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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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!


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No. 1 way to stress less!


We’ve all been paralyzed by stress at one moment or another. Whether it’s freaking out about Monday morning, or a big project, or a tiny item on your to-do list, your stress is likely rooted in FEAR.

So, try this trick to stop fear in its tracks, and start living life more present, calm and confident!

And make sure you check out all the new stuff at http://www.simplegreenme.com! Use the code FRIEND10 for 10% off your first order. 



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#15secondzen – just for parents

Lindsay Aerts, a radio personality who currently hosts a  show for moms on KSL radio, organizes the annual Climb Out of Darkness event in Salt Lake City. The event raises awareness for postpartum mood/mental disorders that include OCD, PTSD, anxiety, depression and more. 

I had to heal my own postpartum depression (and still have “blue” days), so this story is very near and dear to my heart. So many women struggle with this yet never ask for help because of the social stigma of mental symptoms. There is also a societal pressure to “snap out of it” or “that’s just motherhood” but Lindsay, who dealt with Postpartum Anxiety, says, “motherhood is hard, but it shouldn’t be suffering.”

That’s why Lindsay is featured in today’s #15secondzen. She aims to help all moms manage their moods with this one simple tip. 

**yoga and meditation helps me so much. Get yours at www.simplegreenme.com!


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Sustainable gardening tips from Sugagreen Hub


Sugagreen Hub is a community space in Salt Lake City, UT where the people who live on-site or come for the gardening workshops contribute to a DIY, sustainable environment. 

The property is beautiful; twinkling lights, footpaths and grapevine-shaded chicken coops give Sugagreen it’s aesthetic appeal, while the permaculture (agriculture that’s good for the earth and mostly off the grid) is the motor that runs this self-“oiled” machine.

Caretaker and certified permaculture designer, Adriane Hovey and her mentor James Loomis, the gardening expert for Catalyst Magazine, built the aquaponics element to the urban farm. Aquaculture doesn’t need land, which is helpful to the Earth because of all of the soil erosion, and is  self-contained ecosystem that produces plants. The symbiotic relationship between fish and plants is what makes this method intriguing. Here’s how it works:


​Hovey says their chickens are a big part of their permaculture. Rather than traditional composting, she says she will throw food scraps and eggshells onto the earth where the chickens roam. She says the chickens peck and scratch and naturally grind the scraps into the dirt, which, along with their fertilizer, creates rich soil that she uses to feed and grow her plants. She also uses the ground eggshells to make facial spa masks, chalk, and to naturally repel snails and other bugs from climbing up plants and bending them over (The shells scrape their sensitive bodies). 

But unless the snails are climbing on the plants, Hovey says they and many other bugs are actually good for the garden. The soil microbiology loves the snail trails. Ladybugs are also important players, because these vicious predators eat The small bugs that lay eggs in and eat your plants. She says it’s important not to use pesticide, even organic pesticide, because you want a healthy ecosystem of insects to Feed and protect your garden.

Hovey also said it’s important to use the lasagna mulch method when you’re preparing a planting bed to enrich the soil and prevent weeds. You can learn how to do that, plus everything you read here and more in one of their community workshops. You can find out when those are happening on their Facebook page. 

The people who make Sugagreen a Hub add their talents to make this green space a place of true community. For example, Rocky Lavoie contributes her musical talents on the ground’s stage, made of all Upcycled material, and also teaches yoga once a week in the space’s studio.​​​ and Artists for Agriculture help design garden elements and hang art for sale on the walls. Everyone is welcome, so contact Hobey through Facebook if you’d like to get involved, or even rent their studio space. 

You can watch me spending a whole morning at Sugagreen at KUTV.com.