We all have expectations of how we think things are going to turn. You may have had a really good coffee at that cafe once, so you expect it to be really good the next time you go back and are disappointed when it’s not.
This topic of expectation has been coming up a lot in my yoga teacher training and while I didn’t think that much about it before, I can clearly see the link between attachment to an outcome and the suffering it causes when the outcome is not quite what we expected.
Some expectations are so deeply rooted that the mind actually clings on to them. When you have an expectation that you have been holding onto for a while, you keep holding onto it because on some level it is serving a purpose, it might be protecting you or providing a diversion from your current reality. It is these long-standing expectations that cause the most suffering when they don’t materialise.
I, of course, have been holding on to a few expectations that fall into the above category and my teacher asked me to investigate why I was holding on to those expectations, how were they serving me. It was something that I had to sit with for a while, but when I realised that the reason I was holding on to certain expectations wasn’t actually serving me, I was able to start to move forward. That is not to say that I was able to let go of the expectation immediately but it did allow a new pattern to occur. When the expectation popped up in my head I simply reminded myself that it was no longer serving me, and to stay in the moment and trust that the universe will provide me with everything I need for my health and happiness. I’m still working on the part about completely trusting the universe but I’ll save that for a different blog post ;-)
This morning I attended a breakfast hosted by KORA Organics and Women in Focus, where I got to hear from Therese Kerr, mum to Miranda Kerr, and personal chef to the stars, Chef Kate on all things healthy and organic.
Delicious fruit and yoghurt served up for breakfast
If you regularly read my blog you will already know that I am a strong advocate for living naturally and eating healthy but it was quite inspiring to hear Therese and Kate talk about the importance of embodying health from the inside and the outside.
Most women put around 200 chemicals on their face each day and as Miranda’s mantra goes “what you put on your skin, soaks in”. Eating certified organic foods and using certified organic products means that the body doesn’t have to waste time processing toxins, meaning your body functions can get back to performing at their peak. This basically results in glowing skin, bright clear eyes, better digestion and a stronger immune system. Pretty much how I felt after I came off my detox last week :-)
KORA Organics Daily Hand Cream which smells delightfully citrus-y (it contains mandarin and grapefruit oil)
Branded Organic vs. Certified Organic
A lot of products will self-declare that they are organic. There is currently no government regulation over the use of the word organic in Australia so products and brands can declare they are organic even if they are not, so you may think you are buying organic but the product or food still contains a lot of the nasties you are trying to avoid. This is why certification is important, in order to be certified organic a product/brand has to jump through a lot of hoops and the certification process is quite stringent. In Australia the two biggest certifying bodies are Australian Certified Organic and NASAA Certified Organic, check out their website for more information.
Chef Kate also had a few tips and tricks, including which foods you should absolutely avoid unless they are certified organic, which was chicken, eggs, dairy and berries. She also said that Lamb is usually a good choice if you are out and unable to eat organically as it is generally lower in toxicity. The one thing Chef Kate said that really resonated with me was to have joy in what you are eating and I couldn’t agree more.
Nuts and seeds are packed full of yummy goodness, containing protein, unsaturated fats, Vitamin B, Vitamin E, fibre, iron, zinc, potassium, magnesium, selenium and the list goes on. If you don’t know what any of these do, then trust me when I say they are good for you :) However because they are quite high in unsaturated fats (don’t worry these fats are heart-healthy) eat in moderation, a small handful of nuts is all you should be eating in a day.
Nuts and seeds contain natural inhibitors such as phytic acid, tannins and enzymes that prevent them from sprouting until conditions are right. In nature when the temperature is right and there has been enough water ie rain the nut or seed will germinate to produce a plant. So soaking nuts or seeds is basically mimicking nature and breaking down all of their natural defenses making it easier for our bodies to digest. Soaking also increases the availability of nutrients and vitamins, which is always a good thing.
How do I soak my nuts, you ask…
I like to soak my nuts in a jar ;)
Place the nuts and seeds in a bowl or glass filled with room temperature water and soak for 12 hours, I usually leave mine overnight.
When the time is up simply drain and rinse well – it is not unusual for the water to smell a little bit funky after the 12 hours but this will wash away when you rinse the nuts.
Eat and enjoy :)
I’m a big advocate for a good night’s sleep, it’s essential for recharging the body and the mind. Sleep deprivation can lead to weight gain, high blood pressure, and a poor immune system, not to mention irritability and moodiness.
Sleep is also important for your brain; the process of memory consolidation happens when we sleep, allowing the brain to commit new information we have learnt throughout the day. Needless to say, sleep is important for us to be less walking zombie and more functioning human being.
I haven’t been sleeping very well lately. I have WAY too much on my mind and I’ve been spending time lying in bed making mental checklists and silently singing Insomnia by Faithless instead of sleeping. After about 20 mins of not falling asleep I usually decide it’s time to implement one of my ‘Go to Sleep’ tactics.
I almost always have success with at least one of these techniques, although sometimes I do need to go through all three before I get success. Next time you can’t sleep give one a go and see if they work for you.
- Ujjayi breathing – this is a common breathing technique used in yoga and involves constricting the throat so that it feels like you are breathing through a straw. It will create a small hissing sound, almost like a gentle snore. When you are having trouble sleeping practice a few rounds of ujjayi, taking slow deep breaths and focussing on the sound made, this will help to quiet the mind and prepare you for sleep.
- Stream Visualisation – this is a visualisation technique that I was taught by my boss a few years back, it involves visualising that you are lying beside a flowing river or stream. Once you have that image begin counting slowly from 1 to 10, if a thought pops up and interrupts your counting place it into the stream and watch it float away, then start counting from 1 to 10 again. You may have to do this a few times but eventually your mind will be clear and you will get so bored with counting to 10 you’ll drop right off to sleep.
- Progressive muscle relaxation – this is a technique that involves tensing and then relaxing each of your muscles, I like to do this from head to toe but you can also go in the opposite direction. There is a variation of this often used in yoga nidra meditation where instead of tensing the muscle you gently place the focus on each part of the body. Both of these variations will help to relax your entire body and stop you from creating those mental checklists.
What are your favourite techniques for helping you get to sleep? Anyone count sheep?
Follow your bliss is a philosophy which American mythologist Joseph Campbell began sharing with his students during the 1970s. The phrase came from the sanskrit ‘Sat Chit Ananda’, Sat means being, Chit means consciousness and Ananda translates to joy or happiness.
This picture is from here
Joseph Campbell advised his students to find what their bliss was and not be afraid to follow it.
“if you do follow your bliss you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living. When you can see that, you begin to meet people who are in your field of bliss, and they open doors to you. I say, follow your bliss and don’t be afraid, and doors will open where you didn’t know they were going to be.”
This is my mantra for 2012, I’m going to follow my bliss and I hope you follow yours.
One of the best ways to start the day is with a Green Smoothie packed full of antioxidants and dozens of other nutrients and minerals. This baby is the epitome of health food… the kind of smoothie that makes you feel like one of those self-righteous health nuts. And it’s exactly what my body is craving after coming out of the food coma that was Christmas.
The basic premise behind a green smoothie is to blend together a bunch of green veg and some fruit. The great thing about green smoothies is that there is no one size fits all recipe, you can experiment with ingredients, use whatever you have in the fridge (I usually see what I can raid from the veggie garden) or include your favourite fruits and veggies until you find the right mix for you. If you are new to the whole healthy eating/green smoothie thing start out with a higher amount of fruit and gradually decrease it until you have a higher ratio of green veggies.
In my green smoothie this morning I used:
Broccoli (just a floret)
A few spinach & beetroot leaves
A few sprigs of parsley (stem and all)
Chuck it all together in a blender with a bit of water, blitz it up until its smooth, and voilà…
Green smoothies will do amazing things for your insides; stimulate the growth of good bacteria in your stomach, improve your digestion and immune system, purify your blood stream and improve liver and kidney function.
On the outside it will do fantastic things for your skin, hair and nails. I’m talking strong clear nails, luscious shiny hair and glowing skin. So what are you waiting for?