Detoxifying My Mind and Body into Spring

Like most everyone else right now I am feeling pretty done with this winter. I keep hoping for spring to show it's messy, wet, mucky self but it seems to be rather shy this year. Try as I might, I cannot coax it from winter's grasp. I begin to feel this way every year, but lately my desire for warmer weather seems particularly huge. This winter has been a tough one by bringing a never ending onslaught of frustration for us. Seemingly non-stop colds and flus piled on top of a teething, non-sleeping toddler mixed in with breaking appliances, cars, roofs, ceilings, phones, and wallets all rolled into a cluster cuss of bad luck. I was also handed my first ever traffic ticket, which I will say on record was complete BS and I did not actually violate any road rules. Non-the-less I still got the ticket. Having a toddler that needs to run and play outside and who easily becomes stir crazy doesn't help much either. We just want to be able to go outside without the mitts, the jacket, the tuque, the boots, the icy sidewalks and piles of snow that have taken up all the space everywhere. Its time for grass and sun and picnics and parks and evening drinks outside with friends and family.

The snow is making us all crazy!

But we are doing our best to make the most of it!

The past months have been weighing heavily on both my mind and body. I have fallen into the terrible circular habits of poor eating and little exercise that cause me to feel sluggish and put my mind into an unhealthy state. I decided that I needed a change. I needed to jump-start my body and my spirit out of this slump and ready myself for the spring. I need to un-fog my mind and re-discover the beauty in the calm, the simplicity, the humor, the frustrations, the happiness, the crazy that is everyday life.

One week ago today I challenged myself to do a minimum of 30 yoga classes in 30 days. I have practiced yoga on and off for about 8 years and through that time I have found that my yoga passion lies in Moksha. For those who don't know, Moksha yoga is practiced in a room kept at about 40 degrees Celsius and fairly high humidity. It is definitely not everyone's cup of tea but I love it. I love the heat and I love the sweat! When I leave each class I can literally wring the sweat from my clothes, and as grossed out as you probably are right now, it makes me smile every time. Sweating allows your body to rid itself of toxins that build up and are stored in your tissues. When I am sweating to the point of a steady stream flowing off the end of my nose I can't help but think of all the nasty stuff leaving my body and it makes me feel great. I find the heat makes the practice much more challenging and because of this my mind has no option but to focus on the task at hand. For the hour or hour and a half of each practice my mind is shut off from the outside world. I don't think about my day or what I am going to make for dinner or when I am going to have time to finish this project or that, or anything else. I just am. I am able to be solely in the moment and this is so rejuvenating. All my thoughts melt away and the constant background chatter of my mind dissolves into nothing.


Aida's version of Downward Facing Dog


Yoga feeds both my mind and body. By allowing my thoughts to turn inward and focus only on my breath and the postures, I come away feeling rested, calm and in good spirits. The physical aspects of  yoga stretch and strengthen my muscles while detoxifying my body. Since having Aida I have discovered muscles I didn't know I had and discomforts I had never experienced before. The physical toll your body can take simply from nursing a child really blows my mind. I have neck and back issues I have never had to deal with before. And try as I might to carry my daughter evenly with my left and right side I still become unaligned and muscles on one side become tighter than the other. Yoga has REALLY helped me begin to correct these problems and I feel better and better with each class.

Also, for all those mamas-to-be out there, Yoga is a fantastic way to stay comfortable and healthy throughout your pregnancy. Many women begin to experience discomfort and pain at some point in their pregnancy. Often, this discomfort is caused by the much needed hormone called Relaxin that begins to course through your body almost immediately following conception. This hormone functions to soften the joints that will need to stretch and alter for delivery. Unfortunately, Relaxin doesn't specifically target the pelvic area and many women experience lose joints all over their body which, as you can imagine, can become quite uncomfortable and even painful. I personally began to feel the effects of this hormone almost immediately. My hips and pubic bone got more and more painful throughout each day. I started taking prenatal yoga when I was just 8 weeks pregnant and continued until just days before Aida was born. I also regularly visited a chiropractor who specialized in pregnancy. The combination of these two things kept me extremely comfortable and pain-free through my entire pregnancy. As soon as I began yoga and chiropractic care, I felt completely normal. No pain, no achy joints, no stiffness, nothing. I had the best pregnancy one could ask for and I attribute much of that to the yoga that kept me strong to balance my lose joints and opened my pelvis with ease and control.

So, the challenge. I will do my absolute best to attend at least 30 yoga classes in 30 days. It has been exactly one week that I began my challenge and so far (by the end of today) I will have done 10 classes in 7 days! Big thanks to my hubby for encouraging me to do this and taking on more so I can take this time to care for myself!   

I will let you know how things are going as I progress through this month. Wish me luck!



    



   

Who Doesn't Love Fresh Juice?

My daughter and I are both fighting colds at the moment so it has been juice mania around here. Juicing is a great way to pack your body full of the vitamins and nutrients it needs, especially when trying to overcome illness. Juicing separates the juice from the fiber of the fruits and veggies which allows your body to easily absorb their nutrients. Releasing the vitamin filled liquid from the fiber before ingesting it means that your body doesn't have to work as hard to digest it, allowing that energy be used for other things like fighting off colds.


Juicing has saved my sanity lately as my daughter has decided to go on a vegetable strike. I have been amazed at the lengths she will go to avoid consuming the vegetables I put in her food. She has mastered the art of separating the foods in her mouth and spitting the vegetables back onto her plate. She has not always been this way and I know it is just a stage, but it makes me feel better knowing she is getting most of the benefits of fresh fruits and vegetables through their tasty juices. Making juice has become a daily event that my daughter gets excited about. She pulls a chair up to the counter and clambers up to help as soon as I mention juice time. She loves to help in the kitchen so once I get everything prepped I let her put it all into the feed tube of the juicer. We have definitely had some spills to clean up but letting her be a part of her own healthy food preparation is worth all the beet juice pooling on the counter top and running down our white cabinets.

I wish I had hopped on the juice train much earlier, especially when I was pregnant. One of the hardest things I encountered through my pregnancy was my inability to eat lots of fresh veggies. Just like most pregnant women, I experienced the most painful bloating and gas whenever I would eat uncooked vegetables. It was awful! I hear this complaint a lot from my clients too. Pregnancy can be such a catch-22; the very foods that contain so many vital nutrients for growing a baby can be so unforgiving to your digestive system while trying to do just that. Pregnancy changes everything in your body including hormones and the way your major systems function. One of these major changes is the speed at which your digestive system moves. Since your body is trying to capture every morsel of nutrient for that growing baby, your digestive system slows to a near halt. This is why so many pregnant women complain of bloating, gas and for some, the feeling of constantly being full. Although fiber in your diet is essential to avoiding constipation, a consumption of too much fiber can contribute to even slower digestion causing more gas and discomfort. So, the question is, if we are supposed to eat so many of these fresh fruits and vegetables to maintain a health pregnancy, but these foods put us in a state of constant discomfort, what is there to do? One solution would be to JUICE! Juicing would cut down on your intake of fiber without cutting out all those important nutrients that both you and your wee baby need. Remember though, fiber IS important to proper digestive functions so DON'T cut it out completely.

Have a happy healthy day!