Do you wake in the morning feeling like a bear? Do you feel sore, stiff, slow, and stagnant? In this blog, I share with you three simple tips to help decrease pain, stiffness, and stagnation that you may experience upon waking. Our animal friends do them without thinking, yet we as human beings, with our creature comforts, have largely disconnected from our animalistic nature. Yes, at the base level we are animals.
What are the three things nearly every animal does upon waking that we can also do to increase our mobility, flow, and wake up feeling better?
- Move your spine. What’s the first thing a cat or dog does upon waking? They stretch and move their spine. Follow along in this video to experience five simple movements that will help you free your spine upon waking.
- Eliminate and squat while doing so. Oftentimes, the second thing animals do (at least my dog does), is go to the bathroom and empty their bladder and/or bowels. As human being-animals, it’s necessary for the health of our system to regularly expel our excrement. Yes, we need to pee and poo. Urine, when we’re well hydrated, should be clear. We should be eliminating ~12 in. of feces per day. Now, there’s a lot about what our poop can tell us about our health, but I’ll save that for another day.
Why squat? For one, it’s a primal position that we, in our Western culture with our chairs and creature comforts, have largely moved away from. When we sit upon the loo, vs squat, the colon is placed into a less than ideal position for the elimination of feces. In addition, being in a squat position naturally helps with the motility of the excrement through our digestive system.
- Hydrate. After going numerous hours without water, animals will drink and drink and drink when they have arrived to a water source. What about us humans? I daresay, there are probably people out there whose first drink of the day is a cup of coffee or tea. Why is that a challenge? They both serve as diuretics, which make us pee more, and can lead to further dehydration when we’re already dehydrated upon waking.
Begin the day by drinking and eating nothing else until you have integrated 32 oz of pure, living, spring water with a little Himalayan or Celtic sea salt into your being. Hydrating with pure, living, spring water will help plump your intervertebral discs, hydrate your tissues, help reduce wrinkles and puffiness under the eyes, as well as provide hydraulic support to the entire system facilitating ease of movement (including defecation) and well-being.
I invite you to give this practice a try for the next week. I’d love to hear how you feel after you’ve begun the process of integrating these simple animal-inspired tips into your day.
“This river has ancestral and spiritual importance to the Lenca people because it’s inhabited by the female spirits. These female spirits guard the rivers. The [River] is also used for growing food and for gathering medicinal plants and is vital to the entire population downstream. I believe it signifies life.” ~Berta Caceres
I saw this video on a friend’s FB page the other day and was moved to tears by it. Why, you may ask?
We, as a society at large, have come to value things more than experiences, certain ancestral traditions, lives, or the earth. In so doing, we at times have chosen to turn our backs on, commit atrocities to, and destroy an incredible lineage of wisdom, of knowledge, of connection that is, in my opinion, absolutely paramount to maintain, to honor, and to continue to pass on to future generations.
It is our elders, all of our elders, who often hold the keys to immense wisdom, knowledge of and connection to the land far beyond what most of us even fathom on a “good day”. I, personally, would love to spend some time in the presence of these incredibly beautiful and inspired people. Allowing space for the preservation and continued practice of indigenous cultures, beliefs, and lifestyles, has become a huge passion of mine and one that I find challenging to discuss without feeling emotional about.
We are so incredibly blessed that there are people who are waking up. There are people who see the value in the old ways, who feel it within their very hearts. There are people who are choosing to walk a warrior path honoring all life here on earth and honoring our Mother.
Why does it matter?
– respect for all living creatures
– stewardship of the earth — Do you want to eat money, coal, and oil; or would you prefer to eat food? Do you want to have clean water to drink? Clean air to breathe? Or, water that’s so polluted nothing lives in it? Air that’s so rife with chemicals and pollution that it’s challenging to breathe?
What can you do about it?
Educate yourself. Live a life that you are passionate about and share it with the world. Embrace your warrior heart and start taking care of yourself if you are not already doing so. Eat locally. Drink clean, spring water. Recycle and reduce your waste. Dance the dance that only you are capable of dancing. Be willing to see what the eyes cannot. Stand up for what you believe in, not from the mind, but from the sacred heart.
I learned, the day after watching this video, that Berta Caceres was murdered. May her legacy light the way to all she has left behind.
Why have we become so disconnected when we’re seemingly more connected than ever? I share my perspective here as well as 4 tips to help you reconnect.
How are you at taking care of, well, you? Are you caring for yourself as well as you could be or should be? I’ll be the first to admit that sometimes I fall short of nourishing myself. After mildly injuring myself last week, I found myself asking myself those questions.
If we have a bit too much go-go and do-do in our lives, then we may find ourselves setting ourselves up for the opportunity for a bit of doodoo to land in our face, our lap, or on the bottom of our shoes. When that happens, life can become rather stinky. To help keep the roses smelling rosy and the air fresh and crisp (Don’t you just love autumn?), to find more balance and nourish yourself, check out these 10 tips:
1. Drink quality water.
A lot of seemingly unconnected symptoms may be connected to dehydration. Drink water and you may find yourself feeling better. A good rule of thumb, and this is just a guideline mind you, everyone has their own unique needs, is to drink 1/2 your bodyweight in ounces of water. This is different for those who use kg for bodyweight…in that case it’s closer to a 1:1 ratio. For example, if you weigh 180 lbs, a guideline is to drink 90 ounces water. Again, this is just a rough guideline. You may need more or less depending on your body and its needs. By the way, if it’s not clear, it’s not water, it’s food.
2. Eat quality, wholesome food from healthy plants and animals.
You are what you eat. If you eat diseased animal, you get diseased animal. If you eat diseased plants, you get diseased animal. If you eat pesticide laden food, you get a toxic animal. If you eat crap, well, you get crap. Got it? It’s not necessary to be perfect all the time. Who doesn’t enjoy a treat every now and then? I’d recommend aiming to eat well and healthy 80% of the time.
Three of our favorite nourishing foods (note, foods, not meals) are the following:
- Cate Stillman‘s Boo Candy to help ward off colds and mucous
- Turmeric Milk
- Beef Bone Broth. Although I usually keep mine to the bare basics, here’s a “recipe” from the Weston A. Price Foundation.
Not only are they nourishing from a nutritional standpoint, they are also what I would consider “soul food.”
3. Develop a relationship with your food.
Turn the TV off. Set the computer and iThingys aside. Put the newspaper, magazine, or book down. Disconnect from your disconnections and connect with your food and the people who may be sitting in front of or next to you. You may find yourself chewing your food more thoroughly, tasting what you are eating, getting more full sooner, and maybe, just maybe sharing a conversation. I would invite you to consider chewing your food until it is liquid or nearly so. As Paul Chek says, “Drink your food. Chew your water.”
That’s a shocker! Yes, we need sleep. Quality sleep. How well and how long you sleep for you (everyone has their individual needs), will impact your health and well-being. If you’ve been experiencing yourself short of temper, prone to emotional outbursts, facing difficultly thinking clearly, feeling sluggish in the gym…sleep, or lack thereof, may be a contributing factor.
In my opinion, don’t just move. Ask yourself why you are moving your body. What are you moving for? What are you hoping to get out of moving your body? Are you beating yourself up in the gym or doing endless hours of cardio? Are you burning yourself out? Maybe you need to slow down and invite more yin-like movements into your day. High intensity go-go, more, more, harder, harder, and faster, faster isn’t often what our bodies need. They need balance. If your life and job are super stressful, maybe stressing yourself physiologically is pushing you over the edge. Check out these videos by my dear teacher and friend Benny Fergusson of Cohesion Gym for a quick glimpse into this topic. Although I see it far less often, maybe you need to move more. If you’re finding difficultly finding balance, I invite you to reach out to a holistic movement specialist who can guide you to bring balance back into your movement and your life.
Click here for Part 2, after you watch the videos.
What’s in your Water? Part 2
At the end of Monday’s blog, we brought today’s chemical of interest — lead — and how chloramines can increase lead levels in drinking water if the pipes are old and lined with lead. If you missed Monday’s post, you can read it here. I’ll wait.
According to the EPA, “lead is a toxic metal that is harmful if inhaled or swallowed.” Most lead concerns come from inhaling lead paint, dust, or swallowing lead that has leached into drinking water. If lead is inhaled, or if lead in drinking water is above acceptable limits, it can cause physical, mental, and learning delays in children as well as decreased attention span. In adults, it can cause high blood pressure and kidney problems.
The World Health Organization (WHO) states “too much lead can damage various systems of the body including the nervous and reproductive systems and the kidneys, and it can cause high blood pressure and anemia. Lead accumulates in the bones and lead poisoning may be diagnosed from a blue line around the gums. Lead is especially harmful to the developing brains of fetuses and young children and to pregnant women. Lead interferes with the metabolism of calcium and vitamin D.”
How does lead leach into drinking water? When water sits in leaded pipes for more than six hours, it can leach into the water supply.
What can be done about reducing lead in drinking water? There are filters and water purification systems which can help (more about those later this week).
If lead pipes, fittings, and fixtures are in your home but not the street and the lead content is greater than 15 ppb, it is recommended the following be done:
1. For drinking water and cooking with it, let the water run on cold for 1 – 2 minutes if the water has been off and sitting for more than 6 hours.
If the pipe entering your home from the street does contain lead, and the lead content is greater than 15 ppb, the following is recommended:
1. If the water has been turned off and sitting for more than 6 hours, turn high volume tap water (shower/tub) on cold and let it run for at least 5 minutes.
2. Run the tap in the kitchen on cold for 1 – 2 minutes.
3. Cook with only cold water from the tap, not hot as hot water contains increased lead levels.
If the lead content is less the 15 ppb, the EPA and CDC state that it is not necessary to take any additional measures to remove lead from the water.
In January 2014, new lead free requirements were enacted based on the Reduction of Lead in Drinking Water Act. Prior to January 2014, lead pipes, fittings, and fixtures could have a lead content of 8%. The new requirements mandate that all new pipes, fittings, and fixtures contain no more than 0.25% lead.
If you are unsure whether or not your community has header pipes containing lead, or if your home contains lead pipes, you can ask your local Water Quality/Resource Division.