Eat Like a Yogi

The practice of yoga and balanced, healthy eating share many common principles.

By Beth Shaw, founder of YogaFit.com
Yoga means a “Union” between the mind and body, your inside and your outside. And the practice of yoga requires coordination between breathing, moving into poses and introspection, all of which have a subtle yet obvious effect on the mind. The mind takes an active part in any practice even if it remains behind the scenes. This mind-body union applies directly to healthy eating in the same way – the very real need and desire for a perfect balance, and the union of food groups; and eating in a mindful and balanced way.
In yoga (just like nutrition) each one of us has our own special needs and abilities, as well as the postures (or foods) that fuel our lives and our workouts. The most important thing is to find the balance that’s right for you personally. Another main theme in practicing yoga is increased awareness and paying closer attention to the way you do things, because every small detail has its importance and effect on the whole picture. When performing Sun Salutations, for example, we pay attention to every detail and every action and to the way we answer these calls to action. You might seek the same for the food you eat. Here’s how you can eat like a yogi – like me — to become more aware of fueling your body and make healthier, and more balanced food choices every day:

Avoiding Heavy Meat
You don’t have to be a vegetarian to do yoga, but as you become more aware of your body, you’ll find that eating meat makes you feel heavy and a meal plan based mostly on vegetables helps you maintain the light and energized feeling you get from practicing yoga. The yoga diet is especially important if we want to elevate our consciousness to where we’re feeling love and compassion for all living beings — including animals.

Hydration
You must consume fresh water daily, but the amount varies from person to person and it also depends on your active lifestyle. Recommended fluid intake is 7 to 11 cups based on 2,000 calories a day. The symptoms of dehydration are easy to detect as long as you stay aware. By the time you feel thirsty during yoga or other activities, you’ve already entered the initial stages of dehydration. Most of your fluids should be water, but yogis also drink a lot of antioxidant-rich green tea, and we tend to avoid excessive alcohol because that would throw our bodies out of balance. I drink a minimum of two liters of green tea every day. The following foods are high on a yogi’s shopping list because they contain at least 80 percent of water and help you stay hydrated:
-    Soy milk
-    Berries
-    Lettuce
-    Watermelon
-    Celery
-    Spinach
-    Cabbage

Protein Sources
One of the most profound tenets of yoga philosophy is “Ahimsa,” or do no harm to yourself or others. This literally translates to some yoga practitioners as “Eat no meat” and drink no dairy from cows because of the harm that comes to these creatures in the farming and slaughtering process. I think that’s a highly personal decision but I eat mainly fish and tofu, nuts and seeds, rice and beans for my protein sources. I eat a lot of sushi, salads and vegetable soups (lentil soup is my favorite) as my main meals.

Mostly Grains and Produce
“Prana” refers to the breath of life, and eating with prana refers to the life power inherent in natural foods, including fresh fruit, grains, and vegetables. This also means avoiding processed foods made with artificial sweeteners and foods that damaged by lengthy cooking. This kind of fast food has no “prana” and is thought to take away from your life force. For example, I often snack on raw almonds and pure goat’s milk yogurt rather than extra salted or roasted nuts or processed yogurts with fruit artificially added.

Eating Out
I have a few easy tricks when I dine out that allow me to control my portions, eat more healthy fruits and grains, and enjoy my company more than I would by ordering too many alcoholic drinks and overeating too many fattening foods. For instance, I typically order one or two appetizers for a main meal, mainly veggie-based, rather than ordering an appetizer plus a main entrée. If there’s a large entrée that I absolutely have to have, something heavier with lots of cheese or excess fat, I will not deprive myself. But I will ask my server to only bring me half the servings and immediately pack the rest in a doggie bag so I’m not even tempted to overeat. I sandwich a glass of wine with a big glass of water before and also after and I always finish with white or green tea to aid my digestion and help me feel full.

Cut Back on Junk Food
Although a grilled American cheese sandwich on white bread with a side of French fries is technically vegetarian, that is not the sort of diet we are talking about here! Try replacing junk with nutritious substitutes: home-brewed ice tea for sodas, whole grain cookies for those made with refined flour, roasted soy beans instead of peanuts, baked chips instead of fried, and so on.

B-6 Shots
I get a weekly B-6 shot because this nutrient is involved in no less than 100 different chemical reactions in your body at any given minute. According to scientists, vitamin B6 works with other enzymes to regulate all sorts of processes in your body. Studies have shown the benefits of vitamin B6 in relieving edema and reducing water retention, improving magnesium deficiency, carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis and other chronic inflammation conditions such as rheumatism.

Vitamins and Minerals
Fatigue, lethargy, colds, allergies and infections, and slow wound healing are all symptoms of poor nutrition, and indicate the need for boosting your immune system through vitamins and other supplements. As most doctors recommend, I do take a daily multl-vitamin.  In addition to the supplements below, I also suggest eating as many organic whole foods as possible to boost your overall health, and eat foods that have not been treated with hormones and other artificial chemicals.
-    Take the herb Echinacea when your immune system is weak, such as during extreme stress, winter travel, and overtraining.
-    Eat foods packed with natural Vitamin E, an antioxidant and nutrient that slows down the aging process and strengthens body cells that fight infection. Good examples include nuts, vegetable oils and whole grains like brown rice and quinoa.
-    Choose foods containing the flavonoids commonly found in plants, such as berries, pomegranates, and melons. Flavonoids are powerful antioxidants that may reduce the risk of cancers, heart disease and other serious conditions.
-    Immune-boosting antioxidant fruits should be a mainstay of your daily requirements because they pack a Vitamin C punch, a nutrient associated with preventing colds and revving your immune system. In addition to a supplement during cold and flu season, eat cups of leafy green veggies, bell peppers, kiwi, red cherries, melon and all citrus fruits are all excellent sources.
-    Omega 3 oils are often lacking in peoples’ diets in the United States and need to increase their intake to glean the myriad benefits because it reduces inflammation, reverses signs of aging, prevents heart disease, maintains optimum blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and gives relief from joint pain, migraines, depression, autoimmune diseases and many other conditions. Good sources are walnuts, flax, soy and fatty fish such as salmon.

Finally, eating like a yogi – with awareness and gratitude for the bounty set before you – means being kind to yourself when and if you do overeat. It means eating slowly and savoring each bite. It means supplying your friends and family with home-cooked meals and nutrient-rich whole foods. When you eat like a yogi, you hope to eat in sensible portion sizes, with a blend of tastes and flavors that suit you. Try to avoid strict dieting and skipping meals because that’s not a healthy practice to adopt for your body or your mind. If you’re an athlete and train really hard either in or out of the gym, you should also consume adequate calories for your size and frame. Diets too low in calories and healthy fats may cause inadequate intake of antioxidant-rich vitamins and minerals from foods. Deprivation diets and too-strict eating practices are often too low in protein, and they can also compromise your immune system.
This may seem overwhelming, but taking small steps and being kind to yourself and aware of what you put in your mouth is a great way to start eating like a yogi.

ECA/THRIVE! November 10-13, 2011 at the Harbor Beach Resort and Spa in Fort Lauderdale, Fl.

Bring the family to this year’s ECA/THRIVE event!  The Marriott Harbor Beach Resort and Spa is perfect for everyone.  This resort is on it’s own private beach with deluxe rooms, an award winning restaurant and beautiful full service spa.  The pool and grounds are lush and spacious with tennis, basketball, beach volleyball and a large selection of water sports right at your fingertips.

Conference programming is diverse and intense. Some of our offerings
include: Ken Baldwin’s Posture and Profits; programming from Chek
Institute; Nutrition and Metabolism; Special Populations; ACE’s Small
Group Athletic Training and Recovery; the Forgotten Training Variable;
TRX suspension training; Kettlebell training; new BOSU programming;
along with JumpSport; Med balls; Core training; Bootcamp; HITT
training; Equinox VIPR wars; ISCA jump rope and kickboxing sessions;
MMA Bootcamp; Kardio Kombat and PT 24/7™ with Billy Blanks to round
out the conditioning sessions with presenters Krista Popowych, Bill
Sonnemaker, Mindy Mylrea, Patrick Goudeau, Shannon Fable, Pete McCall,
Joelle Manard, Geoff Bagshaw, Paul Katami, Abbie Appel, Michelle
Mascari, Lisa Wheeler, Phillip Gray, Bishop Garland, Gail Bannister
Munn, Marti Peters, Mark Grevelding, Len Kravitz, Scott Josephson,
Lisa Gaylord, Keli Roberts, Jay Blahnik and Petra Kolber.

Dance, Spinning® Aquatic Fitness, and Step are well represented with
ZUMBA®, and ZUMBA® Gold, LaBlast, Motown Moves, Latin Zone, !Ay
Caramba!, Glee Goes Group, Hydro Zen, Aqua Dance, AEA programing, Aqua
20-20-20, Flirty Girl, Groove Method, Drums Alive®, and more featuring
Lawrence Biscontini, Jessica Esposito, Harold Sanco, Jennifer Galardi,
Misty Tripoli, Erick Santana, Jackie Henderson, Joy Prouty, Manny
Velazquez, Josh Taylor, Scott Schlesinger, Angie Scott, Carrie Ekins,
Louis Van Amstel, and more.

Mindful programming takes center stage with new programs from Core
Fusion, Peak Pilates, PHI Pilates, Pilatesstick®, Bodyblade®, and a
variety of Yoga programming with presenters Jill Miller, Michael
Fritske, Ton Voogt, Fred DeVito, Elisabeth Halfpapp, Robert Sherman,
Leslee Bender, Lashaun Dale, and Christine Romani-Ruby.

This year there are some GREAT special events!  Our WELCOME DANCE
PARTY! on Thursday will feature LaBlast! with Dancing with The Stars’
own Louis Van Amstel. Friday night we will feature ZUMBA® FITNESS
PARTY! with Armando Salcedo & Heidy Torres. Saturday night we will
feature DRUM’s ALIVE LATIN BEATS with Carrie Ekins.

This year’s PRE Convention programming include: BodyART™ Training,
Spinning® Instructor Orientation, Spinning® Force with Josh Taylor,
Kettlebell Concepts Total Body KB Blast™ Group Exercise Instructor
Training, Pilatesstick® Foundations Training, Yoga Tune Up Core
Integration Immersion, and ACE’s Functional Training and Assessment.

Our POST Convention programming begins on Sunday November 13th and
includes ACE’s Integrated Fitness Training™ Model, ZUMBA Basic Skills
Instructor Training, DRUMS ALIVE® Instructor Training, and Flirty Girl
Fitness Flirtification.

The event brochure and web information is currently posted. Please
check our website or call our office for more information and to
register NOW!

Owning Your Power is Sexy!

by Patricia Moreno

When I was 12 years old I had a bone marrow disease in my left arm. The night before a possible amputation my father sat by my side and took me through a guided visualization of an army of little soldiers marching into the infection. With picks and shovels they cleaned it out and one by one we watched as they marched the infection out of my body. Except for my left arm being a few inches shorter it is now in perfect health.

I didn’t remember this story until many years later.  I was in a yoga class with my teacher John Friend. One of his assistants kept coming over to me while I was in downward dog and kept trying to adjust my shoulder. In frustration I plopped on my mat asking myself “what is it? Why can’t I pull my shoulder back?”  I didn’t really expect an answer but it came to my mind loud and clear. “Your left arm is shorter” and then the whole story came back to me and I jumped up with excitement rushing to John to tell him my left arm was shorter and that was why I couldn’t do the position the way he had been trying to get me to do it.  He looked at me and said “it isn’t likely unless you had some trauma to your arm” and excitedly I said, “I did I did when I was 12 I had a bone infection”.  He said, “Ok use a block under your hand”.

In that moment it was like so many pieces of my past made sense. I remembered being 12 years old and so much of what my father had taught me about the power of our thinking.  I realized that one of the most challenging times had been not only my greatest teacher but the foundation of the creation of IntenSati, the workout I developed that combines positive affirmations and movement so we can exercise our power to choose what we think, say, and do.  It also reminded me that to remember that the guidance from within me is always there and asking my higher Self for the answer is a practice that I could develop.

We have the power to choose what we think, say, and do and the perspective we choose is what will determine our actions and our experience. Training ourselves to choose to look for what is right about our past, our present, and to intend a future that is getting better in every way, is our right.  Few people develop this ability and therefore many walk around in a state of fear, worry and doubt instead of gratitude and appreciation for what was, what is, and what will be. The choice is ours every single day and in this way we are always co-creating our reality. As above so is below, this is what I now know.

Affirmative prayer is praying believing it is already done. IntenSati is the practice of affirmative prayer. When we add motion to the affirmations we add emotion and emotion creates change.  We become it, we breath life into it and we call it forth.  Every thought is a prayer and worrying is praying for what we don’t want.  It’s our faith that determines the outcome and worrying is preparing for failure, positively affirming is preparing for success.  We are blessed with the power to choose. What will you choose today?

Every day in every way
I co-create my reality
As above so is below
This is what I know

Today I choose to see
What is right about me
When I ask it is given
What I believe I receive
I am preparing for success
I am available for guidance

I have the power to choose
What I think, eat, and do
Where fear has blocked me
Love now surrounds me

Everything is right about me.
And so it is!

Join me in choosing to believe that we are always right where we need to be. No mistakes have been made, none can be made and none will be made. It’s all happening for our benefit.

Life is good! Go in peace to love and serve the world and eat your veggies. Owning your power is sexy!
Patricia
www.satilife.com

Become an IntenSati Leader
The leader-training program unlike any other is a living philosophy. An IntenSati Leader stands for excellence in his or her own life. We practice the art of deliberately choosing thoughts, words and actions in order to support our highest good. Join us for our next
4 day leader training!

If you are interested in becoming a leader, please visit
http://www.satilife.com/leader.html

Hatha Yoga: Body Toning Trend or Spiritual Practice? (Answer: Both)

Posted by Max Strom

A common criticism of Hatha Yoga (the kind you no doubt see being taught at your gym or local studio) is that it is not really a spiritual practice, but solely a body/health regime–and therefore the serious spiritual aspirant need not bother with it.

I offer a different viewpoint: That it can serve and foster the health of BOTH mind and body. The Yoga tradition teaches us that our bodies manifest our samskaras (inherent tendencies) carried into this life from our previous lives, and these samskaras predetermine much of our behavior—some good, some harmful.  By consciously manipulating the body with breathing practices and postures, we can change the crooked course of our samskaras—like the tail wagging the dog—altering the path of our life.

Healing is Healing

We hold our personal past emotional experiences, energetically, in our bodies. So many of us become inexplicably stuck on our path, not from lack of effort, but by the chains of the past known as anger, grief, and fear.  These buried emotions, like splinters in the heart, can be ultimately crippling to our spiritual practice because when we are in pain, we become self-centered and myopic.  When we heal, we become more empathetic, self-less, and sympathetic to the pain and welfare of others. 
Through the practice of Yoga, in particular the breathing practices, we can liberate these buried emotions and experience a rapid and meaningful transformation. Our spiritual intent, fueled with breath and powered by our will, ultimately realigns an emotionally misaligned body.

Healthy Body, Healthy Mind

It’s worth it to keep your body in top shape. Why? Because it’s the vehicle that transports and carries our minds. If your mind is a jet engine, but your body is a run-down 1969 Volkswagen bus, then the jet engine will be unable to make you fly.  A pain-free and vital body is the foundation to support meditation, all other practices, and daily life itself.

Yes, there are Hatha Yoga practices that are simply body toning workouts disguised as a spiritual practice. But there are also wonderful and amazing and sincere teachers available. Just like looking for a good doctor, ask around, dig a little until you find the real thing.

No matter what you believe or disbelieve spiritually – it doesn’t matter.  Yoga works, regardless of your belief system.  Try it and see for yourself.

Note: The ideal practice for someone over 40 years old is one hour a day, 5 days a week.  But do what you can with what you have and where you are.  Even just twenty minutes a day will have an impact.

Max Strom is a teacher, speaker, and author who teaches personal transformation and yoga. His latest book is “A Life Worth Breathing”. Please visit his website at MaxStrom.com.

Give Back Yoga Foundation

The Give Back Yoga Foundation is supporting the creative and inspiring work of yoga teachers around the country wishing to give back to un-served and under-served communities. Recent grant recipients included: James Fox, Bolinas, CA, Prison Yoga Project’s 3rd reprinting of “Yoga–A Path for Healing and Recovery,” which has now reached 5,000 prisoners nationwide; Karen Soltes, Washington, DC, to produce and distribute an audio CD of iRest Yoga Nidra specifically designed for Veterans and Active Duty Military Service Members; Daniel Hickman, Rockville MD, to produce and distribute a first-of-its kind video series, “VetsYoga,” to combat veterans, featuring interviews with vets who have found yoga to be essential for their healing process; and Mark Lerro, Chicago, IL, for yoga accessories to do yoga and breath-work at the Leprosarium outside Kharare, a village south of Kathmandu, Nepal.

Further information about Give Back Yoga can be found at www.givebackyoga.org

Savasana: Yoga for Insomnia

Savasana, or “corpse pose,” can work wonders for those who are challenged with anxiety or have difficulty catching their zzz’s.

This macabre sounding pose is very simple and can be done in any quiet environment. To minimize light and other distractions, place an eye pillow over your eyes.

1. Lay down on the ground, bed or sofa with your legs a couple of feet apart, knees propped over pillows or a yoga bolster, hands about 1 foot away from your sides and palms facing up.

2. Lightly touch your index fingers and thumbs together on both hands to create jnana mudra. Place your attention at the fingertips and begin to feel the heart’s pulsation there.

3. Inhale for a count of three heartbeats and exhale for a count of six heartbeats.

4. As you relax more deeply, increase the counts to inhale for four heartbeats and exhale for eight heartbeats.

5. Practice for a minimum of 10 minutes daily at the end of the day to induce relaxation and prepare the mind and body for sleeping.

Sweet dreams! For another insomnia remedy, I’ll be posting a video on Monday with a relaxing breath practice.