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Tongue Scraping

So you wouldn’t think that scraping my tongue in the morning would have a component of spirituality to it would you…?  I said tongue scraping in my class today and was met with a hilarious mix of curled noses, incredulity and raised eyebrows.

They’re not alone.

On Saturday at Yoga Teacher Training, our teacher Molly from Yoga North demonstrated tongue scraping and…wait for it…using a neti pot for the class.  Fantastic.  I have a huge smile on my face thinking of it because the faces around the room (mine included) were the same as the faces in mine.  Except I may have turned my head away during the neti pot part because I get gaggy at boogers.

Ok so why, you may ask, am I blogging about Tongue Scraping and how could it possibly be a spiritual act??  Bear with me.

One of the legs of the table of yoga is Ayurvedics.  Supporting the body, treating it with the best care, so that you can do your best work serving the world with your gifts.  And one of the suggested practices of Ayurvedics?  Tongue Scraping.

It sounds so violent.  But truly – it isn’t.  You use this nifty little tool – mine’s copper.

Nifty Tongue Scraper!

Nifty Tongue Scraper!

And just kind of slide it down your tongue after you wake up.  The metal ‘scrapes’ off the gunk that accumulates in your mouth as you sleep.  Why?  Well how Molly said it was this, “Your body is getting rid of the gunk and gets it to the tongue, you’re just helping move it off the tongue and out of the body.”

The Chopra website has many things to say about it, but here’s a good one,

“Scraping the tongue daily removes any build-up on the tongue, which, if left untreated, can lead to bad breath and may house a significant number of bacteria. This simple practice is a direct way of removing Ama from your physiology. In Ayurveda, Ama refers to any accumulation of toxic residue in the mind-body. This can result from improper eating, poor digestion, or a reflection of an imbalance somewhere in the gastrointestinal system.”

Umm…ok.  I’m in.

I’m on Day 2.

And here’s what I want to say.  It’s not the act of tongue-scraping itself that is for me a spiritual act.  It’s that I’m doing something that CARES FOR MY BODY that is a spiritual act.  I am taking a minute out of my day to care for my beautiful self.  Just one minute.  Why?  So that I can support my body as I do my work, as I live and love.

Tongue Scraping may not be your thing.  And that’s cool.  But what is one thing that you can do to support your body as you live, serve, work, love and be in the world?  What’s one thing that you can do every day – without it seeming like a drag?  But a loving act that you can add in gently?

Here are some suggestions if you can’t come up with anything:

*Warm glass of water in the morning with a capful of lemon juice or a squeeze of fresh lemon.

*Lotion after your bath/shower.

*Taking a minute after you wake up – ONE MINUTE – to throw some gratitude around for this cool life you have.

*Stretch after you get out of bed.

*Go for a leisurely walk when you get home from work.

*Take some deep breaths throughout your day.

*Eat more vegetables.

*Drink more water.

*Smile at yourself in the mirror.

Or…you could tongue scrape!  haha!  If you’re interested, I got mine through Yoga North’s Online Store.  Click the ‘Products’ button after you link in.

Much peace to you on your journey and may it be filled with joy, love and peace.

Namaste,

Sarah

Spring April Newsletter


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Spring into Spring – Easing in

It’s Spring!  The grass is greening up here in the upper Midwest and the snow has melted and the birds are singing.  And my favorite – the days are getting longer.  Isn’t it a great time of year?

Spring is such a metaphor for life.  Renewal.  Rebirth.  Refresh.  All the RE words come around in the spring.  It’s been a cozy, dark, nestled in winter and now it’s time to transition into warmer temps.  Everything, including ourselves, is stirring and stretching and readying itself for more movement and activity.

What does that look like for you?  Are you just getting going again after some time off from moving?  Are you just starting out?  I wrote out just starting out last year at this very time of year in Spring Into Exercise.

I think easing back in is helpful.  Sometimes we are so excited to get out there and start moving, that we do too much, get super sore, and then don’t keep moving!

What if we moved into Spring slowly – transitioning into activity just like the buds on the trees and the daffodils poking up through the ground?  Letting the winter slowly melt within and inviting in some thaw?

What would that look like?

*Go for a stroll.  Breathe deeply and notice things coming back to life.

*Go for a walk/run.  Run a block with ease and walk a block.

*Stretch in the cool sunshine. Bring your towel outside and a jacket and enjoy the sun on your face as you move your body.

*Peruse a summer class.  What looks interesting for when you want to move more intentionally.

*Go for a bike ride.

*Explore some interesting, attainable goals – maybe you want to walk a 5k for charity, maybe you want to do your first triathlon, maybe you want to hike on a camping trip, maybe you want to make this your season to start strength training.  What lights you up?  How do you want to move your body this spring/summer?

It’s hard not to dive in and GOGOGO.  I understand.  But consider unfurling slowly allowing yourself to ease into summer.  Enjoy the delicious increase in energy (thank you sunshine and fresh air) that starts to flow through you.  And then?  Move with pleasure.

If you haven’t yet, please click here to join my e-mail list – that’s where I spread the love with free workouts, classes and special offerings.  Happy Spring to you!

Much peace!

Sarah

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I Come Alive When _______________.

I’m in the midst of Yoga Teacher Training through Yoga North, which is incredibly intense and wonderful, we did an exercise that I think EVERYONE SHOULD TRY.  And it dovetailed so nicely with our focus on Inspiration that I thought I’d share it.

We paired up and first checked in at the start noticing how we were feeling.  Then, one person served as the witness – just listening while the other spoke for 10 minutes.  And then we switched people for the next 10 minutes.

We were to fill in this phrase again and again, “I come alive when…”

I come alive when ________________.

When do you come alive?  When do you feel that zing full of electricity and excitement?

It’s one of my very favorite feelings and it’s not just great for you – it’s great for the people around you.  It helps THEM feel excited and electric.  How great is that?  We’re not just empathetic when someone is sad…we’re empathetic when someone is stoked!!

Buddhists have a term for a particular kind of enthusiasm that happens with new ideas and events.  It’s called Bright Faith. Bright Faith!  When everything is all aligned and you are standing in the middle of it!!

Wait…two more:

The word enthusiasm comes from the Greek root ‘entheos’ meaning ‘having God within’.

or

“Enthusiasm is the highest form of ‘awakened doing’.  – Eckhart Tolle

These quotes are all courtesy of the book, “The Firestarter Sessions” by Danielle LaPorte.  It’s a great read – I HIGHLY recommend.

After the 20 minutes is up, check in with yourself again.  Notice how FREAKING FANTASTIC YOU FEEL.  And then…remember a couple of things on your list AND DO THEM.

Good for the soul.  And good for the soul = wellness.

Much peace, love and joy to you.  :) Sarah


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BIG Inspiration – Carol & Rebecca / 60+ Crossfitters

There are so many people that light me up.  I look around my life and am so inspired by the people that populate my life; it makes me feel so much gratitude.  Towards the top of my list are Carol & Rebecca – the ladies that inspire me from my Crossfit class.

These women inspire me to my bones…why?  Because they’re fearless.  Because they are aging so beautifully – focusing on STRENGTH and DURABILITY.  Because they’re hella nice.  They have been so nice to me – teaching me and guiding me and offering me advice and tips.  And they happen to be (I’m guessing I’ve never really asked…) 60+ years old!!  I admire them so much.  Here they are:

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Rebecca (L) and Carol (R) Great.women. #inspiration

Carol & Rebecca agreed to answer some questions about why they love Crossfit and what inspires them…enjoy!

What Inspires You?

Carol: Connecting to my inner self inspires me. I have never been a religious person, but I am seeking to connect with my higher self constantly. I think part of that is doing physical things. For me, being in my body and feeling the energy course through my body is the Universe giving me hugs.

Rebecca:  I am inspired by effort.  At a Crossfit competition, what I enjoyed most was watching athletes attempting heavier and heavier weight until they failed.  We don’t know our max effort until we reach just beyond what we can do.  I am inspired by stories of people who have overcome great odds by their perseverance and effort.

Why Crossfit?

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Carol doing Shoulder to Overheads. Amazing.

Carol:  All my life I have been active.  A friend told me about Crossfit; I tried it and loved it. Each week I was sore from the workouts in different places. I used muscles I never knew I had. I amazed myself on how much weight I could lift since never doing any weight lifting. I have always hated running. Since joining, I ran three miles in one shot last summer. I may not be the strongest runner, but I know I can do it. I have always known that our minds limit what we can do. Crossfit is proof of that.  Since I have started my bone density has increased. I feel so much better when I work out.

Rebecca:  I love the variety.  I’ve never done any weight lifting before, and I love that part of the workout.  I know the cardio is important so even when I hate that part of the workout, I can appreciate it. Crossfit has taught me to push for just two minutes or 12 repetitions more than I want to do or think I can do, and I love to shock myself into accomplishing those tiny goals.  Mentally, I’m stronger.  I like to tell people that I am staying in shape so I can run to catch my plane and then easily lift my suitcase into the overhead bin.

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Me judging Rebecca for the 15.2 Open. She rocked it.

How do you feel since you started doing it?

Rebecca:  At first it was difficult to learn to scale the workouts and pace myself, so, of course, I had a few minor injuries and sore muscles most of the time. But now I love knowing that I can do the work, and I just feel wise when I scale the workout to my own ability. I feel stronger all the time; the weight I can lift continues to increase; and I love it.  A strange side benefit, my reflex reactions are quicker.  I feel good about my body, just like it is. It’s not perfect, but it serves me well.

What do you like about taking care of your body?

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Carol – Puuuuuulllllluuuuuups. #inspiration

Carol:  I have always liked to move my body, in fact I need it. If I don’t do some form of exercise, I get depressed. One of the things I love to do is dance. It is a way to get out of your head and into your body. Bodies are supposed to move.  When you start communicating with your body, you might start feeling the Qi or energy that is flowing through it. To me the energy is my higher-self coming in. My goal is to feel it 24/7. It is a place where everything is right. I am loved and home.

What would you tell women about aging?

Carol:  Age is just a number. We limit everything we do with what our mind or ego tells us. What would the world be like if we weren’t restricted by the limitations put on us by our parents, society, and even ourselves?  You can either buy into the aging bit or reject it. It is all a state of mind. When you tell yourself you can’t do something, you won’t. If you try you might amaze yourself with the endless possibilities.

Rebecca:  There are some things that we can’t change about aging, but exercise is within our control, and it can help us feel better and be healthier.  My mother died when she was 56 from cancer. At some point she said to me, “I always wanted to be thinner, now I just want to be healthy.”  When I passed 56 years old, I realized that each additional year I had was an opportunity to be as healthy as I could be for myself and for my children, and it is also one more year to love the body that I have and celebrate the opportunity to live my life.

LOVE.  Thank you Carol & Rebecca for inspiring me and now, inspiring others.  You rock.  And thanks to Timberwolf Crossfit in Saint Paul, MN for allowing me (and coach Noah, who takes far superior pics than I) to take pics of the ladies and for regularly kicking our butts.  Clearly, we love it.

Throughout this month, I’ll be featuring people, quotes, blogs that inspire on the Turino Fitness Facebook Page!  What inspires you?  Message me through the FB page, I’d love to share your inspiration with others.

Peace.Love.Joy.

Sarah


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Inspiration

Inspiration. “A person, place, experience etc., that makes someone want to do or create something. – Merriam Webster

Inspired. I love that feeling. I feel most alive when I am feeling inspired to do, say, create something. And I’ve been really trying to stand on that place in my life, interactions, business more often. Because it makes it come from a very authentic and enthusiastic place – and to work from that place just FEELS GOOD.

This month I’ll be sharing some of the things, quotes, art and people that help me to feel inspired. In addition, I would be incredibly grateful if you shared with me WHAT INSPIRES YOU? You can IM me through my Facebook page or respond to this blogpost with two questions in mind:
1) What inspires you?
2) Your favorite quote, book, picture that you get inspired by reading or looking at.

I’d like to start by sharing about someone who inspires me with each interaction. Her name is Conie and she does a couple of things that inspire me regularly.
*She comes from a place of love – she exudes love.
*She is a creative – an ACTIVE creative. Conie tills the soil of her creativity in her music, dance and artwork.
*She is a hugger. I am a hugger. When we see each other, we hug.

Why do these things inspire me?

Well first, Conie reminds me to lead with love. That if you come from this beautiful and vulnerable space, you are open to receive some fantastic gifts AND you are bestowing those gifts to others.

Second, creativity, I am learning is a garden you need to TILL. Just like exercise and wellness. You have to dig deep and till your creative soil. I had a reiki session a couple of years ago with my friend Anne and she told me that I needed to nurture my creative side, my feminine side. It was the truth. It took me several years, but I am swimming in the lake of my creativity and it is filling me in a way that I had almost forgotten. And I believe that this is helping me on my wellness journey because it is balancing me. Conie LIVES her creative. She posts her artwork on her Facebook page – and I just love it’s power, color and movement. And she sings and leads our 9:00 service at church – so her voice? Like an angel. And she can sit down and play a complicated piano piece, with no practice….I’ve seen it.

And third, the hugging. This kind of leads me back to the leading with love thing – but it’s more than a smile or eye contact…it’s actively exchanging your energy with someone. It’s opening yourself up physically, mentally, emotionally to give and receive physical energy from another. And Conie doesn’t ever seem afraid to share that with people. Anyhow – this inspires me to keep my walls down; to look for an opportunity to connect with others; to be open.

Here’s an example of Conie’s artwork. I’m going to be featuring it with some of my favorite quotes this month on the Turino Fitness Facebook page. I love her artwork. It’s bold and expresses a lot of feeling.
inspiration
I asked Conie what inspires her art. This is what she said, “My visual creations are inspired by music and the movement of my emotions. In listening to music the rhythm, melody, harmonies and overall sound inspire the line impulses on the page. The same with emotions; I sense the energy of the emotions and give it visual space to express itself. This has helped me understand myself. I started drawing-coloring as a break from using words in my journal and just to play with color without an agenda or judgment. Another great benefit is seeing the confidence of the art itself; it makes its statement and invites you to interpret it for your own self-knowledge. This is one of the gifts of this drawing-coloring practice for me: becoming more myself, more confident of myself, and strengthening my sense of value and self-worth.”

Here she is:) I love this picture.
conie
Thanks Conie for sharing your art with the world. And thanks for inspiring me (and now…others!!)

Peace.Love.Joy.

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Self Love Month – Hypnosis

Tell me – how has your Self Love Month been going?  Have you treated yourself to some kindness and care?  I hope so.  It’s so easy in the hub-bub of everyday life to neglect to give ourselves even the smallest kindnesses.  We forget.  We get lost in the shuffle.  And all of a sudden, three months have passed by and you have neglected taking care of your beautiful self.

This month, we have featured some amazing healers that I work with at Tula Yoga & Wellness in Saint Paul, MN.  Why?  Because they are so special and loving and I wanted to share them with you.  Wherever you are, seek out some of the modalities that we featured here and treat yourself.

This week, I am focusing my loving eye on Stacy Dunn.  Besides being an incredible massage therapist (her myofascial work makes my body sing), Stacy is a hypnotherapist.  She is the first to say that her work isn’t aversion therapy nor will she make you cluck like a chicken (unless you’d like that I suppose.)  But what she DOES do is help with stress, choosing healthy eats, avoiding things that harm you like smoking and alcohol, and choosing calm. This is Stacy

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Stacy worked with a group of my clients to help with mindful eating and choosing healthy foods in healthy portions.  And it was wonderful.  What I love about Stacy is that it is all about Self Love.  She creates a beautiful situation in your mind that you WANT to uphold and attain.  She helps you to realize that the calm and centered feeling you feel when working with her, is attainable and maintainable in your life.

Here’s what she has to say:

Sarah:  What is hypnosis?

Stacy:  Hypnosis is a deeply absorbed state of focused relaxation.   This state of absorption is one that you achieve everyday.  If you’ve ever driven somewhere and wondered how you got there, you have experienced this state.  Hypnosis is the ability of your unconscious mind to convince or unconvince yourself of anything.

Sarah:  Are people in control of themselves during the session?

Stacy:  You are completely in control during a session.  You will not do anything under hypnosis that you wouldn’t otherwise do.  Unlike the unfortunate “stage show”image of hypnosis, sessions are very peaceful.

Sarah:  Can anyone be hypnotized?

Stacy:  Everyone can be hypnotized, if they are willing.  Like most things, practice can improve your self-hypnosis skills.

Sarah:  What is a session like?

Stacy:  Sessions use comfortable zero gravity chairs.  The beginning of each session is a gentle, peaceful guided relaxation to help you achieve a calm and relaxed state.  Once in this state, suggestions, metaphors, and images area all used to help you achieve your personal goals.

Sarah:  Who can benefit?

Stacy:  Everyone can benefit.  Hypnosis has been clinically documented to relieve stress which can contribute to most medical conditions.  For example, in a study on teeth grinding, which is significantly related to stress, 100% of participants experienced reduced grinding as shown on EMGs.  A study on hot flashes showed almost ¾ of participants reduced their hot flashes.  Hypnosis can help you unconvince yourself of harmful beliefs and convince you of beliefs that help you.  I focus on easy relaxation skills that can be used in everyday life as a part of every session and using self-kindness as a gateway to achieving your personal goals.  These skills can have a broad positive effect on many areas of your life.

Sarah:  Why did hypnosis call to you as a healing modality?

Stacy:  I became interested in hypnosis after I brought my daughter for 3 sessions.  She responded easily and painlessly.  I felt that hypnosis was a skill that is so painless, helpful and strengthening that it was underutilized.  Several years later, I decided to attend a training and really found my niche when I started incorporating self-kindness as a gateway for all behavior changes.

My personal experience with hypnosis.  I went to Stacy because I was irritated that I used wine as a crutch in awkward family and social situations.  I felt that I wanted to not have ANY crutches and be able to be peaceful and centered and at ease in all situations…even ones that make me feel really uncomfortable.  So – I went to Stacy.  And we recorded the session and I did the work and listened at home to the sessions for 30 days, as she recommended.  Result?  Frankly, I know it’s crazy – but I’m not really interested in drinking anymore.  It doesn’t feel like something I really want or need to do.  I can’t figure out the ‘why’ of doing it…so I just…don’t.

Think on it – if there is something pulling you off of your center, or if you have never even FOUND your center, or if you lose your temper, or if you eat for comfort, or if you wish you could make a different choice in various situations…consider it.  It was incredibly peaceful and I really just could listen to Stacy all day – I think she should have her own Pandora station.  You can schedule with her by clicking here (for MASSAGE TOO!)

Much peace to you on your journey.

S

selflovemat


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Self Love – Muscle Activation Techniqe

How’s your Self Love Month going?  I just got back from a romantic weekend and made sure to do something that always fills me up…look at art.  We went to the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago…heaven.  Just incredible.

Well, part of self love and self care is…health.  And for me, part of keeping myself durable and ‘in the game’ is visiting with my friend Amber who is a Muscle Activation Technique specialist.

When something goes awry in my external physical body (not my digestion or inside stuff) she is one of my first calls.  She’s helped some things that have chronically bugged me – my neck from an old injury, my shoulder from an old injury.

To be clear – and I tell everyone who I refer to Amber, MAT doesn’t tickle.  Sometimes there is bruising.  It can be painful…in a good way because the results have been, for me, worth it!!  Here is the lovely Amber – who is able to smile, tell engaging stories, and distract you while causing you discomfort.

selfloveamber

Some background – here’s some FAQ’s about Muscle Activation Techniques:

Ok let’s get to it.

Sarah:  In a nutshell and in your own words, what is MAT?

Amber:  Muscle Activation Technique (MAT) is a revolutionary approach to the assessment and correction of muscular imbalances in the body (which can cause joint and muscle pain). It’s a straightforward, non-invasive technique providing tools to evaluate an individual’s ability to produce muscle contraction and “jumpstart” the muscle to function with maximum efficiency.

Sarah:  Why did it call to you as a healing modality?

Amber:   I discovered MAT at a fitness conference and was drawn to it within the first 5 min of the lecture! After researching MAT, I signed up. I’ve been treating clients for 8 years now and am so grateful for being able to have this tool, as I see how it impacts so many people in such a positive way!! Such a rewarding career!

Sarah:  How does it help people?

Amber:  It helps many to continue or get back to a lifestyle they enjoy. Many suffer from aches/pains/injuries/unknowns and get frustrated because it limits how they are living their lives. MAT helps peoples bodies work like they are meant to work and a lot of times this helps to reduce or eliminate the pain.

Sarah:  What can people expect when they come?

Amber:  When people first come to see me we go through a full history to see what’s all going on and what their goals are regarding MAT. I then assess the body with range of motion tests. Next I test and treat individual muscles, opening the ranges and continue on from there.

Sarah:  Why would you tell someone to try it?

Amber:  Many people think they just have to deal with some level of pain, they’ve tried everything else or many throw it into the “aging” category. You don’t have to live with pain.  There are also others that want to take their fitness level to the next level.  It’s a newer technique and is helping everyone from elite athletes to the elderly to rehabilitation patients.

Sarah:  Do you have to be ‘hurt’ to see you?

Amber:  MAT can work for anyone, even people who don’t have any “issues”. It’s an amazing tool that helps your body work and function how it’s supposed to so you can feel great and do what you want to.

Amber doesn’t know this, but one of the most fun things is connecting with other people who have been treated by her.  We need to start a support group or a Facebook page.  We compare stories, “Has she done anything in your feet?”  “AAAHH!  Yes!  Feet are the worst!”  It’s like we’ve survived something together.  I had a client who called me and said, “IT DOESN’T TICKLE!?!  THAT WAS HOW YOU PREPARED ME FOR AMBER??”  Haha!  Hoo boy.  Good stuff.

But then, you notice that you have full range of motion in your shoulder again.  Or that you can actually see over your shoulder without having to turn your whole body.  Or that…whatever…doesn’t hurt anymore.

Check her out.  http://www.tulayogawellness.com/ or at http://www.aviditymat.com/

Much peace, love and joy to you!

Sarah

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