dreamer of the condition. One common condition is the healing process. Thus, it sets balance to the dreamer’s life. So when we understand the emotion that is driving the dream, the charge that it has over us is neutralized, and we are naturally healed, which is the intent and purpose of our souls journey through this life.”

According to Sigmund Freud when he studied dreams, he named an area of our brains called the subconscious where the mind stores all of our memories and desires. He believes that dreams are the visuals of the subconscious. According to Freud, every symbol in dreams originated from a thought or desire that buried in the subconscious mind. For more on Freud, go to here.

When we meditate and breathe in yoga, we become more and more aware. What I do know is that the more we are aware of our memories and desires, the more we can connect with the universal consciousness or God and have more appreciation for karma. I do believe karma is the cycle of memories and images popping in our heads that influence our emotions whether its happiness or sadness. The more we become aware, the more we become one with our own mental space and the power of dream is lessened or neutralized. From my visit to the Chopra Center, dreaming is one of seven states of consciousness. It is subject to the object of experience and it’s fuzzy with no real logic. You know how you have dream about your “teeth falling out”…you awake thinking “what does this mean?”  It typically is releasing karma from the past and signaling a form of anxiety of some kind. In summary, our dreams are vague experiences as a state of consciousness. So, dream on and realize our dreams are abundant and everyone deserves to have a dream that is not to be judged but just to be observed. There is enough air in the world for all our dreams. 😉

By Dena Dodd Perry

Yoga Teacher 500 CYT/MBA

Here Are My Top 10 Reasons Why You Should Do Yoga?

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TOP TEN REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD DO YOGA!

Why do yoga?

1. Yoga restores balance in mind, body and spirit. Balance is the key in everything in life — what we do, think, say, eat and feel. Our organ, respiratory, lymphatic and skin are all major organ systems that require balance (the inhalation with exhalation, yin with yang…rain with sun…etc.) They all require awareness.  And, through awareness and breath, we can let go of those things that no longer serves us.

2. It can reduce stress. It’s the dope stress reliever. You no longer need medicine if you practice in every way.

3. Yoga encourages you to learn the truth about yourself at any given moment. Being present, non-judgmental and patient with yourself are key yogic principles.

4. It’s a good workout and great way to get strength training and flexibility. With gentle stretches, you can use yoga as a form of injury prevention.

5. Yoga can ease the pain from injury through breathing technigues.

6. It helps you to sleep better.

7. Yoga can reduce the pain from headaches am lower blood pressure.

8. Improves your posture. It’ll get you in touch with your body senses, emotions, images, feelings.

9. Yoga can take you on a spiritual journey with kindness while getting a good workout.

10. Give you a more peacefule state of mind. Meditation is about paying attention to present moment with intention without judgment.

For an overview of the 8-limbs of yoga, go here.

TO SEE FULL INTERVIEW VIDEO on Star Planet TV, click here. Go to post for February 8, 2017. Thank you for tuning into our Chicago vibing conversation.

Peace and Love,

Dena

Founder of Yogashero

Why should you shop for safer beauty products, even desert-inspired ones?

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Desert Inspired Better Beauty

These grey skies are giving us a serious case of spring fever. What better way to treat it than with desert-inspired hues for eyes, cheeks, and lips? Warm up your look with our newly-released Limited Edition Desert Sunrise Palette, including two never-before-seen eyeshadows. We’re absolutely swooning over how this collection of shadows and blushes brings desert colors to life. Plus, we’re introducing two totally new Lip Glosses, Coralbell and Beeblossom, to add bright contrast and complete the spring vibe.

The desert-inspired collection is special for all of us at Beautycounter. I’m consistently inspired by its transquil openess, resilient beauty and glowing light. With each color, the collection expresses how the whole desert awakens with each sun burst on an early morning sunrise and how each new day is filled with infinite possibilities. Each of its silky smooth powders consists of 3 shades of blush and 6 eyeshadows ranging from luminescent neutrals to deep burgundy. Beautycounter meticulously paired complimentary colors to create endless day-to-night looks that flatter every skin tone. Some of the shades have a shimmer sheen like the desert at dawn. So, have at it with glowing style and shop today here.

All of this is developed so you can shop for beautiful shades that are safe for your body. Why is this important? Unfortunately, the beauty industry has not been regulated since 1938. So, after thoughtful research from the spunky female CEO, Gregg Renfrew, Beautycounter took on the fight for safer beauty laws that reduces toxic exposure for you and your family. The company believes in beauty safety education first and products, second. As you can see from the model above, you don’t have to compromise beautiful products for safety. 

Here are my top 3 reasons why you should shop at @Beautycounter:

  1. Every ingredient is selected, tested and combined to ensure a safer beauty result for you and me. No other company does this ingredient selection process in this way.
  2. Beautycounter does its own recalls. If we find any trace amount of an ingredient on our never list, we issue a company-wide recall. Not many, if any of the beauty companies, do this.
  3. We’ve banned over 1400 known toxins from EVER being added to our beauty products so you can relax when you shop with us and know you are getting better beauty products and the truth based on the latest beauty research.

Enjoy!

Dena

Director, Beautycounter

Want An Effective Nutritional Vanilla or Chocolate Detox Smoothie Cleanse?

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Looking for an anti-bloat boost? Feeling bloated after the holidays? Try my 10-Day Detox Vanilla Smoothie Cleanse from Orenda. It’s really refreshing and tasty.

Detox Vanilla Detox Smoothie

Love entering the New Year with a pep in my step. But, when I look down after holiday meals, I always need a distressing, deflating detox for that 40-something belly of mine.

The detox cleanse that my doctor recommends most to her patients is the Orenda- CleanBurnShape. Yes, I am on the 3rd day and it is definitely working. I’m not feeling hungry at all or losing my mind with thoughts of cravings of a sugary doughnut. Actually, I’m feeling superb and on top of my running-yoga game. The reason you don’t feel hungry is because you are allowed to eat nine servings of fruits and vegetable a day and 1-2 legumes or beans per day. By deploying these healthy eating habits into my diet, I am feeling more satisfied with the added fiber. So, say YES, to more fiber, not the old folks Metamucil in this case! We will save that recommendation for a another day. 😉

Everyone has different goals. My goals are to reduce the belly bloating and increase my energy levels …and of course, not go crazy and want to strangle someone at any given moment.

Why Detox…

Our bodies build up toxins through the food we eat, water we drink and the air we breathe. Let’s face it we have more pollution and junky food everywhere these days. The goal is to reset the body back to its healthy nutritional state which increases its ability to ward off pesky toxins. We excrete the toxins with using the toilet and sweat it off during a work out.

How Detoxification Works…

The key components of the body play a critical role in the elimination of wastes – circulatory, digestive and lymph. The circulatory system pumps blood throughout the body, delivering oxygen to and carrying waste away from cells. The digestive systems processes the food we eat and separating nutrients from waste and eliminating anything the body does not need. The lymphatic system collects intracellular fluid from throughout the body and transport it to the lymph nodes where anything harmful can be removed.

What Other Activities Help…

I like to run and do yoga. I try to walk and run at level 7.0 for 10 minute intervals then, finish with at least a 45-minute meditation then a yoga asana sequence. I am a yoga teacher at the a local coporate headquarters in Chicago so that part is easy at least.

So, I admit I like the Vanilla Shape Nutritional Shake with very cold Almond Milk. The shake mixture is creamy and not chalky with a little grit. Some powder residue goes away if you shake or stir it very well for longer than 30 seconds. You don’t microwave single thing. You’ll get all the nutrients, protein, fiber and Omega 3s you need from the green Shape drink. So, I’ve got you! Be happy. Be healthy. Be helpful and tell your friends. Here’s my link to the effective 10-Day vanilla smoothie-based detox cleanse called Clean. Burn.Shape.

My tip of the week is to mix Clean right away in the morning with water and take the Burn pill. Make your Vanilla or Chocolate with very cold mixed 1:1 ratio of Almond Milk and Water. You can even add 1/2 avocado to the smoothie if you need to smooth out any sensitivity to grit.

I like to make a big pot of homemade lentil soup to start my cleanse of right. I typically eat this for dinner every night if I’m really busy with kids. It’s filling and very savory for sure!

Here’s my LENTIL soup recipe:

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Ingredients:

1/4 cup of olive oil or coconut oil

2 medium onions chopped

1 cup of chopped carrots

1 cup of chopped celery

1 package of lentils soaked overnight

1 qt vegetable broth

Seasonings including bay leaves, lemon pepper and fresh 8 basil leaves chopped and 8 stalks of oregano leaves

1tbs. minced garlic, salt

3 tbs. Worchestershire sauce and 3 tbs of Balsamic vinegar

1 package of frozen mixed vegetables

Directions

1) In a large soup pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions, carrots, and celery; cook and stir until onion is tender. Stir in garlic, Worcestershire sauce, Balsamic vinegar, bay leaf, oregano, and basil; cook for 10 minutes.

2) Stir in lentils, and add 1 qt. vegetable broth and frozen mixed vegetables. Bring to a boil. Add water as needed. Reduce heat, and simmer for at least 1 hour. Cook longer until beans are soft to your taste. Garnish with your favorite herb.

Yoga Checklist Revisited: Wanna get reconnected to the truth about Yoga?

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8-Limbs of Yoga Sketch

Yoga Basics101: What are the 8 Limbs of Yoga?

We think we all know what yoga is about or at least have an opinion about the percieved trendy fitness practice!! But, the poses are just one limb of the 8-limbs of yoga. Yoga involves many areas of focus and has ill-contrived notions about its roots. Is yoga a religious Buddhist ritual? What is the difference between concentration and meditation? Continue to read on..

Here’s a short Cliff’s notes designed to give you a renewed overview of the basis of yoga. About 300-500 B.C. Pantanjali, an Indian sage wanted to overhaul the yoga of the yester years and make it sustainable and process-oriented. So, he created the 8 limbs of yoga. The eight paths called ASHTANGA which literally means “eight limbs.” These 8-steps act as a guide on how to live a more meaningful and purposeful life rooted in the truth. It is a journey for moral and ethical conduct and self-discipline. It directs you on a journey to focus more attention to one’s health and help to acknowledge the spiritual aspects of our nature. Yoga has been scientifically proven to improve the health of patients worldwide according to Harvard studies. We will review the 8-limbs of yoga to better understand what awareness means in a non-monolithic way which leads us to happier and healthier lives.

Why did Pantanjali create the 8 Limbs of yoga?

  • Add breath to the body
  • Add structure to yoga
  • Make the practice non-religious

Yama – 1st Limb acknowledges one’s ethical standards and sense of integrity, focusing on our behavior and how we conduct ourselves. It connects us to the universal principle that “we should do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

  • Nonviolence translates to being kind.
  • Truthfulness translates to being honest.
  • Non-stealing translates to being happy with what you have.
  • Non-covetousness translates to absence of idolatry, eg. non-attachment to people or possessions.

Niyama – 2nd Limb conveys our self-discipline and spiritual observances. It leads us to a life journey that takes us to temple or church service, saying grace before meals developing your won meditation practice and making a habit of taking reflective walks to think more clearly.

  • Cleanliness
  • Contentment
  • Heat/Spiritual Austerities
  • Study of sacred scriptures and of one’s self
  • Surrender to God

Asana – 3rd Limb are the posture practices you might see all over Instagram but the poses are practices in yoga that are designed to promote spiritual growth. The body is the temple of the spirit. So, you practice yoga to take care of the spirit with discipline to improve your ability to concentrate.

Pranayama – 4th Limb is the breath control. Each breathing techniques is designed to give mastery over the respiratory system while recognizing the connection between breath, the mind and emotions. The Pranayama translation is “life force extension.” Yogis believe that the breath rejuvenates the body by actually extending life itself. Some yoga teachers even believe the yoga is the breath throughout the 8-limbs process. If you genuinely connect to the breath first, you can get through anything.

Pratyahara – 5th Limb means withdrawal of senses or transcendence. It is during this limb that we draw our awareness away from the outside world and alternatively, focus inwardly towards our inner most self. Detach from our senses and direct our attention internally. Objectively, observe our cravings. In this withdrawal, we become self-observant.

Dharana – 6th Limb is the uninterrupted flow of concentration. This allows us to slow down the thought process by concentrating on a single mental object: a specific energy center of the body, image of your universe or divine God, silent repetition of a sound or wick of a candle. Although you gain the power of concentration in the previous 3 stages of namely, the posture, breath control and withdrawal of the senses, our attention may travel from one thought to another. Our focus constantly changes as we adjust our poses and breathing. Here, we focus our attention exclusively on one point of focus.

Dhyana – 7th Limb is meditation. Even though concentration (dharana) and meditation (dhyana) appear to be the same, the distinction between the two limbs is that concentration is one-pointed attention and meditation is state of being keenly aware without focus. For example, primordial sound meditation training at the Chopra Center may take word themes based on Sutra principles and assigned those words to energy centers. As the meditator, you can focus on the Sutra words in sequential order as a means of focused concentration with your meditation practice. The heart energy center (chakra) may have sutra principles words like peace, harmony, laughter and love as words on which to meditate.

The goal is to quiet the mind without judgement and reach this state of stillness. Don’t give up. While the yoga appears difficult, remember yoga is a journey or process, not a destination. Even every picture pose is intrinsically imperfect because it’s the attainment of the practice, not perfection, that is most important.

Samadhi – 8th Limb is a state of ecstasy. The person who is mediating integrates with his or her point of focus and transcends the Self altogether. The meditator comes to realize a profound connection to the Divine, an interconnectedness with all living things. Another reflective thought on this stage also called enlightenment is that the connection to the Divine cannot be bought, possessed but only experienced through the Self, by the Self and for your Self.

Click here to see article in first post on who first introduced yoga to Americas.

Author: Dena Dodd Perry, 500 CYT with emphasis on meditation, gentle flow and detox yoga.