The Benefits of Drinking Detox Water (with Recipes)

From DoYouYoga, by Jessica Rose

Our bodies are amazingly efficient self-cleaning machines that work to naturally detoxify our blood, lymphatic system, lungs — you name it — 24 hours a day.

With that being said, yogis throughout history have been practicing detoxification methods. From Ayurvedic detoxes (including the Vastra Dhauti detox where you swallow a cloth to clean out the esophagus, stomach, and intestines) to fasts, to certain asana postures to help the body along in its cleansing process, with a firm belief that these practices hold the key to optimum health and longevity.

I have tried a few different detoxes, and although I’m no expert, one key component to detoxification that has constantly rung true and can easily be practiced everyday, rain or shine, is upping your water intake.

The better hydrated we are, the better our organs and systems can push out toxins and do their jobs properly to help keep us squeaky clean and vibrant. And one of the newer topics in detoxing is detox water, or infused water.

The Benefits of Drinking Detox Water
The beauty of detox water isn’t so much that you’ll be packing a huge nutritional punch by infusing your spring water with fruits and veg, but that it can be a big help if you’re trying to cut other, harmful drinks out of your repertoire such as soft drinks or sugary coffee drinks.

The better your water tastes, the more water you will be inclined to drink, hopefully replacing the bad-for-you beverages with your fancy — yet oh so easy — new detox water. Your body will thank you, and you will probably notice a brighter, more vibrant, and better-functioning version of yourself in no time. Violá!

So, on that happy note, here are some easy ways to make your own detox water, using any quantities you prefer. Just remember to buy organic whenever possible and to eat the good stuff at the bottom for an added fiber and nutrient boost!
Warm Water with Lemon, a.k.a The Yogi’s Digestive Elixir
You don’t need to swallow a towel to keep your digestive system fresh and clean! Simply squeeze the juice of half a lemon into a cup of warm water and drink first thing in the morning before breakfast.

How It Helps You Detox:

This is so easy and effective, and has immediate results on your digestive system in the form of elimination.

Lemon: The lemon juice acts as a natural astringent to clean out the bowels, and the warm water gets things moving to help you release everything your body no longer needs. Vitamin C is a natural antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and metabolism booster. The sourness also stimulates Agni, the digestive fire.
Cucumber, Ginger, Mint, and Lime Water, a.k.a The Yogi’s Cocktail
This is the yogic version of my two favorite cocktails rolled into one luscious, powerfully detoxing, (alcohol-free) thirst-quencher.

It’s a combination of the ingredients for a Moscow Mule and a Mojito — minus the booze, sugar, and ice — otherwise known as a detoxer’s nightmare. Give it a try, you just might like it even more than the originals!

Combine:

  • One carafe of spring water
  • 1/4 cucumber
  • 1-inch chunk of ginger root, sliced according to taste (I’m obsessed with ginger, so I grate it to ensure I get the pulp with the water, but you might prefer chunks or slices)
  • A few sprigs of mint
  • One lime (more or less according to taste)

How It Helps You Detox:

Cucumber: Hydrating, full of nutrients, and anti-inflammatory.

Ginger: Stimulates digestion and circulation — two very important factors in detoxing.

Mint: Activates salivary glands to stimulate the digestive process.

Lime: High in Vitamin C, anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, helps produce enzymes that promote optimal liver functioning.
Coconut Water Pina Colada
Another zinger without the bad stuff, this mix uses the super-hydrating powers of coconut water along with nutrient-dense pineapple and blueberry. Coconut water is naturally very sweet, so if you’re looking to replace soda or sugary lattés with healthier options, this might be a good gateway drink for you!

Combine:

  • One carafe of coconut water
  • One cup of fresh pineapple chunks or rings
  • One half cup of fresh organic blueberries

How It Helps You Detox:

Coconut water: High in fiber to provide a natural way to stimulate digestion, super hydrating powers.

Pineapple: Immune-system boosting, anti-inflammatory, good for digestion, and aids in circulation.

Blueberry: Huge anti-oxidant content, which fight development of free-radicals (a.k.a toxins!) that can lead to a myriad of health problems

Cheers to your health!

Have you tried any of these detox waters? How do you like them? Share with us below!

25 Ways to be Kind

From DoYouYoga, by Silvia Mordini

You don’t need a reason to help people. Let’s remember to be kind to one another, as it isn’t always apparent on the outside what the struggles we may be facing are on the inside. After all, when this is all over, all that will really matter is how we treated each other.

When we enter this world, our Kindness IQ is intact. We can keep it that way through our actions. Kindness is like a muscle; it gets stronger the more you use it, or atrophies if you don’t.

You don’t need a reason to be kind to people. Instead, here are 25 suggestions and ideas of ways to be kind.

1. Smile and make someone’s day a little sweeter.

2. Look for ways you can promote peace.

3. Just listen.

4. Offer a hug or embrace.

5. Invite someone new into your friend tribe.

6. Send out a kind email or card.

7. Give someone a genuine compliment.

8. Help clean up, without being asked, help someone out in a practical way.

9. Hold open the door for the person behind you.

10. Encourage a friend or family member when they are uncertain or
 unmotivated.

11. Make peace with someone that has hurt you.

12. Strike up a conversation with a stranger.

13. Let someone into your lane while driving.

14. Pay for the person behind you in line.

15. Give your time to a friend or someone who needs it.

16. Say Thank You and Please everyday without fail.

17. Meditate on loving kindness: “May you be happy, healthy, peaceful, and free from suffering, and may my actions in some way contribute to the happiness, health, peace, and freedom for all.

18. Say “I love you” a little more often to your family and friends.

19. Pause before you speak, and choose words with positive intention.

20. Help someone get some rest (watch their kids, run an errand, bring them dinner, etc).

21. Pick up litter you see thrown about even if its not yours.

22. Remove complaints and curses for one week.

23. Gift something meaningful to someone: loan a book, bring flowers, drop off cookies, whatever suits your fancy.

24. Make a donation.

25. Give up your seat, or for that matter, move your yoga mat in class, with positive intent.

I am dedicating myself to inspire everyone to bring kindness to the forefront. Let’s be more active in our efforts not because we have to, but because we want to. And not even because others have been kind to us but because being nice is the way of the heart.

Kindness is always a choice. The more conditioned we are to respond with kindness, the more natural it becomes. It is on purpose with purpose. Today, join me in starting a kindness movement, and together we can raise our global Kindness IQ!

Which ways do you try to show kindness every day? Share your tips and tricks with us below!

How Yoga Can Get You Through Grief and Sadness

From DoYouYoga, by Kathy Kruger

 

Have you ever cried in a yoga class and felt that rush of relief? I bawled like a baby during Yin yoga training last year in a two and a half hour class that went deep — which it turns out was exactly where I needed to go.

Maybe you’ve shed a few silent tears in the midst of a dynamic flow class, the trickle seeming to flow with the Vinyasa and the breath.

Perhaps you’ve choked back tears in a Child’s Pose or deep into a Forward Bend — afraid of the waterworks releasing, swallowing hard.

Crying During Yoga
Crying during a yoga practice may be all very well at home, but many of us don’t like to allow ourselves to be so vulnerable surrounded by strangers (or friends) in a class situation, even though it may be exactly what we need to do.

We may know that vulnerability is the Yin to the Yang of a strong yoga practice, but it can be kind of embarrassing — that’s if we don’t leave our egos at the classroom door.

If you can suspend your ego, yoga can be a safe place to sit with sadness or move with and through grief, anchored in breath and bringing awareness to the body and away from whatever loss you are experiencing, whatever is causing pain.

You have the choice of “truly, madly, deeply” feeling the sadness and grief in your body, or of transmuting it through breath and awareness into a sense of peace.

Either way, if you can use yoga to help you feel pain more, or to feel it less, you will be on the way to healing.

Here are a few tips on practicing to help you heal.

1. Accept Your Emotional State
It can be easy to talk yourself out of a yoga or meditation practice because you are feeling down, and especially if you are grieving. But yoga doesn’t ask us to be in one mood or another in order to practice.

We can come to yoga sad, stressed, frustrated, even angry and we have the opportunity to re-set. Sure sadness and loss can’t be fixed as easily as a bad mood (and depression is a variable condition often requiring different treatments), but then yoga doesn’t promise a quick fix but a lifelong friendship.

2. Use Breath
Well of course — it is everything in yoga, but especially when we are sad and likely to be feeling sluggish.

Maybe a strong Power yoga class is going to require more energy than you can muster in your depressed state, or maybe it’s exactly what you need (forgetting about things for a while isn’t so bad). Generally a slower sequence of asana with plenty of opportunity for breath focus is going to help you direct your breath towards healing and channel emotional release.

3. Open Your Heart Chakra
Deep back bending postures like Camel open and expose your heart chakra — which can be hard, but also very healing.

While you might feel anger in your gut, or get a hot head, you are most likely to feel sadness around your heart. Metaphorically, I envisage sadness sitting on my shoulders, hunching them, weighing me down. Grief can settle in between the shoulder blades at the back of your heart, stuck there so you literally can’t straighten your shoulders. You may also lock loss and heartache within your rib cage, as though it can protect you from getting hurt again.

A heart-opening Yin yoga class may be perfect (or it may be overwhelming). Try Anahata asana and allow yourself to expose the back of your heart — to be vulnerable. We can’t allow ourselves to be vulnerable if we haven’t accepted that sadness can be the result — and acceptance is always the path to letting go.

4. Dwell in the Present
Yoga always provides this opportunity without being a negative distraction (such as too much shopping to cheer you up, or too much alcohol to numb you).

Grief and sadness are always rooted in the past (and sometimes stuck there through regret, or a lack of forgiveness). If things happened in the past to make you sad, if you have suffered a loss, then reliving these events is never going to allow you to get beyond them. At the same time, if you are depressed about the future, then dwelling there is never going to give you hope.

Time may be the ultimate healer, but yoga enables you to surrender a little more of the past to dwell in the present.

5. Allow Yourself to Cry
If tears come, don’t be afraid. You don’t have to be a Warrior all the time!

If we allow it, yoga can remind us that we are not the events that happen to us, the losses we suffer, the emotions we feel, or the thoughts that swim in our heads.

Sadness sits on the surface. Grief and loss, even when they run deep, still can’t hurt us at the level of our eternal and universal souls.

The tears you shed cannot disturb the stillness deep inside you. Pass the Kleenex.

Yoga for Word Nerds: 14 Favorite Yoga Quotes and Sayings

From DoYouYoga, by Kathy Kruger

 

I’m a fully fledged word nerd. And a yoga nut. So I bring my love of language to the mat.

To me, Sanskrit feels like the soul softly whispering wisdom, and I never fail to appreciate the unfamiliar, yet familiar sounds that roll off the tongues of teachers.

And since becoming a teacher myself, I’m enjoying learning a language that it somehow feels I’ve spoken before.

Chaturanga Dandasana sounds so much better than plank, Malasana somehow more inspiring than squatting. Parivrtta Prasarita Padottanasana sounds as complicated as ‘rotated separate leg forward fold’, not to mention Triang Mukha Ekapada Paschimottanasana’ or ‘three faced forward bend’.

While I love the sound of Sanskrit, I really appreciate teachers who dig deep to find meaning, who have delved into the ancient Vedic texts, who reflect on the lessons of the Buddha and Rumi, the Dalai Lama and modern gurus.

Elegant poses might inspire, but I love eloquent phrases, meditative monologues.

My favorite teachers don’t just instruct, they enlighten.~Kathy Kruger

From pithy pearls, to the practical and sometimes profound, I come to class for lessons in mastering life, as much as asana. Sometimes I hear the wisdom speak to me from within, other times I’m struck by something that’s said.

 

Here are a few of my favorite yoga quotes and sayings:

1. “It’s yoga practice, not yoga perfect.”

I’m not sure who coined this, but it’s a common one with my yoga teachers.

2. “Yoga does not remove us from the reality or responsibilities of everyday life, but rather places our feet firmly and resolutely in the practical ground of experience. We don’t transcend our lives; we return to the life we left behind in the hopes of something better.” ~ Donna Farhi

3. “Yoga teaches us to cure what need not be endured and endure what cannot be cured.” ~ B.K.S. Iyengar

4. “The yoga pose you avoid the most, you need the most.” ~ Unknown

5. “Yoga is an internal practice. The rest is just a circus.” ~ Sri Pattabhi Jois

6. “That nature of yoga is to shine the light of awareness into the darkest corners of the body.” ~ Jason Crandell

7. “In any pose, the breakthrough comes not when you learn what to tighten, but when you learn what to relax.” ~ Bikram

8. “Remember, it doesn’t matter how deep into a posture you go – what does matter is who you are when you get there.” ~ Max Strom

9. “A mind free from all disturbances is Yoga.” ~ Patanjali

10. “The attitude of gratitude is the highest yoga.” ~ Yogi Bhajan

11. “You cannot do yoga. Yoga is your natural state. What you can do are yoga exercises, which may reveal to you where you are resisting your natural state.” ~ Sharon Gannon

12. “Undisturbed calmness of mind is attained by cultivating friendliness toward the happy, compassion for the unhappy, delight in the virtuous, and indifference toward the wicked.” ~ Yoga Sutras

13. “Don’t move the way fear makes you move. Move the way love makes you move. Move the way joy makes you move.” ~ Osho

14. “Don’t just do something—sit there!” ~ Unknown

What is your favorite yoga saying? Share with us in the comments below!

Yoga: A Great Activity to Enhance Speech, Language and Literacy

By Craig Hanauer E-RYT 500 CYT
Over the past 15 years of teaching yoga to children I have come to appreciate what an amazing activity yoga is for supporting speech, language and literacy development. As children many of us were told to sit still and listen, and sadly comments such as this can still be heard in schools around the world. For some children this is an either or proposition, they can either sit still or listen, and moving their bodies helps them to self-regulate and attend.

Ask any speech pathologist and they will tell you about the connection between movement and expressive language; having kids move their bodies during speech therapy sessions is akin to greasing the wheel. This is why asking children to be quiet in yoga class is a true self-regulatory challenge. I recall working with a selectively mute child who would only speak during movement-related activities, and at these times she was quite talkative. Opportunities for child-directedness in yoga class provide important practice in initiation, sequencing, coordinating movement and expressive language, and creativity.

kid's yoga with Craig Hanauer

Children are likely to be more relaxed during yoga class which makes them much more receptive to learning, and the calmness they experience afterwards will contribute to increased word retrieval and fluency. Acting out stories or moving to kid friendly songs provides the opportunity to link words or phrases to corresponding movements or actions.

Kinesthetic learners will be much more likely to follow along and retain a story when it is acted out physically, and if a child’s receptive language is challenged, observing classmates and teachers perform will provide valuable visual support.

Many young children, particularly those with developmental delays, lack core strength and postural support. Unfortunately when this is the case, the mechanisms of breathing (the ribcage and the diaphragm) become fixed and locked and engaged in holding the body upright. Yoga increases core strength and postural support, which frees up the mechanisms of breathing for their intended purpose, and ultimately supports self-regulation and expressive language. One needs to be able to take a deep inhalation followed by a long controlled exhalation both to activate the parasympathetic nervous system and to create speech, and an unencumbered diaphragm and rib cage are necessary to do this. Yoga can be extremely strengthening for the diaphragm; for example breathing in Bow Pose against the floor/gravity is like resistance training for the diaphragm. Having a strong diaphragm not only allows one to take deep inhalations, but it allows us to make forceful exhalations, an important ability in blowing our noses to clear our nasal passages. Breathing in bow pose also provides valuable proprioceptive input to the abdominal area, which helps students identify the place you want them to breathe into.

Speech and Language Pathologists have been attending my Every Kid’s Yoga Teacher Training for years, which indicates to me that the relationship between these two seemingly disparate disciplines has become increasingly appreciated and accepted.

Written by Craig Hanauer for Healthy Life Cycle


Craig Hanauer is a Kripalu trained Yoga Alliance Registered “Experienced” 500-Hour Children’s Yoga Teacher.  He is also certified in New York State as a Creative Arts Therapist, a School Teacher and a School Building Leader.  Committed to the health and wellbeing of children, Craig has developed “Every Kid’s Yoga”, a unique and successful program for children with varied abilities and needs that integrates the creative arts, yoga, and play. He specializes in training yoga teachers, educators, therapists and parents in this therapeutic and fun-filled approach to working with kids. Craig continues to work directly with young people in a variety of settings such as Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health, The Preschool at 3rd Street Music Settlement, and Satellite Academy a NYC Department of Education Alternative High School. Craig recently founded The Children’s Yoga Teacher Training Collaborative, a Yoga Alliance Approved 95-hour children’s yoga teacher training school.

You can read more about Craig and his programs by visiting his websites and Facebook page.

Today’s Herbal Hero: Shilajit

By Superman Herbs

Welcome to the Comprehensive Guide to Shilajit. 

Keeping the body in perfect shape can be a difficult job sometimes. This is most especially true as temptations including sinful food, cigarettes, and alcohol have always been there. Furthermore, it is harder to manage things when you know to yourself that part of what you are dealing with is stress.

If you are looking for a safe yet effective way to improve your health in general, then shilajit could just be what you need. It is a complete package filled with minerals, antioxidants, and other essential nutrients. Using this all-natural substance can benefit you in many ways as it has anti-inflammatory, anti-anxiety, anti-ulcerogenic, anti-diabetic, anti-allergic, and anti-fungal properties.

Shilajit is a thick and sticky substance with the same characteristics as that of tar. It is usually dark brown, but can also come in white and lighter shades of brown. Also referred to as salajeet, moomiyo, and mumijo, shilajit is usually found in the Himalayan Mountains, including Tibet Mountains and Caucasus Mountains.

It is said to contain a large number of minerals and nutrients which are essential for good overall health. It is also a good source of antioxidants and known as an aphrodisiac, a substance helpful in increasing men’s appetite for sex. In fact, it was named the “Indian viagra.”

History of Shilajit

Shilajeet was first used in Ayurveda, which is the traditional system of medication in India. According to the Charaka Samhita, an old Ayurvedic text, all curable diseases can be treated using Shilajit provided it is taken at the right time, proper dose, and in combination with appropriate substances.

Raw Unprocessed Shilajit

Holding a chunk of raw, unprocessed shilajit in my hand.

Shilajit comes in different color ranges, although normally, they come in brown to black. The color of shilajit depends on its content. According to Ayurvedic medicine, those that come in darker colors are the most effective. People also describe shilajit as “rock sweat” and sometimes “mineral oil” because it comes out from cracks in large rocks as a result of the heat of the sun. However, until today, there is no reliable evidence of the biological or even geological origin of shilajit.

Mythology of Shilajit

Shilajit had a role in the old Hindu literature. Before King Chandra Varma, the ruler of northern India, achieved stability and peace in his land, he had to spend many years of protecting and defending it. He was already in his 60’s when he finally had time to enjoy all the natural pleasures life has to offer, including youthfulness. He was deeply saddened by the fact that despite his power and wealth, he could no longer bring back what was long gone.

King Chandra Varma

This made King Chandra Varma go to Himalayan Mountains for penance. He solemnly prayed to the highest of all Hindu Gods and creator of Yoga, Lord Shiva. The god was pleased, and so he gave King Chandra Shilajit, which was said to have originated at that time from the body of the god himself. King Chandra Varma regained his youth after taking shilajit, and he was then believed to have had become an immortal. Emperors Xerxes and Darius of Persia, as well as Emperor Genghis Khan of Mongol, are believed to have used shilajit and even shared it with their troops during that time.

How is Shilajit Gathered?

Mumijo is often found in the mountains of the Himalayas – between cracks of large rocks. It occurs naturally after an organic matter dies and mixes with microbial metabolites and minerals from different sources (soil, water, etc.). After fermentation period, they naturally come out of the rocks due to the sun’s heat, and this is when they are harvested. They are manually scraped from the rocks and then processed to remove impurities. The outcome is a homogeneous paste-like material in dark brown to black in color. It appears glossy with a bitter taste and bitumen-like smell.

Nutrient and Mineral Components in Shilajit

Even before the early times, Shilajit is believed to have many uses particularly in the health and medicine field. It contains more or less 85 minerals and nutrients in ionic form, as well as selenium, fulvic and humic acid, and phospholipids. These compounds make a good source of antioxidant and energy-enhancing components.

There is about 60 to 80 percent of fulvic acid found in Shilajit, and according to studies, the higher the fulvic acid content, the better anti-aging properties are. Shilajit promotes healthy digestion, improves vitality, and detoxifies the body. It is also a known aphrodisiac.

Uses and Benefits of Shilajit

Shilajit promotes healthy metabolism because it contains 85 minerals and nutrients which help in proper digestion. Its minerals are not like of those found in health supplements because they are in ionic form. Minerals that are in an ionic form are easily and quickly absorbed by the cells of the body. This helps greatly in maintaining the catabolism, as well as anabolism process in a good equilibrium condition. It also detoxifies the body, flushing out the toxins within.

It is known even during the 21st century that fulvic acid from shilajit is a far more superior than any other sources available. A sufficient amount of fulvic acid found in Silajeet helps fight aging. Fulvic acid helps speed up the penetration of the cell walls, which is essential for the absorption of minerals. This is the most significant role of Shilajit, which reverses the process of aging.

Fulvic acid structure

Fulvic acid structure

 

Although proper diet and health supplements are very important for for anti-aging purposes, they lack the effect shilajit has because of the potency. Shilajit as an antioxidant helps neutralize free radicals in the body. Needless to say, these are harmful components, which have the ability to block nerves and arteries.

People who take shilajit do not only get healthier and younger-looking skin because fulvic acid works from within, but they also benefit from cells regeneration inside the body thus improving even the condition of the internal organs. Taking shilajit prevents kidney disorders, liver diseases, heart problems, and other health conditions. It also helps regulate menstrual cycle in women.

Shilajit is a powerful aphrodisiac for men. While most aphrodisiacs are not really effective and are just believed to be effective as in with “placebo effect,” Shilajit is proven effective by many of its users. While it is a potent sexual enhancer in men, it can also be an effective aphrodisiac in women by combining it to another substance called ashwagandha.

Shilajit is also known for its energy-enhancing properties. Free radicals that are properly neutralized helps unleash and at the same time, increase stamina and energy. Those who take it at proper dose may feel rejuvenated and energized.

Because Shilajit is said to have ushan virya, it could also work as pain-reliever and anti-inflammatory medicine. Because it is dry, hot, and light, it can suppress pain deriving from arthritis and rheumatism.

Other benefits of shilajit:

    • It helps prevent stress, anxiety, and depression.
    • It helps fight insomnia.
    • It improves the appearance of the skin.
    • It strengthens the immune system.
    • It improves lung functions.
    • It improves blood circulation
    • It reduces the risk of ulcers

 

Shilajit in Combination with Ashwagandha

Many people take shilajit together with a tonic herbal product, such as ashwagandha. Ashwagandha, also called withania somnifera, is a plant which works as an adaptogen. It possess almost the same properties as that of shilajit, including pain-relieving, anti-inflammatory, and antianxiety. When taken along with shilajit, the effect is astoundingly impressive.

Ashwaganda1

The ashwagandha dosage to be combined with shilajit varies widely depending on if you’re using a raw powdered form, an extract, or something else.

Shilajit helps to bring out the best in ashwagandha. As a result, the person becomes more focused and rejuvenated. It also increases his desire for sex, while in women, it can actually help regulate menstrual cycle and even improve fertility.

Availability of Shilajit

Shilajeet or moomiyo is available in many online stores as well as local pharmacies. They come in different forms, including capsules, liquid, and powder. Capsules at 500mg each are the most common form of shilajit offered online and in local stores. They are preferred by many people because they are easier to ingest and find. On the other hand, you can also find Shilajeet in its purified, raw form in online stores.

Shilajit Dosage

The proper shilajit dosage depends on several factors including age and health condition of the user, and brand and form of the shilajit. The amount may be 100 milligrams or 1 gram or more per dose, up to several times a day, depending on these factors. You can add it to a beverage, as what ancient people in Pakistan, Nepal and India used to do. They add it to raw or fermented milk.

How long should you be on it? The shilajit dosage duration is lifelong optimally. They say if you take shilajit every day for 12 years, it will add 12 additional years to your life.

The ideal shilajit dosage time is first thing in the morning along with the sunrise, though can also be taken at any other time in the day.

Who Can Use Shilajit?

Moomiyo or Shilajit is very safe to use when taken in at small doses at appropriate intervals. It may also be used at high doses if you want to improve immunity and vitality. However, there are no studies yet which proved that pregnant women and lactating mothers can use shilajit. Therefore, it is better to stay away from it if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Note also that it has warming properties which may double the effect if used with other warming products.

Shilajit Side Effects

To make sure you do not get side effects, following the directions printed on the label of the product is worth noting. In case you are going to use the purified shilajit resin, it is best to experiment the dosing very carefully first. You might want to begin with a small dose on your first try, then increase by a bit afterwards.

There is no better way to find out the appropriate dose of a substance but with doctor’s advice.So, if you are planning to take shilajit, always talk to your doctor or ayurvedic practitioner first.

Those who use shilajit often find no negative effects. However, those who have gout my want to stay away from it since it can make the uric acid level high. Furthermore, overdosing may occur if you take it with an iron supplement. Note that shilajit is rich in iron.

Though every one is different, shilajit allergies are probably not actually allergies to shilajit, but problems with inferior quality products that claim to be shilajit when they’re not or have harmful additives.

If you are using it together with ashwagandha, remember to discontinue right away if you are pregnant. Studies show that ashwagandha contains substances that may cause miscarriage in some cases.

Beware of Fake Shilajit

Shilajit is safe for everyone when used in proper dose. However, it can be dangerous if you use raw, as it still contains plenty of impurities which can negatively affect some individuals. You don’t necessarily need machine-processed shilajit, but manually by hand. On the other hand, it can also do more harm than good if you take fake mumio. They contain heavy metals and other substances which you don’t want in your body.

Dabur, a big company that distributes Shilajit, was found to be providing low quality shilajit. According to the World Health Organization, Dabur products contain dangerous levels of mercury, arsenic, and lead.

Some people who buy Shilajit think that what they are buying is good Shilajit. This may happen to you too if you don’t know how to tell real from fake. There is a substance that have the same physical properties as that of shilajit – and it is called ozokerite. It is another humic substance that looks exactly the same as shilajit. However, it has no medicinal benefits. To easily determine if the product is ozokerite, you may want to run a test. If it takes a while to melt, then it is possibly fake shilajit.

There are certain ways to tell whether a shilajit is a good buy or not. For dry shilajit, it must have 1.1 up to 1.8 gram/cubic meter density level. It has the properties similar to that of plastic, which hardens when exposed in temperature below 20 degrees Celsius and melts when heated. Shilajit, when mixed in water or any other liquid, melts very thoroughly and does not leave any trace or residue. It turns soft when played between the palm of the hands or fingers. And lastly, it takes forever to expire.

How to Recognize Quality Shilajit

If you have heard about the benefits of using shilajit, then perhaps you are thinking of trying it yourself. However, the problem these days is that it is not as easy to get as it was before. As a result, the chances of getting fake or counterfeited shilajit products are somewhat high. To prevent this from happening and to make sure that you are not risking your health, here are some things to put into account.

    1. As much as possible, go for solid shilajit. While not all shilajit in capsule form are fake, many of them are. This is because capsules are definitely the easiest type to fake. Manufacturers can simply start with a small portion of shilajit and then just add fillers that look the same as it.
    2. Get it from a trusted provider. Dozens of providers are available online, not to mention the choices you have at local stores. So, if you can find time to research and know where is best to get shilajit – do it. This may take some time, but you only have to do this once, especially if you are fortunate to find a reliable seller on your first try.
    3. Take note of shilajit’s properties. When you buy, remember to check the smell – it should be bitumen-like. It must also mix well with water leaving no trace or residue. It should melt quickly when applied even with just little heat.

 

Final Thoughts on Shilajit

Shilajit is considered safe in many countries including the United States. Using it appropriately gives you a good number of health benefits. Even stronger than health supplements, shilajit is a good source of minerals, antioxidant, and fulvic acid. It helps fight aging, detoxify the body, improve immunity, maintain healthy digestion, relieve stress, pain, and inflammation, and prevents many types of diseases.

 

How To Use Crystals To Manifest Health & Happiness

From MBG, by by Heather Askinosie

crystals

Healing crystals are having a moment. It seems like everyone — from Katy Perry to Miranda Kerr — has recently started dishing on their high-vibe collections. We reached out to a contributor who has years of experience working with feel-good stones to get her advice on how to harness some of their power.

Crystals are often referred to as “stone people” or “wisdom keepers,” because they hold thousands or even millions of years of the Earth’s history within them. Ancient civilizations have worked with the energy of the Earth since the beginning of time, finding guidance from that which lived under their feet.

Today, crystals are infused in beauty products, displayed in homes and yoga studios, and crafted into beautiful jewelry because of their healing energy. From dedicated yogis to those who have never meditated a day in their life, more and more people are crossing over to the crystal side.

I know that some people may think of crystals as being a bit woo-woo, but hear me out. As the co-founder of a healing crystal and jewelry shop, I’ve been studying and using crystals for 28 years and have had countless customers tell me how crystals completely shifted their energy. So before you rule out crystals as a way to heal the mind and body, be open to giving them a try yourself.

If you’re interested in welcoming some more spirituality and positive energy into your life, consider this your beginner’s guide to all things crystal:

Step 1: Pick the right crystal.

Sometimes you have to kiss a lot of frogs to find your Prince Charming, and the same is true for crystals. You may have the “this is it” feeling the minute you lay eyes on a certain crystal, or it may take you a bit longer to connect with one. Even if two crystals might look similar in color, shape, and size, it does not mean that they will have the same energetic effect on you.

Like people, each crystal is unique and has a different story to tell. Selenite brings mental clarity and dispels negative energy from the body, while citrine is perfect for manifesting intentions. Each stone has its own vibrational blueprint, so take the time to shop around for different types before you decide which one is perfect for you.

We always tell our customers to focus on a crystal’s color, shape, and size first rather than its healing properties. More often than not, the crystal they are drawn to visually possesses exactly the energy they need. If you’re able to shop in person rather than on the Internet, be sure to hold the crystal in your hands for a few moments so you can truly feel its energetic effect on you.

Step 2: Recharge its energy.

Once you’ve picked out your crystal, it’s important that you cleanse it to clear away all the energy of the many hands that touched it before you. I like to run a new crystal under clean water and then place it outside under the sun or moon for a few hours. Then, I’ll light some sage or loose frankincense on a charcoal and infuse the crystal in the sacred smoke. Lastly, to clear any lingering or stagnant energy in the crystal, I place it in a room with high-vibrational music playing. I find this simple four-step process of water, sun or moon energy, sacred smoke, and music cleanses the crystals on a multi-vibrational level.

Step 3: Set your intention.

This is the fun part — setting your intention in line with the energy of the crystal. The power in this simple ritual resides in you, not the crystal. It’s important to hold the crystal in your hands or to touch it if it’s a larger stone. Sit quietly and breathe. Connect to your breath, your faith, the Earth that you live on, and the stone that you are touching. For some this is a time for prayer; for others it’s one to clear the mind and simply be. State what you want to manifest in your life. You can say this silently to yourself, but I’ve found that speaking it aloud creates a more powerful energy.

The crystal energy of the Earth is a tool to help you become more centered, grounded, and balanced. When you manifest from this vibration, magical things happen.

Step 4: Work with the crystal daily.

There are dozens of ways you can use crystals, so use your intuition to tell you what works best for you. You can hold them in your hands while meditating, place them under your pillow at night for restful dreams, or put a stone on each of your chakras to become aligned and balanced. The list is endless so be creative, connect, and tap in.

5 Things the Year of the Monkey has in Store for YOU

From MBG, by ANN ABEL

 

In many meditation practices, “monkey mind”—that restlessness, scattered, can’t-shut-off-your-thoughts feeling—is something you strive to avoid.

So it could sound scary that when the Lunar New Year (or Chinese New Year—a day that in Asian cultures is more important than January 1 for letting go of the old and ushering in the new) begins on Monday, it will be the Year of the Monkey.

Birth year plays an important role in Chinese astrology, and each year (on a 12-year cycle) is associated with an animal sign. As with Western star signs, each animal sign is believed to have certain character traits. Monkeys—which include such luminaries as Leonardo da Vinci and Harry Houdini, and more recently anyone born in 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, or 2004—are said to be ambitious, persistent, confident, and quick-witted. Think of them as the erratic geniuses of the cycle.

But the ruling sign of the present moment—that would be Mr. Monkey—affects everyone. So, how is 2016 going to affect you?

Well, “we do a lot to cultivate a grounded element in our busy and sometimes frenetic lives. We meditate and find quiet times, but the Monkey—for all its good—can make that really difficult,” warns Noah Rubinstein, clinic director of the YinOva Center, acupuncturist, and former teacher of Chinese medicine.

Should you be buckling up for a turbulent year of high-energy multitasking and frenzy that takes you out of the stillness you’ve been striving for? Are you headed toward the Eastern equivalent of Mercury going retrograde? Rubinstein says no—as long as you don’t rest on your mindfulness laurels. As he puts it, “The adventures of the coming year should be tempered with steps to preserve balance.” Gotcha.

Here’s what Rubinstein says you can expect for the Year of the Monkey:

1. Accept that this year will be a bit unpredictable.
Here’s where Chinese medicine gets complicated: Each animal sign is associated with one of the Five Elements (Air, Fire, Water, Wood and Metal), and each year is governed by one of them—on a five-year rotation, meaning they don’t line up. The Monkey is associated with Metal, and this year will be a Fire year. “Fire puts Metal and its very identity to the test,” says Rubinstein. “And so it will be for us, as even the Monkey’s character will be challenged and on a bit of a rollercoaster.”

2. Let loose and get wild.
Make no mistake, this year is going to have a lot of highs, in part because Monkeys are serious party animals. “They play games, they’re curious, creative, and agile—they’re great multitaskers,” Rubinstein notes. If that doesn’t sound like you, for the next 12 months try shedding your Wednesday Addams persona. “A light heart is the name of the game, so make sure there is lots of laughter and heartfelt communication.”

3. But bring awareness to everything you do (yes, even partying).
Monkeys are also very symbolic of life’s duality, and the other side to them is that they can bring instability to work, home, relationships, health, even your bank account. That mindfulness you’ve been honing will be key. “We risk undermining ourselves if we spend too much energy swinging around from one thing to another,” Rubinstein says. So bring an awareness to what you’re doing—even if it’s downing tequila shots at your best friend’s bachelorette party. (Not that we ever…)

4. Move outside your comfort zone.
“This is going to be a year when we cultivate our ability to adapt to change without losing our heads,” says Rubinstein. Embrace unexpected challenges and be okay with those moments you’re pushed outside your comfort zone (rather than fighting it). After all, it’s what the Monkey does best: “They aren’t easily daunted—they love challenges like taking classes or learning new crafts.” Yoga teacher training, anyone? And yes, bumps along the way are to be expected; but this is the year that you can definitely roll with it. “Don’t be discouraged if this doesn’t work at first; there is always another approach,” he notes.

5. Keep that ego in check.
Rubinstein warns that there will be some “Monkey drama” in this fast-paced, sometimes random year. “Don’t let your ability to keep your head in the storm over-inflate your confidence,” he adds. Confidence is good… until it’s not. There’s a reason it’s called monkey business, after all. —Ann Abel