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practicing off the mat

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Often overheard in any of my yoga classes is a statement about feeling appreciation for all of the things our bodies are doing right in any given moment. We often neglect to observe this phenomenon in lue of focusing on what is going wrong. Many times pain in one area of the body will become our primary focus(understandably so). If we can widen the lens even just a bit, we may begin to see that there is more happening, which may then bring a small amount of relief. I have found for myself and others that once our focal point is slightly shifted, we can create the space for miracles to happen. This can happen within a posture as well. We may feel frustration because our hamstrings are too tight for us to be able to bend over and touch our toes. In widening our focus, we can see the interconnectedness in our bodies. We can back off slightly, breath through some discomfort, and put ourselves in a position of allowing that may even let us sink a little further. Incorporating feelings of appreciation will bring ease to the movements and we may find that we go further than we ever thought we would in a relatively short period of time.

Last week, I found myself focusing on what another person was doing wrong. This person is close to me and my attention to the undesirable behavior was making me unhappy. After a day or two of this, it hit me: my attention to this matter was only impeding me from my own bliss. Why was I choosing to focus on this one issue when there were tons of things that this person does right all the time? I instantly felt better. That little shift in awareness made a huge impact on my mood and my ability to see things objectively. This doesn’t mean that I don’t need to deal with the undesirable behavior, but I can deal with it from a place of love and with a clear head. By taking a step back, I created some space for my own healing. I immediately connected this with what I find myself saying in classes all the time and was amused by my humanness. Progress, not perfection.

Balancing tip-remove MSG from your diet. Reading labels can be intimidating, but if you can remember just one ingredient to find on the label and then return that product to the shelf, make it monosodium glutamate. It is a flavor enhancer added to many of the foods we all love. The problem is that MSG causes obesity. Sadly, everyone in the food and drug business seems to be aware of this. When doing studies on obesity, scientists use rats and mice. These animals aren’t naturally overweight. To get them to gain weight, they are fed diets enhanced with MSG. This ingredient alone causes obesity in the study animals. I found this information to be really disturbing but true. It is up to you to read labels!!!! Eliminating MSG is a huge step in the right direction towards better health. If large amounts of the population stop buying products containing this killer, the food industry will be forced to change. I would love to hear about what you discover as you begin to read the┬álabels of your staple foods.

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