People think Yoga means always standing on your head or doing some pose. But the aim of yoga is to calm the mind. That's why it's called Integral Yoga, because we integrate everything; mind, body, and spirit.     ~Sri Swami Satchidananda

Archive for the ‘Yoga’ Category

Preparing for St. Croix

November 28th, 2012by Michelle Muttart

Preparing for St. Croix USVI (@blogger)

A Long Time Coming 

I can’t believe the time has finally come! We leave for St. Croix this week!  We are relocating our family for the next two months to spend time together, homeschool, and experience island life.  This is something that my husband and I dreamed up years ago as we traveled the Caribbean.

 

It took a lot of preparation long in advance.  We began homeschooling our youngest son in Nov. of 2011, then to our surprise our middle son decided in Feb. of 2012 that he too was ready to come home.  Where we live, the children can only miss a small amount of school during the year and we knew we wanted to do more than the average vacation, we wanted to try a new pace of life!

 

In April of 2012 I sold my yoga studio allowing more time for the homeschooling process and to enable myself to go somewhere for an extended period of time.  During this time I realized I was truly following my heart by taking action.

 

St. Croix

We visited many islands in search of the perfect fit finding that what fit for one may not work for all.  In May of 2012 we visited St. Croix and we knew we had found it!
Right off the bat we found that this island had a lot of the comforts of home.  Where I like remoteness and no big business, that lifestyle would be too intense initially for the boys.  St. Croix has Subway, Little Caesars, Kmart, and even a Home Depot!  I knew that they would survive when I saw those.  St. Croix also has a mixed population of different races, cultures, and classes.

 

We also love the fact that there are other islands we can visit easily like St. Thomas, St. John, Puerto Rico, and the British Virgin Islands.

 

Other Caribbean Considerations

 

In March of 2011 we took the whole family including our oldest son who is now in college and my mother-in-law to Jamaica.  We love Jamaica for many reasons and the lessons provided were wonderful, however, when we considered moving there, we had some reservations.  Jamaica is intense and there has to be a lot of care provided to have a year round home there.

 

Other islands we considered where Eleuthera, Bahamas, my favorite, but too rural and for the little ones at this time.  St. Lucia, my husband and I fell in love again and fell in love with St. Lucia, however, it is quite remote and not as easily accessible from the states or other islands.

 

Another consideration was Costa Rica, which we have not visited yet.  But you never know what the future holds!

 

Following Your Heart

What I have learned from this experience is that it is fully possible to live your dream.  It may not be easy and there is always sacrifice involved, but if you take one small step towards what ever you truly want in this life, you can make it happen.

 

Years ago, I was in a dark place and I started to take the steps necessary to heal myself physically, mentally, and spiritually.  Somewhere along that path I found that the ‘things’ binding me were often the ‘things’ that I agreed to, the way I allowed myself to be boxed into what others might see for me or the way our society expresses is the ‘right’ way. You know, it’s just the way it’s done so we follow suit.

 

When I finally began to realize I had to live from my heart it was scary, liberating, and comforting all at the same time.  I’m not finished yet.  I am excited though and can’t wait to see more of what I envisioned manifest in front of my eyes.

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Transitioning into Fall and the Doshas

September 5th, 2012by Michelle Muttart

Hari Om,

 

The fall and winter months often prove to be more difficult to handle for some and for others they sail through what they’ll often refer to as their ‘favorite time of year’.  I fall into the first category often beginning to struggle sometime during the transition into fall.

 

For many years I wrestled with seasonal depression.  Of course, in my younger, more naïve years I’d visit my family physician and start taking an anti-depressant.  That never ended well.  Once yoga philosophy came into my life and I learned about Ayurveda I realized that what was actually happening was an imbalance in the elements that composed my body.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When the transition out of Summer (Pitta) and into Fall (Vata) began I would usually have more fire energy in my body but it didn’t take long to swoop right into having too much air, the result was feeling cold, restless, anxious, indecisive, my body hurt, my stomach would swing from constipation or dysentery, I would feel irritated and loose my temper, I’d overeat or not eat enough, and soon I would be sleeping too much causing fatigue and ultimately depression.

 

Through an analysis I learned that my body is made of a lot of air with ether (Vata), equal fire with water (Pitta), and a smaller amount of water with Earth (Kapha pronounced Ka-Pa).  More importantly, there were actions I could take to help improve how I felt.

 

What I now change or implement at the beginning of fall:

 

  • Eat warm foods like soup, stews, and casseroles
  • Eat seasonal fruits and vegetables especially rooted ones to help keep me grounded
  • Not eating frozen, processed foods, or cooling foods like melons, cucumbers, or grapes
  • Not using ice in my drinks and drinking more hot teas and warm water with lemon
  • Doing yoga everyday and meditating more often
  • Travelling to warmer climates whenever I can
  • Eliminating things that cause me to move at a hectic pace, doing less and nurturing myself more
  • Coconut oil massage and moisturizing with it daily, even eating it
  • Adding more omega 3 to my diet
  • Adding spices to my foods that help warm me from the inside out (in moderation)
  • Soaking in the sunlight whenever I can
  • Wearing warm clothing to ensure that I’m comfortable, opting for layers

 

 

 

Many things stimulate the Doshas: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha.  The saying is true; “Like attracts like,” and I am no different.  We all are naturally attracted to what speaks to us most, good or bad.  To further understand the Doshas, I’ll tell you a little more about how they work in my life.

 

My Vata expresses by:

 

  • Exploring mystical ideas
  • Creative pursuits
  • Having many pursuits
  • Being somewhat thin and of low weight
  • Having small teeth and eyes
  • Loving change and travel
  • Dry skin
  • Exploring spirituality
  • Loving warm weather and sunlight
  • Sensitivities to noise
  • Getting restless at times
  • Joints that pop often
  • Under stress my body hurts
  • Loving to counsel or teach

 

My Pitta expresses equally by:

 

  • Often striving for perfection
  • Sometimes having digestive issues
  • Having lots of moles
  • Having owned my own business
  • A slight athletic build
  • Having equal proportions
  • Color coordinating my closet
  • Working well under pressure
  • Sensitivities to heat
  • Loving be next to the lake or ocean
  • A love of learning
  • Getting irritated at times

 

My Kapha expresses too by:

 

  • Having blue eyes and blonde hair
  • Having softness physically (no six-pack here, Kapha is a voluptuous creature!)
  • Get melancholy at times
  • Allergies in the spring
  • Wanting to help others
  • Not liking to be rushed by others
  • Feeling a connection to nature
  • Sensitivities to smells
  • Cold, damp weather bothers me

 

You might see similar characteristics in each list and that in natural.  We are all made of all three Doshas; it’s the amount of each one that varies for the individual.  Once you realize what you are made of, you can learn to lean more to what really balances you and not just what feels best, because sometimes what seems right isn’t always.  Sometimes we have to look at the whole picture.

 

I realized that some of the things causing chaos for me were things that ‘society’ said were normal.  I pushed through for many years, but in yoga we are taught not to push but to look for the path of least resistance.   I found that I couldn’t participate in the normal and remain balanced.  I had to make some major lifestyle adjustments in order to honor my family and myself more.

 

One of the things I chose to do was to take my children out of public school and bring them home.  I realized several years ago that the change into the school year made the pace of which our family flowed turn into a type of stress vortex! Between the schedule, work, homework, and sports we were all tapped out by the end of the day and there was no time for any of us to nourish ourselves.  Sometimes it would be weeks before we had a chance to balance.

 

Not finding time for balance results in dis-ease; so some major changes had to be made.  The result has been rewarding.  It wasn’t easy, however, we are beginning to see the fruits of our labor now.  Each change we make brings us closer to where we need to be, a place of perfect health and peace.  A place where our spirit can remain connected with those closest to us, to others who need us, to ourselves, and most importantly, to our source.

 

Honor yourself this fall and make the changes big or small!

 

Namaste.

 

If you or a loved one are interested in having your own analysis, I will be scheduling appointments now through Oct. 1 for a discounted price of $55. Please see the services page for a detailed description.

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The Power and Benefits of Juicing

July 12th, 2012by Michelle Muttart

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I recently purchased a juicer and love it! A couple weeks ago I watched a documentary on Netflix called Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead.  It is the story of an overweight Australian man using juicing to lose upwards of 150lbs and the health benefits that he encountered along the way.

 

He travelled through the US talking to many people about food.  Along the way he met another man with a similar story to whom he offered his help when he was ready to make a change.  Some six months later this man calls and is in dire health and severely overweight, the Australian man, flies back to the US and gets his new friend started on juicing, continuing to document his progress.

 

What starts out as a 10-day cleanse turns in to 30, then to a full 60 days of consuming nothing but juice!  Of course, doctors for the full length of their 60-day process monitored both men and the results were impressive.  So much so that the American man has also dedicated his life to educating others.

 

I was inspired to start juicing….

 

I wasn’t drawn to juicing for weight loss, but what interested me were the health benefits.  The fact that I could more than double my intake of healthy raw foods and thereby significantly increase my nutrients and vitamin intake intrigued me.

 

While I haven’t committed to do a cleanse at this time, I have been juicing at least once per day for the past 2 weeks, mostly in the morning, and adding vegetables to those juices.  I have found recipes online and try the ones that sound tasty; I have even tried beet juice and loved it!

 

There are many juicers to suit different lifestyles and budgets.  I picked up my juicer at Bed, Bath, and Beyond for $99.  There are options available that range from $20-$500.  Some juicers use a blade and some are juice pressers.  It’s really about what works for you and how much you want to commit to.

 

Some additional reasons to juice…

 

I have a saying, “Being healthy is going to cost you either way, you can pay now or you can pay the doctors later.” Meaning it is up to us to take care of our own health. Juicing one glass is about $2.50, organic will naturally cost more.  I pick up as much locally grown fruits and vegetables as I can, and if you have a garden or fruit bearing trees this is a great way to reduce waste.  You can even use the pulp to add to pies, quiche, make feezer pops, or compost it.

 

Most fruit juices on the market have added sugar or corn syrup, most vegetable juices have added sodium.  A lot of these juices are also frozen concentrates or heated through the pasteurizing process required by the FDA. Basically, you know what you are ingesting and the preparation process.

 

Studies have shown that the absorption rate and amount of nutrients of juiced foods vs. eating them raw is substantially increased. According to Stanford University, “1 cup of carrot or celery juice provides most of the same nutrients found in 5 cups of those same vegetables chopped up.”

 

Other considerations…

 

Juicing in moderation is great, however juice-fasting is not for everyone and should be monitored by a health-care professional especially if there are any health related issues already in play.  For instance, a lot of the fruit juice is high in natural sugar, which needs to be considered for someone diabetic.

 

It’s important not to only drink juice.  We have to drink water.  Hydration is #1.  The standard for water consumption is half your body weight in ounces.  So, if you weigh 140lbs. you would consume 70oz. of water per day.  (I will be writing soon on the benefits of consuming PH balanced water.)

 

Juicing cannot be a replacement to eating fruits and vegetables, which are high in fiber.  It’s important to diversify and continue to eat different sources of nutrients and fiber for balance and optimal nutrition.

 

 

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Vibration and Music for Each Day of the Week. Part 1 Mon., Tue., Wed.

November 22nd, 2011by Michelle Muttart

Part 1

 

Sound carries vibration. The body resonates on a frequency. Think about when you’re watching a mystery movie and the music played makes you nervous or afraid, the music’s vibration or frequency is unsettling to the ear and is moved through the body in turn creating the emotion of fear in the body. Switch the idea, spiritual or moving music, songs of praise; when you’ve sat in a church on a Sunday morning and been moved to tears. Why? The same idea applies. The frequency or vibration of the music moves through the body and creates an energy and emotion of connection to source.

In the India each day of the week has a particular song or mantra associated with that day. Each of these mantras create a vibration to help with the issues that many of face during the week. Let’s look at these mantras and the meaning behind them.

 

Monday, the day ruled by the moon. Myth has it that Mondays were a day important to Shiva. Shiva represents a positive destroyer, responsible for destroying our attachments, relationships, and desires that create a distraction in order for us to move forward in our spiritual path. Even though this can be painful, it serves for the highest good of ourselves and the universe as a whole.

 

The mantra for Monday can be one of many about Shiva also known as a Shiva Strotam. Many devotees also will wear white on Mondays as colors serve in the same way as sound resonating on a particular frequency.

 

 

Tuesday, the day ruled by Mars. Mars has been associated with being the ‘trouble maker’ of the planetary system. The mantra for Mondays are those dedicated to Hanuman. Myth says that the beloved Hanuman was a monkey who was a strong warrior against darkness, devoted to his teachers and the divine , persevering, humble, and that even though the way he went about things might have been difficult he was always well meaning. He learned the scriptures in 60 hours, an amazing feat. And when he had to save Lakshmana by fetching a life-saving herb from the mountain, he couldn’t discern the right one, so he just brought the whole mountain! So, many pictures you’ll see him holding the mountain in one hand.

 

The song is called the Hanuman Chalisa. Chalisa means 40 because the song has 40 verses that sing tells of Hanumans’ great feats and sings praises to him for protecting his believers from evil, despair, disease, all troubles and darkness. Believers were red on Tuesdays in honor of Hanuman.

 

 

Wednesday, the day ruled by Mercury. Symbolizing family, Wednesdays are said to be beneficial to husbands and wives. Hmm….Weddings? It’s also a auspicious day for education and success in business. The songs are dedicated to Krishna, who is worshipped by millions as God incarnated and to some seen only as a man; a great  hero, protector, teacher, and friend. The influence of Krishna in Indian culture spreads across all aspects of life and art. He is usually pictured as blue, handsome, and playing the flute. The mystery of Krishna stems from not having  any clear historical records. Whoever he was, it seems that one thing is for sure, he was a divine energy here on Earth. Krishna literally means “Black”, for the mysterious one.

 

George Harrison of the Beatles devoted much of his life spreading the importance of this mantra  as one of the most divine mantras.

 

Hare means to take away or end, the mantra is asking God to take away our sorrows.

 

 

Look for Part 2 coming soon!

Namaste.

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Wake Up and Smell the Roses

August 8th, 2011by Michelle Muttart

Rise and Shine

 

The sun rose brilliantly over the nearby field and though the clouds were thick it peered through and illuminated in the haze yesterdays’ storms left behind.  A white horse galloped across the horizon causing my mind to resonate deeply with a sense of wonderment and appreciation for the beauty of this morning and the awareness of my environment.  I smiled as two doves playfully chased each other over head.

 

On my way to the studio each morning I take this back country road.  The area it passes through is a place that my grandmother Helen lived at one time and often when she is with me she shares nostalgic stories of what used to be and who used to live where.  For that reason I guess I usually have a sense of familiarity when I travel those windy roads.  I love to drive slowly and soak in the surroundings, there is so much to see; deer dance along the forest lines, cows graze in the fields, and ever so often there is a ginger colored dog that waits mischievously on the edge of his yard to pounce towards and chase any car that dares cross into his territory.

 

“How did I get here?”

 

When I was a teenager, I practically lived in my car.  I loved to be free on the open road.  I liked to drive fast and was always rushing towards my destination.  At that time my awareness was such that I may have not noticed the sunrise, the horse, the deer, and unfortunately probably not the dog either.  Through my path with yoga I’ve learned to slow down, enjoy the journey, and enjoy even the drives.  Not to say it’s always easy, we all have a destination we want to get to; maybe it’s a goal, an aspiration, or an object to acquire.  Maybe it’s a career goal, a romantic conquest, and maybe its crow pose! We set our sights so keenly that we often miss out on the journey.  When we finally arrive or achieve it often seems that time has flown by and we think of all the things we miss or missed out on!

 

Sometimes when I was ripping and running the roads, as my family would say, I would have a moment of panic and realize that I was thirty or sometimes fifty miles down the road from my last coherent or conscious thought!  Dangerous yes, but sad, what did I miss out on or never saw that I intended to see? The true learning process is in the journey.

 

Nothing is Easy

 

Just imagine climbing a mountain and what one would endure; cold winds, freezing dark nights, treacherous peaks and walls, dangerous animals, and the brutality of the mind alone.  You would climb all day and all night for weeks and then finally you reaching the summit.  You’re there, the exhilaration of success flows through your blood.  How long does it last?  It’s often fleeting.  How long can you stay there until you climb back down? Imagine what you would notice on the way down and how it would be different. You would be more relaxed and soak in every moment, mentally burning each scene into your memory bank, wanting to remember it all forever.  Once home, safe and sound in your bed, how would be different?  Was it the conquest that changed you or the climb itself? And what would you do next?  Probably start the process all over again and decide what to climb next, there is still Everest after all! And so the next journey begins.  This is life.

 

Use your Senses

 

So, how can we learn to enjoy the process?  We’ve all heard the cliché “Stop and smell the roses”, this is a valuable lesson.  Stop, stop rushing, take your time, and stop missing all the beauty right in front of your eyes in every small moment of each and every day. Smell, use your senses, touch things, see things, feel things, enjoy your surroundings. Use your emotions; let them overtake you at times, its fine, it’s all a part of life and feeling alive!  And the rose…the rose represents beauty, it is also the divine.  Seeing GOD in everything and everyone, that is real beauty.  Every step in your journey is an opportunity to connect to spirit and the deeper part of yourself.  So no matter where you are today, stop, connect, and realize.  Live your life with full awareness in each moment.  Don’t let thirty or even fifty years go by where you wake up one morning and realize you’ve made it, but you’re unsure of how you ended up there and what you missed out on along the way.

 

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