May 2010 - Issue 42
First off, I want to thank everyone who emailed me a copy of my
March 2010 newsletter after my request in last month's
newsletter. I had no idea so many people were keeping
them. I hope you're reading them too! You're
For those of you who wish to join our May classes, we've got
several that are being offered. Please check our website
www.intoyoga.ca or go directly to our classes page at
www.intoyoga.ca/classes.htm. These are updated frequently as
classes are added or revised. Please visit often.
We've been teased with the sunshine lately, and I for one, can't
wait until it stays around longer and brings some real warmth
For some reason, the sun also brings lots of questions about
weight loss. Yoga and Pilates can be a great part of a
weight loss program. However, doing them alone may take a
longer period than you'd hoped for to see results. I
recommend nutritional cleansing and, over the past three and a
half years, I have worked with many individuals
with specific products that help to get very fast results.
Nutritional cleansing is not only for weight loss, but helps to
build lean muscle and is great for athletes, new moms and just
about anyone who wants better health.
For anyone interested, we will be holding an informal
information group in Burnaby on Monday May 3 7:00pm - 8:30pm.
Guests will be invited to taste some of the products, and learn
why nutritional cleansing is different than a regular cleanse,
fast or diet. Please come and learn about this process and
decide if it would be right for you or someone you know.
Aside from releasing weight for those that need it, other
benefits of nutritional cleansing are the ability to cope
with and reduce stress, better sleep, clearer mental focus, and
a whole lot more. RSVP
firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know how many guests you'd like
I hope you enjoy our May Newsletter.
18th Annual Wellness Show
When Less is More
Recipe - Carrot -
Cranberry - Walnut Salad
Nutritional Cleanse Seminars at Work
We Want Your Feedback
Promote YOUR Business
Quips and Quotes
Find us on Twitter and Facebook
Your Contributions Welcome
Email A Friend
18th Annual Wellness Show
One again we will be exhibitors in the 18th Annual Wellness Show
taking place this weekend under the sales at Canada Place.
Come visit us at booth #118. The brochure says its
a NuCerity Booth, but it's actually us with Isagenix nutritional
cleansing. I hope you'll drop by to say hello. For
more information go to
Less is More
By Phillip Moffitt
The Yoga Journal
By trying too hard, you may be adding tension to your
poses...and your life.
Some people approach their yoga practice as a break from the
world, a separate space where they can recover from life's
stresses and strains. Once they've pulled themselves back
together, they return to their families and jobs renewed. I
think that's legitimate, but it's not my experience. I approach
yoga from the perspective that I'm learning something that can
be integrated into my life. Over the years I've come to
understand that life itself is mostly an opportunity to
practice, to move towards wholeness of experience. Our formal
practices like yoga and meditation provide us with a safe,
nourishing environment in which we can gain stability and
abilities that aid this process.
instance, last week while I was teaching a yoga class built
around working without tension, the relevance of yoga to the
rest of life just naturally emerged. We started with
Downward-Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana). First I had the
students push their hands hard into the floor, feel the
resulting tension in the shoulder muscles, and notice how when
they pushed themselves into the posture that same tension was
built into the pose. "Just do the pose without adding anything,"
I repeated over and over. Next, I had them lightly place their
hands on the mat, as though they were ready at any moment to
lift off the floor, and witness how this also created tension in
the shoulder muscles and neck when they pushed up into
Downward-Facing Dog. We experimented to see if it was possible
to let go of the added tension once fully in the pose. It was a
mixed class in terms of the students' skill levels and innate
flexibility, yet by the end of class most of the students seemed
to be incorporating the idea into their practice.
"Watch a senior teacher do their own
asanas," I told them. "One thing you will notice is how relaxed
they are in their bodies, as though they aren't efforting. No
matter how much they urge you to work hard, they don't mean for
you to tense. That's something you're adding because your mind
wants to participate. Just let your body do the work. Much of
yoga is learning to get out of your own way."
I then pointed out that what we
really want to learn is how to incorporate our yoga practice
into the rest of our lives and to respond appropriately to
life's challenges without adding tension. It is at this level
that yoga really becomes a deeper practice. You can be under
tremendous stress and come back into experiencing your feet on
the ground as though it were just another moment of Mountain
Pose (Tadasana); or you can receive a big disappointment and be
able to drop into your breath, realizing it's just another
moment of practice, and allow the breath to move the feelings
through your body.
Easy Does It
The idea of not adding tension is
a universal principle. In teaching vipassana Buddhist
meditation, which is a moment-to-moment mindfulness practice, I
emphasize that the mind can just rest on the experience of
hearing, just as the buttocks rest on the meditation cushion. In
resting there need not be any reference to "I"; hearing just
arises in the mind. The meditator then shifts the mind's
attention to the breath, and the same thing applies: The
in-breath arises, has a duration, then an ending; the out-breath
follows the same pattern. Over time the meditator is able to
experience many moments on the cushion where there is no added
tension, no contraction into the idea of a rigid unchanging
Self. Eventually the understanding spreads into daily life. When
there is no added tension, there is the opportunity for
liberation, to simply be with what arises in the moment. This is
what is referred to in Zen as "beginner's mind," and it applies
directly to your yoga practice.
Recently I experienced how easy it
is for tension to creep into my poses when my teacher Tony
Briggs and I attended a two-day workshop with one of his
teachers, Shandor Remete. Shandor is an inspiring and demanding
teacher, and I was intensely efforting in each pose. I glanced
over at Tony and saw that his body, while fully engaged, seemed
very relaxed; there wasn't any visible tension. At first I
wondered, "Why isn't he working harder?" I kept sneaking looks
at him until I finally realized the truth: He was just doing the
pose. In contrast, I was having to overcome the constraints
caused by the tension I was adding to the pose. Later when I
asked Tony how he stayed so relaxed in a pose, he quoted his
first teacher, Judith Lasater, saying there's a difference
between "action"—the doing of the pose—and
Don't confuse not adding tension
with just hanging out in a pose. Of course you have to work the
arms in Downward-Facing Dog. But don't tense the arms, the
shoulders, or the back to work them; instead place your
awareness in the bones, feel the skeleton providing stability,
and allow the nervous system to be neutral. Maintain that
neutrality as you use your muscles to push up into the pose.
Then activate only those muscles needed to move the pelvis
farther away from the arms, and to create space between the
pelvis and the thigh bones, and between the top of the pelvis
and the rib cage. You will discover that you can create more
space in your body and hold the pose longer. How can you tell if
you're doing it correctly? Another of my teachers, Ramanand
Patel, will tell students to observe the breath; if it can't
move freely, there is constriction in the pose.
Shift into Neutral
A question that arises for us all
is, "What is the proper use of will in yoga and life in
general?" On the one hand, it takes a certain amount of will
just to practice, let alone grow your yoga practice, and the
same is true in life. On the other hand, excessive willfulness
creates undesirable tension. Finding the balance between will
and acceptance is part of what you are learning in your yoga
practice, just as you are learning what is the proper balance
between pain and relaxation. One of the benefits of doing yoga
is you begin to develop the intuitive art of finding balance in
any life situation.
Another way to approach this
question is to begin to differentiate between intention and
willfulness. Intention is setting a direction for yourself in
movement or in actions in your life and holding it as both a
vision and an outcome, so that it acts as both an inspiration
and a map. Many books on the "inner game" of various sports make
use of this viewpoint. Willfulness is the determination to push
through any resistance. The difference between intention and
willfulness in this context is that intention implies
flexibility and gentleness, while willfulness is absolute,
unswerving, and rigid. Both intention and willfulness can be
desirable, but for most of your yoga practice and for your life,
intention is the more balanced, healthier approach. Again, you
can learn to make these distinctions in the laboratory of the
yoga studio and then carry them into the rest of your life;
that's what makes yoga such a profound practice.
To discover this for yourself, try
this experiment. Do Triangle Pose (Trikonasana), and as you bend
over to the side, focus your mind on your own body experience.
See if you tense the lower abdomen as you start to bend. Your
instructor may well have been saying for months not to harden
the stomach as you bend, and you never grasped the meaning
before. If it's not clear whether or not you are tightening,
deliberately tense the stomach as you bend and see how difficult
it is to both extend and twist the spine with a tense belly.
Then do the opposite and see how much more potential exists for
fluidity. Or do Warrior II Pose (Virabhadrasana II) with the
intent of keeping the little toe side of the back foot on the
ground while you bend the front leg in the proper manner. It's
very easy to think you have to tense the back leg, but the
opposite is true; the more you simply rest the back foot and
allow the weight to flow from the buttock to the floor, then let
the front leg bend from this anchor, the easier it is to do the
Neutrality is a key concept in
movement. When the body is in neutral, it is ready to move in
the desired direction without delay or additional effort. One
way to assess your body for neutrality in yoga is to see if you
are relaxed in beginning a pose and if you can maintain the
sense of overall relaxation as you begin working the body.
In a similar manner, equanimity is a
key concept in vipassana practice. When the mind has equanimity
and something pleasant arises, you experience the moment without
trying to hold onto it and creating tension. If something
unpleasant arises, your mind does not contract in a futile
attempt to avoid what is arising. Instead, it stays open and
relaxed even though you are having an unpleasant experience;
therefore, you suffer less.
You can experience the truth of this
yourself in yoga. In his book Light on Yoga, B.K.S.
Iyengar rates every pose according to difficulty except for
Corpse Pose (Savasana), which he does not rate because he says
it is simply too difficult to register on the same scale with
the other poses. Savasana is the ultimate neutral position—the
mind and the body are alert, both are awake, but they are not
contracted in any way.
Living your life with equanimity has
the same flavor as Savasana: You are alert, but the mind is not
attaching to anything; it is just appropriately responsive.
Although the teaching of mindful equanimity is a Buddhist
practice, you can imagine being able to go through your yoga
practice and even your usual day while in Savasana. It may sound
far-fetched at this point in your practice, but many people have
varying degrees of this ability which they've attained through
diligent practice. It's not an all or none situation; rather, it
is about adding a little more calmness and alertness to your
practice, your work, and your home life. Of course, you can be
assured you will completely lose it and have to rediscover it,
and that this pattern will repeat itself endlessly. But,
overall, there is growth in your practice and in the quality of
your life, and you have more moments of being able to live from
your deeper values.
Relax into Life
So, is it possible to let loose
of tension once you are in a pose? It depends on where you are
holding the tension. In movement, there is a primary path of
intention in the body and also secondary paths. The primary path
involves weight-bearing effort, such as the action of the hands
and arms in Downward-Facing Dog; the secondary paths are such
things as the neck, abdomen, hips, and chest. Because they are
not weight bearing, the secondary paths can move in and out of
tension while in the pose; but in the primary, weight-bearing
path, tension gets locked into the pose. Try as you might, you
can't release it without breaking the structure of the pose.
Jackie Joyner-Kersee, the Olympic
gold medal track star, once said of her running style that she
established her speed as quickly as possible and then
concentrated on relaxing while she allowed her body to run. A
yoga pose is like that. You can find the appropriate structure
of the pose for yourself on any particular day with your body
just as it is, then relax into the experience regardless of the
pleasantness or unpleasantness of the sensation. Don't waste
energy creating tension, judging the pose, or wishing you were
somehow different than you are in this moment.
Is your life any different than your
yoga practice? Is it possible to relax once you have fallen into
tension in a moment of your life? My experience is that it is
exactly the same. You can be tense when starting to make a
presentation and then relax, or get tense in the middle of a
discussion with your wife or husband and then let it go. But if
you lock into a point of view in which you have to be right or
the other person has to change, then that is just like a
weight-bearing pose in yoga, and there is no getting rid of the
tension without relinquishing your position and starting over.
Letting go of tension in life is a lot harder to do than
relaxing in Triangle Pose—one more reason to appreciate your
Phillip Moffitt began studying raja meditation in 1972 and
vipassana meditation in 1983. He is a member of the Spirit Rock
Teachers Council and teaches vipassana retreats throughout the
country as well as a weekly meditation at the Turtle Island Yoga
Center in San Rafael, California. Phillip is the co-author for
The Power to Heal and the founder of the Life Balance
Carrot - Cranberry - Walnut Salad
- 1/4 cup silken tofu
- 2 Tbs. apple cider vinegar
- 1 Tbs. freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 Tbs. Dijon mustard
- 1/2 tsp. coarse sea salt
- 2 Tbs. walnut oil
- 3 cups coarsely grated carrots
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries
- 1 cup toasted walnuts
Blend tofu, vinegar, lemon juice, mustard, and salt in
blender until smooth. Blend in oil. Toss tofu mixture with
carrots and dried cranberries in bowl. Chill 30 minutes. Top
Nutritional Value Per Serving:
Calories: 196, Protein: 4g, Total fat: 16g, Saturated fat:
2g, Carbs: 13g, Cholesterol: mg, Sodium: 232mg, Fiber: 3g,
& Nutritional Cleanse Seminars
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health or weight loss, then perhaps it's time for a "Spring
Our nutritional cleanse systems offer rapid results, with little or
not cost. A combination of meal replacement shakes, regular
meals and a cleansing drink, can give your body the healthy look and
feel you've been striving for. It's easy to get started, just
email@example.com or call me at 604.421.9872.
All health regimes should include a good dose of exercise.
Yoga or Pilates at work allows you to obtain that without having to
use precious "after hours" to head to the gym.
We have instructors available to suit your time - early
morning, lunch time, or after work. You choose. Clear a
room, bring a Yoga/Pilates mat and we'll be there!
If you want to look and feel better this year, what could
be easier than taking a break at work and moving into a state of
perfect bliss for 45 minutes once or twice a week?
Call 604-421-9872 or email
firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit our Corporate page on our website at
Baby Sign Language
Use sign language to communicate with your baby. Here is
information to get you started.
Soon after birth, infants are provided with the ability to
understand language. However, they are not equipped to produce
speech until after 12 to 24 months of age. Due to this, parents
are left wondering what is going on inside their little heads.
Teaching your child signs and gestures as well as spoken words
ensures that they are quickly able to communicate and understand
the world around them.
Research that has been conducted on this subject shows the
benefits of signing to your pre-verbal child. The mid 1990’s
revealed that contrary to popular belief signing does not deter
or delay your child from speaking, and that it actually
encourages earlier communication. Using sign language enables a
child to be an active communicator at a much earlier age rather
than a passive observer. Research conducted at the University of
California has linked infant sign to a boost in IQ scores.
How to begin signing
All babies use their hands naturally in an attempt to
communicate. Signs like waving bye-bye, clapping hands and
shaking their heads in delight are some of the common signs.
Unfortunately the number of signs that a child displays
naturally is very limited.
When to begin
Just like babies begin speaking at different ages so do they
begin signing at different ages too. You can begin signing with
your baby at any time and you will notice your child taking an
avid interest in your hand movements. However it is important to
remember that the motor skills of a child, which are necessary
for him/her to sign back only mature around 10 months of age.
What to begin with
Always begin with a few words that represent actions or objects
that your baby is interested in. This will enable your child to
focus on words that are of interest to him/her.
Use words whenever you sign
Maintain a strong connection between the sign and the word so
that once your child learns to speak she/he will have already
learned that words and signs are interchangeable.
Repeat the word and the sign
The key to success is repetition. The more you repeat the word
and the sign, the sooner your baby will realize the connection
between the two. This will encourage your child to sign back to
you. You could try using the signs before, during and after a
The use of signs helps your child to identify one word out of
seemingly endless streams of words. Signing with your baby
clearly marks the words that you are teaching and helps your
baby separate that one word from all the others. Not only this,
you are also giving her/him valuable examples of the syntax of a
language by offering and marking the same symbol as it occurs in
many distinct positions in many different sentences representing
one unvarying action or object.
Make it a part of your daily routine
Including signs in your daily routine helps your child pick them
up sooner. You could pick a few of your baby’s favorite animals
and then place pictures and toys of the animals in places that
you frequent each day. These signs can be reinforced while
saying nursery rhymes or singing songs.
How to get your baby’s attention
To get your baby’s attention you can use both nonverbal and
verbal signs. You can ask your baby to look at you or you can
tap, touch or rub your baby. To do this, you can also move an
object of interest such as a toy towards your baby. Your child
may grasp the sign even if you do not have her/his attention,
but having her/his attention will ensure that she/he learns
Hold the object or point to it
As you begin it is important that your child has a visual
picture of the sign and the word. For this you can use real
object, a toy that represents it or a picture of the real thing.
Try and include all visual forms of the object that the word
Wait for response
You have already spent a great deal of time carrying on two
sides of a conversation with your baby, it is now important to
give your child enough time to respond. Begin by asking
questions and waiting for at least 20 seconds. Use this time to
look at your child attentively and expectantly before answering
with the word and the sign. Doing this will give your child the
clue that you are inviting him/her into the conversation.
Make signs on your child’s body
While following the above steps your child will have ample
opportunity to see the signs that you teach her/him, but feeling
a sign is equally important. Use your hands to make the movement
on your child’s body. Keeping your child on your lap while
making the sign will certainly help make it easier for you to
make the sign correctly.
Help your baby to make the sign
Guide your baby’s hand, of course after ensuring that your baby
enjoys your help. It is advisable to stop if your child shows
Ask your baby to display the sign
Encourage your baby to sign by asking her/him to show you
his/her hands, and gently tapping her/his hands while at it. You
could play some games wherein you place the toy further away
from the child and ask your baby to make the sign. Help your
baby by making the sign if she has not been able to make it or
Use the correct sign at all times
Babies are not able to reproduce the sign perfectly in a short
time. In this case you should continue to use the same sign, as
changing the sign to match your child’s will only make the child
confused as to what the correct sign is.
Using one hand to sign
It is important to remember that your baby is perceptive and
knows when you are using a single hand to make a sign that
generally requires two. Thus, the best time to teach your child
signs is during that time of the day when you have free time.
Share books with your infant
Select books that have your baby’s favorite objects and offer
her/him the sign whenever you say the word for the object. Look
at your baby and notice her/his eyes to see what she is
attracted to in the book. After you have done that comment on
the image and offer the sign for the image. Give her/him enough
time to respond.
Recognize and respond to your child’s signs
Reward your child whenever she/he asks for something. In case
you are unable to give her/him what she wants then make sure
that you reward her/him in some other way, making it clear to
her/him that you understand what he/she is asking for. Even when
the child makes an attempt to sign, reward her/him for their
Be patient and offer praise
It is important to remember that your child will learn more
quickly if he/she enjoys the process and is consistently
rewarded for every attempt. Motivation arises from the fun
generated when signing together. How many signs your baby makes
and how he/she makes them is not the question, the question here
is let your baby laugh, play, smile and sign.
- Share your child’s knowledge about signs with caregivers
and family members.
- Create a few of your own signs.
- Start with simple words and signs.
- Have patience.
- Follow the lead your child gives you.
- Praise your child.
We Want Your Feedback
Have you experienced classes with us before? If so, we'd like
to hear from you. The good and the bad. Tell us what you
like. How have they improved your life? What keeps you
coming back? Plus, tell us what we could do better (but be
kind). What can we improve and what would you like to see that
we're not providing? Email your comments to
Promote YOUR Business
Are you a woman business owner, professional or entrepreneur
interested in creating more referrals for your business?
I am an
area coordinator for The Heart Link Network, a
fun, non-threatening, non-membership networking event
showcasing women who are serious about growing their
Our events are
held in a warm environment with dinner provided. It is a powerful,
unique and effective marketing tool specifically designed to link
women so they can nurture, support, enrich and resource one another
in both personal and professional ways.
Consider joining our Heart Link Networking Group. You can find more
www.meetup.com/Burnaby-Heart-Link. Or simply register and
lock in your business category at
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Quips and QuotesTo know yourself you need not go
to any book, to any priest, to any psychologist. The whole treasure
is within yourself. J. Krishnamurti
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