April & May 2020


east sierra

Hello to all-

The year 2020 is turning out to be a real eye opener. Our big world has suddenly become smaller.  When has the entire world experienced such a similar catastrophe at the same time?

I have been spending more time thinking and noticing what is all around me. I am taking the best parts of this moment in time and using it as a break from the hectic reality that was my life a brief time ago.

After experiencing panic and anxiety about the future, I have moved to my next phase of acceptance. This will be a summer completely different than what I had planned and looked forward to since last year. This is my favorite time of year and I will fit my joy of this season into my new reality. This may be the summer of going back in time. As kids, many of us went out to dinner about once a month. It was a treat that we remembered as special. We stayed closer to home and didn’t seem to need as much to entertain us. I always look at projects and unread books as a someday thing. That someday is NOW. I am determined not to waste this gift of what I call headspace. I bit of time to ponder and plan and take care of my surroundings and myself.

As I settle on the fact that we don’t know what the future holds, and by the way, never did. I will choose to enjoy the quiet, the light traffic, the clean air and the someday list. As my friend, Christina says, “we can always choose joy.


Are You Eating the Right Fats for Your Immune Health?

riverCatherine Shanahan, M.D. who is a former nutritionist for the L. A. Lakers, has written a book titled, The Fatburn Fix. Her book discusses how to boost energy, end hunger, and lose weight by using body fat for fuel. She states that only about 12 percent of us are metabolically healthy. Most importantly, especially now, is that our metabolism effects how well our immune system operates. Your metabolism determines if you are using your energy efficiently. Using body fat as energy is the most efficient and healthy way. The answer is in the type of fat we burn. Our society uses more and more seed oil. They have been processed in factories using chemicals to extract the oils. Canola oil, sunflower oil, corn oil, soy oil, safflower, cottonseed, grapeseed, and ricebran oil are the hateful eight according to Dr. Shanahan. Using these seed oils contribute to low cholesterol in a bad way. They actually make your prone to infection. The toxic chemicals used to extract the oil, goes into our bodies and distort our natural microbe flora. People under the age of 60 in Wuhan, China who were hospitalized with Covid-19, all had very low cholesterol levels. Seed oils make us prone to infection in serious ways. We end up with more of parthenogenic type bacteria instead of the good type. Our bacteria help fend off viruses. Cholesterol is a stabilizer molecule that helps every one of our cell membranes do its job.

Cholesterol is a building block for important hormones like cortisol, testosterone and estrogen. Our brains are full of cholesterol. Every single cell has cholesterol in it.

You can probably imagine that these seed oils are in a lot of processed foods that we all love. Having the information is the first step in any positive changes.  Take a look at the packaging on things you buy. Consider a healthy alternative that avoids these seed oils. We can at least reduce our use of these oils knowing how harmful they are for our bodies’ health.

Food for Your Eyes

By Sheryl Kraft

llamaI notice me eyesight is progressively less sharp. There are Yoga exercises for our eyes that we do often in class. They should be done every day. I know in addition to this muscle strengthening movement, food can play a big role in improving our eye health.

We have all heard how carrots are rich in beta carotene, which the body converts to vitamin A. This is essential to eye health. The National Eye Institute revealed a link between nutrition and age-related macular degeneration. Below are a few to make sure to have on your shopping list.

Vitamin C is an antioxidant that helps protect the body from free radicals (molecules that can damage and kill cells) and aids in the growth and repair of new tissue cells. Learn more about this is the book, Read It Before You Eat It, by nutritionist Bonnie Taub-Dix. Vitamin C helps in our fight against free radicals which are found in fried foods, tobacco smoke and the sun’s rays. Vitamin C can delay or prevent cataracts and glaucoma. We have some great sources of Vitamin C in citrus fruits like oranges, grapefruit, lemons and tangerines. Peaches, red bell peppers, tomatoes and strawberries are rich in vitamin C.

Vitamin E can help keep cells healthy and protect them from oxidative damage as mentioned above. Since our bodies don’t produce enough vitamin E, adding it to your diet is important. Avocados, nuts, seeds and healthy vegetable oils are some easy sources.

Vitamin A helps your retina absorb light and convert it into the images you see. It also contributes to keeping your eyes moist. Dry eyes and retinal changes make seeing at night difficult. Lack of vitamin A can also play a part in developing glaucoma. Foods with vitamin A are butternut squash, cantaloupe, beef liver, milk and eggs.

Zinc is considered a helper molecule since it transports vitamin A from the liver to the retinal to help it manufacture the protective lupinepigment melanin. Zinc helps promote retinal health and may protect eyes from the damaging effects of light. It is recommended to take a supplement that includes zinc instead of just zinc alone. Zinc is found in red meat, poultry, eggs, raw oysters, wheat germ, mixed nuts, black-eyed peas, beans and tofu. Also in some fortified cereals.

Lutein and Zeaxanthin are antioxidants that filter damaging wavelengths of blue light. They help protect and support healthy cells in the eye and may reduce the risk of chronic eye diseases. Look for green, leafy vegetables like kale, romaine lettuce, collards, turnip greens and spinach as well as broccoli, peas and eggs.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids are found in cold-water fish like tuna, salmon, mackerel, herring and sardines. Nuts, seeds, and plant oils like flaxseed. Some eggs, yogurt, juices, milk and soy beverages come fortified with omega-3s.



How the Body Finds Its Footing

stabilityWe have all had those days when we have tumbled out of Tree Pose or Warrior III. Even when we are wobbly, we are still balancing. Good equilibrium helps us with mundane tasks, like carrying sacks of groceries or reaching for an item on a tall shelf. As I mention in class, when we struggle to steady ourselves in a yoga pose, we actually train the parts of our bodies that help us stay upright ad grounded in a desired position. There are three main systems responsible for helping the body balance: Visual, vestibular and somatosensory.

Eyesight helps us orient ourselves. This is our visual system. This is why we use a single focal point when doing balance poses. Giving the brain a static reference point to make necessary adjustments. If you close your eyes, your vestibular and somatosensory systems will scramble to pick up the slack.

The vestibular system is a set of nerves in the inner ear that tell the brain where the head is, allowing us to adjust and stabilize our bodies. Fluid in the inner ear disrupts the hair cells that send signals to your central nervous system. Telling it what orientation to gravity your head is in-upright, sideways, upside down or anywhere in between.

Somatosensory are the physical feelings that spark perceptions of where we are in space so we can realign ourselves as needed. This system is in our parietal lobe which processes physical sensations, creating awareness through touch, pressure, temperature, movement and pain. Strengthening stability through yoga can be a key to accident prevention, integrating components of mindfulness, body awareness, self-acceptance and courage.

yin yang

It is not the strongest or the most intelligent that will survive but those who can best manage change.

 Charles Darwin