Tag Archives: yoga way of life

More about Surya Namaskar…

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So many confusion come to students with the words Surya Namaskar. Many believe that they are doing classic Hatha Yoga Surya Namaskar, but in reality its just a variations)))

Today, many yoga teachers present different variations of the Surya Namaskar, and many believe that what they presenting in the class is actually the classic one, I was in such class))) those teacher believe in what they are saying, because at the yoga teacher course, thats the way they learn it.

So many variations of Surya Namaskar this days, for example Ashtanga yoga has Surya Namaskar A and Surya Namaskar B; another example is Hatha Yoga Surya Namaskar with the plank. Different schools of Yoga teaching different variations of the Surya Namaskar and even given different names to the asanas.

 

 Surya Namaskar or the Sun Salutation is one of the most well-known yoga routines.  The routine consists of 12 forward and backward bending movements that stretch and flex the spinal column. It’s not that difficult to learn, and great for beginners who are looking to introduce themselves to yoga.
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Surya Namaskar asanas as in classic yoga scriptures:
Pranamasana
Hasta Uttanasana
Pada Hastasana
Ashwa Sanchalanasana
Paravatasana
Sashtanga Namaskar
Bhujangasana
Parvatasana
Ashwa Sanchalanasana
Pada Hastasana
Hasta Uttanasana
Pranamasana

The above constitutes one round of Surya Namaskar. Rest for few seconds before starting the second round. Surya Namaskar, like most asanas, is recommended to be performed on an empty stomach. It is generally practiced in the morning before breakfast or in evening.

Practising up to 6 rounds is more beneficial. However, increase rounds gradually and steadily and never go beyond your capacity.

Synchronizing your breathing with the movements of the body is very important. The basic breathing principle is to inhale during backward bending postures and exhale during forward bending postures.

It is recommended that Surya Namaskar be done slowly with complete awareness of breathing. When the exercises are done a little quickly, the gain is more physical whereas if they are done slowly with breath awareness, the gain is more mental and spiritual.

to be continued…

Love and Light!

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Introduction to Pranayama, part 4

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Though many pranayama techniques are not that difficult physically, sustaining a practice and developing the mind can be tricky. Here are six pointers for getting started, and for improving, sustaining, and deepening your practice.

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Steadiness of body: The body must be comfortably motionless for a prolonged period of time, and yet support alertness, breath control, and mental focus. Asana practice is essential for pranayama, partly because it’s nearly impossible to maintain a balanced, still, comfortable sitting posture for any length of time without it. Just as importantly, asana activates and integrates the flow of prana, helps us develop the capacity to direct prana with bandhas (energy locks), trains the body to breathe diaphragmatically, and develops sensitivity to inner states of being. Preferred sitting postures for pranayama are sukhasana (easy pose), svastikasana (auspicious pose), and padmasana (lotus pose), but sitting on a chair is also an option.

Diaphragmatic breathing: Just as your sitting posture is the foundation for the body in pranayama practice, diaphragmatic breathing is the foundation for the breath. This is where deliberate training of the breath begins in earnest. Don’t assume that because you have been practicing yoga for years, you are breathing diaphragmatically. Our breathing patterns are typically subconscious—controlled by persistent habits that are out of our awareness.

Balanced lifestyle: Avoid too much or too little food, too much or too little sleep, and too much or too little mental and physical activity. Be regular in your lifestyle habits. A fresh, nourishing diet is particularly important.

Mental/emotional stability: emotional balance: “To get the benefit of pranayama, you must be steady in thought, speech, and action. Without some measure of contentment in life, pranayama brings misery.”

Regularity: In general, the benefits of yoga accrue from consistent, systematic practice for long periods of time. “If one practices pranayama continuously for a year, he is sure to attain wisdom,” writes Swami Rama, a modern master who demonstrated extraordinary control over his body’s autonomic functions. “With regulation of the breath,” he continues, “karma acquired both in this life and in the past may be burnt up.”

Inner focus: Success in yoga depends on this. Becoming sensitive to the flow of breath, the subtlety of the breath, and finally the suspension of the breath, leads you to awareness of the force behind the breath—prana. Awareness of prana is the thread that links you to deeper states of mental awareness, independent of the physical body and the senses. This is the beginning of mastering the mind.

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to be continued…

 

Love and Light!

Introduction to Pranayama, part 3

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To understand the yogic breath, we have to observe the natural breathing in an infant. As babies we breathe naturally, without any distortions. If you look at a baby during sleep, the breath is slow and rhythmic. The belly goes up and down, expanding and contracting with ease. This is a fully relaxed breath.

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When we are relaxed, we breathe from our abdomen. When we are tense, the breath tends to be short and comes from the chest and the neck region. The contraction and expansion of the abdomen is caused by the diaphragm moving up and down. The air is only filled in the lungs. But the belly movements are caused by a pressure difference due to the movement of the diaphragm. A full deep breath happens when the diaphragm moves downwards causing the belly to expand fully, along with the chest and the neck region.

What causes unnatural breathing habits?

Yogic breath is not just breathing from the belly. It is a complete breath. A complete breath involves breathing from the abdomen, chest and neck. This is the natural way to utilize the full capacity of the lungs, which includes abdominal expansion, thoracic expansion and clavicular (neck region) expansion.

Now, this relaxed full breath can get disturbed when we are tense or stressed out. During stress, we tend to breathe more from the chest and neck. Over a period of time this may become a habit, and we forget the natural relaxed way of breathing.

Natural breathing is also distorted by bad work postures. Observe yourself when you are working on the computer and see how different postures affect your breathing. By observation and awareness of our movements and postures, we can correct these postures and develop natural, healthy breathing habits.

It is also observed that women tend to breathe from the chest and neck during pregnancy. This is natural, as the diaphragm will make adjustments to its movements to accommodate the additional weight of the fetus. What happens is that after pregnancy too, many women tend to breathe from the chest and neck (clavicular breathing) due to this acquired habit.

All this can be easily corrected by creating awareness and practicing complete yogic breathing.

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“Three-part deep breathing is the foundation of all the yogic breathing techniques,” Karunananda says. “Studies have shown that you can take in and give out seven times as much air—that means seven times as much oxygen, seven times as much prana—in a three-part deep breath than in a shallow breath.”

to be continued…

Love and Light!

Introduction to Pranayama part 1

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A yogi measures the span of life by the number of breaths, not by the number of years. – Swami Sivananda

One of my favorite quotes, that how I would like to start today’s article. First  I will write about prana….What makes any motion possible: the blink of an eye, the splitting of atoms or the fall of a meteor? Thousands of years ago, the yogis that were living in Himalayas fathomed the inherent quality of motion in creation and they called it prana. Prana, to translate means energy or vital force, however, the word prana assumes the quality of “livingness”. From the yogic point of view, the entire cosmos is alive and throbbing with prana. Everything, all beings, living or non-living, exist due to prana. The Kathopanishad (2:3:2) said: This whole world – whatever there is – vibrates having originated from prana. In Hatha Yoga Pradipika (2:2) we can find out: When prana moves, chitta (consciousness) moves. When prana is without movement, chitta is without movement.

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Often, the word prana is translates as breath, however, prana is not the air that one breathes. Yogis have proved that one can stop breathing for long periods of time and yet continue to live. I love the story about disciple of Saraswati, from Rishikesh. With the disciple scientists did experiment in USA, by putting him in glass room with no air supply, closed his ears and nose, put wax all over his body, that his skin cant breath and scientists ask the disciple to play tabula. In the same room with the man, scientist put lid candle and a monkey))) In 3 minutes candle went off, in 15 minutes monkey fainted, however, the man continue to play on tabula for another 40 minutes. Researchers put a coin on the shaved head of the disciple and notice that coin was popping up and down. Also, they placed microphone against different parts of the body, and everyone could hear aloud constant sound like that of a waterfall. That sound was a movement of prana, that explains one continues to live as long as the pranas are active, even if one stops breathing.

To end today article, it will be again the quote:

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Yoga and frozen shoulder

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Frozen shoulder, not its not when you in the winter freeze))) actually ironically, frozen shoulder is inflamed, and inflammation is usually is a hot process in the body. However, I would like to raise this topic, because many people, many of yoga students have problems with the shoulders, injuries, and frozen shoulder.

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Technically frozen shoulder called Adhesive capsilitis of shoulders, where itis means inflamed, the fibrous capsule that surrounds the shoulder joint is swollen, hot and painful; adhesive – scar tissue that forms between the folds of the capsule. The tightened capsule limits the full movement of the shoulder into flexion, abduction and rotation. Usually its common in women (again in women, like women is not suffering enough((( menstruation, pms, cramps, hot flashes, menopause and many more things) between the ages of 40 and 60, when hormonal changes appears. The process of healing is slow even under the best of circumstances, and some reports saying, even if you do nothing at all, it will go away, little bit longer though, and mostly will take into chronic state.

What is report on the frozen shoulder?! How you can identify, if you dont have a doctor next to you….firstly, you will have stiff and painful shoulder, secondly, you will have difficulties to do: arms over head, held out your hands to the sides in standing poses and finally, bearing weight in Sun salutation will be very uncomfortable. I believe you can find more of symptoms, I am giving you just three, I think major)))

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Now the question what to do?! You can use acupuncture and put some ice, it can help.

However if we are talking about yoga, then…. first of all WARM UP YOUR BODY always before any physical activity. Will write with points, I love to put bullets in my article, and in my notes, its king of order, the importance is always in order))

  • Work at the point where you have significant sensation of stretch, or even discomfort. If you dont push a little into the scary place, you will not make any progress!! You can ask what about Ahimsa…do not harm… I am not telling you to go into unbearable pain, just little where you will feel uncomfortable. From my own experience, we love ourselves, usually to go more deeper into any asana, we will stay in our comfort zone, even if you have another 2 cm to move more into forward bend pose…why? because we love ourselves))))we love to be comfortable, and after we get that magic kick from the teacher, we are like wow, I can go more deeper, and still I feel almost comfortable as before…
  • Holding a breath is a sure sign of resistance! The tightening and guarding of muscles trying to protect themselves from injury during an overaggressive stretch. The answer, breath, always breath, the more deeper your breathing is better! And, if you feel big resistance, your heart started to pump, you start to feel anxiety, dont push, always listen to your body!!
  • Bearing the light weight on your arms will warm up the shoulders and begin some strengthening.
  • Isometric strengthening is good!!! The muscle is working but not changing the length.
  • Start with easiest pose, the one that on your knees  and hands, table pose. Lift each arm forward and up a little off the floor (if you can lift each arm without pain you are ready to progress to transitions from Downward Facing dog to Plank pose and back).
  • Try Downward Facing dog with hands on the chair seat to ease pressure on your shoulders.
  • A typical frozen shoulder can only flex (bring the arm forward and up) to just above horizontal, and abduct (bring the arm out to the side and up) to just below horizontal.
  • To restore the normal range, you must work carefully, with patience and persistence.
  • Do your stretches in a comfortable position, for example lying on the floor. Learning to relax shoulder muscles while lying on the floor, will helps your body unlearn the guarding, tightening response that automatically accompanies pain).

What asanas are recommended?!  Garudasana or Eagle pose, Paschim Namaskarasana, Ustrasana or Camel pose? Dhanurasana or Bow pose, Purvottanasana  or Upward Plank pose.

  1. You can sit in Vajrasan pose, raise your shoulders up with inhalation and down with exhalation, do it 10 times.

2. Continue sitting in Vajrasan pose, rotate the shoulders back to front and reverse front to back, 10 times.

3. Sitting in Vajrasan pose put your fingers on the shoulders, rotate back to front and reverse, 10 times.

4. Stand up on your knees, cross your arms in front, while inhaling, raise them up over the head, exhale bring them down from the sides, 7 times. Do the same, but start from the sides, 7 times.

5. Back to Vajrasan pose, inhale and raise your arms up over the head, press the palms together as hard as you can, keep pressing, bring them in front of your chest with exhalation, 10 times.

6. Sitting in Vajrasan pose, do Garudasana (Eagle) hands, count 3 breaths, repeat other side. Do each side no less than 3 times.

7. Sitting in Vajrasan pose, do Gomukhasana (Cow) hands, count 3 breaths, repeat other side. Do each side no less than 3 times.

8. Parvatasana or Mountain pose.

This small sequence will help you if you have any problems with the shoulders, remember to do each asana slowly, with the breathing pattern. Its always good to speak to a doctor before any exercise you are planning to do. However, the best doctor is your body and your mind, listen to it, observe it, love it.

Love and Light!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Plantar Fasciitis and Yoga

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Today I would like to share  with you what I know about Plantar Fasciitis, what is that, what you can do to feel better, and how yoga can help you in every day life. Many will think why this topic, why not diabetes or pregnancy or asthma…in one of my classes I got a woman, aged around 50, and I notices that she was mostly sitting in the class and her face showed signs of pain. So, I asked her what the problem? And she shared.. very important to have communication with your yoga students, you need to learn what is the health issue the person may have and depends on that, you as a teacher, can create an individual practice for such person. Its not fun just to sit in a yoga class and do nothing.

What is Plantar Fasciitis? Plantar fasciitis is a cause of pain under the heel. It usually goes in time. Plantar fasciitis means inflammation of your plantar fascia. Your plantar fascia is a strong band of tissue (like a ligament) that stretches from your heel (calcaneum) to your middle foot bones. It supports the arch of your foot and also acts as a shock-absorber in your foot.

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You are more likely to injure your plantar fascia in certain situations. For example:

  • If you are on your feet for a lot of the time, or if you do lots of walking, running, standing, etc, when you are not used to it or have previously had a more sedentary lifestyle.
  • If you have recently started exercising on a different surface – for example, running on the road instead of a track.
  • If you have been wearing shoes with poor cushioning or poor arch support.
  • If you are overweight – this will put extra strain on your heel.
  • If there is overuse or sudden stretching of your sole. For example – athletes who increase running intensity or distance; poor technique starting ‘off the blocks’, etc.
  • If you have a tight Achilles tendon (the big tendon at the bottom of your calf muscles above your heel). This can affect your ability to flex your ankle and make you more likely to damage your plantar fascia.

Small review to understand what we are dealing with today in our article. However, lets go to a part, what asanas you can do in this situation:

  1. Stretch lower keg, Yastikasana is very good for that
  2. Vajrasana – 2 times a day for a few minutes
  3. Supta Virasana
  4. Kneeling pose (sitting on flexed pose)
  5. One legged dog pose
  6. Warrior 1
  7. Adho Mukha Svanasana
  8. Utkatasana
  9. Baddha Konasana
  10. Tadasana
  11. Malasana with bend forward
  12. Viparit Karani
  13. Paschimottanasana
  14. Upavista Konasana

Other recommendations that you can do at home, are:

  • roll tennis ball under your foot daily
  • soak your feet in the hot water
  • put heating pad on the calves and after massage your calves
  • do not walk barefoot at home
  • wear shoes with support
  • take fish oil capsules, 2 capsules each meal

Take care of your health, love your body and stay healthy!

Love and Light!

Yoga on menstrual cycle(part 2)

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Yoga it is not just asanas, its much more..pranayam, meditation, kriyas or cleansing techniques, yoga is a way of life. So, last article was part 1 on the yoga on menstrual cycle, and today is part 2.

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We will go more deeply to understand what to do and what to suggest to our yoga students, or if you are a yoga student))) its good to have a knowledge on such topic.

Lets start))) Pranayam on menstrual cycle. What pranayam helps us with?! It helps to balance the emotions and calm the mind, can also help one to deal with the pain. Most important you need to remember on period do not strain with the breath, no kumbakh and no bandhas…because it will increase heat and redirect the prana in the upward direction! Do you need that? Definitely not.

Deep breath is very beneficial, especially in Pond Pose (Tadagasana – lying on the floor with bend knees) or Shavasana. What types of pranayama is good to do on menstruation days: Bhramari (Humming Bee Breath), Anulom Vilom, Ujjayi (Victorious Breath), Sheetali ( cooling breath throught the tongue) and Sitkari (cooling brath through the teeth).

Avoid fast breathing, pranayams such as: Bhastrika (Bellows Breath), Surya Bhedan (Right Nostril Breathing), Kapalabhati (Frontal Brain cleansing) and Agnisar…as it may cause heavier bleeding and will put excessive pressure on the abdominal region.

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Its very therapeutic to do meditation on Om, do Om chanting or chanting of personal mantra. You can try simple meditation on the breath. The practice of inner silence is a technique where one observes ones thoughts called Antar mouna, very good to do on your menstrual cycle. However, I found Yoga Nidra  is the most soothing practice in this time, let go, surrender, relax, and be aware of the present moments))

Another question can arise about cleansing practices. Most cleansing practices should be avoided: Kapalabhati, I am repeating again, Vaman and Shankhaprakshalana. Still you can enjoy Jala Neti and Trataka practices.

Menses is a natural time of cleansing and rejuvenation, traditionally accompanied by a time of rest or light duty. A woman’s menstrual cycle is actually the time when she is undergoing intense cleansing, rejuvenation, and detoxifying processes.Love yourself, embrace the nature, be the Light!  Take care of yourself during your period. Do the things that you enjoy.

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Love and Light!

 

 

Yoga on menstrual cycle (part 1)

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While teaching yoga classes, I notice that many of yoga students dont know what asanas, pranayamas and cleansing techniques they should do or not do on the menstrual cycles. Even in a yoga teacher training, that question is not really covered fully. I was there, I know.

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Questions arises all the time, and it is good if your yoga teacher is qualified enough to give you good advice and share the knowledge on that topic.

What is menstruation ?! It is time of introversion, acceptance and balance.

First 2 days accept the nature)) just do pranayams, Yoga Nidra and meditation, no asanas for those 2 days. From the day 3, do not push or strain in your practice, instead do some more gentle poses, but hold them for a little longer. I prefer to do Restorative Yoga practice or Yin Yoga, with those practices you feel nurturing and opening, you feel safe. You can do gentle Surya  Namaskar, however Chandra Namaskar will be more soothing. Gentle forward bends will give a light massage to the abdominal and pelvic region, helping to relieve congestion, heaviness, cramping and heavy bleeding, also it will bring calmness to the mind.

You can do asanas such as: Paschimottanasana, Ardha Paschimottanasana, Upavishta Konasana, Child Pose, Hare/Moon Pose and Uttanasana. Practice with half of your capacity, and its good to use props in your practice, such as bolsters, blocks, blankets etc. Gentle twisting poses can remove back pain, cramping and congestion, do Vakrasan pose or gentle Matsyendrasana with the leg in front. Gentle backbends, especially when supported, can alleviate back pain and pelvic discomfort, try supported Supta Vajrasana and supported Supta Baddha  Konasana. Leg up the wall or Viparita Karani without lifting your hips up is an amazing asana for your days of month. Other asanas that help to remove back pain and pelvic tension are Cat Pose (Marjariasana) and Tiger pose (Vyagrasana). To tone your pelvis do Baddha Konasana pose and to relieve back pain try simple gas release pose (Sulabh Pavanmuktasana) with knees apart, you can do simple tortoise pose (Sulabh Koormasana) and Simple Pigeon pose.

What asanas to avoid?

Inversions, strong backbends, strong twists and arm balances, strong vinyasa, power yoga, bandhas. And if you have a lot of bleeding and a lot of pain, dont do Surya Namaskar. To be more specific, avoid unsupported backbends, Padangushtasana, Garudasana,Utthita Parsvakonasana, Malasana, Ardha Chandrasana, Natarajasana, Tadasana, Utkatasana, Utthita Padangustasana,Utthita Trikonasana and Low Lunge (Anjaneyasana).

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Accept. Love. Nurture. Be the Light!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sugar Detox. Day 13. Diary.

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Its almost over, the Sugar Detox for 14 days, 2 weeks))) Today is day number 13….time flew…and we are closed to the end of the challenge. As , I wrote before that I will not write diary everyday. because its actually nothing to write much about.

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I will sum all the days that I didnt write about.  So, till day number 7, I felt amazing, even when I could see everyday chocolates and cookies around me, and can see and smell coffee with milk((( I was strong, I still strong…but on the day 7, I felt desire for something sweet, and I was craving it actually, so I had not two fruits, but 3))) and another days I felt like sweets as well…

My mother in law has birthday, and double chocolate cake was right there, such a temptation, however nothing happened. Still on the challenge, didnt have a piece!

Everyday some really good , kick ass exercise was right there, plus yoga practice. On the 13th day, I feel lighter, however my weight is the same))) but, my stomach got muscles, core is stronger, I lost few inches on my belly zone…I like what I see in the mirror, and I feel that my cloth are little loose now. I got more energy for sure, still having coffee, and I kind of okay, that it had no sugar…that another point, that human being get used to the things that are available in his everyday life.

About skin, as many magazines and internet articles writing will be clean and glow, this time I dont see that. I think, this time because I didnt took away roti (indian bread), the challenge didnt work as last time. So, to have clean face and glowing skin, person in my situation need to stop eating any bread as well!! Experience.

However, I really enjoyed the challenge, as it made me feel better, i create more strong will power, and every challenge make you stronger and indifferent to things around you. Its not just about sugar, its about everything that you are surrounded. You understand that you can live without many things and still you can be happy, you can be healthy and you can be strong.

Some people are criticizing when other people do challenges, even calling challenge the stupid thing to do, however, in my opinion, those people have no will power, and its much easier to call something stupid, than to try and do it. So, no judging anyone, you want to do it…than do it… don’t listen what other people will say, you do it, because you want to be healthy and strong…

Be the change!

Love and Light!

 

Sugar Detox. Day 4.

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As I am writing diary of sugar detox, my yoga articles on the waiting line. So, I decide that I will share my experience on sugar detox once in 3-4 days. It is not much to write actually, life goes on, body adjust to be without any sweet product, I am not craving for them, doing my exercise routine everyday, spending time in reading and observing the nature and myself.

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What is going on day 4? I notice: I wake up earlier, my day is much longer than usually. I dont feel sleepy or tired in the middle of the day. My day is on tea now and not on coffee. I tried to have one cup of coffee, however, I didnt feel good after drink it. Day 5 will be definitely on tea. Wow, I am turning to a tea lady)) not bad. Looks like the body doing very good cleansing, as I was thinking that I am having 4 cups of coffee everyday and i need to reduce the number of the cups. The nature doing that for me.

Exercise of the day, were abs crunches, two ways, side ways and straight. Plus I repeat the exercise from the day 1))) will see how my calves will feel tomorrow.

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Headache is gone, and I think that because my fluid intake is more than before. So, I will say that intake of sweets in your daily life, reduce your intake of liquids, or you have not the right drinks, simply say, you dont drink enough water!

i dont think that because of the less intake of sugar, my creativity goes up))) or it has connection? I feel that I want to create something beautiful, artistic, something that when you look at it, will give you pleasure….and if we think that sugar gives us a pleasure, and create things also brings us pleasure, maybe some connection is there….am I delusional?!

Definitely I am doing more things at home, and I enjoy doing them. I create my own karma yoga of the day))) I buy 1kg of green peas or leafy fenugreek and while sitting in silence , collecting peas from they cover, or pluck the leaves of the fenugreek… in that moment, I am in the present, doing my work, with the full concentration, however monkey in my head is silent…yoga is the way of life, in our every action, in our every word, in each of our thought….

Be the change! Love and Light!