Sunday, May 18, 2014

Conscious Awareness

Well aware and supportive of my lifestyle shift towards local and/or homegrown vegetarianism, whole foods, gluten free, sugar reduction, lactose free, green juice drinking ways of eating, along with a wellness approach to exercise, my Man told me about this video, The American Parasite, months ago. I have been meaning to watch it. He said I already know many of the things the video talks about, but it does a concise yet detailed job of getting the point across. He warned me up front that is a promo video for the company that produces the probiotics, so I knew at some point it would switch to a pitch for their product (which it does, towards the end). Even though it is an advertisement, there is honesty and truth in a lot of this video. So a warning about the pitchy quality of this film, it is truly informative and maybe might plant a seed or will help grow that seed that has already been planted or at least be a conversation starter about how to make smarter food choices. 

I have been taking probiotics since I was a child, not Keybiotics, first time actually, that I have ever heard of it. One of the things that bothered me the most about this promo video was that it kind of seems like a one pill fixes all, which is how our healthcare system and many approach their own health. While probiotics are a phenomenal additive to anyone's' life, they do not fix everything. Health and wellness internally, emotionally, physically are a full circle and you need many pieces to complete that circle. While probiotics are essential to my daily life, they also are accompanied by many other parts that make my guts and me a happier and more complete me. 

This film reminded me of my recent viewing of Killer at Large, a documentary about government, agribusiness and food conglomerate's role in mass production of our foods. Killer at Large (watch it here) goes into much more detail than this video for Keybiotics and really points out how little we have control over what we put in our bodies. Killer at Large was extremely disheartening for me to watch and learn how little our government and the food conglomerates care about our health and well-being, while they greedily line their pockets.

While both films implement a scare tactic, which is necessary to a point, for people to learn, what I walk away from both, is conscious awareness. We all must be consciously aware of self, what our bodies need, what we should be eating and how to get good, clean, whole, real foods, and what can we do to help us live longer, healthier, more fulfilling lives.

Information is key and the more each of us know the more each of us will consciously choose other than processed, sugar, fat, chemical and preservative laden foods; in exchange for real, locally grown (ideally home grown), whole foods, eating what is in season and being aware that by purchasing and consuming the foods controlled and manufactured by food conglomerates only perpetuates the problem.

Be conscious, be aware, learn more and make the choices that sit right on your moral compass.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

The Power of Yoga

I wrote this post a few weeks ago, but never completed it. Today's post and this one seemed to go together: 

I am amazed by yoga and how much I love it.

This was not always the case however. I remember as a kid my Mom dragging me to yoga classes. I would begrudgingly go, whining, half-ass attempting down dog, which inevitably led to my nose running, which meant for all the people in the class looking for silence and focus, were subject to my incessant sniffling. And shavasana, forget about it, I would get so bored laying there. Why did I have to go to a class to lay on the floor?! It made no sense to my 10 year old self. I wanted to be outside running around, not in a stuffy room with a lot of people barefoot, breathing the same air and being extremely quiet. I really disliked yoga along with some other things Mom made me do, like gardening and drinking wheatgrass.

Now that I am adult though, I have been practicing daily for over 6 months, I am amazed how much it has changed my life and subsequently flummoxed by how much I thought I hated yoga as a kid.

I think yoga is much more fitting to where I am at this point in my life. I am keenly aware of what my body needs, what works and what doesn't. And with that comes focus on those things which make me feel best.

For most of my life I have just lived and consumed and enjoyed and moved through it, entirely unaware of my body responses to certain situations, consumptions and movement. I always thought pain was a sign of weakness, stillness a waste of time and food and alcohol meant to be consumed, enjoyed with abandon.

It makes sense, as kids we move through life, as quickly and as little connected as possible, we want to do it all and as quickly as possible. There is little self reflection and the concept of looking/feeling your true needs doesn't kick in until adulthood (and for some, possibly ever).

I guess Mom was right. It is funny how those things I hated as a kid, that she made me do, have come full-circle and are very enjoyable and important parts of my everyday life. Thanks Mom.

And today, as soon as I finished my practice I KNEW I had to write about it:

Today was the first time this spring that I was able to do yoga outside. It was a gorgeous, crisp, bright blue sky, spring day in the mid-60s. I even was able to sit outside during lunch today and take my sweater off. It was a perfect Maine spring day, which led to a very strong urge to do my practice outside.

Outside practice is not always an option in Maine, well I guess I could practice in snow, but teeth chattering does not seem very centering to me. As all Mainers do, we relish the days like today, where we can open all our windows, the breeze is cool but not cold, but enough to keep the bugs at bay and the sun warm enough to warm our winter-chilled bodies, but not so warm where the humidity becomes stifling.

I couldn't wait to get home from work so I could take my mat and my dog outside for a sunset practice.

While I have surely done yoga outside before, there was something about today's practice, a centering, a focus, a nimbleness that I have never had before. Possibly it is because I am at that next stage of my practice, but for some reason today it felt like because I was outside, with nature, in the grass, with my Boo basking in the afternoon sun, picking her nose up from time to time to sniff the spring air, that I had a kind of perfect yoga session.

I was able to transition effortlessly. Poses that are normally challenging were done with ease. I felt more connected to my body and subsequently to the earth that I think today I crossed over into that "zen Buddha yoga practice" phase. I have heard of this focus and centering, this grounding, of which I have felt and "experienced" before. All of which are parts of why I practice daily and turn to yoga as a centering of every part of my life, but for some reason today it was different.

Different in a way that is hard to put into words, but in a way that all felt right in the world, at least for that hour, not bothered by seasonal allergies (that have recently come on full force), but graciously consumed by the cool spring air, the bright green grass, my dog practicing her own form of dog yoga, or at least being a supporter coming to lick my ears from time to time. Today I felt grounded, centered and focused with myself and nature in a way I never have with my practice before.

I have been saying for over a half a year how much I love yoga, but today I truly love yoga (I think I might even need a shirt).

Sometimes she is extra helpful, like here, she decided to lay right behind me as I was in plow pose and shoulder stand, completely unaware that there is not enough space on the mat for the 2 of us