10 Ways To Make Yoga More Than A Resolution

yoga

10 Ways to Make Yoga More Than A Resolution

Whether you are new to yoga or are looking to restart your practice there are some things to remember so as to avoid overwhelm.

10. Start with a five minute practice if you don’t have much time or start with a home practice if you can’t get to a studio.  Don’t let the inability to get to a group class keep you from experiencing the benefits of a practice.

9. Classes are always crowded at the beginning of the year.  If you tried going to classes for the first time in January or February and they were packed, know that by now things have calmed down a bit.

8.  Don’t let the new and crazy sounding words scare you.  Your teacher will show you what they are asking you to do and if you feel lost give it a couple of chances rather than just giving up right away.  If you feel lost after a couple of classes find a new class and a teacher that makes you feel comfortable.

7. Don’t feel like you need all of the “gear”.  You don’t need a special mat, expensive clothes or yoga socks.  You don’t actually even need a mat to get started.

6. Go to the appropriate yoga class and practice the right kind of yoga for your body.  If you have not moved your body in so long that you wore leg warmers the last time you went to a class then don’t start with an advanced Vinyasa class.  Find a Gentle or Beginner’s class and give yourself permission to start slowly.

5. Know that it is ok to not be able to do every single pose that is taught.  Go with the flow and do what you can.  There is a reason it is called a yoga “practice”.  It takes time and work.

4. Try not to compare yourself to your neighbor.  Your teacher may say that to you and you might laugh to yourself and think ”right…” but really don’t do it.  Yoga is not about comparing so stop doing it and enjoy your practice more by just being in the moment.

3. Remember to laugh a little (or even a lot).  Yoga makes us feel joyous and laughter is just another expression of joy. A yoga class doesn’t have to be serious and stuffy.

2. Take care of yourself after class.  Drink water, eat healthy foods and get some rest.

1.  Start where you are.  Forgot needing to be flexible and just go to a yoga class!

Emily Loupe is a yoga teacher, yoga therapist, massage therapist and much more.  She has a passion for wellness and helping people use the practices of yoga to create health, wellbeing and happiness.  She teaches and runs a teacher training program in Austin, Texas called Elemental Yoga School.  Elemental Yoga School will be offering online yoga programs in 2014.  Find out more at http://www.elementalyoga.org

Honoring Your Family’s Natural Rhythms

I found out the hard way that I was the destroyer of my family peace.

Disruption of circadian rhythms has been linked to such problems as diabetes, depression, dementia and obesity, says Steve Kay, a professor of molecular and computational biology at the University of Southern California. *source The Wall Street Journal

cycles

image source: National Institute of General Medical Sciences

Having never considered myself an A-type push, push, push personality it was a rude awakening the day I realized I was pushing my loved ones past their natural limits in an effort to achieve.

It started with a three alarm meltdown from my daughter, then just three years old.

I had done away with the nap in an effort to “keep up” with my peers that were swearing by a no nap/ earlier bedtime for their kids. These peers had convinced  me that this new arrangement would allow me may hours in the evening to do my work and thus be more productive.

Now here we were at her group playtime at the YMCA losing our collective minds.

The meltdown was so severe I did not even know how to handle it.

I just let it roll out, tears, full volume screams, sideways glances and sneering comments about seeking a child psychologist from the adults that run the playgroup etc.

It was a terrible, heartbreaking moment.

After the dust settled I knew it was sleep related.

My daughter is prone to big emotions and big outbursts but, this was different.

I had rearranged her biological clock to fit my needs not her natural rhythms. We all ebb and flow to a deeply centered biological clock that receives its data from mother earth and the surrounding universe.

Basically, I messed with God’s plan and my child suffered.

Now before you go telling me it’s all a learning process and not to be so hard on myself. I know that. I got it. I just want to illustrate how our ingrained programming to go, go, go forth and be productive can come at a price.

The price of happiness lost.

Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony -Thomas Merton

After this sobering event I realized I had pushed this glorification of busy on myself and my husband.

I recalled the days I had huffed and puffed about the house resentful of my husband resting on the couch. He seemed to always need a daily siesta and it bothered my undercover overachiever demon. I used to make him feel guilty for needing a nap when in fact the truth was the whole family should have been taking a natural quiet time each afternoon as our bodies were calling for it.

I saw clearly how I pushed us all  through times of feeling weak aka tired or depleted.

And clearly now I could see how this wasn’t amping up our productivity at all. It was just making us resentful, tired and downright crabby.

So, wheres the happy ending?

I realized that when it’s time to rest it’s time to rest.

The entire family now enjoys a blissful interlude mid day. And what do you know an earlier bed time is still part of the package. Because I allow her to recharge mid day my daughter isn’t filled with frenetic energy at bed time.

The moral – never be afraid to admit you are wrong.

Here are a few ways you can honor your own families natural rhythms.

The goal of life is to make your heartbeat match the beat of the universe, to match your nature with Nature. – Joseph Campbell

1 Know your tribe.

Don’t be blind to your family’s specific needs. We are not cookie cutter humans. We all tune into the universal rhythms but we all also have different internal clocks. Some people are natural night owls Other people have medical conditions that override their biological clocks. My husband for example has low thyroid activity thus rendering him tired and depleted more often than others. Know your people and honor their differences schedule your events accordingly. Do not make family members feel guilty for their natural physical reactions to different parts of the day.

2 Work with your natural environment.

When the sun goes down turn your screens off. This is crucial. I know that a lot of us work at a computer and a lot of us do this at night while our family sleeps. I get that. But, as often as you can honor the universe and its endless cycles of day to night, When the sun goes down reduce exposure to artificial light so that bodies can continue on their natural cycles.

3 Be willing to always be working and reworking what works.

Only you will know or observe what is working and what isn’t. Like a good editor always be revising for optimal results. Also be willing to challenge the current constructs you are working within such as  school or work schedules. Be willing to challenge these things and see if you can find some give or leeway.

4 Think like a scientist.

Observe the earth, moon, sun, stars, tides, seasons etc. Notice how this system is already perfect. Learn what you can take from natural systems to implement in your family.

 

As with everything holistic keep an open mind and be willing to implement new things.

Tell us in comments or at the Facebook page how you honor your natural rhythms.

 

Kiki Harshman

On most days Kiki can be found seeking elevated states of being through better food.  A certified kitchen witch since the age of seven, Kiki is always continuing her education in blissful states of consumption. She is certified in Raw Nutrition by Raw Food trailblazer David Wolfe through the BodyMind Institute, where she continues her training. She has also completed an introduction to herbalism course through the Herbal Academy of New England. Currently taking a break from personal blogging, her curriculum vitae is available at her About.Me page.

Sweet Secrets – Real Food Cupcakes giveaway!

This Valentine’s Day weekend, I’ve got a tasty treat for you.

Sweet Secrets - Real Food Cupcakes giveaway!

Yes.  Cupcakes.  Actually, a cupcake giveaway.  A cookbook and educational tome for creating and sharing (optional) whole food, gluten free cupcake recipes that are loaded with healthy ingredients and can be made vegan friendly with a few alterations.

Like this.

Sweet Secrets - Real Food Cupcakes giveaway!

All of these amazing photos are taken from The California Country Gal’s “Sweet Secrets – Real Foods Cupcakes!”  your guidebook to creating Paleo Friendly, Low Glycemic, Guilt Free, delicious Cupcakes.

Sweet Secrets - Real Food Cupcakes giveaway!

 

Just a reminder – these are ALL Gluten and Grain Free.

Sweet Secrets - Real Food Cupcakes giveaway!

 

Yup, ALLL….

Sweet Secrets - Real Food Cupcakes giveaway!

 

Now that we’ve got your attention… here’s the giveaway, care of Annabelle Lee, the California Country Gal.

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For a more in-depth look at these delicious Gluten Free Cupcake Recipes – which have No Flours, added Starches, or Refined Sugars take a look here!

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59 Uses for Lavender Essential Oil — The ‘Swiss Army Knife’ of Oils

lavender essential oil

Guest post by Rachel Denning from DiscoverShareInspire.com Check out her 100% pure essential oil store (and get a free ebook), and her 3-Part video series on using essential oils.

Download this article as a PDF for future reference. Scroll to the bottom of this post for an MP3 on Lavender essential oil by Dr. Susan Lawton.

Whether you just getting into essential oils (check out the Complete Beginner’s Guide), or are an experienced user, lavender essential oil is one of the basics that you’ll always have in your kit.

That’s because lavender has been known as the ‘swiss army knife’ of essential oils… one of those stalwart standards that is a remedy for a diverse range of ailments.

Rome and lavender

Pure lavender essential oil smells clean and fresh, sweet and floral with woody undertones. Steam distillation of the flower tops and stalks produces a colorless, silky oil. The Ancient Greeks and Romans used lavender as a perfume, and for cleansing. They put it in their baths and spread it on their bodies.They used it in sick rooms to improve the smell and relax the patient. During weddings and celebrations they would spread lavender petals on the floor so the fragrance would be released when stepped on. [Read more...]

Simple Living for Holistic Beings

simple living

A balanced life is a well lived one. Ask yourself right now – are you living up to your full, meaningful potential?

Holistic nutrition is just one part of our existence where we can mindfully choose to embrace healthy, active lives. We are what we eat and the softness of our skin, the strength of our hair and the density of our teeth show us if we are on the right path, or whether we have an imbalance in our diet.

There are simple things we can do to correct dietary imbalance:

  • Eat seasonally
  • Buy locally
  • Support organic farming
  • Forage for nutrients
  • Reduce grains and refined sugars
  • Eliminate processed foods

To only change our diet is not enough to overcome the imbalances created by a consumer-driven life. We must become unbusy so that we have time to enjoy things that truly matter. We must declutter to find space. We must reduce stress so that we can be grateful. We must regard all of nature and the greater environment if we strive to become holistic beings.

We must understand connections if we dream of a sustainable world. Then we need to act.

Simple living is a gentle way of life that reminds us of how interconnected the world actually is. We become conscious of what we own, what we waste and what we really need – and with a different, more aware mindset we will find that it is much less than what we have been led to think.

Natural simple living may be right for you, if:

  • You are seeking a less complicated way of life
  • You are ready to live in a non-toxic home
  • You are willing to search for health through food, rather than medication
  • You realize the importance of organic clothing – for your body and the future of agriculture
  • Your natural beauty is ready to shine through
  • You already feel the positive benefits of earthing, or are ready to walk barefoot like a child once again
  • You desire more self-reliance in your life

There are a myriad of ways to slow down and enjoy the benefits of a simple life. Choose a place to start and take the first steps towards a lighter tomorrow.

simple living

A special offer for Holistic Dad readers!

Sign up for Natural Simple Living: Crafting Solutions for Your Healthy Life and Home – a month long, 8 lesson e-course to help get you back to the simple, meaningful life you long for, at a reduced price of $35…

and receive a free bonus – 21 days of e-nspirations for Everyday Simplicity.

The knowledge gathering takes place in the month of February, starting on the 1st. Special offer valid until January 31st, 2014 – take the first step right here.

A $60 value now offered to you for nearly half the price!

 

cheryl magyar

 

Cheryl Magyar is a sustainable life designer who shares a blog with her husband at Handcraftedtravellers. Sign up for their free newsletter Weekly Ideas for Simplifying Your Life at Home and Away and step into a simpler day!

Follow more inspirations of a simple life on -  Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest

Making The Commitment To Healthy Living In 2014

Healthy Living 2014

Guest post by Greg Denning, a holistic dad of almost six kids, from DiscoverShareInspire.com and GregDenning.com  Sign up for his FREE 90 min audio Purpose, Potential, and Peak Performance.

It’s a new and wonderful year.

What a great opportunity to re-commit to healthy living and a holistic and FANTASTIC life.

Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, it’s not always easy to make the best choice in the moment.  That requires us to develop our discipline.

Sadly, too many of us give up what we want most for what we want at the moment. That’s why a new year and a new beginning is a great opportunity to raise the bar and reach upward toward total holistic living.

I’ve lived an incredible life; from homelessness to pure awesomeness.  And the most difficult times led me to the most important and long lasting decisions.  Holistic living being one of the most important. Listen to my story….

Click to listen. Right click to save MP3.

For more inspiration and motivation, visit www.GregDenning.com

5 Ways To Stay Happy And Healthy In 2014

2014 healthy living tips

Click here to download this FREE printable!

This time of year is always buzzing with excited and hopeful energy, people all over the world planning the year ahead. Setting goals. Dreaming big. Wondering what 2014 will bring.

Whatever your goals and dreams are for this year, here are some tips to ensure it’s happy and healthy.

1. Be Present.

“Realize deeply that the present moment is all you have. Make the NOW the primary focus of your life.” ~ Eckhart Tolle

Make mindfulness a habit by bringing yourself back to the present moment whenever you notice yourself getting lost in thought. This is especially important if you often re-play the past or spend too much time future-tripping.

The key here is awareness. Once you realise you’re stuck in your head, turn your awareness to your body. Focus on your breathing. Listen to the sounds around you. Feel your back against the chair or your feet on the ground.

A great way to train your mind to stay present is to meditate. Even ten minutes a day will make a difference. Light a candle and gaze at the flame. Go outside and let nature guide you towards a more peaceful state. Listen to a meditation recording or go to a class.

By giving yourself over to the now, you’ll feel more relaxed and joy will come to you with more ease.

2. Laugh.

“At the height of laughter, the universe is flung into a kaleidoscope of new possibilities.” ~ Jean Houston

We’ve all heard the saying, ‘laughter is the best medicine.’ It’s uplifting and fun, it brings people together and lightens your mood. Not only that, it’s an amazing happiness booster and even reduces stress.

Make it a goal to laugh every day in 2014. Watch your favorite funny movies and tv shows {The Big Bang Theory and Seinfeld are my go-to laugh inducers!}. Read funny books. Make time to hang out with people who make you laugh or try Laughter Yoga.

A good giggle can transform even the darkest of days.

3. Nourish Your Body.

“Let food be thy medicine, thy medicine shall be thy food.” ~ Hippocrates

Choose foods that make your body glow from the inside out. Every body is different when it comes to finding which foods keep us at optimum health; vegan, paleo, gluten free, the list goes on. If you’ve found the foods that nourish you, great! Keep it up.

If not, find the foods that make you feel good and healthy. If you need help, find a nutritionist or health coach and work together to find what works for you.

4. Move Your Butt.

“The higher your energy level, the more efficient your body. The more efficient your body, the better you feel and the more you will use your talent to produce outstanding results.” ~ Anthony Robbins

Exercise is brilliant for a whole mind, body, spirit boost. How our body feels determines every other area of our lives, so it’s vital to get our bodies moving regularly.

Again, it’s about finding what works best for you. It could be yoga, marathon running, going to the gym, swimming, dancing, even hula hooping or trampolining.

If you don’t exercise as much as you’d like and want to feel fitter and stronger in 2014 {like me!}, set a goal and stick to it no matter what. Start small if you need to, even taking your dog for a walk every day is enough. Keep building on your fitness routine as you go along; jump rope after your walk or jump on an exercise bike for 30 mins every day.

The more you move your body, the better you’ll feel.

5. Do What You Love.

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” ~ Steve Jobs

It doesn’t matter what it is. Whether it’s knitting, writing, painting, gardening, playing guitar, hiking, cooking, dancing, volunteering… if you love it, do it! And do it as often as possible.

Forget about what other people think; do what makes you happy. Working on our passions can be as calming as meditation and is guaranteed to make you feel joyful, fulfilled and alive.

If you haven’t found what you love to do yet, keep looking. Here’s a clue; when you do it, you’ll get lost in it, it will electrify you and you’ll lose track of time because you’re having so much damn fun!

And if you’re worried it’s too selfish to do what makes you happy, take a look at my all-time favorite quote:

“Ask what makes you come alive and do it. Because what the world needs are people who have come alive.” — Howard Thurman

I hope this post has inspired you to make 2014 your happiest and healthiest year ever. If you want a reminder of these 5 happiness boosters, I made a free printable for you to do just that! Check it out here!

jenbiopic (1)Jen Saunders is the creator of Wild Sister Magazine and the Wild Sisterhood. She’s a tie-dye wearing, coffee guzzling writer, artist + self love advocate who fiercely believes that empowering women will change the world. A former city girl living by the sea with her husband, when she’s not creating the next edition, blog post or ecourse, Jen loves movie marathons, writing fiction and instagramming ridiculously cute photos of her pug.

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The Beginner’s Complete Essential Oils Guide (and the Top Ten Most Used and Useful)

Beginners Essential Oils Guide

Guest post by Rachel Denning from DiscoverShareInspire.com Sign up for her 3-part video series on natural health care for unconventional families.

Many people cultivating a holistic lifestyle will eventually ‘discover’ essential oils as a powerful tool for natural healing — physically, emotionally and spiritually. Essential oils have a long, beautiful history as gifts from Mother Earth provided to care for us, her children. Ancient Egypt, Ancient China and the Bible all have recorded the use of essential oils.

What Are Essential Oils?

Essential oils are the plant’s own ‘medicine cabinet’ — protecting against infection, warding off invaders, and healing. Because are bodies are also carbon based, when we use essential oils they feel ‘at home’ and go to work on our behalf, helping our bodies to heal themselves, addressing core physical, emotional and spiritual issues as the root of disease. [Read more...]

Our first ebook and a giveaway!!

happy healthy holidays

healthy holiday recipes

 

I am pleased to announce our first ebook is now available, and for only 99 cents!

We’ve teamed up with the family behind Family Food Revolution to bring you Happy Healthy Holidaysa mini cookbook available as an instant download. Filled with beautiful photographs and healthy, kid friendly Christmas goodies that are vegan friendly and yet decadent.

Family Food Revolution is devoted to helping families eat healthier and cook at home as often as possible, which is the same message I have been preachin’ here on Holistic Dad. It’s something I am extremely passionate about. Not only is cooking at home often healthier than eating out, it’s also a great way to bond with your family, especially during the holiday season!

The inspiration behind Happy Healthy Holidays is that classic treats such as gingerbread cookies and egg nog can be made into healthier versions. Whether you are vegan or not, you won’t be missing anything with these 12 holiday recipes. They are loaded with flavor and nutrients so dig in!!

Head on over here to get your copy now!

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And now for our Giveaway!  The Breville Juicer, like the one used in “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead” is a great way to keep you at your healthiest!  It’s a perfect choice for those who haven’t gotten into the habit and want to get started.  NOTE: This is giveaway for everyone across the globe, BUT – if  this particular juicer is unavailable in your country – rest assured, I’ll find a suitable replacement that offers all the benefits of this top of the line centrifugal juicer.

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Online Intermediate Herbal Course

 

study herbalism

 

Step beyond the concrete jungle and into the natural world where life’s pleasures reside and where our souls may take refuge. We are here to help promote lasting health and radiant beauty in mind body and spirit.

- Marlene Adelmann, Director at the Herbal Academy of New England

 

For the past several years, I have been interested in the healing power of herbs. My wife healed her Postpartum depression with the help of a local herbalist in LA; it was at that moment when we realized we truly needed to learn about herbs and their uses as they could have such life changing results. So for the past few years, I have embarked upon researching herbal medicine both here in Asia ( where we live) as well as in Europe and North America. 

I am happy to announce that on November 25, 2013, I will be joining students from around the world in the Intermediate Herbal Course from the Herbal Academy of New England. If you want to learn more about herbs as medicine and as food, and if you’re just too busy to enroll in an in-person program, join the HANE community for a comprehensive and convenient online herbal course you can complete anywhere and anytime—right on your laptop! And here is the great news: to celebrate my enrollment, HANE is offering readers 15% off now through the 25th. Just enter the code 15BY25 when enrolling for your discount! 

Try-Bulk-Herbs

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harvesting-online-herbal-course

In this program, students will dive into advanced topics, discussions about theory and energetics, in-depth coverage of physiology and guidance for diagnosis and herbal formulation. Other topics covered throughout the Intermediate Herbal Course include herbal formulations, safety/side effects, and regulations for building an herbal practice. Learn what your great ancestors knew about the natural world and begin to build your own Materia medica and apothecary. You’ll be learning how and why.

The Intermediate Herbal Course includes:

  • Printable Intermediate Herbal Certification upon completion

  • 10 outstanding units

  • 40 in-depth lessons

  • Over 100 herbal recipes

  • Interactive ebooks

  • Printable handouts and charts

  • Videos throughout every unit

  • Online forums open for discussion and questions

  • Quizzes!

  • Easy access to a team of herbalists and medical professionals

  • A community of herbalists on the same path towards wellness

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The Intermediate Herbal Course begins on November 25, 2013. Click here to learn more and register!

About the School

With roots in greater Boston, The Herbal Academy of New England is an educational resource offering online programs and local workshops, herbal clinics, and weight loss counseling. The academy is committed to researching and gathering information and tools to help support a lifestyle of self-awareness and whole body care. It is the Herbal Academy of New England’s desire to encourage individuals and society to make sustainable and meaningful changes so as to use earth’s resources with greater wisdom and respect. Herbalism includes stewardship of the earth.

And now friends, we have an AWESOME giveaway for you! HANE is not only offering 15 percent off for anyone of your who joins before the 25th (just enter the code 15BY25 when enrolling here) they are also offering one lucky reader FREE enrollment! Entry is super easy, simply scroll down for details!

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