March 20th is a time to regain balance, focus and energy
Simply put,Equinox means ” equal ” days and nights.
Winter’s cold weather, chaos and challenges may throw our off our balance– we eat more and move less. Not to mention, the pure lack of vitamin D (sun exposure) drains our energy. Spring is a time to return to or create a more balanced life. The Spring Equinox also represents fertility and creation, a chance to review and renew every aspect of our life with a clear and balanced perspective.
The Vernal Equinox is the time when the Sun enters the first house of Aries and it marks the beginning of the new astrological year. The energy during this period is said to be dynamic. It is a time to complete tasks that require a little bit of courage and perhaps even execute those activities that have taken up a lot of mental space during the long, contemplative days of winter planning.
Tai Chi, the ancient Chinese Martial Art, combines deep breathing and relaxation techniques with slow and gentle movements while maintaining good postures. Recognized for centuries as an effective therapy for arthritis, we now know that it may also improve the range of motion for people with rheumatoid arthritis. Tai Chi Practitioners living with Rheumatoid Arthritis report higher levels of participation in and enjoyment of Tai Chi as exercise compared with those who participated in traditional exercise.
Rooted in Chinese Medicine, Chi, or Qi, is the life energy thought to sustain health and quiet the mind– so it is no coincidence that one of the most significant benefits of Tai Chi is stress reduction. It is amazing how peaceful we can feel when we can find some stillness in our thoughts!
And the list goes on! Tai Chi also is known to improve strength, flexibility, balance, and coordination. Classes are generally suited for most levels of practitioner. Even those with knee or hip injuries, are overweight, or starting a new workout regimen will find Tai Chi accessible. Seniors can especially benefit from Tai Chi. As we age, our lack of balance and coordination often become new challenges to live with– but thanks to Tai Chi, seniors are less likely to fall thanks to increased awareness as well as improved balance.
Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah), is a nutritional powerhouse with ancient origins. It was originally cultivated by the Incas more than 5,000 years ago; they referred to it as the “mother of all grains.” It contains all nine essential amino acids, making it a great source of protein for vegetarians. Quinoa is also high in magnesium, fiber, calcium, phosphorus, iron, copper, manganese, riboflavin and zinc.
While quinoa is widely considered a grain, it’s actually the seed of a plant called Chenopodium or Goosefoot, related to chard and spinach. Quinoa is a gluten-free grain and has a similar effect as other whole grains in helping to stabilize blood sugar.
It has a waxy protective coating called saponin which can leave a bitter taste. For best results, rinse quinoa before you cook it or even soak it for a few hours or overnight. When cooked, it has a fluffy, slightly crunchy texture. Try it in soups, salads, as a breakfast porridge or as its own side dish.
For quinoa, and whole grains in general, the majority of digestion occurs in the mouth through chewing and exposure to saliva. For optimal nutrition and assimilation, it is vital to chew your grains well and with awareness. A great meditation is to find a calm place, without distractions, to sit down for your meal. Make it a habit to chew each bite 20 times or more. See how this simple practice can help your digestion and overall focus for the rest of your day.
RECIPE OF THE MONTH:
1 Tbls Curry powder or combine turmeric, cumin, coriander, cinnamon or any other curry combination you like
1/2 teas oregano and basil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup quinoa rinsed
2 cups water or stock
*optional* add handful dried cranberries, nuts and seeds of your choice.
Coat pot with olive oil and sauté curry and herbs and salt. Stir for a couple of minutes. Add rinsed quinoa and 2 cups water. Boil and then turn down to simmer about 15-20 minutes. Fluff.