Intentional Eating: 5 Ways to Tune into your Body

mala-beads-yoga-tiny-devotions-photographer-photographer-richelle-hunter-photography-summer-of-soul-240Intentional eating is certainly not something most of us do these days. With our busy work schedules, families, and the many demands that life presents, we don’t have much time to eat, let alone eat healthy and with intention. It can be a challenge to ask busy individuals to really think about the food they eat on a daily basis. I know the struggles first hand. I’m a Physician Assistant who works in a stressful medical environment where the hours are long and the breaks are seldom. But the fact is, if we don’t make a conscious effort to put nourishing foods into our bodies, we will have to live with many chronic ailments, including symptoms of inflammation, food allergies, excess weight, fatigue, disease and emotional problems. We may even shorten our lives. If we eat with intention though, we can give our bodies a fighting chance in a toxic world. Here are some tips that I use to help myself eat more consciously:

1. Think about what the food you are choosing is doing for your body: Is this food serving a higher purpose? Is it providing you with the proper nutrients, or is it just a filler food you reach for out of boredom or stress? So many of us are on auto-pilot these days. When we drive, when we work, and when we eat. So next time you reach for food, ask yourself, what is this food doing for me? The first step of intentional eating is to Be Aware.

2. Shop smart: Most of us don’t have a lot time to grocery shop. So it can be a challenge to read labels and really understand what you are buying. But it’s important to make smart choices because health starts with what you buy. Give yourself just an extra half-hour at the grocery store to read labels. Know what is in your food! A short list of things to avoid: GMOs, preservatives, added sugar, hydrogenated ingredients, and harmful vegetable oils like soybean, cottonseed, and sunflower oil.

3. Try cooking at home, even if it just one night a week: There is nothing more intentional than cooking the food you eat. You get to be in control of everything that goes into your food. And that is actually a very empowering thing! Even if you only have time to cook one night on the weekend, try it! Try a recipe you’ve always wanted to make, and make it fun by cooking with others or for others. When you cook you put love and effort into your food, which makes eating it more enjoyable.

4. Sit down, and chew your food: I know it sounds silly, but sit down when you eat. I used to eat in the morning while standing in the kitchen because I was in such a hurry to get to work. I’m pretty sure I barely chewed my food. Now I get up ten minutes earlier. Just ten minutes! I do this so I can sit down and eat breakfast and really chew/taste my food. Or if you don’t eat breakfast, sit down a few nights a week for dinner.

5. Do your research: I find that the more I read about and research nutrition, the more I enjoy eating and the smarter my choices become. You know that McDonalds is bad for you, but why? You know that kale is good for you, but why? What is it in kale that is good for you? How does it work in the body to help it run smoothly? The Internet is a source for a wealth of knowledge. Learn about your food. Instead of watching that last TV show, take some time to research the nutrients found in spinach, and what those nutrients do for you. Knowledge is power!

 891387_817309051626478_238689318_nErin Carey is a Physician Assistant who works in primary care/urgent care and is a yogi at heart. She practices yoga daily and posts pictures of her yoga journey on her Instagram page to inspire others to practice. She is a supporter of mental and physical health and hopes to help empower her patients to take charge of their health and see food and physical exercise as medicine.

7 Great Reasons to Do Yoga in the Comfort of your Home

10635954_814680641906049_4928240045228069362_nAlthough in-studio yoga classes are a must, there are several benefits to practicing every day at home, too. Why go the online yoga route? Check out seven reasons that are sure to get you inspired!

1. You can practice whenever you want, wherever you want. One of the advantages of using a platform like My Virtual Yoga for your practice is the flexibility it offers. Whether before work, during baby’s nap or right after dinner, you’re just a few clicks away from indulging in a bit of well-deserved yoga.

PSST: For those of you who are constantly travelling, know that online yoga can be done in a hotel room before a business meeting or right after a long flight. We love how yoga can be adapted to your busy lifestyle!

2. You’ll find a variety of styles in one spot. You like variety, and making new discoveries—we totally get that. Hatha on Tuesdays, Vinyasa on Wednesdays and Yin on Thursdays: anything is possible! With an online platform, you can easily switch up your practice. It’s simple!

3. It’s an excellent way of complementing your in-studio practice. Most of us have a favourite studio: a place where we gather with others who are passionate about yoga, too. This weekly meeting is necessary so your teacher can correct you, but online yoga allow you to really develop your practice and better integrate what you’ve learned in the studio. 1+1 = 2!

4. There’s something new every week. Are you always on the lookout for what’s new… just like us? Online yoga practice is a great way to test-drive new ways of learning, new techniques and new themes. It means allowing yourself to be in tune with what’s new and have fun, too. Oh, look: there’s something new to try!

5. You can take your favourite teacher with you everywhere you go. So you’ve fallen under the spell of a specific teacher who offers AMAZING CLASSES that seem perfectly adapted to your needs. With online yoga videos, you don’t need to wait for a specific time every week to take your teacher’s class: whether on your iPad at the cottage or on the TV in your basement, your teacher is waiting!

6. It’s a question of comfort. The weather will never make you miss your class, nor will you be able to make excuses for not wanting to leave your OH SO COMFY home. Yup: as far as yoga is concerned, you’ll never be able to use excuses like there being too much traffic, or the metro being late. From now on, it’s all about comfort… and nothing else.

7. There is a yoga class for all levels. Does your beau want to try yoga? No problem: there are videos for every level: beginner, intermediate, and advanced. The yoga  videos are adapted to your body and what you’ve learned so far.

Namaste!

My Virtual Yoga

Sign up for My Virtual Yoga using this promo code and get a free one-month subscription: tinydevotions

Happy yoga-ing!

Contentment: The Yoga of Success with Quiet Earth Yoga.

Eka Pada Raja KapotasanaWhen I began my yoga journey over a decade ago, I was terrified to walk into a studio. I was a shy, awkward kid, and here I was, on a college campus in Los Angeles, where everyone just exuded grace and bright shiny sunlight. I wanted that; Sun Salutations seemed like a good place to start…

Of course, I struggled through my first class, but realized (and this was a revelation) that no one had been staring at me in my running shorts on my borrowed mat. No one even cared. They were so involved in their own journey that I might as well not have been in the room.

It was the biggest relief of my life; I was hooked.

Fast-forward through a bit of the now-typical, Western yoga journey: more classes, better mats, yoga teacher training. But when I began teaching? Suddenly, I was thrust back into that awkward adolescence. Sure, this was yoga, but now everyone was looking at me. Because they had to. I was in charge.

Those first few classes were…awkward (but they always are—which is what I tell my teacher training students). But you get over it. Why? Because your students are absorbed in their own journey. Yours is just the voice guiding them down the path.

And this is the point: the journey is the path; it is your yoga.

I’m an Ashtangi, which means that there’s a lot of discipline in my practice—I practice six days a week, two hours a day. When you spend that much time in your body, you begin to journey beyond it. You have to.

Why? Well, there are some bloody difficult poses in the Ashtanga series; they test your limits—body, mind, and spirit. The ego will elbow in there, get all huffy and frustrated, demanding that you balance in Pincha Mayurasana (Forearm Stand) right now. Or, better yet, yesterday.

I didn’t know that voice was ruling my life and my practice until I turned back to Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra, which, when you hit the roadblock of frustration, injury, and ego, will be a lifesaver. For now, let me say this: I realized I was putting more effort into my excuses and my frustrations than I was into my practice.

This is the idea of Santosa, or contentment. Contentment is where you live, because where else on earth could you be?? Believing there is a purpose in this struggle—not random punishment or failure—is empowering. I was given this struggle because I’m strong enough to learn from it. Almost anyone can eventually balance on their head, but can you learn from the struggle? Can you apply those lessons off the mat? Can you see that your choices have led you exactly where you are right now?

Those past, ‘ill-informed’ decisions are the greatest gifts you’ll ever receive, because once you internalize them, you’re done. You’ll never make that mistake again.

You are the architect of your life. Live abundantly. Design wildly.

Supta VirasanaFind more of Quiet Earth Yoga here:
Twitter: @QuietEarthYoga
Facebook: @QuietEarthYoga
Web: www.quietearthyoga.com

Surround Yourself With Sparkle: A Chat with Kate Gagliano

kate gagilano I am so honored to be sharing some sparkle with you.

I blog over at healthydivalife.com , a blog about living a happy and healthy life! I love spreading happiness, sharing tips, products I love, and more.

I am a mom of two boys, super wife, yogi, wine lover, and glitter addict.

My blog is always growing and changing with me, as life is all about that. A new journey I am beginning and very excited about is happening at the time, yoga teacher training.

Yoga has been so good to my mind, body, and soul. I remember the first time I got on my mat when I lived in Alexandria,VA. I got on that mat and it just felt so right, I felt at peace, and felt the stress I was going through at the time, just disappear . Yoga I just tried that one day, and fell in love with it in every way. I started practicing more at home and at the local gym that had it, and from there I just always kept yoga in my life.

My intention for yoga teacher training is to deepen my practice, learn more what yoga is really all about, and to teach once I graduate. Yoga is more than just getting on the mat and doing poses. I will be sharing my journey on my blog as well, which will be exciting for others to see who might consider trying yoga or becoming a teacher one day too.

I think we all should follow our hearts, and we all should also live life to the fullest each day. A little slogan I have that I love to say is “Surround Yourself with Sparkle.”

Meaning to always surround yourself with positive people, people who uplift you, and to always have a positive light surrounding you. Positivity is everything in life, and having a positive mind and outlook is a great way to live each day.

Need daily inspiration? search #SYWS

So, I hope you take that little note and add some sparkle in your life each day if you need it.

My favorite mala that perfectly fits me, especially at the time now…

new moon malaNew Moon Mala 

This stone represents dreams, new beginnings, and creativity.

Such a perfect fit for me, and what this year brings for me. I had a blessed year last year with this little man being born, future yogi!

Remember to always follow your heart and dreams. Never be scared of failing, we all fail at times, but trying is never a failure. Live each day to the fullest, be kind, be grateful, and love yourself.

Love and Light <3
Katie

Find Katie on social media at:
Twitter: @healthydiva31
Instagram: @healthydivalife