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Friday, April 2, 2010

Connection to the Universe through Om

What's up with Om anyway?

Om (pronounced "aum") is a mantra, vibration or vocalization often chanted 3 times at the beginning and 3 times at the end of a yoga class. But what does that chant mean? "Om" is actually a very simple sound with a complex meaning. It represents the whole universe in just one syllable. Chanting om at the beginning of class unifies the people in the class together as one. This fusion is symbolic of the union of mind, body and spirit that happens during your yoga practice. Knowing the background of this sacred syllable will help you understand yoga even more, allowing you to delve deeper into your practice.

Om is one of the most chanted syllables in India. The sound is believed to have a profound effect on the mind, body, and surroundings of the person that speaks it. Somehow the ancient yogis knew what scientists today are telling us-that the entire universe is moving, with nothing ever solid or still. Everything in existence pulsates, creating a rhythmic vibration that the ancient yogis acknowledged with the sound of Om. We may not always be aware of this sound in our daily lives, but we can hear it in the sound of the waves on the shore, the rustling of autumn leaves, even the sound of the ocean inside a seashell.

Chanting Om allows us to recognize our experience as a reflection of how the whole universe moves-the rising and setting of the sun, the ebb and flow of the tides, the waves of our breath and the beating of our hearts. The sound of Om establishes us in universal movement, our practice and connecting us through our breath, self-awareness, and physical energy. As we chant "aaauuummm" at the beginning and ending of our practice, we begin to sense a bigger connection to the universe.

Keep it Fresh!
~ Terra

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Amazing Pineapple!

Pineapple. I am obsessed. Pineapple and mangoes are my favorite juicy fruits. It pains me to think about the carbon footprint required to transport these delicious tropical fruits from their warm homes to a rainy, cold Jersey Shore for me to enjoy. But I can't help it. I am addicted. I love tropical fruit! I will save the mango love for another time, this post is all about my prickly tangy sweet yellow love.

Not only is fresh pineapple juicy, delicious, and refreshing, but it is also very good for you. Pineapple belongs to the bromeliacea family Bromeliacae foods are named as such because they are packed with bromelian enzymes. Bromelian enzymes help the body balance and neutralize the fluids in the body, ensuring the body is neither too acidic nor too alkaline, it stimulates the pancreas to secrete hormones that aid in digestion and is also an anti-inflammatory. These awesome enzymes promote healing in the body and can only be found in fresh pineapple. The enzymes are destroyed during the canning process (heating/pasteurizing for preservation).

In addition to the bromelian enzymes, pineapples are packed with vitamin C, B1 (smaller amounts of B2, B3, B5 and B6) and it's a great source of manganese, copper, magnesium, potassium, beta-carotene, folic acid and even dietary fiber (that vitamin list makes pineapple a GREAT pre-conception food!). For a detailed nutritional analysis check this site.

Considering the globalization of this great big world of ours, pineapple is readily available throughout the United States 12 months of the year, even if you don't live in Hawaii. Many grocery stores such as Wegmans, Whole Foods and even Acme now neatly package fresh pineapple. If you don't want to pay extra for the convenience purchasing the full pineapple and cutting it yourself is a bit more economical.

When shopping for pineapple, choose one that is golden, heavy and smelling sweet. Be sure to check the bottom is free from decay or moldy spots. Cut off the crown of the pineapple, turn it upside down on a plate and leave it in the fridge a few hours before you plan to eat it. This allows the sweetness of the juice (at the bottom of the pineapple) to evenly distribute throughout the entire fruit. To store cut pineapple, keep it in an airtight container and let it soak in it's own juice. It should keep for up to 1 week.

Please note, pineapple is an extremely sweet fruit with high fructose levels. If you are in good health, pineapple should not pose a problem, however diabetics or those with blood sugar issues should consult their doctor.

I am off to eat some pineapple and plain Greek yogurt for breakfast. Yum!

Keep it Fresh!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Living In the Moment...

I love the concept: We are a civilization of "human doings" not "human beings." Don't get me wrong; I'm probably busier than the average person, but as I move towards a life of truly following my bliss, I am more and more interested in slowing down, in enjoying each precious moment, in appreciating all that is profound in its simplicity. I do this by setting goals and visualizing exactly what I want. The big shift is that I enjoy each moment while I am moving towards my goal. I savory each juicy minute with my future in mind, not in control.

This year I had the opportunity to meet Bijan Anjomi, the author of an amazing book, Absolutely Effortless Prosperity. This book has changed my way of living and my life forever. Bijan helped me realize it's more enjoyable to enjoy the journey (toward the goal). Here are a few tips that may help you be present. Ways to pull yourself out of the past and future, places of residences preferred by the ego and to truly be present in the moment.

1. Each day, spend some time alone. Spend time in silence, meditation or even yoga. Time just sitting. Not reading, knitting, watching TV, talking, scratching, or sleeping. Just sitting. Not even thinking. As thoughts pop up, let them drift away, like clouds floating across the sky.

2. Each day, find something simple in your life that is beautiful, interesting, wondrous, or amazing. Like a spider web. Or a flower. Or the sun reflecting off a colorful bird. Or a sunset. Maybe the moon. A smile. Or the memory of your dog. Something that simply warms your heart. Living in gratitude makes every day better, and there is always something to be grateful for.

3. Each day, decide to listen completely in every conversation. Without second guessing the content you are expecting from the other person. Without finishing the sentences for him or her. Without already preparing your rebuttal to the anticipated conversation. Just listen. Listening is a rare skill these days. It takes practice, and is enhanced considerably by having a quiet, still mind.

4. Quit fighting "what is." Whatever is happening in the present moment is happening, whether or not you like it. It is as it is for now, so increase your level of contentment by accepting each moment as if you have chosen it. Of course, you can take actions to improve your life, but you can't change the present moment because it already is.

This way of being (not doing) takes a little getting used to, but once mastered, it will change your life dramatically. If you want to dive deeper into living in the moment, and attaining effortless prosperity, highly recommend Bijan's book.

Savor every juicy moment!

Keep it Fresh!

~ Terra