We are all living in fear with this new Ebola virus. Rumors of Ebola being the governments way to control the population and that this variant strain may have actually been created to do so. Every where you look there is new information coming out to put our bodies into fear, which can actually be one of the worst things for our immune systems defense. I am not sure what to believe but I do think it is wise to prepare for the worst and have faith in the best.
Here are some things you can do to take the edge off this Ebola crisis.
1. Empower yourself- Refrain from Facebook rumors and “certain” news channels. Do your own research or go directly to the CDC website for fact page updates or find a more left wing’s opinion and compare the two. I know it is hard to know what to believe but try to find reputable sources for information and educate yourself as much as you can. Know how to protect yourself and your family through prevention and knowing the symptoms to look for if they occur. Also it doesn’t hurt to stock up for a lock down. Californians are used to Earthquake preparedness kits as other states are prepared for other natural disasters. Add to this list official medical masks and gloves to prevent spreading in the event that someone close to you comes down with symptoms.
2. Keep your immune system strong- This is a perfect time to clean up your diet and refrain from processed foods, alcohol, and sugar that only deplete and breaks down your immune systems ability to fight infection. Instead nourish your body with fresh foods that stimulate and boost your immune system. Focus on antiviral foods like peppermint, basil, and ginger. Also be sure that you are getting enough Vitamin D3, something most Americans are deficient in that will help keep you healthy and strong. I also believe probiotics should be added to your daily routine, to help your body be as strong as it can be in the event of an outbreak.
3. Wash your hands- There is no doubt that the best way to protect yourself is still a good old hand wash. Make sure you are washing properly for adequate time and lathering soap. Refrain from touching your eyes, nose and mouth always! I mean unless you just washed your hands do not touch your face! Read my previous article here on how to prevent the spread of a virus. This is assuming that the virus is not airborne, in that case, where a medical mask when taking public transportation or in crowded areas.
4. Look at history- Remember that we have been down this road before and survived. There have been many diseases prior to this. Including flu viruses (swine flu) every year that rattles our homes with fear. Thinking that we got through that might put some ease into your mind. This in itself could be all part of the propaganda so that when the vaccine does come out, everyone will run to get it and the drug companies will make billions.Everything is based on fear instead of empowerment. There are things you can do now to be as healthy as we can but there is very little talk about that and lots of talk about just waiting for a vaccine. You always have to look at everything from a broader picture. Then throw it out and use your instinct!
5. Surrender- Once you have done what is within your ability to empower and protect yourself and your family, you have to surrender and continue to enjoy life. Refuse to let this affect your daily living and bring on adrenaline of fear affecting your health. Worrying does not do any good. Every time fear comes up replace it will a positive thought. Your thoughts create your reality. Visualize health and safety for the planet.
* Facts- 480,000 Deaths per year from Tobacco/ 300,000 Deaths per year from Obesity/ 88,000 Deaths per year from Alcohol.
* “After you find out all the things that can go wrong, your life becomes less about living and more about waiting.”
― Chuck Palahniuk, Choke
Five things to think about the next time you get your sweat on that can increase your goal towards optimal health.
1. Forget the fan and/or air-conditioning- Nothing drives me more crazy than doing the hard work to warm my body up then having a fan or blast of air-conditioning right on me. The whole point of working out is to break a sweat. When the muscles get warm, you are able to get into a deeper work out, increasing mobility and flexibility. The other benefits are letting your body sweat it out and encourage toxin removal to benefit your overall health and beauty. Of course there are times where air conditioning is appropriate but try to steer clear from the direct air blowing onto you.
A Chinese doctor that I used to see informed me that there have been studies in China that give mice symptoms similar to Rheumatoid Arthritis by having them exercise while blowing cold air on them. What they found is it creates and infection in the body. The coincidence is that I grew up dancing everyday and then would go outside after sweating into very cold Chicago weather. I have also found this common denominator to be true of many athletes and others living with various forms of arthritis.
2. Drink fluids before and after, not during- It is very important that you stay hydrated, especially when you are active. There are scenarios that require continual hydration,as in athletes that train for long periods of time outdoors in the hot sun, but I’m talking about and hour and half yoga class or an hour gym or cardio workout. Again, our goal is to warm up the body and drinking fluid has the ability to cool off all your hard work.
3. Running vs falling down the hill- There is a huge difference between running and falling down a slope. I often see people trying to run down a slope, very heavy footed, with their head ahead of their body. This is a recipe for disaster, not only are you hurting your knees, ankles and back, without having the controlled resistance you will not gain any positive results from bad form running.
Tip- If running down an incline, lean slightly back so that you have control through resistance, focusing on the heel of the foot landing first. Keep your chest lifted, core engaged, lift up through your perineum and focus on your breath in synch with your left foot.
4. Stretch before and after- I know our gym teachers always recommended this but there is truth to it. Stretching prior decreases injury but stretching after is where the change occurs. When your body is warm is when you are able to create more flexibility. Bottom line, people that are flexible stretch every day. Yogis are great examples of this. They practice vinyasas to heat up the body during the first half of a class and focus more on stretching and opening up during the second half. Give yourself time to incorporate this into your routine.
5. Thinking you can eat like an animal because you worked out- The ying and yang of life. Yes there are times when after a great work out you will reward yourself and rightfully so, but turning bad food choices into a habit after a work out is a recipe for disaster. Instead nourish your body with optimum foods that hydrate and give you energy for your workouts and recovery.
* When you feel like quitting, is the moment where if you push through, the magic happens.
It may come as a surprise to some, but I recently went through a divorce. I sure didn’t plan on divorce being on my list of things to do in my life but looking back at all my biggest opportunities to grow, they were all moments I hadn’t intended.
I came from a divorced family and more than anything didn’t want that for my son’s life but sometimes the universe has bigger plans and these life changes are all part of it. I know in my heart that coming form a tough childhood is what made me who I am and although I would never want that for my son, I have accepted that he too is on his own spiritual journey, growing and evolving into a young man.
With most things in life, I believe it is important for people to be open and transparent with their struggles so that others have the opportunity to feel hope and unity. Seeing others go through relatable challenges and coming out the other end is inspiring and brings hope and faith to others going through similar challenges. I always choose to look at the bright side of things and take each opportunity to learn and grow and try to become a better person. I realize that these are the moments that shape our character and define who we are.
1. Take responsibility for yourself and only yourself. You are not in control of how your ex partner (husband,wife) wants to act and be. You are each individuals not responsible for the other ones actions. Each on your own journey and even though you shared some beautiful times together and felt as one, you need to come back to yourself. You can not serve from an empty vessel. This can be challenging if you lost yourself in your marriage, but what fun it is to re- explore who you are, now! Let this energy motivate you to do things you have been wanting to do.
2. You cannot make somebody understand or accept the truth when they are literally incapable. You can not squeeze lemon juice out of a dry lemon. Release old expectations and see things in the present. Know when to let go and righteously surrender. See the person for who he or she is now, not the fantasy or illusions you built up in your head while married.
3. Acknowledge the time you spent together and further more acknowledge the end. Your contract is up. You have learned what you can from this relationship and it is time to move on. Perceive this as a beautiful thing, filled with new, endless possibility. Change can be scary. The roles each of you once played have changed and that’s ok. There can still be love there, it is just a different type of love.
4.Let go of the stigma surrounding divorce and make your own rules about how the process begins and gets dissolved. It doesn’t have to be ugly. Just because you choose to no longer be married doesn’t mean the person has to be dead to you. You will mourn what was but once that is clear a new relationship is possible. This is especially true if there are children involved.
5. If you live from your heart and are always true then you have nothing to be ashamed of. You are righteous of divine love. Its ok. You did your best and learned what you could and by that nothing was wasted. Pull up your boot straps and get back up.
* I don’t see divorce as a failure. I see it as the end to a story, everything has an end and a beginning.- Olga Kurylenko
I am a certified Hatha yoga teacher. I fell in love with yoga 15 years ago when I was going through a hard time in my life. I remember making a conscious commitment to go, especially when I didn’t feel like going because that was always when I needed it most. The physical journey felt like home because I grew up as a ballerina but the spiritual practice, the changes that occurred off the mat is what kept me going back. There is a sang, Yoga is a journey of the self, through the self, to the self.
My hope is to turn people onto yoga who have yet to give it a go, or maybe had a bad experience, or maybe think that they have to be able to touch their toes in order to go to a class.
Here are some things I would like to share with you about yoga.
1. You do not need to be flexible in order to go to a yoga class. I think this is the biggest myth. One of the many perks of practicing yoga is to become more open and flexible in the body but also the mind. It is called a practice because there is always room to grow whether you have been practicing a long time or it’s your first day. The physical benefits of becoming more subtle in your body will open up other areas of your life and help you to age more gracefully. It’s not about being able to put your legs behind your head. It’s about being able to put your shoes on at 80 yrs old and being more open in your thoughts. With the right teacher and class, everything can be modified to suit you on each given day. People often come for the stretch but leave with so much more.
2. Yoga is not a religion. Yoga can be practiced by anyone. There are some traditions that seem religious but they are simply ways to honor yourself, your teacher, your practice or whatever resonates with you. A common way to start and end class is by saying Om (Aum) or namaste but it is what you want it to be. When you are in a class and everyone is singing Om, the vibration of everyone’s sounds together resonates on a cellular level so even if you choose not to join in you will reap the benefits. Some believe that Om was the first sound of creation and Namaste means, I bow to you or the light within me honors the light within you. It is such a beautiful message no matter what your religion. I love to seal the end of my practice by gracefully bowing in appreciation and honor of my teacher, my practice, and the gratitude I have for yoga in my life. Similar to a curtsy that is done after a ballet class or a bow to your master in a martial arts class.
3. There are 8 limbs to yoga. The physical practice, pose or asanas, is just one of the limbs. Click here to learn more about the 8 Limbs of Yoga My teacher once said, it is not the person who can bend into a pretzel that is the most advanced, it is the one who can maintain their breath the entire class. Breathing or Pranayama (life force) is another limb. Mastering the ability to connect the breath with movement, creating control over emotions, better concentration and possibly increasing one’s life span. Each movement has an inhale and an exhale. It is easy to get stagnant with your breath or hold your breath when you are in a difficult pose or difficult life situation but that is precisely why breathing is a tool to get back into the present moment. Looking back I really had no idea how to breath right until I started practicing yoga. It was a whole new world that has transformed how I handle daily stresses in my life.
4. You will get a workout and it might just be the best work out of your life. I hear a lot of people say, yoga is too slow or I didn’t really get a good workout. Two things, A. Maybe you were in the wrong type of yoga class or teacher or B. Maybe that is just what you need is to slow down. There are a lot of different types of yoga. You need to find what works for you during each phase of your life. There is Hatha yoga or Vinyasa Flow variations that are paced moderate to vigorous as your practice grows. There is Kundalini, which is represented as a snake coiled at the bottom of the spine. Kundalini awakens this untapped energy through repetitive movements that test your endurance and mind strength. The other types are Anusara, Ashtanga, Bikram,Iyengar, and restorative along with many new types of yoga classes popping up every day. Try a couple different classes so that you know the difference and can go to the appropriate one based on your needs.
5. Yoga will change your life. Yoga has the ability to take what you do on the mat and mirror it into your every day life. How you react or respond to a difficult pose in class translates to how you react to a difficult life event. Yoga gives you the tools to come back to the breath, focus (drishti/point of focus) and be in the present moment.
On a more relatable note, I hear some of the best business meetings happen on a golf course. Why? because you really get to see one’s character during a couple of holes of golf. This is the same for yoga. Everything you need to see about yourself will come out on the mat. Then it is up to you to do the work.
* Often what you don’t want to do, is what you need most.