One Life-Changing Practice

I want to share with you a Life-changing practice that I learned at Yoga Teacher Training that years later, I still practice everyday.

Mindful Eating – We grew up learning “don’t play with your food” and “don’t chew with your mouth open” and “don’t talk with food in your mouth.”  These childhood rules fall under etiquette, and so rule questioners like myself maybe stopped believing in what someone told me about how to eat.  It’s instinct isn’t it?

Well, things like trauma, anxiety, and being overly busy all change our instinctually healthy eating patterns.  So in my 200 Hour Teacher Training, we were taught how to eat.  I found my digestion improved and so did the enjoyment of my food.  Food went from fuel status, just eating to stay alive, to slowing down enough to taste and savor each bite of nourishment.

How to mindfully eat?

– Small bites

-Chew until there are no more chunks.

-Only swallow after every bit has been chewed thoroughly.

-Don’t talk with your mouth full or eat silently.

-Take two handfuls of food at a time.

-After finishing the food on your plate, and you’re considering taking a second helping, wait 5 minutes.

And since learning and incorporating these into my “diet,” my partner Murray and I have added a couple more.

-Take a minute or two before and after the meal to just relax.  This allows the body to transition to parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for digestion.  

-Eat with gratitude.  Each bite is precious and it is nourishment from the Earth for You.  What a gift.

And here are two tips from Michael Pollan, my favorite food author that wrote Omnivore’s Dilemna and The Botany of Desire, both of which I highly recommend reading.

-Eat enough, but not too much, and mostly plants.

-Eat as much junk food as you like, but cook it yourself.  There is something magical to cooking the food yourself, Pollan explains, and that is those that cook their own food tend to have a healthier weight.
If you want to learn this and more life changing practices, consider a yoga teacher training.

  Sign up here:   http://ibw.edu/programs/yoga/

Here’s a breakfast we had while traveling in Costa Rica, obviously not following the two handfuls rule, so we took a to-go box. 

200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training

200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training  changed my life.  It was within my training that I deeply examined my beliefs about myself and the world.  I had been doing this for years already, especially within my BFA studies at UWM, in which I put my relationships to myself, each other, and to Earth under the microscope lens of art and womens’ studies courses.  In yoga teacher training, a fraction of the time required of a student within the university, I had the opportunity to look through the lens of a yogi at my life and how I interact with my world.

I grew up a critical thinker, always distrusting the mainstream ways, and I would critique the mindless day to day life of consumerism that the American Dream encourages.  I thought by being a producer of thoughtful images and objects, I could begin to inspire art viewers to question their own relationship to the American Dream, to the blind consumerism, to the disconnections we have with each other and our planet.  I was frustrated with humanity.

Yoga Teacher Training showed me a new way.  The way of the yogi.  Love is power.  Frustration is not a way to inspire others, but love is.  I changed my relationship to myself and to my community.  Anger has been replaced with acceptance, understanding, and most importantly love, and from this nourished rather than frustrated source of energy, I now address the issues I always have been in a far more effective manner.

Profoundly humbling, and from my deepest source of love, I am now leading a 200 hour teacher training through the Third Ward’s Institute of Beauty and Wellness.  Who knows how Yoga Teacher Training could change your life?   Sign up here: http://ibw.edu/programs/yoga/

Photo credit: Nicole Sheldon

I learned in this episode that humans on average live to be 78 and we spend 70 of those years indoors, which is the opposite of how we evolved to live over the past 6 million years. Frank also discusses that we have a nervous system not just for communication within the body, but also communication with each other and to get to know habitats. Frank goes on to discuss the importance of face-to-face interaction, which the nervous system plays an irreplaceable part in. Check out this epic and critical episode anout evolution and our bodies. https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/liberated-body-podcast/id885440301?mt=2&i=344309672

Watermelon smoothie!

Watermelon rind is edible! And good for you. With watermelons in season, we’ve been making lots of watermelon smoothies! Try including the rind-it has lots of health benefits, including the libido-supportive amino acid citrulline that can also treat mild to moderate erectile dysfunction. Watermelon, rind included, is helpful for lowering blood pressure, it is a mild diuretic, and it contains lycopene, a preventative against prostate cancer!

Use the Breath to Change How You Feel

The Yogis have been saying this for a long time, and what do you know modern science is catching up these days.  Modern scientific studies, to be found here: Breath Could Change Your Emotions, are proving that deep, slow breathing reduces the stress precedes a presentation, concert, performance, event, and mindful, deep, slow breathing reduces chronic anxiety and PTSD.  If you want to work on it, come to a yoga class or Autumnal Equinox Nidra, to breathe and relax!

How exercise changes the brain

Different types of exercise affects growth and reverses aging in different types of the brain.  The researchers explain that increased oxygen, hormones, and nutrient levels are why exercise benefits the brain, so I would add pranayam and inversions as “exercises” that are excellent for brain health.

Cycling or running prevents dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s-just one more reason to bike to work!  

At the end of the article it says that a 50-year-old yogi’s brain looks more like a 25-year-old’s brain. 

Here’s a link to the article: http://consciouslifenews.com/new-finding-different-types-exercise-affect-different-parts-brain/11121031/