Tag Archives: Review

Childhood Favorite Brings You Fitness Fast FXP Hula Hoop

261888_10151278243135962_103699219_nI recently received a FXP Hula Hoop Fitness Set for review, I was not compensated in any way and my opinions are freely expressed.

That’s me top left in the fuchsia shirt with hoodie, right after completing my second hooping certification.  I am an average hooper – I can keep my hoop up for a prolonged time, can do fitness moves, travel, etc. I am far from hoop dancing on a stage, but I enjoy the workout and that was why I jumped at the chance to review a new fitness system that involved hooping.

Niece’s video has a high production quality and the travel hoop is the best I have experienced.  My former travel hoop has tiny screws that were constantly coming loose after use making assembly and disassembly a nightmare without a screwdriver.  The FXP hoop pieces are solid molded plastic and have no hitches. The weight of the hoop is nice too, better than my former travel hoop. Its only downfall is the very bland appearance which honestly travels through to the workout video as well.

To be fair, the workout itself is fast paced, but it really misses the fun and whimsy that drew me to hooping.  I know hooping can be over the top, hoopers are up there with bellydancers for pageantry, costumes, etc.  I wasn’t expecting that but it would have been nice to have some more uplifting music or a more interesting set.  The feel was middle aged pilates class.  Before you say “hey now!”, that is my personal demographic too, but I don’t want to feel like I’ve come to a geriatric fitness class – I want a bit of fun. With hooping I want a little over the top, it doesn’t have to be over the edge, just make me feel alive and relevant.

Personal feel aside, the only other problem I had with the video is that there was never reverse hooping, and important skill and necessity to keep the body in balance.  The legs were switched periodically but in my training there were horror stories of hoopers who never switched directions and caused them selves some pelvic and muscular issues.

My kit came with a hoop, carry bag, DVD, and quick exercise poster.  It also included a small piece of matting that was labeled “non slip hoop surface” but beats me how it would help, being approximately a 4 x 4 inch square – literally my toes fit on it. FXP offers an array of Hula Hoop Kits – These specially designed kits come equipped with everything needed to help women reach their specific goals.  Choose from five kits including: FXP Starter Kit, FXP Cardio Sculpt, Total Body Makeover, Total Body Makeover Plus, and Create Your Own. Each kit comes with retractable hoop, carry bag, DVDs, guides and more! Kits start at an affordable $49.94.

Other ways to connect to fitness through FXP include:

Hula Hoop Level 1 Teacher Training – Designed for trainers by trainers, it’s the first step in teaching FXP Fitness classes. Trainers receive the highest level of individual support in the industry, from business tools and webinars to lesson plans and troubleshooting support. Training is $250 with discounts for groups and military.. More Info here.

Hula Hoop Life Diet Nutrition Program – Provides access to expert nutritionists, meal planning guides, recipes, support, and more.

Mobile App – The perfect way to access FXP programs while away from home. Provides free workout guides and optional premium content. Available on iOS and Android devices.

FXP Fitness was programmed by internationally respected fitness leader, Niece Pecenka, to help users shed pounds, lose inches from their waistlines, and sculpt their bodies all while having fun!

For more information, please visit www.fxpfitness.com

I leave you with an explantation of the fitness system’s development “FXP Fitness was born from the idea that fitness should be an enjoyable, accessible experience that yields great results. It is a low to no impact program inspired by proven methods such as pilates, barre, and yoga, and combines them into a high intensity interval training system…all while using the specially designed fitness hula hoop. Perfect for toning arms, strengthening legs, and slimming middles, FXP is designed for ”all ages and all stages” and is backed by a recent metabolic study on the effectiveness of the FXP hula hoop and workout DCDs. Plus, its curriculum is easily modifiable to fit tight schedules, tight spaces, and lifestyles continuously on-the-go.”

Remember, any fitness program can work if you stick with it!

Yoga Class Pet Peeves and Why They Should Matter to Teachers

Having been a practitioner for many years now, and a studio owner/teacher for 10 years, I find I can rarely go to class without assessing the quality of the instruction.  Recently I attended a class at my new gym, which I love.  The instructor seemed like a really nice woman too, but probably not the most professional and that really did affect my external experience. Here are some of my pet peeves (from this class and others) and why they should matter as a teacher, or a student.

1. Entering class noisily and without decorum. When you enter your class it should be peaceful, not in a loud boisterous way, talking with one of your “friends”/students about how wasted everyone was, how you washed his pajama bottoms for him, how stoned you were, etc. just isn’t serene, doesn’t set a nice mood and honestly is too personal to be professional.

2. Hollering – and I mean loudly – at everyone who enters the class (especially when late) to “check” they are actually there (eg: “OMG – is that YOU Holly?!?!”).   Everyone likes to be acknowledged in class, quietly walking up to students to greet them is great for building rapport – ignoring new students – not so much.  My all time pet peeve? Accusingly asking students, “Did you pay for class and sign in up front? I checked the list before I got here and I didn’t SEE any new names,” without introducing yourself, yeah – you probably won’t see too many more new names.

3. Starting class with some long winded discussion about the new moon, how you’re a hippy, and other things that have nothing to do with yoga and are more about yourself and your own life.  Especially annoying when you start forcing your feelings on everyone else by making broad sweeping generalizations and statements.  Not everyone feels the same way you do, get over it, yoga isn’t about proselytizing and you need to meet your students where they are at, not where you think everyone should be.

4. Never looking up from your mat, or even better, never opening your eyes during class.  Personally I’m at the point in my practice where I don’t need someone to correct me, my proprioceptors work pretty well, however; when half your class has a quizzical look on their faces and you haven’t noticed it or more than half have their elbows way too wide for headstand – you may want to get off your own head and check around, do your job, teach a class – try NOT to need your insurance.  Again, professionalism and safety of others – I don’t care if you can do a handstand in the middle of the floor, I’d prefer not to hear people breaking their toes as they kick themselves wildly into the wall to try it too.

5. Mentioning how hung over you are in class.  Do I need to discuss this one? I am quite forgiving of teachers who haven’t mastered all of the poses – I surely haven’t – but I never fall over in a pose or have poor balance because I am hung over and I don’t think I should win a prize for that – its just professionalism rearing its head again.

6. CHakra. Pronounce it correctly. Especially when you seem to be able to use other Sanskrit words like CHaturanga and ardha CHandrasana. In fact, take a class on Sanskrit or pick up a book, it’s an important part of yoga…don’t know why? You should get your money back from your teacher training.

7. Have some idea of how your class is going to go. I never taught from a lesson plan but always knew what I planned on doing and had some contingencies – or at least props near by.  You lose credibility as a teacher and trust when you start to get into a pose and then blurt out “maybe I should have thought this out, we may need props, oh well we are all at different levels – just try it and see.” In the same vain you have to be flexible enough to know when a class isn’t ready for what you thought you would offer and be able to change it up.

8. Music, no music, doesn’t bother me either way.  My teacher trainers never used music and they had solid reasons – but my students always like music so I used it.  Either way I shouldn’t have to strain to hear your instructions, AFAA and ACE both have guidelines for safe listening volumes – yeah that’s right you may want to check out a group fitness training certificate if you plan on teaching in a gym – it makes you more marketable and knowledgeable.

9. Pushing any student to go farther.  Yes, we are here to instruct, to correct, to modify and create healthy poses –  but challenging a student is really their own deal.  I’m not omnipotent so I am guessing neither are other teachers – and I’m not in my students’ bodies so how could I ever dare to verbally assault or physically assault a student into going past their comfort zone? Professional liability wise it should never be done (that’s a talk with your insurance provider), but yogic wise – as in ethically – it definitely isn’t anyone’s place to push a student past their point – the whole ahimsa thing on so many levels comes up – not to mention Patanjali’s thing about “removing the root cause of suffering a pain”… yoga is to REMOVE pain people – not create it.  Any class or teacher that says otherwise…RUN! If you are that teacher and 1).you didn’t know or weren’t told then now you know and yoga is about growth 2). if you believe otherwise do us all a favor and quit teaching.

10. No savasana.  I just hate dislike you now. If you are the student who never stays for this challenging last pose I am sorry that its importance was never truly expressed to you, but if you are the teacher withholding this from class you need to take a hard look in the mirror and ask yourself why you teach at all. I love me some savasana – it’s the whole reason I deal with all of the aforementioned crap and don’t walk out the moment you try to recollect some book you read this weekend and how you think the metaphor applies to your life (I was a literature major and an English teacher so this one is a big pet peeve, see #3) please don’t snatch the last bit of redemption away from these 90 minutes.

 

Well, that is my Top 10 List of Yoga Class Pet Peeves.  I hope you found it both humorous and informative as I find most of my opinions to be – since they’re mine.

For all of the sour right before the New Year, here’s a little sweetness from the last kids’ yoga class I taught before I moved from the Midwest to the Pacific Northwest.

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Increasing the Production of hGH with Amino Acids

I was recently contacted to review SeroVital-hGH, I did not receive any compensation and the opinions expressed are given freely. Human growth hormone has been lauded as a way to decrease wrinkles and body fat while increasing your energy and fitness to help give you that rockin’ swimsuit bod and youthful glow! SeroVital-hGH consists of a blend of amino acids to naturally increase your body’s own production of growth hormones.  Higher HGH levels are associated with youthful skin integrity, lean musculature, an increased sex drive and elevated energy production.

While HGH production supposedly can be boosted by foods such as yams, SeroVital-hGH should keep you from having to stock up on pounds of potatoes. At $99 a bottle it isn’t a small investment.  I would have loved to try this myself but I am still breastfeeding and didn’t want to potentially have any side effects for my little ones, not to mention my husband jumped at the chance to be my tester.  He is always looking for a way to trim fat, gain muscle and of course have more energy.

He took the pills every day with breakfast and did seem to be a little trimmer at the end of the supply.  We just moved to Portland OR from Chicago IL area and sadly our routine of working out has hit a wall with three kids and no caregivers.  I wish we could have seen the effects if we were working out daily. As for wrinkles, who knows, we aren’t really worried about wrinkles because we take care of ourselves – no smoking, no drinking, eating well and hydrating.  My husband does suffer from rosacea though and during the time of his trial with SeroVital-hGH his face was noticeably less inflamed.

I’m not quite sold on the product myself, I think some trials that included blood draws that monitored hGH elevation levels would definitely put me in the believer camp. The website does list a study

Abstract:

Background
The use of amino acid supplements to provoke growth hormone (GH) secretion in athletes and entertainers now extends to the general public. Not only do they have a goal of building lean tissue and reducing fat, but also in improving skin quality and other rejuvenating qualities that they believe GH can provide. Despite increasing mainstream use, evidence for whether oral amino acids stimulate GH is not clear.

Methods:
This was a cross-over, placebo-controlled randomized study. 16 (12 males; 32±14 years; 26.4±5.0 kg/m2) healthy subjects had serum GH measured at baseline and 15, 30, 60, 90 and 120 minutes after taking a single low dose proprietary amino acid supplement blend (SeroVital™) or placebo.

Results:
After 120 minutes, GH levels had increased 8-fold from baseline (0.17 to 1.33ng/ml) and were significantly higher than placebo (P=0.01). In addition, a significantly higher mean AUC was observed after taking the supplement [20.4 (95% CI: 19.9-21.0ng/ml) vs. 19.7 (95% CI: 18.7-20.6ng/ml); P=0.04].

Conclusions:
Our results show that a single oral dose of these amino acids can significantly increase GH Levels after 120 minutes in healthy men and women. Whether these GH changes persist over a longer duration or have other positive effects is being further examined.

But again, they are basing this on the ingestion of amino acid supplements and amino acids are found in the foods we eat, they have just been concentrated down into pill form – which has its pros and cons. The study does suggest that levels of hGH are raised but whether or not that will have the intended effect of reducing wrinkles I think would take a longer study period and measurement of wrinkle depth.

If you have the money to spend, it can’t hurt to attempt to reduce your wrinkles and melt fat.

Manduka’s unBlok A New Yoga Prop Trend

I received an unBlok to review, I was not compensated in anyway and the opinions expressed are my own. Below is a press release followed by my review.

MANDUKA DEBUTS INNOVATIVE, ECO-FRIENDLY, FUNCTIONAL TAKE ON A CLASSIC YOGA ACCESSORY THE unBLOK

Launch inspires unBLOK party campaign and contest‹celebrating and giving thanks to community yoga studios nationwide

LOS ANGELES (April 30, 2013) ‹Manduka, purveyor of high performance yoga gear and the #1 choice of yoga teachers worldwide, revealed today the latest addition to its innovative family of yoga mats, props and accessories‹the Recycled Foam unBLOK.  Thoughtfully designed to be the most versatile foam block in the market, the unBLOK¹s functional, sleek design, user-friendly shape and high quality eco-friendly materials will help provide yoga practitioners versatility in traditional poses, offering a deeper, more natural support throughout their practice.

Inspired by the unblocking that naturally occurs when you have a powerful yoga session, Manduka is supporting the launch with a digital campaign celebrating the community spaces that help practitioners achieve breakthroughs: local yoga studios. Kicking off today, the unBLOK party campaign and contest encourages yogis to nominate their local studio via Facebook, sharing how their favorite practice space helps them ³unblock² and return to the world with new clarity.

³Manduka’s mission is to soulfully engineer yoga gear to help people inspire the practice of yoga and find personal breakthroughs,² said Sky Meltzer, CEO Manduka.  ³Many of these breakthroughs happen in a yoga studio environment. We are encouraging our community to give thanks to the people and places who have helped them on their path, acknowledging our local studios for their huge role in our practice and our lives.²

Through the unBLOK party campaign and contest, Manduka is making it easy for practitioners to show their studio some love.  Simply:

Nominate‹Head over to Manduka¹s Facebook page and answer a few questions on your inspirational studio. Manduka will thank you with a special offer.

Select‹Manduka will select five studio nominations to feature on a dedicated landing page: www.manduka.com/unBLOKParty.  The selected studios will be outfitted in Manduka yoga gear.  Additionally, five people who nominate will be gifted with an unBLOK kit.

Vote‹The community will be encouraged to visit the unBLOK landing page to vote for their studio of choice.  The winning studio will receive additional Manduka yoga gear and an ŒunBLOK¹ party‹an in-studio experience inclusive of yoga taught by a high-profile teacher followed by a celebration with music, food and product giveaways.

Give‹Manduka will sponsor a teacher or teachers at the winning studio to do their own seva work bringing yoga to an underserved area in their local community.

Nominations are open starting today and will run through May 21.  Voting on www.manduka.com/unBLOKparty will begin May 31.

For more information on Manduka, please visit: www.manduka.com join us on Facebook www.facebook.com/mandukayoga or follow us @MandukaYoga

About Manduka Founded in 1997, Manduka was built on the simple idea that a better yoga mat can make a world of difference. Manduka strives to support and enrich the yoga community by providing premium quality mats and products while respecting employees, customers, materials, and the environment.  Created for and by yoga enthusiasts, Manduka¹s technical and purpose-driven product designs meet and often exceed the distinct needs of all practitioners.  Today Manduka¹s products, which include yoga mats, towels, yoga straps, water bottles, and bags, are sold in more than 35 countries around the world. Not only focusing on superior design, Manduka also promotes their ethos of quality, thoughtfulness and sustainability in all realms of their business.

image I decided to review the block by using it to assist in two different asanas.   For Uttitha Trikonasana I used both an unBlok and a regular block in two block positions – flat and semi upright. Coming into the pose I positioned the block to the outside of my front leg so that my wrist wound up under my shoulder. With the unBlok there were curves to the block and there was a greater amount of pressure through the top of my wrist due to the position from the curve – something I normally advise students against. This was not the case with my regular wood block that also provided a more stable base than foam. With Matsyasana though, the curve to the block provided a more gentle heart opening than the use of my standard wood blocks and of course the foam was less harsh as well.

I think the unBlok would be beneficial in certain poses but provide no added benefit in other poses.  If you are on the market to by just one block, you can pick the unBlok up – but I’m not sure I would buy one just to have one. The unBlok is made from recycled foam so that is a definite plus for those yogis who like to practice real life yoga and be eco-conscious.

Reader’s Digest Presents The Digest Diet Dining Out Guide

Follow the Breakthrough Diet On-the-Go!

NEW YORK, NY April 15, 2013 – In the New York Times bestseller The Digest Diet, Liz Vaccariello and the editors of Reader’s Digest sifted through the latest weight-loss science to develop a groundbreaking 21-day eating plan to help readers drop the pounds. Now, Reader’s Digest introduces a practical companion to help you follow the diet while you’re on-the-go, The Digest Diet Dining Out Guide.

The Digest Diet Dining Out Guide, available now for $9.99 at www.rd.com/diningoutguide and wherever books are sold, is an invaluable companion to the Digest Diet, helping you maintain and extend your weight loss results when eating out and in other tricky situations. For newcomers unfamiliar with the Digest Diet, The Digest Diet Dining Out Guide is an easy introduction and includes a summary of the three phases.

The Digest Diet Dining Out Guide tells you how to find fat-releasing meals anywhere you might eat on the go, from fast food restaurants to coffee shops to image your favorite sit-down establishments. Restaurants featured include favorites like: McDonald’s, Applebee’s, Panera Bread, Cosi, The Cheesecake Factory, Burger King, Starbucks, Subway and Chipotle, among many others, perfect for days where you do not want or do not have the time to cook at home. Weight loss does not need to be limited to eating at home and the guide is the perfect companion to a delicious and healthy night out at a restaurant.

The Digest Diet Dining Out Guide includes:

  • More than 350 meals at 60 national fast food and casual dining venues
  • A condensed version of the Digest Diet, summarizing the three phases;
  • Strategies for identifying fat-releasing foods wherever you are;
  • The best choices at different types of restaurants; and
  • New portable snack ideas for when you’re traveling, running errands, or just short on time.

“Every day, I hear from readers who have lost weight and improved their health by following the lifestyle and plan of the Digest Diet,” said author Liz Vaccariello. “As a busy working mom, I know that cooking at home is not always possible. I don’t believe that you should have to give up on dinners out to stay on a diet, and The Digest Diet Dining Out Guide is a response to that.”

Whether you’re new to the Digest Diet or looking to maintain your fabulous success away from home, The Digest Diet Dining Out Guide helps you make the slimming and healthy choices on the go.

LIZ VACCARIELLO is the editor-in-chief and chief content officer of Reader’s Digest, one of the world’s largest media brands, with 26 million readers. A journalist with 20+ years experience in health and nutrition, she’s the author of New York Times bestsellers The Digest Diet, Flat Belly Diet!, and The 400-Calorie Fix. Vaccariello regularly appears on national programs such as Good Morning America and The Doctors, and has been featured on The Biggest Loser, Today, Rachael Ray, and The View.  Previously, Liz was the editor-in-chief of Prevention. She lives in New Jersey with her husband and twin daughters. Her blog, Losing it with Liz, lives on rd.com. She has over 3,000 followers on Twitter (@LizVacc).

About Reader’s Digest

Reader’s Digest simplifies and enriches consumers’ lives by discovering and expertly selecting the most interesting ideas, stories, experiences and products in health, home, family, food, finance and humor.  Recognized by 99% of American adults, Reader’s Digest is available in print; online at ReadersDigest.com; via digital download on iPad, mobile apps, Kindle, Kindle Fire, Nook, Sony Reader and Zinio; books and home entertainment products; Facebook, Twitter and other social media outlets.

The above is a press release for The Digest Diet Dining Out Guide.  I received a copy of the book for review and was not compensated in any way.

The Digest Diet Dining Out Guide is a slim, thin book that can fit in almost any purse.  It contains quick go to sections on popular restaurants.  It is not a calorie counter – it a phase plan where you use restaurant meals and specific food combinations that are “fat releasers”. This means not every meal you might order at your favorite chain restaurant is represented in this guide.  You are given four to five meal options and told how to eat them for each phase of the diet.  I found very few meals I could eat as a vegan included in this book, even though I do eat at a few of the restaurants listed.  For the average American eater though, there should be plenty of options that would allow any individual to utilize this book.  Great for travelers who spend a lot of time away from their home kitchen, and people who like to eat out. Even if your favorite cafe isn’t listed, the beginning of the book goes over some tips for different eating environments.  Definitely a book for people who hate to diet because it means they have to stay home and measure food.

Combat Stress with Sleep and DreamWater

Mother’s Day is creeping up on us this weekend, and as any mother can attest (and dads too) parenthood can be stressful.  Long nights nursing babies, endless errands and no time for yourself can all create and environment of stress, in turn causing even more lack of sleep.

April was Stress Awareness Month. Stress can have a strong affect on health, weight, mental function and emotions and there are several tactics that can help reduce stress, leading to a healthier, happier lifestyle.

Exercise: Exercise in almost any form can relieve stress and being active boosts feel-good endorphins and distracts from daily worries.

Power Down: Being constantly connected adds a new level of stress that people are learning to deal with on a daily basis. It is important to sometimes step away from digital devices and power down for some quiet "you" time

Sleep: Research proves a good night of sleep helps you cope with daily stress and anxiety and a lack of sleep can exacerbate stressful situations. Taking imageDream Water, the first natural sleep enhancer with zero calories, natural active ingredients and no preservatives, helps drinkers relax, fall asleep and stay asleep, to wake up rejuvenated and limit stress. (Available at Wal-Mart and Amazon.com/DreamWater, $2.99/bottle)

Eat Right: Junk food and refined sugars low in nutritional value and high in calories can lead to a lack of energy and feeling sluggish. A healthy diet, low in sugar, and alcohol, can help stay healthy and reduce stress.

Limit Caffeine Intake: Studies have proven caffeine, even if ingested in the morning, can effect the body that through the evening, amplifying stress throughout the day. Limiting the intake of food/beverages with high levels of caffeine (coffee, chocolate, energy drinks, etc.) can decrease stress.

The first night I tried NightTea Night DreamWater I doubted it would work, so I went upstairs to watch TV like I normally do, within 30 minutes I could barely keep my eyelids open and at night when the kids woke up to nurse (age 1.5 and 4 – I mention this because I would not try any supplement while nursing a newborn) I was able to fall right back asleep, sometimes not even waking.  I awoke the next morning an hourly early than normal feeling really refreshed.  The second night I tried DreamWater I was trying to sew some class projects and did not make it up to bed, after an hour I went upstairs to lay down and felt disoriented and nauseous – I think you really need to be ready to fall asleep and in the correct environment because the third time I tried DreamWater I was in bed, chugged the shot bottle and fell asleep within 15 minutes.

I should point out that I don’t take anything.  I rarely pop something for a migraine unless I have somewhere to be, so that may be why these were so effective for me.  I was no fan of the flavor. I hate stevia it is way too bitter and the whole thing tasted like sour green tea with cough syrup.  That being said, it did work.  I was worried I may become addicted to sleeping with this, but since trying DreamWater it seems I have been getting on a better sleep schedule.  I wake early which causes me to go to sleep earlier – provided I don’t eat too late (heartburn keeps me up) even with the TV on (that’s a bad crutch I know), my eyelids still start to get heavy at the same time each night.

I received samples of DreamWater for review, I was not compensated in any way and all opinions expressed are my own and given freely.

Give a Gift That Gives Back @MotherTongues Tees for Mother’s Day

imageA MotherTongue is the first language or native language that one learns from birth.  In our most pure state of being born what we know, before words and sounds have meaning, is love. Our first language worldwide is that of love.  Share some words of love, hope, and peace on Twitter with MotherTongues https://twitter.com/MotherTongues and support their wonderful brand on FB https://www.facebook.com/MotherTongues 

Can you think of a better place to purchase your Mother’s Day gift from than MotherTongues? It’s not just the name of the company, or the fact that all the apparel from MotherTongues is printed with waterbased inks on Fair Trade, organic cotton, it’s that MotherTongues is committed to values such as fair trade, cultural sensitivity, ecological sustainability and economic justice.

 

  • $1 of every t-shirt or apron sold goes to the Center For Women In Transition.
  • $1 of every Sisu t-shirt is donated to the American Cancer Society.
  • MotherTongues belongs to 1% for the Planet and Green America.
  • MotherTongues buys carbon offset energy credits through NativeEnergy.

Ok, maybe you and your mom don’t care so much about the environment and others as you do about getting a comfortable tee shirt? I can accept that.  My Sisu tee shirt arrived in the mail and the first thing I noticed was the luxurious silky feel, I didn’t know cotton could be this smooth, soft and supple.  The design was fresh, crisp and moved with the fabric, sure to last after washing and wear.  The images and words printed on these shirts are all unique and definitely fun to wear, because honestly who buys a tee shirt with graphics on it to NOT get noticed?

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Here is why I picked this particular print:

sisu
the courage to be

(see-soo) n. Finnish

Sisu describes a unique personality trait as inner being informs outward doing. To have this kind of courage is to have the determination to get things done against impossible odds. With perseverance, tenacity and imagination one can take care of things. Sisu is best witnessed in others and resists precise explanation.

"Courage, sacrifice, determination, commitment, toughness, heart, talent, guts. That’s what little girls are made of; the heck with sugar and spice." – Bethany Hamilton.

the Dancing Woman story

The Dancing Woman Labyrinth was created by Lisa Gidlow Moriarty (www.DancingWomanLabyrinth.com) in response to her mother’s death to cancer and her own cancer survival. The Dancing Woman knows grief, she bears the tears and celebrates the days of joy and survival. She is a symbol of women’s strength and compassion. Her uplifted arms reach out in a supportive embrace; her wild hair suggests freedom as well as the unexpected ways hair may grow back after chemotherapy. The entrances under her arms are reminiscent of a friend’s support and protection. She dances with wild abandon in release of pain.

Having owned a metaphysical boutique for years and practicing yoga for decades, I can truly relate that anything you purchase, any symbol you hold dear has no real innate power.  The power comes from inside you, the symbol is merely a physical representation of what you are ready to manifest to the world, it is your inner voice shining a light out through your darker moments to remind you of how powerful you truly are, how ready for change you are, and how unique your soul is to the world.

Why wouldn’t you want to share the great secret of your soul with others? And what an easy and comfortable way to do it! image

 

satyagraha
my soul at peace with yours

(sa-tya-gra-ha) n. Sanskrit [satyam: truth + âgrahah: determination, insistence]
Build a community where truth, openness, and self-sacrifice create non-violence. Mahatma Gandhi coined Satyagraha to describe his philosophy of non-violent resistance in South Africa and India. Satyagraha – a force of love – is a relentless and persistent search for truth. Expose social, political, economic, and interpersonal violence in your community. Experience a change of heart and see with new eyes. As you wear this t-shirt, envision walking alongside Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, Oscar Romero and Mother Teresa – persons who had infinite patience, abundant faith in others, and ample hope.

There are many different words to choose from and I suggest you head over to the MotherTongues site to see what they have that piques your interest.  Right now they are having a free shipping sale to celebrate Earth Day, but it won’t last long! My only complaint is that there are not enough “women’s fit” tee shirts.  I do not personally like unisex shirts, and high collars.  Because I am a breastfeeding mom, scoop and v neck fitted tee shirts are more flattering and comfortable for me and far easier to integrate into my wardrobe.

I received a Sisu shirt for review, I was not compensated in any way and all opinions expressed are my own, given freely.

New Pop Culture Yoga Book, Definitely will be chart topper

image I received a review copy of this book, I was not compensated in any way and opinions expressed are my own.

They say you can’t judge a book by its cover, but I think you can judge it by its press release.

"Heartbreak Yoga" by Amy V. Dewhurst is The Sex and The City of modern day spirituality. It is a humorous, thought provoking,soul searching exploration of the heart organ, the heart chakra, romantic heartbreak, loss, grief, grace, yoga, meditation, mantra, kirtan, and self-care.

I’m not a sycophant and nor do I care to read their work.

Part memoir, part yoga how-to and part self-help this offering is guaranteed to have you laughing, crying, and contemplating this thing called love.
Heartbreak Yoga Includes;
-A balanced yoga practice for beginners
-Tips on holistic cures for heartbreak, grief and healthy living
-A step-by-step guide to getting over your ex
-Hilarious, sweet and sad anecdotes of romantic heartbreak
-Poignant tales of grief from around the world
-Interviews, quotes and contributions on healing from world religious leaders, renown yoga
instructors, kirtan wallahs, UN relief workers, zen roshi caregivers to the dying, comparative
religion and anthropology scholars, cardiologists, holocaust survivors, toddlers, Oscar,
Emmy and Grammy winners, nominees, and even some well-loved pets

I have also grown sick of the capitalization and monetization of yoga.  Everyone crawls out of the woodwork, from behind the bottle, under the drug haze, you name it to write a book on how yoga changes their lives.  They were famous, they were movers and shakers, they were rich and felt life just wasn’t good enough or enjoyable enough so they found yoga. 

About the Author:
Author, producer, yogini Amy V. Dewhurst learned filmmaking from
legends including; Sydney Pollack, Martin Scorsese, Kirsten Sheridan
and Richard B. Lewis. To balance the demands of the fast-paced film
set lifestyle, Dewhurst began a disciplined yoga practice. She has since helmed Sara
Ivanhoe’s, Yoganation; Mariel Hemingway’s M. Hemingway Heritage; and has produced
conscious content for Oasis Television. Amy is a contributing writer for Origin Magazine,
LA Yoga & Ayurveda Magazine, Common Ground Magazine and The Free Venice
Beachhead Newspaper. She is currently writing her first feature film, is in development on
a television pilot showcasing practical philanthropy and produces "the spiritual Woodstock
of the decade" Bhakti Fest.

The sad thing is, I have known yoga for a long time, in my soul.  I enjoy sharing it with others.  I barely scrape by and am in debt because of my love of helping others, often times through the practice of yoga. I’m like the reverse yoga love story and I am quite sick of reading about how everyone is light and love all the time.

Yoga also is about embracing the dark parts of yourself.  There is a truth in the inner darkness and simply shining a high powered flood light on your life does not change that.  You are still the vapid, shallow, trite person you always were – now you just get to throw a prayer shawl over your shoulders when you strut around bathing in self-love.  Trust me, there is enough self adoration going around in the yoga world.

Uh-oh, I’m being a debbie downer, un yogic, what have you – I am speaking my truth because I am fed up and ready to move on.  In the yoga world there is a Catch 22, you can’t call someone out on being fake, on being a money hungry capitalist because then you are being judgmental, un yogic, you name it – its all very political. Seriously – because the ones telling you that you shouldn’t and can’t seem to get caught up in as many sex scandals as those in Washington these days.  I love the idea of the Dalai Lama but be serious for a moment, the man has been in exile for decades with no real end in sight and he is now no more than a pop icon to celebrities who drag him out to show their spiritual sides.

Wow, I have really digressed.  So let me get back to the book – the forward – hated it. The dedication – taking a word or idea like Pranam and belittling the meaning by making it akin to thanking your publicist, models, etc. yeah – you can figure out where I stand on that one – the whole usurping of other cultures for more personal gain and “street cred”. The introduction – LOVED IT! No, seriously.  I know I just slammed a whole lot of things but the intro was well written, engaging and captivating – why, because it was authentic. Then the book lost me again by trying to shove too much down my throat, because in the middle of finding out your mom had a heart attack you definitely think your “ precious law of attraction self” wasn’t sure your subconscious mind created everything. How do I know this? Over a decade teaching and two decades practicing – my son has epilepsy and during a seizure I have never once engaged mula bandha to stop my energy from flowing out my asshole to keep at bay that “I may shit myself with fear” feeling that he could die this time.  Never once in an ER, or in a hospital stay did I consciously say “whatever is best for {his} soul will occur” – oh I prayed – I made deals with anything and anyone not to take my baby from me.  So maybe I am not even on the path to enlightenment but I am present every moment with my children, I relish every whiff of their soft skin, every gentle caress they give me as they fall asleep next to me – to me that is yoga.

The writing just jumps around like a jack russel who hasn’t been outside for a while with terse breakdowns of philosophy, anecdotes, and quotes from
celebs” which seem to be willy nilly thrown in without an overall plan. As if finding out that Mariel Hemingway knows heartbreak is somehow relevant to the average woman – well, maybe the type who likes Sex in the City and I think that is where I will close this review.

This book was obviously not for ME. That does not mean this book is not for YOU. If you like name dropping, if you want yoga tied up into a pretty bow, or a chapter that is merely 4 pages long with psychology stages anyone can Google, this book could be for you.  There are people who prefer RedEye to the Economist.  As I used to argue in philosophy class, if you find enjoyment from mud wrestling it is no less valid a pleasure than someone who finds enjoyment from an opera. If you like to read US, People, and pop culture mags, tabloids what have you – this is YOUR book and I in no way mean this as an insult, I just do not consider this book on par with some of the more serious academic works on the market. That being said, I am 100% sure that this book will be a chart topper.