Category Archives: Health

10-Day Reboot: Amy’s Day 2

Amy Casual headshot

by Amy Chibib

Super Bowl Sunday! Lets the Re-Boot Begin!

blob-3This was my first official day to commit myself to the challenge. I started the day with the warm lemon water and Apple Cider Vinegar. It definitely helps get me going without the caffeine. I am enjoying the Dandy Blend which is the closest thing I have found to a coffee replacement! My go-to smoothie is what I started the day with and it keeps me going all morning – Blueberries, Kale/Spinach, coconut milk, almond butter & Vega protein powder.

blob-2I did feel a slight headache, but as I kept moving and went for a run around Town Lake, the sluggish feeling went away! I was re-energized after the run and was excited to experiment with some new appetizers I was preparing for the Super Bowl game.

 

 

blob-1My game time meal and appetizers included: Roasted Veggies – These were delicious and a perfect snack! I cut up cauliflower, broccoli, beets, mixed colored carrots, and kale then sprinkled with a little olive oil, salt/pepper, garlic & turmeric. I placed in the oven to roast. Super easy and even my teenage boys were enjoying it! Mushroom caps – stuffed with Italian turkey sausage and sauerkraut. These were simple and delicious baked in the oven – without breading or cheese they were still yummy and satisfying. Raw veggies and olives with Hummus was simple and easy. Last, I made a big pot of homemade tortilla soup – sautéed chicken with onions, garlic, peppers, Rotel, vegetable broth and seasoning. It was warm and tasty! All this made for a Re-boot friendly evening! The only temptation was the brownies a Mom brought over for the boys – difficult to pass on those! It was a fun evening and I was still able to get to bed by 10:30 without checking my emails or social media!

It is still early in the Re-boot so my primary goal is staying off caffeine and chocolate! And continue to add in the self-care with more Epsom salt baths. Also, practicing the habit of journaling – noting what works for my body.

Aspects of the Reboot I’m looking forward to enjoying the most: The awareness, acceptance, slowing down and paying attention. Making notes about how I am feeling and a journal of what I’ve eaten. Since October, I have been working to combat a recent discovery that I have Hashimotos (Autoimmune) thyroid condition that had been giving my digestion some serious issues leading up to the Holidays. It is getting better and better the cleaner I eat. I hope to use this journaling to continue to learn more about what effects my body so that I will have sustainable energy and overall health!

Something I’ve learned about myself: I am hard on myself – I tend to be quick to criticize myself for not doing better. So I am learning to be kinder and gentler to myself!

Most difficult part: will be to continue to stay off coffee in the morning!

Quality of Sleep: I typically don’t have issues falling asleep – it is feeling energized and rested when I awake that I am looking forward to being more consistent with the healthier habits I incorporate.

blob-5Energy & Mood: Sunday was honestly my first committed day! It was a fun and busy day which helped and I realize how much the exercise helps to relieve missing the caffeine.

Spiritual Practice: This is a space that I find throughout my day! I usually end my day with a quick read of something inspiring and before getting out of bed in the morning say a few words of gratitude and appreciation for the day ahead!

Why We Need to Take A Break

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Point to Ponder:
Do you give yourself the necessary breaks that you need?

iGnite Neissa

by Neissa Brown Springmann

“Sometimes a break from your routine is the very thing you need.” Is that the truth or what?! Being one week removed from iGnite’s Re-New Year Rise & Shine Retreat in San Diego, although I was technically working and the retreat was a whopping thirty minutes from my home, it hit the spot. Of course I love my family and my life, but I just needed to step away from my day to day responsibilities and immerse myself into a new scene. As always, I returned home more patient, grateful, loving and passionate. Not to sound cliche, but I was rejuvenated, had a renewed energy and sense of self.

What I find over and over again (yes–it’s the definition of insanity-ugh) is when I neglect my physical, mental and spiritual needs, I quickly reach my tipping point and I don’t like who I become. As I’ve mentioned in previous journals, I have a skin crawling experience and I get resentful and very unpleasant….and to be even more honest, I get mean. I become quick tempered, yell, have very little to no patience and am no fun to be around. Everything becomes a struggle and in all facets, not only am I not myself, but I am a fraction of my best.

Sure, I could blame my husband’s work schedule, as him being gone often and us living so far from family makes taking regular time for me more difficult to coordinate, however this is on me. I know this about myself. In order to get the necessary breaks that allow me to be my best, I must schedule time for me and do so without any guilt. This doesn’t have to be a four day retreat or anything expensive or elaborate–it just needs to be a few hours away from my children, my computer, my phone, my house and my regular commitments.

My good friend and iGnite member Catherine Sanderson recently sent me an excellent article written by holistic health coach, Ashley Berry titled “Why Self Care Isn’t Weak”.  In it, Ashley writes about her journey with healing her sick body, but she also speaks directly to our great need for holistic (mind, body, spirit) well being, including rest, rejuvenation and caring for our whole selves–something that I believe every woman needs encouragement and support to do and regularly practice.

Finally, I encourage you to read Ashley’s entire article, but for starters, below is an excerpt and great reminder of our female tendencies and how and why we need to shift. Also, because you have your calendar out and are scheduling time for you (wink wink hint hint) be sure to secure July 28 – August 2 for the iGnite Summer Escape, an exhilarating, exciting, and empowering girlfriend getaway and break from your summer and life routine. Location with all details coming soon!

If you look at the animal kingdom, you’ll see that all creatures from birds to mammals and even insects practice self-care instinctually. When they’re sick, they eat plants that heal them. When they’re tired or injured, they rest. If they’re social animals, they seek connection when they need it. But somewhere along the way in our evolution as a species, we learned how to override the needs of our bodies and minds, and eventually even built a culture around doing just that. Almost everywhere we turn, there’s some sort of messaging that encourages us to push ourselves to our limits, to hustle, to grind, to work hard, and to play even harder. But where does rest factor into this equation? At what point did self-care get deemed self-indulgent?

Most of us know that our greatest wealth is health. There’s no amount of money that can buy happiness if we’re suffering mentally or physically, and yet, social pressures, both implicit and explicit, make it incredibly challenging to make choices that support our well being. We forgo using our sick days. We pull the long hours, fueled by sugar and coffee. We sweep our mounting stress levels under the rug with alcohol or food.

We use busyness to avoid being present with ourselves because if we stopped and stood still, we might feel the full weight of the overwhelm we’ve created in our own lives.

So the question is, how do we shift? How do we grab the reins and steer our culture to a place that is more supportive of our most basic needs?

By honing in on one person, one choice, one small, revolutionary act at a time. We all have the opportunity to look at our own lives and get honest about the ways in which we are not caring for ourselves. We can start conversations that promote awareness of the importance of both mental and physical health. We can model unapologetic self-care, and in doing so, give permission to those around us to do the same.


Action Item:
Pause and identify where you are not caring of yourself and then start making plans and schedule important time for you.


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10-Day Reboot: Neissa’s Day 1

Neissa Brown Springmann

by Neissa

 

I love starting my day with hot lemon water in an inspiring coffee cup. img_2649-1About a year ago I began adding a dash of Cayenne pepper for extra cleansing.

Breakfast:  Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Rolled Oats with organic blueberries.  I also made an img_2650an over easy egg for extra protein and fat.


Snack:
Yogurt Parfait includes plain coconut yogurt, dry gluten free rolled oats and blueberries. For a very hearty lunch, I will also make myself a yogurt/smoothie bowl and include a half cup of a high protein fruit smoothie with a half img_2653-1cup of coconut yogurt, raspberries and a gluten free rolled oats.

img_2655-1Hydration: Alkaline Water – I recently learned about the benefits of Alkaline Water so I try to drink this giant bottle as often as possible. Personally, I think what’s most important is to stay hydrated, alkaline water or not.

Time outdoors: With my sister, niece and nephew in town, going to the beach is a must. Therefore, we were able to spend several hours at the beach and enjoyed the fresh air, ocean breeze and sunshine!

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Aspects of the Reboot I’ve found the most difficult: With every Re-boot that I’ve participated in, the difficulty aspects vary, as they are based upon what’s currently going on in our life. What I haven’t been able to figure out in a while are Epsom salt baths, which I love!!! Sadly, they aren’t on my radar and I inevitably always forget about them. I also struggle with eliminating caffeine. To be honest, my goal is to reduce the amount I drink. The other aspect that I have recently found difficult is technology turnoff. I have gotten in the habit of reading the news on my phone before going to bed. I am so tired at night that it doesn’t seem to keep me awake, however I know that in order to get sound sleep, I need to put-the-phone-down!

Re-boot components I am enjoyed the most:  Surprisingly, I now love body brushing! I do it while I am in my shower (so wet body brushing) and it feels so good to my skin—like an exfoliant! I enjoy focusing on getting good sleep, being intentional with what and how I eat as well as adequate hydration.

Tips & tricks that have helped me: Having large bottles of water or water bottles filled, as well as keeping the cranberry cocktail made at all times.

The most difficult part: My sister and her children are visiting from Cedar Park, TX, so starting the Re-boot has been a bit tricky. I have learned to do my best and when I “mess up,” I don’t beat myself up over it and just continue on. One such example was the stop at In & Out Burger. While everyone else had a hamburger, I had a lettuce wrap burger with no cheese. It was delish!

The parts that I have incorporated into my life: Body brushing, eliminating corn, dairy and gluten, high protein/low carbs, probiotics, lemon water, wheat grass supplements, and adequate hydration.

New findings: I just can’t squeeze an Epsom salt bath in at the last minute. I have to plan ahead and get my kids fed and bathed so as soon as my husband gets home I can hand the kiddos off to him and begin my soaking.

The intention I am focusing on this Re-boot: Hydration

Quality of sleep: Very good

Energy level and mood during the day: So far so good!

Spiritual aspect I’ve enjoyed: I really enjoy slowing down, being more intentional and bullet journaling.

 

Four Yogic Tips to Make Your New Year’s Resolutions Stick

jan8_2017

Point to Ponder:
Do you have a plan to make your New Year goals and resolutions stick?

Amy Younkman

by Amy Younkman

While the fresh start of the new year is always exciting, the pressure of being better than last year, setting new goals and resolutions can sometimes feel overwhelming, especially when there is are infinite articles telling us “how to make it our best year, yet”. As a result, I have come up with my own four ‘yogic tips that help my New Years resolutions stick:

1. Satsaunga- Yoga tradition recommends satsaunga, or ‘keeping good company’.  Many of our habits are the indirect result of our social network.  Perhaps the most powerful thing we can do to change our habits are to hang out with people who have good habits and also encourage good habits in others. THIS is the biggest reason why I have chosen to be part of the iGnite team and lead iGnite Yoga and Pilates for the past eight years!

2. Create Good Habits– Rather than worry about your bad habits, pay attention to cultivating what is good for you, such as:

  • Exercise– Do something you really enjoy and feel better after doing it.
  • Be in Nature– The best medicine EVER!
  • Hydrate– Carry your iGnite water bottle with you everywhere you go and finish it as often as possible. Drink a large glass of water before each meal.
  • Eat Like a Real Person– It’s much better to eat three hearty and healthy meals each day than to be plagued by a late night snack attacks that pack on the pounds, or grazing throughout the day and never knowing what you really ate!
  • Put Your Legs up the Wall– Or find another restorative yoga pose that helps elicit the relaxation response.  Your body will say “why don’t we do this more often?!?!”
  • Go to Bed by 10:00 p.m.- Chinese medicine folks say that every hour of sleep before midnight is equal to two hours.  It’s really hard to stick to good habits when you are exhausted and worn out!

3. Visualize It, Believe It!- If you are plagued by a negative thought, cultivate the opposite.  Instead of thinking “Things are not going the way I would like; I’m not getting enough done,” say with conviction “Things are unfolding exactly as they should.” Instead of thinking “I feel out of control”, tell yourself “The universe supports me.” (and believe it!)  Dream boards are a powerful way to bring exactly what you want into your life.  Every year I design a bulletin board with the people/places I want to bring into my life, and they magically imbed into my heart and life.

4. Make Room for Silence–  If a regular meditation practice seems daunting, try just a few minutes twice a day, preferably upon waking and before going to bed.  It can be your prayer time, or your time to connect to your breath.  Clear the mind and put things into perspective before going through your “to-do” or “didn’t-get-done” list.

Good luck and be on the look out for the iGnite Body Re-Boot and some great yoga workshops in Austin to help support your efforts.  There’s still time to sign up for the iGnite Renewal Retreat in San Diego at the end of this month!

Wishing you a blessed new year!


Action Item:
To get the most out of your New Year’s resolutions, keep good company, create good habits, visual and believe what you want and make room for silence.


Stress Relieving Breathing Techniques

With all of the holiday hustle and bustle, sometimes we forget to do something really important – breathe! iGnite Leader, Paula Harnish shows us how to to relieve stress through a simple seated breathing pattern.  Keep yourself centered this holiday season by taking just a few minutes each day to do this exercise.


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Class Highlight: Yoga Chill

yoga-chill

Yoga Chill

paula-h

Leader Paula Harnish

Set to soothing music, this meditative class moves slowly with the breath to create a greater range of motion for the body, while calming the mind and releasing any stress that may have been built up throughout the day or week. You’ll step into your evening with less tension, more ease and a joyful spirit.

The one-hour Yoga Chill class will give you time to slow down into stillness. It starts off with gentle, nurturing stretches using the breath to guide the way. The class explores movements that can help with joint pain and aliments in the body, using physical therapy movements. img_1832You will also release tension in tight, sore muscles and fascia by utilizing the foam rollers, straps and yoga tune-up method. Enjoying the benefits of deep tissue massaging while listening to gentle meditative music will help to calm the busy mind. Yoga Chill is sure to leave you feeling rejuvenated and relaxed as well as improving sleep, digestion, and energy levels.

View Class Schedule


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Why Gratitude is the Best (and Only) Option

nov13_2016

Point to Ponder:
Who or what are you grateful for?

iGnite Neissa

by Neissa Brown Springmann

This summer, during our Banff, Canada iGnite Escape, each evening we found ourselves relaxing in the outdoor hot tub that overlooked the mountains while playing a get-to-know-you card game. One card with a random question would be chosen and each of us would have an opportunity to answer it. The questions were innocent, fun, thought-provoking and a great way to learn more about one another. A few examples of the questions were: “if you got a tattoo, what would you get and why?; if you could choose to be a different ethnicity, what would it be and why; and when feeling down or depressed, what do you do to boost your spirit? My answers were I’d get a cross tattoo, I’d be Brazilian, and when I feel down, I write gratitude notes.

Keeping a gratitude journal or writing gratitude notes are two of the greatest antidotes to the blues. Personally, they pull me outside of myself and allow me to shift my focus to a person or persons who I am thankful for as well as for the blessings in my life. And, while life stressors are intense and heavy, what we focus on is what shows up, so to me, focusing on who and what we are thankful for is the only viable option. Or, if you need more proof to the power of gratitude, check out the scientifically proven benefits of gratitude from a 2015 article from Psychology Today.

  1. Gratitude opens the door to more relationships. Not only does saying “thank you” constitute good manners, but showing appreciation can help you win new friends, according to a 2014 study published in Emotion. The study found that thanking a new acquaintance makes them more likely to seek an ongoing relationship. So whether you thank a stranger for holding the door or send a thank-you note to that colleague who helped you with a project, acknowledging other people’s contributions can lead to new opportunities.
  2. Gratitude improves physical health. Grateful people experience fewer aches and pains and report feeling healthier than other people, according to a 2012 study published in Personality and Individual Differences. Not surprisingly, grateful people are also more likely to take care of their health. They exercise more often and are more likely to attend regular check-ups, which is likely to contribute to further longevity.
  3. Gratitude improves psychological health. Gratitude reduces a multitude of toxic emotions, from envy and resentment to frustration and regret. Robert Emmons, a leading gratitude researcher, has conducted multiple studies on the link between gratitude and well-being. His research confirms that gratitude effectively increases happiness and reduces depression.
  4. Gratitude enhances empathy and reduces aggression. Grateful people are more likely to behave in a prosocial manner, even when others behave less kindly, according to a 2012 study by the University of Kentucky. Study participants who ranked higher on gratitude scales were less likely to retaliate against others, even when given negative feedback. They experienced more sensitivity and empathy toward other people and a decreased desire to seek revenge.
  5. Grateful people sleep better. Writing in a gratitude journal improves sleep, according to a 2011 study published in Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being. Spend just 15 minutes jotting down a few grateful sentiments before bed, and you may sleep better and longer.
  6. Gratitude improves self-esteem. A 2014 study published in the Journal of Applied Sport Psychology found that gratitude increased athletes’ self-esteem, an essential component to optimal performance. Other studies have shown that gratitude reduces social comparisons. Rather than becoming resentful toward people who have more money or better jobs—a major factor in reduced self-esteem—grateful people are able to appreciate other people’s accomplishments.
  7. Gratitude increases mental strength. For years, research has shown gratitude not only reduces stress, but it may also play a major role in overcoming trauma. A 2006 study published in Behavior Research and Therapy found that Vietnam War veterans with higher levels of gratitude experienced lower rates of post-traumatic stress disorder. A 2003 study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that gratitude was a major contributor to resilience following the terrorist attacks on September 11. Recognizing all that you have to be thankful for —even during the worst times—fosters resilience.

iGnite believes in gratitude- living in and with it as well as expressing it. As a result, over the past four years and during the week before Thanksgiving, in all of our classes we have provided gratitude note cards for our members to write to anyone they want. As a result of our feel-good gratitude initiative, iGnite has mailed over 1200 gratitude notes that are delivered during the week of Thanksgiving, and after this week, we hope to make that number at least 1500.

Throughout this week, you will be given the opportunity to write a gratitude note or notes to anyone you’d like. All you need to do is have their addresses and we will make sure they have postage and are mailed by next Monday and received the week of Thanksgiving. If you can’t make it to class, I invite you to join our important and impactful gratitude initiative. Not only will your effort and words lift you up, but they will for sure lift up the receiver, and therefore the butterfly effect, the concept that small causes can have large effects, begins.


Action Item:
Use this week, the week before Thanksgiving, to write gratitude notes to those who you are grateful for.


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