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Five Pillars Yoga

Posts Tagged ‘eco-conscious’

The Five Pillars of Water

 

Beyond the practice of sipping water throughout the day lies a realm of hydration that encompasses the entire body. Soak in water, nix the plastic single use bottles, and practice ancient yogic pranayama techniques that will leave you in tip top shape.


1. RIGHT NUTRITION: Sip Room Temperature Water And Warm Herbal Tea Throughout The Day


To stay hydrated, focus on assimilation rather than quantity. Drink water when you are thirsty and sip instead of chug. If you are drinking too much water at one time, you may find yourself dehydrated despite your efforts. Several trips to the restroom per hour suggest that you need to slow down. After all, our bodies can only assimilate about 2-3 cups of water per hour, or 200 ml (a little less than 1 cup) every 15 minutes.


Consuming too much water at one time causes the kidneys to overwork, placing unwanted stress on the body.


Help your body absorb water by adding chia seeds, fresh ginger, and/or a small pinch of sea salt to your water. Although too much salt in the diet is dehydrating, salt is actually essential to your body’s water absorption process. Learn more here: The Skinny on Salt


Once you are sipping instead of chugging, you can go deeper by considering our top Ayurvedic recommendations. Ayurvedic science recommends consuming only room temperature or warm beverages, which means that ice water can become an occasional indulgence rather than a regular practice. Ayurvedic practitioners also suggest consuming little or no water at mealtime. Drinking ice water and taking in too much liquid during mealtimes cools or dilutes our digestive fire (or Agni). Since so much of our health depends on healthy digestion, this is sage advice. That said, we know that leaving ice out of your beverage is not always possible… or desirable. To begin, consider applying the 70-30 rule. If 70% of the time, you are drinking room temperature water or warm tea, you are doing superb!


Last but not least, watch out for sugar and caffeine in your bevies!


If you are drinking coffee regularly, you may need to sip even more water throughout the day to make up for the dehydrating effects of caffeine. Sugar is another beast to contend with. The body converts sugar to stored fat and wreaks havoc on your insulin levels. If you find water difficult to drink, consider adding some fruit or sprigs of mint to your water to add flavor.


Here’s the summary: Drink room temperature water or tea throughout the day when you are thirsty. Pay attention to your current habits, especially around caffeine and sugar, and begin to replace old habits that no longer serve you in your life with new, healthier habits.


2. Right Movement: Flush Out The Toxins


Hydration is about balance in the body. If you are practicing yoga asanas and exercising regularly, you will help your body flush out toxins and prevent water retention.


Hydrating after yoga practice and exercise will help you to receive the full benefits of the practice. Yoga asana and exercise require adequate nutrition, including additional water post workout. Replenish your body with healthy foods and water post-movement and your body will thank you.


3. Right Relaxation: Sip and Soak Away Your Stress


As the days get longer and the weather warms up, we tend to spring into action, sometimes overextending ourselves. Taking time away from chaos and turning inwards to meditate and relax can help our bodies to absorb and assimilate the water and food we consume. Pay particular attention to relaxation during hot days and plan for sipping water or herbal tea all day long.


Consider booking some bodywork, soak in water, get some gentle exercise by taking a swim in cooling water, and head to bed early. The result? Increased energy and ojas, the Ayurvedic term for the vital essence that supports our immune systems, vitality, libido, and strength.


4. Right Breathing: Practice Sitali


Deep in the Himalayas, ancient sages observed and imitated the world around them in the noble attempt to master body, breath, and mind. They noticed the curve of a bird’s lower beak, a new green leaf uncurling, and the hiss of a cobra—and emulated those shapes and sounds in a practice called sitali (the cooling breath). In this pranayama, the inhalation is moistened as it passes through the curl of the tongue (alternately described as a bird’s beak and an uncurling leaf), so that you are “drinking” water-saturated air.


Sitali cools the body, adds moisture to the system, and soothes a pitta imbalance.


Besides building breath awareness, this practice is said to calm hunger and thirst and cultivate a love for solitude. Sitali also cools the body, adds moisture to the system, and, in the parlance of ayurveda, soothes a pitta imbalance, which is common in the summer months. In addition, this practice reduces fatigue, bad breath, fevers, and high blood pressure. Learn how to practice Sitali: Click Here

*Content taken from YogaInternational.com


5. Right Intention: Drink Filtered Tap Water


Did you know that the Pacific Garbage Patch and the Eastern Garbage Patch have doubled in size in the past decade? We have plastic islands out in the ocean twice the size of Texas that are made up of tiny pieces of plastic that look just like fish food (opposed to a solid mass of plastic). Animals mistake the plastic for food. Plus this toxic soup disturbs marine food webs and ecosystems. Here’s one simple thing you can do to make a difference: Nix the single-use plastic water bottles and replace these with an eco-friendly reusable water bottle. Fill the bottle with tap water and sip throughout the day to stay hydrated.


Our Fav Water Bottles:

 

Save Face

Our skin, our largest organ, absorbs what we put on it: The ingredients in our body lotions, shampoos, lipsticks and sunscreens eventually make their way into our bloodstreams. The products we use impact us in much the same ways as the foods we eat—turns out you are what you apply, too.

So, what’s in all those creams and concealers? For the most part, not stuff you’d want to put in your smoothie. The list of what to avoid and why is long; for an in-depth breakdown of common ingredients and what they do, visit the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics‘ comprehensive Chemicals of Concern list to learn about what’s in your lip gloss.

While the US food industry is attempting to keep up with consumer demand for transparency in labeling and regulations, the beauty industry is lagging behind. Label claims like “organic” and “natural” and even “FDA-approved” mean little to nothing at all, and, for now, it’s up to consumers to be their own fact and label-checkers.

Our advice: Keep it simple. Products with lengthy ingredient lists are likely to have more ingredients to avoid; a pared-down beauty routine—one with fewer products to vet and claims to investigate—is an easy way to feed your skin good food. If an ingredient is unpronounceable, look it up and learn more or move on.

Beauty Brands We Love

There are, thankfully, companies doing it right. We look for brands that champion holistic practices and pure products. Here are a few favorites: 

 

Earth Tu Face

Plant-based skincare from two herbalists in California. Their products are made from organic, high quality and food-grade ingredients.

Product we love: Virgin Coconut Oil + Cardamom Body Butter. 

 

Vitner’s Daughter

Winery owner April Gargiulo created her cult-favorite skin serum in an attempt to simplify her complicated skincare regime. It took two years of tinkering, but the result is a game-changing, nutrient rich face oil that uses anti-inflammatory, antioxidant-rich plant ingredients to maintain and restore skin’s natural radiance.

 

Tata Harper

Made in small batches in the company’s laboratory in Vermont, Tata Harper products are packed with from-the-earth, active ingredients like red algae (for elasticity) and borage (moisture retention). Many of their ingredients are grown on their own bucolic farm.

Product we love: Be Adored

 

Living Libations

For love-infused products from two high-vibrational souls, look no further than Living Libations. Essential oils, a holistic oral healthcare line and self-proclaimed “renegade” beauty products are all meticulously sourced; the founders, husband and wife Ron and Nadine Artemis, believe that radiance is a birthright, and they manage to capture that philosophy in every offering.

Product we love: Seabuckthorn Shampoo and Shine On Conditioner

 

In New York we love visiting CAP Beauty in the West Village (they also have an excellent website), and Living Libations‘ newly-opened store in Venice Beach, Los Angeles. For treatments, questions, and holistic beauty coaching, pro-makeup artist and Ayurveda expert Jessa Blades is a bi-coastal treasure.

Top image: Splash Happy; all brand images from their own websites; the Living Libations image is Courtesy of CAP Beauty.

Your Green Yoga Lifestyle

Today’s topic: food waste.

 

Our culture of consumption has resulted in a major garbage problem. And, there is an easy solution that begins with you! And me. So let’s take our yoga off the mat by reducing food waste this week. Like other resources, we can reduce (take only what we need), reuse (leftovers? food drives?), and recycle (compost).

 

Food Waste Facts:

 

  1. 40% of food in the United States is wasted
  2. 97% of food waste still makes its way into the landfill!
  3. This waste breaks down anaerobically (without oxygen) and releases methane, which is a major greenhouse gas 21x more potent than carbon dioxide.

 

Ending food waste would be a major step toward easing climate change.

 

So what can you do?

 

  1. Reduce the amount of food waste generated in your household.
  2. Plan ahead and donate canned goods to a local food drive before they expire.
  3. COMPOST!

 

For more information on global food waste and what you can do about it, check this out: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/26/us/food-waste-is-becoming-serious-economic-and-environmental-issue-report-says.html?_r=0

 

Thich Nhat Hanh said: With negative energy you can make the positive energy. A flower will become compost someday, but if you know how to transform the compost back into the flower, then you don’t have to worry. You don’t have to worry about your anger because you know how to handle it – to embrace, to recognize, and to transform it. So this is what is possible. 

So knowing how to handle and transform our waste can reduce our anxiety about bigger environmental issues. And as active participants,we make a big difference. Our efforts matter. We are all responsible. Sure, there are definitely some companies who contribute more waste than others, but every little bit counts! That means, the waste we generate in our homes, at work, and eating out adds up.

Actions that support a healthier planet also support your personal well-being. And your personal well-being and regular yoga practice supports a healthier planet. Win-win. But don’t take my word. The proof is in the compost.

 

Wellness

 

 

 

Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Cilantro-Avocado-Lime Dressing

Have you heard that “eating from the rainbow” supports optimal health? Well, this recipe is as colorful as it gets! With Fall equinox just around the corner, we can already see the leaves beginning to turn as the incredible deciduous trees begin to put on their annual artful display. And seasonal foods also begin to transition into an explosion of Fall colors— the oranges of Winter squash (harvested throughout the Fall and stored in the winter), the reds of bell peppers, and the yellows of fresh corn on the cob.

 

Bright and delicious… and packed with incredible nutrition… this salad will not disappoint! The orange color in the butternut squash is indicative of vitamin A, which is essential for the health of your eyes and skin. This nutrient-dense superfood contains more potassium than a banana, supporting cell and tissue regeneration in the body. The bell pepper is full of vitamin-c and antioxidants, boosting your overall immunity. And fresh corn offers phytochemicals that support healthy vision, as well as fiber to cleanse the system.

 

The avocado and olive oil provide a lovely dose of healthy fats to help your body absorb all of these amazing vitamins and support your skin’s radiant glow. And don’t let the word “fat” mislead you! Avocado has been known to support weight-loss.

 

That’s not all! The lime and cilantro also boost your immune system. The lime alkalizes the body, while the cilantro balances blood-sugar levels and contains strong cancer-fighting antioxidants. Complete the rainbow by topping the salad with some blue borage flowers and purple nasturtiums.

 

Roasted butternut squash salad with cilantro-avocado-lime dressing is a perfect seasonal dish to prepare on Sunday to supplement lunches and dinners… or add quinoa or beans and turn this salad into a meal!

 

Bon appetit!

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium butternut squash
  • 1 large bell pepper
  • 2 ears of fresh corn
  • 1 bunch cilantro 
  • 3-4 limes
  • 1 avocado
  • olive oil
  • water to thin dressing
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • optional: beans, quinoa, edible flowers

 

Directions:

 

Step One: For the Butternut:

 

  1. Peel the butternut squash whole. Then slice it in half  and scoop the seeds out. Chop the squash into even, bite-sized cubes.
  2. Toss cubed squash with olive oil and salt in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Spread out evenly on a baking sheet and roast squash in the oven at 375* for 10 minutes.
  4. Turn the squash to the other side with a spatula and roast for another 10-20 minutes, until cooked through— soft on the inside and slightly crispy on the outside.
  5. Set aside to cool.

 

Step Two: For the Red Pepper, Corn, and Cilantro:

 

  1. Shuck the corn, remove all of the tassels, and slice the kernels off of the cob.
  2. Core the pepper and slice into small, bite-sized pieces.
  3. Coarsely chop ½ cup cilantro leaves.
  4. Place the red pepper, corn, butternut squash (room temp), and cilantro into a large salad bowl and toss with salt and pepper (to taste).

 

Step Three: For the Dressing:

  1. Squeeze the juice of 3-4 limes into a food processor or blender. Add 1 cup cilantro (with stems). Add the meat of 1 avocado and ¼ cup olive oil. Toss in a pinch salt and pepper to taste. Blend. Add water to thin the dressing to a desirable consistency.

 

Step 4: Portion out salad and drizzle dressing over each bowl. Top with a sprig of cilantro or parsley and edible flowers (nasturtium, borage, calendula).

 

Variation: Add quinoa or beans and turn this salad into a meal!

 

10 Tips to Support Your Green Lifestyle 

Eco-conscious living has become in vogue in the 21st century. If you ask us, this movement is far more influential than the latest trend… jumping on board comes with incredible benefits that improve the health of your body and greater society. Green products are better for your body and the planet. Green business solutions save money and protect our natural resources. Reduce, reuse, and recycle has become increasingly important as we face major environmental issues.

 

Today’s topic: Sustainability

 

What is “sustainability” anyhow?: The concept of “sustainability” is based off of the principle that we take only what we truly need, protect our natural resources and also consider the needs of future generations (our children).

 

When we choose to go green and live with “sustainability” in mind, we are making the conscious decision to participate in conserving and protecting natural resources. Every bite of delicious food we take, each product we purchase, the fresh air we breathe, and the water we drink stems from nature and will ultimately return to the earth.

 

 

 

Here are 10 tips to support your green lifestyle:

 

  1. Ask yourself what you really need to live comfortably and joyfully. Include your family and/or friends in a discussion. Simplify your lifestyle and reuse, re-purpose, or recycle items you no longer need.

  2. Purchase with sustainability in mind: items with less packaging, items that do not harm the earth (biodegradable), chemical-free personal care.

  3. Green your laundry by washing on the cold setting and hang-drying your clothes.

  4. Carry a cloth bag with you to the grocery store and consider cleaning/reusing plastic bags or replacing plastic bags with reusable bags or tupperware.

  5. Consider buying more organic produce and learn about the clean fifteen (produce with least pesticide use) and dirty dozen (produce with harmful pesticides) to protect your body and the earth.

  6. Eat less meat.

  7. If your morning cuppa joe is a daily event, consider carrying a reusable mug with you.

  8. Consider walking, riding your bike, or taking public transportation instead of driving.

  9. Host a clothing swap with friends to keep an inspired wardrobe without buying anything new!

  10. When you need a break from the daily grind, try a staycation or check out a Stewardship Travel Program for a sustainable vacation.

 

 

create helpful habits reminder or advice on a  slate blackboard against rustic weathered wood planks