Be like the Butterfly and ease your summer stress

The summer time is supposed to be about easy living, yet for some it can be exhausting. We can find ourselves overwhelmed by all the activity; family vacations, weekend getaways, community gatherings, outdoor sports, barbeques and more. Even though these are fun, it is so important to stop, breathe, and recharge our batteries so that we don’t get depleted.

A good way to unwind, nourish yourself and re-charge can be as easy as doing this classic restorative, heart-opening yoga pose referred to as ‘Sleeping Butterfly’. You may have noticed these beautiful creatures this summer, and in this pose we can imitate their free, open and tranquil nature. Try it yourself or with your family!

Sleeping Butterfly Pose (Supta Baddha Konasana)

For maximum comfort in this pose, you will need three pillows. Start seated on the floor in a quiet space. Position a nearby pillow vertically behind you, so that it is the length of the torso, and in line with the spine and head. Once the pillow has been set, place both palms on the ground next to the hips. Bend the knees and place both feet together flat on the ground. Slide the heels in close to the groin. Keep the core engaged as you gently roll the spine down on top of the pillow and settle in. Take a few deep breaths here and slowly bring the soles of the feet together into Butterfly pose, let the knees surrender to gravity and fall out to the sides. Place the remaining two pillows underneath each bent knee for more support. To deeply settle into the pose, allow the head and neck to be heavy on the pillow supporting you. Let the shoulders and arms cascade down and out from the spine and spread the arms out on the ground at a comfortable angle. Let the palms and elbows face up, and externally rotate the upper arms to flatten the shoulder blades and create a beautiful opening in the chest. Allow the pelvis and knees to relax fully, avoiding temptation to drive the knees down, and instead focusing on the opening of the hips and creating heavy releases of weight into the pillows underneath your knees. Allow the eyes to close, take long deep breaths staying here, supported, for 2-5 minutes.

This pose relaxes the mind and the central nervous system. It can not only relieve symptoms of stress, but also depression, PMS and menopause. It opens the heart, stimulates the abdominal organs, and improves mobility in digestion. Butterfly pose frees energy flow in your pelvic area, nourishes the root chakra, and stretches your inner thigh and groin muscles.

Do not hold this pose for long if you have lower back pain or any groin or knee injury. To exit the posture, draw the arms in towards the body and use the hands to guide the legs back together. Lift the feet and circle the knees here in both directions a few times to bring awareness back to the legs and pelvis. Hug the knees into the chest and gently rock from side to side a few times. Engage the core pushing the lower back into the cushion as you draw yourself up to a seated pose. Plant the feet on the ground, and slowly roll up to stand. Notice how you feel in this moment and commit to doing this pose again whenever you need to unwind and re-charge.

Sunscreen; Safe or Scary?

As we take time this week to celebrate the birthday of our fair nation, remember to protect yourself and your family from the harmful effects of not just the sun but sunscreens as well.

While sunscreen can be an important part of your summer regimen, it's necessary to do your research. According to The Environmental Working Group, this is the first season of new FDA rules for truth in sunscreen marketing. However, many products are not in compliance and labeling can be misleading for consumers. Coupled with the fact that skin cancer is on the rise, this is not good news. According to the Centers for Disease Control, melanoma in both men and women has gone up 1.9 percent per year since 2000. 

 

One of the main carcinogens found in common sunscreens, make-up and anti-aging products is Vitamin A (AKA retinyl palmitate and retinol). Though it has been shown to hasten the development of lesions and skin tumors on sun-exposed skin, retinyl palmitate has been discussed as a potential cause of skin cancer since 2010. Even though all of this information has been made public to consumers, companies that make these products have not necessarily removed this harmful ingredient.   

 

Some of the other dangers of sunscreen include SPF numbers that are too high, which leads to misuse by consumers and compromises the quality of both UVA and UVB protection. Another danger is a chemical used in sunscreen called oxybenzone. This harmful substance can be absorbed into the bloodstream and acts like estrogen in the body. It can alter hormone levels and can also trigger allergic reactions. Lastly, sunscreen in spray form, though convenient, can be easily misused due to lack of proper application and coverage, not to mention inhalation risks.

 

Finding this discouraging? Don't worry, they aren't all bad! The Environmental Working Group has a great list of sunscreens worth buying, and has even rated them on a scale of 1-10 on how hazardous they are. Make sure you're buying the good stuff!

 

Click here to read the EWG list of safe sunscreens

 

Have a fun and sun-safe holiday!

 

 

Cool as a Cucumber

The cucumber is the "coolest" of all vegetables. Medicinally, they can be laid directly on the skin to soothe burns or inflamed areas. When ingested, they can help with conditions like reflux or recurrent mouth ulcers. Cucumbers also contain Vitamins E, A and C, as well as potassium. The skins are high in folic acid, so if you are pregnant or trying to conceive, this a great veggie to add to your diet.  Here's an easy and delicious recipe for a side dish to accompany your next summer meal. It will be a big hit at your next potluck, we promise!

Asian Cucumber Salad


INGREDIENTS

  • 3 cucumbers, peeled
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons white sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Peel  cucumbers and cut on the diagonal into thin slices. Toss the cucumber pieces with kosher salt, transfer to a colander, and let drain for 1 hour.
  2. Toast white sesame seeds in a dry skillet until they’re golden brown. Whisk together rice wine vinegar, toasted sesame oil, sugar, and crushed red pepper flakes.
  3. Rinse the cucumber slices thoroughly under cold running water and pat dry with paper towels. Toss the cucumbers with the dressing and toasted sesame seeds and serve.

http://www.chow.com/recipes/10537-asian-sesame-cucumber-salad

A Summer Solstice Tribute To Dad

June the 21st is the Summer Soltice for the Northern Hemisphere. This is the longest day of the year. For us, it's the height of yang energy, right before it begins the descent back to yin. As we have shared in previous weeks, this is the time of the fire energy. Joy, laughter, intimacy, lightness, fun; these are the gifts of this time of year. We found this lovely poem that embodies the qualities of this energy and since last Sunday was Father's Day, we felt it was the perfect time to share it with you. Enjoy The Solstice!

A Boy and His Dad

  by Edgar Guest

A boy and his dad on a fishing-trip—

There is a glorious fellowship!

Father and son and the open sky

And the white clouds lazily drifting by,

And the laughing stream as it runs along

With the clicking reel like a martial song,

And the father teaching the youngster gay

How to land a fish in the sportsman's way.

 

I fancy I hear them talking there

In an open boat, and the speech is fair.

And the boy is learning the ways of men

From the finest man in his youthful ken.

Kings, to the youngster, cannot compare

With the gentle father who's with him there.

And the greatest mind of the human race

Not for one minute could take his place.

 

Which is happier, man or boy?

The soul of the father is steeped in joy,

For he's finding out, to his heart's delight,

That his son is fit for the future fight.

He is learning the glorious depths of him,

And the thoughts he thinks and his every whim;

And he shall discover, when night comes on,

How close he has grown to his little son.

 

A boy and his dad on a fishing-trip—

Builders of life's companionship!

Oh, I envy them, as I see them there

Under the sky in the open air,

For out of the old, old long-ago

Come the summer days that I used to know,

When I learned life's truths from my father's lips

As I shared the joy of his fishing-trips.

 

- See more at: http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/20865#sthash.PCcDoRyV.dpuf

A Boy and His Dad

  by Edgar Guest
A boy and his dad on a fishing-trip—
There is a glorious fellowship!
Father and son and the open sky
And the white clouds lazily drifting by,
And the laughing stream as it runs along
With the clicking reel like a martial song,
And the father teaching the youngster gay
How to land a fish in the sportsman's way.
I fancy I hear them talking there
In an open boat, and the speech is fair.
And the boy is learning the ways of men
From the finest man in his youthful ken.
Kings, to the youngster, cannot compare
With the gentle father who's with him there.
And the greatest mind of the human race
Not for one minute could take his place.
Which is happier, man or boy?
The soul of the father is steeped in joy,
For he's finding out, to his heart's delight,
That his son is fit for the future fight.
He is learning the glorious depths of him,
And the thoughts he thinks and his every whim;
And he shall discover, when night comes on,
How close he has grown to his little son.
A boy and his dad on a fishing-trip—
Builders of life's companionship!
Oh, I envy them, as I see them there
Under the sky in the open air,
For out of the old, old long-ago
Come the summer days that I used to know,
When I learned life's truths from my father's lips
As I shared the joy of his fishing-trips.
- See more at: http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/20865#sthash.PCcDoRyV.dpuf

A Boy and His Dad

  by Edgar Guest
A boy and his dad on a fishing-trip—
There is a glorious fellowship!
Father and son and the open sky
And the white clouds lazily drifting by,
And the laughing stream as it runs along
With the clicking reel like a martial song,
And the father teaching the youngster gay
How to land a fish in the sportsman's way.
I fancy I hear them talking there
In an open boat, and the speech is fair.
And the boy is learning the ways of men
From the finest man in his youthful ken.
Kings, to the youngster, cannot compare
With the gentle father who's with him there.
And the greatest mind of the human race
Not for one minute could take his place.
Which is happier, man or boy?
The soul of the father is steeped in joy,
For he's finding out, to his heart's delight,
That his son is fit for the future fight.
He is learning the glorious depths of him,
And the thoughts he thinks and his every whim;
And he shall discover, when night comes on,
How close he has grown to his little son.
A boy and his dad on a fishing-trip—
Builders of life's companionship!
Oh, I envy them, as I see them there
Under the sky in the open air,
For out of the old, old long-ago
Come the summer days that I used to know,
When I learned life's truths from my father's lips
As I shared the joy of his fishing-trips.
- See more at: http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/20865#sthash.PCcDoRyV.dpuf

A Boy and His Dad

  by Edgar Guest
A boy and his dad on a fishing-trip—
There is a glorious fellowship!
Father and son and the open sky
And the white clouds lazily drifting by,
And the laughing stream as it runs along
With the clicking reel like a martial song,
And the father teaching the youngster gay
How to land a fish in the sportsman's way.
I fancy I hear them talking there
In an open boat, and the speech is fair.
And the boy is learning the ways of men
From the finest man in his youthful ken.
Kings, to the youngster, cannot compare
With the gentle father who's with him there.
And the greatest mind of the human race
Not for one minute could take his place.
Which is happier, man or boy?
The soul of the father is steeped in joy,
For he's finding out, to his heart's delight,
That his son is fit for the future fight.
He is learning the glorious depths of him,
And the thoughts he thinks and his every whim;
And he shall discover, when night comes on,
How close he has grown to his little son.
A boy and his dad on a fishing-trip—
Builders of life's companionship!
Oh, I envy them, as I see them there
Under the sky in the open air,
For out of the old, old long-ago
Come the summer days that I used to know,
When I learned life's truths from my father's lips
As I shared the joy of his fishing-trips.
- See more at: http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/20865#sthash.PCcDoRyV.dpuf

A Boy and His Dad

  by Edgar Guest
A boy and his dad on a fishing-trip—
There is a glorious fellowship!
Father and son and the open sky
And the white clouds lazily drifting by,
And the laughing stream as it runs along
With the clicking reel like a martial song,
And the father teaching the youngster gay
How to land a fish in the sportsman's way.
I fancy I hear them talking there
In an open boat, and the speech is fair.
And the boy is learning the ways of men
From the finest man in his youthful ken.
Kings, to the youngster, cannot compare
With the gentle father who's with him there.
And the greatest mind of the human race
Not for one minute could take his place.
Which is happier, man or boy?
The soul of the father is steeped in joy,
For he's finding out, to his heart's delight,
That his son is fit for the future fight.
He is learning the glorious depths of him,
And the thoughts he thinks and his every whim;
And he shall discover, when night comes on,
How close he has grown to his little son.
A boy and his dad on a fishing-trip—
Builders of life's companionship!
Oh, I envy them, as I see them there
Under the sky in the open air,
For out of the old, old long-ago
Come the summer days that I used to know,
When I learned life's truths from my father's lips
As I shared the joy of his fishing-trips.
- See more at: http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/20865#sthash.PCcDoRyV.dpuf