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Archive for the ‘Yoga’ Category

Just in the nick of time to celebrate National Yoga Awareness Month . . .

Enjoy this simple yoga pose to tone your belly, energize your mind, open your lungs, cleanse your body, lengthen your spine . . . And so much MORE!

xox Ana

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In yoga there is a law that states: “where attention goes energy flows“.

So, whatever you are present to is what is fed, what flowers, what grows.

This can be applied to just about any area of your life.

But what I want to focus on here is how presence relates to your metabolism, energy, digestion and your health.

First, let’s just look at what presence is and how it works.

It has been scientifically proven that we can affect anything simply by observing it and paying attention to it. You can affect another’s behavior by observing them.

We might call this self-consciousness, but this phenomenon has also been shown in animals, planets and more.

You may have even noticed for yourself that when you are in nature, observing the beauty around you, that you experience an almost immediate sense of relaxation and well being.

Well, this emotional responsiveness to what we put our attention on also relates to our body and to our metabolism.

When you eat with awareness and really fully choose presence with your meals, research has shown that you actually assimilate more nutrients, digest better and boost your metabolism.

Digestion, in fact, begins in the head! Wow!

Now, you may be saying “big deal, I don’t have time for this”, or “I don’t really care”.

Well, I encourage you to listen up because if you wish to maximize the nutrition from the food you eat, increase your energy, burn more calories without getting on the treadmill, get more enjoyment from your food and prevent overeating, this is THE tip you can start right away for profound results.

Without presence in the act of eating, you will experience less enzymatic action in the gut and be more likely to experience digestive problems (even if you don’t “feel” them), bowel disorders, lowered immunity, and fatigue. Not to mention you will most likely hold onto weight, have more difficulty losing excess weight AND overeat.

YIKES!

In order to take full advantage of the metabolic power of presence, you must give your full attention to eating. This means no TV, no reading, no computer, no eating while you work or while you drive. Be fully present.

Now, the slight exception to this would be eating in the presence of others. This is fine and even beneficial. Sharing a relaxed meal with family or friends is still supporting the attention being on your food and the act of eating.

Your Action Step:

For the next week be totally 100% present to your meals (and snacks). Remove all distractions and commit to this with your whole self.

Create a relaxing atmosphere alone or with others. If you are at work, step away from your desk.

Notice your food, smell it, look at it, really taste it, chew it, breath it.

Really make this a meditation.

Extra credit: Now if at some point during the week you choose to indulge in or binge on a “forbidden” food, be totally present.

DO NOT leave the building. Pay attention to what happens when you actually scoop the ice cream out of the container into a beautiful bowl, create a calm and comfortable environment and sit down, while enjoying it slowly.

If you are eating low quality ice cream, you will most likely put it down pretty quickly. : )

Even if you are eating the good stuff, you will most likely be satisfied with less.

This is not easy, I know, so be gentle with yourself.

I encourage you to try this, and please leave a comment below to let me know how it goes!

with love,

Ana

p.s. Are you ready to get serious about boosting  your body’s natural healing powers, boosting your metabolism, increasing energy, raising  your vibration and living a fulfilling, joy-filled life all from the comfort of your own home?

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Questions? Please email me at devana108@gmail.com

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The single most important thing you can do everyday to effortlessly release weight (and keep it off), boost mood, balance hormones and support proper detoxification is to engage in daily “renewal rituals”.

Renewal rituals are activities that allow the body to release the negative energy and emotions from stress that actually build up in your body’s tissues. These are the emotions that leave you feeling depressed, anxious, craving sweets or junk, and holding onto fat.

 

If you don’t “process” these negative energies and stress build-ups, then your body will intuitively find another way. Nine times out of ten this involves seeking comfort from food (especially sugar and carbs), alcohol, cigarettes or other “drugs”.

Your body and brain are craving what I call a “rebooting”, and if you don’t provide the “renewal ritual” to clear the slate, you will find yourself emptying the cookie jar, ice cream container, bon bon box or whatever your comfort of choice might be.

The sugar will give a temporary lift, but then you will be back to square one, wanting more and more, and feeling horrible about yourself for your lack of “willpower”.

 

Over the course of the day our bodies, minds and spirits are like  sponges that soak up the messages, energies, emotions and psychic toxicity of all those around us. You may feel you do really well with your eating and self care until the end of the day when all self-control seems to go out the window. It’s not hunger or lack of willpower that knock you off the wagon. It’s stress!

 

A renewal ritual is something that connects you to your breath, body and soul. In holistic medicine, it is  known that when you connect to the soul or spirit, you release positive endorphins and reduce stress hormones. And excess stress hormones are what make your body hold onto fat and age more quickly.

I suggest you partake in a “renewal ritual” at least 1 time per day (ideally 2 times per day – morning and before dinner) since the endorphin boost lasts for only about 8 hours.

 

Your assignment:

 

Make sure to schedule some ME time for yourself daily.  Put it in your calendar, make it a priority. No one will do this for you, and yet you will be a better mother, employee, business owner, lover, friend, sister, basket weaver, whatever, if you commit to this ritual.

Try some meditation, Yoga, walking, deep breathing, prayer, dancing, bath time, tai chi, or whatever your spirit is calling for. Even just 5 minutes will do the trick, but 15 or 20 is even better.

 

Leave me a note below to let me know how it goes!

 

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Jump in now and get everything you need to take years of your body and renew your soul, for less than the price of most spa treatments.

 

With much love and inspired health!

 

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plant-1savegre_costa_rica

Pura Vida

According to Wikipedia:

Pura Vida (POO-rah VEE-dah), used by Costa Ricans since 1956 [1], literally translated means “Pure Life.” Contextually, it means “Full of Life” “Purified life”, “This is living!”, “Going great!” It is used as a greeting, a farewell, and to express satisfaction. The expression was taken from the mexican movie “Pura Vida!”, which came out on February 29th 1956 (director: Gilberto Martínez Solares).

Some foreigners view the phrase as an expression of a leisurely lifestyle, of disregard for time and wanton friendliness. However, Costa Ricans use the phrase to express a philosophy of strong community, perseverance, good spirits, enjoying life slowly, celebrating good fortune, whether small or large.”

My purely Costa Rican experience began with the 2 plus hour taxi to the first destination, Playa Guiones in Nosara. The taxi driver, who spoke decent English, was eager to teach us some Spanish. Our first phrase was “pura vida“.

“When someone asks you how your trip was, say “pura vida””, he smiled. “When they ask you how your day is, say “pura vida”. When you wake up in to the sunrise, “pura vida”. When you watch the sunset over the ocean, “pura vida”.” Well, you get the picture. Pura vida is the way of life, and this way of life rubs off very easily.

We then continued to go over favorite foods – pina, aguacate – and  few lovely poetic phrases, but “pura vida” was what really struck a cord. Ahhh, enjoyment of and savoring of a natural way of being.

So many Costa Ricans (native and transplants) just oozed with genuine love of living and all living things. Environmental concern, fresh organic foods, connecting with nature and community are just part of life there.

The literal translation of pura vida – pure life – is what I look to create. This is not in the monastic sense, but in the sense of living with clarity, sincerity, joy, health and abundance of spirit, all of which leads to manifesting the right people, paths and experiences.

My trip seemed to be blessed with such people, places and experiences from the exhileration of surfing and ziplining to the simple majesty of the sun setting over the ocean. One seemed more inclined to live by the sun. Most of my companions and I were ready to quite by 9pm and ready to rise as the sun did, at 5:30am. And, of course if the sun did not wake you, then the howler monkeys surely would! Their eerie low roar became comforting and something I looked forward to.

On one afternoon I ended up scheduling a massage with a woman who did something called “harmonic healing”. This was a combination of several massage techniques coupled with sound. She began by whispering the words “inner grace” several times, then proceeded to make mesmerizing tonal sounds through out the rest of the session. Such a powerful experience to have the someone really draw you in towards this inner grace.

What I found myself enveloped in was a sense of peace, a joy of life and calm and serenity that I vowed would follow me back to my home in California. I write this to allow each one of you to follow your hearts and pursue your personal pura vida. Better yet, allow it to find you.

Allow kindness to be your default.

Meditate on the beauty that surounds.

Swim in the ocean.

Swing from the trees.

Listen to the animals.

Chant from the mountain tops.

Do something that scares you.

Wake up early to watch the sun’s rays bless us with another day of life on this planet.

Physically or energetically hug your fellow humans.

Talk to the plants.

Tread lightly and give abundantly.

Share your gifts.

Namaste,

Ana

p.s. To savor some deliciously pure creations a la Costa Rica, please see my newest blog Blended Bliss.

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spa

Budget-minded Healthy Living

“Health is wealth”, says the old Chinese proverb, and I have to agree. When we have our health we can live vibrantly, joyfully and creatively to best draw in the abundance that we need and desire. As the current economy may be posing challenges for many, it is really an opportunity to re-evaluate unsustainable personal and global systems.
In this article, I wish to address the issue of staying healthy without breaking the bank. As you will read below, there are many ways to eat well, live, play and work within a budget. It may take a little initial effort, but the rewards will be well worth it!
One note: I packed quite a bit of information into this article, it may be something to save and reference as needed. Remember to always take one step at a time.

Explore new ways of getting your needs met.

Can you darn your socks instead of buying new ones? Can you shop for whole food ingredients instead of packaged meals? Can you prepare your own foods instead of getting take out?
This aspect really encompasses all the other subjects below. Essentially, the first step is to be open to creating new habits, new activities, and new ways of thinking that will begin to support you in better ways than the old.

Freedom, not Fear

This is another fundamental guiding principal. Keep reminding yourself that you have the freedom to make choices, one of the most critical being to choose joy/love/optimism over fear.
This takes practice and discipline especially when the media and others are drowning in doom and gloom, but there is always opportunity and light to be had. Make conscious decisions about what you listen to, whom you spend time with, etc. As I said in the first principal above, these require some rewiring and perhaps discomfort, but ultimately will lead to freedom.

Simplify your lifestyle

Do you need to have the biggest, newest TV with 200 channels (180 of which you do not watch)?
Is it serving you to try to keep up with Jones’?
Can your family survive with 1 car instead of 2, or 2 cars instead of 3?
Can you include some well-rounded vegetarian meals to cut down on the grocery bill?
Can you make your own snacks instead buying pre-packaged ones?
Can you get a home filter instead of buying bottled? (The environment will love you for this as well)
Can you take a family hike instead of paying a premium at the movie theater?
(See free entertainment below)

Enjoy Free (or almost free) Entertainment

Hiking, beach walks, dinner parties, picnics, pot lucks, games around the fire, bike rides, bird watching, borrowed books and movies from the library, connecting with distant loved ones with Skype, mealtimes with friends and family, etc. These are all free or low cost ways to not just be entertained, but be interactive and just plain active.
Studies show children are overweight and getting heart disease and type 2 diabetes by age nine. Both children and adults are losing a connection with the earth and the abundant fun to be had in our natural world. Simple face-to-face communication is weakening for many.
Why not schedule time outdoors with family and friends. Be entertained by each other, stay fit, stay healthy and save your money.
When you do just want to curl up with some good ol’ passive entertainment, most public libraries have growing collections of VHS, DVDs, video games, books, magazines, etc. Many counties will even send specific requests from other branches to your’s.

Shop the local farmer’s market or join a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture)

Farmer’s markets and CSA’s have grown rapidly in the last decade. Here on the Monterey Peninsula we are blessed with four year-round markets per week. Although I keep myself plenty busy, I schedule in my weekly visits to the markets as a way to nourish and support my health and well-being. It is a chance to enjoy some community, take in the sights and smells and get some of the best prices on the freshest organic produce around.
If time just does not allow, consider joining a CSA. This is essentially purchasing a share of a farm. In return you receive a weekly box of fresh goodies. There are usually some options around delivery vs. pick-up and different box sizes to suit household needs. Just visit http://www.localharvest.org/, enter your zip code and instantly find out what is in your local area.

Educate yourself on drug and antibiotic alternatives

Herbs, plant medicines, essential oils and good quality supplements and super foods are usually less expensive and definitely less destructive when taken mindfully and appropriately. It is important to seek the guidance of an educated professional and discuss options with your traditional or alternative health care provider.

Below is a sampling of resources to get your feet wet.

Books – Click the titles below for more information:

The Green Pharmacy: New Discoveries in Herbal Remedies for Common Diseases and Conditions from the World’s Foremost Authority on Healing Herbs

Asian Health Secrets: The Complete Guide to Asian Herbal Medicine

Herbs and information:

Mountain Rose Herbs (mail order bulk herbs and more) has plenty of educational books and resources
Click here

The Best Day Ever
This is a membership site run by David Wolfe, a leader in the world of raw foods and herbal healing, that includes a massive media library, a vibrant and helpful community and a panel of health and longevity experts.
Click here

Young Living Essential Oils – the most healing oils on the planet!

These are the only essential oils I recommend therapeutically. Try Abundance, Longevity or Valor just for starters.

http://vibrant-health.younglivingworld.com

Young Living essential oils testimonials:
http://www.oil-testimonials.com/

Practice prevention to avoid disease – Evaluate diet, exercise, lifestyle, thoughts, environment, etc.

Rather than sticking with unhealthy habits simply because it feels easy, begin taking small steps every day to support and maintain ideal health and happiness. By making small investments now, you can save yourself from the resource depletion that serious disease or hospitalization can bring. The reality is that most disease can be avoided. It is only the catastrophic accidents that are truly beyond our control (or are they?).

Grow your own food and herbs

With a little dirt, preparation and care growing your own edibles can be a fulfilling and economical way to go. There is a bit of a learning curve, but the cost of seeds is cheap, cheap, cheap!
Do a little research into local growing conditions, seasonal crops and what is easy to plant and you can be on your way. It can help to do a communal garden to get some help.

Bring your own bags

Many natural grocery stores now honor those who bring their own re-usable bags. I have taken this to a new level and have recycled any plastic bags that make it my way for as long as I can. Once they are “dead” I will use only my cloth, mesh, silk, etc.
Whole Foods will give you a 5-cent refund (hey, every little bit counts) and Trader Joe’s will give you a ticket to enter their weekly raffle to win a bag of groceries.
In some European cities, you will be charged if you do not bring your own bags.

Buy in bulk

It is almost always cheaper to buy in bulk than in smaller amounts, especially when it comes to grains, nuts, seeds, beans, herbs, and even mail order organic meats.
At your natural foods store opt for the bulk section over prepackaged foods, although I do recommend price comparing as this is not always true. Also, check out case discounts on other items like beverages, oils, canned goods, etc. If a case is too much for your household, consider going in on a case with one or more other households.

I also find some good bulk options online and have listed some favorites below:
(Click each item for more information):

Nutiva Organic Shelled Hempseed, 5-Pound Bag

Larabar Fruit & Nut Food Bar, 1.8-Ounce Bars (Pack of 16)

Ancient Harvest Organic Quinoa, Traditional, 12-Ounce Bags (Pack of 12)

Quality over quantity

Opt for nutrient-dense foods, a fewer number of high-quality supplements instead of a high amount of cheap (ineffective) ones, and evaluate the “things” you really need.
Nutrient-dense foods are foods that give you a lot nutrition in a smaller volume and caloric load. Examples include raw nuts and seeds, fresh vegetables, grains, organic meats and eggs. When you fill yourself with these foods, you need less because they give your body what it needs. Consequently, you will crave less if you are eating appropriately for your needs.
I am a believer in searching out a select few quality supplements that are readily absorbed and supply real nutrition. Again, you will need less and get more. One of my newest discoveries is Moxxor, a concentrated omega 3 that is almost 300 times more potent than fish oil and processed in a sustainable manner. Please see http://www.naturalnews.com/moxxor_health_benefits.asp?ID=ana
For more info on recommended products see my recommended products page:
https://devanawellness.wordpress.com/recommended-wellness-products/

Try buying clothes and other goods from a good second-hand source if appropriate or even do swap with friends. Second hand stores can have some gems, so they can be worth visiting to do a sweep every now and again. Also, you may be sick of your sweater collection, but perhaps your friend has commented on liking what you have. If you are of similar size and taste, a swap could freshen both your wardrobes.

Cook at home

The less you eat and out and the more you prepare at home, the more you save. It is that simple. Always prepare enough for leftovers, so that you can . . .

Pack a lunch

This is just an extension of the above. You will not only save money, but generally those who pack a lunch from home make healthier choices when lunchtime rolls around.

Try a “stay-cation”, home spa day or mini-retreat

If you really set this up right, it can be quite restorative. A “stay-cation” is basically a vacation that you take at home. You carve the time out of your schedule just like any other vacation, but you do not worry about travel and arrangements. You can just plan on lounging and enjoying your home and book collection or take in the sights from an out-of-towner’s perspective. By choosing a stay-cation, you may even use the money you save to book a daily massage or other indulgence.
A home spa is like a mini stay-cation and can be done in a few ways. You may choose to purchase some products and do-it-yourself (facial, bath, body scrub, etc.), invite a friend to pamper each other, or hire a therapist to come to your home for a massage.
Another option is a one-day retreat. You can prepare your food in advance and devote the whole day to yoga, meditation, journaling, walking and relaxing. This is a very restorative, expanding and economical option.

Become a distributor or affiliate

Support your own health, share health with others and potentially earn additional income (or at least pay for your products). There are many health product companies who offer affiliate or direct sales opportunities. The one caveat is that not all the products are of a high quality. In my research, I have come across a few who have shown themselves to be of the utmost quality in products, manufacturing, business practices and environmental guidelines. Some of these I have chosen to become affiliated with and some I simply recommend. The wonderful thing about such a set-up is that you can have access to some of the top health products and if you share with others there is the opportunity to create a little or a lot of extra income. It is helping yourself through helping others.
Amazon Herb Company – http://amazon-herb.amazonherb.net/Default.aspx
Young Living – http://vibrant-health.younglivingworld.com
Moxxor – http://mymoxxor.com/ana

E3 Live – Click Here

Elements For Life – http://www.noblelifeelements.com/

Practice yoga/meditation/prayer

Whenever we are faced with change or uncertainty, there is nothing like connecting to spirit, our bodies and our breath. I admit that I am biased, but these are invaluable tools.

Invest in renewable resources and green businesses

I am not a financial advisor, but it would seem that to invest in the future could only give a handsome return in the end. There is a very real shift happening towards greener technologies and business practices that extends beyond just the counter culture. A worthwhile exploration at the very least.

Be generous

You cannot receive what you do not give. It is important to remember this even if you feel strapped. Remember that there are others who literally have nothing or very little. Give of your time, resources, energy, spirit, etc. There is always a return on such generosity.

Be Grateful

To be grateful for what we do have opens us up to receive more of what is working. By focusing only on lack, tends to bring more of the same. It is so simple and worth a shot

And most importantly . . .

Be Well,

Ana

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Every year at this time we as Americans generally seem to go into the usual consumerist overdrive. With economic changes taking front and center, there seems to be an opportunity to practice gratitude for all that we do have and potentially rethink the giving process.
A couple of years back I made the decision to rethink my own giving practices, and have found that tremendous freedom and joy can indeed be found amidst the holiday hustle and bustle.
When I really reconsidered what my values were and those of many of my friends and family, I realized that we could still be generous, but not wasteful. We could help others in need and yet still share the thought that counts. We could educate and experience rather than consume for the sake of consuming. We could support each other’s wellbeing and health, so that good times may be enjoyed for a long time to come.
This is the power of choice. And how we choose to spend our time, our money and our energy is profoundly important.

Will we choose to give to Wal-Mart or to those in need?

Will we buy more plastic or support environmental health?

Will we seek meaningful experiences or just more “stuff”?

I realize I am placing my own value judgments out in plain view, but rather than preach, allow me to simply make an offering. In this offering you may find some tremendous value, just a little bit of value or no value at all. But perhaps someone else you know would get value from these ideas. If so, please share. This is part of what I call gift recycling, which I discuss further below.

Giving the Gift of Unforgettable Experiences (and time together)

I heard about this idea on the radio and just had to share it! If you visit the website http://discovery.excitations.com/, you can do a search for your location, type of activity and price range. Discovery Experiences is a collaboration between the Discovery Channel and Excitations, and they offer “unforgettable gifts for exploration and fun”. They offer gifts as diverse as Intro to Indoor Karting and Safari Family Sleepover. You can Learn to Sail or purchase a Guided Mountain Hike. The wonderful part is that you are supporting local businesses and having fun! There is something for everyone. This is definitely worth exploring.

Gift Recycling

Okay, I know I am not the first person who has thought of this, but I think it is an idea that should come out of the closet. This is not about giving your ratty socks to your coworker, but instead passing on those items that may not quite fit your style, but are of value to someone else. Objects, just like people, get their energy from being appreciated and utilized. This can be a lovely way to lighten up your space and brighten that of another. We have all received nice gifts that we cannot use or may not be the right fit. Passing them on to someone who would really cherish them can be very rewarding to everyone involved.

Donation Gifts

This is something I began doing last year for my family on the east coast. It is a wonderful way to show your love and appreciation AND help those who do not even have enough food to eat or water to drink. Again, this may not be for everyone, but it is an opportunity to possibly educate and enlighten others about what giving can look like.
I personally like World Vision because they are a reputable company who uses a good percentage of the donations towards the actual cause. They also offer many choices and make it very easy to do your “shopping”. To see their gift catalogue and learn more click the link below:
World Vision Gift Catalogue
There are certainly many more potential organizations to do this with and you may even want to search out a local, environmental or church organization. The most important thing is that it works for you and those you love.

The Gift of Health

Of course, this is the type of gift giving I feel especially passionate about. When we can support ourselves and our loved ones in staying around for a while and enjoying an active and vibrant life, we are at the essence of life. Especially during economically challenging times, we can evaluate what is really and truly important. This can be as simple as offering to shop for healthy foods for a relative who may not be as mobile anymore, or offering to be a weekly hike partner to a friend in need of support in getting moving. These are all FREE!
If spending a little cash is in the budget, then perhaps a book, DVD, series of yoga classes or professional health support can be purchased
Please visit the Devana Health Store http://astore.amazon.com/devana-20/
for some specific recommendations on books, kitchen utensils, food products and more.
Infamous raw food and herbal enthusiast, David Wolfe, has a wonderful online health service for those looking for some information and support for themselves and others. Please visit cick here to learn more.
And remember gift certificates for all Devana Wellness services are always available: Holistic Health and Nutritional Counseling (in persona and long distance), Private and group yoga, Private and group cooking classes, Healthy Food Preparation, Detoxification Guidance.

Holiday and New Year Blessings to all of you!

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