Happy Healthy and Fit

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Ahhhhh...Ashtanga~ the Discipline of Yoga and Path to Bliss

Practice and all is coming!  ~K. Pattabhi Jois
Yoga is often associated primitively with the idea of relaxation or potentially blissful euphoria.  It is true, ultimately, like a tree produces a flower and then a fruit, the fullest potential of yoga is Samadhi, a state of joy and peace.  Samadhi is the stage where you realize the pure essence of all that exists.

Ashtanga yoga in modern day is the disciplined practice of a sequence of postures and focused breathing technique.  It literally translates to mean the Eight Limbs of Yoga.  Patanjali, the author of the Yoga Sutras describes them by drawing parallels to limbs of a tree.  Wisdom and spirituality unfold in the way a tree grows.  A seed contains infinite fruit, but requires disciplined attention to reach its potential.  You cannot just crack the seed and pull out endless fruit.  Nature is steady and gradual.

Every tree has the same goal, to reach toward the light.  Every person has the same goal to Be Happy and Healthy, to move toward Enlightenment or 'the light within.'  Bringing awareness to this idea is like recognizing you have the seed.  Want the fruit inside?  Discipline is the only pathway to reap the benefits.

K. Pattabhi Jois, the founder of Ashtanga Yoga Research Institute in Mysore, India says "99% Practice and 1% Theory" when referring to revealing your inner potential through the practice if yoga.  Only through practice, can you begin to taste the fruits of your efforts. Talking about starting a yoga practice, buying books or watching videos is like buying seeds and soil and never planting your garden.

It is only through the practice of yoga that you will begin to develop personal insights.  You will bring awareness to your areas in need of improvement, you will notice how you move is how you live.  Do you force your way into poses?  Do you force your way and will in life?  Through yoga, you will learn to surrender, to go with the flow, to move deeper inside is to move deeper outside.  Through discipline, concentration develops.  Concentration leads to meditation and there deep inside lies Samadhi~ ecstasy.

Yes, ecstasy is the fruit of yoga, just as an apple lies inside the seed of another apple.  The question is what are you willing to do to manifest, cultivate and harvest your amazing potential, the delicious fruit inside of you, your best self, your best life?

Results require disciplined action in yoga, business, life and love.  Whether you are dieting, going to school, starting a business, training for a marathon or cultivating more love in your life; daily discipline produces results.  Planting the seed becomes the 1% theory.  Conscious, awareness and action are the 99% Practice or magic tools to manifesting and harvesting your dreams.

You know what to do.  Want results?  With a daily dose of discipline all your dreams are within reach.  Like K. Pattabhi Jois said, "Practice and all is coming!"

Being Happy Healthy and Fit means knowing discipline makes the difference.  Life is Short.  Make Yours Magical.  Produce Results!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Words have Wings~ Choose Compassion over Criticism

Without a doubt words are the most potent seeds of creation and the powerful weapon of mass destruction.  High vibrational words intellectualize thoughts and ideas to birth dreams, while low vibrational words poison and kill people and potential.

Words have wings.   You have no real way of measuring just how far they will fly.  Every time you open your mouth to speak, be mindful of the power of your tongue.  The difference between war and peace is determined by words.

Words cause wars.  Words bring hope for peaceful resolutions.  Words bite.  Words sting.  Words erode confidence and relationships.  Words sing.  Words dance. Words fertilize and grow hope and dreams.

The other day I overheard an elderly woman commenting on someone's choice of tattoo artwork.  Although, she found it interesting, her final comment was one indicating that it must have made his mother very unhappy.  It was one stranger speaking to another.  As a witness to this, he felt he needed to explain himself to me.  He said that it was a part of his healing and at the time, the physical pain of it helped to mask some of the emotional pain he was dealing with.

He did not need to explain himself to me, just as you do not need to explain yourself to another.  What I do ask you to consider is how you feel when someone makes an ignorant comment to you about anything.  Ignorance is a state of unconsciousness.  It is not intentional hurt.  Instead of being angry or taking it personal, attempt to find gratitude for the awakened feeling.  If you attach anger to your words, they will become a weapon of mass destruction, picking up momentum and wreaking havoc on everyone you speak to and everyone they speak to.  You can be a part of the problem or a part of the solution.

When it comes to words, choose yours wisely.  There is no telling just how are they will fly.  The ones that make you feel light, free and filled with possibilities will make others feel the same.  Before you open your mouth to speak, consciously ask yourself~

  • Is it kind?
  • Is it helpful?
  • Is it necessary?
Speaking just to speak creates more chaos than clarity.  Are you purifying or polluting?  Until you have walked a mile in someone else's shoes, what right have you to judge their decisions or lifestyle choices?  How can you possibly know the blisters of pain in their heart?   Know that words have wings, then consciously choose compassion over criticism.  

Going to church on Sunday or taking a yoga class is a great way to awakening consciousness, but until you are prepared to apply what you study, your words remain empty.   Dare to add soul to your knowledge.  Take the teaching outside the temple and off the mat.  

Just because someone is not bleeding or screaming out in physical pain, does not mean that they are not in pain.  Visible scars are the easy ones to spot.  Would you squash a small child's toy or dream?  That small child is very much alive in everyone you encounter.  Give hope.  Give love.  Give a kind word.

Being Happy Healthy and Fit means consciously choosing high vibrational words.  Together we can change the world.  

Friday, May 25, 2012

Cash in on Passion~ Your Inbox is a Golden Treasure Chest!

Open your Mind.  Open your Heart and Open your Emails!
Life is but a Dream, Your Dream!

Before you delete or defer replying to one more email, consider it may contain the key to unlock your dreams.  After all, your inbox is a place of receiving.  Your emails can be a treasure map to endless pots of gold or in my case Love, Passion and Adventure.

Faith requires a shovel is one of my favorite lines.  There is so much truth there.  It can also be interpreted as Faith + Action = Results.  The secret is that it doesn't have to be a big shovel or a huge action.  A little bit of momentum is all you need to get moving in the direction of your dream life.

The good news is that the shovel and the action can be one.  Metaphorically speaking, hitting reply to an email can be enough to produce the momentum you need.

Over the years, I have attended several classes on social media as an effective marketing tool.  Usually I would leave a bit overwhelmed.  Twitter on Tuesday and Thursday.  Keep your FaceBook professional.  Use LinkedIn to connect to likeminded people.  Then came things like YouTube, Flikr and list goes on and on.  What I did hear was that the average person receives between 80-250 messages a day.  With those numbers, it is easy to agree that it is nearly impossible to notice everything.

In the past six months, between 4 email addresses and the daily allotment of incoming messages, I discovered two Golden nuggets, or in fact, the maps to a life of Love, Passion and Adventure.  One was disguised as an email from a friend connecting me to another friend.  My dear friend, from Canada was emailing me in Arizona to connect me to his friend in Nicaragua, who coordinates yoga retreats.  Really he was forwarding something to me that he received from her.  For some reason, I opened that email and was intrigued.  I hit 'reply all' and the rest is history.  I went from working in an office dreaming of teaching yoga and inspiring others to live their best life to actualizing this dream in Nicaragua and the Bahamas.

Shortly after opening the email from Canada, I received an email from Florida.  It was sent through LinkedIn and consisted entirely of one line.  Again, it was enough of a line to elicit a response.  I hit reply and returned a brief line.  The sender happened to be my first love and I happened to be on my way to Florida in two weeks.  We hadn't spoken in 18 years.  The rest is also history.

Had I been too busy to reply to those two emails, I may still be working in an office, squishing my feet into high heels and dreaming of love, passion and adventure in far away places.  Instead, I squish sand with my feet and know that dreams come true when you have faith and a shovel or a reply button on your computer.  Today, I have a life of love, passion and adventure.  Whatever, it is your are seeking, trust that it is closer than you could imagine.  First, find ways to help other people and then trust that the Universe will deliver exactly what you ordered.

Being Happy Healthy and Fit means Opening your mind, heart and Inbox to the infinite possibilities waiting for you.  Life is but a dream~ your Dream!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Want True Total Freedom? Escape Escapism

What if everything you ever desired was in reach and completely attainable?  With the right currency, it is.

If you ask a group of people if they could have anything, what would they really want, you may be surprised by the answers.  It is not a bigger boat, second home, dream vacation, money in the bank or promotion at work.  It is happiness, love, self acceptance, peace and freedom.

Ironically, the thought is that with enough money, ultimately, you will be happy, know love, feel peace and frolic in freedom.  Unfortunately, money is not the correct currency to cash in at the spiritual marketplace.  The only form of payment accepted in exchange for happiness, love, peace and freedom is Truth.

Sound simple?  Give it a whirl.  Start telling the Truth, your Truth.  If you are not experiencing daily ecstasy, chances are you are not carrying the right currency.  If your life is comprised of a bunch of lies, it is like trying to shop at your local grocery store and attempting to pay for US goods with Nicaraguan Cordobas.  It is not that they have no value, simply that their value doesn't translate.

As a reformed escape artist, I am happy to share that the only path to true and total freedom is the Truth.  I have escaped many times to foreign lands, created stories and put on on costumes and uniforms to escape some of the life situations that I have created.  At the time, it seemed easier and less painful than facing my truth.  Escapism taxes your soul.  Escapism is the invisible chain of lies that keeps you tied up in your own misery.  Wherever you go, there you are.  You can runaway from your home, spouse and the tax collector in the physical world, but until you face the truth, you will never be free.

Running away or dropping out of life will only further delay you from what you truly desire.  If you try to leave something now, know that you will have to face it in a more difficult form later.  Fearing your problems will not make them disappear.  Taking a pill or engaging in mind-numbing activities will only cause you to wake up with new problems.  If you like to play ostrich and bury your head in the sand, know that in the sand, you will find your head.

Get up, stand up!  Once you are willing to tell the truth, you can begin to understand and solve your problems.  Then, you will become a warrior or one who has mastered self.  Abolish slavery, become your master.  Need help speaking your truth?  Practice opening up your throat chakra.  Simply taking your gaze upward enough to begin to unblock your blockages.  Energetically, this act opens up the space for your truth to come out.

Being Happy Healthy and Fit means finding the path to True Total Freedom through Truth.  Escape escapism.  Life is short.  Make yours Magical.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Nose to Toes~ Breathe your way to Optimal Health!

This picture makes me laugh.  It is actually a poster of the path to optimal health through ancient medicine.  It combines pranayama and asana, breath and movement, or headstand (King of all poses) with sinus cleansing.

It was taken in the midst of Yoga and Surf retreat in Nicaragua last month.  Today, I am writing from Fort Lauderdale as I wait for my flight to Nassau, Bahamas to teach a Yoga and Sports Course.  The more I teach, the more I learn and the more I am inspired to help the world to heal and become Happy, Healthy and Fit through the ancient practice of yoga.

If you look closely at the picture, you can see that the waves have rushed in and our noses are underwater, essentially our sinuses have been flooded by saltwater.

The fastest way to attaining a state of optimal health is through belly breathing in conjunction with nasal breathing.  Most people do not breathe through their nose simply because it is chronically congested.  Nasal rinsing is the easiest, non-toxic answer.  The practice of using a Neti pot has been used for thousands of years in Eastern medicine.

Poor breathing contributes to a multitude of health problems including cancerous cells.  In 1931, Otto Warburg won a Nobel Prize for determining that only oxygen starved cells will mutate and becomes cancerous.  Just as stagnant water breeds mosquitos, stagnant blood breeds disease.  Asana or physical yoga practice is the best way to get blood flowing through all of your extremities, but it the breath that insures the blood is freshly oxygenated.

If headstand is intimidating, fear not, there are many other poses, with which, you can build up your confidence, while expanding your abdomen and rib cage.  Breath work or pranayama is simply a matter of bringing awareness to your breathing.  You don't need to stand on your head.  Know that, it is the only conscious means of improving, maintaining and repairing heartbeat, heart rate, blood pressure, circulation, digestion, hormone secretion, mental and emotional states.  Conscious breathing is a magic non-pill.

Ancient yogis knew the Truth and modern research and science are in agreement.  Once the body is healthy, nourished and calmed through breath work, you will know optimal health, peak performance and your body can soar to its full potential.

Ready to brighten your complexion, clear up your sinuses, improve your mental and physical balance and overall quality of life?  Get busy breathing consciously.  It is free, available and the path to being Happy Healthy and Fit!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Fake and Bake! Improvise your Way to HAPPINESS in the Kitchen, Business, Love and Life!

Are you an overachieving perfectionist?  Does your desire to control the outcome of things overpower your overall health and happiness?  This kind of behavior limits your fun and limits your life expectancy.

Improvisation is the ability to create extemporaneously.  This term is often applied to define unrehearsed comedy, but also translates into on the spot creative solution finding.

Last night I heard about a great recipe for an energy boosting ground flaxseed muffin, as featured on Dr. Oz.  Considering the prep time was about one minute and the cooking time was 50 seconds, it had me intrigued and ready to experiment for breakfast.  The problem was that the recipe called for a packet of Stevia and a teaspoon of coconut oil.  I had neither in house.

As I was mixing together the ingredients that I did have, I embraced the opportunity to improvise.  A smile came across my face and my heart actually skipped a beat in joy.  In that second, I understood the path to Happiness is through letting go and improvisation.

Having just returned from Nicaragua, I could hear the voice of my friend and holistic nutritionist, Grace van Berkum, teaching her raw food workshops.  If you can't get zucchini, use chayote.  If you can't get lemons, use limes.  If you can't get almonds, use cashews.  She is totally passionate about traveling the globe and teaching people, not just to eat healthy, but to do it creatively, with whatever local ingredients are available.

At an earlier time in my life, I would have driven around the night before to find a Walmart open all night with the slim to none chance of finding Stevia and coconut oil.  After wasting fruitless hours, I would have scheduled my entire next morning around when the natural food store opened so I could get the missing items and come home to try the recipe.  Sound crazy?  It is.  I was a prisoner of perfectionism.

This morning, I decided to Fake and Bake!  I experimented and improvised by using organic, natural maple syrup and extra virgin olive oil instead of the missing Stevia and coconut oil.   Veering from the recipe, I realized that all directions or recipes are only someone else's idea of perfection.  They are guidelines or basic, suggested infrastructure.  When it wasn't sweet enough, I improvised further and added a small dollop of honey.  Through improvisation, I am convinced, I actually improved the overall taste.

Being Happy Healthy and Fit is embracing opportunities to be creative and improvise whenever circumstances allow.  Recipes are a nice way to spark creativity, but they can also be a trap.  Learning to improvise in the kitchen is a great way to practice non-attachment to outcomes.  The way to truly be free is to be non-attached.  The way to be Happy is to be Free.  When you don't have all the right ingredients, don't stress.  Get Creative while you Fake and Bake in business, love and life!

Being Happy Healthy and Fit means Improvising your way to Happiness!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Summer's Great Mystery Revealed! The Secret to Picking the Best Watermelon and the Best Life!

One of the best parts of summer is definitely the sweet, crisp, delicious taste of fresh watermelon.  There is something about that bright red fruit that is fun to eat and a fan favorite.  Whether it's in small chunks or thick slices, the invitation to drip juice and spit seeds is enough to make your heart smile.  The question is, how do you pick the best watermelon?

Picking a watermelon can be a bit intimidating.  Do you go for the biggest one?  The heaviest one?  The smallest one?  The greenest one?  The yellowest one?  Do you tap it or shake it?  Should it smell like a watermelon?  The outside of a watermelon does an amazing job of hiding the treasure inside.

The Secret to picking the best watermelon is the same as the The Secret to attracting the best life.  It's all about the Vibrations!  To pick a great watermelon, simply place it in one hand and tap it with the other.  A ripe, delicious watermelon will send vibrations into your hand.  Try a few and you will feel the difference between a shallow or low vibrational fruit and a high vibrational fruit.  Choose the high vibrations.

Eating ripe and in season fruits and vegetables is a great way to raise your own vibrations.  Healthy food choices affect more than your body's physical health, but also affect your emotional and spiritual health.  You are what you eat!

The secret to putting the Law of Attraction into action is understanding that it never stops working and never starts working.  Like gravity, it is always in motion.  If you don't like what you are attracting, check your vibrations and raise them.  A shift from low vibrations to High vibrations is a shift in Consciousness.  Choose Happiness, Love, Joy and Peace.

Choosing your watermelons consciously reminds you to choose your life consciously.  Take that extra moment to select the highest and best fruit and the highest and best attitude.  A ripe, sweet, delicious watermelon is sure to attract to a crowd of smiles and a smile of high vibrations is sure to attract whatever your heart desires.

Being Happy Healthy and Fit means enjoying the Best of Summer and the Best of Life!  Life is Short.  Make Yours Magical!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Expand Your Produce to Expand Your People~ Discrimination Short Changes Your Health and Happiness!

Variety is the spice of life.  How colorful and spicy is yours?

After peeling a fresh beet and enjoying slices like a carrot stick, it dawned on me that at one time I found beets appalling.  The same is true of papaya and ginger.  They did not taste like anything I was accustomed to enjoying.  Instead of appreciating them for their uniqueness, I avoided them completely and even used low vibrational language to describe the flavors that did not resonate with me.

It just occurred to me that I when it came to produce, I liked to discriminate.  I was a racist.  It was bad enough that I was shortchanging my own health and happiness.  Worse however, I actually was saying negative and derogatory things about produce I have now, come to love and appreciate.

The obstacle to variety in produce and people is appreciation for the exotic and unknown.  As creatures of habit, it is easy not to like what you don't understand.  This applies to new technology, software, sport's equipment, games, food and  people.  In fact, this is the root cause of hatred and war in the world.

I like to think I am openminded when it comes to trying new things, but after spending a few weeks in Nicaragua for an adventure retreat, I realize that there are patterns to break and room for growth.  Let's explore this idea using the simple realm of produce.

If you can subconsciously discriminate against produce, you can subconsciously discriminate against people.  It is easy to avoid or criticize what you do not appreciate.  Gaining some knowledge and education on raw food, I have just expanded my world, health and happiness through produce.  The once appalling taste of a raw beet now brings the refreshing joy of a crisp root.  Jicama slices replace pita chips for dipping into hummus.  Papaya with pineapple, coconut milk, ginger and chia seeds makes the most delicious breakfast smoothie!  The possibilities are endless!

The world is full of amazing and exotic fruits and vegetables, as well as amazing and exotic people.  Even small grocery stores will have a rather extensive variety of produce in relationship to the items that draw your eye.  It is easy to go for the apples, oranges, bananas, lettuce and tomatoes.  Your eyes and brain are drawn to what they recognize.  This is simply what is known as samskara, the sanskrit word translated to mean accumulated residue of past thoughts and actions.

Want to make your world a whole lot more colorful?  Explore new produce and new people.  Don't be put off by hard shells, small bumps or bruises, skin color, country of origin, size, shape, smell, and especially anything you may have heard about your prospective new produce or person.  See the link between appreciating produce and appreciating people?

Variety is the Spice of Life!  Discrimination shortchanges your joy.  Being Happy Healthy and Fit means breaking your patterns and being open to the infinite possibilities.  Whether you are mixing produce in the blender or blending with new friends, appreciate everyone and everything's uniqueness.  Life is short.  Make your Magical, Colorful, Spicy and Delicious!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Headstand for Ultimate Harmony, Health and Happiness

Little children love to place their heads on the ground and try to stand on them.  Usually they quickly topple over and then begin to laugh and do it again.  It is almost as if their souls know headstand is the place to be.

The reason there is so much conflict between individuals, groups and nations is simply because they fail to see things the same way.  Standing on your head is an amazing way to change your point of view.  It reminds you how easy it is to change your perspective when you literally change your perspective.  Happiness results when you understand that different people see the same thing in different ways.

Headstand or Sirsasana, as it is known in the ancient language of Sanskrit, is the king of all poses.  It is easy to understand why once you explore the benefits.  In a normal birth, it is the head that comes out first.  The skull encases the brain, which controls the nervous system and organs of sense.  The brain is responsible for intelligence, knowledge, discrimination, wisdom and power.  Just as a country cannot prosper without a king or constitutional head,  the body cannot prosper without a healthy brain.

Standing on your head allows healthy pure blood to flow through the brain cells.  The head is what brings harmony.  Fresh-oxygenated blood rejuvenates thinking power, bring clarity of mind.  It also provides blood to the pituitary and pineal glands in the brain, supporting growth, health and vitality.

Studies show that regular practice of headstands aid those suffering from loss of sleep, memory, impaired vision and loss of vitality.  Headstands strengthen the lungs as well as all the muscles of the body.

The greatest obstacle to practicing headstand is fear.  You are never too old to begin bringing fresh blood to your brain.  It is totally normal to feel disoriented and out of control on your head.  The fear is the fear of falling.  The best way to overcome fear is to face it with equanimity.  There will be a few spills and you can learn the art of falling.  When you learn to fall with confidence, you learn to walk with  confidence and live with Confidence.

Headstands teach us that two people can be looking at the same thing from a slightly different angle and see two totally different things. When you can comprehend the idea of different perspectives in regard to tangible things, it opens the gateway to understanding this concept in intangible things.  Politics and religion are not about right and wrong, but different points of view.  The same is true in raising children, marriage squabbles and office conflicts.

According to BKS Iyengar, regular and precise practice of headstand, develops the body, disciplines the mind and widens the horizons of the spirit.  Practice often and you will become balanced and self-reliant in pain and pleasure, loss and gain, shame and fame, defeat and victory.  Tune into your inner child and be prepared to topple!  Headstand is the way to Ultimate Harmony, Health and Happiness!

Come learn more about your mastering your mind and body Happy Healthy and Fit is joining Gracious Living in the Bahamas May 12-16th for a Yoga & Sports Course!