How I Started and Kept My Exercising Habit (18 Years Ago)

How are the New Year’s Resolutions going?

If you said “Huh?,” you’re not alone.  I found these interesting statistics at statisticsbrain.com:

Percent of people who are successful in achieving their resolution 8%
Percent who have infrequent success 49%
Percent who never succeed and fail on their resolution each year 24%
People who explicitly make resolutions are 10 times more likely to attain their goals than people who don’t explicitly make resolutions

http://www.statisticbrain.com/new-years-resolution-statistics/

According to this data, only 8% of people are successful in achieving their resolution, with 49% with infrequent success and 24% who fail on their resolution each year.  However, notice the importance of making a resolution; it says you are 10x more likely to attain your goals if you do!

However, let us not be in category 3 where we make the same goal year after year!

I was inspired to write this post after watching Master Co’s February Full Moon Meditation video.  He always gives a lecture on a spiritual topic before leading a meditation.  I particularly liked his discussion of willpower.  He was talking about sticking to a meditation schedule:

“When it comes to spiritual practice, the secret is not love.  It’s will.”

This is what that means to me: we sometimes confuse being loving toward ourselves with letting ourselves off the hook in doing what we know is right and healthy for us.

For instance, I make a plan to exercise regularly and after a few days, it goes out the window.  I am advised to be kind to myself, so I relax about it and don’t push myself with the result that I don’t exercise much, if at all.  This is not the intention of that advice to be kind to ourselves!  Or if it is, it shouldn’t be!

We are to be loving and forgiving toward ourselves as opposed to beating ourselves up when we miss a workout or don’t meditate as we planned.  That doesn’t mean we change our goals or stop trying to achieve them.

Achieving goals takes willpower.  You can be willful in achieving your goals and kind to yourself at the same time!  But if you are kind without will, you simply won’t make it to the gym or the meditation room.

Master Co also says in the video students ask him all the time for advice or a trick on sticking to their meditation schedule.  He says there is no trick.  There is no technique.  You just do it.

There are so many situations where we massively over complicate things, and this is one of them.  We will read every article on the Internet about working out before we actually walk outside and go for a run.  We will read and study how to create a habit without doing that thing we want to be habitual more than a couple of times!

You DO have to do things in life you don’t like that much.  Yes, I am stating the obvious.  But have you applied that fact to your exercise or meditation schedule?  Sometimes it’s the obvious that we avoid.

(If you are reading this, thinking about exercising, stop reading now.  Put on a grubby old t-shirt and sweatpants, and go jogging outside.  Not in shape?  Jog until you can’t anymore, then walk.  When you have recovered, jog again, and repeat the process for 30 min.  Come back home, take a shower, and finish this post :))

I was looking back this morning and realized I have been exercising regularly for almost 20 years.  I joined a gym at 16 and, aside from a few breaks, I have pretty much been exercising a few times a week since then, though I will freely admit it’s less frequent than before I had a baby.  Do I love going to the gym?  Heck no!  I do it because I care about being healthy–and yes, looking good–and exercise is simply required.

Naturally, it will help if you find something you like at least a little.  When the weather is decent, I go for a run outside, and I do enjoy that a lot.  The gym isn’t the greatest, but it’s easy, they have everything there, and at this time in my life, the childcare is more than useful as well.

So how did I ingrain this habit into my life?

Do it every day for 3-4 weeks.  Every. Single. Day.

Extreme?  No.  I am not suggesting you run a marathon every day.  If your goal is exercise, just do SOME amount of exercise every single day for 3-4 weeks.

Here’s why:  When you do something every day, you don’t ask yourself each morning if you will do it that day.  If your plan is to exercise 3x/week, it is way too easy to see that there are 7 days in a week so you can always start the next day.  Procrastination is extremely easy.  Pretty soon the week is done and you have exercised once or twice.  The next week, you’ll be lucky if you get there at all.

When the plan is every day for 4 weeks, it simply silences excuses and stops procrastination in its tracks.  There are no mind games with yourself.  It’s so simple, it works.  By the time the 3-4 weeks is up, you are so used to going to the gym (or whatever the new habit is), you feel positively weird when you don’t.  I know, because this is how I did it!

You will also learn that even when you are tired, in a bad mood, had to put in extra hours at work, had a bad latte, or whatever else happened that would have otherwise thrown you off and made you put it off, you can still make it to the gym.  You can still do what you need to do, and these small things in life are really just excuses.  So when you do create a schedule for yourself later that may only be 4x a week or whatever, when you are stuck in extra traffic on the way home from work, it doesn’t turn into an easy excuse not to go.

Some of those workouts might be ridiculously short or simple, but that’s ok.  It absolutely counts.  If your workout is at the gym, all you have to do is go and make sure you do something for 10 or 15 min.  That’s your minimum.  You are ingraining the routine into your life as long as you are going, and that’s your only goal right now!

It works the same for meditation.  When the question changes from, “should I meditate today?” To “when will I meditate today?” you are miraculously fitting it in.  You have to change the question you ask yourself!

Master Co also said in a class, “You don’t practice spirituality when you feel like it.”  I wrote that down, typed it up later and printed it out in big bold letters.  Then I hung it on my bedroom wall.

If you miss a day, you still don’t beat yourself up.  If you beat yourself  up, it’s so damaging and disheartening, you won’t continue.  Why would you, with such abuse from a simple mistake?  That is key.  Notice you missed a workout, figure out how to prevent it the next time, and then just literally forget about it.  Next day, keep going with the plan.  There is no other way, and I don’t care how fancy/exotic/exciting people make their plans or their tricks come across.  In the end, you are either doing it or not.

By the way, when you start exercising, the biggest hurdle is not learning all the things you “need to know” about how to work out or lift weights.  That stuff is so ridiculously easy and simple compared to your first task of simply getting to the gym or outdoors to exercise daily in the first place.  Don’t procrastinate yet again by telling yourself you need to learn more first, you need to learn how to workout, you need to learn the best workout first.  You DON’T.  It doesn’t matter if you are doing hopscotch for 10 minutes some of those times, as long as you are doing something!

Putting a new routine in place is difficult, and remember that the hardest part is (unfortunately) the first step you have to take, which is creating the new routine.  It can be incredibly hard!  But once you have that down, the rest is so easy.  Then you can study about what workout is best for you and tweak your routine.

You are not hurting yourself to push yourself.  You are not being unkind to yourself to aim high and force yourself to achieve a goal you know is good for you!  We’re not talking about pushing yourself to do 2 hours on the treadmill here!  Just pushing yourself to move your body every day until it is a natural part of your life.  Getting yourself out of one routine and into a different one takes a push for everyone.  That is ok!  This is good–this is empowering!

I hope this post wasn’t too boring, and I apologize for lack of lightning bolts and wand-waving, but I guess I get a bit annoyed with all the fluff and math that I read about accomplishing simple things, and though I guess this concept will be a lot less exciting, as least you can rest assured it’s honest and functional. And let me add that self-honesty is not a given and not easy.  Master Co also says sometimes we need a “psychic slap,” I believe was how he put it….  At least, I can tell you it works for me!  🙂

 

 

 

Hit Your Body’s Reset Button

Hey, so speaking of  New Year’s Resolutions… like blogging at least twice a week?  Oops already… this one’s a little late!  However, I can honestly say I have been working on my blog—just trying to learn the ropes at WordPress!  As you can see from my site, much work is yet to be done… but I’ll get the hang of it soon 🙂

SO… better late than never, my New Year’s Post:

Ah, the new year… that time of re-evaluation.  What are my daily habits like?  How am I doing on my short- and long-term goals?  What are my new goals?

Many of these habits and goals have to do with our health.  Did you meet your health goals for last year?

I won’t lecture you on the importance of good health and healthy lifestyle habits.  If you are reading this at all, you already know health is important!  Hopefully, from this blog, you are getting some tips and practices to help you have more energy, feel happier, get spiritually connected, and more.

In this post, I will give you a list of practices I suggest you cram into a week for a New Year’s “reset.”

I won’t call it a cleanse because it’s a much milder program than the kinds of restriction a cleanse entails.  However, it will help you physically and energetically “cleanse” as well as give you more energy.

A concept that I try to embed in many of my posts is that physically and energetically, we have natural waste that needs to be removed, and making sure our lifestyle supports this removal is paramount to having good health, having enough energy, to mental clarity, and long-term disease prevention.

When you eat and drink, you later go to the bathroom.  When you inhale, you also exhale. Energetically, you take in fresh prana from the environment, and once that prana is used, dirty or used-up prana exits the energy system naturally.

Perfect setup right?  Only problem is that most of us don’t expel our natural waste products, including dirty energy, as quickly as it is created, for various reasons.  Hence buildup.  We know about buildup because we hear about it in the lower-tract regions.  Well, our chakras can get “constipated” too!

If we don’t heal and cleanse constantly and quickly enough, blockages occur–energetic as well as physical.  Both types are primary culprits in causing fatigue.  (Anyone wish they had more energy?)  Serious blockages that worsen over years cause serious health conditions.

Catching up on the body’s usually-slowed waste removal is an incredibly powerful healing secret, physically as well as energetically.  Just by expelling dirty, used-up prana, the body instantaneously and rapidly draws in lots of fresh prana.  You feel awake, alert, energized–and cheerful!

By unclogging our systems, you detoxify your system (to varying degrees, depending on the technique) which automatically gives you more energy.  Instead of your body using its resources to try to flush out old stuff, you have that energy for other things.  Your digestion will improve and you will absorb nutrition from your food better.

Putting it another way: Your physical body and energy body is a series of tubes—plumbing!  There’s always some junk here and there in all of us.  But we often have some major jams that need an extra boost to get cleared out.

So let’s get started!

Here’s your to-do list!  Some of these practices are energetic, some of these are physical.  The best part of all is that what you do energetically also affects the physical body.  What you do physically also affects the energy body.  So you are healing both all the time with the things on this list.  Why not just stick to one type of the other?  Because the healing will be much more rapid and powerful when you do both.

These things work!  They are easy, and they get results.  But as I always say, experiment for yourself.  Maybe something here sounds weird.  Well you won’t know unless you try, right?  And if it doesn’t seem to do the trick, no problem!  You can toss it out and nothing lost.

A note on foods.  Don’t read so much into the food list.  It is not a list of the “only healthy foods you should ever eat.”  It is a list of foods that will assist your body in cleansing.  Some foods help cleanse, some foods do more building of the body.  Since the theme is flushing out old stuff, the do’s and don’t’s are toward that end.  True, sugar and coffee aren’t “health foods,” but they are not on the “don’t” list because they don’t have a large effect on your body’s cleansing processes.  Of course, since our end goal is health, use your common sense on eating as healthfully as possible.

There are other cleanses out there!  You might feel you need more.  You might want to get sugar out of your system because you have been having too many cravings, etc.  This is not the only or best cleanse out there.  It’s just one way to eat to help your body get caught up on digestion and elimination, and inclusive of energy healing practices that will assist healing you on a deeper level.

So this is just an experiment for you.  Try it if you like!

You can do this for 1 day or 7–or more!

Food:

No’s

-Meat

-Cheese/Milk/Yogurt (small amounts of dairy as ingredients are fine)

-Dessert (a bite of something here and there is ok, just avoid sitting down to a sundae or bowl of ice cream)

-Alcohol

Why?  Energetically, these things are heavy.  Pork is incredibly clogging to the energy body, at the heaviest end of the spectrum.  (If you are a person who eats pork frequently, I can almost guarantee you will feel at least some difference by removing it for a few days and you will understand what I’m talking about.)  Removing heavier foods lets your energy flow more easily which gives you more energy—because your energy flow is not being hampered.

Yes’s

-Vegetables (load up please!)

-Fruit

-Grain

-Beans

Of course, any foods that irritate your system specifically are best left out for any cleanse or “reset”.  There are too many possibilities to list!  But by all means, tailor it.  I do suggest keeping out the “No” foods in any case for the reasons I listed.  As I mentioned, it’s a temporary way of eating for an intended purpose, not a “bad guys” list for all time.

Daily:

Green Smoothies, 2 glasses a day

Some people can easily substitute 1-2 meals for a few glasses of green smoothies instead.  They are fairly filling—more than you expect.  But if you are not one of those people, I recommend a smoothie for breakfast because on an empty stomach is the perfect time to flush through all the greens so they cleanse and push through (hooray fiber!) anything that was not fully digested or processed previously.  Then for either lunch or dinner, eat a big salad with anything on top that isn’t on the “No” list.  Sometimes I even sauté vegetables and put them on my salad, like brocooli and mushroom, and it makes it filling and delicious!  You can also try your favorite nuts and seeds, and don’t forget your favorite dressing.

(For Green Smoothie recipes, you will find plenty of recipes online.  I personally just fill my blender about 50% with leafy greens (kale, spinach, chard, etc) and 50% fruit (pear, banana, apple, berries, etc).  It doesn’t matter too much which greens and fruit you choose.  Pear and banana will make the texture the most drinkable, however.  If you’re new to drinking green stuff, start with spinach, it’s easiest on the palate.)

For the third meal, there are thousands and thousands of hearty and delicious meals without meat and cheese, and free recipes left and right online.  Try a simple Thai dish with rich and delicious coconut milk (one of my favorites!).  You can sauté vegetables and make a Chinese-inspired stir fry.  Soup options are endless, as are baked vegetable ensembles for the casserole dish and the oven.  Pizza without cheese is delicious—just get a super fresh tomato or pesto sauce and slather it on!  I love artichokes, mushrooms, garlic, and onions on my pizza….

Energy

As with the physical body, things can get backed up here.  Stress energy is a main culprit.  Treat yourself to the practices here and let the bliss begin….

Daily:

Either morning or evening, take a salt bath.  You’ve heard it from me before, and you’ll hear it from me again!  Fill your bath with 2-4 pounds of table salt (not Epsom salt which does not have a cleansing effect).  Table salt contains green prana.  Green prana has the effect of breaking down dirty, congested, clumped energy.  It disintegrates it, while the water helps draw it out of your body.

For even more cleansing, drop 10-15 drops of tea tree oil OR lavender oil into the bath. You can alternate the two oils.  Soak for 20 minutes maximum. Then rinse off afterward with a quick shower.

Twin Hearts Meditation:

This is a guided meditation created by Master Choa Kok Sui designed to cleanse, heal, and energize your energy system as well as heal your physical body (anything that happens to our energy affects our physical body automatically!).  Not to mention give you spiritual connection!  Do this daily.  You can even do it twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening to give yourself an extra boost.  Don’t be fooled by its simplicity.  It is extremely powerful!   www.pranichealing.com/meditation-twin-hearts

There are too many benefits of this meditation to list!  You will find many throughout my blog.  The short version: by simply following along, a downpour of energy flushes through your entire system, pushing out old, stale, congested energies.  You are then flooded with fresh prana.  It’s like getting an energy transfusion with the hit of a button!

There are three CD versions of it some of you may already have.  The link above is free, and is a shortened version.  There is also a slightly longer CD version guided by Master Choa Kok Sui.  Then there are two more with an extra 7 minutes or so which guide you through specific healing for your physical organs in one, and for your mind/emotions for the other.  If you happen to have the latter two CDs, I suggest alternating these two versions during this week.  You can purchase them on the Pranic Healing website, www.pranichealing.com.  If you are practicing Arhatic Yoga, pack it in to this week!  (www.pranichealing.com/courses/arhatic-yoga)

Just remember not to start Twin Hearts less than about two hours before bedtime.  (For Arhatic, you have probably already figured out when you need to do it J)  These meditations can be fairly energizing and, for some people, cause them to have trouble falling asleep.

This is a great time to get some Pranic Healing (PH) for even deeper cleansing and healing.  You can use PH to cleanse physical organs such as your liver and lungs, you can use it to clean all major chakras, you can use it to cleanse and remove negative mental/emotional energy and blockages of all kinds—stress, depression, anger/resentment, trauma, and more.  (I am available for sessions on a limited basis.)

Other Cleansing Practices:

If you want to treat yourself to even more, here are a few other tried-and-true ways to cleanse and heal.  Pack these into your Reset Week as your schedule allows!

Massage

Colon Hydrotherapy

Sauna and Steam Room

Sleep!  Go to bed 10pm or earlier!

Exercise-sweat, sweat, sweat

Best wishes for fantastic health in 2015!

Blessings,

Meghan

Binge/Guilt/Gain/Diet 2014

Originally Published November 26, 2014

Ah, that special time of year…. where the average American gains one pound–but frets like it’s so much more!

Well, there’s a lot of goodies around!  Gaining a few pounds between Thanksgiving and New Year’s is not necessarily a big deal, in my opinion.  Especially since most people lose it naturally anyway, given that they don’t continue eating Holiday-Style all year.

However, rather than be relaxed and know they’ll probably not gain much, and then lose anything they gain anyway, many people notice the weight gain, go into apocalyptic shock, and grab the first weirdo diet book off the shelf come January 2nd.  Through stress and strain they either lose or don’t lose weight.  Many people weigh more after going off a diet than they did before starting the diet, after all.

What’s sad to me is the incredible, tremendous stress around the whole situation!

We start thinking about food as Thanksgiving approaches.  We eat a bunch and then start thinking about the calories.  Then, to celebrate another 1-day holiday, we are surrounded by tempting red and green treats for the next 4 weeks.

You’re thinking, “I really don’t need a green-sugar-sprinkled sugar cookie…” and someone says, “Relax!  It’s the holidays!!” as if we are SO uptight for not indulging several times a day.

Once we’ve had too much, for long enough, then it’s, “oh to hell with it!” and we just pull off the brakes completely and grab whatever’s around.  Still feeling crazy guilty about it though!

We indulge, stress, indulge, stress, indulge, stress until we just want New Years’ to get here so we can get the whole eating thing OVER WITH and go back to our normal food-life!

I have a different idea.  Let’s just break it down here and prevent some of this misery and madness before it starts!  Let’s decide in advance how to handle season of indulgence before .

Here are three options for handling The Month of Temptation.  Just suggestions, of course!  If you have a better idea, by all means implement it.

These are placed in order of strictness.  Don’t worry, there’s something for everyone.  You decide.  Take into account what is realistic for YOU.  Then, simply stick to it–because you love yourself, and because it’s ultimately easier than doing nothing!

Option 1: Official Holidays Only

To state the obvious, if we over-ate only on the actual holidays themselves, there would be virtually nothing to worry about in terms of health or weight!  The problem comes from treating every day between Thanksgiving and New Year’s as a holiday in itself.

The holiday office party is not a holiday.  The kids’ holiday party is not a holiday.  Your friends’ holiday cocktail party is not a holiday.  Every-day-at-the-office-where-people-bring-a-bunch-of-junk-food-into-the-break-room is not a holiday.

You do not need to “celebrate” a holiday by giving in to whatever comes your way, or by cooking treats all month long.

Instead, make the commitment in advance you will eat whatever you want on Thanksgiving and 1-2 other days.  When those pre-selected days come, have at it, have fun, and no guilt allowed!

This option is good for those who either aren’t as tempted during this time or who know they can be fairly disciplined.  For some, this may be too strict and result in giving up, so be honest with what’s realistic for you.  Also, if this really does take the fun out of the holiday season for you, be honest and take that into consideration!

Option 2: Party it Up!

Middle path is this:  If it’s an occasion, indulgence allowed.  Parties, functions, get-togethers, all ok.  Mostly on the weekends between (and including) Thanksgiving and New Years’, but a few other activities sprinkled in on some weeknights as well.  If people are getting together, let’s have some treats and drinks!  Happy Holidays!

But no-no’s are snacking all day at your desk, bringing extra treats home from the store, or baking up a storm at home for no particular reason other than “getting in the spirit.”

Option 3: LIVE it Up!

Let go and just have fun–but without the guilt OR the diet.  If you’re a person who just loves to celebrate every day, loves the winter holiday season, and just has to live it up, then do it!

Enjoy the drinks and the treats–BUT this option is only allowed for those who can do so without beating themselves up about it and then punishing themselves later with a diet!  Why?  Because guilt is just as detrimental, painful, and unhealthy as the cookies and cake.  Not to mention diets which are silly at best, and seriously damaging to one’s health at worst.  Whose body wants to deal with the yo-yo of too much food one month and then not enough food with probably bizarre eating activity the next?

On the one hand, this option seems to require less discipline.  However, if you are a person in the habit of criticizing yourself, especially about how you eat, this could be the hardest.  It may actually be easier to take option 1 or 2 because they will probably make this type of person feel less guilty naturally.

Of course, my first recommendation is not to be harsh with yourself to begin with, but that’s a habit that usually takes time to cultivate, and Thanksgiving is around the corner…

Look, the first priority here is being as kind to ourselves as possible.  That’s what all these choices are about–so you can see a way to be kind to yourself.  Kinder to your body by not dieting and kinder to your soul by not beating yourself up.  Just find a way to do that!

And really, if you cannot control either the foods you choose to eat or the way you talk to yourself and treat yourself, give yourself even more love by talking to someone who can help.

By the way, these are only suggestions for those of us who don’t like the over-indulgence/guilt/panic/fad diet roller coaster that so many go through each year.  If you don’t deal with this either by gaining weight, harming your health, feeling guilty, or over-indulging in the first place, then no need to adopt anything here–and more power to you!

Good luck, and Happy Healthy Holidays

Why Don’t I Ever Get Sick?

Originally Published February 1st, 2014

I hardly ever get sick.  I was reminded of this fact when, a few weeks ago, I got sick

I woke up with a painful sore throat.  Of course, I did some Pranic Healing–as much as I could with a one-and-a-half-year-old running around.  It eased it quite a bit, but it lingered for a few days.  When that went away, I had a cough for another 3-4 days.  My husband did some healing on me at this point which helped a ton.  Never are we more grateful for our good health than when we don’t have it!

The last time I got sick was once when I was pregnant about two years ago or so.  Before that, I got sick after my trip to India (about 3 years prior).  And it was at least two years before that since coming down with anything.

I say this not to brag but to share some of the things I do which may be contributing to my good fortune in this area—in the hopes that you may have success with them too!

Most people take it for granted that they’ll get a few colds each year along with maybe the flu, fever, cough, or something else.  We rarely question this and accept it as part of life: “yeah, it’s going around.  Everybody’s getting it.”.  In my typical annoying way, I questioned it:  Why do we have to get sick so many times a year??

It never made sense to me to take a bunch of over-the-counter medication to manage symptoms when the puzzle to solve, to me, was why I got sick in the first place and how I could prevent it.  Most people accept they will get sick but only work on handling symptoms.

Yet getting sick, feeling miserable, and spending time and money on doctor’s visits and medicine is so much more difficult and painful than simply not getting sick in the first place.  Now that I have a kid, it is truly mind-boggling to imagine having low energy, being run down, and even having a fever while trying to handle a toddler at the same time.  I don’t know how people do it!  It’s more important to me than ever to stay healthy and energized so I can get through my day.

Here is a list of what I see as the causes of our regular colds, coughs, and other bugs along with the regular practices and habits I implement year-round which may explain why I rarely get sick.  Again, I don’t have all the answers, but all of these are great health tips in any case which will do wonders for your energy level, mood, and disease prevention.  I hope you will try most or all of them!

1.  Being Indoors

A few years ago, I wondered why we get sick more in the winter than summer.  People seem to say it’s because it’s cold out.  But if we are warm-blooded and our bodies stay around 98 degrees no matter the outside temperature, then why would it make a difference?  Cold weather to us in Seattle is t-shirt weather to people from the Midwest or places where it snows.  Cold and warm are relative terms anyway.  Then one year my college roommate and best friend Laura and I were living together.  Several times throughout the cold months she would open all the windows and door and put her coat on for a few hours in order to air out the house.  I can’t say this thrilled me when it was 35 degrees out, but that was one of the first winters I didn’t get sick!

I came to the conclusion that, at least in part, the reason we get sick more in the colder months is that we are indoors with stale, un-circulating air.  We get little to no fresh air.  Naturally, this stale, indoor air helps breed more bacteria.  Energetically, dirty energy stays put instead of getting removed through open windows.  We are sitting in and breathing the same stale air and energy which is not health-promoting.  I highly recommend airing out your house as often as you can stand it.  On top of this, getting outdoors for at least 30 minutes (ideally 60) daily will give your body a dose of fresh air and prana.

Aside from this, when the weather is bad, the levels of solar prana and air prana drop.  There is less readily available prana to absorb which, in most people, means a drop in their energy as well.  This makes us more susceptible to illness.  However, this is easily combated by exercise (which causes the body to expel dirty energy and suck in lots of fresh energy), and by meditation which powerfully energizes the whole body in a short span of time.

2.  Pushing Ourselves Too Hard

I cannot tell you how many times a friend of mine has said over and over how tired, strained, stressed out, weary, and exhausted they were.  “Miraculously,” they came down with something soon after.  It was as predictable as could be.  I hardly know anyone who sees themselves getting to the edge of what they can handle, whether it be work, stress, physical activity, or anything, and slows down to compensate and catch up.  For some strange reason, we see signs that we are doing more than our bodies and minds and emotions can handle but just keep going.  This is completely contradictory to common sense, is it not?

Well, I am one of these weird people who, when I see that I am doing more than I can handle, I slow down a little and take it easy.  I either sleep more, treat myself to a massage, cancel a commitment (with proper notice), take a salt bath, or whatever it takes.  Oftentimes, it’s one or two small things that let me catch up which is not big deal.  It’s so much easier than going at break-neck speed only to crash, come down with a nasty cold, and have to check out for several days.

Also—haven’t you noticed that you predictably come down with something after a major stressful incident or stressful period of days or weeks?  Maybe a big project at work, a relationship issue, or other situation finally takes its toll and you’re stuck in bed for days paying the price.  Pay attention to how you are doing and feeling, to what is going on in your life, and adapt your schedule to stay healthy physically as well as emotionally and mentally.

3.  Lack of Sleep

I don’t care how boring this one is–if you are like most people, you still need to hear it.  I make sleep a priority and always have.  It’s not because I’m lazy.  Sleep is not a “guilty pleasure.”  I am constantly amazed at the way people feel almost guilty for sleeping 8-9 hours which is literally necessary for health, while people don’t seem to feel guilty watching 15 hours of TV a week which isn’t health-promoting at all.

There have been so many times I have felt like I was coming down with something so went to bed extra early and slept in, and the feeling completely went away and I never got sick.  Give your body a chance to catch up!  I have heard what amounted to bragging contests about how little sleep people were getting.  Ok, you get a pat on the back for working hard—great job.  It still doesn’t need to come at the price of abusing the body in order to do it.  And if you frequently get sick, your body could use some more TLC.  Look at your schedule and your priorities.  Most people waste significant amounts of time doing things that do not contribute to the well-being of their bodies, minds, or souls.  I’m not saying you need to meditate and read spiritual books all day, but chances are, there are a few hours a week of non-essential or even unhealthy activities you could remove to allow you time to sleep more.

4.  Little to No Exercise

This is definitely another reason we get sick more in the winter.  We don’t exercise as much.  I completely sympathize with not wanting to go out in the cold weather, especially when it’s raining.  And the gym has never felt like a haven of health and relaxation for me either.  Yet I do these things anyway.  First off, there is nothing better for depression or “winter blues.”  Second, if you aren’t getting your heart rate up, sweating, and also rapidly flushing our physical and energetic waste daily or almost daily, you are missing something vital to staying healthy.  This is what exercise does.  Plus a hundred other things I won’t take the time and space to list.  Exercise has been shown to boost the immune system as well.  Exercise is simply essential.

Here in the northwest, the weather is only nice 2-3 months a year.  You can’t wait for summer to move your body.  Find a way and place you can at least somewhat enjoy working out, and get it into your daily routine.  You will notice you have MORE energy when you exercise regularly because it is so good for you.  And you are less likely to get sick.

5.  Unhealthy Diet

I don’t think I need to elaborate too much here.  Haven’t you noticed that when you indulge in a bunch of unhealthy foods for a few days, you don’t feel great?  And often, these are the times you just happen to come down with a cold, cough, or something worse.  Don’t gravitate toward so many comfort foods in winter, as we are inclined to do.  By this I mean lots of starches, grains, meat, alcohol, dessert, etc.  These heavy foods are so much harder on your body in terms of digestion.  They are also less nutritious than vegetables.  So eat plenty of fresh vegetables (you know, those green things?) and lighter foods year round along with the above foods in moderation.  When you feel like you may be coming down with something, adapt and eat more vegetables, drink more water, make sure not to over-eat (digestion takes a lot of energy), don’t drink alcohol, etc.  These things are common sense—we just need to implement them!

Energetic Essentials:

Meditate

You’re going to hear me say this over and over.  You can’t be in your best, peak state of health without meditation.  If you aren’t meditating, you aren’t taking a break from life.  Vacations are good, but 20 minutes a day of truly detaching and letting go is vital.  When you do this, it has energetic healing effects on your body–which have physical healing effects on your body!  Twin Hearts Meditation flushes out dirty, congested, blocked energy from your energy body, chakras, and channels.  It then energizes your entire system.  You feel lighter and have more energy afterward.  It is so health-promoting, it’s difficult to list all the benefits, there are so many.

The mistake people make is to think that spirituality and meditation are “hobbies” or personal interests that certain people have.  On the contrary–if you’re human, you are spiritual and need to implement regular spiritual practice into your life for your health and happiness—period.  Go to www.pranichealing.com/meditation-twin-hearts for a free audio of this guided meditation.

Learn Pranic Healing

This has been a huge reason why I don’t get sick.  If I feel something might be coming, I do Pranic Healing right away—the same day.  Almost 100% of the time I do this, it works and I don’t get sick.    Naturally, it’s harder to heal something once it has manifested physically and will likely take a couple of sessions.  However, before it has manifested physically, when you’re just starting to feel run down or that bit of a headache or scratchy throat, 15-30 minutes of Pranic Healing is often enough to stop it from happening before it starts.

By the way, Basic Pranic Healing (Level I) is happening in Seattle March 1-2!  Advanced Pranic Healing (Level II) is March 2-3.  Click here for more info and to register.

There’s nothing too mind-blowing here.  The biggest impediment to staying healthy, in my opinion, is just taking the time and diligence to do what we already know is right.  We know when we need to take a break; we just have to do it.  We know we need to exercise, eat healthy, and meditate.  The hard part is following through.

The biggest step we can take in preventing small and large illnesses is to simply make our health a priority, and not give in to temptation when the mood strikes to be lazy and do something we know isn’t good for us.

Blessings of good health and happiness to all of you!

P.S.:  What successful tips can you share about staying healthy and/or healing from small things like cold, cough, flu, etc?  Tell us your experiences in the comments section below!

Your Weight Loss Goals: Sanity Check

Originally Published June 27, 2013

All right.  This is going to be part constructive, part rant.  Hope that’s ok!  Here goes.

It’s important that, on our path to health and fitness, we make goals that are not only realistic but healthy.  No matter how many times we have all heard it, it is still very hard for us to understand and believe that striving for a “perfect” body is not only unachievable for almost all of us but extremely stressful and then extremely silly.

The standard that we strive to uphold physically comes from marketing campaigns and not health experts.

We know this.  We hear these kinds of facts and nod and say yes, yes, so true.  Then we look in the mirror and get depressed that we don’t look like Kate Moss.  Having been through this mental process myself about a few hundred thousand times, I have some important facts to consider when deciding how you want to look, how you “need” to look, and how to describe to yourself how you look right now.

For starters, the models we see in magazines that we strive to look like were almost always “scouted.”  This means that a model scout, someone who works for a modeling company and whose job it is to find new models, “discovered” them in a public place.  These scouts walk around town looking for 6-foot-tall very thin women.  Runway models are the thinnest and the industry standard, until a few short months ago, was that they be a size zero (it’s now a size 4).  Any 6-foot-tall size zero walking around town was, 99% for sure, born that way.  They genetically have that particular body size and shape and metabolism, end of story.  For us regular folk to try to force ourselves into that is downright unsafe.

As supermodel Daria Werbowy is quoted as saying, “I won the genetic lottery.”

Another quote from a Victoria’s Secret photographer said their models “are rarer than professional athletes.”

Did you know–magazines can’t put any model they want in the designer clothes they feature?  Designers have agreements that any time their clothes are “marketed” (even in the supposed non-advertisement portions of fashion magazines), they are in control of the models who wear them.  Even if Vogue wanted to, they could not put a size 10 model in designer clothes.

Next on the list of comparisons we make: celebrities.  Mostly actors.  For these people, they may naturally have a killer physique or be working at it.  For anyone that isn’t naturally very thin, to maintain the incredibly low body fat percentage they usually have (the women, that is… men have no trouble getting roles with all sizes of bellies–see Tom Hanks, Vince Vaughn, etc.), they have to work out like crazy.  You may have read the workout routines these people subject themselves to–it’s at least an hour a day and frequently nearly two hours a day, 5-6 days a week!  Who the heck has time for that?!  They do it because they HAVE to.  They will not get cast a role in a film, commercial, whatever, if they don’t have an ideal appearance.  They are also stalked and photographed night and day, so they are probably beyond paranoid at being caught at the beach with a little flab hanging over their swimsuit bottom.  Not a situation I would envy.

Ok, clothing: If you’re like me, you scrutinize what size you are fitting into like the numbers are those of the next winning Powerball ticket.  These numbers are meaningless!  Some smart person researched and discovered that women were more likely to buy an article of clothing if it was in a smaller-numbered size.  So there were certain periods of time where we all started fitting into smaller sizes… so we thought.  You’ve noticed you’re never the same size from one brand to the next either.  The numbers are arbitrary and, again, based on marketing.

You know, a hundred years ago, people all tailored their own clothes, by the way.  There was no stress and strain about fitting into a size.  There was no meltdown in some shop’s dressing room because the 4 didn’t fit anymore.  No one was even aware of their “size” because sizes didn’t exist!  Can you imagine such a utopia?  The fabric was made to fit US, not the other way around!  If something didn’t look good, it was the tailor’s fault, not ours!

Thanks to, again, industry, we started making pre-made clothing because it was cheaper and more efficient for the companies–not us!  And, trust me, they’re still having a terrible time trying to make standardized clothing that fits a massive variety of shapes and sizes.

In India, there is some of this utopia left.  More tailors for sure, but also something called a drawstring waistband.  Yes, this is worn ALL THE TIME.  Those simple cotton pants you see Indian women wearing?  They are slim in the leg, but the waist is big enough for a clown costume.  They’re all one size, and you just get the length adjusted!  A Sari is a flowing dress-like garment that, unwrapped, is a gigantic sheet of fabric.  There is nothing sewn and no fixed size at all.  You drape it and secure it with safety pins each time you put it on!  Can you believe that?!

You can gain all the weight you want and probably never notice it.  Western women, on the other hand, can’t gain 3 pounds–I mean that literally–without their jeans not fitting.  And subsequently feeling “fat.”  At any one time, half my wardrobe fits, and the other half does not.  I literally have to have a couple of different sizes in my closet all the time.  Of course weight inevitably fluctuates and when it does, my stuff either looks too baggy or won’t zip up.  It’s crazy-making.

I finally–FINALLY gave up on having the perfect body after I was doing two hours of weight-lifting a week (a 1-hour class at the gym twice a week), went running twice a week, did a couple of sessions on the Stairmaster each week, and ate almost perfectly.  By that I mean, hardly any carbohydrates, snack or dessert foods, not even sugar in my tea.  I was still obsessing about what new exercise I needed to do and what else was left to take out of my diet (nothing), and basically just stressing a bunch over nothing.  I felt fantastic, had tons of energy, a great mood, was also meditating regularly, and life was just fine–except I’d get all bummed out that I didn’t have a perfectly flat tummy.  At last I decided: If I was doing everything right and still didn’t have it, it wasn’t meant for me!  My body was fine the way it was, and it was time to move on.  And I finally did, little by little.  To have lost that last 5 pounds, I would have had to live the life of an ascetic.  There was no point.

SO, ladies and gents–we need to team up against marketing and industry and stand our ground!  Our uniqueness will never go away, nor would we ever want it to!  Why do we ever let salespeople dictate what is beautiful?

Let health come first, and beauty will always follow.

What is Fresh Air? The Power of the Outdoors, Part I

Originally Published March 28, 2013

In this short three-part series, I want to talk about the real impact being outdoors has on us–whether we’re doing anything athletic or not.

The difference in being indoors vs outdoors is monumental, yet rarely talked about.  The subject deserves enormous attention, given that we spend a massive percentage of our time inside.  Yet we take that powerful fact for granted.  We look at health problems, mood problems, and energy problems all within the context that we are indoors, and no one thinks anything of it.  Yet what would happen to these commonplace problems if we started spending lots of time outdoors instead?

How could something that seemingly insignificant really make a difference?

Much more than a change in scenery, it exposes us to powerful sources of prana (energy) that we can tap into at absolutely any given time.  Like any power source, we can hook ourselves up–free of charge!–and get flooded with energy that our body can use for whatever it needs including physical energy, mental energy, healing, and lifting our mood.

In short, when we are indoors, we are surrounded by non-living items or materials.  The building we are in, the furniture we sit on, and the air we breathe do not vitalize us (aside from the necessary oxygen in the air).

When we are outdoors, we are surrounded by living things that literally give off energy,  also called prana, chi, and ki, that our body readily and automatically absorbs.

Prana is the metaphysical “invisible” energy that pervades absolutely every single living and non-living thing in existence.  It is the foundation that makes up living and non-living physicality.  It is an absolutely vital component of our bodies.  In fact, energy is more than a component, but is really the underlying source that gives rise to our physical bodies.  Prana is so important to our existence, we could not survive even a nanosecond without it, while we can go minutes without oxygen.

Prana makes it possible for us to perform any activity or function.  When we use the word “energy” in day-to-day conversation, we talk about how much ability we have to stay awake, work, talk, drive, and do our daily activities.  Prana translates exactly into this everyday concept of energy.  You can see how very important it is that we have lots of it!

The first living thing we immediately get to come into contact with when we are outside is fresh air.  I think we can fairly call it living air because it is FULL of prana.  In Pranic Healing, we call this type of prana “air prana” (which has different properties from solar and earth prana).  We can literally tank up on prana just by breathing it!

Air prana is also the primary source of prana absorbed by our chakras, particularly the spleen chakra whose primary function it is to absorb prana from the environment, break it down, and distribute it throughout the body.

Inside air can’t compare.  Once we have filled our indoor areas with fresh air, the prana will soon be used up as we breathe–though, of course, it won’t ever be completely gone, as we are always surrounded by energy.  Inside, however, we aren’t tapped into the real, living source of it, and energy levels can become low.

We use the word “fresh” to describe air that comes from outside because we know intuitively there is a difference.  Outside air is clean, living, and just FRESH.  Indoor air, by contrast, has been circulating and re-circulating and we can just feel the difference.  It is not fresh.  When we say, “open a window, let’s get some air in here,” we know that the air outside has something valuable that we need.

In the winter months, we often feel sluggish.  How many of us complain of being tired and droopy?  There’s a reason coffee is so popular!  We blame it on the cold weather, our cravings for heavier foods, and (in the Pacific Northwest), the lack of sun.  These are certainly partial causes, but a very important and overlooked cause is the fact that we are mostly indoors and just don’t absorb the prana every day that we do during the summer when we are frequently outside.

In depressed people, the overall aura and chakras are low in energy.  This is particularly the case with the basic and spleen chakras which are very important in supplying the body with energy for physical as well as emotional needs.  Have you ever met a depressed person with tons of energy?  No.  The two go hand-in-hand.  This is why getting outdoors has been shown time and again to assist in healing depression.

How can we get the prana we need when we feel sluggish and it’s winter and yucky out there??

First, it is very important to realize HOW important it is to stay exposed to these natural sources of energy year-round.  In a recent scientific study I read outdoor and indoor exercisers were compared.  The outdoor exercisers got into better shape and reported a better mood.  There is clearly a difference between doing the same activity outside and inside.

Next, we make a point to get contact with these sources of energy as much as physically possible.

While we all have a seeming natural aversion to cold weather, rain, and gray days, a few excursions outside with a brisk walk, run, or bicycle ride will quickly change your perception of them.  It feel so GOOD.  You’ll burst back inside rosy-cheeked, invigorated, and downright cheerful!

I recommend one simply push over that hurdle, get bundled up, and go out–just DO it!  Once outside, breathe deeply from the abdomen and take in all the fresh oxygen and prana the planet has to offer!

I also recommend cracking open a window or two whenever possible.  Here in Seattle, we do not have freezing temperatures all winter long, and there are plenty of opportunities to leave a window open partway.  This is especially beneficial at night if it is our bedroom window where we can take in prana-charged air for many hours while our body sleeps and recharges.  At the very least, put on a coat and hat and open all the windows for an hour and then shut them again afterward.  This will at least exchange old stale air for fresh air.

Sometimes the simplest things are the hardest to convince people of in their effectiveness.  But the simple small habit of getting out-of-doors really can and will make a difference in your health and how you feel, and fast too.  Don’t believe me?  Try it! 🙂

Can We Eat Without Meat? Part II: Physical Aspects

Originally Published October 20, 2012

I am chagrined to see, looking at my Part I post on this topic, that it’s been two years since I wrote it!  I had intended to write Part II just a couple of months later.  Better late than never, but…. this was pretty darn late!

Anyway, last time I wrote about the spiritual aspects of eating meat.  This included the energetic aspects that we learn about in Pranic Healing such as how meat looks  energetically, what it consists of energetically, and how it acts on our bodies as a result.  If you haven’t read this post, you can check it out here

I want to discuss the physical aspects of humans eating meat in this post.  By physical aspects, I refer to the physiological compatibility of humans consuming animals.

This extremely important to discuss because virtually every person in my particular culture (United States) believes without a doubt that humans were designed to eat meat.  They believe it is not only harmless, but essential food for us to function.  This is taken for granted as common sense and rarely questioned.

As I try to point out in every discussion I have about eating meat, while I choose not to eat it, I strongly feel it is a personal decision and respect what each individual decides to do–especially when they have made that decision thoughtfully.  I do wish more people would simply put more thought and education into what they eat and why, and that is why I aim to educate people more on this issue, especially from a side that gets far less attention than the mainstream one.  Also keep in mind, there is much in between being a hard-core carnivore and a strict vegetarian.  If your enthusiasm for meat-eating changes one day, you can simply and easily reduce the amount of meat you eat each week without making any lifelong promise never to have it again, and you can still enjoy many of the health benefits that come with that.

I was inspired to write this post on this specific aspect after reading David Wolfe’s book The Sunfood Diet Success System where there is a fantastic chart in Appendix A toward the end of the book.  I have seen small facts here in there in this direction, but the chart Wolfe created here is, in my opinion, extraordinary.  He has listed 17 physiological aspects of carnivores and compared them to the same part of the body or physiology in herbivores and then in humans.  You can then compare for yourself which category humans seem to fit into.  I would love to copy and paste the whole thing here because it is so surprising, but in the interest of space as well as copyright laws :), I give just a few examples instead.  (In the original chart, there are 17.)

1.Carnivore: All four feet are clawed (to rip into flesh).

Herbivore: All four feet are hoofed (cloven) or hands and feet contain individual digits (fingers or toes) with nails.

Human: Hands and feet contain individual digits with nails and opposable thumbs.  Hands are perfectly designed to reach out, grab fruit and peel it.

2.  Carnivore:  Shape of face allows the carnivore to dig into a carcass and rip out the entrails

Herbivore: Shape of the face allows the animal to pull vegetation off of plants

Human: Shape of the face clearly indicates that humans have no ability to rip out entrails with their mouth

3. Carnivore:  Tongue is rough and thin

Herbivore: Tongue is smooth and thick to manipulate vegetable matter into the back molars for grinding.

Human: Tongue is smooth and thick to manipulate vegetable matter into the back molars for grinding.

4. Carnivore:  Liver contains uricase, an enzyme used to break down uric acid; it can break down 10-15 times more uric acid as a herbivore (uric acid is a by-product of meat digestion.)

Herbivore: Liver has a low tolerance for uric acid.

Human: Liver has a low tolerance for uric acid.

5. Carnivore: Intestines are 3 times as long as the trunk of the body; their design facilitates rapid expulsion of fleshy matter.

Herbivore: Intestines are at least 8 to 12 times as long as the trunk of the body; they are designed for extracting all nutrients from plant fiber.

Human: Intestines are at least 12 times as long as the trunk, and an integral part of the most sophisticated juice extractor in the world: the human digestive system.

6. Carnivore: Saliva is acidic

Herbivore: Saliva is alkaline; it contains enzymes specifically designed to break down starchy carbohydrates

Human: Saliva is alkaline; it contains ptyalin, an enzyme specifically designed to break down starchy carbohydrates.

When our physiology tells us we certainly seem to be herbivores, why and how did so many cultures around the world and through history end up eating meat, even making it a mainstay of their cuisine?  The fact that so many do is often used as evidence that we are meant to eat meat.

Without getting into a lot of details, most definitely do.  However, there are still many that eat very little animal products.  What seems to be roughly true to me is that the further away from the tropics humans get, the more meat they eat.  Essentially, the further away we get from plant options, the more we eat meat to fill in the gaps.  As a general rule, traditional humans eat meat when necessary to supplement their diet out of necessity due to lack of plant options.

Yes, some of you say, there are exceptions to this–true!  I can only wager a guess, and my guess is that humans are curious creatures, and they like what tastes good.  Someone a hundred or so years ago figured out how to refine sugar–just as people thousands or millions of years ago figured out how to make a spear and throw it hard enough to kill a deer.  Both sugar and meat taste good, but the health impacts of consuming neither were studied before they were embraced as part of our diets.

Looking at traditional cultures has become very popular as we strive to discover what we are meant to eat as a species.  We know something has gone very wrong with our modern diets.  Sickness and disease abound, yet in indigenous, traditional cultures, there is little to none of it.  If we are so advanced, why do we suffer from literally thousands of health problems these people have never even heard of?

Of course, studying them is highly valuable.  The most obvious fact we have gleaned from this research is that when we eat food in its natural form, some would call it its whole food form, it will be the healthiest for us.  Using technology to manipulate our food by allowing it to stay on the shelf longer, by adding chemicals for certain flavors, by spraying it with chemicals during the growing process, by genetically modifying it–all hurt and take away its healthy, nutritious properties.  This leads to malnourishment, disease, and more.  While meat could be called a “whole food,” in a similar yet much more primitive way, eating meat still requires technology for humans to do it.  Our bodies do not include instruments for hunting, killing, and putting into consumable form, animal products.  Instruments are required to do that, so for us, I would argue, it is not a natural part of our diet.

Whether eating meat is harmful to us, which is the million-dollar question we are all asking, has become a little more complicated.  We have recently become aware that they way we produce meat products on a massive scale is extremely unhealthy–for the animals and, subsequently, for us who consume them.  Almost all meat produced is created by confining the animals to tiny living spaces, giving them no exposure to sunlight, and involves feeding them an unnatural diet that causes them to become sick in order to fatten them up as quickly as possible.  (They are then fed tons of antibiotics because they are constantly sick.  If simply given their natural diet–grass for cows, for instance–the need for medicine would go away.)  The meat created this way has been proven through thousands of scientific studies to be harmful to people when consumed.  We know that those who consume this meat have a far greater risk of many diseases, including deadly ones.

There are now two sets of meat products–those created naturally by letting animals exercise, eat their natural diet, and live healthfully, and those created the conventional way.  Because most or all studies done on the healthfulness of meat products are done using conventionally-produced meat, we now have a hard time differentiating between the health impacts of each, which are vastly different products.  Consumers of natural meat products naturally dismiss scientific studies that use conventionally-produced meat products because these are such different foods, as they probably should.  What I would like to see is studies done using grass-fed cows, free-range hens, etc. so we can understand what the impacts of eating regular, natural meat products are, as opposed to the impacts of eating the meat of sick and unhealthy animals.  It doesn’t take a scientist to know that the latter is going to hurt us.

In a wonderful lecture by Kevin Trudeau I watched online as part of David Wolfe’s Longevity Now conference, Kevin said he had researched and even spent time with traditional cultures around the world in an effort to find out what these healthy, robust people eat, and to see how we could emulate it.  What he found is that all these healthy people ate incredibly different diets from one another.  He mentioned one that ate monkey brains as well as others that were vegetarian.  What they had in common which  he came to believe were the most important factors for health and longevity included  their relaxed attitude about life.  They had a sense of humor, the habit of letting go of any upsets, and having simply calmer dispositions.  All these cultures shared that.  Now THAT is some wisdom for the ages.