A Mindful Approach for Spending Time Outdoors this Summer

crawford lake 2Now that the warm weather is here we are spending more time outdoors. Simply by being outdoors we get a boost energy from the fresh air and warm sunshine. However, there are ways we maximize our experience of the great outdoors.  Whether you go to the cottage, play outdoor sports, enjoy hiking or running or riding your bike, gardening or going for walks, whatever it may be you can up your outdoor experience with these easy tips.

  1. Breath deeply. Actually notice what it feels like to breathe in fresh air. Feel your lungs filling up and slowly emptying. Experience your breath as if it’s the first time you’ve ever breathed in fresh air. Try this 5 times or as often as you like.
  2. Slow Down. Even when we are outside we tend to rush rush rush. Try taking slower steps. Notice what the earth feels like beneath your feet. If possible walk bare foot and notice the sensations.
  3. Tune into your senses. Appreciate the shapes, the sounds, the smells and even tastes around you. As you walk slowly, breathing deeply, take a few moments to truly appreciate the nature that surrounds you. Feel the warmth of the sunshine on your face. Listen to the sounds all around you. Think of 5 things that you can appreciate about this moment related to what you can hear, see, feel, smell and/or taste.
  4. Stop moving. Simply be still for a few minutes. Observe the world around you, moving, doing, being. Enjoy.

Maximize the benefits by getting out of the city completely and into the woods. The deeper we can get into nature, the more connected to nature we become.

What are the benefits you might ask? Check it out:

  • lower stress levels
  • better working memory
  • feeling more energized/alive
  • lower blood pressure/heart rate
  • reduced tension/anxiety
  • improved mood
  • feel more relaxed
  • less likely to ruminate on depressing thoughts
  • boost immune system
  • may inspire awe and happiness

Looking for a outdoor day retreat? Let me take you on an experiential, mindful day retreat just outside the city. Contact me for more information and to plan your excursion.

Recipe of the Month: Fruit Enzyme Drink

Kombucha and Kefir water seem to be in all the health food stores these days touting their health benefits. While I enjoy a good kombucha every now and again I thought I’d share a recipe for a fruit enzyme drink that I learned how to make in a detox program I took a couple years ago while I was living in Hong Kong.

Pineapple lemonmanuka honey

According to my yoga teacher and homeopathic doctor who ran the detox program, pineapple enzyme helps to breakdown proteins for digestion and it has anti-inflammatory properties to speed up post-workout recovery. It is also loaded with vitamins and minerals including calcium, potassium, fiber and vitamin C. Other benefits include: strengthens weak bones (manganese in the enzymes is needed by the body to build bone and connective tissues); it helps keep gums healthy; prevents macular degeneration (it contains a lot of beta-carotene); helps arthritis (bromeliad in the enzyme is an effective anti-inflammatory); fewer coughs and colds; aids digestion; helpful for upper respiratory tract infections such as Sinusitis and Bronchitis; can help reduce the risk of blood clots;

Fruit enzyme drink lasts for 2 weeks, which is about 1 shot per day. Store in a glass container.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pineapple – peeled cut in slices
  • 3 lemons – thin round slices with the skin.
  • Manuka Honey
  • Filtered water

Before you begin, wash your hands and the fruit, cutting board and knives. It is imperative that everything is sterilized so that you do not let any bacteria get in.

  1. In a glass container, pour enough water to cover the bottom surface.
  2. Place pineapple slices on the bottom (1 layer)
  3. Cover pineapple with a layer of lemon slices.
  4. Take a big spoonful of Manuka honey and drizzle all over the lemons.
  5. Repeat steps 2-4 like layering a lasagna until you get to the top of your container or run out of fruit. The top layer should be mostly lemons with honey. The honey helps prevent bacteria from growing.
  6. Fill the container about 80%-90% full and on the very top cover with pure raw honey.
  7. Pour more water on the sides until it is just below the top of the surface level.
  8. Put a lid on the container. Let it sit (not in the fridge) in a warm place. Check it in 3 days. You will notice it starts to bubble.  If you notice black bacteria forming you need to throw the mixture away. White bacteria is okay.

Open the lid every 3 days to release gasses. After a total of 7-9 days, strain the liquid into a glass jar. The fruit enzyme should taste like a sweet, fruity wine, and be slightly alcoholic. Throw the rinds away and put the juice in the fridge.

Consume daily as a shot or mix with sparkling water.

Bonus Recipe:

Keep lemon and pineapple peels to make GARBAGE ENZYME.

For this recipe it is okay to use a plastic container.

Ingredients:

  • You can use any kind of fruit feels but lemon and pineapple are the best.
  • 1 1/4 cup of water
  • 3/4 cup of any kind of brown sugar

Place all the ingredients in the plastic container and shake it together. Store the container in a safe place. Pop the lid ever 3-7 days to allow gasses to escape. Let it sit for 3 months in a warm climate or 5 months in a cooler climate, like Canada. Don’t forget to write the date!

After 5 months, strain into a spray bottle. Throw peels away. The acidity in the Garbage Enzyme kills bacteria and can be used as a multipurpose household cleaner and to wash your clothes. Apparently it also repels ants and other insects! It smells citrusy and is 100% eco friendly.

 

To find out more about doing a yoga/detox program or to get help in making your fruit enzyme drink contact me today.

STAY COOL THIS SUMMER WITH THESE YOGA POSES

This week is going to be a hot one. As temperatures soar in the city sometimes jumping in the kiddie pool just isn’t an option. Try these simple yoga poses to help cool and calm the body and mind.

 Pranayama:

sitaliOption 1: Sitali – cooling breath

  • Make a tube with your tongue and breath in like you are sucking in air through a straw and then close your mouth exhaling through your nose. Repeat 10 times.

Note: if you have low blood pressure, practice with caution or talk to your doctor first. The breath should be deep and without strain. If you feel dizzy, stop and breath normally.

 

 

right nostrilOption 2: Single-Nostril Breathing

  • Plug the right nostril and breath in and out of the left nostril.
  • Repeat for 10-20 breaths.
 Asanas:

Yoga poses to help cool the body down.

paschimottasanaSeated forward fold

  • Sitting up tall with legs extended in front. If your spine rounds sit on a block, bolster or a pillow/cushion. Inhale the arms up, lengthening the torso/spine. Exhale folding from the hips, bring the arms to rest on the legs. Toes are pointed towards the sky, heels pressing down into the mat. Breath deeply. Hold for 5 to 10 breaths or longer.

 

 

balansanaChilds Pose

  • Bring the knees wide, big toes touching. Sink the hips back toward the heels and you bring your forehead to rest on the mat or block or a pillow. Arms rest overhead on the mat. Breath deeply into the low back. Stay for 5 to 10 breaths or longer.

supta baddha konasanaSupine Butterfly

  • Lay on your back. Bend the knees, bring the soles of the feet together. Allow the knees to fall out the sides. Gently flap the knees up and down like butterfly wings to release holding in the hips and then let the knees sink down towards the floor. Arms can rest by your sides or bring one hand to the low belly and one to the chest. Follow the rise and fall of your belly as you breathe deeply for 5 to 10 breaths or longer.

 

 

supported bridgeSupported Bridge

  • Lay on your back. Bend both knees bring the soles of the feet to the floor, hip distance apart. Draw the heels in as close to the sit bones as you can. Press the upper arms into the ground to and lift the hips. Slide a block, a bolster, a firm pillow or even a rolled up blanket under the sacrum as a support.       Breath deeply for 5 to 10 breaths or more.

legs up the wallLegs up the Wall

  • Sit with your knees bent beside the wall. Swing your legs up the wall and lay back on your mat. Wiggle your bum as close to the wall as you can. For comfort you might want to place a blanket beneath your hips. If you have bolster available you can choose to elevate the hips on the bolster next to the wall. Lay back, close your eyes and rest the arms by your side. Breathing deeply, stay in the pose for 5 minutes or longer.

 

 

savasanaSavasana

  • Laying on your back, bring the feet mat distance apart, toes falling out to the sides. Arms fall away from the body at 45 degrees, palms facing up. Support the back of your head on blanket or pillow. Close your eyes. Breath deeply for 5 to 10 minutes or longer.

If you have an eye pillow, chill it in the freezer and rest it over your eyes during savasana.

Remember to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water and eating lots of fruit and veggies.

For more information on private and corporate yoga classes, contact me today!