Kundalini Yoga Books

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If you are keen to learn more about Kundalini Yoga then here are some books which are great to learn more about the technology and science behind the practice.

Most of the Kundalini Yoga books available to buy are teacher manuals (kriyas and meditations) which are not great to learn more about the meaning and science behind the practice. Here are some of my favourite books to guide you on your journey:

Kundalini Yoga - The Flow of Eternal Power - a Simple Guide to the Yoga of Awareness as Taught by Yogi Bhajan by Shakti Pawha Kaur Khalsa.

This is a really simple guide to understand Kundalini Yoga on a deeper level. It also has a small selection of great kriyas (yoga sets), meditations, recipes, and lifestyle tools. https://www.fishpond.co.nz/Books/Kundalini-Yoga-Shakti-Pawha-Kaur-Khalsa/9780399524202

The Chakras by Yogi Bhajan

Defines the nature of the chakras, how they work, their interaction, projection, and potency with both humor and subtlety, and often, surprising candor. The chakras are the keys to being human and being happy.

The 21 Stages of Meditation by Gurucharan Khalsa

The 21 Stages of Meditation clarifies the process and outlines the steps toward your own progress in meditation. The 21 Stages of Meditation is a key work in deepening your understanding and experience of meditation. Ranging from Upset and Boredom to Humility, Graceful Enlightenment and the Sage, explore these stages and more.

I Am a Woman: Selections from the Women’s Teachings By Yogi Bhajan, Master of Kundalini Yoga 

It focuses on the identity of woman as Infinite, the reality of woman as a healer and a nurturer, and the life of a woman in relationship. Each part consists of a dozen or more edited lectures of Yogi Bhajan as well as stories, comments, and experiences from women who studied directly with Yogi Bhajan throughout the years. 

The Mind by Yogi Bhajan

For those who want to understand and use meditation to develop and transform themselves. It discusses the three basic minds; positive, negative and neutral. It links these to the inherited mind.

The Master’s Touch by Yogi Bhajan

A compilation of teachings by Yogi Bhajan given during Master's Touch courses in Espanola and Assisi, Italy. The 22 classes given in Espanola cover topics such as "What is Happiness", "Self Reverence", "The Teacher and Student", "Projecting as a Teacher", "The Art of Communication", "The Caliber of a Teacher".

The Teachings of Yogi Bhajan by Yogi Bhajan

Erin’s favourite quote book! This Is A Book Of Timeless Wisdom transmitted by one of the great teachers of the age.

If you are keen to learn even more in depth than these books then I would suggest you look into doing a teacher training course, as that will give you a lot more knowledge about the teachings of Kundalini Yoga (even if you do not want to be a Yoga teacher). The Level 1 Teacher Training programme is all about understanding the teachings and Level 2 is all about personal growth. You do not need to do Level 1 to do Level 2, as Level 2 is about understanding yourself and crystallising your own energy. You will learn more from these courses than reading a book as Yogi Bhajan would always say that knowledge only becomes wisdom when you experience it within yourself.

Kundalini Yoga Level 1

Kundalini Yoga Level 2: Authentic Relationships

Kundalini Yoga Level 2: Meditation and The Mind

Written by: Erin O’Hara

How to Build a Packageless Pantry

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As we ease into the warmer months, you may feel the need to strip back the layers a little. A little cleansing, clearing of the wardrobe and perhaps slightly less conventional, a clearing out of the pantry. The pantry is surprisingly a place of major clutter for many people, it’s amazing what can hide in there.

So, what does a packageless pantry mean?

It basically involves a removing of all the unnecessary packets of plastic, foil and wraps and replacing everything with a jar or sealed container. This means everything is more organized and remains fresh for much longer. A pantry doesn’t have to be hidden, once it’s beautified you could have it on display and bring some life and inspiration to your kitchen.

But where to start?

1. Simplify

This crucial step involves pulling everything out of the pantry. Then it’s time to sort into piles of what to keep, what to compost or what to give away.

2. Repurpose & Clean

Gather all your empty jars and containers - fill your sink with hot soapy water, soak and scrub them, then lay them out to dry fully (crucial!). If you’re short on jars, visit your local second-hand store or GoodFor store and get yourself equipped with a new set. Remember after a good scrub, any old jar will suffice!

3. Empty & Refill

Next, empty out all opened packets, bags or boxes of food and transfer them into your shiny clean jars. Get rid of anything past its use-by date and work towards buying only what you need or use and then buy in bulk.

4. Label

Once you’ve filled your jars, it’s time to label them. There are many ways to do this, a white chalk pen works well on glass, paper tape & a vivid, otherwise investing in a label maker could be a good idea.

5. Organise

Now it’s time to fill your pantry. Start by dividing it into sections. Keep spuds and onions on the lower shelves in cane baskets or boxes. Then find space for your spice jars; spreads; grains and legumes; then oils and vinegars. This is where your creativity comes into play.

Now it’s time to find your local store where you can take your jars, bottles and containers and refill without a hassle. GoodFor is the ultimate spot for this, “BYO packaging” is standard store etiquette, otherwise they provide paper bags which you can fill, then empty into your jars at home, too easy.

All Golden Yogi Members now get 10% off when you shop in the GoodFor Takapuna store. Simply present your valid Golden Yogi members card at checkout.

YOUR NEW LOCAL:

GoodFor wholefoods refillery

360 Lake Road, Takapuna

Opening Hours:

Weekdays 10am - 7pm

Weekends 10am - 6pm

www.goodfor.co.nz

0800GOODFOR

Restore Your Energy

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What is restorative yoga?
A slow, gentle and nurturing practice that facilitates exploration into breath awareness and mindful movement deep within the body. Through a sequence of slow, considered movements (sometimes using yoga props) and focused breathing, this practice helps to move stagnant energy in the body and release tension.

Restorative Yoga at home or the office

How: Invite yourself to lie with your legs up the wall, chair, bed or couch.

Why: As an energy pick up – a healthy alternative to a piece of chocolate or cup of coffee!

When: A good time to try this is after lunch or at the end of your working day to help transition into the afternoon or evening, or just before bed. Try this with young children about, even for a “mama restore minute” as this often helps to extend a sense of calmness to them too!

The result - a nourishing replenishment for our physical, energetic and emotional well-being.

From practicing this for just a few minutes a day, a deep sense of restfulness and a revived sense of calm will be rewarded. When you have established a daily routine of 1-3 minutes, work up to 10 minutes which can deeply renew our vital energy allowing us to be more effective through the day.

Legs up the wall works by allowing the diaphragm to relax, therefore breath and energy (Qi) can flow freely through the torso extending out to all the extremities. The stillness in movement helps to calm the central nervous system and move us to our parasympathetic nervous system. This also allows all the blood to return to the central core and nourish all the organs, helping to top up their vital Qi (energy).

By Ange Gervan, Golden Yogi Acupuncturist


How Traditional Chinese Medicine relates to Spring

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Spring! It is now the season of get up and go! A time of rousing after winter, a season of felt activity. It is the season to eat foods that grow above ground – foods with upward energies, like young sprouting greens and greens in general.

Most of us love this season, but for many, the changeable weather patterns can feel like a tease. Nature begins to blossom and hint at new possibility, yet we still need our jackets when we go outside. My daughter gets so excited seeing the new blossoms, for her she associates this with Summer and swimming at the beach – but honoring our bodies thermic nature as Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) promotes, its still a little cool for this!

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the philosophy and foundation for which acupuncture steams, there is a proverb chun wu qiu dong meaning, “layer up in the spring and stay cool in the autumn” as according to TCM, Spring is the season for new growth. In the body this is expressed as the Yang (“hot” energy) rising and gradually building. But just as a vegetable sprouts need the protection of a greenhouse in the early spring, the internal Yang of the body is still too weak to resist the coldness of the external environment. Layering up is necessary so the Yang energy can be nurtured toward the summer-time peak. So try and keep your scarf on for the next month so the Spring wind cannot enter the body – not protecting ourselves this way is often why so many catch a later winter virus at the start of Spring!

At the end of this month, I will offer a session called “Meridian Flow, Spring to Summer.” This session will offer the experience of Qi Gong movements to free course the bodies liver energy that has been contained over winter, some yoga poses to attention the meridians (energetic pathways in our bodies) which are most active in Spring and share some inspiration from a TCM perspective to harmonise our internal fire which becomes active in Summer.

Qi Gong literally means “life energy cultivation” or energy intention, the movements in Qi Gong reveal a gentle sense of your own internal energy pathways and are wonderful for calming the central nervous system. Such is suitable for anybody – the movements in Qi Gong are usually practiced standing, they are slow, gentle and intentional.

Spring is also great time for a seasonal wellness “tune in” acupuncture treatment. For appointments, please see bookings under Chinese Medicine or contact reception.

In wellness and joy!

Ange Gervan

Golden Yogi Acupuncturist


Spring Detox

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Detoxification has become a bit of a trend over the last decade. It is actually a necessity to keep the body maintained. The same as you take your car into the mechanic to get a service every 6 months or a every year; to keep the car running at it’s optimal level. The same is true with our body: if we cleanse the body every 6 months, we can keep the body at an optimal level with optimal health.

Spring into Spring with a detox to reboot your system, revitalise your body, and renew your energy. Reset your body with a 7 days Spring Detox to feel amazing for the Summer months ahead. 

Here are my Spring Detox Diet guidelines to cleanse the body....

  1. Focus on eating whole foods: vegetables, fruit, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes. Eat a variety of different fruits and vegetables everyday.

  2. Drink at least 8 cups of water daily: The body is made up of at least 60% water, which makes water the best detoxifying fluid. Always have a drink bottle with you to sip during day. Try to avoid drinking a lot with meals, as liquid will dilute your digestive power. If you struggle to drink water then you can jazz up your water with adding lemon, lime, orange, grapefruit, mint, or cucumber to add some flavour.

  3. Snacks: Some people need to eat constantly and others do not snack between meal times. Raw vegetables, green juice, and fresh fruits are the most ideal snacks as they are light and digest easily.

  4. Lunch and Dinners: focus on 1/4 plate Protein, 1/4 plate Complex Carbohydrate, 1/2 plate Vegetables / Large salad.

  5. Eat living foods that are raw and are packed full of enzymes. Raw foods are in there natural forms and have not been cooked, microwaved, frozen, or steamed.

Best Foods to support Detoxification:

  • Fresh Fruit

  • Fresh Vegetables and Greens

  • Fresh pressed Vegetable and Fruit juices

  • Nuts and seeds

  • Legumes (in moderation)

  • Fresh herbs and spices

  • Mineral Water

  • Herbal Teas (caffeine free)

Foods to Avoid during the 7 day Detox:

  • Meat, Fish, Poultry, and Eggs

  • Dairy products

  • Refined Sugar: Sweets, cakes, biscuits, chocolate

  • Breads, pasta, cereals, wheat products

  • Refined and Processed foods

  • Fatty and Fried Foods

  • Alcohol

  • Caffeine: Coffee, black tea, and energy drinks

Written by Naturopath Erin O'Hara 

Spring Equinox

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The Spring Equinox is one of the four most powerful days of the year. It is the half way point between the solstices. This is a turning point to shake off the winter cobwebs and reawaken to the sun energy as we head towards Summer.

Equinox literally means “equal night” in Latin and we use it to mark the change of seasons. This transition from shorter to longer days and more direct sunlight is an opportunity to synchronize your energy with the prana (life force) that is being released as we head towards summer.

For centuries, Spring has been observed as a time of creating rituals, rebirthing, or detoxification. It is a time of clearing out and resetting your energy for the lighter months ahead. As spring arrives we awaken from our winter hibernation to plant the seeds of intentions for the months to come.  Spring equinox is a powerful time to cleanse ourselves and spring forward into action with our intentions and new habits.

In nature, Spring is a time of change, which makes it an easier time to clear out old habits to help us to prepare for our new intentions moving forward. It is a great time for goal setting, manifestation and taking a quantum leap forwards in consciousness.

Leverage the magic of the Equinox and celebrate this shift of season by letting go of something that no longer serves you and beginning something new that nourishes you.

Written by Erin O'Hara

De-Digitalise & De-Stress

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Is your world starting to be ruled by technology and your devices? As technology develops there is an expectation to be living in the instant / insta world as we have emails, text messages, Instagram, Facebook messenger, Snapchat, …all these different applications to communicate with each other. Are all these Apps really necessary? Or is this having a negative effect as we are always contactable and needing to be “on”? 

From my experience, I never thought that I was becoming dependant, however on my last holiday I all of a sudden realised that my life was starting to be ruled by my phone and not on my own terms. On this holiday, I made the decision that I no longer needed all the Apps on my phone and that I needed to create some boundaries for myself. I decided to remove Facebook and email from my phone and through this process it has made me realise how much I would check my phone! I would be checking it as I walked to the studio, sitting at the traffic lights, and even as I watched a movie on a Saturday night I would glance over to check my emails!!

It has been liberating removing these Apps from my phone so I now have the power to decide when I will be checking and replying to my email and on my computer instead. This has given me a big sense of freedom, allowed me to be more productive with the way I work and freeing me up to make time for other projects. 

When we are always expected to be contactable and living in the insta world we don’t seem to have enough time to relax and switch off mentally. Instead of working a fixed amount of days and time in the week, we are all of sudden working 24/7 as people assume you would have checked the email or message and they expect a quick reply. This creates stress and anxiety as you feel the need to always be available.

We need to start to set some boundaries so the digital world does not take over our lives! Instead of living in the insta world, be in our world, on our own terms. Maybe this next month ahead it is time to consider how much you are tied to your devices and consider taking some steps forward to freedom by turning off the notifications, or removing Facebook from your phone, or maybe like me remove email from your phone. Consider de-digitalising your life to de-stress and give you more freedom.

Written by Erin O'Hara

Green Soup

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Ingredients:

3 carrots

3 medium-large potatoes

5-6 courgettes

2 heads of broccoli

4 cups vegetable or chicken stock

Salt & pepper

Method:

Saute all the vegetables in 2-3 tablespoons olive oil in a large pot. Cover with vegetable or chicken stock (tastes better if you use use home-made stock but bought is fine too).

Simmer until cooked and then puree the soup in a blender or food processor. Taste and season accordingly with salt and pepper.

Super easy and delicious and full of vitamins. Enjoy! 🍵

This recipe will make a decent size pot of soup to serve 4 people. For a small batch start with 1 carrot, 1 potato, 1 head of broccoli and 2-3 courgettes.

Winter Motivation & Inspiration

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Over the winter months our natural tendency is to slow down and hibernate from the cold. It is important to keep our bodies moving so we stay healthy. When we exercise and move our body it helps to boost circulation of blood and lymphatic flow through the body, and makes us feel happy.  

Your lymphatic system needs exercise to work. The lymphatic system is known as the guardian system to remove waste products from the body.  Unlike the circulatory system pumping the blood around the body, the lymphatic system has no pump so relies on us moving our body to stimulate this system.  Whenever we move our muscles we are helping the lymphatic system move lymph fluid through the body. To remain healthy it is important that the body is removing toxins and waste products efficiently from the body.

Exercise keeps us happy. It is hard to stay motivated to keep active over the cold winter months when the circulation is sluggish. When we feel sluggish we generally have lower motivation and do not feel like exercising.  Exercising regularly will benefit both our body and mind to keep you feeling great over the winter. The hardest part about exercising is having the motivation to get to a yoga class, the gym, or out for a walk in the cold. To keep motivated it is best to create an exercise routine for yourself.  Once we start and our blood flow starts circulating we generally feel great!

Write yourself a weekly exercise schedule. This will help you to stay on track. Try to aim to do something most days as little and often is a lot more achievable than doing big long sessions.  Set goals for the week and make them achievable for yourself so you can succeed with the plan. Aim for 20-30 minutes per day.

Yoga keeps you happy & healthy 😀Yoga is great to move your body but also stimulate the glandular system to keep you healthy.  The Nadi Energy channels are like an energy highway system through the body and these energy channels link to the glands. Yoga postures create angles and shapes to pressurise the Nadi channels and stimulate through the glands in the body. Healthy glands are important for your health, immunity and regulate your mood.

With less natural sun light there is a higher incidence of depression and low mood over the winter months. Yoga and meditation helps boost your mood so you can feel happy. The important glands for happiness are pituitary and pineal glands. These glands regulate our neurotransmitters to allow us to feel happy and balance our mood.

By Erin O'Hara

5 Tips to Boost your Immunity

The dreaded winter cold/flu that inevitably strikes when the seasons switch. Try these top 5 immunity tips to boost your health and dodge the bugs this winter.

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1.    Reduce your stress externally and emotionally. When we are feeling stressed our immune system is also compromised. Try to add in 5-10 minutes of daily breathing or meditation into your daily routine.

2.    Eat warming foods. Over the winter months we tend to want to eat more comfort foods. Instead of eating rich creamy foods switch to healthy nutritious vegetable soups and slow cooked foods. To build internal fire increase warming foods such as cloves, ginger, chilli, horseradish and pepper. Try to use fruit and vegetables that are seasonal and local so they are packed full of nutrients.

3.    Reduce sugar intake. The negative effects of sugar starts within 30 minutes and last for over 5 hours!! Sugar typically reduces the ability of the white blood cells to destroy and engulf bugs by about 50%. Try to have less than 50g of sugar per day (12.5 teaspoons). The more sugar you consume the greater the negative impact on the immune system.

4.    Take Vitamin C daily. Vitamin C is antiviral and antibacterial. It helps to enhance the response of white blood cells to fight infections and reduce the severity of a common cold. Take a maintenance dose over the winter of 1000mg per day and then when you are feeling like you are getting sick take small doses (250mg) every 2 hours. Increases interferon (chemical factor that fights viral infection and cancer). Vitamin C has a direct biochemical effect on white blood cells as interferon.

5.    Boost your immunity with herbal medicine

  • Echinacea root: Maintains upper respiratory tract health and supports the body's own natural immune system to bring effective relief from the symptoms of colds, flu and minor infection.
  • Astragalus: A traditional Chinese herb to enhance immune function and has a mild antiviral activity to help prevent colds.
  • Andrographis: Supports the body's immune system when dealing with cold symptoms.
  • Withania (Ashwaganda): Enhances immune function and is a natural antioxidant.
  • Goldenseal: It is anti-microbial, anti-biotic, anti-inflammatory and astringent. So it can help fight bacterial infections, and fungal disorders.

By Erin O'Hara