I began dancing at age nine. By thirteen, I was dancing 6 hours a day in several rigorous programs, including the Dance department at High School of Performing Arts. Like many of my peers, I went on to work as a dancer and later as an actor. I’m grateful for years of training as a dancer. I found myself much more in touch with my body (AND emotions) than many of my non-arts-focused teen counterparts.[Read more…]
I’m am obviously an advocate of physical, mental and spiritual health and well being.
I have always loved to eat. I was raised in the home of eccentric parents who encouraged me to open my palate, that I might survive the world travel that may lay ahead. We’d often have global themed dinners, with music, movies and or books to accompany our meals. It was my maternal grandmother who first emphasized the balance at meals and regular exercise that was the foundation of our lifestyle.
I always ate well but it was when my son was at the mercy of unknown illness, one that was manageable through diet, I became PASSIONATE about using food as medicine/love/life/art.
Most people don’t look at food choices as life/death decisions. They are, but most of us just choose easy. I’ve learned to redefine “easy.” It’s my great love for people that compels me to briefly share my view on the subject.
Here are a few links I think you will find interesting.
The Growing Home and Learning Center- A model of suburban sustainbaility and a center of community. Founded by my SOUL SISTAH Manju (Pearl) and her sons, Ro and Rishi Kumar.
The USDA listing of Farmers Markets across the USA.
The provocative yet easy read I mention The Self Health Revolution.
Peace and blessings friends.
In a previous post I wrote about the benefits of laughter. Who doesn’t love to laugh? Well if you simply CANNOT find anything at all to laugh at… just smile! I wrote this on a Facebook note but thought the story deserved repeating!
On a hike, my son was upset that we would not be going to the video game store before returning home. He huffed and puffed with all the vigorous disappointed anger of a 7 year old boy. I said “Son, I recognize your feelings. You have all the right in the world to FEEL anything. However, I don’t think it fair for you to spread your bad attitude all over everyone else. By all means be funky but you’ll have to march and smile while you do it!” He marched and smiled for 45 minutes providing us all, tons of opportunity for bouts of uncontrollable laughter. At the end, he said “Mom, I actually learned something today! Everything really IS better with a smile…”
Here’s the scientific research behind the method to my madness…
You may think that people smile because they are happy, but scientific research suggests otherwise.
‘Simply using the same muscles as smiling will put you in a happier mood,’ explains Dr Michael Lewis, psychologist at Cardiff University. That’s because use of those muscles is part of how the brain evaluates mood.’
Charles Darwin was one of the first to suggest our expressions may actually intensify our feelings. This theory is known as the ‘feedback loop’ or ‘facial feedback hypothesis’.
A smiling expression feeds back into how we experience mood, therefore making us feel happier or a joke seem funnier.
Professor Fritz Strack, along with Leonard L Martin and Sabine Stepper, investigated this theory and published a study in 1988.
This revealed that people who used their smiling muscles when presented with cartoons found them more amusing than people who didn’t.
Separate studies have shown that people suffering from facial paralysis, and without the ability to smile, have been found to suffer more from depression.
Can smiling relieve stress?
Mark Stibich, PhD, a consultant at Columbia University, and contributor to a Guide to Longevity at about.com, believes smiling may also act as a stress relief.
When you’re stressed a number of things happen to your body,’ explains Stibich.
‘Your pulse rate shoots up, your digestive system shuts down, and your blood sugar levels increase.
“But two things also happen that you have voluntary control over – your breathing becomes shallower and faster and facial expressions kick in.
‘If you can slow your breathing down and change your expression, you may be able to turn around the stress cascade.’
Social Media Tip:
This video has been embedded from TED.com. TED is a nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. It started out (in 1984) as a conference bringing together people from three worlds: Technology, Entertainment, Design. Since then its scope has become ever broader. The site contains some of the most inspiring information available online and I highly recommend visiting.
Image by emurray via Flickr
Just as the astronauts experience while floating in space, your body is in a state of weightlessness at the top of the bounce. I hadn’t felt so free in a while. The workout was quite good too, so I decided to do some investigating. I found out that jumping is great for the body…
I don’t have a mini trampoline but I’ve decided to leave their mattresses on the floor. My kids enjoy some supervised jump time and guess what? So do I!
Who can forget the 90’s classic “Home Alone” with Macaulay Culkin? (or the 17 sequels that followed…) In the film an overwhelmed set of parents forget their young son but the boy cleverly survives the zany weekend.
Home alone for me was not so zany but just as entertaining and nourishing as I needed it to be. I wanted to share what I did to arrive so at peace and excited to be me on Monday.
1. I put all serious work aside. I have A LOT of work ahead of me this week and I could’ve plotted and planned, packed and cleaned, unpacked and organized, written emails and proposals… but I didn’t. I relaxed mind, body and spirit and guess what? The work is still ahead of me but I am rested and clear enough not to be overwhelmed.
2. I ate. A trip to the farmers market provided a haul of live food that I thoroughly enjoyed. I love feeding my kids but this weekend was about food that pleased me. I experimented. I sat at the table and savored each meal. I also potted some herbs for future use in recipes as well as bath salts.
3. I exercised. I went for loooong adventurous hikes in the new hood. GORGEOUS.
4. I played. I will get more into this in future posts but I jumped and danced and pretended just like I used to do as a kid and it was AWESOME.
5. I meditated and got centered. I prayed and expressed gratitude.
I was not lonely during my time alone. Every day I discover more things about myself that I like, want to change, appreciate, find amusing… This is the great gift of being human.
I highly recommend a staycation alone. When was the last time you enjoyed your own company?
Basic Results: keep it simple, change your life.
Watch the awesome video.
Hospitals, Medical Centers Offering Meditation and More
Health care providers are increasingly suggesting that their patients look to meditation and other integrative techniques to improve their health, according to a report released Monday by Harvard Medical School and published in the Archives of Internal Medicine
Until recently, I didn’t realize how important flexibility was to overall health. I thank my mother everyday for putting me in dance class and I thank my stars that I loved it. I danced daily throughout my teens and regularly through my twenties. My thirties presented a few challenges for me as I struggled to find the time to workout and care for my newly expanding >:-/ childbearing body… I’m happy to report, I found ways and will gladly share some in other posts.
Now in my 40’s, I exercise regularly, though not fanatically as I did in my 20’s. I’m still extremely flexible. I take yoga classes or at least incorporate some sort of stretching almost daily. On the recommendation of a friend advanced in his spiritual practice, I usually try to stretch at least 5 minutes before bed.
In its most basic form, stretching is a natural and instinctive activity; it is performed by humans and many animals. Stretching often occurs instinctively after waking from sleep, after long periods of inactivity, or after exiting confined spaces or areas. Increasing flexibility through stretching is one of the basic tenets of physical fitness. It is common for athletes to stretch before and after exercise in order to reduce injury and increase performance.
Yoga involves the stretching of major muscle groups, some of which require a high level of flexibility to perform, for example the lotus position. It’s good to stretch the wrists, forearms, hands and feet as well. I see a chiropractor as often as possible so I can even have my joints/bones stretched and put back in order!
Stretching can strengthen muscles, and in turn strong muscles are important to stretching safely and effectively. Stretching must be performed correctly. There are many techniques for stretching in general, but depending on which muscle group is being stretched, some techniques may be ineffective or dangerous.
If you are not physically fit or used to stretching I HIGHLY recommend you take a class or try some of the great resources available on and offline.
We only have one physical body, so I’m off to treat it to a gentle morning stretch…