All the Yoga Everywhere, Always

Existentialism, Religion, Yoga

Yoga has been intertwined with my life for the last 10 years but it wasn’t until February  of Screen Shot 2016-06-14 at 7.38.56 AMthis year that I started intently practicing every single day. Before then I would take time in my life to fly off of the rails and have existential crises where yoga was no longer something I made time for. Practice every day makes me stronger and allows me to achieve more advanced levels of posture. But what it also does is give me the ability to maintain joy, gratitude and balance in my mind & life even in the toughest moments.

As a former athlete, my practice was a way to stay in shape when I couldn’t run, lift or cross train because of my injury. After a couple of years I got more interested in the spiritual and scientific aspects of yoga in my life. From meditation & breathing to Ayurvedic eating to our fabulously interesting chakra system; it was all absolutely fascinating to me. There are so many intertwined aspects of yoga that I could confuse you and myself with, but instead there is one simple idea that I’d like you to take away from this post. Yoga practice teaches us how to find balance in breath, how to find stillness in motion and how to create a fantastic realm of calm despite the storm.

I’ve been wanting to explore this idea on the blog for awhile but I wasn’t able to get the words out, until this week that is. For some reason this week has been the worst, but it’s only Tuesday. Yesterday, for no reason, I was completely and horribly angry right at the getScreen Shot 2016-06-14 at 7.38.40 AM.png go of waking up. Sometimes there is something that sets me off, like an excessively dirty kitchen or some animal vomit to clean up that really grinds my gears when I stumble out of bed to make my coffee. That wasn’t the case yesterday, it was just one of those days that my intense empathic soul needed to flush out anger it had accrued over time as I sponge emotions off of passersby. I was angry ALL DAY except while I was in a gentle yoga class and while I was helping out with kids yoga camp. These hours spent were full of gratitude, excitement and wonder; but this bliss isn’t only accessible while you’re in a studio or on your mat. The moments we spend in the studio or on the mat are points of training for all of the times that we need to access pure unadulterated bliss in our daily waking lives.

Today I woke up after about 10 days trying to get my bills across different states and credit unions all settled up for the month to find that I incurred an unnecessary overdraft fee. You know what I did you guys? I cried. I cried so hard, with open mouth breathing and everything. I cried like this right on the phone with the sweet, gentle Southern woman who works for PayPal. Starting off the first moments of your day with a rollercoaster of disappointment, regret and open mouthed sobbing doesn’t generally prove a recipe for success. But I am confident that if I’m kind to myself, if I show gratitude in the right places and if I get on my mat for at least 20 minutes; I’ll be able to find my balance again amidst the sea of bleh my emotions have me sailing on this week. Because yoga can be my constant, my mat can be my reset button. Every moment can be yoga. Only then can we learn to understand the deep facets of our mind and step away from these days of rage or sorrow to look at the feelings themselves from an objective perspective. We can access our witness body to observe our emotional body and engage with the triggers instead of the effects. This is necessary in order to grow and shape ourselves into better humans through our practice.

This is how we heal. This is how yoga heals. This is how we heal ourselves with yoga.

 

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Herb Spotlight: Hibiscus

Herb Spotlight

Hibiscus creates the most perfect tart flavoring for iced teas and even sorbets, and it also does some other wonderful things aside from tickle the senses. The flower, root and seed can all be used in decoctions, tinctures and even cleansers for your skin. The Hibiscus flower comes in thousands of species that thrive in warm or warm-temperate climates. It is often found in Asian countries.

Breakdown of Hibiscus 

Scientific Name: Hibiscus rosa-sinensis ; Hibisceaetribe of the family Malvaceae [aka: rose mallow shoeblackplant, Chinese hibiscus, China rose, Hawaiian hibiscus]

Parts Used: flower, stem and sap

Magical Stats: Water Element, Ruled by Venus

Improves Function of the:

  • bowels
  • cardiovascular system
  • intestines
  • antioxidants

Aides in relieving symptoms of:

  • high cholesterol
  • uterine cramps
  • high blood pressure
  • menopause
  • diabetes

Assists spiritually with:

  • Connecting to the divine feminine
  • Worshipping Kali or Devi
  • Petition for mercy
  • Add beauty to and uplift your life

How Does It Work?

Hibiscus is believed to be an astringent. Mucilage found in the roots soothe the mucous membranes that line our respiratory and digestive tracts.  Anthocyanocides are astringent and anti-inflammatory. Lastly, I-hydroxy-acids work on the horny layer of the skin when applied topically, creating a more cohesive layer which results in  more elastic and moisturized skin and richer hair.

What Do I Do With It?

Hibiscus Flower

A decoction can be created from the flower of the rosa-sinensis. Hibiscus has a tart, delicious taste that is truly unique to it; home brewed tea is delicious when cold or hot. The tea will help to regulate blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugars. The tea holds a large quantity of antioxidants and can help regulate your system. With regulated blood pressure you may experience a balanced body temperature. You can experience help with muscle spasm and relieve other pain as well. Tea will also function as a mild laxative and diuretic.

Hibiscus flower is also used topically to shine shoes. It’s anti-inflammatory properties make it a great addition to skin care issues, helping acne and other skin problems. It is also used in shampoo to fortify locks and make them more thick, and lustrous. Boil the flower in oil with other chosen spices to make a medicated hair oil. Or grind the flowers and leaves in the fine paste with some water until it is a lathery paste. That will create a shampoo plus conditioner.

Hibiscus Roots

In Ayurvedic medicine the root of the Hibiscus plant can be used to stop hair loss, dandruff or greying. Ayurveda even recommends it to cure coughs. Creating a tincture out of the roots can help to spark up your digestive and respiratory tracts.

Hibiscus Seeds

Ancient Asian medicine recommends using the seeds of the flower to curb menstrual cramps and spasms. Create a decoction from the seed and drink it.

Hibiscus in Magic

The flower is used in incense to add beauty ultimately helping the practitioner by uplifting them. The flower is also used to petition for mercy. Essential oil is perfect for infusions that will connect you to the divine feminine. It is sacred to the goddess Kali in all of her guises.

WARNING: As always, if you are currently under the care of a doctor do not follow these instructions without consulting your physician.

Four Simple Steps to Just Being Happy

Yoga

It seems so simple, just be happy. But it is such a conscious decision moment by moment. I sure do have my dark times, and when those clouds roll over my demeanor EVERYTHING seems more difficult. I used to just crumple up and stay inside when those times hit me, but now I have weapons to fight the doldrums.

My boyfriend is an eternally happy individual, almost to a fault sometimes. He laughs big guttural laughs and smiles an enormous all teeth included smile almost all day iuevery single day. People actually ask me why he is so happy and I have raised the same question to him. His answer was simple, it was hard at first but he just kept trying. So lately, I have been working to live in that mantra: Try to be happy, just keep trying. That mantra has helped me to really make the best of my life and see the small beautiful things fluttering all about the universe that I had missed before by being too busy and angsty.

Very recently in my joy journey I have been practicing yoga daily and threw a Yin practice into my regimen to see what it was about. Yin was an extremely heart opening mind, body and spirit healing practice. I felt soft and mushy in my soul when I walked out of that class studio and when I went to work the next day my open heart was trampled over by daily rituals of angsty business from others.

The next day I was struck with the realization that I was using up all of my happiness on the people that don’t matter and coming home to my eternally happy boyfriend a puddle of smushed human emotional matter. To this thought my friend Sam informed me, ‘There is always more happy.’ His simple statement really got me thinking about the eternal pool of happiness.

This is when I decided to divide and conquer my daily rituals to pin point the things that help me dive in whenever I want.

STEP 1: As we previously mentioned, just try.

When someone really grinds your gears or disrespects you and you feel those charges of bliss depleting just try to rise above it, your happiness is most important. You can’t have the most worthwhile interactions with others unless you are putting your best self forward. Care about you, your best friend, before you worry about those around you. As Ram Dass so gloriously put, don’t prune the gardens of others just cultivate the land around unnamedyourself and let them come over for tips on how your flowers bloom. PS. just smile. it does wonders.

STEP 2: Be active. Seriously, just do anything

This one is just simple science. Get your body in motion and feel some endorphins course through your veins. Even if you just take time to stretch before you go to bed or do 20 sit ups when you wake up in the morning, it will help stimulate your body, mind and spirit. Nourishing that trifecta will always help you the naturally feel like a giggly individual. Personally, I use yoga and a connection to my physical body.

STEP 3: Eat something green.

When we cook food we put energy into it, buying fast food or even certain restaurant food can put energy of rushed, unhappy people into your being. Furthermore, all food puts different energy into our physical being (more simple science :D). If we just throw one vegetable into our daily diet, heck even venture outside of the green color family for it, it can greatly increase your mood. Not to mention increasing your digestive health and all around well being. Seriously look into organic produce, the small price difference is pennies compared to health factors of GMO and non organic farming.

STEP 4: Medicate with cannabis.

Surely this is a more controversial step in the process for some but cannabis is a real medicine. Even if you opt for CBD only, which is an isolated cannabinoid that has no psychoactive (‘high’) effect, you will find relief from anxiety, crankiness and overall doldrums.

If you battle with depression and live in a state with a medical cannabis program go inquire with a dispensary or naturopath about your options. You do not have to smoke cannabis to medicate; there are vaporizers, edibles, tinctures, rub on balms and even suppositories. Knowledge is power, do some research and speak to a professional about your best plan.

With a very real focus on any one of these four steps, it is quite possible to change the general well being of your mood to one which is positive. Focus on yourself and find the ability to rise above the doldrums at even the most draining of times.