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10/2015

Breast Cancer Awareness

“Taking your life back AND MOVING AHEAD”
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YOGA FROM A NATURAL: JEANIE SALLAH

 

 

I remember the moment as if it was yesterday when Brenda G. my ride-or-die buddy said, “I need you to come feel my breast”. We were at work and I was on break, she had snuck upstairs to get me alone. We went into the restroom and with no modesty she raised her shirt (she wasn’t modest then and she’s still not). I remember feeling a large hard mass but I didn’t want to sound overly alarmed, DON’T GET ME WRONG I was so scared, I just didn’t want to scare her. My first inclination was to downplay the situation but it was tough. You see Brenda was only 24; the year was 1984 to be precise and 24 year olds just don’t get breast cancer-or so I thought. I’ll spare you the overly numbing details but she did indeed have cancer. How do you help someone you love deal with a devastating diagnosis?  My friend had breast cancer and all I could do was watch her pain. Up until that point in my life only one other dear friend in my inner circle had to concern themselves with their own mortality but happily today life is going great for Missy (Yea!).

Fast forward to 2006; that’s when I met the most delightful lady at my daughters dance school, her name is Sonya B. and we both had 5th grade girls. You know when you’re sitting around waiting for your kids to finish dancing and you’re forced to talk to the other mothers, well Sonya was one of those mothers and she was a joy. They say when you get older it’s tougher to make new friends but this was an exception. You know in your 40’s and beyond you sort of reach your “New Friend Threshold” and you don’t so freely let people into your life. Well, I’m so glad we proved that theory wrong because the addition of her (and her family) in my life was a stroke of luck. Anyway, I don’t know exactly how the conversation came up; it could have been when we were complaining about the overpriced fees we were paying the studio. Maybe it was when we were commenting on all the unnecessarily expensive costumes changes needed for the recital (most were cute but one in particular resembled a life-size Skittle). Now that I think about it we really complained quite a bit about that studio, so it could have happened on “ANY” given day. Well the revelation about her having a mastectomy was said to me in a, “oh by the way sort of fashion” that was both heartfelt and frank. The information was a “Wow”, wow because she trusted me about something that I never would have known otherwise. Wow because life is sometimes just downright cruel! The year was 1999 when she was diagnosed and she was only 33 years old with no family history of the disease.

The main thing these two women had in common was just that-They Are Women. We all have so many cutesy names for our breasts; ta ta’s, boobs, the girls, rack, etc., but we should make sure that we get the word out that we need to protect this important part of our anatomy.

The American Cancer Society Guidelines for Early Detection is as follows:

Yearly mammograms starting at age 40 and continuing for as long as a woman is in good health Clinical breast exam (CBE) about every 3 years for women in their 20s and 30s and every year for women 40 and over Women should know how their breasts normally look and feel and report any breast changes to a health care provider right away. Breast self-exam (BSE) is an option for women starting in their 20s.

Some women – because of their family history, a genetic tendency, or certain other factors – should be screened with MRIs along with mammograms. (The number of women who fall into this category is small: less than 2% of all women in the United States.). Talk with a doctor about your history and whether you should have other tests or start testing at an earlier age.

Here are just a few other things you can do to further take control of your health.

BE YOUR OWN HEALTHCARE ADOVATE and SPEAK UP! What does that mean? It means take control, don’t be PASSIVE about your health. The passive person is the person who is more likely to not get well.

Do monthly self-breast examines (Translation-Become up front, friendly, and personal with your breasts, you’ll be more inclined to notice a change if you do)

Don’t smoke, we’ve only been saying that since 1965.

Keep it moving-literally. Exercise regularly.

Limit your alcohol consumption.

Stay at a healthy weight.

Know your family’s health history.

Don’t be a stranger to the doctor’s office, get regular check-ups, screenings, and ask questions.

and one more thing

Talk! Talk to your Mom, Talk to your Sisters, Talk to your Daughters, and Talk to your Friends about breast cancer awareness because that’s where it all starts. Brenda talked to me about her breast lump and she’s fine.

By talking we can all bring “AWARENESS” to this devastating disease!

Okay, let me give you an update on my friends Brenda and Sonya. Brenda had her initial cancer scare in 1984, followed by her second mastectomy in 1987, followed by ovarian cancer in 2004. She took the susceptibility Braca1 test and found that she does indeed carry the breast cancer gene (think Angelina Jolie). Today she is taking the necessary steps to make sure her daughter stays safe because her lifetime risk of developing breast/or ovarian cancer is now greatly increased. In 2013 Brenda got reconstructive breast surgery, she was beautiful before and she is still a beauty both inside and out.

Sonya is doing great today! She did have a mastectomy in 1999, it was Stage 2, no chemotherapy was needed but she took hormone therapy for five years after her surgery. She also took the Braca1 test and the results were that she didn’t have the gene. Even though she doesn’t have the gene she still makes sure her daughter takes the extra precautions to stay safe and healthy. In true mama protector fashion, her college age daughter has already had her first base-line mammogram and self-exams are performed by her monthly. In 2011 Sonya underwent a lumpectomy and it was benign. Sonya is fine, and by fine I mean she healthy, gorgeous, and pursuing her dream of becoming a journalist. Believe me when I say that the sister is determined (and we are all sisters in this fight)!               

So two ladies, two incredibly courageous ladies, whose only obvious initial common denominator is that they are women who were ultimately dealt a horrific diagnosis and came out on top. Oh yeah, one more thing that they both have in common is that they kicked cancers “ASS” and kept it moving forward. Now that’s what I’m talking about, Bravo!

So much of my life revolves around yoga and what it can do for you, so here’s a thought. When you’re chilling at home, you know maybe you’re following a yoga DVD, a television yoga class, or just stretching and moving your body on your own-when you get to savasana (corpse pose) think about doing one more additional pose- A SELF-BREAST EXAM (you’re already on your back). Just once a month is all it takes and the peace of mind is AMAZING!

These step-by-step rules are courtesy of the American Cancer Society for doing breast self-examinations.

How to examine your breasts:

While lying down

Lie down on your back and place your right arm behind your head. The exam is done while lying down, not standing up. This is because when lying down the breast tissue spreads evenly over the chest wall and is as thin as possible, making it much easier to feel all the breast tissue.

Use the finger pads of the 3 middle fingers on your left hand to feel for lumps in the right breast. Use overlapping dime-sized circular motions of the finger pads to feel the breast tissue. Use 3 different levels of pressure to feel all the breast tissue. Light pressure is needed to feel the tissue closest to the skin; medium pressure to feel a little deeper; and firm pressure to feel the tissue closest to the chest and ribs. It is normal to feel a firm ridge in the lower curve of each breast, but you should tell your doctor if you feel anything else out of the ordinary. If you’re not sure how hard to press, talk with your doctor or nurse. Use each pressure level to feel the breast tissue before moving on to the next spot.

Move around the breast in an up and down pattern starting at an imaginary line drawn straight down your side from the underarm and moving across the breast to the middle of the chest bone (sternum or breastbone). Be sure to check the entire breast area going down until you feel only ribs and up to the neck or collar bone (clavicle).

There is some evidence to suggest that the up-and-down pattern (sometimes called the vertical pattern) is the most effective pattern for covering the entire breast without missing any breast tissue.

Repeat the exam on your left breast, putting your left arm behind your head and using the finger pads of your right hand to do the exam.

 

Standing in front of a mirror

While standing in front of a mirror with your hands pressing firmly down on your hips, look at your breasts for any changes of size, shape, contour, or dimpling, or redness or scaliness of the nipple or breast skin. (The pressing down on the hips position contracts the chest wall muscles and enhances any breast changes.)

Examine each underarm while sitting up or standing and with your arm only slightly raised so you can easily feel in this area. Raising your arm straight up tightens the tissue in this area and makes it harder to examine.

7/22/15

“Aging Gracefully and Not Running in Search of that Imagined Fountain of Youth”

                                       

Yoga From A Natural-Jeanie Sallah

 

In the name of beauty, youth, and that fresh-faced natural glow; we exfoliate, we wash our face as if it were a fine piece of fabric, we moisturize, and we never leave the house without sunscreen SPF 15 or higher. For insurance and just to tip the scales in your favor you buy the best cleansers, anti-aging creams, serums, and eye illuminating potions to ensure maximum beauty (you know you don’t want puffy dark circles under those eyes). As you can see, I’m all for natural enhancements like makeup, lashes, extensions, weaves, wigs, and such because a girl really does need a little help sometimes (You Know). What I’m not about is unnecessary plastic surgery, pumped-up booty shots, lip injections, or trying to squeeze your behind into your daughter’s outfits which are both off-putting, as well as a little “Side-Eye” weird. Seriously, they call it “Fake” for a reason. In our youth obsessed world do you sometimes feel like your scrambling to find your place; you know-that little smidgeon of evidence to convince yourself that “YOU STILL GOT IT”?

Well I think we do still have it, it’s just packaged a little differently. That packaging may not be as bad ass as you want it to be, but that’s Okay.  Maybe I’m reflecting a bit more on age because July is my birth month and I’m really getting excited!  I’ve always used it as a guideline to measure progress; sort of my barometer of growth in development, spirit, and clarity.  Growing older in my view is a gift that shouldn’t be taken for granted or frowned upon. Each year we hopefully grow a little wiser, learn to be more tolerant, change those things that needed attention, and appreciate the person we see in the mirror. Sure we focus on the outside because as ladies we never want to take our looks for granted, but learning to love the inside you is just as important as loving the person the world gets to see.

Maybe an attitude adjustment on aging is in order, similar to appreciating life through fresh lenses. If you want to see some incredibly beautiful, strong women, check out the Pinterest board “How To Age Gracefully”. I’m talking Tina Turner (those legs), Dame Helen Mirren (that body), Angela Basset (those arms), Diane Sawyer (TV personality), Meryl Streep (mind-blowing actress), Ernestine Shepherd (body builder), Carmen Dell’Orefice (working over 80 model), the list is endless and I’m in awe. So you want to know what I see when I picture any older women? I see a life lived; be it good or bad. I see experience, tenacity, style, grace, at times reinvention, wisdom, curiosity, new beginnings, so much history, and so much future. Sure, age treats all of us differently but it’s not a plague to shy away from. We can help our situation along immensely by exercising, getting the proper sleep, watching what you put into your body, and being attentive to your overall health. Have an open mind, try to rethink judgment of others, mentally be present, try new things, be a good listener, and strive to be in the company of forward thinking people. That my friend is good advice for any age group.

So on the surface all we really need is a little Bare Minerals, Iman or Mac makeup, some concealer, make sure those eyebrows are on fleek, rock that with a body that says “You Still Care”, glam it up with a killer outfit, definitely  bring an “I Have Arrived Mindset” along for the ride, and you’re good to go. Oh yeah, let’s not forget to convey an attitude that exudes confidence, approachability, and some kind-heartedness thrown in for good measure.

In the end Aging Gracefully isn’t about minimizing those prominent smile lines, searching for the best way to shave ten years off our age, or even finding just the right fitting Spanx, it’s focusing on just being the “Best You Possible”. Loving what’s on the inside as well as the outside and inwardly screaming at the top of your lungs “I’m here, I love myself and who I am; and I’m not obsessing over how old I am”, is real happiness”. Not fighting tooth and nail in search of that fairy-tale “Fountain of Youth” is true acceptance. Let’s make a promise right now to embrace Whatever Age You Are; 20’s, 40’s, 80’s and beyond. Life really is an unpredictable voyage and isn’t that a little bit of the beauty and mystic of the aging process? So let’s try not to trip on the number so much; let’s just be free to move forward, “Rejoice in the Process”, and enjoy the journey!

“Beautiful young people are accidents of nature, but beautiful old people are works of art”

Eleanor Roosevelt

 

SO REMEMBER- Life’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon. Slow down; smell the roses and I’ll see you soon. Be kind to yourself and don’t forget to check out the “Pose of the Month”. Peace and Namaste!

 

Tree Pose

Vriksasana

 

This pose is my nemesis, my achilles’ heel, my everyday hurdle, my necessary struggle, and one of my favorite poses. Necessary because it’s an ongoing challenge for me and working at what I personally find difficult shows me that through gradual progress all things are possible. I’ve finally come to accept the fact that Tree Pose is hard and I’m really just not that good at it.  My single leg standing balance has a mind of its own and for me it’s so crazy challenging that it’s like attempting a sample test with no answer key. The bathroom counter, kitchen counter, even my dining room table has served as stationary objects for my off-centered attempts at standing like a flamingo; couple that with my outstretched arms and you are now witness to my equilibrium concerns. Not necessarily a pretty picture but it’s real.

 

So I invite you to try tree pose. Hopefully, you will grow to love it too for your own special reasons.  Also, I’m going to include a modification for this pose, if in doubt do the modified adaptation and work up to a standard version of the pose at a later time. Have Fun!

  1. From Mountain Pose stand with the feet together and the arms by your sides. Really establish your Mountain pose, don’t rush to get into tree pose, take your time. Savor each stage of your tree.
  2. Look down and find a gazing point, something fixed. Bend the right leg at the knee, raise the right foot and bring the sole of the right foot as high up the inside of the left thigh as possible. DO NOT PLACE THE FOOT ON THE SIDE OF THE KNEE!
  3. Balancing on the left foot slowly bring the palms together at heart center, hands are in prayer position. If you want to take it further, grow your branches (arms) by raising both arms overhead, keeping the elbows unbent and joining the palms together. Hold the posture while breathing gently through the nostrils for about 10 complete breaths if able.

           Option: Practice next to a wall, have one hand on a chair, or bring the arms out to the sides for additional stability.

  1. To release; lower the arms and right leg and return to the mountain pose (standing position) with feet together and arms at the sides. Breathe and hold for 4-8 breaths. Repeat on the other side. Take your time, don’t rush to end the pose.

Traditional Tree Pose

Modified Tree Pose

Tree Pose Variation

 

Note: Remember: Establish your foundation, set your gaze or dristi, and maintain a calm mind throughout the pose. The challenge of the tree pose is supporting your standing balance on one leg. Poor balance is said to be the result of a restless mind or your attention being preoccupied elsewhere. If you take the time to regularly work on this pose it will help you develop a greater sense of awareness and balance.

REMEMBER: Always Exercise Caution When Performing the Poses (or any physical activity for that matter)!  It’s also advisable to check with a trained physician if you are planning on becoming physically active.


5/7/15

I  Love My Mom’s and “NO” Mom’s is Not A Typo!

Yoga From A Natural- Jeanie Sallah

We all know someone who has that Mom persona; you know what I’m talking about. She doesn’t have to be your Mom but those qualities just ring through to the point where if you close your eyes really tight, she could actually be your Mom. You know that noisy next door neighbor who seems like she has eyes in back of her head, just like your Mom. And YES, she will tell on you because it’s for your own good. Or that teacher who takes time out of her too-short lunch break to show you how to tackle that algebraic equation because your test is coming up in 5th period and you still don’t quite get it. Or maybe she’s your Mom’s best friend who talked you through a mistake that would have plagued you forever (you know that lapse-in-judgment type of mistake that could prove to be a game-changer). Let’s not forget those awesome Target employees who went viral earlier this year because they took the time to show a young man how to tie a tie and prep him for his first job interview (sure one was a male but you get the point, their all Moms and Dads). All these people went above and beyond for no better reason than it’s the right thing to do and that kid could be theirs.

Our own Moms do so much for us and their “DUTIES” seem never ending. It’s sort of a thankless job; really your kids don’t realize how much you do until their in the same situation (as with their own kids-PAYBACK) and then they miraculously get it. Mom’s bathe, they chauffeur, they cook, they nurse, they clean, they teach, their daycare providers, finance managers, therapists, you’re very own personal shopper, event planner, and even your keeper of dreams and secrets. DAMMIT their even the Tooth Fairy, Easter Bunny, and Santa Claus, and they scheme like hell to make sure your life is a whole lot better than theirs ever was. You’re Mom is usually your biggest promoter and the captain of your fan club (even when you didn’t think you had one). Might I add that all these jobs come with the paycheck of producing a great human being. You know with morals, principles, values, and if all goes well that’s their bonus. Moms are “Lifers” and they really don’t seem to mind.

Fast forward to adulthood and those lovely little tykes are now all grown up-WOW, how time flies. We now see the result of all our efforts and we can only hope we did enough. In our quiet reflective moments we secretly ask ourselves the question, did we provide them with the proper tools to kick ass in The Game of Life (because that’s what’s necessary) and do we like the result? Hopefully the answer is a resounding YES! Someone once told me that Motherhood is not for sissy’s and I totally get that now.

So when May 10th rolls around this year think about all the things your home grown Mom means to you, but don’t leave out those Moms that didn’t labor to have you because it really does take a village.  Another fun fact- don’t forget that our Mother’s are mothers every single day of the year, so celebrate “ALL” you’re Moms on a daily basis. Oh Yeah- and Don’t Forget to Call.

SO Remember- Life’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon. Slow down; smell the roses and I’ll see you in a few weeks. Be kind to yourself and don’t forget to check out the “Pose of the Month”. Peace and Namaste

GODDESS POSE
Utkata Konasana or Fierce Angle Pose

I chose this pose because it just seemed appropriate given we’re talking about our Moms, they are indeed goddesses in their own right. So that coupled with this being a strength pose and it’s a wrap. This pose will strengthen the lower body while activating your core.

Goddess pose is like a wide stance squat that builds inner (think will power) and outer strength as in working those quads and glutes. Fierce!

1)  Begin in your Mountain Pose.

2)  Step feet approximately 3 feet apart. The feet should then be turned out about 45 degrees, facing the corners of the room (heels are pointed inward).

3)  Bend your knees and lower into a squat. Knees are directly over the ankles.

4)  Press the hips forward, press the knees back. Shoulders should be back and down, chest is pressed forward.

5)  Lift your arms and bend your elbows at a 90 degree angle. Palms are open and facing away from you.
6)  Head is pointed straight ahead and chin is parallel to floor.

7)  While in this pose take 5-6 yoga breaths (remember yoga breaths are deep-slow breaths)

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First photo: Front Facing View
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Second photo: Modified/ not going as low

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Third photo: Hands in Prayer Position

REMEMBER: Always Exercise Caution When Performing the Poses (or any activity for that matter)!  It’s also advisable to check with a trained physician if you are planning on becoming physically active.

4/24/2015

GIVE A FIST BUMP TO THE “SLOW MOVEMENT”
or better yet,
“CAN WE JUST TAKE IT DOWN A TAD”

Yoga From A Natural- Jeanie Sallah

I’ve come to the conclusion that we’re just too damn busy being busy. We really no longer think it’s cool to just relax and do nothing, or at the very least slow down. From the minute the clock goes off in the morning we’re on a mad dash to beat the traffic (as if that were really possible). If kids are a factor we have to hurriedly get them to day care, school, somewhere. Let’s add in getting to work or school early (with the slim hope of leaving ahead of schedule-NOT), maybe later making it to the gym for a little blow-off steam session. You know some basketball-zumba-a quick trek on the tread mill, maybe a little TRX (talk about high intensity relaxation), and were back on the road again. Excitedly in route, we get to join the traffic line dance and slowly inch our way home. We’re now back home to deal with STUFF; maybe kids, significant others, bills, phone calls, house work, dinner, etc. Boy, now that was a relaxing day.

We live in a 24 hour culture. Some grocery stores are now 24 hours, same goes for a number of drug stores and gyms. At work if you’re not on the fast-track you’re slacking. Stress levels are going through the roof, and doctor’s offices are making a killing keeping you “vertical”. We multitask thinking we’re getting ahead but are we really? We constantly do 1-2-even 3 things at once thinking more is better, but is it? I think NOT! Research shows that multitasking is not as efficient as once thought.  Guy Winch, PHD seems to agree, he is the author of Emotional First Aid: Practical Strategies for Treating Failure, Rejection, Guilt and Other Everyday Psychological Injuries. He states that “Moving back and forth between several tasks actually wastes productivity, he says, because your attention is expended on the act of switching gears—plus, you never get fully “in the zone” for either activity”. http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20707868_2,00.html. I’m not just picking on those of you who think you have to multitask, but it’s a starting (or stopping) point. Really the worst thing that can happen by not doing multiple things at once is that just maybe you’ll fully put you’re all into just one thing at a time.

You know what I think; I think slowing things down should be mandatory for you’re sanity. I’m not saying become a lazy, non productive slob but at the very least take life at a slower more relaxed pace. Life is not meant to be lived at such a speed that we miss the important, beautiful things that our existence has to offer.

At the risk of sounding mushy or overly sentimental I’m going to tell you a short story. I’ll make it brief because I bet your reading this while you’re doing “ANYTHING” but what you should be doing. Years ago when my daughter was about four years old I had just picked her up from her daycare. It was late (not so late that I got a fine from the daycare, but I cut it close). Anyway, we’re traveling down a busy street and after stopping to pick up dinner (too tired to cook); I got back in the car, my daughter dutifully strapped in her child seat and I hurriedly continued home. All of a sudden my daughter started loudly screaming for me to STOP the car. What, stop the car; truthfully, she was getting on my last nerve. I was tired, hungry, and I just wanted to transport myself telepathically to my house-NO KID INTERVENTION WANTED. Well she wouldn’t be quiet, so I pulled the car over. After making sure she was alright I asked her what was wrong and her answer can still make my eyes well up (and if you knew me you’d know that’s saying a lot). She said,“Mommy isn’t the moon beautiful”. Out of the mouth of babes, all I could say was WOW. This little four year old child forced me to pay attention to the little things in life that I took for granted.  That instant was my “AH HAH MOMENT” of realization, forcing me to live more in the present, being able to appreciate something as spectacular as a full moon. If I didn’t slow down I would have missed not only the moon but the wonder my daughter saw in it (Priceless).

So in the future please remember to take pleasure in the little things that life has to offer. Don’t move so fast, you just might miss something too precious to recover. The birds lighting in the trees, kid’s, parent’s, friends, and significant others wanting to reach out, the gentle movement made when a boat floats  smoothly through the water; it’s all lost when we don’t truly live in appreciation of slowing down and connecting with a little simplicity. So pay attention and don’t make the mistake of not looking at the moon-IT REALLY IS BEAUTIFUL!

SO ONCE AGAIN REMEMBER- Life’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon. Slow down; smell the roses and I’ll see you in a few weeks. Be kind to yourself and don’t forget to check out the “Pose of the Month”. Peace and Namaste.

LEGS-UP-THE-WALL-POSE

I chose this pose because since I’m speaking of slowing down, my vote is to chill out and raise our legs up the wall. This pose is a mild inversion which helps to renew the flow of blood and lymph drainage to the heart area. This pose is also a restorative pose, calming the mind, relieving low back pain, helping with those tired legs and cramped feet, and helping ease high blood pressure to name a few.

This pose is exactly as it sounds, I could “fancy” it up and call it by the Sanskrit term, Viparita Karani but it still means put your legs up the wall. I also must add that this pose feels GREAT!

FYI- I sometimes lie in bed with my legs-up-the-wall of my headboard, talk about relaxing.

1.)  Lie on your back (use you’re yoga mat) in front of a wall (I always put socks on because I don’t want to wash the wall).
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2.)  While lying on your back scoot your behind as close to the wall as you comfortably can and extend your legs up the wall. BE CAREFUL WHILE GETTING YOUR BOTTOM CLOSE TO THE WALL!  If the neck is straining place a rolled up towel underneath it. Arms can be spread wide at your sides or however is most comfortable, palms are up. Shoulders blades should be open. Focus on taking slow, deep breaths.
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First Photo: Classic Legs Up the WallPose. If space permits you can slide your legs into a wide “V” to stretch your inner thighs.
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Second Photo:  Legs Up the Wall with Modification. Place a blanket or bolster under your buttocks and simply melt into your bolster/blanket.
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Try hanging out here at least 10 minutes, although if you have only a few minutes it is still an advantage to calming your body. After completing the pose, carefully bring the legs down and turn to your side. Hang out here (resting) for a few breaths before coming up to a seated position.

REMEMBER: Always Exercise Caution When Performing the Poses (or any activity for that matter)!  It’s also advisable to check with a trained physician if you are planning on becoming physically active.

3/11/15

THE PROVOCATIVE, SENSUAL, STIMULATING YOGA PANT

(AND THE RIDICULOUSNESS OF IT ALL)

YOGA FROM A NATURAL: JEANIE SALLAH

 

Let me give you a little insight into my thought process, I never really know what I’ll write about in this column until I begin. So with the help of The Today Show on NBC my topic came into our family room and delightfully spoke to me, YOGA PANTS. You know those pants that have become the new go-to-outfit for the grocery store, school dress (usually anything under middle school and over high school), the new age Mom jean, and for my Mother in particular; a very dressy classic pant that fits her ass like a glove. I can’t tell you how much I love the ease, the thoughtless simplicity, and the feeling that I get when I have on the “I-Look-Fit” style of yoga pants. Really except for my husband (who I know secretly wishes I’d change my “uniform”) I don’t know anyone in my circle who doesn’t like them. I suppose I’m somewhat weak because I can’t walk into a Marshall’s, TJ Maxx, or any department store for that matter and not walk straight to the workout wear as if in a trance. Yoga pants are my personal addiction; I guess you could call it my drug of choice.

Now let’s get to the meat of the problem because there are a couple of things that have me fired up and ready to blow. The first issue is this bill that was in essence thrown out for (in my opinion) being down right “Stupid”. Let me explain, Montana State Rep. David Moore (R) is waging a personal war against of all things YOGA PANTS, H.R. 365 is at this time tabled because sensible minds prevailed, http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2015/02/12/many-new-yorkers-scoff–at-montana-proposition-to-ban-yoga-pants/.His fight isn’t against the war, it isn’t concerning the economy, or our struggles with health care reform, not even the war on drugs; it’s against our ability to wear yoga pants and other so-called revealing attire-seriously how dumb is that! In a nutshell the proposed ban challenged the indecent exposure laws which would have included yoga pants due to their revealing, body forming nature (REALLY). And if we label yoga pants as provocative where do we actually draw the line. Will bikinis be allowed on the beach, what about shirtless males, is that considered indecent (they are showing their nipples aren’t they)?

My second issue is school dress codes. I actually can see a need for school districts to uphold a style of dress that promotes uniformity in how the students dress. Add to that the prevention of vulgarity on clothing, prohibiting gang-related clothing and overly-saggy pants, having approved skirt lengths, and we’re not infringing on anyone’s Constitutional Rights-RIGHT. With that being said, many districts prohibit the wearing of yoga pants. That also means stretch pants, leggings, or any pant that although comfy could possibly tempt a young males mind into thoughts of forbidden sexual acts, and forgetting that he has a looming math test to contend with. Seriously let’s be real, we’re talking about an UPDATED version of those elastic waist pants that our Mom’s wore. Is the male population so easily swayed by females that they just can’t handle the feminine form? “I THINK NOT” and I’m going to go out on a limb here by saying that they’re much deeper than that (I think). These dress codes unfairly punish girls and women as a whole because the “Powers-That-Be” feel that the current mode of dress is far too exposing and taunting for the male mind and that is an outdated load of horse dung.

Lastly, there was the LuLu Lemon controversy in 2013 with their yoga pant sizing that was OFF THE HOOK CRAZY http://www.today.com/money/lululemon-co-founder-steps-down-wake-womens-bodies-remark-2D11721314 . If you’re not familiar with LuLu Lemon let me enlighten you, it is a very upscale yoga store, sort of like the “Michael Kors” of yoga stores and I’d be lying if I didn’t disclose that in the past they received way too many of my dollars. The company is so popular (even after the debacle) that you can’t go into a yoga studio without seeing their logo on someone’s body, booty, workout bag, or equipment. But after the co-founder Chip Wilson made a statement saying, “some women’s bodies just don’t actually work” for his company’s yoga pants, he dug himself into a hole and it went viral. What the hell does that mean, and who are “Some Women”? Well here’s the deal, the comment came into play because some of the black yoga pants were a tad sheer (as in see-through). So since the pants were “exposure sensitive” Chip felt the need to put the blame on our behinds (pun intended). Chip has since stepped down as the chairman and I think that was a super proactive move on both him and the board’s part. Can we spell “INSENSITIVE”, or “STOCK DROP”, or “SHAREHOLDER”? Needless to say, I no longer feel comfortable spending my dollars at that establishment and as a result I’ve since fallen out of LuLu Lemon love. But alas I can’t lie, my heart still skips a beat when I see the perfect pair of yoga pants (be still my heart), but now I’m more conscious about where I’m buying that pant.

So there you have it, 3 different viewpoints on the much maligned, overly criticized, and super comfortable “Yoga Pant”. Who knew that such a simple pattern, coupled with a comfy waistband could be so eroticized, and so controversially thought provoking? IT TRULY BAFFLES THE MIND.

SO Remember– Life’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon. Slow down; smell the roses and I’ll see you in a few weeks. Be kind to yourself and don’t forget to check out the “Pose of the Month”Peace and Namaste

So from yoga pants let’s move into our yoga pose of the month, or in this case “poses”. I’ve thought that for this month we could concentrate on giving our Neck a little vacation. Whenever I do a yoga class I always do a few exercises that give special love and attention to the neck. I hold a lot of tension and tightness in my neck and shoulders so these movements help me loosen up and RELAX. Also, the up side to these stretches is that you can do them anytime and anywhere (Think your desk, car, or while watching TV.). Hopefully, after you get in the habit of doing neck exercises your neck will experience more flexibility, strength, and an increased range of motion. So enjoy and take it easy!

Poses of the Month 

Sit in Easy Seated Pose (as mentioned in the January 20, 2015 post) with your back straight, core engaged with shoulders softened (back and down), and face relaxed and easy.

IMG_0434 IMG_0423IMG_0431

1)  Let’s begin with Neck Rolls. To a count of 8 place your chin-to-chest and roll your neck in a complete circle to your right for 3 full rotations, now do that same movement rolling your neck to the left for 3 rotations.

2)  Next I lower my chin-to-chest and HOLD. Really experiencing the stretch down the back of the neck. Now bring your chin up so that your head is gazing skyward but don’t flop it back- use the point where the ceiling meets the roof as your guide and HOLD. Continue that movement down chin-to-chest and skyward 3 times. DON’T RUSH THE MOVEMENT-savor the stretch. 

3) Now with your head in neutral (gazing straight ahead) lower your right ear to your right shoulder and hold the stretch (only go to your comfort level). Repeat on your left, ear to shoulder but be mindful of NOT RUSHING the movement. I do this stretch 3 times each side.

4) Next movement is from a neutral head position, turn your head to the right and gaze over your shoulder. Be careful not to force the neck around, only go as far as what is comfortable! Repeat turning your head to the left and gazing over your left shoulder. Repeat 3 times on each side.

5) I end with Head Circles. I draw SMALL imaginary circles on the ceiling, very slowly for 5 complete rotations to the right. Repeat the circles moving to your left for an additional 5 rotations.

REMEMBER: Always Exercise Caution When Performing the Poses (or any activity for that matter)! It’s also advisable to check with a trained physician if you are planning on becoming physically active.


2/5/15

“Happy Valentines to MEor “Love Yourself”

Yoga From a Natural-Jeanie Sallah

Alright it’s practically Valentine’s Day again, that time of year where our thoughts run more in the romantic direction. As a consequence, the ads flaunting his or her admiration because “He went to Jared’s” (Kay’s Jewelry, Macy’s jewelry counter, or whatever jewelry store strikes your liking) will show you just how much your loved one really cares for you (Ahh). Or does this sound familiar, “Hallmark Cards say “Make Every Heart Happy” (have you priced greeting cards lately? It’s expensive making hearts happy). Ok, indulge me one more time because I’m on a roll, Kohl’s Department Store says, “Gifts From The Heart, It’s Love At First Save”. From your heart to their pockets, now that’s what I call love. Something else that’s a little unsettling to me is that we celebrate love officially only one day a year, but don’t we love every day? It’s much like Black History Month that we celebrate once a year; for those of us that are black aren’t we black year round? Why the labels on everything, can’t we just be?

Anyway, I know your noticing a trend here? It’s a retailer’s bonanza, their making steady money and we’re running to keep up with the Jones’. We’re helping big business take advantage of us!!! How much we spend shouldn’t equate to how much we care. I’m not saying don’t be loving and giving but set your own limits, don’t let Jared’s or Kay’s or Macy’s tell you how to exercise your debit or credit card. Also, don’t be conned into joining the Hallmark Holiday Hoax. You know what I mean by hoax, that card that has just the right words, conveying your heart precisely on paper, but it only costs $1.99 (it silently screams Cheap). Then there’s that $5.99 card that doesn’t say exactly your most heartfelt sentiment but spending more obviously denotes to caring more. No dilemma here, you buy the more expensive card because who doesn’t check the price on the back of the card. Wrong Answer; you lose and once again Hallmark wins because they played the guilt card. If I sound a little too familiar with this hoax it’s because I used-to-be a victim but you know what they say, “when you know better you do better”.

Want a little unsolicited advice, try some Self Love, you know the type of love that fosters good feelings for yourself. Valentine’s Day will come and go but loving yourself is a daily triumph. Exercise, learn new things, get rid of those relationships that aren’t adding to your life, be mindful, perform random acts of kindness, set realistic goals and work to bring them to fruition, and listen to that positive inner voice that say’s “YES I CAN”; these are great starters to bring about a deeper sense of self love. Being our best self is how we practice loving ourselves. One more very important detail is to Have Your Own. I say that because when someone comes along promising you the moon and the stars you will be able to decipher between a true glittering shine, versus a little shooting star (small chunks of rock) and proceed accordingly. We shouldn’t hook our star to someone else’s existing one; we should have our own star. Don’t be a victim to bad choices because it’s a holiday, a healthier opinion about yourself will equate to better decisions.

So the moral to this story is kind of simple, LOVE YOURSELF! Sadly, if you don’t it really shows. It shows in the decisions you make, it shows in your confidence level, it shows in how you dress, speak, the friends you choose, and most importantly it shows in how you allow others to treat you. Don’t wait for your flowers, sure it would be great if someone else bought them for you but seriously at what cost are you getting them. Don’t sell yourself short because the date is February 14, and you may or may not have a significant other to XXXX with. And just for the record I am not heartless, I understand that sure we would love to cuddle up with something warmer than a cup of hot tea and an electric blanket, but do we really have to settle? Start now if you’re not already there by cultivating the type of relationships that go long past the commercial holidays, isn’t that one of the reasons we have friends and family? CELEBRATE “YOU” EVERY DAY and BUY YOUR OWN DAMN FLOWERS, in the long run it’s a lot cheaper!

SO Remember- Life’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon. Slow down; smell the roses and I’ll see you in a few weeks. Be kind to yourself and don’t forget to check out the “Pose of the Month”Peace and Namaste

 

Pose of the Month- “Downward Facing Dog”

IMG_0393

I picked this pose because it’s a STRENGTH pose and ideally that’s the position we all strive to deal from. I’m sure you’ll notice that it’s probably one of the best known poses to be associated with yoga and its benefits are endless. You saw my dog Oscar in a previous post, check him out doing his own version of down dog every morning; it’s a natural stretch for his whole body (thus, the name down dog I guess). If I had only one pose to do each day Downward Facing Dog would be it because it stretches and strengthens the entire body. Its positives are notable, stretching the hamstrings, calves, arches and hands plus elongating and releasing tension from your spine, all while strengthening the arms, shoulders, and back. Wow, impressive!

dog2

1) Begin in Table- Top Pose (demonstrated in the January 4th blog post, check out the archives) 2) Hands are under the shoulders, palms flat to the mat, and the fingers are wide. The knees are under the hips and the feet are approximately hip width apart. 3) On the exhale push the hips skyward (making an inverted “V” shape with the body). Literally “PUSH” the floor away while engaging the shoulders and your upper body. The back stays straight, your core is engaged (navel to spine), the head and neck are relaxed and the arms are strong. 4) Do not round or arch the back. No locking the knees, always put a little micro bend in the knees to prevent locking. 5) Don’t feel like the heels have to touch the floor, they don’t. REMEMBER: Always Exercise Caution When Performing the Poses (or any activity for that matter)!  It’s also advisable to check with a trained physician if you are planning on becoming physically active.


1/20/15

“Why Can’t I Meditate!!!!? Translation-Stuff I Wish I Did Well”

Yoga From A Natural- Jeanie Sallah

 

First let’s get one thing perfectly clear, I WANT TO MEDITATE!!!!!! Okay, now that that’s out the way I feel I’m ready to continue (Breathe). These days the buzzword “Mindful Meditation” is to the yoga and meditation community what the words “Open Concept” is to home sales (can you tell I watch a lot of HG TV). OK Here’s a fun fact, let’s say there’s this swanky dinner party being held at the Top of the Mark’s rooftop bar in San Francisco and the attendees are Ellen DeGeneres, George Stephanopoulus (Good Morning America), Tina Turner, Russell Simmons, Kobe Bryant, Russell Brand, Katy Perry (I know her and Russell are no longer together but Girl Power wins), Democratic Congressman Tim Ryan (Ohio), Oprah Winfrey, Arianna Huffington, Editor-in-Chief of the Huffington Post, and Soledad O’Brien. I’m sure the conversation would be both lively and full of character, but if it wasn’t they could all just sit and meditate together “OM”. I say that because they “ALL” meditate in one form or another. Be it mindful, transcendental, Zen, or any number of meditation types, they all have the common goal of keeping the mind and body in its most healthy form.

 Here’s the deal, it’s an objective of mine to comfortably sit, breathe, and meditate but let’s be honest here the act is “So Ridiculously Hard For Me”! I can’t tell you how much I’ve tried. I’ve attempted the 21 day Mindful Meditation series that Oprah did in conjunction with Deepak Chopra and got so far behind that I was in essence dropped from the webcast. Seriously, they blocked my access to go back and make up all that I had missed-which was a lot (Head Hung in Shame). But I didn’t give up, she offered another and I blew that too (Double Shame). I have bought so many books on the subject from Meditation for Dummies by Shamash Alidina, to a super great book by Dan Harris who is a news anchor on Good Morning America, appropriately titled 10% Happier. The books are a great motivating factor overall but I think I just need a really strong push in the ass to help me along (the struggle).

  Actively doing nothing is the basis of mindful meditation, being quiet and tuning into your mind, no distractions. Just you paying special attention is what meditation is about. You are mindfully WATCHING YOU. When you meditate you encourage the busy mind to slow down, while at the same time getting some really cool benefits to make you a more focused and aware person. I especially like a statement that US. Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) said concerning mindfulness, he said “Mindfulness puts your mind and body in the same place at the same time”. How simple and on-point is that definition, I like it a lot. Imagine how often our minds and bodies are disconnected; now imagine a way to connect the two that’s easy, convenient and affordable-really how great is that! Now maybe you see why I want to get better at this art form, I really think this is such a bonus to your health and general well-being.

If meditation is something you want to try I say Great and Congratulations, it can only prove to help in ridding those feelings of negativity and centering your existence. Maybe you could begin with baby steps, I’m still testing the waters, finding out what works and doesn’t work for me. One technique is a thing I started calling “Take Ten”, that means to take ten minutes to literally “Unplug”. Unplug from your phone, from your iPad, the computer, the television, technology as a whole (hard huh). Set a timer for 10 minutes and unplug from anything that will take your focus away from relaxing and releasing tension; that includes your kids, friends and significant others. I start my day by Taking Ten, but you can just as easily end your evening with it. Just try it, hanging out with your feelings and thoughts-no interruptions can be quite calming and also a little intimidating at the same time. But you know a little prize that goes along with meditating, FREEDOM. Freedom from always feeling that it’s necessary to be connected, it’s not. One problem is that we’re too busy being busy, it’s just our culture. Our world is stressful, at times disturbing, and so challenging; so checking out mindful meditation might just be the right prescription. Put the words Mindful Meditation into Google Search and watch the flood gates open. For example, one site I checked out even had pre-recorded meditation podcasts, the site is like a personal teacher navigating you in the right directions http://marc.ucla.edu/body.cfm?id=51. So seek and you will definitely find, just approach with an open mind and prepare to be impressed. Service women and men, school kids, college students, your neighbors, yogis, prison inmates, teachers, and scores of open-minded people are checking out the art of mediation and joining the ranks of people trying to actively quiet the mind (its way cool).

Let me be the first to tell you that you will experience an internal conversation while beginning the practice of meditation. Also, speaking from experience if your anything like me it goes without saying that initially you will probably be ”Bored” out of your mind. Why? It’s not easy doing nothing. The steps for me went something like this:
1) You’re sitting quietly just chilling thinking this is so cool, I’m hanging out with my thoughts (Awesome).

2) Two minutes pass and boredom sets in big time and you think, “What am I going to cook for dinner?” “Is Macy’s Super Saturday this weekend or next?” “Is Scandal on at 9 or 10:00 tonight, is today even Thursday?”

3) You bring your focus back because your mind “WILL” wander. You think, “How long have I been sitting here getting in touch with my feelings?” You check you’re watch-damn only 4 insignificant minutes (Capitalized DAMN). Starting to notice a pattern yet?

4) Then you go back in search of inner peace.

5) My back is getting really achy; I change position and wonder if this is really working. I don’t feel very mindful I feel like I need to go to the bathroom, come on clock, hurry up!

6) Maybe you make 10 minutes, maybe not but there’s always tomorrow. Remember that “No Judgment” thing I mentioned a few blogs back, well here it is front and center. Don’t judge yourself, just observe the experience and try again later because it’s worth it.

My thought is that it’s really hard to check-out, I know because I am a total work-in-progress. But we need to actively check-out so that we are able to check-in with ourselves. Let’s tune-in to the present moment, trying not to be too concerned with the past or the future and mindfully take care of ourselves now. My recommendation is that you try it out and hopefully you will be a lot better at it than I am-BUT I AM SO NOT GIVING UP, Practice Makes Perfect!

SO Remember- Life’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon. Slow down; smell the roses and I’ll see you in a few weeks. Be kind to yourself and don’t forget to check out the “Pose of the Month”Peace and Namaste

Easy Seated Pose

Easy Seat

Front-view (featuring Oscar)

Easy seat side view

Side-view

The pose I picked this month is Easy Seated Pose, so simple and oh so relaxing. This is probably the most common pose for meditating so that’s why I choose it. The benefits of easy seated pose is that strengthens your back, gives a good stretch for the knees and ankles, and really helps you calm the brain and take it down a notch. Seat in easy seated and meditate for 10 minutes (close your eyes) and see if you can just Zen out! I should let you know that the name easy seated isn’t easy for everybody, so know that in yoga easy seated is ultimately what’s comfortable for you. 1) Sit with your legs in front of you and your pelvis in a neutral position, sit straight and cross your legs at the shins (sometimes called cross legged pose). 2) Your knees will be wide, place each foot under the opposite knee. Knees will be folded back towards your torso. 3) Ideally hands are on the knees with the palms pointing down. This however is not comfortable to everyone so I say place the hands wherever they are most comfortable. 4) Always remember to switch up the leg placement of the forward facing leg if you’re in this position for a bit. It’s necessary to give love to both sides of the body. Modifications:

  1. A) I always sit on a folded blanket, but you can also sit on a yoga block, pillow, or bolster. Lifting the hips above your knees will reduce the discomfort in the hips, knees, and back. Lifting the hips will also aid in bringing the spine into alignment, helping you to hang out in easy seated for a longer period of time.
  2. B) If you need a little more support in this pose sit with your back against a wall.

-Jeanie Sallah REMEMBER: Always Exercise Caution When Performing the Poses (or any activity for that matter)!  It’s also advisable to check with a trained physician if you are planning on becoming physically active


1/5/2015

YOGA FROM A NATURAL:  By Jeanie Sallah

“Body Slimage, (I meant) Image” or “Is Our Looking Glass Playing Tricks On Our Head?”

The other day some guy I thought was really fine said I was thick, what does that mean? Is “thick” good or bad? Couple that with my constant questioning of my butt being too big, or is my butt too small? Secretly wishing I looked more like that thin girl in my class. Wondering whether I do need liposuction on my stomach; I’ve got a gut you know. It’s a constant merry-go-round of doubtful questions taking up residence in my head. Am I too dark (yeah we still have that olden-day insecurity)? Is my forehead a bit too large, is my hair is too thin, too thick, do you think I need a nose, boob; you fill in the _________ job? I know you get the picture. What do you see when you look in the mirror and do you like her/him?

Mirror mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all? Well if you answered “The Media” you can sit in the front of the class. We all know the problem, one big factor in how we acknowledge beauty is its presence or non-presence in our everyday life. This is where the media steps up and becomes the culprit. I’m talking print media, T.V., movies, internet, etc. (again, you see where I’m going with this), the media plays a very active role in how we view our bodies. Don’t get me wrong without the media I wouldn’t be able to spill out my thoughts so readily, so just understand that the media welds über power. And it’s been said, that with much power, comes much responsibility. Those youth obsessed, air brushed, thin, pimple and cellulite-free, weaved/ hair-extensioned, Pantene haired, fashionable women and men we see every single day in our media do nothing but reinforce the negative body images we hold so near. To the insecure person the media subliminally says, “You’ll NEVER Achieve This Level of Beauty”, but please continue to buy our magazine. “Fake Magazine” says, “You’ll really love next months issue on, “How to Build Beauty Self Esteem in Just Three Simple Steps” (Yeh Right). The totally insane thing is we’ll purchase that craziness, even taking out a monthly subscription so that we can be demeaned conveniently from the comfort of our own homes.

Now I’m going to list just a few “Crazy BAD” statistics (who’d have thought it could be so drastic):

-58% of college-age girls feel like they should be a particular weight. (DOSOMETHING.org)

-40% of women and 20% of men said they would consider cosmetic surgery in the future. (DOSOMETHING.org)

-Most models weigh on average 23% less than the typical women. (admedia.com)

I’m tired of listing the stats; you get the picture and its dangerous, painful and just plain brainless.

I can remember back in the day when Dove introduced their Real Beauty Campaign. It was both drastic and controversial at the time (imagine the power of a bar of soap, deodorants, and some body-washes), but it started a much needed conversation about how women viewed beauty. Sure the campaign helped their “bottom line big-time“(that’s called marketing) and yes they do sell some other totally-not-so-great products, but it did pose the question, “Do you think I’m beautiful”? Well unfortunately there’s still a lot of uncertainty in that question for far too many people. OK I’m done (long sigh). Now I’ll stop ranting and get off my lofty, uncomfortable perch of a soapbox and simply point a knowing finger at you know who!

Since we know that part of the problem is our image of how the media influences our thought processes, maybe it could also be a piece of the solution. Simplistic yes, but boy controlling how you INGEST the media might very well be the start to a cure. Stop feeding off the hype, it’s BS (I didn’t want to say bullshit, but I said it). We could also take a big jump in accepting and liking who we are. Also quieting that little voice that has us questioning every little nuance of our life is another way to tackle, and kick “Self Doubts” butt. How do we quiet that voice? Start for one by not comparing yourself to other people, you’re your own unique self-there’s really only one you.

When it comes to body image “Healthy” screams confidence. Healthy proclaims “I FEEL GOOD”, because your waistline and ass don’t define who you are. Being healthy (in my humble opinion) carries far more weight than being overly concerned with other people’s version of how tight your jeans are, or if that dress came from BeBe’s. I know for a fact that when you love yourself it shows, your confidence, self image and overall perception of life becomes clearer, and more lucid. Thus your “happiness” quotient soars (cool formula huh). So make nice with that person in your mirror.

Mirror mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all? ME DAMMIT! The one catch is you actually have to believe it.

SO Remember- Life’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon. Slow down; smell the roses and I’ll see you in a few weeks. Be kind to yourself and don’t forget to check out the “Pose of the Month”Peace and Namaste  

So now let’s take it down a notch. You all know from my first post that yoga is my personal path to health, and it influences much of my view on life. So know that each post will have some yoga related feature because it’s so much a part of me, not including it would be the equivalent of leaving a period off the end of a sentence. My wish is for you to try the poses (asanas), and venture to dip your toes a little deeper into the water. Who knows, you might find yoga is your calling and be inspired to take a class, pick up a DVD, or join a studio. If not it can be a much needed exercise in relaxing, stretching and just zoning-out.

POSE OF THE MONTH

  Cat-Cow Pose (This Pose Helps Warm the Spine and Relieves Back and Neck Tension)

  • Begin on all fours with your hands and knees on the floor. Knees are directly under your hips, wrists are under your shoulders. Weight should be evenly distributed between hand and knees. Press the tops of the feet into your mat. Make sure your fingers are spread wide and pressing down into your mat. Begin in a neutral spine position, with your back flat and your core (ab muscles) engaged. This is a Table-Top Pose. Now take a big inhale.
  • On the exhale press into your hands, round your spine up towards the ceiling, and imagine you’re scooping your belly button up towards your spine, really engaging your abs. Tuck your chin towards your chest, and let your neck release. This is your cat-like shape.
  • On your inhale, arch your back let your belly relax and drop downward. Lift your head and tailbone up towards the ceiling— without putting any unnecessary pressure on your neck. This is the Cow portion of the pose
  • Inhale for Cow Pose and exhale on Cat Pose.
  • Flow back and forth between cat and cow poses for several breaths. This pose is invigorating, so move as if you’re in a dance and no one is watching. Just let go and get lost in the movement, it’s so refreshing!!!

Cow

Cat

ONE MORE THING: 

When you begin measuring your accomplishments, looks, strengths and weaknesses through other people’s eyes the vision starts out being distorted. You should ultimately always be “The Ruler”…………..Jeanie Sallah

REMEMBER: Always Exercise Caution When Performing the Poses (or any activity for that matter)! It’s also advisable to check with a trained physician if you are planning on becoming physically active.


12/22/14

“Healthy Year”

YOGA FROM A NATURAL By: Jeanie Sallah

Happy New “Healthy” Year.  So now that we have the formalities out the way let’s make an action plan.  Not a resolution to be healthier, because unfortunately New Year’s Resolutions tend to be sadly broken. Losing weight ranks #1 and getting fit and healthy ranks #5 as two of the ten most failed resolutions (University of Scranton, Journal of Clinical Psychology /January 2014). There’s even a name for the downfall of our resolutions, it’s called Ditch New Year’s Resolutions Day. Really I’m serious, the day is on January 17 (every year) and it’s considered the most common day to give up on your resolutions (didn’t take us long huh). So why burden yourself with broken promises so early in the year, we really don’t need the stress. Don’t get down on yourself though- just don’t make resolutions! I’m not saying don’t strive to be a better version of yourself, because we all want that. I’m simply saying cut yourself some much needed slack.

If the New Year is your baseline start date for a healthier lifestyle you could begin by forming a new habit. A new habit takes roughly a minimum of 66 days to become automatic. Although an old myth said that “It takes a minimum of 21 days to form a new habit”, it’s just that a big time myth, so don’t believe the hype. Bear in mind and know that it could take longer, much longer to be correct; so setting your expectation anywhere from two to eight months is by far more realistic. So in summary the bad news is 21 days is wishful, and the good news is you’re decision to make a change (YAY). Maybe you could focus on one “change” at a time.  Instead of making a long list of things to work on, focus instead on the most important goal. Maybe then everything will fall into place because let’s face it; starting ANYTHING new can be both a challenge and an opportunity. So remember that determination and motivation are the key ingredients in any action plan.

Want a total fusion of mind, body, and breath experience? Check out yoga, it’s my exercise of choice. The benefits: not much equipment needed (inexpensive) – a mat, couple of blocks, yoga strap, towel, water bottle, some inspiring music (I like smooth jazz ,reggae, old school R&B), and it’s a go. Other benefits just to name a few are stronger bones, healthy weight, lower risk for heart disease, lower stress levels, anxiety relief, increased flexibility, lower blood pressure, lower blood sugar levels in diabetics, improved sense of balance, relief from chronic back pain, improved lung capacity, and last but totally not least-improved sexual function (SOLD). It really is the complete package; it nourishes both the mind and the body-translation Win Win.

SO Remember- Life’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon. Slow down; smell the roses and I’ll see you next month. Don’t forget to check out the “Pose of the Month”. Peace and Namaste

 

“Pose of the Month”

STANDING FORWARD FOLD (Why? Because it’s calming)

BENEFITS

  • Stretches your hips, hamstrings, and calves.
  • Strengthens your thighs and knees.
  • Massages your internal organs and helps improves digestion and cleanses mucous from the lungs.
  • Relaxes you central nervous system and helps calm your mind
  • Helps relieve stress
  • Helps reduces headaches, fatigue, and insomnia.
  • Helps relieve symptoms of menopause and is therapeutic for osteoporosis.

 

Want to modify this pose: For an Easier Version- open your feet hip width apart and keep your feet parallel.

 Place one or two yoga blocks under the hands to bring the floor closer to you. Note: See attached photo.

For a Deeper Version- take hold of the back of your ankles and wrap forearms on calves and allow assistance from your arms to increase the fold at your hip joint.

Instructions:

  1. From Mountain pose (Mountain Pose is essentially standing with feet parallel, kind of like skies pointing forward, shoulders back, arms at your sides with palms pointed forward). Exhale forward hinging at the hips, relaxing the muscles in your face. Bend the knees enough to bring the palms flat to the floor and the head pressed against the knees.

Note: Can’t reach the floor yet, no problem. Place your hands on your thighs or knees and only go as low as is comfortable.

  1. Feel the spine stretching/lengthening in opposite directions as you pull the head down and in, and press the hips up. Hollow out your belly by pulling navel to spine. Work on straightening the legs to deepen the stretch in the backs of the legs.
  2. Breath and hold for 4-8 deep slow breaths, actively pressing the belly into the thighs on the inhalation.
  3. Grasp opposite elbows (palm holding the crease in the opposite arm) and just hang out in your forward fold, maybe sway from side to side. Note: See attached photo.
  4. To release: bend the knees keeping the back straight, inhale the arms out to the sides, and inhale the arms and torso up back into Mountain pose.
Forward Fold

Forward Fold

Standing Forward Bend with a Calf Hold

Standing Forward Bend with a Calf Hold

Modified Forward Fold

Modified Forward Fold

Standing Forward Bend with Elbow Hold

Standing Forward Bend with Elbow Hold

ONE MORE THING: “DON’T” beat yourself up if in your journey you slip up, make peace and move on. In yoga we say “NO JUDGEMENT”, in others and yourself.  Just begin again the next day; we’re all entitled to another chance or two (sometimes more). The only failure is to do nothing.                                                            

REMEMBER: Always Exercise Caution When Performing the Poses (or any activity for that matter)!  It’s also always advisable to check with a trained physician if you are planning on becoming physically active.  

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9 thoughts on “Fitness

  1. I love this blog. I have read and looked at the recipes, the yoga info, the hair, pictures, and overall information…. I LOVE this site. It is FULL of information and I will share it my friends. By the way, I LOVE my locks of 8 years. It is the best thing I have ever done to my hair and I have done just about everything in my 60+ years. All the best!!!!!!
    Viv m.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Jeanie, that’s why I LOVE you so much Funny and Real…thanks so much and I love this blog 😍. I didn’t realize that about the dogs Sassy does it all the time and I really didn’t relate that to the yoga pose until now!! That’s. Good one I will be doing that (I’ll Try) since I don’t need to keep my heels on the floor, but with practice it ( I ) will get better.

    How often should I be doing the yoga poses and in what order?
    Grateful!…D 🙏🙏😉

    Like

  3. You really hit the nail on the head about the media, the bigger and better they get, the bigger the (BS). I love the parables you use in your descriptions (LOL)
    Ok! I really didn’t have a problem with body image until just recently, but because I lost a little weight (20lbs) last year. I was doing some exercising and walking and stopped, I haven’t been doing neither so I’ve gain back some of that weight,” BUT” in the wrong place (stomach area) doesn’t look very good!!! Not sure how to shrink this part of my body. Definitely can not do sit ups or anything that requires too much spinal or neck manipulation movement. Are there yoga poses that would be comparable to sit ups to strengthen the stomach muscles and flatten them(or help)?

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    • Hi Darlene,
      Happy New Year and thanks for checking out CurlieLocs! You can purchase blocks and a yoga strap at any sporting good store, although I bought mine at Marshalls (great price). The other day I was shopping at Nordstrom Rack and I noticed that they also had them, they had some really cute colors too if you’re into that. When practicing keep in mind that the blocks will literally bring the floor up closer to you (reducing the distance between the ground and your body), and assist in steadying the poses.You asked specifically about the strap use, the yoga strap extends your reach. Think your not flexible enough; the strap will help make the process easier. In the coming months I’ll post some poses that make use of the yoga strap. Thanks for joining us! Peace and Namaste.
      -Jeanie Sallah

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