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Creating Content – Obligation or Authentic Desire?

content, creating content, obligation, authentic, authentic desire

content, creating content, obligation, authentic, authentic desire

Those of us who are in business often hear that we should post content consistently on a daily basis. Heart-centered entrepreneurs can, at times, find this challenging. Why? I would invite you to consider,

  • What is the intent behind posting?
  • Where is the inspiration, or lack thereof, coming from?
  • Are you posting just to post?
  • Are you posting because you personally feel excited about a topic and know it may be of benefit to your market?

Intention
If you are not clear on your intention, why you want to create content, why you want to put yourself out there in the world, or what your message is, you may find yourself confused, uninspired, and dreading the thought of creating content. Likewise, there may be other underlying considerations — are you feeling afraid to create and share content? Do you feel afraid to be seen and heard? Do you fear rejection? Do you fear the fear of being authentically seen as you are? Are you willing to put yourself out there authentically?

Inspiration and “Because”
What is your message? What are you most passionate about? Do you feel inspired? If you’re not clear on your message or your passions, let’s chat. If you are clear on your message, your passion, your purpose, and aren’t feeling afraid to put yourself out there, then where does the occasional (or consistent) lack of inspiration spring from? We all have parents, yes? We have all had teachers, yes? What happens when we’re told to do something for the sake of doing it? Clean your room, wash the dishes, write this paper, read that book, walk the dog, clean the toilet…

Sure, the examples are somewhat cliche, but I have no doubts that somewhere along the line a part of you recalls being told to do something that doesn’t inspire you either because “I said so,” “this is how things are done,” or “that’s just the way it is.” When we hear that, we have a tendency to shut down. The creative artistic flow dams up and we sit there, either unable to create content, or creating content not because we really want to or feel inspired to, but because it’s something we have to do every single day in order to gain a following, reach your audience, connect to people, etc…

Finding your Flow and Following it
What happens when we take a step back, allow ourselves to breathe, and create from inspired action?

We connect.

We connect with our authentic voice, our authentic message, and authentically with our audience. If you don’t believe posting content for the sake of posting content versus moving from the heart and connecting isn’t going to eventually circle back around and come back stinking…think again. People will eventually catch on.

How do we honor our intuitive, creative flow while consistently sharing content?
In my opinion, and that’s all it is, it’s important to listen to your own creative ebbs and flows. When the inspiration is there and flowing — you know what that’s like! Having days where there are so many ideas flowing through you that you just want to write and write and write, or create videos, or projects… — ride the wave. Create that content ahead of time so you have regular, authentic, content to share.

What happens if you don’t feel inspired on a particular day, you don’t feel like you have anything to share that day, or you feel called to do something else? Maybe your focus is on creating product rather than social media content. Listen to it and allow yourself to rest. Maybe you post a quick note, meme, or video about honoring your needs and tying it in to how your clientele can benefit. Maybe you share someone else’s article that day. Or, maybe you break the norm and don’t post anything. Is it the end of the world? No. Jump back in the saddle and giddy-up when you are ready.

Creating content that comes from an authentic desire and creative flow to share vs posting for the sake of putting stuff out there is a bit like training and developing the muscle memory, strength, and coordination to do it. Consistently. Some days or weeks you may find yourself pushing hard in that content-creating gym of yours and discover that your muscles are sore, you are fatigued, and need to rest. Rest up and let your system recover. Then, dive in again. Over time, you will find the right intensity and pace to build, sustain, and support your authentic, content-creating muscles.


This post is a bit different than my usual posts and is targeted towards a different audience than many of my posts. In exploring my authentic content-creation abilities and drive, I discovered that some days the flow is there and I ride those waves until it’s time for bed or there aren’t any more waves to ride.

I also find myself creating more and more short videos that are concise and direct, which I often share on IG and FB…then, drop the ball on posting them here or on my YouTube channel. Yeah, I’m working on that.

Lately, I’ve been very focused and inspired to connect even more deeply with my clients and create some amazing products for all of you. So, is my blog-posting, content-creating muscle over stretched? Sometimes, yes. Other days, no. And, I know myself well enough that the waves will roll in and I will surf like a woman with boundless creative energy.

Despite the “do this, do that” that exists in the business world, I find it’s of primary importance to first listen to myself, my needs, and move from an authentic space. Honestly, if I wasn’t doing that, I wouldn’t be practicing what I offer to teach, and well…that would smell. Unpleasantly.

The exciting news — in addition to some awesome products that I am launching soon, I am bringing this blog and my YouTube channel up to date with all of the juicy content that I have been sharing over social media. If you want to receive regular updates, or be the first to see the new content that is posted, follow me on FB or IG and subscribe to my newsletter.


The “Too Much-Not Enough” Woman

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This is for the women who have been told that they are “too much,” and “not enough.” For the women who are too intense, too smart, too talented, too thin, too fat, too tall, too short, too loud, too quiet, too emotional, too serious, too humorous, too energetic, who love too much, care too much, are too much.

It is for the women who, along with hearing they are too much, too intense, too everything — to tone themselves down so that they can fit in, find a partner, make themselves fit into a round hole like everyone else — have heard that they are not enough. Not good enough, not pretty enough, not smart enough, not tall enough, not go-out-there and get-it enough.

Be yourself, but not fully yourself. Tone down, but not too much. Play the game, but not too well. Be confident, but not too confident. Take your womanhood and stuff it into a box. Become a woman-man. Become a woman who is more in her Divine Masculine than her Divine Feminine so you can fit in to this patriarchal society. So you can play the game just right. So you can get ahead, not by fully being a woman, but by woman-ing yourself down to wo-man yourself up so that you can be like a man in a man’s world, playing the man’s game.

Don’t be wild, child. Be tame. Be quiet. Be still. Do not be like the ocean tides ebbing and flowing with the waxing and waning of the moon. Do not, under any circumstances, allow yourself to dance with the moon, with stars in your hair, dirt between your toes, pine needles under your feet, your smooth, soft, silky skin glistening like diamonds in the sun. Do not, under any circumstances embrace the dark, wet, tangled forest that lies within you and between the fold of your legs. Do not run wild, free, or howl with the moon. And, do not listen to the ancient, ancestral wisdom that flows through your very veins.

Oh dear one. Be tame, be still.

From Ashes

It is time to set yourself free. It is time to unlock the wild woman-child from the bonds and chains of the cage she has been placed in, not just in your lifetime, but in the lifetimes of lifetimes before you. It is time to set yourself free and heal not only yourself but the lineage of women that stand behind you, to the times and days when they too danced with the wolves under the light of the moon.

It is time dear sister, my fellow too much, not enough woman, to rise up from the depths of your be-longing, to embrace all that is and all that you are. It is time dear one, to dive into the depths of the dark earth, to allow yourself to meet yourself in the warm, dark, nourishing arms of the Mother. To allow yourself to feel the mycelial network that lies within the darkness connecting all aspects of life, communicating in an instinctual, intuitive way. It is time to join together as One.

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It is time dear one to be who you are as you are. It is time dear one to allow yourself to be yourself to be your too much, too intense, too loving, too caring, too emotional, too woman self. It is time to rise up from the dark, nourishing mud, rise up wild-child and set yourself free. Rise up wild-child and embrace the woman you are here to be. Rise up wild-child and set yourself free. Set yourself free. Set yourself free.

 

Shake off the bonds, the chains, the shackles holding you down, holding you back, holding your ribs so tight. Shake off the bonds, the chains, and allow yourself to experience the ecstasy of being breathed into. Allow yourself to receive the gifts that are yours by Divine Right. Allow yourself dear sister, to toss off your clothes, to shake off all the stories, the perceptions, the beliefs that no longer serve you. Allow yourself dear sister to dance naked under the sun. Allow yourself dear sister to lie upon the earth under the light of the moon in ecstatic rapture. Allow yourself to feel yourself, feel yourself as one, as one with the dark, tangled roots of the forest, sensual, soft, smooth, silky flower petals. Allow yourself to feel yourself to embrace yourself as you are.

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Invite the stardust to come down from above and rain upon your hair. Let yourself embrace yourself and howl at the moon. Dip your toes into the dirt, pine-covered ground. Walk gently upon our Mother, singing Her song, the same song that flows within you, flows within your veins.

Allow yourself. Allow yourself to roar with such laughter that the ground shakes like thunder. Allow yourself to cry your tears and water the earth. Allow yourself to feel and embrace the power, powerful purpose, that flows through you. Embrace your Gaia-like, Goddess-like nature and allow yourself to give birth to all that you are. It is time. It is time to stop playing small, to stop being the “too much, not enough” woman. It is time for you to rise up as you are and allow yourself to be all that you are. You, dear one, you are woman rising.

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A force that can move mountains. A force that softens rock. A force that moves the ocean tides, billows fire and ash, gives lift under the wings of birds, provides the energy for the creation of Life itself.

Be you. Be wild. Be free. Be that too much woman. Be all that you are, naked and free, with flowers and leaves in your waterfall hair, moss upon stone, heart beat of drum, and welcome yourself home.


Raw, Vegan, Superfood Chocolate Cheesecake

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It has been years since I have celebrated my birthday. One year, I just stopped celebrating.

I stopped asking people to come celebrate with me. You see, I had realized something. I realized that the majority of friends I have in my local area are not the type to remember my birthday unless I reminded them, or FaceBook sent a little reminder stating “It’s Amanda’s Birthday today!” (which does have its benefits at times). Nor, are they the type to reach out to me and celebrate my being here. It was a big ol’ horse pill to swallow and one that did not go down well at the time. It’s an interesting experience, letting go of expectations and accepting people exactly as they are, then choosing what it is you want to do.

Upon piercing the veil of illusions – the veils of friendship, the veils of celebrations, the veils of everything I was seeing around me and not participating in when it came to birthdays, celebrations, etc – I stopped. I walked away from my birthday and my celebrating the day I arrived here on this flying spaceship, living planet called Gaia/Earth. The day I decided to make my grand entrance onto this planet and into this world. The day where I fully chose to be here now and give this human experience another go-round.

I stopped and I walked away from myself.

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Last week, I decided it was high time for me to welcome myself home again, to celebrate my birth, my choice to be in-bodied in this incredible avatar here in this day and age.

I choose to take this remarkable day to honor who I am, the incredible growth over the year, the ups and downs, the times when I cried for days feeling my pain, the times when my heart burst with so much love, and gratitude, and beauty, that tears fell from my eyes, the times when I laughed so hard that my belly and face hurt from laughing so much…the times when I saw myself reflected in another…

to intentionally pause, see, witness, and embrace the woman I have become and am becoming. I choose to take this day of my birth to love myself in ways I have not given myself permission to in the past.

On this day, I choose to celebrate the cycles of my own birth-death-birth/live-death-live processes.

I choose to be present with myself and my connection to all life, celebrating, in my own way, the parts of myself that have died over the years, the skin that I have shed, the letting go of who I have thought I needed to be or should be, so that I could step into who I am and behold myself as one would a new born. I am so very much looking forward to seeing myself and welcoming myself home.

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In welcoming myself home, I am un-baking myself a cake and loading it up with all sorts of goodies to fortify and amplify my health and well-being. It’s my wish to share with you my raw, vegan, superfood chocolate cheesecake.

Raw, Vegan, Superfood Chocolate Cheesecake

Basic cheesecake recipe adapted from Chocolate Covered Katie

2 1/2c raw cashews (soaked)
1 TB vanilla bean paste or extract
1/2c pure maple syrup
1/4c plus 1 TB melted coconut oil
juice of 3 lemons
1/4c living, spring water
1/8 tsp Celtic sea salt
1/2c raw cacao powder
1 TB schisandra berry powder
1 TB lycium powder
Optional: frozen berries or dried, candied orange slices to top

Makes 1 cheesecake, or 4 cheese-tartlettes

Directions:
Soak the cashews 4-6 hours or overnight. Strain well. In a high-powdered blender, or food processor, combine all of the ingredients (except for the optional ones and anything you are putting on top), and blend until smooth.

Pour into either a spring-foam pan, a pie pan, or small tart pans. You could use muffin tins as well. I recommend lining any and all of the above with parchment paper.

Place into the freezer and freeze until ready to eat. Thaw for ~15 min. prior to serving and top with your favorite toppings.

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More Exciting News – Online Course Launch!

I don’t know about you, but I am jumping for joy. I have been preparing over the past several months to put together online material that is relevant, accessible, high quality, and affordable. It is with great pleasure and excitement that I share with you the launch of my online courses!

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The material I’ll be sharing with you over the next several weeks and months will cover a range of topics — everything from getting your first full push-up and pull-up to holistic lifestyle courses and a special online course for women which will be released late 2016/early 2017.

In addition to sharing this online school and course launch with all of you, I’m also going to share with you the official launch of…

0001yU…rather than create a downloadable pdf of the blog I shared with you all a while back, I decided to take the material and create a FREE course for you that you can access at any time. If you are looking to develop your upper body pushing strength, want to feel the connection between your core and your arms, or want to begin the process of developing shapely shoulders and triceps, then this is a good place to start.

More exciting news in the days and weeks to come! If you’d like to keep abreast of all that is coming down the pike, be sure to follow me on any of the social media accounts in the sidebar; or subscribe to my newsletter (I’m only going to be emailing once per week unless I have something to share that cannot wait) and receive your FREE copy of “9 Secrets to Living a Vibrant Life.”

 


The Magic and Beauty of not Knowing

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There is a certain magic and beauty to not knowing, to not knowing the answers, to not knowing the how, to not knowing what is next other than some seemingly magnificent step or leap into the unknown. There is something quite incredible about it all, really. Just like the wonderful reality of fireflies glowing on a warm summer’s night.

I didn’t always feel this way. I felt quite the opposite for a long time. There were times when the unknown, the uncertain, the most challenging, “turn your world upside down, rock the very foundation you stand upon events,” the “what-ifs,” the “now what’s” and the “how am I’s” left me feeling anxious, ungrounded, crying at times — a mess. Those times when I first got divorced and wondered how on earth I was ever going to raise two boys on my own, where the next meal was going to come from, how or what I was going to do to make ends meet, how I could possibly keep my head about me when both of my boys were seeing specialists at the same time…how, how, how…

It all worked out though. Each and every single time I perceived myself falling, perceived myself panicking mid-flight and feeling like I was about to crash head-first upon the pavement, I survived and everything worked out just fine. Better than fine, most of the time.

As I enter a new phase, a new period of growth, of exploration, of shedding the skin that no longer contains the person that I was-am now becoming, there isn’t much of that “how, how, how” panic do I do this? There is quite the opposite. There is a something, a distinctly feminine, gorgeous amazing, wild-woman rising-up-to-meet-herself something on the horizon like the new moon rising out of the depths of the ocean floor. There is a wildness, a beauty, a deep magical, intuitive trust and knowing, an inner sense, that everything is going to be absolutely, positively amazing — far beyond the “just fine’s.”

Not that long ago, one of my sons said to me,

“Mom you are magic.”

When I asked why he thinks I’m magic, he replied,

“Because, you always find a way.”

I don’t know how I always find a way, but I am always guided to. The path appears before me each and every time, and I choose to listen to the whisper, to the gentle sigh of the wind whispering through the trees to my ears. And, rather than get my feathers all in a ruffle wondering how, I now close my eyes, leap, and trust that these beautiful wings of mine will open and that I will soar upon the currents of the whispering wind into the most wonderful sunset that I have seen to this date. Is it unsettling at times? For sure. If you were jumping out of a perfectly good airplane into who knows what, chances are you’d feel a bit unsettled, a rush of adrenaline, butterflies in the stomach too.

You see? There is magic in letting go. There is magic in the whisper of the wind, in the knowing of not knowing anything about knowing anything at all. And, there is such beauty, such grace, such wild-kind-hearted surrender in the unfurling of ones wings when we choose to stop worrying about the how, trust in the great big nothing, and dance.


Fragrant Rice Pudding

Gathering with people whom I consider to be part of my heart family, my soul family, my tribe, tend to be near and dear to me. They speak to a part of my heart and soul on a level beyond which I am capable of fully expressing using written language. One way I choose to express myself is through the food I bring and what I feel called to make.

I hadn’t planned on making this dish, in particular, but something resonated inside me that said “yes.” Fragrant, sensual, appealing to not only the palate but something deep inside us…

Fragrant Rice Pudding (serves a lot)
Ingredients:3 c. uncooked, rinsed Jasmine Rice
2 c. water
4 c. coconut milk
2 cinnamon sticks
handful of cardamom seeds/pods
1 TB fennel seeds
1 tsp. sea salt
2 pinches of lavender
zest of 1 orange
8 oz. golden raisins
maple whiskey (enough to cover the raisins)
chopped pistachios (to taste)

Steps:

  1. Soak the golden raisins in enough maple whiskey to cover them.
  2. Place the rice, water, and coconut milk in a large non-stick pan.
  3. Add the fennel, sea salt, lavender and stir.
  4. Wrap the cinnamon sticks and cardamom in cheesecloth. Place the bundle in with the rice.
  5. Cook over medium to low heat, stirring frequently until most of the liquid is absorbed and the rice becomes tender. This took ~45min – 1 hr. Think “dessert risotto.”
  6. Strain the raisins and add them to the cooked rice mixture. Add the chopped pistachios and top with orange zest. Stir.
  7. Place in a bowl for family style serving, or in individual bowls for an added touch. Edible flowers, if you have access to them, would elevate the dish even more.

This can be served warm or cool.

You know what to do. 😉


Basic Push Up Progression Guide for Women

 

IMG_4705We all have different reasons why we feel called to do push-ups. Or, maybe we don’t. Maybe our only reason for doing a push-up is because our trainer says we should. o_0

Before diving into the nitty-gritty on how to go about developing the strength and confidence to rock your first push-up, or to develop the courage to push yourself out of the muck that you may fall face first in, and you will, if you are aware of it —

Yes, that did happen to me once while backpacking in Alaska. I was hiking along a river bed, tripped over a rather small rock, and, since I was wearing a heavy pack, the momentum propelled me forward until…you guessed it…I landed face-first in a pile of silty mud. Life has also landed me in the mud more times than I care to count, and it has always nourished me, even if it didn’t seem nourishing at the time. I digress…

I would invite you to consider your attention to your intention.

Set an intention.
Why do you want to do push-ups? What’s your intention behind wanting to learn this skill? Take a moment now, pull out your journal (or pen and paper if you are journal-less), and write down your why. Allow your imagination to flow. There are no right or wrong answers to these questions. The answers you provide, or the questions you ask yourself, are unique to you.

How often do you want to work on developing this skill?
How much time, energy, and/or effort are you wanting and willing to devote towards learning the push-up? There is a fine balance between not training a skill enough and training it too much. This balance is unique to you, your goals, your lifestyle, and your biology.

Who will help keep you on track?
Although as women, we have somewhat fallen into the trap of needing to “be strong, independent,” and do everything on our own (sound familiar?), having a support network is crucial to keeping you on track and helping you keep going when you run face-first into the metaphorical wall. Develop a list of 3 people who are in your corner, who will be here to support you, and have your best interests at heart whilst in this role.

Where? When?
The good news is that push-ups can be practiced anywhere and at nearly any time! It’s a skill that is very simple to incorporate into ones’ day if the attention to intention is there. 😉

Cooking dinner? Take a few moments to do a couple of sets of push-ups using the counter. Watching TV? Do some push-ups during each commercial using the wall, the couch, or the floor for support depending upon your current level of ability.

Now that your intentions are clear, you’ve set up a support network, and are pumped, primed, and ready to go…

Push-Up Progression 1 – The Wall Push-Up

Perhaps you’ve never done a push-up before, or it’s been years since you’ve done one. If you’re getting back into training, this is a good place to start. Continue practicing the wall push-ups until you can do at least 3 sets of 10 reps with ease and good form.

Push-Up Progression Level 2 – the Bench Push-Up

The great thing about the bench push-up is that you can adjust the height to change the difficulty of the movement without needing weight machines, pulleys, or any fancy equipment. Begin by using a bench, or counter top that is roughly waist height. As you develop the ability to do 3 sets of 10 reps with ease, challenge yourself by moving to a bench of a lower height.

It may be challenging to set your ego aside and accept where you are. A lot of people want to go straight for the lower bench without honoring the journey to “get there.” Take your time. Life is a marathon, not a sprint. When we rush through things too quickly we set ourselves up for a metaphorical, or physical, face plant in the mud.

Do you ever find yourself doing that?

One you’ve become confident exploring the bench push-ups at lower and lower heights, it’s time to move on to Progression 3.

 Push-Up Progression 3 – The Eccentric/Negative Push-Up

Pause for a moment and give yourself a virtual high five, a pat on the back, and a “heck yeah!”. Although it may seem like everyone can do push-ups, outside of people who regularly train and/or do this for a living, the majority of women have lost the capability to do a push-up.

The eccentric push-up will help you develop the strength and grease the groove towards doing a full push-up.

Watch for common compensation patterns as you get tired, such as: head dropping towards the floor, elbows splaying far out to the side, chest or bum dropping, bum lifting, and…holding your breath. Remember, breath = life, so breathe.

Push-Up Progression 4 – The Full Movement

Wowza! You’ve made it to the end of the Basic Pull-Up Progression Guide for Women. How cool is that?! You’re now rocking out all of the other push-up progressions and have hit the last phase in the basic push-up progression series. No doubt you’ve learned a lot about yourself along this journey. What have you discovered?

One thing I have noticed in my journey is that life will knock us down at times so that we can learn. There may not be a branch for you to grab onto to pull yourself up. There are times when no one may be there to extend a hand and help lift you up.

There will be times when you are invited to dive deep within yourself and find a way to push yourself up out of the muck. You’ll be invited to explore, experience and integrate an inner strength that perhaps you did not realize you had.

Incorporating holistic movement will help you do that. Training push-ups will help you do that. They’ll also help you develop those sexy, toned arms you desire, develop a strong core, and shapely legs, and they will help develop your pectoral muscles which  may help keep your breasts on the perky and lifted side.


I would love to hear about your journey through this guide. Send me an email with your questions, progress photos and/or videos, and/or comment or ask questions directly on the YouTube video that corresponds to where you are at so others may benefit from the learning experience as well.


Benefits of Himalayan Shilajit

A lot of what I choose to eat and supplement my biology with is purely intuitive. Over the years, through much practice, I’ve learned to tune into and provide what my body is asking for. A couple of weeks ago, I felt called to incorporate Himalayan Shilajit into my biology. I don’t know why, but I tend to smell everything before I eat it. So, I smelled the Shilajit and was surprised to be transported back to my childhood and Band-Aids. Yes, the scent of Shilajit reminds me of Band-Aids.

Why would I want to ingest something that smells like Band-Aids? Beats me. But, I did and I have been. The flavor is a bit strong and definitely it’s own thing, unlike anything else I’ve eaten. Like anything else, when the body want something and needs something, I kind of go for it. You know what? I like it and, I miss eating it if I happen to not have it on a given day.

What is Himalayan Shilajit?

Shilajit is formed from the compression of organic materials between the rock fissures within the Himalayas. In the summer months, this compressed biomass oozes out of these fissures.

Himalayan Shilajit, also known as “the Conqueror of Mountains and the Destroyer of Weakness,” contains over 85 plant-based minerals and trace elements in an ionic and bio-available form. Minerals that are bio-available are ready for uptake and integration into our system without our bodies needing to break down, or catalyze, the minerals first. Himalayan Shilajit also contains fulvic acid, which aids in the cellular uptake of the minerals and trace elements.

What are some of the benefits of Himalayan Shilajit?

  1. Adaptogen. Shilajit helps the body to adapt to given stressors, much like many tonic herbs. It helps the body fight stress and fatigue, while providing energy at the cellular level.
  2. Energizes. Shilajit helps the body produce additional ATP (adenosine triphosphate) – our body’s primary source of energy.
  3. Anti-aging. Shilajit activates, stabilizes, and revitalizes CoQ10, an important cofactor in mitochondrial production. The mitochondria serve as the body’s energetic powerhouse and is used in the production ATP.
  4. Decreases fatigue and turbo-charges the body. Shilajit contains humic acid. Humic acid increases the rate of electron transfer to the mitochondria, which, in turn, increases the production of ATP (energy). Humic acid is bio-available.
  5. Helps to maintain brain function. Shilajit inhibits the enzyme responsible for catalyzing (breaking down) acetylcholine — a neurotransmitter responsible for memory retention and attention span.
  6. May help delay the onset of Alzheimer’s. Shilajit brings additional oxygen, minerals, and nutrients to the brain, which assists the body’s natural ability to self-protect against plaque forming proteins amyloid beta and tau.
  7. Calms the nervous system. Shilajit has been shown to increase parasympathetic activity, thereby decreasing stress (the fight or flight response) within the body.
  8. Boosts performance and pleasure. Shilajit may trigger the release of dopamine – the feel good hormone – as well as increase performance when under stress.
  9. Supports fertility. Shilajit has been shown to increase sperm production by 60% and activity by 12%.

According to Ron Teeguarden, Shilajit’s traditional functions are:

  • “Jing tonic – Tones the sexual organs, supports sexual energy and stamina (traditionally considered to be an “aphrodisiac”), supports healthy prostate function
  • Qi tonic – Enhances energy and stamina.
  • Shen tonic – Enhances spiritual power
  • Enhances bioavailability and action of other herbs
  • Detoxifying – huge high-valence surface area collects debris and free radicals, cleansing the blood and tissues of the body
  • A carrier – binds to herbal constituents and minerals, delivering them to their targets
  • A catalyst – promotes the activity of minerals and organic constituents
  • Supports urinary functions
  • Supports healthy microcirculation
  • Supports healthy menstrual functions
  • Supports the immune system
  • Supports healthy fat metabolism
  • Supports lung functions
  • Used for general fortification and tonification of the entire body.”

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Resources:

Top 10 Benefits of Shilajit – Ayurveda’s Only Panacea

6 Benefits of Shilajit for Men

http://www.dragonherbs.com/prodinfo.asp?number=526


The Mighty Baobab: Benefits and Traditional Medicinal Uses

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baobab, super food, fruit, mighty, mighty baobab, baobab benefits, baobab medicine, traditional, traditional medicine, baobab traditional medicine

Myth and legend surround the mighty baobab tree. The baobab is known as the African Tree of Life. According to some African bushmen,

“A very, very long time ago, say some African legends, the first baobab sprouted beside a small lake. As it grew taller and looked about it spied other trees, noting their colorful flowers, straight and handsome trunks, and large leaves. Then one day the wind died away leaving the water smooth as a mirror, and the tree finally got to see itself. The reflected image shocked it to its root hairs. Its own flowers lacked bright color, its leaves were tiny, it was grossly fat, and its bark resembled the wrinkled hide of an old elephant.

In a strongly worded invocation to the creator, the baobab complained about the bad deal it’d been given. This impertinence had no effect: Following a hasty reconsideration, the deity felt fully satisfied. Relishing the fact that some organisms were purposefully less than perfect, the creator demanded to know whether the baobab found the hippopotamus beautiful, or the hyena’s cry pleasant-and then retired in a huff behind the clouds. But back on earth the barrel-chested whiner neither stopped peering at its reflection nor raising its voice in protest. Finally, an exasperated creator returned from the sky, seized the ingrate by the trunk, yanked it from the ground, turned it over, and replanted it upside down. And from that day since, the baobab has been unable to see its reflection or make complaint; for thousands of years it has worked strictly in silence, paying off its ancient transgression by doing good deeds for people. All across the African continent some variation on this story is told to explain why this species is so unusual and yet so helpful.”¹

With such legend, one might assume that the mighty baobab has some incredible benefits, yes? Yes! I recently stumbled across the mighty baobab, have been researching it, and incorporating it into my biology. It turns out that this tree and its fruit have quite a few benefits that are naturally used in traditional African medicine.

What are the benefits of the mighty baobab?

Powerful antioxidant. Baobab fruit is high in Vitamin C. One single serving contains ~80% of the RDV of Vitamin C. The baobab fruit powder has an integral antioxidant capacity that is 37x greater than that of oranges and 3x the antioxidants found in blueberries. The baobab seed oil contains Vitamins A, D, and E as well as Omega 3, 6, and 9.
Anti-inflammatory. (Fruit).
Analgesic.
The fruit pulp is shown to have pain relieving affects similar to that of aspirin.
Hepatoprotective. T
he pulp has been shown to have a protective and restorative effect on damaged livers in rats. I personally am curious if baobab fruit helps to heal livers damaged by flukes (platyhelminths).
Anti-diarrhea.
The fruit pulp contains ~50% fiber (equal parts soluble and insoluble) as well as tannins and citric acid.
Pre-biotic.
Gut health – yes! The soluble fiber in the pulp stimulates the growth of lactobacilli and bifidobacteria. When the pulp powder is combined with certain ferments, it may prevent and/or inhibit the growth of pathogenic bacteria such as Salmonella sp., Bacillus sp., and Streptococcus sp.
Reduce fever
. The bark, fruit pulp, and seeds may be used to reduce fever, particularly in cases of malaria.
Anti-viral. The fruit, leaves and seeds may act as an anti-viral against herpes, flu, and respiratory viruses.
Anti-trypanosoma. Baobab roots serve as anti-trypanosoma (an anti-parasitic) and reduce or eliminate the motility of trypanosomes – the causative agent of sleeping sickness.
Skin care/beautification. A decoction of baobab roots promote smooth skin.

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I found these traditional medicinal uses particularly interesting:
The leaves may be used as an anti-asthmatic and anti-histamine. They may also be used in the treatment of Guinea worm (a parasitic worm), urinary tract diseases, eye and ear inflammations.

The bark may be used as a substitute for quinine in reducing fever and as a remedy for toothache. In addition, the bark, fruit pulp and seeds are used as an antidote to the poison often used on arrows.

The dried fruit pulp, which tastes similar to a mild creamsicle,  is available through various super food retailers. In addition to all of the benefits listed above, baobab pulp is also rich in B Vitamins, calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc, potassium, and manganese.

How can you use baobab?

  • Add it to your morning smoothie.
  • Add it to homemade ice-cream (dairy or vegan).
  • Sprinkle it on your yogurt.
  • Mix it in a smoothie bowl.
  • Add it to un-baked, or baked goods.

How do you use baobab? If you have a favorite recipe that you would like to see featured on my blog, email it to me with a picture of your mighty baobab creation (amanda(at)onalimb(dot)org) and I’ll feature it in an upcoming blog post.


¹http://www.ecoproducts.co.za/news/the-legend-of-the-upside-down-tree
Kabore, Donatien, H. Sawadogo-Lingani, B. Diawara, C.S. Compaore, M.H. Dicko, and M. Jakobsen. 2011. A review of baobab (Adansonia digitata) products: Effect of processing techniques, medicinal properties and uses. African Journal of Food Science. 5(16): 833-844.
Kruger Park
Images: theholbox(dot)com, bumblerootfoods(dot)com

 


Can I Train Hard when I have my Cycle?

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This one’s for the ladies and any men who work with women, train women, teach women yoga, and care about women in general. In other words, although moon cycles are a “taboo” topic, discussing them and the impacts it has on training can benefit everyone. Besides, I’m all for demystifying and diving right on in to “taboo” topics to rock the boat and see what I can stir up in folks. Put on your life-jackets and let’s go for a swim…

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Some of the frequent questions I receive from women regarding their moon cycles are:

  • Can I train when I have my cycle?
  • Can I train hard when I have my cycle?
  • What does it mean when I’m training a lot and I miss a cycle?
  • Is it ok to practice inversions when I have my period?

While it’s great to have plans and goals during and throughout your cycle, it’s important to keep in mind that your monthly visitor may or may not invite you to alter your training habits. Many years ago, women’s cycles were seen as a time to gather together, to create, and to rest. Nowadays, women’s cycles are seen more as something to hide, something to be ashamed of, something unnatural. And, this is shifting. Yes!

Can you train when you have your cycle and can you train hard when you have your cycle?
It depends. It depends entirely on you, your body, and the changes your body is experiencing during your monthly cycle. If you have a cycle with little to no challenges — your flow is fairly regular, you’re not gushing or passing large clots, you don’t suffer from severe cramps that leave you laid up in bed with a hot water bottle on your abdomen…basically, if your cycle days are pretty similar to your non-cycle days, then by all means train away.

If your cycle tends to resemble a scene out of a horror movie — super heavy, passing large clots, painful, irregular — then perhaps it’s time to slow down a little (or a lot) and honor your body. Allow yourself to take advantage of the invitation to explore a more restorative, rejuvenating, self-nurturing practice rather than beat yourself up in the gym. Your body will thank you in more ways than one.

What might this look like? You could go for a walk in the woods, practice gentle yoga or yin yoga, turn down the intensity and volume of your regular practice, allow yourself to create art. Maybe the most loving thing you can do for yourself during this time is take a warm, soothing bath with essential oils and epsom salts. Receive a foot massage. Let yourself be held and nurtured during this time.

What does it mean when you are training a lot and start missing cycles?
Unless we’re pregnant or going through menopause, irregular cycles and/or missed cycles are a sign that something is off in our bodies. We are out of balance. It’s often a sign that we’re experiencing stressors beyond our capability to handle them. I often see women in the bodybuilding world who lose their cycles when they cut, continue to train hard, and their body fat percentages drop below levels at which we’re able to sustain the life-giving force that is inherent within us as women.

In my opinion, this is a big sign to slow way down and reevaluate what you are doing, why you are doing it, and get really clear as to whether or not the stress is worth it. When your cycles stop due to over-training or low levels of body fat, it’s an invitation to take care of your health. To me, it’s a gigantic STOP sign with flashing lights and sirens blaring.

How to begin to bring the body back into balance — slow down, destress, reduce training volume and intensity. Eat pure, vibrant, high quality organically grown food, not processed crap and stop starving yourself. Eat healthy fats and incorporate hormonal supporting and balancing herbs and tonics into your meals.

Is it ok to practice inversions when you have your cycle?
Again, it depends. If you follow strict, dogmatic yogic principles, then no. However, I tend to shy away from anything dogmatic. Perhaps I’m being dogmatic in my distancing myself from and calling out practices or beliefs that are dogmatic. Hmm…

Anyway, it totally depends upon you and what works for your body. Chances are unless you are in Cirque du Soleil, you’re not spending hours upon hours upside down on your hands. So, if you feel up to it, there’s really nothing wrong with popping into a headstand, pincha mayurasana, or a handstand when Cousin Flow is in town. You may not want to if you feel particularly bloated or if the river is flowing more like Class V rapids than a quiet, meandering brook, but again, that’s completely individual and may change as quickly as the weather in the northeast.

The bottom line is to develop a relationship with your body and with your cycle. Your body will tell you what it needs, when it needs it, whether to train hard, to rest, to go upside down, or to take a relaxing stroll through the woods. The largest considerations are whether or not you hear your body when it speaks to you and whether or not you choose to listen to your body when it speaks to you.

You’re a male trainer/teacher. What can you do?
If you’re a male trainer, movement or yoga teacher, or male in general, there are some things you can do to help support your students when they have their cycles. Have some feminine products on hand just in case your student unexpectedly gets her cycle in the middle of a session or class with you. Organic…

Your menstruating or nearly menstruating students may be more in tune with their emotions during this time. Please don’t call them “emotional.” This is a natural part of the intuitive process of being a woman. Granted, if there are significant mood swings, it may be a sign of a hormonal imbalance, but that’s a post for another day.

Your student may feel fat, bloated, gross, worried about leakage, and/or in pain. Please be kind. If your student has made the decision to show up and be present on a day when she may be feeling less than stellar, support her. Likewise, if her cycles are spot on and she feels great, wants to crush it in the gym, let her.

If you notice your student chooses to not practice inversions around the same time each month, chances are mentioning it in front of class isn’t going to be the most supportive time to share a conversation. She’s likely already self-conscious about people noticing that she has chosen to not go arse over teakettle when she has her moon cycle.

The more comfortable you are regarding women’s cycles and discussing women’s cycles, the more likely your female students will be in opening up and discussing this natural part of life with you.


I love comments, questions, and feedback so please post below.