Category Archives: NaBloPoMo

12 Days of Valentine’s – Breathe Deep

Welcome to day 10 of the 12 Days of Valentine’s Love Yourself! Today is about breathing deep. Once upon a time I was really into Bikram Yoga. I lost well over 10 lbs through the practice, increased by strength and flexibility as well as minimized stress. Even though I don’t get to practice regularly, their are still a few key poses that I bust out for a variety of reasons

  • To combat stress
  • To relieve stomach aches and pains
  • to stretch out my cramped up back and shoulders

Those are just some of the situations in which I use yoga. But without a doubt, the one pose that has been the most beneficial to me (and I promise it will be to you too!) is Breath of Fire or Belly Breathing (Kapalbhati in Vajrasana). I essence, you relax the shoulders and sit either crossed legged or with your knees under you and let your belly hang out. The you do quick successive breaths from your belly, pushing it out each time. Often times when we are stressed, we tense up our stomachs, so this is a fantastic way to relax the tummy while clearing your head. A good way to test if you are doing it properly is to stick your belly out and then put one hand on your belly. You should feel your tummy dropping forward with each breath.

Even if you’re not a yogini, trust me, breathing and getting rid of stale air from inside your body while bringing in fresh oxygen is a real pick me up.

Check out this infographic for more stress relief ideas using yoga.

12 days of Valentine’s: Ask For Help

Monkey #2 and Grannie, both madly in love with each other

Welcome to Day 9 of the 12 Days of Valentine’s – Love Yourself! Today’s challenge is pretty easy, ask for help. I can’t stress it enough that we all need help and shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help when we need to grab a bit of zzzzz, get out of the house for some fresh air, or just to get some headspace. I unfortunately am lacking in a really vast support network here in New York, but I’m working on it. For the time being, I have to reach out to my husband friends and family who are the closest in Canada. In the meantime, I am actively working on increasing my network of friends. I’m inherently a social person, I need people!

It takes a village to raise a child   – African Proverb

A few weeks back my husband unexpectedly needed to head off to LA for work. My parents had both talked about coming soon, but I wasn’t sure if they could organize their lives in less than 5 days to come help out. I very stoically said to my husband, regardless, he should go and I would manage with my 4 year old and less than 3 month old. I almost didn’t even ask if they could come, which was ridiculous when I look back on it now. I mean, why wouldn’t I NOT ask. As my mother said, “that’s what mothers are for. As much as I can, and when I can, I will help.” Well, she managed to make it on very short notice and stay for 5 days. I actually don’t think I would’ve coped without her and it was a great bonding moment all around for grannie, my daughter and me.

So who do you go to to ask for help?

12 Days of Valentine’s – Eat Yourself Happy (part 2)

Welcome to part 2 of 12 Days of Valentine’s – Eat Yourself Happy! Chocolate, glorious chocoalate! Where would we be without you? Probably a few pounds lighter I’d say. I am a MASSIVE fan of chocolate. I can’t have the stuff in the house or else it all has to be eaten, all at once. I grew up loving milk chocolate but have recently really began to understand the benefits of dark chocolate and furthermore raw 100% cacao.

If you indulge moderately in 100% raw cacao you will feel satisfied without it going to your hips, plus their are so many health benefits. Watch the video to find out more. If you missed part 1 on how to eat yourself happy, check it out here.

12 Days of Valentine’s – Eat Yourself Happy (part 1)

Welcome to part 1 of Eat Yourself Happy, which is day 7 in 12 Day’s of Valentine’s – Love Yourself! series. Food is a necessary fuel to keep us going from day to day. I know that when I am tired or stressed out I often look for the easiest thing to eat, instead of the best, healthiest food to eat. I have a physical education degree, so I know this stuff, I know what I am suppose to eat, but tiredness, poor organization or just lack of time and prep can sometimes make me eat less than the best. It seems that in this age of fast food and microwave dinners we’ve forgotten that we can still enjoy food AND make sure that it is nutritious food fueling us with energy and helping us to stay healthy. It’s ongoing in our house, and I am always researching what’s best for our whole family to eat.

In recent times, their has been a buzz around Superfoods and foods that make you happy! I’m going to look at a few here in part 1 that I particularly enjoy and in part 2 I’m going to look at – you guessed it, chocolate, or cacao (raw 100% chocolate)!

12 Days of Valentine’s – Feed Your Soul

Welcome to Day 6 of 12 Days of Valentine’s Love Yourself! Today we’re talking about feeding your soul. For me, I think this is the hardest thing to do because it requires taking the time out to stop and really think about what you need to enrich your soul. The same way I have to stop and think through what I need to feed my family with food for the week, I need to stop and think about what I need to feed my soul. When my heart isn’t singing and I’m not laughing everyday, I know that I am NOT feeding my soul.

Up until today, most of what I have described in the 12 Days of Valentine’s has been prescriptive, meaning I have been bossy and told you exactly what to do. Today is different. How you feed your soul will be different for everyone – you have to stop and think about it this way: If you were to exist all alone, what would you need to do to feel fulfilled every day? As I mentioned above, I need to be laughing and buzzing with happiness everyday. At the moment, I get that by connecting with others online (I know, I know, I’m working on the “in real life” friends too!) and  reading blogs that make me laugh and books that teach me something new. I minimize television viewing and don’t really even watch the news these days – those 2 activities are soul sucking rather than soul nourishing. The rise in Reality TV has served to lower the quality of TV even more in recent years. I still keep up with what is going on in the world, but I am able to filter out the sensational spin that is put on the evening news by reading my news online.

12 Days of Valentine’s – Treat Yourself to Music

Day 5 of the 12 Days of Valentine’s – Love Yourself! is all about music. I remember feeling isolated with my first born. I think I was used to being at home for 2 days at a time without going anywhere. Before that, I worked for myself and was always on the go. If I wasn’t at the office, I was doing yoga, or running down by the beach. Suddenly with the birth of Monkey #1, I was spending days alone at home. Sure my husband was coming home from work every evening, but never had I spent entire days by myself. The silence was deafening. It takes a bit of getting used to, talking to this small human that doesn’t respond, that doesn’t even smile for the first 6 weeks at least. My boy was 4 weeks early, so he pretty much slept the first 4 weeks of his life – as if he was still in the womb. I stared into his eyes when he was awake, talked baby talk and waited for any kind of response. I didn’t have nearly the social life that some of my friends did before children (thanks to being self-employed) but still I used to come and go as I wanted and this new way of being, without any feedback sometimes made the days long.

That is how I discovered music and specifically dancing to music as a way to pass the time, connect with my baby and produce feel good hormones. To this date, Monkey #1 is still very musical and we still dance together. Researchers have said that playing music for young babies stimulates the brain. So you see, music is a double whammy, heightening your feel good hormones and nurtures your baby. Music is a building block to baby’s speech development.

And don’t be afraid to play whatever you normally play – music is music, a melody is a melody. Some people swear that you have to play the classics like Mozart. I say, as long as you and baby are moving and the music is not too loud for baby’s ears, then you are onto something good. Of course their is a theory that beyond stimulating the brain, the tempo of Mozart creates emotion as well.

Does music play a part in your family’s life?