Simple Green Me

Cultural reporter for KUTV 2News and adjunct yoga/meditation professor blogs about wellness, green living, downsizing, simplifying, better travel✨and more. Offering mindfulness, meditation, goal-setting and decluttering coaching!


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Yoga for your Eyes!

Did you know that your EYES can do yoga? India’s revered ancient health practice called Ayurveda prescribes several exercises that it claims heals and improves eyesight. Along with improved eyesight and reduced chances of eye diseases, here are some benefits, according to Ayurveda:
improved concentration
calmer mind
relieves eye strain
eliminates dry eyes
Increases intuition and ability to see “the big picture” (third eye chakra)

To do yoga for the eyes, try these tips (many of which mentioned in Yoga Journal):

-Lubricate eyes with Ghee (or coconut oil, which contains luaric acid just like breast milk…raise your hand if you put breastmilk in your infant’s infected eyes!)
-Blink 20 times a minute while looking at screens
-Roll eyes in all directions (follow your thumb as you move it around)
-Focus on your hands near, then focus on them far, and continue for several rounds
-Rub hands together then cup the eyes
-In shoulder stand, let knees rest on eyes

Your eyes are the window to your brain; how they feel is a reflection of your state of mind. Meditation can greatly improve your mind, and therefore release tension and dryness of the eyes!

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For FRESH! DIY oil-pulling recipe


In a 2009 study, the Ayurvedic practice of oil-pulling was shown to reduce plaque and symptoms of gingivitis (source).

Historically, oil-pulling has been known to detox your mouth, revive dull skin, relieve headaches (and hangovers!), soothe cankers, improve breath, whiten teeth, tone facial muscles…OK, can I stop now? Oh, there are MORE benefits? Well, sorry, this is getting ridiculous. Let’s get you swishing with a minty-fresh version of this tried-and-true treatment.

DIY OIL-PULL SOLUTION

inspired by PaleoMama

  1. Morning or night, if it’s a flossing day – floss first – and put a 1 tsp or tblsp coconut/or sesame oil in your mouth.I always start out small and add to it as needed (cuz your spit adds to the volume)! I use fractionate/liquified oil but solid oil will melt as you swish.
  2. Open your mouth and add 2 drops of your peppermint essential oil.
  3. Swish the oil around in your mouth like mouthwash for 15-20 minutes (I do yoga or watch TV or laundry, etc). Gently push it around and through your teeth.
  4. Spit the oil out in the trash! Ayurveda believes in removing impurities, so you spit out the oil after it collects all the bacteria and gunk.
  5. Brush your teeth gently (gotta be honest; I feel so clean after this that sometimes I skip the brushing!)
  6. Ahhhhmazing!


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Ayurveda 101: The ultimate, personalized wellness plan

Ayurvedic herbs

Find supplements tailored to your unique dosha

You may have seen the word “Ayurveda” or “Ayurvedic” pop up in our current culture of New Age and holistic lifestyles. This 3,000-year-old system originated in India from the same texts that gave us Yoga, Hinduism and Buddhism. You’ve heard of brushing your tongue to prevent bad breath? That’s Ayurveda. Making yourself throw up to prevent impending illness from poisoned food? Ayurveda. Neti pots (sinus washes)? Ayurveda! Even the latest turmeric craze is based in Ayurveda.

My favorite part about this preventative and curative system is that it prescribes a lifestyle based on your individual constitution, or prakriti. Our constitutions (mental, spiritual, physical) can have a dominant dosha: Pitta, Vata or Kapha. Each dosha has its own prescriptions for living a balanced lifestyle. 

For example, I’m Vata-dominant, which means I love change (guilty – I like to change jobs, houses, interests like some people change coffee filters), have abundant ideas, and love exploring new things. My husband is a Kapha, and they are “slow and steady;” he has been in the same career for 25 years, would never move if I didn’t insist, and has the sort of paced endurance that allows him to run marathons.

Don’t wait to find out your dominant dosha (the highest score) with a quick quiz. **It’s possible to have two dominant doshas (in that case, follow the plan to balance both of them), or even have all three doshas with the same score (good for you – make sure to stay balanced!).** I’m telling you, it’s scary-accurate…more so than astrological signs, in my opinion. You want to start eating, exercising, working and simply living how the advice suggests. It has helped me get and stay well more than almost anything besides meditation.

If you’d like some personal Ayurvedic guidance, please don’t hesitate to contact me for an in-person or online session. May your journey to wholeness be filled with ease and joy.

Love,
Amanda


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Some of my favorite mood-boosters

When you’re prone to feeling down or anxious, it’s smart to have a list of self-care items, because it only takes one moment to turn the day around. Here are some of my favorite mood-boosters that help me reset the moment, and ultimately, my day.

1. Pinterest – turn fear/sadness and into inspiration 

2. Selfies! Forcing yourself to smile, and admiring your best qualities, can oftentimes help lift your spirits. 

3. Kombucha – this alkalizing drink actually gives me a bit of euphoria, and the ice-cold fruity fizziness always makes me feel refreshed. 

4. Tea – Unlike coffee that can make me feel jittery or keep me awake, I don’t have to worry about how tea will affect my mood down the road. You can drink 100 cups and be healthier than when you started! I still LOVE coffee (and it boosts my mood at the right time of day) but tea is a great option to give you a task and taste that leaves healthy effects. Try spiking it with apple cider vinegar for a nice little “kick!”

5. Sound – I gong my singing bowl a few times to reset the moment. Sound waves actually allow us to interrupt our fight or flight response and put us back into rest and digest. I find it also is nearly impossible to think/worry/bemoan when there is such powerful sound happening. You can also put on a favorite song or some nature sounds to turn it all around! 

6. Fresh flowers – keeping a bouquet of fresh flowers lifts my spirits and reminds me that happiness can be renewed, even if it (temporarily) dies. 

7. Himalayan salt crystal lamps – the story is the heat from the lightbulb activates ions in the salt that distribute into the air, purifying it and canceling out radiation from your electronics. Whether that’s true or not, the hue of this lamp is so pleasing, I put one in every room to give me warm-fuzzies when I enter. 

8. Aromatherapy – invest in a diffuser, which distributes healing essential oils (like uplifting citrus) throughout your home. I got this one at Whole Foods for $30, and as a bonus, it also displays changing LCD lights, which are known to be therapeutic. 
9. Tension relief – when I’m feeling down or stressed, my muscles take it all on. I’ve invested in a heating pad (for releasing), gel ice packs (for healing inflammation), Epsom salts (for relaxing baths) and a whole bunch of balms that really help soothe sore muscles. My favorite (and I’ve tried them all) is actually from the founder of Kundalini Yoga, Yogi Bhajan! It’s an Ayurvedic recipe called Narayan gel that feels as though it is really penetrating the deep tissue and relaxing it. I found this at Sprouts. I also use Doterra’s PastTense on my temples to ease my facial tension and headaches.

10. A few more things like meditation, candles, looking into my doggie’s eyes, painting with my toddler, opening a window, going on walks, putting my feet up for 5 minutes, and organizing something round out my list. I hope these help you renew your happiness, because remember, you are worthy of feeling happy, and your happiness comes entirely from within.

What are your favorite mood-boosters?


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I am sitting here trying to meditate. Now what?

You’ve decided you’re going to start meditating. You bought a comfy meditation cushion, even a string of Mala beads. Or you’re sitting on a simple chair, or lying on your couch. 

Your eyes are closed. You have stopped “doing.” You may think, “Is this it? Am I doing this right?”

The answer is YES. Your intention to meditate is 2/3 the battle. Now, as taught to me by Deepak Chopra, this is what happens next.

RESTFUL ALERTNESS

In one of his meditation videos, Chopra calls the next stage after sitting/lying “restful alertness.” You are still practicing nondoing, but you are very much aware. You’re aware of sounds. Tensions or discomforts in the body. Sensations. Make sure you fix any major discomfort before continuing on. 

FAVOR THE BREATH

Then, we start to notice our breath. And we add the mantra, “I am.” Perhaps you think “I” on the inhale, and “am” on the exhale. The Sanskrit words for “I am” are “So hum;” you can use those, instead. But, as Chopra says, we don’t kill ourselves focusing on the breath or mantra, but rather, we favor them over our thoughts and emotions.

BACK AND FORTH aka MINDFULNESS

Chopra says you will likely go back and forth from thinking, to favoring the breath, from feeling an emotion, to saying the mantra, back to thinking. And that’s OK. The goal is to always return to the breath when you notice yourself getting caught up in thinking and emotions. That’s mindfulness

PURE SPIRIT

Then, at some point – “especially if you’re not trying,” Chopra says – all the thoughts, emotions, sensations will be cleared away, and you’re left with you. What exists now, in his words: is “your pure spirit.” 

It gives me goosebumps – that state is pure freedom. Connection. Nonself. Peace. But, though we are grateful when we get to “be” in this way, sometimes we don’t get there. I have plenty of meditations like this. We may simply stay in restful alertness, and that’s still awesome, instructs Chopra, because we are still getting all the benefits of meditation…learning to always return to peace.

If you’d like some personal guidance, please don’t hesitate to contact me for an in-person or online session. You can also sign up for Chopra’s classes and retreats here


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Lazy Day Yoga (great for recovery or the elderly)

Amanda jones shows easy yoga movesI only do an average of 15 minutes of yoga each night (I’m a Vata..relaxing is good for us go-getters 🤓 take the the dosha quiz here to see what you are) but even THAT is too much of a hassle on days of overwhelm. Thankfully, the ancient art of Hatha yoga has us covered with its “energy releasing” Pawanmuktasana Series I – a series of “anti-rheumatic” poses great for lubricating joints, increasing circulation and toning nerves. Virtually everyone can do these poses: chair-bound, arthritic, postpartum…even those with a simple case of the Mondays. 
Watch me walk through the following series in my latest monthly yoga segment on KUTV 2News Fresh Living.  

1. Padanguli- and Goolf Naman – Toe and ankle bending (point and flex)

2. Goolf Chakra – Ankle rotation

3. Janu Naman – Knee bending

4. Poorna Titali Asana – Butterfly 

5. Mushtika Bandhana – Hand clenching

6. Manibandha Naman – Wrist bending

7. Manibandha Chakra – Wrist joint rotation 

8. Kehuni Naman – Elbow bending

9. Skandha Chakra – Shoulder socket rotation 

10. Greeva Sanchalana – Ear to shoulder stretch

11. End with Chin or Jnana Mudra

If you liked these poses and want more, continue on with Pawamuktasana Series 2 and 3. 

As you practice, be aware of your mindchatter, and link each movement to an in- or exhale. And with movements this simple, now we have no excuses not to practice (we don’t really want to miss out anyway)!

I found this information in the book, Asana Pranayama Mudra Bandha by Swami Satyananda Saraswati. 


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How important is a meditation teacher? 

My mindfulness journey began with books and YouTube videos, as many of ours do. We learn enough to start thinking a bit differently; start up a basic practice; makes some good changes. But after a time, As many of us do when we get gung-ho about a new diet or exercise plan, I plateaued. And when you plateau in mindfulness, the risk of slipping back into unconsciousness and habits of suffering, is high. One needs to always be growing; learning; practicing…in order to continue to experience and embody inner peace. So I am grateful I was advised to seek out the guidance of teachers, because they are the ones who truly helped me grow my inner guru. 

One of my first teachers, Yogi Cameron, has a good explanation of the importance of a “guru” HERE

My student Catherine told me she has downloaded meditation apps in the past, which helped her fall asleep. But it wasn’t until she started going to in-person groups, such as my class, that she experienced true transformation. Now, she is working on downsizing her life, finding a job that better suits her talents and ideal lifestyle, and finding true happiness within herself. 

I still rely heavily on books and videos to keep my practice fresh (in fact, you can find a few of my favorites herej), but thank goodness I have the support of wise teachers when I need some extra honesty, consolation, a new perspective, and more personalized guidance overall. 

If you’d like more meditation tips or personalized guidance, don’t hesitate to contact me by visiting www.simplegreenme.com

Namaste!