Category: Wellness

marybeth

Using the Breath to Uplift Your Energy

The breath is one of the most powerful tools we have at our disposal for altering negative thought patterns and staying centered in the present moment. Simply taking a moment during the day to close your eyes and breathe deeply makes such a difference in terms of your mood, mindset and even your productivity levels.

There are endless yogic breathing techniques you can try to engage your parasympathetic nervous system and feel more peaceful within minutes. Breathing truly is one of the most effective methods for calming the mind and uplifting your mood, and the best part is that you can seamlessly incorporate these exercises into your day without disrupting your schedule.

To get you started, here are five tips for using the breath to uplift your energy and stay focused:

1. Add a mala to the mix. Using your mala beads during your breathing or meditation practice image3can add a grounding, calming method as it gives you a tangible object to hold onto as you find your zen. All the Tiny Devotions malas make for lovely meditation tools, but the Amethyst Om Mala is especially useful for opening and clearing the mind during your practice.

2. Keep the spine long and erect. While you can choose to lie down during your breathing practice, this often leads to accidental nap time! Instead, try sitting cross legged, propped up on a block or a pillow, with your spine erect, shoulders down and the crown of th
e head leading up towards the sky. This will ensure the energy is flowing freely throughout your body and lead to a more effective practice.

3. Set the mood. While you may be at the office or in a public washroom during your breathing practice, do your best to find or create a space that feels peaceful to you. If you’re at home, light candles and keep elements of nature nearby like crystals, plants or water fixtures. This will help to amplify the healing powers of the breath and really set the tone for your meditation practice.

4. Inhale slowly through the nose for four counts, hold the breath for four counts and exhale for four counts, then try counting each inhale and exhale up to ten. As you focus on counting your inhales and exhales, you’ll find your mind beginning to slow down and the relaxation response kicking in. If you give the mind an occupation other than worrying, fretting or making endless to-do lists, you’ll find yourself feeling more zen in no time.

5. Meditate on the breath. Think about the coolness of the air coming in through your nostrils and the warm air coming out to stay centred during your breathing practice. Or, imagine the breath coming in through the bottom of your feet and leaving through the top of your head as you exhale. You could also imagine the breath as bright, white light travelling through your entire system, cleansing the organs and tissues in your body and bringing peace to your entire being. Get creative and think of a few visualization techniques that work for you to support your practice.

How do you use the breath to uplift your energy? Let us know in the comments below!

Screen Shot 2017-08-29 at 10.59.47 AMBorn and raised in Toronto, Kenzie is a writer, blogger and yoga teacher. She loves all things beautiful, magical and free-spirited, and she’s passionate about seeking inspiration everywhere.

ChoosingMantra

Discovering Your Mantra

In ancient times, mantras were handed down by teachers or gurus. Nowadays many people can easily feel overwhelmed by trying to discover their personal mantra. We’re here to let you know that you have the ability to discover and create your own! You just have to know what you’re looking for.

The term “mantra” comes from two ancient Sanskrit words:

MantraIllustration

Mantra directly translates to “instrument of thought” and is a powerful sound and/or set of vibrations. It is formed with a single word, sentence or phrase that you repeat to yourself during meditations to keep focused. We use them to keep the mind connected, our souls energized and our spirit aligned with our manifesting intentions. By regularly meditating with your mantra your mind connects positive intentions with actions, leaving no room for negativity.

Here are some tips on how to discover the perfect mantra for you right now:

    • Start by asking yourself the following important questions
    • What do I need from the universe?
    • What am I looking to create in my life?
    • Do any of the ancient sanskrit mantras have personal meaning or relevance to me, or am I more of a modern girl?

If you’re new to mantras, don’t pick something too complicated. It should be easy to repeat and remember.

You’re never limited to only one, not in a single day or ever! Discover what’s right for you as you experience life and grow in your unique way. 

To get started here are some of our fav mantras here on Team TD

Modern Day Mantras

  1. “I am loved
  2. “I am open to the abundance of the universe.”
  3. “Where I am right now is exactly where I need to be.”
  4. I am worthy
  5. “I am open to change

Traditional Sanskrit Mantras

Sanskrit is an ancient and sacred language that some linguists have described as the “perfect language”. The pronunciation evokes a unique vibration in the Universe, putting in motion whatever you’re looking to manifest.

  1. “OM”: The sound of the universe.

Pronounced ( Awe – oo – mmmm) when chanted it vibrates at 432 Hz which is the same frequencies found everywhere throughout nature! So by chanting “ommmmmm” we’re acknowledging and connecting with all living beings, nature and the universe itself!

   2.“Om Namah Shivaya”: “I honor the divinity within myself”

This is one of the most powerful ancient mantras, and it has been said, that regular practice of it will bring you closer to the divine nature within yourself

   3. “Lokah Samastah Sukinoh Bhavantu”:  “May all beings everywhere be happy and free, and may the thoughts, words, and actions of my own life contribute in some way to that happiness and to that freedom for all.”

Kindness is so gangster, why not wish happiness and love for all people? You may be surprised by how much wishing wellness and prosperity on others can bring back to you in turn.

So now that you have done your research, and discovered which mantra works for you, give it a try! Grab your mala or sacred jewelry, your favorite candle and get comfy. When you first begin to meditate with your mantra notice how you feel. Does it create positive physical sensations, emotions or a state of being? Do you feel empowered? Every soul vibrates at different frequencies so not every mantra will work for everyone. Be patient in finding what is right for you.

Meditating with mantras is a spiritual practice, and just like anything, time and dedication are key you your success. Whether you create your own unique mantra or feel inspired to use a traditional sanskrit one, make sure you take the time to sit, be still, travel within and confirm with the universe the intention you are looking to manifest

Do you meditate with a mantra? Where did you get yours?

Feel free to share your mantra experiences in the comments below.

TD_ChocolateFacial

National Chocolate Day

One of the best days of the year has FINALLY rolled back around… National Chocolate Day is here!  My first instinct was to celebrate this glorious day with a mocha  and chocolate donut for breakfast, chocolate cake for lunch, chocolate ice cream for dinner and my body weight in Milk Chocolate Lindts for dessert.  However, for obvious reasons , I don’t think that’s really the best idea.

Still, determined to celebrate, I meandered my way into my kitchen this morning to see what goodies I could whip up using one of my all time favourite ingredients. I found my 24%, Dutch process cocoa powder, some brown sugar and my trusty coconut oil.  These three simple ingredients make the most perfect lip scrub you could ever need.  The brown sugar exfoliates, the coconut oil moisturizes, and the cocoa powder makes it smell (and taste) amazing. My lips are so silky soft now, and prepped for all the beautiful fall lipstick shades I’ve been itching to use ever since the first leaf fell off my tree last week.

LipScrubJust mix ½ cup of coconut oil with 2 cups of brown sugar and 3 tbsp of cocoa powder. If you’re feeling adventurous add a little peppermint essential oil or even some high quality vanilla extract!  That’s really all there is too it, and you can keep it in an airtight container for up to 6 months.

Thoroughly satisfied with myself for finding the perfect way to celebrate International Chocolate Day without having to do endless burpies the next day, I went rummaging through my fridge for a snack.  Inspiration hit the second my eyes landed on the greek yogurt.  I often plaster it all over my face to help reduce fine lines, dissolve dead skin and tighten my pores. It also works great as a deep conditioner in my hair!  In my world, greek yogurt can do no wrong.    

I spooned some into a bowl, added a tbsp of honey, and a heaping tablespoon of cocoa powder, and proceeded to paint the delicious mixture all over my face.  Honey is amazingly moisturizing, and really amps up that glow we are always searching for. It also has a ton of antioxidants, which help slow the aging process. Cocoa powder is also packed with antioxidants, which help repair skin cells.I let my mask sit for 20 minutes, and gently wiped it off with a warm, damp cloth.  Followed up with my favorite moisturizer, and my face has never felt so refreshed!

All it took was six simple ingredients and 40 minutes (including a 15 minute yoga flow while my mask worked it’s magic) to a bright, tight and smooth face.  If you ask me, that is the best way to celebrate a day like today without overindulging!  Don’t get me wrong though, I still had a chocolate bar.

Chocolate Lip Scrub
1/2 Cup Coconut Oil
2 Cups Brown Sugar
3 TBSP Cocoa Powder

Mix all ingredients together to form a paste.
Can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 6 months

Chocolate Face Mask
1/4 cup Full Fat Plain Greek Yogurt
1 TBSP Honey
1 TBSP Cocoa Powder

Mix all ingredients together.
Paint on your face, and let sit for 15-20 minutes
Gently wipe off with a warm damp washcloth

 

 

GratitudeHelpsWithChange

How Gratitude Helps Us Deal With Change

Back to school is a time of change for many families. Whether it’s our children going to school for the first time or becoming empty nesters, change is always a part of this time of the year. For many of us, it can also be a difficult time as we adjust from a carefree summer to the organization and scheduling that tends to rule our lives when our kids are in school. How could we use gratitude to help us deal with all of these changes?

Personally, I am super excited for the beginning of school. As a work from home parent, it’s not always easy to get much work done in the summer, so I find gratitude in the return to a regular routine. It’s not the same for everyone however and for many parents, the return to school can be a very emotional time.

How does gratitude help?

Let’s say you’re finding it difficult to say goodbye to summer. It feels like it’s gone by far too quickly and there wasn’t enough time to check off everything on your summer to-do list. A great place to start would be to review your summer in detail. Take a look at the camera roll on your phone and choose some of the highlights. Make a list of all of the fun things you did together! You can even take it one step further and print out a few photos to make a small album. Each photo provides an opportunity to give thanks for a new memory that was created. Keep your album in your purse or on your desk and when you’re feeling sad about the end of the summer, flip through the photos with gratitude.

Dealing with little ones going to school for the first time

Four years ago, I put my 3 year old daughter on the school bus for the first time. She insisted that she wanted to take the bus on her first day. I wasn’t so sure about it; however I wanted to allow her to be independent. It was a tough day for me, and I know there were tears. Using gratitude can help turn these difficult moments around for us.

Here are some of the things we can be grateful for on the first day of school:

  • A public education system. For most of us, our children can attend school at no extra cost to the parents as our public school systems are paid for by our taxes. In many developing countries, families have to find a way to pay tuition for school in order for their children to attend school at all.
  • School bus transportation. This is easy to take for granted since in most communities, there is busing available for students who live outside of walking distance to school. School buses are one of the safest ways for our children to arrive at school (16 times safer than travelling by car).
  • Teachers who are willing to teach our children. It’s true that not every teacher loves their job and that some teachers aren’t passionate about their work. However I would say that in my experience, the majority of teachers that I know are very passionate about their work and take their job very seriously. Even if you’re not happy with the teacher that your child has this year, thankfully they will be exposed to many other teachers and staff throughout their day. And sometimes that other teacher may make all of the difference in the world.
  • School supplies. This is a hot topic on social media. Should parents be buying school supplies or not? Let’s choose to avoid the controversy and be thankful that we have access to everything our kids could possibly ever need for school, at super low prices. Years ago I visited the Dominican Republic and on our trip we had the chance to pack backpacks full of school supplies for the kids from a nearby village. Giving those kids about $20 worth of school supplies was an incredible feeling because most of them would not have any if it wasn’t for the generosity of others.
  • A full lunch box. If you were able to fill your child’s lunch box this morning, give thanks. Again, we hear a lot of grumbling on social media about making school lunches. This summer I volunteered at the Food4Kids program to pack summer food packs. During the school year, there are 400 kids in my own community that don’t have enough food to eat on the weekends and also rely on school food programs for food all week.
  • New shoes and clothing. Back to school shopping can be expensive, especially for those with larger families or that have uniforms to buy. For most of, we can figure out how to pay for these items and send our kids to school well-dressed with shoes that fit. I just finished reading An Invisible Thread by Laura Schroff. It’s the story of the relationship between Laura, a 35 year old sales executive, and Maurice, an 11 year old panhandler. When she shares his struggles about going to school in smelly, dirty clothes that don’t fit … it’s a great reminder of how blessed we are.

What are some things that you can be grateful for this month? How can you use these simple gratitude reminders to help you get through these times of change?

Julie-128

Julie Boyer’s mission in life is to inspire people to build their lives on a foundation of gratitude through her brand, Wake Up With Gratitude™. Julie’s first book, 30 Days of Gratitude, The Gratitude Program That Will Change Your Life, became an Amazon bestseller when it was released in May 2013. She is also the founder of the 30 Day Whole Body Detox Program, a healthy, whole food detox that nourishes your body at the cellular level. Julie also loves to mentor and develop leaders through her mentorship program as well. A former triathlete, Julie has completed 3 full Ironman Distance triathlons. Julie lives in Ontario, Canada with her 6 year old daughter and husband Dan. She can be reached on her blogInstagramTwitter and Facebook.

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Think Abundantly, Live Abundantly

When we think of abundance, we tend to see dollar signs dancing before our eyes. But holding an attitude of abundance means so much more than having money in the bank: we can be abundant in all areas of our lives from time, to love, to health.

How can we cultivate an attitude of abundance in our daily lives? Using your thoughts to gravitate towards feeling more abundant every day is one way to bring more good into your life. Although it’s not always easy to control your mind, the more you focus on it, the more it will begin to feel like second nature.

To get you started, here are three steps towards thinking and living abundantly:

Be conscious of your beliefs

What are your true, core beliefs about life? This may take some time to figure out, but we all have deep-seated thoughts and feelings about the way the world works and what is truly possible for us. Maybe your parents instilled in you a fear of being destitute, and you’ve carried this belief into adulthood. Whether you have negative beliefs about work, money, or relationships, take a moment to jot them down honestly in a journal without judgment. You may be surprised to find out what you really think about the world and yourself.

Affirm the positive

Once you have your beliefs out on the table, flip each belief on its head by pairing it up with a positive affirmation. Maybe you’ve always believed your dream of being a famous singer is impossible, or that you’ll never find your soul mate. Whatever it is, jot down a more positive, good-feeling belief next to it. Even if you don’t believe the positive affirmation yet, write it down anyway and commit it to memory.

Focus on feeling abundant

Now that you’ve established a better feeling thought for each of your negative beliefs, all you have to do is focus on the positive thought. Every time you feel a negative feeling creeping up, take a deep inhale and exhale it out completely through the mouth. Remember your positive affirmations, and try to bring a more abundant feeling into your awareness. Every time you feel small, shrunken, depleted or yucky, that’s your body telling you that you’re focusing on a negative belief and straying from the path of abundance. Use the way you feel as a compass, and your breath as a tool for ridding yourself of stuck emotions. Keep the inhales and exhales flowing freely and deeply, and you’re one step closer to bringing abundance into every area of your life.

How do you live abundantly each day? What tools, rituals and practices do you like to use to cultivate abundance in your life?

Screen Shot 2017-08-29 at 10.59.47 AMBorn and raised in Toronto, Kenzie is a writer, blogger and yoga teacher. She loves all things beautiful, magical and free-spirited, and she’s passionate about seeking inspiration everywhere. Kenzie also writes young adult novels, which you can find on Wattpad (http://my.w.tt/UiNb/lQr2X68ODF)