Monday, December 24, 2012

The 12 days of detox; body, mind and spirit. Day 12.

On the twelfth day of detox, atONE gave to me...
twelve affirmations,

Yogi Bhajan shared many mantras and affirmations, one of which was, "I am the light of my soul. I am beautiful. I am bountiful. I am bliss. I am, I am."

You don't need to be a yogi to use mantra and affirmation. Employ this powerful ancient tool to assist you with continued success with your detox, holiday commitments and all you wish to be and create in the new year.

Whether conquering a goal, creating a fresh new start, facing a fear or maintaining a calm, clear body and mind, affirmations assist in keeping your focus on what's important. Choose 1 affirmation that resonates deep within to be the foundation of your ongoing practice, your theme song; for the month, the year or a particular task at hand.

I choose love in each moment.
I create my life.
I welcome abundance.
I steer my ship and navigate the waters of emotion.
I am whole.
I am a powerful woman/man on this planet.
I am vibrant, radiant and healthy.
I am an infinite source of creativity and love.
I am the master of my destiny.
I am fluid, flexible, strong and beautiful.
I create a life of abundance for myself and others.
I am a blessing to others as I am abundantly blessed.

Or create your own from the words that bring you the greatest inspiration and invoke the most powerful response.

Start with "I" then add a powerful word like "am" or "choose", or a poetic word like "welcome" or "exude" and follow it up with your main focus or desire, the antidote to your suffering or situation.  Keep it phrased in the positive.  If pain has limited your activities try, "I move with ease and grace".

Write it down and begin each day with your affirmation. Tack it to the fridge, the mirror or your computer screen and repeat it throughout the day. Employ it silently when you find strain in your day or speak it out loud to yourself in the mirror. Use it during your breath work and meditation, inhale "I am" and exhale "whole."

The more you use it, the more completely you'll adopt it. When you come up against resistance in your life, get out your juicy journal and craft a custom affirmation to lift you up and over the hurdle. Use it frequently and powerfully. Your very own super power. "I am awesome".

Congratulations on completing the 12 days of detox; body, mind and spirit. I hope you enjoyed the variety of methods presented and that they served you well during your detox and continue to serve you through your year ahead.

Please let me know what you tried, what you struggled with, what you celebrated and how you did. I wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and happy holidays.  Continue with your visualizations, meditations, breath work, yoga and any other techniques you found helpful or challenging. Stay with it. As Yogi Bhajan said, "Keep up and you will be kept up."

To the most vibrant you, cheers!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

The 12 days of detox; body, mind and spirit. Day 11.

On the eleventh day of detox, atONE gave to me...
eleven juicy journals,

Empty that melon and make room for new thoughts while taking inventory of all the old ones running through your mind, all the old story running through your life. Your experiences to date, your ideas and stories laid out on a page, whether in prose, webs, design or image, allow you to review where you've been, gain new insight and acceptance and even spark new inspiration.

Contemplating and detailing events of your year and life gives you an appreciation for what you have learned, gathered and accomplished over the year and what no longer serves you, what you wish to relinquish. Honour what has been, accept all of your experiences with love and compassion, all of you, continue what speaks to you the most and bid a fond farewell to lessons learned that have run their course. Celebrate the success in the highs and the growth in the lows.

Start... one word on the page, where does it take you. Let that one word act as the yarn that, when pulled, unravels the tightly woven and structured contents of your mind, then your heart and your spirit.  Weave the yarn upon the page and see the colours, texture and form of your life's fabric and celebrate the wardrobe you wore this past year and the years before. Honour the fresh template for new designs to come with the new year. Fresh new colours, textures, styles and designs that promise to create the most inspiring, rich, vivid collection yet.

Fabric not flowing? Try a gratitude list. Finding what you are grateful for this past year and in your current life will allow the yarn to spin freely. If words are fluid for you, let them gather in poetry or flow into rivers of chapter. If you prefer to draw or doodle, allow your year to reveal itself in images on the page.

Smile as you write. Cry as you draw. Laugh as you honour all the bits and pieces of you. Love your story, its moments of pure exquisite beauty and times of deep desperate struggle.

Of course any old paper will do or even that new-fangled digital device we all enjoy so much. I love honouring my writing with a juicy journal, however, a stunning little notepad or decorative diary with a lovely pen creates a sacred experience for me.

Wordle: new yearLight a candle, pour yourself a cup of tea and celebrate your year past on the pages of your journal and when you're done you may consider a page or 2 of what you wish for your year ahead. Dream it into drawing and then draw it into being. Weave it in a web on the page or pour it out in poetry. You could even Wordle it and print it out to display on your wall, vision board, fridge or desk to keep your vision front and centre all year.

There are more than 11 juicy journals on this page from Handmade Expressions. Wherever you find your journal, enjoy selecting one unique to you for your year's review. Perhaps an exquisite new journal will find its way into your stocking for your continued journalling through 2013.


Saturday, December 22, 2012

The 12 days of detox; body, mind and spirit. Day 10.

On the tenth day of detox, atONE gave to me...
ten musical minutes,

Detox through dance

"Sweat and laugh every day" said Yogi Bhajan, and turning up the music to groove and move with yourself, your kids, family, friends or a community is an invigorating and uplifting way to detox body, mind and spirit. A daily ritual of dance, whether 10 minutes daily in your living room or a 1 hour class at a local gym or dance studio, lubricates the joints and sheds excess baggage from the body and the mind, lightening the spirit.

Want to jump-start an exercise routine? Start with dance. If you find it difficult to get outdoors during the cold for activity or you despise stationary exercise equipment, do something fun, healthy and vibrant for yourself. Dance.

Choose your favourite music, something upbeat, and start to move. Rock some old dance moves, have your kids show you some new ones or allow your body the freedom of intuitive movement, arms swaying, hips swirling, shoulders releasing and tension melting. Let go and take a ride on the rhythm of the music. Drum beats carry you to new places, flute serenades your spirit, piano pulls at possibilities and guitar stirs your creativity.

"Dress classy and dance cheesy" as Psy says. Crank up Gangham style and have some fun anytime of day. Make dance a regular part of your detox and daily routine. Choose a time that allows you a 10 minute break and get down.  Start your day with dance, before you hit the shower. Or pick a time of day you find your energy drops and you need a boost. Try a pre-dinner dance party with the family to raise everyone's spirits.

One of my favourite musicians and healers, Shine Edgar's didgeridoo and chanting elevates and transports me to new places every time I play his music. Turn up Great Central Sun and allow the primal rhythms to infuse your body. You can't help but move, sway, spin, jump, shake, stomp and celebrate your body, mind and spirit.

Bonus detox tip: Smile. Bring a smile to your lips everyday. When you make eye contact with people, smile. When you pass others in stores, particularly this time of year when stress can run high, smile. Curling the corners of your mouth into a friendly smile is an instant mood boost and spirit lift for you and others. Feeling strained? Smile. Traffic heavy? Smile. Turkey not ready? Smile. Family members pushing buttons? Smile. Do it for you, others benefit as a bonus. Smile while you dress, while you cook, while you shop and while you dance. People will want to know your secret.

Friday, December 21, 2012

The 12 days of detox; body, mind and spirit. Day 9.

On the ninth day of detox, atONE gave to me...
nine cleansing herbs,

Herbal cleanses
There are many herbal detox programs available. Purchasing a reputable herbal cleanse provides a prepared, easy to follow plan you can fit into your daily routine. If you choose to buy or follow an herbal program, do your research and make sure the product is top quality. Consult a herbalist or naturopath for professional recommendations.

There are also a variety of herbal teas specifically blended for detox that you can incorporate into your day. Pukka makes a tasty blend called Cleanse. Bija Deep Cleanse is another detox herbal blend.

Living Strong gives us 4 herbs that assist detox naturally.

And 4 more popular cleansing plants you can investigate for your own personal program.

For an ayurvedic addition to the herbal detox, try Amalaki, Amla or Indian Gooseberry, 3 names for 1 vitamin C rich herb. I have added Amla powder to smoothies, made an Amla shot in a bit of water before bed, decocted the dried fruit for tea and infused it in oil for nourishing hair treatments.  Very bitter, Amla is best added to a flavourful blend.

Consult a professional if pregnant, nursing or have existing medical conditions, before using herbs.

Bonus detox tip: Knock knock. Who's there?  Doris. Doris who? Doris locked, that's why I'm knocking. I borrowed that one from Ellen DeGenerous. A good belly laugh a day is reported to boost immune function, mood and your number of friends.  See for yourself just how beneficial a good laugh is for your overall well-being. And it's free. Find, or better yet, initiate laughter in your day today and every day. It's contagious. If you're struggling to get started, Ellen is always good for a dose of laughter medicine.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The 12 days of detox; body, mind and spirit. Day 8.

On the eighth day of detox, atONE gave to me...
eight salt baths,

Salt baths 
Himalayan salt contains the same 84 essential minerals found in our bodies. It is praised for relieving a variety of conditions from acne to halitosis, eczema and psoriasis, and for drawing toxins from the body. The salts can be purchased in large crystals or more finely ground.

Dead Sea salt is another popular soak. The Dead Sea is long sought after for its purifying and rejuvenating qualities. Benefits reported include relief from pain due to osteoarthritis and tendinitis, as well as psoriasis and other skin issues.

Fill your tub first then add 1 - 2 cups of himalayan or dead sea salts and soak for 20 minutes. Enjoy this daily ritual for the remainder of your detox. A wonderful way to unwind at the end of your day. Follow with a self-massage or foot rub. Purifying perfection.

Choose a pure salt and use it on its own or add good quality herbs or essential oils for an herbal experience.

Mint - energizing, invigorating
Lavender - relaxing, calming
Rose - sensual, nurturing
Jasmine green tea - antioxidant-rich, balances yin and yang
Vanilla - relaxing, particularly pleasing scent for men
Orange - uplifting, joyful
Clove - warming, soothing
Eucalyptus - clearing, uplifting

Or make your own blend; orange and clove to awaken the senses or vanilla and lavender for deep relaxation. Add the caviar of a vanilla bean to your jar of salts and keep tightly sealed. When ready, a few drops of lavender essential oil in the tub with your vanilla salt will lull you off to dreamland. Clove buds in the jar of salt will spice it up nicely. A few drops of sweet orange essential oil in the tub with the spiced salt provides a pleasant pick-me-up.

If your salts clump, give the jar a good shake or stir with a spoon and add to your bath.

Keep essential oils away from children, do not take internally and consult a professional if pregnant, nursing or medical conditions exist.

Bonus Detox Tip: Enjoy this qigong break with Master Chunyi Lin. The Moving of Yin and Yang.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The 12 days of detox; body, mind and spirit. day 7.

On the seventh day of detox, atONE gave to me...
seven layer massages,

There are many benefits to regular massage; detoxification, improved circulation and decreased stress to name a few.  You could book a series of professional massages or simply commit to daily self-massage.  Abhyanga, anointing, is an ayurvedic massage incorporating oils.  It promotes the practice of snehana, to love your own body.  Ayurveda believes that the body is comprised of seven layers of tissue and daily abhyanga nurtures all seven layers.

The body of one who uses oil massage regularly does not become affected much even if subjected to accidental injuries, or strenuous work. By using oil massage daily, a person is endowed with pleasant touch, trimmed body parts and becomes strong, charming and least affected by old age.
  Charaka Samhita Vol. 1, V: 88-89

Who doesn't want to be charming and least affected by old age?  Abhyanga involves straight strokes on the limbs and circular massage on the joints.  Try rubbing a good quality oil - sesame, almond, olive or coconut - or herb-infused oil onto the body each morning to encourage circulation.  A nighttime ritual of rubbing oil or foot butter onto the feet stimulates reflexology points and assists in releasing stress and toxins from the day, promoting better sleep.  Try a lavender-infused oil or mint foot butter to restore tired tootsies.

Use self-massage in the morning before you shower to wake up the body and promote detoxification, or at night before bath to relieve stress and ama from your day, preparing you for a restful sleep. Careful not to oil the feet before stepping into the shower or tub, or wash the oil off first so you do not slip.

Usually I split the practice, performing self-massage in the morning and a deeply relaxing foot massage in the evening.  Lying on my back on the bed, I raise both legs in the air, feet pointed at the ceiling, a modified legs-up-the-wall pose.  I lower one leg, knee bent to massage herbal foot butter onto my foot, paying attention to all parts; heel, instep, between the toes.  I then raise the massaged foot back up towards the ceiling and lower the other foot for massage, returning it to the air for a moment more of raised legs before turning in for the night.  If you have a partner, trade foot rubs at bedtime.

For self-massage, use circular motions on the ankle, straight strokes moving from ankle to knee, circular on the knee, straight strokes from knee to the hip, circular on the hip.  Move to the other leg and repeat the process.  On the belly, move with the path of the intestines, up the right side and down the left.  Then move to the hands and arms.  You can also include scalp and face if you are preparing for bed or prior to a shower.  The oils will nourish your scalp and hair while sleeping.  To rinse easily, add the shampoo before water hits your hair, wash well.  I have been known to do a school pick-up with an herbal oil treatment in my hair.

Massaging oil before a bath or shower leaves skin nicely hydrated and not greasy.  Pat yourself dry and dress for the day or slip between the sheets for a sound sleep.  Daily massage... how deliciously detoxifying.

Bonus detox tip: Make your own herbal oil.  Rose softens skin, lavender promotes relaxation and calendula assists skin healing.  Replace the calendula blossoms in the recipe with dried lavender, rose petals, peppermint, lemon balm or for a warming winter oil, try cinnamon or clove infused-oil.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The 12 days of detox; body, mind and spirit. Day 6.

On the sixth day of detox, atONE gave to me...
six spicy swishes,

Oil Pulling
A little-known detox gem, Dr. F. Karach presented oil pulling in the early 90s.  The practice dated back considerably further, however.  In ayurveda it is called kavala graha, a medicine for the oral cavity, and has been used for centuries to detoxify the body and improve health.  

A simple daily process of swishing oil around inside the mouth for up to 20 minutes, allowing the oil to draw toxins from the body, then spitting the oil out, yielded a variety of benefits.  Some of the reported dental benefits include brightened teeth, reduced sensitivity to hot or cold food and drink, and stabilized loose teeth.  Other individuals have reported relief from the following: body pains, headaches, allergy and respiratory problems, arthritis, constipation, heart disease, digestive issues and skin problems.

Best done on an empty stomach, in the ayurvedic tradition, kavala graha is a practice in itself, a meditation of sorts where nothing is done while swishing, other than conscious swishing.  When I followed this practice 3 times per day, before meals, for several weeks, I enjoyed the meditative benefits as well as whiter, less sensitive teeth and softer lips.  My oil pulling now flows into my morning routine as 5-10 minutes of swishing while I prepare my morning tea.

As 1 sun salutation is better than none and often leads to more, a few minutes of swishing is better than no swishing at all.  There is some controversy as to whether to perform oil pulling if you have dental fillings.  I have found no conclusive research supporting either side.  Do your homework and consult a professional if you are concerned.

After your morning visualization, breathwork, meditation and yoga, try some swishing while preparing your lemon and ginger tea.  Or make your swishing your morning meditation. The whole morning detox routine up to now can take as little as 30 minutes.  If you have the time, an indulgent hour or more can be dedicated to you, your health and your best self.  Set your alarm a little earlier and savour time for self care.  A delicious way to start your day.

Bonus Detox Tip: As a lover of infusing oils with herbs, I took oil pulling to another level and created spicy swishes that also lend themselves to improved health.  See if one of the natural mouthwashes has you salivating.

Congratulations on reaching the halfway point in your body, mind, spirit detox.  Still cleaning out the closets?

This post joined the following blog hops:

Wildcrafting Wednesday

Monday, December 17, 2012

The 12 days of detox; body, mind and spirit. Day 5.

On the fifth day of detox, atONE gave to me...
five yoga poses,

Adding 30-60 minutes of yoga to your daily routine aids digestion, elimination and detoxification through postures, breath and sweat.  Even 10 minutes of yoga every day allows you to feel the benefits of a regular practice.  You may choose to seek out a convenient class near you or pick up a DVD to assist you with a home practice or simply enjoy a few poses each day.  Committing to sun salutations every morning is a simple start.  Practice before eating, particularly detoxing poses such as twists, forward bends and inversions, to aid in the process of cleansing.

Yoga-Paws shares 5 detox yoga poses you can easily incorporate into your day.  When finished your morning meditation, wake up the body by taking a few minutes to move through these poses.  Enjoy them before bed as you release the day in preparation for a good sleep.  Find your way into the pose, inhaling and allowing the exhale to guide you into position, deepening the posture.  The inhale lengthens the spine and lifts the heart, the exhale releases the belly and all tension and toxins as you sink deep into union with body, mind and spirit.  Take as much time as you need, at least 5 long, slow, easy breaths in each pose.  Nowhere to go, simply be in the posture, in the place you are, connected completely through breath.  Take this time as a gift to yourself to be fully present in your body, in your breath, in your life... fully you.

Bonus Detox Tip #1 Rodney Yee slowly demonstrates sun salutations in this Gaiam clip.

Bonus Detox Tip #2  If you are up for a more vigorous practice, enjoy this kriya for detoxification from 3HO.

I could bonus you all day long with yoga postures, practices and possibilities as there are so many benefits to a regular, mindful practice, whether a few minutes of twists or 108 sun salutations.  Widely available to explore today, find a method and practice that nourishes you.  Experiment, play, add music or chant, take it outside and go deep within.  Have fun with something you do just for you, something that leaves you feeling whole and happy.  Namasté.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

The 12 days of detox; body, mind and spirit. Day 4.

On the fourth day of detox, atONE gave to me...
four foods that heal,

Food as medicine and medicine as food
That's how ayurveda views eating.  At least three times a day we have an opportunity to create vibrant health through our food choices.  Foods that burn cleanly and completely, nourishing our bodies and assisting with the removal of ama, serve us well during detox.  Simple whole food choices sustain us while cleaning out the pipes.

A whole foods detox, consuming fresh fruits, vegetables and nuts in their whole state offers the natural fibre of the food, while providing all the nutrients and health benefits.  Juicing is also a popular option and there are many juice detoxes available on the market and sites offering recipes for the best detoxing blends. Do your homework and choose a juice plan that appeals to you and is reputable if you choose this route. Be mindful of your calorie intake and not restricting calories for a prolonged period of time unless under the guidance of a professional.  Listen to your body and ensure you are feeling nourished by the foods you are consuming.

One of my favourite detox blends is one apple, a generous handful of dandelion greens, fresh grated ginger and pure apple juice or water to blend. The peppery greens, sweet apple and spicy ginger give me an invigorating morning boost.  A detoxing addition to my day's consumption.

It doesn't have to be all or nothing.  Simply make choices in your day that offer the highest nutritional value.  Substituting the morning's boxed cereal for a homemade fruit or veg smoothie.  While detoxing, reduce your consumption of prepackaged, refined and processed foods.  Replace breads, pastas and packaged sweets with fruits, vegetables and nuts.  Choose organic, pesticide-free or locally grown when available.  Decrease the dairy for detox.  Elimination diets can present resistance, consider lowering the quantity of foods that create inflammation and stagnation, and upping the foods that promote vitality and radiant well-being.

~Citrus.  A detoxer's good friend.  After your morning visualization, breathing and meditation, greet your day with a tea of grated fresh ginger and squeezed lemon juice.  If under the weather, add a touch of soothing honey.  Enjoy oranges as a convenient snack during your day.  Add limes and lemons to your water.

~Greens.  Kale, swiss chard, dandelion greens, bok choy.  Get creative.  Kale is high in fibre, iron, vitamin k, calcium and vitamin c. It is anti-inflammatory and makes for an excellent detox choice.  I watched Ina Garten make a ribollita on the Food Network several years ago and it became an immediate staple for me in the winter months.  I alter the recipe to incorporate meat or not, according to my needs and the contents of my fridge, and usually leave out the bread.  Water makes a perfectly acceptable substitution for chicken stock.  I make a huge batch and enjoy it for a few meals. It is my favourite recipe for kale.  Add swiss chard to smoothies, dice it up for pasta sauces, soups or stews. Swiss chard has a milder flavour than kale and is easily incorporated into recipes. Dandelion greens make a great addition to salads or smoothies.

~Fruit.  Apples are excellent detox choices, pomegranates for heart, blueberries for an immune boost.  Simmer apples, cinnamon, ginger and clove for a naturally sweet and flavourful treat.  Toss in a handful of nuts and a spoonful of coconut oil and you have a delicious breakfast.  If you become fidgety or snacky in your day, slice up an apple or two and enjoy.

~Good fats.  Nuts offer a whole food source of monounsaturated fats, with walnuts adding omega-3s.  Choose from a variety of snacking options; walnuts for brain, almonds for heart health, pistachios for happy cells.  Nuts also bring protein to the table, just make sure the nuts you buy don't also bring the salt.  Another choice oil for maximum health benefits is coconut.  Choose a quality unrefined coconut oil.  It will be solid at 76 degrees and less, above that it will begin to melt.  Add coconut oil to your dishes like rice stirfry.  Sautée carrots, onion, garlic, bok choy, swiss chard and ginger, tossing in cashews.  Like apples, a spoonful of coconut oil a day is said to keep the doctor away.

Bonus detox tip: Water is important for flushing toxins from the body.  Consume 1-2 litres of fresh water throughout your day.  Fill a 750ml or 1 litre reusable bottle to get an idea of your consumption.  Drink 1 in the morning and 1 after lunch.  Squeeze in fresh lemon juice or add a few drops of plant essences like Yarrow Environmental Solution, to aid detox.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

The 12 days of detox; body, mind and spirit. Day 3.

On the third day of detox, atONE gave to me...
three meditations,

Remove any mental ama with a daily mind detox.  Committing to a daily morning practice sets the tone for your day, integrating any dreamwork and clearing the mind for the day ahead.  An evening practice surrenders all thoughts, stress and worry of the day as you slip into deep relaxation before sleep.  A twenty minute morning and evening practice of your choice makes this detox an easy addition to your day.  Choose from mindful meditation, guided, mantra, yantra, walking... there are so many available and accessible today.  Join a global online meditation or simply place your focus on one thought, affirmation or solely the breath.

~Following your detox day 1 visualization and day 2's breathing, continue sitting comfortably, maintaining deep, relaxing breath.  Inhale a silent, "I am" and exhale a silent, "vibrant."  Replace the word vibrant with one that holds meaning for you, evokes a deep feeling of well-being; healthy, alive, radiant, vital, whichever word comes to mind.  Breathe and focus on the words carried silently on your breath, repeating them over and over, for a few moments or even 30 minutes.  It is more important you feel your detox practice flows easily into your day than struggle to meet a specific time frame.  If your mind wanders, grocery lists appear in your brain or the day's duties, simply draw your attention back to the words on your breath.  When complete, open your eyes and sit for a moment, enjoying and acknowledging the sensations in your body and your clearer, calmer mind.

~Alternately, try deeply resting the mind and allowing your own inner pharmacy to guide your detoxification.  Hold no words or thoughts as a focus, instead, allowing the mind to empty.  No force or expectation, simply a deep state of rest, as if there is nothing for the mind to do.  With mind at rest, your inner pharmacy can go to work, entrusted entirely and confidently with your highest well-being.  If thoughts arise or you become distracted, bring the intention of deep, deep rest and allow the mind to withdraw and sleep while your inner pharmacy clears, repairs and revitalizes you.  Often we block our own progress on a particular goal.  Fear, doubt, old habits or patterns may resurface.  This deep rest provides a getting-out-of-your-own-way detoxification.  It's not up to you, let your body do its job and restore its natural state of wellness.  A great way to begin your day and a lovely technique for clearing your mind and welcoming restful sleep at the end of your day.

~You may wish to explore the ancient practice of mantra, focusing the mind and vibrating sound with a sanskrit phrase.  Mantra, meaning instrument of the mind, allows your mind to engage, focused on particular sounds that resonate within the body, activating a response.  Chanting the seed mantra "HRIM", pronounced hreem, aids in detoxification as its sound resonates throughout the cells.  You may chant aloud or silently if you prefer.  When chanting aloud, the r of hreem touches briefly on the roof of the mouth.  You may chant hreem once on the exhale, holding the mmmmmm sound on your lips for the extent of the exhalation, or chant it repeatedly between inhalations.  If chanting silently, allow a continuous resonation of the mantra through the mind.  When complete, sit for a moment, observing the sensations within the body, vibrations continuing to reverberate.  Bring chant into your day; the shower, car or while making dinner.  I once filled the parent volunteer room with chant while helping at my child's school.

Bonus detox tip: need help getting into the meditation mood?  Choose spa-like music or sounds of nature to assist you in relaxing.  You can even find a beautifully recorded mantra and chant or sing along with it.  One of my favourites; ra ma da sa by Snatam Kaur.  Chant along with her or absorb the mantra and the music. Turn up the volume and let the mantra vibrate through your home.
When I heard of yesterday's tragedy in Connecticut, as a parent and as a person I found it so very difficult to comprehend and to find comfort.  I searched for this chant and have played it several times in the past 24 hours as I find healing in it, not just for me but for us all.  Much love, Stephanie.

Friday, December 14, 2012

The 12 days of detox; body, mind and spirit. Day 2.

On the second day of detox, atONE gave to me; 

two cleansing breaths,

Every breath provides a channel for detoxification through the exhalation of waste and the inhalation of oxygen.  Most of the day, however, our breath is shallow.  As our shoulders slowly creep up to meet our ears throughout the stresses of our day, our breath also becomes more shallow and often quicker, limiting the supply of oxygen to our lungs and blood.  Dedicating time each day to sit and breathe deeply or reminding yourself throughout your day to do so, infuses the body with fresh air and releases the stale air pooled deep in the lungs.  Deep breathing also relaxes the body and the mind, proving to be one of the most effective, inexpensive and accessible methods of detoxification of body, mind and spirit.  Commit to deep breathing outdoors and enjoy the added benefit of nature, feeling the cool winter air invigorate the body.  Every deep inhalation purifies, every full exhalation detoxifies.

As you practice your detox day 1 visualization, breathe deeply and exhale fully.  Once the visualization is complete, continue deep breathing for a minute or two, relaxing deeper with each breath.  Lungs expand and fill with each inhale, shoulders drop and tension melts with every exhale.  Sit upright to allow full expansion of the lungs, feeling even the back body receiving fresh oxygen.  Like opening a window and allowing the air to freshen your home.  Continue several times throughout your day, at regular intervals like before meals, or any time you feel stress or strain creeping into your day or your shoulders creeping up to your ears.

If you tend to carry excess heat in your body or experience agitation or frustration during your day, try Sitali breathing, a technique used to cool off the body and the mind.

Bonus detox breath: to stoke the digestive fires and boost metabolism as well as your core control, practice breath of fire for continued detoxing throughout your day.  

Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa also demonstrates this breathing technique for those who wish to breathe along with her.

How's the closet cleaning coming along?

Thursday, December 13, 2012

The 12 days of detox; body, mind and spirit. Day 1

December is a magical month and an ideal one to detoxify the body, clearing out residue accumulated over the past year. 

Ayurveda refers to this residue as ama, a buildup of waste in the body, products not used up or transformed from their old state to a new one via digestion or metabolism. Accumulation of ama blocks the flow of energy within the body and is viewed as the root cause of all disease.
As body, mind and spirit all connect, cleaning out the body of last year's consumption also assists with cleaning out the mind of last year's habits, thoughts and ideas.  Clearing out any emotional residue, struggle, pain and fear, assists the body in lightening its load.

How about your environment, the spaces you occupy; your home, office and relationships?  What waste has accumulated in those areas?

This is the perfect time to detoxify yourself; body, mind and spirit, and your life, from any residue lingering from the past year and beyond.  

Purge what's stuck, remove the residue and gently dislodge the ama wholly and naturally.  Make room.  A clean slate for the new to enter your life in 2013.  A fresh pallette on which to paint your year ahead.

The 12 days of detox guides you effortlessly through a purification process, gradually building each day.  Simply complete day 1 and then add to that practice the subsequent days' detoxing tips.  One at a time, step by step, day by day, you will ease into a detox program that both nurtures and nourishes you.  One you can choose to continue beyond the days of Christmas and into the new year.

Say a fond farewell to all you've been up until now, and a sing-songy helllloooooooooo to new possibilities and the limitless potential of a brand new year, yours to create as you wish.

On the first day of detox, atONE gave to me...
the most vibrant vision of me.

It's important to know where you are heading before you can get there.  Meeting yourself face-to-face is an excellent and accessible method of detoxification.

With eyes closed, relax your shoulders and unclench your jaw, feel your feet on the floor or your bum if you're sitting, and notice your breath.  See yourself before you, your best self, vital, vibrant and energized.  See clearly your glowing skin, clear, bright eyes, flexible, strong body and healthy interior.  See your organs functioning at optimal levels, your body moving with ease and grace, exuding radiant well-being.  Envision the most stunning, healthy you right before you, smiling and peaceful.  Sit as long as you like with this vibrant version of you and when you are done communing, inhale deeply, drawing your complete vibrant self into your physical body.  Feel that radiant version fill you from the inside out, expanding into your own body as you merge with you and every cell is infused with your best self.
Open your eyes, breathing deeply into the new you and exhale a long audible sigh of gratitude for your vibrant self.  Revisit the visualization as often as you like, at least once per day, perhaps several times.

Bonus detox tip: clean out one item per day of the 12 day detox.  In your home, office or car. One simple item; a drawer, closet, cupboard, filing tray, pantry shelf, the clogged sink plug, kids' toy chest, fridge shelf.  Keep a donation box or bag handy for any items ready to go to someone else and return any borrowed items you find to their rightful owners.

The 12 days of detox series may also be enjoyed at:

Monday, December 3, 2012

All I want for Christmas.

You do for everyone else; the kids, your partner, the boss, the school, volunteer organizations, clients, friends, family and the neighbours.  You help others and spend your time thinking of ways to do more. You wish good things for your family, friends, community, humanity and the planet.

It's time for you.  December is a magical month.  The completion and celebration of one year and the clean new slate of another, merge into this month.  Pure potential, possibility and fulfillment await.

You've written your gratitude lists, daily, weekly, yearly, every full moon perhaps.  Now write your wish list.

What are you waiting for?  What are you hoping for?  What are you working for?

It's your turn to make a list for Santa.  You've been good, right?  Of course you have, and it's time you asked for what you really want.

With the wide-eyed, open heart of a child, compile your list.  With no consideration to the logistics or reasoning of the items, freely let them flow onto the page - digital or paper, doesn't matter.

Write like a child, the biggest desires you have, with complete certainty that Santa delivers.

Let your imagination run wild and your heart open to the experience.

What would be really yummy for you?  A delicious dream.

No discounting items on the list because you think they are simply unattainable or not altruistic enough.    You never know how what you do in your day helps others, so express yourself freely, go for what you want.  When it comes from love, for yourself or others, it's all good.

Maybe the new boots you want helps a shop owner pay their rent.  Or a new home keeps a builder in business.  Or the raise you desire allows you to do more for others through charity.

Provide the details.  Santa needs descriptions or even pictures.  If you're asking the big red guy for better health, what does that look like for you?  He needs specifics.

If you're asking for a better job or creative outlet, how many hours a day do you work at it?  How much will it pay you?  What exactly do you do at this job or art?  How do you feel when you are doing it?

Do you want more time in your day?  How much more and how will you spend it?

Go big.  This is Santa we're talking about.  Remember, you're a kid again and there are a lot of dreams and ideas you have for your list.

Get to work.

Dear Santa,

I have been an excellent girl this year.  I fed my family veggies at most meals and remembered to feed the cat every day.  Here is my Christmas list:

  1. A new house in the country.  At least 2 acres but I'll go as high as a quarter section.  A natural home with big windows and beautiful gardens.  Room for everyone, finished and furnished from fair trade, sustainable sources that I get the pleasure of shopping for.
  2. A publishing contract and while you're at it, I'd also like a movie deal.  Julia Roberts should play me.
  3. A new dress, I'm partial to red but will also accept pink. A stunning dress, no sequins please, simple, elegant and flowing, fitted in all the right places.
  4. A place to wear the dress, with my husband would be nice.  A red carpet event would also be acceptable.  With lots of friends and celebration.
  5. I'd like a trip to New York and one to Hawaii.  Short one in New York, 3 or 4 days.  Longer in Hawaii, at least 10 days.
  6. A sketch pad and graphite pencils so I can start drawing again.  I'll need a couple hours a week and a nice sunny spot to do my sketching.
p.s. An extra hour in my day for yoga would be greatly appreciated.  My writing seems to have bumped it.  Namasté, Stephanie.

If you wish to write 2 lists, one for yourself and one for others in your life and on the planet, enjoy.  Write wishes of health, healing, love, compassion, abundance, joy and laughter for others.  Again, get as specific as you can.  Put on some music, light a candle, pick some special paper and a coloured pen or crayon, make tea or eggnog and savour the experience, a Christmas ritual.  No limits, no constraints, no boundaries, the world is yours, just ask for it.  

Have fun.  You decide what to do with your letters to Santa.  
  • Mail them.  
  • Tack them to your fridge or vision board.  
  • Exchange them with close friends or family.  
  • Put them in your pillow case.  
  • Offer them up in a fire ceremony.  
  • Bury them in the backyard, or a snowbank if the ground is frozen.  
Or save them someplace special for review at the end of next year, when you write your next letter to Santa.

Happy wish writing!
atONE Holistic Living

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Calendula, naturally.

 Calendula officinalis, pot marigold, has a long history of healing uses.

The beautiful gentle blossoms are my go-to for children and adults.

Some of the conditions calendula soothes:

  •      eczema
  •      poor-healing scabs
  •      pain and swelling
  •      chapped lips
  •      diaper rash
  •      dry skin
  •      hemorrhoids
  •      burns and sunburns
  •      dermatitis

When I think issues of the skin, I usually reach for calendula.  When I think issues of the skin with children, she's my number one go-to.

Calendula-infused oil

I keep a bottle of calendula-infused oil on hand.

Fill a clean, dry jar 1/2 full with dried calendula blossoms.  Add oil of choice; sweet almond, coconut, olive or vegetable.  As your preparation is intended for sensitive skin and to assist healing, choose a quality oil, without chemicals.

Pour your oil over top and stir to release any trapped air bubbles.  Continue to fill with oil to the top of the jar and cap tightly to store for 3-4 weeks, turning and entertaining your oil regularly, infusing the oil not only with the blossoms but also with love as you chant, sing, hum or bless your herbal friend.

If I am making an oil specifically for someone I enjoy infusing the oil with blessings for that particular person.

 You can also infuse your oil quicker with a hot water bath, placing the jar of oil into a pan of hot water and macerating the buds with a wooden or plastic utensil or stone pestle.  If using a hot water bath, I recommend a wider mouth container than a jar.  I like using a large glass measuring cup as it allows me to macerate the buds while heating as well as makes for easy pouring afterwards.

Do not heat the oil over direct heat or too high of heat.  A double boiler set up also works well.

Once the oil changes to a nice golden yellow, strain the plant material through a cheesecloth or other tightly woven cloth or sieve.  Pour into clean jars and allow to cool completely before capping.  A paper towel placed loosely over the jars keep any airborne guests from landing in your infusion.  I occasionally keep the strained blossoms and toss them in my bath for a floral soak.

Use your oil directly on the skin to soothe any of the above conditions or add to a nice warm bath and soak, careful not to slip.  For kids with problem skin, a soak in the oil is both soothing and hydrating.

Calendula-infused balm

Now that you have your beautiful herbal oil, melt beeswax in a double boiler and add your infused oil to make a balm.  About 1/4 oz of beeswax to 4 oz of oil.  If you made a hot bath infusion, make your balms right away as your oil is warm and blends nicely with the beeswax.  

A few drops of vitamin E to your oil or balm assists with preservation of your herbal creation.  Storage in a cool, dry place is advised.  

Depending on your carrier oil and storage method, expect your blend to be good for about 9-12 months.  Mine never lasts that long as I always find a variety of uses to consume my supply.

A versatile balm, use on chapped lips, diaper rash, eczema or dry skin.

enJOY this beautiful, gentle, sunny blossom that simply makes me happy every time I work with her.

atONE Holistic Living

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