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Getting to Know your Amygdala

 

Ever lain in bed listening to the sound of a car alarm and the utter relief when someone flips the switch and there is finally silence? Ever wish you had a similar turn off switch for all the noise and tumult in your body and head? Well here is the good news: you do. It is called the amygdala. However, this internal alarm switch of yours is so finely tuned that every time it gets tripped, it needs you to be an expert in knowing how to focus and direct your attention to either turn it off completely or lower its volume to an appropriate level of response according to the given moment.

Yes, your amygdala which can set off lifesaving brain activity in the appropriate moments to ensure your safety, is also responsible for panic attacks, anxiety, fear, stress, depression, impulsive behaviors, obsessions and many of the other sensations, feelings and beliefs that may send you scurrying in search of help and relief.

The amygdala is made up of exquisitely fine-tuned neurons that are responsible for determining the body/mind’s emotional response to its environment. It is always on the lookout for danger and therefore anything or anyone that feels in any way threatening in the present moment or that for some reason probably related to past experience, makes the present moment feel dangerous, triggers the switch which in turn sets off its alarm system.

“Calm down Amygdala,” as one client used to like to say to herself tapping herself on her head when she felt particularly stirred up. This is indeed the message the amygdala often needs to hear and obey.

It would be nice if simply those words could do the trick for everyone all the time. It is astounding how much can calm down or clear out of our heads when we do learn to focus and direct our intention to the offending issue in an appropriate and timely way. In some instances, it is indeed astonishing to see how quickly this can be accomplished. Of course in more complex situations things happen much more slowly.

Once we do acquire a toolbox of resources and techniques, we can use them to help us calm and regulate the flow of information and energy to our body/minds so that our amygdala does not fire off when it is not warranted.

Many of the new brain-based therapies are geared toward giving the message to the amygdala or to the limbic regions of the brain that they are safe in the moment.

In other words, it is not really you that is the problem, it is your brain and the way that it is wired and the way it feeds information to your amygdala. All of which means that the settings acquainted with your amygdala and learning to master its responses is an effort well worth making because it can enable you to have a more peaceful and satisfying life.

A tip, and another way to talk to your amygdala:

· Sit down on a chair that has arms.
· Focus your attention on whatever is bothering you. Name the emotion you are feeling.
· See if it belongs to the past or the present. See if you can see where you feel it in your body.
· Now, keeping your intention focused on your original problem and adding any new information, just try tapping your hands on the arms of your chair, alternating one hand with the other.

Note what happens. If nothing happens, that is ok. If something happens, note that too. If you can keep this technique up regularly or incorporate it into whatever practice you do already, you may well begin to perceive changes and you will be well on your way to acquiring your own personal toolbox right in the power of your own body/mind.

Aviva Bock is a licensed therapist in private practice in Newton, MA. Aviva’s orientation to her work is holistic and mind/body focused. She has had many years of traditional training in verbal modalities, but now her focus is primarily on using energy and somatic techniques to address and clear the effects of the very many diverse issues that clients experience. Her perspective is that challenges, emotional and physical are frequently the result of emotions and events, trapped in the body/mind. The goal of Aviva’s work is to enable a person to move beyond the clouds of their lives, to become unstuck and thus able to fully embrace the present moment and to plan for the future with confidence calm presence and peace.

A more detailed biography about Aviva and some of different tools that she uses in her work can be found on her website Avivabock.com

The Best Healthy Zucchini Bread

A go-to comfort food made a bit less guilt-inducing. Yum!

Ingredients:

  • 1 3/4 cup white whole wheat flour OR 1 1/4 cup almond meal plus 6 Tablespoons coconut flour
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 Tablespoons erythritol OR cane sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce or mashed banana
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon molasses
  • 1 1/2 cups grated zucchini
  • 6 Tablespoons unsweetened almond milk for whole wheat version OR 4 Tablespoons unsweetened almond milk for almond meal/coconut flour version

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Generously grease or nonstick spray an 8×4 loaf pan and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar or erythritol, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Add in the eggs or egg replacer, applesauce or mashed banana, vanilla extract, molasses, and grated zucchini and stir until all the ingredients are just incorporated. Slowly add in the almond milk, stopping when the batter is reasonably thick (see photo above for reference) and completely uniform. Scrape the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake in the oven at 350°F for about 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool before cutting into slices. Devour.

Recipe from foodiefiasco.com.

Breathing Your Way to Great Health

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Are the stresses of life constantly clutching at you? Do the pressures you are carrying feel too heavy? Do you wish there was a way you could create a little space for yourself so that you could step back from it all for a few minutes? If you answered “yes” to any (or all) of these questions, then read on for relief. Today’s fast-paced world lacks a critical ingredient which your mind and body crave – moments of peace. However, as with any new and life-enhancing practice, it is important to decide, first, that it is worth the investment of your time. You can do this by realizing how important it is to begin to start managing your stress – instead of your stress continuing to manage you. If you are ready to call your life your own just take a nice, deep breath and … bingo … you have already started. The best way to reclaim your life and health is to begin by breathing with awareness. Five wonderful inhalations are what I use with my hypnosis clients. The basics for deep breathing are these: 1. Assume a comfortable position. Try not to have any tight clothing restrict the rise and fall of your belly and chest. 2. Inhale through either the mouth or nose; as you are doing this, allow the belly to rise, which in turn will let your chest expand (this is to accommodate the inflating of your lungs). 3.After you have taken in as much air as feels comfortable, pause for a moment or two. 4. Exhale (again either through the mouth or nose) and allow your belly to sink down, which is causing your diaphragm to curve back up and “help” the lungs to deflate. Make a gentle effort to let all the air empty from your lungs. The goal is eventually to have the exhalation be twice as long as the inhalation – with a pause before and after each and every inhale. At first this may seem like quite a process, but it will become easier with each breath. Just close your eyes for a few minutes and let yourself get into the rhythm of your breath, as the air flows in (pause) and then out (pause), in and then out again. Imagine waves of peace and relaxation washing over your body as the new air enters and then as the old air exits. You can even add the thoughts; “In with relaxation,” as you take your ‘in breath,’ and “out with stress,” as you release and exhale. Mastering this simple breathing technique is a HUGE first step. It is a portable, instantaneous way to quickly push away the grip that stress can sometimes get on you. Combined with the relaxation techniques and positive suggestions deep breathing becomes a powerful tool for combating the daily onslaught of life’s tensions and pressures.   As a Consulting Hypnotist since 1997, Dawn Holland holds an alternative doctoral degree in Clinical Hypnotherapy and is registered with the National Guild of Hypnotists. She has also earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Human Services and an Associate Degree in Mental Health. Dawn’s specialization training includes weight/food issues, stress management, and past life regression. During private sessions, speaking engagements, and workshops she assists people in realizing their individual goals through self-hypnosis, deep relaxation and suggestion. A major intention of her work is encouraging each person to move into alignment with their full potential. Dawn believes that all persons possess the knowledge necessary to solve their own problems or identify their need for change and through hypnosis can connect with that knowledge. Each client then becomes empowered with his/her inherent wisdom. Operating from these principles, Dawn’s focus is to help her clients realize that they have choices in all areas of their lives.

Is Fish Really Good for Your Health?

Seafood. It’s versatile, fast-cooking, and delicious. A darling among the healthy eating crowd, favored by chefs, and promoted as an all around healthy choice. It’s rich in heart healthy Omega-3 fatty acids and is a lean source of protein.

And it is all of those things. Except when it’s not.

Decades of global industrial pollution, including contributions that are ongoing, have left our lakes, rivers and oceans filthy with heavy metals, PCB’s, dioxins, agricultural pesticides, industrial solvents and more.

Overfishing and unsustainable fishing practices have depleted ocean stocks of many species—this, coupled with our ever-growing appetite for seafood worldwide has launched the mega-farmed-seafood industry. According to the World Wildlife Federation, “85% of the world’s marine stocks are either fully exploited or overfished, driving accelerated growth in the farmed seafood industry.”

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Fish Watch program puts the percentage of farmed seafood the world eats at around 50%.

While farmed seafood might seem like a great answer to overfishing and polluted waters, it’s not without it’s own set of problems, notably the heavy use of antibiotics and pesticides, traces of which are consistently found in tested seafood.

Bigger ocean fish like tuna, swordfish, shark, Chilean sea bass, and king mackerel have some of the highest levels of the known neurotoxin methyl-mercury – including the canned tuna that your kids may be eating in school!

The 2012 Mercury Policy Project report found that children who eat two medium servings of albacore, or white tuna per week could be exposed to as much as six times the dose that federal guidelines consider safe.

So does this mean you need to forgo heart healthy, omega-3 rich seafood?

Nope! It just means you must become smarter shopper and above all, “know your seafood.”

Here’s what to look for to avoid the worst, most polluted fish so you can reap all the benefits and reduce the risks of exposure to toxins:

ONE: Eat Low on the Food Chain
Bigger ocean fish that live a long time will bio-accumulate more toxins in their fat and flesh. Rather than tuna and swordfish, opt for smaller fishes like sardines, mackerel, herring, and wild Pacific salmon.

TWO: Eat Domestic
It may be shocking to learn that 90% of the seafood consumed in the United States is imported, and only 2% is regularly inspected. What’s more, international fishing and farming practices often go unchecked—it’s not uncommon to find imported shrimp from Southeast Asia to be contaminated with pesticides that were banned in this country decades ago.

THREE: Aim for Wild Caught
With some exceptions, farmed seafood—in particular farmed salmon—is something you want to skip. Farmed fish often have higher levels of pesticides than their wild counterparts. Close to 90% of all salmon sold in the US is farmed. Read your labels and ask your waiters for wild caught Pacific salmon. But keep in mind dwindling wild fish stock, so you may want to make those choices with sustainability in mind.

Here are some options for you:

  • Wild caught Pacific Salmon
  • Pacific sardines
  • Pink Oregon shrimp
  • US farmed oysters (these guys are generally the exception to the farmed rule)

If you decide to include seafood in your diet, follow these simple “rules of thumb” and that heart healthy seafood will still be heart healthy!

Author’s content used under license, © Sprouted Content, LLC
Article written by Lara Adler, http://www.laraadler.com/
 
This article came from the Sprouted Content wellness article library. The library’s mission is to help holistic practitioners SAVE TIME and GAIN CLIENTS. By providing more than 100 high-quality done-for-you articles that can be dropped into newsletters, blogs, video scripts, or e-books, Sprouted Content makes practitioners’ marketing effort much easier, which means they’ll feel less stress as they grow their practices. Go to www.sproutedcontent.com to learn more and take advantage of a special 10% off coupon – just enter coupon code: SAVETIME at checkout.

10 Easy Hacks to Eat More Phytonutrients

What’s a Phytonutrient?

Phytonutrients are the beneficial components in plants that help fight off disease and prevent the damaged caused by free radicals and toxins in our environment. They protect the plants themselves from potentially harmful factors such as UV light, pests, fungus, and parasites. The protective quality of phytonutrients extends to us when we eat these plants, which translates into the prevention of heart disease, diabetes, and other inflammatory diseases.

When plants are exposed to a threat, they fight back by producing these wonderful chemicals. It follows logically and has been scientifically studied and proven that the use of pesticides and herbicides allows plants to “let their guards down” and stop producing as much and as many of these beneficial substances. Conventional produce contains far fewer phytonutrients than organic produce.

Antioxidants are phytonutrients.

Carotenoids are phytonutrients.

Flavonoids are phytonutrients.

Today I’m going to share some easy, useful, and simple-to-implement shopping and cooking hacks to help you increase your intake of phytonutrients.

Maximizing Your Phytonutrient Intake

If you haven’t had a chance to check out Jo Robinson’s new book Eating on the Wild Side: The Missing Link to Optimum Health, it’s high time you check it out. There are so many awesome little tidbits in this wonderful book explaining how our food isn’t quite what it used to be, and what we can do about it. It outlines the origins of domesticated plants and makes the argument that the “5 a day” recommendation of typical fruits and veggies simply won’t cut it anymore. Instead, you need to know which fruits and veggies to eat to really max out that phytonutrient count and reach optimal health.

There’s no way that I could “give away” the plethora of valuable information that you’ll find between the pages of this book, but I took it upon myself to extract some of my favorite goodies — tips and hacks you can put to use today to start upping your phytonutrient count and improving your health.

6 Shopping Hacks to Increase Your Phytonutrients:

  1. Choose granny smith. It has the highest phytonutrient content and the best sugar-to-fiber ratio. Great for the heart and the whole body too. The golden delicious apple has the fewest phytonutrients of any of the other varieties, and has so much sugar that it can increase your LDL cholesterol and triglycerides.
  2. Replace salt with herbs and spices. Herbs and spices are as nutritious as the wild foods of our ancestors, packed full of a wide range of phytonutrients. They are a great substitute for extra salt and can provide wonderful, rich flavor to any dish.
  3. Opt for red lettuce and other leafy greens. Red lettuce is the king of lettuces, according to Robinson, as that red color indicates a very high antioxidant content. Additionally, the internal leaves of the head lettuce never see the sunlight, so they don’t generate phytonutrients to protect themselves from the UV rays. Leafy lettuces that flare out and are exposed to the sun have a greater supply of nutrition.
  4. Go green. Green onions have 100x more phytonutrients than bulb onions that grow underground. The green part is the richest portion, so chop it up and use it all!
  5. Berries over bananas. Like the golden delicious apple, the farmed banana is much higher in sugar than in phytonutrients and fiber. Berries have a better sugar-to-fiber ratio, and their deep color indicate a high level of phytonutrients. If you can find wild berries, you’ll get even more bang for your buck! Some grocery stores sell frozen wild blueberries, and if you live in the Bay Area, you’re about to start seeing wild blackberries all over the place. Eat up! Robinson recommends that we shoot for eating 1/2 a cup of berries a day.
  6. Opt for yams. White potatoes are very starchy without a lot of fiber to mitigate the glycemic load. The orange color of the yam indicates a high carotenoid count, and you’ll find more fiber there too.

4 Kitchen Hacks to Increase Your Phytonutrients:

  1. Don’t boil your veggies — you end up throwing out the nutrition with the water. All other types of cooking are superior to boiling most vegetables (artichokes are the exception, but even then steaming is better than boiling). Stir frying is a great way to go, because you don’t lose the water soluble nutrients the way you would if you boiled or steamed.
  2. Tear your greens a day in advance. The leaves are still alive in your fridge (in fact, asparagus can grow another inch or two in the grocery store or in your fridge), and if you tear them, it sends a signal for them to repair themselves. That means the torn plants are creating more antioxidants to protect what’s been torn.
  3. Let your chopped garlic sit for 10 minutes before you heat it. This is my favorite kitchen hack. We’ve all heard that garlic is great for cardiovascular health and cancer prevention, right? Well the chemical responsible for that protection in us is called allicin. As with the torn lettuce, the allicin count increases exponentially if you chop the garlic and let it sit. If you expose your chopped garlic to heat immediately, the allicin content is next to nothing. That 10 minutes makes all the difference.
  4. Thaw frozen berries in the microwave to prevent the loss of antioxidants that would take place in a counter- or fridge-thaw. This is the one and only time I recommend choosing the microwave to a more old-school method of heating or defrosting. For some reason, the quick thaw preserves the nutrition far better than a slow melt.

These hacks are so easy, I challenge you to try them out TONIGHT as you cook your dinner. Chop the garlic first and leave it out for 10 minutes before tossing it into the flames. Tear your salad greens tonight for tomorrow’s meals. Throw a few berries, fresh herbs and chopped green onions in that salad too! Let me know how it goes!

Originally posted on Cultivated Wellbeing.

ToniSicolaToni Sicola is the Wellness Program Manager at Alameda Health System (AHS) and an Integrative Wellbeing and Nutrition Expert at Cultivated Wellbeing. You can find more health and wellness tips from Toni at www.cultivatedwellbeing.com, where she explores the how the intersection of food, personal fulfillment and creativity affect wellbeing. She also manages and is the primary contributor for the AHS Passport to a Healthy Me! blog. When not writing, Toni is feeding her passions of cooking, gardening, rock climbing, creating and playing with her dog Dexter.

Mini Sweet Potato Muffins

A lot more flavorful and healthy than anything you could buy at the supermarket, these sweet treats are something you can keep on hand for breakfast, lunch or any time of day.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 large eggs, whisked
  • 1 cup sweet potato puree, cooked*
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Place the first 7 ingredients in a bowl and whisk to combine.
  3. In a separate bowl whisk the remaining ingredients.
  4. Slowly combine the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients just until they are combined (be careful not to over mix the batter).
  5. Place 1 tbsp of batter in each cup of greased mini muffin tins and bake for 15 minutes.
  6. Serve.
  7. * To make sweet potato puree, bake sweet potatoes (or yams) in a 400 degree oven for one hour, allow to cool, slice in half lengthwise and mash flesh with a fork until smooth.

Recipe compliments of weelicious.com.

Your Tongue Does More Than Speaking

Do you take a look at your tongue in the morning? You should! It is a great indicator of your state of health, and specifically the state of your digestion. In Ayurveda, tongue analysis is a main diagnosing tool to determine someone’s current state of imbalance. Your tongue speaks in more ways than you’ve realized!

Digestion is #1 for good health 

When our digestion is impaired, food is not absorbed efficiently and leaves behind a raw, toxic residue that Ayurveda calls ama.  You may see some of that whitish, sticky, gooey substance on your tongue in the morning. Yuck. I know. But hey, on the other hand isn’t that great that you can just stick your tongue out and get instant feedback on the state of your digestion? Digestion is HUGE when it comes to your energy level, immunity, moods, skin health, elimination, quality of your tissues…everything! So much so that Ayurveda says you are what you digest. Not what you eat. Subtle, yet big difference.

If allowed to build up in your GI tract, this toxic substance eventually starts circulating throughout your body, potentially clogging the channels of circulation and preventing flow of nutrients, oxygen and life force to all tissues. Hence the line “Ama is the Mama!” (coined by one of my teachers, Doctor Chauhan, BAMS) which means ama creates many, if not most dis-eases.

How do I know if I have ama accumulation?

Here are signs you may have some ama build-up:

  • Feeling heavy
  • 

Feeling lethargic, foggy, unclear
  • 

Thick coating on the tongue in the morning
  • 

Feeling tired after eating
  • Stiff and painful joints
  • Poor circulation
  • Skin blemishes
  • Indigestion
  • Bad breath

It’s undeniable that we live in an increasingly toxic world and that at least some cleansing is necessary to keep our bodies and minds functioning optimally. Read on for simple things you can do daily to begin releasing ama.

Easy ways to release ama:

1. Scrape your tongue first thing in the morning. You really don’t want to swallow that toxic residue back in! Use a tongue scraper NOT your toothbrush (which would be pushing ama deeper into your tongue).

2. Have a glass of hot lime water. Cleanses the entire GI tact and will promote a bowel movement.

3. Eat only when hungry! This is a very important recommendation. Eating when not hungry is a sure way to create ama and feel sluggish. So if you’re not hungry for breakfast, skip it. if you’re still not hungry at lunchtime, skip it. Not hungry at dinner time? Skip it! You’ll do your digestive system a big favor. In fact, I suggest you wait until you are really hungry to eat your next meal. You might be surprised how long you wait! This is a simple and effective way to reset your metabolism and feel lighter in no time. (Once you do get really hungry, please DO eat! Not eating when hungry induces a stress-response and the slowing down of your metabolism, which then slows down your digestion and you guessed it, causes the formation of ama).

4. Strengthen your digestive fire by sipping on ginger tea in between meals. The light and spicy qualities of ginger are ideal to kindle your digestive fire (a must to keep ama from forming in the first place).

So which practice are you going to try first? Because they are all gentle I suggest you implement all of them!

Sylvie Barthelemy draws upon her 16 years of experience in the field of holistic health to help people achieve optimum health, naturally. She is a Certified Ayurvedic Lifestyle Coach, with extensive experience as an Ayurvedic massage therapist and as a Yoga and Meditation Teacher. Sylvie particularly loves to help women who feel stressed, overwhelmed and exhausted to generate calm, clear and confident energy, using yogic and ayurvedic methods of healing. Visit her personal website HERE.

MINDBODY Exchange FAQ’s

Getting started on MINDBODY Exchange™ is easy. Simply activate your account, download the MINDBODY Connect™ app and start searching for businesses that accept the Wellness Card. Answers to the most commonly asked questions are provided below.

Q: How do I know who accepts the MINDBODY Exchange Wellness Card?
A: Businesses shown as a green dot in map view and accompanied by the MINDBODY Exchange logo in list view accept the Wellness Card.

Q: Why am I not seeing green dots or the MINDBODY Exchange logo in MINDBODY Connect?
A: You must first activate your account by clicking on the email from MINDBODY Exchange and use the same email when logging in to MINDBODY Exchange and MINDBODY Connect.

Q: How do I get a new activation email sent to me?
A: If you’ve already checked your junk mail, contact us at questions@mindbodyexchange.com and a new email will be sent to you.

Q: How do I check my balance?
A: Call (877) 743-9480 and provide your MINDBODY Exchange ID number. You can find your ID number by logging in to MINDBODY Exchange at mindbodyexchange.com/login.

Q: How do I make a purchase that’s over the balance on my Wellness Card?
A: When making purchases over the amount available on your Wellness Card, you will need to run two transactions. Charge your Wellness Card for the exact amount available, and pay the remainder due with another card or cash.

Q: How do I get a replacement card?
A: Call MINDBODY Exchange at (877) 743-9480 and request a new card. You will need your MINDBODY Exchange ID number, which can be found in the upper right hand corner when logged into your account.

Q: How do I get an unlisted business on MINDBODY Exchange?
A: Email us at questions@mindbodyexchange.com with your request. We can’t guarantee every business will sign up, but we can guarantee that we’ll reach out to them.

Have more questions? Email us at questions@mindbodyexchange.com.

Make a Space for Your Meditation Practice

Sitting down in peace and quiet can be very difficult. This day in age, people are constantly preoccupied with so many other distractions such as phones, computers and televisions that it is easy to forget what it’s like to simply sit and be in your own company. When you choose to start a meditation practice, whether it be to relax, to reconnect yourself with your breath, or to connect with higher dimensions, it is important to first create the space so that your practice can be as nourishing and beneficial as possible. Here are a few tips, some of which seem obvious but are still important nonetheless, to void your space of distractions in order to enjoy your practice in peace.

  1. Choose a room which you use less often than others. Typically, a room which gets used less will be quieter and automatically have a minimal amount of distraction. Think of using rooms like the dining room, the living room which nobody is allowed to go in unless you have company, or a spare bedroom.
  2. Turn off all electronics. This includes the TV and your phone and any other pieces of equipment that can possibly cause distraction. These items must be turned completely off. When they are on, even if they are silenced, it creates a space for anxiety to enter the mind. In addition, the electromagnetic field distributed by technology while functioning makes it very hard to relax. When the technology is off, you are affirming to your higher intelligence that you are ready to sit, relax, and meditate with no distractions. If you choose, you may have gentle music playing in the opposite side of the room.
  3. Set up a small timer on the opposite side of the room if you want to meditate for a specific amount of time or if you are in a time crunch. Preferably, the notice sound of the alarm will not be too violent – perhaps some nice bell sounds. Having a timer grounds you and reassures you that you can go as deep into your meditation as you want without having to worry about getting to your next engagement on time.
  4. The room should be dimly lit. This will help direct your attention and focus inwards, rather than into the room in which you are sitting.
  5. Get comfortable. This is by far the most important step. A few minutes into a meditation practice, the mind calms and begins to become aware of all of the distractions and aches and pains in the body. Sitting on a cushion for many people is still uncomfortable. In this case, sit comfortably in an upright chair (folding chairs work well) with the soles of your feet on the ground. Have a blanket nearby in case you get chilly.

Remember: meditation is not something you do. Meditation is a state of being, of dwelling in the here and now with each breath. If you get distracted, softly acknowledge the distraction and then return to simply breathing. Soon you will have a thriving meditation practice which you look forward to every day to help you relax, renew and reconnect!

r3 ad picMatthew Mitlas is a certified Yoga instructor at the 200 hour level. His classes invite a steady stream of consciousness that envelops all types of movement and keeps the mind steady and focused. He is currently influenced by the alignment principles of Anusara Yoga and the meditative aspect of Kripalu Yoga. Matthew works to co-create the conditions and space where his students may experience an authentic and inward experience of Yoga-learning to surrender to the infinite creativity of the universe as it takes form in each and every body in its own unique way. Namsate!

Matthew currently teaches Yoga classes at R3 Wellness Center, located in Collegeville, PA. In addition to Yoga, R3 Wellness center offers a plethora of holistic health services including Massage, Reiki, Acupuncture, Pranic Healing, Belly Dancing, Past Life Regressions, Life Coaching, and more! They can be found online at www.r3wellnesscenter.com.

Baked Cauliflower, Italian-Style

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 ounces lean ground sirloin (or substitute ground turkey)
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups lower-sodium marinara sauce (such as McCutcheon’s)
  • 2 ounces pitted kalamata olives, coarsely chopped
  • 1 1/2 pounds cauliflower, cut into florets
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 ounce French bread baguette, torn into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated fresh pecorino Romano cheese

Directions:

  1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl. Add onion; sauté 4 minutes. Add garlic; sauté for 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Stir in beef. Sprinkle with salt and peppers, and sauté 3 minutes or until browned, stirring to crumble. Stir in sauce and olives.
  2. Preheat broiler.
  3. Steam cauliflower 4 minutes or until crisp-tender. Place cauliflower in an 11 x 7 inch broiler-safe baking dish coated with cooking spray; top with sauce mixture.
  4. Place bread in a mini chopper; pulse until coarse crumbs form. Combine crumbs and cheese; sprinkle over cauliflower mixture. Broil 4 minutes or until browned.

Recipe compliments of myrecipes.com.