Monthly Archives: June 2013

The Truth about Coconut Water- All Hype or Super Healthy?

With so many people drinking coconut water these days, it may make you wonder what it is about this special drink that makes it so great.  Well, read on to find out why it’s such an all-star sip

First of all, coconut water has a high potassium content and contains multiple antioxidants.  It also contains cytokinins which help promote plant cell division and growth.  Other biologically active ingredients in coconut water include L-arginine, ascorbic acid, magnesium etc.  All of these key ingredients help to keep your body a well oiled machine!

One of the most impressive things about coconut water is that it matches the exact electrolyte profile of our blood plasma.  Truly using food as medicine, coconut water was even used for blood plasma transfusions back in World War II.  That is some pretty extraordinary water!

Coconut water is very hydrating as well as being very low in calories.  It is fat and cholesterol free, and contains more potassium than FOUR bananas!  Another claim to fame of the popular drink is that is can potentially cure hangovers and it will help to prevent cramping.

With coconut water containing fewer calories, less sodium and more potassium than most sports drinks that are currently out there, I think this is definitely a go-to for a great workout drink.

As far as knowing which brands are best…just be sure to look for pure coconut water, making sure that it doesn’t say reconstituted.  When a juice has been reconstituted, it means that it was first ‘concentrated’ by evaporating most of the water that was contained in it.  It is easier and cheaper to transport only the concentrated juice.  Once the juice arrives and is ready to be bottled, it is then reconstituted by re-adding the water back to the juice.  What happens during this process is that all of the ‘good stuff’ (vitamins, enzymes, trace minerals, etc.)  in the juice is lost when the manufacturers boil the juice to preserve it.  It’s always best to stick to whole, non-processed foods/drinks whenever possible.

Most health food stores will even open the coconut for you and give you a straw right then and there.  This is a super fun activity for both kids and adults alike!!  Once all of the water is enjoyed, grab a spoon and scoop out the coconut meat for an amazing afternoon snack.

So get out there and go cocoNUTs !

 

 


How to Go Beyond the Yoga Asana

In Western yoga, asana has become a practice of yoga poses for physical fitness.  However, in ancient Indian traditions asana was practiced as a primer for meditation.  Working your body encourages your mind to be still.  Maintaining balance and using brute strength in moving from pose to pose will tire your muscles, making it easier for you to sit peacefully.

More and more classes are starting to incorporate an integral or full-spectrum yoga experience.  The integral yoga class includes asana (postures), pranayama (breath work), and meditation.  Classes are challenging and include a mix of twists, inversions, and back bends within a vigorous flow.  Keeping in mind your own personal yoga practice, these inversions and back bends do not have to be advanced postures.  They only need to be challenging to your body.

Meditation serves all human beings by slowing down our brains and allows us to get in touch with our subtle energy systems.  It is a method to still the mind and become more aware of our true identity as a spiritual being that ‘wears’ a physical body.

What you can expect out of meditation is a calmer existence, a less reactive response to life.  Meditation literally helps you deal with the ups and downs of your day with more equanimity—more stability in the moments of ups and downs.  We begin to understand that ups and downs are normal, continuing and ever shifting; we soon realize they are impermanent and do not warrant our mental angst.  Meditation is something that must be experienced to understand.  Just as T.S. Elliot said (paraphrased) information does not equal knowledge.  You need to do the work to gain the knowledge.

Try my integral classes on Yoga Download for at least a month and see how the practice changes and serves you.  I look forward to hearing about your experience!  Namaste.

April is a yoga instructor, a writer and an importer.  Feel free to contact her at April Laliberte Yoga Inclusive or Nomadic Import Traders on Facebook.

 


The Top 8 Inspirational Yoga Books YOGAtta Read!

One of my favorite parts about teaching yoga is that I get to share my passion for reading and studying yogic texts and translations with my students.  More often than not, that means toting along my well- loved copy of The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali as translated by B.K.S. Iyengar or a book of poetry or a quote or two that captures the essence of the class theme.  Nothing makes me happier than a student saying, “I have really been thinking about what you said in class the other day and it made me realize…”

At the end of class, I encourage my students to freely ask questions about the asana or philosophy or whatever else piqued their interest .   Recently, students have been asking me which texts or books I have really enjoyed or found most understandable and relatable.  (FYI- many  texts and translations of yogic philosophy and cosmology can be DENSE and difficult to read,  let alone understand or incorporate into your life.)

So, below is a short list of some of my favorite books that I find myself turning to over and over again for inspiration and that I think my students would enjoy:

The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali as translated by B.K.S. Iyengar.  A classic among classics; truly meant to be read and studied with a teacher.  This one can definitely seem overwhelming at first, but is a personal library must for students considering diving deeper into the core of yoga.  Once you become familiar with this version, you will find yourself returning to it again and again.

Writing Yoga by Bruce Black.  This is an easy to read, user friendly guide to keeping a practice journal which thoughtfully combines two of my passions and has inspired me to begin my own practice journal.

Bhagavad Gita as translated by Stephen Mitchell.   A poetic, yet very accessible translation of another classic of traditional Indian culture.

The Yoga Practice Guide by Bruce Bowditch; a spiral- bound collection of practice sequences that can be used by teachers or any student wishing to support and/or expand their home practice.

Be Love Now by Ram Das.  I felt like I was right there with the author as he shared stories of a 40 year path toward awakening.  There were definitely LOL moments.

Play of Consciousness by Swami Muktananda-A rare and inspiring autobiography of a lifelong journey into the spirit.

I Love You  by Swami Muktananda; a teeny, tiny book that reminds us of our true nature; love.

The Path of the Yoga Sutras, A Practical Guide to the Core of Yoga by Nicolai Bachman; a very clear and practical look at the classical teachings of the Yoga Sutras.   Each section offers “Thoughts” and “Exercises” for the students to begin to incorporate ancient wisdom into  modern lives.

I hope that you have found something on my list that inspires you to read and study on your own path towards the highest reason for why we practice, Sat-Chit-Ananda; Being-Consciousness-Bliss.

Life is Practice, Practice is Life.  Namaste.
 
 

 

 


The Benefits of Yoga for Addiction

Restorative Yoga

For people that suffer from addiction, there are more options available these days to direct you towards a more centered path. Restorative yoga is a technique that restores the body’s core while simultaneously aiding in depression. I can speak from personal experience on this because I battled an addiction to cigarettes that lasted over ten years. After quitting and starting over and over again, I decided to try another approach to ending my cigarette smoking once and for all. I’d tried the cold turkey approach, the patches, and all the psychiatrists I cared to see. I knew that if was going to happen, I would have to take matters into my own hands and find out the best personalized plan for myself. After a few weeks of looking online and asking close friends, I finally turned to yoga to figure out if this could be the answer. Since it was relatively cheap in my neighborhood to take up, I didn’t hesitate once I found a class. I dove right in!

Results from Yoga

I decided to take a Bikram class and looking back now, the only reason I made that choice is because I theorized that if I sweat enough, I could get rid of all the toxins that had built up in my lungs from smoking over the years. It may not have sounded like rocket science at the time, but I felt the effects immediately. As our teacher took us through the poses, I really felt everything! The entire hour I was using all of my energy to propel myself into positions and poses that I never would have dared on my own. And it was good that I took a class with other people, that sense of community is very energizing! If I had bought a DVD as I initially planned, I possibly could have stopped. But once I joined the yoga studio, I was at least three times a week for a Bikram session. I was hooked. After a few weeks, I really did not miss cigarettes anymore. I liked being able to hold the poses during the workout in a more intense way. I even lost a few pounds after the first month. From my experience, yoga was a way for me to end smoking forever!

You + Yoga + Nature = Bliss

How your already stellar practice can further serve YOU!
By April Laliberte
In Western yoga, asana has become a practice of yoga poses for physical fitness.  However, in ancient Indian traditions asana was practiced as a primer for meditation.  Working your body encourages your mind to be still.  Maintaining balance and using brute strength in moving from pose to pose will tire your muscles, making it easier for you to sit peacefully.
More and more classes are starting to incorporate an integral or full-spectrum yoga experience.  The integral yoga class includes asana (postures), pranayama (breath work), and meditation.  Classes are challenging and include a mix of twists, inversions, and back bends within a vigorous flow.  Keeping in mind your own personal yoga practice, these inversions and back bends do not have to be advanced postures.  They only need to be challenging to your body.
Meditation serves all human beings by slowing down our brains and allows us to get in touch with our subtle energy systems.  It is a method to still the mind and become more aware of our true identity as a spiritual being that ‘wears’ a physical body.
What you can expect out of meditation is a calmer existence, a less reactive response to life.  Meditation literally helps you deal with the ups and downs of your day with more equanimity—more stability in the moments of ups and downs.  We begin to understand that ups and downs are normal, continuing and ever shifting; we soon realize they are impermanent and do not warrant our mental angst.  Meditation is something that must be experienced to understand.  Just as T.S. Elliot said (paraphrased) information does not equal knowledge.  You need to do the work to gain the knowledge.
Try my integral classes on Yoga Download for at least a month and see how the practice changes and serves you.  I look forward to hearing about your experience!  Namaste.
April is a yoga instructor, a writer and an importer.  Feel free to contact her at April Laliberte Yoga Inclusive or Nomadic Import Traders on Facebook.

Are you in the need for some alone time?  Time to treat yourself and relax, time to not worry about anyone else, their schedule, or agenda?  I for the first time while being 28 years old went camping alone.  I have camped numerous times with friends and boyfriends, but never went out on my own.  I found myself with three days to spend with myself.  I headed to Red Cliff for some bouldering after 8 days at City of Rocks climbing and camping with two groups of people.  While bouldering I met a couple who told me about a dispersed camping area on local forest service land.  This means no amenities like water or bathrooms and you follow leave no trace rules.  I headed out and found a beautiful campsite on a hill overlooking a river and a view of snow covered mountains.  I was alone.  First I set up my tent, cooked dinner for my dog Bodi and I, and then passed out.  In the morning I slept in till 8:30, woke, cooked breakfast, and enjoyed my cup of coffee instead of guzzling it down so people weren’t waiting on me.  From there I wrote in my journal and reflected on the past week and a half of climbing, played fetch with Bodi, and decided to do some yoga flows to stretch out before an evening session of climbing.

The whole time I spent camping alone felt very empowering and uplifting. I had a huge smile on my face and continuously thought about why I had waited till I was 28 years old to camp alone.

I have a friend who has an annual camping trip with just her and her dog.  I think I may have to start up this tradition.  I always thought I would become antsy being alone that long, but it was the complete opposite I was truly content with how I spent my time and the activities I involved myself in.  If you are in the need of a retreat and want to learn more about yourself I highly recommend camping alone even if it is just a day and night or you go to a campground instead of dispersed camping.  Enjoy your favorite hobbies/interests in a natural setting.

Here are some ideas of activities to get you started: Hiking, climbing, yoga, surfing, reading, writing, drawing, painting, knitting, singing, cooking, birding… There are so many outlets you can partake in. Get out there!

Jackie aka “Miss Independence” is featured striking a pose in the Pisces Bra Top and Gemini Eco Shorts..   

 

 


Tap into Your Yogic Tapas for Strength

How your already stellar practice can further serve YOU!
By April Laliberte
In Western yoga, asana has become a practice of yoga poses for physical fitness.  However, in ancient Indian traditions asana was practiced as a primer for meditation.  Working your body encourages your mind to be still.  Maintaining balance and using brute strength in moving from pose to pose will tire your muscles, making it easier for you to sit peacefully.
More and more classes are starting to incorporate an integral or full-spectrum yoga experience.  The integral yoga class includes asana (postures), pranayama (breath work), and meditation.  Classes are challenging and include a mix of twists, inversions, and back bends within a vigorous flow.  Keeping in mind your own personal yoga practice, these inversions and back bends do not have to be advanced postures.  They only need to be challenging to your body.
Meditation serves all human beings by slowing down our brains and allows us to get in touch with our subtle energy systems.  It is a method to still the mind and become more aware of our true identity as a spiritual being that ‘wears’ a physical body.
What you can expect out of meditation is a calmer existence, a less reactive response to life.  Meditation literally helps you deal with the ups and downs of your day with more equanimity—more stability in the moments of ups and downs.  We begin to understand that ups and downs are normal, continuing and ever shifting; we soon realize they are impermanent and do not warrant our mental angst.  Meditation is something that must be experienced to understand.  Just as T.S. Elliot said (paraphrased) information does not equal knowledge.  You need to do the work to gain the knowledge.
Try my integral classes on Yoga Download for at least a month and see how the practice changes and serves you.  I look forward to hearing about your experience!  Namaste.
April is a yoga instructor, a writer and an importer.  Feel free to contact her at April Laliberte Yoga Inclusive or Nomadic Import Traders on Facebook.

At some point in your life, you probably made a commitment to yourself to change something in a positive way. You probably made a commitment to do something that you did not really want to do. Or perhaps you made a commitment to something that you know is really good for you but the drive and desire to do it were lacking because it was hard or uncomfortable. What did you turn to to pull you through? Did you keep your word and follow through? Did you give up or did you find that burning deep inside to keep going, to keep moving forward?

In yoga, that is called tapas – heat, fire, austerity. It is that drive within us to continue on and burn through the desire and attachment to the what was. It is the internal heat that pushes us forward when we are comfortable where we are and want to stay back. It is the dedication and devotion to something larger than yourself to carry through hard times. It is the determination and will power that pulls you through the toughest moments.

The Bhagavad Gita (17.14-16) speaks of three kinds of tapas: austerity of body, speech and mind. Austerity of the body could mean your yoga asana and pranayama practice, sitting in meditation, cleanliness, non-injury, continence, prayer, compassionate behavior. Austerity of speech includes speaking only the truth, being kind with your words, self-reflection. Austerity of the mind includes positive, kind thoughts, self-control in speaking, gentleness with thought, silence. (The Living Gita, Satchidananda)

These practices cultivate emotions of acceptance, detachment, gratitude and love.

The next time you are faced with a situation where you are wavering and unsure if you can make it through, turn within and draw on your inner strength and fire. Trust the unfolding process and know that you have the power within you all the time.

   

 


Yoga Affirmations to Still the Mind & Body

How your already stellar practice can further serve YOU!
By April Laliberte
In Western yoga, asana has become a practice of yoga poses for physical fitness.  However, in ancient Indian traditions asana was practiced as a primer for meditation.  Working your body encourages your mind to be still.  Maintaining balance and using brute strength in moving from pose to pose will tire your muscles, making it easier for you to sit peacefully.
More and more classes are starting to incorporate an integral or full-spectrum yoga experience.  The integral yoga class includes asana (postures), pranayama (breath work), and meditation.  Classes are challenging and include a mix of twists, inversions, and back bends within a vigorous flow.  Keeping in mind your own personal yoga practice, these inversions and back bends do not have to be advanced postures.  They only need to be challenging to your body.
Meditation serves all human beings by slowing down our brains and allows us to get in touch with our subtle energy systems.  It is a method to still the mind and become more aware of our true identity as a spiritual being that ‘wears’ a physical body.
What you can expect out of meditation is a calmer existence, a less reactive response to life.  Meditation literally helps you deal with the ups and downs of your day with more equanimity—more stability in the moments of ups and downs.  We begin to understand that ups and downs are normal, continuing and ever shifting; we soon realize they are impermanent and do not warrant our mental angst.  Meditation is something that must be experienced to understand.  Just as T.S. Elliot said (paraphrased) information does not equal knowledge.  You need to do the work to gain the knowledge.
Try my integral classes on Yoga Download for at least a month and see how the practice changes and serves you.  I look forward to hearing about your experience!  Namaste.
April is a yoga instructor, a writer and an importer.  Feel free to contact her at April Laliberte Yoga Inclusive or Nomadic Import Traders on Facebook.

I recently completed my Advanced 300-Hour Yoga Teacher Training at the Soul of Yoga in Encinitas, CA and as part of our curriculum, we’re asked to teach yoga classes to one another. It’s a rare opportunity to be able to teach to your fellow teachers, to people who are well-versed in their own practice and styles, all of whom are ready to provide loving feedback in order to enhance your skills.

After teaching my Practice & Integration session, one teacher requested, “You should come up with a book of affirmations! I felt so good about myself after class, based on all the things you said!”

Here are a few affirmations you can repeat to yourself during your practice, meditation or if you are a yoga teacher, to your students:

  • “There will never, ever be another you. Not since the beginning of time or ever after will there be another person on this planet who brings to life all the gifts that you can offer precisely in the way that you do.”
  • “Where you are now isn’t where you were yesterday, or where you’ll be tomorrow, so enjoy this moment for what it is and what it’s revealing.”
  • “Lean into the discomfort of the pose — if there’s an element that’s scary for you, explore that. Remember, sensation is good, pain is not, so if you’re experiencing pain, please gently ease out of the pose.”
  • “Bring your hands to the third eye for clarity of thought, to the lips for clarity of speech, and returning to the heart center for clarity of intent.”
  • “Yoga is a practice — there is no point of perfection, only a beautiful dance through constant refinements, alignments, and adjustments until you discover what feels good now.”
  • “A pose will come to you when you’re ready. Remember that every expert started as a beginner.”
  • “There’s no point in comparing yourself to anyone else in the room. Even if we were to all do the same asana and it looked the same on the exterior, it feels completely different on the interior.”
  • “As above, so below. As within, so without. Your body is a microcosm of the Universe around you.”
  • “While standing in Mountain Pose, you could also think of this as Ta-Da!-sana. It’s a miracle to simply stand here in stillness and explore the majesty that exists within you.”
  • “As you lay here in a fetal position, before coming back up, take a few moments to melt into the goodness of you.”
  • “We often focus on the parts of our body that aren’t working, the parts that don’t look the way that we’d like for them to. Re-focus on the fact that your lungs breathe, and your heart beats, and you can wrap your hands around someone else as an extension of your heart.”
  • “What you practice here on the mat can inform the rest of your world.”
  • “Imagine that your mat is a sacred space. Choose what you’d like to include within the perimeter of your mat and leave everything else outside the boundary of these four corners. If you’d like, you can pick them up after practice.”
  • “As you’re in this pose, relax your facial muscles and turn the corners of your mouth up into a smile. How you feel about this moment can change everything!”
  • “Remember to have fun with your practice! We take life so seriously, here’s an opportunity to lighten up even as you deepen your awareness.”
  • “Namaste means the divine within me honors and salutes the divine within you. Namaste.”

May you enjoy your practice of living in this moment!