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7:51 pm

The Yoga of Skin Care, by Lisa Wells

Abyhanga OilsYour skin is the largest organ of your body. You’ve got more than 2 square meters of skin encasing your body. And your skin is home to over a thousand species of bacteria, good bacteria. Your skin is the interface between your body and the world around you. Your skin serves as your personal container. Your skin is your protection from the nasty toxic stuff in the world. Your skin help regulates your body’s temperature. Your skin is the organ of touch and physical pleasure. You feel your world and relate to others directly through your skin. Your skin communicates your state of health, happiness and vibrancy to everyone you meet. Healthy skin is an indicator of a healthy human. Caring for your skin, you care for yourself. Soaps, even the nicest ones, are unnecessarily harsh to the skin. Soap robs the skin of its healthy natural oils. This natural oil serves as protection from the physical and chemical attacks of the environment. Soap changes the chemistry and biology of your skin, it literally changes who you are. Through these changes in body chemistry and biology, soap alters the ability of your skin to interact with the world in a natural healthy way. Soap can thereby change how you are perceived by the others, as your chemistry shifts away from its natural composition toward something synthetic and affected. The yoga of skin care begins with an oil massage before your daily bath. You’ll want to choose an oil that appeals to you: Sesame and Almond oil are warming to the body; Coconut, Olive, and Sunflower Oil are cooling; Kastor Oil is a powerful anti-inflammatory; Mahanarayan Oil is warming and antibacterial; Neem Oil is a strong anti-bacterial and anti-fungal that can be useful for psoriasis or athlete’s foot. Add aromatic oils that are pleasing, rose, lavender, jasmine, cedar, sandalwood, or any other scent that is pleasant to you. Or choose a pre-mixed oil designed for your Ayurvedic constitution. You don’t need a lot of oil for your daily massage. A few teaspoons of oil is enough massage the entire body. Start with your feet and massage your way up your legs. Then massage from your hands up your arms, and from your face down your neck. Finally, massage the front and back of your torso. Give your body the gift of love by chanting ‘sweet nothings’ to yourself as you do your morning massage. After your massage step into a warm shower and the warm water will help the oil to penetrate your skin. If you feel the need, use soap solely on your pits and groins. As you feel comfortable with the oil massage, you might want to include dry brushing your skin before your massage. Dry brushing stimulates the glandular and nervous systems, improves blood circulation to the skin, and helps the lymph to drain. Dry brushing defoliates the skin and helps remove impurities from the pores. Dry brush before you oil massage your skin for best results. Choose a natural bristle brush with a long handle and you’ll be able to get the whole of your back. Use a softer brush for your face. Use small circular motions and brush firmly enough to bring color to the skin. Just like the oil massage, begin dry brushing at the periphery of your body and work toward your core. Start with the soles of your feet, then massage up your legs. Brush the palms of your hands and then massage up the arms. Brush your face, and then down your neck and finally brush your chest, abdomen and back. Dry brushing and oil massage will help keep you vibrant and healthy. It is a simple, pleasurable, gift you can give yourself. You will feel your radiance increase in the world. The world will reflect your radiance back to you.

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5:20 pm

ROASTED RED PEPPER COCONUT SOUP

Mishele’s recipe from the Live Well potluck: ROASTED RED PEPPER COCONUT SOUP -  from Moosewood Soup Deck Yields about 9-10 cups. Has a little “bite” to it so you may want to serve w/ greens. I put fresh cilantro on top.
  • 6 red bell peppers, roasted
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 cups chopped onions
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and left whole
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes or ¼ teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ cups undrained, canned diced tomatoes (14 oz can)
  • 1 ¾ cups coconut milk (14 oz can)
  • 2 cups water
Directions: Roast (may scorch!) your red peppers and set them aside in a tightly covered bowl to cool and then stem, seed, and peel them. If you can find them, use two 13 oz cans roasted sweet red peppers in water  instead, rinse and drain them. I used fresh red peppers from Denison Farms; had to put on high broil for 5 about minutes to get them to cooperate in giving up their skins!In a covered nonreactive soup pot on medium heat, warm the oil. Add the onions, garlic, red pepper, and salt and cook for about 15 minutes, until the onions are very soft and translucent. Remove the pot from the heat and add the tomatoes, coconut milk, water, and roasted red peppers. In batches in a blender, puree the soup until smooth. Return it to the soup pot and reheat.

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3:32 pm

The Gift

Hope you enjoy this guest blog post by Janet Levin.  I'm grateful to her for sharing her self with us this last month.
THE GIFT The gift we accepted at sixty is now, at sixty-three, eviscerated in a sentence in an email. Under my feet, foundation vanishes in a salty, sandy swirl. I surrender into grief. 7,000 miles away, he yanks out four decades of roots. He packs up our life, puts mine in storage, tells me so after the fact. Brutal—this hidden switchblade in his fist. His betrayal pierces bone. I am not a young woman mourning her boyfriend. I am recently retired. I am deeply in love with this man and our life. His friends are shocked. But he loves you. But he has left them, too. I have been doing yoga off and on for decades. Our mutual friend sits in presence with sobs which rise in disbelief like lava from a source I’ve never known. I want nothing.  She reminds me to breathe, meditate, eat. We walk miles on the beach. We do yoga on the patio before the day gets too hot. Inside me is smoke in vacant space, no map, no direction. I am completely and utterly lost. The only sensation is pain. I am not a young woman mourning her boyfriend. Our wills are on file at City Hall. Rather than marry we talked about the elements that make a marriage, the ones we chose to give our life; we met with an attorney to lay down the tracks of those intentions. I have been doing yoga off and on for decades. I breathe with my friend through asanas that remind me I have a body. I break a bone in my foot. I research wheelchair yoga. Who knew such a thing existed? I stretch my arms diagonally to the sky, ask my heart to follow. It has no interest. But I insist. Who is this? I have been doing yoga off and on for decades. Now it’s an umbilical holding me to Heaven and Earth. Inviting me to choose life every single day inviting me to choose. I am alive, I see, I wake up every morning, I have to choose. I stretch my arms diagonally to the sky. I ask my heart to follow. I am not young. I have been doing yoga for decades. But not like this. Not everyday like now. The cast comes off. The walking boot supports the knitted bone. Yoga supports a knitting soul. I get a groupon for 20 Laughing Lotus sessions; I need to laugh as much as I need to stretch. Core strengthens, the soles of my feet are steady on cork floors. Om reverberates; and tears spill over in a Hoover Dam flood carrying me in its flow. I get an introductory rate, 40 bucks for 30 days. Every morning I walk to the studio, grateful beyond belief for this gift, my burning triceps and hamstrings, my place in the world, everything in this cauldron of awakening. I’ve been doing yoga off and on for decades. I loved this man, our life. Now daily yoga breath and stretch surrenders a cutting edge carved these brief nine months: a new container.      

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