Review Category : Contributors

What is a holistic vet?

By Tracie Korol

When I came to the Lowcountry seven years ago, the word “organic” had not yet arrived. It is fairly common now though used in a fairly cavalier manner as is “natural” (a word that means nothing) and now, “holistic”, a word that has been adopted to placate a growing demand for “wellness”, and you know how I feel about that word. So, what does holistic mean now that we see it attached to local veterinary practices?  What should it mean?

Traditional veterinary practice (conventional) is much like what Western medicine is for humans. The focus is aimed at determining what the problem is and then trying to solve it. It is based primarily in pharmacological medicine. A traditional veterinarian may very well have your pet’s best interest at heart, but he or she is sometimes at a loss as to how best solve a chronic or undetermined condition. Western veterinary medicine offers all the diagnostic doo-dads — ultrasound, X-ray, MRI, chemotherapy, blood transfusions, all the way up to organ transplants and, as many of us know, tend to run up the bill. They will vaccinate pets every year and sell you all kinds of pesticides to put in or on your animal.

Holistic veterinarians practice a more Eastern thought in that the body is treated as an individual, and as a whole. While two different patients may present similar symptoms, their respective treatments may be quite dissimilar. In addition, holistic veterinarian practice is centered on keeping the pet healthy overall to prevent issues from starting. When a chronic issue surfaces, holistic veterinarians are likely to look first to whole food diets, herbal supplements,  nutraceuticals and complementary and alternative therapies such as chiropractic, homeopathy, acupuncture, essential oils and energy healing (Reiki).  They do not over-vaccinate nor do they recommend poisons oral or topical.

Diseases are seen as a natural course of life and not necessarily something to ‘solve.’ Moreover, health and disease are viewed as a natural rhythm of life and fully inter-related. Holistic medicine is about finding the root cause of a problem and treating from there, not simply treating the symptom. Often, it’s not the “quick fix” Americans have come to expect. For instance, steroids will stop your dog from itching in a few hours but why is your dog itching in the first place? For sure, you’ll be back in three weeks for another shot when Doodle begins to dig at her belly. A holistic vet works with the animals than rather than do battle against their disease symptoms. He’ll ask about food, lifestyle, reaction to stimuli (heat and cold, sound, dampness, etc.). He’ll ask about your dog’s spirit.

An integrative approach is one that combines conventional practice with holistic practice. These vets have a firm ground in traditional medicine, but recognize that holistic medicine is a valuable addition and, in some cases, be the best course of action. This type of veterinarian realizes that conventional and holistic medicine can complement one another. This is the kind of doc I look for.

I worked with and trained under many fine (and now famous) integrative vets in New England and was disheartened to learn that like “organic”, holistic hadn’t yet made it to this area. However, I recently found Charlie Timmerman, DVM, member of the AHVMA (American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association) at the Aiken Veterinary Clinic.

Seven of my dog friends are now friends of Dr. Charlie. Four of those friends were sent home to die, one had chronic itches, one has heart disease and one a rare auto-immune disorder. The dogs sent home to die from various cancers have all had a drastic reduction in tumor size, they’re healthier than they have ever been (most likely), some have had ancillary ailments vanish along the way and all are doing well.  My itchy friend is in a one-year program to forever eradicate the cause of her “allergy”, a process that involves homeopathy, auto-sanguis treatment and a recently added clinical trial. None of the treatments involve synthetic pharmaceuticals and all included a drastic change of diet — healthy fresh foods and raw proteins. The owners of the death sentence dogs are delighted they have a few more years with their Best Friends. And, it’s all pretty easy and infinitely cheaper.  It takes a little more time, but I’m willing to give time to the creatures I love.

As for Dr. Charlie, he’s in the office Mondays and Thursdays.

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Is someone poking your Zen Bubble?

By Martha O’Regan

Is someone poking your Zen bubble? If so, give yourself permission to simply declare that your “Zen Bubble” is yours and others are not allowed to poke on it, squeeze it, stomp on it or push it into a corner — it is yours to protect at all costs. Inside that “Zen Bubble” is the home to your mind, body and spirit that are designed to work together harmoniously, as long as there are no interferences from within or “out with”

Martha O'Regan of TheraVista.

Martha O’Regan of TheraVista.

negative influences.

Our “Zen Bubble” is the energy field or aura that surrounds each one of us, both individually and collectively, when connected as a family, a team, a class, or as united spectators at a concert or sporting event. It tends to extend farther in front and above us and is always changing based on our personal thoughts and emotions as well as those around us. It can’t be seen by most, but it is measurable and able to be photographed with special Kirlian photography. Our physical health and well being is often a reflection of what is happening in the field around us. When we are surrounded with love and support, our field can be intertwined with the cohesive positive energy of love and we feel good. Conversely, when in the presence of discontent and upset, the field gets compressed, giving us feelings of anxiety, agitation, tension or “nervous stomach.”

The auric field is highly sensitive to its surroundings. For example, have you ever been at a function where a stranger enters and, for no obvious reason, you are instantly drawn to that person? They have an attractable energy field that connects to yours and pulls you in. The opposite can be true when you enter a space where an argument has just occurred or, for no apparent reason, you just get the weebie jeebies. Your field is immediately squeezed and may be repelling you from the perceived “danger” it senses.  Or, maybe you are walking in the woods and instinctively put your hand up to push a way a branch that you sensed before you saw.  Or, you have the music cranked up while busy on a project but able to sense that someone walked in a room even though you didn’t hear them.

A great way we like demonstrate someone’s energy field is to use a pair of wire coat hangers like a dowsing rod — really, it works. We have the person just stand there being themselves, then think of something that is frustrating and then about something that brings about joy. The field changes instantaneously, compressing for negative patterns and expanding for positive ones. We then have that person think of a goal they are working on and find the distance of the field. Two groups are then asked to take turns standing behind that person, one group simply thinking “I support you” without even knowing the person or the goal and the other group thinking about something that frustrated them that day. The edges of the field will exponentially expand or contract depending on positive or negative support demonstrating the effects of others fields in the presence of our own. They can either squeeze our dreams or help us fly, depending on their field in that moment.

We all have the capacity to alter any given moment for ourselves and others depending on the field of thoughts and emotions that we carry within and around our own personal Zen Bubble. Use it to check in and feel what you feel. Do you feel open or tight around the heart/chest area? Are you able to speak with ease or do you suddenly get a “frog” in your throat? These are our built-in indicators of whether we are surviving or thriving in that moment.

So, next time someone is poking your Zen Bubble, simply breathe deeply and expand your bubble with a positive thought or by thinking the word “love.”  You don’t have to send the person love, you are simply expanding your field in an effort to have the other person move on or help shift their energy. Give it a try.

Live Awake … Have Fun!

Martha O’Regan is Your B.E.S.T. Life Coach offering a unique approach to assisting you in creating the life you choose. Call her at 843-812-1328 or email theravista@gmail.com.

 
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The intersection of What the Heck and Why Not

By Cherimie Crane Weatherford

There is a certain purity in the dark throes of exhaustion, a time in which there is no desire for pleasantries, pretension fades into perspective and instinct prevails. A gentle nudge from the edge of reason and a slight thump from the hand of humanity is all that threads the final cloth of the quilt of life. Day turns to night and night turns to day with no discrimination or differentiation. We are able to compartmentalize, categorize and rationalize events by intensity of action. That which requires little energy becomes sanctuary from that which requires thought. The intersection of What the Heck and Why Not is poetically named parenthood.

Having now traveled along the parenthood path for the entirety of eight full months, I am an obvious expert in everything I don’t know, should have known, should have done and certainly shouldn’t have said. It is a badge of courage I wear proudly, when I don’t forget it in her diaper bag. The adorable books coated in fairy tales and free advice that lined her nursery shelves are now her basic chew toys and weapons to wield upon my once spoiled dog. The closet of once pristinely precious clothes are now characterized by the degree of stain, since baby food takes no prisoners. The crib that I wistfully watched for three months is now seen by its tiny occupant as a mortal enemy of which to avoid at all costs. Those sweet lace-trimmed headbands and bows are but a tool of distraction while attempting to put a diaper on a little lady who prefers au natural over a covered derriere. Sweet, soothing lullabies have given way to creative ad libs that will never earn me Mom of the Year. This new job requires an all new skill set that changes the moment any mastery occurs.

Having always been somewhat of a quick study, parenthood baffles me into an oblivion. Ingrained in my very being is the belief that nothing is impossible, yet opening a tiny container of sweet potato puree while holding the future kickboxing queen of the world is, for all practical purposes, impossible.

Finding common ground with any adversary has been relatively easy for me. However, finding common ground with a tea cup version of myself over the necessity of sleep has proven to be a battle I shall wage with little hope of victory and no hope of surrender. Proudly, I implemented every Googled remedy of proper parenting only to end the day violating every recommended procedure given. Clearly, parenting is subjective.

Silence was once my solace, now it is my cue to rush to see what calamity has ensued. My life once had a clear rhythm, a simplicity of being and moments of rest. The only rhythm that remains now is the cadence of my feet back and forth to the changing station. It is a glorious whirlwind of pride and fear doused in the storms of self-doubt. It is a true test of character, a trial of triumph and a tale of a Mom in the making. There shall be epic battles, moments of valor and twists and turns that will pale even the greatest of novels — and that is just during the fastening of the car seat.

I have met my match, my most worthy of opponents, my greatest challenge of all and she has familiar eyes, a formidable determination and a flair for the dramatic. She has turned my world upside down, my days inside out and my home into a domicile of bibs and blankies. I will never be the person I was before, and for that I am immensely thankful, eternally exhausted and fully accepting of the complexity of sweet potato puree.

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The most horrible day of the year, for dogs

By Tracie Korol

For many dogs, the first “Wheee!” of a rocket they hear sends them under the bed, quivering from nose to tail. A few dogs, the hunters and police dogs, have nerves of steel and don’t mind fireworks, but most turn into panting, trembling wrecks at the first loud bang. A dog’s hearing is 10 times more sensitive than a human’s, so logically fireworks cause pain. The anxiety and stress are bonus miseries.

If you’re thinking of taking your dog to watch the fireworks with you — think again! You and your dog will have much more enjoyable evenings if you leave. the. dog. at. home. Aside from the danger associated with your dog being in the wrong place at the wrong time (dogs and fire simply don’t mix), the mass hysteria, alcohol-increased speech volume, loud noises and repeated flashes of light are likely to have a traumatic effect on your Best Friend. He is not going to have a fun time trapped in a hot car, either (and remember, that’s against the law, anyway). Leave him at home.

Best to leave him indoors where he is likely to do the least amount of harm to himself or your home, preferably a crate if he’s already used to being in a crate.  A crate draped with a sound-absorbing comforter would be especially considerate. The evening of the Fourth of July is not the time to introduce crate training, however. Imagine yourself being jammed in a stuffy confined box for the first time, AND THEN the aliens begin attacking the house. Not fun.

Flashing lights can scare your dog just as much as the loud noises. Close the curtains and blinds inside your home and turn ON all the lights in the room. This will make the bright lights from fireworks less noticeable to your dog. There’s also some small degree of soundproofing afforded by closed drapes, lowering the high-pitched sounds a tiny bit.

New research posits that standard allopathic medicines prescribed for noise phobia can actually worsen fears because while they may immobilize the dog, they do not relieve anxiety.  They can “scramble” a dog’s perception. The dog can be fully aware of the frightening stimulus (e.g. fireworks sounds) but be physically unable to move. Sounds cruel to me. Additionally, his senses may be heightened or confused by medication, upping his fear level and ultimately worsening his phobia. Studies show that sound sensitivity can broaden so poor pet can develop anxiety reactions to thunder, airplanes, truck engines or even the sound of a metal pan hitting the floor.

However, there are several natural remedies that will safely and effectively offset noise phobias and hands-on techniques to reduce stress. A ThunderShirt is a great purchase for your anxious pet, useful in all anxiety-producing situations — storms, hunting season, grabby toddlers and loud-mouthed relatives.

Theoretically, a rousing game of fetch or a very long walk earlier in the day may tire your dog so he may be less likely to over-exert himself later if/when he becomes stressed from the sound of fireworks.  I’ve found, though, that fear trumps fatigue most of the time. You can give it a try; it might work.

And most importantly, in this county with its high numbers of euthanizations, be sure your dog has over-adequate identification before the Fourth rolls around.  Shelters nationwide always have an increase in lost dogs on the Fourth — dogs have been known to dig under fences, climb over fences, break through glass windows and doors, to bolt free. If he manages to escape his confinement, the worst thing would be, well, you know what the worst thing would be.

If you look at this holiday as your dog does, then you’ll do the right thing.

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Ladies, take the time to pamper yourself

By Takiya Smith

When was the last time you sincerely took a minute to appreciate yourself? Yesterday, last week, last month, or in my case, not even the past few months? How is it that a beauty consultant who works day in and day out assisting in all things beautiful for others find herself complacently lacking for herself? Well, as I sink my sore body deeper into my quiet piece of heaven in a comfy, cozy spa massage chair and watch my technician paint my toes, I’ll tell you: The bottom line is that I stopped taking time to pamper myself. I stopped taking time to indulge with every attention, comfort and kindness towards myself. To be totally honest, I have not seen my personal stylist since last October. I haven’t had a manicure since the beginning of the year and as for a pedicure, well, let’s just say that today marks the end of that shame.

In short, a combination of factors including lack of time, finances, family priorities and life in general can all determine a woman’s need and desire to appreciate herself. To recognize one’s full worth requires far more measure than one can comprehend, yet it’s truly a matter of searching it out.

Amidst my putting self-indulgent activities on the back burner, I realize that I have also filed any sort of social life far, far away. Work, church, kids and kids, church, work — in any given order that has become the extent of my walk on the wild side. No dinner parties. No girls nights out. Heck, no “boys” nights out either.

Business has been great and business has been time consuming, however this girl has decided that it’s time to get back to appreciating myself and enjoying what I’ve worked so hard for. This Saturday, June 21 from 6-9 p.m. I will be hosting a social event for any woman who wants to appreciate herself. “Pamper Yourself Ladies Night,” in conjunction with Rachele Doiron of the Beaufort Vendor Blender, will be hosted at my salon, The Brow Company Beauty Bar & Makeup Studio, located at 1115 Boundary Street. Join us for food, music, spa specials, massage, spray tanning, makeovers, facials, demonstrations, giveaways, door prizes and more.

My special guest list includes local beauty advisors such as Cynthia Allison of Nerium International, Emily Crowe of It Works! Body Wraps, Nikki Johnson of Thirty-One, Michelle Mcgaha of Arbonne, Renee Armstrong of Younique, Jessica Walden of Mary Kay Cosmetics, Debbie Conway of Jamberry Nails and Merdith Lee Irion of Bronze by Mimi.

Ladies, take the night off, hire a sitter and come get pampered. We deserve it! For more details or to pre-register, please contact salon manager, Michelle Bookmiller at 843-322-0426.

Takiya La’Shaune Smith is mother, licensed cosmetologist, and local business owner. Find her at www.blb-boutiques.com or on Facebook, email her at Takiya@Takiya-LaShaune.com or call 843-263-0426.

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I choose MY life…

By Ifetayo White

I will not die an unlived life.

I will not live in fear of falling or catching fire.

I choose to inhabit my days, to allow my living to open me,

to make me less afraid, more accessible;

to loosen my heart until it becomes a wing, a torch, a promise.

I choose to risk my significance, 

to live so that which came to me as seed goes to the next as blossom,

and that which came to me as blossom, goes on as fruit.

This poem by Dawna Markova is so full of the energy of choice for me. It begins with such a passionate statement of intention for life, then continues with strong words of choice, “I choose to INHABIT my days …”

How is all of this vibrating in you right now? Do you feel fired up about the choices for your life or has some fear crept into your mind or body?

One of the fun practices that I have for myself is to ask, “So, Ifetayo, what fear is keeping you from choosing to have this or that in your life right now?” Owning my life, taking full responsibility for my life is the gift of being a growing human being. It is all mine to choose in every moment of every day — from with whom I spend my time to how much I am weighing right now.

We have all had the experience of being with someone who is living in the pain of an abusive marriage or unbalanced friendship. The first question should be, “Why?” Why this choice? Is the choice to be a victim or martyr, or to inhabit a life of love, of joy, of intimacy? Now is the time for each of us to claim our choice, to move out of the energy of powerlessness or passivity about the gift of our lives.

Guess what, my dears? We also get to choose how we are feeling right now about any situation or experience. It is my choice to feel enraged or impatient driving behind one of our Lowcountry Sunday-going-to-church drivers when we need to get to IHOP before the line for breakfast gets too long. The other person truly has no power over my feelings or responses unless I give them that power. They have given me another opportunity to exercise my power of choice with a wide range of emotions, including just letting go and enjoying the ride.

Taking full responsibility for the creation that is my life at this time and making the choices to change the circumstances of this life often requires us to strengthen our will. When I recognized that living in the city of my birth was no longer nurturing to my spirit, it took lots of willpower to continue to go through all that my desire to move to Beaufort was asking of me. My children, future grandchildren, tons of family and close high school and college friends, childhood memories and a familiar environment — all to be let go in some way as I continued to make plans for my move. But my heart and spirit knew what was right for me, and continuously engaging my will gave me the power to carry out this choice.

I will choose not to live an unlived life. I choose my life!

Ifetayo White offers classes and meditation at TheraVista, in addition to life empowerment coaching, Reiki, trigger point therapy, integrative bodywork, childbirth preparation, education, and postpartum doula services. Contact her at 843-271-1923 or neesamoon@gmail.com.

 
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Drink to good health

By Tracie Korol

Now that we’re in the doldrums of hot, humid weather we need to be  uber-conscientious when it comes to making sure our pets are supplied with fresh clean water. Even in winter, in a dry heated house, a dog can become dehydrated if deprived of fresh water. I emphasize the word “fresh” for a reason.

Try this experiment. Drink a glass of cold clean tap water, right from the spigot. Observe. At the same time fill another glass and leave it on the counter. Push it to the back and come return to it three or four days later. Most likely it has a faint film on the surface — dust, grease, pollen — and if you choose to drink it down, fuzz and all, you’ll notice it tastes musty and flat.  Observe. This is probably the water your dog drinks every day.

Water is the most important of all the nutrients. It plays a complex and critical role in the health of all mammals, constituting 55-75% of the body mass of all warm-blooded creatures, 84% of a newborn puppy and 60% of an adult dog.  Water bathes and fills every one of a dog’s billion cells. In fact, a dog can lose all of its fat and half of its muscle mass and survive, but just a 10% loss of body water can cause breakdown. Water lubricates a dog’s joints and muscles and cushions the spaces between individual cells. As the principle element of blood, it transports oxygen to all body tissues and helps fight infections by distributing white blood cells produced by a dog’s immune system.  Water provides an environment in which enzymes can digest food and convert it to energy for a dog’s survival.

Dogs crave fresh water; and they like a clean bowl, too. It’s easy to simply refill the bowl, day after day, dumping more in when the level gets low. But really, when was the last time you ran the water bowl through the dishwasher? All kinds of stuff can grow in there especially if you have one of those dogs that dips his beard and rinses his mouth when he drinks leaving dirt, twigs and crumbs to float around the bowl. It’s a good idea to get a multiple water bowls, bottom-heavy stainless steel or ceramic, so you can switch them out when the dog water begins to look like bilge.

A properly sized bowl is a good idea, too. An oversized bowl means your dog may only be able to drink water part way down. While it looks full, it’s not because he can’t get to it. Tall, narrow bowls are good for dogs with long ears like Bassets, spaniels and beagles, reducing collateral wetness from drippy ears.

Our Best Friends are messy, hit-and-miss slurpers, so it can sometimes be hard to know just how much water they get in a day. Most dogs need about an ounce of fluids per pound of body weight daily, so a 10-pound dog needs a bit over a cup of clean fresh water daily. Hard playing, working or lactating dogs usually need more and puppies generally drink more than adult dogs. Dogs that eat only a dry kibble diet, with less than 5% moisture content, will naturally drink more, too. Plus, a dog will drink more when it is hot and conversely, more when it is cold and dry.

Your dog is drinking enough if you observe him lapping several times a day from his water bowl and if the water level goes down in the bowl over the day. If you’re aware of a sudden decrease or increase in water consumption, your dog may be ill. Excessive thirst and urinating large amounts may indicate diabetes, kidney failure or other endocrinological diseases. Time to call the vet if you notice drastic changes. Although all dogs are different, your dog is drinking enough if he urinates several times a day when you take him out.

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Heat kills dogs

By Tracie Korol

The kind folks at the Beaufort County Shelter asked me to dedicate an article to the perils of a Lowcountry summer, dogs in cars and the terrible demise of our dog friends due to heatstroke.

Recently, I was asked by a seemingly smart person, “It’s OK to leave my dog in the if I leave the A/C on, right?” No, it’s not OK to leave your dog unattended in a car in this county, ever. Ever. Not in the winter. Not under a tree with the windows cracked and not in an idling car with the air conditioning running. It’s against the law.  The penalty? A fine of upwards onto $1,000 plus the shame of having done something really stupid to your Best Friend.

Let’s talk about summer. Common sense check: if you’re hot, your dog is hot, too. If it’s too hot for you to sit in a car without air conditioning, it’s too hot for your dog. If it’s too hot for you to walk barefoot across a parking lot or the sand, it’s too hot for your dog to walk there, too. If you’re sweaty and thirsty, your dog is too. He’s wearing fur and he can’t sweat.

The unattended dog-in-car is very common in Beaufort culture when seemingly caring people will leave their dog in the car while they do a bit of shopping or dining. People are fooling themselves if they believe that their dog is having a good time, along for the adventure. Even though your dog may enjoy a ride in the car, sitting in extreme heat anxiously awaiting your return is not fun at all, even if it’s just for 5 minutes. In another ten minutes, while you chat with the store clerk, he could be approaching death from heat stroke.

Even in the shade, and especially in humid conditions, dogs need to inhale air cooler than their normal body temperature of 100 degrees to be able to stay alive. Dogs confined in cars where the ambient temperature and humidity are above tolerable levels will begin to acquire heat from the environment faster than they can dissipate it. Overheated humans begin to sweat which evaporates and cools the skin dissipating heat buildup. Dogs, remember — fur-covered — have very few sweat glands to begin with and can only dissipate excess body heat via panting.  Movement of air over a moist tongue and airway surfaces increases evaporative cooling somewhat. However, panting actually generates heat due to the muscle activity involved.  Keep in mind that as a dog pants 100 percent humidity into his confined space, the ambient temperature and humidity of the car increases. It’s science.

Signs of heat stroke are intense rapid panting, wide eyes, salivating, staggering and weakness.  Advanced heat stroke victims will collapse and become unconscious.  The gums will appear pale and dry. If heat stroke is suspected and you can take the animal’s temperature rectally, any temperature above 106 degrees is dangerous. The longer the temperature remains at or above 106 degrees the more serious the situation. If you return to your car and find your dog seems to be highly agitated, wide-eyed and panting uncontrollably, start for the nearest animal hospital right away with the air conditioning going at full blast.

Even if heroic measures are taken, he may die from massive intravascular clotting, hemorrhaging, cerebral edema and kidney failure. Really.

Heat stroke is a dire emergency and one from which many pets do not recover.  And it’s an ugly death. It occurs so quickly that your only response should be to get to the nearest animal hospital immediately — don’t even call first. Just GO!

Short-faced (brachycephalic) breeds such as Boxers, Pekingese and Pugs and dogs with heavy coats are at greater risk for heat stroke than some other breeds. Also, age and physical condition (heart problems, obesity) lessens a dog’s efficiency in dissipating heat buildup in the body. All it takes to avoid this serious problem is diligence and common sense. No, it’s not OK to leave your dog in the car.

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I remember … when we used to sit

By Brittney Hiller

This weekend I spent some time watching Rafeal Nadal versus Novak Djokovic in the French Open. The massive amount of power these two tennis players show — athleticism, mental strength, and stamina — was beyond anything I could fathom. For more than three and a half hours they played consistently — back and forth with the tennis ball.

Watching the emotion in their faces that partially portrayed physical fatigue and increasing pain, the question came to mind: How often do we pound away at ourselves without giving our body the rest it deserves? Are we constantly on the go? Are we lacking the ability to take a moment to sit, breathe, admire, and just be?

I would like to invite you to try these few poses that require five minutes of your time. These poses will help you strengthen your mental state, but will also allow you to find the rest your body may need for this moment.

 

DEEP BREATH MEDITATION

Sit in a comfortable position, either on the floor with your legs crossed or seated in a chair with your feet

Deep breath meditation

Deep breath meditation

planted on the floor.  Place your hands on your abdomen.  Begin to inhale through your nose. Exhale out through your mouth.

As you take a couple rounds of breath, begin to slow your inhale and exhale down. For example, I often invite my students to begin to breathe in deep and count to four as they inhale. Try this, then as you exhale count to six, continuing to slow down your breath.

Often we breathe with a quick breath and omit ourselves from obtaining the full amount of oxygen we are capable of taking in. Sit and breathe deep for six rounds of breath — close your eyes to allow yourself to feel the rise and fall of your chest and lower abdomen.

After you finish, sit for a moment and feel how your body has potentially changed in sensation. Perhaps you feel more at ease or less stressed. Notice how simple it was to sit and breath?

 

FULL BODY STRETCH

While seated in a chair or lying on the floor, stretch your legs long in front of you and interlace your fingers. Press your palms up and over your head. Inhale deeply and stretch. As you exhale, press your shoulders

Full Body Stretch

Full Body Stretch

down and away from your ears.  Feel your entire body stretch from your fingers to your toes. Breathe in and out for six rounds of breath — on your last exhale lower your arms to your side. Sit for a moment to notice how you feel.

As you take just five minutes to be with yourself each day, notice the benefits you receive — stress relief and a moment to be mindful and clear with yourself.

We often walk around in a zombie-like state — full of thoughts, worries, “what-if’s” — when instead we can be right here and present with our wonderful bodies. Yoga helps us to reacquaint ourselves with our actual being, our actual true selves.

Nadal won his ninth French Open last weekend. I am certain he took a moment to reacquaint himself in thankfulness for his capable and powerful body.

May you do the same for yours!

To contact Brittney, visit her online at www.brittneyhilleryoga.com or email brittneyg82@gmail.com.

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What do you get for the dad who has everything?

By Pamela Brownstein

I am faced with this dilemma every year: What do I get my husband, Daniel, for Father’s Day?

I am a notoriously poor gift-giver. It’s not that I don’t care, it’s mostly that I am so last minute: By the time I think of something thoughtful and cool, it’s the day before and too late to find it or order it, and I usually give up in frustration.

It’s in that moment of frustration I think, “In the past two years, I’ve given him two beautiful children, really, what more does he want?”

But once I get past that flash of selfishness, I realize that the hardest part for me is finding a gift that represents all that Daniel does for his children and his family. How can I find a gift that equals his patience and kindness and involvement? What item can express my love and gratitude for being understanding and funny, even when we are completely exhausted at the end of the day?

Of course, I knew when we got married that Daniel would be a good dad. But this year has proven that he’s not just a good dad, but a great father. With a 2-year-old boy and a 9-month-old girl, these are chaotic times in our house as we navigate through Babyland. With both of us working, things can get stressful when the baby gets fussy or our toddler throws a temper tantrum and won’t go to sleep in his big boy bed.

Through it all, though, Daniel has shown me what it means to be a good parent in all the little things he does for the kids, especially for our son, Wolfe.

He goes to great lengths to make sure that Wolfe has healthy, balanced meals and tries a variety of food. It’s such a sweet act to see Daniel cut a cucumber into little bites, and add just a dollop of ranch dressing to the plate. Then he watches proudly as Wolfe eats every bite.

He also goes online and researches popular children’s books so when he goes to the library during his lunch hour at work he can pick out the best books to bring home to read with Wolfe. And even though he’s probably read “Curious George Makes Pancakes” more than 100 times, he still uses funny voices and reads it in bed with Wolfe when he asks.

With our daughter, Selah, even though I spend all day with her at home, as soon as her dad walks into the room, her fat little face lights up with a big smile — revealing her two little bottom teeth — and she can’t crawl to him fast enough.

I’m also trying not to take it personally that her first word was “Da-da.” (OK, I get it. Mama’s on deadline and wishes Dada were home too, but you don’t see me saying his name every five minutes.)

But even though I don’t say it enough, I couldn’t be more proud of Daniel or more grateful to have him in my life. I’ve watched him evolve from a father-to-be who had never even changed a diaper to a full-fledged, hands-on dad who doesn’t think twice about cleaning a dirty diaper and knows just the right combination of powder and Desitin to fight diaper rash.

So this year, in addition to my unending love, I want to give him something special. And I think it will be exciting to see the look on his face when I reveal his gift. Surprise! Here’s the double jogging stroller you’ve always wanted!

 

SHOP LOCAL WITH THESE FATHER’S DAY GIFT IDEAS

FOR THE FOODIE DAD

• The Chocolate Tree makes special treats that will make dad smile.

• Specialty olive oils and vinegars from Olive the Above will definitely impress the man who loves to cook.

• Upgrade dad’s old grill with an awesome new version from Grayco.

FOR THE OUTDOORSY DAD 

Bay Street Outfitters has gear for guys as well as fishing equipment.

A yearlong pass to Hunting Island State Park will save money when the whole family goes to the beach.

FOR THE FUNNY DAD 

Lulu Burgess carries a variety of humorous cards and books that will make any funny father chuckle.

FOR THE SENTIMENTAL DAD 

Book a family photo session with a local photographer for memories that will last a lifetime.

FOR THE BEER-SNOB DAD 

Piggly Wiggly features an excellent growler station and selection of unique craft beer.

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