Heart Intelligence

Written by Marni Levitt

One of the greatest teachings of Yoga that I learned through my teachers at Sivananda,and have been learning experientially as I live life – is the infinite capacity of the heart’s intelligence. On the first day I learned to meditate, at least 10 years ago, on a Yoga retreat, one of the teachers explained to me the difference between the way the mind and the heart process information. The conscious thinking mind has a certain capacity to think, understand, analyze and process, but that capacity is limited. It can only go so far. For sure, the mind can help us understand and achieve many things – but there is another kind of intelligence that goes way further. WAY further. That is the intelligence of the heart.

I remember my teacher at the retreat drawing a picture on a piece of paper – a circle that represented the intelligence of the mind – then, he drew another far bigger circle around that, encompassing the mind….he said, ‘the bigger circle represents your heart’.

The heart can understand, sense, intuit, and connect with a vast amount of information (in many different forms) that cannot possibly be understood or processed by the conscious mind. The conscious mind naturally has to be selective about what information is taken in, processed and used, in order for us to be able to live our daily lives. The heart, however, can hold, and connect with limitless volumes of material.

Sometimes all we can do is ‘sense’ that it is there, without fully understanding all the bits and pieces. This large capacity allows us to love, to feel compassion, empathy – and to hold another person’s perspective, feelings or experience in the same space that we hold our own. WOW. Incredible.

Time and time again Yoga practise has helped me tap into that larger, intuitive intelligence – as a result I have made connections with information, or with others that I would not have otherwise. I have created magnificent works of art (songs, paintings, poetry), and have been able to come to very useful decisions that I would never have arrived at simply through logical reasoning. The implications of heart intelligence are phenomenal. The Dalai Lama certainly agrees – have a look at this quote – as does the Heart Math Institute.

May your heart open to its potential this summer.

Much love, Marni

 


1-416- 910-3114
@Move_N_Music
marni@move-n- music.com
www.move-n- music.com

Marni Levitt B.A.(Hons.), B.Ed. OCT, RYT
Founder Move-N- Music
Wellness Educator, Animator, Speaker

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Delicious Ayurvedic Probiotic Drink Recipe!

Written by: The Art of Living Foundation

Fasting is a process that proves to be an effective method to ignite the digestive Agni or the body’s inner fire and burn off the accumulated impurities and amas or toxic wastes in the body. Amas are the root cause of almost all diseases. Fasting rejuvenates the mind, body and spirit entirely. It nurtures general wellness by discarding toxins and gas, and augmenting mental lucidity. It also makes the physical state light and easy.
In Ayurveda fasting depends on the body constitution based on dosha and its dependent cleansing needs. In fact it does not support the route of completely abstaining from food or water for long time periods as it leads to disharmony. It also drains the dhatus or body tissues. This is why Ayurveda advocates more of regular, short span detoxifying fasts than infrequent long drawn hunger strikes. This type of fasting is non-stressful and gentle. It is very convenient and can be easily integrated into one’s schedule. Such fasting boosts the body energy level and cleanses the body beautifully.

From a scientific standpoint. Food literally is like input or information for the body. Like any other form of matter it consists of atomic particles in a specific arrangement. These get broken down by the various elements of Agni comprising of enzymes, hydrochloric acid, etc., and reform new cells. Simply put, during the process of fasting the quantity of the input in the digestive system tends to disintegrate and then reassembles. They do this by absorbing the nutrients. Major organs such as the stomach, intestines, pancreas, and gall bladder get ample rest and this swiftly leads to their revival. The process strengthens digestion and bolsters the immunity of a person. According to Ayurveda, fasts help in maintaining balance within the body. Otherwise while curing one condition, one can set off another.
There are four main classifications of fasting according to the ancient practices of Ayurveda. These are decided based on factors such as one’s body structure and composition, digestive power, age and toxin level. One must also check the overall health status like if one is suffering from any ailments or health conditions. Due to this reason professional recommendation is important.
The type and style of fasting is different for different individuals. A fast pattern based on a proper Ayurveda diet is always customized to suit the person. There are four distinct classifications based on the kind of intake that goes into the system. These include firstly consuming fruits, veggies and juices only. The second type involves consuming light foods like khichdi, mashed rice, and kanji. The third is completely staying away from all solid foods and drinking fluids like water and herbal teas. Water can be consumed during the first three. The fourth and most severe is completely abstaining from food and water for a short spell.
In fact during normal meals too, Ayurveda doesn’t encourage excess eating. In fact one should consume only the amount that can be cupped by one’s hands. If we eat too much the excess amount is partially digested and stays lodged permanently. Heavy meals put a strain on the digestive tract and get stored as unwanted flab in the body.
Detoxification fasts in Ayurveda are streamlined with body types. The three doshas namely Vatta, Pitta and Kapha have their very own specifications. During fasts Vatta types can add warming spices, starchy vegetables, a little oil and fruits like avocado and bananas to their meal plan. Vata types are generally lean with a dry, cold dosha and their bodies don’t gel with total fasting. Due to the excess of air and ether lack of food can make them very weak.

Those with Pitta dosha can try lime juice with a dash of coconut water and sprinkled with cooling coriander leaves. Kaphas can also integrate warming spices into the diet but must avoid starch and oil. These two types have larger builds and more energy with weigh gain tendencies. Both can benefit from aggressive abstinence. Generally these fasts don’t last more than a couple of days.
Ayurveda supports regularly going in for partial fasting. This can be done for at least a day or so once every week. This is known as a mono diet. One can drink plenty of salt-free fluids like water, vegetable juice, raw milk boiled with ginger and yogurt mixed with cumin powder and water. A single light meal at noon is ideal. This can consist of milk, rice, yogurt, veggies, fruits, yellow lentil garnished with pepper, ginger, cumin, etc. One can also extend a mono diet for 2-5 days if one can manage the same. It will result in complete detoxification. One should not be tempted to snack. The value of hunger translates to a positive effect for the body at the end of the day. During the time of the fast one must maintain a certain intake of water. Hence one should frequently drink water and expel the same from the body. This is also a technique for discharging the toxins.
Change in seasons is also great for fasting according to the principles of Ayurveda. Fasting can be done any time but usually the cusp between winter and spring is a great time for any kind of cleansing therapy. It helps one to release the toxins that build up in the body over the harsh winter months. Fasting is not just cutting food but also a time for breathing exercises and positive thinking.
This is how a detoxifying fast can completely purify and energize the body and mind in order to promote fitness, wellness and contentment.

Carrot kanji (probiotic drink)recipe | gajar kanji recipe
**prep time
15 mins
total time
15 mins
carrot kanji recipe – a fermented north indian probiotic drink made from carrots, beetroot and ground mustard and water.carrots, beetroot and ground mustard and water.
serves: 2 litres of kanji drink
ingredients (measuring cup used, 1 cup = 250 ml)
5-6 medium sized carrots/gajar
2 small beetroots
8 cups water – approx 2 litres of water (boiled & filtered or purified)
1 or 1.5 tsp red chili powder
3 tbsp mustard powder (dry grind 2 or 2.5 tbsp mustard)
black salt as required
how to make the recipe:
rinse and then peel the carrots and beetroots.
chop into long pieces.
mix all the ingredients in a glass or ceramic jars.
cover with a lid or muslin cloth and keep the jars in the sun for 3-4 days.
stir with a wooden spoon everyday before keeping the jars back in the sun.
when the kanji tastes sour, it means the drink is fermented.
Serve carrot kanji straightway or refrigerate.

Enjoy!

Health Benefits of Bitter Gourd

You Are What You Eat:  Written by The Art of Living Foundation.

Health Benefits of Bitter Gourd: Also Know as Karela or Ampalaya

1.Relieves Cold:
Ampalaya or Karela is used in treating fever and cough caused by cold. It has anti-inflammatory properties and that is why it is used against mucus accumulation and chest congestion.

2.Disinfectant:
It is used against bacteria as it has strong powerful antibiotic properties. It can be used as a disinfectant for minor wounds, burns and scrapes.

3.Lowers Blood Sugar Level:
Karela is used against diabetes. It is able to reduce the blood sugar level and prevents other side-effects caused by high blood sugar.

4.Immunity Booster:
Bittergourd removes free radicals from the body and fights infections which can lead to tissue and organ damage.

5.Lowers Blood Pressure:
It lowers the blood pressure because it is able to relax the vascular system. Lowering the high blood pressure is an important function because it can protect people from having a heart attack or stroke.

6.Headache Relief:
When the muscles around brain are under pressure, they cause headaches. Ampalaya reduces the pressure and alleviates headaches. Stress usually causes the pressure but ampalaya also helps in relieving tension and stress.

7.Improves Psoriasis:
People who suffer from psoriasis have confirmed that this plant has helped them a lot. Ampalaya juice can also help with fungal infections as athlete’s foot and fungi.

8.Spleen and liver Protection:
Overuse of alcohol and toxins can lead to damaged spleen and liver. This vegetable can regenerate and repair tissues in the body which were damaged by toxins. Ampalaya contains useful enzymes which maintain proper spleen and liver function.

9.Weight Control:
Obesity is linked with numerous health problems like diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and many others. A study showed that Karela juice is effective in preventing fat cells from forming.

10.Eye Problems:
Karela is rich in beta-carotene and other minerals which help with eye problems.

Punjabi Karela Sabzi Recipe

prep time: 10 mins cook time: 20 mins total time: 30 mins
serves: 2-3

karela sabzi – dry bitter gourd curry made in north indian style.
ingredients (measuring cup used, 1 cup = 250 ml):
5-6 medium sized karela/bitter gourd
2 or 3 medium sized onions
½ tsp turmeric powder or haldi
¼ tsp red chili powder
¼ tsp garam masala powder
¼ or ½ tsp amchur powder or dry mango powder
2 tbsp oil
salt
how to make the recipe:
Peel the karelas. Wash them in running water. Chop them. You can even slice them. Remove the seeds.
Slice the onions too.
In a kadai or pan, heat oil. Add the chopped or sliced bitter gourds.
Saute the bitter gourd on medium heat for 2 minutes. Lower the flame and saute for 2-3 minutes more.
Add the sliced onions.
Mix the sliced onions with the bitter gourd.
Saute for 2-3 minutes.
Now add the turmeric powder, red chili powder and salt.
Stir. Cook the sabzi without any lid for 7-8 minutes till the both the karela and onions are cooked and sauted well. The onions will become brown. Keep on stirring in between. Check the seasoning. Add more red chili powder or salt if required.
When the Karela sabzi is ready, sprinkle the amchur and garam masala powder. Mix it with the entire sabzi.
Garnishing Karela Sabzi with chopped cilantro/coriander leaves is optional.
Serve Karela Sabzi with phulkas, parathas and a bowl of fresh plain curd/yoghurt or sweetened curd/yoghurt. Karela Sabzi also goes very well as a side vegetable dish or accompaniment with the combination of dal rice or kadhi chawal ( punjabi curd kadhi with rice)

An Ancient Ayurvedic Drink that will Change Your Health

You are what you eat.

Lassi in Punjab or Chaach in Gujrat, also called as Mor in South India, is a common drink in most Indian households. It is roughly called in English as buttermilk. It is the Indian drink for healthy summers and was previously found in every home. There are many health benefits of traditional buttermilk, which will not only let you have a healthy summer season but keep you active and away from summer ailments as well.
Recipe for Traditional Buttermilk:
1 cup Yoghurt / Curd
3 cups Water
1/2 teaspoon Cumin Powder
2 Green Chillies
1 inch piece of Ginger
1 tablespoon Coriander Leaves
Salt to Taste
Method of Preparation:

Take curd (yoghurt), water and salt and using a whisk mix it well. Add chopped ginger, green chillies, coriander leaves and cumin powder and mix well.
Serve the yummy and scrumptious buttermilk as such or serve chilled.
The following are some of the benefits of this traditional drink.
Buttermilk Keeps the Body Hydrated .
Buttermilk is a tasty combination of water, curd, essential spices and salt. It is packed with beneficial electrolytes. The salt and water works to keep our body hydrated. It is an excellent drink for summer when we need to fight dehydration.
Buttermilk Cuts Down Fats
If you feel bloated or simply have eaten too much then drink a little bit of buttermilk. The ginger, pepper and other spices in chaas help to improve the digestion and make you feel less uncomfortable. Apart from that buttermilk is very effective in washing down the fat, oil or ghee that normally coats inner walls of your food pipe and stomach making you feel instantaneously lighter.
1.Buttermilk is High in Calcium
Buttermilk is a rich source of calcium. A cup serving of buttermilk will satisfy 28% of your calcium requirements. Calcium is a nutrient that promotes stronger, denser bones. It reduces the risk of bone disease including osteoporosis. Calcium also aids in muscle contraction and supports cell communication.
2.Buttermilk Reduces Blood Pressure
Buttermilk is rich in bio-active protein which has antiviral, anticancer and cholesterol lowering properties. Having buttermilk on a regular basis helps in lowering and controlling blood pressure. It works as a natural remedy to reduce high blood pressure.
3.Buttermilk Helps in Digestion
Ginger, pepper and jeera all make an excellent digestive agents. Known for their carmative properties individually, together in a tall glass of buttermilk they make the best natural digestive out there. So, If you feel an attack of indigestion coming on, try sipping on some chaas for immediate relief. Are you suffering from indigestion? Try adding mint to quiet your digestion trouble.
4.Buttermilk Reduces Cholesterol
Buttermilk has several special components which help in reducing cholesterol levels. Consuming a glass of buttermilk everyday helps in reducing cholesterol levels and controls it naturally.
5.Buttermilk is High in Protein
Buttermilk is an excellent source of protein too. A cup of buttermilk will satisfy about 15% and 17% of protein needs for men and women, respectively. Protein helps facilitate muscle growth, tissue repair, and fat breakdown. This nutrient also keeps the bones, muscles, and skin healthy and strong.
6.Buttermilk Helps with Acidity
A powerful tool to fight acidity, buttermilk has essential spices like pepper and ginger that help to beat the burning sensation you feel during a short period of acidity. Moreover the buttermilk cools the stomach and reduces the irritation in the stomach lining due to acid reflux, giving you relief from the discomfort.
7.Buttermilk Helps in Weight Loss
A glass of buttermilk is an integral part of several diet plans helping people to lose weight effectively. Buttermilk digests foods better and washes down fat and oil which cleanses the system and helps in weight loss.
8.Buttermilk Has Beneficial Bacteria
Buttermilk is teeming with live beneficial bacteria that keep the digestive tract healthy. Probiotics re-balance the flora of the gastrointestinal tract, reducing the risk of bad bacteria overgrowth. Beneficial bacteria also keep the gut healthy, cutting the risk of cancer, diarrhea, and gastrointestinal diseases.
9.Buttermilk Helps to Cleanse the Skin
Buttermilk works as an excellent skin cleanser. You can use this as your everyday skin cleanser. To prepare the cleansing solution mix a tablespoon of buttermilk, some drops of almond oil and rose water. Apply this over your face and wash it after 10 minutes. You will love your glowing face.

This recipe was brought to you by The Art of Living.

The Art of Living Happiness Program

Living Life to its Full Potential

The Art of Living Happiness Program integrates ancient yogic practices and wisdom into our lives today. Practicing these techniques enable us to be more in the present moment and live with greater clarity, creativity, peace and joy.

The Happiness Program Features

THE SUDARSHAN KRIYA

Only taught in The Art of Living’s Happiness Program, the Sudarshan Kriya is an approachable, simple yet powerful rhythmic breathing technique. It helps alleviate our physical, mental and emotional stresses, leaving us refreshed, relaxed and rejuvenated and giving us a sense of peace and rest never experienced before.

PRANAYAMAS

Simple breathing exercises that remove toxins accumulated from persistent levels of stress. These techniques bring the mind, body and soul in sync – the prerequisite to being happy and living a balanced life.

YOGA

Gentle and dynamic postures that remove inertia and relax the body. Yoga raises energy levels and calms the mind, complementing meditation and magnifying the benefits of the Sudarshan Kriya.

GUIDED MEDITATIONS

One of the deepest forms of rest for your system, meditation recharges you at the level of the body and mind. Meditation leaves you calm yet alert, while revealing hidden potentials and talents you never knew about!

Gentle and dynamic postures that remove inertia and relax the body. Yoga raises energy levels and calms the mind, complementing meditation and magnifying the benefits of the Sudarshan Kriya.

PERSONALITY DEVELOPMENT

Includes processes which enable you to release your inhibitions and give you a greater sense of confidence. Interactive team-building exercises develop your leadership skills to make you more active in your life.

PRACTICAL WISDOM

Applicable wisdom that help you manage daily life situations of work, family and relationships more skillfully. This wisdom can integrate into your life to deal with the challenges of life in a seamless manner.

For more information, click here:

http://www.artofliving.org/ca-en/happiness-program#acol=0

Emotions Experienced in the Body

Written by: Marni Levitt

I remember my body dropping several flights in a split second on the ride at Disney World. The ride was called ‘The Drop’ or something like that, and simulated an extremely sharp elevator drop. My stomach was up, several meters higher than the rest of my body, which dropped down sharply – all of a sudden. A thrill, an unpleasant feeling, scary – all depending on how you perceived it. For me, it was both scary and unpleasant. I have felt that feeling in my stomach many times – but not on a Disney World ride – rather, in daily life situations that feel scary or stressful. I feel like my stomach is dropping down – almost right out of my body. (The opposite of my body dropping down, and stomach in the air, but similar feeling nonetheless). I have felt like that many times at work, in stressful moments.

I am sure many people experience similar physical experiences of emotions. ‘I have butterflies in my stomach’; ‘I have cold feet’; ‘my heart is broken’, ‘you make me sick’, ‘I am listening to my gut, and something just doesn’t feel right’. If you resonate with any of these expressions, or feelings, you may have a sense that our language reflects our lived experience and reality.

With the recent scientific validation of mindfulness and yoga, through studies and neuroscience, it is easy to start believing that emotions and feelings happen between your ears, in your head (ie. in your brain). In Eastern thought (where yoga and mindfulness originate), the mind is considered a mystery. Who is the one who is knowing and experiencing? Western science takes this ‘self’ for granted, Eastern traditions question and wonder about it.

I wonder how many people experience their emotional reality inside of their heads? Through my years of mindfulness meditation experience, and practise of yoga, in addition to work with a psychotherapist – I have learned to be aware of, and identify the feelings in my body; in this way, my body has become my emotional compass, leading me to wellness. For example, when my chest and throat start to feel tight, it is likely that I am experiencing sadness or grief. When I tune into this experience (either through mindfulness meditation, or just being aware as I go about my day), I can then work with it, be present with it, and that is when it often starts to transform, or loosen, and I get some relief from the pain. Identifying my physical experience of emotions – or physical processing of emotions, has made a world difference for me, on a practical, daily basis.

I have been able to navigate life and work, and improve my mental health and wellness in leaps and bounds.

According to Wikipedia, Pali (Pāli) is a Prakrit language native to the Indian subcontinent. It is widely studied because it is the language of many of the earliest extant literature of Buddhism. The Pali-English Dictionary suggests citta is heart / mind, and emphasizing it is more the emotive side of mind as opposed to manas, as the intellect or mind-sense in the sense of what grasps mental objects (dhammas). From the cultures that gave birth to mindfulness practices now transforming the West, there is a different understanding of mind than that assumed by modern, Western, scientific concepts. The heart is in the body, the body experiences emotions. The more traditional (and time-tested) practices such as mindfulness and yoga have an understanding of mind that includes the heart. This conception certainly resonates with my life experience – and being in touch with my body (and therefore emotions) has only improved my life and relationships. Being aware of the body, and of feelings, is the first step to working with those feelings – and often, mitigating or limiting a fight-or-flight stress response.

There are scientific studies on just about everything now – which is great, as it helps give a certain validity to fields or practices previously considered marginal (in modern Western context). More and more people are turning to these types of supports, in search of practical solutions to exponentially-increasing stress and distractions modern life. People are flocking to yoga and mindfulness meditation retreats in droves. Parents are finding help for issues that previously seemed unsolvable for their kids. I know that I have made a scientific study of my own life: about 99.9% of the time, when I am feeling a great deal of stress about something, after a yoga class, whatever problem seemed insurmountable before class, suddenly feels workable – and often I feel at peace. Wow.

Just like magic. My mind (and emotions) became calm because of actions I did with my body and breath. Hopefully with the logic of science, and the art of being aware of feelings – we can start to connect with a broader canvas of human experience: one that includes the head, the heart, the body, and therefore our entire being. I believe that’s where we will find long-term solutions for the pervasive ailments of modern living.


Move-N-Music is offering ‘mind-FUN-ness’ customized small group coaching sessions to introduce the concept of mindfulness in a fun, hands-on, engaging way.  For more information, please email marni@move-n-music.com
Every Sunday Morning near St.Clair and Oakwood in Toronto

April 3, 10, 17, 24, May 1, 8, 2016
9:30am – 10:30am
For ages: 5-8

Find out more about Marni’s programs by checking out her website; www.move-n-music.com

Marni Levitt B.A.(Hons.), OCT, RYT
Founder Move-N-Music
Arts & Wellness Educator,
Animator, Speaker

1-416-910-3114
Skype: Marni.Levitt1
marni@move-n-music.com
www.move-n-music.com

Photo in article from Move-N-Music Family mind-FUN-ness day in Toronto – Feb.2016.