Words of Wisdom (Part 5): Gibran

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Words of Wisdom
concludes with Lebanese poet, artist, writer, and philosopher Kahlil Gibran. Best known for his sprawling work of romantic prose-poetry written in both Arabic and English, Gibran presents the essence of wise words. In the English-speaking  parts of the world he is most recognized as the author of the 1923 book The Prophet. This collection of prophetic poetry was big in the 1930s, then again in the 1960s counterculture movement, and has gained increasing popularity to the present. It seems his words speak a fundamental truth now seen timeless across decades, generations, and cultures. Perhaps the phrasing of words or the spaces that lie between words carry such messages of universalism, community, romanticism, and values. All in all for words of wisdom Kahlil Gibran is the real deal.

SJC Wellness Top Five Quotes by Kahlil Gibran:

#5: “In one drop of water are found all the secrets of all the oceans; in one aspect of You are found all the aspects of existence.”
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#4:
“If the teacher is indeed wise he does not bid you to enter the house of his wisdom, but rather leads you to the threshold of your own mind.”
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#3:
“That which seems most feeble and bewildered in you is the strongest and most determined.”
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#2:  “Yesterday is but today’s memory, tomorrow is today’s dream.”
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#1: “All these things shall love do unto you that you may know the secrets of your heart, and in that knowledge become a fragment of Life’s heart.”

**In ending I hope these words have brought to you all that they could in all that you are.**

Photo by: sirusputsch
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Vegan Chocolate Mousse

A perfect healthy treat for the warmer weather! Seems easy to make too. Enjoy :)FullSizeRender-2

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Relaxing through Finals

6819877.LKQrrPaNAs we approach finals week with the pitter patter of our hearts RACING for it be OVER, here are some tips passed down to us from some of our fabulous SJC students:

“So it’s almost finals week and you’re all stressed to the brim of your intellectual capacity. You have 4 exams, 3 papers, a thesis proposal, research presentation, and 975 other things you’d rather do, all weighing you down like an anchor strapped to your waist. You’re stressed, and you’re anxious. You may be at your breaking point, and you may be thinking over the fact that your life is just a sh*#show extravaganza right now.

If you’re depressed, if you’re overwhelmed, if you’re finding it hard to be a human right now, know you’re not alone. If you feel like your life will end if you get a B- in freshman English, just please, take a moment, step back, and be grateful for this stress. Be grateful that you’ve been granted the honor to stress about arbitrary letters (A+ B- C+ D- F) on an arbitrary piece of gilded paper which, I promise, will NOT prevent you from living another day, another year, or for that matter, a long, loving and fulfilling life. Trust me, we all got this!” ~Thought Catalog

AND why not throw in some yoga and meditation TOMORROW at our favorite off-campus place:
AVALON PARK & PRESERVE!

Saturday, May 9th from 10:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.
In the Barn at Avalon Park and Preserve
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Consider a Natural Remedy for Your Monthly Symptoms

Sorry, guys, this one’s for the ladies…

I am sure all of the female readers are extremely familiar with the annoying symptoms commonly referred to as PMS. Yep, most women experience some combination of headaches, cramps, nausea, fatigue, and even changes in mood. Well, since it is such a common problem, what can we all do about it?

Many women just deal with the symptoms and suffer through it. That’s not the best option. After all, these symptoms are scheduled to come back month after month, so ignoring them is basically accepting a lifetime of discomfort.

Many other women simply reach into their medicine cabinet and pop a few Tylenol, Midols or Pamprins. Sure, these products all help to ease the discomfort, but should they always be the first resort?

Keep in mind that there are many natural remedies for dealing with PMS. One of my favorite things to try is very simple: drinking a hot cup of tea. Yogi Teas and Traditional Medicinals, two very popular tea companies, each offer various types of teas formulated just for women. You can easily find these brands of tea in your local health food store, and even in the tea aisles of some regular supermarkets and superstores.

A tea bag may not be the absolute cure-all for this age-old problem, but you may be pleasantly surprised with the results. Hopefully, reaching for your teacup will become your new routine during “that time of the month.”

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Mood Boosting Foods

The article “Eat Your Way to Happy: The Mood-Boosting Benefits of Food” found in Yoga Journal is one of my favorite articles I have read in the passed few months. As I am a part of both the mental health and yoga communities, this speaks to me on both levels.

The opening paragraph gives the example of a 27 year old woman named Andria Gutierrez who felt mentally clouded, anxious, depressed and fatigued. She was diagnosed with anxiety and was prescribed medication. However, Gutierrez sought a few other opinions and it was suggested to her to change her diet. Gutierrez began to eat clean by focusing on veggies, fruits and grains. She no longer consumed refined grains, meat or sugars. Gutierrez reported all previous existing symptoms to be extinguished.

As we come into this awareness of food affecting mood, a new field of study has been created called nutritional psychiatry. The idea that the mind and body are separate is now realized as false. The mind and body are very much connected into wholeness. What we consume and put into our body does affect the brain and neural chemistry.

The article sites three more studies from the U.S., Australia and Norway. These studies suggest that when individuals more whole foods and less processed foods that the diagnoses of anxiety, depression and bi-polar are less likely. Evidence also suggests that food may affect other disorders such as dementia, schizophrenia, and attention deficit disorder. However, most studies find the biggest correlation in the risk of depression.

As a professor of psychiatry at Columbia University in NYC, Drew Ramsey, MD, recalls a patient of his that was suffering from depression and anxiety. The patient’s diet was very scattered and severely lacked in fruits and vegetables. After a year of treatment, which included an entire revamp of his diet, the patient reported the depression to be gone. (Note: diet is a part of treatment; always consult with your doctor before terminating medication).

The article gives several examples down to the molecular level of how food affects mood. For example: “Oxidative stress on brain cells likely plays a role, too. “Your brain is burning enormous amounts of glucose [blood sugar] for energy, and just like when you burn gas in a car and there is exhaust, when you burn fuel in the brain there’s a type of ‘exhaust’: free radicals,” says Ramsey. “Over time, those free radicals damage your cells—and that’s oxidative stress.” Build up enough damage, and it can affect emotion by interfering with the way your brain cells function. Brain cells and the signals they send to each other are part of what creates emotion and mood. So if the cells are unhealthy and damaged, the signals they send become muddled or irregular, and you end up with disorders like depression and anxiety. Antioxidants like vitamins C, E, and beta carotene, and flavonoids like quercetin and anthocyanidins (found in dark berries), have been shown to help prevent and repair oxidative stress.”

Not only are the affects of food found in the brain but also in our gut. We have “good” bacterium that lines our gut to help with signals between the body and brain. The article states: “One way these bacteria benefit the brain is by helping to keep intact the gut lining, which is full of nerve cells that constantly send messages to the brain. The gut lining also acts as a barrier to toxins and aids digestion so your brain is protected from bad stuff while still getting needed nutrients. But overwhelm the gut lining with the wrong foods—processed sugars, some cured meats (like deli meats), trans fats, and processed, white-flour carbohydrates—and it can become inflamed and start to break down, says Selhub, adding, “And we know that more inflammation is associated with more mood disorders, including depression.”

So, how can we avoid treating our bodies harshly? Here are some tips:

  1. Exclude anything processed. This can include dairy, meats or certain grains. Return to the Mediterranean Diet of fresh fruits, (dark colorful berries), vegetables, (dark leafy greens), lean protein and whole grains.
  2. Incorporate more fermented foods for your gut lining such as yogurt, kombucha, kimchi or sauerkraut.
  3. Avoid junk food, (of course), especially trans fats and artificial sugars. The article states that junk food messes with our good bacteria in the gut lining which results in a negative cycle of craving more of it and increasing depression.
  4. Increase consumption of seafood. We want those Omega-3s found in salmon, tuna, halibut, and shrimp.
  5. Concentrate on foods high in Vitamin B and D. “Spinach, black-eyed peas, and asparagus are packed with folate; seafood, beef, and dairy have lots of B12; and D can be found in salmon, tuna, liver, milk, and eggs.”

For more detailed info about our molecules, neurons, and bacteria, (which is really cool), explore below:

http://www.yogajournal.com/article/clean-eating/eat-way-happy-food-mood-boosting-effects/

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Accessible Yoga

As we all know, yoga has become extremely popular now in America. However, I’m sure if you think about who does yoga, a certain image may arise in your mind. Maybe some slender, muscular male or female balancing on their hands. What about everyone else? Especially individuals with any type of disability. I found an article that addresses this issue. There is an upcoming first annual accessible yoga conference in Santa Barbara, CA. The founder of the accessible yoga movement, Jivana Heyman, is interviewed in this article. 

Quick summary:

  • This conference will center on the awareness of adaptive yoga for individuals with disabilities or chronic illness.
  • The mission is to share yoga with everyone. It’s not just a physical practice.
  • Adaptive yoga students and yoga teachers will be attending the conference in order to build & empower the community.
  • Teachers and adaptive students will be trained first hand from the experts at the conference.
  • Learning to attend to the needs of adaptive yoga students.
  • Debunking the popular image of the yogi. Yoga is for all bodies.
  • Sponsors will be present & addressing the issue of affordable yoga teacher training.

If you would like to go to the conference or get involved in this movement click the link below:

https://yogainternational.com/article/view/the-first-annual-accessible-yoga-conference-brings-adaptive-yoga-to-the-for

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Golden Earthworm

Golden Earthworm

 

Looking for an affordable way to take in veggies and fruits without spending a ton of money AND support local organic farmers?

Check out Golden Earthworm and begin to change the way you feed your—Self on all levels.

Body-Mind-Spirit.


On the Earthworm…

“It may be doubted whether there are many other animals which have played so important a part in the history of the world, as have these lowly organized creatures.” ~Charles Darwin 1881

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Cobra Pose vs. Upward Facing Dog

If you’re looking to perfect your yoga practice, here are some great tips! I found a video from Yoga Journal that explains the difference of moving into Cobra pose or Upward Facing Dog during a Vinyasa flow (Downward Facing Dog, inhaling to Plank Pose, exhaling Chaturanga Dandasana, inhale Cobra or Upward Facing Dog, exhale Downward Facing Dog), and which is appropriate for you. I’ve noticed in some of my yoga classes, while moving through a Vinyasa flow the teacher will say move to Cobra or Upward Dog. What’s the difference?! Which pose is appropriate for you?

First let’s run through Cobra Pose:

Beginning with the feet:

  • Tops of the feet are anchored to the ground
  • The thighs and the hips are pressing down into the earth
  • The elbows are slightly bent
  • Shoulders are back and down away from the ears allowing for the heart to be open

Compare to Upward Facing Dog:

Beginning with the feet:

  • Tops of the feet are anchored to the ground
  • The thighs and hips are lifted from the earth
  • The arms are straight & wrists directly below the shoulders
  • Shoulders are back and down away from the ears; heart is open

When should you do one or the other? That answer depends on where you are in your yoga practice. If you’re able to move from Chaturanga Dandasana without your hips or legs touching the ground, then Upward Dog may be a choice for you. If moving from Chaturanga Dandasana to Upward Dog seems to be too challenging for you, then lower your body completely to the Earth for Cobra Pose.

Always remember, it’s not about what you look like, it’s how you feel. Do what you can & your journey will unfold in its own time.

I suggest checking out the video to receive the full visual. Enjoy!

http://www.yogajournal.com/video/video/cobra-pose-vs-upward-facing-dog-vinyasa-yoga/

Categories: Relaxation Space, Yoga & Meditation | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

A Student’s Reflection On Silence

Zen1Until recently, we never really enjoyed silence. We felt uncomfortable with the sounds that people usually become accustomed to, but some of us can never. We think it’s because the silence was the sound of loneliness. And the sound of no one needing us.

The silence screamed the truth, up until specific people. We tried to focus our mind on insignificant details so we wouldn’t need to think about the whole idea. We’re really glad we met those people because up until then, silence was the sound of us tapping our pen on the blank paper. And our breath getting short. Or our foot tapping on the wooden floor. And the background music we did not realize was playing until it stopped. Silence was waiting for our phone to light up with any little words.

Thinking of it now, silence was incredibly loud. Something we could never turn off. Now, silence is the trees blowing in the wind. Silence is the cars passing by one by one heading wherever they’re going. Silence is the waves crashing in the shore. Silence is waking up and smiling because of certain people in your life. I guess silence isn’t loneliness anymore. It’s just quiet. It’s just peace. Peace with the world. And peace within ourselves. It just takes a lot to be able to deal with silence.

To be able and sit there. Accept things for what they truly are. Being able to realize difficult things. We shouldn’t be afraid of silence. Because in the end it could help us. It helps us know that we’re going to be okay. That we’re stronger than we think. That not everything can be fixed in a day.

The silence won’t last forever. The way we are feeling at this very second will not last forever. There is only a matter of time until things get better. And we need the right people to help us along the way. The right people who don’t mind sitting in the silence with us.

Written by: Miss Anonymous

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Yoga | A Reflection on Asana

Featured image

As this forever winter begins to turn to spring, birds will chirp, flowers will bloom, and inevitably swimsuit season will be upon us all…

But before we get caught up in what that may mean to each and every one of us, let us take a moment to reflect on our connection to our bodies.

In yoga, asana or postures/poses are meant to foster a connection between the body and mind, between movement and breath. By doing so, this connection allows us to develop understanding and compassion on a number of levels. One level is that of meeting one’s body where it is. By this I refer to one’s physical ability to move and be in certain asana. Another level is where one comes to accept their body, their corporal form, as it is. By this I mean there is no judgment from the mind against the body. Any desire or fantasy of the body being in one form or another are met with compassion. This compassion is an expression of accepting one’s self as a whole.

Once we’ve been practicing yoga asana for sometime, we’ll begin to notice our perspective shift towards our feelings about our bodies. While it may take some time for us to come to terms with our own images of how we appear, asana moves us towards mastering these emotions in a way that allows us to stand strong and grounded, with confidence, in how our physical form exists. And, in time, this physical form becomes an expression of our emotional and spiritual form, because of how asana cultivates the connection between mind, body, and spirit.

Categories: Relaxation Space, Yoga & Meditation | Leave a comment

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