Thursday, January 18, 2018

I'm On My Way...

It's so funny to go back and read my posts.  It seems my goals have been morphing continuously over the past year or so.  I'm happy to say, though, I think I'm on my way...

I'm pursuing my passions.  

After much deliberation, I chose a school to study Health Coaching.  In September I started my program at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition.  I love it.  Over the course of a year, I will learn the basics of over 100 Dietary Theories and I will discover how to use coaching techniques to help people define their health goals and reach them in a holistic and sustainable manner.  I get to guide people to a better state of health, so they can be their best selves--happier, healthier, more energetic.  What could be more fulfilling than that?  

The best part is, I can incorporate my Yoga background.  You see, IIN believes that good health isn't just about nutrition.  Nutrition is your "Secondary Food".   It matters of course, but their are other things that affect your health as well...things like relationships, physical activity, spirituality, and your career.  These are your "Primary Foods".  If your Primary Foods are out of whack, good luck resisting that pint of ice cream!  Stress can do a number on you!  So, Yoga to the rescue!  Yoga combines physical activity AND spirituality to help you manage stress and get you into



a healthy mindset.  Plus, in my classes, I really LOVE to promote a sense of community and foster relationships between my yogis.  So BOOM!  Three Primary Foods addressed by yoga!  Ha!  

I'm joking a little bit there...yoga won't solve ALL your problems, but man, it can sure make you feel healthier and happier!    :)

Anyway, that is what is going on here.  I'm on my way.  Pursuing my passions.  I'm also hoping to squeeze in my other passion, which is writing.  Hopefully, this is the start of my string of blogs.  We'll see....

Namaste, Yogis! 


Tall Mountain at Yosemite National Park

Wellness Tip:  When feeling "blah", stand in Tall Mountain--Reach up to the sky and take a deep breath in.  You will re-charge instantly!

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

I'm Back...Again

Hi Lovely Yogis!

So I've been MIA for awhile.   I have been lucky to have the opportunity to spend some time with my Dad, which is not always possible because we live on opposite coasts.  My yoga instruction has been on hold for the last six months or so, but I am hoping to get back into teaching when I get back to WA.

Oh yeah!  You may not know!  Hubby and I recently moved to WA.  We are starting from scratch, just like newlyweds.  New home, new appliances, and since we got rid of EVERYTHING when we moved from CA, new everything else too.  It will be an adventure.

Each time we move, my career path morphs...just a little bit.  I'm hoping this time, to be a little more "virtual".  I LOVE LOVE LOVE the face to face interactions, but with Dad on the opposite coast, I'd like to have the flexibility to go help out if  he needs me without letting a huge set of clients down.  We'll see how this ends up happening.

Along with the yoga, I'm toying with two other ideas.  I'm thinking of seeing if I could do some writing--just articles to start.  I'm also thinking about becoming a health coach.  Finding the right training/certification program has been challenging for me and I've been going through major Analysis Paralysis.  What program fits my style?  What program has a good reputation?  What program has staying power?  What program will best prepare me to be a good coach?  So many things to consider!  The same thing happened when I was choosing a Yoga Teacher Training Program.  I feel like I made a good choice there, so I hope the same happens in this situation.

Overall, I'm hoping the three "fields"--Yoga, Health Coaching, and Writing--will mesh beautifully and that I will be able to deliver health and wellness info and support to even more people seeking a change in their status quo.  That's the dream anyway!

Namaste, Yogis!
More later!

Dorothy

Photo of Florida clouds taken on a car ride with my Dad.  We drove right into the center of the storm...it was a fun adventure!







Friday, September 30, 2016

Whole Life Challenge: Week 2

OK.  So starting to feel better.  I don't really crave junk food anymore and I'm not super hungry all the time.  It's amazing what cutting out junk food will do!

I also feel like I'm getting more done.  Still have a lot on the "To do" list, but I've also crossed a lot off.  I'm going to chalk that up to more energy and less brain fog.

Hubby, who is also doing the challenge, has A LOT more energy.  Not sure if that is a good thing or a bad thing!  ;)  Our Lifestyle Challenge for week 2 was "Organization", which basically means we were supposed to set aside 10 mis a day and organize something.  For me, I went through papers, closet shelves, some photos, etc.  For hubby, it meant pulling apart our apartment, re-arranging all the furniture, throwing out a huge bookshelf, and getting rid of our only non-kitchen chair.  He was busy.  I'd come home from work and he'd be standing in the middle of the room--furniture EVERYWHERE--and when I'd look at him for an explanation, he would just shrug his shoulders, smile and say "Whole Life Challenge, baby!"  It's a good thing I love that man!

Next week our Lifestyle Challenge is Social Media Blackout.  Ugh.  No social media for a week (unless it is work-related).  This is a bummer because I check facebook a lot to see what's going on with family and friends across the country.  Plus I browse out of habit, so I'm hoping I don't forget and look by accident!

Hubby will have no problem...he doesn't use any social media at all.  I'm a little jealous....he's got a free week!

OK, so that is the update.  I may post a blog next week, but if I do it will be yoga related (that's business so it's ok).  In the meantime, good health to you all!

Namaste,
dorothy

This little Hammock Garden was in the backyard of Mountain Sage Coffee Shop In Groveland, CA.
A little piece of zen....

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Whole Life Challenge: Week 1

Yeah, I'm late.  The WLC sucks up a lot of time!  :)  However, it's been fun so far.  It feels good getting back to healthy eating.  My joint pain has cleared up already which is kind of amazing.  And I just love not walking around feeling that yucky feeling you feel when you eat too much junk food.  Do you know that feeling?  I am noticing that my hubby (who is also doing the program) has some major energy and has been in a great mood.  (Also fantastic!).

I've tried a few new recipes such as lamb meatballs with tzatziki sauce (http://thepaleodiet.com/greek-lamb-keftedes-paleo-tzatziki-summer-picnic-perfection/) which was pretty good.  I prefer my meatballs without mint, so we'll try that next time.  I added a little organic grassmilk yogurt to the sauce and changed the proportions a little.  The WLC allows yogurt and I thought it would be a sneaky way to add a little protein to the sauce.  Hubby loved it.  There was leftover sauce, so the next day I sauteed some Trader Joe's Wild Argentinian Red Shrimp in coconut oil and added some salt, pepper, cumin, garlic powder and lime and threw it all on top of big bowls of Trader Joe's Organic Power Greens with some cherry tomatoes, yellow bell pepper and cucumbers.   Mmmmm...that is a keeper.  Quick and easy!

The first week had a Lifestyle Challenge of meditating for 10 minutes every day.  You'd think that would be easy for a yoga instructor, but if you know me, you know I come from a long line of worriers!  So it takes a little time for me to address and let go of those nagging thoughts that swirl around my brain!  I found that the meditation was really helpful in promoting sleep though, so I've been continuing with it this week.  Lots of fun!

For those of you who want to try meditation, my WLC friends have found meditation apps to be really helpful!  They enjoy Headspace, Calm, and Simple Habit.  So if you're a worrier like me and you'd like to meditate at home before bed, give the apps a try and see what you think!  Maybe you'll have a beautiful, dreamy sleep!

Hope you've had a great week!
Namaste,
Dorothy

Our view of Half Dome as we stretched for the WLC!

Friday, September 16, 2016

Last Supper

Well, this is it.  The "Last Supper" before starting the Whole Life Challenge.  My husband is sitting in the sun at a long picnic table outside of the local Beer Haus.  I'm sure there is a big stein of beer sitting in front of him.  And I'm sure there's a big smile on his face.

I will join him soon.  And if you're wondering if there will be a big stein of beer in front of me as well, actually, I'm not quite sure yet.  Depends on how the mood hits me.  My Last Supper will probably consist of a big warm Beer Haus pretzel with cheese sauce washed down with lemonade or something equally sweet.  Totally anti-compliant with the WLC.  And of course there will probably be and some type of ice cream later on for dessert.  Cuz you gotta have ice cream as part of your Last Supper, right?

To those of you on the team...enjoy your last non-compliant meal for 8 weeks.  Tomorrow you will take some fabulous steps toward better health.  Maybe at the end of the 8 weeks, you will look back at your Last Supper and say, "Ewe, Gross!"  Wouldn't that be amazing?

Cheers!

dorothy

PS
I almost forgot!  Week 1 has Meditation as the Lifestyle Practice...for those of you who are new to meditation, check this out:

Meditation

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

A Yogi's Perspective on the Whole Life Challenge

Hey Kids!

As some of you may know, a few months ago I completed the Whole Life Challenge.  The Whole Life Challenge (WLC) is an online  8 week "game" that uses a team approach to help you focus on and improve your health and wellness in 7 areas of life.  As stated on their website, those areas are:

Nutrition, Exercise, Mobility, Sleep, Hydration, Lifestyle Practices, and Reflection


I joined, basically, because my best friend asked me to do it and I'd do just about anything she asked me to do.  She's a pretty great friend and we've been through a lot of crazy things together.  This WLC was no exception.  

By week 2  I was highly regretting my decision to join.  If you're a junk food addict as I am, you go through withdrawals and detox during the first few weeks.  You're Exhausted (with a capital "E"), you get headaches, you get brain fog, your joints might hurt, you may even break out in rashes and such.  I did.  It was not fun.  Plus, due to the hydration goal, you have to pee constantly. Kinda miserable.  But because my friend is an inspiration, and I promised her I would, I stuck to it.  By week 8 I learned just how much my health could improve by being a little more mindful about these 7 areas of health.  

Nutrition:  I am a nutrition nut.  I believe food is medicine.  I read blogs, books, and magazines about food all the time. I'm a little obsessive.  I believe that different foods work for different people.  I have spent much of my life trying different diets (Weight Watchers, South Beach, SlimFast, Atkins, The Zone, Lemonade Diet, Mayo Clinic Diet, etc.) in an effort to lose "those last 5-10 lbs".  I've also tried different ways of eating (Vegetarian, Paleo, Mediterranean Diet, Endometriosis Diet, etc.) in order to help solve the belly issues I've had since I was a kid.  I've got a fairly good handle on what makes me feel good and what doesn't.  The problem is, I have no willpower.  I see ice cream.  I eat it.  I see a sandwich on a great looking sub roll.  I eat it.  And I know I'm going to feel crappy, but yet I do it anyway.    

BUT, on the WLC, it's different.  I'm on a team.  There are rules.  I am rule-oriented.  I want to do well and I want to inspire others to do well.  So I stick to it.  I lost 10 lbs on the WLC.  That NEVER has happened on any diet or way of eating.  And I never denied myself food when I was hungry.  I ate all the time.  

But this is not the best part.  The best part is, by week 8  my acid reflux was gone.  Most (not all) of my belly pain and issues had gone away.  No skin rashes.  The inflammation throughout my whole body had lessened (no puffy eyes, no joint pain, no joint stiffness,  no morning stuffiness in the head, chest or ears).  My sleep was fantastic.  Totally amazing.  

The challenge gave me hope, and confidence, that someday, I would be able to chose a way of eating and stick to it on my own.  It will take work, but it will be worth it.  I just need more practice.  Hence, why I have signed up to do the challenge again.  


Exercise and Mobility:  These areas were not an issue for me.  I'm a yogi.  I teach 15-18 classes a week M-F using Saturday and Sunday as rest days.  I know how important it is to do yoga and how important it is to get in a little cardio too.  Both give you energy, keep you strong and flexible, work your balance, reduce stress, balance hormones, help digestion, improve sleep, and make you feel happy and confident.  I learned this long ago and do my best to do some type of yoga/exercise every day.  

Sleep:  Ahhh.  Sleep.  Once you become an adult, this becomes like a magical rainbow unicorn.  So hard to find and capture.  Does it even exist?  8 hours?  Really?  Do you know any adult that gets a full 8 hours every night?  

But the WLC makes it realistic.  You're just trying to get a little more than normal.  And though that's pretty hard, it's attainable.  And SO worth it.  And as a side note, when your nutrition is better, your sleep is AWESOME.  Solid.  It was one of the side effects of the challenge that I enjoyed the most!

Hydration:  This was probably the toughest area for me.  I drink maybe 1 glass of liquid a day.  I'm just never thirsty.  And I know it's bad.  I'm ALWAYS dehydrated.  My fingers are prune-y, my skin is dry, and I'm tired all the time.  So again, by week 8 I could tell the difference...my skin felt better, my energy was better, and I actually started to crave water.  Totally weird. 

Lifestyle Practices:  Now this area resonated with the yogi in me.  Every week there is a different practice that encourages you to be mindful in some area of your life.  You might practice gratitude, provide encouragement to others, bring awareness to your environmental impact, become more open minded, immerse yourself in nature, etc. All good, solid lifestyle practices that make you feel better about yourself and your place in the world.  And when you feel good, you can spread the good vibes to others.  It's a nice cycle...

Reflection:  By nature, I am a reflective person. I enjoy thinking about the whys and hows of why I do things and enjoy seeing what makes others do and say the things they do and say.  So it was really cool to work in a team and see everyone's reflection at the end of the day.  Very inspiring.  

So those are the 7 areas and how I feel about them and what I learned about them during the last WLC.  Starting Saturday I am doing the WLC for the second time.  We have a big team this time and I'm totally excited about it.  Lots of lovely, positive people working towards healthy change.  It's really cool to be a part of a group like this.  I'm hoping to inspire and be inspired.  I'm hoping to teach, learn, grow, and change.  

I'll try to share some of what I'm learning with you and maybe it will help you on your journey to good health in body, mind, and spirit!  

Namaste,
dorothy

PS
If you want more info on the WLC or want to join our team, check this out.  
https://www.wholelifechallenge.com/
http://www.whole.lc/wlc1609/t/c2c-health-kickers/join

Friday, February 12, 2016

Yoga Snacks for the Upper Body!

So, you're sitting in front of the computer.  What's your posture like?  Rounded spine?  Head jutting forward?  Crossed ankles?  Are you actually sitting on your foot and your spine is curving to one side?  Yikes!

You are not alone.  We all do it at one time or another while working, eating, driving, reading, watching tv--anything that involves sitting.  Many of us sit in front of the computer and don't even realize how terrible our posture is until we have to get up to grab something from the printer and it dawns on us that we've been hunched over like Quasimodo for the last 4 hours.  And that's when our bodies start yelling at us because by that point the lower back is stiff, shoulder and neck muscles are aching, the head is pounding, hands are ice cold from lack of circulation, and at least one leg has fallen asleep (or maybe it fell off...who knows?).  

So what's the fix?  If we're still working on being mindful about our posture, but haven't quite achieved that goal yet, what can we do to alleviate all the stress and strain we're putting on our bodies when we sit incorrectly?  The answer is:  Yoga snacks.  Little gentle yoga stretches you can do right at your desk.    

The following Yoga Snacks take only a few minutes and target those areas that get really tired, tight and stressed.  

Reminder:  Only do what feels good for your body.  You should feel stretching and working but no sharp pains and you shouldn't feel like you're out of breath.  If you feel pain or feel fatigued, stop and rest.
Before You Start Check Your Posture:  feet flat on floor, ankles under knees, sitting bones rooted, spine long, ribcage stacked on top of the hips, ears in line with the shoulders, chin tucked slightly to make length in the back of the neck
1.  Breathe First:  Close your eyes and bring awareness to your breath.  Notice how it sounds, feels, and moves.  Allow your breath to fall into its natural rhythm.  Tune in and enjoy.  Breathing deeply can help relax tense muscles, calm your nervous system and decrease your blood pressure.

2.  Neck Rolls:  To ease neck tension and warm the neck muscles, draw a “U” shape with your chin, moving your head from one side to the other.  Keep your jaw soft...try not to grind your teeth together. This move is great for preventing tension headaches.
3.  Neck Stretch:  Right ear to right shoulder, reach right arm up and over, reach left arm down toward the floor (stretching the L side of the neck)...repeat on other side



4.  Hand Clenching:  Reach arms out straight.  Palms up.  Slowly...Open hands, spread the fingers wide.  Feel the skin stretch across the palms.  Slowly...Close hands, thumbs in and fingers wrapped around the thumbs.  Squeeze.  Repeat open/close 7-10 times.  Really nice for people who type, do a lot of small motor movements, or who get stiffness in the fingers and hands.


5.  Wrist Bending:  Reach arms out straight.  Palms down.  Inhale Slowly...bending at the wrists, bring fingers to point up.  Exhale Slowly...bending at the wrists, fingers point down.  Repeat up and down 7-10 times.


6.  Wrist Rotation:  Reach arms out straight from the shoulders.  Palms down.  Curl thumbs under and wrap fingers around the thumbs to make a fist.  Keeping the arms still, slowly rotate the wrists in outward circles 7-10 times.  Then, slowly rotate the wrists making inward circles 7-10 times.

 
7.  Elbow bending:  Reach arms out straight from the shoulders.  Palms up.  Keeping the upper arms stationary, inhale and slowly bring the fingertips to the shoulders.  Exhale, slowly extend arms out.  Repeat 7-10 times.

8.  Shoulder Rotation:  Reach arms out straight from the shoulders.  Palms up.  Keeping upper arms stationary, bring the fingertips to the shoulders.  Move elbows in so they touch each other.  Inhale, and reach elbows up toward the sky, then exhale and pull the elbows back and then down. (Making a big circle with the elbows)  Repeat 7-10 times.  Then rotate the opposite way 7-10 times.











9.   Seated Cat/Cow:  Hands on knees, knees slightly apart...inhale, reach the heart up and lift the chin, exhale to curl the spine back pulling the belly button in, dropping the chin toward the chest and tilting the tailbone forward.  This can help ease back tension and stress.


 

10.  Seated Side Stretch:  Left hand on chair seat, right hand reaches up and over to the left, top shoulder rolls open, looking at the right palm if it feels ok.  Hold and breathe 3-5 breaths.  Repeat other side.


7.  Seated Spinal Twist--Cross Legged or Regular:  Keep the spine long, lifting up through the crown of your head. Sitting bones are evenly rooted into your chair.

8.  Chest Expansion:  Reach both arms behind and clasp hands.  Straighten arms if possible and squeeze shoulder blades toward each other and then down towards the hips.  Lift the heart.  Widen the collarbones. Tilt chin up slightly keeping the neck long.  Hold and breathe for 3-5 deep breaths.  This brings energy into the body and helps stretch out the front of the shoulders.


9.  Rag Doll: Widen feet and let the torso hang down between the legs or resting on the legs.  The body is soft.  Give the head a gentle shake and a gentle nod.  This helps release the muscles in the back, shoulders, and the back of the neck.



OK, Yogis!  Hope you are now feeling refreshed and energized!  Stay tuned for lower body Yoga Snacks that are not only great for doing at your desk, but are fantastic when traveling too!

Namaste, Friends!

Dorothy