11 Feb

New Music – FRESH off the press

blog_freshplaylist1I created a new playlist today, and I’m more inspired to share it right away after chatting with wonderful students from tonight’s class! I’m glad that people notice and enjoy the playlists I love putting together. Enjoy this one! xo

Wish U Were Here (Acapella) / Desert Moon – Bliss / Dubtribe Sound System
Alucidnation – Skygazer (3002 Remix)
San Francisco (Original Mix) – beGun
I Had a List and I Lost It – The Drift
Spring Vibes – Echophlekz
Trilogy Sonata: II Act III (from Satyagraha) – Floraleda Sacchi & Phillip Glass
Into Dust – Mazzy Star
Halving the Compass – Helios
Memoires de Futur – Rene Aubry
That Finger on Your Temple Is the Barrel of My Raygun – Stars of the Lid
Egon & Wally Embrace and Say Farewell – Rachel’s
December Hunting for Vegetarian Fuckface – Stars of the Lid

** Stars of the Lid has VERY strange names of songs! (Just realized as I was typing them out)!

26 Jan

Too much of a good thing

blog_italianThis past week, I was reminded of an important lesson… too much of a good thing, is never a good thing at all! I do my best to practice the act of moderation as a part of my daily lifestyle, but sometimes while practicing with the best intentions, my vision gets blurred.

On Wednesday, my family and I went out to celebrate my mother’s birthday. We dined at a delicious Italian restaurant on the Upper West Side called Pappardella. This restaurant, over the last few years has revamped itself… I don’t know for sure – but it seemed like there was a new chef, there was definitely a new menu and plenty of mindful options for the more health conscious diner. There were grass fed meat options as well as an entirely gluten free (GF) Italian menu! People like me… and possibly you (if you maintain a GF diet) hardly ever get the pleasure of enjoying (and devouring) a “traditional-style” Italian meal.

Well, we did certainly that on Wednesday evening….. TOO MUCH so! We ordered the GF garlic bread, GF Margherita pizza, GF pasta with mushrooms in a delicious white wine and olive oil sauce and ANOTHER GF pasta dish with tomato, mozzarella and basil sauce! Clearly this wasn’t all for me, and we all shared, but it seemed like I couldn’t get it into my mouth fast enough! I wasn’t consciously thinking about the fact that I might have been eating it all too quickly, and definitely didn’t pause to think about how it would make me feel afterwards… Almost immediately after dinner I felt completely stuffed, uncomfortably full and borderline SICK!

It comes back to the basic, but hard to manage “all in moderation” theory. It’s okay to splurge, in fact it’s important to listen to your cravings once in a while, but when you are not used to stuffing your face with heavier foods (even if they are GF)! it’s imperative to take it slow! Even if you are choosing to indulge in your meal of choice for an evening, moderation is a practice that should be maintained.

Although the meal we had was deliciously amazing, the way I felt afterwards took away from the experience as a whole… and even the way I felt the next day effected the experience too.

Bottom line – splurge, indulge and enjoy…. but just do it in MODERATION! Eat your hearts out and have a great weekend. :)

xo

18 Jan

Music is everything.

blog_musicEveryone loves music. Music is everywhere, it pervades our world. Everyone knows music has power and importance. But have you ever stopped to consider why? What it is about music that gives it so much power and importance?

Here are seven top reasons:

Music is a universal language. It inspires common human feelings and bridges gaps between cultures that spoken languages cannot. It brings people together and creates universal community.

Music inspires and evokes emotion in a healthy way. It touches our emotional being and evokes moods and feelings that are sometimes difficult to express. It can change a difficult mood and make it happy or excited; it can change a light mood and take it deeper and more profound.

Music enhances learning and makes it more enjoyable. It is scientifically proven that music enhances brain functioning. Playing music uses many brain functions simultaneously: motor control, imagination, hearing, sight, memory, etc.

Music creates ambiance. You can use music in any environment to enhance and augment what is already there. Consider the difference between a party with music and one without, or a sporting event, or a movie, or a romantic restaurant, or driving in your car…

Music is spiritual. Music is of the spirit and inspirational to the spirit. All religions use music to help express spiritual values, and all religions use music to uplift the spirit.

Music sparks the imagination. It invokes mental imagery and inner scenery that opens the mind to amazing insight and spans the distance between the stars.

Music is a simple pleasure. All it takes is your ears and your imagination.

I believe that at the center of the phenomenon of the magic that music creates is the spiritual aspect. Music is a gift from God, a sacred expression of the Universal Life Force Energy that creates us all.

by Mark Maxwell

14 Jan

Inspiration

blog_passionAs a NYC based yoga teacher and massage therapist, there are times when I feel lit up and on fire with my work and my place in the world… there are also other times that I don’t feel that way so much. It all comes back to the very basic principles of self acceptance, I believe. (So easy, right?) More like YEAH RIGHT… In my opinion, self acceptance and accepting where we are and when we are where we are, are some of the very basic but extremely hard tasks to take on.

How can we continue to find our passions in life? As some days do tend to feel more inspiring than others, what do you do on the days where you’re left feeling uninspired? Do you have places you can go or people you can see or even blogs to read if you’re needing a little bit more UUMPH?

I’ve come to realize over time, that sometimes it feels like a seasonal thing… while other times it might feel more personal based on what’s happening in life specifically during a given time, or maybe it might even feel hormonal… With all of the above being said, it’s hard to switch a feeling off when it comes around, whatever that feeling may be.

I have worked endlessly to try to understand how to avoid these feelings, but they are natural. It’s important that we have tools to access in our toolbox so that when emotions surface, we can learn to rise above or take ourselves out of whatever we’re feeling. After all, E-motions are just that – they are feelings that run through us. They don’t stay, and they are never the same from one minute to the next. That’s sort of the beauty of it all.

A few things I like to do when I’m feeling uninspired or like a need an extra jolt of something…

1. Search for new music – creating the perfect playlist for a class really gives me great pleasure. Music in general lifts me up when I am feeling down… so I put on a good song, play it loud enough to cover up the thoughts in my own mind and see how that works.

2. Read an inspiring quote or passage from a spiritual text or book I know will have the words I need.

3. Talk to a good friend about what’s going on. Sometimes just a listening ear, and to feel heard is enough to let whatever is passing through move on.

4. Listen to my body and my mood. I try not to force myself to change or do anything at all. I remind myself that this, too, shall pass and not to be too hard on myself.

We all do the best that we can on a daily basis. Trust that you are doing your best and don’t be so hard on yourself. It’s in the quieter, lighter moments in life that we can look back on the darker moments and remind ourselves that it’s no so bad.

“It will all be ok in the end. If it’s not ok, it’s not the end.”

<3

13 Jan

6 Reasons to Drink Water

blog_water* As seen on Anatomy in Motion:

It’s no magic bullet, but the benefits of water are many.

Americans seem to carry bottled water everywhere they go these days. In fact, it has become the second most popular drink (behind soft drinks). But water lovers got a jolt recently when we heard that a new report had found that the benefits of drinking water may have been oversold. Apparently, the old suggestion to drink eight glasses a day was nothing more than a guideline, not based on scientific evidence.

But don’t put your water bottle or glass down just yet. While we may not need eight glasses, there are plenty of reasons to drink water. In fact, drinking water (either plain or in the form of other fluids or foods) is essential to your health.

“Think of water as a nutrient your body needs that is present in liquids, plain water, and foods. All of these are essential daily to replace the large amounts of water lost each day,” says Joan Koelemay, RD, dietitian for the Beverage Institute, an industry group.

Kaiser Permanente nephrologist Steven Guest, MD, agrees: “Fluid losses occur continuously, from skin evaporation, breathing, urine, and stool, and these losses must be replaced daily for good health,” he says.

When your water intake does not equal your output, you can become dehydrated. Fluid losses are accentuated in warmer climates, during strenuous exercise, in high altitudes, and in older adults, whose sense of thirst may not be as sharp.

Here are six reasons to make sure you’re drinking enough water or other fluids every day:

1. Drinking Water Helps Maintain the Balance of Body Fluids. Your body is composed of about 60% water. The functions of these bodily fluids include digestion, absorption, circulation, creation of saliva, transportation of nutrients, and maintenance of body temperature.

“Through the posterior pituitary gland, your brain communicates with your kidneys and tells it how much water to excrete as urine or hold onto for reserves,” says Guest, who is also an adjunct professor of medicine at Stanford University.

When you’re low on fluids, the brain triggers the body’s thirst mechanism. And unless you are taking medications that make you thirsty, Guest says, you should listen to those cues and get yourself a drink of water, juice, milk, coffee — anything but alcohol.

“Alcohol interferes with the brain and kidney communication and causes excess excretion of fluids which can then lead to dehydration,” he says.

2. Water Can Help Control Calories. For years, dieters have been drinking lots of water as a weight loss strategy. While water doesn’t have any magical effect on weight loss, substituting it for higher calorie beverages can certainly help.

“What works with weight loss is if you choose water or a non-caloric beverage over a caloric beverage and/or eat a diet higher in water-rich foods that are healthier, more filling, and help you trim calorie intake,” says Penn State researcher Barbara Rolls, PhD, author of The Volumetrics Weight Control Plan.

Food with high water content tends to look larger, its higher volume requires more chewing, and it is absorbed more slowly by the body, which helps you feel full. Water-rich foods include fruits, vegetables, broth-based soups, oatmeal, and beans.

3. Water Helps Energize Muscles. Cells that don’t maintain their balance of fluids and electrolytes shrivel, which can result in muscle fatigue. “When muscle cells don’t have adequate fluids, they don’t work as well and performance can suffer,” says Guest.

Drinking enough fluids is important when exercising. Follow the American College of Sports Medicine guidelines for fluid intake before and during physical activity. These guidelines recommend that people drink about 17 ounces of fluid about two hours before exercise. During exercise, they recommend that people start drinking fluids early, and drink them at regular intervals to replace fluids lost by sweating.

4. Water Helps Keep Skin Looking Good. Your skin contains plenty of water, and functions as a protective barrier to prevent excess fluid loss. But don’t expect over-hydration to erase wrinkles or fine lines, says Atlanta dermatologist Kenneth Ellner, MD.

“Dehydration makes your skin look more dry and wrinkled, which can be improved with proper hydration,” he says. “But once you are adequately hydrated, the kidneys take over and excrete excess fluids.”

You can also help “lock” moisture into your skin by using moisturizer, which creates a physical barrier to keep moisture in.

5. Water Helps Your Kidneys. Body fluids transport waste products in and out of cells. The main toxin in the body is blood urea nitrogen, a water-soluble waste that is able to pass through the kidneys to be excreted in the urine, explains Guest. “Your kidneys do an amazing job of cleansing and ridding your body of toxins as long as your intake of fluids is adequate,” he says.

When you’re getting enough fluids, urine flows freely, is light in color and free of odor. When your body is not getting enough fluids, urine concentration, color, and odor increases because the kidneys trap extra fluid for bodily functions.

If you chronically drink too little, you may be at higher risk for kidney stones, especially in warm climates, Guest warns.

6. Water Helps Maintain Normal Bowel Function. Adequate hydration keeps things flowing along your gastrointestinal tract and prevents constipation. When you don’t get enough fluid, the colon pulls water from stools to maintain hydration — and the result is constipation.

“Adequate fluid and fiber is the perfect combination, because the fluid pumps up the fiber and acts like a broom to keep your bowel functioning properly,” says Koelemay.

5 Tips to Help You Drink More

If you think you need to be drinking more, here are some tips to increase your fluid intake and reap the benefits of water:

Have a beverage with every snack and meal.

Choose beverages you enjoy; you’re likely to drink more liquids if you like the way they taste.

Eat more fruits and vegetables.

Their high water content will add to your hydration. About 20% of our fluid intake comes from foods.

Keep a bottle of water with you in your car, at your desk, or in your bag.

Choose beverages that meet your individual needs. If you’re watching calories, go for non-caloric beverages or water.

By Kathleen M. Zelman, MPH, RD, LD

09 Jan

New Year, New Music.

blog_music20131Here’s to 2013! Enjoy!

Mandala, Nadaka
Mangalacaran, Karnamrita
An Ending (Ascent), Brian Eno
Rebel Music (3 O’Clock Roadblock) [Remix], Bob Marley
Angelica, Lamb
You Wish, Nightmares On Wax
With Rainy Eyes, Emancipator
New Life, Teen Daze
Om Namo Narayanaya, Steve Gold
Trilogy Sonata: II Act III (from Satyagraha), Floraleda Sacchi & Philip Glass
To the Evening Child, Stephan Micus
Medicine Dream, Gabrielle Roth & The Mirrors
Lotus Heart, Desert Dwellers
Closing Meditation, Shantala
Breathing In, Shaman’s Dream & Craig Kohland

10 Dec

Feed your soul with Friendship

blog_krishna2In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit. – Albert Schweitzer

Over this weekend, I had six wonderful ladies over at my place for a little dinner soiree. Of the many (and few) things we have in common, we have our India experience in common. Funny enough, ever since I have returned from my trip to India, I have been processing, learning, digesting and thanking my lucky stars that I was able to share and more importantly be open to that kind of an experience in the first place. The others shared in my sentiments about not exactly knowing what to make of the trip… but knowing that it was something profound. “IT WAS AMAZING”… but those three words can only truly be understood by all that were there. And for all of us, for different reasons of our own, the trip seemed to come at a time in our lives that we were simply meant to be there together for those moments in time.

Friday night was a little piece of India in New York. Some of us hadn’t seen each other since the trip, but it didn’t feel that way at all. We were together again, recapping the experience – some of our best moments, our worst moments, and where we all are today. Not to mention some chanting, which felt really good and I only have opened up to that recently.

Each of these women inspire me, light me up and make me feel thankful that I was able to connect and find a deeper level of that connection within myself again. Connecting is such an important part of life… and though we all have it in us, it’s sometimes hard in our daily lives to find that depth. Routine takes over, life gets in the way… and it’s amazing to stop and refuel and feed your soul with inspiration, heart and friendship.

I thank you all from the bottom of my heart. <3

24 Nov

Happy listening.

Playlist for the wintertime!

Feel Good Lost – Broken Social Scene
No More Olives – Tosca
Gekkoh – Susumu Yokota
Tick of the Clock – Drive Soundtrack
Trinity Dub (Three) – Massive Attack
Burning Disaster (Language Lab) – A Man Called Adam
Camel (Nosaj Thing Remix) – Flying Lotus
Love and Mathematics – Broken Social Scene
Eternal Feedback (Sly) – Massive Attack
Teardrop – Massive Attack
The Sweetest Gift – Sade
Seriously – Schlomo
Moss Breaker – Broken Social Scene
Zenith – Beny Wertheimer
Umfamiliar Wind (Leek Hills) – Brian Eno

26 Oct

Arrival

blog_arrivalIn our lives, we theoretically arrive in many places. This can mean both physical arrival but also mental and emotional arrival. Some of us might feel like we never arrive, and we keep searching for answers while perhaps asking the wrong questions. Maybe it’s not about the answers or finding them… but it’s about the continuous exploration and the journey. Maybe in the end, it’s not about arriving at all.

After having spent two weeks in India, and having been being home now for about two weeks, I find myself searching for ways to articulate the experience. It’s hard to say how it all affected me, because I know it has and I know I feel different. When people ask, “How was your trip?” All I can say is, “Amazing”… because it was. How can I possibly describe the profound attention and intention of prayer, to the extreme poverty, and the mid day and night time deep chats with new friends… so so much it’s impossible to define. Everything in India is heightening… that’s the magic of it all. Truly it’s not about trying to make sense of it, but rather giving it the time and space to work its way in organically. As each day passes, I accept that it’s not about making sense of an experience that is simply indescribable, but the process itself.

If I allow myself to pause and remember while in the midst of my busy New York life, it’s all there… fresh in my memory and quite visceral as the experience was. The great questions we feel should be answered are all a part of this process and instead of intellectualizing it all, it’s about letting the seeds that were planted grow.

Have a wonderful weekend, and I hope to see you soon in class.

xo
Mika

25 Oct

Post India/New Inspiration Playlist

blog_indiaplaylistENJOY!

A Seated Night – Moby
Burning Disaster (Language Lab) – A Man Called Adam
Peaceful Air (Body Mix) – Desert Dwellers
Anthem – Emancipator
Time is the Enemy – Quantic
Trinity Dub (Three) – Massive Attack
Guru Brahma – Carioca Chandra Edgar
Crystal Waves – All India Radio
Humming – Portishead
At the River – Groove Armada
Loro – Pinback
Bhakti – Ishq
Purple Sky
Mere Gurudev – Krishna Das
Forgiveness – Rugus Cappadocia
Morning Mediation – Ali Akbar Khan