ALIVE & FIT MAGAZINE Vol.12 Issue 48 Spring 2019: Simplicity: the spice of life

Spring is in the air. Weed out bad habits, by sowing seeds of holistic happiness, ensuring a technicolor self-blooming summer.

Our world is fast-paced and undoubtedly a stressful place, but learning to cope is key. Clean eating and exercise  are massive in the never-ending pursuit of balance, but calming the mind is monumental. Meditation is certainly not new, but growing in popularity. Mindfulness, even for just a few minutes daily, provides a brief escape from day to day worries, allowing us to focus exclusively on the present. Tapping into total stillness supplies an inner calmness, enhancing our own self-image.

Meditation may be historically rooted in religion, but one does not require religious beliefs to benefit. Seeking a deep connection to one’s self through personal discovery is the essence of spirituality. Focusing on the now, dispensing all distractions, while nature confidently calms the sympathetic nervous system. Meditation activates the parasympathetic system,  slowing the heart rate, blood pressure and the flow of the dreaded, fight or flight stress hormone, cortisol. Anxiety, tension and even depression can dissipate. The body effortlessly increases its  uptake of oxygen and the flow of nutrients to trillions of cells. Seratonin and  dopamine, the happy hormones fuel new found serenity while melatonin increases,  enabling a deeper sleep.

Stop living in a chaotic, drama-filled survival self-induced reality. Simplicity is the new spice of life. Relax and restore through mindfulness.

Starting is a snap. It’s important to set aside a consistent time, exclusively reserved to avoid daily distractions or disruptions.  Posture is essential to practice. It may take time to discover whether you feel at peace sitting cross-legged, kneeling while your tushy rests on your ankles, sitting in a chair or laying flat on your back.  Ideally, you haven’t just eaten and are feeling calm and comfortable in your attire. Yogis of every level recommend meditation after yoga, while still in the zen zone! Once you have settled into your space, take a few moments to let-go. Begin by taking stock of your thoughts. What are your goals? What inspired this life change? Crystal clear goals manifest into  rewarding  meditation sessions.

Own your meditation session. It’s private, peaceful and personal. Whether your me time is at sunrise, sunset or during an afternoon break, meditation practice is on your schedule.  Choose a space that ignites your desire for internal transformation.  Total tranquility is the goal.  Music,  sounds of nature, candles, incense and even the color of the space plays a part in practice.

Proper breathing is paramount. Come into the moment, by slowing down stressed super-paced breathing. Focus on inhaling and exhaling through the nose. Acknowledge tension throughout muscles and remind yourself to relax. Take notice of the in and out of the chest and abdomen. Your body automatically responds with an increased supply of oxygen in the blood. Within minutes, the weight of the world lifts.

 Meditation for many is about repeating a word or phrase over and over, referred to as the mantra.  

 Gazing Meditationmay be your cup of tea. It involves contemplating an object without judgement, while also celebrating its existence. Choosing a neutral item allows you to focus on it for as long as you can, without thinking, analyzing or judging. The goal is to visualize the object even after closing your eyes.

Motionless and awareness of breath all help quiet the mind in a fast-paced world. Perseverance is key to any practice, but for those struggling to focus, passing prayer beads slowly through the fingers offers a distraction.

With Spring cleaning on the horizon, a little holistic housekeeping is heavenly. Juicing is one way to switch off winter warming heavier fare to energy fueling fruits and vegetables.

Flooding cells with fresh pressed juice is a rainbow of health with a side of detox. It’s not uncommon for many people to kick-start their morning with fresh squeezed lemon or lime, a touch of Himalayan or Celtic sea salt added to water. This perfect mini daily detox produces bile from the liver and gallbladder, quickly transporting toxins for elimination. This Springtime, take it a step further. Juicing awakens the senses, setting the body up for a day of boundless energy. Juicing helps cut down on cravings.  Incorporate a cup of juice an hour before meals or simply swap out a meal or thrive alive exclusively  on a plethora of produce. Juicing is a day off from the laborious duty of digestion. Vitamins, minerals and enzymes are immediately assimilated by the body. Choose produce targeted at organs promotes a powerful healing potential. For example, apple is all about the gall bladder, due to pectin and malic acid. Carrots are Vitamin A and clearly all about eyesight benefits. Beets are bursting with iron, making them out-of-this-world for everything from liver and lymphatic detox to supporting anemia and blood cleansing. Celery juice is all the rage right now and for great reason. It has a natural diuretic effect making it a top-notch tonic for those suffering from arthritis, high blood pressure, migraines, adrenal fatigue, gout and is even a wonderful weight-loss aid. Starting the day with one cup of organic fresh pressed celery juice neutralizes acid in the body while providing loads of vitamins and minerals.

In truth, every piece of produce is a dream. Choose organic whenever possible. Scrub, but leave the skin on and just juice! Go for greens galore, lemon and herbs. Creativity is key. Dandelion, wheatgrass, cilantro and parsley are produce powerhouses.  Combining various vegetables with a small amount of fruit helps keep sugar low. Bolster body benefits with chlorophyll rich add-ons such as spirulina, chlorella, moringa or matcha powders.

 Overburdened toxin filled bodies are tired, often resulting in weight gain. It’s time to, “Go big or go home!” with colonics. Colon cleanses, hydrotherapy or colonic irrigation all refer to the practice of colon cleansing. Approximately six liters of purified water are used in combination with equipment, taking a typical enema one step further. Colonics address the whole colon, rather than just the lower bowel. It’s not  new or even remotely trendy. Ancient Egyptians favored the practice and it is noted throughout history, until it lost momentum with the introduction of over-the-counter laxatives. Food sensitivities, allergies, low energy, digestion and skin issues are rampant in today’s world. We are finally acknowledging their potential link to autointoxification. Bombarding the body with low quality genetically modified foods, laden with pesticides and antibiotics, plus given the fact most people are constipated, it’s no surprise. Fecal matter should be eliminated daily. Colon hydrotherapy is pain-free and odorless. The trained therapist gently inserts a speculum, attached to a disposable clear rubber tube. The setting should be quiet and calm. While laying on your back, an abdominal massage mellows the mood, followed by the delivery of pressurized and temperature-regulated water. The feeling is of fullness, a need for relief leading to the release and removal of fecal matter and mucous. Most clinics have a well placed mirror, encouraging you to view the tube as it transports waste. It’s a very telling tale. After about an hour, a final trip to the bathroom and fabulous feeling of lightness that is often reflected on the scale.

Many colonic lovers note improved energy and a gorgeous glow. Following up the session by implementing a few new habits is another step towards holistic health. Increase your water intake, eat a combination of at least 35 grams of  soluble and insoluble fiber daily and start a probiotic to restore and maintain good  gut flora. Avoiding caffeine, processed foods high in sugar and fats and being physically active is always on the agenda. Whether you opt for a session each season or favor the monthly appointment, benefits are easily noted.