Monday, May 30, 2011

How to Avoid Yoga Injuries

Yoga injuries are pretty common, even among seasoned practitioners. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, there were more than 5,500 yoga-related injuries treated in doctors' offices, clinics, and emergency rooms in 2007 (the most recent stat I could find).

I remember when I first started practicing yoga, my lower back would ache and I often felt soreness in my knees and wrists. Even now the pain still occurs when I rush through my poses or push myself a little too hard. This idea was the inspiration behind my first video blog, which focuses on how to properly execute three common yoga poses with the help of my beloved yoga instructor Ashley West Roberts.

While I realize there are many yoga resources out there showing highly trained (and super toned) experts demonstrating perfectly aligned poses, I'm pretty sure I don't look like that during a yoga class. Some days, I'm lazy, and I speed through my chatarungas. Other days, I space out and forget to use my leg strength during a Downward-Facing Dog putting unnecessary strain on my wrists. Ultimately, I wanted to show a real person (curves and all) demonstrating poses, and perhaps needing a bit of adjustment along the way. 

Ashley has helped me be kinder to my body by being more mindful on the mat. Hopefully, by heeding her advice in this video, she can help you do the same. 

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Beauty Roundup: 3 Green Body Care Products

Good-for-you beauty products help your natural beauty shine through.
(Photo © istockphoto/iconogenic)

As the saying goes, “You are what you eat.” But what about the products you put on your body?

While I was working as the Senior Editor of Spa magazine, a beauty expert turned me on to The Garlic Experiment: Peel a clove of garlic, crush it up, and put it between your toes. Then wait about 30 minutes. You should be able to taste the garlic in your mouth. Pretty crazy, huh?

The first time I tried the experiment, it really got me thinking about what I put on my skin. After all, if my skin could absorb garlic after one 30-minute test, just think about all of the other things it’s absorbing on a daily basis—makeup, lotion, facial cleanser, toner, shower gel, shampoo and conditioner … the list goes on.

I revamped my beauty closet shortly after that, and I've been extra conscious about checking labels ever since. (The Dirty Dozen list of cosmetic chemicals to avoid from the David Suzuki Foundation is a great guide if you’re not sure what to look for.) Below are three earth- and people-friendly beauty essentials I can’t live without:

Kimberly Parry Organics Learn to Love It Kit: If you’re the type of person that likes the simplicity of the Clinique 3-step regimen, then you will appreciate this Clean, Tone, and Moisturize kit. Parry’s products are all made to order and carry the USDA Organic seal.

Red Flower Cleansing Body Wash: All Red Flower purifying body washes are created from essential oils and botanicals, but my favorite is Italian Blood Orange. The citrusy scent is uplifting, and I can rest assured knowing that I’m being kind to my body (and the environment) with each preservative-free wash!

Lotus Wei Balancing Serum: This serum is made for the face and is steeped in regenerative calendula flowers, but I highly recommend it as a body oil to soothe your skin and your spirit. My go-to “mood” is Inner Peace, though the point is to pick the one you’re most attracted to. A bonus tip: Massage Inner Peace Serum on your ankles and feet before going to bed for an extra relaxing sleep.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Wellness Report: Holistic Health For Pets

A relaxed Sophia and Hurley post-Reiki session.
(Photo © Maria Wakem)

I’ve been practicing Reiki for more than five years now, and my loved ones are often on the receiving end of my healing touch. But my most frequent clients are my cats, Sophia and Hurley. 

While it seems only appropriate that my cats crave regular Reiki sessions, Sophia and Hurley are not alone. Many pets are now receiving alternative health treatments as more and more pet owners turn to holistic vets for care. And when a holistic veterinary care hospital opened near my apartment, I was inspired to look into the various treatments options. This investigation of sorts led to my recent article on, “Western vs. Holistic Vet: Who Is Better For Your Pet?” (Read the full article here.)

I have yet to take my two fur balls to the holistic vet, but something tells me that as long as there are treats involved, they’ll be all for it.