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Archive for the ‘Nia’ Category

Why I dance for V-Day and One Billion Rising

In Emotions, music, Nia, Nia Class, Sensatioin, spirit, teaching, The Body's Way, Uncategorized on February 4, 2015 at 11:18 pm

10306232_356304124537354_4563745761935799094_nFor the past three years I have been honoured and excited to participate in the One Billion Rising dance events that celebrate V-Day. A day that symbolizes the end of violence towards women and girls across the world. The Nia community in Southern Ontario, Canada, has risen and danced with pride and passion to show their support for such an important, global issue. The horrific statistic is this: 1 in 3 women and girls will be physically abused or raped in her lifetime. Eve Ensler, author of the famous Vagina Monologues, was made aware of the pandemic proportions of this issue as women came forward and shared their traumatic onebillionrisingexperiences with her. In response, she has allowed her play (The Vagina Monologues) to be used as a tool to bring awareness and create solidarity, and support an end to violence against women. Over the years, this movement has grown exponentially and thousands of grassroots organizations around the world have begun rising together to raise awareness and funds for local shelters and services. Find out more about this movement here: http://www.onebillionrising.org/

Why do I dance for OBR? Firstly, because I represent the 1 in 3 women, and it is important that we share our stories and support each other in healing and moving on. Next, dancing roots me into my body where I get centred and feel safe and calm, even when I’m surrounded by chaos. I feel immensley empowered when I move in my skin, sensing strength, speed, agility, flexibility and stability. These sensations were not always easy for me to get in touch with because I got cut off from my body, as so many women do when they experience abuse. The body can be associated with the pain, and to be aware of it is too overwhelming. Therefore, I reclaim MY BODY for MY PLEASURE, and not for the pain another inflicted on me. Nia has been instrumental in guiding me to do this. And it is now my honour and Pleasure to guide others in a Nia practice to reclaim their Body’s visceral Joy!

1613922_749596358391477_796572541_nAnother huge reason I dance for this global movement is for Freedom. I can experience freedom in my body even though I suffered abuse in it. Now I Am healing, and the dance represents that. I also experience freedom in my emotional body – joy and fun where their used to be shame and self-consciousness. I no longer feel the need to hide away because I shake and jiggle when I wiggle! I am a woman and there are parts of my body DESIGNED to wiggle with movement! I release the shame and self-consciousness! My mental body is freed because I cannot worry while I dance, and my spirit body is freed as I connect with others in my immediate space through shared music, purpose and choreography, and around the planet through our shared intention to end the injustice of gender inequality.

There is another reason I choose to dance for this cause. It is my unshakeable belief (from personal experience) that movement of any form, helps to release, shake out, and dislodge blockages of energy. These blocks can be caused by many things, and in the case of abuse or rape, the blocks are of pain, fear and anger. Some women never tell anyone about their experiences, and so the energy of the trauma gets stuck somewhere in their bodies and turns into depression, cutting, obsessive eating or starvation, and chronic disease or illness, to name but a few. By moving the physical body with dance (or yoga, massage, walking…) and infusing the space with uplifting and powerful music, the combination of personal focus to release the energy and the physical motion, gets those trapped emotions moving and releasing! It is a wonderful healing and empowering practice to dance in order to reclaim your body, your temple, your pleasure vessel!

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The flashmob event is an ideal way to generate awareness because people are naturally drawn to visual spectacles of music and movement, so I very much hope you will join me as I dance and rise in the 3 locations around Kitchener-Waterloo on this coming V-Day! The details are listed below. Click HERE to learn the steps with my video! Please share!

9 am – Nia Class with a focus on One Billion Rising at the Awaken Wellness Centre. Click HERE for location details. All proceeds from this event will be donated to a local women’s shelter.

11 am – Conestoga Mall in Waterloo, near the food court.

Noon – Kitchener Farmer’s Market, at the bottom of the main stairs inside.

Giggling, Exercise and Orgasms – 3 Free, Natural Ways Out of Depression

In food, kwirky, Life skills, mind, Nia, Sensatioin, spirit on May 8, 2014 at 6:59 pm

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Ever feel depressed? Blue? Sad and bummed out for no apparent reason? Do you look around to blame the heavy, dark cloud of feelings on something and can’t figure out for sure what it is? Then become more depressed because identifying the reason seems like the only way to come to a solution? Or do you know why you feel so low and the solution to the problem seems insurmountable? Unapproachable? Totally beyond your control?

Depression-depression-33252772-800-707You are not alone. I am not alone. I lost my mum and then my god father within 6 months of each other, both very suddenly. Their gunshot-like deaths rocked my world and each day has been my own personal mix of tears, pain and joy. Joy from my support network of friends, family and activities I give myself. But some days, none of those things do any good. Pain and tears come far more easily now that I feel I have lost my personal support system, my mother; and work and financial problems drag me down way more than they used to.

It’s been a particularly dark week for me, and the best I could do was lose myself in the warm nest of comfort eating, Netflix and sleeping for far too long. But today, day 4 of this deep slump, I heard my mum’s voice as a lay, pretending to feel too tired to get out of bed at 1:30 pm… in her firm, yet teasing tone, “Come on! Up you get! You know exactly what to do, you lazy so-and-so!” I did have to pee, so I rolled slowly up and started to mentally plan my day: pee. make tea. watch more of the series I’m into on Netflix. eat something. make more tea. watch more Netflix…

IMG_0375It was just as I was opening the Safari browser that a photo of my mum I keep on my desktop caught my eye. She is posing with a tub of Greek Gods honey flavoured yogurt with a huge spoon and pulling a silly face. It made me smile. And I immediately remembered all the things that I can do, without much effort, that will chemically alter my brain and body state so that I do not feel as depressed. I chose my top 3 for this article based on price (free!) and ease of making them happen.

 

 

M_Id_363760_Man_laughing1. Giggling

Giggling, laughing and smiling engage specific muscles in the head, neck and core which combine with sharp inhalations and exhalations. These movements and breaths cause the brain to release endorphins – the happy hormone. Recent studies now show that laughing improves mood for this reason, and it has been shown to increase pain tolerance. (www.nytimes.com/2011/09/14/science/14laughter.html?_r=0)

So watch some funny youtube videos, read some silly jokes or comics or look at some ridiculous pictures to get yourself laughing. Here are some to get you started – bear in mind, these are my personal favourites!

Eating lemon baby faces http://youtu.be/luOU5gLeA4A

Eddie Izzard – Cake or Death? http://youtu.be/rMMHUzm22oE

Funny Talking Animals – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xaPepCVepCg&list=FLtISih3v30iRGx3oSWWo8Gw&feature=share&index=39

fibro-exercise-happy-400x4002. Exercise – MOVE!

Exercise is another endorphin releasing activity, but there’s more to it than just that. Exercise also releases dopamine – the pleasure chemical. Dopamine is also released when we eat, which is a big reason why comfort eating is so popular as a way to feel better. However, regular exercise releases dopamine without the negative side effect of packing on the extra weight! Serotonin is another chemical that is responsible for feelings of happiness, restful sleep and healthy appetite. You want to keep consistent and high levels of serotonin in the body so sleeping is easy and feeling happy is easy, and regular exercise achieves this. (http://www.fitsugar.com/Hormones-Released-After-Working-Out-19252431)

Dancing is my go-to happy place!
Nia – a dancer’s Interval Training workout: http://youtu.be/AQBYXuCo6A8

This is excellent for boosting metabolism and pushing yourself to your personal edge.
HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) hard core: http://youtu.be/-dthjOzzS84

I love Pilates for targeting trouble spots, but also getting the heart rate up and sweating!
Pilates: butt blaster: http://youtu.be/7Q7L673i8OY

This gorgeous outdoor video is the prefect balance of challenge and peacefulness for me.
Sweat your turtle off! Yoga: http://youtu.be/jxLXPj84ILk

fake-orgasm3. Orgasms – A Hormonal

Reset Switch

Orgasms release a whole host of other chemicals in addition to serotonin and endorphins that promote the ass-kicking of depression!  HGH (Human Growth Hormone) is released, and this helps with renewing and repairing cells throughout the body. DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) is a hormone produced by your adrenal glands and is linked to various anti-aging effects as well as rebuilding and nourishing effects on cells. DHEA is released before orgasm and during as well. Also, oxytocin is released during orgasm. Oxytocin is known as the love hormone and it causes people to feel increased feelings of bonding and intimacy. Orgasms are a simple and easy way to elevate these hormone levels and bring back a chemical balance to the body. This allows for either relaxation and rest, or a surge in energy and creativity. I shall not share any of my personal options for reaching orgasm, because that would be weird! But I will say that orgasm does NOT need to be reached through partner sex. (http://www.billysundaymars.com/news/nourishing-neurochemicals-hormones-released-during-sex)

3 simple tools to help you get rid of the blues. You’ve got this! 😉

 

Holistic Living is Like a Grand Feast!

In Ekhart Tolle, food, kwirky, Life skills, mind, Nia, spirit, Uncategorized on April 20, 2014 at 7:50 pm

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The word ‘holistic’ has been tossed around a lot lately and to some it has a waffly, insubstantial reputation. To others it’s an ideal that is just too far beyond a realistic lifestyle, and so it causes feelings of yearning and sometimes bitterness at the prospect of aiming to attain it, and feeling constantly like one is falling short.
“Who really has time to meditate before their workout in the morning, AND have organic and free range food everyday, while balancing work, community and family obligations?”

But when we come right down to it, we ARE capable of fitting in extra items on our daily list of to-dos if we are really Imaginationcommitted, or if we just really WANT it. The motivation is where it’s at. But I’m not writing today about how to light a fire under your arse, that will be another blog! Today I want you to consider how a holistic lifestyle CAN be cobbled together on a weekly basis. A daily basis to start off with is what sends most of us into overwhelm; and perhaps you need to scale back even more and consider a monthly cycle. But first lets exercise our imaginations!

Imagine a great feast, like Easter Lunch, Christmas Dinner, Thanksgiving. Laid out upon the table are many dishes of food. Some are considered main course foods, some are sides, some are the vegetarian options, and some are gravies and condiments. Each wonderful feast has a variety of all these dishes; if it didn’t it would certainly feel as if something were missing!
What do you mean there isn’t any turkey? How could anyone forget to have gravy? But Thanksgiving just isn’t the same without pumpkin pie!
Now I want you to imagine that each of the dishes you might get at one of these feasts is an activity or element of life that is important to you. Consider what it brings you and whether you give it main, side, dessert, or condiment status.

keep calmHere’s my list:
Main 1: consuming clean, organic, free-range food
Main 2: dance or other joyous movement as exercise
Main 3: sharing my knowledge about health and wellness with others
Side 1: researching (health, wellness, nutrition, exercise)
Side 2: Spending time with friends and family
Side 3: Personal reflection, writing, meditation
Dressing 1: sleeping in
Dressing 2: self-care – baths, acupuncture, massages, etc
Dressing 3: reading for pleasure
Condiments: outdoors activities, movie dates, game nights…

Anyone can see that it would be quite challenging to fit all of these in everyday. And notice I left out things like cleaning, laundry, shopping etc. These things can be folded into your daily chores – tucked in around the edges. Because, lets be honest. Laundry (unless you own and run a laundromat) isn’t anyone’s idea of a passion in life! Yes it’s necessary, but it shouldn’t take precedence over a main or side dish. Now, consider your holistic lifestyle feast over a week or month, and feel the ease seep into your bones, because your body knows this is doable, and also so very necessary for your overall well-being.

Now take 15 minutes today and write down your list of mains and sides. Then organize them over your calendar for theseize the moment next few weeks making sure to rotate some sides and dressings and condiments so that they all get in there. The main dishes are more likely the ones you need to keep in for each week. And perhaps you may find that you actually don’t feel like a main dish you first listed is really a main anymore! Or perhaps a dish you listed as a side needs to be bumped up to main for a while. The circumstances in our lives greatly impact what things become non-negotiables for us, so be flexible in allowing your list to fluctuate and shift.

So when are you going to take that 15 minutes? Decide now and stick to your intention. It’s totally worth it! You can seize the moment right now and list them in the comments below, and we’ll all be here to support you as you make the best feast of you life!

 

I have a skill set that can help you in designing a holistic lifestyle for yourself. So feel free to contact me to discover where your priorities and goals are taking you.

“healthy bodies bleed less…”

In Nia, Nia Class, The Body's Way on September 4, 2013 at 7:45 pm

Nia

Today I have the pleasure of sharing a blog post from a fellow Nia teacher, Jule Aguirre. She has teamed up with the HFA (Hemophilia Federation of America) to write about the health benefits of Nia when applied to various bleeding disorders. Once again, Nia shows herself to be of vital help to yet another specific group of people and I am sure this will continue to grow and widen! Please click on the link below for the full article!

 

Nia Technique: Working IN by Working OUT

 

 

30 Years of Nia

In Aikido, Alexander Technique, belt intensives, Dojo, Duncan, Feldenkrais, jazz, mind, modern, music, Nia, Nia Class, Sensatioin, Tae Kwon-do, Tai Chi, The Body's Way on August 21, 2013 at 11:46 pm

This year is Nia’s 30th birthday, and I plan to celebrate that fact in every class.

In this inspiring video, founder Debbie Rosas and President Jeff Stewart share their thanks in celebrating Nia’s 30th anniversary. It includes a touching story from a Nia instructor who resolved tension in her legs, a white belt graduate suffering from Cerebral Palsy who can now hold herself up and walk, and an exciting story of a Zumba instructor who was amazed at the difference Nia made in her life and teaching style.

Aerobics_LivingPages It was in 1983 when Debbie and Carlos Rosas first took off their shoes and began to really move their bodies. Before then, both Debbie and Carlos (Nia co-creators) had been running a successful aerobics club called The Bod Squad in San Fransisco, California. Their motivation to create Nia was the high rate of injury and burnout they saw in their aerobics clients and instructors, as well as their own personal feelings of pain and discomfort in their bodies as they got up each morning. They truly believed fitness was to make you stronger and more supple, not to hurt or injure or cause recurring pain; so their journey began in the martial arts.

Foot In the Dojo Debbie and Carlos were asked to remove their shoes and move. They began doing leg lifts and jumping jacks, and the martial artist sadly shook his head and said, “You have forgotten how to move.” How was this possible? Leading aerobics instructors not knowing how to move? Both Debbie and Carlos left with more questions than they had arrived with!

Over the next 13 years Debbie and Carlos embraced a totally new way of exercising, one focused on pleasurable sensations in the body, throwing out that “no pain, no gain” motto that has haunted fitness institutions for decades!  From this was born the fusion fitness trend where Debbie and Carlos began incorporating first, more martial arts into their dance choreography, and later healing arts movement forms (such as yoga).

9380454919_f887d5f757_b Just as it took yoga many many years to work its way into ‘mainstream’ fitness clubs and studios, Nia too is on that same journey. I, and thousands of others who have experienced the magic and power of Nia in life and on the dance floor, am in on this special movement practice’s secret. But there really is no secret! It’s a simple truth: do what feels good, and you will heal and get stronger. Listen to what your body tells you (by way of it’s sensations) and you will grow and evolve into the most beautiful version of yourself with ease, grace and most importantly, Joy. Nia is now practiced in over 45 countries world wide and trainings are also offered all over the world for the purpose of personal growth and for teacher training.

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Nia is a sensory-based movement practice that is designed to build an awareness of your own body in order to better serve it – whether you need strengthening, weight management, cardio endurance, rehabilitation from an injury or emotional or mental clarity and peace. Nia is a blend of 9 movement forms from 3 disciplines – The Martial Arts (Tae Kwon Do, Tai Chi, Aikido), the Dance Arts (Jazz, Modern, Duncan), and the Healing Arts (yoga, Alexander Technique, The Work of Moshe Feldenkrais). It is danced barefoot to soul-stirring music and can be adapted to individual needs and abilities. Each class lasts around 55 minutes and is choreographed using 52 basic moves, steps and stances that anyone can learn. All of the moves are based on the natural design of the human body, what we refer to as The Body’s Way. No prior movement or dance experience is necessary to participate. All you need is a desire to be alive and moving, and the curiosity to try something new!

Find classes at www.nianow.com/find/classes.

nia-mark-medium-black.jpg Love your body, love your life!      Dance through life!

Nia isn’t just “artsy”… she can get all “martial” on your ass!

In Aikido, chi, Nia, Nia Class, Tae Kwon-do, Tai Chi, Uncategorized on July 19, 2013 at 8:22 am

ImageSince making the connection with Black Belt School’s dojo as a place to offer Nia classes, I have found myself considering how the martial arts contribute to Nia in a deeper way. I have had a solid education of it due to my direct experience practicing Tae Kwon Do and Tai Chi. And that direct experience has also provided me with opportunities to master the physical demands of precision and safe execution of the movements.

But there is something more to it. Each of the 3 martial arts used in Nia bring a distinct energy with it. And each of those energies teaches us more ways to experience sensations of aliveness in our personal dances through life.

The first martial art to cross my own path was Tae Kwon Do. I took it up with a good friend Imagein university. I was lucky enough that our sensei used the last 10 minutes of each class to teach all the girls basic self-defense. It was the first time anyone had made the threat of being physically assaulted feel like a real possibility for me. And I am always grateful for that. I do not fall into the “oh, that won’t happen to me” category… which is the most dangerous category, by the way!

I now know that being hyper aware of your surroundings (360 degrees!) is the best defense. If you let a potential threat get close enough to touch or grab you, you are gonna get hurt (unless you are a highly trained fighting expert with real experience under your belt)! I know how to throw a punch without hurting my shoulder, and I also know that using punching and blocking sequences is one awesome, fun and VERY effective way to tighten and tone your abdominal muscles!

ImageTai Chi taught me about breath and balance. Within 15 minutes of my first Tai Chi class, I was dripping with sweat. Even though it may look like a cool slow-motion version of Tae Kwon Do that is the total opposite of dangerous and threatening, it is all about WHERE we get our energy and power from. The Earth. If you want wicked-strong thighs that sweep and curve in just the right places, Tai Chi is where it’s at! The mellow speed of the movements engages your muscles at a deeper level for a longer period of time than hopping up and down in jumping jacks or burpies. The movements are also very obviously rotational (round) mixed with some linear. This ensures strength in all muscle and joint connections because the human body is designed with both. Most traditional strength and fitness training rely on linear movements because they are easy to learn. However it is a major disservice to the athlete because it’s like only cooking your (gluten-free) pancake on one side! Eww. It’s just not right!

ImageAikido focuses on the movement of spherical motion. When used appropriately and with skill, the circular movements deflect oncoming energy away by using the opponent’s own strength and momentum to do so. Notice that I didn’t say “against them.” Many martial arts follow the principle that the best fight is the one that is avoided, and I love how Aikido can so clearly demonstrate this. Aikido teaches us to flow along and around the attacker or aggressive energy, and if at all possible to avoid engaging directly with it. We only need to be able to guide it past and away from us to stay safe. The swirling and spinning becomes very dance-like as the participants move in and away from each other. In Nia, Aikido gives us the grounded, balanced and graceful connection to the circle and turn across the floor. The knees are bent and we step in wide stances shifting weight seamlessly as we travel. Dodging toddlers, pets and misplaced household items becomes a lot easier with a grasp of the movements of Aikido!

I am looking forward to dancing in Black Belt School’s dojo and absorbing the direct, powerful energy of the martial arts practiced there. For me, the martial arts in Nia give a steady and reliable weight to her; she isn’t a fluffy, bouncy noodle (all the time!). She is strong. Has direction. Won’t be pushed around, and is willing to fight what she believes in… as am I.Image

Next week we are offering 2 free classes of Nia at the dojo. Pick a time and date that fits with your schedule and join us! Classes will be starting in the Fall, so we’d love to see your support!

Let us know when you are coming by contacting me or the dojo.

Thursday, July 25th, 8pm
Saturday, July 27th, 2pm

Black Belt Schools
1555 Bishop St. East
Cambridge, Ontario,

N1R 7J4

519-621-2364

For map, click HERE

Dance Nia in Maui!

In Nia, spirit, Uncategorized on January 15, 2013 at 9:48 am

207797_4775807805654_577743267_nIt’s been a long time since I wrote for my OWN blog! I have been busy you see. I have been doing lots of online writing for other places, and now I thought it was time for me to return to my base with The Conscious Movement. I am stepping in with the intention of attracting some people to sign up for the delicious trip I have planned for dancing Nia (twice a day) in Maui, this March. I have had help with a couple of dear Nia sisters with this project, and we are SUPER excited about it.

Please click over to my other website, dedicated to all things related to this trip! I would also REALLY appreciate your help in promoting this to anyone you know who would love a get-a-way like this. Get away from the grind, and get into YOURSELF!

www.dancealohamaui.com

Talk to you soon! I have so much to catch up on with you!

Earth Steward

In Life skills, Nia, Uncategorized on June 21, 2012 at 7:34 am

Earth Steward

When I think about this phrase I am struck with a strong sense of responsibility mingled with deep passion and commitment. I love this planet. It is so beautiful, especially where humans have not slathered lush grasses and forests with concrete, or sullied emerald and sapphire waters with toxic sludge! On my journey with Nia I have come to embrace wholistic patterns for living, eating, and thinking. I have also been viewing travel, shopping and human interactions and relationships through this earth steward lens. Are the choices I make on a daily basis sound and in line with my passion for protecting and helping the Earth thrive? Perhaps not 100%; we are all to some degree limited in how we care for our planet. However, it is always possible to improve our actions, or at least become mindful of the times we need to drive the car instead of walk, bike or use public transit.

Recently I became involved with Norwex. Norwex is a direct sales company which manufactures cleaning products that do not harm the environment or human health in any way. Their most popular products are superior quality microfibre cloths that are blended with silver to act as an antibacterial agent. These cloths only need to be moistened with water to work their magic! The fibres in Norwex cloths are so finely split that they act like tiny fingers that pick up and hold onto any particles found on practically any surface. These particles remain in the fibres of the cloth until rinsed out with warm or hot water. If any of the particles happen to be living organisms (like bacteria) the silver element woven into the fibres will suffocate them. Silver basically removes oxygen from the immediate area, causing all respiring cells to die, and effectively acting as an antibacterial agent minus all the toxic chemicals that are currently used to kill bacteria.

For me, this step with using and promoting Norwex is a step along the path to cleaner and simpler living. Cleaning time in my house now takes a quarter of the time it used to. A quick wipe over most surfaces in my home and I know each surface is totally clean and there is no residue left from heavily scented chemical sprays and polishes. I can relax about rinsing the cloths and mop heads in the sink because they won’t put any extra strain on the water purification systems; I can be reassured that my pets aren’t inadvertently ingesting toxins from my cleaning products because I only use water. And, because Norwex has a line of softer, microfibre cloths designed for skin, I can be sure I am not adding unnecessary chemicals to my body via my skin with soaps! These products are revolutionizing the way I clean and care for myself, and I am so glad that they are also helping me reduce my carbon foot print. I use a lot less water as well when cleaning because by folding the cloths into quarters, I am able to use each side before rinsing out the dirt. That’s 8 different surfaces, and that usually gets most of my daily cleaning done (kitchen counter, stove, dining table, dresser, shelves, sink, mirror, toilet). With this frequent quick rhythm most days, I find I don’t have to slave for hours on the weekends to catch up with all I didn’t clean during the week. Another bonus to using these products is that I no longer have to buy bottles, cans and other packaged items to clean with. These items are therefore not going to end up in the landfill or having to be recycled (which uses a fair amount of energy). With all this extra time on my hands I can spend more time doing what I love. This then makes me happy and calm and so I do not pollute the world with negativity and stress! It’s a holistic cycle, all starting with a little silver-lined microfibre cloth!

See more about Norwex HERE

Go Organic or Stay Sick!

In Nia, Uncategorized on June 7, 2012 at 10:51 pm

Every week for the past 2 years I have diligently undertaken the task of shopping for the healthiest foods so that I can heal my body. This article will share the benefits of healthy organic eating, the ease of switching over to organic produce, and the negative side-effects non-organic or GMO produce has on our health.

Eating foods that are fresh are usually the most nutritious for us. The faster a fruit or vegetable gets through our luscious lips, the more alive it is, and therefore the more alive and vibrant it makes us. However, not all fresh produce is created equal. It is totally a buyer-beware situation out there in our markets and grocery stores. Here’s the thing: certified organic food in the produce section at stores are NOT sprayed with pesticides or chemicals, nor are they modified in any way to grow faster and larger. This is GOOD. So, not all tomatoes are going to be perfectly round, and not every single lettuce leaf is going to be free of little holes made by another peckish critter. If a little worm or grub thinks this lettuce is good to eat, then I feel safe eating it too! It’s the shiny, almost glowing produce that sits on the displays week after week, not decomposing at all that worries me.

When we ingest pesticides, chemicals, or GMO food, our bodies don’t recognize it as nutrients. Some of the non-organic tomato fruit cells may be recognized, but the other junk just gets shipped off and stored out of the way in fat cells… Wait, what?!?! The “fresh produce” we eat a ton of (to replace the crappy, nutrient-void/empty carbs like pastas and breads) is making us get fat??? Exactly! AND, it can also make our brains run slower (making us look/feel stupid) and it can prevent absorption of nutrients in the small intestine making us feel sluggish (or lazy). This sucks, in layman’s terms. By eating/drinking our non-organic greens,we still run the risk of getting fat, stupid and lazy! The safest and healthiest thing to do is to go as organic as you possibly can. Local produce is also good, as long as it isn’t sprayed. Always ask the vendor where their food comes from and ask whether they know it’s sprayed. If they don’t know, don’t buy it. Most hot-house produce isn’t sprayed either, so remember that when making your market choices if higher prices for organic labels is an issue for you – it definitely was for me! Also, if you have access to a local farmer’s market, make use of it. There are ridiculous savings to be made buying produce this way. (At the store one organic cucumber is $2.99. At my local farmer’s stand that grows in a local hot house, I get 5 cucumbers for $2.50!) Make a change to your weekly shopping list and make do. It is better to alter your meal plan ideas in the short term, than allow the build up of chemicals it will cause in your body over the long term. Of course the BEST thing you can do is GROW your own veggies! Start small with a few pots of herbs so you don’t get overwhelmed. I really dislike it when my over gets whelmed! 😉

Now, things like avocados, bananas, mangoes and pineapples in this part of the world (Southern Ontario) do have to be bought from an overseas vendor. So, I make sure I really want/need those item before they get into my cart.

I decided to write about this topic because I have been profoundly affected by my decision to switch almost entirely to organic produce. I made the decision based on research I had been reading and hearing about regarding the toxins in GMO produce and I finally realized that despite my switching to a gluten free and mostly dairy free diet over a year ago, I was still the same size and weight. This didn’t make sense to me scientifically since everyone and their dogs will drop at least 5 lbs when they go gluten free. When I made the change to organic I dropped about 20 lbs in 2 – 3 months! Incredible. And EVERYONE noticed. I also have more energy and better clarity of thought. I can organize myself better throughout the week because I have the mental stamina to focus for as long as I need to on my tasks. So even if your primary focus isn’t losing weight, making the change to organic will allow you to be better at being YOU. The toxins from sprayed produce don’t just get washed away. They build up and up and up until they reach levels that the body can no longer store. Then we get regular sniffles and colds, are plagued by allergies, get depressed, or the worst tragedy, develop a chronic and/or life-threatening illness like cancer. Read about Kris Carr’s journey from cancer to health with organic green juice HERE.

Tera Warner is another healthy living expert with a lot of information and programs on how to make positive changes to your lifestyle. Check her out HERE.

If you found this article helpful, share it with your nearest and dearest. I love getting new followers! And please, start a discussion about this topic in the comments. I am always interested in new information on this topic.

Peace and Organic Carrots!

Smokers have it right… sort of.

In chi, Life skills, mind, music, Nia, Nia Class, spirit, Tai Chi on February 15, 2012 at 6:31 am

Smokers have something going for them that non-smokers don’t. It’s the required 15 minute break every few hours throughout the day. No one seems to question them. No one tells them they can’t go. After all, they are addicted. They are sick and cannot help themselves. I mean, who else do you know, who doesn’t smoke, takes a 15 minute respite away from their job, desk, daily routine, whatever! totally and completely for themselves at regular intervals through the day? Ha! Speaking from personal experience here, I have been both: a smoker and a non smoker. I am currently a non smoker, and sometimes I miss the nasty, stinky cancer stick just because it gave me a “legitimate reason” to have some me time. Because, you know, if you have been around a smoker who hasn’t had a cigarette for a while, they can match even the meanest PMSing woman! So without much ado, we let the smokers slink off to poison themselves into a stupor where brain fog is reset, disallowing clear thought and fresh emotion to rock their lives into something more creative and lively. Creativity and feeling alive can be unpredictable and a little scary from time to time; but now that I am a non smoker, I wouldn’t want my life any other way.

However, I would like to take back my regular 15 minute breaks! But, instead of huddling a minimum of 10 feet away from the building in the freezing sleet or blistering heat (depending on your time of year!), I would like to roll out my yoga mat and stretch. Or, play some music and dance.

In some large airports there are specific locations designated for smokers that don’t require them to entirely leave the terminal. This convenience allows them to smoke without the hassle of having to leave and trudge back through security again. Outside many public buildings there are large garbage receptacles with a plate of sand on the top where the smokers can easily put out their butts. And it’s only been a few years in some cities where smoking has been prohibited in most public social establishments. At least now going out dancing doesn’t include inhaling second hand smoke as necessary evil of the activity! But as evidence grows and people wake up to the devastating effects of smoking to health, these little details of convenience will also continue to disappear. Soon, even the smokers won’t have any recourse to public areas to satiate themselves and relax in this mad world!

So, what if we replaced all the little conveniences smokers have and had, with a healthy and progressive collection of spaces to put down a yoga mat to stretch or meditate or dance? Each hotel, office building, grocery store, mall and airport could afford a room for this. It could be a sanctuary to calmly and quickly recharge with short stints of one’s personal favourite centring activity, be it yoga, dance, mediation, tai chi, Qi gong or whatever! The closest I have seen to this idea is the super short massages (or massages by the minute) in airports. It’s perfect really. If you are spending lots of time cramped up without much space to move and stretch while traveling, getting someone to give your muscles a quick shake up and rub down is very helpful. So why not take it one step further and provide spaces to take on the responsibility ourselves? Wouldn’t a movement to create small oases all over the cities for the sole purpose of rejuvenation and relaxation send out ripples of peace through our civilization? I feel we desperately need more access in our day to day lives to peace and relaxation. After all, it is frequently touted that it is from a place of peaceful relaxation where most creativity stems. Being hunched and tense and stressed only makes us weak, tired and irritable. There is no room there for open and free thought or inspiration!

On an aside, I think this short, frequent practice is different from a regular exercise routine. This practice will surely enhance one’s physical body, but it should not replace longer workouts. Just think of smokers who workout! I know that many professional dancers smoke, yet they are very physically active. This 15 minute repeating interval is for our holistic sanity. Within the swirl of daily activity there needs to be accents of stillness. From the stillness we can reconnect to our inner guiding voice or higher/authentic self. The more we connect with it, the easier it will be to forgive  – being cut off while driving, waiting in line when in a hurry. It will be easier to see the beauty that surrounds us everywhere and let this Love buoy us along our path. I know that my Nia practice can only improve from these 15 minute respites. I can already sense my creativity gasping for the space to reboot and tap into the musical cosmos that sends me magical messages about new music and fun focuses to use in class!

I am starting today! I may not have a specified location to roll out my mat or play music, but I know I can find a place to stretch. I have actually done yoga in airports while waiting for the next leg of my journey to start boarding. I take a space out of the way of traffic and move through a selection of poses that call to me. And every single person who looked my way, either smiled, nodded in silent agreement, or spoke to me in passing about what a great idea that was. People are ready to embrace these places of restful rejuvenation. I just need to find a way to start them! And for the time being, I will start with myself. This is where all great change across the world starts – the self. I will take 15 minutes every 3 hours today, where I stretch through a few of my favourite yoga postures. I will focus on my  breathing to energize my cells with plenty of fresh oxygen, and I will quiet my mind, sending my clamouring thoughts to my internal answer machine to pick up once my 15 minutes are done. When I am at home I will most likely dance for 15 minutes or meditate, since I can control my personal environment more.

I would love to hear what you will do to start this movement. Comment below and share this post with others! Let the Conscious Movement begin!

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