Cedarwood

Cedarwood has been around since biblical times (it gets a mention in Leviticus 14.4 and 14.6). The Egyptians used it for embalming the dead. In Tibet it was used for medicinal purposes. My favorite use was by the North American Indians. They used it in their spiritual practices. It became a symbol of protection for the earth. It’s said that at night animals would lie under cedar wood trees for the protection and rejuvenation the trees would bring them. Cool stuff!

It’s an antiseptic and antifungal oil and is considered a diuretic. Cedarwood has purifying and sedative properties. It’s perfect for conditions of the nervous and respiratory systems. Here are some other ideas for using cedarwood:

  • Improve skin conditions like acne, eczema, psoriasis
  • Improve cellulite
  • Prevent hair loss, dandruff
  • Relieve the symptoms of UTI
  • Water retention
  • Relieve the symptoms of bronchitis, cough, congestion
  • Help with nervous Tension, anxiety, ADHD
  • Anger
  • Pineal gland and ajna (third eye) chakra opening

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I love to diffuse cedarwood and find it mixes well with rosemary (memory), bergamot (anxiety), and clary sage (hormone balance), among others. Lavender and cedarwood in the diffuser at bedtime is a relaxing combination.This oil can be diluted and applied to the location needed. Add a drop to a dollop of shampoo for hair and scalp issues. Add to moisturizer to help with skin conditions and a drop in the mascara tube to grow eyelashes. Apply to the ajna chakra during spiritual practices.

How do you use cedarwood?

Namaste.

Melissa

This post reflects my own experiences with cedarwood.  It is NOT intended to be medical advice. I am NOT a healthcare professional. I’m simply sharing some of the ways I’ve used cedarwood to enhance my personal wellness. Please see your physician for help in treating any of the ailments discussed here.

 

Balance

Have you noticed that most of what I talk about relates back to the yoga mat? I see many people who want to work on their balance. They mean they want to be able to stand on one foot without falling over. What I know is that standing on one foot will lead to balance in other areas of their lives.

Our culture can be extreme. I think it comes from a desire to have control in a world that seems out of control. Marathon runners, low/no carb diets, workaholics…these are all ways we can be out of balance. The reverse is true as well. Too much screen time, couch potatoes, procrastination are at the other end. Somewhere in the middle is sweet spot.

Yoga uses the gunas to help us find balance. Rajas is the active, driven, passionate guna which is full of ego. Tamas is slower, full of chaos, anxiety, and destruction. Sattva is the harmonious guna, the one in the middle where there is balance, purity, and peace.

We need all three gunas to keep the world moving forward. Our work is to try to stay in a sattvic state more than a rajastic or tamastic state. Use rajas and tamas when needed but strive for the balance that comes from sattva.

Easier said than done, right? This is why I encourage you to come to your mat, breathe deeply, and find a comfortable, easy tree pose. Learn to hold it through any wobbles of the body or the mind. Trust that you’re learning more about balance than standing on one foot. Balance in the body will become balance in the mind and finally in every day life. Or at least most days. After all, balance is a practice too.

Namaste,

Melissahealthcoachheader2

Dig a Deeper Well

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If you follow me on Instagram you may have seen my recent video about digging a deeper well. It talked about the idea that instead of abandoning your current path you should dig in and go deeper. I felt that I couldn’t do this topic justice in 60 seconds so here’s more.

We live in a highly “disposable” world. We like instant gratification and when we’re finished with something we often toss it aside. It’s one thing to buy a bottle of water, drink it, and throw away the bottle. It’s another thing to *fill in the blank*, have difficulty with *fill in the blank*, and walk away from *fill in the blank*. Yes, *fill in the blank* could be anything – a job, a relationship, a personal change (like a diet or exercise program), a hobby.

I’ll use yoga as an example. When people first try yoga they attend class for 6 or 8 or 10 weeks. It’s going along quite well. They feel stronger or more  flexible. They breathe deeper. And then they hit a wall. The body has adjusted, the mind is clearer, people feel present. All good things, right? So why do so many people stop doing a yoga practice at this point? Because it becomes uncomfortable. This discomfort is because it’s actually changing them at a deep level and change is hard and scary. So they go off to dig another well.

The video asked you to keep digging the same well. When the practice is hard keep practicing. When you get scared take a deep breath and move forward. When you have the urge to throw it all away and learn basket-weaving instead, please remember to love yourself and push through your doubts. It doesn’t have to be perfect all the time. The growth is worth the discomfort, I promise.

I’m not suggesting that you stay in a dead-end job or abusive relationship. I’m asking you to be truthful about why you don’t want to dig this well. Is it truly because there’s no water at the bottom or because you don’t believe you deserve to drink from the well.

Namaste,

Melissa

 

Why I Join a CSA

CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. I want to share my experience with CSA’s.

Many years ago I read several books about food that changed the way I viewed the produce on my table. “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle” by Barbara Kingsolver was one of those books. “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” by Michael Pollan was another. I made the decision for my family that I wanted to eat local first, organic second whenever possible. So, I support as many local food based businesses as I can, including a CSA.

I’ve been in 3 or 4 different CSA’s over the years and each is slightly different. Most  require you to pay at the beginning of the growing season for the entire season. Each week you receive a box of produce from what they harvest for 20-26 weeks.

Being in a CSA brings me closer to my food. I’ve learned what grows well here in Indiana. The farmer sends a weekly email about what’s planted, what needs water, what has bugs, what’s doing well, and what isn’t. I get a sense of his process. I can visit the farm and see my food in the ground. I can shake the farmer’s hand and thank him for nourishing my family. I can see how my support helps to nourish his family.

I receive a variety of produce and a lot of it. Not just stuff I want or like but what’s naturally available at any given time over the summer. That sparks my creativity as I plan meals around the massive amount of produce in my kitchen. I often have enough to share with family and friends. I’ve learned to preserve food. We eat produce from the farmer all winter long. And trust me, you’ll never feel as healthy as you do after a summer full of fresh produce.

There are still spots open in my CSA. If you’re interested I’m happy to share details or answer questions. A google search will bring up CSA’s in your area. And if you participate in a CSA now please share your experience with us.

Namaste,

Melissa

 

 

 

Juicing and Blending

Juicing has been a hippie health practice since the 1960’s. Super green smoothies have become very popular in the last decade. Do both seem a little extreme to you? Do you wonder if there are benefits or if it’s all hype? Do you turn your nose up at anything green?

I teach a class designed to bring understanding to these crazy drinks. There are differences – you juice to meet certain needs and blend (as we call it) for others. There are similarities too. Both are full of nutrients. Both are an excellent way to add servings of vegetables and fruits to your diet. Both can facilitate wellness and healing.

My favorite thing about both is that you can be creative. A juice or blend should reflect what you need, what you like, and what you have on hand. With the right equipment both are easy to make and you’ll find something for everyone in your household. I know dogs who enjoy a good green smoothie from time to time. No, really! They love it.

The best part about the class is that we’ll make a few juices and a few blends so you can taste what’s possible. I’ll send you home with recipes and resources to help you get started. Then you can amaze your family and friends with all kinds of deliciousness.

The next class is Saturday. Sign up here by Friday at 5:00. And watch for another chance to take this class soon.

Namaste,

Melissa

Snacking

As a health coach snacking is a subject I cover frequently. I don’t know the statistics but if I had to guess I’d say we are a country of snackers. Food is available to most of us ALL THE TIME. As a result we tend to eat whatever we want, whenever we want.

I apply to following rules to snacks:

  • Try a glass of water first
  • Eat a whole food snack when possible
  • Eat a protein snack some of the timeimages
  • Make the snack naturally sweet (think fruit)
  • Snack between meals not instead of meals
  • Don’t snack after dinner/before bed

We snack mindlessly. Keep a food journal for a few days. You’ll be amazed. Snacking fills time or fills a void in our life. We snack when we feel  emotional or stressed or bored. We look to  food to fulfill us. Sometimes we snack only because we CAN.

The message I want to convey is YOU DON’T HAVE TO EAT EVERY TIME YOU THINK YOU’RE HUNGRY! Thankfully, these words found me today…

“When hungry, just eat.”

Whenever we eat or drink we have the opportunity to turn our attention to the vivid clarity of this very moment of experience – – if we take time to just eat.

From “How to practice Mindful Eating by Jan Chozen Bays
Lion’s Roar magazine

When you’re present make the right choice. Always. If you can stay present when you want to snack, you might decide you don’t want a snack at all. If you do want the snack then be present when you eat it. Make a good food choice and allow the food to nourish you.

Namaste,
Melissa

Why Do You Use Essential Oils?

This is another question I get a lot. I’m all about a holistic approach to life and to wellness. For me, that means I use a variety of natural solutions. Things like the neti pot and ear candles are common at my house. I view self-care as a holistic way to stay well. I also try to use commercial products with fewer ingredients that are eco-friendly when I can. That doesn’t mean I don’t see a doctor or ever buy Clorox wipes. For me it’s not one or the other, it’s both. Natural solutions can be easy and work well. Essential oils fall into this category.

Essential oils have been around for thousands of years and they’ve been used for a variety of purposes. They were used in biblical times as part of a spiritual practice or ritual. EO’s (for short) are used in many household products from cleaning supplies to health and beauty aids. There’s a high likelihood that you use a commercial version of EO’s and don’t even realize it. Where do you think that lemon scent comes from in your Lemon Pledge?

The EO’s I use come in a very pure, therapeutic grade. This gives them great potency – a little goes a long way. I use them in many of the ways I just mentioned. I add them to my dishwasher or laundry detergent. I put them in my mascara and moisturizer. I diffuse them to lift my spirits or purify the air in my home. EO’s can take the itch out of a bug bite, help relieve the muscle discomfort from a workout, and soothe a fussy child.

We’re surrounded by chemicals all day every day. We breathe them in. They come from our furniture, carpets, and cars. There are chemicals in much of what we eat and drink. I do what I can to limit chemical exposure for the people I love. EO’s help me do that. Plus, I feel active and in charge when I use a natural solution. I feel like I’m in control of my well-being.

It’s easy to get started with essential oils. I’m having a class at the studio on February 9, 2017. It’s free so come out and learn more. Register here.Oils

Namaste,

Melissa

A Holistic Approach to Inspired Living

That’s the tag line for breath.life.yoga because my goal for the studio is more than yoga poses. I want to help people feel better physically, of course. I also want them to feel better mentally. I want them to find a spiritual practice that nurtures and elevates them. I want people to see that they are in charge of how they feel. I want them to know they can affect their health and well-being through the daily decisions they make. They can affect their whole self through simple holistic practices.

I wanted to create a space where I could share ALL my knowledge. Teaching asana is a great way to reach people and help them to start on a path. Once they’re on the mat I have a chance to teach them to breathe, to slow down, to be present. Then I can show them how to meditate or eat better or use an essential oil. I can share practical tips on food or sleep plus I get to introduce concepts like ahimsa (do no harm) or santosha (contentment).

Through all of that I hope to inspire people to look at their lives from a holistic view-point and to make changes that work for THEM. I want people to make lasting changes at a deep level so the life they lead reflects the peace within them. Maybe then they can inspire someone else to step onto the path to better living.

A holistic approach to inspired living brought to you by breath.life.yoga

Namaste,

Melissa

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3 Ways to Stay Balanced During the Holidays

 

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It’s supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year. Yet, for many  of us the holidays bring an overload of shopping, eating/drinking, running from one event to the next, being “on”, and saying yes to more than we should. It’s hard to take time for you. Here are 3 simple ways to stay balanced.

DO YOGA

You knew this was coming, right? You may skip your normal class or be too tired for to do your favorite video at home. Think small –  5-10 minutes is plenty of time. Sun salutations are best if you want to increase your heart rate and get a terrific overall stretch.  Aim for  6-12 rounds of whatever you can remember. No pressure here – it doesn’t have to be perfect. Prefer something slower? Pick a handful of your favorite poses to practice. Or do these…trikonasana (triangle), vriksasana (tree), ado mukha svanasana (downward dog), malasana (squat), ardha matsyendrasana (twist) and either balasana (child’s pose) for emotional balance or viparita karani (leg’s up the wall) for physical/mental balance.

MEDITATE

What can I say. I’m a yoga teacher. This doesn’t have to be a production. Sit down. Straighten your spine a little so your shoulders are over your hips, keep your chin neutral, and close your eyes. All that’s left to do is breathe. Imagine each exhale moves down the spine (from the crown of the head to the tip of the tailbone) and the inhale move up the spine. Stay focused on your breath and in two minutes you’ll feel an amazing change. Stay longer if you have time.

DIFFUSE ESSENTIAL OILS

The sense of smell can instantly transform your mood. Why not diffuse oils while you wrap gifts, address cards, or enjoy time with your family? Peppermint will lift you up and smells Christmas-y. Frankincense is grounding and I love its connection to the season. Any smell that soothes you will work or I can give you additional suggestions through Facebook.

You deserve to enjoy every minute of December. A small dose of self-care will go a long way!

Namaste,

Melissa