Sunday, October 17, 2010

Yogi Tea Quote for the Week

Courtesy of my Kava Stress Relief tea

"You can run after satisfaction, but satisfaction must come from within."

To me this means that we can look outwards to be fulfilled with our lives but first we really have to look within ourselves to understand what we need.  Self-reflection to understand our passions and what makes us satisfied is the first step.  What are you thoughts about this quote?

Below is a great tool to guide this process.  Want your own "Circle of Life" evaluation?  Contact me to set one up!

Chat with me!

I am so excited to introduce a new feature on the blog that I learned about from my friend Adam!  It is a chat functionality (see to the right) that allows you to chat with me right from the blog. You don't need to have a Google account.  Just click on "Chat with Lisa Chin, HHC" and your message will be delivered right to me.  You can use it to contact me with questions, comments or to schedule your health consultation with me.  I'm at your service :)

For instructions on how to put this on your website, visit Adam's post.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

What's Greener? Take-out vs. Eat-in

Part of our vitality is the earth's vitality.  How we treat ourselves is often a reflection of how we treat the earth.  The people who recycle and compost are unsurprisingly people who also take care of themselves through their diet and lifestyle.  From my observations, the "hippie-ness" of someone is highly correlated to the amount of love for the earth someone has.  I don't think it's a coincidence that the weather for the past couple decades have been off kilter.  Global warming is a reflection of our society.  Not just in how we are physically abusing the earth but also how we are polluting it with our mindsets.  Our focuses on making money, being innovative, and being gluttonous have heavily contributed to the condition of the earth.
As I improved my diet (moving to more local, plant foods) and started meditating, I definitely noticed that I feel more connected to and appreciative of nature.  For that reason, I thought I'd post occasionally on how we can become greener.  I'm going to state upfront that I'm not expert on the environment but want to grow more awareness of it through this blog.
Today I wanted to talk about eating out. From a nutritional standpoint, it is always better to make your own meals and eat at home (or eat at someone else's home cooked food at their home).  But we live in a busy world where sometimes that's not an option and also splurging on a meal that you don't have to cook for yourself is nice.  Did you know that thirty-two percent of meals in the US are eaten outside of the home?  That's about one a day.  That's not to say 68% are cooked at home.  A large percentage if that number includes take-out meals. 
I admit that I like the occassional take-out from the local Thai restaurant.  On one of my visits, I thought about take-out vs. eat-in and which is greener.  To me, all of the steps taken to take-out or eat-in are all the same except the use of take-out containers.  This is the factor that, in my opinion, makes eating in a restaurant more green than eating take-out at home (unless you bring your own containers).  So be greener and eat in the restaurant instead of taking out.
What are you thoughts on taking out vs. eating in?  Any tips on being greener?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Homeward Bound Vacation

I've spent the past 4 days in New Jersey with my family and friends.  While I've been here, I've done some work for my personal business and saw some clients, but all in all, it's been a wonderful escape from "real life."  Heading home is blissful as I get to enjoy mom-cooked food every meal and spend time with my brother in the house we grew up in.  And, for some reason, I almost always fit in a yoga class or two when I'm home. 
Although I didn't travel far nor did I get to do anything exotic, this vacation is always the most nurturing for my soul.  It's actually very grounding as well - bringing me back to my roots.  To me, vacation does not require traveling to an exotic location or spending tons of money on a lavish hotel room. It's about having time to relax and spending time with myself and with family and friends.
Did you miss an opportunity to take a vacation this summer?  Why not invest in some time for yourself?  Take the weekend off from chores or to-do's.  Bring your family or friends to a park and hike for an afternoon or take a whole morning of yoga classes without a worry in the world. There are so many ways we can integrate small vacations into our lives, even when times and money are tight.  What do you think you can do this upcoming weekend to integrate a little vacation into your life?

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Quote courtesy of Lotus Yoga

I had an amazing yoga class this morning at Lotus Yoga in Montclair, NJ.  Jennifer Kohl, the studio's founder and one of its teachers, taught the class.  I love when yoga classes integrate the philosophy of yoga into the class.  After all, it's not just a physical practice but a mental one.  She said something that really stood out to me.  It was "Rejoice in Your Goodness."  This came about from a theme about being good to others so that good things happen to us. 
Take time to realize all the good we do and celebrate it.  I think that when we celebrate our goodness, we want to continue those actions and in turn, the world becomes a better place.  What have you done that is good and how do you feel it has served you?

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Week of Tips: Ground Yourself: Hibernate

It's the last tip of this week of tips on how we can ground ourselves this fall! I hope you have had the opportunity to read the tips from earlier this week.  If not, here's a recap: Fall Cleaning, Fall Eating, Grounding MeditationGetting in Touch with Nature, Visiting a Tree, and Grounding Ourselves.
So if you haven't gotten the trend this week, it's learning and implementing tips on how to ground ourselves in the fall, after a warm summer spent outdoors.  Fall in the Northeast is usually fairly pleasant. Not a depiction of the brutal winters at all.  But as a mammal, my warm blood can feel that winter is right around the corner.  As you look around, you can see nature's plants shedding their summer leaves and retreating to their roots for the winter.  Animals also prepare for the winter.  Birds fly south to warmer climates.  Mammals forage, harvest, and stuff themselves silly for the winter because in winter A) there is no food, B) even if there was food, they don't want to go out to get it or C) they are hibernating, sleeping away the winter in a cute little curled up bundle in a cave somewhere.
Now I am by no means telling you to forage, harvest and stuff yourself silly.  We have the modern convenience of having food readily available year round.  But I would like for all of us to take a cue from the animals and start preparing our bodies and homes for the winter during which we want to hibernate, as the bears and squirrels do.  
The sun is rising later and setting earlier.  Nature is telling us to go home and rest.  Listen to what the world is telling you and skip that happy hour, have an early dinner and get to bed. Our bodies naturally want to rest in the winter. There is no need to run it ragged.  Hibernate from 10 to 6. Trust me - your body will thank you.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Week of Tips: Ground Yourself: "You're Grounded"


"You're grounded."  As a kid, that wasn't such a good thing to hear.  When we were "grounded" as kids by our parents, we were sent to a corner in the room for "timeout" or our room, which, back in the day, was not equipped with flat screen TVs or laptops with wireless capabilities, heck, I didn't even have a radio in my room!  Getting grounded was a time for us to go to a quiet place and reflect on our wrongful actions.

You can kind of say that "getting grounded" spiritually encompasses the same idea.  The difference is that we are grounding ourselves (which we voluntarily do) vs. having the grounding imposed on us (which is a punishment).  A great way to ground ourselves is to retreat to a quiet place and reflect.  This can be our room, a getaway to a meditation center, or visit to a house of worship.  Dedicating time to reflect with the purpose of learning and moving on is a powerful form of grounding ourselves.

The weekend is right around the corner-TGIF!  Take the time as a perfect opportunity to ground yourself.  This is a great time to visit a spiritual center, a yoga studio or just our rooms to reflect on our experiences of the summer, learn and move forward with brilliant intentions for the fall.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Week of Tips: Ground Yourself: Visit a Tree

We're in the second half of this week's tips on how to ground ourselves for the fall.  See the previous posts of the week on Fall Cleaning, Fall Eating, Grounding Meditation, and Getting in Touch with Nature.

I mentioned earlier this week in my meditation post, that one of the ways to ground ourselves in meditation is imagine that we are trees and that our feet allow us to absorb the energy from the ground.  The reason why this visualization works is because trees have amazing energy.
Many people visit the enormous redwoods and sequoias in California every year.  The reason why people visit these trees is because they are ginormous and simply one of the wonders of the natural world that they feel they need to see.  Our culture is very focused by all things big, stimulating and over-the-top.  We are driven by what we see and how far we expand ourselves outwardly.  The loudest person usually gets the most attention and their way.  We are strive to get a superior title at work and make more money than the next guy.  We forgo the old, used cars to buy a new car that will wow our family and friends.  We starve ourselves and get plastic surgery so we can fit the model for being beautiful.
With such emphasis on our outward appearance, behavior and status, who we are inside is ignored.  Getting grounded is about shedding those superficial thoughts and actions and going within ourselves.  It is those inner traits that we develop that allow ourselves to expand beyond the superficiality.  A tree can't support its large trunk, wide branches and leaves without a good root system.  The same can be said about humans. 
Did you know that the roots of a tree can reach even further out than its branches?  This is a huge reason why trees are such powerful grounding agents.  If you ever feel really spacey or too outwardly focused, you can sit with your back to a tree and just absorb the energy you receive from its strong, expansive roots.  You don't necessarily have to meditate.  If the ground is wet or you can't sit, you can also take a walk in the woods.  Visiting a tree and taking in that energy will help to de-emphasize what's going on in the hectic world and help you refocus on your innerself.
Below are some pictures of how trees and meditation have are intertwined in different religions and across different demographics.  So get out there today (it's going to finally be nice in Boston) and sit with a tree.



Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Week of Tips: Ground Yourself: Get in Touch with Nature

Another day, another tips on how to ground ourselves this fall.  See the previous posts of the week on Fall Cleaning, Fall Eating, and Grounding Meditation.

One of the main reasons fall is my favorite season, aside from Thanksgiving, is the changing of the leaves and the earthy smell that comes with it! Like spring, nature is very active in the fall. There is lots going on in order to prepare for the winter.  Animals are harvesting, trees are shedding their leaves, and birds are flying south.  You could say that nature does its own fall cleaning.

As I mentioned earlier this week, the earth is the most grounding element we can access.  The word "grounding" has its origins with the earth.  Apparently, in witchcraft, to ground yourself is to psychically reinforce your connection with the Earth by reopening an energy channel between your aura and the ground (source).  The earth provides us the main tool to keep us physically grounded: gravity.  Then it provides us a ground to walk on in which we can receive the enormous energy of the earth which spiritually and mentally grounds us.

Because there is usually so much going on in our lives in the fall, a great way to learn to go with the flow is to get in touch with the earth and nature.  By being outside, we can get in sync with nature and be able to go along with the ebb and flow of the season. Some great ways to get out there and experience nature are going apple or pumpkin picking, raking and/or playing in the fallen leaves, taking a walk in the woods or a park, cleaning up your garden and harvesting, and lastly, go leaf peeping!  Leaf peeping is going to see the fall foliage and some people do it on a long drive and others go out to the woods or mountains.  Appreciating, admiring and enjoying nature - that's good stuff.

What activities are you going to do this fall to be in touch with nature?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Week of Tips: Ground Yourself: Meditation

Today continues a a week of tips on how to ground ourselves for the fall.  See the past two days' posts on Fall Cleaning and Fall Eating.

Grounding our physical home and  our physical body is just as important as grounding our mind.  Symptoms of an ungrounded mind include being spacey, having erratic emotions, frenetic energy, stress "freakouts" and other high energy, irrational behavior (vs. low energy irrational behavior like being depressed).  A practice that can help with "getting out of your head" and grounding yourself is meditation.  I've spoken about meditation a couple of times before but not in the context of grounding.

People of all ages can benefit from meditation! (source)
The purpose of a grounding meditation is to bring you back down to earth.  When you have less energy in your mind, you will experience a calmer energy and be more level-headed.  I know that I can always use more calm energy in my life.

Meditation does not have to entail sitting in lotus position for hours.  Here are several simple ways to ground yourself through meditation.
Seated meditation #1: Meditation can take place in many seated forms.  You can be regular cross-legged, in full or half lotus position, or on your knees and sitting on your heels.  The best of these to practice a grounding meditation is touching the ground with your backside.  This gives your body a concrete connection with the earth.  As you meditate, you can picture rooting yourself to the ground and allowing the activity in your head to dissipate back into the earth and simultaneously, bringing up that calm earth energy into your head.
Seated meditation #2: A meditation while seated in a chair can be as effective as one seated on the ground.  Sit comfortably in a chair with both of your feet flat on the ground.  Close your eyes and relax each part of your body.  Next picture yourself as a tree with roots.  Imagine that those roots are holding you firmly into the ground and at the same time bringing you the life energy from the center of earth.  Envision the transfer of energy revitalizing you and rooting you into the ground.
Walking meditation: You don't have to be seated and close your eyes in order to meditate. Meditation is about bringing awareness and being present all the time.  A great way to integrate a grounding practice into your day is to pay attention when you walk.  Focus on the connection between your feet and the ground.  Don't do anything else while you walk.  Don't talk or play on your phone or think about your grocery list. Simply walk and concentrate on each step allowing you to develop a more intimate relationship with the earth.

Have you tried a grounding meditation before?  Any tips for me and other readers?  If you haven't tried any, what do you think you'd like to tackle this week?  I'd love to know!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Week of Tips: Ground Yourself: Fall Eating

I usually set a tip for the week but in honor of fall, I am devoting a week of tips on how to ground ourselves for the fall.  See yesterday's post on Fall Cleaning.

A humongous melon (that's still growing!)that my mom will make into grounding soups and dishes this winter <3
One of the easiest ways to ground ourselves is through what we eat.  I've been basking in summer's goodies from the farmers' market but as I head into the fall, it makes less sense for me to have berries, summer peaches and raw greens and more sense to eat heavier grounding root vegetables and cooked veggies in healthy fats.  Winter is just around the corner and by eating the right foods, I'm letting my body know that it is time to prepare for the brisk weather ahead. This can also be called eating seasonally (which has other benefits justifying its own post in the future).

If I keep eating summer foods which can be described as "light and airy", I will totally shock my body when winter shows up.  It is so important to eat "grounding" foods - just as nature intended - to prepare our bodies for the winter.  In the spring and summer, nature focuses on upward growth.  Tree branches grow leaves and plants spring abundantly from the ground.  However, in the winter, trees shed those leaves and the tops of plants dry up so they can retreat to their roots and bulbs to concentrate on storing their energy to survive the long winter.  Have you ever noticed that fall and winter foods like yams, potatoes, pumpkins, and carrots are all grown very close to the ground?  It's a sign from nature that we need to ground ourselves during this season.

The rule of thumb is that grounding foods are grown close to the ground and feel heavier when eaten.  As mentioned, root vegetables are ideal to ground ourselves.  This includes sweet potatoes, parsnips, carrots, white potatoes (keep to a minimum), beets, and my all-time favorite, garlic.  Grounding vegetables also include those grown close to the ground like certain squashes and melons (like in the picture) and pumpkins! Protein is something else that our bodies crave in the colder weather.  You can attain protein from plant and animal sources.  The most common plant sources for protein are beans, legumes and nuts.  Animal sources should be as high quality as possible (e.g., grass-fed, free-range, organically grown).  Organic or local butter or ghee (recipe coming soon!) is another great grounding food.  The last group of grounding foods are whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, barley and oats. 

For those salad eaters out there who yearn for the occasional steak meal, satisfy that urge (occasionally) and know that you are not making a dieting faux pas and actually feeding yourself what you need! Please share - what's your favorite grounding food?  Mine has got to be a baked sweet potato with coconut oil. Yum!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Week of Tips: Ground Yourself: Fall Cleaning

I usually set a tip for the week but in honor of fall, I am devoting a week of tips on how to ground ourselves.

Today marks the first truly chilly day in Boston.  Fall is definitely in the air.  Fall and spring are both transition seasons.  In between the extremes of the hot summer and frigid winter.  They are also the perfect times to revamp our diet and lifestyles.

If you remember from my post, Springtime = Time to Clean, spring is a great time to clean up ourselves, our homes and our diets from the winter to prepare for the hotter summer.  Like spring, fall is a perfect time to clean but the difference being for the winter. 

For me, the most significant "fall cleaning" is the chore of switching my wardrobe.  I write this post in the middle of many loads of laundry and an afternoon of sorting piles of shorts and sweaters into their storage bins and drawers respectively.  The act of clothes sorting is probably my least favorite to do.  I don't know how my mom does it year in and year out (or spring in and fall out :) but to me, it's arduous and time consuming.  However, this task is very important to me to prepare not only physically but also mentally for winter.

Spring cleaning is about opening the windows and letting fresh air in and cleaning up the heaviness that was winter.  Fall cleaning is about getting out of our heads. Summer allows us to stay out late and socialize and be outwardly focused.  Winter is about being more focused on our homes and families.  It's not a coincidence that Thanksgiving and Christmas are both in the winter time.  That being the case, fall cleaning includes making our homes comfy because we are going to be spending a lot of time there.

I am definitely going to focus more on decorating my sparsely decorated condo and ensuring it is going to allow for more activity at home.  A comfortable home environment can contribute so much to being happy when you are snowed in during those winter months.  Because there's two of us, it is also going to be important that we can do our respective activities without being in each other's way.  What are you going to do in your home to prepare for the fall?