Light Your Way This Winter with light therapy


SAD, depression, mental healthThe winter solstice just passed. The good news is that from now until mid-summer, our days will only be getting longer and longer. The bad news is that it also means that right now is the darkest period of the year.

I hadn’t really given much thought to the prevalence of darkness other than to grudgingly accept it as part of my least favorite season. Then my daughter and I attended a solstice ceremony at her Waldorf preschool. The school made a small labyrinth of pine boughs with a big candle lit in the center. Each child got a small candle of his or her own and took a turn walking the labyrinth to light the small candle off the larger flame—the idea being that making that walk and lighting your candle will remind you to keep your own light shining even when things are at their darkest. It was simple and sweet—and powerful. As I held her hand and we made our way to the center of the spiral, it clicked for me that we don’t have to just muddle through the dark days. We can literally take steps to keep our own light shining until the sun comes back in spring. Read more…

Survive the Holidays by Squirreling Away Your Self-Care


Welcome to the holiday whirlwind! I’m already feeling like I need a weekend yoga retreat to get back on track—too much eating, not enough moving, not enough sitting still—and the full-court holiday press has even begun yet.

With all the hubbub of the season, you likely won’t have many opportunities to fully immerse yourself in whatever your self-care practice is, whether it’s hitting the gym, going for walks, meditating, or getting to yoga class. But that doesn’t mean you have to forego your health- and sanity-promoting activities altogether. To get the inspiration you need to stay on your particular path, just look to the squirrel. Read more…

Jump-start Your Digestion, And Your Day


kundalini Yoga for energy and chiI am happy to report that I am pregnant with our second child (expected time of arrival is early spring). Yay! What I’m not so happy to report is that pregnancy, like so many other things in life, takes a major toll on digestion and on energy. I don’t want to get in to a big discussion about poo (which happens all too frequently now that I’ve entered the realm of motherhood), but I know that staying regular and feeling less tired is a major concern for a lot of people, not just pregnant ladies. Read more…

What’re You Looking At: Using visual meditation for stress relief


build concentration, reduce stressThe average American spends a full eight hours a day staring at various screens—whether they belong to TVs, computers, or mobile devices. And what are we seeing in those 8 hours? A lot of flickering, fleeting, ever-changing, stimulating, and ultimately draining images—just think of how tired your eyes are at the end of the day. While there is some benefit to all our screen time–we are often gaining information and in some cases, interaction with others–there is a way to use your eyes to nourish your capital-S Self. It takes only minutes, even seconds, and it can leave you feeling sharper, calmer, and more energized. Read more…

Reduce stress and relax with acupressure point, the Sea of Tranquility


ease anxiety and move chi with acupressureYou may know the Sea of Tranquility as a body of water located on the surface of the moon. Or you may think that it is a lovely-sounding yet mythical place, kind of like the Fountain of Youth. But you probably don’t realize that is an actual physical spot that you can access anytime, anywhere. It’s located in the center of your breastbone, and it’s an acupressure point with an uncanny ability to quiet agitation and promote relaxation. Read more…

Self-Care Questionnaire: yoga teacher Abby Lentz on health and wellness


Heavyweight Yogi

yoga teacher Abby LentzIf you’ve ever thought you’re too old, or too big, or too something (insert your own adjective here) for yoga—or any other endeavor, for that matter—I’d like to introduce you to Abby Lentz. Abby is an Austin, Texas yoga teacher who doesn’t fit the mold of your stereotypical yoga goddess: she’s in her 60s and clinically obese. Her mantra is “do yoga for the body you have,” and she is a true inspiration for valuing yourself exactly as you are and for following your own internal compass. I hope you find her self-care secrets as enlightening as I did. Read more…

Dealing with Capital-D Doubt by using self-care


stress anxiety yoga meditationA friend of mine recently emailed me during a fit of doubts. She’s a total stud of a writer—published regularly in a number of highly-regarded national markets, book author, breadwinner. Yet she’d heard about another writer–who also wrote about her area of expertise–who was starring in a new TV show and having a big fancy party in downtown Manhattan to celebrate. Hearing about this other person’s success was making her wonder, why not me? Read more…

How I Cured My PMS


Warning: Gentlemen, you are probably not going to be that engaged by this particular Vegimental. You could just forward it to the women in your life who might be interested.

i fixed my pmsLadies, how much of your life do you write off because you know you’re going to be in the throes of PMS, lying on the couch, curled up in to a ball, eating chocolate and clutching your swollen abdomen? I was right there with you. I used to have the worst PMS. Painful, swollen breasts. Cramps. Cravings. Energy levels in the toilet. But I have made some dietary and lifestyle changes lately that have completely transformed my experience. Now, I have no premenstrual symptoms. None. If I didn’t keep track of when it was due, my period would be a complete surprise every month. (I also had a baby, which changes pretty much everything about your body, so that is likely a factor too, but the transformation is so complete that I know that no one thing can be wholly responsible.) If you’re losing days every month, I hope some of these tactics will help you find a kind of period peace. Read more…

Stress Test: Is What’s Stressing You Out Worth the Agony?


deflate your stressThis summer, we decided to split a CSA share with our neighbors. Going halfsies not only reduced the cost (and the sheer amount of lettuce we’d need to consume), but it also made it a lot easier to handle the required weekly trips to actually pick up our vegetables, which was a major concern of mine when we were deciding whether or not to do it. Because when you have to either take a bus, walk 15 minutes through the crowded streets of downtown Brooklyn, or coordinate a ride while also being considerate of the babysitter’s schedule and/or a toddler’s mood, a simple run to get the vegetables can get all sorts of complicated. Read more…

Keeping the Flame Alive (Even When You Think Your Spark’s Gone Out)


In my life P.B. (pre-baby), I went to yoga class twice a week and practiced at home on my own at least two days a week. Since Lil’s arrival, things have been a little more helter skelter.

After several weeks of doing nothing but taking deep breaths here and there right after she was born, I got back in to a fairly regular routine for the first several months of her life—I practiced or went on a walk during her morning nap. And then, the cute little bugger dropped that morning nap at the ripe old age of nine months. Out of a mixture of grief and desperation (I refused to believe that nap was gone for good and spent a lot of time and energy trying to get her to sleep when she just wasn’t tired), my exercise habits evaporated. It was winter. I was tired. I figured I’d let it all ride until something lit the flame on my desire to get moving. Read more…

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