Finding Peace

Yoga is so much more than just learning to be flexible

December is supposed to be a fun time of the year when we take time to enjoy the holidays by spending time with family and friends. But in reality it tends to be one of the busiest -- and most stressful -- times of the year.

Our lifestyles are too often driven by overbooked schedules and pressing deadlines. We spend each day rushing from one thing to the next without taking time for reflection.

Life is not just about how much we do, but how we do it. Contrary to our obsessive tendencies, quality is usually better and more rewarding than quantity. We forget that living is about more than just reaching a place or a time in our lives but about the journey itself—the process and the experience of it.

Doing our work with mindfulness and detachment is the key to living healthily and with joy. The process of doing our chores and our work can be joyful or at least gratifying if we make that choice.

One of the best ways to achieve these states of mind -- and one of the most compatible with modern life -- is Yoga.

Though ancient, yoga practice is especially compatible with modern living. In addition to stressing out our minds, our high-tech lives place unnatural daily stress on our bodies. We sit at desks all day or do repetitive physical tasks. We don't walk enough, exercise enough or breath correctly. We spend too much time in a competitive mind frame. Our homes, places of work, cars, streets and stores tend to be loud and overstimulating. We rush constantly.

Yoga rescues your mind and body from the grinding, cumulative and unhealthful effects of all these aspects of modern life. The rewards of yoga practice are endless from muscle toning, strengthening, and flexibility to mental serenity and longevity enhancing the memory, intellect and emotional balance.

Yoga can teach us to ease tension, relax, gain perspective and even improve our ability to control our lives. Yoga can help us think more clearly and better Amira Elganmanage the negative feelings of anxiety, stress, uncertainty and insecurity that often result from life in the fast lane.

Yoga is an ancient philosophical discipline from India dating back about 5,000 years. It is a practical system designed to integrate body and mind.

Yoga, which means “to unite” or “to be whole,” is not a religion, but rather a universal aid that helps condition the body and the mind. It’s practiced by many people from different religious backgrounds.

Although there are several types of yoga practices that are characterized by specific styles, yoga is not standardized. Yoga is different for everyone and can be adapted to work according to each individual needs and abilities. Most poses have different variations suitable for all levels of practice. And, in fact, the more out of shape, inflexible and out of balance you are, the more you'll benefit from yoga.

Generally speaking, yoga consists of a system of “steady poses” or asanas and breathing techniques designed to promote physical and mental health with specific postures that gently help stimulate different body systems and steady the mind.

Physically, the gentle bending, flexing, stretching and twisting movements and poses are very beneficial to the muscles, joints, circulation and glands helping with balance, vigor and energy. Mentally, the holding of postures as well as the transitions and movements require concentration helping the mind focus and ultimately allowing us to think clearly and feel relaxed.

The beauty of yoga is that it has no boundary; it can be practiced by anyone of any age, weight, gender, religion and ability. Chances are, you can find good yoga teachers at independent yoga studios as well as at your local gym or YMCA. And once you know the basics, you can do yoga anywhere.

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Good Things In Store

Recently, I was looking for an organic multi grain hot cereal that would come hermetically sealed, rather than from the bulk bin at a healthfood store. I bought Arrowhead Mills 7 Grain Hot Cereal, which comes in a 24 oz box. I was pleasantly surprised and really like the flavor and texture.

For a nice bowl of high fiber cereal free of wheat, look for Arrowhead Mills Wheat Free 7 Grain Hot Cereal. It’s not as high in fiber but it tastes great.

They can be cooked in soymilk or water. My favorite sweeteners are maple syrup, sucanat and rapadura. And of course, you can add a dash of cinnamon to enhance the flavor.

Words of Wisdom

“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could; some blunders and absurdities have crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; you shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

The Research Department

Science has given us a new good reason to spice up our lives with cinnamon: According to recent research, one gram of cinnamon each day may help protect against the onset of type 2 diabetes for those at risk.

In the study, all diabetics who added less than a quarter of teaspoon of cinnamon to their diets every day for 40 days, experienced reduced levels of blood sugar, fats and cholesterol by up to 30 percent. It’s important to note however, like most things, cinnamon contains certain compounds that may be toxic if taken in large quantities.

Vegetarian Organic Recipe of the Week

Click on the picture for a closer look!

Tofu Mexicano (vegan)
Serves 6

This simple and quick to make healthy tofu dish captures the delicious and spicy flavors of Mexican cuisine and can be used as taco or burrito filling.

Preparation time: 3 minutes Cooking time: 20 minutes Equipment: Food processor or blender

Get ingredients ready (use organic ingredients if possible)
2 tablespoons unrefined safflower or canola oil
6 fresh garlic cloves
½ medium onion peeled and cut in 4 pieces
20 ounces fresh firm tofu, cubed (¼ inch cubes)
6 peeled tomatoes, finely diced (or 14.5 oz can of organic diced tomatoes)
1 small green bell pepper, seeded and diced
1½ teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon chili powder
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup fresh corn kernels (or frozen)
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

1. In a large pot heat oil over low heat. Meanwhile, process garlic and onions in the food processor or blender until very finely chopped. Add garlic and onion mixture to oil sautéing over medium heat for 5 minutes.

2. Add tofu mixing well and sautéing for 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, bell pepper, paprika, cumin, chili powder, and cayenne stirring well and sautéing for 5 minutes. Add corn and sauté for 5 more minutes stirring frequently. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve.


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This newsletter is not intended to provide and replace medical advice. The author and editor expressly disclaim all responsibility for any adverse effects resulting from any information, diet or exercise suggestions. It is imperative that the advice of a physician is sought before any diet or exercise programs are adopted.

Copyright© 2003 Amira Elgan. All Rights Reserved.