Shhh. I am the Presidentess of a secret island nation. My country is so advanced, we have long rid ourselves of health issues, power struggles, arms races ('cause arms don't race that fast), animal abuse, and Miley Cyrus music. It's not the time to keep secrets to ourselves, and so I blog.

SECRET NATION EXPOSED!

 


 

Wednesday
Apr092014

The 15 minute yoga hack for busy people

I’m a better escape artist than Houdini when it comes to getting out of yoga. Didn’t you know we should never practice yoga during particular lunar events and tidal anomalies that were described by the Essenes in one of their scrolls we have yet to translate? I know it’s in there!

I don’t escape my yoga practice any more; I’m all so learned and wise about it now. But I can’t boast that I was a fast learner. I fought with myself for years. Fortunately for many who still search for a sign in their tea leaves that today’s not a good yoga day, I can help. Today is a good yoga day. May I recommend that you make your yoga practice adaptable?

My voice just sounded like fingernails on a chalk board, didn't it. I nod compassionately. Yoga and adaptability were far, far apart from each other for me also, when I was an grade-A pure varietal idealist: 

I need 2 hours for yoga, and abundant time for pranayama and meditation. Any less and I won’t practice yoga today.

Then began my yoga-less life. Followed by the difficult scramble back. Yet I continued to defend my idealism with my life:

Now that I haven’t practiced yoga in months, doing one random class is not going to do anything. I need a yoga retreat to get back on track - an intensive! I’ll have that much free time next December.

And you seriously can not underestimate the strength of my will. I spiralled even further into my doughy insanity:

You know I should cleanse before I return to yoga, or it won’t affect me like it potentially could. I require six weeks to cleanse before the yoga retreat. Otherwise the whole effort would amount to glorified stretching. I need to be  yoga inside and out.

Rest assured, yoga and I are back together again. I want to show you what yoga looks like to busy people who actually do get down on the floor and practice in their spare fifteen minutes.

 15 Minute Yoga

The hardest part of taking 5 or 15 minutes to practice yoga is to actually stop what you're doing and start yoga'ing. I recommend that you don't think too hard about what you are doing, and what it means to the dish washer or the facebook feed. Just get down on the ground and fold forward. Take in slower and deeper breaths, feel your spine, and the space between each vertebrae.

I don't recommend that you begin your fifteen minutes standing, with a sun salutation. That, for many people, feels daunting, and an excellent excuse not to start. A sun salutation will often be the third yoga thing I do.

 I usually begin by connecting with my breath in a gentle Paschimottanasana - folding over straight legs (they can be bent a little), followed by a favourite sitting asana. When I'm feeling the breath deeper, with more energy, that's when I stand up and really (reeelly) enjoy a slow, deliberate Sun Salutation.

A powerful shift can happen in 15 minutes. After only 5 minutes, you will already feel connected, softer and healthier.

 What moves you?

What is at the core of your love of yoga? Mine is the disconnect I get from the world. To re-center, and feel me. Yes I love the strength, the flexibility, the sweat and challenge. But at its core, it’s the spiritual aspect of yoga that makes the most profound change to my day. *

These qualities can be fast tapped into. In fact, you don’t even need to unroll your mat. In the next post, I will show you one of my favourite 15 minute yoga series.

Remember, yoga is about connecting with your Self. It happens fast, you only need to fold forward and deepen your breath. 

* If you are moved by the strength challenge, it is admittedly difficult to attain in 15 minutes, but things can be done. Choose the most challenging asana or series of asanas that demand the most muscle groups. Go slowly and not so deep. I will suggest a brief series in the following posts.

 

Friday
Mar282014

All The Energy You'll Ever Need in 6 Easy Habits

It’s about knowing the human rhythm. All living things need specific conditions to grow and thrive: plants with their ideal light and humidity, fish with their pH and dissolved oxygen levels. We are no different.

This list is logical, and as simple as you can get. If I was to hand over a pet human to a pet owner, these are the six conditions I would educate them on to ensure their pet human will live happily ever after.

(Scientologists, I hope I didn't just agrivate your suppressed memories)

1.  And on the Seventh Day, Juice

Over-eating is just bad for you. No one likes an over-eater, not your stomach, not your small intestine, not your blood supply. Over-eating tires our entire system, with undigested food sitting there too long, fermenting in unkindness. If we don’t like traffic jams, why should we over-eat?

And that was five lines of off-topic.

My point: Make one day a week a no-solid-food day. Take broth and ginger-spiced juices in cold weather, vegetable and fruit juices on warm days. Explore the rich and vast green tea universe. It’s a day of rest for your system, to catch up on those outstanding fixes and re-fuels.

2.  Superfood for Dinner

How great would you feel if you ate an early, light dinner? (hint: it’s really great) Make lunch the main meal of the day. If dinner has a tantrum and demands to be the center of your day, try to get it happening as early as possible. Uncouple (shoot me) the meal from its bland name, call it something romantic like, the Sunset Meal. My favourite Sunset Meal is wilted salad. If I'm not so hungry, vegetable juice with spirulina.

When I drink dense, green superfood at night, like spirulina or chlorophyll, I need one whole hour less of sleep, and wake feeling very switched on. Try it. Let me know if this works for you too!

Do I need to tell you that a gin and tonic doesn't count as a light dinner? All alcohol does is absorb the beautiful extra energy you're making with your noble efforts of eating consciously.

3.  Early Sleep

It’s the ol’ sleep-before-your-gall-bladder-gets-to-work adage that has stood the test of time. It’s this simple: if I fall asleep before 11pm, I sleep solidly, and wake extremely refreshed. If I stay up late, like I have to do sometimes, I wake later and never shake the heavy feeling. It’s impossible for me to grab my day by the collar and shake free a tonne of inspiration. Instead, the day slowly drags my sandbag body to the finish line. Am I being too dramatic?

4.  Water

Again, super simple: drink a large glass of water every hour. Every single process that occurs in the body requires water.  Drink more upon rising and before bed. Not just any water, unless you're looking for trouble. Make it free from fluoride or chlorine additives. Some water filters can mess with the water ions, mineral content or pH. Research before you buy. Naturally sourced water is a luxury, I know, but excellent if you can get it.

5.  Meditation

There’s meditation and then there’s meditation. It’s a universe if you are ever curious to enter and explore. I practice meditation techniques which unlock (keeping it humble here) a lot of energy, but I can’t tell you what they are. Traditional lineages of meditation schools will teach you several practices that slowly increase your ability to contain larger amounts of energy.

One needs to master concentration before the more powerful meditation practices are attempted. If you are interested in learning how to meditate, I recommend exploring schools like Kriya Yoga, Vipassana, Zazen, or Transcendental Meditation (TM).  There are others. Let me know in the comments which ones you like.

6.  Breathe Deeply

This is not something new. It’s just vital. Exercise makes energy. The diaphragm is such a powerful muscle. Its central location carries a lot of meaning beyond our pursuit of energy. Deep full breaths massage our organs, and detoxifies our blood. It takes in prana, or life-force energy. Move your body, breathe and respectfully challenge the cardio pulmonary system. Are you holding anything emotional? Try exercise and the energy that you generate will move it – which is a good thing.

It’s That Easy

  • Wake early, drink water, meditate even if it’s for ten minutes.
  • Exercise.
  • Eat small meals that are alive with fresh alkaline goodness.
  • Stay hydrated.
  • Eat a delicious, satisfying lunch.
  • Enjoy light Sunset Dinners.
  • Meditate again in the evening, ten minutes is an excellent start.
  • Go to bed before 11pm.

When it becomes habit, you’ll have more time in your day. When there's no huge dinner to prepare late into the evening, with more energy generated from exercise, and more productive morning hours, which passion will you choose to persue?

 

 

 

Sunday
Mar232014

Change the season with this awesome juice

Because if you drink this juice enough, the season will change. It's only a matter of time, and a lot more juice.

Starting the day with a killer vegetable-based juice is not what tickles my fancy. I prefer this one. In fact, it's my favourite. I call it:

The Juice I Prefer To Have In The Mornings Rather Than Vegetable Juice

Rolls right off the tongue.

It's green, it's astringent and sweet. It amps your life force energy into over-drive, so you'll have no choice but to sart the day feeling cool and on fire!

This makes enough for one person. You're going to need: 

4 green apples

2 lemons

1 heaped tablespoon spirulina powder

Handful of ice

What you have to do next is a little tricky, so make sure you do it in order, otherwise you might have to go to jail.

Juice and blend baby!

Thursday
Mar202014

Vanquishing life before death

Because, muppet.We fear death so much we’d very much like to not speak about it please. We fear the sickness which leads to death, to the point where at least one person insanely boxed himself inside an oxygen chamber between moonwalks - anything but to die.

Because to die is to fail at life? Hmmm.

Many people’s unquestioned goal in life is to live as long as they can, until they imagine themselves living out those long, endless years incapacitated. The goal is then amended, to include something about quality of life. Adopting health principles suddenly makes sense. Unfortunately, health is still no guarantee that you’ll coast to a century in white tennis shoes.

And if you don’t, it’s not a fail.

A Punk-Ass Example

I am honoured to have this friend who is (funny, caring, intelligent and) healthier than anyone I have ever met. She eats so much chlorophyll, her indoor plants prostrate themselves when she passes by. She’s a walking health encyclopaedia who’s inspired thousands of people with her eating, cooking, yogic and meditative ways. Then she gets cancer, she’s given a handful of days to live.

The first thought that will come into some people’s mind is, why did she fail?

Because we have this idea that it's our human right to live the full 100, as long as our desire for bacon and sloths don't get in the way.

Is that your goal? Personally, I don’t care. Life is way too chaotic to think I’ll live long and peacefully without some weird and unexpected plot twist ending my life abruptly. Longevity is not the reason I'm obsessed with health.

Why I feel so passionate about diet, exercise and the development of my consciousness is because of today. Each of the todays I’m allowed to live, I can sit here and authentically tell you how amazing life feels. It pulses through my body so powerfully, I have to tell yer, I'm walking around a little juiced that the world is as incredible as it is! It's not a cerebral thing; it's a body-and-soul-connected-with-the-million-layers-of-existence thing.

I'm gifted with this amazing feeling because of the way I eat, practice yoga, run, meditate, and love my fellow human beings; if I’m given an insane diagnosis for some strange disease where I have but moments more to live, did I fail?

Closing the Story Triumphant

If we feel an enormous passion for life, for fellow surfers on our favourite celestial point break, did everything we could to raise the ceiling of love and awareness around us, what else are we supposed to achieve?

I embrace my death as I embrace my life. None of it is in my hands, and while I’m here I feel acutely aware and grateful for my amazing beating heart, to breathe sweet breaths (less sweet on Fridays, city traffic being what it is), and to serve my fellow human travellers.

Who knows how long any of us have. Are you on autopilot? There’s no time for that.  

 

Saturday
Mar152014

AÇAI – The Clark Kent of Superfoods

Açai in my house is otherwise known as dinner. We go through one and a half kilos of it every day, blended (not stirred), with banana and a dash of guarana concentrate. Açai (pron: Ah-sah-ee) is one of the healthiest foods on the planet.

On the outside, it’s just a humble berry from an Amazonian palm tree (Euterpe Oleracea) in Brazil. But in reality, Açai is the Clark Kent of the Superfood universe.

It tastes rather astringent and neutral. Locals joke that it tastes like dirt. Indigenous Indians add it to savoury dishes, while southerners enjoy it sweetened. In this respect, Açai follows the same historical footsteps as cacao.

Only Good News Comes From Açai

Traditionally it was used to treat digestive disorders, stimulate the immune system and was a source of quick energy. Of course Indiginous Brazilians didn’t have cardiovascular disease, premature ageing or potency issues, but if they did, they would have treated that with Açai too.

But Wait, There’s More

Acai is low GI and high fiber. Athletes love the stuff, as do people looking to lose weight.  

Açai is high in calcium and iron.

It’s super high in Vitamin A and improves vision. Clark Kent will have to lose the glasses now that I made him the face of this stuff.

Finally, it nourishes the nervous system. Do you need to de-stress and relax? Açai is the answer.  

For the how’s and why’s, see here and here.

From the Amazon to You

The Amazon is so far from anywhere, and the fruit is delicate. Acai pulp is frozen on site then shipped internationally.  Look for the frozen pulp at your local health food store.