the power of momentum…

waterfall-photoshop  Photo & Blog by Carla Cook Sakrison

If I walked up to you, and told you I have the secret to escaping your crazy mind, would you believe me? If I added that simultaneously, your body will begin to heal, and your problems will dissolve into plans, would you think I was the crazy one?

Before I got sick with ovarian cancer, a couple years ago, I sure would’ve thought the idea was crazy. At the very most, it could be a “made for TV” item for sale; maybe the magic elixir could be sold at gas stations, next to the candles and neck pillows. Haven’t we all been gifted one of those lavender neck pillows? They are good for car rides, but I never seem to have mine in the car!

I have had to make peace with my anxiety, I worry a lot about my kids, and I fight off worrying about not being around for my kids as they grow up. These thoughts creep in; however, like a meandering river that finds its way around big boulders and small dams, I have found the way to keep these thoughts from taking root for too long. Something I never thought about before, is the river’s progress isn’t so much the result of the power of water… but rather the power of momentum.

The power of momentum literally keeps the river’s intention alive. A river defies stagnation, nature has far better plans for her day. The same goes for keeping our bodies and minds clear of toxins and toxic thoughts, and the best way to do this is through yoga (and drinking lots of fluids). It is through the routine practice of hitting your mat, staying hydrated, and focusing on your breath that one can keep clear site on their intentions.

As I age, I use the benefits of hindsight to move my goals forward. Looking back on my life, I see where my true-self grew from moving and stretching to reach alignment not only with my body, but with my mind. Your breath will literally bring your body, heart and mind into alignment with your quest; it creates momentum to stay on your path towards inner peace. And this momentum will bring you back to your mat each day, bringing more and more of your life into clear waters.

Calm, beautiful, clear waters to carry your dreams to fruition… but if my practice stalls, and my mat stays rolled up tight, it is not long before my body follows. My muscles will tighten, my shoulders round and my breathing stalls. Often the anxiety comes first, and then everything gets worse; such an easy fix to a rather annoying list of problems. The American Osteopathic Association put a succinct list of the physical benefits together:

  • Increased flexibility.
  • Increased muscle strength and tone.
  • Improved respiration, energy and vitality.
  • Maintaining a balanced metabolism.
  • Weight reduction.
  • Cardio and circulatory health.
  • Improved athletic performance.
  • Protection from injury.

It is from experience that I know my head and body improve, and everyone else who is committed will share the same. I now keep my momentum going with yoga, and find breathing to be the best elixir around. I keep the pressure off, and do what I can, even if it’s simply a sun salutation (a simple series of moves that lights up over 95% of your muscles).

The best part is how easy it is to access yoga nowadays; I do most of my practice online at home (Gaia, Wanderlust TV and Yogaglo). There are as many online resources as there are studios; in fact, yoga in my pajamas is becoming popular in my house, and your pets will love to join in the fun.

So, stop standing at the river’s edge, and get in… breathe the water, and make your body flow with the momentum of your intentions.

PeaceLove&EtnernalGroovinessB&W www.TahoeBoHo.com

 

my A-HA moment…

I got my A-HA moment… what I was yearning for a couple weeks ago (a particularly hormonal week); if you read my last blog, you already know I’ve been questioning my worth, my rationale, my sanity. Sticking to my rekindled spirituality, I saw the fear my ego was sending out and like a fan to flames, my hormones stoked that fire. I allowed my thoughts, my defeatist thoughts to flow through me, acknowledged and then released them. I re-committed to my goal, my one-year goal, and kept my head up and heart aware, as I continued on my true-north path.

Sounds good, right? Then it just kept getting better; found myself at my favorite yoga venue, Wanderlust in Squaw Valley, enjoying an upbeat class with a new teacher (new for me). Must admit, I am always a little disappointed when my favorite motivational teacher isn’t leading class (shout-out to Meg McCracken) but I have an open mind. As I mentioned, class was going along well, she presented our mantra, “I AM (wait for it) COMPLETE”, and as we repeated this in our breath-work throughout the practice, the tranquility of this mantra fell over me like a cashmere blanket. I was riveted and then brought to tears when she shared a quote from an unknown author:

“The two most important days of your life are first, the day you were born and second, the day you discovered why.”

As if that wasn’t enough to bring me back to joy, I received an even bigger universal hug on my walk later that day; was pondering my back issues, nothing serious just a bunch of hang-loose vertebrae that like to break-free from the chain-gang. I was lamenting how I always gauge my well-being by lack of ailments and perfection occurs only when nothing hurts. The interesting part is when you are approaching 50, there is always something out of sorts, and if I don’t change my mindset, aging is going to get in the way of my LIFE’S JOY factor. Instead, I must consider each day complete and perfect regardless the drama. Then the A-HA hit me… stop questioning my motives, my goals, stop waiting for anything to occur – I am complete, NOW!!!

            Today, yesterday, tomorrow,

            Every day I choose joy

            And any day I am grateful

            Is a day I live free.

This brings to mind a quote from Daniel Quinn’s book Ishmael, “It is simple, we are all captives of a civilizational system that more or less compels you to go on destroying the world in order to live… The ‘60’s offered an ingenious and disorganized effort to escape from captivity.  Failure came due to failure to find the bars of the cage. If you cannot find what is keeping you in, you get confused and ineffectual.” Applying this quote to my recent insecurities it becomes so clear how my lack of CONFIDENCE are the bars to my cage; it is far too easy for me to get lost in the noise the world amplifies without concern.

All and all, a brilliant day I wanted to share with you…xo

PeaceLove&EtnernalGroovinessB&W www.TahoeBoHo.com

little cheats…

This blog is in honor of my AWESOME cancer blood check result this month, it came in perfectly low & I actually handled this blood draw better than my previous emotional melt-downs. I believe the benefits of yoga and mindful living are manifesting in my life, in particular, how I easily controlled my emotions while waiting the 24 hours for the results. It helped that I feel good, better than I have in over a year; so good, in fact, I can now honestly say that I am doing well, prognosis is good, very good. I credit my health to hard work and implementing the teachings of both western and eastern medicine and practice. I also credit my hard-line admission of cheating… I eat dark chocolate almost every day, but not much, a few bites. I will grab a handful of homemade potato chips at least twice a week, I drink a glass of wine almost every day and I eat out at restaurants once a week (limiting my menu options). I think moderation is the key to my sanity with all the lifestyle changes I have had to make and I truly feel satisfied because of these little cheats.

What does my diet consist of, one might wonder, when fighting cancer? There are many diet plans and even more opinions, but here is the plan I have culled over the past 8 months and it is really working well for me:

at the core of everything… I eat and drink only WARM food and beverages. If not warm, then definitely room temp; this saves your body from having to fight to keep your core temperature at 98.6. No processed or packaged foods, no hormones, chemicals or preservatives… keeping all food & beverages as close to nature as possible.

hot water and green tea… all filtered water & heated in a stainless steel container; I drink as much of these as possible & then drink some more!!

vegetables and fruits… I keep it all organic, and if I dip into the pesticide world, I never touch the “dirty dozen” (2015’s list from the EWG:  apples, peaches, nectarines, strawberries, grapes, celery, spinach, sweet bell peppers, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, imported snap peas and potatoes…. and a bonus addition this year, leafy greens & hot peppers).

meat… I stay clear from chicken because it makes things grow faster (according to my eastern medicine doctor – good for kids but not for cancer) and shellfish (toxin issue).  All other meats are good if following these guidelines; free-range, pasture fed & organic.

cooking vs raw food… raw is just better and is something I am struggling with because I used to love grilling (& still do cheat with this option) but have to go with roasting or searing instead.  Sushi is lovely, but I don’t like other meats raw; which brings me to dehydrating foods, something I am going to play with and report back.

sugar is just not a good idea… but dark chocolate is ok in small amounts, according to me!

shakes/smoothies… I drink one small protein drink a day, Biopharma Scientific makes a variety of great products that my body has really responded well to in my recovery (two thumbs up for the “nanogreens”).

sprouted beans are one of my favorite things… I add them to salads, sautéed vegetables, soups, and even eat them alone!!

nuts… are my all-day snacks; all kinds, unsalted, mostly raw & mixed with (unsweetened) sundried cranberries.

one shot a day… a combination of fresh squeezed ginger juice & 1 teaspoon ground turmeric (if I can find the turmeric root, I juice it along with the ginger).

apple-cider vinegar… I like to integrate this as often as possible, but mostly rely on using it to make my favorite vinaigrette, toss a bowl of arugula & eat with my sautéed vegetables for dinner that night.

NO PLASTIC… ANYWHERE!!

After reading this list, I’m quite certain many of you have placed me in the clinically insane category of your blogs… I would like to emphasize one last time… it is imperative that I CHEAT EVERYDAY.  It may be something small, like a cold glass of water on a hot day or as large as eating a piece of cake with ice cream.  It is important to remember that this is YOUR LIFE and only you know how hard you can push yourself without cracking!!  I think Jocelyn Weiss, PhD MPH, said it best, “to outsiders, eating unprocessed and healthy foods is a form of deprivation and punishment.  But in actuality, once you start eating clean your taste buds come alive, ‘boring’ foods take on new life and you start to feel how your body responds to what you eat.  The key is to figure out what foods work for you and to eat them in the forms closest to how they are found in nature.”  And for me, the most important thing to remember is that a lifestyle change happens over time until it is something you become, it doesn’t happen overnight!!

Which brings me to yoga!!!  Just because I cannot do a free-handstand or other advanced yoga moves doesn’t make me less of a yogi, I practice every day and each day brings me closer to my goal of doing that hand-stand. I credit so much of who I am now, to the practice of yoga & proper breathing; I am a better person, both physically and emotionally from this daily practice.  I now dabble with meditation but haven’t gotten past 10 minutes… something to work on.

I wish this peace of mind & body to all who desire, and it’s not a destination, it is a path… each new morning I awaken to a fun journey with my body.  I see the true beauty of life staring back at me and I just want more light in my life… this is not a lifestyle of deprivation, quite the opposite, it is one of deep love for yourself and the world!!

PeaceLove&EtnernalGroovinessB&W www.TahoeBoHo.com