EMPRANAMENT:

BREATHE.BALANCE.LEARN.EMPOWER
From a yogic perspective, prana, the breath of life, permeates everything around us. It is the essential energy that lives in all things. Prana is also awareness. The sole act of focusing on our breath brings us into alignment and into the present moment. Our minds become clear and focused and we are able to access our inner wisdom.

✥ Become aware of your breath and bring balance into your life.

✥ Become aware of your breath and learn the undeniable benefits for your body, mind, and spirit.

✥ Become aware of your breath and empower yourself and your world.

That is em.prana.ment.

I'm a certified yoga instructor, martial artist and qi gong practitioner, specializing in healthy living and detox.

contact:
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I AM OFFERING THE FOLLOWING SPECIALS:

2 for 1. GET 1 SESSION, GET 1 FREE!

$75/1.5 hrs session, includes 30 min consultation, plus your choice of 60 min yoga, qigong, and/or energy healing & chakra balancing session, customized to your needs.

Please check my website for group workshops and additional information on services I offer. I work out of NYC.

http://www.empranament.com
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twitter: @empranament
info@empranament.com






✍The information contained herein reflects the opinion of the author and is not to be considered medical advice. As always, please consult your medical practitioner before beginning any new exercise or diet routine.

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Ever wonder why resolutions don’t stick??

 

In the Northern hemisphere, we celebrate the New Year in the dead of winter, when nature is in the season of cleansing; when only the fittest remain to survive the bitter cold, frost, and long, dark nights.  Leaves fall to their fate, leaving branches bare, exposed, to face the harshest season with little protection.

 

The dark, winter months are a time for our cleansing, too. It’s our season for facing off with those elements within us that no longer serve us, and releasing them. Winter is the time to confront the trials of the soul and reevaluate life’s purpose with only our bare roots to hold us steady.

 No wonder resolutions are hard to keep. If we only followed nature’s model, we would come into our strength to realize that the harshest season is no time to make changes that stick. Resolutions require confidence, determination, courage and zeal. And a little bit of sunshine certainly helps too. So, let’s spend the next few months purging and cleansing out the old. And with the arrival of spring, we can then let the forces of nature propel us toward our goals of renewal and rebirth into the new.

 

New Year’s cleansing ritual:

Try this fun, easy, cleansing ritual to end the old year and begin the new. 

Write down everything in your life that you want to release, whether it’s a negative character trait, an unhealthy relationship or a meaningless job. Write down everything that needs releasing, forgiving and letting go in your life. Now, ceremoniously set it on fire (using responsible measures) and watch the ashes of your old self go up in smoke.

Wishing you all a happy and prosperous 2012!


raw-kin’ guilt-free spicy chocolate brownies

Eating brownies has never been better or healthier for you with this raw vegan recipe


Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups organic walnuts
  • dash of sea salt
  • 1/3 cup raw cacao powder
  • 1/8 – 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/8 tps of cinnamon
  • 8 pitted organic medjool dates
  • 1 tsp organic vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoon water

   

Directions:

1. In a food processor, grind the walnuts and salt until fine.

2. Add the dark cacao, 1/8 tsp of cayenne and 1/8 tsp of cinnamon.

3. Add dates until dough forms, then continue to add the vanilla and water.

4. Taste the dough at this point and add another 1/8 tsp of cayenne if you want more heat

5. Scoop out a tablespoon full of dough and pat down into mini-brownie shapes.

6. Sprinkle with cinnamon or top with a nut. And voila! guilt-free brownies!

And If spicy isn’t your thing, then simply omit the cayenne.

Now, you really can have your cake, or in this case, brownies, and eat them too. Enjoy!

bringing more authenticity into your daily life: 3 simple steps

With all the hustle and bustle of our daily routines, it is easy to get off track. But bringing more of your authenticity into your daily life shouldn’t be difficult.  Gentle reminders, and an extra 5 minutes per day are all you need to refocus and recenter yourself. Here are 3 easy steps:

1. The ritual of beauty

Enhance your space with flowers, candles and incense. Place them on your desk or near your workspace. It’s a simple way to invite positive energy into our lives and serves to remind us of the beauty surrounding us.

2. The ritual of intentions

Before getting out of the bed in the morning and with your eyes still closed, create a loving intention for your day. Something that will keep you motivated and inspired. Perhaps it’s to nourish your body with wholesome, nutritious foods, to enjoy more positive experiences or to spend more time with your loved ones. Setting intentions reminds us of what’s most important to us.

3. The ritual of ‘you’ time

Whether it’s doing your Yoga Sun Salutations in the morning, that always make you feel grounded, giving yourself time for that perfect morning cup of tea,  spending a few extra minutes with your favorite pet, or making time for that art exhibit during your lunch break, do something each day that makes you feel good and brings your true essence to life.

When we feel good, in tune and inspired, it is much easier to keep moving forward in positive ways and in the direction of our true selves.

How do you stay centered and bring joy into your day?

SUPERFOOD SPOTLIGHT: CHIA SEEDS

Long before the era of terracotta “chia pets”, “chia”, the Mayan word for “strength”, was cultivated and eaten by the ancient Aztecs, Incans, and Mayans and was considered a staple food alongside corn and beans.

Chia seeds are an excellent source of dense nutrition with their healthy omega oils, easily digestible protein, and antioxidants. In fact, chia is so high in essential fatty acids that it contains eight times more omega-3s than salmon, gram for gram.

Also full of dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals, especially calcium and iron, chia has much in common with flaxseed, with the distinct advantage that its natural antioxidants make it’s delicate healthy fats more nutritionally stable. Research has linked this valuable food as a being beneficial for many health issues, including diabetes, hypoglycemia, celiac disease, and lowering cholesterol. 

It may be used much like flax powder in creating a power breakfasts by just sprinkling a spoonful into oatmeal, granola, cereal, or yogurt. It also works very well as a flour substitute and can be used to make hearty breads, crackers, and more. Additionally, chia is considered highly hydrophilic – meaning the seeds have a unique ability to absorb liquid and form a gel, making it a good thickening agent in recipes like soup, smoothies, or enjoyed as a pudding.

Chia pudding recipe to come! Stay tuned!

celebrating the fall equinox: happy new year and happy fall y’all!

In nature, the Fall Equinox marks the beginning of the new year. And although we are not as directly connected with the earth and the harvest season as our ancestors once were, It is still a beautiful time to express our appreciation and reestablish our connection and relationship with nature.  A time to shed the old, collect the harvest of summer and stock up and build resources for winter, the fall equinox offers us an opportunity to begin the New Year with a clean slate and align our life goals with the energies of the season.

 Focus your own Fall Equinox ritual through the following exercise:

1. Look back at the year and reflect upon what gifts you have received and appreciate what you have reaped through your efforts and hard work.

2. Take the time to offer gratitude to each person met this year. By doing so, each person who created an impact in our life is honored at the soul level. Whether positive or not, we have learned and grown from having lived through them.

3. Reflect upon the undertakings of the year, using the opportunity to transform each experience into wisdom.

Through this process of careful self examination, thoughtful reflection on past events and an honoring sense of gratitude for the experience of life, you can begin to set new goals in preparation for the year ahead.

Of great importance to remember during this time is that the only constant in life is change; events will occur, choices are made and actions are generated. While the past cannot be altered, the bountiful harvest of wisdom gained from each experience is a gift. Life can present us with great tragedy and tremendous joy. With a discerning mind, we can locate the grains of wisdom and insight to plant as seeds for the future.

~ Kala Ambrose

Let the energetic impulse of the Fall Equinox propel the forward movement of your life. Happy New Year and happy fall y’all!

The fall equinox arrives this year on Sept. 23, 2011 at 404 AM EST

BEAUTY RITUAL: the art of self massage

Of all the lifestyle practices Ayurveda offers, Abhyanga, (ah-be-yong’-ah) the practice of a warm oil daily self massage, is by far my favorite. Not only does it feel good, but it is one of the most beneficial to keep you feeling young, healthy and beautiful.

Our skin contains the greatest amount of beneficial hormones. The act of self touch balances the endocrine and nervous systems, enlivens the vital energy points  and affects billions of nerve endings that connect to all parts of the body including the brain and vital organs. The ritual detoxifies the body’s tissues, increases circulation, calms the mind, enhances immune function and harmonizes the entire body.

Abhyanga is recommended as a daily preventative therapy throughout the year but is especially important during Autumn, when the quality of dryness is most pervasive in nature. 

benefits of self-massage:

  • Balance the endocrine system
  • Calm the nervous system
  • Rejuvenate the skin
  • Tone muscles
  • Eliminate impurities
  • Lubricate the joints
  • Increase mental alertness
  • Promote youthfulness
  • Stimulate internal organs
  • Longevity

 Ayurvedic massage is traditionally performed in the morning, before your bath or shower, to facilitate the release of toxins that may have accumulated during the previous night. However, a massage at the end of the day will certainly help to promote restful sleep. The entire practice takes about 15 minutes.

Instructions:

  1.  Choose an oil appropriate to your constitution or the season.  It is preferable to use a  dosha specific, herb infused oil appropriate for lowering the imbalanced dosha. For more on your dosha, you can consult an Ayurvedic Doctor. If one is not available to you, an unrefined, organic sesame oil is recommended in cooler months and coconut oil can be used for a more cooling effect in warmer months. 
  2. Begin by running some hot water over the bottle to gently warm the oil.
  3. Pour a tablespoon of warm oil onto your scalp and vigorously work in the oil.
  4. Using your fingertips, vigorously massage your head and scalp with small circular strokes, as if you are shampooing.
  5. Move to your face and ears, massaging more gently.
  6. Using an open hand to create friction, massage both the front and back of the neck.
  7. Vigorously massage your arms, using a circular motion at the shoulders and elbows, and back-and-forth motions on the upper arms and forearms.
  8. When massaging your chest and stomach, use a gentle circular motion and a straight up-and-down motion over the breastbone.
  9. After applying a bit of oil to both hands, gently reach around to the back and spine and massage them as well as you can without straining.
  10. Vigorously massage your legs as you did your arms, using circular motions at the ankles and knees, back-and-forth motions on the long parts.
  11. After massaging your legs, spend extra time on your feet. Using the open part of your hand, massage vigorously back and forth over the soles of the feet.
  12. Keeping a thin film of oil on the body is considered very beneficial for toning the skin and warming the muscles throughout the day.

 It is said that the the effects of abhyanga are similar to the effects of being intensely and deeply loved.  In fact, another Sanskrit word, sneha, translates as both love and oil. Abhyanga is an opportunity to love and feel gratitude for your own body, encouraging it to function better.  Take the time to indulge in this Ayurvedic ritual as often as you can, and you’ll enjoy its benefits daily.

fall into balance: tips on living in harmony with the season

Come October, change is in the air. Leaves turn color and fall. The air gets crisp, cool and dry. Vata season is generally associated with the Fall and Winter months, from October through February, ending with the onset of spring. Vata, in Ayurveda, is the biological force that literally translates into wind, and is always associated with a windy, dry, and cold climate. 

As our external environment changes, it increases Vata in our own internal environment as well. It’s restless, sweeping quality can throw your physiology, and psychology, completely out of balance, causing constipation, dry skin, irregular appetite, lack of sleep, stress and fatigue. This is when it is time to change our daily routines and diet so it is in tune with the physical changes in the environment.

The following tips will help to balance Vata, creating a more stable, grounding presence during the fall months:

  • A routine where the time of day and length of your practice is consistent. Vata is balanced by routine, so try to do your yoga or exercise practice at the same time and place every day, if possible. Consistency, however, is more important than time, so try and pick a realistic hour to practice every day for at least 15 minutes.
  • Steady, slow, mindful Sun Salutations to increase circulation of blood through your muscles and organs as well as standing poses, squats, twists, bridge pose, supported back bends, and inversions to clear the lungs and maintain heat in your core.
  • A practice of seated poses that allow the breath to move freely into the lower abdomen and pelvic floor, the parts of the body ruled by Vata.
  • Take long savasanas or rest often, to stabilize Vata. Cover yourself with a blanket to stay warm, use an eye pillow to soothe the eyes, and drape a sandbag or two over your thighs or ankles to promote the downward movement of prana deep into the bones of your legs. The extra weight of the sandbags reinforces the idea of staying present and can be useful for anyone at anytime who struggles with staying present in the savasana pose.
  • Nurture your skin during this season. Give your body a daily massage with natural and ayurvedic massage oils, to nourish and pamper your skin during the harsh fall and winter months.
  • Besides, maintaining regular routines of rest and activity, the most important general principle regarding diet during Vata season for everyone, is to have warm, fresh, cooked foods. Since Vata is cold, dry and rough, warm cooked foods made with a little olive oil, have a wonderful soothing effect that immediately calms down a restless Vata. Warm drinks also have an immediate balancing affect. Warming foods seems like such a simple recommendation to keep Vata in balance, but with our fast-paced schedules, it is often overlooked. Cold sandwiches, cold salads, and dry cereals with cold milk are the types of foods that can create a Vata imbalance and should preferably be avoided during this season.

 Fall, being the onset of dry and cold days and nights, needs to be offset by a diet, routine and temperatures that are warming, unctuous and nourishing. By living in tune with the natural laws of the season, a sense of balance can be maintained by building a stronger natural immunity against the colder days ahead.

Stay warm and stay healthy!

the ultimate superfood energy bar

Energy bars, like smoothies, are the perfect opportunity to fuel up your body with the condensed nutrition of superfoods.

This simple recipe relies on the superfoods our bodies crave to form a delicious nutrition bar. Use the recipe below as a starting point, and feel free to add in whatever power foods you crave to make your own ultimate superfood energy bar.

Double, triple, even quadruple this recipe and keep in wrapped individual portions in the freezer until needed.

Ingredients :

1 Tbsp.  Flax Powder 

1 Tbsp.  Chia powder

1/4 cup hemp seeds

1 cup.  of your favorite Trail Mix -try a berry, cacao nib, nut variety

4 dates

1 tsp lemon juice

Directions:

Grind all ingredients together in a food processer.

The dough may be left slightly crunchy for a bar with more texture.

Remove from food processor and knead to ensure ingredients are uniformly combined.

Form into a large patty, and cut into bars.

Makes 4-6 bars

Celebrating the Harvest Moon in Pisces:

This Full Moon in Pisces is the culmination of a cycle that began two weeks’ prior at the New Moon, and marks the harvest time for the personal intentions we set during that time. But each Full Moon can also be considered the fruition of a even larger cycle that stretches over half the year, a cycle that began when the New Moon fell in this same zodiac sign. The Full Moon in Pisces, then, can be considered a kind of “Harvest Moon” for the Pisces New Moon last March 4th.

As you prepare for this powerful and practical Harvest Moon, it might be illuminating to think back, and contemplate on what was going on last March in your life:

What were your wishes and intentions at that time?

And how have those wishes, intentions and seeds sprouted and grown in your life?

Honor your lessons, intentions and personal work.

Acknowledge your creativity and your power in whatever you have manifested for yourself.

Be neutral and allowing around what is right in front of you.

Be accepting of all situations without judgement or any negativity.

If something is missing or lacking in your life,  set a strong intention to bring it in.

But most importantly, sit in gratitude and trust that all is just exactly as it should be.

The Harvest Full Moon in Pisces occurs at 5:27 a.m. ET on Monday, Sept. 12 2011


The challenge:

 “It’s too hot”, “this sucks!” “she’s annoying”, “this song is awful”

Ahhh, the art of bitching, moaning, whining, complaining, and/or gossiping; we’ve all perfected some form of it, at one point or another. It’s easy and relatable. But easy doesn’t serve us in the end.

“No price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.”  Nietzsche

Often to make way for the good stuff we have to let go of our old limiting behaviors. So, here I am - Day One of my challenge to really think before I speak and refrain from all negativity - no bitching, no complaining, no criticizing. The challenge, first proposed by Will Bowen is, if you do say something negative, you must forgive yourself and start over until you can run a streak of 21 complain free days.

“In a vineyard, one grape will begin to ripen and in so doing will send out a vibration, an enzyme, a fragrance, or an energy field of some kind that is picked up by the other grapes. This one grape signals the other grapes that it is time to change, to ripen. As you become a person who holds only the highest and best for yourself and others in your words and thoughts, you will signal to all around you simply by who you are that it is time for a change. Without even trying, you will raise the consciousness of those around you.” Will Bowen

My challenge begins today. Are you ready to ripen?

Join me and share your progress!

fall for yoga

How the summer months just flew by, i don’t know, but September’s here, and with it come cooler breezes, changing leaves and a refreshing change of pace. It also kicks off Yoga Month. 

Started in 2008 by the Department of Health & Human Service, the founders of Yoga Month define it as “an awareness campaign to educate about the health benefits of yoga and to inspire a healthy lifestyle.”

If you haven’t already discovered the multitude of health benefits yoga can offer, now might be the perfect time. Through deep breathing, movement, meditation, and relaxation, yoga aims to improve physical, mental and emotional well-being. If you already have an established practice, this might be the time to try that different style of yoga you’ve been meaning to.

No matter what your experience, Yoga Month offers all of us an opportunity to take stock of our health and realign ourselves with new possibilities. Its a wonderful time to take advantage of the various discounted classes and events given by the community to honor the occasion and ourselves.

So how will you celebrate and honor the month?

I am a certified yoga and qigong practitioner. I will be offering half off all of my private sessions for the month of September. Thank you. Namaste.

Deep breath for a deep life:

The exercise of conscious breath

Here’s how it goes:

  • Sit comfortably, where you won’t be disturbed for a few minutes.
  • Become aware of your breath.
  • Now, deliberately choose to take some air in.
  • And then before you let it out, take some more air in, and before you let it out, take another sip in. Breathe in more, breathe in more, breathe in more. And when you think that you cannot breathe in any more - take in one more sip of air.
  • Then experience the deliciousness of a long, easy out, out, out.

As you concentrate on your breath, you are not concentrating on other things. And in the absence of resistance, you are also allowing an alignment of energy in your body. Breath is the current that carries the vitality to the cells in your entire body. By breathing deeply, you allow oxygen to reach the extremities of your cells.

As you practice taking in more air deliberately, more consistently, you will also begin to do it more involuntarily. You will expand your lung capacity and you will naturally begin to breathe more deeply.

The deeper the breath, the further the reach. The deeper the breath, the further the reach, the better your body works. Metabolism works better, elimination works better, clarity works better, blood flows better. And so, the more you breathe, the more you thrive.

wake up your body with an all natural invigorating coffee scrub

Sometimes we just needs a pick-me-up. What better way to do it than with coffee.   This aromatic bean is a natural antioxidant, and antibacterial. It also contains Magnesium and Vitamin E. Follow the following simple recipe for a new twist on your morning ritual. 

Ingredients: 

  • 3 T Coffee grounds (organic-caffeinated) 

  • 1 T Sea Salts

  • 1/4 cup of goat’s milk


Instructions:

  • Combine the coffee grounds, sea salt and goat’s milk. Mix well.

  • Apply the coffee mixture to your face, steering clear of your eyes and hairline and all over your body, massaging it into your skin

  • Make sure to use grounds within 20 minutes of brewing before oxidation occurs.

  • Leave the scrub on your body for about 20 minutes. Rinse with warm water, gently scrubbing the coffee mixture into your skin with a washcloth.

With its exfoliating, and stimulating properties, this invigorating coffee scrub will slough away dead skin cells and tighten pores, kicking you and your skin back to life. Enjoy!



SUPERFOOD SPOTLIGHT: QUINOA

Prized as a sacred seed in the ancient Inca civilization, quinoa (pronounced kee-noua) is still a nutritional treasure. The benefits of quinoa are as plentiful as its culinary uses. Here are a few of the roles quinoa can play in a healthy diet:

Quinoa is a complete protein. One cup of quinoa has 9 grams, and contains all 8 of the essential amino acids   , making it a complete protein. Complete proteins are rare in the plant world, making quinoa an excellent food choice for vegetarians and vegans, and anyone looking for healthy protein source. It’s also high in iron and calcium, and is a good source of manganese, magnesium and copper, as well as fiber.

Although it is cooked and eaten like a grain, quinoa is actually a seed, and is related to spinach, chard and beets. The seeds are round, about the same size of millet or sesame seeds, and come in a rainbow of colors, from red to purple to green to yellow, but the quinoa that is most commonly found in stores is an off-white color.

This protein-packed food, with its nutty taste and chewy texture, is flavorful and extremely versatile. Quinoa is easily prepared and can be used in recipes where rice, wheat, corn or other grains are used. Quinoa is naturally gluten-free, making it an excellent food for celiac patients or other people following a gluten-free diet. Quinoa flour is great for baking cookies, breads and muffins, and quinoa flakes are a perfect substitute for oatmeal.

 A cup of cooked quinoa offers 15 percent of the U.S. Recommended Daily Allowance of iron, which helps to deliver oxygen to the blood, boosting energy and brain power. Quinoa’s vitamin B content can help keep the mind sharp, maintain brain volume and stabilize mood. Look for quinoa in the bulk section of natural food stores, or in the organic section of conventional supermarkets

Stay tuned! I’ll be sharing my favorite quinoa recipes in the weeks to come. I welcome yours as well!


Rough night at the bar? Hungover? Try coconut water!

Drinking coconut water is an incredibly healthy way to hydrate the body. So whether you had one too many drinks at the bar, or actually had a productive day at the gym, coconut water can help replace electrolytes lost during dehydration.

High in potassium and chloride, and relatively low in calories, it is a great alternative to high caloric sports drinks and it’s all natural. And besides helping to remove toxins from the body and aid in digestion, coconuts have amazing anti-viral, anti-fungal and anti-microbial properties (for whatever else you got into last night) So enjoy.. guilt free!

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