Breath of Joy

Breath of Joy – Prana Sukha (energy of happiness)

If you find yourself feeling down, struggling with low energy use this breathing exercise to pick yourself up and reconnect with yourself. You may also find yourself low on motivation to go to the gym, team sport, or when rolling out your yoga mat. Breath of joy uses three part rapid breathing and fast movements to find stillness and reconnect with feelings of the body. Breath of joy awakened your whole system by increasing oxygen levels trip was circulatory system and temporarily stimulating then parasympathetic nervous system leaving you calm and focused. This breathing technique can also be used to circulate more prana(energy) and gently stokes agni (digestive fire). The forceful exhalation can slightly detoxify the body and release stagnant tension. As it creates a state of homeostatic balance, breath of joy has been found effective in managing mood, releasing anxiety and inviting a feeling of being refreshed and relaxed. 

 

Benefits

-Use of the arms with inhalation encourages deep and full breathing while infusing the body with oxygen

     – First inhalation (arms forward) encourages diaphragmatic breathing

     – Second inhalation (arms to the side) encourages thoracic breathing

     – Third inhalation (arms up) encourages clavicular breathing

-The deep and complete exhalation at the end helps to detoxify the body via the respiratory system

-Strengthen arms and shoulders

-Energizes the whole body

-Will make you smile

Try a practice with the Breath of Joy to Energize, Uplift and Cleanse

To practice breath of joy start standing in Tadasana (mountain pose) with feet parallel and hip width apart; knees slightly bent.

Start by taking three short, rapid inhales and exhales making audible sounds as oxygen fills your lungs

 

Rapidly inhaling 1/3 of your lung capacity, swing your arms in front you parallel to one another about shoulder width apart with your palms facing up

 

Follow with your second rapid inhale bringing your arms out to the side; shoulder height; Palms facing Down

 

The third rapid inhale brings you to your full lung capacity while inhaling float your arms above your head with your palms facing each other

 

Then open your mouth and exhale completely swinging your arms forward and down past your knees making an audible sound ha or a large sigh as you exhale.

Repeat approximately 10 times, once you start the breathing exercise each breath should flow  easily to the next without strain. Simply close your eyes and be taken up by this peaceful and stimulating rhythm.

 

On the last round, rest in forward fold knees slightly bent; Palms relaxing towards the earth. Inhaling into the lower back as you exhale feel your body relax. When ready to contract your that I’d abdominal muscles take a deep breath and slowly stack each vertebra on top of each other coming to a straight spine. Returning to mountain pose allowing yourself to observe the new energy flowing in your body. Notice your heartbeat, notice any new sensations in your arms or in your legs. Breathing through your nose feel the breath flowing to all the corners of your body bringing nursing oxygen to every cell.

 

Precautions:

This practice may not be appropriate for all. If you have a history of High blood pressure migraines glaucoma lower back problems try out a different breath exercise like Nadi Shodhana (alternative nostril breathing) 



Nadi Shodhana

Nadi Shodhana: How to Practice Alternative Nostril Breathing

      Pranayama is the science of yogic breathing, it is the control and extension of breath which awakens prana. Prana refers to the energy that comes from all life making the word mean “the breath expansion of life force”. Yamas means “reining in or control, self restraints”. Using breath as a tool helps you reconnect to your body reducing chatter of the mind allowing clarity and relaxation. 

Pranayama requires to master these four aspects of the breath:

 + Exhalation

 + Breath retention after exhalation

 + Inhalation

 + Breath Retention after inhalation 

      Nadi Shodhana, also known as alternate nostril breathing technique, is a powerful pranayama (breathing) practice with many benefits including easing a busy mind or having trouble falling asleep. Nadi a Sanskrit word meaning “channel”  or “flow”  and the word Shodhana means “purification”. Breathing through each side of nasal cavity to help centre and balance circulation flow.  

Benefits of Alternative Nostril Breathing: 

      There are many forms of Nadi Shodhana but this form is my favourite. Most deep breathing exercises are best done on an empty stomach but can also be done when it is needed.  Start with a few deep inhales followed by a calm and slow exhale. A minimum of 5 breaths like this is used to awaken your inner energy. Once this breathing pattern feels relaxed and natural then start the Nadi Shodhana (alternate nostril breathing). With one minute of intentional breathing release stress and tension. With five minutes switch your body into rest and digest mode. On a physical level, focused breathing stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, creating a sense of calm decreasing heart rate, blood pressure, and muscle tension.

In addition to stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system with regular practice of Nadi Shodhana also:

 

 Reduces stress and anxiety

 Helps balance hormones

 Balances masculine and feminine energies 

 Helps alleviate respiratory allergies

 Fosters mental clarity and an alert mind

 Enhances the ability to concentrate and focus

 Removes toxins

 Supports lungs and respiratory functions

      Next time you find yourself doing too many things all at once, or you sense panic or anxiety begin to rise, move through a few rounds of alternative nostril breathing. It’s a great way to hit the reset button for your mental state. 

Nadi Shodhana Practice: 

  1. Find a comfortable seated position
  2. Place your left on your left knee with your palm open to the sky (or in a preferred mudras)
  3. Right Hand: folding your index and middle fingers down towards the centre of your palm at the base of your thumb. Aligning the pinky finger and the ring finger together. Your thumb is used to close off the right nostril and your ring and pinky fingers are used to close off the left nostril. 
  4. Starting with your thumb closing off the your right nostril exhaling slowly out your left nostril. 
  5. Keeping the thumb on your right nostril now inhale through the left nostril
  6. Switching nostrils press your pinky and ring fingers on the left side and exhale gently then inhale on the same side completing cycle one of Nadi Shodhana. 
  7. Switch to blocking the right nostril and continue for 5-10 cycles allowing your mind to follow your inhales and exhales.

Steps 4 to 6 represent one complete cycle of alternative breathing. If you are moving through the sequence slowly, one full cycle should take 30-40 seconds. 

Tips: Consistency of length of inhales, exhales and pauses can achieve better results. For example as you inhale count to five, hold for 5 seconds, exhale for 5 seconds, and hold for 5 seconds. You can slowly increase your count as you continue to practice. 


What do you keep in your kitchen?

Hello friends, 

 

So one of the things my husband and I find ourselves doing often is pet sitting. We don’t have any animals of our own but we both love our puppy snuggles. This past two weeks whilst pet sitting I have had a noticeable change in my diet due to not having all of my staples. It is not reasonable to bring my whole pantry or buy all new things for such a short period of time. This shock to my routine has got me thinking about the importance of having quality whole foods in your kitchen. 

 

When you’re doing your grocery shop, do you meal plan so you know what you are going to buy ahead of time or do you buy things that are on sale once you are looking. Honestly it can be hard to meal plan every week and stick to it so I do a bit of both but mostly I just buy things when they go on sale and meal plan/prep with what I already have in the kitchen. With the prices of food increasing I do what I can to keep the cost of eating heathy down, we all know that it can be pricey.

 

 

Below is a list of the foods that I try to keep in my home, keeping in mind that I also try to mostly eat seasonally and locally. When I buy produce I try my best to buy items on the Dirty Dozen list from the organic section or from a local farmer. The Dirty Dozen is a list created by the Environmental Working Group (EWG). The EWG test the most common foods for chemical residues that have been absorbed while it was growing. The dirty dozen is a list of the most chemically contaminated produce you can buy at the grocery stores. Another way to ensure clean produce is to grow your own, I grow vegetables in small containers and a book shelf I made into a raised bed. I have lots of herbs growing in containers, 6 fruiting apple trees, 2 pear trees and a few nut trees. In the fall I am busy harvesting and preparing it all for storage throughout the winter months. 

Here is a bit of an idea of what I keep I keep in my kitchen

Here on Vancouver Island we are so lucky as we are surrounded by agriculture land, this means local food. Most cities and districts have at least one local farmers market or farm stand near by. 

 

I am lucky and have Prince Acres farm up the road from me in Lantzville; which provides us with leafy greens, root vegetables, squash, fruit, eggs and sourdough bread – 8 months of the year. Prince Acres is a bug friendly farm avoiding all use of chemical pesticides and herbicides. If you stop in here make sure to try Farmer Brian’s Jalapeño Blue Cheese Sourdough or the Chocolate Croissants.

 

In Nanoose, there are two farms that my husband Brandon and I also frequent for local food. Nanoose Edibles on Stewart Road is one of the Farm stands we stop in at. Throughout the seasons it has a variety of fruit; berries, apples, pears, figs, quince, loads of herbs, greens, potatoes, peppers and squash. Nanoose Edibles also hires local youth giving them opportunities learning how to grow sustainable foods and reconnect with the land.

 

 Springford Farm on Northwest Bay Road is a small family operated cattle farm with a lovely farm store where you can buy their beef, chicken, turkey, eggs, and corn year round. They also sell local produce, baked goods and local artisan food products. One thing I love about Springford Farm is their cattle is grass-fed and finished giving the beef a higher quality nutrient content and well rounded natural flavour. These are truly happy animals on this farm. 

 

A farm that we often visit in the Qualicum Beach area is the family run Sloping Hill Farm where they have the best oats hands down. Their small farm stand on the corner of their property off whiskey creek road is usually full of pork, eggs, ground flour and oats. The pigs on this farm are the luckiest pigs getting to live a free roam lifestyle socializing with everyone, eating a hearty vegetarian diet without GMO content, antibiotics, growth enhancers or hormones. The oats are just incredible if kept refrigerated they are so creamy without needing to add milks or sugars.

Its great to have all sown, grown, harvested, cleaned, milled, rolled grains all done on their property! They have Spelt flour, HRS Wheat flour and their fabulous Oats.

 

There are so many more happy farms here on Vancouver Island and when you are supporting them you are support local economical growth, food security and sustainability and you are supporting a family’s livelihood.

 

 


Oh Kale Yeah!

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Do you eat superfoods?

 

 

Kale is one of the most studied, nutrient dense foods out there and is amongst the list of superfoods. This loaded dark leafy green has many beneficial properties making it one of the vegetables I grow year round. It is a cruciferous vegetable in the cabbage family with many varieties with vibrant greens and purple colours.  

 

 

 

In 1 cup of raw Kale (1/2 cup cooked) it contains:

 

      206% of the daily value of Vitamin A

      684% of the daily value of Vitamin K

      134% of the daily value of Vitamin C

 

It also contains vitamin Bs, manganese, calcium, copper, potassium, folate and magnesium. 

A total of 33.5 calories in a cup breaking down to; 

6.7 carbohydrates (1.3 of which being fibre), and 2.2 grams of protein. 

 The 0.5 g of fat that is contained the in the leaves is Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids. 

 

Why is it called a super food?

The high content of antioxidants and well as flavonoids and polyphenols counteract oxidative damage by free radicals which are the leading causes of rapid aging and disease. Antioxidants have been well studied and are known to protect the heart, lowers blood pressure, reduces chances of depression and anxiety, while being antiviral and anti-inflammatory. The word superfood was created for marketing of health foods. Foods with the label “superfood” has been through a criteria regarding it’s nutrient density and bioavailability.

Here on Vancouver Island most years I am able to grow Kale  generally purchase kale from local farmers from March to December. Supporting local farmers is important for us here on the island to help improve food security. When buying kale look for bright healthy looking leaves and rinse them when getting home to remove bacteria or bugs for longer storage. 

 

 

Luckily adding kale into your diet can be easy for anyone by adding it into salads, stir-frys, smoothie’s, most other recipes and my all time favourite, roasting it into a tasty snack. 

Add Your Heading T Tips on how to prepare Kale ext Here

Kale can be a little tough and bitter if you are not taking the time to properly prepare it. Start by washing it in the sink and lightly massaging the green leaf under warm water. Next you will want to de-rib unless it is baby kale the stem running down the centre can be completely unenjoyable, do this by running a sharp knife down each side of the stem. 

Chop kale to the size which fits your recipe, stacking the leaf after de-ribbing and dicing will give you squares great for stir-fry for salads try rolling the kale and slicing along the roll which will give long thin strips perfect for salads.

 

After cutting I suggest to put in a bowl and drizzle about a teaspoon of oil across the leaves. He best oils to use are avocado oil, sunflower oil, coconut oil or olive oil. Massage the oil into the sliced leaves by kneading and squeezing the kale, rub it between your hands until looks dark and silky. The more love you put into the kale massage the more love it will give back, or at the very least taste better.

 

Faux-Cheesy kale Chips

Prep time: 15 minutes          Cook time: 10-15 minutes          Total time: 25-30 minutes

Ingredients:

1 bunch Kale

1/3 cup Cashews

2 Tbsp Nutritional Yeast

2 Tbsp Avocado Oil

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C)

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper

Prepare as above then cut/tear kale into desired size. 

In a food processor blend up cashews and the nutritional yeast with avocado oil (or oil of your choice)

Put blender contents into a glass bowl then add the kale, stir well to ensure kale is evenly coated with the oily mixture.

Once well coated, spread kale out on the parchment paper and Bake until the edges are looking crunchy or slightly brown (not burnt) 

What is your favourite way to use kale? Tell me in the comments below!