5 Detoxifying Habits to Start This Winter (Guest Blog)

Features

As many of you know, I think Mindbodygreen always has great, practical tips for everyday living, and as the holidays are here, I figured this would be a great re-post for today’s guest blog:

5 Detoxifying Habits to Start this Winter

Health guru or not, we generally let our healthy routines slip — holiday party stock photoeven in the slightest — during the holiday season. Maybe we eat foods we aren’t accustomed to, skip workout days or drink more alcohol than usual.

It’s a challenge to stay “on” during this time, but we allow it because of tradition. And our hope is that our love for family and friends will carry us through the holidays, free of guilt and sickness.

Then reality sinks in. We start the New Year feeling sluggish, low energy and unmotivated. We want to so badly get back on track, but it’s hard to step out of the hole we’ve unintentionally created.

So how can we manage guilty-free fun at holiday parties and gatherings while simultaneously handling the harsh reality of repeated exposure to toxins? What are some simple, quick hacks that we can put into practice before, during and after our indulgent moments to cleanse our systems and maintain our vitality?

Here’s what I suggest:

1. Hydrate

This one sounds simple, but staying hydrated is very often pushed to the back seat in social situations.

My suggestion is to drink a tall glass of water before heading out the door and again between alcoholic drinks. This prevents dehydration and the ensuing constipation and fatigue. I often bring a water bottle with me to ensure instant access. Even if you store it in your bag and only notice it on the way out, it’s a great way to remind yourself to re-hydrate at the end of the night.

2. Breathe

Yes, we all know how to breathe, but how many of us are actually intentional about our breathing?

The practice of bringing your attention to your breath can be very helpful in social and stressful situations. Stop and take a few deep breaths, allowing your mind to clear and body to relax. It’s calming, grounding and prior to a meal, it’ll help activate your digestion. To help you remember, place a sticky note on your smartphone or set a vibrating alarm on your device.

3. Digest

If you overload your system and can’t properly digest the food you eat, your body can’t process, absorb or eliminate it effectively. The result: discomfort, gas, bloating, and in some cases, inflammation and low energy. Poor breakdown of food is common in social environments when you’re trying to get the food in your mouth quickly so you can get back to chatting.

The quickest fix is simply to chew your food and manage your portions. But in the case that you didn’t or if you’ve over-eaten, you can give your system a boost by taking digestive enzyme supplements.

4. Add fiber

Fiber is the unsung hero of regulating energy and digestion. It’ll healthy foodhelp you manage spikes in blood sugar by slowing down your digestion and it’ll keep your bowels moving regularly. Fiber is found in plant-based foods in their most unprocessed form like nuts, seeds, whole grains, fruits and vegetables.

While at your party, identify some fibrous foods to complement the processed and sugary treats. And before going to bed, have a fiber supplement to make sure you wake up with happy bowels. Soaked chia seeds are my go-to source for fiber, but there are several to choose from.

5. Pay attention to your liver

Alcohol is often the great lubricator of our festive traditions and given the high volume of parties over the holidays, you’ll want a strategy to support your liver. Why? It’s the ultimate detoxification system and energy regulator in the body and when it’s stressed or overloaded, it doesn’t work so well. The liver relies on the activity of vitamins and minerals to help it with detoxification but these agents often get depleted during instances of toxic overload.

So make sure to load up on foods that will help reduce alcohol toxicity.

Besides supporting you over the holidays, these detox hacks can also be applied daily to maintain long-term optimal health. If you feel great over the holidays using these hacks, why not include these as part of your new year’s wellness plan?

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10 Easy Feng Shui Tricks To Raise Your Vibration

Aromatherapy, Body Work, featured, Features, Spirituality

More helpful tips and goodness I just had to share from MindBodyGreen:

True happiness happens when your vibration is high. In our chaotic world, it’s easy to pick up unwanted energies that can cause us to operate at a lower frequency, without our even knowing it.

While we are equipped to naturally clear ourselves and our spaces, sometimes we may need a little extra help.

Here are 10 easy tricks for keeping your personal and yinyangenvironmental Chi at optimum levels. You can also incorporate any of these tactics to bust stress and relieve tension in negative situations.

1. Breathe.

Deep breathing is a great Chi enhancer. Simultaneously, your home needs to breathe. Open the windows and doors and let fresh air circulate. If your home or office feels stale, the energy might be stuck inside.

2. Open the blinds.

Sunlight can clear away unwanted or negative energy. Letting light into dim spaces can really charge up a room! And when you need a boost, take a break from the computer and put your face into the sun for a few minutes, even on a cold day.

3. Burn white sage.

Native Americans considered this plant sacred and burn it as a purifier in ceremonies. Light up a bundle and waft it around your aura and your space to reset the vibrations around you.

4. Use essential oils.

Spritzers and diffusers with high quality essential oils can also work to clear away the bad juju. Frankincense, sandalwood, lemon, lemongrass, orange, and geranium are great options that will leave you feeling uplifted.

5. Use sound.

Play positive music. Singing or chanting can help clear energy. You could also ring high-quality bells, clap your hands, or use chimes or crystal singing bowls. After all, sound IS vibration and can fine tune the energies in your home and have it vibrating higher.

6. Set the intention and/or visualize.

Words and thoughts hold energy, so when clearing your space or your aura, ask that any energies that are not of the Divine to be transmuted into love and purified. Visualizing your body and home in pure white light or violet does wonders for the energy field. You can also call on angels to vacuum negative energies.

7. Clean!

Water is an amazing substance that works as a great cleanser all on its own. Therefore, showers work! Even running your hands through the faucet for a few minutes will give you a great recharge. Same with your house clean homes have a higher vibration. Consider adding sea or Epsom salts to your bath, as salt is a great purifier as well.

8. Use Reiki.

Yes, you can perform Reiki your house as well as your body. I like to “paint” the Reiki symbols in the air with my hands in any room where energy seems to get stuck. If you’re unclear as to how to practice Reiki on your own, find a practitioner to guide you.

9. Surround yourself with high-vibration people.

Housewarming parties are for a reason they can raise the energy of your space! Associating with positive people on a daily basis can also help keep your personal Chi at a high level. Pets and children, when healthy and thriving, can help raise energies as well.

10. Spend time in nature.

Did you know that nature actually cleanses us? I like think of nature as the “Great Healer,” so spending time outdoors can actually be good for your health!

Try to make a ritual of any and all of the above as a way to ensure that you and your space stay at high vibrations. In some cases, you may need a professional Feng Shui consultant or spiritual advisor to help your reset the Chi. Either way, these simple practices will go a long way in making sure that positive energy stays flowing in your body as well as your environment.

Why Sex Should Be Treated As A Spiritual Practice

Body Work, Features, Spirituality

cropped-chakra-center2.jpg

MindBodyGreen is a frequent feature here at Chakra Center. And the following article is a shinning example of why. The connection between sexuality and spirituality is one I have been exploring in depth, and quite frankly am astonished at how little information/conversation is going on about it. Because exploration like this is rare, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to share this blog as a guest post. I’d love to hear your thoughts/opinions below.

sacral chakra

Why Sex Should Be Treated As A Spiritual Practice

by Robert Peng

Mention the word sex and eyes widen and ears perk up. The strong reaction the subject arouses reflects the spicy nature of sexual energy. We may be at the gym feeling tired and depleted, but if someone we find attractive starts working out next to us, our energy level is suddenly boosted. That energetic intensification represents the activation of our Lower Dantian (energy center below the navel), which holds our sexual energy in reserve.

Pure sexual energy is as unstable as dynamite and just as explosive. It can transport us to sublime states of bliss and delight, or cast us into the darkest pits of anguish, terror, and depravity. The volatile and wild nature of sexual energy convinced some religious traditions to view it as an impediment to spiritual development, and to some degree this belief still continues to perpetuate in the popular imagination because of the confusion, heartache, and pain that sexual intimacy can cause.

To demonstrate this, rank the following three words from the most to the least spiritual: wisdom, love, sex. If we took a poll, the top position might be a tossup between wisdom and love, but without a doubt sex would rank last on the list. No one questions the connection between spirituality and love or spirituality and wisdom. But the link between spirituality and sexuality is a harder sell.

From the Qigong perspective, however, the notion that sexuality and spirituality are antithetical is misguided, because sexual energy forms one of the cornerstones of happiness. If we ever hope to secure long-lasting happiness in a loving relationship, we must heal our socially conditioned distortions about sexuality. We must erase the invisible line we draw with our minds around our beltlines, above which lies the greater part of human nature and below which lies the lesser. In essence, we must spiritualize sex.

But how do we redeem sexuality and elevate it to the spiritual Sacralstatus it deserves? How do we reconcile the square of sex with the circle of spirit when sexual pleasure is often responsible for so much shame, trauma, and pain? One place to begin searching for an answer to these questions lies in identifying the fundamental, seemingly irreconcilable differences between male and female sexuality. Those differences swiftly become apparent in the bedroom.

Stereotypically, male sexual energy flares up and is exhausted quickly, like a match, while female sexual energy boils slowly and remains hot for a long time, like a pot of boiling water. These different tempos are a source of shame for men who climax too fast and frustration for women who may not climax at all. This problem is then compounded by the notorious fact that when male sexual energy is activated men often become emotionally unavailable, and the other notorious fact that the female sexual experience is often laden with sentimentalism that men normally can’t relate to.

Obviously, we can’t alter our sexual instincts. What we can do, however, is use spiritual practice to overcome the limitations imposed by nature on our sexuality. In fact, we can transform the inherent mismatch between male and female sexuality into an incredible opportunity for spiritual growth.

Let’s begin by considering the way Qigong can help a man harness his sexual energy. When male sexual energy is aroused, it intensifies locally around the genitals and quickly flows out of the body. That is the natural pattern of male sexual energy. But men can learn to reverse that flow and direct their sexual essence upward, toward the Middle Dantian (energy center at located at the heart level). By doing so, a man accomplishes two goals. First, he diminishes the urge to ejaculate, and second, as sexual energy rises to his heart, passion blends with love and tenderness. A man who masters this skill is able to prolong intercourse indefinitely and deepen his emotional connection during lovemaking.

When female sexual energy is aroused, it naturally flows inward and upward from the genitals toward the heart. Stimulation of the breasts further activates the Middle Dantian (energy center at located at the heart level) and reinforces an emotional response. Unlike men, women don’t need to practice Qigong to integrate their sexual vitality with their love. These qualities mingle naturally, and in this respect, female sexuality is inherently more integrated.

But through spiritual practice both women and men can learn to integrate their sexual energy to even higher levels. Sexual vitality can be directed upward from the heart to the top of the head, where it becomes infused with the blissful quality of sacredness. And from there, sexual vitality can be circulated through the Central Meridian Meridian (the energy channel that unifies the three main energy centers — the Dantians) into the sky, where it is experienced as heavenly ecstasy.

Sexuality that centers on the genitals and the Lower Dantian (energy center below the navel) corresponds to passionate sex. Sexuality that integrates the sexual vitality of the Lower Dantian with the heart-centered energy of the Middle Dantian corresponds to intense lovemaking. Sexuality that integrates all three dantians corresponds to blissful sacred love. And sexuality that integrates the all three dantians and the Central Meridian corresponds to cosmic ecstasy.

Cosmic ecstasy is vastly more intense, pleasurable, and meaningful than even the most passionate sex. Comparing the two is like contrasting a bathtub with the ocean.

There is no surer way to bring long-lasting happiness into an intimate relationship than to ground it in enduring bliss.

Adapted from The Master Key: Qigong Secrets for Vitality, Love, and Wisdom by Robert Peng. Copyright © 2013 by Robert Peng. Published by Sounds True.

7 (More) Great Reasons To Add Chia Seeds To Your Diet

Food, Uncategorized

We like to post articles that we personally find informative, useful, and well-written. That’s why you’ve been seeing a lot, lately, from MindBodyGreen.

Personally, I’ve been using chi seeds ever since I’ve switched to a vegetarian diet and I LOVE the texture/nutrients they add to smoothies and even savory dishes. But for those of you wondering what all the rave is about, this articles covers the basics.

Give um’ a try. You won’t be disappointed.

“Long before the Ch-ch-ch-chia pet of the 1980’s, the Aztecs and the Mayans used chia seeds as a staple of their everyday diets, alongside corn and beans. “Chia” is the Mayan word for strength, and these ancient peoples understood the important health benefits of these seeds.

The Mayans would grind chia seeds into flour, press them for oil, and drink them mixed with water. Ancient people considered these seeds magical due to their ability to increase stamina and energy for long periods of time. However, once the Spanish conquered Latin America, they introduced their own foods and prohibited the farming of chia.

However, chia seeds have recently made a comeback in modern diets as researchers have discovered the hidden benefits from this ancient super seed. Here are just seven of the various reasons you should add this superfood to your diet today.

1. Pack in your fiber.

The American Dietetic Association recommends 20 to 35 grams of fiber per day, yet most people only consume about half of that. Chia seeds deliver almost 50% of your necessary daily intake, with 11 grams of fiber per ounce. Fiber is necessary for ultimate health, but especially for digestion and weight loss.

2. Trim the fat.

Chia seeds absorb up to 12 times their weight and expand in your stomach, making you feel full and curbing your appetite. Chia seeds help reduce your caloric intake by filling you up and helping lower the energy density of certain foods — ultimately, assisting greatly in weight loss.

3. Get your omega-3s.

Chia seeds are a concentrated sources of omega-3 fatty acids, and they actually have more omega-3s than salmon. Omega-3s are critical for brain health, and chia contains five grams per one ounce serving.

4. Build your bones.

One ounce of chia seeds has 18 percent of the recommended daily intake of calcium. Chia seeds can help promote better bone and oral health.

5. Boost heart health.

Studies have shown that chia seeds can improve blood pressure and increase healthy cholesterol while lowering bad cholesterol. Chia seeds can help you maintain a healthy heart — a crucial element of your health.

6. Get your phosphorus.

Your body uses phosphorus to synthesize protein and repair cells and tissues. Chia seeds contain 27 percent of your daily value of phosphorus, and can help your body heal and repair itself faster!

7. Fill up faster.

Tryptophan, the amino acid that’s popularly known for making you sleepy, is also found in chia seeds. Not only will it make you want to take a nap, but it also helps regulate appetite, sleep and improve mood.

There are plenty of ways that chia seeds can benefit your overall health, and it’s no wonder that the ancient Aztecs and Mayans regularly consumed them. Adding chia to your diet can be a great way to help with weight loss and get your daily vitamins and nutrients!”

About the Author: Caitlin Sammons enjoys showing people how to live a clean, toxin free lifestyle. She has written articles for a number of online publications, and regularly contributes to the TimetoCleanse.com website.