Posts Tagged: yoga

get outdoors!

Just a friendly reminder to get outside, to breathe in some fresh air, to get some vitamin D from the sunshine, and to enjoy whatever type of movement that makes you happy (or try something new)!

yoga in the park

My favorite thing about New York is yoga in the park in the summertime.  If you’re in NYC, check out Well + Good’s Healthy Summer Guide, which lists fitness classes all over the city (many of which are FREE).

If you’re not in NY, a quick google search for free or donation based fitness classes in your area,

or a search on meetup.com can lead you to great opportunities to get out there.

Another tip is to follow your fitness studio of choice on social media, and get on their mailing list. Just this morning I saw an announcement from a yoga studio in my neighborhood that will be having a free class tonight in the park.

You can also take a look at the website for your local park district, you may be surprised by what you find.

yoga in prospect park

I’ve even found classes + events by looking up #free #yoga #nyc on twitter.

slacklining

 

And now, for something not many people know about me: for many years, I’ve had a secret fantasy of becoming a roller dancer in central park. (and for some reason, I can’t get enough of that video).

Who knows, maybe I’ll work up the courage to try it this year.

I know for sure I’ll be practicing yoga and tai chi & dancing salsa this summer.

What type of exercise do you enjoy (or secretly want to try)? Do you have any suggestions for how/where to find free outdoor fitness classes in your area?

Let me know in the comments below!

 

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photos: © Elizabeth Paige Davison 2012 / 2013
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New Organic Cotton tank tops to keep you cool

Organic Cotton tank top

Brand New!     100% Organic Cotton ribbed tank top – Great for yoga or for keeping you cool in the summertime.

I hand screen printed my feather drawing onto this organic cotton tank using metallic gold water-based ink. I heat set each one so that they’re machine washable.

Tanks are made in the USA by American Apparel. These shirts are of great quality, the cotton is nice & breathable –  they look and feel great on. A great alternative to spandex workout clothes.

Find them in my Shop.

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How to relax and get a good nights sleep

Here are my top 3 favorite ways to relax & catch some Z’s…
 My favorite ways to relax and fall asleep, naturally http://thelotusroot.com/three-ways-to-relax-and-get-a-good-nights-sleep/
1.  Use Magnesium 
Dr. Mark Hyman calls it the stress antidote, and the most powerful relaxation mineral available. In addition to making sure I have a magnesium rich diet, (raw cacao, anyone?) I enjoy using magnesium in these 3 ways:
  • As a supplement

I like “Natural CALM” and “Super Mag”- both are magnesium powders that you mix into water to make a fizzy drink. Both are incredibly calming. Just be warned – taking too much internally can cause a laxative effect, if you catch my drift. I find it’s best not to get too creative and to follow the instructions on the package when it comes to taking it internally.

  •  Magnesium oil:

This stuff is awesome. It’s not really an oil, but a magnesium salt water solution. You can spray it on and massage it into your skin,  or use it as a foot soak. Applying magnesium to the skin can prevent the laxative effect since it doesn’t have to pass through the digestive system. (Of course, everyone is different, so don’t take my word for it – be sure to do your research*). I order mine on amazon.com (although I’m seeing it more and more in health food stores these days). Note: it may itch at first (for me it only itches if I haven’t used it in a while), but I’ve read that the itching should stop if you water it down a bit.

  • Epsom  Salt a.k.a Magnesium sulfate: Aaaahhhhhh…Soaking in an epsom salt bath is another tried and true way to relax your muscles and get a dose of magnesium. I like to stir 2 cups (or more) into a nice warm bath. Add 5-6 drops of lavender essential oil to the water for an even more calming experience. You can easily find epsom salt at any drug store, and lavender oil at most health food stores. The epsom salt will make you sweat (great for detoxing) so it’s a great idea to drink some water during your bath or better yet, a nice relaxing cup of herbal tea.

You can learn more by watching this video by Dr. Mark Hyman; “Magnesium: The most powerful relaxation mineral available”, or this one by Mark Sircus on Magnesium Oil therapy and finding the right dose for you. ( Mark Sircus recommends adding 5 POUNDS of epsom salt to your bath – pretty hardcore.)

How to relax and get a good nights sleep, naturally.

2. Restorative Yoga:

During restorative yoga, you get into different poses supported by pillows, bolsters or yoga blocks, and you lie in each pose for a while (much longer than you would in more active types of yoga).  The different poses help you release tension and help bring your emotional patterns and nervous system back into balance. Here’s a great restorative yoga video I found on youtube. The instructor has a really soothing voice, and her yoga sequence is relaxing and perfect just before bed. A lavender eye pilllow is a great addition to the practice since you’re lying on your back or your side for the poses. Find my handmade bamboo + organic cotton aromatherapy eye pillows in my etsy shop.

 If you want to learn more about restorative yoga, I really enjoyed the book “Yoga For Emotional Balance” by Bo Forbes.
how to relax and fall asleep naturally
3. If all else fails
Sometimes, you just can’t sleep because you have way too much on your mind. I find that keeping a notebook by my bed to jot everything down (and I mean everything) really helps bring me peace.
I have a few more relaxation tips up my sleeve, so there will definitely be more parts to this post in the future.
In the meantime, I’d love to know – do you have a favorite way relax / fall asleep?
-Liz

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*Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor or registered dietitian / nutritionist. The purpose of my blog is to share my own experiences with healthy living. When it comes to your health, please do your research & be sure to consult a health practioner before trying anything new (especially when pregnant or nursing).

The Meaning of Mudras

As promised, the new 100% organic cotton shirts with my mudra design are ready.

Limited edition Mudra tee by The Lotus Root  www.thelotusroot.com/shop/

 

I’m so excited to finally have these new, limited edition shirts in stock in my etsy shop. They’re dyed with low impact dyes (no heavy metals or toxic substances – and not derived from petro-chemicals), and enzyme finished, a process that makes the cotton extremely soft, similar to a vintage tee. [Edit: These tees are sold out – to get on the list to be the first to hear about limited edition items, sign up here: http://thelotusroot.com/free-updates/ ]

I started off by drawing the hand in pencil, and it was then burned onto a silk screen. As always, I hand screen printed the shirts with water-based ink.
Vitarka Mudra drawing by Liz Davison  http://thelotusroot.com/the-meaning-of-mudras/
In Sanskrit, the word Mudra means sign or seal. Mudras are ritual gestures that can be made with different parts of the body. The Mudra on my t-shirt is the Vitarka Mudra (the teaching or discussion position.)

Each mudra represents a different state of consciousness, and they can also be done to create different states in the mind and body. They’re also used to prepare for, and to focus during, yoga or meditation. In classical Indian dance, they’re used to communicate entire stories without words. Each finger and hand position has a different symbolic meaning.

I’ve been interested in the grace and beauty of hand mudras in artwork and dance for a long time.

I became even more intrigued by them when I first started learning about their effect on the mind and body.

Around 2001 I stumbled upon a great book, Meditation as Medicine by Dr. Dharma Singh Khalsa. It’s been a favorite of mine since then. I had tried many different forms of meditation over the years, and doing the exercises in the book (which include poses, mudras, mantra & breath work) quickly became my favorite way to meditate. I love the book because it goes into detail about different physical & psychological effects that each movement, sound or breathing pattern can have. Even if you’re not one that believes in or has any interest in the spiritual aspects of meditation, you can’t deny the positive effects that it can have on the body & mind.

 The Meaning of Mudras  http://thelotusroot.com/the-meaning-of-mudras/

In my favorite meditation in the book, you do a series of hand movements, touching the thumb to each finger repeatedly.  The author explains that the repetition of hand movements can actually enlarge the capacity of the brain, increase the connection between neurons and create new neural pathways. The meditation practice also includes  a mantra, which is a word or series of words that you repeat. Chanting a Mantra is a great way to quiet the inner dialogue, and is proven to have physical benefits (improving the function of the immune and endocrine systems, balancing the hemispheres of the brain, etc)

If you want to learn more, you should definitely check out the book!

The Mudra on my new shirts is known as the Vitarka Mudra when its held in front of your chest. The same position (often used during yoga) when held on the knee with the palm facing up, is called Gyan or Chin Mudra. Gyan Mudra is said to calm the mind, open the chest, and improve diaphragmatic breathing.

Limited edition Mudra tee by The Lotus Root  www.thelotusroot.com/shop/

I had a lot of fun working on this t-shirt design, and creating it has helped inspire me to get back into a regular meditation practice.  Something else that helped me get back in the swing of things was this great post on Meditation by Jena of Miss Modish & The Maven Circle.

I’d love to know, do you have a daily meditation practice? Do you use mudras when you meditate?

Let me know in the comments section below!

 

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