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The One-Minute Exercise to Correct Modern Stress
Your body's "core" is anything that connects to your pelvis, whether above or below it, and this includes your hamstrings, glutes, and adductor muscles. Foundation Training teaches all those muscles to work together through integrated chains of movement, which is how you’re structurally designed to move, as opposed to compartmentalized movements like crunches. The developer of Foundation training is Dr. Eric Goodman. He says, "Every exercise in Foundation Training adds as many muscles into a given movement as possible, dispersing more force throughout your body, taking friction away from your joints and putting that tension into your muscles instead. It’s basically the answer to a very plaguing question for people, which is, 'I sit all day long. I drive my car all day long. I look at my phone all day long. I watch TV.' Your shoulders are just continuously going further [forward]. Your head is falling further forward. Your hip flexors and your abdomen are shortening. Every exercise that I teach lengthens the front of your body, the over-tightened, over-shortened muscles in your body; strengthens and lengthens the back of your body; puts it to its effective lengths; stands you tall; and allows your body to move as a human animal is designed to move – very powerfully, very gracefully, and with a lot of flexibility." [VIDEO]
VIBRANT LIVING TIP: Use E-3 Energy Cream to reduce pain, stiffness and tightness from long bouts of sitting.
Compassion and Social Connectedness is Good For You
As founder and director of Stanford’s Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education (CCARE), Dr. James Doty and his colleagues have spent the last five years investigating methods for cultivating compassion and promoting altruism within individuals and society through research, scientific collaborations, and academic conferences. What they and many similar organizations around the world are finding is worth noting. For instance, in a column written last summer, Dr. Doty highlighted research by expert well-being psychologists Ed Diener and Martin Seligman indicating that the social connectedness fostered by compassion "...is a predictor of longer life, faster recovery from disease, higher levels of happiness and well-being, and a greater sense of purpose and meaning." He also noted that, "While survival of the fittest may lead to short-term gain, research clearly shows it is survival of the kindest that leads to the long-term survival of a species." This is remarkable stuff, and a major advance in the way we look at the human body.
VIBRANT LIVING TIP: Use Rhodochrosite Gem Elixir to foster selfless love and compassion, and inspire you to connect to your community and its well-being.
You Can Learn Optimism and Improve Your Health
A 2011 Mayo Clinic article reported that researchers continue to explore the effects of optimism on health. Positive thinking may provide these health benefits:
- Increased life span
- Lower stress levels
- Lower rates of depression
- Greater resistance to common colds
- Better psychological and physical well-being
- Reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease
- Better coping skills during hardships and stressful times
It's unclear why people who engage in positive thinking experience these health benefits. One theory is that having a positive outlook enables you to cope better with stressful situations, which reduces the harmful health effects of stress on your body. This would be bad news for pessimists, except renowned psychologist Dr. Martin Seligman promotes the idea of “learned optimism.” He outlines a series of steps pessimists can take to re-think their approach to problems and stressful situations. Seligman says to view problems as opportunities instead of negative forces. It’s an attitude adjustment that takes practice. There is a choice to be made: view life by looking at the positive side.
Negative emotions stimulate adrenalin reactions throughout the body, leading to toxic byproducts that lead to other complications health-wise. Positive emotions on the other hand, create endorphins--the pleasure chemical from the brain. Endorphins calm body systems, stimulate rejuvenation and repair, and generally bring healing. So if it's a matter of choice
(which it is), foster positive feelings--at least seek to be positive at least a little over half per day. That way, you know you are contributing more to health than disease.
BOOK REVIEW: The Five Levels of Attachment
Fans of Don Miguel Ruiz and his groundbreaking book, The Four Agreements, will be impressed with Ruiz's son, Miguel Ruiz, Jr.'s new book, The Five Levels of Attachment. Both father and son are masters of the Mexican Toltec philosophy, and lay it out with extreme clarity, simplicity, and deep wisdom. In Levels Ruiz puts how much we identify with the things in our lives on a scale. "Essential Self" is the least attached, all the way to "Fanaticism" on the other end of the spectrum.
Ruiz does not pass judgement on any of the levels (that would be against Toltec principles), but lays out the detrimental effects we bring on ourselves by being overly attached to our things, beliefs, or even the way we present ourselves to the world. The overall effect from reading the book is a sense that it is perfectly okay to change how you are in the world, because you are the creator of your life. By acknowledging this and embracing the "artist" in you, a different and more fulfilling way of being emerges.
The word "Toltec" translates as "Artist"--as in you are the artist behind the art that is your life. Creating life as art puts you ahead of what seems to happen "to" you, and re-frames your perspective into being an artist involved in a kinetic work of life/art. The basic concept is that we are all creating masterpieces.
This is an easy read with very useful and inspiring information in a little book (150 pages), available at Amazon.
Company & Product News
NEW Energy Sprays to Transform Your Space
We're very excited to be partnering with world renown aromatherapist, Candice Covington, to bring you her latest creations, the Primal Elements
and Pure Collection
sprays. These are very potent formulas with synergistic blends of essential oils, gem and plant elixirs, specifically formulated to conjure the archetypal energies of each element. The Pure Collection is very purifying, stabilizing and fortifying, these energies that can be used with the Primal Elements to clear spaces, neutralize negative energies and uplift the spirit. Candice is best known for her work at the Chopra Center in California, and is the creator-goddess behind the powerful and exotic Tattvas Oils
. Both the Tattvas Oils and Primal Elements Sprays are a potent healing and clearing system that is easy to understand and apply. Check it out!
Gem Elixir of the Month
Traditionally known as the "Stone of Courage".
Spiritually: Sharpens intuition, clairvoyance, and spiritual awareness and is good for meditation. It invokes high states of consciousness and spiritual awareness and encourages service to humanity.
Emotionally: Sooths fears and increases sensitivity, invokes tolerance and overcomes judgmentalism.
Mentally: Calms the mind, removing extraneous thoughts, clarifies perception, sharpens the intellect, and clears up confusion.
Physically: May calm overreactions of the immune system, and harmonize the pituitary and thyroid. Can strengthen the body's cleansing organs and aid the eyes, jaw, teeth and stomach. May assist the autoimmune conditions such as hay fever.
Aquamarine Intelligent Elxir is on sale this month for 30% off with discount code AQUA30 (enter the code in the indicated box as you checkout through the website shopping cart).
Personally, from the
Re-assembling the Scarecrow
Several of my neighborhood friends embarked on a "group date" the other day for lunch and a movie--"Oz the Great and Powerful." It was a very enjoyable romp through a seamless continuation of the Oz world created by Frank Baum and famously unleashed upon the world in the 1939 movie, "The Wizard of Oz."
I personally was relieved that the 2013 movie was not a cynical, dark, overly polarized version Hollywood seems to think sells. Yes, the characters are one-dimensional and the drama is milk toast, but, hey, it's OZ, people! ...and it was particularly fun in 3-D.
Lately, I've been continuing my adventure with certain pain issues, and in my quest, I returned to a shaman friend of mine for some cranio-sacral therapy and her unique brand of seeing. After the session, I suddenly saw myself as the Scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz, during the scene where he has been attacked by the flying monkeys and ripped apart. "They took my arm and they threw it over there! They took my legs and threw them over there!"
The spiritual metaphor for me, is how the soul can also get ripped apart, leaving a part in a 1980 trauma, a 1993 ecstasy, or a 2001 earthquake--or even in past lives. Over identification with traumatic or dramatic events can "stick" attention, preventing fully coming into present time.
My intention for the shamanic session was to retrieve my creative center, which I felt had been scattered. It has been like having all the equipment to create a painting, but the brushes are in the bathroom, the canvas is under the bed, and the paints are in the garage. But you don't know that, so when inspiration strikes, there's no way for it to express. I said to my shaman friend, "I feel like I have an entire warehouse of amunition, but nothing to fire it with, or at!"
Many of the processes or life lessons I've gone through end up being about freeing unconscious attention from some past event where I was deeply affected, but didn't realize it. I usually spot a sort of disconnect between outward and inward experience. It is as if one movie is playing out within me while another one is playing outside of me. This is the realm of the ego and its trusty cohort, the mind. All the socialization, past judgments, and past decisions about "how life is" all go into this inner movie we mistakenly call "life."
Sages through the ages have all told us that Life itself is without judgment, without decisions about what is "right" and what is "wrong." These are entirely human-created and it all rolls into one big common movie we call Life on Earth.
Can we truly know what Reality is? Yes. Just by being aware of the question, it proves it is knowable. The thing is, we get so distracted because as in the Scarecrow, "they threw my arm over there, and ripped off my leg and threw it over there" that we think that is what life is about.
In this episode of the Scarecrow for me, I did retrieve arms and legs and my creative center. And I gained a new mindfulness about where my mind automatically goes in the course of any given day. Where does my attention go? How do I feel when it goes there? By paying attention, more of the Self is retrieved and now available to pour into the beautiful artwork we all can be creating called Life.
In vibrant health,
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