Meditation and Keeping Yoga Sacred

I have a secret to tell you. Something I’m really proud of. And I hope telling you won’t spoil it. It’s called I’ve Practiced Yoga Every Day For the Past Two Months.

Well… mostly. I’ve done yoga every work day on every normal morning for the past two months. The thing I’m most proud of is that I’ve successfully made yoga practice part of my weekday morning routine. For me, that’s a Big Deal.

Like most routines, it was easy to start, but difficult to keep going. After the first few weeks I found myself waking up sluggish, wanting to sleep twenty more minutes, resenting my Sun Salutations. I knew I enjoyed practicing yoga, so I made a more focused effort to motivate myself. Ah, there it is. Motivation.

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Water, Water, Everywhere

Source.

This lovely graphic has been circulating for awhile on Pinterest and Tumblr, and I’d like to tell you that it’s all true, and more! This winter, I’ve gotten into the habit of drinking a ton of water and herbal teas, and I’ve definitely seen the benefits.
   There are a thousand and one reasons to keep yourself hydrated. Here are a few that I’ve noticed in the past few months:

  • If I get dizzy or my vision blacks out for a moment after standing up, I know I need to drink more water. I did a few test scenarios of this during my yoga classes last semester, and I found that when I drank a lot of water before class, this didn’t happen.
  • Winter is much less harsh to my hands and lips if I’m properly hydrated. When my hands start getting dry and I can’t stop licking my lips, I do reach for the moisturizers, but I also down another glass of water.
  • Hydration reduces the chance of split ends (which we could all do without!).
  • Water helps keep a hungry stomach at bay. I can’t tell you how often I find myself starving in the middle of class. If I have a bottle of water, I can at least stop my stomach from grumbling embarrassingly. 
  • Water also helps keep you from eating too much. It takes time for food to settle in your stomach for you to stop feeling hungry, so if you eat too quickly you can easily eat too much. Sipping water in between bites is a healthy way to slow down the eating process and, of course, keep yourself hydrated.
  • Water stops a hangover dead in its tracks. Alcohol dehydrates the body, so if you make sure to drink lots of water with all of the booze, you can wake up the next morning without the headache.
  • Just plain old headaches can be a side-effect of dehydration as well, so drink up!

I know no one needs to be convinced water is good for them, I’m just not sure they realize how beneficial it really is. There are many things our bodies can do naturally, without expensive products or crazy fad diets, but they can’t do it without the necessary fuel.

Adventures in Natural Skin Care

I was blessed with clear, healthy skin throughout high school. I rarely used any sort of concealer or foundation and cleansed with only a mild astringent at nights. Now I’m in my second year of college and my hormones have decided to have a party on my face and not clean up the mess. It’s not like I can’t go out in public or anything, but for someone as untrained as I am in the ways of acne products, it’s a bit traumatizing. I’ve committed all sorts of skin care faux pas trying to muscle my skin into submission, leaving my skin dry, itchy, blotchy, and using lots of chemicals in the process. That’s not what I want.
  No, I want the clear, natural skin I had a few years ago, and I don’t want to rely on some chemical, specially-formulated, commercial cleanser for the rest of my life. That’s why I’m going to try the oil-cleansing method.
  Tsh at SimpleMom.net has an extremely popular post that’s still going around on Pinterest, and it’s the best resource that I’ve found. Tsh goes into excellent detail about what’s going on when you clean your face with oils and offers great advice about different oils you can use and how to use them. The best part of it is that she has used this method for over a year and still loves it!
   When I first found the post, I didn’t have any castor oil, but I had tea tree oil, so I mixed that with some extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO) and tested it out. After just one night I swear I had fewer blackheads and my softer skin. Today I bought some castor oil and I am quite excited to try it tonight.

The ratios in the mixture are flexible depending on your skin care needs, so I began mine in the middle:

  • 1 part EVOO
  • 1 part castor oil
  • 5 drops tea tree oil

Money-saving tip: I found castor oil pretty much right next to the tea tree oil in the health section of my H.E.B., but it was way cheaper in the laxative section at the pharmacy. I paid $2.75 for the castor oil, $3.58 for H.E.B. brand EVOO, and $7.99 for the tea tree oil. I barely made a dent in the bottle over the past few nights, so it looks like this is definitely a green, frugal choice!

UPDATE 1/14/12:
Tsh says this, but I didn’t believe it until I tried — this stuff is great for removing makeup! In my opinion, it’s worth it just for that. Also, I’m not sure whether it’s just hormones or the OCM, but my skin has definitely cleared up in the past few weeks. Either way, I’m going to keep using it!