ERICA BLITZ

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    Happy + Healthy During The Holiday Season

    It's that time of year when schedules get hectic with working long hours, eating on-the-go, and getting little sleep. There's the robust urge to nibble on sweet treats while we dash around from one holiday party to the next raising our glasses to toast the merriment of the season. Operating at full-speed aiming to complete the workload of one year before we head into the next – and have fun along the way – our stress levels often elevate and it's not uncommon to hear an echo of sniffles and coughs. While not always the case, many people report that winter afflictions (feeling tired, sore throat, congestion) creep up in times of stress, when they're pushing themselves too hard. 

    In addition to a balanced diet, regular exercise, proper rest and washing your hands, better your chances of staying healthy this holiday season by nourishing your body and mind with yoga. For thousands of years, yoga has not only helped to ward off seasonal colds but it has also helped yogis to achieve optimum levels of health and vitality. When yoga postures are practiced mindfully they help to strengthen the immune system by lowering stress hormones that compromise the immune system, stimulate the thymus gland (which plays an important role in the development of the immune system), and promote deep relaxation (during times of complete rest the immune system is able to work to destroy foreign bodies and bacteria). 

    Yoga creates a physiological and mental response that occurs when the body consciously relaxes. To relax is to rest deeply and this is different from sleep. It is a state where there is no movement, no effort, and the mind is quiet. Muscular tension is reduced, blood pressure becomes balanced,  circulation is improved and the immune system is restored to allow the body an opportunity to heal. 

    The yoga tradition also suggests that compromised immune functioning may result from poor digestion. Improper digestion may lead to the build up of toxins in the body, which in turn may manifests as disease so practicing yoga poses that gently compress, twist, or extend the abdominal area can ease digestive ailments. Not only does yoga bolster the digestive and immune system but it also stimulates the lymphatic system to facilitate the removal toxins from the body and bring oxygenated blood to the various organs to ensure their optimal function. 

    While yoga postures support the immune, digestion and nervous systems, the benefits of yoga don't stop there. Since both colds and flu stress the respiratory system, the slow controlled breathing techniques (pranayama) often included in yoga classes work to relax the nervous system, help combat stress and  strengthen the lungs and respiratory tract to help clear mucus from the sinuses. 

    Instead of reaching for the Kleenex or NeoCitran this winter, opt for your yoga mat (and your neti pot!) and roll into the New Year feeling restored from the holidays. And if you do succumb to illness, you'll find yoga postures provide just the rest and relaxation you need to get better.

     

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    the universe within.

    So when I look up at the night sky... I know that, yes, we are part of this universe, we are in this universe, but perhaps more important than both of those facts... is that the universe is in us. When I reflect on that fact, I look up... many people feel small because they're small and the universe is big, but I feel big. Because my atoms came from those stars. There's a level of connectivity.

    ~  Neil deGrasse Tyson

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    rhythm.melody.harmony.

    “The rhythm of the body, the melody of the mind, and the harmony of the soul create the symphony of life.”

    ~Iyengar

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    time to bloom.

    Spring is on the horizon and it's the time of year that we awaken to the parts of us that have been dormant over these long winter months. Just as nature enters a cycle of renewal, growth and expansion, so too does our capacity to expand the energy within us through our yoga practice. What blooms within you?

    Bow into the seeds of your heart - water them with your breath and the light of your awareness.

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    the need for mystery.

    "The answer is never the answer.

    What's really interesting is the mystery.

    If you seek the mystery instead of the answer,

    you'll always be seeking.

    I've never seen anybody really find the answer -

    they think they have, so they stop thinking.

    But the job is to seek mystery, evoke mystery,

    plant a garden in which strange plants grow and mysteries bloom.

    The need for mystery is greater than the need for an answer."

    ~Roy L Walford, M.D.

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    great.full.

    "The ideal purpose of your life is that you are grateful—great and full—that you are alive, and you enjoy it ."

    ~ Yogi Bhajan

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    feel the light. be the light. share the light.

    I received a sweet little reminder from Gurmukh this morning as we shift from the Age of Darkness into the Age of Light:

    "The Vision to see your goal and keep it in your consciousness

    The Courage to attempt it and to keep up in the acknowledgement and honoring of our self for choosing the courage regardless of the outcome

    The Grit to go through it

    The Humility to know who the Doer is

    The Knowledge to substantiate it

    The Prayer to feed it

    The Grace to carry yourself through it

    The Determination to achieve it"

    ~ Yogi Bhajan, The 8 Elements of Excellence

    Remember, that just before the Sun rises, there is darkness. Then little by little you see the light and feel the light. Then the light arrives. 

     

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    perfection.

    I received this incredible reminder from Kate Northrup this morning and though to share, just in case you were wondering, too:

    "In case you were wondering, you’re doing it right.

    You’re in the perfect place at the perfect time doing the perfect thing.

    You’re exactly where you should be, even if it doesn’t look the way you thought it would. 

    Your timing is perfect and elegant and everything is unfolding as it should, even if it didn’t turn out the way you thought it would.

    There is no grand master plan for your life that you can screw up by making the wrong decision or missing an opportunity.

    What is for you cannot pass by you. May that be salve to your ever anxious soul.

    You may feel invisible right now. Trust that your invisibility is exactly the incubation you need to burst forth in a flurry of light when the time is right.

    You may feel like you missed the boat. Take heart. If you missed it, it wasn’t your boat.

    You may feel like you’re too late or too early. Not possible. You’re only ever on time as far as your destiny goes.

    Yeah, there are a few things you wished you’d done differently. But if you had, you wouldn’t have right now, your current reality. And even if right now isn’t what you wanted, it’s leading you somewhere that you do want. You can trust that.

    There isn’t a wrong choice. There’s just the choice you make.

    There are an infinite number of ways your life could go. The one you choose is the right one. 

    You can’t screw it up. You can’t ruin your life. You can only live it.

    So, rest easy and know: you’re doing it right."

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    be still and wait.

    When you are in doubt, be still, and wait;
    When doubt no longer exists for you then go forward with courage.
    So long as mists envelop you, be still;
    Be still until the sunlight pours through and dispels the mists
    -as it surely will. Then act with courage.


    ~ Chief White Eagle

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