Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Spring Clean Detox Routine

It is nearly the end of March and with the longer days, bright sunshine here in Los Angeles and the prospect of a great year ahead, many of us are swimming (or drowning) in ideas of how to keep up with the great habits we've kept and cultivated in this first quarter. 

Here are some of my preferred at-home habits that keep me clear and on point:


Recommended by Ayurvedic doctors, message therapists and healthy people  alike, fresh squeezed lemon in clean, room temperature water is hydrating and helps to flush toxins from the body. 

Lemons have incredible natural healing properties, including being an antiseptic. 

Drink up!


Regular exercise and massage therapy help to waste toxins from soft tissue, like muscle. Taking a warm bath with epsom salts helps to extract these toxins and also feels comforting. I like to pair my baths with some aromatherapy, either a dozen drops of pure essential oil that I have in my cabinet, or something pre-made. Recently, I've been enjoying Dr. Teals Soaking Solution in Chamomile (Target sells it for around $4 a bag). 


Obviously, I'm a fan of a regular yoga practice...but  any kind of healthy, physical movement will help you get better sleep, because the body is meant to be moved and used. Whether you've had the opportunity to exercise or have been stuck at your work desk, this particular yoga pose is restorative to the body and calming for your mind. I do this one on the floor or laying in bed before sleeping. 

Sit yourself sideways to a wall. Then slide your legs up the wall and you lay your back down to the floor. Adjust so you are comfortable and rest here for a few minutes before rolling off to one side and pressing yourself upright, again. 

So there you have it...hydrate, flush, sleep. Super simple steps you can take in the comfort of your own home to continue restoring your natural energy supply. 



Saturday, March 9, 2013

Student Q&A: How-To-Breathe

Lately, I've had several beginner-level students ask me after class about breathing, and how to "do it right." 
This is a really common concern and one that deserves a proper response.

First, there is no "wrong way," to breathe. Of all the many behaviors we complete, this is one that will happen whether we are thinking about it or not. That said, there are ways to breathe that are more efficient for certain activities. Unlike most activities, yoga asks that we pay close and conscious attention to how we are breathing. This can pose a challenge in-and-of itself, as having to notice something that you have never had to notice before will bring about new insights and ideas. 

I like to explain it like this: our breathe is like fuel for our bodies. When we are doing something like yoga, we need fuel to move us along in a way that is supportive and efficient. The breath delivers energy to our physical body as we are challenging it with the effort of strengthening, stabilizing and lengthening it's various layers. By bringing a greater amount of oxygen into the blood supply, we are able to "fuel" our muscle body while also releasing waste material that can get in the way of clarity (in the physical and mental layer). 

Whether you are inhaling when the instructor says to exhale or vice versa, as long as you are breathing, you are on a path toward more efficient energy use. Typically, there are movement patterns that make more sense to do with a particular part of the breath. For example, cat pose is generally instructed with an exhalation as the physical structures in the body draw toward the mid line and contract, much like the anatomy of an exhale causes the respiratory muscles to (essentially) draw together. However, there is an argument for switching the breathing pattern, as in performing the shape of cat pose while inhaling. 

Secondly, simply noticing that you, "don't know how to breathe," or "don't get the breathing exercise," offered in class that day is a remarkable insight! 
As one of my teachers says, "Confusion is a form of clarity."
Part of the process of yoga is realizing when something is confusing, over-your-head, strikingly clear and even unremarkable. We all have moments of grasping for perfection, beginner or master. The important thing to know is that with practice, it all becomes clearer and easier. So...show up to class, pay attention to how you are breathing, and find the flow of your own breath as it fuels you to move and synchronize with that space within that is already complete. 

Enjoy this compilation [YouTube video below] while continuing to surf the interwebs! 

Be well,