Thursday, October 13, 2016

Serenity Spa: Helping Others Find Wellness and Balance

Many of us go through our days feeling rushed and stressed. We may find ourselves searching for a place to rest and be still, even for just a few moments. Serenity Spa and Soul Yoga is quickly becoming that place for many women in our area.

"Serenity is more than just a spa or a yoga studio," explains Andrea Tagamolila, Spa Director. "It is a wellness center. We really strive to provide the community with a place to gather, connect and truly transform."
Serenity offers a variety of spa services, including massage, facials, waxing and a variety of shower treatments that take place in a vichy shower, under a real rain bar. Serenity guests are also invited to spend some time in the spa's Zen Lounge, where cool water and a stream of fresh sunlight create a therapeutic environment for guests while they enjoy mint water or herbal tea. Guests can also receive a hot rock foot bath or other foot treatment while in the Zen lounge.

Serenity also offers daily yoga classes, through Soul Yoga. "We have two signature yoga courses," says Andrea. "Hot belly yoga - which is trademark and was created by our founder Tammie Fairchild - and seven spiritual laws of yoga, which is based on the teachings of Deepak Chopra."
Hot belly yoga based on the principles of the "Hot Belly Diet" and is a different type of hot yoga than what most yoga enthusiasts know. The heat in the room is generated from a boiling kettle that contains a unique blend of herbs. The heat it produces is described as a healing heat rather than a dry heat. "In hot belly yoga, toxins are expelled and the system is replenished," says Andrea. "The movements help to fire the digestive system. It is very different and quite powerful."

In the seven spiritual laws of yoga classes, the focus is on chakra balancing and toning. The class follows the seven spiritual laws of success as outlined by Chopra in his bestselling book.
Regardless of whether you are looking to work your body or rest your body, Serenity Spa has something to help you find balance, healing and transformation. "The philosophy at Serenity Spa is to help and serve others through touch and to heal others with the human hand and human heart," says Andrea.
Serenity Spa has two locations, in Roseville and Folsom. Visit their website for more details on services, classes and hours.

Serenity Spa is proud to be a sponsor of Care Begins with Me 2016.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

One Beauty Secret For Everyone

The pursuit of beauty, which has been a constant theme throughout recorded history, makes beauty seem like a mysterious gift granted only to the fortunate few. Even now in a scientific age, there’s the constant search for beauty secrets that will bring this gift to many more people. In fact, such a secret does exist, in our view. Instead of saying, “If I’m beautiful I will be happy, the secret is the reverse: “If I’m happy, I will be beautiful.”

This is the axiom of finding beauty from the inside out. There is a rising tide of evidence to show that our cells immediately respond to the inner events in our lives. Being unhappy is a state of mind and body, not simply the mind. There are medical consequences in terms of decreased immune response, for example, among people who are depressed, grief-stricken, lonely, or who have been suddenly terminated from their jobs. This isn’t news. What’s news-worthy is the finer detail, which indicates that no matter how microscopic the scale, all the way down to our genes, shifts in mental activity produce shifts in the wellbeing of cells.

Let’s accept for the moment that the best way to be beautiful is to be happy.  Does that really improve the situation? The field of positive psychology, which is relatively new, has discovered that being happy isn’t a simple thing where one prescription works for everyone. And finding a path to increased happiness is tricky. Each of us has a kind of emotional set point we return to as our default. An outside event can cause the needle to move, making us temporarily happier than usual or unhappier. But over time we return to our emotional set point, even after the most extreme events.

Yet happiness is still the key, because two findings from positive psychology appear to be solid. The first is that a happy life is made up from happy days. In other words, waiting to be happy isn’t effective. Being happy today, here and now, is the best strategy. This ties in with the finding that our cells react to our moods. If you work for twenty years at a job that makes you miserable, waiting for retirement day so that you can finally be happy, then during those twenty years you amass cellular changes, including pathways in the brain, that imprint misery–something you will be carrying around biologically and psychologically for many years into your retirement.

What makes for a happy day? In the first post of this series we reduced this question to a matter of input. Our cells recognize only negative input and positive input. Experience is translated into chemicals that either benefit a cell or harm it. Therefore, by focusing on giving the mind-body system positive input every day and decreasing negative input, you are adding to your well-being overall. Here’s a sizable list of positive inputs to pay attention to, as first stated in our last post:

  • Pure food, water, and air.
  • Avoiding physical and emotional toxins.
  • Unprocessed, natural, organic food.
  • Nurturing relationships.
  • Good sleep.
  • Exercise that favors lightness, balance, flexibility, and gracefulness.
  • Attitudes of appreciation and gratitude.
  • A higher vision of life.
  • Service to others.
  • Satisfying, meaningful work.
  • Mediation and yoga.
  • Increased self-esteem.
  • The sense of being in control.
  • Feeling safe.
  • Feeling as if you belong.
  • Daily close contact with family and friends.
  • Generosity of self through acts of giving.
  • Being loved and loving in return.

As a practical matter, you can keep a journal that tracks these positive aspects of life, while at the same time tracking the negative aspects, which are simply the opposite of everything on the list. Most of these things are directly under your control, such as deciding to meditate, and others, such as being in a loving relationship, are things you have a voice in.

So choosing to be happy involves meaningful decisions, which brings us to the second discovery about how to be happy. Despite the effects of outside people and forces pulling against your happiness, and despite the emotional set point, it is estimated that 40-50% of a person’s happiness is dependent on choices made or not made. This is simply an average. It’s likely that some people grow much happier than the norm once they make steady, conscious, positive choices. We already know that such people have much better physical health than the norm, so it’s only logical that the same applies to wellbeing. In our view, “If I’m happy, I will be beautiful” is the beauty secret everyone has dreamed of.

By Deepak Chopra, MD and Kimberly Snyder, CN

Sunday, September 25, 2016

"To eat is human, to digest is divine"

Check out this video & information from our partners, Dr. Suhas & Dr. Manisha Kshirsagar:

Khichadi is widely considered India's most traditional comfort food. It is easy on stomach, nutritious and a complete balanced meal in itself. From the Ayurvedic perspective, it is considered the core of Ayurvedic nutritional healing.

Khichadi is a delicious and creamy blend of organic long grain rice, organic split yellow mung beans and a proprietary blend of gentle organic whole herbs and spices that support detoxification and helps improve digestion.

Khichadi is probably India’s version of the chicken soup. It is eaten when one is sick, has an upset stomach, needs some comfort food or wants to eat light yet filling. Every household makes khichadi and the taste and style of cooking may differ depending on the way it is prepared and ingredients used. But a basic khicahdi is usually made from white rice, yellow, green or split moong dal and topped with some ghee. All these heal and soothe our digestive system. But khichadi is more than just a comfort food. It has numerous other benefits for our body.
  • Wholesome meal: Khichadi is a balance of carbohydrate and protein. Moong beans additionally are a good source of dietary fibre, vitamin C, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium. It has all the 10 essential amino acids, making it a complete protein. Freshly-cooked khichdi eaten with pure cow’s ghee provides the right amount of macro-nutrients, complex carbohydrate, protein and fat. Adding vegetables to it makes it a complete meal. 
  • Gluten-free: People who suffer from gluten sensitivity or celiac disease, cannot process gluten which is storage protein found in certain grains like wheat, rye, barley. But they can opt to eat khichadi on a few days as it packs enough nutrition and yet is light and gluten free. Many people who aren’t suffering from this disease also opt for gluten free food as a lifestyle change. They too can eat khichadi.
  • Balances dosha: This dish can be served any time of the day. It is known for its ability to detoxify the body and balance the three doshas – Vata, Pitta, Kapha. It is a tridoshic food which has a calming effect on the body and is a staple of an Ayurvedic diet. A delicious and nourishing dish of rice, moong cooked with ghee, salt and haldi (turmeric), adding the balance of  basic elements – earth and water for increasing energy and immunity, fire for stimulating digestive enzymes.
  • Easy to digest: Khichadi is soothing for the intestine and helps in settling an upset stomach when eaten with curd. 

Cooking Directions
  1. Rinse rice and mung beans 3-4 times with water. Drain.
  2. In a medium saucepan sauté the Khichadi spice mix in 1 Tbsp. Olive oil or Ghee, on medium heat. (This step is important as spices release their nutrients in warm oil only.)
  3. Add washed rice and mung beans into the saucepan with 31/2 - 4 cups of water. Stir well and bring to a boil.
  4. Cover and reduce the heat to medium. Stir occasionally.
  5. After 10-15 minutes add fresh, chopped vegetables like zucchini, broccoli, spinach, cauliflower, kale, baby carrots (of your choice).
  6. Continue cooking until the rice and mung beans are tender and have the consistency of hot cereal.
  7. Serve hot with Ghee and garnish with fresh cilantro. (Coconut flakes are optional)
Alternatively, rice cooker may be used to cook Khichadi. Simply mix the grains, spices, oil/Ghee, water and vegetables in the rice cooker and cook it

If not cleansing, add the following for a more nutritious recipe: 1-2 tsp of sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkins seeds, flax seeds and 2-3 Almonds and/or Walnuts
Khichadi is a perfect combination of carbohydrates, protein, fat and fiber.

Organic cumin seeds, Organic coriander seeds, Organic holy basil leaf, Organic fennel seeds, Organic peppermint leaves, Organic ajwain seeds (carom seeds), Organic ginger root and Organic black pepper.

Organic Khichadi

Organic Quinoa Khichadi

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

30 Day Yoga Challenge

Yoga is a lifestyle, and there are many different ways you can incorporate yoga into your daily life. Try this 30-day yoga challenge and get a month’s worth of transformational practices and ideas. You can add to your practice from the previous day or do one each day.

Day 1

Get out your yoga mat and do three sets of Sun Salutations (Surya Namaskar). Count in pairs, starting with the right foot back first and then the left foot. You’ll be doing a total of six. (Third limb of yoga: asana

Day 2

For five minutes, practice the three-part breath, Dirgha, and the Ujjayi breath. (Fourth limb of yoga: pranayama)

Day 3  

Practice ahimsa or non-violence. Be non-violent in thought and deed. Everything about your being is to emulate non-harming, not even to a bug. Try not to hold onto any thoughts of anger, revenge, or lack of forgiveness. (First limb of yoga: yamas)

Day 4

Work on three balance postures: tree pose (Vrikshasana), standing bow or dancer’s pose (Dandayamana Dhanurasana), and eagle’s pose (Garudasana). Make sure you practice on both legs and not just the one that’s easy. (Third limb of yoga: asana)

Day 5

Practice satya, truthfulness. Go throughout your day in truth or stay silent. Pay attention to when you’re tempted to tell a lie, even a small one. (First limb of yoga: yamas)

Day 6

Do 10 minutes of the Satnam meditation to settle your mind. (Seven limb of yoga: dhyana)

Day 7

Increase your sets of the Sun Salutations to 6 or 12 in all. Try to practice a few with your eyes closed. (Third limb of yoga: asana and fifth limb of yoga: pratyahara)

Day 8

Do 10 minutes of pranayama in the morning and in the evening. Start with Dirgha, progress to theUjjayi breath, and finish with alternate nostril breathing, Nadi Shodhana(Fourth limb of yoga:pranayama)

Day 9

Focus your attention on one goal all day today. Do not let your thoughts waver. Keep your thoughts positive about your one goal. One-pointed attention will help you attain it. (Sixth limb of yoga: dharana)

Day 10

See your world from a different perspective. Work on inversions today. Any pose where your head is lower than your heart is an inversion. Examples are downward-dog pose (Adho Mukha Shvanasana), bridge pose (Setu Bandhasana), shoulder stand (Sarvangasana) and plow pose (Halasana). (Third limb of yoga: asana

Day 11

Take 15 minutes today to read and absorb a piece of spiritual literature. It could be related to your religion, poetry, or anything that inspires you. (Second limb of yoga: niyamas-svadhyana)

Day 12

Use the Satnam mantra to do a walking meditation for 15 to 20 minutes today. (Seventh limb of yoga: dhyana

Day 13

Practice lying down poses on your back. Start with knees-to-chest pose (Pavanamuktasana), move to supine spinal twist twist (Supta Matsyendrasana) and finish will your legs up on the wall. (Third limb of yoga: asana)

Day 14

Increase your sets of Sun Salutations to 7 or 14 in all. (Third limb of yoga: asana)

Day 15

Practice Brahmacharya. Channel your sexual and creative energy in a positive way. Be open to your creative potential and know that you are as creative as your Creator. (First limb of yoga:yamas)

Day 16

Today is spinal twist day. Practice your twists such as seated spinal twist (Ardha Matsyendrasana) or reclining open leg twist (Supta Matsyendrasana). (Third limb of yoga: asana)

Day 17  

Turn off as many electronic devices as you can throughout the day. Try to eat at least one meal in silence. (Fifth limb of yoga: pratyahara)

Day 18

Practice the warrior series (Virabhadrasana). Do a flow from Warrior II to Exalted Warrior to Warrior I. (Third limb of yoga: asana)

Day 19

Practice your pranayama series from day eight and add the bhastrika or the bellows breath at the beginning of the series. Make sure you practice this one on an empty stomach. (Fourth limb of yoga: pranayama)

Day 20

Cultivate the practice of Aparigraha, generosity. Go through your closet and give away objects that you no longer need. Also, give away something you don’t really want to give away. Finally, lend a material object to someone that you normally wouldn’t lend. (First limb of yoga: yamas)

Day 21

Get your cardio on. Put on some upbeat yoga music and do your Sun Salutations for 20 minutes straight to get a cardio workout. (Third limb of yoga: asana)

Day 22

Spend today being entirely grateful for everything in your life. With an attitude of gratitude, you’ll be practicing santosha or contentment. (Second limb of yoga: niyamas)

Day 23

Practice Karma Yoga, which is yoga of service. Do random acts of kindness all day today. (First limb of yoga: yamas)

Day 24

Do poses on all fours for your spine. Try Cow pose (Bitilasana), Cat pose (Marjaryasana), Wag the Tail pose (Khanjanasana), Twisted Table-Top pose and Child’s pose (Balasana). (Third limb of yoga:asana)

Day 25

Shoucha means purity. Choose experiences today that are pure. Try going without artificial foods. Get outside to breathe in fresh air. Stay away from gossip. (Second limb of yoga: niyamas)

Day 26  

Open up your sixth chakra, your center of intuition, with the bee breath (Bhramari) and alternate nostril breathing (Nadi Shodhana). (Fourth limb of yoga: pranayama)

Day 27

Do your 20 minutes of Sun Salutations, adding Standing Bow pose (Dandayamana Dhanurasana) and ending in Crocodile pose (Makarasana). (Third limb of yoga: asana)

Day 28

Have a Namasté Day today. The essence of namasté is honoring the soul within all other beings. Look into everyone’s eyes you meet to day and bid them a silent, “Namasté.”

Day 29

Get an eye pillow or a rolled-up towel to put over your eyes and lie down in Savasana, or corpse pose, for 10 minutes. (Third limb of yoga: asana)

Day 30

“Tapas”means austerity or discipline. If you’ve made it to today, it shows that you have the fire within and the tenacity of tapas. Keep going on the right track and integrate meditation,pranayama, and yoga into your daily routine. (Second limb of yoga: niyamas)


Tuesday, September 6, 2016

4 Key Nutrients in Your Leafy Greens

Do you wrinkle your nose at the thought of eating more leafy green vegetables each day? While leafy greens may be an acquired taste, they are one of the most important foods that you can consume to benefit your health. You have plenty of options to choose from—such as spinach, kale, swiss chard, romaine lettuce, arugula, and collard greens.  
If you need extra motivation to stock your fridge with these nutritional powerhouses, here are four top nutrient groups available in leafy greens that can provide a plethora of health benefits.  

1. Vitamins and Minerals 

Leafy greens are extremely high in a variety of vitamins and minerals, including the following. 
    • Vitamin K: Can help prevent osteoporosis and inflammatory diseases.
    • Vitamin A: Plays an important role in vision, bone growth, reproduction, cellular function, and immunity. 
    • Vitamin E: Is important for immune and metabolic processes. Some studies have shown the potential for vitamin E to help preserve vision and reduce risk of heart disease, but further research is needed to confirm these benefits.
    • Vitamin C: Promotes healing, helps the body absorb iron, and plays an important role in the health of skin, bones, and connective tissue. 
    • Folate: Only 50 percent of the folate you consume is actually bioavailable, or absorbable by your body. (Note that some of the following benefits were experienced through supplementation with folic acid, which is the synthetic folate form present in supplements and fortified foods and has a higher level of bioavailability but can also cause negative reactions.) Folate can: 
      • Improve fertility for men and women
      • Promote normal fetal development 
      • Decrease risk of dementia
      • Lower risk for colorectal cancer
      • Lower cholesterol levels 
    • Magnesium: Decreases risk of developing type 2 diabetes and osteoporosis, and can reduce frequency of migraines and lower blood pressure. 
    • Potassium: Plays an important role in the function of every cell in the body. Is involved with heart function and muscle contraction. May help prevent osteoporosis. 
    • Calcium: Is important for bone health. Could potentially protect from cardiovascular disease and cancer, although research is inconclusive.  

2. Fiber 

Leafy greens are not only high in important vitamins and minerals: They can also help you reach your recommended daily intake of fiber, which is approximately 38 grams per day for men and approximately 25 grams per day for women. For reference, one cup of spinach provides 0.7 grams of fiber, and one cup of romaine lettuce provides one gram of fiber. 
It’s important to consume the recommended daily amount, or more, of fiber, for a variety of benefits. Fiber may help
    • Protect against cardiovascular disease
    • Prevent diabetes
    • Serve as a laxative
    • Control appetite
    • Prevent colorectal cancer
Fiber is also critical to feeding your gut microbes. If you don’t get enough fiber, some microbes can die and others can eat the mucus lining in your stomach, as indicated through a study that was presented at a Keystone Symposia conference on the gut microbiome in 2015. 
When the bacteria in your digestive tract metabolize fiber, they produce short chain fatty acids, which may help: 

3. Phytonutrients 

Phytonutrients are compounds found in leafy greens (along with other vegetables and fruits) and include carotenoids, flavonoids, and lignans. Phytonutrients are thought to provide a variety of health benefits, including:  
    • Lower risk of heart disease
    • Decreased risk of cancer
    • Lower risk of macular degeneration

4. Chlorophyll

Chlorophyll is the term for several green pigments that are found in plants. Chlorophyll plays a vital role in plant photosynthesis (during which plants absorb energy from light), and it also may provide the following benefits to health: 
    • Accelerate wound healing
    • Help prevent cancer
    • Detoxify the liver
    • Boost the immune system
    • Help treat anemia  
Because the type and amount of nutrients vary within each leafy green, it’s important to consistently rotate through a variety of them to make sure you’re exposing yourself to the wide spectrum of their health benefits.