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#WellthyWednesday #QuickEnergyShift – Marma Point Self Massage for Stress Relief

#WellthyWednesday #QuickEnergyShift: Marma Point Self Massage for Stress Relief

You literally hold your heart in your hands.  It is called the Tala hridaya marma point. Marma points are Ayurvedic acupressure points.  They are where matter meets consciousness.  It’s true. When you reach out to shake someone’s hand there is a moment of heart connection. Here is a great way to take care of the “HEART” in your hands!

The Tala hridaya marma point is l
ocated in the palm of both hands. It is underneath the middle fingers’ bottom knuckles.  It is responsible for circulation and controls the lungs and heart. Massaging this point on the right and left hand will reduce stress and anxious feelings.

Press into this point with the thumb of the opposite hand. When you feel a knot or tenderness, you have found the right spot. Gently massage, counterclockwise in small circles. This will break up blocked energy.  Finish by closing with clockwise circles. This stimulates and energizes the point. This only takes 3-5 minutes on each hand. One side might feel like it needs more massage than the other.  Go for what you feel you need. Let your intuition guide you. Massage oil and essential oils may be used to enhance this experience.

Feel your body as a whole. Feel the link between the hands and the heart, and the heart that links the whole body. Breath in what you need, exhale what no longer serves you.  The free Prana (life-force) circulating through your whole body feels flowing and balanced. This balance reduces stress and creates an overall sense of wellbeing.

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The Hands Have It / Review by HYL Sister: Zara

Eyes may be the gateway to the soul, but you can’t hide your hands and what they say about you; unless of course you are the Queen of England and everyone can only question if those gloves secretly hide hideous cuticles. Short intentionally trimmed nails? Someone who prefers to text than call. Glamour synthetic nails? Types on a keyboard too much to maintain the length they prefer.  Bitten to the quick nails? A pianist with stage fright.  And let’s not even start generalizations about shape and… size!

Admittedly, upon making a new acquaintance, I would much prefer to bow than shake hands (mostly because Cold& Flu season terrifies me).  But since cultural tradition dictates against this where I live, I have found people’s blank stare usually translates to ‘how rude!’ when their hand is already stretched out toward me – and I don’t meet it. Very awkward.

As you can imagine, gloves are a staple of my wardrobe. But now we find Holiday Party season on our heels, and frankly, unless the Audrey Hepburn look is in, the little black dress is not served by gloves.

The only solution is Badger Balm – For Hardworking Hands. The only thing to say, is already stated on the jar – This Stuff Works! Never have my nails felt this strong, or hands this prepared to face the Antibacterial Soap at most establishments, including hosts’ homes. The Badger people got it right as its neutral scent won’t leave you smelling of a Provençal meal, and its Mini-Mouse size means you can sneak it into any clutch, skinny jeans pocket, or even your husband’s waistcoat (shhh!). If you wash out the sturdy, metal container once its finished, you can use it to take vitamins on the go, or fill it with another lotion/potion for a plane journey. I may have a drawer full of hand cream but that little tub is always within easy reach.

The range of Badger products is extensive, and they will probably have a fix for your physical demands. The image of a little badger dozing under a full moon on their Sleep Balm is so heartwarming that that alone makes me buy it again and again; though falling asleep is not the problem for us, rather dozing past the snooze button is!

Now, time to – shake – rattle and rub on the Balm


First Yoga Class – by Zara Bielkus

Trying something for the first time can feel daunting. You don’t know what to expect, you don’t know how the experience will feel, and sometimes you just plain and simple feel apprehensive. This is natural, it is instinctual; after all, cautiousness helped humans survive the early evolutionary years.  Adrenaline pointed us toward and away from danger depending on desired outcome. And I rather speculate that Anchiornis,[i] too felt a small “rush” when it was the first of its kind to jump out of the branches and use its feathers as a safety net to glide to the ground below. Without risk takers, our maps would never have become globes. In our own lives we often have to make some decisions based only on partial information.

A first yoga class is often like that too, where we have heard it is good for us, we have heard it makes us feel great, but still we have no idea how we will achieve that in our first yoga class. This was very much my experience before my first class.  I had read all the FAQs for new students, I had all the props, but I still had no idea what I would be doing …or how! But at some point the preparation must give way to action, and I had to take a chance and go. No amount of Cliff Notes from my sister was going to help because within the first 10 minutes of my first class I realized only me, myself and I was having that new experience. The need to concentrate on what I was doing surpassed the feelings of uncertainty that I felt before coming.  And as a yoga novice a lot of concentration is required, but as you attend more classes the concentration needed decreases and movements become more natural, fluid, and desired.

Observing your mind during this new process is especially fun, as often your mental reaction resides with the status of your inner equilibrium. New to yoga I would arrive with something that I would ‘want’ from the class, like to relax, or to stretch my hamstrings. But after more and more classes, I realized I was there because in other aspects of my life I didn’t know what I wanted.  But the commitment to the yoga practice acted as an anchor to my thoughts so I could pause to contemplate, and then sail freely on.

So if you have heard the health benefits of yoga, and you have thought a yoga class is something that might be good for you, that is exactly the time to leave the shelter of the trees – evolve your self. There is no stipulation about how you have to ‘arrive’ to your first class: uncertain, excited, self-conscious, prepared…whatever. The only part you are responsible is taking thought to action.

Ready for Footsy? Review by HYL Sister: Zara

One of the most fun things about practising yoga is you can walk around barefoot all year round! It is easy to do in a hot yoga studio, where the hot floor heats your feet. But at home during the fall and winter the floor can be an uninviting place, like interstellar space, cold and filled with dust (bunnies). The only solution for keeping your tootsy ready for footsy are LL Beans slippers. Their original moccasin is owned by every member of our family; like Macouns, Chronicle and Nor’Easters these slippers are another iconic staple of a New England lifestyle. Somehow slipping into these beauties takes the bite out of the bitter part of winter, so comfortable in fact you almost want a bad snowstorm so you could justify not leaving the house, or the slippers, for the day.

At first glance, ‘sheepskin’ may seem un-yogic, but until the entire world is vegetarian, companies that find ways to utilise otherwise wasted by-products are okay in my book. If you feel differently, maybe check out their other styles made of wool or fleece.

My favourite way to unwind after a long week is to have a pamper-me-party.  I return all RSVPs with regrets, stay in and turn off any device that might interrupt my rest. Then to create a mini-retreat I’ll make a pot of fragrant tea, play relaxing music, and take a bath or do an at-home facial, all by candlelight. Then to ground the energy in my first chakra, I finish with massaging into my feet Dr Hauschka’s Rosemary Foot Balm, or Weleda’s Foot Balm, pull on some thin, cotton socks, and get them into those slippers! Your feet will be skipping with joy. By taking this time to go inward I feel more like myself when I go out by strengthening my foundation.

Bob Marley got it right when he sang ‘my feet is my only carriage…’. Caring for our carriage seems what can make or break a day – and it all starts with the soles. Some days my soles are rubber, some days my soles are au naturel, and of course on special days my soles are red. But a great way to winterise the soles of that carriage is the addition of these LL Beans Wicked Good© slipp-ahhhhs.

Wedding Registry – by Siga Bielkus

Most brides find a lot of pleasure in compiling their registries, their wish-lists for future domestic bliss—the copper pots, the crystal stem-ware, the high thread-count pillow cases. Naturally, a lot of the enjoyment is aspirational (“Williams Sonoma Professional Grade Panini Press with Bluetooth Speaker, in Gold”). And who doesn’t like getting presents, particularly ones you pick out yourself? But the real pleasure in selecting registry items comes from visualizing the home that you and your partner are in the process of creating.

This isn’t entirely materialistic. Sure, it’s satisfying to pick out the linens for the master bedroom, or the brand of juicer you’ll be using to make your morning green drink (  But what I enjoy most is the anticipation of the meals we’ll be cooking together over the years, the nights we’ll spend in each other’s company. My fiancée and I dream of a shared life, and by clicking on a set of bath towels, we come a tiny bit closer to that reality. These little material choices — cast iron or nonstick?—are ways of adding texture to our imagination of a joined existence. It’s a way of giving that future a physical presence, of grounding the wonderful experiences to come in the present moment.

None of our registry gifts, no matter their labels or price tags, are remotely meaningful outside of that context. A coffee pot is just a lump of ceramic unless it helps form the background of shared Sunday breakfasts, of morning kisses, of years of intimacy. It’s all just stage dressing for the real act.

In much the same way, one of yoga’s biggest lessons is context. When I’m on my mat, I can clearly see how the externalities of my daily life — all the stuff that’s filling up the breakfast nook of my soul—is just stage dressing. Like the coffee pot on my registry, they’re just the background to the real story, and the real joy, of my existence. That doesn’t take away from the pleasure of the material or routine, but it shouldn’t ever distract. So even when my fiancée and I are scrolling through flatware patterns, I know that they’re just designs on a spoon. What matters is that our hands touch when we click the mouse.

You’ve Got a Friend in You – by Zara Bielkus

Like people and animals, friends, come in all shapes and sizes. Some are strong and always there, some are fuzzy fence sitters who are great when you need to bounce ideas off another person; but often the best thing about friends is that they find you.  This happened to me nearly 15 years ago. Standing in the coat room line, I could see a gentleman struggling to get his arm through a rather elusive sleeve. More than 35 years my senior, I thought to myself that my grandmother would be proud for respecting my elders if I helped him find it.

“It seems your left sleeve is playing hide-and-seek with you,” I said to him, grabbing the shoulder of his coat so he could guide his arm through. When he introduced himself, it turned out that according to the seating plan we were meant to have been sitting next to each other for dinner, but someone had shuffled him to the head table. As a result, I had dinner next to a dull so-and-so, but this chance meeting in the coat room line seemed ever more intriguing. Many years of our friendship elapsed and I was helping my friend collect legal paperwork for his estate. Grasping hundreds of papers, one page slipped from the pile in my hands to my feet – it was his father’s death certificate; it turned out we shared the same birthday.

“Perhaps you and I have been playing hide-and-seek even longer than we thought,” my friend chuckled when I highlighted the coincidence. Well if our spirits had shared a previous life, I, for one, did not remember!  This friend often talks of the divine and all the grandeurs of spiritual understanding. But I most admire his ability to treat strangers and friends with the same level of trusting compassion and I enjoy his wider knowledge base, which generally only the process of aging reveals. One day, after dedicating 10 years to one project, he said he would no longer pursue it. There were many reasons behind his choice, which I accepted, but I could not accept his loss. He felt he lost because now that he decided to stop the project before completion, “everybody will laugh [at me]”, he said. It made me want to cry when his voice trailed on the other end of the phone line. At that moment, I realized his loss was not the loss of the project, but really the feelings of embarrassment from a perceived loss of dignity – measured only against other people’s opinions.

So I said to him boldly: “The greatest loss here is not the project, or the loss of dignity. The greatest loss here is that in the roughly 70 years of your life, you still haven’t found your best friend: yourself.” You are never alone once you have found this true companion. With the hectic life of modern age it is critical to have a relationship with this ‘friend’ because of the high demands expected of individuals.  The yoga mat is a great place to find this friend because the stillness of the room allows you to hear what they need, what they want, what will make them happy. The differences in acts of selfishness and selflessness may be very apparent, but the mental differences between the two are less so.  Sometimes by being a little selfish (like meditating instead of washing the dishes) allows us to act more selfless (like setting aside time to really listen to your partner’s/friend’s day).  Was I being a good or bad friend when I told my dear, old friend to look for himself? Neither. I was being a true friend, because truth holds no judgement.

When you are able to slow down through yoga, meditating, or a quite walk, ask yourself do you have a best friend in you?  If not, why not? What might need to change, what might help you like you as a person more? When you hear a voice criticizing you – which more often than not sounds just like your own – try replacing that voice with one of support, kindness, and appreciation. Look for ways to improve this internal relationship in order to improve relations with others. Having self-awareness will enable you to have better boundaries in your life that support the growth of the true you. Loving yourself unabashedly will ensure the journey of a lifetime.