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Halloween is right around the corner. Soon after, comes Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's. Now is the time to prepare your holiday greetings cards! Night Owl Paper Goods is currently offering an Early Bird Holiday Special. There is a 20% discount on personalized holiday cards. Night Owl Paper Goods offers various eco-friendly stationery products that are printed on eco-friendly sustainably harvested wood. They also offer various designs and layouts that are easy to choose from. Please feel free to visit www.nightowlpapergoods.com for more information about their great products!
This is a limited time offer so visit www.nightowlpapergoods.com soon!
I tried aerial yoga for the first time with a group of yogini friends and loved it! Doing something new is often scary and exciting. It challenges our minds and bodies while strengthening our souls. My favorite aerial yoga pose is a shoulder stand (your body is fully inverted with the weight supported by the silk cloths. The class was fast paced! We started doing simple poses (e.g. planks, pushups, Warrior 1 and Warrior II) with the silk cloths as support. Then, we progressed to inverted poses (handstands, standing splits, bow, shoulder stand, etc.). We ended the practice is a corpse pose cocooned within the silk hammock. It was a great moving meditative experience. I am looking forward to practicing aerial yoga again real soon!
In the past, I used to reward myself for doing a good job at work or at home by purchasing "more stuff." The stuff included clothing, jewelry, impromptu random purchases and overpriced kitchenware. While the stuff accumulated at my home, I felt "weighed down" as opposed to being happy. I realized I needed to focus on my priorities in life and that meant the "stuff" was less important. Yoga and meditation has taught me that happiness is a state of mind and can be reached by focusing on being in the present moment. By releasing myself from the "stuff accumulating mood" I am able to appreciate what I am already blessed with: clean air, good food, family, friends, parks and nature. There will always be obstacles and struggles but I have given myself permission to appreciate and enjoy the many blessings I have today.
As I continue with my yoga teacher training program, I have tried different brands of yoga clothing (partially because it is difficult to do daily loads of laundry). I have recently tried the Hyde Organic Jenjen tank top. This top is made of 92% organic cotton and 8% spandex. There is a soft built-in shelf bra that is adequate for yin or slow burn yoga classes. For more vigorous classes (e.g. vinyasa yoga), consider wearing a sports bra underneath (you will appreciate the extra support; the nice yoga design on this tank top ensures that the sports bra does not show through). This tank top comes in seven different colors and the sizing is true (not vanity sizing). The organic cotton is a nice thicker cotton (not the light weight see-through cotton that is out in the marketplace these days). Since it is mostly cotton, I hang dry it and avoid the dryer (I don't want to risk any shrinkage). The length goes pass the lower hip and the form fitting design ensures that it will provide continuous coverage (even for inverted poses). For more information about Hyde Organic products, please visit www.yogahyde.com.
California is the first state in the USA to ban stores from handing out plastic bags. There are at least another ten states that have variations of this state law in development, so citizens, lawmakers, politicians, and retailers are all closely watching what is the impact of the plastic bag ban. The new law is effective July 1, 2015 for major retail chain stores in California. Convenient stores and liquor stores have until July 1st, 2016.
For individuals who make purchases at stores and have forgotten to bring their own bags, there are several options:
- purchase a reusable bag at the checkout counter
- request a recyclable cardboard box to hold the items (this is already offered at major warehouse stores nationwide)
-carry it out on their own (without any bag)
-borrow a bag from a friend/neighbor
Hawaii has plastic bag bans already in place enforced at the local (town) level. The experience from Hawaii shows that such bans do not have a negative impact on the economy. It does have a positive impact on the environment. Several progressive cities such as Seattle, Austin, Chicago and Portland have similar local laws banning plastic bag distribution.
Major retailers have begun to wean customers off of using plastic bags by gently asking, "Do you need a plastic bag?" vs. automatically loading store bought items in a plastic bag. In most cases, when asked by the cashier, customers refuse the plastic bag.
I have been practicing mindful eating for a while. Part of mindful eating is being aware of why you are eating and how much you are eating. In order to have a better sense of how much I snack, I transfer my organic dried cranberries and nut snacks into a Klean Kanteen 8 ounce size food canister. The stainless steel canister is easy to clean (with soap and water). It is also easy to travel with. It fits nicely in my purse and also fits in the cup holder in my car (which is a standard car cup holder). It is not an insulated container so is not meant to retain food temperature for hot or cold foods. The 8 ounce size is a great size for on the go snacks. Kealn Kanteen also offers other great stainless steel containers. For more information about their products, please feel free to visit http://www.kleankanteen.com
I love running especially in autumn. I have never been selective when it came to socks, until now. I have recently tried wearing the SmartWool Women's PhD Run Light Elite Micro socks on my runs. These socks are made with wool, nylon and elastane. These socks are ideal for running because they are seamless (yes, no seams whatsoever) and are made with breathable material. Therefore, when you run with them, there are no chafing and sweaty feet surprises. I have been able to get more mileage out of my slightly worn out running shoes by wearing these nice cushioned running socks. I love wearing them so much that I placed them in their own laundry mesh bag so I won't risk losing them while I complete my wash. For more information about their products, please visit www.smartwool.com.
Part of the challenges we face in society is the perception and practice of extreme convictions. We are either hedonists or perpetual garbage forayers. We live thinking everything is disposable or become hoarders. There is a middle ground that will enable us to achieve an eco-friendly lifestyle. That is conscious consumption. Before purchasing an item, try going through the following checklist:
- Do I have something similar at home that I can use (or can borrow from a friend)?
- Can I use this more than once?
- Who can I give this to or how can I best repurpose this item when I am done with it?
In addition to providing vital oxygen to nourish the body, breathing helps calm the mind and improve overall emotional health. One of the first signs of anxiousness or heighten emotions is a quicken breath. I have been running based on my time on my GPS watch and decided to run a mile race (my first mile race) last weekend based on how I feel. I ran my fastest mile (7:45/mile) in the Magnificent Mile race to date. By focusing on my breath (and concentrating on how my efforts felt), I was able to run faster. I realized that I have been using my GPS watch to limit myself. Now I am determined to complete at least one training run a week based on perceived effort as opposed to my pace displayed on my GPS watch. As long as I remind myself that I can use my breathing as my barometer for effort, I should be okay.
I have recently started yoga teacher training and wanted to reflect on why I started this journey and what has been part of my journey to date. I started writing about my desire in seeking a more eco-friendly living lifestyle a few years ago. It started as an external effort with "recycling, reusing and reducing" being part of my daily mantra. Having an eco-friendly focus has made me more mindful of the things that I do that affect the environment. I have dappled in yoga here and there over the past few years, but it was not until exactly a year ago that I began practicing yoga regularly. Initially, my goals included stress management and better physical fitness. However, over time, I realized that I have received many additional benefits. While my physical strength may have increased; my mental strength has exponentially expanded. The mind-body connection becomes more apparent to me as I practice yoga daily. Yes, my blood pressure has lowered, pounds have been lost and my skin cleared up. These physical benefits are just the tip of the iceberg of the changes that I feel happening inside me. Mentally and emotionally, I am no longer chained to arbitrary external worldly standards. I am a happier person and no longer feel "guilty" for admitting it.
I know that I am only at the beginning of this journey. I look forward to seeing how my yoga practice and life continues to unfold.
MPH@GW #YogaMatters Blogging Contest