March 17, 2014

Yoga 101

I have recently been very interested in yoga. So when I saw this great book at Costco last year, I couldn't pass it up. The Anatomy of Yoga is pure awesome-ness! It shares a great intro to what yoga is from the anatomical standpoint. Basically the poses in yoga are the best documented stretches for whole-body stretches that reach the needed muscles the most effectively and efficiently.
Here's an example page
In other words...if you understand muscle-anatomy, you'd know that many muscles are interrelated and that by working on one will help working on others. If you have one muscle you want to stretch, then it's helpful to know which other muscles connect to that one, so you can maximize your stretch. And there you have yoga poses. They are maximized stretches. And this book spells out which muscles you are working in every for all viewpoints and everything. It is simply amazing! It makes me what to go to massage school so I can get real depth in experience with muscles and such. Wow, that's be cool. And it even tells about how to breathe properly...which is HUGE in yoga. If you don't breathe properly, you won't get the most out of the stretch, no matter how hard you try. To summarize yoga breathing, think "in and out" or "expand and contract." When opening up, take a deep breath through the nose. When closing/bending, exhale through your nose.

**Highly suggest the YOGA STUDIO APP!!!! It is amazing and has hundreds of classes based on skill level,
 duration and focus (strength, balance, flexibility, etc.). IT was the best $3 I've ever spent...and I never spend 
money if I can help it.

Here is a great graphic summary of many main poses (asanas): 

Tadasana to Savasana
43 Basic Yoga Poses
Standing Asanas: The feet are our foundation
Tadasana – Mountain Pose
Trikonasana – Triangle
Virabhadrasana I – Warrior I
Parsvakonasana – Lateral angle pose
Virabhadrasana II – Warrior II
Utkatasana – Chair pose
Forward Bending Asanas: An experience of flexion
Uttanasana – Standing forward bend
Prasarita Padottanasana – Standing straddle forward bend
Parsvottanasana – Standing head to knee
Paschimottanasana – Double leg forward bend
Janu Sirsasana – Single leg forward bend
Upavistha Konasana – Sitting straddle forward bend
Apanasana – Double leg wind reliever
Pavanamukthasana – Wind reliever
Balasana – Child pose
Core Asanas: Activating the abdominal muscles
Ardha Navasana – Half boat
Paripurna Navasana – Full boat
Dandasana – Staff pose
Side bending Asana: Creating space 
Back Bends: Exploring Extension
Bhujangasana – Cobra
Salabhasana – Locust
Dhanurasana – Bow
Ustrasana – Camel
Setu Bandha Sarvangasana – Bridge
Matsyasana – Fish
Supta Virasana – Supine hero
Urdhva Mukha Svanasana – Upward facing dog
Eka Pada Kapotasana – Pigeon
Anjaneyasana – Crescent moon
Twisting Asanas: Revolving the Spine
Ardha Matsyendrasana – Half spinal twist
Bharadvajasana – Hip spiral
Jathara Parivartanasana – Reclined hip roll
Parivrtta Janu Sirsasana – Revolved head to knee
Parivrtta Trikonasana – Revolved triangle
Inverted Asanas: Turning it all upside-down
Adho Mukha Svanasana – Downward facing dog
Sarvangasana – Shoulderstand
Halasana – Plow
Sirsasana – Headstand
Standing Balancing Asanas: Steadying the mind
Vrksasana – Tree
Ardha Chandrasana – Half moon
Natarajasana – Dancer
Virabhadrasana III – Warrior III
Final Asana
Savasana – Corpse
Other resources we use:

  • Kids Yoga Deck or Adult Deck (great for learning poses and kids picking the cards so they feel involved)
  • Kids yoga poses (online; a list from my kids' education blog that I hope to add photos to, but includes a website link to look them up)
  • Yoga by Chakras Post

And...there is more to yoga than just stretching. It is a way of a religion if you will. I think it a great way to start, though it is missing Christ as the central point. So I take what I can from it and add it to the truths I have found.8 limbs of yoga

March 15, 2014

Energy Work: Meridians 101

Ever heard of these words? Chakras. Meridians. Reiki. Mudras. Muscle testing.

Well, I was interested in figuring out more, so I have been all sorts of energy type books that deal with eastern medicine and theory. I would like to share some thoughts on them so you have a basic understanding of it all so you have a foundation wherewithal to place other such knowledge you might come across that is related to this stuff.

First we need to understand "chi," which in Chinese means "life force." It is the energy in our bodies that regulates our bodies and gives us life.
There have been studies done to document energy in the body and this energy follows a pattern or cycle through what eastern medicine calls the 12 meridians or channels. Each meridian has both a positive and negative (yin and yang) energy or flow. And each meridian is associated with a specific bodily organ or function as well as specific muscles. There are ten organ meridians and two central/governing organs--these two are like the control center. But basically, if you have a symptom showing up in an organ or muscle, there is generally a blockage of energy in the associated meridian. Logical, right?
Time of Day Balance . Touch for Health Education
So what do we do?

Well, do we trust our bodies? There is a way to muscle test our bodies for each organ to see which meridian had energy blockage and to identify which muscles are weak. We then can rebalance the muscles, or meridians so energy isn't blocked. I'm not saying this will ultimately heal everything every time, but its a start.
These are the points you can muscle test.

This is what some holistic chiropractors do, in addition to just structural alignment. Yes, some people think they are hoakie, but I think that's because they don't take time to understand. Afterall, this energy is researched and documented in three different methods and all get the same results. So, after reading a chiropractors book and having regular firsthand experience with one for this last year, I know that this makes perfect sense both logically and intuitively.

If you want to learn more specifics, try out a holistic chiropractor, or check out this book, where I got this information, which correlates to other info I've read online from other sources too.

The book is called Touch for Health and its more like a reference book for people learning the art of chiropractic--not a light read or those without experience going to a holistic chiropractor.

Goodreads 2014 List

Reflection/Journal Type
Mitten Strings for God, by Katrina Kenison

Northanger Abby by Jane Austen

Daring Greatly, by Brene Brown

Children's Literature
Little House on the Prairie, by Laura Ingalls Wilder

Eat to Live, by Joel Furhman

Choose any poet that appeals to you, or go explore new poetical horizons

The Mircale of Freedom: 7 Tipping Points that Changed the World, by Chris Stewart

Simplicity Parenting, by Kim John Payne

Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

Halloween (for kids)
Scary Stories and Jokes, by Joanna Cole

Nature, Math, Symbolism
The Beginner's Guide to Constructing the Universe

Choose your own....

Goodreads: Daring Greatly

I really enjoyed the Daring Greatly book by Brene Brown. I didn't want to read it because it was some book by a psychologist on having courage to be vulnerable and frankly that didn't seem at all appealing or needed, but I had already checked it out, via a friend's high praise for it, before I knew what it was. So...I thought I'd peruse. And when I did I started enjoying it. 

I liked this book because as a parent I want to raise my children to reach their greatest potential and for our home to be filled with love. (Which at times seems hard--like when I'm yelling at Ethan) are my notes (and some graphics I found online that go along with them). I hope you find time to read this book if that is also important to you...


10 Guideposts made pretty

What we know matters, but who we are matters more!
3 Lies of Scarcity (the never-enough problem)
1. Shame: ridicule, belittling? self-worth tied to achievement, productivity, compliance? blaming and fingerprinting? perfectionism?
2. Comparison: held to a narrow standard instead of acknowledged for unique gifts and contributions?
3. Disengagement: fear of taking risks or trying new things? Easier to stay quiet than share? Does it feel no one is listening or paying attention--struggling to be seen or heard?

Quoted Lynne Twist: “When you let go of trying to get more of what you don’t really need, it frees up oceans of energy to make a difference with what you have.  When you make a difference with what you have, it expands.
“I suggest that if you are willing to let go, let go of the chase to acquire or accumulate always more and let go of that way of perceiving the world, then you can take all that energy and attention and invest it in what you have.  When you do that you will find unimagined treasures, and wealth of surprising and even stunning depth and diversity.”
“The happiest and most joyful people I know are those who express themselves through channeling their resources – money, when they have it – on to their highest commitments.  Theirs is a world where the experience of wealth is in sharing what they have, giving, allocating, and expressing themselves authentically with the money they put in flow.” 
Buddha “ told his followers that whatever they chose to give their attention, their love, their appreciation, their listening, and their affirmation to would grow in their life and in the world.”  So when we focus on what we lack (too busy, not enough money, not pretty enough or skinny enough, etc.)  – well, that’s all we get.

Vulnerability:  uncertainty, risk, emotional exposure
Need to name shame in your life to identify it so as to overcome it.
We either own our stories or we stand outside them

Mindfulness: taking a balanced approach to negative emotions. Don't over-identify or exaggerate emotions.

- is more about perception than internal motivation
- self-destructive/a form of shame...try to minimize shame, judgment and personal blame; which leads to further shame, blame, "not good enough"
- is not same as striving for excellence. It's defensive and compares to others and seeks outward approval.
- hampers real achievement in long run and leads to depression, addiction, missed opportunities and contentment.

Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good. - Voltaire

2 Guiding Strategies (on listening to external voices)
1. Only accept and pay attention to feedback from those who are  "in the arena" with you
2. Have a list of names of people whose opinions matter to you. To be on that list they must love you for your strengths and weaknesses

Strategy (what we want to achieve) vs. Culture (what we are)
10 questions about family culture

The "disengagement divide": who we are vs. what we know/who we want to be (our practiced values in conflict with our expectations)
- identify your expectations...manageable?realistic? On self and others? The same.

Leader: one who holds the self accountable for finding potential in people and processes
Learning and creating are inherently vulnerable. Ask questions. Be ok looking the fool.

Signs of Shame in your Culture: blame, criticism, gossip, favoritism, name calling, harassment
Daring Greatly Culture: honest, constructive, engaged feedback given with empathy (not force or shame) discomfort is normal and going to happen...cultivate courage to be uncomfortable as part of growth. Empathy, accountability and belonging.

Blame: the discharging of pain and discomfort
Shame can only rise so far in any system before people disengage to protect themselves.
"If blame is driving, shame is riding shotgun."

Guilt (did something bad) vs. shame (you are bad)

Shame is painful for children because it is linked to the fear of being unlovable. And they are dependent on parents for all--feeling unloveable s a threat to survival. Trauma.
You can't shame proof children. But can nurture and build worth and create culture of worth, not shame.

If we feel good about ourselves we don't have to say mean thing about others.

Hope is a function of struggle. Our stories of being enough, begin in our families. We either fight to reclaim our self worth or gain hope, courage and resilience. Compassion and connection give meaning and purpose within our families.

If you're uncomfortable in your role as a leader, it's almost certain you are not reaching your potential as a leader.

Goodreads: Mitten Strings for God

I am reading a great little book...
Mitten Strings for God: Reflections for Mothers in a Hurry

A few things I like about this book are...

  1. The author is somewhat poetic and a great storyteller in small, powerful pictures while being quite precise. I like that.
  2. It is broken down in many little segments--2 or 3 pages at a time--for mothers in a hurry who "don't have time" to sit and read a book. So it is a great long-term read, little by little. I kept it by my bedside and just read a section or two each night before bed.
  3. This is a good book to help us take inventory and gradually aid us in that process of discovering the beauty in a more simple and less-hurried life so we can slow down our ever-quickening pace. 
  4. There is lots to reflect many little snippets hidden for me to uncover and take from it what I feel is needed for me at this time. In fact, that's why I'm making this post--to capture those notes, since I can't write in a library book.

Most women are in a hurry. And why? Society has created busy-ness. And most of the time is is for good things like developing talents, or giving service and being involved, etc...

But I think many women cling to society's busy-ness so much because it's easier to do what is already there and to fulfill others' needs that are clearly stated. But it takes so much more to stop and find creative and fulfilling solutions, which could help each person take time really getting to know themselves and their talents, or their childrens'.
  • Storytelling
  • Meditation
  • Quiet Time
  • Homemade Satisfaction
  • ....
I didn't finish all my notes, and therefore I'm sure I wont get as much out of this book at I originally wanted, since I've already forgotten some; But...if it sounds interesting, go for it!

Greenreads: Beginners Guide to Constructing the Universe

This book is fascinating! It's all about numbers and geometry in nature and the world all around us. The author covers specifically 0-10 and all the basic shapes in relation to numbers and where examples are found. He also discusses the golden mean and music theory and the light spectrum and how everything is interrelated.

This is a fabulous way to approach learning math in context of what we see every day. And I didn't read it in depth for all sections, just those I was interested in most. But I skimmed through it all and loved the pictures and graphs and breadth as well as depth of information.

I would say a must read for everyone!

And the TJed Classics Bookgroup is doing this book in October.