3.29.2009

The Alpha and the Omega,on OIL!

As practioners of yoga, many of us try to eat healthy. This is a daily effort that requires thought, planning, focus, and in the end a strong will, given all the American infrastructure that creates unhealthy eating opportunities around many corners, not to mention the lack of exercise! Hey, in Spain I walked 5 miles every day just to get to work, that is a great longevity builder! Unhealthy food at social functions and work, "fast" food looming on every street, busy schedules that don't allow a great deal of time for cooking all contribute to making healthy choices a little tough. Not to mention all the conflicting data about what actually is healthy!

Well, one major thing we can consciously do for ourselves is consider trying to add some omega 3- fatty acids to our diet. What is it? Fat? Yikes! Yes it's fat, but it's the good kind, and we need some so lets go for the good stuff! It is found in various fish as well as a few different nut and plant oils. According to Mayo Clinic, "Fish oil contains both docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), while some nuts (e.g., English walnuts) and vegetable oils (e.g., canola, soybean, flaxseed/linseed, and olive oil) contain alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). Basically, various types of Omega 3 fats are there for us to take in if we should choose. What are the benefits? Based on numerous studies, it can lower trigylcerides, slow plaque buildup on arteries, and reduce risk of death, heart attack, dangerous abnormal heart rhythms and strokes in people with known heart disease. There is no time like the present! We are what we eat, this I truly believe. Try olive oil in those cookies instead of butter, I do and it is delicious! Consider salmon on Sundays, it's easy to bake with a little lemon juice and a few herbs and tastes wonderful. Pack a few walnuts as a snack, or sprinkle them on a salad for added flavor (oh, and throw a few in the brownies with that olive oil ;) ). And above all, we can continue to practice ahimsa towards our own selves, by seeking foods that help our system strengthen, we avoid harm.

Namaste,
Kat

3.17.2009

Vernal Equinox

Ahhhh. March is progressing, and we have passed the Ides unscathed. Hyacinths are budding up so quickly now, and the first daffodils are blooming tentatively in my front yard. The dear lily of the valley pips are poking through the mulch, and irises are raising their pointed blades with valor, as if daring winter to return! Lilacs are waving hello with new green fingertips, and tulips are unfurling satin leaves like jubilant flags. On March 20th, at 11:44am, we will find ourselves once more at the vernal equinox. Without any external calendar, my enduring jade friends all over the yard already know this, spring is arriving!

The vernal equinox will mark the point at which the very center of the sun will lie directly above the equator, rising, climbing, poised, and then our blue planet will begin to tip this lovely northern hemisphere oh so gently yet powerfully towards warmth, summer, light, and growth. The word Equinox stems from latin ( meaning equal and night) and informs us that on this particular 24 hour cycle, day and night will be of the same length, light and dark totally balanced in the present moment. The word Vernal also stems from latin and refers to Spring, bringing to mind many fitting words for me right now, verve, verse, verdad (truth), and versatile. If you want, savor this precious minute on Friday morning and enjoy it by taking a few deep breaths of spring air!

I hope your trek into spring will be one of gentle breezes, kissing sun, peaceful breaths, and mindful joys. I will end with a quote today (from a dove chocolate no less) "Happiness is in the heart, not in the circumstances." May we allow the bliss of spring to enter our hearts, and envelope any troubles that exist for us this season.

Namaste,
Kat

3.08.2009

The Yoga of Yoda, mmmm.

Ever since I was a little girl, I have loved Star Wars. I'm sure many people feel the same way, but as a kiddo with only 4 t.v. channels living in the country and rare exposure to that glowing screen, I really fell in love with it. I distinctly recall Jabba (although he was much much bigger in my mind than he looks now), scaring me but thrilling me, and all the fun stuff and creatures that kept unraveling before my wide eyes.

The past few weeks we've been watching the three original episodes and last night many of the phrases that Yoda pontificated really caught my "yoga" ear. The first related to staying in the present moment. He's upset with young Luke for having such little patience.

He says, “Ready are you? What know you of ready? For eight hundred years have I trained Jedi. My own counsel will I keep on who is to be trained. A Jedi must have the deepest commitment, the most serious mind. This one a long time have I watched. All his life has he looked away... to the future, to the horizon. Never his mind on where he was. Hmm? What he was doing. Hmph. Adventure. Heh. Excitement. Heh. A Jedi craves not these things. You are reckless.”

Here Yoda is pointing out that tendency in many of us, our eyes on some potential horizon, one which might or might not come to fruition. Sometimes not paying attention to what we are doing for moments, or months, or even longer. It also reminds me of a scene in a recent movie (A Lot Like Love) where Ashton Kutcher's character is hurting emotionally. He is sitting on a beach watching his nephew. His brother tells him something like, your life is right now! And he finally begins to accept this truth. It can be so difficult to do, but it essential to our growth as humans, and basically to our happiness.

Anoth
er more famous Yoda line caused me to reflect on my practice as well. “Do or do not... there is no try.” In a way this could be seen as opposite to some yoga philosophy, but at the same time it has such value. When we wrap our minds around a true intention, we can make it come true. There is not a specific time limit we must impose, but if we are serious with our goal, we can achieve it. Perhaps this is an inversion in yoga class, or a career change, or taking up a new hobby. If we invest our time and energy, and take the building steps, we will DO!

May the Force be with YOU.
Namaste,
Kat

Summer Sparkler!

Wow! It's been a while since I've visited Blog-Landia. Are you still out there my friends?? Now I'm a mom times two!! Can you be...