Food and Non-Harming: Living in Harmony with our World

Continuing with not harming yourself:  ask your doctor if that prescription he/she is writing is REALLY necessary?  Is there another option that may have less deleterious effects?  Many times, there certainly are other options, but our doctors are trained to quickly resort to prescriptions. So get them on track with your thinking and many should be happy to provide you with alternatives, or give you the names of someone who can safely offer alternatives to synthetic drugs.

According to 5,000 year old Ayurveda, food is medicine.  Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food – as Hippocrates is thought to have said.  It’s ever more relevant today when so much of our environment is full chemicals. Including our food – and to help sort through the good and bad – reduce or eliminate entirely any prepared boxed or frozen foods.  Food does not grow in cardboard or plastic and processed foods are just that…processed.  Don’t eat them. Buy your groceries from the outside aisles of a grocery store, or a farmers market where you may be able to talk to the grower.

Organic food is definitely preferred, but it can be expensive.  However, there not everything need be bought organic – below are two lists of produce – the dirty dozen that should definitely be organic – and the clean fifteen where you can choose to save some money 🙂

Dr. Fuhrman’s Tolerant Organic Red Lentil Pasta

Dr. Fuhrman’s Date-Nut Bars

Here is the list of the “Dirty Dozen” or the most pesticide laden food that our market sells in grocery stores.  I probably don’t need to mention that pesticides are bad, mostly because we have no idea what they do in our systems and NO ONE has ever actually studied the effects of them and they do not occur in nature in the form they will ultimately be ingested. My advice: buy organic when you purchase the above veggies and fruits

Here is the list of the “Clean Fifteen”  So these, feel free to buy conventional, unless you want to avoid GMO’s ( I certainly avoid these as they have not been studied at all unless by the company that stands to gain financially by selling them).

When you are buying meat, dairy, or eggs – keep in mind that livestock in this country is fed conventional feed, sometimes feed that is not natural to the animal, and usually they are raised on heavy handed doses of antibiotics. Whatever those animals ate – you will eat.  Eat less animal products if you need to, but buy organically, humanely and sustainably raised meat, dairy and eggs. 

You may not care about an animal that your going to eat – however, the stress and anxiety produced in a factory farmed animal is well documented and this creates  a host of issues in the animal.  The USDA has guidelines as far as raising healthy animals, but when you delve into the life of factory farming, it is quickly evident that those minimal guidelines are likely not being followed. Americans want ‘cheap’ food, that ‘cheap’ food comes at a cost. Would you knowingly eat a sick animal?

A plant-based diet is best if possible, but at the very minimum, introduce a few meals a week and you also reduce your risk of disease. Your body will certainly thank you 🙂

 

 

 

 

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Headache cures without meds…

Headaches and how to heal them without synthetic drugs and pharmaceuticals….

1- Rest 🙂 really, not trying to be facetious! And drink water – many times the headache is a sign of dehydration, and simply drinking a room temperature glass of water will quickly hydrate you and relieve pain.

2-If you are prone to sinus headaches (generally viral) then using a neti pot  with some sea salt or himalayan salt can be extremely beneficial.  Make sure the neti pot and all the ingredients you put in it are clean and use distilled or filtered water

3-Another useful method to eradicate headaches is to gently use your thumb to massage in a circular motion right beneath the skull area for about 3-5 seconds in each spot as you move your thumb around – this will relax the muscles in case your headache is a tension headache

4-Lying with your body completely flat on your back is very helpful, then place a gentle weight on your eyes – like an eye pillow (some options)  Gaiam Eye Pillow Purple Batik  Baja Zen Namaste Yoga Eye Soother Pillow   Barefoot Yoga Solid Silk Yoga Eye Pillow – Dazzling Blue Lime and imagine that your eyes are falling deeply into the back of your head

5- Try to maintain a regular routine and eat food that resonates with your constitution, or dosha .  While it may seem irrelevant or confusing, but our body tells us what it needs, and often times we ignore it, or override it, and that leads to imbalances in our system that can ultimately lead to more disease and sickness.

Feel free to contact me if you would like to learn how to make mealtime easy and comfortable and remain aligned with your personal constitution.

Be well always!

Milan@yogawithmilan.com

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The beginners guide to living cruelty-free: Non-harming

Where to start? At the beginning, of course…and don’t worry, it’s a journey!  There are plenty of stumbling blocks. This is a list of a few things to start with

Start with not harming yourself, that way, you have a stable base.  So that means one by one eliminating the use of plastics from your life…the imposition of plastic everything in our lives has started to manifest in various diseases and malfunctions in the body.  I’m not saying plastics are the culprit for everything, or even anything, but why not eliminate all possible suspects? Here are some options to try:

1- don’t heat food in plastic containers – heat your food in your plate or bowl

2- don’t use plastic wrap in the microwave- maybe use a paper towel to stop those errant bits of flying food

3- store food in glass containers ( I personally use a lot of mason jars)

4- plastic water bottles, toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, soap, plastic loofah, lotions and their microbeads, cosmetics, fleece, detergents…all of these exist in a pervasive manner in our homes  (One by one,  by making conscious choices, they can be eliminated.  Some obvious options, some less obvious – more on this later 🙂  These plastics enter our lungs, skin and bloodstream – make no mistake – our body doesn’t like it.  This will be another post…but here’s one that I like. And here’s one where you can buy things to live life without plastic.

 

5- carry your own stainless steel water bottles – the bonus is some double walled ones hold the ideal temperature for a really long time!

6- Easy one:  reuseable shopping bags!

This is a great beginning…more to come!

Save 10% on Beauty Without Cruelty Mascaras!  Women’s Yoga Leggings from £15!Dance Clothing Sale! Save Up to 70% at zaktiactive.com!

Beauty Without Cruelty Lipsticks 2 for £17.99!

Dr Bronner 3 for 2 Offer!

 

 

 

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The Other 6 (of the 8 limbed path)

We were discussing the eight limbed path of yoga – as described by Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras.  We’d left off after discussing the Yama and the Niyama, each of which had 5 aspects to them, and addressed our conduct and attitudes in our life.

The next six are as follows:

Asana – literally referring to our seat, but figuratively much more than that.  The Yama and Niyama prepare us for asana, or postures that we employ in a yoga class. Through the discipline of postures we are able to cultivate an inner strength and a balance between our physical being and our spiritual being.

Pranayama– this is the breath that sustains us and nourishes us at every point in our life.  When we achieve mastery over the breath, we achieve mastery over the energy that is our essence, our Prana. We are able to create heat in the body through pranayama, and help purify the subtle channels of energy within our physical self.

Pratyahara – this is the active effort of withdrawing our senses from the physical world and looking inwards.  By directing our energy inwards and simply watching our senses unfold without reacting, we start to detach ourselves from the mundane

Dharana – and this brings us to the act of single minded focus.  We try to move beyond the stage of simply observing the antics of the mind, and come to a single pointed object of our effortless concentration EASY! This is the first stage of true meditation.

Dhyana – we have now moved along the spectrum of  union with our higher source, there is no effort in the calm, and no need to force the keen focus of dharana, and there is a sense of infinity

Samadhi- you have crossed from one end of the spectrum to the complete other side, where the daily grind no longer has an impact on you, because there is an inner realization of oneness with everything, everyone, and everywhere – there is only the truth and there is joy

It seems like an impossibility – but there is a path that leads there…and that means it can be done. 🙂 Maybe not today, or tomorrow….but one step at a time. One breath at a time.

Asana was traditionally practiced so that we would have the strength and the stamina to sit in meditation without discomfort and physical distraction. And though few of us have the option to practice meditation for hours on end, even a simple 15 minutes can bring about profound changes that impact every moment of our lives.

This is a nice video that helps to bring about a calmness to get your started:

Gaiam Meditation For Beginners DVDHugger Mugger Zafu Meditation Yoga Cushion – BlackMyzenhome Dhyana Yoga Meditation Cushion – Brown BurgandyMyzenhome Triangle Lounger Yoga Medition Cushion – Sage

 

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The Wholesome Life: The Eight Limbs of Yoga

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Patanjali is widely regarded as the author of the “Yoga Sutras.” Like many scriptural texts, often the author may be more than one individual, and it is a distinct possibility in this case as well.  Regardless, the Eight-Limbed Path is attributed to the sage that most yogis know as Patanjali.  The Eight-Limbed Path is that which many yogis use as their guide to wholesome living.  The first two of the Eight-Limbed path provide a nice foundation for creating a genuinely fulfilling life – and are known as the Yamas and Niyamas.  The secret to happiness 🙂

There are five Yamas – or ‘to do’s – that provide for our interaction with the world around us…our attitudes and things we should avoid

1- Ahimsa – or ‘non-harming’ or ‘non-violence’ – treating all life, animals, nature  and ourselves with utmost respect and dignity, approaching life with harmony and compassion

2-Satya – ‘truthfulness’ – being truthful to others, but also ourselves, finding that unchanging truth and essence within ourselves

3-Asteya – ‘non-stealing’ – trying to recognize the abundance of our lives, giving gratitude for that which we are and understanding that it is exactly what we need in that moment

4-Brahmacharya -‘celibacy’ – in today’s world that means directing our energy inwards and away from external desires so that we can recognize our internal peace and bliss

5-Aparigraha – ‘non-greed’ or ‘non possessiveness’ – taking just what we need and letting go of it when we no longer need it

And then there are the Niyamas – or ‘to-do’s for our interaction with ourselves – or our attitudes and things we should cultivate within ourselves.

1-Saucha – cleanliness, or purity from a physical state as well as removal of negativity from our mind

2-Santosha -this refers to contentment, gratitude and appreciation of the richness of our lives

3-Tapas – can be seen as discipline, or systematically challenging ourselves to create inner strength

4-Svadhyaya – is self study and looking into ourselves to discover our divine self, self-reflection

5-Isvar Pranidhana – is the ultimate goal of yoga, or union with the divine, and that is achieved after all of the above have been lovingly cultivated and nurtured so that you can surrender yourself to the higher power

All of these together make for a happy fulfilling life – but as I’ve mentioned before – nothing works as well as forgiveness.  Forgive yourself, and forgive others around you.  Everyone.  We are all striving for the same thing…happiness.  And we are all at different parts of that same journey – so forgive, even if you can’t forget.  And keep applying all of the above, one at a time or all together – in any combination.  It’s all good 🙂

Now Patanjali has mentioned 6 other paths to yoga (or union),  and those 6 we shall read about next week 🙂

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Increase Energy & Decrease Pain…5 things to do every morning

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Morning’s are usually rushed and there might be some elements of pandemonium…but there is always room to squeeze in a little self-love and pampering.

1- Oil pulling – I know I’ve mentioned this before, but it can’t be said enough.  Aside from keeping our teeth and gums healthy, it actually helps to keep the beneficial microbes that our digestive and immune system need in our bodies, and carry out the nasty stuff.  I know this from personal experience after actually healing a cavity in my tooth.  And it just makes sense that removing toxins from the body gives a huge boost the energy and reduces pain.

2- Drink warm fresh squeezed lemon water first thing in the morning.  This helps to alkalize the body (yes, alkalize) and give a nice gentle start to the digestive fire.  Coffee and tea can come later, if they must.  But waking your digestive system up with a gentle nudge is much kinder than kicking into high gear immediately.  Would you like a soft kiss to awaken you, or a bucket of water?  That is the difference between warm lemon water and caffeine.  A clean healthy digestive system is the first ingredient in a pain free and energetic life.

3- Massage your toes – as you sit on the toilet. Sorry. But you are already sitting down, and you may have a moment or two.  So just bend down and grab your toes and massage the space between them, then push them and pull them.  It only takes a few seconds and the effect on your body is amazing. We have too many nerve endings in our feet to neglect them or only occasionally treat them to a pedicure. Your feet hold you up ALL day long, love them and they will reward you.

4- Dry brushing – right before you get into the shower just use a soft wash cloth, or silk glove, or actual brush to move invigorate the lymph glands.  Starting with your toes and moving towards your heart, then the arms, torso and neck, always moving towards the heart, gently brush the skin.  Again, only takes moments, but is worth every minute. Keeping our lymph moving is essential to our health and wellbeing. When toxins are leaving our body, then nutrition is able to work its magic.

5- Cold shower -and it sounds awful, but it actually warms you up when you step out of the shower. In case you are a little delicate, as am I, there is a cheat 🙂  Start your shower as you do everyday, and right before you step out, drench yourself in a quick flash of cold water.  The kind of cold that makes your inhale sharply!  Cold water causes your blood to rush to the skin to try and warm you up, and lo and behold, without a whole lot of fuss, you’ve actually enabled a mini-massage like effect for the whole body.  The circulation increases, and oxygen is efficiently moved around your limbs and torso.  Trust me…good for you 🙂

The long term benefits of these practices are beneficial for your metabolism, for your muscles, for your lymphatic system, your immune system, and of course to wake you up.  Best of all, none of these therapies have any nefarious side effects.

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Sulfur and Chronic Pain Relief

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No – I’m not a doctor – I am an ordinary human being with experience in the sad and ordinary truth of chronic pain and inflammation, not my own fortunately for me, but my loved ones. Doctors never seem to ask what you eat, how you exercise, don’t watch how you move and conduct your daily life, but they are quick to recommend steroids and narcotics.  Or both.

While both may mimic healing for a few months, and you may get a few months respite… slowly that few months becomes few weeks, and soon it won’t even last two days. By then, your immune system is thoroughly compromised, your system is unable to make its own cortisone, your endocrine system is confused and breaking down, and because your hormones are now dysfunctional, other body systems start breaking down. Suddenly those narcotics you were taking begin to get a little sluggish and you need to take more…and more…and more…

Our body is designed to heal itself- if you love it and take care of it and nurture it. Nurture it with good food, and exercise. Yes, everyday. Not 30 minutes 3 times a week. Your body takes care of you 24/7 –  Give it an hour of love a day…YOU CAN DO IT.  It doesn’t need to be an hour of sweating, just gentle stretching, taking the dog for a walk, and even deep breathing counts.  In fact, it actually works better in the long run if it doesn’t stress your body and mind.  You want to look forward to it, be excited for the few moments of your day when you can connect with nature.

And as for diet…Eat whole foods. Foods that don’t come in a box with an ingredient label. Food that is as close to it’s natural state as possible.  And most of it should be green 🙂 Slowly, day by day, increase your intake of green leafy vegetables so that leafy greens make up most of your plate. At that point, it won’t even matter what else you are eating. Green leafy vegetables are the closest thing to what nature meant us to eat in abundance, it is all around us.  And while this isn’t a complete dietary program, start with those leafy greens.

Diet and exercise is one thing. But, it has recently come to my notice that very few people are aware of how necessary Sulfur is to our existence. Sulfur is necessary  to keep our body healthy and functioning  and…sadly  our highly processed diets are creating sulfur deficiencies not only in our bodies , but in the soil which is supposed to put the sulfur in our food sources.  The increased use of  insecticides, pesticides and  chemical fertilizers are depleting our soil of the necessary minerals that were naturally occurring in our food.

Eggs, red meats, cruciferous veggies (such as broccoli, cabbage, brussel sprouts), onions, garlic, raw milk, are all good sources of sulfur. MSM is also a very good source. The supplement alone won’t help because the symbiotic relationship between the different components of food are essential to your body, and unfortunately, only the food may not help unless you are eating extremely clean (read: organic, local, unprocessed) and extremely fresh (not sitting one week in the refrigerator after it sat one week on the grocery store shelves), in all likelihood you will need additional sulfur. DMSO provides the body with sulfur.

Sulfur helps maintain the structure and biological activity of our enzymes, it exists in every cell in our body and helps transport oxygen across cell membranes. It is essential to our existence and there really is no known toxicity levels for organic sulfur – other than the smell. Hardly a side effect. Humans have used sulfur springs for centuries as healing water..pruny finger tips are usually the side effect in that case. Not memory loss and suicidal tendencies.

If you have a chronic pain issue – look closely into DMSO as your source of additional sulfur. You can drink it and you can apply it, and you can do this as often as you need. Drinking it enables the DMSO to bind to toxic metals in your body and wash out with your urine. Applying it similarly binds to whatever is on your skin and carries it across your skin into your body. It is extremely safe and effective. It is better than most NSAID and at 70% dilution rate, no side effects. At 99%, you will get a slight sunburn effect complete with peeling and itching.  Not for everyone 🙂

There is plenty of controversy surrounding DMSO, as the FDA does not approve of it as a reliable therapy for anything, as it is used as a solvent within the scientific community. The only use the FDA approves is as a solution to protect organs meant for transplant. However, it is successfully used in many countries, and it causes far less harm than many of the FDA approved drugs. An opiate addiction epidemic rages and the FDA will still not approve something with as wide a range of benefits as DMSO.  Why? Because  Big Pharma will be devastated if DMSO becomes freely and widely used.  Do your own research and determine for yourself if you think DMSO would be a good match for you.  As with anything, even the best therapies can cause allergies in small percentages of the population, and too much of a good thing can become a bad thing. So proceed with caution, but my own experience enabled me to repair my own torn rotator cuff.

So – forget all the fire and brimstone stuff that comes with thoughts of sulfur, and consider how you are getting some in your diet 🙂  Be well!

 

 

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Life after 50 – Better than Before! Free ebook download 

It’s true…those aches and pains don’t have to exist in your life.  You can take control of your energy, your immune system, the state of your health as long as you desire to be the master of your wellness. From your toes to the top of your head.  In an overview of the basics, I will offer a step by step to help you get where you want to be. I have used an ayurvedic approach for the most part, with an understanding that our life in this era doesn’t always offer us the opportunity for ayurvedic perfection. Feel free to send me questions any time you have any :)) I welcome comments and suggestions

It’s a PDF – feel free to download and use it for your own personal health – it is not meant to be used for commercial purposes 🙂

Life after 50

 

And just a thought – general vitality is within reach with Chavanprash – it is a wonderful mixture that promotes true strength and wellness.

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Grease is the word…

milk

 

A most important word as you move further along that road of life.  Our bodies need plenty of oil and grease and fat to keep functioning. You might notice some dry skin on your hands and reach for the squirt bottle of Nivea and feel pretty good about yourself.  Well, let’s think about all those generations of people that preceded our mass producing plastic laden corporately dictated greedy society (email me if you want to know what I really think J): there were no Nivea squirt bottles, and yet, they managed to get along fine.  They used things like milk, olive oil, honey, shea butter, coconut oil, lanolin and even lard.  In other words, some of the things you probably have in your pantry right now.

Then why do we have lotion?  Profit.  Corporate logic:  If we can make millions selling people water which has been chemically mixed with a miniscule amount of moisturizer – call it ‘non-greasy’ and ‘fast –absorbing’ then maybe the public will think it’s something great and buy it! Well, we did buy it and they do make millions.  Congratulations to Johnson&Johnson, Unilever, Pfizer etc. for outwitting the gullible public. You’ve had your day.

Grease is supposed to be greasy and it only takes a few minutes to absorb anyway, so I recommend the original form ( almond oil, sesame oil, coconut oil, jojoba oil, even olive oil, in fact any organic oil will do) and if you need it to smell nice then add some essential oil. There are many benefits to this:

  • Saves you money
  • Saves plastic packaging
  • Increases lubrication to the joints (so dry skin is usually an indicator of things drying up on the inside, especially joints and ligaments)
  • Reduces the questionable chemical onslaught to our bodies that wreak havoc in our endocrine system

 

Here’s a quick recipe that I use for almost every dry skin emergency that can possibly arise ever:

  • 1 cup coconut oil
  • 1 cup shea butter,
  • 10-20 drops peppermint essential oil,
  • 3-4 tablespoons raw organic honey

Tea Tree (Australian) OrganicYlang Ylang III OrganicRosemary Verbenone OrganicPatchouli Dark OrganicLavandin Organic – 6 PackSandalwood (Australian) OrganicNiaouli Organic – 6 Pack

Blend in a blender and store in a jar (yes, if it gets warm it melts – but then it when it get cold it firms up again)

And of course it’s always OKAY to schmear some of that Extra Virgin Olive Oil onto your hands and face just before dipping your focaccia 🙂  Because remember…it is essential to eat grease too…as long as they are not the refined pale versions of their authentic origins.

We need fat for normal brain functions, we need fat for our joints to stay supple and working, we need fat to metabolize fat (without fat we make no bile, without bile we cannot metabolize fat), we need fat for our hair and nails to stay strong and flexible, we need fat to metabolize several fat soluble vitamins and minerals, and we need fat to keep our largest organ (the skin again)  supple and wrinkle free, and best of all, we need fat to stay slim!  You heard me, you need fat to stay slim!  Healthy fats are easy to get in nuts and seeds, avocados, coconut oil, olive oil, mustard oil, cocoa butter, you can even eat shea butter (grade A only) if you don’t mind the taste.  And if you aren’t vegan or vegetarian, you can always get healthy fats from pastured organic dairy such as whole milk, yogurt, cheese, butter or ghee. And no…whole milk is not bad for you, its actually better for you than lowfat or skim.

So cheers to good fat…Stay Soft! Stay Well!

,

 

 

 

 

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Relationships:  3 easy steps to loving without losing your mind

Relationships nourish our soul, spirit, mind, heart…doesn’t matter what you call it.  That feeling of commitment towards one another, and the ability to navigate possibly toxic pools of emotions are an essential part of our inner well being – and that directly impacts our outer well being.

Jeffrey Bernstein, in Psychology Today, reminds us that love isn’t enough to sustain a long-term relationship.  It’s about understanding, and honoring the evolving needs of our partners in life, or in his words…empathy.  Really trying to put ourselves in the other’s shoes.

In addition, Dr. Andrea Bonior reminds us that without forgiveness and an overall positive outlook, we are bound to drive ourselves into despair and bitterness. There are small things we can do on a daily basis to bring ourselves joy and happiness in all aspects of our lives…why not share that with the people we love.

Part of practicing yoga and ayurveda in the modern world is about navigating the circuitous road of life, right  in the midst of our chaotic lives. We don’t all get to escape to a retreat in the Himalayas and hibernate until our troubles melt away.   It can get complicated and crazy to say the minimum. We aren’t alone on this road, and the people we travel with either hinder us or help us.  Here’s hoping for help!

  • Let down your guard, if you want it to work.  How often do we color our interaction with things that happened in the past, things we think might happen in the future, things we ‘just know’ because…?  What if we took each interaction on its own merit?  What if we decided that this moment is just that?  This moment.  Don’t let FEAR decide how you will behave – fear of the past as an indicator of the future, or plain old fear of the future, none of it.  Remember that in this moment everything is fine.  Be open to this moment, without putting up your defenses. Approach life like a kindergartner would…with earnest curiosity and no judgment.
  • Identify what you need, and what the other person needs from that relationship.  Cuddles, conversation, companionship, community?  Remember, no one person can satisfy all your relationship needs…that is why we have friends and family. And secondly, you cannot receive without giving.  A relationship is an exchange, a give and a take, and an imbalance here is the recipe for disaster. So be sure and do your share.
  • Compromise is a good thing. Now – right now. You don’t always get to be right, you don’t always get to have your way. But as long as you remember not to put your guard up (rule number 1) and decide to be open to every moment that comes along…you may notice that it isn’t a compromise after all to watch Lethal Weapon and all its sequels for the 653rd time.  Now maybe you can laugh at the toilet bomb. Or not. Just shove some organic popcorn in your mouth and chew. Forgo the sarcastic remark.

I know I said three steps but if you are interested in going deeper:

Number four -forgive yourself, and forgive the other person.  We all do stupid things, and since we are most likely all humans, we shall continue to do stupid things. Try not to, maybe count  to 10, or leave the room. Just as you are trying to find your best life, so is the other person. Besides, guilt uses up valuable energy that can be better used to develop number five on the list.

Number five – (I know, I know…but this one applies to life in general)  – laugh.  Often.  Very often.  Maybe even throw in a fake laugh every now and then, see if it doesn’t become a habit.  If it didn’t piss you off so much, it was probably kind of funny.  Think about it.

Last- something you can do on a daily basis…say something nice, intentionally. Mean it. Period. No further explanation. And since I am a yoga practitioner – not a rule…just a suggestion:

MEDITATE

Take a class, use google as a guide, find an app, whatever works. There is a lot out there and it is there for a very good reason.  It works – better than anything else. Just remember to let your guard down when you do J

me

Milan Sandhu E-RYT200
Yoga and Wellness Coach
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