Categories Entries

Art Journal to Explore Beauty: What is Beautiful to You? Create Art Project to Celebrate It.

Art Journal to Explore Beauty: What is Beautiful to You? Create Art Project to Celebrate It.The definition of beauty is different from one person to another. This does not mean there are a lot of people who are either right or they are wrong. It is a matter of opinion. For this art journal prompt, explore your personal definition of what beauty is.

For this art journal prompt, you will nee the following materials:

  • Art journal
  • Heavy-duty glue stick
  • Decoupage medium
  • Decorative papers (patterned, preferably)
  • Collage items
  • Rubber stamps
  • Inkpads
  • Scissors
  • Glitter gel pens or markers
  • Stickers

Before beginning this art journal prompt, set up your work area. Spread your items out as much as possible so you can see all of your selections. Now, ask yourself the following question:

What drew you to choosing these items?

This is the first step in formulating your definition of beauty. Did you choose these items because you were drawn to their beauty? Did you choose these items because of the potential they hold for making your art journal pages beautiful?

Follow these steps for completing this art journal prompt:

  1. Open your art journal to the first blank page spread. Using the decorated paper, cover both sides of the spread. This can be done with the paper torn, or you can layer clean cut squares throughout the spread. Whichever look you like the best is the way to go with this step.
  2. Layer collage items over the decorative paper. If some of these items are weighty or thick, use decoupage medium to ensure a secure hold. Create a structured look, a random look, or some sort of pattern. Again, whatever you like the best.
  3. Add rubber stamped images over the entire page spread. Again, this can be a structured or random look.
  4. The last layer you will be adding is stickers. If these stickers did not have a glass finish, you could actually switch this step with the rubber stamp step and achieve a very nice look. If you choose stickers with a gloss finish, though, it is a good idea to do this step last so it does not smear.
  5. Finish off the page spread using the glitter gel pens or markers. You can add text, swirls, doodles, or whatever else you would like. Let your hand and your imagination guide you through this step. There are not right or wrong choices here.

Now, sit back and admire your work. Does it look beautiful to you? Did you choose several different colors for your inkpads and writing instruments? Did you create a patterned piece, or was it completely random?

Categories Health

Free Assistance on National Health Care Decision Day

Free Assistance on National Health Care Decision Day

 

At Legal Health Care Decision Day on April 16th LegalHealth provided people with information for free to leave for doctors describing the kind of medical treatment they want in case they are too sick to care for themselves. LegalHealth hosted planning tables at 10 hospitals throughout the city that provided information to leave with relatives and hospitals with directives on how they wanted to be treated at that time.

LegalHealth also provided the forms for this information. One of the forms was a “living will.” A living will helps people make a decision through a simple but legal document that is made in advance of not being able to make the communications one wants about medical assistance. During the event, LegalHealth assisted anyone over the age of 18 prepare a living will. The other document provided was a “healthcare proxie.” A health care proxie is a designation of an individual to make health related decisions including end of life issues in their behalf in the event of incapcitation/incompetency. Advocates also assisted the general public in registering with the U.S. Living Will Registry, an online service of information for hospitals and doctors giving 24-access in an emergency.

National Health Care Decision Day helped people understand that if they are too ill to communicate their medical wishes, their family or friends may not be allowed to make healthcare decisions for them. Healthccare proxies and living wills are important documents and less than one percent of the national population has either one let alone both. It was discovered that not even all hospital staff have either document, so there is a lot of work left to do.

Next year there will be another outreach and hopefully LegalHealth willl sign up hundreds more people for these important documents.

Categories Beauty

A Good Burger Can Also Be Healthy

A Good Burger Can Also Be Healthy

 

Many people love a good burger. Whether you prefer yours with cheese, bacon or chili – or all of the above piled up between two large buns, there is nothing in this world that can compare to the greasy goodness. Yet, in recent years the public has been made aware that the average burger is often loaded down with calories, fat and carbohydrates – factors that can not only cause weight gain but eventually lead to other health concerns.

This has lead many fast food and other restaurants to offer some creative solutions in making this popular fast food a little lighter. They may not be for everyone but the truth is that if you make burgers at home, a creating a healthy spin is not far from your reach or budget.

Cheese – In recent years, bleu cheese has become a favorite cheese for burgers. While bleu cheese salad dressing can be high in calories and fat content, a half-ounce (or 5-6 large crumbles) is only 50 calories. With its strong flavor, a few crumbs can enhance a burger without much guilt. Yet, cheddar is still the favorite among most adults; a single slice is about 114 calories. If the reduced calorie or fat-free versions are not appealing, then try Swiss as it half the calories per slice. Or if you are trying to reduce or eliminate altogether your dairy intake, then you may want to try soy versions of American, Cheddar and so on.

Meat – Many people are satisfied with using ground turkey or chicken as a substitute for beef in their burgers. If you buy lean (95% or higher), each 4-ounce patty is still less than 200 calories each. Pre-formed beef patties can be high in fat content (as much as 23%), although financially tempting to those looking to save a few dollars. Sometimes it is worth the extra effort to bring more flavors to the white meat alternative.

Condiments – If you didn’t know this before, mustard has less calories and fat than mayonnaise. If the taste ground mustard seeds is too sharp, then mustard blends such as honey or Dijon flavors will work just as well. A growing favorite is barbecue sauce or salsa, which the latter happens to be very low in calories (10 or less per ounce), fat (nada) and carbohydrates (less than five per ounce).

Bread – In recent, America has been fascinated by the flatbread craze for its reduced carb intake. The same results can be achieved by using low or fat-free tortillas, pita style or thin sandwich breads.

Vegetables РThese do not have to limited to the usual lettuce, tomato, pickle and onion. While many restaurant chains are getting on the grilled or saut̩ed veggie boat, realize that most of them are using beef fat or artery-clogging oils that are unnecessary to fry those irresistible carmelized onions. Also, mixing herbs and other spices in the ground meat before forming a patty will not only enhance the flavor but reduce the need for extras.

If you want to eliminate meat altogether or try something new, then grill a Portobello mushroom or large eggplant slice as you would a burger patty.

When it comes to the preparation, this can make a difference in a healthy meal as well. Cooking your burger in a skillet or other flat-surfaced pan will guarantee a greasy burger which equals a fatty burger (if using ground turkey or chicken, sunflower or canola can be used if you’re watching your waistline). You can get the outdoor grilling experience at home by flavoring your meat with liquid smoke before cooking and placing in a stovetop grilling pan or an electric indoor grill. Even placing your meat in a broiling pan that has a drain reservoir (or drip pan) will make a healthier burger.

Replace fries with a salad and carbonated drinks with natural flavored water and soon you will see results in your health.

Categories Beauty

Healthy Fingernails and Health Problems

Healthy Fingernails and Health Problems

 

Healthy fingernails do not just look good. Your fingernail health can provide important clues about serious health problems and nutritional deficiencies. Learn how to read your fingernails without reading too much into them.

Healthy Fingernails Overview:

The appearance of your fingernails can be connected to health problems and nutritional deficiencies, but there’s no need to panic. Nail strength and appearance is more likely to be affected by relatively harmless factors like aging, exposure to hot water, or using your nails as tools. Look for these obvious causes or a local infection first before suspecting a serious systemic disease.

Fingernail Health and Serious Health Problems:

While you should not go overboard, it is valuable for doctors to check your fingernails. WebMD has a guide to healthy fingernails with 10 signs to look for in your nail appearance that can indicate serious medical conditions. These include red nail beds in the case of heart disease, or dark lines under the nail in the case of melanoma. You should report any changes you notice in nail strength or appearance to your doctor. Note that fine vertical ridges often develop with age and are usually not a cause for concern. Nails also tend to thin with age as the growth rate slows down.

Healthy Fingernails and Nutritional Deficiencies:

Nail strength and appearance can be very valuable in helping to identify and correct some nutritional deficiencies because fingernail health depends on a healthy diet. Two good examples of this are Vitamin D deficiency and iron deficiency. Many seniors suffer from Vitamin D deficiency which increases their risk for falls, broken bones, and depression. Studies show that Vitamin D levels are connected to fingernail thickness so this may provide helpful clues for detecting nutritional deficiencies and monitoring responses to treatment. In menstruating women, iron deficiency is very common. Fingernails can reveal signs of iron deficiency and anemia if the nail bed is thin and concave with raised ridges and the nails show signs of pallor. Women can consult their doctors to see if they would benefit from iron supplements. Calcium supplements can also help to improve nail strength as well as healthy bones. Unfortunately, the myth about eating Jell-O for nail health is just a myth. Eating gelatin does nothing for nail strength.

Healthy fingernails are a valuable tool for assessing your overall health, and your doctor can help you identify any real causes for concern.

Sources: WebMD, MayoClinic, US National Institutes of Health, DrDonnica.com

Categories Beauty

Health Care, Homeland Security, Jobs? How About All Three?

Health Care, Homeland Security, Jobs? How About All Three?

One of the criticisms of President Obama and his first year in office is that his administration has not adequately addressed the issue of the economy. This criticism has come from his own party and that of the opposition, as well. The president’s poll numbers on this issue are increasingly reflecting the disappointment and frustration that the American people are feeling about this issue. This information is based on poll information that was presented on MSNBC on Monday, Jan. 25. When will the economy, specifically the very high unemployment rate, be addressed front and center?

Americans are sophisticated enough, one would think, to recognize that the other issues: health care reform, homeland security, etc. are also truly important issues. But first and foremost on the minds of Americans is the high unemployment rate. Without jobs, families are suffering. Neighborhoods and communities suffer as houses are foreclosed upon. This is what is on the minds of Americans and what they most want to hear discussed.

Not only is a discussion called for, however. Action is needed. The polls show that people are tired of rhetoric. Enough already. Real, specific action plans are called for. And if the people surrounding the president can’t come up with any, then they should be fired and replaced by people who can do the job.

My hope and wish is that this president will show the intelligence and energy and audacity that it took for him to attain the presidency and apply it now to this pressing concern.

Why not create a jobs program that will be centered around health care and homeland security? Wouldn’t these areas be a great place to start creating new jobs? Who would disapprove of increased homeland security? A bill before Congress which would earmark stimulus money for the creation of jobs in these areas might have a real chance of passing and would probably win the approval of the American people.

As for the banking industry, this administration must get tough and demand more oversight. Banks that use taxpayer money need to be more tightly regulated. The Glass-Steagall Act that separated commercial and investment banking should be reinstated. Americans are angry that these banking abuses have occurred and continue to occur.

My hope is that the President will address these concerns and bring about the “change” that is needed.

Sources:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glass-Steagall_Act

Categories Entries

Turmeric as a Beauty and Other Health Benefits

Turmeric as a Beauty and Other Health Benefits

Turmeric powder is a wonderful spice which is used all over the world. It’s a main ingredient in some of the cooking dishes. It is used for medicinal purpose also. It gives a nice color to dishes like Kande Pohe, Chicken Biryani, Dahi Kadi etc.

In history the Erode is well known as “Yellow City” or “Turmeric City”. In the state of Maharashtra (India) Sangli, a town is the second largest trading center for turmeric in Asia.

Turmeric is used as a spice all over the world especially for cooking but beside cooking it has several other uses and health benefits too.

  1. i) It is used as sunscreens.
  2. ii) It helps to protect food products from sunlight.

iii) It is used during wedding ceremony.

  1. iv) In Pujas turmeric is used.
  2. v) If there is a stomach problem turmeric is used.
  3. vi) If you have cough, boil the milk and add 1 tsp turmeric in the warm milk mixed and drink. It helps to reduce cough.

vii) Turmeric is also benefits in cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis and other clinical disorders.

viii) Turmeric can be used for your skin as a face-mask. It you have a acne, turmeric can be used with gram flour and add 1 tbs lemon juice and milk to make a fine paste. Wash the face and wipe it. And then apply with your finger on the whole face this turmeric paste. Avoid your eyes. After 15-20 minutes wash with the water. It gives your face a new look and your skin looks gloomy and smooth.

  1. ix) In India, before marriage turmeric is applied to groom and bride.
  2. x) If there is a cut, wound turmeric powder is used.

Now, we come to know other then cooking there are several uses of turmeric powder which helps to glow our skin more beautiful. It helps to prevent some of the diseases. And also other uses of turmeric powder in cooking, ceremonial, cosmetics, dye, gardening, medicine etc.

Turmeric powder is used in cooking to make curries of vegetarian and non- vegetarian dishes. Below are some of the Indian Cuisine recipes made with using turmeric powder.

  1. i) Kande Pohe
  2. ii) Vada Pav

iii) Cabbage

  1. iv) Chicken
  2. v) Chicken Biryani
Categories Beauty

How to Get Out of an Abusive or Unhealthy Relationship

How to Get Out of an Abusive or Unhealthy RelationshipI can tell you right now that if you know you are in an abusive relationship, you should not be looking on the internet for advice on how to get out of it. But, I know that so many people resort to that, so I’m going to try to help those people out with this article. Honestly, where you should be going is to someone you trust. Sometimes it’s hard to find people to trust, so I can understand how the next best thing is to trust a stranger.

The first thing that you need to realize is that you do not deserve to be in an abusive or unhealthy relationship. You deserve to be respected, cherished, and loved in every sense of each word. Stop making excuses for you or the other person. There is no excuse or reason why one person should abuse the one person they say they love. I know that it’s hard to walk away from someone you love, but sometimes that’s the best thing you can do for them. I don’t care what kind of abuse it is, be it mental, verbal, physical, emotional, whatever. You do not deserve that, and you need to leave and find someone who will treat you right.

You also need to remind yourself that this abuse is not your fault. This person can say all they want that it’s because of you that they abuse you. But this is just not the case. It is because of the abusive person that they are like that. It is all them and they are the ones that need help. They need to go see a counselor or a therapist that can help them work through their problems. There are many different parts of people’s lives that affect the way they act towards other people. Your partner probably watched their own parents abuse each other, or even abuse drugs and alcohol. You partner could be involved in drugs and alcohol themselves and that makes them become abusive. This is something that you cannot change, especially if you are in danger of being hurt. The best thing you can do is walk away and don’t look back. Some people never change. And you can’t do it for them, they have to want to change themselves.

It becomes a bigger issue if you think that leaving this relationship is going to put you in bigger danger. If you think that your partner is going to do something to you if you leave, then you need to contact the police and tell them about what’s been going on, especially if he/she threatens you or has already caused you physical injuries. That is illegal and the police will not let your partner do something to you. Call them especially if you have marks on your body because the police will arrest him/her on the spot.

If you are unsure what to do or you aren’t sure how or if you can leave this abusive or unhealthy relationship, you need to talk to somebody. There are so many people in your life that can help you, even if you don’t think there are. If you are in high school, talk to a teacher or guidance counselor. Remember that a member of the staff in your school is required to speak if they are informed of physical abuse of one of students. This is a good thing. They will help you get through this. If you are not in school, talk to someone you trust or even a therapist. They will know how to help you. If you need to, get a restraining order from the person who is abusing you so that you can remain safe.

If you are a victim of abuse, then you need to contact someone immediately. Call the abuse hotline at 800-621-4673.

Categories Beauty

Healthy and Happy Animals!

Healthy and Happy Animals!At Paw Prints, the staff believes that ‘healthy pets are happy pets’, and they back that up with offerings of high quality food, toys and other products. They pride themselves on having the latest, healthiest and most unique products, from beds made from recycled materials to a wide variety of mouth-watering treats.

What to Expect
When you arrive you will experience a clean, organized store with a well-stocked inventory. There is a section for beds, treats (some of which are homemade), toys, and healthy dog food, including a refrigerator full of frozen, raw food for dogs. There is also a section for cats, which includes the same items. The staff is warm and welcoming and will answer any and all questions that you might have. They are well-versed and are pet-owners themselves. Their passion comes through in the conversations that they have with each customer. Each member of the staff has considerable knowledge about the products that they carry. They are always willing to give you authentic advice or let you sample a treat. At the Highlands Ranch location, there is also an on-site spa for dogs. The bottom line is that your dog will leave their very satisfied; my dogs cry when we pull up in anticipation of the great things inside.

Foods
Innova, Taste of the Wild, Evo, TimberWolf Organics, Prairie, Canidae, California Natural, Acana, Merrick and Wellness.

The first time I went to Paw Prints, I spent over an hour trying to figure out what would be the best food for my dog. The staff spent time with me, going over ingredients, and talking about what might be best for my breed. They also spoke about the companies who made them, and how the food is processed. Once I finally narrowed down my choices, they gave me samples of each food, and encouraged me to see what my dog liked and responded to the best.

After a few weeks, I made my choice, and they set me up on a frequent buyer program. My dogs love this food! Over the past two years, we have bought and enjoyed Prairie, Merrick, Wellness, Innova, Evo and Taste of the Wild. My two furry friends love them all, and are never picky about what they are eating. We made the mistake of buying some food at Petco recently when Paw Prints was closed. This resulted in two very sick dogs. We stock up ahead now, and have never looked back. The best part is that the food is reasonably priced, and was actually less expensive than the food we purchased at Petco, that was lower in quality. Lesson learned.

Specialty Items
Treats for dogs with allergies, raw diet food, beef and buffalo bones, super durable toys for tenacious chewers, stylish collars and leashes from Walk-e-Woo and other brands.

Locations
Centennial Store: 6842 S. Yosemite Street Centennial, CO 80112 720-482-6806
Hours: M-F 10-6, Sat. 10-4, Sun. 10-2
Highlands Ranch Store: 6654 Timberline Road Unit C Highlands Ranch, CO 80130 303-471-4230
Hours: M-F 10-6, Sat. 10-5

Categories Health

How to Maintain a Healthy Scalp

Your scalp is just as important as the rest of your skin, but most people don’t even think about taking care of it unless they have a scalp problem. Proper scalp care can keep your scalp healthy and prevent those problems.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that a healthy scalp begins with a healthy lifestyle, according to WebMD . Eating enough protein, as well as enough fruits and vegetables, helps keep your skin as healthy as your insides. Exercise keeps your metabolism up and your blood flowing to your skin, which is a great way to keep it healthy. Limiting your exposure to sun, or wearing a hat, will keep your scalp from getting a sunburn that can cause scalp problems like seborrheic dermatitis, a serious form of dandruff. Another recommendation from WebMD is to use a humidifier if your home is dry, to keep your skin, including your scalp, from overdrying.

Some medications, including lithium, Inderal and other beta blockers, Cardioquin for heart arrhythmia, and some medications for arthritis can also cause skin to dry out. If you take any medications, ask your doctor about side effects, and ask about a substitute medication if one of your prescriptions can cause skin, and scalp, problems.

Articles in both Men’s Fitness magazine and SkinCareBeautyZone.com include more common-sense ways to keep your scalp healthy. Among the best of them are these:

Find Your Shampooing Balance

Too-frequent shampooing can remove natural oils, causing dry skin, which can lead to excessive scalp skin shedding, also known as dandruff. On the other hand, if you don’t shampoo often enough, the resulting oils can clog hair follicles and lead to seborrheic dermatitis. For a healthy scalp, wash your hair at least every other day and use a mild shampoo. Also, use your knuckles, not your nails, to massage the shampoo over your scalp. If you have dandruff, use a shampoo like Head & Shoulders that has zinc pyrithione (ZPT) as an active ingredient.

Stick to a Healthy Diet

Reduce your consumption of fats, sugar, and salt and alcohol. All of these can lead to poor skin conditions, including scalp conditions.

Reduce Stress

Believe it or not, stress can cause scalp problems. Stress causes your body to produce too much cortisol, a substance that reduces your immune system’s ability to respond to yeast or other organisms that can cause How to Maintain a Healthy Scalp

irritation of your scalp.

Turn Down the Heat

Hot water may feel good after a hard workout or a long day, but it can hurt your scalp. Use lukewarm to cool water when you rinse. If you use a blow-drier to dry your hair, stick to the lowest setting and use a diffuser so the heat on your scalp is less intense and less likely to dry it out. Better yet, towel- or air-dry your hair.

To Brush or Not to Brush

Brushing can loosen the dead skin cells on your scalp that may be clogging your pores. But if your scalp is dry, cut out the brushing and use a wide-toothed comb or your fingers. You can give your scalp a massage at the same time, increasing the blood flow to the scalp skin to keep it healthier. If you have thinning hair, gently brush your hair to prevent breakage and further hair loss.

The bottom line is simple: To keep a healthy scalp, treat it like you do the rest of your skin. Keep it clean and moisturized, don’t over-dry it or irritate it with sharp objects like fingernails or rough brushes, and live a healthier lifestyle, and your scalp will be healthy, too.

Categories Health

What Does it Mean to “Live Your Yoga”?

Live Your YogaPracticing Yoga on and Off the Mat

If you’ve been studying and practicing yoga, you may have heard another yogi say they were trying to “live their yoga”. But what does “living our yoga” mean? Is it practicing asana (poses) every day? Practicing pranayama (breathing)? Being mindful and present in our daily lives? Yes, “living our yoga” is all of these things, but so much more.

Yogic philosophy tells us that the practice has 8 limbs. These limbs are Yamas (moral restraints), Niyamas (moral observances), asana (postures), pranayama (breath control), pratyahara (sense withdrawal), dharana (concentration), dyhana (meditation) and Samadhi (Unity Consciousness). In the West, many practitioners of yoga may be completely unaware of this aspect of the practice. Many only know yoga as a physical practice. If it was a physical injury or limitation that brought someone to yoga, these concepts may never have been introduced. Relaxing, reducing stress and stretching may have been the total focus.

Hatha Yoga is a broad, general term for the physical practice, which consists of asanas and pranayama, the third and fourth limbs on the path. So, what about the first and second limbs, the Yamas and Niyamas? Practitioners who learn and apply the other limbs of yoga, in particular the Yamas and Niyamas are people who are “living their yoga”. They are practicing yoga “on and off the mat”.

In Patanjali’s day, around 200 B.C.E., it was expected that a student first practice the disciplines of the Yamas and Niyamas before practicing the other six limbs. Indeed, times were different then. But for us to “practice yoga” we musn’t disconnect from the true meaning behind it. The physical practice is wonderful. It makes us stronger, more vibrant. It makes us feel better. It allows us to open to things we may not otherwise be able to see or understand. Physically, it works on all of the systems within the body. However, we are much more than our physical bodies. Yoga teaches us that too. At the lowest vibrational level, we are our physical bodies, then our energetic, psycho-emotional, wisdom and bliss bodies. Learning about the Yamas and Niyamas, along with the other limbs of yoga allows us to tap into these deeper dimensions that exist within ourselves.

So, lets take a closer look at the Yamas and Niyamas. The Yamas can be defined as moral restraints, social behavior, or a “code of ethics”. The Yamas consist of Ahimsa (non-violence), Satya (truthfulness), Asteya (non-stealing), Brahmacharya (moderation) and Aparigraha (non-possessiveness). The Niyamas can be defined as moral observances or practices, personal disciplines, qualities to nourish or a “code for spiritual living”. The Niyamas consist of Saucha (purity), Santosha (contentment), Tapas (austerity), Swadhaya (self-study) and Ishwara-Pranidhana (devotion to God).

Ahimsa, traditionally translated to non-harming, is the first Yama. Vegetarianism is one lesson of Ahimsa. It teaches a very simple lesson, yet one that is so hard to live by if we are allowing our ego to be our primary responder to situations. Non-harming, non-violence extends to others, nature and ourselves. One may think of non-violence in a physical situation, but again, life is more than this. What about our actions, language, and even our thoughts? The mind is difficult to control. Thoughts of a violent nature, toward ourselves or others, can occur and spin out of control. An important lesson to learn here is to differentiate between truth and “chatter”. Truth tends to be penetrating, direct, and without a lot of words. Whereas chatter, the unconscious fears and patterns (samskaras) tends to be just the opposite. Consider self-defeating thoughts, “I’m not good enough. If only I was more like . . ., I am an awful person.” All of these thoughts are not Truth, but un-reality. As non-truth, they warrant questioning and examining. Luckily yoga practice allows us to develop witness consciousness, which helps us to examine these beliefs and to heal.

Satya, truthfulness, seems easy enough. But what about the “little white lies” we tell to avoid hurting someone’s feelings? This Yama is not always black and white. Georg Feuerstein, yogic scholar and practitioner, gives this advice for honesty: “Apply Ahimsa first and then Satya”. In other words, if honesty has a violent nature attached to it, it may be left unspoken. Satya, like Ahimsa must also be applied to the self. What lies are you telling yourself about yourself? A good place to examine these thoughts is during practice, on the mat. Look at the overall tone of the practice. Does it include all elements, or are some elements being avoided? This subtle dishonesty within ourselves can be a clue to our present emotional state. Every asana has an emotional energy, so questioning can be helpful. For example, “am I not honoring my woman energy and avoiding belly down postures?” or “am I feeling disempowered and avoiding backbends or feeling angry and only wanting to do backbends?” If this line of questioning speaks to you, a good resource is Hatha Yoga, the Hidden Language by Swami Sivananda Radha.

Asteya, traditionally translated to non-stealing, is more than that. It can also mean non-jealousy, acknowledging what is truly ours and being content with it. In this respect, it goes hand-in-hand with Santosha, contentment. In not practicing Asteya, we may begin to think “we’re not good enough”. “I need more of . . ., if I only had . . ., I would feel wonderful.” Thinking these thoughts “steals” time from ourselves and others. Going back to Truth connects us to our essence and allows us to live in the present. Remembering, “I am okay-just great, in fact-as I am” is practicing Asteya.

Moderation or Brahmacharya is the next Yama. It can also be thought of as responsible behavior with respect to our goal of moving toward the Truth. Honoring the life energy you’ve been given and directing it toward the highest good is practicing Brahmacharya. To address issues with this Yama, ask yourself, “how do I run away from my true Self, my divine nature?” Anytime you find a lack, you are depleting your energy and contributing to dis-ease within.

Aparigraha means non-greed, non-attachment or non-possessiveness. In simple terms, “following the beat the your own drummer” can be seen as practicing Aparigraha. Follow what you know is right and don’t worry about what anyone else has, does or says. Consider your needs versus your wants. Take only what is necessary. Don’t take advantage of situations. Getting stuck in the “Not Knowing Enough Syndrome” is an example of NOT practicing Aparigraha. “If I take one more workshop, read one more book, I will be ready.” There is always something to learn. Don’t get stuck in this syndrome. You are good enough exactly as you are right now.

Moving on to the Niyamas, the first is Saucha and relates to cleanliness or purity of the body, mind and spirit. Keeping yourself healthy by eating right, thinking positive thoughts and practicing asana and pranayama are all practices that support cultivating Saucha. If we can focus our primary intention on spiritual transformation by keeping our lives simple and uncluttered, we are practicing Saucha.

Contentment, Santosha, is the practice of realizing that all we need is who we already are. This corresponds with the very basic notion in our physical yoga practice that says, “be here now”. Be present in this moment. Show up for life right now. In practicing Santosha we accept what is, what happens, what we have (or don’t have) and how we feel about what God has given us. Surrendering in a forward bend with tight hamstrings, and being grateful that we can bend as far as we can, is a practice in Santosha!

Tapas refers to our discipline. More literally translated into “heat”, Tapas is the activity of heating the body through our regular physical practice. It is paying attention to our diet, our breathing. Practicing Tapas, we have a willingness to bring into the open and throw into the fire of examination all of our core beliefs. This involves sitting in the fire of the emotions associated with those beliefs.

Swadhyaya is the study of the self. It incorporates all of the other Yamas and Niyamas and their ability to allow ourselves to understand, integrate and transform all aspects of our being. Swadhyaya seeks the Truth. In performing this Niyama, it is important to look within and to seek other resources which help us get to the truth. Reading books, seeking out a teacher-or teachers, who help us to gain perspective and obtain the Truth about ourselves.

Ishwara-Pranidhana is surrender of the limited “self” in search of a greater “Self” leading to Union, which is the ultimate goal of yoga. It is the knowledge that we can only understand our human condition through spiritual means. This Niyama does not dictate who or what we believe, but suggests that through the cultivation of faith and the act of surrendering, the limiting box of the ego drops away and the grace of the Universe replaces it.

It is not enough to know the Yamas and Niyamas. Anyone can read about them and mentally understand, but only by practicing, questioning, can we truly understand our nature and move beyond the limited self, dominated by the ego, to the higher Self that is our true nature. The yoga mat can be the place to ask the questions and let the answers emerge in their own space and time. Pay attention while practicing asana. Where is there holding? Where is there fear? How do I want to move? What am I avoiding? What thoughts keep showing up? Go back to the breath. Go back to the silence within. Eventually, through asana practice on the mat, and meditation, the answers will emerge. Don’t force, don’t strive, just allow, and be present each day to the silence within. This is living your yoga.