Category Archives: Food for thought

Exercising a Healthy Mind

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Your brain is no different than any other muscle in your body and therefore needs to be exercised. Physical exercise is not only important for your body’s health but it also helps your brain stay sharp. By putting on your runners and hitting the gym you can boost your brain’s fitness especially with aerobic exercise. Aerobic exercise has shown to have positive effects on the brain on many levels, ranging from molecular to behavioral. According to a recent study, even 20 minutes of exercise helps the brain’s informational process and memory functions. While another study states that exercise increases the growth factor in the brain making it easier for the brain to grow new neuronal connections.

Exercise increases your heart rate which pumps more oxygen to the brain. It also aids the release of hormones which helps provide a nourishing environment for the growth of brain cells. From a behavioral perspective, the same antidepressant-like effects of “Runners High” are associated with a drop in stress hormones.

In general, anything that is good for your heart is good for your brain. Aerobic exercise not only improves brain function but it also acts like a first aid kit on damaged brain cells.

The next time you change your routine, try incorporating coordination into your cardiovascular exercise. Why not try a dance class? Ballroom dancing is both physical and mentally demanding as it involves different parts of the brain such as coordination, rhythm and strategy.

And finally if you like your alone time at the gym, try a circuit workout. It gets your heart rate up quickly and constantly redirects your attention.

“Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.” ~ Aristotle

Sun Saluations – Proper Form

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Sun salutations, or Surya Namaskar, are an important foundational practice of yoga.  Sun salutations are traditionally practiced as the sun rises, acknowledging and honoring this life-giving ….  Hindus refer to the sun as Surya and namaskar means “to honor” or “to bow to.” I often use the basic sequence of sun salutations as a basis for the flows I lead.  There are quite a few moving parts and it can be challenging to speak every alignment cue for every position. That’s why Samantha has decided to teach one posture, or asana, each week for the next several weeks in her Tuesday evening class. This way we can go over each posture in detail and learn all of its proper alignments,as well as modifications and contraindications. There are seven poses we will be covering.
They are:
Tadasana — Mountain (shown in picture)
Uttanasana — Forward Fold
Ardauttanasana — Half Lift
Virabadrasana — Warrior
Bhujangasana — Cobra
Adhomukasvanasana — Downward Facing Dog
I hope you’ll join us for one or many of these classes so that you can learn or get a reminder of how these poses should feel in your body  and to bring more integrity, strength, and benefit to your yoga practice.

Loving, Kindness Meditation

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I hope this message finds you feeling well, happy, and peaceful. I would like to share with you an interesting experience that I had last week. I appreciate you allowing me to share some of my Self and I invite you on a journey to find more peace and happiness. 
Sunday evening started with listening to this podcast interview with Congressman John Lewis, who has been my representative as long as I’ve lived in Atlanta. He was often beaten during the Civil Rights movement and has been jailed many times throughout his life for civil protest, but always remains peaceful and with love in his heart – even for those who were treating him as less than human. This podcast is less about his life details and more about how he views and lives in loveIn faith. With the knowing that we are all One Family. I urge you to find an hour – even if you’re doing something else like cooking – to listen to this conversation. I promise you will hear at least one thing that inspires you to be a better neighbor, a better human, and to have more compassion.
After listening to this inspiring talk, I opened social media for one of the first times in the previous few days. Probably needless to say – but it’s part of the story – I saw lots of things that discouraged me, made me straight up mad as hell, and saddened me so, so deeply. I read some things that encouraged me as well, but mostly I closed that page feeling hopeless, depleted, and overwhelmed. I wasn’t sure what to do. Then I remembered a goal I had set for myself recently.
I realized this would be the perfect time to practice a Loving Kindness meditation. A Loving Kindness meditation starts with simply closing your eyes and breathing. You then find love and kindness for yourself, followed by someone you know, and then others, and on and on. The goal I set for myself is to practice this every night before bed for the next few weeks so that I may find more peace in my heart, and so that I may share it with others. I am inviting you to join me on this journey of practicing just once each day or night. 
Here is the one I listened to that night which inspired this post. Please trust me that you need no experience, no meditation cushion or any other thing to facilitate this. All that is required is the willingness to be open and to take ten to fifteen minutes out of your day to breath and think good thoughts. If you are in a partnership or family setting, listen to it with others and watch the love blossom. Share your experience, or journal about it. I beg you to try it at least once. The first video is 13 minutes. 
I will be leading a group Loving Kindness meditation at Powerlady Fitness each Tuesday in February at 8 PM, starting 2/7/17. Please contact us if you would like to join. 
I look forward to hearing from you if you would like to cultivate loving kindness with me. 
Always know that you have my gratitude and my love just for being you. I send you peace, wellbeing, and joy in each of your days.
Much Love,

Amazing post with all the goodies

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