Thursday, August 14, 2014

carrot juice

Rather than offering my yoga students energy drinks, bars or water after class, I'm really looking forward to stocking fresh carrot juice at my studio! I'd love to explain why I chose juice, why carrot juice and why it's such a great compliment to yoga practice.

Juicing, as opposed to blending, steaming or eating raw is one of the best ways to quickly and efficiently flood the body with liquid nutrients. Nutrients directly enter the bloodstream, creating an instant energy boost and powerful detox response.

Carrot juice in particular, has many benefits and has been a large part of my husband's healing protocol and nutritional balancing program. Regular consumption of carrot juice boosts the immune system, improves digestion, liver function & detox, balances skin problems, increases metabolism, supports healthy vision, discourages water retention, ulcers and anemia. (Source) It's also cheap compared to other juicing vegetables and is available year-round!

Though carrots have a high sugar content, they are a very good blood sugar regulator, which (for most people's high-sugar lifestyles) is a huge help. The juice is also rich with biotin, potassium, bioavailable calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, organic sodium and some trace minerals, pro-vitamin A, vitamins C, D, E, K, B1 and B6.
  • Vitamin A: 340% of your daily recommended dose for healthy skin
  • Potassium: 18% DV for proper fluid balance and muscle function
  • Vitamin C: 3mg to pump up your immune system
  • Vitamin E: 0.3mg for the synthesis of hormones and to maintain healthy cells
  • B Vitamins: For your nervous system and brain function - Source
Since we work so hard during yoga to balance the nervous system and the body, detoxify with twists and work toward a balanced mind and body, carrot juice is a wonderful complement to top off your yoga practice and continue healthy detox off the mat.

If you've never had fresh juice or don't regularly drink it, here are some general tips:

1) Drink juice on an empty stomach at least 1 hour after eating or at least 15 minutes before a meal.

2) Do not chug the juice. Drinking any fresh juice too fast could cause an upset stomach or result in what we'll just refer to as a  powerful detox response.... :) You also need to give your body time to release the saliva that contains digestive enzymes, crucial in delivering the nutrients to your cells. 
3) As soon as your freshly made juice gets exposed to air, its live enzymes begin to degrade, therefore decreasing the nutritional content. All Wholehearter juices will be made fresh, but always be sure to drink your juice within a day of purchase.

Share your thoughts!

Monday, August 4, 2014

body grudges

Think about the last time someone really pissed you off. It could be as simple as an angry, careless motorist cutting you off during rush-hour or as complicated as years worth of mental/emotional abuse. Either way, when you're angry, certain hormones are released kicking off a chain reaction of events throughout your body that result in a rise of blood pressure, cortisol and adrenaline, maybe some choice words...etc. You may even notice that more traumatic events will trigger these reactions in your body long after the initial stress response (ie. holding a grudge).

Just like the mind, our bodies cling to emotional trauma too. Unresolved issues can literally build up a variety of toxic substances in the body that settle in certain muscles, joints and organs, often later to surface as a chronic injury, illness or source of frustration and tension.

If you think about your body and become aware of your regular patterns, most people will know where they "hold tension." Times of stress might result in the neck and shoulders contracting, tense hips, lower back pain or tension headaches. The body responds to negativity in very tangible, yet often ignored ways. We know that our body reacts obviously during stress, but when the mental effects of stress linger, it's only natural to also know that recurring and unresolved emotional stress will manifest in chronic pain, recurring injury or illness.

When I officially learned about the theory of different types of stress residing in different areas of the body, I was taken aback at how hard it hit home. I had been told for years that there is no logical reason why my shoulders and upper-back are always so tight, my scapula almost being fused to my thoracic spine. As a yoga instructor, it's not as if I don't make an effort to work out tight muscles in my body, especially those with which I struggle, but I was told that this must be the area in which I just "hold my tension." Though partially true, learning that shoulder pain is directly correlated to "how much we take on" and feeling as if "the weight of the world is literally on our shoulders," it finally made sense to me. My overwhelming responsibilities as caretaker for my husband were taking a serious toll on my body. Over the last few months as my husband's health has taken a huge upswing, my shoulder pain is, inexplicably, virtually gone.

We ALL have emotional "grudges" in our body. These are the traumatizing, sad or stressful parts of life that we have just not been able to fully shake, cope with, work out or move on from (whether we realize it or not.) Clinging to past hurt is a normal part of life. It's unhealthy, but it's often how many people make decisions to shape their future and create their life story. Depending on how we deal with stress on a daily basis, "traumatizing" can mean very different things to different people. In other words, the more naturally high-strung you are, the more effort you will need to make for self-care to undo the damaging effects of your stress.

If you have a specific area in the body of recurring trouble, see if you might better understand what types of emotions could be causing it with the information below. These are just some of the common areas in which people struggle with blocked emotional energy, but here's a more detailed chart.
body grudges : wholehearter

Throat: lack of trust/self-expression 
Shoulders: burdens/responsibility
Heart: lack of love/compassion
Lungs: feelings of sorrow/grief
Liver: anger
Elbows: pushing away
Wrists: feelings of grasping
Adrenals: stress
Kidneys: fear
Hips: lack of support
Knees: ego
Ankles/Feet: issues with standing for yourself

There's so much to know about the emotional centers of the body. But to get rid of these chronic issues once and for all, start by addressing them emotionally, not just physically. Think about what could be causing your pain on a mental level and re-frame it. You can't always change the situation you're in, but you CAN change how you react to it, how often you seek support, guidance or counsel and how you continue to create or break down poor habits of self-pity and negative mantras. Focus on one issue at a time. Meditate on it. Let yourself feel whatever you're feeling, but then find a way for yourself to truly let it go. And above all, listen to your body because it's telling you some seriously important shit.

Comments or questions? See below, or email Rosslyn!
Click to be taken to Wholehearter Yoga Website.

Friday, May 2, 2014

road trip yoga!

Nothing like a few solid hours in the car to make your back ache, your hamstrings cramp and your hips seize. As the driver, there's not much maneuvering and stretching you can really do during the car ride, but there are definitely a few adjustments you can make for alignment and everyone can participate in some rest stop yoga! 

When you're in the car for hours at a time, it's important to think about proper seating position. 
Though some car seats are naturally more comfortable than others, you can make adjustments for better alignment. 

1) Ideally, the hips should be higher than the knees to allow length in the front hip flexors. Use a folded blanket to sit on if you can't adjust the seat accordingly.
2) Sit about arms-length away from the steering column, (for safety and comfort) with shoulders down away from the ears. Most people sit FAR to close. 
3) Though many people think good posture means 90ยบ, the back of the seat should not be at a right angle but just slightly reclined, so as not to strain the angle in the lower back.
4) If you have cruise control, use it! You probably already do, but know that the more you can utilize cruise control, the less one leg is left extending for the gas and brake. Setting a speed will help you be more symmetrical, give you better gas mileage and allow you to move around a bit. 
5) Make tiny adjustments to your overall position as you drive to keep from cramping up. 


When I'm driving, one of the first places I feel discomfort is my lower back. A tight lower back can contribute to sore hips and hamstrings, so this is a good place to start.

Ragdoll Pose: Fold forward with the chin tucked to the chest, lengthening and stretching from the tailbone. REALLY let the knees bend here to get the back stretch. Otherwise, you'll be stretching your hamstrings.

Child's Pose: Knees wide or close, tops of toes touching. Rounding out the whole spine in this way feels great after being seated.

As a runner, my hammys are already challenged, so sitting for long periods of time is a surefire way to shorten them even further.

Downward Facing Dog: Hit up a Down Dog to open the backs of the legs. Focus on getting the tailbone up high, bending the knees if you need to. You can also try a supported version by just propping your hands on your car.  
Bonus spinal and shoulder stretch, too! Ahh...

Pyramid Pose: Keep both hip bones pointing forward to assure proper pelvic alignment. For less stretch, scoot the feet closer together, for more, widen them front to back. Breathe!

Nothing will make you cranky like tight hips. 

Stacked Log Pose: Knees bend at a right angle (or less, if tight) stacking one leg on top of the other. This will probably feel intense, but amazing after a long trip.
Bonus: If you're a passenger, you can practice this one right in the car!

Pigeon Pose: Aaaaaw yeeeeah! Be sure the foot stayed flexing in toward your shin.
I would save this one for when you arrive at your destination because I can assure you, you will NOT want to get back in the car.

When in doubt, just shake it out as best you can. Squirming around and doing whatever feels good is usually quite effective. Just remember that breathing is STILL the most important part so that all these sore muscles can get the oxygen and blood they need to relax. Hope you all can get away sometime and relax, too! Namaste!

Click to be taken to Wholehearter Yoga Website.